Global Review – 20th October

EU Council to reaffirm united condemnation of Moscow

The current EU Council, meeting today and tomorrow in Brussels, among other things “aims” to “reaffirm the unity of the 27 member states in condemning the recent intensification of attacks by the Russian side” and “in supporting independence, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine”, according to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. In a report sent to both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Draghi says, “The full support of the EU for Ukraine includes the political, financial, military, humanitarian and legal dimensions; the implementation of sanctions; and the contribution to the full implementation of international initiatives aimed at ensuring the export of Ukrainian wheat”.

‘Attack on Taiwan is a scenario to consider

A Chinese attack on Taiwan is a scenario that the EU must consider in order to understand what the consequences will be for its own economic system. This is the input that would be submitted to the 27 leaders at the European Council today and tomorrow, where a “strategic discussion” on relations with Beijing will be held. “The EU in that case could not stand by and the consequences would be heavy: just think that 98% of our chips come from Taiwan”, explains a senior official.

Taiwan fully prepared for any Chinese invasion

The Taiwanese army is “fully prepared” for any Chinese invasion, whether Beijing decides to anticipate or delay an alleged timeline to do so, according to Taiwanese Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng. Giving evidence before a parliamentary meeting on the observations made on Monday by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for whom Beijing is determined to annex Taiwan in a “much faster timeline” than expected, Chiu said, “The army knows what it will have to do, whether in the next minute or in the next hour, as it prepares for war. It will not sit idle.”

EU readies sanctions on Russia’s Iran drones

The European Union on Wednesday readied new sanctions on Iran over its supply of drones to Russia as the UN Security Council met on the unmanned attacks that have caused destruction in Ukraine. The United States, France and Britain requested the closed-door Security Council discussion to voice alarm over the drone shipments, which Western officials say violate a UN resolution, although Russia holds veto power to block any new sanctions bid. Both Iran and Russia have denied the use of the drones, but the European Union said Wednesday it had confirmed that Iran has supplied the drones to Russia. Nabila Massrali, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said the bloc had “gathered our own evidence” and would prepare “a clear, swift and firm EU response”. The sanctions are set to be approved before the EU summit.

Ukraine orders electricity supply restrictions

In view of the Russian missile and drone strikes hitting its power plants, Ukraine introduced electricity supply restrictions across the country as of this mornig. As three more Ukrainian power plants were hit by Russian strikes, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Zelensky’s office, announced on his Telegram channel: “Electricity supply restrictions will be introduced throughout Ukraine. Today, the enemy again destroyed energy-generating facilities. Please take this seriously. Starting from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., it is necessary to minimize the use of electricity. This applies to residents of ALL regions of the country. If this is not done, you should prepare for temporary shutdowns. Also, from tomorrow, the use of street lighting will be limited in cities. These are forced steps. Therefore, we all work together on our front!”

Erdogan urges relaunch of negotiations

Turkey is ready to offer any contribution through negotiations that look to a diplomatic solution to end the war in Ukraine, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a phone call with Zelensky. The Ukrainian president called the dialogue with Erdogan “friendly” and underlined “the special role of Turkey in the wheat initiative”.

Meloni scolds Berlusconi over relations with Putin

Italy’s Prime Minister-in-waiting Giorgia Meloni issued a stark warning to Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday over his alleged friendship with Vladimir Putin. The far-right leader said the former Italian prime minister risked losing influence in any new government, amid controversy sparked by a leaked recording in which Berlusconi says he has “rekindled” ties with the Russian President. Berlusconi’s team deny these allegations. “Italy will never be the weak link of the West with us in government,” Meloni said in a statement late Wednesday, putting forward a strong pro-Nato, pro-European position.

Putin declares martial law in annexed regions

President Putin on Wednesday introduced sweeping new martial laws across the four Ukrainian regions that participated in sham referenda calling for them to be annexed by Russia. He also ordered an “economic mobilisation” in eight provinces bordering Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. “Putin said he was granting additional authority to the leaders of all Russian provinces to maintain public order and increase production in support of Moscow’s war, which is entering its eighth month. The law also limits the freedom of movement in eight Russian provinces bordering Ukraine,” according to ‘The Guardian’. The order came as Russia ordered residents of Kherson to evacuate as the Ukraine army advanced. Meanwhile, Ukraine has accused Putin of invoking a “new state of terror” with his declared martial law in Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

Saharov Prize goes to Ukraine

The Ukrainian people are the winners of the Sakharov Prize 2022, the highest award awarded by the EU Parliament for freedom of thought. The other two finalists were WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the Colombia Truth Commission. The award-winning ceremony is scheduled for December 14.

Truss on the brink as home secretary quits

The British beleaguered government appeared at risk of collapse on Wednesday as Suella Braverman launched a stinging attack on the prime minister after being forced to resign as home secretary. Braverman announced she was stepping down over the misuse of her personal email. In a resignation letter Braverman accused Prime Minister Liz Truss of breaking “key pledges”. Many Tory MPs said the government was dying, the ‘Financial Times’ reports. Grant Shapps, who was Transport Minister under Boris Johnson, was named as the new home secretary. After the government won a vote to defeat a Labour motion to ban fracking, Labour MP Chris Bryant told the Commons he had seen Tory members being “physically manhandled” into voting for the government.

One million children lose mother to cancer a year

Around one million children worldwide lose their mother to cancer every year, often leaving orphans caught up in a “vicious cycle of disadvantage”, researchers said Wednesday. The first-ever estimate for the number of children left motherless from cancer was announced at the World Cancer Congress in Geneva on Wednesday. It was prompted by a study in Africa by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Around 45 percent of the mothers died from breast and cervical cancer, which, IARC said, are “very preventable”.

70% increase in rat infestation in New York

New York is increasingly infested with rats. According to US media reports, the sightings of mice have increased by 70% compared to the same period two years ago. About 21,500 sightings were reported between January 1 and September 30, over 18,600 more than last year. In July, the metropolis sanitation department asked residents not to put trash bags on sidewalks, with exceptions for litter in bins. The city council will vote on an action plan by the end of the month, which includes nearly $5 million to mitigate the problem. But according to several experts, the funds are not enough.

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