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A firefighter died on duty Saturday in the state of Victoria, Australia. The death of Bill Slade, increased the number of victims of Australian forest fires to 28 people. Chris Hardman, Head of Forest Fire Management, Victoria justiified the death of the firefighter who has served for 40 years. Chris Hardman said Sunday that 60-year-old Bill Slade was crushed by a tree while putting out fires.

"Bill was working as a member of a task force in the angles rest area, and he was struck by a tree," said Chris Hardman.

Meanwhile the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, received strong criticism from the opposition and environmental groups related to the handling of forest fires that hit Australia since last October 2019. The forest fires burned at least 10 million hectares of land in six states, and more than 1,000 homes and buildings were scorched. As quoted from ABC News, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government had made various efforts to deal with the fire, including providing mental health services and counseling for affected communities. (BBC/WATI/AHM)


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would seek justice for victims of Ukrainian planes shot by Iran. That was said by Prime Minister Justin, Monday, in Edmonton, Alberta, a province in Canada. As many as 57 of the 176 victims of the crash of the Ukrainian aircraft are Canadian citizens. According to Justin Trudeau, as quoted by BBC News, this is a very serious event. Justin said Canada and the international community still had many questions to be answered. He said he had spoken with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

"We need full clarity, on how such a horrific tragedy could have occured. Families are seeking justice and accountability and they deserve closure," said Trudeau.

Furthermore, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Iran's claim that his troops had accidentally shot down a 752 Ukrainian aircraft was a very important step as an explanation to the families of the victims. Nevertheless, according to him, there are still many other steps that must be taken. Full and complete investigation must be done. (BBC)


Mexico City- More than 48,000 Peruvian servicemen will be deployed to ensure the protection of polling places during the upcoming general election scheduled for January 28, Defenсe Minister Walter Martos Ruiz said.

“More than 48,000 soldiers will be responsible for the protection of 4,385 out of 5,178 polling places,” the defence minister said on late Thursday during the meeting with members of the Central Election Commission, as quoted by the Comercio news outlet.

He stressed that the main goal of the army would be to ensure transparency of the upcoming election.

In early October, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra dissolved the Congress after lawmakers boycotted his call to change the procedure in which judges are appointed to the Constitutional Tribunal, the main institution that regulates disputes between the executive and legislative branches. Vizcarra interpreted the move as a motion of no confidence and dissolved the legislature, which responded by declaring him temporarily unfit to govern and appointing Vice President Mercedes Araoz as acting head of state.

Araoz, however, announced her resignation after the Peruvian military and police pledged their loyalty to Vizcarra. (Sputnik)


Lawmakers approved legislation on Thursday which will allow Britain to leave the European Union on Jan. 31 with an exit deal, ending more than three years of tumult over the terms of the unprecedented divorce. They voted 330 to 231 in favor of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which implements an exit deal agreed with the EU last year. That allows Prime Minister Boris Johnson to turn the page on one of Britain’s deepest political crises in decades, putting an end to the fears of an immediate disorderly exit which had cast a shadow over the economy and fueled divisions over the 2016 referendum decision to leave the EU.

“It is time to get Brexit done. This bill does so,” Brexit minister Stephen Barclay told lawmakers, summing up hours of debate in parliament.

The legislation now heads to parliament’s upper chamber and is expected to become law in the coming weeks, leaving enough time to allow Britain to leave at the end of the month with a deal to minimize economic disruption. (Reuters)


Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad received a visit of Russian President, Vladimir Putin in Damascus on Tuesday (7/1). The visit was carried out to hear military reports about the situation in various regions of Syria, which are projected to be potential places of conflict, following tensions between the United States and Iran. In his remarks, President Assad expressed his appreciation for Russia's assistance in the fight against terrorism and the restoration of a peaceful life in Syria.

"I congratulate the great achievements that have been realized over the past few years, helping the Syrian Arab military in the war against terrorism. Unsurprisingly, Russia had also succeeded in fighting NAZI terrorism a few decades ago and won the war. You have saved the world, including Europe. Today, we face similar terrorism, but the context is different. We must continue the war that is occurring in Syria, so that we can also save the world from the threat of terrorism
, said Assad.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin conveyed Russia's commitment to help restore Syria and guarantee the country's territorial integrity. In addition, he also conveyed a Christmas greeting coinciding with the Orthodox Christmas every January 7 to Russian troops serving in Syria. (HT. RifaíI)


The Ukrainian Embassy in Iran is establishing lists of people killed in Ukraine's Boeing 737 crash near Tehran airport, a representative of the embassy told Sputnik on Wednesday. The aircraft, carrying 167 passengers, crashed earlier in the day near Iran's Khomeini Airport soon after take-off. Iranian media reports said that the crash had resulted from a technical problem​​​. Meanwhile, it happened soon after Iran launched a series of attacks at US military facilities in Iraq. The representative said the embassy staffers were already working in the airport. The representative of the embassy told Sputnik earlier in the day that the embassy was verifying information and gathering data. (SPUTNIK)


Former prime minister Zoran Milanovic (53) has been elected the new president of Croatia on Sunday.After all 2,053,292 votes were counted, Milanovic won 52.67%  in Sunday’s presidential election runoff against incumbent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (47.33%) to become the fifth elected president of Croatia and the second president to have been officially nominated by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the largest centre-left political party in Croatia, after Ivo Josipovic. 

“Thanks to everyone who supported me, who didn’t support me, thanks to the all candidates, and to Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. It was a long, tough campaign. Croatian citizens elected me as the president of Croatia for all citizens and I am happy about that,” Milanovic said on Sunday night.

“I’ll be a president with character that will always oppose violence, injustice and protect the weak. I consider myself mature and in good faith willing to do the job, but it is more than a job, it is a way of life. No one in Croatia in which I will be president will feel like a second-class citizen. Nobody. I will not divide Croatian citizens,” Milanovic stated earlier.

Born in Zagreb, Milanovic graduated from the Zagreb Faculty of Law and then started his career working in the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served as an advisor at the Croatian Mission to the European Union and NATO in Brussels from 1996–99. That same year he joined the Social Democratic Party. In 1998 he earned his master’s degree in European Union law and was an assistant to the Foreign Minister of Croatia for political multilateral affairs in 2003.

In 2007, Milanovic was elected President of the SDP and served as Prime Minister of Croatia from December 2011 to January 2016. He was the leader of the SDP from 2007 to 2016. Milanovic is married with two kids and also speaks English, Russian and French.

Milanovic secured the most votes in the first round of voting on 22 December with 29.6%, whilst Grabar-Kitarovic received 26.4% of the votes to force today’s runoff vote.

Voter turnout on Sunday was 54.99%. Out of the total number of votes,  52,373 came in from abroad.

The function of Croatia’s presidency is largely ceremonial. The president formally commands the army and represents the country abroad. (Croatian Week)


America's military strategy in Iraq was thrown into confusion Monday as the Pentagon admitted a letter from a general informing the Iraqi government of an imminent US troop pullout was sent by "mistake". As quoted by afp.comon Tuesday the latest developments came as a sea of black-clad mourners in Tehran paid homage to Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force who was killed in a US strike in Iraq on Friday. US Brigadier General William Seely informed his Iraqi counterparts in a letter dated Sunday that American troops were preparing to leave Iraq. Seely said the US-led coalition would be repositioning forces. The letter also stated that in order to conduct this task, Coalition Forces are required to take certain measures to ensure that the movement out of Iraq is conducted in a safe and efficient manner. It said helicopters would be traveling in and around Baghdad's Green Zone where the US embassy is located as part of the preparations. AFP could hear helicopters flying low over Baghdad throughout the night on Monday. But Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley said on Monday the letter was a mere draft and should not have been sent. (AFP) 


South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday called for better relations with the North so leader Kim Jong Un can visit Seoul, despite Pyongyang's abandonment of its nuclear and missile test moratoriums. As stated by,  Moon's appeal came after Kim threatened a demonstration of a "new strategic weapon" at a four-day ruling party meeting last week, where he never mentioned South Korea. Since the breakdown of Kim's summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi last year, Pyongyang has repeatedly lashed out at the South, saying it has "nothing to talk" about any more with Seoul. But Moon, who has long favoured engagement with the nuclear-armed North, doubled down on his dovish approach. Moon also hopes that South and North Korea can make efforts together so that the conditions for Chairman Kim Jong Un's reciprocal visit can be arranged at an early date. The invitation for Kim to visit Seoul dates from the two leaders' last summit, in Pyongyang in September 2018, when the peninsula was basking in a diplomatic rapprochement. (AFP)


BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that he offered top EU diplomat Josep Borrell to convene an EU foreign ministers' meeting later in the week to agree on a "common line of conduct" in light of growing US-Iran tensions.

"Against the backdrop of the escalating conflict between the United States and Iran, the European Union has an important role to play. As Europeans, we support tested and stable channels of dialogue, of which we must make full use in this situation. Therefore, I suggested that Josep Borrell hold a meeting of [EU] foreign ministers this week to promptly agree on a common line of conduct," Maas said in a statement, published by his ministry on Sunday.

According to the minister, the Primary interest now is the stability and Unity of Iraq, whose soil has become a battleground for the US-Iran conflict. Iraq, he went on, should not "fall victim to the recent escalation."

"After the resolution of the Iraqi parliament [on expulsion of foreign troops], we will hold talks with the Iraqi government to clarify how they will build future relations. We will respect any decision," he added.

Maas also stated that Germany, along with its allies, had helped Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State terror group (ISIS, banned in Russia), which "is not over yet.

"We are ready to continue providing assistance if it is needed and the situation allows for it. To discuss this with international partners, a meeting of the anti-ISIS coalition should be held as soon as possible," the minister said.

The US-Iranian tensions took a new turn after a US drone attack killed Qaseem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s's elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi Muhandis, a senior member of Iraq's Iranian-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Forces, in Baghdad on Friday. The two were blamed by Washington for organizing violent demonstrations near the US Embassy in Iraq on December 31.

The killing prompted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to warn that Tehran will take revenge for what it views to be a heinous crime. Baghdad has condemned the attack as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, with the national parliament voting to expel foreign troops from the country.

US President Donald Trump, in turn, threatened Iraq with "sanctions like they've never seen before ever," saying US troops will not leave the country unless America is paid back for its "very extraordinarily expensive airbase" located there.

As for Iran’s threats, Trump said that the United States had identified 52 targets, including those important for the Iranian culture, that would be struck should Tehran attack American individuals or assets. (Sputnik)

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