All posts by WorldNG

25May/22

Delegations from Sweden, Finland Hold NATO Talks in Turkey

Senior officials from Sweden and Finland held some five hours of talks with Turkish counterparts in Ankara on Wednesday in an effort to overcome Turkey’s strong objections to the Nordic nations’ bids to join NATO.  Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join NATO last week. The move represents one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of Russia’s war in Ukraine and could rewrite Europe’s security map.  Turkey has said it opposes the countries’ membership in the Western military alliance, citing grievances with Sweden’s — and a to a lesser extent Finland’s — perceived support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party,…

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25May/22

Pope ‘Heartbroken’ by Texas School Shooting, Calls for Gun Control  

Pope Francis on Wednesday said he was “heartbroken” by the shooting at a school in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two teachers, calling for greater controls on weapons. The crowed in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience applauded his appeal, made a day after worst school shooting in the United States in nearly a decade. “I am heartbroken by the massacre at the elementary school in Texas. I pray for the children and the adults who were killed and for their families,” Francis said of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. “It is time to say…

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25May/22

UK’s Johnson ‘Humbled’ But Wants to Move on From ‘Partygate’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior officials bear responsibility for a culture of rule-breaking that resulted in several parties that breached the U.K.’s COVID-19 lockdown rules, a report into the events said Wednesday. Revelations that Johnson and his staff repeatedly flouted the rules they imposed on others have elicited outrage in Britain and led to calls from opponents for the prime minister to resign. Johnson said he took “full responsibility for everything that took place” but that he would not step down. In her report into the “partygate” scandal, senior civil servant Sue Gray said the “senior leadership…

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25May/22

Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 25

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine. The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT: 4:30 a.m.: Lithuania’s defense ministry said Wednesday that it will transfer 20 M113 armored personnel carriers, military trucks and de-mining vehicles to Ukraine.       “The coordinated help from us and the allies is the deciding factor for the Ukrainian victory,” Reuters reported, citing defense minister Arvydas Anusauskas’ statement. The vehicles are worth a total of 15.5 million euros, said the ministry. Previously, Lithuania has provided military support to Ukraine worth 100 million euros, the report added.   …

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25May/22

US to End Russia’s Ability to Pay International Investors

The U.S. will close the last avenue for Russia to pay its billions in debt back to international investors on Wednesday, making a Russian default on its debts for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution all but inevitable. The Treasury Department said in a notification that it does not plan to renew the license to allow Russia to keep paying its debtholders through American banks. Since the first rounds of sanctions, the Treasury Department has given banks a license to process any bond payments from Russia. That window expires at midnight May 25. There had already been signs that…

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24May/22

Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Campaigners See No Misuse of Western Military Aid

Prominent Ukrainian anti-corruption campaigners say they have seen no signs that their armed forces are misusing Western military supplies in the three months since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a country long perceived as among the world’s most corrupt. The head of the Ukrainian government’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP), Oleksandr Novikov, told VOA in a May 17 interview that his counterparts at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), a sister agency, had not opened any new investigations into high level corruption in the Ukrainian military since the full-scale Russian invasion started on February 24. Novikov’s NACP, one…

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24May/22

Hungary’s Government Gets Emergency Powers Due to Ukraine War, PM Orban Says

Hungary’s government will assume emergency powers in order to be able to respond more quickly to challenges created by the war in neighboring Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a Facebook video on Tuesday. Orban, who won a fourth consecutive term in an election on April 3, has used the special legal order in the past, once due to Europe’s migration crisis and later during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new state of emergency similarly empowers Orban’s government to approve measures by decree. “The world is on the brink of an economic crisis,” Orban also said in the video, reiterating…

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24May/22

Ukraine Calls for Faster Weapons Deliveries

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba Tuesday urged other governments to send more weapons more quickly to aid Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces. “Too early to conclude that Ukraine already has all the arms it needs,” Kuleba tweeted Tuesday. “Russian offensive in the Donbas is a ruthless battle, the largest one on European soil since WWII. I urge partners to speed up deliveries of weapons and ammunition, especially MLRS, long-range artillery, APCs.” Britain’s defense ministry said Tuesday that Russian forces have increased the intensity of their operations in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine as they try to encircle multiple cities,…

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24May/22

Navalny’s Appeal of 9 Year Jail Sentence Denied in Moscow 

A Moscow court has upheld a nine-year prison term for opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who is already behind bars for a previous conviction he and his supporters have called politically motivated. Navalny took part in the Tuesday hearing via a video link from a prison in the Vladimir region. The Kremlin critic used his final statement in court to condemn the Russian authorities for launching the ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and reiterated his previous statements that all of the charges against him are politically motivated. Navalny was handed the sentence on March 22 after the court found him guilty…

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24May/22

Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 24

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine. The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT: 4:30 a.m.: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged other governments to send more weapons more quickly to aid Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces.   4:00 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden met with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, Tuesday and said the conflict in Ukraine “is more than just a European issue, it’s a global issue.” Citing the widespread effects of the conflict, including on the global food supply, Biden pledged ongoing U.S. support, saying,…

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24May/22

Turkey Closes in on Kurdish Militants, Threatening Regional Shake Up

Turkey is vowing to crush the presence of the Kurdish militant group PKK in Iraq. The PKK has used neighboring Iraq as the main base in its war for greater minority rights in Turkey. But as the Turkish military closes in on the PKK, analysts warn that the Kurdish group could turn to Iran, with implications across the region, including US forces in Syria. Dorian Jones reports for VOA from Istanbul. …

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24May/22

France’s New Education Minister Sparks Surprise, Controversy 

At his swearing-in ceremony, new Education Minister Pap Ndiaye paid tribute to the nation’s teachers, singling out Samuel Paty, killed by an Islamist extremist in 2020. Ndiaye described himself as a symbol of meritocracy and diversity. Rather than feeling proud, he said, he assumed his new job with a sense of duty and responsibility. The 57-year-old Ndiaye is a longtime university professor and expert on the history of minorities and rights movements in both France and the United States. Last year, he was tapped to head France’s National Museum of the History of Immigration. “It was unexpected, obviously, but it…

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24May/22

Spain’s Ex-King Visits Son in Madrid for First Time in Two Years

Scandal-tainted former Spanish King Juan Carlos I visited his son and current monarch Felipe VI in Madrid on Monday, during a brief but controversial trip home after almost two years in self-imposed exile. The meeting came at the end of the former king’s first visit to Spain since he moved to the United Arab Emirates in August 2020. Spanish media said Juan Carlos’s fleeting visit followed months of intense negotiations between his staff, the royal household and the government, which was vehemently opposed to him staying at Madrid’s Zarzuela Palace. Juan Carlos was for decades revered for his role in…

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24May/22

Turkey’s Erdogan Says He Will No Longer Talk to Greek PM 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday he would cease talking to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and cancel a key meeting between their two governments, accusing the Greek leader of antagonizing Turkey. In a televised address following a Cabinet meeting, Erdogan accused neighboring Greece of harboring followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey says was behind a 2016 failed coup attempt, and of establishing military bases against Turkey. Gulen has long denied the Turkish allegation. Erdogan then went on to accuse Mitsotakis of recommending to U.S. officials that Washington not sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey during…

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23May/22

Russian UN Envoy Quits in Protest of Ukraine Invasion

A veteran Russian diplomat to the United Nations office in Geneva resigned Monday because he said he was “so ashamed” of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine three months ago. In a rare, but not unprecedented protest within the Russian diplomatic corps, Boris Bondarev, 41, handed in his resignation in a letter addressed to Ambassador Gennady Gatilov and then released a scathing denunciation of the Russian war effort. “The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people,” Bondarev said, “but also perhaps the…

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23May/22

Who is Buying Russia’s Oil?

So far, Russia’s oil exports have not slowed down a bit from the war in Ukraine and international sanctions. In fact, Russia exported more oil in April than it did before the war. And high oil prices mean Moscow is raking in money. That’s one reason Europe is considering a Russian oil ban: Current sanctions are not hurting Moscow enough. Europe gets more of its oil from Russia than anywhere else. It would have to make up for those banned barrels somewhere else, and that won’t be easy. And it’s likely to push oil prices everywhere up even further. …

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23May/22

German Chancellor Scholz Kicks off Africa Trip in Senegal

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country is interested in a major gas exploitation project in Senegal as he began a three-nation visit to Africa on Sunday that also is focused on the geopolitical consequences of the war in Ukraine. Senegal is believed to have significant deposits of natural gas along its border with Mauritania at a time when Germany and other European countries are trying to reduce their dependence on importing Russian gas. “We have begun exchanges and we will continue our efforts at the level of experts because it is our wish to achieve progress,” Scholz said at…

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23May/22

Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 23

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine. The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT: 4:30 a.m.: The energy security crisis wrought after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must not lead a deeper dependence on fossil fuels, International Energy (IEA) chief Fatih Birol told the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday, Reuters reported.    The right investments, especially in renewable energy and nuclear power, mean the world need not choose between energy shortages and accelerated climate change due to fossil fuel emissions, Birol told delegates in Davos, Switzerland.  3:30 a.m.: Poland has decided…

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23May/22

Cannes: Transylvania-set ‘R.M.N.’ Probes a Ubiquitous Crisis

Cristian Mungiu’s Cannes Film Festival entry “R.M.N.” is set in an unnamed mountainous Transylvanian village in Romania, but the conflicts of ethnocentricity, racism and nationalism that permeate the multi-ethnic town could take place almost anywhere. Of all the films competing for the top Palme d’Or prize at Cannes, none may be quite as of the moment as “R.M.N.” The movie, using a Romanian microcosm, captures the us-vs-them battles that have played out across Europe and beyond, wherever immigration and national identities have collided. Mungiu, the celebrated Romanian filmmaker of the landmark 2007 abortion drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2…

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23May/22

Explainer: Why Will Russia’s Ukraine War Affect Wimbledon?

The usual trophies and prize money will be on the line for Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek and other top players at Wimbledon, but there is a significant change there this year: No one will earn ranking points, a valuable currency in tennis, when play begins June 27. The women’s and men’s professional tours announced Friday they will not award those points at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament because of the All England Club’s decision to bar players from Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine. Both the WTA and ATP said they were reacting to what they called “discrimination.”…

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