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What next for Argentina under outsider president Javier Milei?

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A former TV personality-turned political maverick, Argentina’s president-elect Javier Milei has promised no half-measures as he bids to make his stricken country “great again”. Riding a wave of anti-establishment rage, the far-right outsider known for his foul-mouthed outbursts will have no time to bask in his stunning victory as he inherits an economy mired in crisis, with no experience and few allies to implement his radical agenda for change.

For years, Argentina’s discredited ruling class has been sitting on a powder keg, unable to lift the country out of a seemingly intractable crisis that has sowed anger and despair in South America’s second-largest economy.

On Sunday, the long-simmering anger boiled over, carrying to power a chainsaw-wielding political outsider who has promised to “blow up” the system and whose own supporters call him “El Loco” (the madman).

Milei, a former economist and TV pundit with almost no political experience, has surged to power on a wave of anger over decades of economic mismanagement. He has vowed to “put an end to the parasitic, stupid, useless political caste that is sinking” a country crippled by triple-digit inflation, where the poverty rate has reached 40%.

The self-styled “anarcho-capitalist” handily defeated his Peronist opponent, Finance Minister Sergio Massa, in a runoff election on Sunday – defying forecasts of a close race in a contest analysts had described as a tussle between two deeply flawed candidates.

“Argentinians were forced to choose between two very unappealing options,” said Benjamin Gedan, head of the Washington-based Wilson Center’s Latin America Program and director of its Argentina Project. He cautioned against reading the result as a wholehearted endorsement of Milei’s personality or agenda.


© FRANCE 24

“On one side, you had the current finance minister who has presided over an utterly failing economy,” Gedan explained. “On the other, a very radical outsider figure who offered something extraordinarily different: who wants to dolarise the economy, close the central bank, liberalise gun ownership and the sale of organs, a quirky individual who has cloned his dog and claims his pets are his senior advisers.”

Trump, Bolsonaro – and Wolverine

Milei’s astonishing rise to power is a measure of the frustration of Argentinian voters, laying bare the depth of resentment at the ruling class and the country’s state of affairs. It is also a product of television channels plugging provocative talking heads to boost their ratings, mirroring the rise of extremist pundits-turned politicians elsewhere.

Read morePushing far-right agenda, French news networks shape election debate

Argentina’s next president made his name by furiously denouncing the “political caste” on television programmes, while also rambling on about inflation and his sex life. His anti-establishment rage resonated with Argentinians yearning for change, while his dishevelled mop of hair – inspired by X-Men anti-hero Wolverine – and profanity-laden rhetoric only contributed to his notoriety.

Two years ago, Milei’s rising television stardom helped him secure a lawmaker seat in Argentina’s lower house of Congress. He was seen as a very long shot for the presidency only months ago – until he scored the most votes in August primary elections, upending the political landscape.

Before entering the public spotlight, Milei was chief economist at Corporación America, one of Argentina’s largest business conglomerates that runs most of the country’s airports. His flagship economic policies include “dollarising” the economy by 2025 to halt the “cancer of inflation”, meaning he would drop the peso – Argentina’s battered currency – and thereby relinquish control over monetary policy.

Milei has cast himself as a fierce adversary of the state, which he accuses of curtailing people’s freedoms and emptying their pockets. At campaign rallies he often appeared on stage revving a chainsaw to symbolically cut the state down to size. He has vowed to slash public spending by 15%, privatise state companies and reduce subsidies on fuel, transport and electricity.

The president-elect, who is due to take office on December 10, started to outline some of his planned policies in a radio interview on Monday morning, saying would quickly move forward with plans to privatise state-run media outlets that gave him negative coverage during the campaign, describing them as “a covert ministry of propaganda”.

“Everything that can be in the hands of the private sector will be in the hands of the private sector,” he told Bueno Aires station Radio Mitre, adding that the state-controlled energy firm YPF would be revamped so it can be “sold in a very, very, very beneficial way for Argentines”.

Javier Milei brandishes a chainsaw at a campaign event in La Plata on September 12, 2023.
Javier Milei brandishes a chainsaw at a campaign event in La Plata on September 12, 2023. © Natacha Pisarenko, AP

An admirer of former US president Donald Trump, Milei has likewise embraced his maverick status, commanding unrivalled attention throughout the campaign with his provocative statements. He has not shied away from lashing at revered compatriots, including Pope Francis, whom he branded an “imbecile” for defending social justice.

It is no surprise that he has adapted Trump’s best known slogan, promising to “Make Argentina Great Again”.

Like Trump and his Brazilian ally Jair Bolsonaro, Milei has appealed to the conservative vote by promising a crusade against progressive politics. He has described sex education as a Marxist plot to destroy the traditional family unit and has proposed a plebiscite to repeal abortion, which Argentina legalised in 2020. He also rejects the notion humans have a role in causing climate change.

All of this is “very worrying not only for women, but for minorities in general, because Milei is waging the same cultural wars that the far right is waging elsewhere”, said Juan-Pablo Ferrero, a senior lecturer in Latin American politics at the University of Bath.

“He is also rolling back on the human rights agenda that has gained Argentina international recognition” since the transition to democracy, Ferrero added. “Minorities will have to resist his moves in parliament and on the streets.”

Taking another page from the Trump and Bolsonaro playbooks, Milei also made unfounded claims of election fraud before Sunday’s runoff, raising concern about his respect for democratic norms. His victory also means the rise of Victoria Villaruel, his controversial running mate who has minimised the number of victims of Argentina’s brutal 1976-1983 dictatorship.

A ‘stress test’ for Argentinian democracy

In the run-up to the vote, Massa and his allies had warned Argentinians that Milei’s plans would sharply curtail hard-won rights and the public services and welfare programs many rely on. Their margin of defeat suggests the strategy – which Milei had dismissed as a “campaign of fear” – may ultimately have backfired.

“Despite Milei, despite all his campaign mistakes, despite all his peculiarities that raise doubts, concerns (…) despite all of that, the demand for change prevailed,” Lucas Romero, the head of Synopsis, a local political consulting firm, told the Associated Press.

Having cast himself as the “only solution” to Argentina’s woes, Milei will have little time to bask in his victory. Even before his election, analysts had already shed doubt on the feasibility of many of his campaign pledges, starting with his much-touted “dolarizacion”.

Ditching the peso in favour of the dollar requires a hefty stock of greenbacks, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Argentina’s dollar reserves are dangerously low. Analysts have flagged the risk of a run on the peso as people panic believing dollarisation is imminent.

“Milei is someone who promises big new ideas but maybe too big and maybe not feasible,” said Gedan, noting that the president-elect has no parliamentary majority to back him and even less of a foothold in local government. “It’s far from clear he can implement his agenda, given his fledgling party, his few allies in Congress, the small and inexperienced group that surrounds him, and the fact that he controls none of the country’s provinces,” he added.


Milei’s Liberty Advances party counts just seven seats out of 72 in the Senate and 38 out of 257 in the lower Chamber of Deputies. He will be hoping to win support from the mainstream right of former president Maurico Macri, which threw its electoral weight behind him ahead of Sunday’s runoff in a bid to ensure defeat for the incumbent Peronist camp.

“It remains to be seen whether this electoral support will translate into a political agreement,” said FRANCE 24’s Argentina expert David Gormezano. “Will some of Macri’s circle join the government? Will conservative lawmakers offer their support? It’s too early to know.”

The lure of power, and a common detestation of Peronism, could be enough of an incentive.

“One can imagine the conservative camp going a long way to back Milei, including in some of his excesses, in order to get their revenge over the Peronist camp,” Gormezano added, though noting that Milei would still be short of a majority in Congress even with conservative support.

According to Ferrero, Milei’s election signals the “biggest stress test” for Argentina’s democracy since the end of military rule. Under the country’s constitution, “presidents have the power to rule by decree in exceptional circumstances – but that tests the system,” he explained. “We will see to what extent he makes use of those powers.”

There will be plenty of scrutiny of Milei’s first steps on the international stage, too. The Argentinian provocateur has already raised alarm bells in a number of Latin American countries and said he would seek to reduce trade with China, Argentina’s second-biggest trading partner after Brazil.

While Trump and Bolsonaro were quick to hail the election result on Sunday, neither is currently in power. The centre-left leaders of Argentina’s two largest neighbours, Brazil and Chile, have been noticeably more guarded in their response.

Brazil’s President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday extended his best wishes to the newly elected president, but did not make direct mention of Milei. He had previously expressed his hope that Argentinian voters would choose a president who supports democracy and the Mercosur trading bloc – which Milei has suggested Argentina should leave.

Milei has criticised Brazil’s president multiple times and labelled him an “angry communist” with a “totalitarian” bent. On Monday, a close Lula aide said Argentina’s president-elect must apologise to the Brazilian leader before talks between the two can be organised.

“He freely offended President Lula,” Social Communications Minister Paulo Pimenta told reporters. “It’s up to Milei, as president-elect, to call and apologise.”

Whether at home or on the international stage, Argentina will be sailing through uncharted – and choppy – waters with “El Loco” at the helm.

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Biden says it’s time pass torch to ‘younger voices’ in Oval Office address

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President Joe Biden’s decision not to seek reelection in November was meant to unify the nation under a new generation of leaders, he said on Wednesday night in his first public address since ending his re-election campaign over the weekend, 

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Biden mumbles as he reveals why he decided to ‘pass the torch’ and insists he could have served four more years as president in address to nation

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President Joe Biden mumbled his way through an 11-minute farewell address to the nation and claimed he could have served another four years if he wanted to.

Biden, 81, spoke quietly, at times haltingly, and his voice was scratchy as he explained his stunning decision not to seek reelection.

The President said he had chosen to ‘pass the torch’ to Vice President Kamala Harris because it was time for ‘younger voices’ and he believed that would ‘unite’ the country and ‘save’ democracy.

Biden looked intently into the camera during the primetime address for which he was seated behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

He said: ‘I believe my record as president, my leadership in the world, my vision for America’s future, all merited a second term.

‘But nothing, nothing, can come in the way of saving our democracy, and that includes personal ambition, so I decided the best way forward is to pass the torch to a new generation.’

He added: ‘There is a time and a place for long years of experience in public life. There’s also a time and a place for new voices, fresh voices. Yes, younger voices.’ 

Biden did not address questions over his own age, health and mental acuity, which have plagued his presidency from the start.

Doubts about his ability to do the job intensified following a disastrous debate performance last month, which shocked senior Democrats into calling for him to leave the 2024 presidential race.

President Joe Biden, in an Oval Office address, revealed why he decided to step down as the Democratic nominee

President Joe Biden, in an Oval Office address, revealed why he decided to step down as the Democratic nominee

From right: Jill Biden, Ashley Biden and husband Howard Krein, and Hunter Biden and his daughter Finnegan listen to Joe Biden speak

From right: Jill Biden, Ashley Biden and husband Howard Krein, and Hunter Biden and his daughter Finnegan listen to Joe Biden speak

As Biden spoke his wife Jill Biden, and children Hunter and Ashley, sat to his left along a wall watching his valedictory. 

Also present were several of his grandchildren including Naomi Biden and Maisy Biden.

The family broke into applause when the president finished speaking. Jill Biden joined him at the Resolute Desk, and Hunter Biden hugged his father.

Biden, who has just recovered from a bout of COVID  fumbled briefly in his delivery, mumbling at times. 

He used the address to outline what he hopes will be his legacy and said he has more work to do in the six months he has left in office.

Hunter Biden gives his dad a hug

Hunter Biden gives his dad a hug

He said: ‘I revere this office but I love my country more.

‘It’s been the honor of my life to serve as your president but the defense of democracy, which is at stake, I think is more important than a title.’

Biden made it clear he is stepping down voluntarily, drawing a stark contrast with his predecessor.

He did not mention Donald Trump by name but talked about how the country is more important than anyone’s ambition to stay in the Oval Office.

‘America is an idea – an idea stronger than any army, bigger than any ocean, more powerful than any dictator,’ Biden said. 

As the president spoke, his staff were gathered one floor up, on the state floor of the White House, to watch his remarks with wine and pizza.

Before the speech began, staffers were spotted walking in from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is across the street of the West Wing, into the White House proper for the event.  

Biden’s decision to step down sent shock waves throughout the world and ended his political career that has lasted more than 50 years. 

He has already endorsed Harris and turned over his campaign infrastructure to her.  The campaign has renamed itself ‘Harris for President.’

President Joe Biden's granddaughter Finnegan Biden is tearful as Biden hugs his daughter Ashley Biden

President Joe Biden’s granddaughter Finnegan Biden is tearful as Biden hugs his daughter Ashley Biden

Within 30 hours of Biden announcing on Sunday that he was stepping aside Harris had pledges from enough delegates to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

In his speech on Wednesday night, Biden did not explicitly endorse Harris but noted he had ‘made my views known.’

He said: ‘I made my choice. I’ve made my views known. I’d like to thank our great Vice President Kamala Harris. She’s experienced. She’s tough. She’s capable. She’s been an incredible partner to me and a leader for our country.

‘Now the choice is up to you, the American people.’

Hunter Biden, his daughter Finnegan, Howard Krein, Ashley Biden and Jill Biden in the Oval

Hunter Biden, his daughter Finnegan, Howard Krein, Ashley Biden and Jill Biden in the Oval

Jill Biden joined Joe Biden at the Resolute Desk when he finished his speech

Jill Biden joined Joe Biden at the Resolute Desk when he finished his speech

President Joe Biden returning to Delaware after being diagnosed with COVID

President Joe Biden returning to Delaware after being diagnosed with COVID

Democratic delegates will nominate their presidential ticket virtually in early August ahead of the Democratic National Convention, which kicks off August 19th in Chicago. 

The president returned to the White House on Tuesday after spending six days isolating in his beach house in Delaware, where he was suffering from COVID.

He has canceled a West Coast fundraising swing scheduled for the end of the week.

He will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Thursday. 

Biden spent weeks rebuffing pressure from senior figures in his party to step down as its nominee. But, on Sunday, he bowed to the inevitable.

He is the first incumbent president not to seek re-election since 1968 when Lyndon Johnson, under fire for his handling of the Vietnam War, abruptly pulled out of the campaign on March 31.

The president also joins James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, Calvin Coolidge and Harry Truman as presidents who all decided not to stand for a second term.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday denied there was a ‘cover-up’ of Biden’s declining health and mental capabilities by staff and Biden family members.

Biden’s top spokesperson was grilled repeatedly about his apparent change of heart when it came to a second term and denied his health had anything to do with the decision.

During her press briefing – the first since Biden’s historic decision to step down as the Democratic nominee – Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked her: ‘It would seem that people in this White House knew that President Biden was slipping and it was hidden from the American people – so who ordered White House officials to coverup a declining president?’

‘There’s been no coverup,’ she replied.

For weeks Jean-Pierre and other aides had denied Biden was considering leaving the presidential race.

They had denied reports his health was on the decline.

But, in the June 26th presidential debate, Biden repeatedly fumbled for words and froze on camera, leading to questions from his own party about his ability to serve a second term in the White House.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denied there was a 'coverup' of President Joe Biden 's health and mental capabilities

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denied there was a ‘coverup’ of President Joe Biden ‘s health and mental capabilities

Jean-Pierre said the president made his decision in  ‘very short period of time.’

She pushed back against reports that aides, lawmakers and Democratic officials had noticed for months that Biden was on the decline. 

She also said his health was not a factor in his decision to exit the presidential race.

‘It has nothing to do with his health,’ she said. ‘I can say, no, that’s not the reason.’

She also called calls for the president to resign from office ‘ridiculous.’ 

There have been questions as to why, if Biden can’t serve four more years, he can serve six more months. 

Jean-Pierre argued that Biden was capable of serving out a full second term. 

‘He didn’t step down from from campaigning or from running because he didn’t believe he can serve in a second term. That is not why,’ she said.

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Taiwan hunkers down as deadly Typhoon Gaemi makes landfall

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Schools and offices in Taiwan closed on Thursday as the island braces itself for the first typhoon of the year. Expected to be the strongest storm in eight years, Gaemi brought strong winds that left two dead in the south and east in the early hours of Thursday.

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Divers find long lost carvings of Tutankhamun’s grandfather and other Egyptian pharaohs at bottom of Nile River

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Ancient carvings featuring the faces of Tutankhamun’s grandfather and other ancient Egyptian pharaohs have been rediscovered.

Archaeologists found the giant stone slabs at the bottom of the Nile River while searching for artifacts lost in a flood in city of Aswan in the 1970s. 

The slabs included hieroglyphic inscriptions about the kings’ achievements, including King Amenhotep III, also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent and ancestor of King Tut.

Archaeologists have discovered mysterious carvings of ancient Egyptian pharaohs that have been submerged underwater for decades

Archaeologists have discovered mysterious carvings of ancient Egyptian pharaohs that have been submerged underwater for decades

During their exploration of the Nile River, archaeologists uncovered rock slabs containing hieroglyphic inscriptions and carvings of King Tatmas IV who ruled in the early 14th Century BC and King Amenhotab III who ruled from 1390 to 1353 BC

During their exploration of the Nile River, archaeologists uncovered rock slabs containing hieroglyphic inscriptions and carvings of King Tatmas IV who ruled in the early 14th Century BC and King Amenhotab III who ruled from 1390 to 1353 BC

Etches in the stone also discuss King Thutmose IV who ruled in the early 14th Century BC and was celebrated for his restoration of the Great Sphinx of Giza.

Team members said they were surprised that the carvings were in such good condition and hope to extract more artifacts in future dives. 

The ancient artifacts were discovered in the area in 1960, but were lost the following decade during the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Aswan.

Archaeologists had rushed to remove them before they were lost underwater, but many couldn’t be relocated in time. 

The latest dive was to search for the lost objects, but led the team to the remarkably well-preserved depictions of notable pharaohs that have never been studied before.

‘For the first time, we [have] gone underwater to study the rock formations between the Aswan reservoir and the Aswan High Dam,’ the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities told Smithsonian Magazine

‘Since the site remains in good condition, the mission was able to fully document it.’

King Amenhoteb III, also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent, was featured on one of the slabs and was renowned for his expansion of diplomatic relationships and the period of peaceful prosperity the citizens experienced under his rule. Pictured: Burial mask of King Amenhoteb III

King Amenhoteb III, also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent, was featured on one of the slabs and was renowned for his expansion of diplomatic relationships and the period of peaceful prosperity the citizens experienced under his rule. Pictured: Burial mask of King Amenhoteb III

King Apries succeeded his father, Psamtik II and during his reign actively built up four Egyptian temples but was plagued with military problems after he sent his army to help Libya against Greek invaders

King Apries succeeded his father, Psamtik II and during his reign actively built up four Egyptian temples but was plagued with military problems after he sent his army to help Libya against Greek invaders

The researchers used underwater filming and photographing techniques to document the discovery.

They are also creating 3D models of the images using photogrammetry – the process of using surface measurements from pictures to create an accurate three-dimensional version.

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism did not provide a translation for the hieroglyphs nor did they describe what the carvings looked like.

These finds were thought to be lost after the Awan Dam was constructed from 1960 to 1970, as archaeologists raced against time to save the historical Egyptian artifacts and monuments – including the Temple of Dendur now held at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Now their new finds are shedding renewed interest in the archaeological significance of the site. 

For the first time, a team of Egyptian and French archaeologists have dived to recover the lost treasures including the carvings of at least five rulers who reigned during the 18th and 26th dynasties.

For the first time, a team of Egyptian and French archaeologists have dived to recover the lost treasures including the carvings of at least five rulers who reigned during the 18th and 26th dynasties.

Dr Islam Saleem, the director general of the General Administration for Sunken Archaeological Archaeology, emphasized in a Facebook post that the team’s initial findings suggest there are additional carvings yet to be discovered.

The researchers hope the findings can help them gain a better understanding of the 18th dynasty’s reigns, which is already renowned for its architectural and artistic accomplishments. 

Aswan is a notable area in Egypt because of its historical site that houses the Abu Simbel temple which features four colossal statues of the pharaoh Ramses II that guard the entrance and stand 65 feet tall.

It is also home to the Philae temple which is the location of where the last known hieroglyphic inscription was written in 394 AD.

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🔴 Live: Biden explains decision to step aside in Oval Office address

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In his first address to the nation since quitting the race, 81-year-old US President Joe Biden gives an Oval Office speech Wednesday night to explain his historic decision to step aside as the Democratic candidate in this November’s election and pass the torch to Kamala Harris.

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Soaring interest rates pushing hundreds of thousands of Brits ‘into poverty’, research warns

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  • Bank of England elected to hold interest rates at 5.25% in June to curb inflation 

A third of a million of homeowners have been pushed into poverty because of soaring interest rates, according to new research.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said the number is likely to have risen by 320,000 between December 2021 – when the Bank of England started putting rates up – and December 2023.

The average mortgage rate was around 2.3 per cent in 2022, translating to interest payments of £240 per month for a household, a report from the IFS said.

But a tenth of households faced a mortgage interest rate of at least 4.7 per cent, equivalent to £490 per month.

The research group has warned that this could have pushed more adults into financial hardship.

This is more than the 230,000 people projected when applying a single average interest rate.

As many as 320,000 people may have been pushed into poverty by rates in the period December 2021 - when the BoE (pictured) raised rates - and December 2023

As many as 320,000 people may have been pushed into poverty by rates in the period December 2021 – when the BoE (pictured) raised rates – and December 2023

The Bank's governor, Andrew Bailey, said in June policymakers 'need to be sure that inflation will stay low' in deciding to keep the level on hold at 5.25 per cent

The Bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, said in June policymakers ‘need to be sure that inflation will stay low’ in deciding to keep the level on hold at 5.25 per cent

The surge in poverty comes as borrowers remortgaging in 2022 were more likely to fall behind on payments than those with mortgages who had not remortgaged, the IFS said.

Sam Ray-Chaudhuri, a research economist at IFS and an author of the report, said: ‘Rising mortgage rates have played and are likely to continue to play an important role in many households’ living standards. But, perhaps surprisingly, they are not measured properly in the official income data.’

He added: ‘At a time when rates of deprivation and food insecurity have risen substantially, poverty statistics that hide the real scale of these increases risk policymakers missing what is truly happening to poverty.’

Peter Matejic, JRF chief analyst, said: ‘This report raises many questions about whether social security is adequate for the challenges looming over struggling households.’

But millions of borrowers will be hoping that the Bank of England will cut interest rates when officials meet next Thursday.

The bank rate has been at a 16-year high of 5.25 per cent since last August.

The Bank was one of the first central banks to start raising borrowing costs after the pandemic and is expected to start easing this policy.

The Bank of England kept interest rates at 5.25 per cent, potentially paving the way for an August cut

The Bank of England kept interest rates at 5.25 per cent, potentially paving the way for an August cut

But separate data last month from the Bank’s latest Financial Stability Report warned that four million mortgage borrowers still face steep increases in repayments over the next few years.

Homeowners reaching the end of their fixed-rate deals are on course to see monthly payments rise by a typical £180 – or 28 per cent, equating to more than £2,000 a year – by the end of 2026.

For some 400,000 people, there is expected to be a ‘very large’ rise of 50 per cent or more, the report said.

The figures illustrate that while rate cuts are expected to deliver relief for many over coming months, a large number of borrowers are still facing painful hits to their finances.

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Thousands protest in Washington as Netanyahu addresses US Congress

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Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of  Washington on Wednesday, in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu’s visit and his address to a joint session of US Congress Wednesday afternoon. The Israeli prime minister drew boos from US lawmakers during his speech when he criticised protesters outside as “Iran’s useful idiots.” 

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May we haveth one’s attention? British Airways releases hilarious new ‘period-drama’ safety video made by Bridget Jones director Sharon Maguire – and hailed as a ‘work of art’

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British Airways has released a hilarious new safety video that’s proved a massive hit on social media, with one person hailing it a ‘work of art’.

The video has chalked up more than 93,000 views on YouTube in 24 hours and more than 180 comments. 

The video has been created in the style of a period drama and was directed by Sharon Maguire, best-known for helming Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones’s Baby. 

The new video was filmed at country houses across the UK, including Hatfield House in Hertfordshire and Englefield House Estate in Berkshire.

Commenting on YouTube, ‘Felix_velasquez’ says: ‘This is the most creative video I have ever seen – a work of art.’ 

British Airways has released a hilarious new safety video that's proved a massive hit on social media, with one person hailing it a 'work of art'

British Airways has released a hilarious new safety video that’s proved a massive hit on social media, with one person hailing it a ‘work of art’ 

The video has chalked up more than 93,000 views on YouTube in 24 hours and more than 180 comments

The video has chalked up more than 93,000 views on YouTube in 24 hours and more than 180 comments 

Plane Eyre: The video has been created in the style of a period drama and was directed by Sharon Maguire, best-known for helming Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones's Baby

Plane Eyre: The video has been created in the style of a period drama and was directed by Sharon Maguire, best-known for helming Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones’s Baby 

‘MattJDCooke’ says: ‘Love this. BA meets Bridgerton, Downton, Jane Austen et al. Original and memorable.’ 

BA explains: ‘The film depicts ladies and lords of the manor, as well as housekeepers and butlers going about their everyday lives in period Britain, before being abruptly interrupted by present-day British Airways colleagues demonstrating the safety briefing.’

At one point, a character is ‘bewildered by modern day contraptions and when posed with the question, “Is it a winged creature of the air or, perchance, a celestial contrivance navigating the skies?”‘, Ellis Brett, an apprentice in aircraft maintenance, responds with, ‘No, ma’am. That’s a British Airways A350.’

The new video was filmed at country houses across the UK, including Hatfield House in Hertfordshire and Englefield House Estate in Berkshire

The new video was filmed at country houses across the UK, including Hatfield House in Hertfordshire and Englefield House Estate in Berkshire 

Commenting on YouTube, 'Felix_velasquez' says: 'This is the most creative video I have ever seen - a work of art'

Commenting on YouTube, ‘Felix_velasquez’ says: ‘This is the most creative video I have ever seen – a work of art’ 

BA explains: 'The film depicts ladies and lords of the manor, as well as housekeepers and butlers going about their everyday lives in period Britain, before being abruptly interrupted by present-day British Airways colleagues demonstrating the safety briefing'

BA explains: ‘The film depicts ladies and lords of the manor, as well as housekeepers and butlers going about their everyday lives in period Britain, before being abruptly interrupted by present-day British Airways colleagues demonstrating the safety briefing’ 

The video features more than 40 BA members of staff, who received training from dialect coach Jill McCullough to ‘perfect their accents’. 

Helen Lau, a BA first officer who plays herself in the campaign, says: ‘As a first officer, my job means I am in the flight deck during the safety briefing, so to know that I will be appearing on the video in the cabins feels very surreal. 

‘I love the closing line, which says stay safe, look after one another and never change. It featured in the previous video and I hope is carried onto the next. It’s such a touching and uniting phrase.’

Sharon explains that the video was made with the help of ‘industry legends’, including three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan. 

Calum Laming, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer, said: ‘We know that these videos deliver vital safety information, and it is so important that we do everything we can to keep our customers engaged throughout. When it came to selecting a genre, we wanted something that would enable us to do this, while resonating with global audiences, so a period drama with a little bit of humour seemed like the perfect fit. 

‘I am also incredibly proud that more than 40 colleagues star in the film as we have always said it is our people who make us who we are.’ 

The safety film will be shown on BA’s long haul flights from August 1. 

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Health warning issued as incurable rat disease kills four people in two US states

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Officials have issued a health warning over an incurable rat disease after four people died from the infection this year.

Hantavirus — which is fatal in 36 percent of cases — typically causes about 30 cases per year in the US, mostly in western and southwestern areas.

But some states are now recording a surge in the disease.

In infection hotspot Arizona, officials have issued a warning after recording seven cases and three deaths this year — compared to 11 cases in the six years from 2016 to 2022. 

There have also been two cases and one death in California, including in a county that hasn’t detected the virus for two decades.

The above map shows hantavirus cases by state from 1993 to 2021. Colorado and New Mexico are the main hotspots

The above map shows hantavirus cases by state from 1993 to 2021. Colorado and New Mexico are the main hotspots

Recent extreme temperatures coupled with heavy rainfall are thought to be fueling an uptick in infections in some areas, as these lead virus-carrying rodents to seek shelter from heat and rain indoors — where they come into contact with humans.

The heavy rain can also boost plant growth and the food supply for rodents, leading to more rodent activit and, later, a possible surge in their population.

Arizona health officials said: ‘Hantavirus is a severe and sometimes fatal respiratory illness.

‘It is not limited to one geographic location. It can be present in many areas in the southwestern region of the United States where there is rodent activity, even if mice are never seen.’

Rats and mice can carry hantavirus but not suffer any symptoms.

But they can deposit it in their droppings, saliva and urine — with the virus being breathed in by humans if they disturb contaminated surfaces.

Patients initially suffer an abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, nausea and abdominal pain nine to 33 days after infection.

Hantavirus is carried by rodents such as the deer mouse (pictured). It causes no symptoms in them but can be spread in their urine or saliva

Hantavirus is carried by rodents such as the deer mouse (pictured). It causes no symptoms in them but can be spread in their urine or saliva

But this then progresses to difficulty breathing in a condition called Hantavirus Pulmonary Virus. 

This is where the virus infects cells lining tiny blood vessels in the lungs, causing them to start to leak and filling the lungs with fluid. Death occurs due to respiratory failure or shock.

There are no specific treatments for the condition, with doctors instead relying on IV drips and over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms.

Colorado and New Mexico are the places where most hantavirus infections occur, with each having recorded 119 cases since 1993.

Arizona has the third highest tally, at 85 cases, followed by California, 78 cases, and Washington, 59 cases. 

In April, a person in Sierra County, California, died from hantavirus — the first case in the area for more than two decades.

Officials said at the time: ‘Although it is rare, hantavirus can be very serious and deadly.

‘About three cases of hantavirus disease are reported each year in California, and about one in three people with hantavirus disease die.’

There are concerns that the disease may be diagnosed in new areas more often, as warming temperatures cause shifts in the locations of rodents. 

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International

Andy Murray insists he’s at peace with his decision to retire and says the Paris Olympics is the best place for his last dance – as he reveals what he will do next

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Andy Murray is at peace. After all the scalpels and internal monologues that cut even deeper, he has accepted that his magnificent time as an elite tennis player will end in the coming days.

As ever, his journey to contentment has been a battle of wills and a point contested fiercely by his survival instincts on one side of the net and painful truths on the other.

But sitting in a classroom at the catering school repurposed as Team GB’s base in Paris, he told a small gathering of reporters on Wednesday that he can at last reconcile himself to the inevitable. ‘I feel good about it,’ he said, and his teeth weren’t especially gritted as he spoke.

That will mean the sets he plays alongside Dan Evans in the Olympic doubles competition here, starting on Saturday, will conclude a professional career spanning 19 years. Realism and time have finally got the better of one of sport’s most determined dreamers.

‘I wasn’t sure how I would feel a few months ago, to be honest,’ he said, with the defining moment evidently coming when he followed a serious ankle injury in March by sustaining a new back problem at Queens in June.

Andy Murray (pictured) has accepted that his magnificent time as an elite tennis player will end in the coming days

Andy Murray (pictured) has accepted that his magnificent time as an elite tennis player will end in the coming days

The three-time Grand Slam champion stated that he 'felt good' about his decision to retire

The three-time Grand Slam champion stated that he ‘felt good’ about his decision to retire

Murray (right) will play alongside Dan Evans (left) in the Olympic doubles, starting on Saturday

Murray (right) will play alongside Dan Evans (left) in the Olympic doubles, starting on Saturday

‘I was unsure about it,’ he added. ‘I had a lot of conversations with my family, with my wife. I was unsure about the injury during Queen’s, but I had been struggling with my back through most of the clay court season after the ankle injury.

‘I knew that it was the right time and I’m happy about it now. I didn’t feel that way a few months ago when I (first) thought this is when I was going to stop.

‘I didn’t really want to, whereas now I want to and I know that it’s the right time for me, so I feel good about it.’

Time will tell what kind of finale Murray can deliver at the age of 37. He has effectively written off playing in the singles and concedes his back ‘is still not perfect’ for the doubles, but he does believe he can go out under the glow of another medal.

He has two already, of course, and it is perhaps testament to what he achieved in winning three Slams, and the location of a couple of them in particular, that his Olympic singles titles in 2012 and 2016 can be understated in discussions around his legacy.

The three-time Grand Slam winner confirmed this week that the Paris Olympics would be his final tennis tournament

The three-time Grand Slam winner confirmed this week that the Paris Olympics would be his final tennis tournament 

Murray is a two-time gold medal winner, having been crowned singles champion at London 2012 and Rio 2016

Murray is a two-time gold medal winner, having been crowned singles champion at London 2012 and Rio 2016 

As ever, his journey to contentment has been a battle of wills and a point contested fiercely by his survival instincts on one side of the net and painful truths on the other

As ever, his journey to contentment has been a battle of wills and a point contested fiercely by his survival instincts on one side of the net and painful truths on the other

Murray said he had initially felt 'unsure' about the decision to bring an end to his 19-year career

Murray said he had initially felt ‘unsure’ about the decision to bring an end to his 19-year career

Not to Murray, though. That he has chosen Paris as the location for his retirement, and not Wimbledon, where he received a tribute parade on Centre Court earlier this month, is no accident. On Tuesday, when he announced this would be his last tournament on social media, he described the Olympics as having provided ‘by far the most memorable weeks of my career’, which ties closely to his decision to stay in the athletes’ village.

That is not as common as it might sound for those stars of bigger sports who enter this melting-pot environment – Novak Djokovic for one has made his own arrangements for the next week or so.

‘I just know that every time I’ve come to the Olympics that it feels totally different and I personally love it,’ Murray said.

‘Some of the tennis players feel the same as me, some of them don’t, but usually it’s the ones that aren’t necessarily in with a shot at winning medals potentially. But for me it’s been an amazing experience – I love being around all the other athletes, I love being part of a team, representing my country.

The 37-year-old was given a tribute parade on Wimbledon's Centre Court earlier this summer as he played his last match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club

The 37-year-old was given a tribute parade on Wimbledon’s Centre Court earlier this summer as he played his last match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club 

But the fact that he has chosen Paris as the setting for where he will bow out is no accident

 But the fact that he has chosen Paris as the setting for where he will bow out is no accident

The British tennis star opened up on what the Olympics means to him stating that being around other Team GB athletes makes 'it feel more important' than the ATP Tour

The British tennis star opened up on what the Olympics means to him stating that being around other Team GB athletes makes ‘it feel more important’ than the ATP Tour

‘When you’re staying in the village and when you’re around all the other athletes, it just feels like you’re part of something bigger than just yourself or your own sport.

‘The Olympics is really special. I don’t know, maybe when you’re on your own on the tour, it is at times a little bit lonely. Maybe it is a little bit more stressful in some ways. I don’t know the exact reason. I just know when I’m here and when I’m around the other athletes and in the village that it feels different to me. It feels more important.’

To a competitor like Murray, that importance extends to the outcome of his collaboration with Evans at Roland Garros. He says he has trained ‘unbelievably hard’ for this last dance and it was also possible to detect some gentle frustration in his tone when he discussed Emma Raducanu’s withdrawal from the mixed doubles at Wimbledon, as if that was ever going to be more than a ceremonial occasion. That spirit is unlikely to switch off when the lights go out in retirement.

Murray briefly slipped into contemplation of what comes next on Wednesday. It remains hazy. ‘I won’t be on the road much, I know that,’ he said. ‘I’ll play a lot of golf. I want to become a scratch golfer (he played off six before his hip and back troubles).

Murray says he has trained ¿unbelievably hard¿ for this last dance having overcome several serious injuries this year

Murray says he has trained ‘unbelievably hard’ for this last dance having overcome several serious injuries this year

But Murray added that he 'would love to be a part of the next Olympics in some capacity'

But Murray added that he ‘would love to be a part of the next Olympics in some capacity’

‘I haven’t played for five or six years. That’s something I really want to do initially. I don’t know exactly what the rest of my life will look like, but I will still stay in touch with the sport. My love for the sport won’t go away, so I’ll definitely see myself being involved in tennis.

‘I don’t see myself playing any of the invitational things or those sort of events. I don’t think so. When I play sport, I like to compete. I want to be competitive. I don’t want to just have a hit and a giggle.

‘I would love to be part of the next Olympics in some capacity as well, but I don’t have any clear plans on what it is I’m going to do from a work perspective.’

Before that point he has one last shot in the game he has illuminated for two decades. One last wrestling match with a tired and scarred body on the biggest stage in all of sport. One last rage against himself before finally giving peace a chance.

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