Al-Maliki Invites Pope To Visit Iraq To Help Peace
Al-Maliki, who met the pope for 20 minutes at the pontiff's summer residence, also denied in comments to reporters afterward that minority Christians were being persecuted by Muslims in Iraq.
"We renewed our invitation for his holiness to visit Iraq. He welcomed the invitation. And we hope that he will be making the visit as soon as he can," he said.
"His visit would represent support for the efforts of love and peace in Iraq," he added.
The late Pope John Paul II wanted to visit Iraq in 2000 but was denied permission by the government of Saddam Hussein.
Al-Maliki said he and the pope also discussed the plight of minority Christians in Iraq and the prime minister urged those who had left after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to return to help rebuild the country.
"I also appealed to His Holiness to encourage Christians who left the country to go back and be part of the social structure of Iraq again," he said.
Many of Iraq's Christians have left the country, among the 2 million refugees who have fled to neighboring states.
Iraq's small Christian minority has tried to keep out of the Shi'ite-Sunni sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. But Christian clergy and churches have been targeted repeatedly by Sunni militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda.
The archbishop of Iraq's largest Christian denomination, the Chaldean Catholics, was kidnapped in the northern city of Mosul in February and found dead two weeks later.
Al-Maliki said the pope understood the inter-religious situation in Iraq.
"He expressed this by saying that bad people exist within all religions, whether Christians or Muslims," al-Maliki said.
"This sound, realistic, objective understanding by His Holiness is the best answer to those who claim that Christians are persecuted in Iraq by Muslims," he said.
A Vatican statement said Christian communities in Iraq "strongly feel the need for greater security" and that inter-religious dialogue would be important for the country's future.
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U.K. Says Russia Likely Removing Nuclear Warheads From Missiles And Firing At Ukraine
Russia is likely removing nuclear warheads from ageing nuclear cruise missiles and firing unarmed munitions at Ukraine, Britain's military intelligence said on November 26. It said open-source imagery shows the wreckage of an air- launched cruise missile fired at Ukraine which seems to have been designed in the 1980s as a nuclear delivery system, adding that ballast was probably being substituted for the warheads. Such a system will still produce damage through the missile's kinetic energy and unspent fuel. However, it's unlikely to achieve reliable effects against intended targets. To read the original story from Reuters, click here.
In Rare Public Spat, Zelenskiy Criticizes Kyiv Mayor Over Emergency Centers
In a rare public spat involving Ukrainian leaders, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticized the mayor of Kyiv for doing what he said was a poor job setting up emergency shelters to help those without power and heat after Russian attacks. Ukraine has established thousands of "invincibility centers" where people can access heat, water, Internet, and mobile phone links. In an evening address on November 25, Zelenskiy indicated that Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his officials had not done enough and "more work is needed." To see the original Reuters story, click here.
Six Million Ukrainians Still Without Electricity, Army Says Battles Raging In East And Southeast
Ukrainian repair crews continued to scramble to return power to millions of homes on November 25 following devastating Russian missile attacks this week on infrastructure facilities including water and heating sources, while Kyiv said near-constant Russian bombing was affecting a handful of population centers in the east.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address that more than 6 million households remain in darkness.
"As of this evening, blackouts continue in most regions and in Kyiv," he said.
But he said work crews had succeeded in cutting the number of affected locations "by half" since November 23, one of the most destructive nights of Russian bombing of power infrastructure in the nine-month-old invasion.
In addition to the capital, Zelenskiy said Odesa on the Black Sea, Lviv in western Ukraine, west-central Vinnytsia, and Dnipropetrovsk in central Ukraine are some of the hardest-hit areas.
The national power-grid company, Ukrenerho, said via Telegram on November 25 that by 7 p.m. around 30 percent of the country's electricity supplies were still out.
It said a "phased restoration" was continuing and repair teams "are working around the clock" but urged people to consume energy "sparingly."
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal credited energy workers and said, "No country in the world has such experience in putting the energy system into operation after seven waves of missile strikes."
Zelenskiy also visited a multistory residential building reportedly damaged by a Russian missile in the town of Vyshhorod, north of the capital, along with one of the emergency hubs Ukraine has been setting up around the country to provide device charging, heat, water, Internet, and electricity.
In his video statement he assured Ukrainians that "we will overcome all challenges and we will definitely win."
The Ukrainian Army General Staff said on November 25 that said active battles were raging in the regions of Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, and Zaporizhzhya.
Russian forces are carrying out nonstop shelling in the Kryvyi and Kherson regions, it said, including in the city of Kherson.
The Ukrainian military said its forces had carried out attacks on a Russian command post and a half-dozen other targets including three enemy anti-aircraft missile stations.
RFE/RL cannot independently verify battlefield claims in areas of intense fighting.
The Ukrainian General Staff also accused Russian troops of dangerous actions at Europe's largest nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhya, which it has occupied since early in the invasion.
"The opponent continues to pressure Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant workers," a Ukrainian General Staff spokesman said on Facebook. "According to available information, individual employees who refuse to cooperate with the occupation authorities are not allowed to work places."
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Ukrainian officials have complained of catastrophic risk as exhausted Ukrainian workers at Zaporizhzhya work under extreme duress.
The head of the UN's nuclear agency said this week that all of Ukraine's civilian nuclear power plants are due for inspections and that IAEA experts will visit all those facilities, including the abandoned Chernobyl power plant.
With reporting by Reuters and AFP
LGBT Support Center Shutters Tatarstan Operations Over Russia's New Anti-LGBT 'Propaganda' Law
A support center for the LGBT+ community in the capital of the southern Russian Republic of Tatarstan has announced its suspension of activities to avoid falling afoul of a sweeping new Russian law banning "propaganda" of nontraditional sexual relations or desires to "change sex."
The Acceptance center in Kazan announced the closure on its Instagram page on November 25.
"In connection with the new law on the complete ban on LGBT 'propaganda,' Acceptance is suspending its activities," the group said, adding that it was ending its main activity on a leading Russian social network. "The VK website and support group are being closed. Open support groups for queer people in Kazan are being suspended."
Russia's parliament on November 24 passed the third and final reading of legislation that expands a nine-year-old ban on promoting LGBT "propaganda" to children by barring such promotion among people of any age.
Any action or event deemed to be promoting nontraditional gender views or homosexuality -- including online, in film, books, advertising or in public -- could incur a heavy fine. The fine will be up to $6,600 for individuals and up to $82,100 for legal entities, according to Reuters.
Russia Declares Ex-Mayor, TV Journalist, And Trans Support Group Among 'Foreign Agents'
Russia's Justice Ministry has placed former Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman and TV Dozhd journalist Anna Mongait on its list of "foreign agents."
Other new additions under the increasingly applied law on November 25 included a trans-initiative group, a charitable foundation, and a journalist who collaborates with RFE/RL.
A Russian court released Roizman from detention in August but ordered him not to communicate with anyone without permission, as it imposed pre-trial restrictions a day after police arrested the outspoken Kremlin critic and prosecutors accused him of "discrediting the armed forces."
Journalist Mongait's independent Russian television station Dozhd was forced to suspend operations in March amid pressure linked to its coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and later began broadcasting some of its programs from Latvia.
Also on the list were the head of the Free Buryatia anti-war foundation; a former volunteer for jailed Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny's headquarters in Ufa; and a Perm political scientist and the coordinator of the Golos observer movement.
The ministry also added journalist Lyubov Barabashova, who collaborates with RFE/RL's Russian Service's Siberia.Realities project, to its list.
It also included among foreign agents the trans-initiative group T-Action, which supports the transgender community.
The Social Partnership, an NGO, was also listed.
Ukraine Needs To Be 'Far-Sighted' To Secure Peace, Pope Says
Ukraine's leaders will have to be "far-sighted" to secure peace, Pope Francis said on November 25, suggesting Kyiv would have to make concessions to end the war with Russia. The pope earlier this month called for a cease-fire to avert the risk of escalation of the conflict and asked God to "hurry up" to end it. The Roman Catholic Church leader described Ukrainians as "a bold and strong people" and "a noble and martyred people." To see the original Reuters story, click here.
Hungary's President Novak Traveling To Ukraine To Meet With Zelenskiy
Hungarian President Katalin Novak is making her country's highest-level official visit to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began nine months ago, according to the local index.hu website.
There was no official confirmation.
The website said Novak was invited by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has repeatedly expressed exasperation at the response to the war by NATO- and EU-member Hungary's leadership and especially its entrenched Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The outlet did not say when Novak was traveling but said she would be making the trip to neighboring Ukraine by train.
Budapest has publicly refused to join fellow NATO states in supplying weapons directly to Ukraine and has staunchly resisted Brussels' pressure to cut off its imports of Russian gas, although it has acknowledged Russian responsibility for the conflict.
Novak is a steadfast Orban ally and former lawmaker and minister of family affairs who took over as president in May.
Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said amid quarrels over a possible EU price cap on Russian oil on November 24 that Budapest had negotiated itself an exemption within the EU's current proposal, meaning such a cap among other members would not affect Hungary if it were adopted.
Orban, who has ruled for 12 years and won a new four-year term in April, and his ruling Fidesz government have attacked Western sanctions as akin to the EU "shooting itself in the lung."
He and Szijjarto are almost alone among senior Western officials in having made official trips to Russia since President Vladimir Putin launched the all-out invasion of Ukraine in February.
Under Orban, Hungary has spurned Western warnings to court Moscow in energy and diplomatic areas as Budapest increasingly challenges EU policy including on free media, democracy, LGBT rights, immigration, and rule of law.
Novak has joined other Hungarian officials including Orban in keeping the fate of Transcarpathian Hungarians high on her list of priorities in relations with Kyiv.
Iran Sends More Troops To Kurdish Region As New Protest Flares
Iran's Revolutionary Guards have built up their presence in restive Kurdish regions, state media reported on November 25 amid a crackdown on mass protests, as video showed demonstrations in minority Baluch areas of the southeast. Activist website 1500Tavsir posted footage it said was from protests in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan Province, with the sound of gunshots and, in one video, demonstrators running for cover. Reuters could not independently verify their authenticity. To see the original Reuters story, click here.
Half Of Kyiv Still Without Electricity After Russian Strikes
Nearly half of Kyiv residents were still without electricity on November 25 as engineers battled to restore services two days after Russian strikes hammered the country's energy grid. Utility workers were still working to reconnect the heating and water as temperatures in Kyiv approached freezing. The systematic attacks in recent weeks have wreaked havoc on Ukraine's energy infrastructure as winter approaches, spurring fears of a health crisis and a further exodus. To see the original AFP story, click here.
Days After Acquittal Confirmed In Nudes Case, LGBT Artist Flees Russia
An LGBT activist and artist acquitted recently in a high-profile pornography case over nude drawings and other artwork she posted online has left Russia days after an unsuccessful appeal by prosecutors, her mother mother said on November 25.
Yulia Tsvetkova, 29, was found not guilty in mid-July before prosecutors under pressure from anti-LGBT activists appealed the ruling.
That appeal was rejected by an appeals court in the Siberian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur on November 22, according to Tsvetkova's mother, who lives in France.
"Why they left, I think it's obvious," her mother, Anna Khodyreva, said. "Yulia is [regarded as] a 'foreign agent,' with a new law [criminalizing "LGBT propaganda"] -- it's easier to die than to live in Russia."
She said that two new criminal cases have been opened against her daughter, so "it's impossible [for her] to stay in Russia."
Tsvetkova draws women's bodies and is widely known for her advocacy of LGBT issues.
Tsvetkova's administration of a social-media page dubbed "The Vagina Monologues" and with drawings and other images that resembled female genitalia had attracted the ire of authorities.
She was charged with producing and distributing pornographic material and prosecutors said at the time that they sought a 38-month prison sentence in the case.
Tsvetkova's trial began in April 2021 after a nearly 1 1/2-year investigation during which she was fined for spreading LGBT "propaganda" and put under house arrest.
The trial was held behind closed doors because prosecutors said they needed to show the images as evidence.
In June, the Justice Ministry added Tsvetkova to its list of "foreign agents."
Amnesty International has said the case against Tsvetkova amounts to political repression and "Kafkaesque absurdity."
An exhibition of Tsvetkova's paintings opened this week at the Le Pangolin space in Marseille, France, and included a roundtable on the history of art and censorship of the female body.
Kherson Governor Says Hospitals Evacuated 'Due To Constant Shelling' Amid Rising Death Toll In City
The governor of the embattled Kherson region of southeastern Ukraine said on November 25 that "due to constant shelling" officials have evacuated hospital patients from several facilities, while another official there blamed dozens of deaths on Russian shelling the same day.
Halyna Luhova, head of the Kherson city military administration, said 15 Kherson city residents had been killed by Russian shelling during the day and 35 more injured, including a child.
Luhova said via social media that multiple private homes and high-rise buildings had been damaged in the Russian bombing.
Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said via the regional administration's Telegram channel earlier in the day that children from a Kherson regional facility had been transported to Mykolayiv, about 60 kilometers away.
He said other transferees included psychiatric patients, with around 100 people expected to get treatment in the Black Sea port city farther west, Odesa.
He said some of the transfers would last "as long as enemy strikes are being repeated in Kherson."
IN PHOTOS: As Russian forces continue to shell the recently liberated city of Kherson, doctors have been struggling to work with little water, electricity, and poor equipment.
Yanusevich also said residents in the city -- which was recaptured by Ukrainian forces earlier this month after months of occupation and has been targeted by long-range aerial attacks on infrastructure and civilian targets -- could contact authorities to request evacuation "to safer regions of Ukraine."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this week cited constant reports of shelling of Kherson, the only regional hub that Russian forces had managed to overrun since the start of the nine-month full-scale invasion.
Much of the country remains without power, water, and fuel following massive bombardments by Russian missile attacks in recent weeks.
Yanusevich also notified residents on November 25 that two mobile-phone operators, Kyivstar and Vodafone, had managed to restore the functioning of two base stations in the Kherson region, allowing for voice and Internet services.
With reporting by AFP
Serb Police Say Man Shot In Border Town Clash Between Migrants
One man was shot and wounded and a number of others were detained following reports of a clash between migrants in a northern Serbian town on the border with Hungary, police said on November 25. Police said they found a 20-year-old man shot twice in the chest after responding late on November 24 to calls from Horgos residents that groups of migrants were shooting at each other in the town. Six others were also found at the scene. To see the original AP story, click here.
EU Delays Talks On Russian Oil Price Cap Until Next Week
A meeting of EU government representatives scheduled for late on November 25 to discuss a Group of Seven (G7) proposal to cap Russian seaborne oil prices was canceled, EU diplomats said. "There was not enough of a convergence of views," one diplomat said. A day earlier, EU governments were split on the level at which to cap Russian oil prices to curb Moscow's ability to pay for its war in Ukraine without causing a global oil supply shock. The cap is to enter into force on December 5. To see the original Reuters story, click here.
Belarusian Nobel Peace Laureate Byalyatski's Wife To Accept Award For Him
The wife of jailed Belarusian activist Ales Byalyatski will accept the Nobel Peace Prize on her husband's behalf at the ceremony planned for Oslo City Hall on December 9, according to the organizers' official website. The 60-year-old Byalyatski was awarded the prize in October along with the persecuted Russian rights group Memorial and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, which documents alleged war crimes amid Russia's invasion. He has been in pretrial custody for 16 months, and has survived beatings and multiple imprisonments. To see the announcement on the Nobel Peace Prize website, click here.
Rights Groups Say Iran Forcing Families To Bury Dead At Night
Human rights groups say Iranian authorities have forced the family of one of the victims killed by security forces during protests in the Kurdish city of Mahabad to bury their son's body in the middle of the night under strict security measures.
The France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network claimed in a report on November 25 that forces from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted 32-year-old Shamal Khediri with direct fire last week during the bloody suppression of protests in the northwestern Iranian city of Mahabad. He died after being transferred to hospital on November 24.
The Norway-based Hengaw rights group said that after handing over Khediri's body to his family, several security forces escorted them to Mahabad and forced them to bury his body "in the middle of the night."
Activists say the increasingly violent suppression of protesters in western Iran is an attempt by authorities to create fear among protesters and quell the nationwide protests that have rocked the country since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died on September 16 while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.
They added that forcing families to bury those killed by security forces is an attempt to cover up the incidents and limit the chances of funerals turning into massive demonstrations.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network and Hengaw, two groups that monitor the human rights situation in Kurdistan Province, reported on November 25 that Heman Aman, a man from the Iranian-Kurdish city of Bukan, was tortured to death after being shot and kidnapped by government forces.
According to the reports, the 26-year-old Aman died on November 23 "as a result of severe torture by agents of the Urmia Intelligence Department" at a detention center.
The report added that Aman's body was also buried at the middle of the night under the pressure of security forces after being handed over to his family.
The IRGC has accused Kurdish groups of "attacking and infiltrating Iran to sow insecurity and riots and spread unrest" amid protests that erupted over Amini's death.
Anger over Amini's death has prompted thousands of Iranians to take to the streets to demand more freedoms and women's rights. The widespread demonstrations represent the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.
The activist HRANA news agency said that as of November 23, at least 445 protesters had been killed during the unrest, including 61 minors, as security forces try to stifle widespread dissent.
Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda
Germany In Talks With Allies Over Polish Push For Patriot Delivery To Ukraine
Germany said on November 25 it was discussing with allies Poland's demand that German Patriot air-defense units be sent to Ukraine, after NATO's chief suggested the military alliance might not oppose such a move. Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed and killed two people in Poland last week. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak later asked Germany to send the fire units to Ukraine instead. To read the original story from Reuters, click here.
Europe Pledges More Aid For Ukrainians Enduring 'Horrific Start' To Winter
Russian missile attacks on civilian infrastructure are leaving Ukrainians without heat, light, and food in a "horrific start" to the winter, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on November 25, as European officials pledged more support to help Ukraine stay warm and keep functioning through the bitter cold season.
Speaking in Brussels, Stoltenberg said Russian President Vladimir Putin "is failing in Ukraine, and he is responding with more brutality."
Stoltenberg said NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. He said the members of the alliance have been "providing unprecedented military support" and other aid for Ukraine.
NATO countries have also been delivering fuel, generators, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone-jamming devices, he said, but added that more will be needed as winter closes in, particularly as Russia continues to target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
Russian forces have zeroed in on Ukraine’s power grid and other critical civilian infrastructure in a bid to tighten the screw on the Ukrainian government.
Efforts were still under way in the capital, Kyiv, and other parts of Ukraine to restore electricity and water supplies on November 25, two days after Russian forces unleashed yet another devastating missile barrage, causing Kyiv’s biggest outages since the brutal invasion began nine months ago.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said nearly half of Kyiv residents were still without electricity on November 25.
"A third of houses in Kyiv already have heating, and specialists continue to restore it,” Klitschko said on Telegram.
Ukrainian officials estimate that around 50 percent of the country's energy facilities have been damaged in the recent strikes.
WATCH: Over 2,000 people still live in the frontline city of Hulyaipole in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya region despite constant Russian shelling and a lack of electricity, gas, and water.
Ukraine's Western allies have denounced the Russian attacks on energy as a "war crime" but Moscow insists it targets only military-linked infrastructure and has blamed Kyiv for the blackouts.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced a new aid package for Ukraine during his visit to Kyiv on November 25.
The package -- worth about $60 million, according to Britain -- includes radar and other technology to counter the Iran-supplied exploding drones that Russia has used against Ukrainian targets, especially the power grid. The aid comes on top of a delivery of more than 1,000 anti-air missiles that Britain announced earlier in November.
"Words are not enough. Words won't keep the lights on this winter. Words won't defend against Russian missiles," Cleverly said in a tweet about the military aid.
He added that "as winter sets in, Russia is continuing to try and break Ukrainian resolve through its brutal attacks on civilians, hospitals, and energy infrastructure."
France will send 100 high-powered generators to Ukraine to help people get through the winter, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced on November 25. She said Russia is "weaponizing" winter and plunging Ukraine's civilian population into hardship.
The UN humanitarian office said the global body and its partners were sending hundreds of generators to Ukraine to help Kyiv in its efforts to keep people warm and maintain essential services, such as health care. The World Health Organization said it is sending generators to hospitals in Ukraine.
With reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters
Iran Rejects UN Probe Into Deadly Crackdown On Protests
Iran has rejected a decision by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to form a fact-finding committee to investigate human rights violations amid a violent crackdown on anti-government protests that erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini.
At a special session initiated by Germany on November 24 at the Geneva-based UNHRC, which has 47 members, the resolution was approved in a 25-6 vote, with 15 members abstaining.
The resolution provides for an independent investigative mission to document human rights violations in Iran in the context of the protests, which erupted in mid-September after the death of a young woman being held by police for allegedly improperly wearing a head scarf.
Tehran has blamed several Western countries of fomenting the protests even though it has not provided any evidence to back up its claim.
Following that narrative, the Foreign Ministry on November 25 rejected the probe as "an anti-Iran move by a small group of Western countries to impose a resolution on the Human Rights Council against Iran."
It added that it would not recognize the mission.
The death of 22-year-old Amini in Tehran on September 16 sparked the wave of unrest now sweeping across the country.
Officials said she died of natural causes, but eyewitnesses and Amini's family say she was beaten after being taken into custody by Iran's notorious morality police.
The government has since launched a brutal crackdown on protesters, especially in the western regions of Iran, where Amini was from.
At least 416 people, including 51 children, have been killed by security forces across the country, according to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group. At least 83 people have been killed in Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and West Azerbaijan, three provinces with significant Kurdish populations, IHR said.
Despite Tehran's reaction, many countries and human rights groups welcomed the investigation, saying it will facilitate the gathering of evidence of human rights violations that could lead to the prosecution of criminals in international courts.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the United States continues to support the people of Iran "in the face of this brutal repression and work to see to it that those engaged in the ongoing violent suppression are held accountable.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on Twitter immediately after the UNHRC meeting that "the result is clear: unity for justice, for the people of Iran."
Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda
German MPs To Recognize Stalin Famine In Ukraine As 'Genocide'
German MPs are set to approve a resolution declaring as "genocide" the 1930s starvation of millions in Ukraine under Joseph Stalin, adopting language used by Kyiv, according to a draft text seen by AFP on November 25. The joint text is intended as a "warning" to Russia as Ukraine faces a potential hunger crisis this winter due to Moscow's invasion. Lawmakers plan to vote on the resolution next week, following Ukraine's memorial day for the famine, which falls each year on the last Saturday in November. To read the original story from AFP, click here.
IAEA Ready To Inspect Ukrainian Nuclear Plants After Russian Strikes
Ukraine's nuclear power plants are all due for inspections by international monitors, says the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as worries grow about accidents amid Russian air strikes targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure. IAEA Director Rafael Grossi said his agency's staff will visit facilities in Khmelnytskiy and Rivne, as well as at the abandoned Chernobyl plant. Fears about nuclear safety have been on the rise after recent Russian assaults targeted the power lines and generators needed to fuel spent power rods and to keep the power plants connected to the power grid, which is necessary to keep safety systems operational.
Iran Regime Supporters Confront Protesters At World Cup Game
Iran's political turmoil cast a shadow over Iran's second match in the World Cup on November 25, with pro-government fans harassing anti-government fans outside the stadium in Qatar. Unlike in their first match against England, the Iran players sang along to their national anthem before the match against Wales as some fans in the stadium wept. Some Iran fans confiscated Persian pre-revolutionary Iranian flags from supporters entering the stadium and shouted insults at those wearing shirts with the slogan of Iranian protest movement, Women, Life, Freedom. To read the original story from AP, click here.
NATO Sends Jammers For Drone Defense To Ukraine
NATO has supplied Ukraine with jammers to defend against Russian drone attacks, the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on November 25. "Allies are providing unprecedented military support," Stoltenberg said, listing deliveries of fuel, medical supplies, wind equipment, and the drone jammers. Jammers are designed to help Ukraine fend off attacks from drones targeting the country. The drone defense is part of wider air-defense systems NATO has provided to defend against Russian aggression.
Azerbaijan Says No Armenia Peace Talks If Macron Attends
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev on November 25 canceled a planned meeting with arch-foe Armenia's prime minister, whom he said had demanded the mediation of French President Emmanuel Macron. Azerbaijan accuses France of backing Armenia in its decades-long conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Aliyev said he would not be meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Brussels on December 7 because the Armenian leader demanded Macron attend the talks. There was no immediate reaction from Armenia. To read the original story from AFP, click here.
Britain Pledges More Ambulances For Ukraine During Minister's Visit
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has announced a package of "hands on" support to help Ukraine through the winter while on a visit to the war-torn nation. Cleverly was due to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during his trip, which comes days after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak traveled to Kyiv. Cleverly announced the practical support as Ukraine's power grid and other critical infrastructure has been pounded by Russian strikes, causing blackouts and leaving millions without heat, power, or water as temperatures plummet. To read the original story from dpa, click here.
Lawyers For Kyrgyz Investigative Journalist To Appeal Court Decision To Deport Him To Russia
Lawyers for prominent Kyrgyz investigative journalist Bolot Temirov said they will the appeal to the Supreme Court a lower court's decision to deport the reporter to Russia after finding him guilty of illegally obtaining a Kyrgyz passport.
"We will file an appeal to the Supreme Court next week and ask it to overturn the wrongful ruling by the Bishkek City Court," defense lawyer Bakytbek Avtandil-uulu told RFE/RL on November 25.
"The case against Temirov is clearly politically motivated," he added.
Temirov, who has extensively reported about corruption among government officials in Kyrgyzstan, was deported to Moscow within hours of the ruling on November 23. His lawyers said that immediately after the decision was pronounced, Temirov was detained by men in civilian clothes and forcibly escorted from the courtroom.
Speaking to RFE/RL by telephone from Moscow on November 24, Temirov, 43, said he was treated as a "criminal" by officers who took him to Bishkek's Manas International Airport. He described being hurriedly flown to Moscow without any documents.
The journalist said he was staying with his mother and relatives in Moscow and needed time to familiarize himself with Russian law following his arrival in a country he hadn't been in for seven years.
The court's decision to deport Temirov has been condemned by a UN rights envoy, press freedom defenders, and Western governments.
The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek tweeted that the ruling "disregards democratic principles."
"Journalists should be allowed to work without fear of retaliation," it said. "Freedom of expression is protected under the Kyrgyz Constitution -- these rights must be upheld."
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was "dismayed" by the decision and urged Kyrgyzstan to maintain its "vibrant civil society" and avoid "staining" its reputation with "attempts to stifle freedom of expression."
The EU's office said it was "deeply concerned" by the verdict and Temirov's "harsh immediate detention."
"This action goes counter to Kyrgyzstan's international commitments on independent media, freedom of speech and guaranteeing the personal safety of investigative journalists," it said.
Temirov maintains his innocence and says criminal charges were brought against him after he published the results of his investigation suggesting corruption among top officials of the Central Asian nation.
Kyrgyz authorities have denied that probes against Temirov are politically motivated.
Earlier this month, Temirov was shortlisted for the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Awards 2022.
Temirov was among 12 people recognized by the U.S. State Department last year as anticorruption champions.
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