US announces $400 mn in security assistance for Ukraine

ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Undefined (AFP) – The United States announced Wednesday a new $400 million aid package to Ukraine that includes generators to help it deal with power outages caused by Russian attacks on energy infrastructure. The more than 200 generators are “intended to support both civilian and military power needs… to ease the pressure on the grid,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder told journalists aboard a US military aircraft. “It […]

Ukraine’s Zelensky to address urgent UN meeting on Russian strikes

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address an urgent UN Security Council meeting Wednesday on Russian attacks that have caused blackouts in neighboring Moldova, diplomats said. Zelensky will address the emergency debate — requested by Kyiv and due to start at 4:00 pm (2100 GMT) in New York — via video-link, two diplomats told AFP. The Ukrainian leader said in a tweet that he had instructed his country’s ambassador to the […]

Gucci parts ways with star designer Michele

PARIS, France (AFP) – Italian designer Alessandro Michele on Wednesday left Gucci, where he has overseen a surge in sales at the fashion powerhouse since 2015 but seen his star fade in recent seasons. “Gucci today announces that Alessandro Michele is stepping down as creative director of Gucci,” said French conglomerate Kering, which owns the Italian house. It said he had played “a fundamental part in making the brand what it is today through his groundbreaking creativity”. […]

Russia, declared ‘terror’ state by EU lawmakers, batters Ukraine grid

by Ania TSOUKANOVA with Max DELANY in Strasbourg Agence France-Presse KYIV, Ukraine (AFP)  — Fresh Russian strikes battered Ukraine’s already failing electricity grid, causing blackouts across the war-torn nation and in neighboring Moldova, in attacks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the UN were “an obvious crime against humanity”. The Ukrainian energy system has been left in tatters and millions have been subjected to long periods without electricity after weeks of Russian bombardments, with the World […]

Record number of children miss measles vaccine: global report

Washington, United States (AFP) A record high of nearly 40 million children around the world missed a measles vaccine dose in 2021, according to a new report Wednesday that found immunization levels had failed to rebound from disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The research, which was jointly published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the decline was a major setback in eliminating […]

Teen killed in twin Jerusalem bus stop bombings

Jerusalem, Undefined (AFP) by Michael Blum An Israeli-Canadian teen was killed and 14 people were wounded Wednesday as the first bombings in Jerusalem in years hit two bus stops, with Palestinian militant group Hamas cheering the unclaimed attacks. A search was underway for suspects who targeted an area frequented by ultra-Orthodox Jews at the city’s western exit, as violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flares and while Israeli politicians discuss the make-up of a coalition government. […]

Air pollution killed 238,000 Europeans prematurely in 2020: EEA

Copenhagen, Denmark (AFP) Fine particle air pollution led to 238,000 premature deaths in the European Union in 2020, the bloc’s environmental watchdog said Thursday, a slight rise from the previous year. Across the 27-nation bloc that year, “exposure to concentrations of fine particulate matter above the 2021 World Health Organization guideline level resulted in 238,000 premature deaths,” the European Environment Agency said in a new report. That was slightly more than those recorded in 2019 in […]

Musk floats ‘general amnesty’ of suspended Twitter accounts

San Francisco, United States (AFP) by Julie JAMMOT New Twitter owner Elon Musk on Wednesday polled users on whether the site should offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, using the same method he used to handle the case of Donald Trump. The move comes as Musk has faced pushback that his criteria for content moderation is subject to his personal whim, with reinstatements decided for certain accounts and not others. “Should Twitter offer a […]

Walmart manager kills six in latest US mass shooting

Chesapeake, United States (AFP) by Bastien INZAURRALDE A 31-year-old overnight manager at Walmart shot and killed six people at a store bustling with Thanksgiving holiday shoppers before turning the pistol on himself, authorities said Wednesday, in America’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days. Four other people remained hospitalized in unknown condition following the Tuesday night rampage in Chesapeake, Virginia, police chief Mark Solesky said. The gunman is believed to have died of a “self-inflicted […]

Newborn killed in Russian strike on Ukraine maternity ward: rescuers

KYIV, Ukraine (AFP) – A newborn baby was killed following a Russian strike that hit a maternity ward in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region, which Moscow claims to have annexed, Ukrainian emergency services said Wednesday. Overnight on Tuesday to Wednesday, “in the city of Vilniansk in Zaporizhzhia region, as a result of a rocket attack on the territory of the local hospital, the two-storey building of the maternity ward was destroyed,” rescuers said on social media. They […]

Singapore warns slower economic growth in 2023

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) – Singapore warned on Wednesday that economic growth could slow to a trickle next year owing to weakness in key export markets including the United States, Europe and China, as rising interest rates and the Ukraine war cause headwinds. The city-state’s economic performance is often seen as a useful barometer of the global environment because of its reliance on trade with the rest of the world. The trade ministry said it expected growth […]

Dreams of wealth turn to dust for Qatar migrant workers

by Shafiqul ALAM / with Aishwarya KUMAR in New Delhi / and Mikhail FLORES in Manila Agence France-Presse SREEPUR, Bangladesh (AFP) — Hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to Qatar in recent years to work on giant construction schemes as it boosted its infrastructure ahead of the World Cup. Drawn by the prospect of making more money than they could ever hope to at home, migrants make up nearly 90 percent of Qatar’s population […]