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Angela Merkel says ‘absolutely not’ planning 5th term

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she is “absolutely not” planning to stand for reelection to a fifth term despite her overwhelming popularity.

“No, absolutely not,” Merkel told reporters from public broadcaster ZDF, saying her decision was “very firm”.

The 65-year-old chancellor enjoys unparallelled popularity in her home country, with 71 percent of people saying they were satisfied with her performance in a poll for public broadcaster ARD also published Thursday.

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Her ratings have climbed as Germany has suffered comparatively less than some European neighbours through the coronavirus crisis.

Merkel’s conservative CDU party is set to elect a new leader at the end of 2020 who would then become presumptive candidate to succeed her in the chancellery at federal elections in autumn next year.

Without a political office to keep him in the public eye, the star of her historic rival Friedrich Merz has lost some of its shine.

Other candidates include Armin Laschet, premier of Germany’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia.

Meanwhile some observers have highlighted the strongman performance of Bavarian premier Markus Soeder through the pandemic, who as chief of the CDU’s regional CSU allies could also throw his hat into the federal ring come next year.

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Legal experts weigh in on Supreme Court rulings on Trump’s financial records

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The U.S. Supreme Court, on July 9, handed down two anxiously awaited decisions dealing with access to President Donald Trump’s financial records — one in Trump v. Vancethe other in Trump v. Mazars.

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Megachurch denies throwing ‘COVID-19 parties’ after death of Florida teen

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A Florida megachurch at the center of a major controversy surrounding the death of a local teenager is denying claims that it was throwing "COVID-19 parties."

The Christian Post reports that the First Assembly of God, a church based in Fort Myers, Florida, is denying claims that it held mass gatherings for teenage parishioners in which they were not required to wear face masks or socially distance.

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Humanity on track to soon hit 1.5ºC Paris Accord limit as atmospheric CO2 nears level not seen in 15 million years

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"It's still not too late to avoid the worst effects of the #ClimateEmergency. But governments need to act NOW," tweeted Greenpeace.

As a United Nations agency released new climate projections showing that the world is on track in the next five years to hit or surpass a key limit of the Paris agreement, authors of a new study warned Thursday that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is nearing a level not seen in 15 million years.

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