Illegal logging threatens Cambodia’s indigenous people, says Amnesty
Rampant illegal logging of protected forests is threatening the cultural survival and livelihoods of indigenous people in Cambodia, according to Amnesty International.
Members of the Kuy people, one of the largest of Cambodia’s 24 indigenous groups, told Amnesty how deforestation in two protected forests, along with government restrictions on access have undermined their way of life and violated their human rights.
More than 6,200 hectares (15,300 acres) have been deforested across Prey Lang and Prey Preah Roka protected forests in 2021, according to a reportpublished on Friday.
Cambodia has experienced one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, losing about 64% of its tree cover since 2011, according to the report.
US Senate panel close to approving ‘mother of all sanctions’ against Russia
The leaders of the Senate foreign relations committee said on Sunday they were on the verge of approving “the mother of all sanctions” against Vladimir Putin, warning there would be no appeasement as the Russian president contemplates an invasion of Ukraine.
“We cannot have a Munich moment again,” the panel’s Democratic chair, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, told CNN’s State of the Union, referring to the 1938 agreement by which allies ceded parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, believing it would stave off war.
“Putin will not stop if he believes the west will not respond,” Menendez said. “We saw what he did in 2008 in Georgia, we saw what he did in 2014 in pursuit of Crimea. He will not stop.”
Menendez said he believed bipartisan negotiations for severe sanctions were “on the one-yard line”, despite disagreements with Republicans over whether measures should be imposed before or after any Russian invasion. The UK government promised to ramp up sanctions against Putin and his associates.
U.S. Supreme Court nominee will meet with Republicans, top Democrat says
WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, is reaching out to Republicans to assure them they will have the chance to meet with President Joe Biden's nominee to the Supreme Court, he said on Sunday.
Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would conduct a confirmation hearing for Biden's eventual nominee to the top U.S. court, said he had already spoken with Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate Republican.
"I'm reaching out to the Republicans and saying the nominee will be available for you to get to know them," Durbin said on ABC's "This Week."
More than 1,400 U.S. flights canceled by winter storm in Northeast
NEW YORK Jan 30 (Reuters) - More than 1,400 U.S. flights were canceled on Sunday after the nation's northeast states were walloped a day earlier by a deadly winter storm that prompted several states to declare emergencies.
The total number of flight cancellations within, into, or out of the United States was about 1,450as of Sunday afternoon, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com. Another 1,774 U.S.-related flights were delayed, the data showed.
LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Boston Logan International Airport were among the hardest hit by delays and cancellations.
The fierce winter storm on Saturday dropped more than 2 feet (60 cm) of snow on some areas while packing high winds, prompting thousands of flight cancellations and leading governors in Rhode Island and other states to curtail access to the roads.
Berlin: Two men steal car to redeem recyclable bottles
Two men apparently stole a car in Berlin early on Sunday in order to get a collection of recyclable bottles, authorities said.
The two suspects, 41 and 31, said they had been under the influence of drugs at the time and had also taken heroin together. According to police, the pair said they noticed the 30-year-old Honda because it contained many returnable bottles. They said their plan was to drive the car to a location where they can redeem the containers and then abandon the vehicle.
Like many other countries, Germany has a system where used bottles can be redeemed for cash or coupons, which can then be used to buy goods in stores. The amount per container varies between €0.08 to €0.25 (between 9 and 28 US cents). It was not immediately clear how many bottles there were in the car.
The two men managed to start the car, but the plan failed when their reckless driving attracted the attention of police.
Congo sentences 51 to death over UN killings
After a trial lasting nearly five years, 51 people found guilty of the killing of United Nations investigators Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan were sentenced to death on Saturday by a military court in Congo.
Many of the sentences were handed out in absentia, as suspects were either never arrested or escaped from custody.
Congo has observed a moratorium on the death penalty since 2003, so those sentenced to death will likely serve life sentences.
Sharp and Catalan were assassinated on March 12, 2017, in Congo's central Kasai region. They were on a field visit with representatives of Kamwina Nsapu, a militia active in Kasai whose customary chief Jean-Pierre Mponde was killed by Congolese army troops in August 2016.
Sharp was from the United States and Catalan from Sweden.
Russia moves naval exercise that rattled Ireland
Russia says it will relocate naval exercises off the coast of Ireland, after Dublin raised concerns, amid a tense dispute with the West over the expansion of the NATO alliance and fears that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.
The February 3-8 exercises were to be held 240km (150 miles) off southwestern Ireland – in international waters but within Ireland’s exclusive economic zone. Ireland is a member of the 27-nation European Union but not a member of NATO.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney last week objected to the war games, saying: “This isn’t a time to increase military activity and tension in the context of what’s happening with and in Ukraine. The fact that they are choosing to do it on the western borders, if you like, of the EU, off the Irish coast, is something that in our view is simply not welcome.”
Russia’s embassy in Ireland on Saturday posted a letter on Facebook from Ambassador Yuriy Filatov saying the exercises would be relocated outside of the Irish economic zone ”with the aim not to hinder fishing activities”.
NATO Won’t Put Troops In Ukraine, But Western Foreigners Are Volunteering To Join The Fight Against Russia
PAVLOPIL, Ukraine — He walked and talked and dressed like a Ukrainian soldier — and according to a contract with its armed forces, he is one. But Private Aiden “Johnny” Aslin is a British citizen with a Midlands accent and no formal orders from his home government to be fighting on the battlefields of the Donbas.
“It was my own decision to come here,” the 27-year-old told BuzzFeed News in this war-ravaged village, just north of the Sea of Azov. As he spoke, explosions from landmines being cleared in a nearby field reverberated. “I just want to support the Ukrainian state, the people, and help them fight for their sovereignty and independence,” he added.
The Western foreigners who have come to Ukraine are a motley crew. There are the idealists like Aslin who believe their own countries aren’t doing enough to help the Ukrainians secure their freedom and want to do what they can to help fight against Russian aggression against its former subject. There are the tourists who hop from conflict to conflict seeking adventure and war stories as much as money. And then there are the extremists who have seen opportunities to link up with far-right paramilitary groups fighting in Ukraine.
Ruth Slenczynska: the pupil of Rachmaninov still releasing music at 97
The greatest lesson Ruth Slenczynska learned from the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov was that sounds have colour.
Nearly 90 years ago, the nine year-old Slenczynska was practising one of Rachmaninov’s preludes when he asked her to join him at the window. It was springtime in Paris, and the avenues were lined with mimosa trees laden with fluffy, golden blossoms.
“He said: ‘You see that? That’s what you want to bring to your sound – gold.’ I said: ‘Show me.’ So he sat down at the piano and put colour into his sound, he made it meaningful. And a little kid can copy anything,” she said.
Next month, Slenczynska, who has just celebrated her 97th birthday, will release her latest album after signing a global record deal. Born in California to Polish parents, the pianist gave her first recital at the age of four and was heralded as one of the greatest child prodigies since Mozart. She made her debut with a full orchestra in Paris at seven.