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UKRAINE: Russian Attacks On Ukraine Reported; At Least 11 Dead




KYIV, Ukraine — Kyiv, Ukraine Russian forces, according to Ukrainian officials, fired another round of missiles and self-destructing drones at nearly a dozen Ukrainian provinces early Thursday, killing at least 11 people. The first attack-related death of the year happened in Kyiv.

Russia has been going after power plants and other important infrastructure every two weeks, so the attacks made sense. The latest onslaught, however, came after Germany and the United States upped the ante in Russia’s 11-month war by promising to send high-tech battle tanks to Ukraine and allowing other allies to do the same on Wednesday.

Oleksandr Khorunzhyi, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service spokesperson, said that at least 11 people were injured in addition to the dead.

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said one person was killed in the attacks, the city’s first such death since New Year’s Eve. He said two others were hurt. Serhii Popko, the head of the Kyiv city administration, said Ukrainian air defenses shot down 15 cruise missiles en route to the area.

According to the regional prosecutor’s office in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia province, three people were killed, and seven others were injured in an attack on an energy facility. The commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said the volley on Thursday involved 55 missiles, 47 intercepted.


Self-Exploding Drones Sweep Over Night In Ukraine

Before the missile strikes, self-exploding drones sweep in overnight. As air raid sirens rang across the country, civilians poured into subway stations, underground parking lots, and basements, some dragging pet dogs on leashes.

It was the country’s first such barrage of Russian firepower since January 14.

Russia has carried out massive strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities since early October to impede Ukrainian forces and keep civilians in the dark this winter ahead of what many experts predict will be a spring offensive as more conscripts arrive on the battlefields.

The Energy Minister of Ukraine, Herman Halushchenko, said that some sites were hit, which caused emergency power outages.

Arkadii Kuritsyn, 53, of Kyiv’s southern Holosiivsky district, said he heard a loud explosion that blew out the windows of several trucks parked next to his scrap metal business and snapped several trees nearby wooded area in half.


Strikes Didnt Hit Their Intended Target

However, the strikes did not appear to hit the intended target: a nearby district power plant. Because of its proximity to the power station, the industrial area has already seen several missile attacks, according to Andrii Tarasenko, 36, who works in a nearby factory.

“It’s not surprising that it was targeted again,” he said. “We’ve grown accustomed to it.”

Halyna Panasian’s two-story home in Hlevakha, a city about 35 kilometers (about 22 miles) southwest of the capital, was damaged by a drone attack. This was followed by a barrage of missiles. Some of the damage was a deep hole in the courtyard, a big hole in the roof, and pieces of debris all over the house.

“When the house was hit, I was in my bedroom. “I had to crawl through the destroyed walls,” said Panasian, 59, of the 2 a.m. blast. “What can I say about such anguish? How am I going to live a happy life now? I can’t. I’m devastated. “My life is shattered.”

The attacks came a day after Germany announced that it would send 14 high-tech Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, with other European countries authorized to send up to 88 more. The United States announced plans to send 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukrainian forces.


Tanks Being Sent To Ukraine

Along with Germany and the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland, the Netherlands, and Sweden have sent or said they will send hundreds of tanks and heavily armored vehicles to Ukraine to help it defend itself as it moves into a new phase of the war and tries to break through Russian lines that have been in place for a long time.

According to Gian Gentile, a US Army veteran and senior historian at the Rand think tank, the M1 Abrams and Leopards will provide Ukraine with a “mechanized armored punching force.”

The British government announced on Thursday that it would begin training Ukrainian troops in use and repair of Challenger 2 tanks the following week. The United Kingdom supplies 14 tanks to Ukrainian forces, and Defense Minister Alex Chalk stated they should arrive by the end of March.

Boris Pistorius, the German Defense Minister, said that Ukrainian crews will start training in Germany in the next few days on German-made Marder infantry fighting vehicles. Training on the heavier Leopard 2 tanks will start “a little later.”

“In any case, the Leopards’ goal is to have the first company in Ukraine by the end of March or early April,” he added. “I can’t say what day it is.”


NATO Allies Are Helping Out

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t guess when the ship would arrive, but he did tell Britain’s Sky News that the “allies are very focused on how important speed is.”

A spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, said that the decision to give Ukraine modern tanks shows that the West is getting more involved in the conflict.

“Both European capitals and Washington have said many times that sending tanks and other weapons to Ukraine does not mean that these countries or the alliance are involved in the fighting in Ukraine,” Peskov told reporters. “We categorically reject that.”

“Everything done by the alliance and the capitals I mentioned is seen as direct involvement in the conflict,” he added. “We can see it expanding.”

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who was in Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odesa on Thursday, met with Ukraine’s foreign minister. According to LCI television in France, Thursday’s attacks went beyond retaliation.

“What we saw this morning — new strikes on civilian installations — is not making war. It is committing war crimes.”




Vice President Harris’ Trip Aims To Deepen US Ties In Africa




WASHINGTON — The U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will strive to strengthen and reinterpret U.S. partnerships in Africa during a weeklong trip that marks the Biden administration’s latest and most visible outreach as it moves to offset China’s growing influence.

Harris intends to travel to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia, focusing on economic development, climate change, food security, and a growing young population. She is set to arrive in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on Sunday. Doug Emhoff, her husband, is accompanying her.

“For far too long, the United States’ foreign policy establishment has treated Africa as an after-school project rather than part of the core curriculum,” said Michelle Gavin, an Africa expert at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former United States ambassador to Botswana. “I see a concerted effort now to change that mindset.” However, it takes time.”

Harris will be widely followed across Africa as the first person of color and the first woman to serve as America’s vice president. Harris was reared in California even though her mother was born in India and her father was born in Jamaica.

“Everyone is excited about Kamala Harris,” said Idayat Hassan, director of Abuja, Nigeria’s Centre for Democracy and Development. “You can be whatever you want — that’s what she represents to many of us.”

A lecture in Accra and a visit to Cape Coast Castle, where enslaved Africans were once put onto ships bound for America, will highlight Harris’ trip. Harris also intends to meet with authorities in each country she visits and to lay a wreath in memory of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital.


Harris will be widely followed across Africa as the first person of color and the first woman to serve as America’s vice president.

Her schedule also includes a few non-traditional sites designed to emphasize the exciting future of a continent with a median age of only 19.

Harris intends to visit a recording studio in Accra, meet with female entrepreneurs, and visit a tech accelerator in Dar es Salaam. Harris is scheduled to meet with corporate and charity leaders in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, to discuss boosting access to digital and financial systems.

Emhoff’s events have a similar focus. During his visit to Ghana, he intends to hold a town hall meeting with performers from a local television show, attend a girls’ basketball clinic, and tour a women-run chocolate company.

According to administration sources, the goal is to promote Africa as a site for investment rather than just aid packages, a subject that Harris underlined in December during a U.S.-Africa meeting in Washington.

“Because of your energy, ambition, and ability to turn seemingly intractable problems into opportunities,” she remarked, “I am an optimist about what lies ahead for Africa and, by extension, for the world.” “Simply put, your ability to see what could be, unburdened by what has been.”

Harris will spend three nights in Ghana, two nights in Tanzania, and one in Zambia before returning to Washington on April 2.

“It’s trip to support reformers,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Africa Security Initiative. “All three countries have faced significant challenges and changed dramatically.”


Tanzania’s first female president has loosened restrictions on opposition parties and rallies.

Ghana is facing a debt crisis and excessive inflation, dragging down an economy that was once among the best in the region. It is particularly concerned about instability caused by Islamist extremists and Russian mercenaries operating in countries north of Ghana.

Tanzania’s first female president has loosened restrictions on opposition parties and rallies. Zambia has implemented its reforms, such as decriminalizing presidential slander. However, democratic development in both areas is thought to be fragile.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and First Lady Jill Biden have traveled to Africa. President Joe Biden is set to leave office later this year.

Harris will visit Zambia for the first time since childhood when her maternal grandpa worked there. He was a civil servant from India who assisted with refugee relocation after Zambia gained independence from Britain.

“Grandpa was one of my favorite people in the world and one of the earliest and most lasting influences in my life,” Harris writes in her book.

The December U.S.-Africa meeting was the first since President Obama hosted one in 2014. Although Washington’s approach to Africa has had some historic successes, such as President George W. Bush’s HIV/AIDS effort, which has saved millions of lives, there have also been times of neglect.

“There’s a lot of skepticism and doubt about American staying power,” said Daniel Russel, a former State Department official who now works at the Asia Society Policy Institute. “They’re used to American promises that fizzle out and don’t amount to much.”

In stark contrast, China has led far-reaching infrastructure projects and increased telecom activities throughout the region.

According to John Kirby, a White House national security spokesman, African leaders are “beginning to realize that China is not their friend.”

“China’s interests in the region are purely selfish, in contrast to the U.S.,” he remarked. “We are truly committed to assisting our African friends in dealing with many challenges.”

Senior administration officials have been careful not to characterize Harris’ visit as another step in a geopolitical contest, which might alienate African leaders weary of choosing sides between global heavyweights.

They are now waiting to see what Harris and the U.S. have to give over the next week.

“Because of her profile, she has a very good reputation in Africa,” said Rama Yade, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. “However, beyond that, public opinion in the three countries will develop expectations very quickly.”



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UN Head Says Survival Depends On How People Manage Water In 2023




WATER The United Nations Humanity’s survival depends on how people manage water, said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday at the close of a three-day conference on global water resources, during which developing countries made urgent requests for assistance with cleaner drinking water and better sanitation.

In his final remarks, Guterres stated, “All of humanity’s hopes for the future depend, in some way, on charting a new course to sustainably manage and conserve water.”

He stated that water “needs to be at the center of the global political agenda” and that this implies more aggressive action against climate change.

According to the United Nations World Water Development Report, released on the eve of the conference, 26% of the world’s population—2 billion people — lacks access to safe drinking water, while 46% — 3.6 billion people — lack access to basic sanitation. According to UN studies, nearly half the world’s population will face acute water stress by 2030.

Many rhetorical pledges to enhance water supply were made at the conference, but there needed to be more precise commitments to translate aspirations into better daily lives for regular people.


Throughout the meeting, water-stressed states, particularly those in the developing world

“We have such lovely, ambitious initiatives,” said Lina Taing, senior researcher at the global think tank United Nations University.

“We know that we are completely off track,” she stated, regarding providing them with clean water and sanitation. Taing stated that the world’s actions must be increased “fourfold.”

Throughout the meeting, water-stressed states, particularly those in the developing world, told U.N. members of their need for international aid to provide their people with drinking water and sanitation facilities.

“Waging a war on two fronts at the same time to address water issues and climate change is no easy task, especially for a small island nation like Kiribati, which has very limited resources at its disposal,” said Teburoro Tito, the United Nations representative for the Pacific island nation of fewer than 200,000 people. He claimed that Kiribati was particularly unprepared to deal with natural calamities.


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2 Dead In Missouri Flash Flood; Tornado Threat In The South




DECATUR, Texas — Two persons were killed early Friday in Missouri after their automobile was carried away by torrential rains as part of a severe weather storm raging over the Midwest and South.

The crash occurred shortly after midnight in a sparsely inhabited area of southwest Missouri. According to authorities, six young adults were in the vehicle washed away while attempting to cross a bridge over a flooded creek in Grovespring.

Four of the six survived the water. Devon Holt, 20, of Grovespring, was discovered about 3:30 a.m., and Alexander Roman-Ranelli, 19, of Springfield, was discovered about six hours later, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Thomas Young.

According to Young, the motorist told investigators that severe rains made it difficult to detect that water from a creek had submerged the bridge.

Meanwhile, the hunt for a lady who went missing after flash flooding from a tiny river drove her car off the road in another southwestern Missouri county. According to the Logan Rogersville Fire Protection District, the victim’s dog was recovered safely, but there was no sign of the woman. Two additional people in the car were saved.

Southern Missouri received about 3 inches of rain Thursday night and into Friday morning, and severe weather was also affecting neighboring areas. A possible tornado touched down in north Texas early Friday as a dynamic storm system threatened to produce tornadoes in numerous Southern states.


Flash flooding from a tiny river drove her car off the road in another southwestern Missouri county.

According to Matt Elliott, a warning coordination meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, Severe weather is forecast throughout many states.

“We’re talking about several tornadoes, some of which could be strong and intense,” Elliott warned.

The Storm Prediction Center warned that tornadoes would be most likely across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee on Friday afternoon and evening. Storms with destructive winds and hail were predicted to move from eastern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma into southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.

Heavy rain Thursday night and Friday morning prompted flash flooding in areas of Missouri, where a vehicle became stranded near the town of Fordham, according to authorities. Rescue teams were called to a low-water crossing on the Finley River late Thursday, according to Logan Rogersville Fire Protection District authorities on Facebook.


Southern Missouri has received 3 inches of rain since Thursday

Two persons were rescued, but a third was still missing as of Friday morning. The crews intended to deploy boats and have searchers stroll along the river’s edge.

According to the meteorological service, some sections of southern Missouri have received 3 inches of rain since Thursday, and rain is likely to continue until Saturday morning. Most of southern Missouri was under a flash flood watch or warning on Friday.

According to Cody Powell, the county’s emergency management coordinator, a probable tornado impacted the southwest portion of Wise County around 5 a.m., damaging homes and downing trees and electrical lines. Powell stated that he had received no reports of injuries.

Although the weather service has not confirmed a tornado, damage to residences has been recorded in neighboring Parker County, according to meteorologist Matt Stalley, and investigators will likely head to the region later Friday to make that conclusion.

The two areas are roughly 10 miles (16 km) apart on the western border of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and the storm system is predicted to pass east of the region by early Friday afternoon, according to Stalley.


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