US newspapers call for the release of WSJ journalist

A coalition of US newspapers issued a statement calling for releasing the Wall Street Journal reporter Russia arrested for allegedly spying. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Politico said, “We are deeply troubled by Russia’s detention of Evan Gershkovich, a respected Wall Street Journal reporter whose coverage of Russia has been fair and accurate at a time when the world needs reliable information.”

Moscow dismisses Lukashenko’s call for truce

Russia dismissed Belarusian President Lukashenko’s call for a truce. It said that China’s proposal for peace was “unrealizable”. Earlier, in an hours-long contradictory address to the nation, the Belarusian leader said “a third world war” looms as he defended hosting Russian nuclear weapons, while also calling for a ceasefire.

King Charles honors German World War victims

Britain's King Charles III honored victims of the Second World War's Allied bombing raids in Germany on the final day of his state visit. The king laid a wreath at a ruined church in Hamburg, in the first such tribute by a British monarch. Moreover, he viewed a memorial to Jewish children who fled to Britain in the 1930s Kindertransport.

Türkiye Parliament ratifies Finland’s NATO membership

Türkiye has become the final NATO nation to ratify Finland's membership of the defence alliance in the wake of Russia's offensive in Ukraine. Lawmakers on Thursday unanimously backed the Nordic country's accession. The Turkish Parliament was the last among the 30 members of the alliance to ratify Finland's membership after Hungary's legislature approved a similar bill earlier this week.

Malaysia court rejects Najib Razak’s bid to review graft conviction

Malaysia's top court has rejected with finality ex-prime minister Najib Razak's bid to overturn his 12-year jail sentence for corruption, slamming the door on a political comeback. The former prime minister had asked the Federal Court to review a previous panel's decision to deny his final appeal against the conviction, linked to the plunder of state investment fund 1MDB.

Japan’s top diplomat to visit China in bid to mend ties

Japan's top diplomat Yoshimasa Hayashi will visit China this weekend, the first such visit in over three years, the foreign ministry in Tokyo has announced. The April 1-2 trip will include talks with Hayashi's Chinese counterpart Qin Gang, the ministry said on Friday, and will be the first time a Japanese foreign minister has visited since December 2019.

At least 35 die after well collapses in India

At least 35 people have been killed after falling into a well while offering prayers at a temple in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Fourteen others have been rescued and one person is still missing in the accident that took place in Indore city. Police said the victims were standing on a concrete slab over the well when it collapsed under their weight.  

Japan plans to restrict some chip equipment exports

Japan's government says it plans to put restrictions on some computer chip-making exports, following similar moves by the US and the Netherlands. The measures will apply to 23 types of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Semiconductors, which power everything from mobile phones to military hardware, are at the centre of a bitter dispute between the US and China.  

Pakistan, Kazakhstan to start direct flights in May

Ambassador of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Kistafin on Thursday said direct air flights between Kazakhstan and Pakistan would start in May 2023, which would strengthen the economic connectivity between the two countries. The direct flights between Lahore and Almaty would not only increase economic ties but also people-to-people contacts, he said during a meeting with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister for Commerce and Industries Adnan Jalil at his office.

Taiwan’s Tsai heads to Central America after US visit

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen began a visit to Guatemala and Belize to shore up ties with dwindling allies following a trip to the United States that angered China. Tsai's visit to the Central American neighbours on Friday comes after Honduras became the latest country to cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing.

Japan edges closer toward issuing digital yen

Japan is stepping up efforts toward issuing a digital yen with the creation of a government advisory panel and the launch of a pilot programme, joining a growing number of countries exploring a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The finance ministry will set up a panel of experts as early as April to discuss the feasibility of issuing a digital yen, Reuters reported on Friday.

Zelensky says Ukraine ‘will never forgive’ Russia

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his country would "never forgive" Russia for its occupation of Bucha, a town near the Ukrainian capital where Moscow's forces were accused of massacring civilians. "365 days since it is a free Ukrainian сity once again. A symbol of the atrocities of the occupying country's army. We will never forgive. We will punish every perpetrator," Zelenskyy said in a statement on social media as the country marked the first anniversary of the liberation of Bucha.

New York grand jury votes to indict Donald Trump

A New York grand jury has voted to indict former US president Donald Trump over hush money payments made to an adult movie actress, Stormy Daniels, ahead of the 2016 election. The felony indictment, reported widely by US media on Thursday and filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney's office, will likely be announced in the coming days.

Humza Yousaf’s debut at First Minister’s Questions marred by protesters

Climate activists disrupted Humza Yousaf’s First Minister’s Questions debut in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday. The Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament ordered the public gallery to be cleared following five interruptions by protesters. The interruptions came before the end of Douglas Ross's questioning of the new SNP leader, stunting proceedings.

UK-German bond ‘will grow even stronger’: King Charles

King Charles III paid tribute to the “enduring value” of the relationship between the UK and Germany as he pledged to “strengthen the connections” between the two countries. During his first state banquet speech, the king said that he was “utterly convinced” that the bond between Britain and one of the EU’s leading nations “will grow ever stronger".

Bolsonaro back in Brazil after three months in US

Brazil's far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro returned to Brazil where he was greeted by hundreds of supporters at the capital Brasilia’s airport. Supporters with Brazilian flags draped around their shoulders sang the national anthem and chanted “legend” as Bolsonaro arrived. Bolsonaro, 68, who never conceded defeat in last year’s election, is expected to lead the opposition to leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, officials in his Liberal party said.

US VP announces Tanzania trade initiatives on Africa tour

United States Vice President Kamala Harris announced plans to boost trade with and investment in Tanzania during a visit there on Thursday. The move was a part of the African tour aimed at strengthening ties with the continent where the influence of China and Russia was on rise. “Working together, it is our shared goal to increase economic investment in Tanzania and strengthen our economic ties,” Harris said, listing a number of initiatives.

Pope Francis’ health improving: Report

Pope Francis was “progressively improving” and had started to do some work from his bedside, the Vatican said on Thursday. The Pope was admitted to hospital with a respiratory infection. “His Holiness Pope Francis rested well during the night. His clinical picture is gradually improving and he is continuing his planned treatment,” a statement said.

Two US army helicopters crash in Kentucky

Two US Army Blackhawk helicopters crashed in Kentucky during a training mission Wednesday night, officials said. “The status of the crew members are unknown at this time,” army base Fort Campbell said in a statement early Thursday. The command is currently focused on caring for the service-members and their families.

Suspect in deadly Mexico migrant fire identified

Mexican prosecutors say they have identified eight suspects thought responsible for 38 deaths in a fire at a migrant detention centre. Monday's blaze is now being investigated as a possible homicide. Five of the suspects are reported to be security guards at the facility in Ciudad Juarez, a city on the US border.

Dozens killed in blaze on Philippines ferry

At least 28 people have been killed and 230 rescued after a passenger ferry caught fire in the Philippines. The blaze began in the ship's air-conditioned cabins on Wednesday night but it is unclear how, officials said. Among the dead were at least three children, including a six-month-old baby.‍

Putin may visit Türkiye for nuclear power plant inauguration: Erdoğan

Türkiye's President Rećep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin may visit Türkiye on April 27 for the inauguration of the country's first nuclear power plant jointly built with Russia's state nuclear energy company Rosatom. Erdoğan said the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant was one of Türkiye's "indispensable investments," adding that the facility would help the country "seriously store energy."

‘Playing with fire’: China issues warning to Taiwanese leader

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has arrived in New York for a visit that has triggered threats of reprisal by China if she meets with House speaker Kevin McCarthy, and US warnings for Beijing not to overreact. "We urge the US side not to repeat playing with fire on the Taiwan question," Xu Xueyuan, the charge d'affaires at the Chinese embassy in Washington told reporters.  

Russian forces making progress in frontline Bakhmut: Ukraine

Russian forces have had some success in the eastern frontline city of Bakhmut, Ukrainian military officials said, adding that their fighters were still holding on in a battle that has lasted several months. The mining city of Bakhmut and surrounding towns in the eastern industrial region of Donetsk have been the focal point of assault for much of the 13-month-long offensive by Russia of neighbouring Ukraine.

Colombia arrests multiple people linked to drug trade

Colombian authorities have arrested 52 people linked to international drug trafficking in a major operation supported by the United States, France and Spain, the defence ministry announced. Of those arrested, 34 were under "current extradition orders", Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez said following the operation on Wednesday.

Russia starts Yars intercontinental ballistic missile drills

Russia started exercises with the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system and several thousand troops. This is likely to be seen as another attempt by Moscow to show off its nuclear strength. “In total, more than 3,000 military personnel and about 300 pieces of equipment are involved in the exercises,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement.

Brits laud diversity in UK politics

When Humza Yousaf became Scotland’s new leader this week, the world of British politics entered a new era of diversity. With Pakistani-origin Yousaf in charge at Holyrood and Rishi Sunak, whose ancestors hail from India, leading at Westminster, it could be said that the United Kingdom is blazing a new trail in post-colonial history. “The empire strikes back,” tweeted Jelina Berlow-Rahman, a human rights lawyer in Glasgow.