As Russian missiles leave 4 dead in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine claims destroying 6 warplanes in Rostov

As Russian missiles leave 4 dead in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine claims destroying 6 warplanes in Rostov
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Emergency workers carry an injured woman at a site of a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on April 5, 2024. (REUTERS)
As Russian missiles leave 4 dead in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine claims destroying 6 warplanes in Rostov
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A car burns at a site of a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on April 5, 2024.(REUTERS)
As Russian missiles leave 4 dead in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine claims destroying 6 warplanes in Rostov
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Emergency workers help an injured woman at a site of a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on April 5, 2024. (REUTERS)
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Updated 06 April 2024
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As Russian missiles leave 4 dead in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine claims destroying 6 warplanes in Rostov

As Russian missiles leave 4 dead in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine claims destroying 6 warplanes in Rostov
  • Two journalists covering the aftermath of the strikes were among those wounded in the city
  • Ukraine staged major attack on Russia’s Morozovsk military air base, Kyiv source says

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine Russia fired five missiles on Ukraine’s southern city of Zaporizhzhia on Friday, killing at least four people, injuring 20 and damaging residential buildings and industrial facilities, the regional governor said.

In a tit-for-tat strike, Ukraine attacked Russia’s Morozovsk military air base in the Rostov region, destroying six Russian warplanes, a Kyiv intelligence source told Reuters on Friday.
Two journalists covering the aftermath of the Zaporizhzhia strikes were among those wounded in the city, which is near the frontline in the war with Russian forces.
Reuters TV footage showed reporters rushing to help colleagues lying injured on the ground before emergency crews arrived.
“What marks today’s strikes: first, there were two missile strikes, and then, about 40 minutes later, there were other strikes at the same place — just as rescuers, police started working,” Ivan Fedorov said on national TV.
The local prosecutor’s office said 20 people were wounded. They included a nine-year old boy. Four were in hospital in grave condition.
Fedorov said at least three apartment blocks, 10 private houses, shops and an unidentified industrial facility were damaged.
Reuters TV footage showed journalists scurrying down a residential street with explosions resounding behind them and clouds of black smoke rising.
They dropped their equipment to administer first aid to a prone female colleague with leg and arm wounds before an emergency crew arrived to take her away in an ambulance.
A second crew picked up another reporter with abdominal wounds and rushed down the street to a waiting ambulance.
Crews also encountered the body of a victim lying next to a pool of blood. At least two cars in the street were engulfed in flames.
Images shared by Fedorov and the interior ministry, captured shattered windows of a cafe and a small shop.
Ukraine’s air force issued a ballistic missile raid alert for the region, part of which is occupied by Russia. Moscow has recently stepped up usage of ballistic missiles that are harder to intercept.
Northeastern Kharkiv region was also under intense air attack in the afternoon, according to local media and regional officials. There was no immediate reports of casualties.
Earlier, Russian officials accused Ukraine of attacking the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is located southwest of the city of Zaporizhzhia and is occupied by Russian troops.
The Russian state-run RIA news agency quoted the facility press service as saying Ukrainian military drones attacked the power plant but caused no damage to its critical infrastructure.
Reuters could not independently verify the alleged incident.
In the past, each side in the two-year-old conflict has accused the other of shelling the plant, none of whose six reactors are operating. (Writing by Yuliia Dysa Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Frances Kerry, Ron Popeski and Sandra Maler)

Russian warplanes destroyed

The Ukrainian strike in Rostov was a joint operation conducted by the SBU security service and military, according to the Kyiv source.

Reuters could not independently verify the claim. The source did not say how the attack was conducted but that eight more warplanes had also been damaged.
Russia’s RIA news agency cited the Russian defense ministry earlier as saying Russian air defenses had downed 53 Ukrainian drones overnight, most of them over the Rostov region.
The source said the Morozovsk air base was used by Russian tactical bombers like the Sukhoi Su-24 and Su-24M that Moscow’s air force uses to fire guided bombs at the Ukrainian military and frontline towns and cities.
The source later clarified that the planes used at the base were Su-27 and Su-34 aircraft.
The source described the operation as an important one.
Ukraine has significantly stepped up its drone attacks on targets in Russia in recent weeks, focusing on oil refineries in an effort to reduce Russian oil revenue.
A senior government official told Reuters earlier this year that Ukraine hoped to produce thousands of long-range drones in 2024, part of a priority defense program in its war with Russia.
Unable to rapidly produce long-range missiles and with limited access to those made by Western allies, Kyiv has focused on developing long-range uncrewed vehicles to strike back at Russia, which has used a sprawling arsenal of missiles and drones to bomb Ukraine.


Kenyan police are leaving for a controversial deployment in Haiti to take on powerful, violent gangs

Kenyan police are leaving for a controversial deployment in Haiti to take on powerful, violent gangs
Updated 4 sec ago
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Kenyan police are leaving for a controversial deployment in Haiti to take on powerful, violent gangs

Kenyan police are leaving for a controversial deployment in Haiti to take on powerful, violent gangs

NAIROBI, Kenya: Hundreds of Kenyan police officers were leaving Monday for Haiti, where they will lead a multinational force against the powerful gangs whose deadly violence spiked this year and helped bring about a change in government.

The deployment is controversial. The government of Kenyan President William Ruto is defying a court’s ruling calling it unconstitutional. And critics have expressed concern about the long history of alleged abuses by police officers.

The 400 police officers are the first of the 1,000 that Kenya expects to send for the United Nations-led force in Haiti. Ruto’s sendoff ceremony on Monday was closed to the media, but his office shared a speech in which he urged the officers to uphold integrity.

“We have mediated many conflicts and are currently engaged in resolving more,” he said. “Don’t let down the confidence the people of Kenya and the international community have in you.”

A court case seeking to block the deployment is pending, but an initial ruling had called the deployment unconstitutional, citing the lack of a reciprocal agreement between Kenya and Haiti.

US President Joe Biden, however, thanked Ruto for Kenya’s leadership of the multinational force during Ruto’s recent state visit to Washington. The United States has agreed to contribute $300 million to the force, but Biden argued that an American troop presence in Haiti would raise “all kinds of questions that can easily be misrepresented.”

More than 2,500 people were killed or injured in the first three months of the year in Haiti. The spike in violence began in late February and has displaced more than half a million people. Gangs now control at least 80 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince and key roads. Trapped outside the country as the international airport was closed, Prime Minister Ariel Henry was forced to resign.

The most recent allegations by watchdogs against Kenyan police for using excessive force came last week, when two people died during anti-government protests. One protester was shot dead by a suspected plainclothes officer. The other was killed by a tear gas canister thrown by police.

Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority is looking into police conduct during the protests in which more than 200 other people were injured.


China lunar probe to return to Earth with samples

China lunar probe to return to Earth with samples
Updated 12 min 46 sec ago
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China lunar probe to return to Earth with samples

China lunar probe to return to Earth with samples

BEIJING: A Chinese probe carrying samples from the far side of the Moon is expected to return to Earth on Tuesday, capping a technically complex 53-day mission heralded as a world first.

Beijing has not disclosed the spacecraft’s estimated arrival time, but experts say it will likely touch down in a barren expanse of desert in the northern Inner Mongolia region at around midday (0400 GMT).

It comes bearing soil and rocks from the side of the moon that faces away from Earth, a poorly understood region that scientists say holds great research promise because its rugged features are less smoothed over by ancient lava flows than the near side.

That means the materials harvested there may help us to better understand how the Moon formed and how it has evolved over time.

Chang’e-6 blasted off from a space center on the island province of Hainan on May 3 and descended into the Moon’s immense South Pole-Aitken Basin almost exactly a month later.

It used a drill and robotic arm to scoop up samples, snapped some shots of the pockmarked surface and planted a Chinese flag in the grey soil.

On June 4, the probe made the first ever successful launch from the far side in what Chinese state news agency Xinhua called “an unprecedented feat in human lunar exploration history.”

Authorities have been coy about disclosing updates on the probe’s progress since then.

But China’s space agency said in a social media post on Friday that it was “70 percent” of the way back to Earth.

Plans for China’s “space dream” have shifted into high gear under President Xi Jinping.

Beijing has poured huge resources into its space program over the past decade, targeting ambitious undertakings in an effort to catch up to traditional space powers the United States and Russia.

It has built a space station, landed robotic rovers on Mars and the Moon, and become only the third country to send astronauts into orbit.

But the United States has warned that China’s space program masks military objectives and an effort to establish dominance in space.

China aims to send a crewed mission to the Moon by 2030 and plans to eventually build a base on the lunar surface.

The United States also plans to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2026 with its Artemis 3 mission.


Without naming names, UN chief accuses Israel of misinformation

Without naming names, UN chief accuses Israel of misinformation
Updated 49 min 23 sec ago
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Without naming names, UN chief accuses Israel of misinformation

Without naming names, UN chief accuses Israel of misinformation
  • “The truth, in the end, always wins," Guterres says

UNITED NATIONS: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres accused Israel on Monday of spreading misinformation about him during the more than eight-month-long war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“I’ve heard the same source many times saying that I never attacked Hamas, that I never condemned Hamas, that I am a supporters of Hamas,” Guterres told a news conference on information integrity, without naming Israel.
“I have condemned Hamas 102 times, 51 of them in formal speeches, the others in different social platforms,” he said. “The truth, in the end, always wins.”
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said the condemnations by Guterres were “empty words when compared to his actions.”
“His sole aim has been to help Hamas survive this war. We find it despicable that the secretary-general refuses to abide by the UN’s standards and paints a distorted picture of events on the ground,” Erdan said. “Antonio Guterres is an accomplice to terror and should resign today.”
Relations between the UN and Israel have long been fraught and have only worsened during the Israel-Hamas war.
Israel accused the UN of being biased against it and has accused UN staff of working with Hamas and other militants. The UN is investigating some of the allegations, but has said in many cases it is yet to received evidence from Israel.


Biden ‘appalled’ by clashes outside LA synagogue

Biden ‘appalled’ by clashes outside LA synagogue
Updated 51 min 31 sec ago
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Biden ‘appalled’ by clashes outside LA synagogue

Biden ‘appalled’ by clashes outside LA synagogue
  • People carrying Israeli flags also arrived, with jostling and sometimes blows between members of the two groups leaving some bloody, with a sizable police contingent later arriving to push back the crowds, AFP photos showed

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden said Monday he was “appalled” after pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered outside a Los Angeles synagogue over the weekend, prompting a counterprotest and violent clashes.
Protesters wearing keffiyehs and holding Palestinian flags gathered on Sunday outside the Adas Torah synagogue, where several US media outlets report a promotional event was being held by a real estate company specializing in Israeli and West Bank settlements.
People carrying Israeli flags also arrived, with jostling and sometimes blows between members of the two groups leaving some bloody, with a sizable police contingent later arriving to push back the crowds, AFP photos showed.
“I’m appalled by the scenes outside of Adas Torah synagogue in Los Angeles. Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American,” the president posted early Monday on X.
The 81-year-old Democrat has repeatedly vowed to combat anti-Semitism, as the Israel-Hamas war flares tensions across the United States.
“Americans have a right to peaceful protest. But blocking access to a house of worship — and engaging in violence — is never acceptable,” Biden added.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also called the violent clashes “appalling,” while Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said the city “will not be a harbor for antisemitism and violence.”
She said she had called on the LAPD to provide additional patrols in the area around the synagogue and “outside houses of worship throughout the city.”

 


US blacklists Brunei, Sudan on human trafficking

US blacklists Brunei, Sudan on human trafficking
Updated 24 June 2024
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US blacklists Brunei, Sudan on human trafficking

US blacklists Brunei, Sudan on human trafficking
  • Egypt, South Africa and Vietnam were both taken off a watch list, which carries a threat to downgrade to Tier 3 without improvements

WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday added Brunei and violence-torn Sudan to a human trafficking blacklist while warning that technology was aggravating the scourge affecting millions around the world.
In an annual report, the State Department added Brunei and Sudan to a “Tier 3” blacklist of countries that are not doing enough against human trafficking and could be subject to US sanctions or reductions of assistance.
Brunei — a US partner as part of the ASEAN bloc — did not convict any traffickers for the seventh straight year and likely prosecuted or deported some victims in need of help, the State Department said.
The oil-rich monarchy also “publicized efforts to catch ‘runaway workers,’ caning some of those who were caught,” the report said.
Brunei has generally had friendly relations with the United States, although the Muslim-majority country has faced criticism for keeping capital punishment on the books, if not in practice, for homosexuality.
Sudan tumbled from the previous year in the rankings as the country has descended into a devastating war between rival generals.
“We assessed a policy or pattern of trafficking (by) the government of Sudan as it pertained to the recruitment of child soldiers,” Cindy Dyer, the US ambassador-at-large in charge of human trafficking, told reporters.
Most countries on the Tier 3 blacklist have poor relations with the United States, including China, Russia and Venezuela.
The United States removed Algeria from the blacklist, saying it was “making significant efforts,” pointing to a new anti-trafficking law and a tripling of prosecutions against alleged perpetrators.
Egypt, South Africa and Vietnam were both taken off a watch list, which carries a threat to downgrade to Tier 3 without improvements.
Vietnam — which just two years ago was at rock bottom at Tier 3 — was upgraded due to increasing investigations and prosecutions, as well as greater assistance to victims, Dyer said.
The report said Egypt more than doubled prosecutions of alleged traffickers and prosecuted officials accused of complicity.
South Africa was also credited with increasing prosecutions and with setting up more shelters for victims.
Despite some improvements, the report warned that human trafficking remained a major problem around the world, estimating that 27 million people around the world are exploited for labor, sex or services.
The report highlighted the role of technology, saying it was making it easier for traffickers to cross borders.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, presenting the report, pointed to a rise in cyber scams that lure people who are forced into labor.
But he pointed to work by non-governmental groups, including through artificial intelligence, to root out trafficking.
“Some of these same technologies can be deployed to uncover and disrupt trafficking and can help us better hold perpetrators accountable,” he said.