Six In The Morning Saturday 13 January 2024

Taiwan elects William Lai president in historic election

By Tessa Wong

BBC News, Taipei

Taiwanese voters have chosen William Lai as their president in a historic election, cementing a path that is increasingly divergent from China.

The move has angered Beijing, which issued a statement shortly after the results insisting that “Taiwan is part of China”.

While Beijing has called for “peaceful reunification”, it has also not ruled out the use of force.

It had cast the Taiwan election as a choice between “war and peace”.

China has ramped up its military presence around the island in recent months, heightening fears of a possible conflict.

Beijing’s communist government reviles Mr Lai’s pro-sovereignty Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which has governed Taiwan for eight years.

Russia designates popular writer a foreign agent over Ukraine stance

Books by bestselling author Grigori Chkhartishvili, who writes under pen name Boris Akunin, removed from shelves

Russia’s justice ministry late on Friday designated one of the country’s most popular fiction writers a foreign agent because of his opposition to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The historical detective stories of Boris Akunin, the pen name of Georgian-born Grigori Chkhartishvili, used to be bestsellers in Russia before the authorities turned on him for what they said were his unacceptable anti-Russian views.

The justice ministry cited Chkhartishvili’s opposition to what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine and accused him of distributing false and negative information about Russia and of helping raise money for the Ukrainian military.

Western Australia: Locals told to evacuate as bushfires rage

People living in Chittering, near Perth, must “act immediately to survive,” Australia’s emergency officials have warned. Dozens of bushfires have been reported in Western Australia as the state goes through a heat wave.

Authorities issued an emergency warning over fires in the state of Western Australia on Saturday, with residents urged to evacuate.

bushfire burned relentlessly in the shire of Chittering, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Western Australia’s capital, Perth. Over 40 bushfires were raging in the state altogether.

What did officials say about the fire?

Australia’s Fire and Emergency Department urged residents of the parts of Chittering affected by the fire to “act immediately to survive,” warning of a “threat to lives and homes.”

“If the way is clear, leave now for a safer place,” the department said, urging people against postponing leaving to “the last minute.”

Will it be possible for people to live in Gaza after the fighting ends?


Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip has been taking a heavy toll not just on its residents but on the infrastructure they rely on to live. Aid groups and researchers are using satellite images to track the scale of the damage – and try and establish whether it will be possible for people to live in Gaza after the fighting ends. Wim Zwijnenburg, a researcher with Dutch peace organisation PAX, has been focusing on water facilities.

Turkey launches airstrikes against Kurdish militants in Iraq and Syria after 9 soldiers were killed


Turkey carried out airstrikes targeting Kurdish militants in neighboring Iraq and Syria on Saturday, the Turkish Defense Ministry said. This comes a day after an attack on a Turkish military base in Iraq killed nine Turkish soldiers.

Turkey often launches strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq it believes to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a banned Kurdish separatist group that has waged insurgency against Turkey since the 1980s.

The defense ministry said aircraft struck targets in Metina, Hakurk, Gara and Qandil in north Iraq, but didn’t specify areas in Syria. It said fighter jets destroyed caves, bunkers, shelters and oil facilities “to eliminate terrorist attacks against our people and security forces … and to ensure our border security.” The statement added “many” militants were “neutralized” in the strikes.

How Gaza’s hospitals became battlegrounds

Relentless bombardment, power outages and shortages have pushed nearly every hospital in the beleaguered northern Gaza Strip out of service, with evidence of repeated attacks on and in the vicinity of medical facilities despite the presence of doctors, patients and civilians inside, a CNN analysis has found.

At least 20 out of 22 hospitals identified by CNN in northern Gaza were damaged or destroyed in the first two months of Israel’s war against Hamas, from October 7 to December 7, according to a review of 45 satellite images and around 400 videos from the ground, as well as interviews with doctors, eyewitnesses and humanitarian organizations. Fourteen were directly hit, based on the evidence collected and verified by CNN and analyzed by experts.

Israel launched its bombardment and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip after Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 others taken hostage. In the first two months of the war, at least 17,100 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks on the strip, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health MinistryAt the time of publishing, that number was more than 23,400.