Six In The Morning Tuesday 29 August 2023


‘Dying by the dozens every day’ – Ukraine losses climb

There has been a dramatic rise in Ukraine’s number of dead, according to new estimates by unnamed US officials. The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville has been on the front line in the east, where the grim task of counting the dead has become a daily reality.

The unknown soldiers lie piled high in a small brick mortuary, not very far from the front line in Donetsk, where 26-year-old Margo says she speaks to the dead.

“It may sound weird… but I’m the one who wants to apologise for their deaths. I want to thank them somehow. It’s as if they can hear, but they can’t respond.”

At her cluttered desk outside the mortuary’s heavy door, she sits, pen in hand. It is her job to record the particulars of the fallen.

Greece wildfire declared largest ever recorded in EU

Eleven planes and helicopter from bloc sent to tackle fire that has burned more than 300 sq miles of land

A forest blaze in Greece is the largest wildfire ever recorded in the EU and the bloc is mobilising nearly half its firefighting air wing to tackle it, a European Commission spokesperson has said.

Eleven planes and a helicopter from the EU fleet have been sent to help extinguish the fire north of the city of Alexandroupoli, along with 407 firefighters, Balazs Ujvari said on Tuesday.

The EU’s civil protection service said the fire had burned more than 310 sq miles (810 sq km) – an area bigger than New York City.

Meta uncovers world’s ‘largest’ spam campaign to boost China

The Facebook parent company said it purged thousands of accounts from a so-called “Spamouflage” campaign linked to Chinese law enforcement. The operation reportedly also targeted other platforms like YouTube and Reddit.

Facebook parent Meta said on Tuesday it had shut down a so-called “Spamouflage” campaign to covertly boost China’s image on its platforms.

Meta said it removed some 7,700 Facebook accounts plus hundreds of other pages, groups and Instagram accounts that pushed pro-China narratives online.

The accounts typically praised China and its policies in Xinjiang, and criticized the United States, Western foreign policy, and individuals critical of Beijing, including journalists.

“We assess that it’s the largest, though unsuccessful, and most prolific covert influence operation that we know of in the world today,” said Meta’s global threat intelligence lead, Ben Nimmo.

More than 180 killed in clashes in Ethiopia’s Amhara region since July, says UN

At least 183 people have been killed since July in clashes in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, the United Nations said Tuesday as it appealed for the killings, violence and rights abuses to end.

We are very concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in some regions of Ethiopia,” UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Marta Hurtado told reporters in Geneva.

“In Amhara region, following a flare-up in clashes between the Ethiopian military and the regional Fano militia, and the declaration of a state of emergency on August 4, the situation worsened considerably.”

“At least 183 people have been killed in clashes since July, according to information gathered by the UN Human Rights Office.”

Tension in the Amhara region ratcheted up this year after the end of a devastating war in neighbouring Tigray that also drew in fighters from Amhara.

Brick thrown at Japanese embassy in China in Fukushima spat

By Natsuko Fukue

Japan said Tuesday that harassment being faced by Japanese in China after the release of water from the Fukushima nuclear plant was “extremely regrettable”, confirming that a brick was thrown at the country’s embassy in Beijing.

Last week, China banned all seafood imports from its neighbor as Japan began releasing treated wastewater from the crippled plant in an operation Tokyo and the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog have said is safe.

Since then, Japan has urged its citizens in China to keep a low profile and has increased security around schools and diplomatic missions.

‘Indian hostility’ looms over Asia Cup’s stripped-back hosts Pakistan

Pakistan gets set to host just four of 13 matches of the regional cricket tournament after India’s refusal to tour.

When Pakistan last hosted the Asia Cup in 2008, Imran Khan was a political novice, Narendra Modi was still banned from travelling to the United States, India’s cricket team was making its third visit to the country in five years and the entire tournament was played on Pakistani soil.

It was also the last time an Indian cricket team set foot in Pakistan.

Fast forward 15 years as Pakistan gets set to face off against minnows Nepal on Wednesday at the Multan Cricket Stadium to open the 16th edition of the regional cricket tournament, it will be the first of just four of the 13 Asia Cup matches that will be played in “host” nation Pakistan.