Six In The Morning Thursday 7 September 2023


Ukraine war: US to arm Kyiv with depleted uranium tank shells

By George Wright
BBC News

The US has announced it will send controversial weapons to Ukraine as part of more than $1bn (£800m) in military and humanitarian aid.

Russia condemned the move to equip US Abrams tanks with shells strong enough to pierce conventional tank armour.

They are made of depleted uranium – a by-product of uranium enrichment stripped of most radioactive material.

Overnight, suspected Ukrainian drone attacks were reported on the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and near Moscow.

Unconfirmed video showed what appeared to be a blast in central Rostov where, according to Governor Vasily Golubev, one person was lightly injured and several cars were damaged.

Antarctica warming much faster than models predicted in ‘deeply concerning’ sign for sea levels

Study finds ‘direct evidence’ of polar amplification on continent as scientists warn of implications of ice loss

Antarctica is likely warming at almost twice the rate of the rest of the world and faster than climate change models are predicting, with potentially far-reaching implications for global sea level rise, according to a scientific study.

Scientists analysed 78 Antarctic ice cores to recreate temperatures going back 1,000 years and found the warming across the continent was outside what could be expected from natural swings.

In West Antarctica, a region considered particularly vulnerable to warming with an ice sheet that could push up global sea levels by several metres if it collapsed, the study found warming at twice the rate suggested by climate models.

Is the Wagner Group a terrorist organization?

The UK’s home secretary has proposed a draft order to label the Wagner Group a terrorist organization. Other countries have so far hesitated to take this step.

Torture, murder, looting — the gruesome list of accusations goes on. In the past years, the mercenary Wagner Group, owned by the now-deceased Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, has been accused of multiple war crimes in the various war zones it operates. The private army plays a leading role in the proxy wars and armed conflicts Russia has been waging across the globe.

In Libya, for example, the military group reportedly planted landmines, which are banned by international law. In Mali and the Central African Republic, it is said to have conducted executions. And Wagner mercenaries allegedly tortured and killed Ukrainian civilians.

“Its operations in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa are a threat to global security,” said British Home Secretary Suella Braverman, adding that “they are terrorists, plain and simple.”

Mexico likely to get first woman president in 2024 as top parties choose female candidates

Mexico’s ruling party on Wednesday named former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election, ensuring that for the first time the two main rivals to lead the Latin American power will be women.

Sheinbaum, a 61-year-old scientist by training, will face Xochitl Galvez, an outspoken businesswoman and senator with Indigenous roots selected to represent an opposition coalition, the Broad Front for Mexico.

Both women have invoked cracking the glass ceiling in their campaigns in a nation seeking to shake off a tradition of machismo — or sexism.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador‘s Morena party announced that Sheinbaum had won an internal contest to run in the June 2024 election, beating rivals including former foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard.

Sheinbaum is a staunch supporter and confidant of Lopez Obrador, a leftwing populist who enjoys an approval rating of more than 60 percent but is required by the constitution to leave office after a single six-year term.

Head of top talent agency quits after admitting abuse


September 7, 2023 at 18:29 JST

The president of Johnny & Associates Inc., a talent agency that nurtured some of the biggest boy bands and male idols in Japan, has resigned to take responsibility for decades of sexual abuse by her uncle, the agency founder.

Julie Keiko Fujishima held a news conference Sept. 7 at which she acknowledged that the late Johnny Kitagawa was a sexual predator who apparently began molesting boys under his wing in the 1950s. Kitagawa died in 2019 at age 87 without ever having to answer to the accusations.

Some of his victims were as young as 13.

Fears of escalation grow as dozens die in SDF-militia fighting in Syria

Arab tribal leaders blame violence on ‘years-long discrimination’ by the Kurdish-led SDF in Deir Az Zor and other parts of northeast Syria.

Ongoing fighting that erupted between Arab tribal militias and members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria last week has killed dozens of people as fears of further escalation grow.

The fighting started in parts of Deir Az Zor province after the SDF detained a senior commander, Ahmad al-Khbeil, better known as Abu Khawla, who was accused of corruption.

Arresting Abu Khawla angered the rest of the Deir Az Zor Military Council, a militia that had fought as part of the United States-backed SDF since 2016 in its years-long battle against ISIL (ISIS) in Syria.