Fanfare as Croatia’s Chinese-built bridge finally opens

Hailed as one of the biggest moments in Croatian history, a long-awaited bridge has opened that links southern coastal areas to the rest of the country. Until now, Croatians had to cross land belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 2.4km (1.5-mile) Peljesac bridge was built by China but largely funded by the European Union. Celebrations took place throughout the day, with 250 runners crossing the bridge and small boats with Croatian flags sailing beneath the six pylons. Residents also took the opportunity to walk along the initial stretch of the bridge before the day culminated in a glittering firework display. … Continue reading Fanfare as Croatia’s Chinese-built bridge finally opens

G7 leaders detail $600bn plan to rival China’s Belt and Road initiative

G7 leaders have detailed plans to mobilize $600bn in funding for the developing world in a move seen as a counter to China’s Belt and Road plan. The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) relaunches a scheme unveiled at last year’s G7 talks in England. US President Joe Biden said the plan would deliver returns for everyone. China’s multi-trillion dollar infrastructure initiative is criticised for hitting nations with too much debt. “I want to be clear. This isn’t aid or charity,” Mr Biden said of the G7’s PGII scheme. “It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone.” The scheme … Continue reading G7 leaders detail $600bn plan to rival China’s Belt and Road initiative

Police make arrests in London and Romania in sex trafficking raids

Fourteen people have been arrested in London and Romania on suspicion of trafficking women into an escort business in the capital. Two men and four women, aged 25 to 39, were held following raids at six sites across the capital. Two trafficked Romanian women were discovered at the properties, who will receive medical treatment and support. Ten raids in Romania, targeting the same organized crime group, led to seven men and one woman being arrested. Addresses in Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Camden were raided in the UK operation. The raids followed an investigation into links between organized crime and … Continue reading Police make arrests in London and Romania in sex trafficking raids

Iran has not received £400m agreed by UK at time of Zaghari-Ratcliffe release

The historic £400m debt the UK paid to Iran at the time of the release of British-Iranian dual nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori has still not reached Tehran, according to Iranian government sources. A senior Iranian government source said the money is blocked in Oman and the problem is not with the UK government. One report said only £1m had been transferred to Tehran. The UK made it a condition that the money would only be used for humanitarian purposes, but this condition was not repeated in a statement at the time by the Iranian government. Oman acted as … Continue reading Iran has not received £400m agreed by UK at time of Zaghari-Ratcliffe release

#Russianinvasion: Ukraine declares martial law as Russia launches military operation

Ukraine declared martial law as Russia launched a military operation in the country. “Dear Ukrainian citizens, this morning President Putin announced a special military operation in Donbas. Russia conducted strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guards. There were blasts heard in many cities of Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address to the nation. The announcement comes as explosions were heard in cities across Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened other countries against getting involved. In his announcement, Zelensky also noted he had spoken with President Biden, who released a statement condemning Russia’s actions and … Continue reading #Russianinvasion: Ukraine declares martial law as Russia launches military operation

Update: Ukraine president calls up reservists as sanctions coalition against Russia grows

Ukraine’s president has called up the country’s reservists and warned that Ukraine could face a battle for its very existence as more countries joined in sanctions against Russia. Volodymyr Zelensky ruled out a general mobilization in an evening address to the nation. But the decision to bring reservists back into active duty was a further sign that Ukraine was bracing for a possible military clash with its neighbour. It came after Russia began moving troops into the country’s east. On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin said that Russia will support the territorial claims of self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk, dramatically increasing … Continue reading Update: Ukraine president calls up reservists as sanctions coalition against Russia grows

Germany halts pipeline as nations sanction Russia over Ukraine crisis

Germany has put a stop to a key Russian gas pipeline following Vladimir Putin’s orders to send troops into Ukraine. On Monday the Russian president recognised two breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent states and ordered Russian troops to deploy to both. Western nations largely see the action as a pretext for a wider invasion. In response, Germany halted approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and other Western nations issued sanctions. Sanctions can take various forms – the term can refer to many actions used by one country to harm another, usually to deter aggressive actions or breaches of international … Continue reading Germany halts pipeline as nations sanction Russia over Ukraine crisis

World’s most dangerous countries for 2022 revealed

A new map has revealed the countries with the highest security risks for 2022. Libya, Syria and Afghanistan are among the most dangerous, according to global medical and security specialists International SOS, which has assigned destinations one of five risk categories based on the threat posed by political violence (including terrorism, insurgency, politically motivated unrest and war), social unrest (including sectarian, communal and ethnic violence) and violent and petty crime. The robustness of the transport infrastructure, the state of industrial relations, the effectiveness of the security and emergency services and the country’s susceptibility to natural disasters were also taken into account when rating each … Continue reading World’s most dangerous countries for 2022 revealed

Miss India Wins Miss Universe 2021

Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu was officially named Miss Universe 2021 on Sunday. Sandhu, 21, beat out 79 other contestants from various countries and territories, including runner-up Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira and second runner-up Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane to claim the prestigious title. Sandhu was presented the crown by her successor, Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza, before taking her first walk as the new Miss Universe on the stage in Eilat, Israel. A strong advocate for women’s empowerment, Sandhu is actor who draws inspiration from Priyanka Chopra. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding and playing chess. Prior to the winning moment, … Continue reading Miss India Wins Miss Universe 2021

UAE general accused of torture elected Interpol president

A general from the United Arab Emirates who has been accused of complicity in torture has been elected as president of the global police agency Interpol. Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, inspector general of the UAE’s interior ministry, will serve a four-year term in the part-time and unpaid role. Human rights groups had lobbied against his candidacy, accusing him of failing to investigate credible complaints of torture against UAE security forces. Gen Raisi rejects the allegations. The UAE’s foreign ministry said he “strongly believes that the abuse or mistreatment by police is abhorrent and intolerable”. Gen Raisi was elected Interpol’s president after three … Continue reading UAE general accused of torture elected Interpol president

Taiwan seeks entry into key trade pact before China

Taiwan has filed an application to join a key Asia-Pacific trade pact just days after China submitted an application. But it warned that its bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could be put at risk should China join first. The two places have a complicated relationship. Taiwan considers itself as an independent nation, but China regards it as a breakaway province. On Thursday, Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator John Deng told reporters that if China joined the CPTPP first, “Taiwan’s case to become a member will be at risk, this is fairly obvious”. The unanimous … Continue reading Taiwan seeks entry into key trade pact before China

IMF denies Taliban access to millions in Afghanistan funding

The International Monetary Fund says the Taliban, now in control of Afghanistan, will not be able to access nearly half a billion dollars in reserve funds, amid mounting pressure by the international community, including the U.S. Treasury Department.Taliban patrols Jalalabad city This comes as a new allocation of assets, known as special drawing rights (SDRs), is scheduled to go out on August 23. An estimated $450 million of the $650 billion allocation was designated for Afghanistan.  The U.S. is the largest contributor to the IMF. A Treasury official said the department is taking steps to prevent the Taliban from accessing SDRs.Taliban check … Continue reading IMF denies Taliban access to millions in Afghanistan funding