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Trump to face criminal charges in Stormy Daniels hush money probe; Hong Kong rejects U.S. report criticizing crackdown on freedom, more

Below is a summary of the current world news briefing.

Russia’s isolation from Ukraine grows as U.S. journalists arrested, NATO expands

Russia accused an American journalist of espionage and Finland moved closer to NATO membership, with tensions rising between Moscow and the West as the war in Ukraine entered its 400th day on Friday. In a video address on Thursday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke of the “great road” Ukraine has traveled in the 400 days since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.

Trump to face criminal charges in Stormy Daniels hush money probe

Donald Trump will be fingerprinted and photographed in a New York court next week as he becomes the first former US president to face criminal charges in a case involving a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump is expected to appear before a judge in Manhattan on Tuesday, as the Republican Party battles to regain the presidency, which could further divide the country. In a document unsealed on Friday, a New York judge authorized Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to disclose that Trump had been indicted, but it was unclear when specific charges would be made public.

Pope Francis leaves hospital, says ‘I’m alive’

Pope Francis was released from hospital on Saturday after being treated for bronchitis and returned to the Vatican, downplaying: “I’m alive, you know”. The 86-year-old pope was taken to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Wednesday after complaining of difficulty breathing, but his medical team said he responded quickly to an infusion of antibiotics.

Hong Kong rejects US report criticizing freedom crackdown

Hong Kong on Saturday “resolutely rejected” the findings of a new U.S. government report that said U.S. interests were at risk and that Beijing continued to “undermine” the rule of law and freedoms in Hong Kong amid a national security crackdown. The U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act of 2023 report, released by the U.S. State Department, said Chinese and Hong Kong authorities “continue to use ‘national security’ as a broad and vague basis to undermine the rule of law and protect rights and freedoms.”

Pakistani military says ‘terrorists’ from Iran killed four soldiers

The Pakistani military said on Saturday that attackers from Iran had killed four Border Patrol soldiers. “A group of terrorists operating from the Iranian side attacked a routine border patrol by Pakistani security forces on the Pakistan-Iran border,” the military said in a statement.

Burkina Faso Muslims and Christians stand behind unity amid rebellion

As the sun set on Friday, dozens of young Burkinabe Muslims and Christians gathered in a public square in Ouagadougou to break their fast together, promoting Ramadan and Lent as Burkina Faso battles a violent insurgency period of religious tolerance. Organized by a local interfaith youth group, Muslims and Christians shared food and prayers at the event, participants said, in a symbolic protest against militant forces seeking to exploit racial and religious divisions.

Germany’s military gap cannot be fully closed by 2030, defense minister says

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was quoted as saying that the German military cannot fully fill the existing gap by 2030 as it seeks to restructure after decades of neglect following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine its armed forces. “We all know that the existing gap cannot be completely closed by 2030…it will take years. Everyone knows this,” Pistorius said in an interview with Le Monde published on Saturday.

Exclusive – Indian watchdog investigating possible rule violations in some Adani offshore deals

India’s market watchdog is investigating possible violations of “related party” transaction rules by Adani Group in its dealings with at least three offshore entities linked to the brother of the group’s founder, two people familiar with the matter said. The three entities are said to have made several investment deals over the past 13 years with the unlisted unit of the port-to-power conglomerate founded by billionaire Gautam Adani, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

US Republicans defend Trump by attacking criminal justice system

Many Republicans in the U.S. Congress responded to Donald Trump’s upcoming arraignment on Tuesday by describing the criminal justice system as corrupt, drawing parallels with their earlier slams at the nation’s election following the former president’s 2020 defeat. The rhetoric used by Trump and his allies in the House and Senate echoed his false claims of widespread election fraud in the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.

Syrian foreign minister visits Egypt for first time in over a decade

The Syrian foreign minister met with his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo on Saturday, the first such visit in more than a decade and the latest sign of mending relations between the Arab state and President Bashar al-Assad. Faisal Mekdad was embraced by Sameh Shoukry upon his arrival at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, his first official visit since before the uprising and conflict erupted in Syria in 2011.

(According to agency opinion.)

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