International Briefs

Russia says it has crushed the last pocket of resistance in Avdiivka

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Russian military says its forces have completed their takeover of Avdiivka by eliminating the last pocket of resistance at the eastern Ukraine city’s huge coke plant. Monday’s announcement follows Kyiv’s forces being driven out over the weekend as a result of the sheer weight of Russia’s troop numbers and greater firepower. Ukrainian forces confirmed pulling out of the bombed-out city in what amounted to a triumph for the Kremlin even though the four-month battle was costly. The victory was a morale boost for Russia, days ahead of the two-year anniversary of its full-scaler invasion of its neighbor on Feb. 24 2022.

Rwanda rejects US calls for withdrawal of missiles and troops from eastern Congo

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Authorities in Rwanda have rejected U.S. calls for the withdrawal of troops and missile systems from eastern Congo, saying they are defending Rwandan territory as Congo carries out a “dramatic military build-up” near the border. Rwanda’s Foreign Ministry in a statement Monday spoke of threats to Rwandan national security stemming from the presence in Congo of an armed group whose members include alleged perpetrators of the 1994 genocide. The U.S. State Department in a statement Saturday criticized the worsening violence caused by M23, describing it as a “Rwanda-backed” armed group.

Thai ex-Prime Minister Thaksin may still face a royal defamation charge

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai prosecutors say that further investigation is needed to decide whether to bring former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to trial for defaming the monarchy, just a day after he was freed from a prison sentence on other charges he was serving in a hospital. Thaksin was released on parole Sunday from the hospital where he spent six months serving time for corruption-related offenses. He had been in self-imposed exile since 2008, but returned to Thailand in August last year to begin serving his prison term. Thaksin reported to the attorney general’s office on Monday to formally answer the royal defamation charge, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and was granted release on bail.

Strike at the Eiffel Tower closes one of the world’s most popular monuments

PARIS (AP) — Visitors to the Eiffel Tower are being turned away because of a strike over poor financial management at one of the world’s most-visited sites. Visits to the hugely popular landmark in central Paris have soared in the lead-up to the Summer Olympics in the French capital. But tourists planning to visit the Eiffel Tower on Monday were warned of disruptions in multiple languages on its website. Visitors were advised to check the website before heading to the monument or to postpone their trip. In December, the Eiffel Tower was closed to visitors for an entire day during Christmas and New Year’s holidays because of a strike over contract negotiations.


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