International News

International News (142)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described an attack on a maternity and children’s hospital as a “war crime”.

It may not seem like it, but “even war has rules”, as the International Committee of the Red Cross puts it.

These are contained in treaties called the Geneva Conventions and a string of other international laws and agreements.

What Is A War Crime?

Civilians cannot be deliberately attacked – nor can the infrastructure that is vital to their survival.

Some weapons are banned because of the indiscriminate or appalling suffering they cause – such as anti-personnel landmines and chemical or biological weapons.

The sick and wounded must be cared for – including injured soldiers, who have rights as prisoners of war.

Other laws prohibit torture and genocide – the deliberate attempt to destroy a specific group of people.

Serious offences during war such as murder, rape or mass persecution of a group, are known as “crimes against humanity”.

What Allegations Of War Crimes Have There Been In Ukraine?

Ukraine said the Russian air strike on maternity and children’s wards in Mariupol was a war crime. Three people including a child were killed and 17 staff and patients were injured.

There have also been reports that Russian troops have targeted fleeing Ukrainian civilians.

There’s mounting evidence that cluster bombs – munitions that separate into lots of bomblets – have hit civilian areas of Kharkiv.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine have signed up to a worldwide ban on their use, but these incidents could still be considered a war crime.

The UK Ministry of Defence says Russia has used thermobaric explosives, which create a massive vacuum by sucking up oxygen. These devastating explosives are not banned – but their deliberate use near civilians would almost certainly break the rules of war.

Many experts argue the invasion itself is a crime under the concept of aggressive warfare – more on that below.

Source: BBC

Ukraine plans to recall all its troops and equipment, including helicopters, from UN peacekeeping missions in Africa and Europe to help in the fight against Russian troops, Reuters news agency reports.

Local Ukrainian media said on Tuesday that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had issued an order for all Ukrainian soldiers and officers on UN peacekeeping missions to return home and join the resistance against the Russian forces

There are around 300 Ukrainian personnel active in six UN. missions. The biggest contingent of Ukrainians currently serve in the mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo known as Monusco.

It is made up of eight Ukrainian helicopters and a 250-member aviation unit, a Monusco spokesman told Reuters.

He added that they have received a Ukrainian notification recalling the troops.

A few other Ukrainians work in various capacities in UN missions in Mali, South Sudan, Sudan, Cyprus and Kosovo, the UN. peacekeeping website says.

It unclear how the Ukrainian withdrawal from DR Congo will impact on Monusco's capabilities, especially in the east where the helicopters are based.

Source: BBC

International students are turned away from Welsh jobs because they are "not trusted," according to one graduate.

Sherifat Abubakar, 33, spent her life savings to come to Wales for a Masters degree, but has failed to get a full-time job in healthcare.

BAME Mental Health Support (BMHS) said this was a common experience, resulting in a "brain drain" of talent.

The Welsh government said it will launch its new plan for employability and skills on Tuesday.

In an annual survey by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 50% of UK students who graduated from Welsh universities were in full time jobs 15 months after finishing their undergraduate degree.

But for international students, it was just 34%.

The gap does narrow for post-graduate students, but these latest figures come from students who graduated before the pandemic - the class of 2018-19 - and there are fears Covid could have made things worse.

'I get turned down for no obvious reason'

Sherifat Abubakar left her daughter with family in Nigeria hoping to build a life for them both in Wales

Ms Abubakar left her five-year-old daughter in Nigeria in 2021 and paid £18,000 for her MSc in public health and health promotion at Swansea University.

She thought the degree would open the door to jobs in Wales but now she feels it "doesn't count" after being rejected from numerous jobs.

Like so many other international students, she is on a student visa which is dependant on getting a job.

She said she should have qualified for a Band 7 NHS job after her degree - starting from about £40,000 a year - but has even been turned away from Band 2 carer jobs, despite the demand.

It has left her wondering whether she will have to return to Nigeria without a job.

"The labour market is not very trusting of non-Welsh or non-UK experience, but I just want a chance to do something, to contribute," she said.

"I expected that if they need staff and I'm willing I should be able to get the job, but then I get turned down for no obvious reason and that's surprising and disappointing."

"Sometimes I have this thought 'what if it doesn't work out positively?' Then it would have been a pointless sacrifice."

'I've been a dentist for 17 years and I can't work'

Vibha Gulati (centre) is unable to practice in the UK after Covid delayed licensing exams

Covid has also played a part.

Vibha Gulati, 40, was a dentist for 17 years in India.

She has post-graduate qualifications in orthodontics, aesthetic dentistry and implantology, but came to Wales to improve her skills with a master's degree in public health.

She was aware she would have to sit a licensing exam to practice in the UK but those exams were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

It has left her feeling helpless and she may have to return to India if she cannot get a place on this year's exam.

"Everything came to a standstill and that created a backlog because there were thousands of candidates waiting to do the exam.

"On the other hand there are such long wait lists in the NHS to be able to see a dentist."

'The numbers don't match'

International students pay a lot of money to study in Wales.

In 2019, the UK government set a target of attracting 600,000 international students a year - which it met 10 years early.

However the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Experts (AGCAS) fears the priority is targets and not support.

Helen Atkinson, internationalisation co-chair at AGCAS, said: "It's looking really good numbers wise, but what isn't matched is the focus and the resource that's put into graduate outcomes and supporting international graduates into employment in the UK."

She added there was a "frustrating lack of awareness" among employers about perceived logistical barriers to hiring international students.

The UK government has launched a graduate visa to allow students who have completed a degree to stay in the UK for two years. This will rise to three years for those who have done a PhD.

Universities Wales said international students have consistently been more likely to choose to further study after graduating.

A spokesperson added: "Welsh universities have a strong track record of delivering high quality employability and career support to all students and consistently perform well in terms of graduate employability.

"Global Wales and Taith are two programmes that show the commitment Wales has to welcoming and supporting international students, as well as providing them with valuable career enhancing opportunities."

Alfred Oyekoya from BMHS says international talent is being ignored

Alfred Oyekoya set up the charity BMHS in Swansea because he believes economic distress is a key driver for mental health problems in ethnic minority communities.

He also believes Wales is missing out on skilled workers.

After reading about staff shortages in the health sector, he helped more than 40 people - including 20 qualified doctors - submit applications. However none were successful and many did not receive any feedback.

He said: "We are having a brain drain crisis in Wales because we are beginning to lose potential human capital."

In a statement, Swansea Bay University Health Board's recruitment team said although it regularly recruited internationally, that could present challenges.

It added: "Taking on staff from overseas, including overseas students, is not always straightforward as their visas, registration and other regulations may restrict their right to work and their immediate employment opportunities."

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething previously said he wanted to make Wales somewhere people feel "confident about planning their future" so young people do not have to "get out to get on".

The Welsh government said its economic policy includes looking at ways to retain graduates and talent in Wales by building strong links between universities and businesses, as well as supporting start-ups, including graduate start-ups, with possible incentives in some areas.

 

Source: BBC

In the last hour, as day five of the invasion dawns, air raid sirens have gone off in multiple cities across the country.

There have been regular clashes between Ukrainian forces and so-called Russian saboteurs in almost every district, but a two-day curfew has been lifted in the past hour allowing grocery shops to open, which, if you've been spending much of the past two days underground, is seen as a significant freedom.

It is very hard for those of us here originally from the UK to see what this war has done to people's lives, which have been upended. But locals have also got used to this to a certain extent. People are getting used to rationing food and water and they have fallen into a kind of routine.

But residents are gathering around television screens and phones, and they are concerned by some of the news emerging, especially reports that a referendum in Belarus has passed that may allow Russia to place nuclear weapons on Belarussian soil.

Elsewhere, there has been significant shelling overnight in Chernihiv in the north of Ukraine overnight. A nursery was targeted, along with a residential building, but there has only been one reported injury, presumably because people are following the advice and sheltering underground.

There is also a naval base in the south at Berdyansk which the local officials say the Russians have taken, so its very much that southern advance that is causing problems.

But the government in Kyiv is defiant and defence minister Oleksii Reznikov has said that over 100,000 Ukrainians have signed up to the armed forces. He has also been calling this a European war, saying that there are no borders between Ukraine and Europe now.

Source: BBC

Russia's central bank says it has ordered brokers to suspend the execution of all orders by foreign legal entities and persons who want to sell off their Russian investments, such as stocks and shares.

The Bank of Russia also said it had yet to decide whether to open the Moscow Exchange, other than the forex and money market, on Monday. The opening time has already been pushed a few times in the last few hours.

It comes as the rouble plunged to a new record low after Western nations announced new sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Source: BBC

Algeria's state firm is ready to supply additional gas to the EU from its surplus, the company's boss has said.

This is in case of a decline in gas supplies due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sonatrach CEO Toufik Hakkar said the unmet capacity at the Transmed pipeline linking Algeria to Italy could be used to increase supply.

Algerian gas accounts for about 11% of Europe's gas imports.

The US had reached out to Algeria and other countries for gas supply alternatives in case the Russian invasion leads to low supplies to Europe.

Source: BBC

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also said that he will issue weapons to everyone who wants them, according to state media.

You might recall having seen lots of images of Ukrainian civilians undergoing basic military training in recent weeks as tensions ramped up with Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukraine cuts diplomatic ties with Russia

Ukraine has officially severed diplomatic ties with Russia following its invasion of Ukrainian territory, President Volodymyr Zelensky has told a press briefing.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation says parents and guardians with children studying in Ukraine are at liberty to evacuate in view of the political and security tension between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Ukraine.

The Ministry said that it has received numerous inquiries from parents and guardians of Zambians studying in Ukraine about their safety.

In a statement, the Ministry said that the Zambian Embassy in Moscow is in contact with both the Russian and Ukrainian authorities and both parties have emphasized the importance of dialogue as the only option to end the current impasse.

The Embassy has also engaged the Zambian community in view of the developments in Ukraine and have been directed to remain alert and utilize the available communication platforms.

The Embassy has further advised all Zambians in Ukraine to carry requisite identity documents and avoid non-essential travel around the country as a precautionary security measure.

Source: Lusaka Times

The Catalan regional parliament has formally pardoned hundreds of women executed for witchcraft between the 15th and 18th centuries.

MPs passed a resolution by a large majority to rehabilitate the memory of more than 700 women who were tortured and put to death.

Spanish historians have discovered that Catalonia was one of the first regions in Europe to carry out witch hunts.

It was also considered one of the worst areas for executions.

“We have recently discovered the names of more than 700 women who were persecuted, tortured and executed between the 15th and 18th centuries,” said the groups behind the resolution.

Witches were often blamed for the sudden death of children or for poor harvests, according to Pau Castell, a professor of modern history at the University of Barcelona.

Pro-independence and left-wing groups say the women were “victims of misogynistic persecution” and want their memory honoured by naming streets after them.

Tens of thousands of mostly women are believed to have been condemned to death for witchcraft across Europe.

The move follows similar initiatives in Scotland, Switzerland and Norway.

“Before they called us witches, now they call us ‘feminazis’ or hysterical or sexually frustrated. Before they carried out witch hunts, now we call them femicides,” said regional deputy Jenn Diaz of the ruling ERC, according to the AFP news agency.

 

Source: (BBC)

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been involved in a car accident in Los Angeles, his spokesman has confirmed.

A woman was hurt in the four-vehicle crash, which occurred on Friday afternoon, Los Angeles Police said.

Photos from the scene show a large SUV on top of three other vehicles at an intersection near his home in the upscale neighbourhood of Brentwood.

Police said that no arrest has been made and ruled out the involvement of drugs and alcohol.

The former California governor’s spokesman confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that he was driving the SUV when the incident occurred, but was not hurt.

 

Photos after the crash show the 74-year-old standing on the side of the road talking to the other drivers and police officers.

A police report, seen by CBS Los Angeles, said that Schwarzenegger was “near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Allenford Avenue, when a collision occurred with a red Prius making a u-turn as it continued through a ‘red arrow’ signal to turn left.”

It added that the SUV rolled on top of the red Prius and then ended up hitting two other vehicles.

Tabloid news site TMZ reported that the woman driving the Prius had head injuries and was taken to hospital, but her injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

“He is fine, his only concern right now is for the woman who was injured,” a representative told PEOPLE magazine.

 

Source: (BBC)

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