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Russia destroyed the largest power-generating plant in Ukraine’s Kyiv region in a missile attack on Thursday, as President Volodomyr Zelensky accused the West of “turning a blind eye” to his country’s need for more air defenses.

Ukraine’s Air Force said it shot down 18 of the incoming missiles and 39 of the drones. Russia fired 82 missiles and drones in total, including six hypersonic Kinzhal missiles – none of which Ukraine’s air defenses were able to down.

There were no casualties, and the attack has not resulted in power cuts in Ukraine’s capital region Kyiv or other regions supplied by Trypilska TPP.

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US officials said that China provided more than 70% of the $900m (£723m) in machine tools – probably used to build ballistic missiles – imported in the last quarter of 2023 by Russia.

They also said that 90% of Russia’s microelectronics imports – used to produce missiles, tanks and aircraft – came from China last year.

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Bogotá brings in water rationing with El Niño weather phenomenon meaning city could run out in under two months

Couples in Bogotá are being asked to shower together as water supplies are rationed in the Colombian capital.

Major neighbourhoods were cut off from the water grid on Thursday to preserve dangerously low water levels at reservoirs that have been starved of rain by the weather phenomenon known as El Niño.

As well as recommending that those in a relationship get under the showerhead together, the mayor of Bogotá, Carlos Fernando Galán, asked residents to consider abandoning their daily hygiene practices entirely given the reservoirs were at “historic lows”.

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The main reason for the absence of medical evacuation is simple and gruesome: The fighting is just too intense.

It can take a day or even two for soldiers to get in and out of the fiercest fighting spots – killing any hopes of medics coming to save the wounded.

Left alone at the positions, the soldiers often have to pull out their comrades on their own under heavy shelling, sometimes walking five to seven kilometers to the nearest evacuation points, where vehicles take them to makeshift hospitals.

When soldiers carry their wounded out, the group is easy to spot – and it immediately becomes easy prey to Russian first-person view (FPV) drones and artillery.

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Tensions are high over the possibility Iran will retaliate for an air strike that killed senior Iranian commanders nearly two weeks ago.

US officials had told CBS News, the BBC's US partner, that a major attack on Israel could happen imminently.

Israel has said it is ready "defensively and offensively".

"I can't speak to the size, scale, scope of what that attack might look like," US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday. But he added that the Iranian threat was "viable," saying Washington was "watching this very, very closely".

He said: "We are in constant communication with our Israeli counterparts about making sure that they can defend themselves against those kinds of attacks".

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  • UNHCR chief warns that a potential assault on Rafah could lead to a refugee crisis, making the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible.
  • Filippo Grandi, emphasized the need to prevent such an exodus, highlighting the responsibility of Israel, the occupying power in Gaza, to avoid this situation.
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Joe Biden has said he expects an Iranian attack on Israel “sooner rather than later” and issued a last-ditch message to Tehran: “Don’t.”

. . .

Earlier the White House national security spokesperson John Kirby warned that the threat of a significant Iranian attack on Israel remains “viable” despite Washington-led efforts, including calls to Tehran from the UK and Germany, to deter a serious escalation in the conflict in the Middle East.

The White House comments came as several countries, including India, France, Poland and Russia, warned their citizens against travel to the region and Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, said his country was “prepared to defend [itself] on the ground and in the air, in close cooperation with our partners”.

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Elderly set to exceed 30% by 2034

The population of South Korean nationals residing in the country has dropped below 50 million for the first time in six years, largely due to low birth rates.

Projections suggest that by 2042, this figure may not even reach 47 million.

According to data released by Statistics Korea on April 11, the population of South Korean nationals decreased from 50,021,000 in 2022 to 49,847,000 in 2023. After surpassing the 50 million mark in 2018 with a population of 50,024,000, the figure had remained in the 50 million range for five years before dropping to the 40 million range last year.

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Japan's population, including non-Japanese residents, as of Oct. 1 last year dropped by 595,000, or 0.48 pct, from a year before to 124,352,000, down for the 13th successive year, the internal affairs ministry said Friday.

The number of people aged 75 or over exceeded 20 million for the first time ever, showing that the aging of the country's population has advanced further.

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Voters in 19 countries, including in three of the world’s largest democracies, are widely skeptical about whether their political elections are free and fair, and many favor a strong, undemocratic leader, according to a study released Thursday.

The report by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, or International IDEA, concluded that “democratic institutions are falling short of people’s expectations.” The 35-member organization promotes democracy worldwide.

”It is past time that people’s perceptions are centered in conversations about the future of democracy; this analysis is a small but important first step towards that effort,” the Stockholm-based organization wrote.

The surveys had a margin of error hovering around 2-4% and the number of respondents in each country was around 1,500. The sole exception was the Solomon Islands, where the small population meant they had a representative sample of 526 people, IDEA said.

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The most senior IDF commander dismissed for his role in the drone strike which killed seven aid workers in Gaza is a settler who signed an open letter in January calling for the territory to be deprived of aid, The Telegraph can reveal.

The letter was sent on January 20 to the Israeli War Cabinet and the IDF chief of staff and implored them to “do everything in your power” not to allow “humanitarian supplies and the operation of hospitals inside Gaza City” following its evacuation.

Michael Mansfield KC, head of Nexus Chambers and one of Britain’s leading barristers, said the letter should “absolutely” be considered by those investigating the incident.

“The document is plainly relevant to a particular state of mind,” Mr Mansfield said. “In other words it is not indicating that the target of the Israeli army is primarily Hamas but Gaza as a whole by weaponising aid under siege conditions.

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Russian military personnel arrived in Niamey to train their soldiers and set up an air defense system. Russia has been trying to build stronger ties with several African nations currently ruled by military juntas.

The Russian defense ministry sent military personnel and trainers to Niger on Wednesday to install systems and train soldiers, Nigerien state TV RTN said.

The channel showed people and goods being unloaded from a military cargo plane, with images showing Russian Ilyushin-76 aircraft. 

The dispatch of Russian personnel to the African nation is part of a recent agreement between Niger's military junta leader Abdourahamane Tchiani and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two countries are trying to increase cooperation.

Russia has ramped up efforts to build stronger relations with African nations, positioning itself as a military power without a colonial past.

Prior to the military coup last July, Niger and the US, France and some other European countries were cooperating to fight against Islamist militias in the Sahel region.

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Japan is giving the United States 250 new cherry trees to help replace the hundreds that are being ripped out this summer as construction crews work to repair the crumbling seawall around the capital’s Tidal Basin.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement as President Joe Biden welcomed him to the White House on Wednesday for an official visit and state dinner. Biden said the gift is meant to mark the 250th anniversary of the U.S. in 2026, adding, “Like our friendship, these trees are timeless, inspiring and thriving.”

In 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador to the United States, planted two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River’s Tidal Basin. They were part of the 3,000 such trees Japan gave the U.S. in a symbol of the two countries’ friendship.

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However, truck owners involved in the food deliveries, mostly Egyptian hauliers, are reluctant to let their vehicles be used inside Gaza for fear of them bombed or ransacked by starving Gazans. There is also a shortage of willing drivers after repeated incidents of aid trucks coming under fire, of which the WCK bombing has been the worst but far from an isolated incident.

The planned coordination centre, whenever it is finished, may not be sufficient to address this fundamental obstacle to delivering food, as long as much of Gaza is a free fire zone, aid workers argue.

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