The United Kingdom and NATO have said that Russia may be creating a pretext for invading Ukraine, after a Ukraine kindergarten was bombed. Prime minister Boris Johnson has called it a “false flag operation”, designed to put blame on Ukraine.
“Today, as I’m sure you’ve already picked up, a kindergarten was shelled in what we’re taking to be a – we know is – a false flag operation, designed to discredit the Ukrainians, designed to create a pretext, a spurious provocation for Russia action, we fear very much that that is the kind of thing we’ll see more of over the next few days.
"There is still time for the Putin regime to step back. There’s still time to avoid a catastrophe, catastrophe for Russia. A catastrophe for Ukraine and for the world.”
Portuguese voters living abroad in Europe will be asked to recast their general election votes. The new Socialist government was elected on 30th January, but the National Electoral Commission has ruled that 157,000 votes were invalid because of an informal rule saying identity documents were not required. Voters in Europe will vote again at embassies or consulates in March. The new government would have been sworn in on 23rd February, but this will de delayed until after the revote.
In Pakistan, Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft has met with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Gates says that polio could be eradicated in Pakistan in the coming years.
In India, 13 women have died during a marriage ceremony. Kadija Tahir reports:
“In the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 13 women died after falling down a well during a marriage ceremony. According to a senior police officer, the women were sitting on an iron slab covering the well when the slab broke under the weight. The women fell almost 50 feet and were rushed to the local hospital. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the incident was heart-wrenching and sent his condolences to the victims' families.”
African leaders met with the European Union in Brussels yesterday. The summit meeting was planned for 2020 but was postponed due to Covid-19. The European Union will offer support packages for health, education and stability to countries in Africa, and a new EUR 300 billion investment drive.
In Mali, 2,400 French troops will leave the country. France and its military allies have been based in Mali for almost 10 years fighting Islamist groups. French president Emmanuel Macron says the withdrawal will take four to six months.
In Brazil, 104 people have been killed in mudslides caused by heavy rain. This number is expected to rise. It has been the heaviest rain in almost 100 years.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has said that trucker protests blocking borders and the capital, Ottowa, are threatening the economy. He has used the Emergencies Act to give his government additional powers. Authorities have promised to clear out hundred of truckers.
And in the United States, Truth Social, former president Donald Trump’s new social media app, is being tested. Last year, Trump was banned from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. His new app promises an “engaging and censorship-free experience.”
That’s your world news in 7 minutes. You can get in touch with us in writing or in an audio message at send7.org. I’m Juliet Martin, on Monday you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a lovely weekend.