Russia plans to annex land in Ukraine
Russia prepares to occupy land in Ukraine
The Kremlin announced that it will hold a ceremony today to begin the reception of four Ukrainian territoriespushed ahead with a widely condemned takeover attempt.
In Moscow, authorities have placed billboards and a giant video screen in Red Square. President Vladimir Putin will deliver a speech during the ceremony in the Kremlin. State media described the event as a “pro-referendum” rally and concert, in which some people in Ukraine were made to vote by gun.
The annexation move was internationally condemned, and Ukraine essentially ignored the Kremlin’s plan. Russian officials have defended their claims to the annexed territory by any means, a hint of the possible use of nuclear weapons.
Text definition: Although Russia has failed to fully control the four territories it seeks to annex, and even as Ukrainian forces are gaining ground in some of those areas, the Kremlin’s show designed to present legitimacy to their illegitimate takeover.
Front lines: Ukrainian forces are closed in the city of Lyman, a railway hub occupied by Russia. Capturing Lyman would expose Moscow’s troops to an increasingly dangerous position in eastern Ukraine.
More war news:
Myanmar sentences Australian adviser to prison
Sean Turnell, economic adviser to Myanmar’s jailed civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was yesterday found guilty of violating the official secrecy act and of violating visas. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Turnell, 57, was arrested in Myanmar five days after the military seized power in a coup last year, sparking months of protests and widespread killing. He pleaded not guilty and remained in prison as of February 2021, unable to see his lawyer or representative of the Australian embassy.
Text definition: Turnell is now among more than 15,000 political prisoners arrested since the coup, according to an international monitoring group. Aung San Suu Kyi received a similar sentence for violating the Official Secrets Act, the latest in a series of sentences that saw her spend 20 years in prison.
Wittenoom, a town in the Australian outback, has been ruined by asbestos mining. The government has been trying to shut down Wittenoom for more than a decade and is now close to achieving that goal. But first, it has to get rid of those who want to stay.
Life lived: Maria Orosa, a Filipino nationalist and innovative food scientist who invented banana sauce, seeks to reduce the Philippines’ dependence on imported food.
SPOTLIGHT ON AFRICA
In a pessimistic global economic landscape, Zambia seems to be the exception.
Last year, the southern African country elected Hakainde Hichilema, a wealthy businessman and political outsider, as president. Since then, many Zambians have hailed their new leader as a miracle worker.
Before the election, Zambia defaulted on its debt and inflation skyrocketed. Now, inflation has dropped to single digits and the country’s currency, the kwacha, is one of the best performing in the world.
Ruth Maclean, West Africa bureau chief for The Times, said: “I feel relieved during my travels in Zambia. Ruth recently met Hichilema at his home in the capital Lusaka. As an opposition leader, he was jailed 15 times and ran for president five times. Many Zambians associate his poor upbringing in a thatched hut, and African leaders see in him a new leadership model.
“He has a kind of firm and tough confidence that I can imagine being able to be very comfortable with the countries and companies that Zambia does business with,” says Ruth.
But Zambia’s honeymoon phase may not last. To reform the economy, Hichilema signed an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which included reducing fuel and agricultural subsidies. Economists argue that such policies will harm the poor and test Hichilema’s vision.
“Zambia is the guinea pig of the moment,” says Ruth. “Watch this space.”
– Lynsey Chutel, writer of summary reports in Johannesburg
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