World In Brief
On Thursday, Russian human rights defender Oleg Orlov appeared in a Russian court, on trial for criticizing Putin's war on Ukraine. Orlov cited the Russian Constitution as guaranteeing his freedom of speech. He also said that Russia's aggression on Ukraine "is against the interests of Russia and Russian citizens."
Ukraine's counteroffensive against the Russian forces occupying the country has begun. There is an intensification of operations in the southern part of the Donetsk region, and also on the border with the Zaporizhia region.
Julian Assange has lost his latest legal appeal against being extradited to the US, where he could face decades in prison for publishing classified military and diplomatic documents. Through WikiLeaks, Assange published documents that former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning had leaked. Manning's 35-year prison sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama in 2017.
The US Department of Justice has indicted Donald Trump on 7 counts of mishandling classified documents when he left office, and obstructing the government’s efforts to have them returned. He is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Miami on Tuesday. It is the first time a former US president has been indicted on federal charges.
A former US intelligence official, David Grusch, has said the US government possesses ‘intact and partially intact’ craft of non-human origin. Grusch led the analysis of unexplained anomalous phenomena (UAP) for a US Department of Defense agency for 14 years, and says that this information is being illegally withheld from the US Congress.
Haaretz is reporting major progress in nuclear talks between Iran and the US. Israeli defense officials expect a new agreement within weeks, which will limit Tehran's high level enrichment of uranium in exchange for easing of sanctions.
Ukraine's military intelligence announced that Russia blew up the major dam near Nova Kakhovka in Russian-occupied Ukraine this morning. Forty thousand people downstream are being evacuated, and the city of Kherson faces a risk of catastrophic flooding.
The Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper River, which supplies water to much of southern Ukraine, has been severely damaged by what appears to be Russian aggression. More than 16,000 people are said to be at risk, and evacuations are underway. Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said that Russia's destruction of the dam is a “fundamentally new stage of Russian aggression.”
Pro-Ukraine fighters from the Russian Volunteer Corps and Legion for Freedom of Russia have launched more attacks into Belgorod in southern Russia. They called upon the governor of Belgorod to meet and exchange their captive soldiers. A Ukrainian presidential advisor said on Sunday that such situations in Russian areas bordering Ukraine “should be viewed as the future of Russia.”
On Sunday, an estimated half million Poles took to the streets of Warsaw to protest Poland’s rightwing populist government. Former prime minister Donald Tusk, who heads the Civic Platform opposition group, said: "...we are ready to fight for democracy and freedom again, like we did 30, 40 years ago."
On Saturday, for the 22nd week, tens of thousands of Israelis again took to the streets in Tel Aviv and across the country in protest of the government's plan to weaken the judiciary and give itself unchecked power.
After achieving military success in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, founder and head of the Wagner mercenary group Yevgeniy Prigozhin has called for martial law in Russia, along with more general mobilization. He warned that the country could otherwise descend into revolution, or that "we can simply lose Russia.”
As conservative local governments around the US continue their bans on books they deem "offensive," the state of Utah has taken it a surprising step further. One school district in the state removed the Bible from elementary and middle schools for what it said was "vulgarity and violence."
More than 288 people died, and 850 injured, in a train crash late Friday in the Indian state of Odisha. It is said to be the worst train crash of the century.
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