Zelensky Says Russian Losses Teach ‘Aggression Doesn’t Yield Results’

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Ukraine’s military said Tuesday it shot down 11 Russian drones and two guided missiles that Russia launched in overnight attacks.

The Ukrainian air force said Russia used a total of 13 drones and five missiles in its latest round of aerial assaults targeting the Kharkiv, Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytskyi and Kirovohrad regions.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Monday that a meeting of European leaders included discussion of Ukraine’s military arsenal, its ability to produce weapons, the supply of weapons from allies to Ukraine and continuing support for Ukraine’s battle against the Russian invasion.

“Everything we do together to defend against Russian aggression adds real security to our nations for decades to come,” Zelensky said. “Because each of Russia’s losses and each of Russia’s defeats teaches Russia and any other enemy of Europe and the free world at large that aggression does not and cannot yield results.”

French President Emmanuel Macron convened the meeting with 20 European leaders in Paris and said, “Russia cannot and must not win that war.”

UN Seeks $674m for Crisis-hit Haiti in 2024

The United Nations launched an appeal for $674 million on Tuesday for humanitarian projects in Haiti, as the Caribbean nation faces soaring violence and a severe food crisis.

A nation of at least 10 million, Haiti has been in turmoil for years, with armed gangs taking over parts of the country and unleashing brutal violence, leaving the economy and public health system in tatters.

The 2021 assassination of the country’s president plunged the country further into chaos.

The crisis deepened last year, the UN warned in its humanitarian plan for 2024, as gang violence spread to rural areas and the government’s presence eroded further.

The plan, estimated to help 3.6 million of those people, would require $673.8 million to do so — an ambitious goal, with international humanitarian operations chronically underfunded.

Pakistani Court Indicts Ex-PM Khan, Wife in Corruption Case

An anti-corruption court in Pakistan indicted former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Tuesday on charges that he had received land as a bribe while in office.

The trial was conducted in a prison centre near the capital, Islamabad, where Khan has been serving lengthy sentences since last August following convictions on multiple charges, including graft, leaking state secrets, and fraudulent marriage.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI, party condemned Tuesday’s indictment, saying the couple pleaded not guilty after the charges were read to them and dismissed them as frivolous, just like in all the previous convictions.

“Trials conducted behind prison walls, only meant to pave the way for miscarriage of justice, particularly in fabricated and politically motivated cases, only to keep Imran Khan behind bars,” said a PTI statement.

The latest corruption case centres on the non-profit charitable Al-Qadir University Trust, which Khan and his wife established months after he took office in 2018.

Prosecutors allege the trust was a front for the deposed prime minister to obtain the valuable land for the school from Malik Riaz Hussain, a major real estate developer and one of Pakistan’s wealthiest and most powerful businessmen.

The prosecutors say that in exchange for the land, Riaz received a favor from Khan.

They allege the quid pro quo involved the settlement of Riaz’s assets, set to be worth $240 million, in a money laundering case.

Modi Says India’s First Astronauts Will Inspire Nation

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday toasted the four astronauts preparing for the nation’s first crewed orbital mission, saying the latest advance in spacefaring would inspire the next generation.

“The countdown of the rocket inspires thousands of children in India, and those making paper planes today dream of becoming scientists like you,” Modi said.

The Gaganyaan — or “Skycraft” — mission is slated to launch the astronauts into Earth’s orbit in 2025, an important measure of the Indian Space Research Organization’s technical capabilities.

“All of you are opening new doors of future possibilities,” Modi told ISRO scientists on Tuesday.

Visiting the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in the southern state of Kerala, Modi presented “astronaut wings” to the four men: Ajit Krishnan, Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Pratap and Shubhanshu Shukla.

“They are not just four names or individuals, they are four ‘shakti’ [the Hindu goddess of power] carrying the aspirations of 1.4 billion Indians into space,” he added.

Saudi Arabia Executes 7 for ‘Terrorism’ Offences

Saudi Arabia executed seven people for “terrorism” offenses on Tuesday, state media said, the highest single-day figure since 81 were put to death in March 2022.

The seven were convicted of “creating and financing terrorist organizations and entities”, the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing the Gulf kingdom’s interior ministry.

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most prolific users of capital punishment, has now executed 29 people this year according to an AFP tally of official announcements, after putting 170 to death in 2023.

The kingdom, notorious for beheadings, drew a wave of condemnation from around the world with 81 executions in one day nearly two years ago.

The nationalities of the seven executed on Tuesday were not revealed, but their names and titles indicated they were Saudi.

They were convicted of “adopting a terrorist approach that calls for bloodshed, establishing and financing terrorist organizations and entities, and communicating and dealing with them with the aim of disrupting the security and stability of society” and endangering national security, the official news agency said.

Airbus Plane Grounded Three Days Due to Rat on Board

Sri Lanka’s national airline on Tuesday blamed a rat for grounding a plane for three days, sparking chaotic delays and fears it will scare off investors for the cash-strapped carrier.

The stowaway rodent was spotted enjoying the SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330 flight from the Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday, triggering an aircraft search to ensure it had not chewed through critical components.

An airline official said the plane had resumed flights, but that the grounding had an effect on the entire schedule.

The aircraft was grounded for three days at Colombo,” an airline official said, declining to be named. “The plane could not be flown without making sure that the rat was accounted for. It was found dead.”
The state-owned airline, which had accumulated losses of more than $1.8 billion at the end of March 2023, has three other aircraft grounded for over a year out of a fleet of 23.

Peru Declares Health Emergency Amid Rising Dengue Outbreak

Peru has declared a health emergency due to the rapidly rising cases of dengue fever across the South American country.

Health Minister Cesar Vasquez said Monday that more than 31,000 cases of dengue have been recorded in the first eight weeks of 2024, including 32 deaths.

Vasquez said the emergency will cover 20 of Peru’s 25 regions.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne illness that is passed to humans from a mosquito bite. Symptoms of dengue include fevers, severe headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and body aches.

Peru has been experiencing high temperatures and heavy rains since 2023 due to the El Nino weather pattern, which has warmed the seas off the country’s coast and helped mosquito populations grow.

US, UK Target Iran, Houthi Militants with New Sanctions

The United States and Britain on Tuesday sanctioned an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps deputy commander and a Houthi militant, linking them to missile attacks launched from Yemen targeting Red Sea shipping.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis have been targeting shipping in the Red Sea area for months, only rarely hitting vessels but forcing threatened cargo shippers to abandon the shortest passage from Asia to Europe through the Suez Canal and instead taking the much longer route around the tip of Africa.

U.S. and British airstrikes on Houthi missile sites have failed to halt the attacks.

The sanctions specifically target Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh, the current deputy commander of the IRGC Quds Force, and Houthi militant Ibrahim al-Nashiri.

The Treasury also announced sanctions against the owner and operator of a vessel used to ship Iranian commodities — Hong Kong-based Cap Tees Shipping Company — to support the Houthis and IRGC Quds Force.

Medical Evacuation Convoy in Gaza Blocked by Israeli Forces, Says UN

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has accused Israeli forces of blocking a medical evacuation of hospital patients in Gaza, preventing them from reaching another medical facility in the Rafah area bordering Egypt for several hours Sunday.

OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke said Tuesday that the medical convoy was transporting 24 patients, including one pregnant woman and one mother and newborn, from Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis.

“Despite prior coordination for all staff members and vehicles with the Israeli side, the Israeli forces blocked the WHO-led convoy for many hours the moment it left the hospital,” Laerke said. “We were forced to leave 31 non-critical patients” in the hospital.

The Israeli military has not commented on this incident, saying it was checking on the details described by OCHA.
World Health Organization spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said several of the people on the convoy could not walk, “but everybody else had to get out of the ambulance.”

Biden, Congressional Leaders Discuss Ukraine Aid, Averting Government Shutdown

U.S. President Joe Biden hosted congressional leaders Tuesday for talks at the White House amid a push to secure billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine and avoid a looming U.S. government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Mike Johnson and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries took part in the discussion.

The Democrat-led Senate passed a bipartisan $95 billion security bill earlier this month that includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, nearly $5 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, and other assistance.

Johnson has pledged not to bring the bill up for a vote in the House, saying the American people want lawmakers to focus on domestic problems, including border security, instead of sending assistance overseas.

Schumer said Tuesday that not supporting Ukraine will show allies they cannot depend on the United States.

The leaders face a Friday deadline to agree on funding for some parts of the government, including agriculture, transportation and some veterans’ services. Another deadline awaits a week later when funding for the rest of the government is set to expire.

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