Six In The Morning Thursday 1 February 2024

US approves plan to strike Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq, officials say

By Bernd Debusmann Jr BBC News, Washington

The US has approved plans for a series of strikes on Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq, officials have told the BBC’s US partner CBS News.

The strikes will take place over a number of days, officials said, and weather conditions will likely dictate when they are launched.

It comes after a drone attack killed three US soldiers in Jordan, close to the Syrian border, on Sunday.

The US blamed an Iranian-backed militia group for that attack.

That group, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, is believed to contain multiple militias that have been armed, funded and trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards force. It has said it was responsible for Sunday’s strike.

Dissident rock band Bi-2 leave Thailand after Russia deportation fears

Human rights groups had urged Thai government not to deport Russian-Belarusian band, who are now in Israel

A dissident Russian-Belarusian rock band critical of the war in Ukraine have left Thailand for Israel after fears they would be deported to Russia under suspected pressure from the Kremlin.

Seven members of the Bi-2 group were detained by Thai immigration authorities last Wednesday on the resort island of Phuket for working without a permit. The band were touring in Phuket, a holiday destination popular with Russian tourists.

After paying a fine, the band members were sent to an immigration detention centre in Bangkok.

Armed attacker takes hostages at P&G plant in Turkey

BREAKING

Some staff members at a Procter & Gamble factory in Turkey have been taken hostage, Turkish media have reported.

A man carrying a gun entered the Proctor & Gamble factory in the Gebze industrial zone in Kocaeli province around 3 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) on Thursday, according to media reports.

A police spokesperson was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that the assailant’s action was apparently in protest of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

A union representing workers at the consumer goods plant said the assailant was holding seven people hostage, adding that the rest of the plant’s workers had been released.

Key French farmers’ unions call for end to blockades but the movement ‘will not stop’

France’s two major farmers unions announced Thursday their decision to suspend protests and lift road blockades across the country, in a dramatic development shortly after the French prime minister unveiled a new set of measures they see as “tangible progress”. However, the president of the larger FNSEA union said that the movement “was not ending”, but is “transforming and will stay active”. Follow our liveblog for all the latest developments.

 Summary:

  • France’s two major farmers unions announced Thursday their decision to suspend protests and lift road blockades across the country.
  • French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal offered a slew of new concessions to farmers on Thursday. Measures included an annual 150 million euros for livestock farmers and a ban on food imports treated with thiacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide already banned in France.
  • Police estimated that some 1,000 tractors blocked several major thoroughfares on Thursday in Brussels, where EU leaders are gathered for a summit on providing aid to Ukraine. French farmers protesting over pay, taxes and regulations kept up roadblocks on Thursday as eyes turned to Brussels in hopes of more EU concessions for the agriculture sector.
  • Authorities in France released 79 farmers who were detained Wednesday after an incursion at the Rungis wholesale food market, Europe’s largest, north of Paris.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron was set to meet with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday ahead of the EU summit. Macron’s office said the two would discuss “the future of European farming”.

Loving owner cares for aging Shiba Inu of ‘Doge’ meme

By MAYURI ITO/ Staff Writer

February 1, 2024 at 16:35 JST

Once a shelter dog on the verge of being euthanized, Kabosu’s fate changed dramatically when a photo launched her to internet stardom and made her “the world’s most famous Shiba Inu.”

More valuable than fame, the now elderly Kabosu has a loving home and her steadfast owner by her side.

In November, a bronze statue of Kabosu was unveiled at the Sakura Furusato Square in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture. It was created through donations from hundreds of fans worldwide.

“Ever since Kabosu came into my home, a series of miraculous things have happened, enriching my life and gifting me with a treasure trove of priceless moments,” said Kabosu’s owner, Atsuko Sato, a 62-year-old nursery school teacher.

Russia’s frozen assets are generating billions. The EU is getting ready to send them to Ukraine

Russian assets frozen in European accounts are generating billions of dollars in interest payments that could be diverted to help repair Ukraine’s war-torn economy — and the European Union just took a step closer to doing that.

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Western countries froze nearly half of Moscow’s foreign reserves — some €300 billion ($327 billion). Around €200 billion ($218 billion) sits in the European Union — mostly at Euroclear, a financial institution that keeps assets safe for banks, exchanges and investors.

EU leaders agreed a crucial $50 billion funding package for Ukraine on Thursday and came closer to finalizing a plan to use the profits piling up in Euroclear’s accounts.

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