Aftershock of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan ripples through East Asia, a US athlete sentenced in Russia, and the US Senate voted in favour of Sweden and Finland joining NATO. This and much more are in the Thursday edition of World News.
China’s military drills
China’s military has conducted live firing drills in the sky and waterways surrounding Taiwan, escalating already high tensions. The exercises come after Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Taiwan, which Beijing deemed a “serious provocation”. The world is not only watching closely but also reacting: Japan's foreign ministry demands China to “immediately cease” these manoeuvres around Taiwan.
ASEAN foreign ministers meeting
The issue of Taiwan also came up at the ASEAN summit. Top southwest Asian diplomats warned of a serious miscalculation in the Taiwan Strait and of a “serious confrontation” among world powers. Nevertheless, the 55th ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting which convened in Cambodia was also an opportunity for regional heads of diplomacy to address current issues which have not only a regional but also a global impact.
Report from Ukraine
The Russian attack on Ukraine continues, and the fighting on the frontline does not stop. Russia keeps on shelling civilian targets, poses a threat in the area of the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia and conducts hybrid information warfare: false information about bombing attacks are appearing almost every day. Russia is concentrating its troops in the South of Ukraine.
Shots were fired once again at the disputed Karabakh-Nagorno mountain region. The disagreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia returned with full intensity. With more and more conflicts flaring up around the world, many of them have a common denominator: Russia.
Crackdown on Belarusian opposition
The Belarusian regime, also supported by Russia, continues the repression of journalists and civil society activists. Poland’s foreign ministry expressed its opposition to blatant breaches of human rights; the latest case concerns the sentencing of a Polish Television journalist.
Brittney Griner sentenced
An American basketball player was charged with a 9-year prison term by a Russian court for illegal drug possession; now, the US is looking to get the athlete back.
Europe’s gas dilemma
Germany is facing problems securing its gas supply. Berlin is accusing Moscow of deliberately lowering the supplies of fuel. Meanwhile, other European countries are looking for alternatives to Russian gas, with various degrees of success.
NATO vote in Washington
The US Senate voted for the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO with an overwhelming majority. All 30 members of the North Atlantic Alliance must ratify the inclusion of the two Scandinavian nations. 22 have already backed the accession.
Eleven years have passed since terrorist Anders Breivik murdered over seventy people during his assault on a summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya. In light of the anniversary, former Norwegian Prime Minister and current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasised the importance that the island holds on to ideals of democracy and freedom.
Stunning and frightening
Iceland is called the Land of Fire and Ice for a reason, as once again spectators can witness the amazing, yet frightening lava spectacle. On Wednesday evening a volcano woke up, the eruption occurring about 16 kilometres from the Keflavik International Airport and about 30 kilometres from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. For now, air travel is not expected to be impeded, and many people approach the volcano to enjoy the view.
World News’ guest
Anna Łukaszewska-Trzeciakowska, Polish Deputy Minister of Climate and Environment, discussed how well-prepared Poland is for gas shortages in the face of the current energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.