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Peru president insists ‘I will not resign’ as protests continue

Supporters of ousted president Pedro Castillo have marched and barricaded streets around the South American country since December, demanding new elections and the removal of Boluarte, his successor and former vice president.

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Peru president insists 'I will not resign' as protests continue

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte insisted Friday she will not step down, after another day of protests and roadblocks throughout the country saw calls for her resignation and the arrest of a trade union leader with supposed links to Maoist rebels.

Supporters of ousted president Pedro Castillo have marched and barricaded streets around the South American country since December, demanding new elections and the removal of Boluarte, his successor and former vice president.

“Some voices that have come from the violent and radical factions are asking for my resignation, provoking the population into chaos, disorder and destruction,” Boluarte said in an address broadcast on state TV Friday night.

“I will not resign. My commitment is with Peru.”

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Boluarte lamented that the protests have at times turned violent, as at least 42 people have been killed in clashes with security forces, including a police officer burned alive in a vehicle, while hundreds more have been injured.

“I cannot stop reiterating my regret for the deaths of Peruvians in these protests,” she said. “I apologize for this situation.”

But she rejected the possibility of calling a constitutional assembly as demanded by protestors, pointing to the difficulties Peru’s neighbor Chile has had in drafting and approving a new constitution.

“That cannot happen overnight,” Boluarte added.

Earlier on Friday, police in Peru announced the arrest of Rocio Leandro, a union leader from the south-central Ayacucho region with supposed links to Maoist rebels, who is accused of financing protests and recruiting demonstrators.

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Police spokesman Oscar Arriola claimed the arrest of Leandro proved that remnants of the Shining Path Maoist rebels were involved in the protests.

Arriola claimed Leandro was a former Shining Path member known as “Comrade Cusi.”

Roadblocks and border closures
Protests and roadblocks have been registered in the capital Lima, and several southern and Andean regions.

Authorities say there are roadblocks in 10 of the country’s 25 departments.

A protest in the border city of Tacna, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Lima, led neighbor Chile to temporarily close the crossing between the two countries.

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The city of Arequipa in the south — the second-largest in the country and one of Peru’s main tourist hotspots — had been practically blocked off from all transport links with the neighboring regions of Cusco and Puno.

On Thursday, authorities closed air and rail links to Peru’s famed Machu Picchu tourist site for the second time as protests flared up leading to clashes with police.

Several regional governors and professional associations, including lawyers and teachers, joined the calls for Boluarte to resign.

“How many more deaths will Dina Boluarte’s presence in the presidency cost?” asked Puno governor Richard Hancco, whose southern department has become the epicenter of clashes between protesters and security forces.

That region, close to the border with Bolivia, was where 18 people died following violent clashes on Monday night.

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“No position can be above human life,” said Hancco.

Ministers resign

Opposition legislator Susel Paredes told local radio that time was running out for Boluarte and that the resignation of labor minister Eduardo Garcia on Thursday was “the beginning of the end” for the president.

Two other ministers resigned Friday, with the head of the Ministry of the Interior Victor Rojas and the head of the Ministry of Women Grecia Rojas immediately replaced by retired general Vicente Romero and Nancy Tolentino, respectively, at a swearing-in ceremony with Boluarte.

Garcia’s replacement Luis Alfonso Adrianzen was also installed.

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Peru has been riddled with political instability in recent years.

Boluarte, 60, is the sixth person to hold the presidency in five years.

Castillo, who was being investigated in several fraud cases during his tenure, has been remanded in custody for 18 months, charged with rebellion.

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White-led DA party joins ANC in South African unity government

White-led DA party joins ANC in South African unity government

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White-led DA party joins ANC in South African unity government

 The African National Congress and its largest rival, the white-led, pro-business Democratic Alliance, agreed on Friday to work together in South Africa’s new government of national unity, a step change after 30 years of ANC majority rule.

Once unthinkable, the deal between two sharply antagonistic parties is the most momentous political shift in South Africa since Nelson Mandela led the ANC to victory in the 1994 elections that marked the end of apartheid.

“Today, South Africa is a better country than it was yesterday. For the first time since 1994, we’ve embarked on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power to a new government that will be different from the previous one,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said in a televised address.

“From today, the DA will co-govern the Republic of South Africa in a spirit of unity and collaboration,” he said, adding that multi-party government was the “new normal”.

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The ANC lost its majority for the first time in an election on May 29 and has spent two weeks locked in intensive behind-the-scenes talks with other parties, which came down to the wire on Friday morning as the new parliament was convening.

The DA’s entry into national government is a big moment for a country still processing the legacy of the racist colonial and apartheid regimes. The party has struggled to shake off its image as a defender of rich white people and convince a broad spectrum of South Africans that it reflects their aspirations.

Two smaller parties, the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party and the right-wing Patriotic Alliance, will also take part in the unity government, they said. 

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Hamas’ armed wing says Israeli airstrike killed two hostages in Rafah

Hamas’ armed wing says Israeli airstrike killed two hostages in Rafah

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Hamas' armed wing says Israeli airstrike killed two hostages in Rafah

Hamas’ armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said on Friday that two Israeli hostages held in Gaza were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah a few days ago.

The group, in a video posted on its Telegram channel, did not release the names of those said to have been killed or provide any evidence.

The Israeli government “does not want your hostages to return, except in coffins,” the al-Qassam Brigades statement said.

Israel rescued four hostages held by Hamas in a hostage-freeing operation in central Gaza’s al-Nuseirat on June 8. The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the raid.

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The war in Gaza erupted when Hamas militants stormed southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. 

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US attack sub, Canada navy patrol ship arrive in Cuba on heels of Russian warships

US attack sub, Canada navy patrol ship arrive in Cuba on heels of Russian warships

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US attack sub, Canada navy patrol ship arrive in Cuba on heels of Russian warships

A Canadian navy patrol ship sailed into Havana early on Friday, just hours after the United States announced a fast-attack submarine had docked at its Guantanamo naval base on Cuba, both vessels on the heels of Russian warships that arrived on the island earlier this week.

The confluence of Russian, Canadian and U.S. vessels in Cuba – a Communist-ruled island nation just 160 km (100 miles) from Florida – served up a reminder of old Cold War tensions and of current fraught ties between Russia and Western nations over the Ukraine war.

However, both the U.S. and Cuba have said the Russian warships pose no threat to the region. Russia has also characterized the arrival of its warships in allied Cuba as routine.

The Admiral Gorshkov frigate and the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, half submerged with its crew on deck, sailed into Havana harbor on Wednesday after conducting “high-precision missile weapons” training in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Canada`s Margaret Brooke patrol vessel began maneuvers early on Friday to enter Havana harbor, part of what the Canadian Joint Operations Command called “a port visit…in recognition of the long-standing bilateral relationship between Canada and Cuba.”

A Canadian diplomat characterized the Margaret Brooke`s arrival as “routine and part of long-standing cooperation between our two countries”, adding it was “unrelated to the presence of the Russian ships.”

Russia and Cuba were close allies under the former Soviet Union and tensions with Washington over Communism in its “backyard” peaked with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Moscow, which has maintained ties with Havana, has questioned the apparent nervousness of the West over the warships this week. 

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