Top 10 world news: Russia slams Macron for his remark, N. Korea says it fired IBM as a ‘warning’, & more

In the latest, North Korea claimed that it fired the ICBM missile as a warning to the US and S. Korea. Russia has slammed Macron for his remarks. On the Turkey-Syria front, the death toll from the earthquake has reached 46,000. In Tunisia, members of Tunisia’s leading political force, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT) also known as the Tunisian General Labour Union have taken to the streets across eight cities in the country in protest of President Kais Saied’s policies. 

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Russia on Sunday slammed France President Emmanuel Macron over his remarks about wanting to see Russia defeated in the war against Ukraine and reminded him of the fate of Napoleon Bonaparte while accusing the French president of duplicitous diplomacy with the Kremlin. Macron had told the aper Le Journal du Dimanche that France wanted Russia to be defeated in Ukraine but had never wanted to “crush” it.

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An Israeli missile struck a building in Syria’s capital Damascus that was housing senior security officials, killing at least 15 people on Sunday. The targeted strike hit the densely-populated Kafr Sousa, home to senior officials, security agencies and intelligence headquarters. “At 00:22 am (2222 GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights targeting several areas in Damascus and its vicinity, including residential neighbourhoods,” Syria’s defence ministry said in a statement.

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North Korea announced on Sunday (February 19) that it has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile as a warning to the United States and South Korea. Pyongyang claimed the successful “surprise” drill showed Pyongyang’s capability to carry out a “fatal nuclear counterattack.” The “sudden launching drill” was ordered by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at 8:00 am Saturday (2300 GMT Friday), and a Hwasong-15 missile — a weapon originally tested by the North in 2017 — was fired from Pyongyang airport that afternoon, according to the official KCNA.

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Amid the ongoing balloon controversy, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held rare talks with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Saturday during which he warned Beijing that the “irresponsible act” of flying a spy balloon into America’s airspace must not be repeated. The two leaders’ highly anticipated meeting took place on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference as tensions continue to grow between Beijing and Washington. US security officials have been in a state of alarm after they spotted a huge white balloon, which allegedly belonged to China, flying over various secretive nuclear weapons sites of the country after which it was shot down on February 4.

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The death toll in the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria has surpassed the 46,000 mark, even as rescue operations continue in full swing. It is estimated that the death toll is expected to soar further in the coming days. According to authorities, the death toll in Turkey stands at 40,642 while neighbouring Syria has reported more than 5,800 deaths, a figure that has not changed for days.

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Thousands of members of Tunisia’s leading political force, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT) also known as the Tunisian General Labour Union took to the streets across eight cities in the country in protest of President Kais Saied’s policies, on Saturday (February 18). Subsequently, the country’s government expelled the head of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) for taking part in these demonstrations. This comes as the trade union has accused Saied’s government of stifling freedoms including union rights.

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France’s leading TV news channel has suspended one of its most senior journalists who is accused of planting multiple stories on his show at the behest of an Israeli disinformation unit. Rachid M’Barki, an anchor at BFMTV since its launch in 2005, was suspended last month even as an internal inquiry into multiple stories broadcast on his show, Le journal de la nuit, is underway.

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A report by Reuters citing United States lawmakers said that Ukrainian officials have urged them on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), late Saturday to press President Joe Biden’s administration for sending F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv. This comes weeks after Ukraine’s allies in the West, after months of discussion, approved sending tanks to Kyiv amid its conflict with Russia. Meanwhile, France, on Sunday (February 19) said that it will begin delivering the armoured vehicles promised to Ukraine by next weekend. 

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An attack on Azerbaijan’s embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on January 27, left one dead and two others injured. WION spoke with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and asked him on whom the onus lies for the tension between Azerbaijan and Iran. Speaking exclusively to WION, the Azerbaijan president said, the attack on the embassy “was an organised act of terror against Azerbaijan.”

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The Berlin film festival, long a champion of Iran’s embattled independent directors, is spotlighting its citizens’ fight for basic rights with a series of screenings, events and a red-carpet protest.

French-Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani, who is serving on the jury for the top prizes with president Kristen Stewart, said as the festival kicked off Thursday that cinema was a crucial fuel for the freedom movement.


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