News, opinion 0 comments on Iran Dismisses Western Criticism of Its Hike in Uranium Enrichment

Iran Dismisses Western Criticism of Its Hike in Uranium Enrichment

Iran’s foreign ministry on Friday rejected criticism by France, Germany, Britain and the United States of its increase in uranium enrichment, saying this was part of its peaceful nuclear program.

“Enrichment at 60% level in Iran’s enrichment centers has always been and will continue to be in accordance with the peaceful needs of the country and fully under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani told state media.

Thirty-two Ukrainian drones were detected over Russia, Moscow officials reported on Saturday, a day after an 18-hour aerial barrage across Ukraine killed at least 30 civilians, The Associated Press said.
Drones were seen in the skies over Russia’s Moscow, Bryansk, Oryol, and Kursk regions, the country’s defense ministry said in a statement. It did not report any casualties and said that all of the drones had been destroyed by air defenses.
Cities across western Russia have come under regular attack from drones since May, with Russian officials blaming Kyiv.
Ukrainian officials never acknowledge responsibility for attacks on Russian territory or the Crimean peninsula. However, larger aerial strikes against Russia have previously followed heavy assaults on Ukrainian cities.
Moscow’s forces launched 122 missiles and dozens of drones across Ukraine Friday, an onslaught described by one air force official as the biggest aerial barrage of the war.
At least 144 people were wounded and an unknown number were buried under rubble in the assault, which damaged a maternity hospital, apartment blocks, and schools.
Western officials and analysts recently warned that Russia limited its cruise missile strikes for months in an apparent effort to build up stockpiles for massive strikes during the winter, hoping to break the Ukrainians’ spirit.
Fighting along the front line is largely bogged down by winter weather after Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive failed to make a significant breakthrough along the roughly 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) line of contact.
Following the latest Russian assault, shelling continued across eastern and southern Ukraine and in Russia’s border regions. One man was killed by a missile in a private home in Russia’s Belgorod region late Friday evening, regional head Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on social media.
A further four people were injured, including a 10-year-old child, he said.

Turkish authorities detained 189 people in 37 provinces on Saturday suspected of ties to militant group ISIS, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on social media platform X.

Authorities have ramped up operations against ISIS and Kurdish militants in recent weeks, after Kurdish militants detonated a bomb near government buildings in Ankara on Oct. 1.

France, Germany, Britain and the United States on Thursday condemned an increase by Iran in the production rate of highly enriched uranium of up to 60% purity, close to the level used for nuclear weapons fuel.
“The production of high-enriched uranium by Iran has no credible civilian justification,” a joint statement by the allies said.
“We condemn this action, which adds to the unabated escalation of Iran’s nuclear program,” it added.
“We urge Iran to immediately reverse these steps and de-escalate its nuclear program”.
“We remain committed to a diplomatic solution and reaffirm our determination that Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon”, the joint statement stated.
Iran has “increased its production of highly enriched uranium, reversing a previous output reduction from mid-2023”, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in its report on Tuesday.


A New Jersey man arrested in Kenya has been charged for trying to aid militant Islamist group al Shabaab, the US Justice Department said, alleging he was motivated by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel to wage violence.
The arrest comes amid heightened incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia in the wake of the Israel-Gaza war, which have raised terror threat levels in the United States, Reuters said.
Karrem Nasr, a US citizen who moved from New Jersey to Egypt around July, was taken into custody in Nairobi on Dec. 14 and brought to the United States on Thursday, the Justice Department said in a statement on Friday.
The 23-year-old has been charged with “attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization,” which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
The United States designates al Shabaab as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
US Attorney Damian Williams said that Karrem Nasr was motivated by the terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, and has devoted himself to waging violent acts against America and its allies.
Nasr traveled from Egypt to Kenya “bent on joining and training with al Shabaab,” prosecutors said.
In communications exchanged with an FBI confidential source and postings online, Nasr stated that he had been thinking about engaging in violent acts for a long time, and that he was particularly motivated by the October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorist attack in Israel, according to prosecutors.
Nasr took steps to join and receive training from al Shabaab, planning to meet members of the organization in Kenya for further travel to Somalia to join the group, the Justice Department said. He was taken into custody by Kenyan authorities.
It was not clear whether Nasr had legal representation.
The Justice Department has said it was monitoring rising threats against Jews and Muslims in the United States due to soaring levels of antisemitism and Islamophobia linked to the war in the Middle East.
In early December, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the threat level was so elevated that he saw “blinking lights everywhere.”

For the second time this month the Biden administration is bypassing Congress to approve an emergency weapons sale to Israel as Israel continues to prosecute its war against Hamas in Gaza under increasing international criticism.

The State Department said Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had told Congress that he had made a second emergency determination covering a $147.5 million sale for equipment, including fuses, charges and primers, that is needed to make the 155 mm shells that Israel has already purchased function.

“Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer,” the department said.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to ensure Israel is able to defend itself against the threats it faces,” it said.

The emergency determination means the purchase will bypass the congressional review requirement for foreign military sales. Such determinations are rare, but not unprecedented, when administrations see an urgent need for weapons to be delivered without waiting for lawmakers’ approval.

Blinken made a similar decision on Dec. 9, to approve the sale to Israel of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition worth more than $106 million.

Both moves have come as President Joe Biden’s request for a nearly $106 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other national security needs remains stalled in Congress, caught up in a debate over US immigration policy and border security.

Some Democratic lawmakers have spoken of making the proposed $14.3 billion in American assistance to its Mideast ally contingent on concrete steps by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza during the war with Hamas.

The State Department sought to counter potential criticism of the sale on human rights grounds by saying it was in constant touch with Israel to emphasize the importance of minimizing civilian casualties, which have soared since Israel began its response to the Hamas attacks in Israel on Oct. 7.

“We continue to strongly emphasize to the government of Israel that they must not only comply with international humanitarian law, but also take every feasible step to prevent harm to civilians,” it said.

“Hamas hides behind civilians and has embedded itself among the civilian population, but that does not lessen Israel’s responsibility and strategic imperative to distinguish between civilians and Hamas terrorists as it conducts its military operations,” the department said. “This type of campaign can only be won by protecting civilians.”

Bypassing Congress with emergency determinations for arms sales is an unusual step that has in the past met resistance from lawmakers, who normally have a period of time to weigh in on proposed weapons transfers and, in some cases, block them.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday he visited eastern Ukraine’s embattled town of Avdiivka, which Russian forces are trying to encircle in some of the most ferocious fighting at the front.

“We discussed the defense situation and basic needs with the commander,” Zelenskiy said on Telegram messenger. The president’s office said he had given out medals to soldiers.

Russia intensified its attacks on Avdiivka in mid-October after months of counteroffensive operations by Ukraine were unable to make significant headway against dug-in Russian positions this summer.

The fighting around Avdiivka, much of it now damaged, is reminiscent of a battle for another eastern city, Bakhmut, which fell to Russian forces in May after months of brutal urban combat.

Zelenskiy has made regular trips to areas near the front to visit soldiers throughout the full-scale invasion launched by Russia in February 2022.

The town of Avdiivka had a pre-war population of around 32,000 and has been a frontline city since 2014, when it was briefly occupied by Moscow-backed militants who seized a swathe of eastern Ukraine.

Britain is sending around 200 air defense missiles to Ukraine to help protect civilians and infrastructure from Russian drones and bombing, the British ministry of defense said on Friday.

The shipment comes as Russia unleashed one of its biggest missile attacks on Ukraine of the war, according to Kyiv, killing 18 civilians and wounding dozens others.

“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is testing Ukraine’s defenses and the West’s resolve, hoping that he can clutch victory from the jaws of defeat. But he is wrong,” British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said.

“Now is the time for the free world to come together and redouble our efforts to get Ukraine what they need to win.”

The air defense missiles, manufactured in Britain by defense contractor MBDA, are designed to be launched from aircraft including Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets, the defense ministry said.

Britain has committed a total of 4.6 billion pounds ($5.9 billion) in military support for Ukraine over two years.

Poland’s defense forces said an unknown object entered the country’s airspace Friday morning from the direction of Ukraine and then vanished off radars, and that all indications pointed to it being a Russian missile.

“Everything indicates that a Russian missile intruded in Poland’s airspace. It was monitored by us on radars and left the airspace. We have confirmation of this on radars and from allies” in NATO, said Poland’s defense chief, Gen. Wiesław Kukuła.

Poland’s defense forces said the object penetrated about 40 kilometers (24 miles) into its airspace and left it after less than three minutes. The defense forces said both its radar and NATO radar confirmed that the object left Polish airspace.

Kukula said steps were being taken to verify those findings and eliminate the possibility of a technical error.

There was no comment from Russian officials.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on X, formerly Twitter, that he had spoken with Poland’s president about the “missile incident” and said NATO was vigilant and monitoring the situation “as the facts are established.”

It was not immediately clear where the object disappeared from radar or in which direction it had been going. Troops were mobilized to identify and find it. There were no immediate reports of any explosion or casualties.

The governor of Lublin province in eastern Poland, Krzysztof Komorski, told the Onet news portal that the object appeared on radars near the town of Hrubieszow, where a border crossing with Ukraine is located. Komorski said he had no information to indicate it landed in Lublin province.

Poland’s border with Ukraine is also the European Union and NATO border with Ukraine.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk convened a meeting with the defense minister, military commanders and heads of national security bodies, followed by a meeting of the National Security Bureau with President Andrzej Duda, the supreme commander of Poland’s armed forces.

Duda said through an aide that there was “no threat at the moment” and nothing to suggest that “anything bad” should be expected.

“The most important thing is that no one was hurt,” said the aide, Grazyna Ignaczak-Bandych.

On Friday, Ukrainian officials said Russia launched more than 100 missiles and dozens of drones against Ukrainian targets overnight in what an air force official called the biggest aerial barrage since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

It was not clear whether the object that Poland reported was related to the barrage.

“As a result of such massive attacks, this can happen. The enemy is attacking our border territories, including in the west. This is another signal for our partners to strengthen the Ukrainian air defense,” Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force, said on national television about the incident.

Poland has been supporting Ukraine with military, humanitarian and political assistance.

This is not the first time an unauthorized object has entered Poland’s airspace from the direction of Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion. In November 2022, two men were killed when a missile struck the village of Przewodow, a few kilometers from the border. Western officials said they believed a Ukrainian air defense missile went astray.

A light-water reactor at North Korea’s main nuclear complex will likely be formally operational by next summer, South Korea’s defense minister said, amid suspicions that the North may use it as a new source of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

Concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program deepened recently as the UN atomic agency and foreign experts said they’ve detected signs indicating that North Korea had begun operating its light-water reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said last week that his agency had observed increased levels of activity at and near the reactor and since mid-October, a strong water outflow from its cooling system. He said the reactor is “a cause for concern” because it can produce plutonium — one of the two key ingredients used to manufacture nuclear weapons, along with highly enriched uranium.

The South Korean Defense Ministry said Friday that Defense Minister Shin Wonsik told local reporters a day before that his country had also spotted similar cooling system-related activities associated with the reactor last summer.

Shin said the reactor appears to be in the stage of a trial operation and that it’s expected to be officially operational around next summer.

North Korea has long produced weapons-grade plutonium from its widely known 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon. The light-water reactor would be an additional source of bomb fuels, and observers say its bigger capacity could allow it to produce more plutonium. Yongbyon has a uranium enrichment facility as well.

There are questions about the reactor’s reported operation, as light-water reactors are best-suited for electricity generation. Shin noted there has been no country that has used light-water reactors to produce weapons-grade plutonium. However, many observers say North Korea could adapt one at Yongbyon to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

“(North Korea)’s commissioning of a new light water nuclear power plant raises serious concerns, including safety,” the US Mission to the UN in Vienna said Saturday in a message posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “(North Korea’s) unlawful nuclear & ballistic missile programs continue to pose a grave threat to international peace & security.”

Grossi also noted the North’s operation of the light-water reactor violates UN Security Council resolutions.

The IAEA and foreign governments rely on satellite imagery and other methods to monitor activities at Yongyon and other suspected nuclear facilities in North Korea. The North kicked out IAEA inspectors from the country in 2009.

Outside estimates on the size of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal vary, ranging from 20-60 to more than 100. Experts say North Korea can add six to 18 bombs each year. Since his diplomacy with the US collapsed in 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly vowed to build more nuclear weapons and introduce high-tech weapons to cope with what he calls intensifying US hostility.

Foreign experts say Kim would ultimately hope to use his expanded nuclear arsenal to win sanctions relief from the US when diplomacy resumes.

In response to the North’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile test last week, the US, South Korea and Japan urged other countries to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions that have imposed punishing sanctions on the North for its past banned weapons tests.

Russia launched 122 missiles and dozens of drones against Ukrainian targets, officials said Friday, killing at least 30 civilians across the country in what an air force official called the biggest aerial barrage of the war.

At least 144 people were injured and an unknown number were buried under rubble during the roughly 18-hour onslaught, Ukrainian officials said. A maternity hospital, apartment blocks and schools were among the buildings reported damaged across Ukraine.

In the capital, Kyiv, broken glass and mangled metal littered city streets. Air raid and emergency service sirens wailed as plumes of smoke drifted into a bright blue sky.

Kateryna Ivanivna, a 72-year-old Kyiv resident, said she threw herself to the ground when a missile struck.

“There was an explosion, then flames,” she said. “I covered my head and got down in the street. Then I ran into the subway station.”

Meanwhile, in Poland, authorities said that what apparently was a Russian missile entered the country’s airspace Friday morning from the direction of Ukraine and then vanished off radars.

In the attack on Ukraine, the air force intercepted most of the ballistic and cruise missiles and the Shahed-type drones overnight, said Ukraine’s military chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

Western officials and analysts had recently warned that Russia limited its cruise missile strikes for months in an apparent effort to build up stockpiles for massive strikes during the winter, hoping to break the Ukrainians’ spirit.

The result was “the most massive aerial attack” since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk wrote on his official Telegram channel. It topped the previous biggest assault, in November 2022 when Russia launched 96 missiles, and this year’s biggest, with 81 missiles on March 9, according to air force records.

Fighting along the front line is largely bogged down by winter weather after Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive failed to make a significant breakthrough along the roughly 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) line of contact.

Ukrainian officials have urged the country’s Western allies to provide it with more air defenses. Their appeals have come as signs of war fatigue strain efforts to keep support in place.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the attack should stir the world to further action in support of Ukraine.

“These widespread attacks on Ukraine’s cities show (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will stop at nothing to achieve his aim of eradicating freedom and democracy,” Sunak said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter. “We must continue to stand with Ukraine — for as long as it takes.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the scale of the attack should wake people up to Ukraine’s continuing needs.

“Today, millions of Ukrainians awoke to the loud sound of explosions,” he wrote on X. “I wish those sounds of explosions in Ukraine could be heard all around the world. In all major capitals, headquarters, and parliaments, which are currently debating further support for Ukraine.”

In Kyiv, the bombardment damaged a subway station that lies across the street from a factory belonging to the Artem company, which produces components for various military-grade missiles. Officials did not say whether the factory was directly hit.

Overall, the attack hit six cities, and reports of deaths and damage came in from across the country. Several dozen missiles were launched towards Kyiv, with more than 30 intercepted, said Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv military administration. Eight people were killed there, officials said.

In Boyarka, near Kyiv, the debris of a shot-down drone fell on a home and started a fire. Andrii Korobka, 47, said his mother was sleeping next to the room where the wreckage landed and was taken to hospital suffering from shock.

“The war goes on, and it can happen to any house, even if you think yours will never be affected,” Korobka said.

Tetiana Sakhnenko lives next door and said neighbors ran with buckets of water to put out the blaze, but it spread quickly. “It’s so scary,” she said.

In the eastern city of Dnipro, four maternity hospital patients were rescued from a fire, five people were killed and 20 injured, officials said.

In Odesa, on the southern coast, falling drone wreckage started a fire at a multistory residential building, according to the regional head, Oleh Kiper. Two people were killed and 15, including two children, were injured, he said.

The mayor of the western city of Lviv, Andrii Sadovyi, said one person was killed there, with three schools and a kindergarten damaged in a drone attack. Local emergency services said 30 people were injured.

In northeastern Ukraine, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said the city was subjected to at least three waves of aerial attacks that included S-300 and Kh-21 missile launches. One person was killed and at least nine injured, officials said.

opinion 0 comments on Biden warns Netanyahu that Israel is losing support worldwide and its government must ‘change’

Biden warns Netanyahu that Israel is losing support worldwide and its government must ‘change’

The British newspaper “Financial Times” says that US President Joe Biden warned the head of the Israeli occupation government, Benjamin Netanyahu, about the need to change his course in the war on Gaza, explaining that this would result in “Israel losing support around the world.”


The British Financial Times reported that US President Joe Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the need to change his course in the war on Gaza or risk losing global support.

The newspaper reported that Biden said that Netanyahu must change course, warning that the Israeli “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza threatens to leave “Israel” isolated.

She added, “In his harshest criticism of the far-right coalition formed by the Israeli Prime Minister since Israel began its military attack on October 7, the American President said that Israel has begun to lose support around the world.”

The newspaper pointed out that Biden has, so far, largely resisted public pressure on Netanyahu, even when American officials said that they held difficult talks in private, pointing out that the American president has been a strong supporter of “Israel” in public throughout his political career, including That is “its current war effort.”

She continued by saying that an American official said that Biden’s statements were not part of a coordinated attempt by the White House to pressure Netanyahu, but that they were “out of the ordinary” and “random.”

The newspaper pointed out that “later yesterday, in a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House, Biden said that Israeli measures must be consistent with trying to do everything possible to prevent innocent Palestinian civilians from being harmed, killed, etc. till then”.

It is noteworthy that Israeli, American and Western media spoke yesterday about the current differences between Netanyahu and Biden regarding the war on Gaza.

The American newspaper “The New York Times” reported that the division between “Israel” and the United States, “its closest ally,” exploded into the open, with Biden warning that Israeli leaders were losing international support because of their war on Gaza, and as a result of Netanyahu’s categorical rejection of the American vision for a transitional period. Post-war.

For its part, Bloomberg confirmed that “the divisions between Biden and Netanyahu regarding the conflict in Israel have extended to public opinion,” so that their two different visions regarding the future of the Gaza Strip after the war confirmed “the deep division between the two allies.”

For its part, Israeli media commented on Biden’s statements today, after he said that Netanyahu must “change his extremist government to find a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” in addition to his assertion that “the Israeli government has begun to lose support from the international community due to the indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip.” Gaza”.

The Israeli media confirmed that Biden’s words “were said in closed rooms in the White House, and now they are being said publicly, and the disagreement between Netanyahu and Biden is revealed,” noting that “in the end, there will be an explosion between Netanyahu and Biden.”

News, Perspectives 0 comments on Iranian Ambassador to Tunisian Foreign Minister

Iranian Ambassador to Tunisian Foreign Minister

Mr. Nabil Ammar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, received at the Ministry’s headquarters on Friday, December 01, 2023, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Mohammad Reza Raouf Shibani, who paid him a farewell visit on the occasion of the end of his mission in Tunisia.
During the meeting, Ambassador Mohamed Reza Raouf Shibani expressed his thanks and gratitude to the President, the Government and the people of Tunisia for the constructive cooperation and support he received, which helped the mission to carry out its tasks and its role in strengthening the brotherly relations and the cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
For his part, the Minister praised the historic brotherly ties between Tunisia and Iran, and thanked the Iranian Ambassador for the valuable efforts he has made during his tenure in Tunisia and his role in strengthening relations between the two countries, stressing our country’s determination to further consolidate the relations of cooperation with Iran and expand them to promising areas.
News 0 comments on Cease-fire, humanitarian corridor needed in Gaza for children’s safety: UNICEF

Cease-fire, humanitarian corridor needed in Gaza for children’s safety: UNICEF

For children’s safety, a cease-fire and humanitarian corridor are needed in Gaza amid the intensifying conflict between Israel and Hamas, UNICEF said on Friday in response to Anadolu’s question.

According to the latest numbers, 447 children have been killed in Gaza, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said, citing Palestinian Health Ministry figures.

Addressing a UN press briefing in Geneva, Elder said hundreds of children are being killed and injured every hour in Gaza and urged that the killing of children “must stop.”

On a question by Anadolu about Israel’s order for evacuation of Palestinians from northern Gaza within the next 24 hours, the spokesperson said that it “is simply not possible” to carry out such a movement in such a densely populated area.

The Israeli army on Friday ordered all residents of northern Gaza to evacuate their homes and head to the south.

In an earlier statement, UNICEF said that it is “terrified” by the scenes in Gaza where a “large number of children are among the victims,” and 1 million people “have no safe place to go.”

“This is unacceptable and the violence must stop immediately,” it urged.

In a dramatic escalation of Middle East tensions, Israeli forces launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip, a response to a military offensive by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in Israeli territories.

The conflict began last Saturday when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea and air.

Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.

News 0 comments on Oil rebounds after steep monthly decline as markets await US data

Oil rebounds after steep monthly decline as markets await US data

Oil prices rose on Friday during a choppy Asian trading session as investors awaited US nonfarm payrolls data to gauge the next moves of the US Federal Reserve.

International benchmark crude Brent traded at $84.30 per barrel at 11.30 a.m. local time (0830GMT), up 0.27% from the closing price of $84.07 a barrel in the previous trading session on Thursday.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $82.76 per barrel, up 0.66% from Thursday’s close of $82.21 per barrel.

Oil prices were volatile on Friday, impacted by looming uncertainties as markets await key data amid supply fears triggered by OPEC’s decision to cut oil supplies by a total of 1.3 million barrels by the end of the year.

Having risen to their highest level in a year last week, both benchmarks lost more than 2% on Thursday following data indicating that oil consumption started to fall in the US with the end of the summer.

According to data announced by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday, US gasoline stocks rose approximately 6.5 million barrels, reaching 227 million barrels.

Fears of another Fed interest rate hike intensified, bringing prices down, after US Labor Department figures showed that US job openings rose more than expected to 9.61 million in August, relative to the forecast of 8.8 million.

Markets are now awaiting ADP non-farm payrolls data, to be issued later on Friday, in order to gain insight into the Fed’s next interest rate decision.

Also adding to downside pressure on prices by easing supply woes, Russia announced on Friday that it has partially lifted the ban on the diesel exports by pipelines through seaports.

“The government has removed restrictions on export of diesel fuel delivered to seaports by pipeline transport provided that the producer supplies at least 50% of diesel fuel produced to the domestic market,” according to an official statement.

The restrictions for gasoline exports, meanwhile, remain in force.

Moscow decided on Sept. 21 to limit the export of gasoline and diesel fuel, and Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov said on Tuesday that the limit will remain until fuel supplies and prices stabilize on the domestic market.

Russia, one of the largest global oil producers, exports nearly 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) of diesel fuel and 100,000 bpd of gasoline. Last year, the country’s diesel exports totaled 35 million tons and gasoline exports amounted to 4.8 million tons.

News 0 comments on Russia downs 5 Ukrainian drones over Belgorod region

Russia downs 5 Ukrainian drones over Belgorod region

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that five Ukrainian drones were shot down over the Belgorod region overnight.

The ministry said in a statement that all unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were shot down by air defense systems.

Meanwhile, another attack was foiled in the northwestern Black Sea when a Russian Black Sea Fleet Ka-29 helicopter detected and destroyed a Ukrainian unmanned boat heading towards the Crimean Peninsula, the ministry noted.

In a separate statement, the head of the press center of Russia’s Center Group of Forces, Alexander Savchuk, said artillery and aviation struck positions of the Ukrainian Azov brigade of special forces.

Speed up of Su-34 fighter jets productions instructed

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu instructed the management of the Novosibirsk aircraft factory to speed up production and repair of Su-34 fighter jets, his ministry said in a statement on Friday.

“This aircraft is the main workhorse, it has four or five sorties every day,” he said.

The Su-34, or Fullback in NATO terminology, is a two-seat all-weather front-line bomber designed for missile and bomb attacks on ground and air targets.

Explosions in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Telegram that Russia attacked the city of Kharkiv, killing a 10-year-old boy and injuring 20 others.

“My condolences to my family and friends! … All the wounded are provided with the necessary assistance. The rescue operation continues,” he said on Friday.

Explosions were also reported Thursday night in Ukraine’s Odesa and Mykolayiv regions.

News 0 comments on Italian FM says Paris, Rome to work together to deal with growing irregular migration problem

Italian FM says Paris, Rome to work together to deal with growing irregular migration problem

Italy’s Foreign Minister announced that Paris and Rome will work together to deal with the growing irregular migration problem to Europe, especially via Italy, the Italian press reported on Monday evening.

“Italy appreciates the remarks by French President Emmanual Macron and your (French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna) words about cooperation on immigration,” Antonio Tajani said during a press briefing with his French counterpart following the meeting in Paris, according to state-run ANSA news agency.

Noting that the migrant flow to Italy via the Mediterranean presents a serious challenge to his country, he said, “The migration issue must be tackled at the European level and given the instability in Africa, we believe that the UN must also intervene through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UNHCR.”

“Together with France, we can contribute to a European solution,” he added.

The number of migrants landed in Italy so far this year has reached over 127,000 – more than double that of the same period in 2022. The majority have set off from Tunisia, where in July, Meloni and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signed a controversial deal to stem irregular migration.

News 0 comments on UN food aid cuts mostly blamed for 1,329 starvation deaths in Ethiopia’s Tigray since peace deal

UN food aid cuts mostly blamed for 1,329 starvation deaths in Ethiopia’s Tigray since peace deal

The first medically verified assessment of the post-Pretoria Agreement hunger-related mortality in Tigray revealed a staggering 1,329 deaths Tuesday that is attributed to starvation following food aid cuts.

The surge in deaths coincided with the suspension of food aid by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) across Ethiopia, including Tigray.

The suspension, attributed to the diversion of shipments to illicit sales in local markets, has had devastating consequences for a region already grappling with conflict, drought, and famine.

A study conducted by the Tigray Health Research Institute, the Tigray Bureau of Health and Mekelle University, College of Health Science, warned about an escalating hunger crisis since aid suspension in March 2023.

“The lowest number of deaths since November occurred in March 2023, when the food suspension began, and increased each month thereafter,” it said.

In July, researchers recorded 305 deaths, with under 7% in medical facilities and more than 90% at home, exposing limited healthcare access.

“More than 71% of the deceased only consumed one meal a day in the month prior to their deaths and in 89% of cases, families reported that the deceased did not have enough food to satisfy their hunger in the month prior to their death,” it said.

Starvation was the leading cause of death for all ages, making up 60% of Internally Displaced Persons IDPs fatalities and 49% of host community deaths.

Following the signing of the Pretoria Peace Agreement between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Forces (TPLF) in November 2022, control of the region transitioned to the TPLF, and the organization underwent disarmament.

Specially trained medical teams were deployed to record deaths occurring after the deal in nine woredas (districts) and among internally displaced populations in five towns across Tigray.

The teams collected information about the deceased and conducted verbal autopsies with family members for all individuals older than one month old who had died of causes other than accidents and injuries.

The comprehensive report, which encompasses data from nine woredas and 53 IDP centers in five towns (Maichew, Mekelle, Abi Addi, Adigrat, and Shire), paints a grim picture of the region’s situation.

The study’s findings point to the food aid cuts as the primary driver behind the escalating death toll.

Notably, the lowest number of deaths occurred in March 2023 when the food suspension began, with fatalities steadily rising each subsequent month.

News 0 comments on Armenian, Azerbaijani officials to visit Brussels to prepare for leaders’ meeting

Armenian, Azerbaijani officials to visit Brussels to prepare for leaders’ meeting

Advisors to French president, German Chancellor and European Council president also expected to attend Tuesday’s gathering ahead of Oct. 5 meeting in Granada

Officials from Armenia, Azerbaijan will pay a working visit to the Belgian capital Brussels on Tuesday to prepare for a meeting next month between the two countries’ leaders in southern Spain.

The Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, Armen Grigoryan, will meet with Azerbaijan’s Presidential Adviser Hikmet Hajiyev as well as advisors to French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Council President Charles Michel to prepare for the meeting, the Armenian news agency Armenpress reported Sunday, citing the Armenian Security Council.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will meet on Oct. 5 in the city of Granada to discuss the signing of a peace treaty between their two countries. The meeting will also be attended by Macron and Michel.

Previously, Aliyev, Pashinyan and Michel convened a trilateral meeting in Brussels on May 14. They subsequently participated in a five-party meeting joined by Macron and Scholz as part of the European Political Community (AST) Summit held in Moldova on June 1.

News 0 comments on Muslim girl turned away from school in France for wearing hijab files complaint with UN

Muslim girl turned away from school in France for wearing hijab files complaint with UN

A Muslim student, who had been turned away from school for wearing a kimono, a Japanese garment, in France, has filed a complaint with the UN over being “discriminated against” due to her religious affiliation.

The controversy over the French government’s stance against hijab in schools continues with many students being turned away for wearing loose over-garments.

The 15-year-old girl, living in the French city of Lyon, has sent a complaint to Ashwini K.P, special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, over “discrimination she faced on the grounds of her religious affiliation.”

On Sept. 5, she was sent home for wearing a kimono.

Her complaint has been sent to the UN via her lawyer Nabil Boudi who released a statement on Friday.

Criticizing the abaya ban introduced by French Education Minister Gabriel Attal, the complainant said they think that the French government has not taken the necessary steps to prevent all kinds of discrimination against women.

Earlier, the female student also filed a complaint with the Lyon Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds that she was “discriminated against due to her religious affiliation.”

Earlier this month, the Council of State upheld the government’s abaya ban, declaring it legal.

The court’s ruling came after Vincent Brengarth, a lawyer for the Muslim Rights Action (ADM), filed an appeal on Aug. 31 with the Council of State to seek the suspension of the ban on the abaya, which he said, violated “several fundamental freedoms.”

The controversial move sparked a backlash against the government, which has been criticized in recent years for targeting Muslims with statements and policies, including raids on mosques and charitable foundations, and an “anti-separatism” law that imposes broad restrictions on the community.