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War in Ukraine: hitting Ukraine’s infrastructure is inevitable, says Vladimir Putin

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War in Ukraine: hitting Ukraine’s infrastructure is inevitable, says Vladimir Putin, Magnate Daily
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Steph Deschamps / December 3, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday that Russia’s massive strikes against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure were “necessary and inevitable ».
 
It was stressed that the Russian armed forces have long avoided high-precision missile strikes on certain targets in Ukraine, but such measures have become necessary and unavoidable in the face of Kiev’s provocative attacks,” the Kremlin said in a statement, summarizing Vladimir Putin’s remarks to Olaf Scholz during their first meeting since mid-September.
 
According to Putin, Kiev is responsible for the explosions that partly destroyed the Russian Crimean bridge and Russian energy facilities, and therefore Moscow is within its rights in bombing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving millions of civilians in the cold and dark.
 
Putin, who launched his assault on February 24, has again complained about Western financial and military support for Ukraine, supplies that have enabled Kiev to inflict humiliating defeats on Russia.
 
Therefore, for the Russian president, the position of the West is “destructive”, because with the political, financial and military support of the West, “Kiev rejects the idea of any negotiation” and “incites radical nationalist Ukrainians to commit bloody crimes”.
 
Vladimir Putin called on Mr. Scholz “to review his approach in the context of Ukrainian events.
 
The Russian president had decreed the annexation in late September of four regions of Ukraine, although he does not control them, in addition to the Crimea annexed in 2014.
 
Kiev, for its part, rejects any negotiation with Putin, without respect for its territorial integrity, including Crimea.
 
Militarily, the Russian army has suffered several defeats, having been forced to withdraw from the north of the country in April, then from part of the northeast in September and finally from part of the south in November.
 
Since October, Russian forces have therefore adopted the tactic of bombing facilities providing electricity and heat to the country, even as winter is settling in Ukraine.
 
Finally, earlier on Friday, the Kremlin had rejected the conditions mentioned the day before by U.S. President Joe Biden, who said he was “ready” to discuss with Vladimir Putin if the latter “seeks a way to end the war” in Ukraine, setting as a first condition a withdrawal of Russian troops.
 
The U.S. president “said de facto that negotiations would be possible only after Putin leaves Ukraine,” which Moscow rejects “obviously,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
 
“The military operation continues,” he insisted.

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For the first time in over 60 years, China’s population is declining

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Eva Deschamps / January 17, 2023

In 2022, China recorded more deaths than births. This inevitably led to a population decline, the first time since the early 1960s that this country of nearly 1.5 billion people has experienced such a decline. A total of 9.56 million births were recorded last year, which did not compensate for the 10.41 million deaths, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced in a report. China’s population has therefore fallen by about 850,000 people in 2022.

 

This fall is expected to be sustained over several decades, according to many demographers, which will have significant consequences for the economy, society and the pension system.

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The population decline is the first since 1960-1961, when a terrible famine, which began in 1959, killed tens of millions of people, mainly as a result of the mistakes of the “Great Leap Forward” economic policy.

 

This drop in 2022 is explained in particular by the cost of living, which has risen sharply, by the higher level of education of women, which delays pregnancies, and by the lack of desire among the younger generation to have a child.

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The fertility rate has plummeted to 1.15 children per woman by 2021 – far below the replacement level of 2.1.

 

Coupled with aging, the decline in population, especially the number of working people, is expected to have a profound impact on China’s economy for several decades.

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Labor costs are expected to rise, eroding the competitiveness of China’s workforce, and the pressure on working people to provide care for the elderly will increase dramatically.

 

Many local authorities have already launched measures to encourage couples to have children. The southern metropolis of Shenzhen has been offering birth bonuses of up to 10,000 yuan (1,370 euros) and allowances until the child is three years old.

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Shandong province (east) gives 158 days of maternity leave (60 more than the national norm), starting with the first child.

 

China could have only 587 million inhabitants in 2100, according to the most pessimistic projections of a study of the Academy of Social Sciences of Shanghai, updated last year and whose data were transmitted to AFP.

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Ukraine: a helicopter crashes near a school in the Kiev region, 18 dead including the Minister of the Interior

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Sylvie Claire / January 20, 2023

A helicopter crashed Wednesday morning near a school in the Kiev region, killing 18 people including the interior minister and three children, a new tragedy in Ukraine a few days after a deadly Russian strike in Dnipro.
 
Tragedy in Brovary. The number of victims has increased. At 10:30 a.m., 18 dead, including 3 children,” said the governor of the region, Oleksiy Kulba, on Telegram. He said that “there are also 29 injured, including 15 children,” raising fears of an even heavier toll.
 
On images circulating on social networks, one could see the remains of the helicopter mixed with debris, close to a car destroyed under the weight of metal. Firemen and police officers were on the scene, according to an AFP team.
 
Among the victims were Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, 42, his first deputy Yevgeny Yenin, and the ministry’s state secretary Yuriy Lubkovich, who were on board the aircraft along with six other people, the head of the Ukrainian national police said in a statement. “My colleagues, my friends. What a tragic loss. Sincere condolences to their families,” Anton Gerachtchenko, an adviser to Monastyrsky, reacted on Twitter.
 
The purpose of this flight (was to go) to one of the hot spots in our country where the fighting is going on. The Minister of the Interior was going there,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the presidential office, told Ukrainian television.
 
This former lawyer by profession was in office since July 2021. He had become a deputy in the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, in 2019 under the label “Servant of the People”, the presidential party.
 
The crash took place in Brovary, a city of some 100,000 inhabitants that touches the eastern suburbs of Kiev. Heavy fighting had taken place there between Ukrainians and Russians as Moscow’s troops tried to break the lock on the capital in the first weeks of their invasion.
 
At the time of the tragedy, “children and employees” of the kindergarten located near the crash site were at the scene, Kouleba said. According to images published on social networks, a huge fire broke out after the helicopter fell, a residential building was also nearby. No information on the cause of the tragedy was immediately disclosed.
 
Earlier, Oleksiï Kouleba had said that “the circumstances” of this accident were “under development”. The aircraft that crashed belonged to the State Emergency Service, which depends on the Ministry of the Interior, according to a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force. One of the last major accidents of this type in recent years in Ukraine dates back to September 2020 when 26 people died in the crash of an Antonov-26 near Kharkiv (northeast).
 
This new tragedy comes in the middle of the war with Russia, four days after a deadly strike in Dnipro, in eastern Ukraine. A Russian missile devastated a residential building on Saturday, killing at least 45 people including six children, one of the deadliest bombings since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022.
 
The youngest victim “was 11 months old”, lamented Tuesday evening the deputy head of the Cabinet of the Ukrainian presidency, Kyrylo Timoshenko, after more than three days of research. Under the rubble, the rescue workers had extracted injured people, but also lifeless bodies, trapped under huge sections of concrete.
 
This new strike on a civilian target has caused great emotion among the Ukrainian population, while the country has been fighting against the Russian invasion for nearly 11 months, often in very difficult conditions.
Emotionally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to bring to justice “each person guilty of this war crime”, pointing directly to the Russian army as responsible for this carnage. Moscow, for its part, has firmly denied any involvement in this bloody strike, as in previous episodes.
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Brazil: a man and his father suspected of ordering the murder of several members of their family, including three children

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Eva Deschamps / January 20, 2023

A man and his father are under investigation by the Brazilian police on suspicion of ordering and participating in the murder of several members of their family, including three children aged 6 and 7.
 
The investigations are progressing to verify (…) if they were really the co-authors of this heinous crime”, during which the wife of the suspect, his mother and sister were also killed, said Wednesday Ricardo Viana, inspector of the civil police of Brasilia. 
 
The police had received a call at the end of last week that eight people from the same family were missing.
 
Six charred bodies, including those of the three children, were found in the states of Goias and Minas Gerais in two vehicles belonging to the family. A seventh body was found on Wednesday in the Planaltina region, where some of the victims would have been held captive, investigators said.
 
According to the police, “the objective was to steal valuable objects from the victims”. The alleged murderers “would have received 100,000 reais for this criminal practice ».

 

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