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Wednesday 16th March 2022

Europe

Leaders from 3 European countries have travelled to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, despite the fact that the Russian army is continuing to bomb Kyiv, and Russian soldiers and tanks are only a few kilometres away. Prime Ministers of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, of Czechia Petr Fiala, and of Slovenia Janez Jansa travelled by train to Kyiv yesterday, where they met with President Volodymyr Zelensky. Morawiecki said that it was to show solidarity with Ukraine and to show the “criminal aggression” of Russian president Vladamir Putin.

Towns and cities across Ukraine are constantly being bombed by the Russian army, including residential areas. One attack on an apartment block in Kyiv killed at least 4 people yesterday. Two more journalists have been killed. Pierre Zakrzewski, an American cameraman, and Oleksandra Kuvhynova a Ukrainian producer, who both worked for Fox News, were killed when their car was hit by a Russian rocket near Kyiv. Ukraine also said yesterday that it has been hit by 3,000 cyber attacks since February, mostly attacking government and communications services. The Russian army has also targeted communications infrastructure, such as Kyiv’s television tower. Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko ordered a 35 - hour curfew in Kyiv, saying that it was for military reasons.

In the southern city of Mariupol, the Governor of Donetsk has reported that Russian soldiers have taken 400 people hostage in a hospital. Pavlo Kyrlenko said that Russian soldiers forced more people into the hospital and then said that nobody can leave. This information is difficult to verify. Mariupol has been under siege for two weeks, meaning that people have not been able to leave the city and there is an extreme shortage of food, water and heat. Around 2000 cars were able to leave Mariupol yesterday, according to authorities.

Yesterday Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky spoke by video link to the Canadian parliament. After he spoke, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he was a champion of democracy...

“Volodymyr, in the years I’ve known you, I’ve always thought of you as a champion for democracy. And now democracies around the world are lucky to have you as our champion.”

Yesterday Zelensky also published a message in Russian, in which he encouraged Russian conscripts to surrender, and promised them that they would be treated well. Conscripts are soldiers who are in the army because they have to perform military service. In Russia all men must spend one year in the army. Last week Russia’s ministry of defence said that conscripts have been used in the invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday a Russian journalist held up a sign, saying “no to war” and “Don’t believe propaganda” during a live broadcast. In Russia calling the war a “war” is illegal with the possibility of receiving 15 years in jail. Yesterday Marina Ovsyannikova was found guilty of breaking protest laws, and was fined 30,000 rubles. Ravina Shamdasani of the United Nations Human Rights office described Ovsyannikova as “courageous” and said that she should not be punished...

“Of course, we follow the case of this very courageous journalist who took to live Russian television to make her view clear about the war and about the propaganda that is being spread within Russia about the war. We would urge the authorities to ensure that she does not face any reprisals for exercising her right to freedom of expression. We understand there are now some 15,000 people who have been arrested in Russia in relation to protests against the war.”

The United Nations says that 3 million people have left Ukraine since Russia invaded 3 weeks ago.

Rest of the world...

In the Dominican Republic a cruise ship hit dry land yesterday. It took 7 hours to free The Norwegian Escape, which has over 3,000 tourists and 1,600 staff on board

In India a ban on wearing the Hijab at school as been allowed by Karnataka’s high court. Khadija Tahir reports...

An Indian court in the state of Karnataka has ruled to uphold the Hijaab ban in the state. Muslim students in Karnataka petitioned the court after some colleges stopped female Muslim students from entering the campus while wearing hijab. The colleges said that the hijab went against the proper dress code. As a result, there were large-scale protests and students petitioned the court saying that wearing the hijab was a fundamental right guaranteed under India’s constitution.

Karnataka Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi said that the right of a college to enforce a uniform prevailed over freedom of expression...

In Senegal the military has started an operation against separatists from the Casamance region. Casamance is the area of Senegal to the south of Gambia.

And in France, the Eiffel Tower has grown by 6 meters. A new communications antenna was added to the top yesterday, making the Eiffel Tower now 330 metres high.

That’s your world news in 7 minutes. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Juliet Martin. Have a great day.

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