Six In The Morning Tuesday 23 January 2024

Russia’s relentless ‘meat assaults’ are wearing down outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian forces

Straddling the frontlines, the small town of Avdiivka has become the epicenter of the war in Ukraine. Still in Ukrainian hands – just – it’s enclosed on three sides by Russian troops and cannons.

Pounded by the Russians, the town itself is unrecognizable.

Concrete carcasses mark what were once the town’s tallest buildings, seemingly floating amid small hills of rubble. The cross atop the town’s church, bent double by an explosion, points accusatorially at the Russian lines.

Kenya death cult leader charged after hundreds found dead in forest

Self-proclaimed pastor arrested over deaths of more than 200 people, most of whom had died of hunger

A Kenyan court has charged a cult leader and dozens of suspected accomplices with manslaughter over the deaths of more than 200 people.

Self-proclaimed pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie and 94 other suspects, including his wife, pleaded not guilty to 238 counts of manslaughter, according to court documents seen by AFP.

Mackenzie, who was last week also charged with terrorism, is alleged to have incited his acolytes to starve to death in order to “meet Jesus” in a case that provoked horror across the world.

China grilled over human rights record at UN

“Universal Periodic Reviews” are held at the UN every five years to address a country’s human rights record. More than 160 countries provided assessment of China’s record, ranging from praise to condemnation.

China underwent rare scrutiny of its human rights record at the United Nations on Tuesday.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which all UN member states must undergo every five years, focused on Xinjiang, a remote region where China has incarcerated more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities and is accused of crimes against humanity.

The political situation in Hong Kong, where Beijing has imposed a strict set of “security” laws, was also taken into consideration.

More than 160 countries addressed the hearing in Geneva, Switzerland, and each only had 45 seconds to speak.

‘Fed up’: French farmers increase pressure on government as protests continue

French farmers’ representatives threatened to expand protests on Monday before a meeting with government to address anger over price pressures, taxes and green regulation – grievances that are shared by farmers across Europe.

There is a general feeling of being fed up,” Arnaud Gaillot, the head of the Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) union told France 2 television, after farmers blocked roads in parts of France last week, in action similar to widespread protests by farmers in Germany.

“I think that at this moment, as long as I don’t have the answers, I’d have a hard time explaining to them that they need to leave (the protests),” he said.

Farmers cite a government tax on tractor fuel, cheap imports, water storage issues, price pressures from retailers and red tape among their grievances.

Shinkansen lines halted from morning after power outage


January 23, 2024 at 18:29 JST

Services on three Shinkansen lines in central and eastern Japan were suspended on Jan. 23 after a power outage occurred, triggered by loose overhead wires, forcing many passengers to walk to stations.

Two workers were reportedly electrocuted while working on the wires and were taken to a hospital emergency room where they were conscious.

The outage occurred at around 9:58 a.m. between Ueno and Oyama stations on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and between Ueno and Kumagaya stations on the Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen Lines.

Wars and climate crisis keep Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight

Scientists say ‘billions of lives’ under threat as symbolic clock stays at closest point to midnight since it was established in 1947

The Doomsday Clock, a symbolic countdown to human extinction, has stayed at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it had been since it was established in 1947, a panel of international scientists has said.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cited the continuing threat of a nuclear escalation in Ukraine, the “horrors of modern war” in Israel and Gaza and the lack of action on the climate crisis, which threatens “billions of lives”.

“Ninety seconds to midnight is profoundly unsustainable,” said Rachel Bronson, the president and chief executive of the organisation.

Last year, the Bulletin set its metaphorical Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it had been since it was established after the second world war.