International Briefs

Russia tightens the noose on Ukraine’s city of Avdiivka

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian troops in a strategic eastern city are under intense pressure as Russian forces tighten the noose around Avdiivka. Officials say the city’s defenders face ammunition shortages. The Kremlin is pushing for a battlefield win ahead of the second anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24 and the March presidential election in Russia. The Ukrainian army said street fighting is underway in the bombed-out city, where Ukrainian troops are outnumbered 7-to-1. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Russian forces are beginning to overwhelm Ukrainian defenses.

UK voters deliver double blow to Sunak, electing Labour lawmakers

LONDON (AP) — Voters in two districts in England have delivered new blows to beleaguered Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Results Friday show they elected opposition-party lawmakers in seats that Sunak’s Conservatives had held for years. Labour Party candidates won the House of Commons seats of Kingswood in southwest England and Wellingborough in the country’s center. The Conservatives won both by large margins at the last national election in 2019. The hard-right Reform Party came third, putting more pressure on the Conservatives. Labour leader Keir Starmer said the results “show people want change.”

Cambodia to install hundreds of wildlife cameras to restore its tiger population

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia will begin installing hundreds of monitoring cameras and import four tigers from India as part of a plan to restore its tiger population. Tigers were declared “functionally extinct” in Cambodia in 2016, with the last tiger spotted in 2007 by a camera trap — a hidden camera that is triggered by the movement of animals. Cambodia’s Environment Ministry says it plans to install cameras at one-kilometer intervals to monitor wildlife, particularly those preyed upon by tigers such as deer and wild boar. Four tigers will be sent from India by the end of the year to be settled in a protected zone inside a wildlife sanctuary.

Brazil’s health agents scour junkyards and roofs for mosquitos to fight dengue fever

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Local public health officials in Rio de Janeiro have been scouring the city’s neighborhoods and even its junkyards for signs of standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. It’s part of nationwide efforts to curtail a surge in Brazil of the mosquito-borne illness of dengue fever during the country’s key tourist season that runs through the end of February. So far this year, Brazil has recorded 512,000 cases, nearly four times more than those registered in the same period a year ago.


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