THE GUARDIAN (GB): Rishi Sunak has called a surprise general election for 4 July in a high stakes gamble that will see Keir Starmer try to win power for Labour after 14 years of Conservative-led government. Addressing the nation outside Downing Street, Sunak said it was “the moment for Britain to choose its future” as he claimed the Tories could be trusted to lead the country during a time of global instability. Sunak’s words were met with alarm by senior Tories who are concerned that their party, trailing 20 percentage points behind Labour in the polls, could face electoral wipeout, with some MPs even considering submitting letters of no confidence.

INDEPENDENT (GB): Is Labour ready for a general election – and for power? If Rishi Sunak hoped to catch Labour off-balance by calling an early election on July 4, his advantage is unlikely to last more than a few hours. Labour leader Keir Starmer announced his general election campaign, saying: “Together, we can stop the chaos – and start to rebuild Britain”. Labour ought to be ready for the election. It is already more than four-and-a-half years since the last one. Keir Starmer bravely insists that he is ready. Labour officials say that the manifesto is ready to be printed, which it may be – but there are quite a few loose threads that the party thought it had more time to sort out. Indeed, the Labour leader is currently in the middle of a series of meetings with trade union leaders to discuss the finer points of the party’s employment rights policy. There are many in the leader’s office who think that the work of revision is not finished, which could set the scene for a fractious meeting of party and union bigwigs to agree to the manifesto.

POLITICO (USA): Keir Starmer: Britain’s next prime minister? The buttoned-up lawyer is about to roll up his sleeves on the campaign trail. He’s seen in British politics as a lawyer first and foremost; methodical, professional, good on detail but lacking in flair. But as opponents have learned to their cost, there’s more to Keir Starmer than meets the eye. And if the polls are correct — the Labour Party’s lead over the ruling Conservatives is currently more than 20 points — he will become U.K. prime minister at the general election on July 4. Slowly, the British public has learned more about the character of this buttoned-up, center-left lawyer who leads the opposition party. They have learned, too, the outline of his plans for government — though the finer details of both can prove elusive. Starmer’s hawkish foreign policy stance has caused him problems with his own base. A poorly-worded response after Hamas’ October 7 attacks, in which he suggested Israel had the right to withhold power and water in Gaza, badly damaged relations with Muslim and pro-Palestinian voters. He later clarified his remarks and has since called for a sustainable ceasefire.

EL PAIS (SPAIN): El ministro de Exteriores de Noruega: “El reconocimiento del Estado de Palestina contribuye a una solución política al conflicto”. Espen Barth Eide confía en que otros países europeos sigan el ejemplo de su país, España e Irlanda y asegura que si la comunidad internacional no impulsa ahora la solución de los dos Estados, lo lamentará durante muchos años. Los tres países europeos oficializarán ese reconocimiento el 28 de mayo, una fecha que no es casual. “Unos días antes hay varias reuniones en Bruselas relativas a Palestina e Israel. El objetivo es apoyar un plan de paz en la región”, explica el político.

THE NEW YORK TIMES (USA): Can European recognition bring Palestinian statehood any closer? Not on its own, in all likelihood. But it reflects a growing, global exasperation with Israel that might eventually lend momentum to a two-state solution. The decision by Spain, Norway and Ireland to recognize an independent Palestinian state reflects growing exasperation with the Israel of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even from traditional friends, and suggests that international pressure on him will grow. It does not, however, make it inevitable that other larger European states will follow suit. Those were small steps, although beyond anything they have said previously, but far short of recognition of a Palestinian state itself. If Europe were unified, with the major states joining in recognition, leaving the United States isolated in rejecting such a step, then it could have a greater impact, but that stage is far from being reached.

VEDOMOSTI (RUSSIA): Возможное признание независимости Палестины со стороны других европейских государств в краткосрочной и среднесрочной перспективе не приблизит решение палестинской проблемы, а символизирует лишь ослабление позиций Израиля на международной арене. Европа через периферийные государства также демонстрирует свое несогласие с политикой США на Ближнем Востоке. Европейское давление на США и Израиль вряд ли заставит Израиль сесть за стол переговоров с представителями ХАМАСа, чтобы прекратить боевые действия в секторе Газа. С точки зрения израильтян война в регионе прекратится лишь в случае освобождения заложников и уничтожения палестинских боевиков.

ASHARQ AL-AWSAT (GB): Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said the recognition of the State of Palestine by Spain, Ireland and Norway on Wednesday was a “reward for terror”. “The intention of several European countries to recognize a Palestinian state is a reward for terror,” he said in a statement, adding a sovereign State of Palestine would be a “terror state” that would “try to repeatedly carry out the massacre of October 7th”. Also, the White House said Wednesday it opposed “unilateral recognition” of a Palestinian state.

THE JERUSALEM POST (ISRAEL): Hamas should not be rewarded for terrorism with a Palestinian state. Recognizing Palestine in the aftermath of the October 7 massacre is not a step toward peace; it is a step away from it. It signals to terrorists that their actions can yield political rewards.

ARAB NEWS (SAUDI ARABIA): Saudi Arabia said it welcomed the “positive” decision taken by Norway, Spain, and Ireland to recognize a Palestinian state. The Kingdom said it appreciated this decision “which confirms the international consensus on the inherent right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” in a foreign ministry statement. The kingdom also called on more countries to swiftly take the same stance, “which would contribute to finding a reliable and irreversible path to achieve a just and lasting peace that fulfills the rights of the Palestinian people.”

AL-AHRAM (EGYPT): Egypt may be compelled to withdraw from mediator role in Gaza truce talks if Western smear campaign continues. The CNN report published on Tuesday claiming that “Egypt changed the terms of the latest ceasefire deal in early May in Gaza” is baseless and lacks factual information, State Information Service (SIS) head Diaa Rashwan stated on Wednesday. In a statement challenging the US news network to cite specific official American or Israeli sources for its claims, Rashwan emphasized that the report does not rely on credible journalistic sources, thus violating globally recognized professional journalistic standards. He urged CNN and all international media to verify the accuracy of what they publish on such sensitive issues and to avoid basing their reports on anonymous sources referred to as “informed sources.” On Tuesday, a CNN report claimed that Egypt had changed the terms of a Gaza ceasefire deal that Israel had already signed off on before submitting it to Hamas, surprising negotiators.

DAILY SABAH (TURKEY): President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized Israel for committing what he said the “biggest genocide of the century” in Gaza with weapons and diplomatic support of countries that have been lecturing others about human rights and international law. Speaking in Ankara, Erdoğan said countries that have been providing logistics and military support to Israel are complicit in the blood shed by Israel. “Israeli forces have turned Gaza, which was already an open-air prison due to the blockade, into a children's cemetery in the past 229 days,” Erdoğan said. He also said that as long as Western powers continue to stand behind Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu despite all “his arrogance and recklessness,” massacres in Palestine cannot be prevented.

GLOBAL TIMES (CHINA): The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday morning launched a military exercise surrounding the island of Taiwan in a move to punish “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces and to send a warning to belligerent external forces following Taiwan regional leader Lai Ching-te’s separatist inaugural speech on May 20. Designed to surround the island of Taiwan from both the east and the west, the exercises display the PLA’s strike capability across all directions of the island without any blind spots, forming a situation where the island is pinned down from both sides, experts said. Observers also noted that the codename of the exercise, Joint Sword-2024A, indicates that there might be more exercises to come with code-names Joint Sword-2024B and Joint Sword-2024C should “Taiwan independence” secessionists and external interference forces continue to provoke.

THE MAINICHI SHIMBUN (JAPAN): China’s military said Thursday it has started drills around Taiwan as a “strong punishment” for separatist forces seeking the island's independence and a “stern warning” against interference and provocation by external forces. The exercises followed the inauguration Monday of Taiwan President Lai Ching-te, whom Beijing condemns as an independence advocate.

THE ECONNOMIC TIMES (INDIA): Chinese military practiced Taiwan invasion manoeuvres in 2023, says US general. In the exercises, the People’s Liberation Army simulated a maritime and air blockade of Taiwan, amphibious assaults and counter-intervention operations, Deputy Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Lieutenant General Stephen Sklenka, said in a speech in Canberra.

THE WASHINGTON TIMES (USA): House Foreign affairs Committee Chairman McCaul is planning a U.S. delegation’s visit to Taiwan. He said Tuesday that he will lead a U.S. delegation to Taiwan at the end of the month, undeterred by China’s efforts to isolate and intimidate the island nation under new leadership.

NIKKEI (JAPAN): What made Japan, China, South Korea hold a summit now? Beijing took lead out of desperation and self-interest. Japan, China and South Korea will likely hold their first trilateral summit in about four and a half years in Seoul on May 26-27. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Chinese Premier Li Qiang and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol are expected to discuss a range of issues aimed at promoting stability and prosperity in the region. The last such meeting, held in the central Chinese city of Chengdu in December 2019, was attended by different leaders: the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the late Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and former South Korean President Moon Jae-in. But it is not just participants who are different, the international situation has also changed drastically.

TEHRAN TIMES (IRAN): In a poignant and sorrowful display, the people of Tehran gathered in overwhelming numbers to participate in the funeral ceremony for the late President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. The air was thick with grief as mourners from every corner of the city came together to honor their martyred president and foreign minister. Their presence and collective sorrow spoke volumes, reflecting a deep sense of loss and reverence for the men who had served their nation with such dedication. The streets echoed with heartfelt tributes, as the populace expressed their profound mourning and unwavering respect for President Raisi and Minister Amir Abdollahian. In a stirring display of collective grief and solidarity, the streets of Tehran overflowed with mourners on Wednesday morning, an hour before the official commencement of the funeral ceremony. The unprecedented turnout was a testament to the profound impact of the late president on the Iranian people.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (USA): Secretive son of Iran’s Supreme Leader quietly wields power. As the death of President Ebrahim Raisi brings forward urgent questions surrounding the leadership of Iran, Mojtaba Khamenei, son of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is poised to play a central role. As the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi brings forward urgent questions surrounding the country’s leadership, Mojtaba Khamenei, the powerful and secretive son of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is poised to play a central role. To most Iranians, the son is an enigma. He holds no public position, rarely appears in public and doesn’t give speeches. With decadeslong ties to key figures in Iran’s intelligence and security establishment, the younger Khamenei has grown powerful in the shadows, particularly under Raisi, who was seen as a pliant president without a personal power base.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (RUSSIA): Украинский кризис ускорил отставание Европы от США. Технологическое отставание Европы от США началось задолго до нынешнего украинского кризиса по нескольким фундаментальным причинам: крупные европейские компании меньше инвестируют, меньше вкладывают в исследования и разработки и поэтому растут медленнее американских. Заметный инновационный разрыв между США и ЕС продолжает расширяться, отмечается в новом исследовании компании McKinsey. Украинский кризис и прекращение поставок дешевых энергоресурсов из РФ усугубили эту проблему.

LES ECHOS (FRANCE): Semi-conducteurs : la Corée du Sud annonce un plan de soutien massif. Le plan, qui pèse pour plus de 17 milliards d’euros, doit permettre aux entreprises sud-coréennes de réaliser de nouveaux investissements cruciaux. “Nous avons créé un programme complet de soutien à l'industrie des semi-conducteurs d'une valeur de 26.000 milliards de wons (environ 17,5 milliards d’euros) qui inclut le financement, l’infrastructure, la recherche et le développement, ainsi que le soutien aux petites et moyennes entreprises”, a déclaré le président sud-coréen, Yoon Suk-yeol. “La victoire ou la défaite ira à celui qui fabriquera le premier les semi-conducteurs de pointe dotés d’une grande capacité de traitement des données”, a affirmé le président sud-coréen. “L’Etat doit soutenir (le secteur des) semi-conducteurs afin qu’il ne soit pas à la traîne par rapport à leurs concurrents.”

LE FIGARO (FRANCE): Nouvelle-Calédonie: arrivé à Nouméa, Macron exclut que “l’apaisement” passe par un “retour en arrière” institutionnel. Soucieux de renouer le fil du dialogue et d’accélérer le retour à l’ordre dans l’archipel, le chef de l’État a toutefois exclu de revenir sur le résultat des trois référendum qui ont acté le maintien de l’archipel dans la République. Emmanuel Macron a débuté jeudi 23 mai au matin sa visite éclair en Nouvelle-Calédonie en souhaitant un retour “le plus vite possible” à “la paix, au calme, à la sécurité”, mais aussi au “dialogue” après une semaine d’émeutes qui ont laissé l’archipel profondément meurtri et dans l’impasse politique. “Ma volonté (..) est d'être aux côtés de la population pour que le plus vite possible, ce soit le retour à la paix, au calme, à la sécurité. C’est la priorité des priorités”, a déclaré le chef de l’État dès sa descente de l’avion à l’aéroport de Nouméa. Quant à l’état d’urgence en vigueur depuis une semaine, il “pense” qu’il “ne devrait pas être prolongé” au-delà des 12 jours légaux, à condition que “tous les dirigeants” de l’archipel “appellent à lever les barrages”.

ASIA TIMES (HONG KONG, CHINA): Indonesia’s president-elect, Prabowo Subianto, won February’s presidential election in a landslide victory of nearly 59% of the nationwide vote, more than double his nearest challenger. But his party, Gerindra, fell far short of a majority in the parliamentary elections that took place at the same time. Gerindra was founded by Prabowo and its political fortunes are inseparable from his personal popularity. Yet, the party won just 14.8% of the seats in Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR). And even the addition of all the parties that supported Probowo’s presidential candidacy only brings his numbers up to 48% of the seats in the assembly. This support is also not a given when it comes to legislation or approval of budgetary allocations. Under Indonesia’s presidential system, Prabowo does not need a parliamentary majority to stay in office, but a troublesome parliament would be a major impediment for his government.

HINDUSTAN TIMES (INDIA): America will send Indian astronaut to International Space Station by year-end. US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has said America will send an Indian astronaut to the International Space Station by the end of this year. The NISAR project, a joint Earth-observing mission between US space agency NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation , is also likely to be launched by the end of the year, Garcetti said on Wednesday. “We are going to put an Indian astronaut into the International Space Station this year,” he said.