*) Xi Jinping bags historic third term as president Xi Jinping has been handed a third term as China’s president, capping a rise that has seen him become the country's most powerful leader in generations. Nearly 3,000 members of National People's Congress voted unanimously for Xi, who had locked in another five years as head of the Communist Party and the military in October. 69-year-old Xi's coronation sets him up to become modern China's longest-serving president, and means he will rule well into his seventies — if no challenger emerges. *) Russia intentionally targeting nuclear facilities: Zelenskyy Ukraine has accused Russia of unleashing a barrage of high-precision missile and other attacks that have triggered a wave of electricity, heat, and water blackouts. Calling Russia a “terrorist state”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Europe's biggest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia was again disconnected from the power grid due to the attacks. Adding that Moscow is "deliberately" creating critical situations at nuclear facilities, Zelenskyy called for sanctions against Russian nuclear industry. *) Several dead in shooting in German city of Hamburg Several people have been killed in a shooting at a Jehovah's Witness centre in Hamburg, Germany, with the gunman believed to be among the dead. Police did not give an exact death toll, but several German media outlets said at least seven people had been killed and eight seriously injured. Police said there was no reliable information on the motive of the crime yet, while sounding the alarm for "extreme danger" in the area. Residents were urged to stay indoors. *) Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa drown off Tunisia Fourteen migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have drowned off the coast of Sfax, Tunisia, after their boat sank, according to the country’s coastguard. 54 people were rescued. Tunisia has long been a springboard for Africans fleeing war and poverty to seek better lives in Europe, often on unseaworthy boats. The coastguard regularly intercepts boats carrying migrants in Tunisia’s territorial waters, part of the world's deadliest migration route. *) Innocent Black murder convict walks free A Black man who spent more than eighteen years in prison for a murder he did not commit after being intentionally misidentified by the police has been freed from jail. New Yorker Sheldon Thomas was convicted over the 2004 fatal drive-by shooting of 14-year-old Anderson Bercy, whose real killer remains unknown. Thomas was arrested after a faulty witness identification. The witness was given the picture of another Sheldon Thomas by the United States police. An attorney said the detectives were intent on arresting Thomas and used the faulty identification as pretext. The mistake was then concealed by the police.
*) Saudi engineer walks free from Guantanamo prison after 21 years The United States has announced the release from Guantanamo military prison of a Saudi engineer seized over two decades ago as a suspect in the September 11 attacks. 48-year-old Ghassan Al Sharbi was detained in Pakistan in March 2002. The US military had weighed charges against Al Sharbi and several others but dropped them in 2008. Thirty-one detainees remain at Guantanamo, down from a peak of nearly 800. Of them, 17 are eligible for transfer. *) Soldiers say fall of Kabul was US failure with blame touching Bush to Biden Active-service members and veterans have provided firsthand testimony about the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, describing in detail the carnage they witnessed on the ground. The majority of witnesses argued to Congress that the fall of Kabul was an American failure with blame touching every presidential administration from George W. Bush to Joe Biden. The initial hearing was the first of what is expected to be a series of Republican-led hearings examining the Biden administration's handling of the withdrawal. *) Colombia, ELN rebels to hold next phase of peace talks in Cuba Colombia's government and National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels will hold a third round of talks in Cuba aimed at ending decades of armed conflict, the two sides have said. According to a statement, the dialogue has made "substantial progress" since resuming in Mexico on February 13, following a first round in Venezuela in November. The negotiators reported late last month that the Colombian government had recognised the National Liberation Army (ELN) as a political organisation in order to advance the process. *) Damning probe finds US police in Louisville discriminate against Black residents An investigation conducted by the US Justice Department has found that American police in the Louisville city of Kentucky state routinely discriminate against Black residents. The report comes nearly two years after US Attorney General Merrick Garland launched the investigation into the department whose officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor. The investigation found a wide-ranging pattern of misconduct by police, including the use of excessive force and the conduct of illegal searches. And finally… *) Netherlands announces plans to curb tech exports after US pressure The Dutch government has announced plans for new export restrictions on technology to make computer chips, following pressure from the United States to restrict Chinese access. The Netherlands, Europe's premier maker of the machines that help manufacture microchips, has been pushed to impose curbs similar to those announced by Washington last year. The government said the aim of the export controls was to prevent military use, and to protect the Netherlands' "unique and leading position".
*) Israeli army storms occupied West Bank's Jenin city, kills six Palestinians The Israeli army has stormed the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, killing at least six Palestinians and wounding 10 others, according to Palestinian health officials. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified one of the fatalities as 26-year-old Mohammed Ghazawi. The ministry later announced five other Palestinians were shot and killed, without giving further details. At least 26 Palestinians were also wounded during the raid, the ministry said, three of them seriously. The Israeli army said two of its soldiers were lightly wounded. *) Zelenskyy says his armed forces are resolved to stay in Bakhmut Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the Russian army would have an "open road" into eastern Ukraine if it captures the besieged city of Bakhmut. Zelenskyy told CNN that Ukraine understands that after Bakhmut Russians could go further to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk opening the road for them to other Ukrainian towns. Zelenskyy said that his armed forces were resolved to stay in Bakhmut. *) Over 232,000 buildings damaged or fit for demolition after Türkiye quakes More than 232 thousand buildings have been severely damaged or should be demolished immediately in southern Türkiye after the powerful earthquakes that struck the region, the country's environment minister Murat Kurum said. Authorities examined more than 1.7 million buildings composed of over 5.7 million independent sections in the quake-hit provinces. The damage assessment was completed in Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Adiyaman, Osmaniye, and Kilis provinces, Kurum added. *) Millions join protests in France over Macron’s pension reform More than a million people marched in France and strikes disrupted transport and schools during mass protests against President Emmanuel Macron's plans to push back the retirement age to 64. Union organisers put the figure of the protesters at 3.5 million. Police used tear gas in Paris and some clashes took place in the western city of Nantes, but more than 260 union-organised rallies across the country were mostly peaceful. And finally… *) UNESCO-listed Mount Nemrut statues survive Türkiye quakes Several monumental stone heads located in Mount Nemrut and other UNESCO-listed statues in southeastern Türkiye have survived despite the powerful earthquakes. Fresh footage showed the massive heads, each weighing tonnes, on the eastern face of the mountain in Adiyaman province. Irfan Cetinkaya, head of a culture and tourism association, noted that the quake caused severe damage in the region adding that the statues on Mount Nemrut were not affected by the tremors.”
*) Zelenskyy vows not to retreat from Bakhmut Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has instructed the army to bolster defences in the embattled city of Bakhmut, which has become a symbolic prize in the war with Russia. Amid Moscow’s three-sided assault to try and finish off Bakhmut’s resistance, Zelenskyy said there was no part of Ukraine that could be abandoned. The president’s top adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukrainian forces around the city have been grinding down enemy forces and reinforcing their positions. *) US' downing test missiles will be 'declaration of war': DPRK The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has warned that any move by the United States to shoot down Pyongyang’s test missiles would be a declaration of war. According to state media KCNA, Kim Yo-Jong blamed a joint military exercise between the US and South Korea for growing tensions. Kim warned that the North was ready to take quick, overwhelming action against the allies, while also hinting that they could fire more missiles into the Pacific Ocean. *) Turkish opposition announces presidency candidate Türkiye’s opposition alliance has named the chairman of the Republican People’s Party as their joint candidate for the upcoming presidential election. 74-year-old politician Kemal Kilicdaroglu will represent the six-party bloc in the election which is expected to be held on May 14th. *) Afghan universities reopen without women Afghan universities have reopened after a winter break, but only men returned to class, with a ban on women receiving higher education still in force. The university ban is one of several restrictions on women as the Taliban has effectively squeezed women out of public life since storming back to power in August 2021. The Taliban has sparked global outrage with its treatment of women and girls, and no country has so far officially recognised them as Afghanistan's legitimate rulers. *) Neymar to undergo season-ending surgery French football club Paris Saint-Germain has announced that Brazilian player Neymar will undergo a season-ending surgery on his damaged right ankle. According to the Qatari-backed club, Neymar will be operated on in the coming days at a hospital in Doha following his latest sprain during a match on February 20. He will be out for up to four months, and will miss the PSG's Champions League match at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
*) Azerbaijan: Soldiers killed after Armenian provocation Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry has reported at least two Azerbaijani soldiers were killed after Armenian forces opened fire in the disputed Karabakh region. Azerbaijani soldiers tried to stop and check Armenian vehicles suspected of carrying illegal military transports to Karabakh, when shots were fired by the Armenian forces and a clash erupted. According to the local media, three Armenian police officers have died in the clash. *) Stationmaster charged over Greece train crash A stationmaster accused of causing Greece's deadliest train disaster has been charged with negligent homicide and jailed pending trial. The 59-year-old stationmaster allegedly directed a passenger train and a freight train travelling in opposite directions onto the same track. At least 57 people, many of them in their teens and 20s, were killed when the trains collided late on Tuesday in central Greece. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologised for any responsibility the country’s government may bear for the tragedy. *) Rohingya camp fire renders thousands shelterless In southeastern Bangladesh, a fire has destroyed 2,000 shelters at a Rohingya refugee camp, leaving around 12,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals shelterless. The fire rapidly engulfed camp number 11 in Kutupalong, one of the world's largest refugee settlements, according to Bangladesh's refugee commissioner. At least 35 mosques and 21 learning centres for the refugees were destroyed alongside the bamboo-and-tarpaulin shelters, though there were no reports of injuries or deaths. *) More schoolgirls reportedly poisoned in Iran More Iranian schoolgirls have been reported poisoned in several provinces, sparking calls for authorities to act amid growing concern among parents. The latest spate of poisonings affected dozens of schoolgirls who were taken to local hospitals for treatment, local news agencies reported. Since late November, hundreds of cases have been reported with at least 52 schools targeted around Iran, according to an official tally published on Saturday. *) Police reach Pakistan's former PM Khan's residence to arrest him Islamabad police have entered Pakistan's former Premier Imran Khan's residence in the northeastern Lahore city to arrest him. The court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Khan in the federal capital on February 28th, in connection with the illegal purchase and sale of gifts. Khan, the country's only premier who was ousted through a no-trust vote, is facing a slew of cases against him, including terrorism, attempted murder and money laundering. Most of the cases, which Khan dubs a "sham," have been lodged after his ouster.
*) Argentina withdraws from Falkland Islands pact with UK Argentina has walked away from a cooperation pact with the United Kingdom and demanded new talks with London over the sovereignty of the disputed Falkland Islands. At the G20 summit in India on Thursday, Argentinian Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero informed UK counterpart James Cleverly that his government was abandoning the pact. Argentina believes the islands known as the Malvinas were illegally taken from it in 1833 and invaded the British colony in 1982. The United Kingdom sent troops and Argentina lost the two-month war for the South Atlantic archipelago in a conflict that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers. *) More than 200 killed, nearly 700 wounded in Somaliland clashes More than 200 people lost their lives in over 24 days of clashes between security forces and clans in a disputed part of Somalia's breakaway Somaliland region, an official has said. The mayor of the contested town, Abdirahim Ali Ismail told a press conference on Thursday that 210 civilians were killed and 680 others wounded in the fighting. Somaliland has claimed independence from Somalia since 1991 but has never been recognised internationally. *) Gaza warns of 'environmental catastrophe' as landfill fire rages Gaza officials have called for international help to extinguish a fire that started in a landfill in a village near the fence with Israel, saying it could last for days and cause an environmental catastrophe. A large cloud of heavy smoke billowed into the sky as night fell on Thursday, and there was a strong smell of burning rubbish across Gaza City. The fire started southeast of Gaza City, near the separation fence, for reasons that have yet to be confirmed, according to the Gaza municipality *) 'Messi, we're waiting for you': Gunmen threaten football star Lionel Messi Two gunmen on motorcycles have shot at a supermarket belonging to the family of Antonella Roccuzzo, wife of Lionel Messi, in Rosario, in Argentina's Santa Fe province, local media and the city's mayor reported. A threatening hand-written message for 35-year-old Messi, Argentina's captain and seven-times World Player of the Year, was also left on the shop door on Thursday. "Messi, we are waiting for you, (Pablo) Javkin (the mayor) is also a narco (drug trafficker), he is not going to take care of you," it read. And finally… *) Over 1,500 pets have been rescued so far since the twin earthquakes hit southern Türkiye Over 1,500 pets have been rescued so far since the twin earthquakes hit southern Türkiye, a non-profit organisation has said. More than three weeks after the deadly earthquake in Türkiye, the animal rescue team from Humane Society International is still finding dogs and cats alive in abandoned apartments, damaged buildings or wandering the streets. The animal charity estimates that more than 1,500 animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, goldfish, a rooster, budgies, reptiles and more ― have been brought to receive medical care at the three main veterinary field clinics.
This is TRT World’s Daily News Brief for Thursday, March 2nd. *) UN scrambles to reunite families after Turkey-Syria quake Reuniting children with their missing families has become the UN’s top priority in the aftermath of last month's massive earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said that the first challenge is figuring out if the children’s parents are alive. The Turkish minister for family affairs said more than 1,800 “unaccompanied children” have been reunited with their families since the quake. Efforts are under way to identify 83 other children and reunite them with family members. *) Israelis stage 'national disruption day' Weeks of anti-government protests in Israel have turned violent after Israeli police fired stun grenades and water cannons at demonstrators who blocked a Tel Aviv highway. Thousands of protesters across the country staged a "national disruption day," the latest in a string of mass protests against the Netanyahu-led government's judicial reforms. Protesters shouted "Where were you in Hawara?" at policemen, referring to Sunday's rampage by Jewish settlers through Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank. *) 'Global governance has failed': Indian PM Modi at G20 meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that multilateral institutions had failed to meet the world's most pressing challenges while opening the G20 foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi. Russia's offensive in Ukraine is set to dominate the meeting of the world's top diplomats. Modi pointed to financial crises, climate change, pandemic, terrorism and wars over the last few years as proof of the failure of global governance. *) Greece seeks answers over deadliest train tragedy A station master on duty during Greece's deadliest train accident is to testify in the central city of Larissa over the disaster that claimed 38 lives. The 59-year-old will appear before a prosecutor to explain how a passenger train with over 350 people on board was allowed to run on the same line as a freight train for several kilometres. The two trains collided near a tunnel outside Larissa before midnight on Tuesday. Two carriages were crushed and a third caught fire, trapping people inside. And finally… *) Fundraising campaign for quake-hit Türkiye collects nearly $45M in donations A fundraising campaign for the victims of last month’s devastating earthquakes in Türkiye has received $44.8 million from benefactors on the first day of the event. Famous sports figures such as Kylian Mbappe, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Ruud Gullit, Mikel Arteta and Arsene Wenger supported the 'shoulder-to-shoulder’ fundraising campaign, which is set to run until June 15. European Club Association (ECA) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi also donated over $2 million to Türkiye quake victims.
*) Erdogan promises 300,000 homes in quake-hit region Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to reconstruct and revive the country's quake-hit southern region. Erdogan promised that Türkiye would start the construction of 309,000 houses throughout the earthquake zone in a few months. Other parts of our country that also face the threat of devastating quakes will also be transformed. The powerful twin earthquakes on February 6th have killed over 45,000 people in Türkiye. *) Deadly train collision in central Greece In central Greece, at least 32 people have been killed and 85 injured after a passenger train collided with a cargo train. Multiple carriages were derailed and at least three burst into flames after the collision. While the fire had been put out, the cause of the accident was not confirmed. The fire brigade said rescue operations were ongoing under very difficult conditions due to the severity of the collision, which happened some 380 kilometres north of Athens. *) Russia hammers Ukraine's Bakhmut Moscow’s forces have stepped up their weeks-long drive to encircle the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut as the Russian offensive enters its 371st day. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the intensity of fighting was "only increasing" near the frontline city, which has seen months of heavy battles. *) Tinubu wins Nigeria presidential election Nigeria's ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu has won the weekend presidential election after defeating two of his closest rivals. The Independent National Electoral Commission confirmed that Tinubu passed the benchmark of 25 percent of votes in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states and capital. Tinubu, candidate for the All Progressives Congress party, won 8.8 million votes while his runner up from opposition Peoples Democratic Party secured 6.9 million votes. *) Croatia's Modric donates World Cup jersey to quake victims Croatian national football team captain Luka Modric has donated his 2022 World Cup jersey to earthquake victims in Türkiye. All the proceeds from the sale of the number 10 jersey, worn in the 2022 World Cup opener against Morocco, are to go to disaster victims. Addressing the Turkish people in a video message on Twitter, Modric said: Stay strong, we are all with you and we are praying for you.
This is TRT World’s Daily News Brief for Tuesday, February 28th. *) Turkish president pledges to preserve fabric of quake-hit historical provinces Türkiye's president has promised not to allow major changes to the fabric of the country's southern provinces amid efforts to rebuild from the devastation caused by two powerful earthquakes earlier this month. Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged that his government will take the necessary steps to prepare cities for future disasters, saying that construction would not be allowed in areas near fault lines or areas prone to soil liquefaction. The president also ruled out high-rise buildings in old settlements and repeated his promise to mend the damage caused by the earthquakes within the span of a year. *) Egypt showed friendship, fraternity in 'difficult times,' says Türkiye Hailing the solidarity Egypt displayed immediately after Türkiye’s deadly earthquakes, the Turkish foreign minister has said that the two countries were "opening a new chapter in relations." Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited the southern quake-hit Adana and neighbouring Mersin provinces on Monday along with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. Cavusoglu said he and Shoukry addressed ways to further develop ties in a bilateral meeting at Adana's Sakirpasa Airport. *) Russia fights to encircle Ukraine's defenders in Bakhmut Russian forces have pressed their offensive in eastern Ukraine as they attempt to encircle the small mining city of Bakhmut - a frontline city in the Donetsk province. "The enemy is constantly destroying everything that can be used to protect our positions for fortification and defence…," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. Russian President Vladimir Putin identified Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces as a focus from the outset of the conflict. Moscow-backed separatists have fought in the region since 2014. *) West African bloc urges candidates to accept election results in Nigeria Election observers from the Economic Community of West African States have urged candidates in Nigeria’s February 25 elections to respect the outcome of the polls. Results from 11 states released by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday show the ruling All Progressives Party leading. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party have been calling for the cancellation of the polls, citing reported cases of violence and the late arrival of voting materials. And finally… *) Twitter cuts more staff as Musk woes multiply Reports of more layoffs at Twitter have landed as owner Elon Musk waded into a racism controversy that risked pushing advertisers further away from the struggling platform. Musk called US media "racist" after multiple newspapers announced they would stop publishing a popular comic strip whose creator called Black people a hate group. Like Musk, the creator of the long-running "Dilbert" comic strip, Scott Adams, has increasingly stoked controversy with his views on social issues. The controversy came as the New York Times reported that Twitter had laid off at least 200 employees, or 10 percent of its already decimated workforce.
*) UN human rights session opens More than 100 heads of state and ministers are set to take part in the week-long United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva. The session focuses on issues ranging from Russia's alleged war crimes in Ukraine to China's reported mistreatment of its Muslim minority. A UN report published last year found that the detention of Uighurs and other Muslims by China may constitute crimes against humanity. Beijing denies any abuses. *) Nigeria awaits first election results Nigeria has announced initial results on Sunday after a tight election for the presidency of Africa's most populous nation. The election pits former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress against former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party. A surprise third-party candidate, Labour Party's Peter Obi, has challenged the APC and PDP dominance with a message of change and an appeal to younger voters. Announcing first results state by state, the Independent National Electoral Commission said APC' s Tinubu easily won southwestern Ekiti state with PDP coming second. *) Israeli premier says will not freeze building settlements in West Bank Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said there will be no change in the plan to build illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu’s remarks came following a meeting held in Jordan on Sunday, with the participation of Palestine, Israel, Jordan, the US and Egypt. According to Jordan’s foreign ministry, Israel had committed to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months and to stop authorisation of any military outposts for 6 months. The Israeli premier denied such reports. *) British premier, EU chief to meet amid talks on Northern Ireland UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will hold face-to-face talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as the two sides seek a deal to resolve post-Brexit talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol. In a joint statement, the leaders said they will continue to work towards shared and practical solutions to the longstanding issue. Sunak on Wednesday said any deal needs to ensure sovereignty for Northern Ireland and safeguard its place in the union. *) Football fans shower field with toys for children in quake-hit Türkiye Istanbul football club Besiktas fans have thrown thousands of stuffed toys on the field in a show of solidarity with children who were affected by the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye. Sunday's Besiktas game was paused at 4 minutes 17 seconds after the kick off in memory of the earthquake which struck at 4.17 am local time on February 6, killing at least 44,374 people. The Turkish football team started the campaign, asking fans to bring stuffed toys to be donated to the affected children.
*) UN demands Russia withdraw from Ukraine The United Nations has voted overwhelmingly to demand Russia immediately and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine. The world body called for a "just and lasting" peace as the world marks the one-year anniversary of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile, China has called for peace, saying "dialogue, negotiation are the only viable way to resolve the Ukraine crisis." *) Türkiye arrests more contractors as quake toll nears 50,000 Some 171 people have been arrested in investigations into destroyed buildings in southeastern Türkiye after February 6 earthquakes. The action comes as the death toll from the disaster in Türkiye crossed the grim mark of 43,500. The twin quakes have left more than 5,800 people dead in Syria. In total, the fatalities from both countries have surpassed 49,300. *) Fresh magnitude 5.0 earthquake strikes Türkiye's Hatay Staying in Türkiye, a fresh magnitude 5.0 earthquake has hit southern Hatay province. Hatay Governor Rahmi Dogan said a few buildings, which were already damaged from the previous quakes, collapsed. There were no injuries or people trapped in the debris, according to initial reports. *) Israel okays 7,000 illegal homes, accused of 'spitting on the face of US' Israel's far-right government has granted approval for over 7,000 new homes in illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The move defies growing international opposition to construction in the occupied territory of Palestine. The announcement came just days after the UN Security Council passed a statement strongly criticising Israeli illegal settlement construction on occupied Palestinian lands. *) Russia launches rescue ship to space station after leaks Russia has launched a rescue ship for two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut whose original ride home sprang a dangerous leak while parked at the International Space Station. The new, empty Soyuz capsule should arrive at the orbiting lab on Sunday. The capsule leak in December was blamed on a micrometeorite that punctured an external radiator, draining it of coolant.
*) Türkiye starts clearing quake rubble as toll surpasses 43,000 Demolition teams have started clearing mounds of rubble from the devastating February 6 earthquakes in Türkiye. This comes as the government and aid groups continue to shelter survivors still shaken from the tremors and several strong aftershocks. As of Thursday morning, the death toll from the disaster that hit Türkiye more than two weeks ago has reached 43,556, according to Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. The quake also badly affected neighbouring Syria, leaving more than 5,800 dead. In total, the fatalities from both countries have surpassed 49,300. *) Türkiye quakes generated up to 210 million tonnes of rubble: UNDP The United Nations Development Programme has said it plans to support Türkiye in the removal of rubble and the management of the debris from the earthquake's devastation. The UN agency said that the disaster generated between 116 million and 210 million tonnes of rubble. It estimated that an area of at least 30 kilometres by 30 kilometres with debris piled three metres high would be needed to contain it all. *) Russia breached Ukraine defences near Kreminna, got pushed back Russian troops trying to break through Ukrainian defences near the eastern town of Kreminna have been pushed back, losing some of their heavy equipment. This is according to the Luhansk regional governor. In recent days, Russia, trying to secure full control of two eastern provinces forming Ukraine's Donbass industrial region, has launched repeated assaults. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin said Russia would pay more attention to “strengthening” nuclear triad and keep on equipping its armed forces with advanced equipment. *) Israeli troops kill 11 Palestinians in Nablus raid Israeli forces killed 11 Palestinians and wounded scores during a military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, according to Palestine's Health Ministry and medics. The incursion also left 102 Palestinians wounded, including six in critical condition, the Health Ministry said in a statement. The Israeli military also activated sirens in the country's south amid a salvo of rockets reportedly from northern Gaza. Air defences intercepted five of the rockets, the military said, and one missile landed in an open field. *) Idris Talha Kartav, beloved Turkish celebrity in China, dies in quakes Idris Talha Kartav, a beloved Turkish celebrity in China, is confirmed to be among those who lost their lives after two major earthquakes jolted southern Türkiye. The 31-year-old was in Adiyaman when the earthquakes hit and died after the hotel he was staying in collapsed. His body was reportedly found in the rubble more than 85 hours after the disaster. Kartav, or Tang, rose to fame in China as a regular guest on a popular variety show "Informal Talks" where he would often discuss Türkiye’s culture and history.
*) Death toll from Feb 6 Türkiye quakes tops 42,000 The death toll from February 6 powerful earthquakes has hit 42,310, a day after another tremor jolted Türkiye's southern Hatay province. A total of 7,242 aftershocks have been recorded since February 6, said the Turkish disaster management agency AFAD. The reported toll in Syria is 5,814, taking the combined death toll in both countries to over 48,000. *) Türkiye mobilises all resources, means for quake-hit provinces: Erdogan Türkiye is mobilising all of its resources and means to carry out accommodation and subsistence services for earthquake victims, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. Within one year, the country will revive the quake-hit villages and cities, and a total of 70,000 houses will be built in the villages, Erdogan said at a briefing. The new buildings will be no taller than three or four stories in addition to the ground floor, he added. *) Putin delivers nuclear warning to West over Ukraine, suspends START pact Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered a warning to the West, suspending a bilateral nuclear arms control treaty and announcing that a new strategic system had been put on combat duty. Cautioning the US that it was stoking the Ukraine war into a global conflict, Putin said Russia was suspending participation in the New START Treaty – the last major arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington. Meanwhile, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed his forces were maintaining their positions on the front line in eastern Ukraine despite considerable pressure from Russia. *) Church of Virgin Mary in Hatay suffers further damage in fresh quakes The Church of the Virgin Mary in Türkiye's Hatay province has suffered extensive new damage following Monday’s latest tremors. The damage to the outer walls of the church from the previous quakes was exacerbated by Monday’s quake and an intensity 5.8 aftershock, both of which were centred in Hatay province. The historic Orthodox church, used by local Turkish citizens of Armenian origin, is reportedly some 700 years old. And finally… *) Türkiye's Hatayspor sporting director Taner Savut found dead under rubble Turkish football club Atakas Hatayspor has confirmed that their sporting director Taner Savut died in the earthquakes in southern Türkiye. He was 48 years old. Hatayspor expressed "deep sadness" over the death and offered condolences to Savut's family and friends. Savut was trapped alongside Ghanaian football player Christian Atsu, who was also killed in the disaster. Their sports club reported a total of seven deaths from the February 6 quakes. Several Turkish clubs, including Fenerbahce, have offered their condolences over the death of Savut, who played for the Istanbul team from 1997 to 1999.
*) New deadly earthquakes hit Türkiye's Hatay province At least three people have been killed and 213 others wounded after another earthquake jolted Türkiye’s southern Hatay province, the country’s interior minister said. Suleyman Soylu said at a news briefing on Monday evening that search and rescue efforts are under way at three sites. Turkish disaster ma nagement agency AFAD said the magnitude 6.4 earthquake took place at around 8:04 pm local time (1704GMT) in Hatay’s Defne district. It was followed by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake three minutes later, with the epicentre in Hatay’s Samandag district. *) US to continue its 'full support' after two more quakes hit Türkiye The US will continue to offer its full support after two more earthquakes jolted Türkiye’s southernmost province of Hatay, the White House has said. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote on Twitter that the US is “deeply concerned by the news of earthquakes impacting areas already devastated in Türkiye and Syria.” It came as magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes centred in Kahramanmaras struck 10 other provinces on February 6, killing at least 41,000 people in Türkiye and another 5,800 in Syria. *) Erdogan: More than 1.68M quake-affected people provided shelter Türkiye has provided shelter to over 1.68 million people who were affected by the original twin earthquakes that jolted the country's southeast, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced. The construction of nearly 200,000 houses in quake-hit areas is also set to begin in March, Erdogan said during a briefing at the heavily affected Hatay province. The majority of the construction work will be focused on the Hatay, Kahramanmaras, and Malatya provinces, with over 40,000 houses to be built in each province. *) Biden announces more military aid for Ukraine during Kiev visit US President Joe Biden has promised increased arms deliveries for Ukraine during a surprise visit to Kiev. Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shortly after arriving in the country's capital as fighting nears its one year anniversary on Thursday. He then announced an additional half-billion dollars in US assistance, including shells for howitzers, anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radars and other aid but no new advanced weaponry. *) Israeli settlement expansion threatens peace, UNSC warns The UN Security Council has unanimously denounced Israeli plans to greatly expand its construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank. The lengthy statement, read aloud in the council chambers, "expresses deep concern and dismay with Israel's announcement” of further construction and expansion of settlements. The statement further condemned all acts of violence against civilians, including those that have targeted Palestinians and Israelis, and called "on all parties to observe calm and restraint.” Last week, Israel's government moved to advance 10,000 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, and retroactively legalise nine settler outposts that were previously illegal under Israeli law. The announcement drew stern international backlash.
*) Türkiye gets more aid pledges as rescue effort winds down It’s been two weeks since the February 6 earthquakes struck Türkiye and left in their aftermath massive destruction and heavy death toll. Pledges of financial aid and humanitarian support as well as expressions of solidarity continue to pour into the country and neighbouring Syria. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged a further $100 million in aid after visiting the disaster-hit region. The additional aid includes $50 million in emergency refugee and migration funds and $50 million in humanitarian assistance, Blinken said. US President Joe Biden had earlier announced $85 million for Türkiye and Syria days after the earthquake hit. The United States has also sent a search and rescue team, medical supplies and equipment. *) Over 6,000 aftershocks occurred after February 6 Türkiye quakes – AFAD The number of aftershocks following the two earthquakes has reached over 6,000, an official from the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said. The number of aftershocks caused by the two earthquakes has reached 6,040. Among them, 40 had a magnitude between 5 and 6 and one at magnitude 6.6. This is according to Orhan Tatar, the general director of earthquake and risk reduction at AFAD. Tatar also warned that aftershocks “will continue for a longer period of time” and that some may have a magnitude of 5 and above. *) Russia hit by 'significant' losses in Ukraine's east – Zelenskyy Ukraine's military has been inflicting "extraordinarily significant" losses on Russian forces in the eastern Donbass region, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said. Meanwhile, as the fighting rolls into its 362nd day, the Russian military has hit the deployment point of UAVs in western Ukraine, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. And the United States has accused China of considering arming Russia in its war against Ukraine, increasing tensions as the conflict hits its one-year mark this week. *) North Korea confirms ballistic missile test, warns of more powerful steps North Korea has confirmed that it carried out a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test. In a statement issued on Sunday, it said the ICBM test was meant to further bolster its “fatal” nuclear attack capacity against its rivals. It also threatened additional powerful steps in response to the planned military training between the United States and South Korea. *) Türkiye's historical monuments largely remain unaffected in quake zone Many invaluable artefacts in Türkiye, such as those in the renowned Zeugma Mosaic Museum, have been mainly left unscathed in two recent earthquakes. Overall, the total number of works assessed in the earthquake region was reported to be 433, with 121 seriously damaged, 66 moderately damaged, and 57 mildly. In addition, Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced that the ministry has introduced an emergency disaster prevention plan to help protect Türkiye’s heritage sites.
*) The United Nations appeals for $1B aid for Türkiye The United Nations has launched an appeal for 1 billion dollars to help victims in Türkiye of last week's devastating earthquakes that killed thousands of people and left millions more in desperate need of aid. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that the funds would provide humanitarian relief for three months to 5.2 million people. He said the money would "allow aid organizations to rapidly scale up vital support," including in the areas of food security, protection, education, water and shelter. *) Türkiye quakes deadliest natural disaster on alliance territory: NATO chief The NATO chief has said that last week's deadly earthquakes in southeastern Türkiye were "the deadliest natural disaster on alliance territory since the foundation of" the security alliance. In a joint press conference on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit is meant to show the alliance’s solidarity with Türkiye after deadly quakes. Cavusoglu said the NATO Council has also decided to send residential containers and tents that are suitable for winter conditions. *) Türkiye tightens noose around building contractors over 'earthquake crimes' Turkish authorities have detained more contractors and others allegedly responsible for poorly constructed buildings that collapsed and caused heavy mass casualties in last week’s earthquakes. Three people were detained in Türkiye’s southeastern Kahramanmaras province, which was the epicentre of two powerful earthquakes. Another five contractors were detained in Istanbul under the coordination of the Kahramanmaras Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. *) Boy among three survivors pulled alive 260 hours after Türkiye quakes Eleven days into the quake, rescuers have pulled a 12-year-old boy and two men out of the rubble. The rescues came more than 260 hours after the earthquakes that have so far left nearly 44,000 people dead in Türkiye and neighbouring Syria. The boy was rescued from the rubble of a building in the central Antakya city of Hatay province at the 260th hour following the first earthquake that hit Türkiye. Two more people were pulled alive from the rubble in the same province but such rescues have become increasingly rare. *) World wrestling body launches campaign for earthquake victims in Türkiye, Syria United World Wrestling has kicked off a campaign to raise money for the earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria. "United World Wrestling has set up a donation drive to support relief efforts for those impacted by the earthquakes," the UWW said in a statement. It added that people can donate via PayPal or a bank account.
*) Türkiye medics move to avert spread of diseases amid disaster Rescue efforts have been continuing in quake-hit Adiyaman, Hatay, Kahramanmaras and other Turkish provinces on day 11 following last week's twin quakes. The death toll in Türkiye stands at 35,418, making it the deadliest disaster in the country in a century. The toll in Syria has reached 5,814, bringing the total death toll from both countries to 41,232. Meanwhile, Turkish medical personnel are working to avert the spread of diseases in the evacuation centres where tens of thousands of people are seeking shelter. The World Health Organization's representative in Türkiye said WHO is working with Turkish officials to step up monitoring of waterborne diseases, seasonal influenza and Covid-19 among those displaced. *) US should prove it did not destroy Nord Stream — Russia The United States should prove it was not behind the destruction of the Nord Stream gas pipelines that connected Russia to Europe, the Russian embassy to the US has said. This is according to the TASS news agency as fighting in Ukraine enters its 358th day. Moscow considers the destruction of Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines last September "an act of international terrorism". Russia will not allow the incident to be swept under the rug, the embassy said in a statement. *) China's Xi expresses solidarity with Iran amid Western pressure, sanctions Chinese leader Xi Jinping has expressed support for Iran during a visit by its president as Tehran continues to expand relations with Beijing to offset Western sanctions over its nuclear development. The official Chinese account of Xi’s meeting with Ebrahim Raisi gave no indication of whether they also discussed Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Raisi's three-day visit to China is scheduled until Thursday. *) New Zealand fears more fatalities after deadly Cyclone Gabrielle A cyclone that left a devastating wake of extensive flooding and landslides in New Zealand has claimed at least four lives. Police also have “grave concerns” for other residents who remain unaccounted for, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said. Cyclone Gabrielle struck the country’s north on Monday and has brought more destruction to this nation of five million than any weather event in decades. And finally… *) Turkish TV channels raise billions for quake victims in marathon telecast Eight Turkish television channels have raised more than $6 billion during an aid drive for survivors of last week's devastating earthquakes. The channels TRT 1, ATV, FOX, Kanal D, Kanal 7, Show TV, Star TV and TV8 ran a live joint broadcast for the campaign called "Türkiye One Heart." The campaign managed to generate more than $6.1 billion, in other words 115.1 billion Turkish liras. More than nine million SMS text messages of donation were also sent.
*) Rising toll makes quake deadliest in Türkiye's modern history Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that more than 35,000 people have died in Türkiye as a result of last week’s 7.7 magnitude earthquake and powerful aftershocks. This new toll makes the quakes the deadliest such disaster since the founding of the republic 100 years ago. The fatalities already surpassed those recorded from the massive Erzincan earthquake in 1939 that killed around 33,000 people. Erdogan also said 105,505 were injured as a result of the February 6 quake centred around Kahramanmaras province and its aftershocks. *) Russia has held at least 6,000 Ukrainian children for 're-education' Russia has held at least 6,000 Ukrainian children in sites across the country, whose primary purpose appears to be political re-education, according to a US-backed report. As part of a "large-scale systematic network”, Yale University researchers identified at least 43 camps and other facilities where Ukrainian children have been held. The children included those with parents or with so-called clear guardianship, those Russia deemed orphans and those whose custody was unclear or uncertain due to the war. In response, Russia's embassy to the United States said Russia accepted children who were forced to flee with their families from shelling in Ukraine. *) Palestinian teen killed in Israeli military raid in occupied West Bank A Palestinian teen has been killed during an Israeli military raid in a refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said. Tuesday's death was the latest in an almost year-long surge in Israeli military raids into occupied Palestinian territory along with increasingly discriminatory policies toward Palestinians. The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported that during the raid local residents clashed with Israeli soldiers, who then shot at them. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that Mahmoud al Aydi, 17, died from a bullet wound to the head. *) US still in dark over flying objects as it trades balloon claims with China The White House has responded to growing speculation over the shooting down of unidentified aerial objects in its airspace. It said the targets could be anything from commercial craft to espionage devices. After mounting pressure on President Joe Biden's administration to explain the situation, officials appeared sure of only one thing: It's not aliens. The US says the first of the four objects - a sophisticated, high-altitude balloon shot down on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina - was part of an ongoing, global "fleet" of Chinese espionage balloons. China denied this, calling the huge balloon an errant weather research craft. *) Psychological disorders mount among Türkiye, Syria earthquake survivors For earthquake survivors in Türkiye and Syria, escaping the destruction isn't the end of their trauma. The road to full physical and mental recovery is often long, especially for those who've lost family members. Doctors in a Turkish field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun have said they are treating increasing numbers of patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks. They said there are also growing concerns over emerging health issues linked to the cold weather, hygiene and sanitation, and the spread of infectious diseases.
*) Search for earthquake survivors enters final hours in Türkiye The desperate search for earthquake survivors in Türkiye and Syria continues as rescuers using sniffer dogs and thermal cameras survey the rubble for any sign of life eight days after the disaster. In Türkiye, the death toll stands at over 31,000, while the number of deaths in Syria reached over 4,500, according to the latest figures, bringing the total death toll to over 36,000. The US says Syria’s Assad regime has agreed to open an additional two new crossing points from Türkiye allowing delivery of more aid and equipment to help millions of earthquake victims. Opposition-run rescue group, however, criticised the UN decision, saying it gave the Assad regime “free political gain.” *) New Russian offensive underway in Ukraine, says NATO Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut faces heavy artillery fire as the NATO chief reports that a major new Russian offensive has begun, days before the first anniversary of Moscow's operation. Ukrainian defenders, who have already held out for months, were defending new ground attacks from Russia, Ukrainian military officials said. Bakhmut is a prime target for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and its capture would give Russia a new foothold in the Donetsk region and a rare victory after months of setbacks. *) Iran's President Raisi begins visit to China Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has arrived in China for a three-day visit, flanked by a large delegation including his central bank chief and ministers for trade, the economy and oil. Raisi will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in the capital Beijing, with the pair expected to sign a number of "cooperation documents", Tehran has said. Iran and China are seeking to strengthen their economic cooperation in the coming years as the two countries try to counter the United States. *) UN Security Council open debate on sea-level rise The UN Security Council is set to debate the issue on sea-level rise and its implications for international peace and security. The Maltese Council presidency said the debate aims to “address the risks in the global security architecture and invest in preventive mechanisms”. Malta warns the continued and accelerating sea-level rise could submerge low-lying coastal communities and island states resulting in territorial loss. It adds that sea-level rise can exacerbate instability by increasing tensions over resources such as food and water, among other things. And finally… *) Mexico hails 'heroic' rescue dog that died in Türkiye Mexico has paid tribute to a military rescue dog that died while searching for survivors buried under the rubble of the quake in Türkiye. Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval paid tribute to the German shepherd named Proteo after announcing his death. Proteo was one of more than a dozen rescue dogs dispatched by Mexico along with 130 military personnel following the disaster that hit Türkiye and Syria last week.
*) Grief, hope in Türkiye and Syria as disaster hits one-week mark The death toll in Türkiye and Syria has climbed to over 33,000, a week after two powerful earthquakes, centred in southeastern Türkiye, struck both countries. Hope remains that more survivors could still be found, after rescuers saved a woman from the rubble in Gaziantep 170 hours into search efforts. Late on Sunday, a young boy and a 62-year-old woman were also rescued in Hatay province. In Türkiye, the death toll has reached 29,605, while the number of deaths in Syria reached 3,574, according to the latest figures. *) UN admits aid failure for Syria as quake death toll soars The United Nations has decried the failure to ship desperately needed aid to war-torn regions of Syria, while warning the death toll from last week's earthquake is set to rise far higher. A 10-truck UN convoy carrying supplies crossed into northwest Syria via the Bab al Hawa border crossing, according to an AFP correspondent, but the agency's relief chief Martin Griffiths said on Sunday much more was needed for millions whose homes were destroyed. Supplies have been slow to arrive in Syria, where years of conflict have ravaged the healthcare system, and parts of the country remain under the control of rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al Assad, which remains under Western sanctions. *) Russia continues to shell Ukraine amid grinding push in east Russian forces continued to shell Ukrainian cities amid a grinding push to seize more land in the east of the country, but Ukrainian officials say that Moscow is having trouble launching its expected large-scale offensive there. The head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group earlier said that his forces are facing fierce resistance around Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Donetsk region. Yevgeny Prigozhin said that it could take two years for Moscow to control the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, whose capture Moscow has stated as a key goal of the war. *) Israel set to legalise nine settlements in occupied West Bank Israel's security cabinet has announced that it would legalise nine Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank following escalating violence in occupied East Jerusalem. Netanyahu announced in a cabinet meeting on Sunday that he wanted to "strengthen settlements", which are illegal under international law. More than 475,000 Israelis reside in settlements in the occupied West Bank, where 2.8 million Palestinians live. *) New Zealand city grinds to halt as deluge from cyclone looms Auckland residents brace for a severe flood from Cyclone Gabrielle, two weeks after a record-breaking storm swamped New Zealand's largest city and killed four people. Much of Auckland ground to a halt as train services were cancelled, libraries and most schools were closed, and authorities asked people to make only essential trips. Air New Zealand cancelled all domestic flights to and from Auckland through Tuesday morning, as well as many international flights. The cyclone, which was moving south, dumped more than 220 millimeters of rain in areas north of Auckland, cutting power to about 58,000 households and forcing many roads to close.
This is TRT World’s Daily News Brief for Friday, February 10th. *) Rescue teams race to find Türkiye, Syria quake survivors Rescuers were scouring debris nearly 100 hours after a massive earthquake hit Türkiye and Syria. The earthquakes have killed at least 21,000 people in one of the region's worst disasters of a century. In Türkiye, at least 17,674 people have been killed and 72,879 others injured by two strong earthquakes that hit the country’s southern provinces earlier this week. The quakes also killed at least 3,377 people in neighbouring Syria. *) Don't lose hope, Türkiye will overcome this disaster: President Erdogan Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked his nation not to lose hope as rescuers raced to find more survivors under the rubble following this week’s earthquake. Erdogtan on Tuesday declared a three-month-long state of emergency in the 10 provinces hit by the quake. The Turkish president has tasked all of the ministers in his cabinet and Vice President Fuat Oktay to handle the situation and to establish coordination in the area. *) Türkiye teenager who drank 'urine to survive' is rescued after 94 hours Turkish rescuers have pulled out a teenager alive from the rubble of a building in southern Gaziantep province in a miracle recovery that came 94 hours after the earthquakes. The 17-year-old boy said he had to drink his own "urine to survive." Adnan Muhammet Korkut was rescued late from the debris of an apartment in Sehitkamil district of Gaziantep. *) Teary father celebrates daughter's rescue by Türkiye miners In another such development, Turkish rescuers have pulled out alive a 16-year-old girl, more than 80 hours after the disaster struck. The rescue left her overjoyed father in tears and the grieving nation cheering an agonisingly rare piece of good news after Monday's earthquakes. It took rescue workers five painstaking hours to save her life after neighbours raised the alarm. And finally… *) UN aid convoy reaches northwest Syria days after deadly earthquakes An aid convoy has reached opposition-held northwestern Syria, the first since a devastating earthquake that has killed thousands. The delivery includes blankets, mattresses, tents and "basic relief items... to cover the needs of at least 500 people," according to The International Organization for Migration. IOM head Antonio Vitorino said his organisation “is working very closely with authorities to support in any way it can” to help quick delivery of aid.
*) Erdogan: We will never allow our citizens to remain unsheltered President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has visited southeastern Türkiye to inspect the areas devastated by the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes that hit the country earlier this week. The visit takes place the day after President Erdogan declared a three-month-long state of emergency in the 10 provinces affected by the quake. The Turkish president has tasked all of the ministers in his cabinet and Vice President Fuat Oktay to handle the situation and to establish coordination in the area. *) North Korea displays ICBMs at parade in demonstration of nuclear capability North Korea has displayed intercontinental ballistic missiles and other weapons during a nighttime military parade, calling them a demonstration of the country's "greatest" nuclear attack capability, the North's state media reported. The parade, attended by leader Kim Jong Un, took place in celebrations for the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea's army, the state news agency KCNA said. Earlier, satellite imagery from the US-based firm Maxar Technologies showed military vehicles and crowds in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square. *) Turkish stock exchange temporarily halts trading in wake of deadly quakes Turkish stock exchange Borsa Istanbul has announced that it suspended trading in the wake of two massive earthquakes which hit the country. Borsa Istanbul's BIST 100 index lost more than 19 percent from last week's close due to the selloffs triggered by the earthquakes. BIST 100 index was suspended at 4,186.01 points after it opened at 4,482.11 points. *) Biden says US 'not looking for conflict' with China President Joe Biden has said the United States is "not looking for conflict" with China despite tensions over the shooting down of what US officials say was a Chinese spy balloon. Biden's comments apparently sought to defuse tensions over the dramatic incident in which a huge Chinese balloon traversed much of the United States before being shot down by a US Air Force jet just off the east coast. Asked if the incident had caused major damage to the relationship with Beijing, Biden said "no." *) One in three schoolchildren does not have access to drinking water: UN The United Nations warned that one in three children worldwide does not have access to clean drinking water while at school, affecting their health and ability to learn. "Globally, almost one in three schools has no drinking water from an improved source," the UN cultural agency UNESCO said in a new report published. Clean drinking water and handwashing facilities are key to protecting children against the likes of Covid-19, parasites, respiratory illnesses and diarrhoea, said school health and nutrition expert Emilie Sidaner, who oversaw the report.
*) Fears grow for untold numbers buried by Türkiye earthquake Rescuers are racing against time in Türkiye and war-ravaged Syria two days after two massive 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes struck southern Türkiye, killing close to 10,000 in both countries. According to Türkiye’s disaster agency AFAD, at least 6,957 people have been killed in several of the country’s southern provinces. More than 2,500 people have been reported dead in northern Syria according to figures from the regime’s Health Ministry and the White Helmets volunteer organisation. A newborn baby was found alive and pulled from the rubble of a home in northern Syria on Tuesday. In Türkiye, several stories have also emerged of survivors pulled out from the wreckage more than two days after the disaster. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency that will last for three months in 10 provinces affected by the quake. *) Netherlands, Denmark and Germany buy 100 Leopard 1 Tanks for Ukraine The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany are buying 100 Leopard-1A5 battle tanks for Ukraine, the Dutch government has said. The Dutch defense ministry said in a statement the tanks would be purchased "directly from German industry". In an interview on Dutch national broadcaster NOS, Netherlands Defense Minister Kasja Ollongen said the tanks, a slightly older model, are "definitely still useable" for fighting in Ukraine. *) US President Biden's makes annual State of the Union speech to Congress US President Joe Biden sought to rally supporters and challenge his political adversaries in his second State of the Union Address, telling Republicans to join with him as he seeks to unite the country to meet its most pressing challenges. He was quick to spar with the opposition party amid an ongoing impasse with House Republicans over raising the national debt ceiling, accusing the GOP of attempting to hold the nation hostage in order to claim wins on their priorities. Biden also said that Washington would continue to stand behind Kiev in its efforts to push Russia out of its territory. *) Investigators may name more suspects in downing of Flight MH17 International investigators probing the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine are set to present new findings, including possibly naming additional suspects. In November, a Dutch court convicted two former Russian intelligence agents and a Ukrainian separatist leader of murder for helping arrange the Russian missile system that was used to shoot the plane down, killing 298 passengers and crew. The three men, who were tried in absentia, remain at large. Russia has denied any responsibility for downing MH17. *) Nine-year-old Turkish boy donates his pocket money to earthquake victims Back in Türkiye, a 9-year-old boy who survived an earthquake last year, has donated his pocket money to help relief efforts in the wake of Monday’s devastating earthquakes. Alparslan Efe Demir and his mother visited the Duzce branch of the Turkish Red Crescent and handed over money from his piggy bank for authorities to deliver to those in need. The young boy moved the Red Crescent employees to tears with a letter he wrote for the earthquake survivors.
*) Erdogan declares seven-day national mourning in Türkiye over deadly quakes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced seven days of national mourning in Türkiye after deadly earthquakes shook several provinces, killing at least 3,381 people and injuring 20,426 others. A 7.7 earthquake hit the country's southern Kahramanmaras Province at 4:17 am local time Monday, triggering numerous aftershocks and strongly shaking several neighbouring provinces and a few countries. A second earthquake of 7.6 magnitude also struck Kahramanmaras at 1:24 pm local time. Authorities fear the death toll will keep climbing as thousands of rescuers look for survivors among tangles of metal and concrete. *) War-torn Syria grapples with aftermath of deadly quake centred in Türkiye The 7.7 magnitude earthquake centred in southern Türkiye sent residents of Damascus and Beirut rushing into the street and was felt as far away as Cairo. The impact was felt hard in northern Syria where people are already suffering under a 12-year civil war and a refugee crisis. At least 1,602 people have been killed and 4,800 others have been wounded according to the regime’s Ministry of Health and the White Helmets rescue organisation. So far, over 4,900 people are confirmed dead in Türkiye and Syria. *) Russian reinforcements pour into eastern Ukraine, says governor Russia is pouring reinforcements into eastern Ukraine ahead of a new offensive that could begin next week along a strategic front, a Ukrainian governor said. Ukraine anticipates that the major offensive could be launched for "symbolic" reasons around the February 24 anniversary of the conflict. . Ukraine is itself planning a spring offensive to recapture lost territory, but awaiting delivery of promised longer-range Western missiles and battle tanks. Some analysts say Ukraine is months away from being ready for an offensive. *) France's Macron faces third round of pension reform strikes President Emmanuel Macron and his government are bracing for a third wave of nationwide strikes and protests against plans to make the French work longer before retirement, as the bill started its bumpy passage through parliament. The government says people must work two years longer - meaning for most until the age of 64. The French spend the largest number of years in retirement among OECD countries - a deeply cherished benefit that a substantial majority are reluctant to give up, polls show. *) Plane carrying Musharraf's body lands in Pakistan Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf will be buried after a special plane transporting his body from the United Arab Emirates arrived in Karachi on Monday amid tight security. Family members were also on board when the plane landed at the airport in the city where he will be buried Tuesday. Musharraf, who remains Pakistan’s longest-serving president, died in Dubai on Sunday after a prolonged illness.
*) Major earthquakes kill hundreds across Turkiye, Syria A powerful 7.7 earthquake has struck southern Türkiye early Monday, killing at least 912 people and injuring at least 5,385 across several provinces. According to Türkiye’s disaster agency AFAD, the quake was centred in the Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras Province and was followed by magnitude 6.6 and 6.5 quakes that struck Gaziantep province. The quake was felt hard in Syria where at least 326 people were killed and 1,042 were injured in regime-controlled regions, according to regime media. In rebel-held regions, 147 people were killed and more than 340 were injured, rescue workers said. *) Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf’s passing leaves divided legacy Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf has passed away at a hospital in Dubai on Sunday after a protracted illness, according to the country’s military and mission in the UAE. Musharraf is remembered for overseeing rapid economic growth and attempting to usher in socially liberal values in the conservative country. But his heavy-handed use of the military to quell dissent as well as his continued backing of the United States in its fight against Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban ultimately led to his downfall. Musharraf served as President from 2001 to 2008, when he resigned following a movement led by the ruling coalition government to impeach him. *) Hong Kong’s largest national security trial gets underway The trial of 16 Hong Kong activists charged under a national security law imposed by China has begun in a case that some observers say will be a test of the city's judicial independence. The defendants are those who pleaded not guilty out of 47 arrested during a raid in January 2021. The activists were charged with conspiracy to commit subversion for participating in an unofficial primary election organised by anti-Beijing activists in 2020. *) Israeli approves new illegal Jewish settlement near Gaza The Israeli government has approved the construction of a new settlement near the border with the besieged Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his ministry will officially start budgeting the planning of the settlement. Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf said the new settlement will house nearly 500 families. *) Italy sounds alarm on massive computer hacking attack Thousands of computer servers around the world have been targeted by a ransomware hacking attack, Italy's National Cybersecurity Agency (ACN) said. The hacking attack on Sunday sought to exploit a software vulnerability, ACN director general Roberto Baldoni said, adding it was on a massive scale. Italy's ANSA news agency, citing the ACN, reported that servers had been compromised in other European countries such as France and Finland as well as the United States and Canada. Dozens of Italian organisations were likely to have been affected and many more had been warned to take action to avoid being locked out of their systems.
*) Putin warns West over arms deliveries to Ukraine Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed a decisive response to any country threatening Russia and lashed out against Germany for promising tanks for Kiev. He was speaking at a ceremony commemorating the Red Army's victory against Nazi troops 80 years ago in Stalingrad, as the city was then known. His statement came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the Kremlin was consolidating its forces for a fresh offensive. *) Norway withdraws permission for Quran burning after Türkiye's warning Norway has cancelled its permission to burn the Quran after Ankara warned against it. On Thursday, Türkiye summoned Norwegian Ambassador in Ankara, Erling Skjonsberg, over plans to desecrate the holy Quran in the Scandinavian country on Friday. Skjonsberg was told that Ankara "strongly condemns Norway's approach not to prevent the planned provocative act, which is clearly a hate crime. *) Sudan to move forward with Israel 'normalisation' Sudan says it has agreed to "move forward" towards normalising relations with Israel during talks with Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen in Khartoum. Thursday’s statement from Sudan’s foreign ministry came following a meeting between Cohen and his Sudanese counterpart Ali al-Sadiq. The pair discussed "ways to establish fruitful relations" between the two countries and "prospects of cooperation" in areas including security and energy. *) House Republicans vote to remove 1st Muslim woman from committee US House of Representatives Republicans have ousted Democrat Ilhan Omar from a high-profile committee over remarks widely condemned as antisemitic. "I am a Muslim, I'm an immigrant and, interestingly, I'm from Africa," the 40-year-old Minnesota progressive said in a defiant floor speech ahead of her removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee. The deeply divided House voted 218 to 211 along party lines to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee with Republicans citing the 2019 remarks for which she later apologised. And finally… *) Nick Kyrgios pleads guilty to assaulting ex-girlfriend Tennis star Nick Kyrgios has pleaded guilty to assaulting a former girlfriend, but avoided a conviction for what the magistrate called a "single act of stupidity". The Canberra magistrate dismissed the assault charge against the 27-year-old Australian player. Appearing in a Canberra court, the Wimbledon finalist admitted assaulting then-girlfriend Chiara Passari on January 10, 2021, by pushing her to the ground after a heated argument.
*) Erdogan vows to advance Türkiye, relays concern over anti-Muslim rhetoric Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his administration is preparing Türkiye to become a global power with massive investments in infrastructure. President Erdogan says the “Turkish Century” will see Türkiye becoming one of the most prominent countries in the world with the power and experience it has gained in the last period. Commenting on the hateful act of Quran burning in Sweden, the Turkish president says Stockholm should not expect Türkiye’s support for its NATO membership bid after the incident. *) Beirut blast investigation takes tumultuous turn as systemic cracks surface It’s been two and a half years of fighting and disappointment for the families of those who were killed in 2020’s August 4 blast in Beirut’s port. The investigation has yielded little in the way of answers or accountability. Instead, there has been a change in judges, 18 lawsuits against investigators, four suspensions, and a gunfight on the streets. *) Israel’s military says ‘currently striking’ besieged Gaza Israel says it conducted air strikes on the central areas of besieged Gaza hours after intercepting a rocket fired from Palestine's territory. So far, there hasn’t been any immediate reports of casualties on either side. Since the start of 2023, the Israel-Palestine conflict has claimed the lives of at least 35 Palestinians, whereas at least six Israelis have reportedly been killed. *) Zelenskyy says eastern Ukraine situation getting tougher Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the situation on the front lines in eastern Ukraine is becoming tougher as Russian forces step up its offensive. Russia is gaining momentum on the battlefield, announcing advances north and south of the city of Bakhmut, its main target for months. Zelenskyy says the Russians are trying to make gains that they could show on the first anniversary of the conflict on February 24. And finally… *) Australia to replace Queen Elizabeth's image from banknotes Australia’s central bank announces it will erase the late British monarch from its banknotes. The late Queen Elizabeth the second’s image on the $5 note will be replaced with a design honouring Indigenous culture. The $5 bill is Australia's only bank note to feature the monarch.
*) US to lose neutrality if OKs Greece's F35s, rejects Türkiye's F16s: Kalin The US will lose its "neutrality" in NATO if the Congress approves the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Greece and opposes Türkiye's F-16 purchase. This is what Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has said. Kalin also said Türkiye will not accept any preconditions, such as ratification of Sweden and Finland's NATO bid, for the F-16 programme. Ankara has maintained the jets would strengthen not only Türkiye, but also NATO. *) Netanyahu says Israel is considering weapons aid to Ukraine Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is considering military aid to Ukraine and even willing to serve as a mediator, after the US called for Tel Aviv’s more active role. For now, Netanyahu made no firm commitments to Ukraine. Israel has preserved a relationship with Russia, which controls the skies in neighbouring Syria and has turned a blind eye to Tel Aviv's strikes on targets of Iran. *) US-India alliance look to challenge China The US has formally launched a partnership with India that President Joe Biden hopes will help the two countries compete against China. The White House is looking to engage with New Delhi for cooperation in areas of military equipment, semiconductors and artificial intelligence. The US and India have emerged as natural allies to counter China’s rising influence, not only in the region but also globally. *) The case of fake medicines in Africa's Sahel region Up to 50 percent of medicines in West Africa are substandard or fake, the UN has warned in a report on the illicit trade in medical products. The global body said it can lead to antimicrobial resistance or toxic contaminants while undermining trust in healthcare systems. Across sub-Saharan Africa, up to $44.7 million per year is spent on treating people who have used counterfeit or substandard malaria treatments. And finally… *) Palestinians protest Israeli plans to demolish Bedouin homes Dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists are staging a sit-in to protest Israeli plans to demolish the Khan al Ahmar Bedouin community in occupied East Jerusalem. A representative of the Khan al Ahmar residents tells Anadolu Agency their protest is aimed at confronting Israeli plans to forcibly displace the residents of the community. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government had a Wednesday deadline to present its demolition plan to the Supreme Court.
*) Finland would not allow burning of Quran: police As per local media, police in Finland have said the public burning copies of Islam's holy book, the Quran, would not be allowed in the country. The National Police Board said burning a copy of the Quran would likely violate religious peace, which is a punishable offence in Finland. The public burning or other desecration of a book held sacred by a religious community would be met with police intervention, the police further said. *) Scores killed, dozens injured in Pakistan mosque suicide attack A suicide bomber struck a crowded mosque inside a police compound in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least 80 people and wounding dozens others. Overnight, at least nine more bodies were recovered as rescuers sifted through the rubble of the mosque's collapsed wall and roof. Many of the injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital after a bomber detonated his suicide vest as worshipers, including many policemen, were praying inside the mosque. *) Biden says 'no' to US sending F-16 jets to Ukraine US President Joe Biden said he will not be sending F-16 fighter jets to help Ukraine against Russia. "No," he said when asked by reporters at the White House if he was in favour of sending the jets, which Ukraine's leaders have said are at the top of their latest weapons wish list. Biden said he will be visiting Poland, the key hub in the nearly year-long, massive Western effort to support Ukraine against Russian attack. *) Top NATO negotiator says Sweden's share of PKK terror funding larger than Finland's Sweden has a larger share of PKK terror group financing as compared to Finland, Stockholm's chief NATO negotiator said. Speaking to the state-owned radio, Oscar Stenstrom said: "Unlike Finland, we have a larger share of funding for the PKK from Sweden." Both countries are bidding to join the NATO alliance, but are faced with opposition from Türkiye due to their ties and tolerance toward the PKK terrorist organisation and its offshoots. And finally… *) Israeli-Palestinian rising violence a test for US as Blinken visits region An alarming spike in Israeli military violence, and response from the Palestinian side, is testing the Biden administration. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sets off to Israel and the occupied West Bank this week. Blinken’s high-wire diplomatic act begins after he completes a brief visit to Egypt that has been almost entirely overshadowed by the security situation in Israel and the occupied West Bank. US officials say the main theme of Blinken’s conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will be “de-escalation.”
*) Deadly Russian shelling hit Ukraine's Kherson, Kharkiv cities Russian shelling of Ukraine's southern city of Kherson has left at least three people dead, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. Zelenskyy said in his evening address that the Russian army has been shelling Kherson “all day" and that "there are reports of six wounded and three dead." Meanwhile, in eastern Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, the governor of the regional military administration said a Russian strike hit "a four-storey residential building". He said an elderly woman died from the attack and the building was partially destroyed. *) Dozens killed as militant launches attack in eastern DRC A wave of attacks on villages in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo attributed to Daesh-affiliated ADF militants have killed at least 15 people. This is according to a local official who said there were seven fatalities in Manyala and "at least eight" in Ofay following “simultaneous attacks”. He said the final toll might be higher. Sunday's killings come a week after a similar attack left at least 23 people dead. *) Israeli-Palestinian cauldron tests US as Blinken visits An alarming spike in Israeli-Palestinian tensions is testing the Biden administration as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sets out to visit Israel and the occupied West Bank. Blinken’s trip begins on Monday after he completes a brief visit to Egypt. US officials say the main theme of Blinken’s conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will be “de-escalation.” Yet Blinken will arrive in Israel just a day after Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet announced a series of punitive measures against Palestinians following deadly raids in the occupied West Bank. *) Low turnout hobbles Tunisia’s second round of parliamentary polls Provisional figures showed the turnout in the second round of Tunisia's parliamentary election on Sunday was 11.3 percent. This is according to the head of the electoral commission who announced the figure at a news conference. A turnout of 11.2 percent had been registered in the first round of the election in December. A total of 262 candidates are competing for 131 seats from Tunisia's 161-member legislature, which was largely stripped of its powers following a series of measures by President Kais Saied in 2021. And finally… *) Djokovic wins 10th Australian Open title, ties Nadal’s 22nd grand slam title Novak Djokovic has resumed his reign over Melbourne Park by winning a record-extending 10th Australian Open title. Djokovic swept to victory at Rod Laver Arena to reclaim the world number one ranking on Sunday. In a rematch of the 2021 French Open decider, he again denied Greece's trailblazer Stefanos Tsitsipas a maiden major title. Djokovic's triumph was the ultimate redemption a year after his deportation from Australia on the eve of the Grand Slam due to his lack of Covid-19 vaccination. With the win, he also ties Rafael Nadal’s 22 grand slam titles.