International Briefs

Ukrainian troops pull out of some areas and Zelenskyy postpones foreign trips

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from some parts of the country’s northeast and were battling Russian troops in other areas. Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy postponed all his upcoming foreign trips, underscoring the seriousness of the threat his soldiers are facing. Against that grim backdrop, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to reassure the ally of continuing American support. He announced a $2 billion arms deal Wednesday. Most of the money comes from a package approved last month. The top diplomat is in Ukraine as Russian troops press a new offensive in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

Swiss court sentences a former Gambian interior minister to 20 years

GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland’s top criminal court has convicted a former interior minister of Gambia for crimes against humanity for his role in murder, torture and other repression by the west African country’s security forces against opponents of its longtime dictator. Ousman Sonko was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was Gambia’s interior minister from 2006 to 2016 under then-President Yahya Jammeh. The trial was hailed as a major breakthrough in application of “universal jurisdiction.” That principle allows the prosecution of serious crimes committed abroad. The verdict was read out in Swiss federal criminal court in southern Bellinzona on Wednesday.

Netanyahu fends off criticism at home and abroad

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fending off criticism that he is not planning for a postwar reality in the Gaza Strip, saying it’s impossible to prepare for any scenario in the embattled Palestinian enclave until Hamas is defeated. Netanyahu has faced increasing pressure from critics at home and allies abroad, especially the United States, to present a postwar plan for Gaza. Meanwhile, Palestinians are marking the 76th anniversary of mass expulsion from what is now Israel in the war surrounding the country’s creation in 1948. More than twice the number expelled have been displaced within Gaza in this war.

Indonesia seeds clouds to block rainfall after floods killed at least 59 people

TANAH DATAR, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities have seeded clouds in a bid to prevent further rainfall after flash floods that hit the country’s Sumatra Island over the weekend left at least 59 people dead. Another 16 are missing. A landslide of mud and cold lava from Mount Marapi, triggered by the monsoon rains, caused rivers to breach their banks. The deluge tore through mountainside villages in four districts in West Sumatra province just before midnight on Saturday. The floods swept away people and dozens of homes and submerged hundreds of houses and buildings, forcing more than 1,500 families to flee to temporary government shelters.


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