France to pay Congo, Guinea $150m for forest protection – Newstrends
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France to pay Congo, Guinea $150m for forest protection

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France to pay Congo, Guinea $150m for forest protection

France agreed on Saturday to pay Papua New Guinea $100 million and the Republic of Congo $50 million to protect their forests.
President Emmanuel Macron said he hoped to conclude a similar $60 million deal with DR Congo as he announced the partnerships at the UN’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai.
“Nature is the best technology available to capture and store CO2,” he said, adding that “we have to remunerate countries when they actively protect these forests”.
The move comes a day after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appealed for the creation of a $250 billion fund to save tropical forests, which would pay 80 countries for their preservation efforts.

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Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine found dead – Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence

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Maxim Kuzminov
Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine found dead – Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence
CNN —  Maxim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who dramatically defected to Ukraine by flying his helicopter across the border, is dead, according to Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR).

The news comes after the Spanish Civil Guard in Alicante province told CNN that a man had been shot to death on February 13 inside the parking garage of an apartment building in Villajoyosa, a seaside resort on the Mediterranean Sea.

Initially, the Civil Guard said the victim was a 33-year-old Ukrainian but later said the identity of the body was still to be determined and part of an investigation, which had been sealed by a judge.

The remains of the man shot inside the garage are thought to still be in Alicante province under the supervision of forensic examiners.

The shooting took place in a neighborhood where some Russian and Ukrainian expatriates have settled since the war began, according to the Villajoyosa city hall press office.

Asked Tuesday whether Russia had any knowledge of the death, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow had no information on the matter.

Russian Foreign Intelligence Director Sergey Naryshkin would also not comment directly on Kuzminov’s death, but told reporters the defector had become “a moral corpse the moment he began planning his dirty and terrible crime,” Russia’s RIA Novosti reported.

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Shortly after Kuzminov’s defection, Russian TV aired a segment about him on the “Vesti Nedeli” program, which carried a clear threat to the defector’s life. In the program, a reporter said that Russia’s own military intelligence agency had already received their order with regard to Kuzminov, adding that, “its fulfillment is only a matter of time.”

Later in the segment, a man in a military uniform, whose face is shown covered, says: “We can’t let such a thing go, we will punish him for such actions.”

The Freedom for Russia Legion – a group associated with Ukraine’s GUR made up of Russian nationals fighting for Ukraine – expressed their condolences to family and friends of Kuzminov, saying he was a “real warrior and honest man.”

“Ukraine fulfilled all its obligations to Maxim, he received the promised monetary reward for the delivered equipment and had the opportunity to choose to stay in Ukraine and live in peace, continue serving in one of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, or go to the EU,” the Legion said in a statement.

‘Let’s give it a try’

Kuzminov defected in August after Kyiv got his family out of Russia undetected, the head of the GUR, Kyrolo Budanov, told Radio Liberty last year. Budanov said it was the first successful operation of its kind.

When Kuzminov flew into Ukraine, the two other Russian service members on board the Mi-8 helicopter with him did not know what was happening. The pair were killed while trying to escape after they realized they had landed in Ukraine.

“We would prefer (to take) them alive, but it is what it is,” Budanov said at the time.

In an interview published by the GUR in September, Kuzminov recounted the defection. He told reporters he fled Russia because he was opposed to the war.

“I contacted representatives of Ukrainian intelligence, explained my situation, to which they offered this option: ‘Come on, we guarantee your safety, guarantee new documents, guarantee monetary compensation, a reward,’” the pilot said.

His defection seemingly came last minute during a flight near the border.

After relaying his location, he said “let’s give it a try, I’m not that far away.”

“Having made a final decision, I flew at an extremely low altitude in radio silence mode. No one understood what was going on with me at all,” Kuzminov said.

Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine found dead – Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence

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U.S. vetoes UN resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza

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U.S. vetoes UN resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza

A draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip failed in the UN Security Council on Tuesday after the U.S. again vetoed the text tabled by Council member Algeria.

Given concerns about a possible major Israeli offensive on the crowded city of Rafah in southern Gaza, the proposal was widely supported by 13 of the 15 council members. Britain abstained.

Following the vote, Israel again strongly rejected calls for a truce.

This “absurd notion of a ceasefire” was constantly being thrown around within the Security Council and the UN General Assembly as if it was “a silver bullet, a magical solution to all of the region’s problems,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, told the most powerful UN body.

“A ceasefire today means immunity for baby killers and rapists. It’s an easy way to make this problem an issue for another day,” he said.

“Hamas is not going to even read your resolutions.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also reiterated that his country was determined not to be deterred by criticism of how it was handling the war in the Gaza Strip.

“There is considerable pressure on Israel at home and abroad to stop the war before we achieve all of its goals,” Netanyahu said during a visit to troops near the border with Gaza on Tuesday.

“There is no pressure, none, that can change this – we are not prepared to pay any price, certainly not the delusional prices that Hamas is demanding of us.”

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield had declared ahead of time that the U.S. would once again use its veto power in the Security Council should a vote be held.

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The five permanent members of the most powerful UN body, the U.S., China, Russia, France, and Britain, all have the power to do so.

The U.S. said it wanted to prevent a vote in order not to jeopardise important negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian extremist organisation Hamas, which along with other Islamist groups attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and killed over 1,200 people.

“We believe that the resolution on the table right now would, in fact, negatively impact those negotiations.

“Instead, it could extend the fighting between Hamas and Israel,” Thomas-Greenfield said before the vote in reference to talks mainly about freeing hostages.

“Sometimes hard diplomacy takes more time than any of us might like. Believe me, I understand the desire for the Council to act urgently to positively shape the situation in line with the Security Council’s mandate.”

The veto was seen by observers as a complicated ploy by Washington as it does not want to be seen as an enabler of the Jewish state’s war tactics, which have increasingly come in for international criticism as the Gaza Health Authority figures confirm 29,195 Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli military campaign in Gaza so far.

In recent months, the U.S. has already used three vetoes to protect Israel from Security Council resolutions.

Security Council resolutions are binding under international law.

If countries defy them, the Council can impose sanctions and, in extreme cases, even consider military intervention – but this highly unlikely in the case of Israel.

According to a high-ranking Security Council representative, the negotiations this time on the veto became much more emotional behind closed doors.

The U.S. would have to “take responsibility for everything that happens afterwards,” added the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

“If Rafah happens, there is no going back.”

Around 1.5 million Gazans are crowded into Rafah, the southernmost city that sits on the border with Egypt.

The Israeli government has been preparing to launch a full-scale ground offensive into the city despite international fears it will lead to massive civilian casualties.

Israel says the operation is necessary to eliminate remaining Hamas fighters that are sheltering there as well as to free hostages that were abducted from Israel on Oct. 7.

Israeli war Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday said that “The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know – if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue to the Rafah area.”

However, it is uncertain whether international mediators will be able to negotiate a ceasefire and the release of hostages by the start of the Muslim fasting month on March 10.

U.S. vetoes UN resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza

(dpa/NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Brazilian president compares Gaza war to Holocaust

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Brazilian president compares Gaza war to Holocaust

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva described yesterday ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza as “genocide,” comparing it to the acts of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, according to local media.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide,” Brazil’s Canal Gov channel quoted Lula da Silva as saying.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history. Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” Lula told reporters in Addis Ababa, where he was attending an African Union summit.

“It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children,” he added.

Israel yesterday criticized Silva for comparing the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip to Hitler’s Holocaust against Jews, with Tel Aviv announcing that it would summon the South American country’s envoy for an official protest today.

In a statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called da Silva’s statements “shameful” and “serious.”

“No one will harm Israel’s right to defend itself. I have ordered the people of my office to summon the Brazilian ambassador for a reprimand call tomorrow,” he added on X.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Brazilian president “crossed a red line.”

 “The words of the president of Brazil are shameful and alarming,” he said in a statement. “This is about trivialising the Holocaust and trying to harm the Jewish people and Israel’s right to defend itself.”

The Israeli premier argued that Tel Aviv fights for its future “while upholding international law.”

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 Hamas attack. The ensuing Israeli attacks have killed nearly 29,000 and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities, while less than 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Brazilian president compares Gaza war to Holocaust

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