Turkey Summons Danish Envoy Over Quran-burning Protest 

Turkey summoned the Danish ambassador and accused Denmark of endorsing a "hate crime" after an anti-Islam activist on Friday burned two copies of Islam's holy book, the Quran, in a solitary protest in Copenhagen.  Rasmus Paludan, a far-right activist who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, had already infuriated Turkey by staging a Quran-burning protest in Sweden on January 21. On Friday, he replicated the stunt in front of a mosque, as well as the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen, and ...

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US Weighs Turkey, Greece Jet Sales Amid NATO Expansion

As the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden seeks to secure NATO enlargement with the accession of Sweden and Finland, it is dealing with requests by Turkey and Greece to purchase fighter jets, the latter being less controversial and more likely to be approved. Analysts speaking to VOA said the outcome of the proposed sale of F-16s to Ankara and F-35s to Athens would impact the air defense capabilities of the two neighbors and the power balance in the region. Turkey requested to buy 40 ...

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EU’s Borrell Urges South Africa to Get Russia to End Ukraine War

The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell visited South Africa on Friday, urging Pretoria to use its ties with Russia to convince Moscow to stop its war on Ukraine.  Borrell's trip to South Africa is the latest in a whirlwind week that has seen visits by both Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Analysts say the flurry of diplomatic activity comes as the West and Russia both seek South Africa's support regarding the war in Ukraine. ...

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Jan. 27 Is International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The date was chosen because it marks the day in 1945 that Auschwitz, Nazi Germany’s largest concentration and death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops, revealing the horrors within.  The United Nations is commemorating the day with an event that will be livestreamed.   According to History.com, Soviet troops thought the camp in southern Poland was empty, but they were wrong.  “Auschwitz seemed silent and abandoned at first, soldiers ...

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Australia Urged to Boost Military Assistance to Ukraine

Ukraine is urging Australia to increase its military aid ahead of a visit to Europe next week by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and Defense Minister Richard Marles. Australia, the largest non-NATO contributor to Ukraine’s war effort, has supplied missiles and Bushmaster armored personnel carriers. They have a special ‘V’-shaped floor designed to spread the impact of an explosion more effectively than a conventional flat floor. A group of up to 70 Australian defense force ...

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Europe Scrambles to Deliver Tanks in ‘Pivotal’ Moment for Ukraine War

Germany and its European allies plan to send around 80 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks, according to Berlin, which announced the change of policy this week following intense pressure from Kyiv and its Western partners. The Leopard 2 is considered one of the world's most powerful tanks and well-suited to the Ukraine conflict. Britain and the United States are also sending dozens of their main battle tanks. The decision marks a significant step up in Western weapons supplies to ...

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German MP: ‘Small’ Positive Developments in Case of Iran’s Jailed Rapper

There have been several "small" positive developments in the situation of jailed Iranian hip-hop star and dissident Toomaj Salehi, according to a German lawmaker serving as his political sponsor. Salehi has been in solitary confinement for 89 days at Dastgerd Prison in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, according to the latest update from his official Twitter account, which is being administered by his supporters. He was detained by Iranian authorities on October 30, 2022, and charged with ...

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Ukraine Hit by Deadly Wave of Russian Missile Strikes as Zelenskyy Calls for Aircraft, Missiles

Russia launched new missile attacks on several locations in Ukraine on Thursday, killing 11 people and wounding 11 others, authorities reported. Ukraine's State Emergency Service said the attacks hit 11 regions across the country. Ukraine's Air Force said Russia fired 55 missiles, with Ukraine shooting down most of them. Thirty-five buildings were damaged in the attacks. Moscow's forces continued to target Ukraine's energy infrastructure in the depth of winter, an effort to demoralize ...

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US to Sanction Russia’s Wagner Paramilitary Group

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Thursday a series of sanctions targeting individuals associated with Russia’s paramilitary Wagner Group, including its leader and associated front companies, for waging war in Ukraine, including battlefield activities and the targeting of civilians. In a statement, Blinken said the sanctions will target five entities and one individual linked to the Wagner Group and its head, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, as well as several other individuals and entities, ...

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Burkina Faso Protesters Call for Russians to Help Fight Islamist Militants

After a recent military pullout, only about 400 French troops remain in Burkina Faso to help the government fight Islamist militants linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State. But now many in the country want Russia to help and the government has ordered all French troops to leave within the month. Reporter Kader Traore has more from Ouagadougou in this report narrated by Vincent Makori. ...

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Experts: Arming Ukraine Via US Could Worsen South Korea’s Ties with Russia

South Korea, with a world-class arms industry, is facing mounting pressure to find a way to get needed arms and munitions to Ukraine without unduly angering Russia, which has hinted that it could resume military cooperation with North Korea. Experts interviewed by VOA say the most likely solution under consideration in Seoul is for the nation’s commercial arms manufacturers to make private sales to the United States, allowing the U.S to ship more of its own armaments to Ukraine without ...

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Air Raid Alert in Ukraine as Zelenskyy Calls for Aircraft, Missiles

Russia launched a fresh wave of missile strikes on Ukraine in the morning Thursday, killing at least one person, hours after an overnight drone attack, while heavy fighting continues unabated in the east, where Moscow's forces have been increasing pressure on Ukrainian defenders. The new missile attacks came after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking just hours after Germany and the United States pledged to provide Kyiv with advanced battle tanks, called on Kyiv's Western allies to deliver ...

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Russia, Pakistan Discuss ‘Practical Engagement’ With Afghan Taliban

Russia and Pakistan emphasized in bilateral talks Wednesday the need for “practical engagement” with Afghanistan’s Taliban but ruled out formal recognition of the Islamist rulers until they address international concerns over women’s rights and inclusive governance. The Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, led his delegation in the talks with Pakistani officials in Islamabad and briefed them on his meetings earlier this month with the Taliban in Kabul.   Kabulov said ...

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Iran Responds to EU, UK Sanctions With Some of Its Own

Iran imposed sanctions Wednesday on 34 individuals and entities from the European Union and Britain in reaction to similar measures they have taken over Tehran's response to months-long protests.  Tehran's move comes two days after the EU and Britain placed another round of sanctions on the Islamic republic, which has been rocked by protests since the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini.  Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly breaching the ...

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UK Reviews Rules After Row Over Wagner Lawsuit Against Journalist

The U.K. said Wednesday it was reviewing how sanctioned individuals are permitted to use the country's legal services, after reports the government helped the head of Russian mercenary group Wagner sue a British journalist. The finance ministry currently grants licenses allowing sanctioned people to circumvent restrictions so as to hire U.K. lawyers and pay their fees for lawsuits filed in British courts. It reportedly allowed Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin — who was sanctioned by Britain and ...

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Ukraine’s Odesa Wins UNESCO Status Despite Russian Opposition

UNESCO on Wednesday added the historic center of Ukraine's port city of Odesa, often described as "the pearl of the Black Sea," to its World Heritage List, overcoming opposition from Russia. The 21 member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s world heritage committee approved inscribing designated areas of the city with six votes in favor, one against and 14 abstentions. Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February last year, tried repeatedly to delay ...

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