In this handout picture released by Kazakhstan's presidential press service on July 3, 2024, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and visiting China's President Xi Jinping hold a briefing for media representatives following their talks in Astana

The 24th summit of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on July 3-4, 2024. 

The SCO, established in 2001, is an intergovernmental organization with nine member states, including Kazakhstan, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran. It represents 40% of the global population and contributes over $23 trillion to the world economy, giving it a significant role in regional and global affairs.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange looking out of the window as his plane from London approaches Bangkok for a layover at Don Mueang International Airport in the Thai capital. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released from prison in Britain and is set to face a final court hearing after reaching a plea deal with US authorities that brings to a close his years-long legal drama. A charter plane flew the 52-year-old from London to Bangkok, where it made a scheduled stop to refuel. Photo: WikiLeaks / AFP / LEHTIKUVA

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released from prison in the United Kingdom and is en route to Australia after agreeing to a plea deal with the United States. Assange, 52, will plead guilty to a single charge of breaching US espionage law, specifically one count of conspiracy to obtain and disclose classified national defense documents.

Assange was freed from Belmarsh maximum security prison on June 24, after spending 1901 days there.

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Football mania in Hamburg: the harbour once again serves as the backdrop for a stunning container installation to mark the first match day of UEFA EURO 2024.

As the excitement for UEFA EURO 2024 builds, Hamburg is set to dazzle both locals and visitors with a stunning container installation at the iconic harbour, marking the start of the tournament's group stage. From now until June 18, the vibrant display at O’Swaldkai will feature prominently, visible from key vantage points like the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Plaza, HafenCity Hamburg, and various harbour tours.

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An Israeli military armoured vehicle rolls in an area bordering the Gaza Strip on June 9, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

The year 2023 marked a significant increase in global violence, with a record number of 59 state-based conflicts, the highest since 1946. This alarming trend was highlighted in the latest conflict trend analysis report by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

While the number of conflicts surged, the number of countries experiencing these conflicts dropped from 39 to 34, indicating a concentration of violence in fewer nations.

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MERA25 candidates in Athens.

As the European Elections approach on June 9, notable public figures Naomi Klein, Norman Finkelstein, and Roger Waters are urging voters in Germany, Greece, and Italy to support MERA25. They emphasize that the party stands as a crucial alternative to both far-right and establishment parties, offering a pathway to peace, freedom, and dignity for Europeans.

Naomi Klein highlights the failures of establishment parties, stating, “These elections are so critical because the far right is not the only problem.

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Empty hallway of the new Kannelmäki healthcare centre in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA

As Europe faces a critical healthcare workforce shortage, geopolitical tensions, and rising health threats, the Finnish Medical Association (Lääkäriliitto) and the Finnish Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (Tehy) are sounding the alarm. With European Parliament elections on the horizon, these organizations emphasize that a functional healthcare system is essential for a secure society.

The associations urge the European Union to take decisive action to address the healthcare crisis, focusing on areas within its jurisdiction such as digitalization, workforce mobility, occupational safety, and regulation of cross-border health threats.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives for a party meeting at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, in Jerusalem on May 20, 2024. Israel on May 20 slammed as a "historical disgrace" an application by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for an arrest warrant for Netanyahu. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

The chief prosecutor of the world’s top war crimes court sought arrest warrants Monday for leaders of Israel and Hamas, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over actions taken during their seven-month war.

While Netanyahu and his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, do not face imminent arrest, the announcement by the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor was a symbolic blow that deepened Israel’s isolation over the war in Gaza.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) prior to a welcoming ceremony in Buda Castle of Budapest, Hungary on May 9, 2024. The Chinese President pays a three day official visit to Budapest from the evening of May 8, 2024. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

On May 9, 2024, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Hungary, marking the final leg of his European tour and emphasising Beijing's strengthening ties with one of its closest allies within the European Union. Amidst ongoing global trade disputes and the divisive situation in Ukraine, Xi's visit to Hungary symbolises a significant effort by China to bolster its relationship with Europe through one of its most cooperative EU member states.

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French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping deliver a joint statement at the Elysee Palace, as part of the Chinese president's two-day state visit in France, in Paris on May 6, 2024. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping, on a state visit to France at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, expressed his hope for China and France to illuminate a brighter future together, marking a significant moment in diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

Xi’s agenda for the visit includes discussions on enhancing China-France and China-Europe relations in light of new global circumstances. He plans to engage in talks covering major international and regional issues, aiming to align strategies and further diplomatic and economic cooperation.

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Maker Faire Rome, the celebrated festival of innovation, has officially opened its calls for participants for the 2024 edition, scheduled to take place from October 25th to 27th at the Gazometro Ostiense. Organized by the Rome Chamber of Commerce, this event stands as a dynamic showcase connecting innovators from various sectors such as digital manufacturing, robotics, AI, agritech, and more.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is reportedly on the brink of issuing arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for alleged war crimes committed during conflicts with Palestinian militants. This action by the Hague-based court has sparked fierce reactions, especially from U.S. lawmakers who have supported Israel unconditionally.

The ICC's probe, initiated in 2021, delves into activities dating back to the 2014 Gaza War, examining actions by both Israeli military and Palestinian groups.

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