March 29, 2023
*) Taiwan president heads to US, Central America amid China's threats
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Wed, 29 Mar 2023 08:28:27 +0000
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is set to leave for the United States, a stop on her way to firm ties with Guatemala and Belize.
Belize and Guatemala are among just 13 countries that officially recognise democratic Taiwan over China, after Honduras opened diplomatic relations with Beijing on Sunday.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he will meet Tsai in the US, which China's Taiwan Affairs Office called "a provocation".
In response, a senior US official said that China should not "overreact" and use a stopover as a "pretext" for aggression against the democratically ruled island of Taiwan.
*) Several killed as fire breaks out at migrant centre near Mexico-US border
At least 39 people have been killed and 29 others injured when a fire broke out at a facility for migrants in Mexico’s city of Ciudad Juarez.
A rescuer explained that there were about 70 migrants, mostly Venezuelans, at the site.
Ciudad Juarez, which neighbours El Paso city in Texas, is one of the border towns where numerous undocumented migrants seeking refuge in the United States remain stranded.
*) Russia kicks off exercises with Yars missile system
Russia has begun exercises with its Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system and several thousand troops. It is likely to be seen as another attempt by Moscow to show off its nuclear strength.
President Vladimir Putin has aimed to make the Yars missile system part of Russia's "invincible weapons" and the mainstay of the ground-based component of its nuclear arsenal.
"In total, more than 3,000 military personnel and about 300 pieces of equipment are involved in the exercises," according to a statement by the defence ministry.
*) Fresh clashes erupt in France in pension protests
Fresh clashes have erupted in France between protesters and police as tens of thousands took to the streets to show their anger against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform that has sparked a major domestic crisis.
Tuesday's nationwide protests and strikes called by unions is the tenth since mid-January against the law, which would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Police said at least 27 people were arrested in the capital by the afternoon
*) Gun violence in US killed 'over 10,000' so far in 2023
Gun Violence Archive have reported 130 mass shootings in three months as a fresh shooting in southern state of Tennessee claimed six more lives.
According to the archive, more than 10,000 people in the US have died from gun violence as of March 28, 2023. That's an average of more than 111 deaths everyday.
On Monday, Tennessee made headlines with the latest mass school shooting, where three children and three adults were killed at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville.
March 28, 2023
This is TRT World’s Daily News Brief for Tuesday, March 28th.
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Tue, 28 Mar 2023 12:43:53 +0000
*) Russia test fires supersonic anti-ship missile at mock target in Sea of Japan
Russia's defence ministry has announced that it test-fired anti-ship missiles in the Sea of Japan.
The test involved the firing of two Moskit missiles, a supersonic anti-ship cruise weapon with conventional and nuclear warhead capacity,
The latest test comes just a week after two Russian strategic bomber planes flew over Japan for more than seven hours.
*) North Korea's Kim orders more production of ‘weapon-grade nuclear material’
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is calling on his country to expand production of “weapon-grade nuclear materials” and build more powerful weapons, the country’s state media reports.
Kim’s latest threat, a doubling-down on an earlier promise to ramp up nuke production “exponentially,” comes ahead of a US Navy carrier strike group’s arrival in South Korea today.
Kim has been briefed by officials from the country’s nuclear weapons institute, the official Korean Central News Agency reports, saying Pyongyang should prepare to use its nukes “anytime and anywhere.”
*) Thousands protest as Netanyahu delays judicial overhaul
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces a delay to the controversial judicial reform plans after reaching a deal with his cabinet.
In a speech, Netanyahu says there is an “extremist minority” that is trying to divide Israel.
As part of the deal to delay the bill, Netanyahu agreed to give far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir control of the National Guard, which is involved with the border patrol in Israel.
*) Children, adults dead in Nashville school shooting
At least three children and three adults have been killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Nashville, police say.
The killings come as communities around the nation are reeling from a spate of school violence, including the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last year.
Police said that the 28-year-old suspect appeared to have carefully planned the attack and was "prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement.”
*) Hungarian parliament gives nod to Finland NATO accession
After months of debate, Hungary’s parliament has approved a bill allowing Finland to join NATO once its application is ratified by all 30 members of the alliance.
The bill on Finland’s NATO accession gets the nod with 182 in favour and six votes against.
Finland and Sweden asked to join the trans-Atlantic military alliance last year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the process has been held up by Türkiye and Hungary for national security reasons.
Mar 27, 2023
*) Israeli president urges immediate halt to judicial overhaul
Monday, March 27, 2023
Mon, 27 Mar 2023 09:31:18 +0000
Israeli President Isaac Herzog is urging PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to halt its bitterly contested judicial overhaul.
This comes a day after Netanyahu sacked his defence minister for opposing the move, sparking mass street protests.
Tens of thousands of Israelis are staging protests in several cities in a spontaneous outburst of anger against the prime minister’s plans, deepening a months-long crisis that has drawn concern from the US and other close allies.
*) US Vice President Harris visits Africa with eye on countering China
US Vice President Kamala Harris vows that the US will increase investment in Africa and help spur economic growth.
The US vice president is embarking on a week-long tour of the continent, aimed at offering a counter to the growing influence of China.
China has been investing heavily in Africa in recent decades, including in infrastructure and resource development. The Biden administration seeks to strengthen ties with Africa, in part to offer an alternative to rival powers.
*) Kiev slams Putin’s nuclear plans, calls for UNSC session
Ukraine is calling for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council over Russia’s announcement that it would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry says: “Russia once again confirms its chronic inability to be a responsible steward of nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence and prevention of war, not as a tool of threats and intimidation.”
Ukraine says it expects effective actions to counteract the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail from the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France, further demanding an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council.
*) Tunisia coast guard recovers dozens of bodies after migrant vessels capsize
Tunisia’s coast guard announces the recovery of the bodies of at least 29 migrants and asylum seekers from sub-Saharan African countries after three vessels capsized.
The Tunisian coast guard says it has also rescued 11 irregular migrants of “various African nationalities” after their boats sank off the central eastern coast, citing three different incidents.
Separately, in the last four days, five migrant boats have sunk off the coast of the southern city of Sfax, leaving 67 missing and nine dead.
*) Erdogan vows to rebuild Türkiye’s quake-hit southern region
The Turkish president vows to rebuild the country’s southern region in the wake of powerful earthquakes last month that claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people.
President Erdogan says: “Our aim is to raise-up the earthquake zone.”
Türkiye plans to construct enough buildings in a year to meet the needs of the quake victims, the Turkish president says, adding that 319,000 houses will be built in the first year and 650,000 in total.
March 24, 2023
*) Ukraine prepares counteroffensive as Russia's assault on Bakhmut flags
Friday, March 24, 2023
Fri, 24 Mar 2023 08:29:38 +0000
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.
March 23, 2023
*) Israel ratifies law limiting conditions for a possible Netanyahu ouster
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Thu, 23 Mar 2023 09:23:48 +0000
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.
March 22, 2023
*) Putin-Xi reach deal on Russian Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline to China
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Wed, 22 Mar 2023 09:30:13 +0000
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.
March 21, 2023
*) Japan PM to meet Zelenskyy as Putin, Xi hold second day of talks
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Tue, 21 Mar 2023 09:12:50 +0000
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.