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Prepare for a Russian Nuclear Assault on Ukraine, Zelensky Warns

Zelensky Warns
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking from the country’s capital Kyiv, expressed concern that Russian President Vladimir Putin would potentially be willing to deploy chemical weapons against Ukraine.

When asked by CNN if he was concerned about the possibility of a nuclear assault, Mr Zelensky responded, “Not only me – all of the globe, all of the countries ought to be concerned.”

“Chemical weapons,” he added. They could do it because the lives of the people are meaningless to them. That is the reason. We should consider not to be fearful, not to be afraid, but to be prepared.

“But, I believe, it is not a question for Ukraine, but for the entire globe.”

According to Mr. Zelensky, approximately 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian forces have died and an additional 10,000 have been injured in the battle.

He is, however, unsure about the civilian death toll.

“It is very difficult to talk about civilians because we don’t know how many people have died in that area that is blocked in the south of our nation, where the towns and cities are stopped – Kherson, Berdyansk, Mariupol farther east, and the territory to the east where Volnovakha located,” he said.

He also discussed the recent sinking of Russia’s flagship Moskva battleship.

The Ukrainian president stated that the sinking was not a “tragedy,” and that the fewer weaponry the Russian Federation has, the better it is for them.

Maksym Marchenko, governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region, said his country’s soldiers attacked the ship with two Neptune anti-ship missiles. Russian officials confirmed that their flagship vessel had sunk as a result of an ammunition explosion.

According to Russia, all 500 crew members were rescued on Wednesday. According to Ukrainian officials, some of those on board died, including the ship’s captain.

Since invading Ukraine, the Russian Federation has suffered damage to two major naval assets: the Moskva and the Alligator-class landing ship Saratov, according to the Ministry of Defence in London.

In the aftermath of the incident, British defense chiefs said on Friday that Russia is likely to reconsider its maritime posture in the Black Sea.

Russia-Ukraine War Pushes US Inflation to 4-Decade High

Food prices
Photo: Pixbay

Americans paid more for gasoline, food, and other necessities last month, amid an ongoing wave of record inflation exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to US government data released Tuesday.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 8.5% in the year to March, the highest increase since December 1981 and a sign of the pressure President Joe Biden’s administration is under even as it seeks new ways to punish Moscow for the attack on its neighbor.

Since last year, the inflationary surge has dragged Biden’s approval rating down, and the president has tried to blame it on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the disruptions to global energy markets caused by the invasion.

“Putin’s price hike in gasoline accounted for 70% of the increase in prices in March,” Biden claimed during a speech in Iowa, though the Labor Department said it was closer to half.

Prices began to rise last year as the economy recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, and while the most recent report showed costs reaching new highs for many items, it also contained indications that the spike may be leveling off.

Prices rose 1.2% in March, in line with analysts’ expectations, but “core” prices, which exclude volatile food and energy sectors, rose 0.3%, less than expected.

“The Russia-Ukraine war has added fuel to the blazing rate of inflation through higher energy, food, and commodity prices that are turbo charged by a worsening in supply chain problems,” Oxford Economics’ Kathy Bostjancic said.

The strength of the ongoing price increases has bolstered the case for the Federal Reserve to take aggressive action at its policy meeting next month, likely raising the key lending rate by half a percentage point rather than the quarter-point increase last month.

“With labor shortages pressuring firms to raise wages, we are in the midst of a wage-price inflation cycle that will necessitate extreme Fed action to rid the economy of the spreading inflation threat,” said economist Joel Naroff, reports AFP.

A confluence of factors has fueled the inflationary surge, including businesses’ struggles to find enough workers and supplies, the Fed’s low-interest-rate policies, and congressionally approved stimulus measures that increased demand among American consumers.

In response, the White House has scrambled to provide relief, including releasing strategic oil supplies to lower pump prices and lifting a prohibition on selling a lower-priced gasoline blend during the summer months, which Biden promoted during his visit to Iowa.

The Fed, on the other hand, is the most powerful anti-inflation actor in Washington. Despite the fact that rate hikes are expected to lower prices in the coming months, central bank Governor Lael Brainard stated on Tuesday that the fallout from the Ukraine conflict “probably skews risks to the upside in inflation.”

A new pandemic lockdown in China “has the potential to lengthen some of those constraints that we’ve seen in supply chains,” Brainard said in a discussion following the release of the data.

According to Labor Department data, Americans are experiencing real financial hardship when it comes to purchasing must-have items. Prices for shelter, which includes rent, increased by 0.5%, while food prices increased by 1% overall.

According to the data, grocery prices were up 1.5% month over month and 10% year over year, the largest such increase since March 1981.

However, used car prices, which were among the first to rise last year, fell 3.8% last month, pushing core CPI lower. After seeing monthly increases of more than 1% in the latter months of 2021, new car prices rose by only 0.2%.

Sri Lanka Defaults on all External Debt

Central Bank of Sri Lanka
Phoro: Collected

Crisis-stricken Sri Lanka is a country in South Asia. On Tuesday, it stated that it would default on its $51 billion external debt in the absence of an IMF bailout.

Creditors, including foreign governments that had lent to the South Asian nation, were free to take advantage of any interest payments due to them beginning Tuesday afternoon or opt for repayment in Sri Lankan rupees, according to the finance ministry.

COVID New Rules in China: No Kissing Hugging or Sleeping Together is Allowed

China has Reportedly Toughened the Covid Guidelines
Photo Credit: The Economic Times

China’s Covid standards have apparently been tightened to the point where people are having difficulty following them.

According to reports, Shanghai, the country’s financial capital, has been placed under a state of emergency, with citizens facing a terrible situation. The country has gone one step further in attempting to contain the spread by publishing what appear to be some strange new guidelines for Shanghai residents.

During the lockdown, residents of the city have gone to Twitter to complain about the country’s bizarre restrictions. Locals are seen protesting the lack of supplies and singing from their balconies in videos showing Covid notifications being delivered by drones in the sky.

Although drones throughout the country are making alerts that inhabitants should not sing from balconies. “Control the soul’s desire for freedom and do not open the window to sing,” the message says. This type of activity has the potential to spread the epidemic.”

Not only that, but another video of healthcare personnel urging people not to sleep together, kiss, or even hold each other has surfaced on the internet. “From tonight, couples should sleep alone, don’t kiss, the embrace is not permitted, and eat separately,” the healthcare personnel said in the video. Thank you for your corporation.”

6 Killed, at Least 10 Injured in Mass Shooting in Sacramento, California, Police Say

6 Killed, at Least 10 Injured in Mass Shooting in Sacramento, California, Police Say
Photo Credit: Time

6 people were killed and at least 10 more were injured in a mass shooting in Sacramento, California, according to police.

Several streets in downtown Sacramento, only blocks from the state Capitol building and the Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings NBA club plays, were closed while cops responded to the gun violence, according to the Sacramento Police Department. The victims’ conditions were not immediately known, according to authorities.

The shooting occurred just hours after gunfire erupted at an outdoor event in Dallas, Texas, killing one person and injuring ten more.

Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester said at a press conference that the incident occurred around 2 a.m. on the corner of 10th and K Street in a famous nightlife area.

According to Lester, police officers were in the neighborhood when they heard the gunfire.

“There was quite a crowd in the neighborhood. We’re not sure if it was a club or an event “Lester said.

Former UN Prosecutor Calls for Global Arrest Warrant for President Putin

Carla Del Ponte, a former UN prosecutor
Photo is taken from Internet

The former head prosecutor of the United Nations war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to be placed under global arrest.

“Putin is a war criminal,” Carla Del Ponte said in an interview published Saturday in the Swiss newspaper Le Temps.

The Swiss lawyer who oversaw UN investigations in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia said there were definite war crimes being committed in Ukraine in interviews given to Swiss media to celebrate the release of her new book.

“I had hoped to never witness mass graves again,” she told Blick. “These dead folks have loved ones who have no idea what happened to them.” This is inexcusable.

Attacks on civilians, the demolition of civilian buildings, and even the razing of entire villages were among the other war crimes she discovered in Ukraine.

She claimed that the investigation in Ukraine would be easier than the investigation in Yugoslavia since Ukraine had requested an international investigation. Karim Khan, the current ICC head prosecutor, visited Ukraine last month.

“You must move up the chain of command until you reach those who took the decisions,” she stated if the ICC discovers proof of war crimes.

She stated that even Putin may be held accountable.

“You must not give up; you must continue your investigation.” Slobodan Milosevic was still president of Serbia when the inquiry into him began. Who would have guessed that he would be judged one day? “No one,” she said to Blick.

Del Ponte went on to say that both sides should be investigated for probable war crimes, citing stories of alleged torture of Russian prisoners of war by Ukrainian forces as an example.

Sri Lanka Runs Out of Diesel, Faces Longest-Ever Blackout

Sri Lanka fuel
Photo: AFP

Diesel was no longer available in Sri Lanka, hampering transportation as the country’s 22 million residents endured record-breaking power outages on Thursday. The South Asian country is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence, owing to a severe scarcity of foreign currency to pay for even basic goods.

According to officials and media reports, diesel, the major fuel for buses and commercial vehicles, was unavailable at stations around the island. Petrol was available for purchase, but supplies were limited, causing motorists to abandon their vehicles in long lines.

“We’re siphoning diesel from buses in the garage for repairs and using it to run functioning vehicles,” Sri Lanka Transport Minister Dilum Amunugama stated.

Private bus owners, who make up two-thirds of the country’s fleet, warned they were already out of oil and that even skeleton services might not be available after Friday. “We’re still utilizing outdated diesel stockpiles,” Gemunu Wijeratne, chairman of the private bus operators association, told AFP. “If we don’t obtain supplies by this evening, we won’t be able to run.”

Because they don’t have enough diesel for generators, the state electrical monopoly warned they’ll have to impose a 13-hour power outage starting Thursday, the longest ever.

“We have been promised additional supplies in two days, and if that happens, we will be able to shorten the duration of the power outages,” Ceylon Electricity Board chairman M. M. C. Ferdinando told reporters. He added that hydro reservoirs, which supply more than a third of the country’s electricity, were also dangerously low. The Colombo Stock Exchange was forced to reduce trading hours by half to two hours due to the prolonged power outages, and several offices advised non-essential employees to stay at home.

Mobile phone base stations were also affected by the electricity rationing, which impacted call quality, according to operators, who also reported their stand-by generators were out of diesel.

The shortages have generated fury across Sri Lanka, with hundreds of motorists blocking important roads in numerous towns, according to local television. Several state-run hospitals have halted operations due to a shortage of life-saving drugs, while the majority have halted diagnostic procedures that require imported chemicals in low supply, reports AFP.

In March 2020, Colombo announced a comprehensive import ban to save foreign currency required to service its $51 billion foreign debt. However, this has resulted in severe shortages of vital products as well as significant price increases.

The administration has stated that it is seeking a rescue from the IMF, as well as more loans from India and China.

The Covid-19 outbreak, which crippled tourism and remittances, aggravated Sri Lanka’s position. Many economists point to government mismanagement, such as tax cuts and years of budget deficits, as a contributing factor.

Russia-Ukraine Peace Talks Begins in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AP

As he convened discussions in Istanbul on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan encouraged Russian and Ukrainian delegates to “put an end to this tragedy”.

The face-to-face discussions at Istanbul’s Dolmabahce palace are intended at putting an end to a war that has killed an estimated 20,000 people and displaced more than 10 million people.

The two delegations, who arrived in Turkey on Monday, met for the first time following numerous rounds of videoconference conversations.

“Both parties have valid concerns, and a solution acceptable to the international community is feasible,” Erdogan added, AFP reports.

“It is up to the two parties to bring this tragedy to a close,” he insisted, adding that “the conflict’s continuance is in no one’s interest.”

On March 10, the Turkish city of Antalya hosted the first meeting between Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers since Ukraine’s invasion last month.

Elon Musk Giving ‘Serious Thought’ to Build a New Social Media

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Photo: Collected

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc., said he is “seriously considering” building a new social media platform, a day after polling Twitter users on whether they believe the site adheres to the principle of free expression.

Musk was responding to a Twitter user who asked whether he would consider developing a new social media platform where “free expression is prioritized” and propaganda is “very limited.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, “I’m definitely considering it.”

Elon Musk, a vocal critic of Twitter and its standards, has previously launched a Twitter poll, asking users whether they believe Twitter adheres to the ideal of stringent free expression. He also asked readers to vote “carefully,” as the “consequences of this poll will be important,” according to him.

“No,” replied more than 70% of those questioned.

“Failure to respect free speech standards profoundly harms democracy since Twitter has become the de facto public town square.” “How should we proceed?” says the narrator. He posted on Twitter after the poll. “Does it appear that a new platform is required?”

None of the new social media companies that have positioned themselves as champions of free speech, such as Donald Trump’s Truth Social, Twitter competitors Getty, Parler, and Koo, have come close to matching the reach and popularity of social media behemoths like Twitter, Meta Platform’s Facebook, and Alphabet-owned Google’s YouTube.

 Information Source: Reuters

50 Ministers From Imran Khan’s Party Go “Missing” Amid Crisis: Report

Imran Khan
Photo: Collected

As a no-confidence vote against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan approaches, at least 50 ministers from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf are refusing to appear in public, according to Pakistani media.

According to The Express Tribune, which cited sources, 25 of the missing ministers were federal and provincial advisers and special assistants, while four were state ministers, four were advisors, and 19 were special assistants.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the other hand, continues to have the support of the country’s ministers at the federal level. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, and Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed are among the officials who continue to defend Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has increased its attempts to recruit its allies after the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Khan was postponed till March 28.

According to ARY News, a team of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) is expected to meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan today.

The news comes after Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reached out to the ruling PTI’s key partners, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, yesterday (PML-Q).

The MQM delegation was met by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and Pervaiz Khattak. Mr Qureshi also spoke with Pakistan Muslim League (Q) leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi over the phone.

On Thursday, PTI representatives met with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to persuade them to return to the government and support Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly on election day.

The Pakistani National Assembly has a total of 342 members, with 172 constituting a majority. The PTI-led coalition has 179 members, with Imran Khan’s PTI having 155 members and four key allies, the MQM-P, PML-Q, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), each with seven, five, five, and three members.