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Germany Enters Recession

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and the world’s fourth-largest, slipped into recession in the first quarter of the year as households scaled back spending on food, furniture and clothing.

This was revealed Data issued by the country’s statistics office on Thursday.

The report revealed that gross domestic product (GDP) diminished by 0.3 per cent in the year’s first quarter, marking the second quarter in a row where contraction would be recorded.

Two straight quarters of negative growth often mean a technical recession.

According to the statistics agency, private sector investment and construction expanded at the beginning of 2023, but the growth was partly obliterated by a slump in consumer spending as prices increased, causing households to reduce spending.

While investment in equipment and machinery grew by 3.2 per cent in relation to the last quarter of 2022, investment in construction advanced by 3.9 per cent quarter on quarter.

“The persistence of high price increases continued to be a burden on the German economy at the start of the year,” the statistics office said.

There are worries that the eurozone economy might also have shrunken in the first three months of the year, given Germany’s status as the powerhouse of the zone.

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International

Thailand approves same sex marriage

Thailand has approved same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the Southeast Asian region to do so and third place in Asia.

The development followed the nation’s Senate passing a marriage equality bill on Tuesday, June 18.

Al Jazeera reports that the upper house gave a final approval — by 130 votes to four, with 18 abstentions — allowing same-sex couples to get married.

The new legislation is expected to go to King Maha Vajiralongkorn for royal assent and come into force 120 days after publication in the official Royal Gazette.

Thailand will become the third place in Asia where same-sex couples have been legalised after Taiwan and Nepal although India came close in October but the Supreme Court referred the decision back to parliament.

Aljazeera also reports that the new legislation changes references to “men”, “women”, “husbands” and “wives” in marriage laws to gender-neutral terms.

It also gives same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones when it comes to adoption and inheritance.

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International

US and Ukraine sign 10-year security agreement at G7 summit

US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a security agreement on Thursday, June 13, during the Group of Seven (G7) summit, sending what they described as a message of unified opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He cannot wait us out,” Biden said. “He cannot divide us.”

Zelenskyy said the agreement demonstrated the “credibility of American support for our Ukrainian independence.”

“Today is a truly historic day. We have signed the strongest agreement between Ukraine and the US since our independence,” the Ukrainain leader said.

“This is an agreement on steps to guarantee sustainable peace and therefore it benefits everyone in the world because the Russian war in Ukraine is a real, real global threat,” Zelenskyy added.

Kyiv has signed fifteen bilateral security agreements with several countries including with the UK, France, Germany and Italy since the war broke out with Russia in 2022.

Contrary to the other bilateral agreements, the pact with the US will not require America to stand up for Ukraine’s defence, if and whenever it is attacked. However, it could make it easier for Ukraine to carry out peace negotiations with Russia, as it would be assured about receiving help incase of a further attack by Russia, the Guardian reported.

Also, the agreement does not need Congress’s authorisation and could be undone by a future Trump administration as well, the report added.

Biden has previously stated that the guarantees for Ukraine would be equivalent to Israel’s, including financial and military aid, in addition to the possibility of the joint weapons program.

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International

Firearm charges: President Biden’s son convicted, awaiting sentence

Hunter Biden, son of United States President, Joe Biden has been found guilty on all three counts in his federal gun crimes case in Delaware.

The 12-person jury found the US president’s son lied about his drug use on a form when purchasing a handgun in 2018.

Biden now faces a possible prison term of up to 25 years, although a sentence of that length for a first-time offender is highly unlikely, the BBC reports.

The jury deliberated after listening to a week of witness testimony about the 54-year-old’s drug addiction.

The judge said a sentencing is usually set for 120 days following a verdict, which would put it in mid-October.

The conviction marks the first time a president’s immediate family member has been found guilty of a crime during their father’s term in office, though his crimes predate Joe Biden’s tenure as president, according to the CNN.

Biden had pleaded not guilty to the charges – two counts of making false statements and one count of illegal gun possession.

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