Six In The Morning Thursday 24 August 2023


Ukraine had nothing to do with Prigozhin plane crash – Zelensky

Recap: Speculation surrounds Russian plane crash

  • Wagner mercenary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed to have been killed in a plane crash north of Moscow, alongside his right-hand-man Dmitry Utkin and eight others
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv had nothing to do with the crash, but “everyone is aware who is involved”
  • UK defence sources say the Russian intelligence service is most likely to have targeted the plane. But the Kremlin has remained silent on Prigozhin’s death. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who earlier spoke at a trade summit in South Africa, stuck to the script and said nothing about the crash
  • Wagner members and supporters across Russia are paying tributes to Prigozhin, laying flowers at temporary shrines to the Wagner chief
  • Meanwhile, Ukraine has marked its Independence Day today, with sombre celebrations reported under the shadow of Russia’s war
  • And Ukrainian forces conducted a successful operation in Crimea today, according to officials

India’s rover takes walk on the moon after frenzied celebrations

Solar-powered vehicle will spend two weeks roaming lunar surface to help scientists understand geology of moon

India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft has rolled its rover on to the moon’s surface after its successful landing at the lunar south pole.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced the rover had “ramped down from the lander and India took a walk on the moon”.

The chair of the ISRO, Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, told the NDTV news channel the lander and rover were functioning well and images of the rover exploring the moon’s surface could be released soon.

Russia extends detention of WSJ reporter Gershkovich

The reporter has been held in pre-trial detention since his arrest in March. Moscow accuses Evan Gershkovich of espionage, which he and the Wall Street Journal deny.

A Russian court on Thursday extended the pre-trial detention of US reporter Evan Gershkovich by three months.

Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, has been detained since March and accused of espionage, which both he and his employer deny. Such charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The United States has repeatedly lobbied for his release, accusing Moscow of “hostage diplomacy.” US President Joe Biden described Gershkovich’s detention as “totally illegal.”

What happened in today’s hearing?

Gershkovich arrived at court on Thursday in handcuffs, wearing jeans, sneakers and a shirt. The 31-year-old US citizen was taken there in a white prison van.

A spokesperson for Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court said he would remain in detention “until November 30, 2023.”

Warming decimates Antarctica’s emperor penguin chicks

Helpless emperor penguin chicks perished at multiple breeding grounds in West Antarctica late last year, drowning or freezing to death when sea ice eroded by global warming gave way under their tiny feet, scientists said Thursday.

Of five sites monitored in the Bellingshausen Sea region, all but one experienced a 100 percent loss of chicks, they reported in Communications: Earth & Environment, a Nature journal.

They called it a “catastrophic breeding failure”.

“This is the first major breeding failure of emperor penguins across several colonies due to sea ice loss, and is probably a sign of things to come,” lead author Peter Fretwell, a researcher at the British Antarctic Survey, told AFP.

“We have been predicting it for some time, but actually seeing it happening is grim.”

China bans all Japanese seafood imports after Fukushima water release

By Sakura Murakami

China on Thursday announced an immediate blanket ban on all seafood imports from Japan after the Japanese government started releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

China is “highly concerned about the risk of radioactive contamination brought by… Japan’s food and agricultural products exported to China,” a Chinese customs official said in a statement.

Signed off two years ago by the Japanese government and approved by the U.N. nuclear watchdog last month, the discharge is a key step in a dauntingly long and difficult process of decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi plant after it was destroyed by a tsunami.

FIFA opens case against Spanish football official Luis Rubiales

Football’s governing body opens a case against Rubiales, who kissed a player on the lips after Women’s World Cup final win.

FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against a Spanish football official over his conduct while celebrating his country’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final.

Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medal ceremony on Sunday after Spain’s 1-0 victory over England in Sydney, Australia.

Minutes earlier, Rubiales had grabbed his crotch in the exclusive section of seats with Queen Letizia of Spain and 16-year-old Princess Sofía standing nearby.