Iran, Canada, Venezuela, Australia: the nightly news

The United States and the EU are preparing to strengthen their sanctions against Iran. The White House announced Tuesday that Washington would take new measures against Tehran after the attack launched against Israel last weekend, also indicating that it “expected” that its allies would soon do the same. A few hours earlier, the head of diplomacy of the European Union Josep Borrell declared, after an extraordinary videoconference meeting of European foreign ministers, that the EU was considering broadening the scope of its sanctions already in place against Iran. “A growing majority of EU capitals support new sanctions, which would target Iranian networks that supply Iran-backed militant groups in the region,” four people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times. “But some European officials are wary of moves targeting the so-called axis of resistance – which includes Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Iraqi militias – which could lead to a new escalation of tensions”. Hezbollah announced on Tuesday the death of three of its members in Israeli strikes in Lebanon, from where the powerful Lebanese formation supported by Iran launched attacks on northern Israel. The IDF, for its part, specified that it had “eliminated Ismail Youssef Baz, the commander of Hezbollah’s coastal sector”.

Canada will tax the richest, particularly to finance housing. Justin Trudeau’s government unveiled its federal budget on Tuesday: it forecasts more than 20 billion Canadian dollars in revenue over five years, mainly thanks to this new tax system. Taxation of the wealthiest households aims to attract younger people, hit by the increasing cost of living. Trailing in the polls, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must regain the support of Canada’s youngest voters who propelled him to power in 2015 if he wants to win the elections scheduled for next year. “Young people, to whom the government is reaching out through its measures for access to housing and property, perhaps form today’s electoral base. They will be responsible for paying the bill tomorrow if the economic situation deteriorates,” reacted Le Devoir in an editorial.

Raid on the Mexican embassy in Quito: Venezuela closes its diplomatic representations in Ecuador. Caracas said on Tuesday that it had ordered the closure of its embassy and the consulates in Quito and Guayaquil, after the arrest of former Ecuadorian vice-president Jorge Glas at the Mexican embassy. Nearly 475,000 Venezuelans living in Ecuador could be affected by this measure, notes El Nacional. These citizens risk not being able to participate in the vote on July 28 without access to consular offices, notes the Venezuelan newspaper.

Australia: the Great Barrier Reef hit by the worst bleaching episode ever observed. “The cumulative impact suffered by the barrier this summer was higher than in previous summers,” the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which depends on the Australian federal government, said in a statement on Wednesday. This new episode of mass bleaching is due to the increase in water temperature due to climate change. “The consequences of the disappearance of coral reefs are catastrophic for the oceans because they are home to a quarter of the planet’s marine species, notably fish, turtles and algae,” recalls the website of Australian public broadcaster ABC.

This article is originally published on courrierinternational.com

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