Six In The Morning Wednesday 24 January 2024


Russian military plane crashes near Ukraine border

Belgorod governor says air defenses were active in the region shortly before military plane crash

From CNN’s Radina Gigova and Katharina Krebs

Air defense systems in the Belgorod region were active shortly before the crash of a Russian military transport plane Wednesday morning, according to information from the region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov.

On his Telegram channel, Gladkov wrote that a drone had been shot down over the village of Blizhnee, which lies about 60 kilometers southwest of Yablanovo, where the plane crashed. The governor’s post was published at 10:35 a.m. local time, about 40 minutes before Russia’s Defense Ministry says the plane crashed.

In another post, published at 11:12 a.m. local time, Gladkov reported an air attack alert was active, warning people to take shelter. About half an hour later, he said the alert was over.

Orbán reaffirms backing for Swedish Nato bid as allies’ patience runs low

Hungarian parliament yet to sign off on bid despite repeated promises not to hold up process alone

Viktor Orbán has said he will urge the Hungarian parliament to sign off on Sweden’s Nato bid “at the first possible opportunity”, as diplomats said Hungary’s allies were “exasperated” by the country’s foot-dragging.

Sweden applied to join Nato in May 2022 but its accession was delayed as Turkey and Hungary strung out the ratification process.

On Tuesday night, Turkey’s parliament voted in favour of Swedish membership, but Hungary’s parliament has yet to sign off, despite repeated promises from senior Hungarian officials that their country would not hold up the process alone.

Thailand: Popular politician Pita cleared by top court

Thailand’s Constitutional Court has cleared former candidate for prime minister Pita Limjaroenrat of charges that could have seen him banned from politics. The 43-year-old has been reinstated as a lawmaker.

Thailand‘s Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that former prime ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroenrat had not broken election rules and lifted his suspension from the country’s parliament.

Under reformist candidate Pita, the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) won the most votes in last year’s general election, promising to reform Thailand’s strict royal insult laws, reduce the power of the military and break up business monopolies.

But the 43-year-old was blocked from becoming prime minister and suspended as a member of parliament over claims that he had violated election law by owning shares in a media company while the MFP was excluded from the governing coalition.

Saudi Arabia ‘plans to allow alcohol sales’ to non-Muslim diplomats

Saudi Arabia plans to allow alcohol sales to non-Muslim diplomats for the first time, two sources familiar with the plan told AFP on Wednesday, modifying strict rules governing liquor in the conservative country.

Alcohol “will be sold to non-Muslim diplomats” who previously had to import alcohol via a diplomatic pouch, or sealed official package, one of the sources said.

Prohibition has been the law of the land in Saudi Arabia since 1952, shortly after one of King Abdulaziz’s sons got drunk and, in a rage, shot dead a British diplomat.

Rumours have swirled for years that alcohol would become available in the Gulf kingdom amid a wave of social reforms introduced as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform agenda, among them the introduction of cinemas and mixed-gender music festivals.

Israel’s war on Gaza live: ‘Mass casualties’ at Gaza centre sheltering IDPs

  • UNRWA reports “mass casualties” as training centre sheltering tens of thousands of displaced people in Khan Younis catches fire after being struck amid fierce fighting.
  • Israeli forces continue tank-and-drone strikes on Khan Younis city with at least 210 people killed over the past 24 hours.
  • UN chief Antonio Guterres says risks of a regional war are “now a reality”, urging all sides “to step back from the brink and consider the horrendous costs”.
  • At least 25,700 people have been killed and 63,740 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from the October 7 Hamas attacks stands at 1,139.