USA consumer prices up by 7.5%
Consumer prices in the United States in January rose by 7.5% – the highest since February 1982 and beyond market forecasts. The increase on a monthly basis was 0.6%, above analysts’ expectations. The core impact of inflation, net of energy and food, marked a 6% increase, accelerating from 5.5% in December. Used car prices, which jumped 40.5% compared to January last year, contributed to the jump in inflation. Food has increased by 7%, pushing up the prices of restaurants and fast-food restaurants, which have risen by 8%. Energy prices rose 0.9% compared to December.
UN still recognizes Libya’s Dbeibah as PM
The United Nations will continue to support Libya’s unity government chief Abdulhamid Dbeibah, after former interior minister Fathi Bashagha was voted in as an alternative prime minister in a controversial vote by the country’s parliament. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said it was very important for all Libyan leaders and stakeholders to keep in mind the Libyan people, stressing the UN’s aim was to “help the Libyan people”. Bashagha’s appointment raises the specter of a power struggle in Tripoli after 18 months of relative calm. Dbeibah, appointed a year ago as part of UN-led peace efforts, has vowed to hand power only to a government that emerges from a democratic vote.
US, China lock horns over Ukraine at UN
US envoy to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield has called on Beijing to encourage Russia “to do the right thing” in the Ukraine crisis – and drew a sharp response from her Chinese counterpart who accused Washington of fanning tensions. Fears are high in Western capitals that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine after building up some 100,000 troops around its ex-Soviet neighbour. Russia is rejecting those claims, but demanding sweeping security guarantees from NATO and the United States.
Russia, Belarus start joint military exercises
Russia and Belarus have started joint military exercises which will last 10 days According to NATO, this is Russia’s largest military deployment in former Soviet Belarus since the Cold War. Russia has moved up to 30,000 troops, two battalions of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, and numerous fighters to the country for joint military maneuvers. Satellite images show that much of the military assets have been moved to locations close to the Ukrainian border. The White House has called the exercises an “escalation” of tensions and, on Thursday, urged Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately due to the “increased threats of Russian military action”. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described them as “psychological pressure” and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of blocking Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov, which, he said “was completely blocked and the Black Sea almost fully cut off by Russian forces”. France called the drills a “violent gesture”.
London police chief resigns after string of scandals
London police chief Cressida Dick resigned on Thursday, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, after he told her he was not satisfied she could root out the racism, sexism and other problems that still existed within the force. Confidence in London’s Metropolitan Police has been shaken in recent years by revelations including the abduction, rape and murder of a woman by one of its officers and a culture of bullying, racial discrimination and misogyny in a central London police station.
California sizzles in February heatwave
A heatwave is bringing unseasonably high temperatures to California, sending sun-worshippers to the beach, but also sparking a brushfire. Forecasters issued a heat warning for the most populous US state through to Sunday, warning the mercury could hit a height-of-summer 32OC in Los Angeles – well above the average for winter. California, in common with much of the western United States, is enduring a historic drought and wild swings in weather that scientists say is exacerbated by man-made climate change.
20 dead after Peru bus dives off precipice
At least 20 people died and 33 others were injured in Peru when a passenger bus rolled off the road in the northern province of Pataz, crashing into a 100-metre precipice. According to reports, the bus driver lost control of the vehicle after braking on a stretch of road where there was a large amount of mud.
‘Trump threw documents in the toilet’ – book
New trouble for Donald Trump after a forthcoming book revealed embarrassing details about his handling of White House documents. According to ‘Confidence Man’, by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, the former president used to throw important papers into one of the residence’s toilets, so much so that staff always found it “clogged with crumpled paper”. The revelation comes days after the US National Archives recovered 15 boxes of documents in Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida residence, which should have been handed over to authorities once his term was over. Trump is also suspected of tearing up documents. Trump has called the revelations “fake news invented by a journalist to advertise a mostly-fictional book”.
Nail into Pakistani woman’s head to ‘guarantee’ baby boy
An expectant Pakistani woman had a nail hammered into her head by a faith healer who said it would guarantee she gave birth to a boy. Dr Haider Khan has told AFP the woman arrived at a hospital in Peshawar after trying to extract the nail herself with pliers. “She was fully conscious, but was in immense pain,” said Khan, who removed the spike. An X-ray showed the five-centimetre nail had pierced the top of the woman’s forehead but missed her brain. The mother of three daughters said she was pregnant with another girl.