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Friday 1st April 2022

Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut gas exports to Europe today if countries don’t pay for their gas in roubles. Germany’s government called the threat ‘blackmail’.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, said yesterday that Russian forces are not withdrawing from Ukraine but are regrouping. Kyiv and Chernihiv have continued to be bombed despite Russia saying it would focus its war on the Donbass region.

Russia has declared a one-day ceasefire in the Southern city of Mariupol. Ukraine’s government said that 45 buses were being sent today to evacuate civilians from Mariupol which has been massively destroyed by the Russian army, and there have been reports of people dying of starvation and thirst. President Putin has said that the bombing of Mariupol would not stop until Ukrainian forces surrender.

Over 4 million Ukrainians have now left Ukraine since Russia invaded on the 24th February, most of them are women and children.

Putin is being misled by his advisors, according to Western officials. Intelligence agencies from the United States and the United Kingdom have said that advisers are too scared to tell Putin that the war in Ukraine is not going to plan, and that the Russian economy is being heavily damaged by sanctions. According to the intelligence community, Putin also didn’t know that conscript soldiers were being used in Ukraine - men serving the mandatory military service. Sir Jeremy Fleming, the director of the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ, said that Putin’s advisors were lying to him, and that Russian soldiers were suffering from low morale...

“We’ve seen Russian soldiers, short of weapons and morale, refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft. And even though we believe Putin’s advisors are afraid to tell him the truth, what’s going on and the extent of these misjudgements must be crystal clear to the regime.... It’s become his personal war, with the cost being paid by innocent people in Ukraine, and increasingly, by ordinary Russians too. It increasingly looks like Putin has massively misjudged the situation.”

France’s military intelligence chief, has resigned after his office failed to predict the invasion of Ukraine. General Eric Vinaud has resigned because France’s intelligence did not anticipate the full-scale invasion as other Western intelligence agencies did.

Africa

In Tunisia the political crisis has worsened as President Kais Saied issued a decree to dissolve the parliament. Last year Saied suspended the working of parliament, however recently parliament held an online session for the first time, and voted to end Saied’s emergency powers. Parliament has accused Saied of a coup, and Saied has accused the parliament of a coup.

Kenya’s supreme court has rejected constitutional changes by President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying that they are illegal. The changes would give more power to the president and would create the position of Prime Minister. Kenyatta says that they would make politics more inclusive, however Kenyatta’s opponents say that he wants to create the position of Prime Minister because he has already served the maximum of two terms as president

The Algerian football association has officially complained to FIFA about its loss to Cameroon in a World Cup Qualifying match. Algeria called the referee’s performance “scandalous” and demanded that the match be replayed. Ghana, Tunisia, Morocco and Senegal have all qualified for the world cup in Qatar, which starts in November.

Asia

Pakistan’s Prime Minister has said that the United States has threatened him. Khadija Tahir reports...

In a televised address to the nation, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that the United States has threatened him, and is seeking his removal from office. Yesterday, the Pakistani parliament began debating a no-confidence vote against Imran Khan. Opposition parties have formed an alliance to remove Khan as Prime Minister accusing his government of bad governance and economic decisions. The US government has rejected any involvement in the no-confidence motion, which will take place on Sunday.

In Sri Lanka police have imposed a curfew after protesters tried to enter the house of president Gotabaya Rajapska. There have been calls for Rajapska’s resignation after an economic crisis, high inflation and long power cuts.

Americas

Between Colombia and Panama, more people are crossing the dangerous Darien Gap than ever before. The United Nations refugee agency has said that thousands of refugees have crossed from Colombia to Panama by land. The Darien gap is an area of 160 kilometres of mountains and rainforest, which is considered extremely dangerous because of extreme weather and the presence of criminal gangs. Many of the migrants are believed to be from Haiti.

And in the United States two friends who survived the holocaust have been reunited 79 years later. Jack Waksal and Sam Ron met in a concentration camp in Poland during World War 2. Waksal escaped and Ron stayed until the end of the war. Last week, the two men met by accident when they both attended a holocaust memorial service in Florida.

And around the world this podcast has been downloaded one million times. Thank you to everyone who has helped this podcast to grow! A big thank you also to Patrizia from Italy, Tommy from the US, and Wolfgang from Germany, for becoming our newest supporters! If you enjoy the podcast you can become a supporter at send7.org/support. Supporters also get access to transcripts every day. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.

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