France faces uncertain future after left surges in legislative runoff

Europe – Voice of America 

Talks to find a political way forward have started in France, following the stunning results of snap legislative elections Sunday that put the left, and not the far right, on top. The polls left the country with no clear political majority or path to forming a government, just three weeks before the Paris Olympics. Lisa Bryant reports from the suburb of Neuilly-Plaisance, just outside the French capital.

 

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Michigan block party shooting kills 2, injures 19 over July 4th weekend

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

A Detroit block party took a horrific turn when gunfire broke out on Sunday, killing two and leaving 19 young people injured as part of “a level of violence that we rarely see anymore,” Mayor Mike Duggan said at a Monday press conference.

Three people were killed and 24 were injured at unsanctioned street parties over the holiday weekend, officials said, including Sunday’s violence.

In that incident, revelers ranging in age from 17 to 27 were hit by bullets around 2:25 a.m. in the Mohican Regent neighborhood on the 13000 block of Rossini near Gratiot Avenue, police told Fox 2 Detroit

At that party, approximately 100 shell casings and nine guns were found at the scene, including one with a Glock switch, Detroit Police Chief James White said. 

MISSING MICHIGAN TEEN FOUND IN MIAMI AFTER BEING SPOTTED ON LIVESTREAMED VIDEO

The victims who lost their lives at that party were a 21-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman. One person was in critical condition Monday, while 17 other victims are expected to recover from their injuries. 

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said at the Monday press conference that police are still investigating and no arrests have been made. 

“I know a lot of you are here to hear the alleged facts and circumstances of what happened this past weekend – we’re not going to talk about them because the investigation continues,” Worthy said. “I want to emphasize the fact that… this was a large party, there is a lot of evidence to examine, there is a lot of investigation to be done. Please don’t expect anything quickly.”

The shootings are the latest to strike the community in recent weeks, and White said the parties were the latest of a trend in massive, unsanctioned block parties that the city aims to curb.

“I want to be clear. We’re not going to have neighbors becoming hostages in their own homes this summer,” Duggan said.

“We ask for the public’s help in shutting down the illegal block parties in the early stages before problems develop,” White said. “Anyone who sees an un-permitted block party, or one that is spilling over the front yard or illegally parking on the streets, sidewalks, or lawns, call 911 immediately. Please work with us to keep your neighborhoods safe.”

SEARCH FOR LAKE MICHIGAN BOATERS TURNS TO RECOVERY MISSION

The DPD will launch a Neighborhood Response Team to keep an eye out for these illegal parties, White said, and at least one out-of-service car from each police precinct will drive through neighborhoods starting every Thursday through the weekend. 

A team of 80 officers will be assigned to locate illegal block parties, issue warnings and shut down events. Calls involving unsanctioned block parties have been elevated to “priority one” status, meaning that those calls will receive an immediate response from police. Previously, these calls were designated priority two or three status if no one was hurt, White said.

Police are focusing on disorderly conduct, illegal parking, and anything that disrupts the normal flow of an area – but more serious offenses, like carrying illegal weapons, will also be addressed.

Duggan said that party hosts and property owners – not partygoers – would be targeted by the new enforcement initiative. Parties contained inside houses and backyards do not need permits, he clarified.

MICHIGAN OFFICIALS PROPOSE NEW HUNTING REGULATIONS AS RESIDENTS GRAPPLE WITH DEER OVERPOPULATION

“I want to make sure we can distinguish between what is a legal party and what is an illegal party,” Duggan said. “In the city of Detroit, we enjoy summer… backyard barbecues are a tradition in Detroit… neighborhood street parties are a condition in the city, and as long term Detroiters know, you can go to the police department and get a permit… we want those kinds of joyful events to go on throughout the summer without incident.”

“This is not ‘your neighbor’s family’s party got large’ – these are intentional preplanned events looking to attract people from miles away, people who are coming here carrying illegal weapons planning to party until the wee hours of the evening, believing that the neighbors and the police department will not stop the lawless gatherings,” Duggan said.

Police intend to give party hosts a warning if they haven’t obtained a permit for their event. If they don’t do so, they could be arrested and likely face a 90-day jail sentence, Duggan said.

“Block parties used to be good, clean fun,” Worthy said. “But now, many of them are venues of death, fear, violence, and destruction. Should we have to regulate them? No. Must we? Absolutely, yes.”

“This is not normal,” area activist Sandra Turner Handy said of Sunday’s attack, Fox 2 reported. “We have to be proactive in this. We have to be in the community to get residents up and out to fight against this type of violence.”

Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield called Sunday’s incident an “unspeakable tragedy” and “another reminder that gun violence is an epidemic in Detroit and across the nation.”

“We must chart a new course of action and I’m calling for an all-hands-on-deck approach to ending the senseless killings and destruction of families in our community,” she wrote in a statement. “My heart and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones.”

CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

U.S. Rep Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, took to X to address the shooting.

“Another senseless shooting today, leaving families in our community shattered,” she wrote. “We owe it to our families to address this crisis with urgency. We need to save lives now.”

 

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The far right seemed to have a lock on France’s legislative elections. Here’s why it didn’t it win

Top News: US & International Top News Stories Today | AP News 

PARIS (AP) — Seemingly so close, and yet still so far away.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen looked to be nearer to power than ever last week after her National Rally party, strengthened by new allies, triumphed in the opening round of legislative elections. Its first place wasn’t a hole-in- one but looked like an impressive position to possibly win or get close to an absolute parliamentary majority in the decisive runoff.

But what Le Pen hoped would be a watershed victory turned into another setback. Although her party won more National Assembly seats than ever, it yet again hit a wall of voters who don’t believe the National Rally should govern France or has shed its links to racism, antisemitism and the country’s still painful World War II past of collaboration with Nazi Germany.

“The tide is rising,” Le Pen said. “It did not rise high enough this time.”

France’s ‘Republican front’ again blocks Le Pen’s way

This was by no means the first time that French voters and the far-right’s political rivals maneuvered strategically between voting rounds to block its path in a runoff.

The same thing happened most notably to Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the presidential elections of 2002. The fiery ex-paratrooper, a co-founder of what was then called the National Front, which initially included Nazi-era collaborators, had multiple convictions for antisemitic hate speech, having repeatedly described the Holocaust’s gas chambers as “a detail” of WWII history.

Yet he stunned France and its partners in Europe and beyond by advancing from the election’s first round into the winner-takes-all runoff against Jacques Chirac. There, horrified French voters massively said, “Non!” They overwhelming rejected Le Pen, with even leftists voting to put Chirac, a conservative, in the presidential Elysee Palace.

Over 50 countries go to the polls in 2024

The year will test even the most robust democracies. Read more on what’s to come here.Take a look at the 25 places where a change in leadership could resonate around the world.Keep track of the latest AP elections coverage from around the world here.

That so-called “Republican front,” the process of French voters temporarily putting their political allegiances aside solely to keep the far right from power, has worked repeatedly since. It helped defeat Marine Le Pen in two presidential runoffs, in 2017 and 2022, losing to Emmanuel Macron in both, and again blocked her party’s path to hoped-for victory in the legislative runoffs this weekend.

Macron’s narrower but still comfortable victory in 2022 and a breakthrough for Le Pen’s by-then rebranded National Rally in follow-up legislative elections, where it won an unprecedented 89 seats, were both interpreted as signals that the “Republican front” was starting to crack and that it might just be a question of time before it gives way completely.

But it functioned with surprising effectiveness Sunday and in the week leading up to the decisive vote. A coalition of left-wing parties that banded together for these elections to counter the far-right surge and Macron’s centrist alliance withdrew dozens of candidates who advanced to round two but did not look like winning.

The strategy helped concentrate votes on remaining candidates in head-to-head runoff contests against far-right opponents, contributing to defeats for hundreds of them. The National Rally and its allies won 104 runoffs — fewer than 1-in-4 of those they contested and way short of their expectations.

Their total of 143 first- and second-round victories still gives the National Rally an unprecedented presence in the 577-seat National Assembly. But it’s still only the third-largest bloc, behind the leftist coalition and Macron’s alliance, in the new and hung parliament where none came close to an absolute majority.

Jordan Bardella, Le Pen’s 28-year-old protégé who she’d been hoping to install as prime minister, grumbled that “the alliance of dishonor” between the National Rally’s rivals kept it from power.

National Rally spokesman Laurent Jacobelli spoke of “a democratic hold-up.”

Pollster Brice Teinturier said the “Republican front” was “even more powerful” than had been anticipated, showing that despite Le Pen’s yearslong efforts to sanitize the image of her party, it still “causes fear, worry that has mobilized people.”

“They repel more than they attract,” said French analyst François Heisbourg, who specializes in defense and security questions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“And the closer they get to the goal, the more the repelling factor weighs in.”

Voters react against National Rally

‘casting errors’

The National Rally ran a polished campaign heading into the elections, toning down its platform and rhetoric and pushing social-media heavyweight Bardella to the fore.

But scrutiny of the party’s candidates by French media and concerned citizens raised embarrassing questions about their suitability to potentially serve as lawmakers.

After Ludivine Daoudi qualified for round two, winning nearly 20% of the vote in her Normandy district in the first round, the National Rally announced it was withdrawing her when a photo of her wearing a Nazi officer’s cap, with a swastika, emerged on social media.

Some candidates struggled to answer elementary policy questions. French media background checks on others found that one woman once held a town employee hostage at gunpoint and that another appeared ineligible to serve as a lawmaker because he was subject to a court-ordered guardianship.

Others faced scrutiny for right-wing extremist affiliations and unsavory comments. The National Rally stuck by a candidate who’d reportedly once tweeted that “gas brought justice to the victims of the Shoah,” saying his post was taken out of context.

“We made some mistakes, we acknowledge it,” said National Rally lawmaker Bruno Clavet, who won his seat in northern France outright in round one.

“We made some casting errors, regional party officials did not do their job properly,” he said.

___

AP journalist Diane Jeantet in Paris contributed to this report.

.

 

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Biden tells congressional Democrats that calling for him to drop out ‘only helps Trump and hurts us’

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

President Biden is urging congressional Democrats to stop questioning whether he should end his re-election bid and “move forward as a unified party” in order to defeat former President Trump in their 2024 election rematch.

And the president, in a letter sent to congressional Democrats on Monday as they return from the July 4th holiday recess, reiterated that he’s “firmly committed to staying in this race” and argued that any further questioning of his candidacy “only helps Trump and hurts us.”

Following his extremely rough debate performance a week and a half ago in his first face-to-face showdown with Trump, the president has been attempting to prove that he still has the stamina and acuity to handle the toughest and most demanding job in the world. And he’s trying to prove that he has the fortitude to defeat Trump.

The debate was a major setback for Biden, who at 81 is the oldest president in the nation’s history. His halting delivery and stumbling answers at the showdown in Atlanta sparked widespread panic in the Democratic Party and a rising tide of public and private calls from within his own party for him to step aside as its 2024 standard-bearer.

SOME TOP HOUSE DEMOCRATS URGE BIDEN TO STEP ASIDE

But Biden, in his letter, emphasized, “I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump.”

The president highlighted the “extensive conversations” he’s had in recent days with party leaders, rank-and-file members and Democratic voters, and that he’s “heard the concerns that people have.” 

“I’m not blind to them,” he stressed.

TRUMP GETS BOOST IN POST DEBATE POLLS AFTER BIDEN’S BOTCHED PERFORMANCE

But he spotlighted that “I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

He also highlighted his overwhelming victory over a couple of long-shot rivals in the race for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination. 

“Do we now just say this process didn’t matter? That the voters don’t have a say?”

“I decline to do that,” Biden added as he answered his own question.

A handful of House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to end his re-election bid. And on Sunday, Fox News and other news organizations reported that four House Democrats who hold top positions on key committees said on a conference call with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., that the president needed to step aside.

Meanwhile, some Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, could meet as early as Tuesday to discuss the president’s political future.

But Biden, in his letter, argued that enough is enough.

TRUMP EYES EXPANDING THE MAP AMID BIDEN POST-DEBATE DEMOCRATIC TURMOIL

“The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it is time for it to end. We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump,” Biden said.

The president argued that “any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us,” Biden wrote. “It is time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump.”

A handful of national polls conducted entirely after the debate and released last week contained plenty of red flags for the president – including Trump widening his single-digit edge over Biden and deepening concerns of Americans about whether Biden was up to the task of running the country.

But a Bloomberg-Morning Consult poll released over the weekend indicated Biden gaining ground on Trump in some of the key battleground states that will likely determine the outcome of the presidential election.

Biden’s letter to congressional Democrats was sent in conjunction with a memo from his campaign spotlighting the poll, his increasingly busy campaign travel schedule, and a slew of supportive comments from various figures in the Democratic Party.

Separately, Biden has directly called some two dozen congressional Democrats, with more calls to come, a campaign source told Fox News.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Tyler Olson contributed to this report

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

 

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Biden tells congressional Democrats that calling for him to drop out ‘only helps Trump and hurts us’

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

President Biden is urging congressional Democrats to stop questioning whether he should end his re-election bid and “move forward as a unified party” in order to defeat former President Trump in their 2024 election rematch.

And the president, in a letter sent to congressional Democrats on Monday as they return from the July 4th holiday recess, reiterated that he’s “firmly committed to staying in this race” and argued that any further questioning of his candidacy “only helps Trump and hurts us.”

Following his extremely rough debate performance a week and a half ago in his first face-to-face showdown with Trump, the president has been attempting to prove that he still has the stamina and acuity to handle the toughest and most demanding job in the world. And he’s trying to prove that he has the fortitude to defeat Trump.

The debate was a major setback for Biden, who at 81 is the oldest president in the nation’s history. His halting delivery and stumbling answers at the showdown in Atlanta sparked widespread panic in the Democratic Party and a rising tide of public and private calls from within his own party for him to step aside as its 2024 standard-bearer.

SOME TOP HOUSE DEMOCRATS URGE BIDEN TO STEP ASIDE

But Biden, in his letter, emphasized, “I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump.”

The president highlighted the “extensive conversations” he’s had in recent days with party leaders, rank-and-file members and Democratic voters, and that he’s “heard the concerns that people have.” 

“I’m not blind to them,” he stressed.

TRUMP GETS BOOST IN POST DEBATE POLLS AFTER BIDEN’S BOTCHED PERFORMANCE

But he spotlighted that “I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

He also highlighted his overwhelming victory over a couple of long-shot rivals in the race for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination. 

“Do we now just say this process didn’t matter? That the voters don’t have a say?”

“I decline to do that,” Biden added as he answered his own question.

A handful of House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to end his re-election bid. And on Sunday, Fox News and other news organizations reported that four House Democrats who hold top positions on key committees said on a conference call with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., that the president needed to step aside.

Meanwhile, some Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, could meet as early as Tuesday to discuss the president’s political future.

But Biden, in his letter, argued that enough is enough.

TRUMP EYES EXPANDING THE MAP AMID BIDEN POST-DEBATE DEMOCRATIC TURMOIL

“The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it is time for it to end. We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump,” Biden said.

The president argued that “any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us,” Biden wrote. “It is time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump.”

A handful of national polls conducted entirely after the debate and released last week contained plenty of red flags for the president – including Trump widening his single-digit edge over Biden and deepening concerns of Americans about whether Biden was up to the task of running the country.

But a Bloomberg-Morning Consult poll released over the weekend indicated Biden gaining ground on Trump in some of the key battleground states that will likely determine the outcome of the presidential election.

Biden’s letter to congressional Democrats was sent in conjunction with a memo from his campaign spotlighting the poll, his increasingly busy campaign travel schedule, and a slew of supportive comments from various figures in the Democratic Party.

Separately, Biden has directly called some two dozen congressional Democrats, with more calls to come, a campaign source told Fox News.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Tyler Olson contributed to this report

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

 

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Indian PM Modi visits Russia visit for first time since start of Ukraine war

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

India’s prime minister begins a two-day visit to Russia on Monday, his first since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine, a war that has complicated the relationship between the longtime partners and pushed Russia closer to India’s rival China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will include a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, whom he last saw in Russia in 2019, in the far eastern port of Vladivostok. The two leaders also met in person in September 2022 in Uzbekistan, at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization bloc.

Russia has had strong ties with India since the Cold War, and New Delhi’s importance as a key trading partner for Moscow has grown since the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022. China and India have become key buyers of Russian oil following sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies that shut most Western markets off to Russian exports.

STAMPEDE THAT KILLED 121 IN INDIA WAS CAUSED BY SEVERE OVERCROWDING AND LACK OF EXITS, AUTHORITIES SAY

Under Modi’s leadership, India has avoided condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine while emphasizing the need for a peaceful settlement.

The partnership between Moscow and New Delhi has become fraught, however, since Russia started developing closer ties with India’s main rival, China, because of the hostilities in Ukraine.

Modi notably stayed away last week from the most recent summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in Kazakhstan.

Chietigj Bajpaee, senior South Asia research fellow at the U.K.-based Chatham House, said India is becoming increasingly estranged from forums in which Russia and China play a prominent role.

“This is evident in India’s relatively low key presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization last year, and now the decision by Modi not to attend this year’s summit,” Bajpaee said.

A confrontation in June 2020 along the disputed China-India border dramatically altered their already touchy relationship as the rival troops fought with rocks, clubs and fists. At least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were killed. Tensions have since persisted despite talks.

Those tensions have seeped into how New Delhi looks at Moscow.

“Russia’s relations with China have been a matter of some concern for India in the context of Chinese increased assertiveness in the region,” D. Bala Venkatesh Verma, a former Indian ambassador to Russia, told The Associated Press.

But Modi also will seek to continue close relations with Russia, an important trading partner and major defense supplier for India.

Since Western sanctions blocked Russian oil exports after the start of the Ukraine war, India has become a key buyer of Russian oil. It now gets more than 40% of its oil imports from Russia, according to analysts.

India is also strongly dependent on Russia for military supplies, but with Moscow’s supply line hit by the fighting in Ukraine, India has been diversifying its defense procurements, buying more from the U.S., Israel, France and Italy.

“Defense cooperation will clearly be a priority area,” Bajpaee said, adding that 60% of India’s military equipment and systems is “still of Russian origin.”

“We’ve seen some delay in the deliveries of spare parts … following the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he said. “I believe both countries are due to conclude a military logistics agreement, which would pave the way for more defense exchanges.”

India has adopted a neutral stance, neither condemning nor condoning Russia’s war on Ukraine, and has called for negotiations to end the fighting. That in turn has bolstered Putin’s efforts to counter what he calls the West’s domination of global affairs.

Facing an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court for actions over the war in Ukraine, Putin’s foreign travel has been relatively sparse in recent years, so Modi’s trip could help the Russian leader boost his image.

“We kind of see Putin going on a nostalgia trip — you know, he was in Vietnam, he was in North Korea,” said Theresa Fallon, an analyst at the Center for Russia, Europe, Asia Studies. “In my view, he’s trying to demonstrate that he’s not a vassal to China, that he has options, that Russia is still a great power.”

Alexander Gabuev, head of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, said that Putin’s interactions on the world stage show he “is far from isolated” and that Russia is not a country to be discounted.

Trade development also will figure strongly in the talks, particularly intentions to develop a maritime corridor between India’s major port of Chennai and Vladivostok, the gateway to Russia’s Far East.

India-Russia trade has seen a sharp increase, touching close to $65 billion in the 2023-24 financial year, due to strong energy cooperation, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told reporters Friday.

Imports from Russia touched $60 billion and exports from India $4 billion in the 2023-24 financial year, Kwatra said. India’s financial year runs from April to March.

He said India was trying to correct the trade imbalance with Russia by increasing its exports. India’s top exports to Russia include drugs and pharmaceutical products, telecom instruments, iron and steel, marine products and machinery.

Its top imports from Russia include crude oil and petroleum products, coal and coke, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, fertilizer, vegetable oil, gold and silver.

 

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Indian PM Modi visits Russia visit for first time since start of Ukraine war

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

India’s prime minister begins a two-day visit to Russia on Monday, his first since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine, a war that has complicated the relationship between the longtime partners and pushed Russia closer to India’s rival China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will include a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, whom he last saw in Russia in 2019, in the far eastern port of Vladivostok. The two leaders also met in person in September 2022 in Uzbekistan, at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization bloc.

Russia has had strong ties with India since the Cold War, and New Delhi’s importance as a key trading partner for Moscow has grown since the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022. China and India have become key buyers of Russian oil following sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies that shut most Western markets off to Russian exports.

STAMPEDE THAT KILLED 121 IN INDIA WAS CAUSED BY SEVERE OVERCROWDING AND LACK OF EXITS, AUTHORITIES SAY

Under Modi’s leadership, India has avoided condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine while emphasizing the need for a peaceful settlement.

The partnership between Moscow and New Delhi has become fraught, however, since Russia started developing closer ties with India’s main rival, China, because of the hostilities in Ukraine.

Modi notably stayed away last week from the most recent summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in Kazakhstan.

Chietigj Bajpaee, senior South Asia research fellow at the U.K.-based Chatham House, said India is becoming increasingly estranged from forums in which Russia and China play a prominent role.

“This is evident in India’s relatively low key presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization last year, and now the decision by Modi not to attend this year’s summit,” Bajpaee said.

A confrontation in June 2020 along the disputed China-India border dramatically altered their already touchy relationship as the rival troops fought with rocks, clubs and fists. At least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were killed. Tensions have since persisted despite talks.

Those tensions have seeped into how New Delhi looks at Moscow.

“Russia’s relations with China have been a matter of some concern for India in the context of Chinese increased assertiveness in the region,” D. Bala Venkatesh Verma, a former Indian ambassador to Russia, told The Associated Press.

But Modi also will seek to continue close relations with Russia, an important trading partner and major defense supplier for India.

Since Western sanctions blocked Russian oil exports after the start of the Ukraine war, India has become a key buyer of Russian oil. It now gets more than 40% of its oil imports from Russia, according to analysts.

India is also strongly dependent on Russia for military supplies, but with Moscow’s supply line hit by the fighting in Ukraine, India has been diversifying its defense procurements, buying more from the U.S., Israel, France and Italy.

“Defense cooperation will clearly be a priority area,” Bajpaee said, adding that 60% of India’s military equipment and systems is “still of Russian origin.”

“We’ve seen some delay in the deliveries of spare parts … following the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he said. “I believe both countries are due to conclude a military logistics agreement, which would pave the way for more defense exchanges.”

India has adopted a neutral stance, neither condemning nor condoning Russia’s war on Ukraine, and has called for negotiations to end the fighting. That in turn has bolstered Putin’s efforts to counter what he calls the West’s domination of global affairs.

Facing an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court for actions over the war in Ukraine, Putin’s foreign travel has been relatively sparse in recent years, so Modi’s trip could help the Russian leader boost his image.

“We kind of see Putin going on a nostalgia trip — you know, he was in Vietnam, he was in North Korea,” said Theresa Fallon, an analyst at the Center for Russia, Europe, Asia Studies. “In my view, he’s trying to demonstrate that he’s not a vassal to China, that he has options, that Russia is still a great power.”

Alexander Gabuev, head of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, said that Putin’s interactions on the world stage show he “is far from isolated” and that Russia is not a country to be discounted.

Trade development also will figure strongly in the talks, particularly intentions to develop a maritime corridor between India’s major port of Chennai and Vladivostok, the gateway to Russia’s Far East.

India-Russia trade has seen a sharp increase, touching close to $65 billion in the 2023-24 financial year, due to strong energy cooperation, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told reporters Friday.

Imports from Russia touched $60 billion and exports from India $4 billion in the 2023-24 financial year, Kwatra said. India’s financial year runs from April to March.

He said India was trying to correct the trade imbalance with Russia by increasing its exports. India’s top exports to Russia include drugs and pharmaceutical products, telecom instruments, iron and steel, marine products and machinery.

Its top imports from Russia include crude oil and petroleum products, coal and coke, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, fertilizer, vegetable oil, gold and silver.

 

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Hollywood elites, megadonors turn on Biden amid growing calls for new Democratic nominee

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

Hollywood elites with previous support for President Biden are turning on the Democrat’s re-election efforts after a damaging debate performance triggered concerns over his mental competency.  

Biden’s physical and mental fitness were called into question after the first presidential debate in June, sparking calls from voters, Democratic members of Congress, and donors for the party to select a new nominee to take on former President Trump in November.

“The Shining” author Stephen King is the latest celebrity to call on Biden to step down.

“Joe Biden has been a fine president, but it’s time for him—in the interests of the America he so clearly loves—to announce he will not run for re-election,” King wrote on X Monday.

MULTIPLE RANKING DEMOCRATS ON HOUSE COMMITTEES WANT BIDEN TO STEP ASIDE

Netflix co-founder and megadonor Reed Hastings, who has given millions to Democratic candidates, including Biden, is one of the most recent staunch Hollywood donors to switch gears and call for Biden to drop out of the race.

“Biden needs to step aside to allow a vigorous Democratic leader to beat Trump and keep us safe and prosperous,” Hastings told the New York Times in a statement.

Star Trek screenwriter Damon Lindelof, a self-described “lifelong Democrat,” said Biden’s debate performance was “disappointing, upsetting, terrifying” before calling for the party to select a new nominee.

While he noted previous support for Biden, Lindelof suggested imposing “economic sanctions” on the Democratic Party until the president is replaced on the 2024 ticket.

“When they text you asking for cash, text back that you’re not giving them a penny, and you won’t change your mind until there’s change at the top of the ticket,” Lindelof wrote in a column for Deadline. “I propose a DEMbargo. No checks written. No ActBlue links clicked. For anyone.”

COMER REVEALS WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN WAS INVOLVED IN BIDEN FAMILY BUSINESS DEALS, DEMANDS HE TESTIFY

Lindelof has given hundreds of thousands to the party over the years, with public records showing donations to the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee and candidates such as Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Disney heiress and film producer Abigail Disney offered a warning to Democrats if Biden is not replaced as the nominee.

“I intend to stop any contributions to the party unless and until they replace Biden at the top of the ticket. This is realism, not disrespect. Biden is a good man and has served his country admirably, but the stakes are far too high,” she told CNBC after the debate. “If Biden does not step down, the Democrats will lose. Of that I am absolutely certain. The consequences for the loss will be genuinely dire.”

Actor and Democrat donor Rob Reiner also joined the chorus of voices on Sunday calling for Biden to withdraw from the race. 

“It’s time to stop f—ing around. If the Convicted Felon wins, we lose our Democracy. Joe Biden has effectively served US with honor, decency, and dignity,” Reiner wrote in a post on X. “It’s time for Joe Biden to step down.”

Hollywood agent Ari Emaunel said he believes that Biden “is not the candidate anymore” and that donors are already moving their money away from his campaign.

“Well, I’m p—ed off at the Founding Fathers. They had the start date of 35. They just didn’t give us the end date,” Hastings said at the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival. “I’ve talked to a bunch of big donors, and they’re moving all their money to Congress and the Senate. I mean, I can’t believe we’re in this situation.”

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who said he will still vote for Biden if he remains the Democratic nominee, revealed on X after the debate that he is “open to the discussion to replace Biden and/or Harris.”

Biden has doubled down on his intentions to stay in the race amid calls to suspend his re-election bid, recently telling a 4th of July crowd at the White House that he is “not going anywhere.”

 

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Shocking photos show totaled vehicle Vikings rookie Khyree Jackson was in during fatal crash

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Photos of the Maryland car crash that took the life of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Khyree Jackson, among others, showed the vehicle he was in destroyed. 

Jackson was in the passenger seat of a maroon Dodge Charger, which was seen on a tow truck in photos obtained by TMZ

The car is almost unrecognizable, as it is flattened in the back of the tow truck, while a different photo shows the interior of the vehicle on the outside with the rear of the car detached from the rest of the body. 

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Maryland State Police issued a statement saying they are investigating the crash that occurred in Upper Marlboro and left Jackson and two of his high school teammates – Isaiah Hazel, 23, and Anthony Lytton Jr., 24 – dead. 

Police found that Hazel, the driver of the Dodge Charger, and Jackson were dead upon arrival. Lytton was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead by medical personnel later on. 

Police say the accident occurred shortly after 3:14 a.m. Saturday, as troopers from the Forestville Barrack responded to the crash. 

VIKINGS ROOKIE KHYREE JACKSON DEAD AT 24 AFTER MARYLAND CAR CRASH

There were three vehicles involved in the crash, which included a silver Infinity Q50 and a Chevy Impala. Police say their initial findings were the driver of the Infinity Q50, identified as Cori Clingman, 23, attempted to change lanes at a “high rate of speed when she struck the Dodge Charger and then struck the Chevrolet Impala.”

The Charger, then, traveled off the right side of the road and “struck multiple tree stumps” before coming to a rest. No one was injured in Clingman’s vehicle, which had two other passengers inside, while the Chevy Impala driver refused medical attention at the scene. 

Investigators believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the crash, though they did not specify which driver. 

The Vikings released a statement on Saturday confirming the news that Jackson, a fourth-round pick out of Oregon in 2024, had passed away. 

“I am absolutely crushed by this news,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said in the statement. 

“Khyree brought a contagious energy to our facility and our team. His confidence and engaging personality immediately drew his teammates to him. In our short time together, it was evident Khyree was going to develop into a tremendous professional football player, but what was more impressive was his desire to become the best person he could be for his family and those around him. I am at a loss for words. My heart goes out to Khyree’s family, friends, teammates and coaches.”

ESPN reported that Hazel and Lytton both played college football, with the former spending time at Maryland and Charlotte, while the latter spent time at Florida State and Penn State. 

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X, and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.

 

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Washington Post readers urge Jill Biden to tell Joe to withdraw from race

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Washington Post readers sent letters to first lady Jill Biden in an attempt to persuade her to prevail upon her husband and tell him to withdraw from the race. 

Readers from Pennsylvania, New York, Washington and other states urged Jill Biden to tell her husband to withdraw from the presidential race after his shaky debate performance, in letters published Friday

“We turn to you, Ms. Biden, with our request to urge your husband to end his campaign for the presidency,” readers and self-described “Democratic women” from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote in a letter to The Post. 

MEDIA FIGURES SHOCKED AT BIDEN’S ‘BAD’ DEBATE PERFORMANCE: ‘TOTAL AND COMPLETE DISASTER’

“It is time for the younger generation to take charge in a manner that will stop Mr. Trump in his tracks and build on your husband’s legacy rather than allow it to be destroyed,” the Philadelphia readers wrote. 

One reader, Richard Young, from Lexington, New York, told Jill Biden that he agreed with 72% of registered voters that told CBS that the president is no longer mentally fit to serve as president. 

“If it’s true that you have more influence on him than anyone, I implore you to coax him to drop out now, while he’s still able to do so with dignity,” Young wrote. “Encouraging him to ‘get back up’ after being ‘knocked down’ surely appeals to his impulses to ‘fight.’ But it is only going to prolong the abuse he will suffer.” 

Another reader, Robin Marquis, of Alexandria, said that she has “lost all respect for Jill Biden.” 

BIDEN’S ‘DISASTER’ DEBATE PERFORMANCE SPARKS MEDIA MELTDOWN, CALLS FOR HIM TO WITHDRAW FROM 2024 RACE

“The president is not a toddler to pacify,” Marquis wrote. “He should not be protected nor surrounded by folks who are unwilling to tell him the truth. Ms. Biden needs to step up and have that tough conversation. I am sure she has the power to influence his decision. There is no shame in facing the truth. It just takes courage.”

Two readers from Washington, Chris and Carole Kerns, told Jill Biden to “persuade President Biden to immediately forgo his campaign and release his delegates.”

“If he stays in the race, his legacy will be irreparably tarnished and our future as a nation will be at risk,” they wrote. 

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital

 

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