Global Review – 5th October

Putin preparing a nuclear test on the Ukrainian border’ – Times

According to a high-level Western defence source quoted by London’s ‘The Times’, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most likely show of force through the use of nuclear weapons would take place in the Black Sea. But “it is not impossible” that the Kremlin leader could use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine. In that case, however, the risks for Moscow would inevitably be higher. On the preparation of a nuclear provocation, however, the allied intelligence remains cautious. “We have no indication that the Russian armed forces are mobilising assets or personnel related to their nuclear arsenal: everything is normal at the moment,” explained the White House early this morning. But NATO has not officially denied ‘The Times’ report and the fear of a reckless gesture by the Putin in the face of negative upheavals on Ukrainian soil, from Kharkiv to Kherson, remains strong. “Putin feels cornered and can be quite dangerous and reckless,” CIA director Bill Burns warned in an interview with CBS.

Ukraine makes swift gains against Russian troops

Ukrainian forces have recaptured “dozens” of towns from Russian invaders, breaking down Moscow’s front lines and potentially beginning a full-on collapse of its military. President Zelensky said that gains had been made across all sectors, including Kherson, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk, following sham referendums orchestrated by the Kremlin.

China, Russia against UN meeting on North Korea

The United States has asked the UN Security Council to meet on North Korea later today after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan, but Reuters quotes diplomats saying China and Russia are opposed to a public discussion by the 15-member body. Nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile farther than ever before on Tuesday, sending it soaring over Japan for the first time in five years and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover. “We must limit the DPRK’s ability to advance its unlawful ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programmes,” US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, tweeted after calling for a public Security Council meeting. Britain, France, Albania, Norway and Ireland joined the US in making the request. However, China and Russia told council counterparts they were opposed to a public meeting, arguing that the reaction of the council should be conducive to easing the situation on the Korean peninsula, diplomats said. It was not immediately clear whether the council would meet publicly or behind closed doors later today. Any meaningful council action is unlikely.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned North Korea’s missile launch over Japan as a “reckless act” and a violation of Security Council resolutions, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “It is also of serious concern that the DPRK has again disregarded any consideration for international flight or maritime safety,” said Dujarric, adding that Guterres urged Pyongyang to resume talks with key parties.

South Korea, US fire missiles in response to N. Korea test

South Korea and the US military fired a volley of missiles into the sea in response to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, Seoul said on Wednesday, as Pyongyang’s longest-range test yet drew international condemnation. South Korean and American troops staged a missile drill of their own in response, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday. Each side fired a pair of US-made ATACMS short-range ballistic missiles, according to a statement. A South Korean Hyunmoo-2 missile failed shortly after launch and crashed, but caused no casualties.

Biden will stand for a second term

US President Joe Biden will run for a second term in the 2024 presidential election. This was revealed, writes NBC, by Reverend Al Sharpton, to whom Biden reported his intention last month, during a meeting at the White House with some leaders of civil rights movements. The content of the private conversation, adds the NBC, was shared by Sharpton to the staff of the National Action Network, the civil rights organisation he chaired. “I’ll do it again, I’ll do it,” Biden told Sharpton as they posed for a photograph. On November 5, 2024, the date scheduled for the next presidential election in the United States, Biden would be two weeks away from his 82nd birthday.

Truss speech to ‘rally MPs’ amid claims of a ‘coup’

Many of Wednesday’s London papers lead on suggestions of infighting within the Conservative Party around key policies announced in the government’s mini-budget. ‘The Guardian’ reports that Prime Minister Liz Truss’ cabinet is in open warfare, while the ‘i’ says infighting was leaving Truss “in peril”. The paper says cabinet ministers are now challenging the PM as the fallout from her growth plan continues. The paper reports she is expected to try to regain the initiative in a speech later today – the most important of her career, according to ‘Metro’ – telling the Tory Party conference “we need to do things differently”.  The ‘Financial Times’ say the Tories had descended into “acrimony, cabinet infighting and confusion”.

Slovenia to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption

The Slovenian parliament on Tuesday passed an amendment allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt after a constitutional court ruling made it the first country in Eastern Europe to do so. The family law amendment was passed by 48 votes in favour and 29 against with one abstention. In July, Slovenia’s highest court ruled that the law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman discriminated against gay and lesbian couples. Slovenia is the first former communist country to endorse this reform in Europe, as most of its neighbours do not allow civil unions or same-sex marriages.

Google given a $85million-fine for irregularities

Google will pay a $85 million fine as part of a lawsuit initiated by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office for some irregularities in the way the company collects and handles users’ personal data. The investigations began in 2018 after press rumours that Google would continue to track and retain user location data even after the feature was disabled.

Nobel Physics Prize to pioneers of quantum information

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to the French Alain Aspect, the American John F. Clauser and the Austrian Anton Zeilinger, pioneers of quantum information. They received the Nobel Prize for laying the foundations for the future of information and communications: their experiments on the phenomenon called ‘entanglement’ – a sort of remote embrace of particles, paved the way for the powerful and very fast quantum computers, more precise measurements and hacker-proof encryption.

EU weighing Iran sanctions over Mahsa Amini’s death

The European Union said Tuesday it was weighing tough new sanctions on Iran over a lethal crackdown on protests sparked by the “killing” of Mahsa Amini, after a similar move by the United States. Amini, 22, was pronounced dead on September 16, days after the morality police detained her for allegedly breaching rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes.

Anti-suicide pin? Starbucks says no

Starbuck has fired an activist barista for wearing a mental health awareness pin on his uniform that violated the dress code. The anti-suicide pin also happened to be attached to a union organiser, currently anathema to big corporations at the moment. The barista in question, Will Westlake, said that he and others began wearing the pins in the Starbucks store after losing a colleague to suicide.

French cities boycott public screenings of World Cup matches

Paris has joined six other French cities – Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Reims, Nancy and Rodez – in a boycott of screening World Cup matches in public places in protest against human rights conditions, as well as environmental abuses, in the host nation Qatar. The boycott comes as the competition is set to begin next month, with the French national football team already in Qatar.

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