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France’s Emmanuel Macron calls a snap election after disappointing European Parliament results, Indi͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌ 
cloudy Shanghai
sunny Seoul
sunny Islamabad
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June 10, 2024


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The World Today

  1. Macron calls snap elections
  2. Gantz quits Israel cabinet
  3. G7 to warn Chinese banks
  4. China’s academic surveillance
  5. Modi begins third term
  6. Biden’s D-Day speech
  7. ‘Earthrise’ astronaut dies
  8. Controversial birth rate idea
  9. India-Pakistan cricket match
  10. Lonely Himalayan lab

A new artistic treasure is excavated at Pompeii.


Macron calls snap election after EU loss

French President Emmanuel Macron called for a snap election after France’s far-right National Rally soared past his own party in the European Parliament elections. Macron’s move is a “huge surprise for the country” and a “huge risk” for the president, the BBC’s Hugh Schofield wrote, especially ahead of the Paris Olympics. France is not the only European nation feeling the tide turn to the right: Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration party made gains in the Netherlands while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition also suffered a blow as they polled behind the far-right AfD. But Europe’s far-right as a whole will not be powerful — nor united — enough to govern the bloc; instead, they may have more influence over specific policies, like immigration, Politico noted.


Israel’s Gantz quits after hostage rescue


Israeli Minister Benny Gantz resigned Sunday from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergency wartime government, heightening the country’s political crisis as ceasefire talks languish. Gantz, who had threatened to resign if Netanyahu didn’t approve a plan for post-war Gaza by Saturday, quit a day after Israel rescued four hostages held by Hamas in a daylight operation that also left more than 200 Palestinians dead. The rare rescue could bolster Netanyahu’s insistence on achieving “total victory” over Hamas instead of striking a deal, while some analysts said the high death toll of the mission may harden Hamas’ position. The group will also likely move the remaining hostages to more inaccessible locations, making future rescue operations more difficult, experts told The New York Times.


Small Chinese banks face G7 censure

Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Pool via REUTERS

G7 nations will issue a rare public warning to small Chinese banks to stop helping Moscow evade international sanctions, Reuters reported. The group of leading industrialized nations is expected to use its meeting this week in Italy to make the point. While larger Chinese banks have scaled back transactions involving Russia, smaller banks have stepped in, sparking concerns they might facilitate technology sales that help Russia on the battlefield. Germany, meanwhile, finds itself relatively isolated among the G7 over its hesitance in criticizing China, Europe-China expert Noah Barkin wrote in his newsletter. “Given all the other problems we have, we don’t want to give the impression that we are engaging in China-bashing,” one German official said.


AI moderates China’s exams

AI surveillance could help weed out cheating on China’s national college entrance exam. Before the gaokao, the notoriously difficult college placement exam, began on Friday, several Chinese provinces said AI systems will monitor students taking the test. An estimated 13.42 million people will have taken this year’s test, but cheating is so widespread the government “felt compelled to up its enforcement methods,” Global Citizen wrote. Authorities reportedly used methods like facial recognition systems to stop people from taking the exams on behalf of others. AI is “now far greater than that of human supervision” in that it can review masses of surveillance information quickly and accurately, the South China Morning Post reported.


Modi sworn in for third term

REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Narendra Modi was sworn in for a rare third term as India’s prime minister Sunday. His government will now, for the first time, depend on the support of regional allies. The dynamic has made observers question whether Modi will tone down his party’s Hindu-nationalist agenda in favor of collaboration, or whether he will double down on authoritarian tendencies. A major shift in his style is unlikely, especially since no single governing partner has enough seats to topple his government, one analyst wrote in The Indian Express. Instead, the biggest change may be the shattered notion that Modi’s party “will remain in power forever,” offering “breathing room” for dissenters.


Biden’s D-Day speech boosts democracy


US President Joe Biden used his five-day trip to France marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day to contrast himself with his predecessor and rival. Donald Trump was never mentioned directly, but his possible return to the White House seemed top of mind as Biden spoke in support of democracy and against isolationism. Perhaps ironically, Biden seemed to channel former President Ronald Reagan, who spoke at the 40th D-Day anniversary. Biden and Reagan were political opponents, but “Biden’s internationalism has far more in common with Reagan and the Republican Party of 40 years ago than with Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine,” The Washington Post’s Dan Balz wrote. Biden capped the trip Sunday by visiting an American military cemetery that Trump skipped during a similar tour in 2018.


‘Earthrise’ astronaut dies


Astronaut Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Anders, one of the first three people to orbit the moon as part of NASA’s Apollo 8, died on June 7. In 1968, just one year before humans landed on the moon, Anders “was the first to show us, through looking back at the Earth from the threshold of the Moon, that stunning image — the first of its kind — of the Earth suspended in space,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said. The photo, called “Earthrise,” showed our planet as it truly was: a planet. “As Bill put it so well,” Nelson said, “‘We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.’”


Semafor’s Ben Smith and Max Tani will be in Cannes next week to cover media and marketing’s biggest annual gathering, where many of the most powerful people in media come to make deals, rub shoulders, win awards, and sip Aperol spritzes on the Côte d’Azur.

Starting next Monday, they’ll deliver news, scoops, and insights on the year ahead in media — with all its deal-making, gossip, and pretentious grandeur, from one of the industry’s true epicenters.

Subscribe to our pop-up newsletter, Semafor Cannes.


SKorea think tank proposes birth rate fix

A South Korean state-run think tank suggested making girls start school earlier than boys may make them more likely to have children as adults. The Korea Institute of Public Finance said creating a year-long age gap between boys and girls might make them more likely to be attracted to each other, because “the developmental level of men is slower than that of women,” and men are attracted to younger women in general, the report claimed, according to The Guardian. The idea is one of several to tackle the country’s falling birth rate, but the backlash has been swift and clear: One sociologist described the report as “ridiculous.”


India beats Pakistan at cricket

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

India beat Pakistan by six runs in Sunday’s T20 Cricket World Cup match in New York, a showdown that highlighted one of sport’s most intense rivalries. Tickets for the game were sold out months in advance, with prices ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Bringing the 2024 tournament to New York is part of an ongoing effort to capitalize on the growing cricket fandom in the US, the Financial Times reported, and reel in new supporters before the sport gets another American showcase at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. American fans might be more keen knowing that the US delivered a shock defeat to Pakistan on Friday. “After facing years of head-scratching and raised eyebrows in the US, this June the cricket diaspora strikes back,” a Singaporean-Indian filmmaker wrote in CNN.


Keeping the world’s highest lab open

Doctor_J/Alamy Stock Photo

In the Himalayas, the world’s highest-altitude laboratory is fighting to remain open, squeezed by funding cuts and with just one staff member. The joint Italian-Nepali lab has been open since 1990, and has played home to hundreds of visiting scientists studying glaciers and the changing climate conditions in the Himalayas, and on Mount Everest. While it’s unclear why the National Research Council of Italy cut its funding to the lab, Science Magazine reported, it has made agreements to keep it running, and researchers themselves are still traveling there, and trying to raise money to keep it going. “To have [the Pyramid laboratory] is incredible,” one glaciologist said. “It allows us to measure things which we wouldn’t [otherwise] be able to measure.”


June 10:

  • China’s auto industry association publishes passenger vehicle sales for May.
  • Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference begins; the company is expected to announce new AI tools and an OpenAI partnership.
  • Iran’s Guardian Council announces candidates for the country’s presidency after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in May.
Italian Ministry of Culture

An ancient Roman shrine has been unearthed in Pompeii. The newly discovered room is painted blue, a rare pigment that likely denotes the room’s importance, archeologists said, and its walls, decorated with allegorical images, suggest it was likely used for worship. Pompeii was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, preserving its buildings, artifacts, and the remains of its citizens under the ash for archeologists to uncover. The discovery adds to the many artistic treasures excavated at Pompeii, including graffiti of gladiators and frescoes depicting mythological figures.

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