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Disgraced AfD leader Maximilian Krah.

DPA via Reuters

Even the far right has its limits. The European Parliament’s “Identity and Democracy” group of populist right-wing parties – including the Alternative for Germany, France’s National Rally, and Italy’s League, among others – expelled all nine AfD members on Thursday.

The move comes just weeks ahead of European Parliament elections on June 9 in which the far right is expected to make serious gains. It also comes a day after Maximilian Krah, head of AfD, said he’d step down over two scandals – one involving a senior staffer being charged with spying for China, and another stemming from Krah telling an Italian newspaper that not all members of the Nazi SS were war criminals. But sacrificing Krah wasn’t enough – and National Rally leader Marine Le Pensaid her party needed a “clean break” from AfD.

The expulsion was a bold move, given the AfD’s popularity. As recently as January, it was Germany’s second most popular party, polling at 22%, though it has since dropped six percentage points to tie for second place with the Social Democrat Party.

Polls have predicted the Identity and Democracy group’s number of seats in the European Parliament could rise from 59 to about 84 (some predicted a high of 93 before AfD’s recent scandals). National Rally, meanwhile, is surging in the polls.

What does this mean? Apart from hurting its reputation, expulsion means AfD loses access to the group’s shared resources, collective voice in parliament, and possibly some funding. But it doesn’t mean AfD members can’t run. In fact, party leaders said Thursday that they remained optimistic about the election. “We are confident we will continue to have reliable partners at our side in the new legislative period,” they said.

An adult female Anopheles mosquito bites a human body to begin its blood meal at Tehatta, West Bengal; India on 24/02/2023.

Soumyabrata Roy via Reuters Connect

The coastal country of Djibouti, one of the smallest by population in Africa, has a big problem in a tiny package: An invasive species of mosquito from the Indian subcontinent has driven malaria rates through the roof, so the government on Thursday released thousands of genetically modified bugs in a bid to save thousands of lives.

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Independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced 'No Spoiler' pledge for the upcoming elections at a campaign stop in Brooklyn, NY on May 1, 2024.

Lev Radin/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

Last week, President Joe Biden and Donald Trump agreed to debate on CNN on June 27 and on ABC News on Sept 10. Under the rules laid out by the networks, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could qualify to participate.

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Lieutenant General Vadim Shamarin, deputy head of the army's general staff, is seen in this image on October 6, 2023.

Reuters

The housecleaning at the Russian defense ministry continues, with the arrest of a deputy chief of staff on bribery charges. Vadim Shamarin, detained on Thursday, is the fourth high-ranking Russian officer to be jailed for graft over the past month. Just two weeks ago, President Vladimir Putin replaced long-serving Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with long-serving economist Andrei Belousov.

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Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott at a news conference on June 29, 2023.

Reuters

6,000: The city of Baltimore has won a grim distinction, recording 6,000 overdose deaths over the past six years, a drug death rate “never before seen in an American city.” Experts blame a flood of the extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, which occurred right as local politicians were shifting their attention to other challenges such as gun violence and the pandemic.

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Singer Taylor Swift performs at her concert for the international "The Eras Tour" in Tokyo, Japan February 7, 2024.

Kim Kyung-Hoon/REUTERS

The Department of Justice announced Thursday it is suing Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, alleging the company has built an anti-competitive monopoly in live events. Over 70% of all major concert venue tickets in the US are handled via Ticketmaster, and the DOJ says their market dominance has crushed competition in the sector, stagnating innovation and subjecting consumers to unfairly high prices.

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Kenyan President William Ruto and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2024.

REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Yesterday’sstate visit to the White House by Kenya’s President William Ruto was an extraordinary event for several reasons. On the diplomatic front, it was the first official state visit by an African leader to the White House since 2008.

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