Friday, June 09, 2023

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Worldwide Satellite Radio Program Discussing the Situations in Senegal and South Africa

Over the last two weeks the unrest in Senegal has attracted the attention of the international media and community. This interview with Abayomi Azikiwe is attempting to analyze the social context under which these developments are taking place and the role of Africa in the broader world system.

The interview was carried out by the radio program Political Misfits, where Azikiwe is a frequent guest commentator. 

To hear the program just go to the following website: Assange Update, Espionage Act Charges for Trump, East Coast Smoke (

The promotional language for the program says of the segment that: "Editor of the Pan-African News Wire Abayomi Azikiwe discusses a political crisis in Senegal amid an upcoming election, how the notion of political stability should be considered with histories of foreign intervention, and challenges facing the South African political leadership."

African Union Advances Peace Plan for Sudan after the Failure of U.S.-Saudi Mediation

Fighting reportedly has intensified after the Armed Forces withdrew from talks in Jeddah

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Tuesday June 6, 2023

Political Analysis

An unstable humanitarian ceasefire agreement between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) expired on June 4 after the collapse of negotiations in the Red Sea Kingdom of Saudi Arabia port city of Jeddah.

The aim of the accord was to allow the evacuation of those seeking medical attention and for the delivery of food and medical supplies.

In the midst of this impasse involving the forces loyal to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his nemesis the militia leader General Mohamed Hamdan Degalo, the African Union (AU) held a meeting on June 1 aimed at restarting its process for stabilizing Sudan. The AU position provides a far more comprehensive roadmap not only to end the current security crisis the plan calls for the reimposition of an elected government.  

Nevertheless, even during the April-May ceasefire periods, fighting continued in the capital of Khartoum where the RSF has reportedly taken over residential districts and public facilities. SAF fighter jets are carrying out aerial bombardments of areas inside the capital and its environs in attempts to flush out RSF units from the city.

Since April 15 when the fighting erupted, hundreds of people have been reportedly killed with thousands wounded. Approximately 2 million civilians both Sudanese nationals and refugees from neighboring states are displaced within and outside the Republic of Sudan. The refugees initially fled from instability in South Sudan, Ethiopia and other countries. 

The humanitarian situation has reached critical proportions with the closure of most of the hospitals in Khartoum along with schools, businesses and diplomatic missions. Transportation hubs with buses and taxis are taking people away from the centers of the fighting in the capital and its twin city of Omdurman at great risk. With the failure of the Jeddah talks during early June, the AU and the other regional organizations in East Africa will inevitably become more aggressive in advancing their stabilization programs.

Underlying the failed talks in Jeddah are the factors related to the interference by the United States and Saudi Arabia in the internal affairs of the Republic of Sudan. In recent years since the removal of former President Omar Hassan al-Bashir by his military cohorts in efforts to halt a popular revolutionary movement from taking power in 2019, the U.S. State Department and the Saudi government rushed in to legitimize the military through financial assistance and promises of conditional large-scale loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. 

These U.S.-Saudi led efforts to reshape the political construct in Sudan during the last four years sought to overshadow the will of a substantial majority of the people inside the country. The military leadership began negotiations with the armed opposition groupings operating in Darfur and the border areas in the South. By October 2021, when the two military structures of the SAF and RSF overthrew the already fragile Sovereign Council headed by then interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, many of the armed opposition forces which had signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in Juba--capital of the Republic of South Sudan--sided with the Transitional Military Council which staged the coup.

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), and other mass organizations, political parties and trade unions were disregarded in the process engineered by the U.S. The SAF has openly criticized the United Nations envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, saying that he is no longer welcome. Despite these difficulties, both sides in the current conflict will be compelled to reach an agreement since they cannot continue the fighting without external assistance. 

Trilateral and Expanded Mechanisms for a Roadmap to Peace in Sudan

Over the last several months, the AU has advanced what is known as the Trilateral Mechanism involving the UN and the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organization encompassing East African states. A June 1 meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the headquarters of the AU represented the third meeting of an Expanded Mechanism seeking an end to the conflict and the beginning of a democratic transition.

Nonetheless, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Britain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had established what is known as the “Quad.” Neither of these formations, the trilateral mechanism or the Quad, have been able to establish a firm ceasefire and a way forward in stabilizing the country under a democratic government. 

According to a report from the AU on its June 1 session related to the security crisis in Sudan, it says:

“The Expanded Mechanism expressed concern at the continued fighting and stressed that there is no military solution to the conflict. The importance of a coordinated approach to resolving the crisis and the need for an African-led Sudanese-owned process was underlined. The participants cautioned against the proliferation of uncoordinated initiatives that would undermine the collective effort and the sovereignty of Sudan.

The Expanded Mechanism welcomed the Jeddah Process facilitated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, which resulted in the Declaration of Commitments and the Short-term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangement and welcomed the five-day extension of the ceasefire announced on 29 May 2023.  The Mechanism expressed concern at the lack of full implementation of the humanitarian ceasefire and the deteriorating humanitarian situation. In this regard, the Expanded Mechanism urged the parties to fully commit to undertaking their obligations to protect civilians and civil infrastructure and ensure the delivery of unhindered humanitarian assistance.” (

Yet, the two military leaders seemed to be committed to the destruction of each other as a way of settling the crisis. Sudan as a state has been suspended from the AU due to a series of violent repressive campaigns by the security forces against the democratic movement. In the immediate future, it will be extremely difficult for either of the military structures to gain acceptance among the Sudanese people and the neighboring states.

Resistance Committees Call for Peace and a Democratic Transition

The Sudanese Resistance Committees which have been at the forefront of the democratic movement since December 2018, have condemned the actions of the RSF and the SAF. The Resistance Committees have been active since the current crisis which began on April 15.

They have been helping civilians seeking transport out of the severely impacted areas along with providing information to the population traumatized by the ongoing military confrontation between the two military structures. Amid the death, destruction and displacement among the population, the Resistance Committees have continued to call for the implementation of the aims of the Sudanese Revolution. 

In a statement issued and signed by 42 mass organizations, professional groups and opposition political parties it emphasizes: 

“In this regard, we intend to agree on a joint mechanism to monitor developments, coordinate positions, and confront anything that threatens the security and safety of our country and its citizens. The continuation of the war has left and still leaves catastrophic effects, as both parties did not abide by the ceasefire declared earlier by the United Nations. Safe corridors were not designated for evacuating the stranded, medical crews were not protected, hospitals were not spared, and we consider all these violations to be contrary to international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions. We hold the warring parties fully responsible for any violation of human rights.  We renew the call for all civil revolution forces to take the initiative and unite to condemn the military operations, call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and not leave the country as prey to the will of the military and remnants of the previous regime. We should mobilize to declare a comprehensive political strike and civil disobedience, which is the duty of the hour that we must all rally around, and not allow speeches of sedition, fragmentation, and hateful rhetoric to tear this country apart, and to undermine its unity, sovereignty, safety, and the dignity of its people.” (

The way forward in Sudan to ensure peace and stability must be rooted in the empowerment of the people. Successive military-dominated governments have left the majority of Sudanese people unfulfilled in their political and socioeconomic desires for freedom and social justice. A country as wealthy and strategically located as the Republic of Sudan should be serving as a beacon of hope and prosperity for the entire Horn and East Africa region.

BRICS Foreign Ministers Hold Preparatory Meetings in South Africa

Western states pressure ANC government to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Monday June 5, 2023

Political Analysis

Several foreign ministers of states belonging to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit visited Cape Town beginning on June 1 to hold discussions on the future plans of the economic alliance.

Much speculation occurred among the imperialist states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) over the issues related to the United States proxy war in Ukraine and the possibility of the attendance of President Vladimir Putin at the BRICS Summit in July.

South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Dr. Naledi Pandor, responded to questions from the media regarding a recent measure implemented by the African National Congress (ANC) government which provides diplomatic immunity to all heads-of-state visiting the country. She emphasized that South Africa was a sovereign state which makes its own decisions as it relates to visitors. 

This imperialist generated controversy over the legal status of President Putin in countries whose governments are signatories to the Rome Statute further exposes the hypocrisy of the West, particularly the United States. Washington has never been a signatory of the Rome Statute and therefore is not subject to the edicts of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Nonetheless, the White House and State Department often evoke the ICC as a propaganda tool in their attempts to wage political and economic attacks on governments which they do not agree with on critical issues. 

None of the BRICS countries have either taken sides with the U.S. or condemned the position of the Russian Federation which characterizes its involvement in Ukraine as a “special military operation.” The current phase of the war has been going on since February 24, 2022, resulting in the imposition of unprecedented draconian sanctions against Moscow by the western capitalist states in Europe and North America.

Almost all corporate and government-sponsored news stories emanating from Western Europe and North America are antagonistic towards Russia and its allies. Major networks operating from these geopolitical regions through their coverage of the developments over the last 15 months have falsely predicted the economic collapse of the Russian Federation due to the sanctions. The general editorial tone of the corporate and western-controlled media advances the notion that Moscow is isolated from most people and governments around the world. 

Yet the BRICS states represent 3.27 billion people, some 44% of the global population. At the same time, more countries are seeking to enter the BRICS Summit as full members and as allies.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a representative to the recent BRICS ministerial meeting in Cape Town. They have expressed an interest in joining the alliance—which since the escalating Cold War by the imperialist states against Russia and the People’s Republic of China—appears to be evolving into a political coalition against the western industrialized states. 

BRICS states have called for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Eastern Europe where the NATO governments have poured well-over $115 billion to bolster the armed forces of Ukraine. In recent weeks, a much-anticipated counter-offensive by the Ukrainian military is being promoted daily in the western media in order to justify the massive spending on war when--due to inflation and the decline in real wages among workers—these resources should be going towards social spending to meet the needs of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples. 

The state-owned Deutsche Welle media outlet in Germany—which is the largest economy on the European continent--recently said of the BRICS Summit:

 “Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, the BRICS countries have only distanced themselves further from the so-called West. Neither India, Brazil, South Africa or China are taking part in sanctions against Russia. This has become increasingly clear with near-historic levels of trade between India and Russia, or in Brazil's dependence on Russian fertilizer.

‘Diplomatically, the war in Ukraine appears to have drawn a stark dividing line between an eastern-backed Russia and the West,’ political scientist Matthew Bishop from the University of Sheffield wrote for the Economics Observatory late last year. ‘Consequently, some European and U.S. policymakers worry that the BRICS may become less an economic club of rising powers seeking to influence global growth and development, and more a political one defined by their authoritarian nationalism.’" (

Bourgeois Democracy and Imperialist War

This term utilized in the article, “authoritarian nationalism”, is designed to draw a line between the leading capitalist-imperialist states and the emerging economies. The label placed on the BRICS Summit members suggests that they are not democracies. However, these countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, all encompass deliberative and legislative bodies which debate issues and make decisions. Elections are held in all the BRICS states and simply because some of the countries have political systems which diverge from the western model does not mean that they are undemocratic and authoritarian. 

In fact, the current U.S. bankrolling of the war in Eastern Europe has never been debated openly in the corporate media or within both Houses of Congress. Despite the consistent misrepresentation of the war in Ukraine within the U.S. media, recent polls indicate that support for this imperialist adventure aimed at weakening the Russian Federation has lost significant support over the last year. 

According to a report published by Brookings, it grapples with the question of the decline of support for the Ukraine war in the U.S. by noting that: 

“What explains such a drop? Perhaps the realization that there is no end in sight for the war at its first anniversary was sobering to some. But there is one variable that we have been measuring that could account for at least some of the drop. As we have shown in previous polls, the degree of support for Ukraine is highly correlated with the public’s evaluation of Ukraine winning or Russia losing. In the October poll, we noted stories stressing Ukrainian successes and Russian failures, which may have accounted for higher confidence in the outcome. In the newest poll, there is a marked drop in the assessment that Ukraine is winning, and Russia is losing — a drop that echoes the decline in the public’s preparedness to pay a price for supporting Ukraine: Overall, the assessment that Russia is losing fell from 48% in October to 37% in April, and the assessment that Ukraine is succeeding went from 43% in October to 26% in April. It is also notable that there were parallel drops in the assessments of both Republicans and Democrats.” (

By dismissing all governments which oppose U.S. military interventions as being undemocratic, they are implicitly saying that these geopolitical regions involved in BRICSS and others in the Global South are not worthy of the diplomatic consideration of Washington and its allies. Sanctions are utilized as acts of war which have in the past resulted in the deaths of millions in countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan.  

BRICS represents an attempt to breakaway and even delink from the hegemonic system of western imperialism controlled by Washington and Wall Street. Considering that the status of the U.S. is at stake in this struggle, it is inevitable that military clashes between the Pentagon and other geopolitical centers will impact the reconfiguration of the international relations of production and economic power. 

BRICS Foreign Ministers Closing Statement Defy Imperialist Militarism

There was agreement among the BRICS foreign ministers to continue the efforts of the organization. Dilma Rousseff, the former President of the Republic of Brazil, was appointed to lead the New Development Bank at its 8th Annual Meeting in China, a BRICS initiative, whose objective is to provide alternative financing for projects within its member-states.

The NDB has sustainable development and national infrastructure capacity as some of the main objectives of the institution. This financial entity is specifically geared towards what they say are “emerging markets”, which indicates that its thrust will be channeled towards the states of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

In specific reference to the security situation in Eastern Europe, number 18 in the 30 points closing document, upholds the necessity of ending the Ukraine war through diplomatic channels along with ensuring the flow of agricultural products from Russia and Ukraine to the other geopolitical regions of the world. 

The language of the document reads as follows:

“The Ministers recalled their national positions concerning the situation in and around Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate fora, including the UNSC and UNGA. They noted with appreciation relevant proposals of mediation and good offices aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy. They called for the full and effective implementation of both the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the United Nations on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to the world markets and stress the importance of allowing grains and fertilizers to continue to reach those most in need.” (

Therefore, if six governments representing far more people than exist in the North America and Western European regions are publicly calling for an end to the war--in reality--it is the U.S. and its imperialist allies which are becoming more isolated internationally. What is the major danger to the BRICS countries and others within the Global South is the determination by the imperialist states to maintain their hegemony even despite the threat of world war. Consequently, the struggle for genuine independence and sovereignty is also a question of war and peace.

Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, for Sun. June 4, 2023

Listen to the Sun. June 4, 2023 special edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this episode just click on the following link: Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast 06/04 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics ( 

The program features our PANW report with dispatches on the continued fighting between the two military structures in the Republic of Sudan and efforts to end the conflict; demonstrations in the Kingdom of Morocco have focused on the rising rate of inflation; the Senegalese government has blocked access to the internet resulting from the unrest inside the country; and the people of Guinea-Bissau are voting in legislative elections today. 

For the entire program we present our second installment for Black Music Month.  

We pay tribute to Francois Luambo Makiadi (Franco) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

In the following segments we listen to a recording of a panel discussion on the life, times and contributions of pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams. 

Finally, we hear an interview with legendary percussionist Max Roach.

Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, for Sat. June 3, 2023

Listen to the Sat. June 3, 2023 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this program just go to the following URL: Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast 06/03 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics ( 

The program features our PANW report with dispatches on the African Union (AU) peace plan to end the fighting in the Republic of Sudan; unrest has continued in the West African state of Senegal in response to the conviction of an opposition leader earlier in the week; a foreign ministers meeting is taking place in the Republic of South Africa in preparation for the upcoming BRICS Summit in July; and the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) has announced a strike to protest the cancellation of fuel subsidies by the new government. 

In the second hour we look in detail at the developments in Sudan, Senegal and the BRICS preparatory meeting in South Africa. Finally, we begin our month-long series in recognition of Black Music Month. 

In this first episode we pay tribute to Dr. Nico Kasanda of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) along with the early architects of the post-World War II African American popular music.

US Officials Acknowledge Ukraine’s Heavy Losses — CNN

At the same time, US administration officials argue that the losses will not affect the broader plans for a Ukrainian counterattack

NEW YORK, June 8. /TASS/. Ukrainian forces have suffered significant losses in their counterattack attempts as Russian resistance proved stronger than expected, CNN reported on Thursday, citing unnamed US administration officials.

The report mentioned losses in both manpower and materiel. Russian forces, holding well-fortified positions, managed to inflict serious damage on the advancing Ukrainian forces. According to CNN, this march of events was observed near Artyomovsk. Among the destroyed equipment were some US-made MRAP armored vehicles.

US administration officials, however, argue that the losses will not affect the broader plans for a Ukrainian counterattack.

As the Russian Defense Ministry said earlier, Ukrainian forces had been making unsuccessful offensive attempts since June 4, suffering losses in manpower and equipment.

Epidemiological situation in Kherson Region after Kakhovka HPP collapse stable

On the morning of June 6, the Ukrainian military launched a missile attack on the Kakhovka HPP, which resulted in the destruction of gate sluice valves at the HPP’s dam, triggering an uncontrolled discharge of water

GENICHESK, June 9. /TASS/. The epidemiological situation in the Kherson Region amid the floods triggered by the collapse of the Kakhovka Hydropower Plant (HPP) is stable, the region’s health ministry said on Friday.

"The epidemiological situation in the Kherson Region is stable, with the incidence of water-and food-transmitted infections being low. Monitoring of the situation with diseases in the Kherson Region has been enhanced amid the emergency situation," it said.

On the morning of June 6, the Ukrainian military launched a missile attack on the Kakhovka HPP, which resulted in the destruction of gate sluice valves at the HPP’s dam, triggering an uncontrolled discharge of water. According to emergency services, there are 35 communities in the flood zone, and residents of nearby villages are being evacuated. Eight people are reported to have died and more than 60 taken to the hospital.

The destruction of the hydro power plant has caused serious environmental damage with farmlands along the Dnieper River being washed away. Additionally, there is a risk that the North Crimean Canal may run low and become too shallow. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the strike on the Kakhovka dam as an act of deliberate sabotage by Ukrainian forces, adding that the Kiev regime should bear full responsibility for its consequences.

Chief of Russian General Staff Holds Video Call with Chinese Counterpart

It is reported that coordinated efforts by Russia and China on the international scene have a stabilizing effect on the global situation

Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Russia’s First Deputy Defence Minister Valery Gerasimov Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Russia’s First Deputy Defence Minister Valery Gerasimov

© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov held talks with his Chinese counterpart Liu Zhenli via a video link-up, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Friday.

"Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, First Deputy Defense Minister Army General Valery Gerasimov held talks via video conferencing with Chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Republic’s Central Military Commission Colonel-General Liu Zhenli appointed to this post in March 2023," the ministry said in a statement.

Russia-China coordinated efforts contribute to stable global situation

Coordinated efforts by Russia and China on the international scene have a stabilizing effect on the global situation, Gerasimov said during the video call.

"Coordinated efforts by Russia and the People’s Republic of China on the international scene have a stabilizing effect on the world situation," he said.

Joint Russia-China military exercises can serve as an example of this, Gerasimov pointed out.

These drills held both on a bilateral basis and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the ADMM-Plus mechanism of defense ministers of ASEAN and dialogue partners contribute to deepening positive contacts in the defense sphere, the chief of the Russian General Staff stressed.

Russia favors continuous joint combat training with China

The Russia-China joint operational and combat training practice should remain a priority area, Gerasimov said.

"The practice of joint operational and combat training measures carried out by the Armed Forces of Russia and China should remain a key area of further activity. I am confident that today’s talks will help further bolster the Russia-China strategic defense partnership. I would like to use this opportunity to invite you to visit Russia at any time convenient for you," he said.

Russia, China to keep expanding defense cooperation

The appointment of Colonel-General Liu Zhenli as the Chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Republic’s Central Military Commission will contribute to expanding Russia-China military cooperation, Gerasimov said.

"I am convinced that your vast experience will contribute to both developing the Chinese Armed Forces and expanding military cooperation between our countries," he said.

The chief of the Russian General Staff also congratulated his Chinese counterpart on his appointment in March this year and wished him "success in this responsible post in the cause of defending homeland, strengthening its defense capability and further modernizing the People’s Liberation Army of China."

Moscow appreciates Chinese defense minister’s first foreign visit to Russia

The Russian side highly appreciates that Chinese Defense Minister Colonel-General Li Shangfu chose Russia for his first foreign visit, Gerasimov said.

"The visit by Defense Minister of the People’s Republic of China Colonel-General Li Shangfu to Moscow in April played an important role in developing Russia-China interaction in the defense sphere. We highly appreciate that Colonel-General Li Shangfu chose Russia as the first country for his foreign trip after his appointment, as Chinese President Xi Jinping did when he came on a state visit to our country in March," Gerasimov said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping confirmed the highest level of Russia-China comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction. Amid global developments, the decisions made shape long-term national development and security goals sealed in the joint statement, including the issues of deepening military cooperation, the chief of the Russian General Staff said.

Ukrainian Troops Had no Success Due to Courage of Russian Servicemen — Putin

The Russian leader noted that the fighting has been very intense in the past two days

© Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

SOCHI, June 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukrainian forces achieved no success with their operations at the frontline due to the courage of Russian servicemen, the quality of Russian weapons and proper command organization.

"The enemy had no success in any area. It is all due to the courage and heroism of our soldiers, the proper organization and management of troops and the great efficiency of Russian weapons, especially advanced weapons," Putin told reporters.

He said the fighting has been very intense in the past two days.

Ukrainian Troops Shelling Rescuers Saving People in Kherson Region

On the morning of June 6, the Ukrainian military launched a missile attack on the Kakhovka HPP, which resulted in the destruction of gate sluice valves at the HPP’s dam, triggering an uncontrolled discharge of water

GENICHESK, June 9. /TASS/. Ukrainian troops conduct mortar fire at rescuers who are evacuated people from flooded areas in the Kherson Region, Andrey Alexeyenko, head of the regional government, said on Friday.

"Today, the Nazi are conducted targeted mortar fire at boats of rescuers who are saving people from roofs and at dry areas where these people are taken by these boats to. Only by miracle, no one was wounded," he wrote on his Telegram channel.

On the morning of June 6, the Ukrainian military launched a missile attack on the Kakhovka HPP, which resulted in the destruction of gate sluice valves at the HPP’s dam, triggering an uncontrolled discharge of water. According to emergency services, there are 35 communities in the flood zone, and residents of nearby villages are being evacuated. Eight people are reported to have died and more than 60 taken to the hospital.

The destruction of the hydro power plant has caused serious environmental damage with farmlands along the Dnieper River being washed away. Additionally, there is a risk that the North Crimean Canal may run low and become too shallow. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the strike on the Kakhovka dam as an act of deliberate sabotage by Ukrainian forces, adding that the Kiev regime should bear full responsibility for its consequences.

Russia’s Overnight Precision Strikes Disrupt Ukrainian Army’s Supplies — Top Brass

Russian forces repulsed four Ukrainian attacks near the settlement of Vremevka in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) over the past day, Igor Konashenkov reported

© Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Russian forces delivered strikes by seaborne and airborne precision weapons against Ukrainian depots storing foreign-made ammunition, armaments and equipment, including drones, disrupting the enemy’s supplies in the combat area, Defense Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov reported on Friday.

"Last night, Russian forces delivered multiple strikes by seaborne and airborne long-range precision weapons against depots storing foreign-made ammunition, armaments and military equipment, including unmanned aerial vehicles. All the designated targets were hit. The strikes disrupted the supplies of Ukrainian troops in the areas of combat operations," the spokesman said.

Russian forces neutralize two Ukrainian subversive groups in Kupyansk area

Russian forces neutralized two Ukrainian subversive groups and destroyed over 30 enemy troops in the Kupyansk area in the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"In the Kupyansk direction, operational/tactical and army aviation and artillery of the western battlegroup struck the Ukrainian army units in areas near the settlements of Novomlynsk, Molchanovo and Berestovoye in the Kharkov Region and Rozovka in the Lugansk People’s Republic. In areas near the settlements of Olshana in the Kharkov Region and Novosyolovskoye in the Lugansk People’s Republic, the activity of two Ukrainian subversive and reconnaissance groups was thwarted," the spokesman said.

Over 30 Ukrainian personnel, three motor vehicles, an Uragan multiple rocket launcher and two D-30 howitzers were destroyed in that direction in the past 24 hours, the general reported.

Russian forces eliminate over 50 Ukrainian troops in Krasny Liman area

Russian combat aircraft, artillery and heavy flamethrowers destroyed over 50 Ukrainian troops and neutralized an enemy subversive group in the Krasny Liman area over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"In the Krasny Liman direction, aircraft, artillery and heavy flamethrower systems from the battlegroup Center inflicted damage on the enemy units in areas near the settlements of Nevskoye in the Lugansk People’s Republic, Yampolovka and Grigorovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Near the settlement of Chervonaya Dibrova in the Lugansk People’s Republic, the activity of a Ukrainian subversive and reconnaissance group was thwarted," the spokesman said.

In all, Russian forces destroyed over 50 Ukrainian personnel, an infantry fighting vehicle, two motor vehicles, two Gvozdika motorized artillery systems in that direction in the past 24 hours, and also a D-20 howitzer of the enemy’s mechanized brigade in the Donetsk People’s Republic, the general reported.

In addition, Russian forces destroyed a US-made AN/TPQ-37 counter-battery radar near Serebryanka in the Donetsk People’s Republic, he said.

Russian forces destroy over 400 Ukrainian troops in Donetsk battles

Russian forces destroyed over 400 Ukrainian troops in battles in the Donetsk area over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"As many as 410 Ukrainian personnel, four tanks, eight infantry fighting vehicles, seven motor vehicles, a US-made M777 artillery system and a Msta-B howitzer were destroyed in the battles in the past 24 hours," the spokesman said.

Near the settlement of Krasnogorovka, an ammunition depot of the Ukrainian army’s 79th air assault brigade was obliterated, the general reported.

Russian forces repulse six Ukrainian army attacks in Donetsk area in past day

Russian forces repulsed six Ukrainian attacks in the Donetsk area and prevented the enemy from breaking into their defenses over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"In the Donetsk direction, the tensest battles took place in areas near the settlements of Maryinka and Avdeyevka in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The southern battlegroup successfully repulsed six attacks by units of the Ukrainian army’s 110th mechanized, 59th motorized infantry and 79th air assault brigades in the direction of the communities of Khimik, Krasnogorovka, Pervomaiskoye and the northern outskirts of Maryinka in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The enemy was stopped from breaking into our defenses," the spokesman said.

Russian forces repulse four Ukrainian attacks near Vremevka in DPR

Russian forces repulsed four Ukrainian attacks near the settlement of Vremevka in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"During the last 24-hour period, Ukrainian armed formations continued offensive operations in the southern Donetsk and Zaporozhye directions. In the area of the Vremevka protrusion, units of the battlegroup East repulsed four enemy attacks carried out by two battalion tactical groups reinforced by tanks in areas near the settlements of Levadnoye in the Zaporozhye Region, Novosyolka, Storozhevoye and Neskuchnoye in the Donetsk People’s Republic," the spokesman said.

In the Zaporozhye direction, two Ukrainian attacks were repelled in the past 24 hours near the settlements of Novodanilovka and Malaya Tokmachka in the Zaporozhye Region as a result of decisive and professional actions by Russian troop units, air strikes and artillery fire, the general reported.

Russian forces destroy 680 Ukrainian troops in southern Donetsk, Zaporozhye areas

Russian forces destroyed roughly 680 Ukrainian troops and 35 tanks in the southern Donetsk and Zaporozhye areas over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"The Ukrainian army’s total losses in those directions in the past 24 hours amounted to 680 Ukrainian personnel, 35 tanks, 11 infantry fighting vehicles, 19 armored combat vehicles, six motor vehicles, including three HMMWV vehicles, and a French-made Caesar self-propelled artillery gun," the spokesman said.

Russian heavy flamethrower systems inflicted damage on two manpower and military hardware amassments of the Ukrainian army’s 47th mechanized brigade south of the town of Orekhov in the Zaporozhye Region. Operational/tactical aircraft of Russia’s battlegroup East struck the enemy reserves in areas near the settlements of Gulyaipole, Omelnik and Preobrazhenka in the Zaporozhye Region, the general reported.

Russian forces wipe out Ukrainian army’s signal center in Zaporozhye area

Russian forces destroyed two Ukrainian command posts in the Donetsk People’s Republic and a signal center in the Zaporozhye area over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"In the area of the settlement of Gulyaipole in the Zaporozhye Region, a signal center of the 102nd territorial defense brigade was destroyed," the spokesman said.

Also, "in the area of the town of Dzerzhinsk in the Donetsk People’s Republic, two command/observation posts of units from the Ukrainian army’s 24th mechanized brigade were eliminated," the general reported.

During the last 24-hour period, combat aircraft, missile troops and artillery of the Russian groupings of forces struck 97 Ukrainian artillery units at firing positions, manpower and military equipment in 126 areas, he said.

Russian forces destroy 70 Ukrainian troops in Kherson area over past day

Russian forces destroyed roughly 70 Ukrainian troops in the Kherson area over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"In the Kherson direction, as many as 70 Ukrainian personnel, 10 armored combat vehicles, seven motor vehicles, a Grad multiple rocket launcher, an Akatsiya self-propelled artillery gun and a D-30 howitzer were destroyed in the past 24 hours as a result of damage inflicted by firepower," the spokesman said.

Russian combat aircraft down Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter in Zaporozhye area

Russian combat aircraft shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter in the Zaporozhye Region and air defenses downed an enemy Su-25 ground attack plane in the Kherson Region over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"Fighter aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 plane in an air combat near the settlement of Novoye Zaporozhye in the Zaporozhye Region. Air defense capabilities downed a Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 plane near the settlement of Babino in the Kherson Region," the spokesman said.

Russian air defenses intercept two Storm Shadow missiles, 14 HIMARS rockets

Russian air defense forces intercepted two Storm Shadow missiles and 14 rockets of the US-made HIMARS multiple launch rocket system over the past day, Konashenkov reported.

"During the last 24-hour period, two Storm Shadow cruise missiles and 14 rockets of the HIMARS multiple launch rocket system were intercepted," the spokesman said.

In addition, Russian air defense systems destroyed 13 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in areas near the settlements of Ogurtsovo and Olshana in the Kharkov Region, Zhitlovka in the Lugansk People’s Republic, Volodino and Krasnogorovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic, Sladkaya Balka in the Zaporozhye Region, Bratolyubovka, Peschanoye and Vasilyevka in the Kherson Region, the general reported.

In all, the Russian Armed Forces have destroyed 440 Ukrainian combat aircraft, 238 helicopters, 4,555 unmanned aerial vehicles, 424 surface-to-air missile systems, 9,798 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,122 multiple rocket launchers, 5,062 field artillery guns and mortars and 10,838 special military motor vehicles since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, Konashenkov reported.

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Opposition Coalition Wins Majority in Guinea-Bissau Parliament


BISSAU, Guinea Bissau (AP) — A coalition of opposition groups won a majority of seats in Guinea Bissau’s parliament, beating the ruling party in the country’s first legislative elections since the president dissolved the National People’s Assembly more than a year ago, according to results announced Thursday.

The results from the weekend vote were announced by the national electoral committee, which said the five-party Terra Ranka coalition won 54 of parliament’s 102 seats. The ruling party, MADEM G-15, placed second with 29 seats.

In the previous parliament, the main opposition party, The African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), held the majority. It is now part of the coalition along with main opposition party PAIGC.

Guinea-Bissau is a small nation that gained independence from Portugal nearly five decades ago. The country has endured continued political turmoil, including multiple coups, since then.

President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, a former army general, took office in February 2020 after he was declared the winner of a runoff election. He survived a coup attempt two years later when assailants armed with machine guns and AK-47s attacked the government palace.

Embalo has consolidated his grip on power since his controversial inauguration. He’s cracked down on civic freedoms, while government bodies have lost significant independence, according to analysts. He dissolved parliament in May 2022 and postponed the legislative elections originally scheduled for the following December.

While there were concerns of unrest if MADEM G-15 did not secure a majority in Sunday’s election, the capital appeared calm as people celebrating on the streets Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference after the results were announced, the ruling party’s president, Braima Camara, said he called the opposition to offer congratulations. “The people elected me to be in opposition and we are going to be in opposition to do our job,” Camara said.

The head of Terra Ranka, Domingos Simoes Pereira, said the win meant the coalition parties now had a huge responsibility on their shoulders.

The results could be good for democracy and might provide some stability, according to analysts.

“This significantly strengthens the hand of the opposition coalition and leaves the ruling party weakened,” said Lucia Bird Ruiz Benitez de Lugo, director of the West Africa Observatory at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

The big question now is who will be appointed prime minister and how it will impact the government going forward, she said.

ECOWAS Commission Provided Financial Support For The Conduct Of Legislative Elections In Guinea-Bissau


June 8, 2023

Elections In Guinea Bissau

The ECOWAS Commission has provided financial support for the successful conduct of the just-concluded legislative elections in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. This was disclosed by the Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission and former President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, His Excellency Jorge Carlos Fonseca, at the post-election briefing held in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

He noted that ECOWAS Commission spent about $712,000 to ensure the success of the Sunday, 4th June 2023 legislative elections into Guinea-Bissau’s 120 National People’s Assembly. The head of the mission also said $500,000 of the amount was provided as support for the National Electoral Commission (CNE), with another $92,000 provided to the ECOWAS stabilization force deployed to the country to enable it to secure the electoral process.

According to the former Cabo Verde President, another $120,000 was also provided by the Commission to offset the outstanding obligations to party agents to prevent them from carrying out a threat to boycott the election over the arrears owed them. He commended the 893,618 voters, comprising 434,009 men and 459,609 women, for their massive turnout and comportment, which contributed to the peaceful and successful conduct of the election and characterized by substantial compliance with the country’s electoral laws.

After IMF Deal, Ghana Faces High-stakes Debt Talks

By Ronald Lwere Kato

Ghana has had to run to the IMF 17 times since independence - that’s roughly once every four years on average.

This time though, securing a bailout package from the multilateral lender was the easier part.

There's still a ton of work for Ghana's leaders to do to convince creditors to provide over $22 billion in debt relief- not least because a significant portion of Accra's external debt is held by private lenders who want all their money back.

76% of Ghana's external debt is held by commercial lenders including bondholders. Multilateral development banks also hold a significant portion of Ghana's debt, followed by the Paris Club and China.

Ghana is also in default which makes reaching an agreement on debt relief even harder, with bondholders especially hesitant to give any concessions, not to mention the geopoliticization of debt.

Professor Theophilus Acheampong is an economist and a visiting Senior Fellow at the Africa Policy Research Institute.

He joins the show with insights on the complex debt restructuring negotiations between Accra and its creditors.

Zimbabwe dollarization

Since 2009, Zimbabwe has adopted a range of currencies including the US dollar in a bid to tackle inflation and economic collapse. In 2019, Harare reverted to a local currency (RTGS) which is now being haunted by inflation and high interest rates.

Manufacturers, retailers and suppliers all prefer to settle in the US dollar with only a small fraction of transactions being completed in the local currency.

Africa's top CEOs back AfCFTA

The African Continental Free Trade Area was conceived as a mechanism to increase intra-African trade.

But to fully unlock the bloc's potential, key business leaders, investors and policy makers meeting in Abidjan say local manufacturing has to tick up dramatically.

Agro-processing has been identified as one of the most viable sectors.

Ethiopia Thwarts Shebab Attack on its Somalian Border

Africa News with AFP

The Ethiopian army on Wednesday "thwarted" an attack by Somali Islamist Shebab fighters against a border town between the two countries, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said.

"Ethiopia today successfully thwarted an attempted attack by the terrorist group al-Shabaab against the locality of Dolo, on the Ethiopia-Somalia border", briefly indicates the ministry on Twitter.

The Ethiopian federal army "neutralized suicide bombers and destroyed weapons used by the shebab", continues the ministry without giving an assessment, ensuring that "the attackers were stopped dead before they could do great damage".

The Ethiopian government does not specify which target was targeted or on which side of the border the attackers were neutralized. Dolo in Ethiopia is separated by less than three kilometers from its Somali twin Doolow.

The Shebab Islamists, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and who have been fighting the Somali federal government since 2007, for their part affirmed in a press release that they had "carried out two suicide operations against a military base of the Ethiopian forces in the locality of Doolow, in the region of Gedo", on the Somali side of the border.

"The two operations caused a heavy toll in dead and wounded," says the group, which is used to exaggerating the tolls of its attacks. The Shebab had attacked in the summer of 2022 several Ethiopian military camps on the border between the two countries.

The authorities of the Ethiopian region of Somalia, bordering Somalia, had indicated in mid-July that they had destroyed a group of around a hundred shebabs who had managed to infiltrate Ethiopian territory, around a hundred kilometers as the crow flies from the Somali border.

The Ethiopian army provides a contingent to the African Union force in Somalia (Atmis) which supports the Somali government against Shebab.

Driven out for ten years from the main urban centers, the Shebab remain established in vast rural areas, from where they continue to carry out attacks against government and civilian targets.

Equatorial Guinea: WHO Declares End to Marburg Virus Outbreak

WHO declares end to Marburg virus outbreak

By Africa News

The UN's health agency on Thursday declared an end to a nearly four-month outbreak of Marburg virus in Equatorial Guinea, saying the disease, a cousin of Ebola, had caused 35 confirmed or suspected deaths.

"The outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease in Equatorial Guinea ended today with no new cases reported over the past 42 days after the last patient was discharged from treatment," the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.

The highly virulent microbe causes severe fever, often accompanied by bleeding and organ failure.

It is part of the so-called filovirus family that includes Ebola haemorrhagic fever, which has caused several deadly epidemics in western and central Africa.

The outbreak, declared on February 13, was the first of its kind in Equatorial Guinea, a small coastal state in central-western Africa.

"A total of 17 laboratory-confirmed cases and 12 deaths were recorded. All the 23 probable cases reported died," the WHO said.

"Four patients recovered from the virus and have been enrolled in a survivors programme to receive psychosocial and other post-recovery support," it added.

The statement paid tribute to local health workers and support by partner organizations for the "hard work" in tackling the outbreak, much of which entails tracing and isolating people in contact with patients.

- Tanzania outbreak -

The outbreak in Equatorial Guinea coincided with that on the other side of the continent, in Tanzania. Six people died in a two-month episode, which was formally declared over on June 2.

The first outbreak of Marburg in Africa was recorded in South Africa in 1975.

Outbreaks or sporadic cases have been also reported in Kenya, Angola, Ghana, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, as well as Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania this year.

The suspected natural source of the virus is the African fruit bat, which carries the pathogen but does not fall sick from it.

Fatality rates in confirmed cases have ranged from 24 percent to 88 percent in previous outbreaks, depending on the virus strain and case management, according to WHO.

There are currently no vaccines or antiviral treatments, but potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies, as well as early candidate vaccines, are being evaluated.

The virus takes its name from the German city of Marburg, where it was first identified in 1967, in a lab where workers had been in contact with infected green monkeys imported from Uganda.

Senegal Unrest Prompts Charges and Counter Charges

Africa News with AFP

In Senegal, videos and testimonies are multiplying: men in civilian clothes got out of pick-ups, armed, and chased demonstrators during the unrest following the conviction of opponent Ousmane Sonko.

On Saturday, a white pick-up truck entered the Guinaw Rails Nord district, in the suburbs of Dakar, with "a dozen armed people" in street clothes on board, said Ndery Niang, a sheep seller who attended. at the scene. "They had a list of young people they said were part of the protesters and they went after them".

At least three young people from the neighbourhood had been killed the day before. The video showing Bassilou Sarr , 31, killed by a bullet in the head according to several witnesses, was broadcast in the area.

Another witness who withheld his name, because he fears for his safety, confirms Ndery Niang's account. "I hate and I'm afraid", he admits, "we know that there are moles" .

part of mystery

The violence that rocked Senegal from June 1 to 3 holds an element of mystery, starting with the circumstances in which 16 people were killed and by whom. Power and opposition point the finger at the camp opposite. In any case, various witnesses met by AFP report the presence in the clashes of unidentifiable men carrying weapons.

A young man questioned at the hospital where he was admitted after being injured in Pikine, one of the centers of the eruption, also in the Dakar suburbs, said he found himself in the middle of the clashes while he was traveling in cart.

"I saw a young man on the ground, injured. I stopped and that's where I saw a dozen men in civilian clothes chasing the demonstrators," he said. "They carried guns or bladed weapons" .

Political Showdown

He was shot behind the thigh. The shooter was identified by others as a wrestler, he said. Followers of traditional wrestling have already been called into question in the past for playing henchmen in contexts of political confrontation.

The violence erupted after Mr. Sonko was sentenced to two years in prison in a sex scandal. He is currently ineligible for the 2024 presidential election.

The pro-Sonko accuse the presidential camp of having paid "thugs" traveling in pick-ups to lend a hand to the police and gendarmes and subdue the protesters. Police and gendarmes have themselves been accused of brutality by rights defenders. Unconfirmed footage has circulated showing police using civilians as human shields to protect themselves from projectiles.

The battle of images rages on

The government and police have shown footage of armed men they claim are protesters. The government blames "occult forces" , "foreigners" who want to destabilize the country, without further details.

Interviewed by AFP, Maham Ka, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that some police officers work in civilian clothes but added that he could not say more for security reasons. "I don't know these people in the pick-ups. I can't confirm that they work with the police ," he said.

In the past, politicians have recruited thugs for their protection, observes political analyst Ibrahima Bakhoum. "The Senegalese political landscape has always been violent but this violence has never reached the current level. We now see real gangs recruited in the neighborhoods by people who have the means", he declares.

More than a dozen white pick-ups were parked in Dakar on Saturday in front of the headquarters of the presidential party, the Alliance for the Republic.

Prevent breakers

Dozens of young people came to blows in the building to receive money. Two of them told AFP they were paid to prevent protesters from breaking up, but said they were unarmed.

Amnesty International is seeking to authenticate the multiple videos featuring armed individuals in civilian clothes, says Samira Daoud, the NGO's regional director. They "often act alongside or under the eyes of the security forces" , she says. They circulate in the same vehicle models as those observed in front of the APR, she notes.

She calls for investigations because "the chain of responsibility must be clearly established".

The government said it had opened investigations into the events. He had announced investigations after the bout of fever in March 2021, already around the person of Mr. Sonko. There had been at least 12 deaths. Rights advocates say they are still waiting for the results.

Trump Indicted on Seven Federal Charges Related to Classified Documents

Here are the other investigations Trump has to worry about

Read the warrant that allowed the FBI to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate

Donald Trump says he’s been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents

FILE - President Donald Trump sits at his desk after a meeting with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, left, and members of his staff in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 8, 2017, as a lockbag is visible on the desk, the key still inside at left. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

MIAMI (AP) — Follow along for live updates on former President Donald Trump, who announced Thursday on social media that he’s been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate. The Justice Department did not immediately publicly confirm the indictment.

DeSantis says his rival is victim of political ‘weaponization’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is condemning the indictment of Donald Trump, his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, as a political hatchet job.

“The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation,” DeSantis tweeted.

“Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?” he adds.

DeSantis also promised to end what he called political bias and to “bring accountability” to the Department of Justice if elected.

Other high-ranking Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have used similar language in their responses to the indictment, which they are portraying as political persecution.

McCarthy says indictment ‘unconscionable’

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted that “it is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him.”

The Republican added, “I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice.”

McCarthy said the House GOP “will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, meanwhile, said the indictment was a “sham” and “the continuation of the endless political persecution of Donald Trump.”

“Let’s be clear about what’s happening: Joe Biden is weaponizing his Department of Justice against his own political rival,” Scalise tweeted.

Federal agents headed to Miami

The Justice Department and Homeland Security are sending additional federal agents to Miami ahead of Trump’s expected court appearance in the coming days, a person familiar with the matter told the AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the sensitive security plans.

Trump said he is due in court Tuesday afternoon there.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington were quiet late Thursday, with few people in the hallways and no public sign of Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Trump allies denounce indictment

Supporters of former President Donald Trump reacted with anger Thursday to the news of the federal indictment and criticized the Biden administration. The White House declined to comment and referred questions to the Department of Justice.

“The Biden Regime, which is realizing they can’t beat or cheat their way to another victory, has taken the unprecedented step to indict President Trump,” said Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for Make America Great Again Inc., a super PAC backing Trump’s bid for a return to the White House.

A White House official said it had no foreknowledge of the indictment and learned of it from news reports.

In an interview Thursday night on Fox News, Sen. Tim Scott said he felt the justice system’s “scales are weighted” based on politics.

“In America, every single person is presumed innocent, not guilty,” Scott said, decrying “the weaponization of the Department of Justice against the former president.”

Scott said he had not spoken to Trump and would “continue to pray for our nation and continue to pray that justice prevails.”

AP sources confirm indictment

Two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to discuss it publicly said Trump’s team had been informed that he’s been indicted on seven counts and that prosecutors had contacted lawyers to advise them of the indictment shortly before Trump announced it himself on his Truth Social platform.

“This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America,” Trump posted. “We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!”

Within 20 minutes of his announcement, Trump, who said he was due in court Tuesday afternoon in Miami, had begun fundraising off it for his 2024 presidential campaign.

Prosecutors have said that Trump took roughly 300 classified documents to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House, including some 100 that were seized by the FBI last August in a search of the home that underscored the gravity of the Justice Department’s investigation.

— Jill Colvin and Michael Sisak

Suicide Bomb Hits Memorial Service for Taliban Official in Northeast Afghanistan, Killing 13 People


This is a locator map for Afghanistan with its capital, Kabul. (AP Photo)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A suicide bomber targeted a memorial service in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan province on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, officials said.

A former Taliban police official was among those killed and at least 30 people were wounded in the explosion near Nabawi Mosque, according to Abdul Nafi Takor, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the interior ministry. He added that the casualty numbers could rise further as more information becomes available.

The Badakhshan provincial governor’s office later said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and that “several of the seriously wounded were transferred by military helicopters to Kabul for further treatment.”

The memorial service was held for Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi, the deputy governor of Badakhshan who was killed in a car bombing on Tuesday in Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan,. That attack also killed the deputy governor’s driver and wounded 10 other people.

Moazuddin Ahmadi, the Taliban official in charge of information and culture, said that Safiullah Samim a former Taliban police chief in Baghlan was among those killed in Thursday’s attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Islamic State group — a top rival of the Taliban — had claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s car bombing.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, saying in a tweet that the bombing of mosques is an act of “terrorism” and goes “against human and Islamic standards”

On Wednesday, several senior Taliban officials attended Ahmadi’s funeral, along with hundreds of residents of Faizabad.

The Taliban chief of the military, Fasihuddin Fitrat, denounced the IS attacks in Badakhshan and asked people to cooperate with Taliban security forces and report suspicious activities in their areas.

In December, a car bombing killed Badakhshan’s provincial police chief as he was on his way to work. The IS regional affiliate — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province — said at the time that it had carried out that attack. IS said it had parked an explosive-laden car on the road and detonated it when the police chief was close by.

NYC Prosecutor Drops Over 300 Convictions Tied to Officers Found Guilty of Crimes


June 6, 2023

FILE - Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks to reporters during a news conference at police headquarters, April 18, 2023, in New York. Manhattan's top prosecutor on Tuesday, June 6, disavowed over 300 convictions tied to New York City police officers who were themselves found guilty of crimes, the latest in over 1,000 such dismissals citywide in little over two years. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan’s top prosecutor on Tuesday disavowed over 300 convictions tied to police officers who were themselves found guilty of crimes, the latest in over 1,000 dismissals citywide of cases connected to officers who were charged or convicted.

The latest abandoned convictions, almost all misdemeanors, date back as far as 1996. Each involves one of nine officers who were later convicted of on-the-job offenses — among them taking bribes, illegally selling guns, lying under oath and planting drugs on suspects — and are no longer on the force.

The cases put more than 50 people behind bars and imposed fines on 130, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

“We cannot stand by convictions that are built on cases brought by members of law enforcement who have violated the law,” Bragg, a Democrat, said in a statement after 308 misdemeanor cases were thrown out Tuesday. A similar proceeding was planned for eight felony cases Wednesday.

Since the start of 2021, Bragg and at least three of New York City’s four other district attorneys — in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens — have arranged the dismissal of a total of more than 1,200 cases connected to officers who had been convicted or charged, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press.

The dismissals began with drug convictions built by a former narcotics detective, Joseph Franco, who was charged with perjury — until the case against him was thrown out, mid-trial, this January. The case collapsed when Bragg’s office acknowledged failing to turn over evidence as required to his defense.

By then, prosecutors in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx had gotten hundreds of Franco-related convictions thrown out, and several public defense and exoneration-advocacy groups had written a letter urging the city’s DAs to do likewise with cases involving 22 other officers.

Twenty had been convicted of crimes and two others engaged in serious misconduct relating to their duties, according to the legal groups. Their list included the nine officers linked to the cases that Bragg is getting tossed out this week.

One of the letter-writers, Elizabeth Felber, of the Legal Aid Society, applauded the dismissals and urged Bragg and his fellow DAs to keep going.

“The same lens used on our clients charged with criminal conduct must be applied to those in law enforcement,” she said in a statement.

A Third Day of Smoky Air Gives Millions in US East Coast, Canada a New View of Wildfire Threat


NEW YORK (AP) — Images of smoke obscuring the New York skyline and the Washington Monument this week have given the world a new picture of the perils of wildfire, far from where blazes regularly turn skies into hazardous haze.

A third day of unhealthy air from Canadian wildfires may have been an unnerving novelty for millions of people on the U.S. East Coast, but it was a reminder of conditions routinely troubling the country’s West — and a wake-up call about the future, scientists say.

“This is kind of an astounding event” but likely to become more common amid global warming, said Justin Mankin, a Dartmouth College geography professor and climate scientist. “This is something that we, as the eastern side of the country, need to take quite seriously.”

Millions of residents could see that for themselves Thursday. The conditions sent asthma sufferers to hospitals, delayed flights, postponed ballgames and even pushed back a White House Pride Month celebration. The fires sent plumes of fine particulate matter as far away as North Carolina and northern Europe and parked clumps of air rated unhealthy or worse over the heavily populated Eastern Seaboard.

At points this week, air quality in places including New York, the nation’s most populous city, nearly hit the top of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air-pollution scale. Local officials urged people to stay indoors as much as possible and wear face masks when they venture out.

Such conditions are nothing new — indeed, increasingly frequent — on the U.S. West Coast, where residents were buying masks and air filters even before the coronavirus pandemic and have become accustomed to checking air quality daily in summertime. Since 2017, California has seen eight of its 10 largest wildfires and six of the most destructive.

The hazardous air has sometimes forced children, older adults and people with asthma and other respiratory conditions to stay indoors for weeks at a time. Officials have opened smoke shelters for people who are homeless or who might not have access to clean indoor air.

So what’s the big deal about the smoke out East?

“The West has always burned, as has Canada, but what’s important now is that we’re getting these massive amounts of smoke in a very populated region, so many, many people are getting affected,” said Loretta Mickley, the co-leader of Harvard University’s Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group.

Fueled by an unusually dry and warm period in spring, the Canadian fire season that is just getting started could well become the worst on record. More than 400 blazes burned Thursday. Over a third are in Quebec, where Public Safety Minister François Bonnardel said no rain is expected until next week and temperatures are predicted to rise.

He said there have been no reports of injuries, deaths or home damage so far from the fires, but it remained unclear Thursday when more than 12,000 evacuees from various communities would be able to return. Manon Cyr, mayor of the evacuated town of Chibougamau, said she advised residents to be “Zen and patient. That’s the most important.”

But, she noted, the real solution will be a good dose of rain.

In neighboring Ontario, a haze hung over Toronto, Canada’s most populous city, where many school recess breaks, day care center activities and outdoor recreation programs were canceled or moved inside.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that hundreds of American firefighters and support personnel have been in Canada since May, and that he’d offered Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “any additional help Canada needs to rapidly accelerate the effort to put out these fires.” The two spoke Wednesday.

Wildfires aren’t the only air-quality problems that beset major population centers around the globe.

In Beijing, for example, decades of sandstorms blowing in from the Mongolian plains have mixed with human-made pollution, sometimes making neighboring buildings invisible to one another. Commuters have even been spotted walking down streets wearing plastic bags over their heads to insulate against particulates.

Many African countries in and near the Sahara Desert, too, regularly grapple with bad air mainly because of sandstorms. Senegal, in particular, has endured years of unsafe levels of air pollution, which is causing asthma and other respiratory diseases, climate experts say.

Chemically, wildfire smoke can be more toxic than typical urban pollution, but with an asterisk: With smog, “the problem is you’re in it all the time,” says Jonathan Deason, an environmental and energy management professor George Washington University.

In New York City, Health Department spokesperson Pedro Frisneda said emergency rooms were seeing a “higher than usual” number of asthma-related visits from the blanket of smoke, estimating patients were in the “low hundreds.”

The city public school system — the nation’s largest — said Friday’s classes would be conducted remotely, a decision that mostly affected high schoolers because most other pupils already had a scheduled day off. Motorists even got a break Thursday and Friday from having to move their cars for street cleaning.

In Washington, a big Pride Month celebration on the White House’s South Lawn was moved from Thursday to Saturday, and a Washington Nationals-Arizona Diamondbacks game was postponed. Local officials closed public parks and suspended some road work.

Philadelphia ended trash collection ended early, for the sake of sanitation employees. Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, opened spaces usually used as hot-weather cooling centers so that residents could escape the unhealthy air.

A Chris Stapleton concert at a Syracuse amphitheater was pushed back, fireworks were canceled at Niagara Falls and racing was canceled at New York’s Belmont Park two days before the famed Belmont Stakes. It wasn’t yet clear whether the Triple Crown race itself might be affected; Gov. Kathy Hochul said that would depend on the air quality at the track Saturday.

And in central Pennsylvania, Country Meadows Retirement Communities temporarily closed walking areas and outdoor courtyards designated for residents in secured memory support units — “they may or may not recognize when they experience respiratory distress,” explained company spokesperson Kelly Kuntz. All 2,300 residents of its 10 facilities were asked to cancel outdoor trips and strenuous outdoor activities.

“Bocce is huge,” Kuntz said. “No bocce ball until this is done.”

Gillies reported from Toronto. Associated Press journalists Michael Hill in Albany, New York; Ashraf Khalil and Seung Min Kim in Washington; Gene Johnson in Seattle; Sam Mednick in Dakar, Senegal; Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco; Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Ted Anthony in New York; and Shelley Adler in Fairfax, Virginia, contributed to this report. 

Moscow Grateful to African Nations for Not Joining Anti-Russian Campaign — Lavrov

The top diplomat said that as Russia and Africa are strengthening their positions "as centers of a multipolar world, additional opportunities are opening up for the development of our ties

MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Moscow is grateful to its African partners for refusing to join the anti-Russian campaign, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a reception at the Foreign Ministry on the occasion of Africa Day on Wednesday.

"I would like to express my gratitude to our African partners who have not let themselves be dragged into the anti-Russian campaign and who have taken a balanced position on the European security crisis," Lavrov said.

The top diplomat said that as Russia and Africa are strengthening their positions "as centers of a multipolar world, additional opportunities are opening up for the development of our ties." "As true friends, we are building cooperation on the basis of equality, respect for international law and non-interference in internal affairs," he stressed. "Russia provides honest assistance to the countries of the continent in strengthening their sovereignty, ensuring security and economic growth," he went on to say.

"This is where we fundamentally differ from the collective West, which has failed to shed its superiority complex and seeks to perpetuate neocolonial practices," Lavrov added.

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

'Were You Aware?': Russia Wants US to Answer About How its Weapons Are Used in Ukraine

On Tuesday night, Ukrainian forces delivered a strike on the Kakhovka hydropower plant, presumably from an Olkha MLRS

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova  Russian foreign Ministry press service/TASS

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Russian foreign Ministry press service/TASS

MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The US authorities must give a concrete answer as to whether or not they know how American weapons are being used on the territory of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing in comments on the attack on the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant.

Against the backdrop of the recent attack on the Kakhovka HPP, she pointed to a statement made last December by Ukrainian General Andrey Kovalchuk in an interview with The Washington Post, in which he said that the Ukrainian army had already conducted a test strike from a US HIMARS system on one of the dam's gates to punch it and see how high the water level of the Dnieper River rises.

"Now, the question for [White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John] Kirby, [White House Press Secretary] Karin Jean-Pierre, all the people who are in charge of communications at the White House. <...> Were you aware of how American weapons, the weapons that are being supplied to Ukraine, are used?" she asked.

"That trial tests of a terrorist attack against civilian infrastructure in third countries are being made? These are the questions that we directly pose in the public space before the White House; you must answer them," she said, adding that the attack on the Kakhovka HPP "is certainly an act of terrorism."

On Tuesday night, Ukrainian forces delivered a strike on the Kakhovka hydropower plant, presumably from an Olkha multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). The shelling destroyed the hydraulic sluice valves at the HPP’s dam, triggering an uncontrolled discharge of water. In Novaya Kakhovka, the water level exceeded 12 meters at one point, but is now receding. There are currently 15 population centers in the flood zone; residents of nearby towns and villages are being evacuated. The collapse of the hydro plant's dam has caused serious environmental damage. Farmlands along the Dnieper River have been washed away, and there is a risk that the North Crimean Canal will become shallow.