Slovak PM offers to quit
Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska is meeting this afternoon with deputy prime minister Peter Pellegrini. There is speculation that Kiska may name Pellegrini as the country’s next prime minister. Earlier, Prime Minister Robert Fico offered to resign, but only on the condition that his Social Democrats be allowed to choose his replacement. Fico and Pellegrini are both members of the same party which lead Slovakia’s three-party coalition government. Fico has been under pressure to resign since investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancée were murdered last month. Kuciak had been investigating links between Italian crime gangs and Fico’s government. The incident has also triggered a public wave of outrage in Slovakia against political corruption.
Slovenia’s PM resigns
Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar has resigned, saying he faced too much obstruction from his coalition partners and pressure from trade unions. The move also comes after Slovenia’s high court blocked a railway project which had been a key part of a major government investment program. Slovenia is scheduled to hold a general election in June and it is unclear if Cerar’s resignation will force the election to be held earlier.
US backs UK against Russia
The United States says it supports Britain in London’s confrontation with Moscow over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK. The EU and Germany have also expressed support. British Prime Minister Theresa May has expelled 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation. The Kremlin denies any involvement in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson “We will continue to make the case to our friends and allies that as a comity of nations we need to stand up to Russia.”
Syrian civil war enters its 8th year
In Syria, the International Committee of the Red Cross says 25 aid trucks are preparing to enter the besieged enclave of eastern Ghouta, close to Damascus. Syria media are also reporting that some women, children, wounded and elderly will be allowed to leave the enclave later today. Over 1200 civilians have been killed since the Syrian military began its offensive against eastern Ghouta last month. Today marks the seventh anniversary of the start of the civil war in Syria. Around half a million Syrians are thought to have been killed and millions of others have been forced to flee their homes.
Toys R US to close
US toy giant Toys R Us has announced bankruptcy after 70 years in business. 740 stores will be closed and 30,000 jobs are at risk. Toys R Us has faced increasing pressure from on-line competitors.
The afternoon will be a mix of cloudy and sunny skies with scattered rain showers in the south. There will also be strong winds out of the south. Highs today from 5 to 17 degrees.