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Johnson under pressure

A new war of words erupts between the UK premier and the opposition leader over parties held at Downing Street and other government offices in a breach of Covid lockdowns. Boris Johnson rejects a fresh call by Keir Starmer to step down. Johnson, however, agreed that ministers who knowingly misled parliament should quit. The prime minister is accused of lying to parliament about attending parties thrown by his aides at the height of the Covid lockdown. The latest revelation about such gatherings pertains to Johnson’s birthday party that was attended by up to 30 people in June 2020. It was held during Britain’s first Covid lockdown. An internal inquiry into the lockdown parties could be published in the coming hours. It will deliver findings that might determine Johnson’s fate. London police have also launched a criminal probe into the case.

Italy presidency impasse

Italian lawmakers fail for the third day in a row to elect a new head of state amid a lack of consensus among party leaders on a mutually acceptable candidate. A large number of lawmakers cast blank ballots. However, a growing number of parliamentarians prefer outgoing president, Sergio Mattarella, who has already ruled out accepting a second term. The impasse comes as the center-left bloc has called for talks with the center-right alliance after dismissing their picks. A successful candidate needs a two-third majority in any of the first three rounds of voting. The race will be more serious on Thursday when the threshold for victory falls upon the fourth round of voting. 

Florida boat capsize 

The US coast guard is running a search operation for possible survivors from a capsized vessel near the coast of Florida. A survivor says 39 other people were on the boat that left Bimini in Bahamas on Saturday night. None were wearing life Jackets. The tragedy occurred when the vessel encountered severe weather. The US coast guard air and surface units are searching for the missing people, saying the incident is probably a human smuggling venture. Bahamas is popular with smugglers who try to get people into the United States, because it is close to the eastern coast of Florida. A few days ago, the coast guard rescued 32 people from a capsized boat in another suspected human smuggling attempt near the coast of Bimini.

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