Global Review – 30th September

Security Council to vote on Moscow’s referenda

The UN Security Council will vote today at 3 pm (8 pm in Malta) on a resolution condemning the “referendum” of annexation of various Ukrainian regions by Russia – a text which, however, has no possibility of being adopted due to Moscow’s right of veto. During a first meeting on these “referendums” denounced as “parodies” by the West, the US announced Tuesday it would put such a resolution on the table with Albania to “condemn the false referendums, call on member states not to recognise any modified status of Ukraine and force Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine,” said US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. And if Russia uses its veto “to protect itself, then we will turn to the General Assembly to send an unequivocal message to Moscow,” she added.

If the Russian veto is not in doubt, it would be above all the position of China, sometimes accused by Westerners of being too conciliatory with Russia, which would be carefully examined. Officially neutral Beijing reiterated this week its call for respect for the territorial integrity “of all countries”. India’s position will also be closely monitored. The two Asian countries abstained in February, the day after the Russian invasion, when Moscow vetoed a resolution in the Council denouncing its “aggression” on Ukraine.

Putin to preside ceremony adding Ukrainian territories to Russia

President Vladimir Putin will hold a signing ceremony in the Kremlin today (2pm Malta time) to add territories of Ukraine into Russia. Yesterday, he signed decrees paving the way for the occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be formally annexed into Russia. Russian-backed officials in four regions in Ukraine said referenda showed overwhelming majorities of their populations had voted to join Russia in votes slammed by Ukraine and the West as a “sham”. The heads of the four regions will also sign the treaties and Putin will later give a major speech. The US and its Western allies have sharply condemned the referenda, with the EU slamming the votes as “illegal” and said the results were “falsified” while the UK, Canada and Germany also refused to recognise them. Meanwhile, President Zelenski has called on the Russian population to revolt against President Putin, claiming that this was the only way for the war in Ukraine to stop.

Ukraine conflict is a ‘result of Soviet collapse’ – Putin

President Putin has told a meeting of intelligence chiefs of former Soviet states that current conflicts in countries of the former USSR – including Ukraine – are due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. “It is enough to look at what is happening now between Russia and Ukraine and what is happening on the borders of some other CIS countries. All this, of course, is the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Putin said in a televised meeting with the intelligence chiefs. The CIS, or Commonwealth of Independent States, was formed following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The Russian leader repeated his assertions that the West has provoked conflicts in the region. Putin blamed the West for provoking “colour revolutions” – an allegation Ukraine and other former Soviet states have repeatedly denied.

Satellites reveal visuals of Nord Stream damage

Satellite imagery has revealed the damage to Nord Stream’s pipelines. The UN International Methane Emissions Observatory detected methane plumes from Nord Stream that were stretching for miles, showcasing the extent to which Europe’s gas lifeline had been damaged. The researchers have not yet calculated the size of the affected area of the Nord Stream methane leaks, as a spokesperson for Sweden’s coast guard told ‘Svenska Dagbladet’ newspaper they had discovered a fourth gas leak on the damaged Nord Stream pipelines.

15 dead as Hurricane Ian devastates Florida

At least 15 people are known to have died in the catastrophic destruction left by the passage of Hurricane Ian across southwest Florida. Also, over 2.6 million inhabitants have been left without electricity supply. There are fears hundreds could be dead as rescuers respond to the historic destruction. US President Joe Biden Biden declared a major disaster and said it could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. Biden said he would travel to the state when conditions allowed. The governors of Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina have already declared a state of emergency.

Brazil presidential battle enters home stretch

Brazil’s deeply polarised election campaign has entered the home stretch with incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro and leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva squaring off in what could be a bellicose final debate. Far-right Bolsonaro, 67, is seeking re-election after a controversial first term, but polls to date have shown him lagging behind ex-president Lula, 76, who left office in 2010 with an unprecedented 87% approval rating. Meanwhile, three days after the opening of the polls in Brazil, the Higher Electoral Tribunal (TSE) reported clash over electronic voting with the Liberal party, the formation Bolsonaro. The TSE, the body that deals with the counting and monitors the correct conduct of the electoral campaign, has ordered an investigation against members of the Liberal Party, for the dissemination of a report with “false” information on the safety of devices for electronic voting.

Queen Elizabeth II died of ‘old age’

Queen Elizabeth II died of “old age” at 3:10 pm (15.10 Malta time) on September 8, according to her death certificate released on Thursday, or nearly three-and-a-half hours before the news was announced to the world. The 96-year-old monarch died at her Balmoral Castle estate in the Scottish Highlands. Elizabeth was the longest-serving monarch in British history and ruled as head of state for 70 years from 1952. The certificate released by the National Records of Scotland shows her death was registered on September 16 by the queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, who said in a statement issued by Buckingham Palace on September 13 that she was present during the last 24 hours of her mother’s life.

Asian markets drop again but sterling holds

Asian markets sank Friday after another devastating day on US and European trading floors, with inflation continuing to soar and central bankers getting increasingly hawkish in their attempts to bring prices under control. Sterling, however, managed to hold gains after clawing back more of the huge losses suffered at the start of the week owing to a tax-cutting mini-budget that analysts warned could cause even more pain to the already fragile UK economy. The pound’s bounce – from a record low of $1.0350 Monday to above $1.11 Friday – came after the Bank of England pledged $71 billion of support to shattered financial markets, fearing that several pension funds could go under. Britain’s beleaguered currency was given an extra boost by news Thursday that the budget watchdog will provide costings of new Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng’s fiscal plan on October 7, two weeks earlier than initially announced. The fallout from last week’s mini-budget and the turmoil it sparked in the financial markets lead to Prime Minister Liz Truss to hold “emergency talks” with the head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, the UK’s fiscal watchdog, after failing to reassure the markets about her economic plans.

Three years’ jail for Aung San Suu Kyi

A Myanmar court has handed three-year sentences to former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, her Australian economist Sean Turnell and three former Cabinet ministers for violating Myanmar’s official secrets act. They were tried and convicted under the secrets law. The case concluded on Thursday is one of several faced by Suu Kyi and is widely seen as being concocted to keep the 77-year-old Suu Kyi from returning to active politics. She had already been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment after being convicted of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, sedition, election fraud and five corruption charges.

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