Six In The Morning Friday 22 September 2023

Ukraine says it was behind missile strike on Crimea navy base


  1. Ukraine’s military says it carried out the “successful” strike on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea navy in Crimea
  2. Videos on social media show thick smoke billowing from the building
  3. A source at the Ukrainian Air Force tells the BBC that it used a type of cruise missile – Storm Shadow – supplied by Britain and France
  4. Ukraine has carried out several attacks on Crimea this month, destroying a Russian air defence system and damaging a ship and a submarine in a dry dock
  5. Russia illegally annexed the southern Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014
  6. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Zelensky is in Canada, where he will later address parliament to plea for continued support for his country

Armenian PM hopes ethnic Armenians can remain in Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijani official meanwhile says civilians will be allowed to travel safely to Armenia and fighters will get amnesty

Armenia’s prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has expressed hopes that ethnic Armenians can stay in Nagorno-Karabakh amid fears that Azerbaijan, which says it controls the region after a military offensive this week, is seeking to push out tens of thousands of people.

Speaking during a government meeting in Yerevan, Pashinyan said Armenia would welcome ethnic Armenians who lived in the breakaway region but mass resettlement would only happen if it became impossible for Karabakh Armenians to remain there.

About 120,000 ethnic Armenians live in the South Caucasus enclave, which is recognised internationally as part of Azerbaijan but had largely been under ethnic Armenian control since 1994.

China, Syria announce ‘partnership’ after Assad-Xi talks

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Syria and China would pursue a “strategic partnership” after meeting with Bashar Assad. China has been a stalwart defender of Assad’s regime, despite Western human rights criticism.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Friday, and announced the establishment of a “strategic partnership,” according to a readout of the meeting by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Xi said the partnership “will become an important milestone in the history of bilateral relations,” without providing any further details.

“Faced with an international situation full of instability and uncertainty, China is willing to continue to work together with Syria, firmly support each other, promote friendly cooperation, and jointly defend international fairness and justice,” he added.

Okamoto’s A-bomb mural in Tokyo to be restored

A giant mural by late artist Taro Okamoto installed near Tokyo’s Shibuya Station, which depicts the moment an atomic bomb explodes, will undergo extensive restoration work spanning several years, his memorial foundation said Thursday.

The “Myth of Tomorrow,” a 5.5-meter by 30-meter mural installed on the wall of a walk-through at the station in 2008, has been experiencing issues such as cracks, peeling, and discoloration, according to the Taro Okamoto Memorial Foundation for the Promotion of Contemporary Art.

The first phase of the restoration work, beginning from the right side of the piece, will commence on Oct. 10 and span approximately 40 days, according to the foundation. Tasks will encompass cleaning, repairing cracks, applying protective materials, and enhancing ventilation behind the mural.

Analysis: Libya and Morocco’s twin tragedies highlight differences

Libya and Morocco experienced tragedies in the same week, but there are clear differences in how they played out

The count of the dead and missing from the twin catastrophes that struck Libya and Morocco almost two weeks ago already stands at more than 14,000. The final figure, when it comes, will likely be far higher.

However, in the minds of many around the world, the lines that separate the two tragedies have blurred.

Their natural causes and geographic proximity may go some way to lending them a veneer of similarity, but the stark differences that separate the two should be enough to separate them.

Opinion: It doesn’t take an Agatha Christie detective to work out something’s up in Xi’s China

Updated 4:43 AM EDT, Fri September 22, 2023

What on Earth is happening in China? The country that has been trying to present itself to the world as an appealing alternative to Western-style democracy looks like the stage of a sinister mystery play, with major characters disappearing from view, and government officials acting like nothing unusual is going on. But this is not normal. Or perhaps it is: Unexplained disappearances are a feature of repressive autocracies.

The latest to vanish from view is China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general became defense minister barely six months ago. Now, nobody seems to know where he is. His last public appearance was in August. Asked about the enigma, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson replied, “I’m not aware of the situation.”