Author: Iro Kanaki

Ukraine says it has repelled a Russian armoured attack in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, after Moscow’s forces launched an incursion across the border and sought to break through defensive lines. Kharkiv regional head Oleh Syniehubov said Russian reconnaissance groups had tried to penetrate the border, adding that “not a single metre has been lost”. “Russia has launched a new wave of counteroffensive operations in the Kharkiv sector,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Also on Friday, a huge fire broke out at an oil storage depot in Ukraine’s occupied Luhansk region after what Russian-installed officials said was a Ukrainian strike. Three…

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The primary purpose of Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to Hungary might be to ensure that Hungary can help China gain market share in the EU, as Beijing and Budapest prepare to sign a total of 16 bilateral agreements. The Chinese president has arrived in Budapest late Wednesday, in the third and last stop of his European visit. During his three-day stay, Xi Jinping and his delegation are expected to conclude a series of economic agreements with Budapest, as China sees Hungary as an important bridgehead in conquering European markets: among other things, Chinese companies are building electric car and battery factories.…

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“A concrete kennel, measuring 2.5m x 3m. Most often, it is unbearable due to the cold and dampness. Water collects on the floor, and the window is tiny. The walls are thick, stifling any airflow, and not even the cobwebs stir. There is no ventilation, leaving one feeling suffocated at night, akin to a fish out of water. An iron bunk, reminiscent of those found on sleeper trains, is bolted to the wall.” This is how Alexei Navalny described the cell in which he spent 308 out of 1125 days in solitary confinement. His imprisonment amounted to both physical and…

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A California initiative to cut global methane emissions has gained new partners. Areas of Brazil, Canada, South Korea, Bolivia, Germany and the United States signed on to the recently formed Subnational Methane Action Coalition during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai over the weekend. The group of subnational governments seeks to reduce methane emissions from agriculture, energy and landfills. Eighty times more potent than carbon dioxide, methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that accounts for nearly 30% of global warming. Lowering methane emissions holds the potential to prevent 0.3 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2050, according to…

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The European Union’s newest deforestation regulation may spell trouble for smallholders in palm oil producing countries. Effective from 29 June 2023, the European Union has implemented the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), which is aimed at ensuring that products consumed by EU citizens do not contribute to global deforestation or forest degradation. While this may seem like a noble endeavour, a more cynical view might suggest that this is a veiled protectionist measure. The European Union may be attempting to benefit from trade advantages by setting barriers to entry for products from countries that cannot easily comply with the new regulation, such…

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EU

As geopolitical tensions grow, Germany sees Korea as an increasingly important partner in the Indo-Pacific region, Germany’s incoming ambassador to Korea said at an event hosted in Seoul on Monday, “Korea is a very important partner in the Indo-Pacific, as we are currently experiencing deepening antagonism between the two superpowers, China and the United States,” said Georg Schmidt, the German ambassador-designate to Korea, speaking at an event to celebrate 140 years of Korea-Germany relations. “As both Germany and Korea have close economic ties with China and continue to cooperate closely with the United States, we are in a place where…

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Wellington, Sydney (6/10 – 33) Nearly a month after suffering brutal humiliation by host country France, New Zealand has barged through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals. France is supposed to be a polite, cultured society, but on 8 September they whacked the All Blacks 27-13. Sacré bleu! In that distant past, an ugly performance with questionable strategy and ill-disciplined plays made New Zealand an unlikely choice of becoming the first country in line to win the Rugby World Cup four times. All the rugby world was amazed as the All Blacks boomeranged back in style, picking themselves up…

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Moscow is quietly cracking down on the country’s last independent observers. During my 10 years as a Moscow-based journalist, I struggled to imagine how and when I would eventually leave Russia. Half Russian myself, I had moved there in 2013, keen to learn more and report on a country that I felt was often misunderstood by many in the West. In the end, the decision was made for me last month when a representative of Russia’s foreign ministry called to tell me that my visa would not be renewed and I had six days to leave. The decision, I was…

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EU

The number of bankruptcies in Sweden has reached the highest level in a decade, according to statistics released here on Friday. Nearly 5,500 businesses went bankrupt between January and August, an increase of 35 percent year-on-year, the business and credit reference agency UC said in a press release. Bankruptcies were recorded across all business sectors, with their number increasing by 49 percent among companies selling and servicing motor vehicles; by 40 percent in the transportation sector; and by 39 percent in the retail, hotel and restaurant sectors. Building and construction was the sector with the highest number of bankruptcies —…

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EU

According to Polish Radio’s IAR news agency, Polish ambassador to the EU Andrzej Sadoś called on the European Commission to increase the budget of its military support programme for Ukraine by 20 billion euros, to ensure stable financing for the years ahead. Sadoś also stressed that Poland supports Ukraine’s EU membership bid, IAR said. According to the agency, EU’s von der Leyen said during the meeting that Poland’s effort to train 25 thousand Ukrainian troops was a success, adding she wanted the number to reach 40, instead of the planned 30 thousand troops trained by the end of the year.…

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