3 minutes | Mar 24, 2023
March 24, 2023
*) Ukraine prepares counteroffensive as Russia's assault on Bakhmut flags Ukraine's top ground forces commander Oleksandr Syrskyi has said his forces would soon begin a counter offensive after withstanding Russia's brutal winter campaign. He said Russia's Wagner mercenaries, who have been at the front line of Moscow's assault on eastern and southern Ukraine, "are losing considerable strength and are running out of steam". However, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that without a faster supply of arms from Europe, the war could last years. *) North Korea tests new underwater 'nuclear attack drone' North Korea has tested a new nuclear underwater attack drone this week, according to state news agency KCNA, as a US amphibious assault ship arrived in South Korea for joint drills. The drone system designed to unleash a "radioactive tsunami" is intended to make sneak attacks in enemy waters and destroy naval striker groups and major operational ports, KCNA said. The state news agency also confirmed the firing of cruise missiles during the weapons test and firing drill that took place from Tuesday to Thursday. *) Burundi army contingent takes over areas vacated by M23 rebels in DRC Troops from the Burundi National Defense Forces deployed under the East African Community Regional Force have taken over three villages that had been occupied by M23 rebels. The withdrawal of the rebels is in compliance with a communique of the East Africa Community Heads of State, marking a significant milestone towards restoring peace and stability in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The M23 rebel group, which was formed in 2012 by disgruntled Congolese militants who wanted to be enlisted in the national army, has often attacked areas in eastern DRC. In June last year, they attacked areas in eastern DRC and occupied them until recently. *) 'Discussion under way' between Saudi Arabia, Syria over consular services Saudi Arabia and Syria are in talks on resuming consular services, Saudi state media have said, more than a decade after the Gulf kingdom cut ties with Bashar al Assad's regime. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in February that a consensus was building in the Arab world that a new approach to Syria would be needed to address humanitarian crises. Damascus has seen amplified Arab engagement since two earthquakes struck southeastern Türkiye and northern Syria on February 6. *) Biden in Canada to meet with Trudeau on issues including immigration, Haiti US President Joe Biden has arrived in Canada’s capital Ottawa for talks that will focus on a range of issues including immigration and defense co-operation. According to reports, Biden and Trudeau are expected to announce a deal that would restrict certain migrants from seeking protection in Canada as well as a new refugee admission program. Canada's contributions to the North American Air Defense Command and NATO as part of defense spending are also expected to be on the agenda.
3 minutes | Mar 23, 2023
March 23, 2023
*) Israel ratifies law limiting conditions for a possible Netanyahu ouster Israel has ratified a law limiting the circumstances in which a prime minister can be removed, despite worries voiced by a government jurist that it may be meant to shield the incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu from any fallout from his corruption trials. The amended definition for the "incapacity" of national leaders is among legislative measures by the religious-nationalist coalition that have tipped Israel into crisis, with the opposition arguing that judicial independence is in peril. The coalition says the overhaul is aimed at pushing back against Supreme Court over-reach and restoring balance among branches of government. *) California may become first US state to outlaw caste discrimination California may become the first US state to outlaw caste-based discrimination, a safeguard that people of South Asian descent, especially Indians, say is necessary to protect them from discrimination in housing, education and the tech sector where they hold key roles. State Senator Aisha Wahab, the first Muslim and Afghan American elected to the state legislature, introduced the bill on Wednesday. It adds caste — a division of people related to birth or descent — as a protected category in the state's anti-discrimination laws. *)Australia's Albanese appeals referendum voters to back Aboriginal 'voice' Australia's prime minister has made a tearful appeal to voters, asking them to support the creation of an Aboriginal "voice" in lawmaking as he announced the wording of the referendum question. Anthony Albanese said on Thursday Australians had a chance to make up for centuries of injustice, formally recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island groups, and give them a voice in decision-making at a vote later this year. This is "about how our nation sees ourselves. Whether we have the confidence to embrace our history", said Albanese, painting the vote as a chance for Australians to make their country fairer. *) Biden vows to support disaster-hit Türkiye, Syria, Pakistan in Ramadan wish US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden have marked the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, wishing Muslims worldwide "Ramadan Kareem." "We will continue to stand with the people of Türkiye and Syria — who have lost many loved ones during the recent devastating earthquakes — and with the people of Pakistan, who are rebuilding their lives following last summer's floods. "To my fellow Americans observing Ramadan, and to Muslims around the world: Ramadan Kareem — we wish you a blessed and peaceful Ramadan," said Biden. *) Qatari banker, British billionaire prepare fresh bids for Man Utd takeover The battle to buy Manchester United football club has heated up as Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe prepared to raise bids for the 20-time English champions. Both parties were expected to increase their initial offers on Wednesday after the submission deadline of 2100 GMT was extended by merchant bank Raine, which is assisting with the sale of the club, following confusion over the timing, the British media reported. It is also reported that Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe had been granted extensions to submit fresh bids.
3 minutes | Mar 22, 2023
March 22, 2023
*) Putin-Xi reach deal on Russian Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline to China Russia and China have reached an agreement on the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline, which will connect Siberia to northwest China, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. "All agreements have been reached," Putin said, adding that economic cooperation between Moscow and Beijing was a "priority" for Russia. The planned pipeline would deliver 50 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year from Russia to China via Mongolia. *) Israel annuls law that banned four occupied West Bank settlements Israeli parliament has repealed legislation that ordered the evacuation of four illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. This move is one of the first by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right coalition. The original law, passed in 2005, mandated the evacuation of four illegal Jewish settlements in the northern occupied West Bank along with Israel's disengagement from Gaza. The repeal would allow Jewish residents to return to these settlements on condition of approval by the Israeli military. *) Death toll climbs after strong earthquake jolts Pakistan, Afghanistan Death toll has climbed to 11 after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake rattled much of Pakistan and Afghanistan, sending panicked residents fleeing from homes and offices and frightening people even in remote villages. More than 100 people were brought to hospitals in the Swat valley region of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in a state of shock. The US Geological Survey said the centre of the magnitude 6.5 quake was located 40 kilometres south-southeast of Jurm in Afghanistan's mountainous Hindukush region, bordering Pakistan and Tajikistan. *) UN warns 'vampiric' water use leading to imminent global crisis Humanity's "lifeblood" - water - is increasingly at risk around the world due to "vampiric overconsumption and overdevelopment," the UN has warned in a report. The world is "blindly travelling a dangerous path" as "unsustainable water use, pollution and unchecked global warming are draining humanity's lifeblood," United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a foreword to the report, released hours ahead of the first major UN meeting on water resources in nearly half a century. Co-hosted by the governments of Tajikistan and the Netherlands, the UN Water Conference will gather some 6,500 participants, including 100 ministers and a dozen heads of state and government Wednesday through Friday in New York. *) Yellen says bank situation 'stabilising,' system is 'sound' Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is trying to project calm after regional bank failures, saying the US banking system is “sound” but additional rescue arrangements “could be warranted” if any new failures at smaller institutions pose a risk to financial stability. Silicon Valley Bank, based in Santa Clara, California, failed on March 10 after depositors rushed to withdraw money amid anxiety over the bank’s health. It was the second-largest bank collapse in US history.
3 minutes | Mar 21, 2023
March 21, 2023
*) Japan PM to meet Zelenskyy as Putin, Xi hold second day of talks Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are set to hold a second day of talks, as the Russian president said he was open to discussing China's proposals on the fighting in Ukraine. The sit-down was to be unexpectedly mirrored in Kiev, where Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was en route to meet Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Xi's trip to Moscow has been viewed as a major boost for his strategic partner Putin, who is subject to an International Criminal Court warrant over accusations of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children. *) NYPD tightens security fearing protests over likely Trump indictment New York police have tightened security ahead of a possible historic indictment of Donald Trump over hush money paid to an actress, with the ex-president calling for mass demonstrations if he is charged. Trump supporters attended a protest in America's financial capital on Monday evening though, as a grand jury weighs an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over the 2016 payment to Stormy Daniels. Trump would become the first former or sitting president to be charged with a crime if an indictment is filed. *) Nigeria's two big parties emerge strong after deadly governorship polls Nigeria's two biggest parties won the majority of states in weekend governorship polls, official figures have shown, maintaining their political dominance following elections in which European Union observers said 21 people died from violence. Voters were choosing governors in 28 of the country's 36 states to bring to an end this year's election cycle that began with disputed presidential and legislative elections last month. *) Erdogan lauds int'l solidarity as $7B pledged for quake-hit Türkiye, Syria Türkiye will never forget the solidarity displayed by the EU, the UN and other international organisations after the February 6 earthquakes, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a virtual address for the opening session of the International Donors' Conference, organised by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the EU Council to support victims affected by the devastating earthquakes in southern Türkiye. *) Biden signs bill to declassify US intelligence on Covid-19 origins US President Joe Biden signed a bill that requires Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to declassify information related to the origins of Covid-19, the White House has said. Biden said he shared Congress' goal of releasing as much information as possible about the origin of Covid-19. However, he said his administration would keep national security in mind when deciding what to release.
3 minutes | Mar 20, 2023
March 20, 2023
*) Russia hails China's willingness to resolve Ukraine conflict Russia's President Vladimir Putin has welcomed China's willingness to play a "constructive role" in ending the conflict in Ukraine, saying Sino-Russian relations were "at the highest point" in history. His Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping heads to Russia hoping to deliver a breakthrough on Ukraine as Beijing seeks to position itself as a peacemaker. The quality of ties between Moscow and Beijing is "higher than the political and military unions of the Cold War era", Putin said in an article written for a Chinese newspaper and published by the Kremlin on the eve of Xi's visit. *) Biden in call with Netanyahu expresses 'concern' over judicial reform plan US President Joe Biden has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express "concern” over his government’s planned overhaul of the country’s judicial system which has sparked widespread protests across Israel. The White House said on Sunday Biden reiterated US concerns about the measure to roll back the judiciary’s insulation from the country’s political system, in a call a senior administration official described as “candid and constructive.” There was no immediate indication that Netanyahu was shying away from the action after rejecting a compromise offered by the country’s figurehead president last week. *) North Korea's Kim supervises drills 'simulating a nuclear counterattack' North Korean leader Kim Jong-un led two days of military drills "simulating a nuclear counterattack", including the firing of a ballistic missile carrying a mock nuclear warhead, state news agency KCNA has reported. Kim expressed "satisfaction" over the weekend drills, which were held to "let relevant units get familiar with the procedures and processes for implementing their tactical nuclear attack missions", the report said on Monday. The drills were the fourth show of force from Pyongyang in a week and came as South Korea and the United States stage their own military manoeuvres - 11 days of joint drills known as Freedom Shield, their largest in five years. *) Governing party in Kazakhstan sweeps parliamentary election: exit polls Kazakhstan voted in a snap parliamentary election widely expected to cement President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's position and complete a reshuffle of the ruling elite that began after he fully assumed leadership last year. Exits polls showed the ruling Amanat party winning 53-54 percent of the vote, enough to retain a comfortable majority. Voter turnout stood at 54.2 percent, the Central Election Commission said. A stronger mandate will help Tokayev navigate through regional turmoil caused by Russia-Ukraine conflict and the subsequent damage to trade, investment and supply chains throughout the former Soviet Union. *) 'Jurassic Park' actor Sam Neill diagnosed with stage-three blood cancer Actor Sam Neill has revealed he is being treated for stage-three blood cancer, writing in a memoir that he was "possibly dying" from the illness diagnosed a year ago. The New Zealander, who burst to fame after starring as Dr Alan Grant in the 1993 blockbuster "Jurassic Park", said he began treatment last March. Neill, 75, makes the revelation in his book "Did I Ever Tell You This?", which is being released next week.
3 minutes | Mar 17, 2023
March 17, 2023
*) Ukraine vows to drag Russia into court Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed that those guilty of war crimes in Russia’s war against Ukraine will be brought to justice. Zelenskyy said Ukraine was carrying out legal processes and mobilising its allies to have Russia appear in the International Criminal Court, as well as in national courtrooms. Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilians, though the conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions, and pulverised Ukrainian cities. *) Israelis stage 'day of resistance' against judicial reforms Tens of thousands of protesters have returned to the streets of Israel to stage another day of resistance against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reforms. The fresh protests in Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem and Haifa came after Netanyahu rejected a compromise plan touted by the country's President Isaac Herzog. The judicial overhaul has raised concerns for Israel’s democracy, as it would upend the country's system of checks and balances and give the prime minister too much power. *) Erdogan hails Turkic world's solidarity after quakes Hosting the extraordinary summit of leaders of the Organization of Turkic States, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed the Turkic world’s solidarity after the deadly earthquakes in southern Türkiye. The Turkic world was among the first to help after the February 6 quakes, Erdogan said at the summit focusing on Disaster-Emergency Management and Humanitarian Assistance. You did not leave us alone in our most difficult moment. Our beloved nation will never forget your support, Erdogan told fellow heads of state. *) Cyclone Freddy kills hundreds in Malawia Rescuers in storm-ravaged Malawi have made a grim hunt for buried bodies after Cyclone Freddy struck the eastern African country, killing more than 300 people. Search and rescue efforts were a joint operation by the military and local inhabitants, who lacked sniffer dogs and were armed just with shovels. As the rains ceased for the first time in five days, rescuers dug up decomposing bodies from the mud and the debris of homes that had been swept away by the storm. *) Australian breaks record for world's longest surf Former surfing pro Blake Johnston has shredded the world record for the longest surfing session, catching waves for over 30 exhausting hours. The 40-year-old Australian broke down in tears at Sydney's Cronulla Beach after beating South African Josh Enslin's previous record of 30 hours 11 minutes. Johnston briefly thanked the crowd lining the beach during one of the short food and water breaks he was allowed, before paddling back out to try and push the record to 40 hours.
3 minutes | Mar 16, 2023
March 16, 2023
*) South Korea premier arrives in Japan to open 'new chapter' South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has arrived in Japan looking to open a "new chapter" in relations, just hours after North Korea fired a long-range ballistic missile. Yoon's two-day trip comes after Seoul this month announced a plan to compensate Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labour without any direct involvement by Tokyo. Reports suggest the visit could herald the restart of shuttle diplomacy, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida possibly inviting Yoon to the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May, and then visiting Seoul. *) Pakistan court postpones police operation to arrest Imran Khan A Pakistani high court has ordered police to postpone an operation to arrest former Prime Minister Imran Khan. A lower court in Islamabad had issued a warrant against Khan for defying orders to present himself in court over charges that he unlawfully sold state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries when he was prime minister. The court-ordered attempt to arrest Khan, which began on Tuesday, triggered clashes between his supporters and security forces in his Lahore neighbourhood, raising fears about Pakistan’s political stability *) IAEA says tonnes of uranium missing from Libya site beyond govt control UN nuclear watchdog inspectors have found that roughly 2.5 tonnes of natural uranium have gone missing from a Libyan site that is not under government control. In a statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it would carry out "further activities" to determine the circumstances of the uranium's removal from the site, which it did not name, and where it is now. The IAEA statement said: "The loss of knowledge about the present location of nuclear material may present a radiological risk, as well as nuclear security concerns". *) No signs of Ukraine withdrawing from Bakhmut - Russian official According to the Russian-installed leader of Ukraine's Donetsk region, the situation for Russian forces trying to capture the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is "difficult", because there are no signs Kiev is ready to order a withdrawal of its troops. Russia says capturing the city will allow it to launch more offensives deeper into Ukrainian territory which it says it is fighting to "liberate". The head of Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin has said his forces are in control of practically half the city and only one exit road remains available to Ukraine. *) Greek unions launch 24-hour walkout over train tragedy Greek unions have started a 24-hour walkout with demonstrations planned in major cities to voice outrage over last month's train disaster, which claimed 57 lives. The strike called by the country's leading private and public sector unions will disrupt transport and the civil service. The fatal crash occurred shortly before midnight on February 28 when a passenger train crashed head-on into a freight train in central Greece after both were mistakenly left running on the same track. The stationmaster and three other railway officials have been charged, but public anger has focused on long-running mismanagement of the network.
3 minutes | Mar 15, 2023
March 15. 2023
*) Some 1,000 Israeli figures urge Germany, UK to cancel Netanyahu visit In a letter addressed to the German and British ambassadors in Israel, some 1,000 Israeli figures have called on the European countries to cancel upcoming visits by Prime Minister Netanyahu. The group of writers, artists and intellectuals expressed their disapproval of Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul Israel's judicial system, saying he has put the country on a destructive course. Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Germany’s Chancellor on Thursday in Berlin, where Israeli expats say they are organising a large protest against their visiting prime minister. *) Russian jet collides with US drone over Black Sea: US military A Russian fighter jet has dumped fuel on an American drone over the Black Sea and then collided with it, causing the drone to crash, according to the US military. US European Command said that two Russian fighters intercepted the unmanned combat aerial vehicle over international waters and one clipped its propeller. Russia's defence ministry said it ordered the immediate take off of the jets following the detection of a US drone over the Black Sea but denied causing it to crash. The US State Department says it has summoned Russia's ambassador to protest the crash. *) Facebook parent Meta to lay off 10,000 more employees Facebook parent Meta is slashing another 10,000 jobs and will not fill 5,000 open positions as the social media pioneer cuts costs. The company said it would reduce the size of its recruiting team and make further cuts in its tech groups in late April, and then its business groups in late May. In February, Meta posted lower fourth-quarter profit and revenue, hurt by a downturn in the online advertising market and competition from rivals such as TikTok. *) Price set for Türkiye's first domestically-produced electric car TOGG T10X Türkiye's first indigenous electric car maker TOGG has unveiled the prices of its first model, with online pre-orders to begin later this week. The price of the standard range model T10X will start from about $50,200 to about $55,600, while the long-range model was priced at about $64,000. Pre-orders for the TOGG T10X will be taken online between March 16 to 27 and deliveries will start in late March. *) Galatasaray to play charity match against Qarabag to help quake victims Turkish football powerhouse Galatasaray will play a charity match against Azerbaijan's Qarabag on March 26 to help earthquake victims in Türkiye. Qarabag said that Galatasaray will visit them in a friendly match in Baku, and all proceeds from the match will be donated to those impacted by the February 6 quakes that killed over 48,000 people. Galatasaray is one of the many Turkish football clubs that have banded together to help with earthquake relief efforts.
2 minutes | Mar 14, 2023
March 14, 2023
*) Russia: 60-day extension of wartime grain deal acceptable Russia's deputy foreign minister said Moscow does not object to another extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative but only for 60 days. The deal was set to complete its second term on March 18. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin added that Russia’s future stance will be determined upon the tangible progress on normalisation of the country’s agricultural exports. *) US, Britain unveil nuclear-powered submarine plan for Australia The leaders of the United States, Australia and Britain revealed details of a plan to offer Australia nuclear-powered attack submarines. Under the deal, the United States intends to sell Australia three US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines in the early 2030s, with an option to buy two more if needed, a statement from the leaders said. *) Two dead, multiple injured after truck hits pedestrians in Canada's Quebec Two men died after a pickup truck hit pedestrians beside a road in the eastern Quebec town of Amqui. A provincial police spokesperson said that nine other people were injured, including two whose injuries are considered serious. The 38-year-old driver, a local resident, turned himself into police and was arrested under suspicion of committing a fatal hit and run, police further said. *) US private sector raises over $110M to aid Türkiye quake victims The US Chamber of Commerce has said the country's private sector raised more than $110 million for earthquake relief for Türkiye as the US-Türkiye Business Forum convened in Washington, DC. As the business people, diplomats and representatives from both Türkiye and the US gathered for the forum in the US capital, a minute of silence was held by the participants to honour the victims of the February 6 earthquakes. *) Amnesty decries rising police misuse of rubber bullets globally Amnesty International warned that police use of rubber bullets and other projectiles against protesters has become increasingly routine worldwide, leading to many eye injuries and even deaths. The group called for better global regulation of the trade and use of such policing equipment, also called for "less lethal weapons", after research in more than 30 countries over the past five years.
3 minutes | Mar 13, 2023
March 13, 2023
*) Casualties mount as Ukraine, Russia battle for Bakhmut rages Russian forces suffered more than 1,100 dead in less than a week of battles near the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the focal point of fighting in eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said. Zelenskyy said Russian forces had also sustained 1,500 "sanitary losses" - soldiers wounded badly enough to keep them out of further action. Russia has not responded to the Ukrainian claim. However, the Russian Defence Ministry had said earlier that up to 210 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the broader Donetsk part of the frontline. *) Deal with Iran does not mean 'all issues resolved': Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia has said that agreement to reestablish diplomatic relations with Iran "does not mean that all issues have been resolved". The agreement is an indication of the common desire to resolve issues through dialogue and diplomacy, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said. The minister noted that Saudi Arabia is preparing to restart relations with Iran in two months and that mutual visits can be made in the future. *) China's Xi highlights national security in congress closing speech In his first address since being handed a historic third term, China's President Xi Jinping emphasised the need to strengthen national security. Xi thanked the thousands of delegates at Beijing's Great Hall of the People for giving him a third term, vowing to "take the needs of the country as my mission, and the interests of the people as my yardstick". Xi became China's most powerful leader in generations last week when he was reappointed for another five years at the helm of the world's most populous nation, in a break with long-standing political precedent. *) US scrambles to prevent SVB collapse fallout, protects customer deposits Fourteen migrants from sub-Saharan Africa drowned off the coast of Sfax, Tunisia, after their boat sank, according to the country’s coastguard. 54 people were rescued. Tunisia has long been a springboard for Africans fleeing war and poverty to seek better lives in Europe, often on unseaworthy boats. The coastguard regularly intercepts boats carrying migrants in Tunisia’s territorial waters, part of the world's deadliest migration route. *)'Everything Everywhere All At Once' triumphs at Oscars with 7 wins Surreal sci-fi film "Everything Everywhere All at Once" dominated the Oscars, winning seven golden statuettes including best picture, Hollywood's most coveted prize. The unorthodox but beloved movie also won best director, best actress, best original screenplay, best editing, and both the best supporting actor and actress prizes on Sunday. Michelle Yeoh, who is Malaysian, became the first ever Asian woman to win best actress, for her portrayal of an exhausted Chinese laundromat owner embroiled in battle with an inter-dimensional supervillain - who happens to be her daughter.
3 minutes | Mar 10, 2023
March 10, 2023
*) Xi Jinping bags historic third term as president Xi Jinping has been handed a third term as China’s president, capping a rise that has seen him become the country's most powerful leader in generations. Nearly 3,000 members of National People's Congress voted unanimously for Xi, who had locked in another five years as head of the Communist Party and the military in October. 69-year-old Xi's coronation sets him up to become modern China's longest-serving president, and means he will rule well into his seventies — if no challenger emerges. *) Russia intentionally targeting nuclear facilities: Zelenskyy Ukraine has accused Russia of unleashing a barrage of high-precision missile and other attacks that have triggered a wave of electricity, heat, and water blackouts. Calling Russia a “terrorist state”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Europe's biggest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia was again disconnected from the power grid due to the attacks. Adding that Moscow is "deliberately" creating critical situations at nuclear facilities, Zelenskyy called for sanctions against Russian nuclear industry. *) Several dead in shooting in German city of Hamburg Several people have been killed in a shooting at a Jehovah's Witness centre in Hamburg, Germany, with the gunman believed to be among the dead. Police did not give an exact death toll, but several German media outlets said at least seven people had been killed and eight seriously injured. Police said there was no reliable information on the motive of the crime yet, while sounding the alarm for "extreme danger" in the area. Residents were urged to stay indoors. *) Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa drown off Tunisia Fourteen migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have drowned off the coast of Sfax, Tunisia, after their boat sank, according to the country’s coastguard. 54 people were rescued. Tunisia has long been a springboard for Africans fleeing war and poverty to seek better lives in Europe, often on unseaworthy boats. The coastguard regularly intercepts boats carrying migrants in Tunisia’s territorial waters, part of the world's deadliest migration route. *) Innocent Black murder convict walks free A Black man who spent more than eighteen years in prison for a murder he did not commit after being intentionally misidentified by the police has been freed from jail. New Yorker Sheldon Thomas was convicted over the 2004 fatal drive-by shooting of 14-year-old Anderson Bercy, whose real killer remains unknown. Thomas was arrested after a faulty witness identification. The witness was given the picture of another Sheldon Thomas by the United States police. An attorney said the detectives were intent on arresting Thomas and used the faulty identification as pretext. The mistake was then concealed by the police.
3 minutes | Mar 9, 2023
March 9, 2023
*) Saudi engineer walks free from Guantanamo prison after 21 years The United States has announced the release from Guantanamo military prison of a Saudi engineer seized over two decades ago as a suspect in the September 11 attacks. 48-year-old Ghassan Al Sharbi was detained in Pakistan in March 2002. The US military had weighed charges against Al Sharbi and several others but dropped them in 2008. Thirty-one detainees remain at Guantanamo, down from a peak of nearly 800. Of them, 17 are eligible for transfer. *) Soldiers say fall of Kabul was US failure with blame touching Bush to Biden Active-service members and veterans have provided firsthand testimony about the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, describing in detail the carnage they witnessed on the ground. The majority of witnesses argued to Congress that the fall of Kabul was an American failure with blame touching every presidential administration from George W. Bush to Joe Biden. The initial hearing was the first of what is expected to be a series of Republican-led hearings examining the Biden administration's handling of the withdrawal. *) Colombia, ELN rebels to hold next phase of peace talks in Cuba Colombia's government and National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels will hold a third round of talks in Cuba aimed at ending decades of armed conflict, the two sides have said. According to a statement, the dialogue has made "substantial progress" since resuming in Mexico on February 13, following a first round in Venezuela in November. The negotiators reported late last month that the Colombian government had recognised the National Liberation Army (ELN) as a political organisation in order to advance the process. *) Damning probe finds US police in Louisville discriminate against Black residents An investigation conducted by the US Justice Department has found that American police in the Louisville city of Kentucky state routinely discriminate against Black residents. The report comes nearly two years after US Attorney General Merrick Garland launched the investigation into the department whose officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor. The investigation found a wide-ranging pattern of misconduct by police, including the use of excessive force and the conduct of illegal searches. And finally… *) Netherlands announces plans to curb tech exports after US pressure The Dutch government has announced plans for new export restrictions on technology to make computer chips, following pressure from the United States to restrict Chinese access. The Netherlands, Europe's premier maker of the machines that help manufacture microchips, has been pushed to impose curbs similar to those announced by Washington last year. The government said the aim of the export controls was to prevent military use, and to protect the Netherlands' "unique and leading position".
3 minutes | Mar 8, 2023
March 8, 2022
*) Israeli army storms occupied West Bank's Jenin city, kills six Palestinians The Israeli army has stormed the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, killing at least six Palestinians and wounding 10 others, according to Palestinian health officials. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified one of the fatalities as 26-year-old Mohammed Ghazawi. The ministry later announced five other Palestinians were shot and killed, without giving further details. At least 26 Palestinians were also wounded during the raid, the ministry said, three of them seriously. The Israeli army said two of its soldiers were lightly wounded. *) Zelenskyy says his armed forces are resolved to stay in Bakhmut Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the Russian army would have an "open road" into eastern Ukraine if it captures the besieged city of Bakhmut. Zelenskyy told CNN that Ukraine understands that after Bakhmut Russians could go further to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk opening the road for them to other Ukrainian towns. Zelenskyy said that his armed forces were resolved to stay in Bakhmut. *) Over 232,000 buildings damaged or fit for demolition after Türkiye quakes More than 232 thousand buildings have been severely damaged or should be demolished immediately in southern Türkiye after the powerful earthquakes that struck the region, the country's environment minister Murat Kurum said. Authorities examined more than 1.7 million buildings composed of over 5.7 million independent sections in the quake-hit provinces. The damage assessment was completed in Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Adiyaman, Osmaniye, and Kilis provinces, Kurum added. *) Millions join protests in France over Macron’s pension reform More than a million people marched in France and strikes disrupted transport and schools during mass protests against President Emmanuel Macron's plans to push back the retirement age to 64. Union organisers put the figure of the protesters at 3.5 million. Police used tear gas in Paris and some clashes took place in the western city of Nantes, but more than 260 union-organised rallies across the country were mostly peaceful. And finally… *) UNESCO-listed Mount Nemrut statues survive Türkiye quakes Several monumental stone heads located in Mount Nemrut and other UNESCO-listed statues in southeastern Türkiye have survived despite the powerful earthquakes. Fresh footage showed the massive heads, each weighing tonnes, on the eastern face of the mountain in Adiyaman province. Irfan Cetinkaya, head of a culture and tourism association, noted that the quake caused severe damage in the region adding that the statues on Mount Nemrut were not affected by the tremors.”
3 minutes | Mar 7, 2023
March 7, 2023
*) Zelenskyy vows not to retreat from Bakhmut Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has instructed the army to bolster defences in the embattled city of Bakhmut, which has become a symbolic prize in the war with Russia. Amid Moscow’s three-sided assault to try and finish off Bakhmut’s resistance, Zelenskyy said there was no part of Ukraine that could be abandoned. The president’s top adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukrainian forces around the city have been grinding down enemy forces and reinforcing their positions. *) US' downing test missiles will be 'declaration of war': DPRK The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has warned that any move by the United States to shoot down Pyongyang’s test missiles would be a declaration of war. According to state media KCNA, Kim Yo-Jong blamed a joint military exercise between the US and South Korea for growing tensions. Kim warned that the North was ready to take quick, overwhelming action against the allies, while also hinting that they could fire more missiles into the Pacific Ocean. *) Turkish opposition announces presidency candidate Türkiye’s opposition alliance has named the chairman of the Republican People’s Party as their joint candidate for the upcoming presidential election. 74-year-old politician Kemal Kilicdaroglu will represent the six-party bloc in the election which is expected to be held on May 14th. *) Afghan universities reopen without women Afghan universities have reopened after a winter break, but only men returned to class, with a ban on women receiving higher education still in force. The university ban is one of several restrictions on women as the Taliban has effectively squeezed women out of public life since storming back to power in August 2021. The Taliban has sparked global outrage with its treatment of women and girls, and no country has so far officially recognised them as Afghanistan's legitimate rulers. *) Neymar to undergo season-ending surgery French football club Paris Saint-Germain has announced that Brazilian player Neymar will undergo a season-ending surgery on his damaged right ankle. According to the Qatari-backed club, Neymar will be operated on in the coming days at a hospital in Doha following his latest sprain during a match on February 20. He will be out for up to four months, and will miss the PSG's Champions League match at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
3 minutes | Mar 6, 2023
March 6, 2023
*) Azerbaijan: Soldiers killed after Armenian provocation Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry has reported at least two Azerbaijani soldiers were killed after Armenian forces opened fire in the disputed Karabakh region. Azerbaijani soldiers tried to stop and check Armenian vehicles suspected of carrying illegal military transports to Karabakh, when shots were fired by the Armenian forces and a clash erupted. According to the local media, three Armenian police officers have died in the clash. *) Stationmaster charged over Greece train crash A stationmaster accused of causing Greece's deadliest train disaster has been charged with negligent homicide and jailed pending trial. The 59-year-old stationmaster allegedly directed a passenger train and a freight train travelling in opposite directions onto the same track. At least 57 people, many of them in their teens and 20s, were killed when the trains collided late on Tuesday in central Greece. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologised for any responsibility the country’s government may bear for the tragedy. *) Rohingya camp fire renders thousands shelterless In southeastern Bangladesh, a fire has destroyed 2,000 shelters at a Rohingya refugee camp, leaving around 12,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals shelterless. The fire rapidly engulfed camp number 11 in Kutupalong, one of the world's largest refugee settlements, according to Bangladesh's refugee commissioner. At least 35 mosques and 21 learning centres for the refugees were destroyed alongside the bamboo-and-tarpaulin shelters, though there were no reports of injuries or deaths. *) More schoolgirls reportedly poisoned in Iran More Iranian schoolgirls have been reported poisoned in several provinces, sparking calls for authorities to act amid growing concern among parents. The latest spate of poisonings affected dozens of schoolgirls who were taken to local hospitals for treatment, local news agencies reported. Since late November, hundreds of cases have been reported with at least 52 schools targeted around Iran, according to an official tally published on Saturday. *) Police reach Pakistan's former PM Khan's residence to arrest him Islamabad police have entered Pakistan's former Premier Imran Khan's residence in the northeastern Lahore city to arrest him. The court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Khan in the federal capital on February 28th, in connection with the illegal purchase and sale of gifts. Khan, the country's only premier who was ousted through a no-trust vote, is facing a slew of cases against him, including terrorism, attempted murder and money laundering. Most of the cases, which Khan dubs a "sham," have been lodged after his ouster.
3 minutes | Mar 3, 2023
March 3, 2023
*) Argentina withdraws from Falkland Islands pact with UK Argentina has walked away from a cooperation pact with the United Kingdom and demanded new talks with London over the sovereignty of the disputed Falkland Islands. At the G20 summit in India on Thursday, Argentinian Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero informed UK counterpart James Cleverly that his government was abandoning the pact. Argentina believes the islands known as the Malvinas were illegally taken from it in 1833 and invaded the British colony in 1982. The United Kingdom sent troops and Argentina lost the two-month war for the South Atlantic archipelago in a conflict that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers. *) More than 200 killed, nearly 700 wounded in Somaliland clashes More than 200 people lost their lives in over 24 days of clashes between security forces and clans in a disputed part of Somalia's breakaway Somaliland region, an official has said. The mayor of the contested town, Abdirahim Ali Ismail told a press conference on Thursday that 210 civilians were killed and 680 others wounded in the fighting. Somaliland has claimed independence from Somalia since 1991 but has never been recognised internationally. *) Gaza warns of 'environmental catastrophe' as landfill fire rages Gaza officials have called for international help to extinguish a fire that started in a landfill in a village near the fence with Israel, saying it could last for days and cause an environmental catastrophe. A large cloud of heavy smoke billowed into the sky as night fell on Thursday, and there was a strong smell of burning rubbish across Gaza City. The fire started southeast of Gaza City, near the separation fence, for reasons that have yet to be confirmed, according to the Gaza municipality *) 'Messi, we're waiting for you': Gunmen threaten football star Lionel Messi Two gunmen on motorcycles have shot at a supermarket belonging to the family of Antonella Roccuzzo, wife of Lionel Messi, in Rosario, in Argentina's Santa Fe province, local media and the city's mayor reported. A threatening hand-written message for 35-year-old Messi, Argentina's captain and seven-times World Player of the Year, was also left on the shop door on Thursday. "Messi, we are waiting for you, (Pablo) Javkin (the mayor) is also a narco (drug trafficker), he is not going to take care of you," it read. And finally… *) Over 1,500 pets have been rescued so far since the twin earthquakes hit southern Türkiye Over 1,500 pets have been rescued so far since the twin earthquakes hit southern Türkiye, a non-profit organisation has said. More than three weeks after the deadly earthquake in Türkiye, the animal rescue team from Humane Society International is still finding dogs and cats alive in abandoned apartments, damaged buildings or wandering the streets. The animal charity estimates that more than 1,500 animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, goldfish, a rooster, budgies, reptiles and more ― have been brought to receive medical care at the three main veterinary field clinics.
3 minutes | Mar 2, 2023
March 2, 2023
This is TRT World’s Daily News Brief for Thursday, March 2nd. *) UN scrambles to reunite families after Turkey-Syria quake Reuniting children with their missing families has become the UN’s top priority in the aftermath of last month's massive earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said that the first challenge is figuring out if the children’s parents are alive. The Turkish minister for family affairs said more than 1,800 “unaccompanied children” have been reunited with their families since the quake. Efforts are under way to identify 83 other children and reunite them with family members. *) Israelis stage 'national disruption day' Weeks of anti-government protests in Israel have turned violent after Israeli police fired stun grenades and water cannons at demonstrators who blocked a Tel Aviv highway. Thousands of protesters across the country staged a "national disruption day," the latest in a string of mass protests against the Netanyahu-led government's judicial reforms. Protesters shouted "Where were you in Hawara?" at policemen, referring to Sunday's rampage by Jewish settlers through Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank. *) 'Global governance has failed': Indian PM Modi at G20 meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that multilateral institutions had failed to meet the world's most pressing challenges while opening the G20 foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi. Russia's offensive in Ukraine is set to dominate the meeting of the world's top diplomats. Modi pointed to financial crises, climate change, pandemic, terrorism and wars over the last few years as proof of the failure of global governance. *) Greece seeks answers over deadliest train tragedy A station master on duty during Greece's deadliest train accident is to testify in the central city of Larissa over the disaster that claimed 38 lives. The 59-year-old will appear before a prosecutor to explain how a passenger train with over 350 people on board was allowed to run on the same line as a freight train for several kilometres. The two trains collided near a tunnel outside Larissa before midnight on Tuesday. Two carriages were crushed and a third caught fire, trapping people inside. And finally… *) Fundraising campaign for quake-hit Türkiye collects nearly $45M in donations A fundraising campaign for the victims of last month’s devastating earthquakes in Türkiye has received $44.8 million from benefactors on the first day of the event. Famous sports figures such as Kylian Mbappe, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Ruud Gullit, Mikel Arteta and Arsene Wenger supported the 'shoulder-to-shoulder’ fundraising campaign, which is set to run until June 15. European Club Association (ECA) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi also donated over $2 million to Türkiye quake victims.
2 minutes | Mar 1, 2023
March 1, 2023
*) Erdogan promises 300,000 homes in quake-hit region Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to reconstruct and revive the country's quake-hit southern region. Erdogan promised that Türkiye would start the construction of 309,000 houses throughout the earthquake zone in a few months. Other parts of our country that also face the threat of devastating quakes will also be transformed. The powerful twin earthquakes on February 6th have killed over 45,000 people in Türkiye. *) Deadly train collision in central Greece In central Greece, at least 32 people have been killed and 85 injured after a passenger train collided with a cargo train. Multiple carriages were derailed and at least three burst into flames after the collision. While the fire had been put out, the cause of the accident was not confirmed. The fire brigade said rescue operations were ongoing under very difficult conditions due to the severity of the collision, which happened some 380 kilometres north of Athens. *) Russia hammers Ukraine's Bakhmut Moscow’s forces have stepped up their weeks-long drive to encircle the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut as the Russian offensive enters its 371st day. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the intensity of fighting was "only increasing" near the frontline city, which has seen months of heavy battles. *) Tinubu wins Nigeria presidential election Nigeria's ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu has won the weekend presidential election after defeating two of his closest rivals. The Independent National Electoral Commission confirmed that Tinubu passed the benchmark of 25 percent of votes in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states and capital. Tinubu, candidate for the All Progressives Congress party, won 8.8 million votes while his runner up from opposition Peoples Democratic Party secured 6.9 million votes. *) Croatia's Modric donates World Cup jersey to quake victims Croatian national football team captain Luka Modric has donated his 2022 World Cup jersey to earthquake victims in Türkiye. All the proceeds from the sale of the number 10 jersey, worn in the 2022 World Cup opener against Morocco, are to go to disaster victims. Addressing the Turkish people in a video message on Twitter, Modric said: Stay strong, we are all with you and we are praying for you.
3 minutes | Feb 28, 2023
February 28, 2023
This is TRT World’s Daily News Brief for Tuesday, February 28th. *) Turkish president pledges to preserve fabric of quake-hit historical provinces Türkiye's president has promised not to allow major changes to the fabric of the country's southern provinces amid efforts to rebuild from the devastation caused by two powerful earthquakes earlier this month. Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged that his government will take the necessary steps to prepare cities for future disasters, saying that construction would not be allowed in areas near fault lines or areas prone to soil liquefaction. The president also ruled out high-rise buildings in old settlements and repeated his promise to mend the damage caused by the earthquakes within the span of a year. *) Egypt showed friendship, fraternity in 'difficult times,' says Türkiye Hailing the solidarity Egypt displayed immediately after Türkiye’s deadly earthquakes, the Turkish foreign minister has said that the two countries were "opening a new chapter in relations." Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited the southern quake-hit Adana and neighbouring Mersin provinces on Monday along with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. Cavusoglu said he and Shoukry addressed ways to further develop ties in a bilateral meeting at Adana's Sakirpasa Airport. *) Russia fights to encircle Ukraine's defenders in Bakhmut Russian forces have pressed their offensive in eastern Ukraine as they attempt to encircle the small mining city of Bakhmut - a frontline city in the Donetsk province. "The enemy is constantly destroying everything that can be used to protect our positions for fortification and defence…," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. Russian President Vladimir Putin identified Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces as a focus from the outset of the conflict. Moscow-backed separatists have fought in the region since 2014. *) West African bloc urges candidates to accept election results in Nigeria Election observers from the Economic Community of West African States have urged candidates in Nigeria’s February 25 elections to respect the outcome of the polls. Results from 11 states released by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday show the ruling All Progressives Party leading. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party have been calling for the cancellation of the polls, citing reported cases of violence and the late arrival of voting materials. And finally… *) Twitter cuts more staff as Musk woes multiply Reports of more layoffs at Twitter have landed as owner Elon Musk waded into a racism controversy that risked pushing advertisers further away from the struggling platform. Musk called US media "racist" after multiple newspapers announced they would stop publishing a popular comic strip whose creator called Black people a hate group. Like Musk, the creator of the long-running "Dilbert" comic strip, Scott Adams, has increasingly stoked controversy with his views on social issues. The controversy came as the New York Times reported that Twitter had laid off at least 200 employees, or 10 percent of its already decimated workforce.
3 minutes | Feb 27, 2023
February 27, 2023
*) UN human rights session opens More than 100 heads of state and ministers are set to take part in the week-long United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva. The session focuses on issues ranging from Russia's alleged war crimes in Ukraine to China's reported mistreatment of its Muslim minority. A UN report published last year found that the detention of Uighurs and other Muslims by China may constitute crimes against humanity. Beijing denies any abuses. *) Nigeria awaits first election results Nigeria has announced initial results on Sunday after a tight election for the presidency of Africa's most populous nation. The election pits former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress against former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party. A surprise third-party candidate, Labour Party's Peter Obi, has challenged the APC and PDP dominance with a message of change and an appeal to younger voters. Announcing first results state by state, the Independent National Electoral Commission said APC' s Tinubu easily won southwestern Ekiti state with PDP coming second. *) Israeli premier says will not freeze building settlements in West Bank Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said there will be no change in the plan to build illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu’s remarks came following a meeting held in Jordan on Sunday, with the participation of Palestine, Israel, Jordan, the US and Egypt. According to Jordan’s foreign ministry, Israel had committed to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months and to stop authorisation of any military outposts for 6 months. The Israeli premier denied such reports. *) British premier, EU chief to meet amid talks on Northern Ireland UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will hold face-to-face talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as the two sides seek a deal to resolve post-Brexit talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol. In a joint statement, the leaders said they will continue to work towards shared and practical solutions to the longstanding issue. Sunak on Wednesday said any deal needs to ensure sovereignty for Northern Ireland and safeguard its place in the union. *) Football fans shower field with toys for children in quake-hit Türkiye Istanbul football club Besiktas fans have thrown thousands of stuffed toys on the field in a show of solidarity with children who were affected by the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye. Sunday's Besiktas game was paused at 4 minutes 17 seconds after the kick off in memory of the earthquake which struck at 4.17 am local time on February 6, killing at least 44,374 people. The Turkish football team started the campaign, asking fans to bring stuffed toys to be donated to the affected children.