PUTIN MOBILISES MORE TROOPS, SAYS NUCLEAR THREAT ‘NOT A BLUFF’
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called up 3,00,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine and backed a plan to annex parts of the country, hinting to the West he was prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.
It was Russia’s first such mobilisation since the Second World War and signified the biggest escalation of the Ukraine war since Moscow’s February 24 invasion.
It followed mounting casualties and battlefield setbacks for Russian forces, who have been driven from areas they had captured in northeast Ukraine in a counter-offensive this month and are bogged down in the south.
In an address to the Russian nation, Mr. Putin said: “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people --this is not a bluff”. Russia had “lots of weapons to reply”, he said.
Ukraine and its Western allies responded by saying the move showed Russia’s campaign in Ukraine was failing. The allies pledged further support for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government.
Russia’s Defence Minister said the partial mobilisation would see 3,00,000 reservists with previous military experience called up.
Mr. Putin said the partial mobilisation of its 2 million-strong military reservists was to defend Russia and its territories. The West did not want peace in Ukraine, he said.
He accused Washington, London and Brussels of pushing Kyiv to “transfer military operations to our territory”. Ukraine has sporadically struck targets inside Russia throughout the conflict, using long-range weapons supplied by the West.
“Nuclear blackmail has also been used,” Mr. Putin said, citing Ukraine’s Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant.
Mr. Putin also accused officials of NATO countries of making statements about “the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia --nuclear weapons”.
“I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and in some components more modern than those of the NATO countries,” he said.
Mr. Putin restated his aim was to “liberate” the Donbas, Ukraine’s industrial heartland, and said most people there did not want to return to what he called the “yoke” of Ukraine.
FED RATE HIKE: US INTEREST RATES HIT 14-YEAR HIGH IN INFLATION BATTLE
The US central bank has pushed interest rates to the highest level in almost 15 years as it fights to rein in soaring prices in the world's largest economy.
The Federal Reserve announced it was raising its key rate by another 0.75 percentage points, lifting the target range to 3% to 3.25%.
Borrowing costs are expected to climb more - and remain high, the bank said.
The move comes despite mounting concern that the cost of controlling inflation could be a harsh economic downturn.
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said the rate rises were necessary to slow demand, easing the pressures putting up prices and avoiding long-term damage to the economy. But he conceded that they will take a toll.
"We have got to get inflation behind us," he said. "I wish there were a painless way to do that. There isn't."
Banks in nearly every country - with the big exceptions of Japan and China - are facing similar trade-offs as they raise rates to combat their own inflation problems.
The Bank of England is widely expected to announce its seventh consecutive rate rise at its meeting on Thursday, while Indonesia and the Philippines are among the other countries also poised for increases.
AT UN, BIDEN TEARS INTO ‘SHAMELESS’ RUSSIA, SLAMS ‘IRRESPONSIBLE’ N-THREATS
US President Joe Biden accused Russia on Wednesday of violating the core tenets of membership in the United Nations by invading Ukraine and said Moscow was making “irresponsible” threats to use nuclear weapons. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Biden slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for starting an unprovoked war that some 40 UN members are helping Ukraine fight with funding and weapons. “A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbour, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter,” Biden said.
“Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the nonproliferation regime,” Biden said. “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. ”
Biden said no one had threatened Russia, despite its claims to the contrary, and that only Russia had sought conflict. “This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple,and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people. Wherever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should . . . make your blood run cold,” Biden said, recounting what he said was “horrifying evidence” of Russian war crimes.
“If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences,” he said, the post-WW II order crumbles. “We will stand in solidarity to Russia’s aggression. ”
The White House also announced $2. 9 billion in additional US funding to combat global food insecurity, building on $6. 9 billion in US food security funding already committed this year.
IRAN SAYS IT’S READY FOR NEW NUCLEAR DEAL BUT ASKS IF US IS
United Nations : Iran’s president insisted on Wednesday that his country is serious about reviving adeal meant to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear bomb but questioned whether Tehran could trust America’s commitment to any eventual accord.
The US had already “trampled” on a previous deal, President Ebrahim Raisi told the UN General Assembly, referring to America’s decision to pull out of the accord in 2018.
“There is a great and serious will to resolve all issues” in the nuclear talks, Raisi said, but he added: “Our wish is only one thing: observance of commitments”. “Can we truly trust without guarantees and assurances that they will this time live up to their commitment,” he asked of the U. S.
Even as he expressed a desire to reach a deal, Raisi criticised what he said was lopsided scrutiny of Iran’s nuclear activities while other nations’ atomic programs remain secret — a reference to Israel, which has never confirmed nor denied having such weapons.
“We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” US President Joe Biden said in his own speech at the UN, but he stressed that the US is ready to rejoin the accord if Iran steps up its commitments.
UK UNVEILS £40BN ENERGY BILL BAILOUT
TheUK unveiled a multibillion-pound bailout to help companies with their energy bills this winter amid soaring prices that threaten to put many out of business. Under the estimated £40 billion plan, announced on Wednesday in a statement, the government will cap the wholesale energy prices that feed into gas and power contracts for businesses for 6 months. Thereafter, a review will determine whether ongoing support is needed for specific sectors. The cap for businesses is set at 21.1 pence per KW-hour for electricity and 7.5 pence for gas.
GERMANY NATIONALISES ITS TOP GAS IMPORTER
The German government said Wednesday that it has agreed to nationalise the country’s biggest natural gas importer, Uniper, expanding state intervention in the industry to prevent an energy shortage resulting from Russia’s war in Ukraine. The deal with Uniper builds on a rescue package agreed to in July and features a capital increase of €8 billion that Germany will finance. As part of the agreement, the government will gain a 99% stake in the energy supplier, which until now was controlled by Finland-based Fortum.
GERMANY RAIDS RUSSIA OLIGARCH’S PROPERTIES
German police raided the lakeside residence of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov in the state of Bavaria on Wednesday, along with several other properties, as part of investigations into suspected sanctions violations and money-laundering. The 69-year-old has a net worth of $14.6 billion. Between 2017 and 2022, the suspect is accused of funnelling several million euros acquired as part of illegal activities through an “extensive and complex network of companies and corporations” to conceal their origin, the prosecutor general’s office in Frankfurt said.
ISRAELI PM MEETS TURKISH PRESIDENT, FIRST TIME IN 14 YEARS
Jerusalem : Israel’s PM has met with Turkiye’s president for the first time in 14 years, the latest sign of warming ties between the two regional powers after a long and bitter rift.
The office of Israeli PM Yair Lapid said he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly now underway in New York.
In his meeting with Erdogan, Lapid said he “commended” the recent restoration of full diplomatic ties between the countries and the appointment this week of a new Israeli ambassador to Turkiye.
The scene of Lapid, the Israeli caretaker PM until new elections in November, warmly greeting Erdogan could serve to bolster his diplomatic credentials as an alternative to Israel’s former PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has billed himself as a world-class statesman, but relations with Turkiye deteriorated during his more than a decade in power.
PAK RUPEE DIPS TO ALL-TIME LOW OF 240 AGAINST AMERICAN DOLLAR
Islamabad : The Pakistani rupee depreciated to an all-timelow of nearly 240 against the US dollar in intra-day trading on Wednesday, triggering speculation of the local currency sliding even more as the country struggled with deadly widespread flooding and a food/commodity crisis that prompted the government to ease import restrictions.
“There’s a greater demand of dollars than supply. Floods have added to the import bill. Aid hasn’t arrived in cash yet. But once it does, the liquidity position will ease,” said Samiullah Tariq, head of research at an investment company. Observers have pegged the flood wreckage to the economy at as high as $30 billion.
The rupee’s current spell of freefall began early September, closing at 239. 6 against the dollar on the 14th consecutive working day of this month. It had closed at Rs 238. 9 on Tuesday.
TONING IT DOWN? CHINA SAYS WANTS ‘PEACEFUL’ TAIWAN REUNIFICATION
Beijing : China toned down its rhetoric on Taiwan on Wednesday, saying it is inevitable that the self-governing island will come under its control but that it would promote efforts to achieve that peacefully.
The comments followed recent remarks by President Joe Biden that the US would defend Taiwan if China were to invade and came a day after US and Canadian warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait.
They don’t appear to signal a change in policy as much as a broader attempt to calm the waters on multiple fronts in the runup to a major meeting of the ruling Communist Party next month.
“We are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and utmost efforts,” said Ma Xiaoguang, the government spokesperson on Taiwan. Ma, speaking at a news conference, did not use the word force in his response, as he has in the past.
NEPAL PREZ REFUSES TO SIGN CITIZENSHIP BILL, IGNITES POLITICAL CRISIS
Kathmandu : A clash between Nepal’s government and its head of state over controversial citizenship legislation threw the nascent republic into turmoil on Wednesday, after President Bidhya Devi Bhandari refused to sign proposed amendments in the law.
The bill proposed, among other changes, to give citizenship certificates to children whose parents’ whereabouts were not known, while children born to a Nepali mother but whose father is unknown could get citizenship documents after the mother makes a declaration.
The changes would have entitled more than 5,00,000 people to citizenship certificates and eventually given them voting rights. It would also give citizenship documents to Nepalis who are citizens of foreign nations to do business and conduct economic activities. The deadline for Bhandarito app-rove the amendment to the 16-year-old Nepal Citizenship Act, expired at midnight.
“Since the government and parliament did not address her concerns, the president has refused to approve the bill,” Bhesh Raj Adhikari, an aide to Bhandari, said. Legal experts said the president was required to approve the changes, passed twice by a majority of parliament.
Surya Thapa, a veteran of the main opposition Communist Unified Marxist Leninist party, said the amendment must include a provision requiring foreign women to wait seven years before getting citizenship.
POWS REACH SAUDI ARABIA FROM RUSSIA
Ten prisoners of war from countries including the United States and Britain have been transferred to Saudi Arabia as part of an exchange between Russia and Ukraine, the Gulf state said on Wednesday.
The group includes five British nationals, two Americans and one each from Morocco, Sweden and Croatia, according to a Saudi official briefed on the operation.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss said that the release of the British nationals was “welcome news.
‘THE ART OF THE STEAL’: NY AG SUES TRUMP, KIDS FOR FRAUD
New York : New York’s attorney general sued former President Donald Trump and his company for fraud on Wednesday, alleging they padded his net worth by billions of dollars by lying about the value of prized assets including golf courses, hotels and his homes at Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago.
Attorney general Letitia James dubbed it: “The art of the steal”, referring to the title of a 1987 book ‘Art of the Deal’ by Trump. James’ lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, is the culmi-nation of a three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organisation. Trump’s three eldest children, Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives.
James wants Trump and the other defendants to pay $250 million, which she said was the approximate worth of the benefits it got through fraudulent practices. Trump in a social media post called the lawsuit“another Witch Hunt” and launched apersonal attack on James.
EIGHT KILLED AS PROTESTS SPREAD IN IRAN OVER KURDISH WOMAN’S DEATH
At least eight protesters have been killed in Iran in several days of unrest, according to a count of officially announced deaths and those reported by a human rights group.
Public anger has flared over the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest by the morality police responsible for enforcing a strict dress code for women.
Protests first erupted on Friday in her home province of Kurdistan, where governor Ismail Zarei Koosha said on Tuesday that three persons had been killed, without specifying when.
Like other officials, he blamed the deaths on “a plot by the enemy”.
On Wednesday, Kurdistan police commander Ali Azadi announced the death of another person, according to Tasnim news agency.
Two more protesters were killed in Kermanshah province, the region’s prosecutor Shahram Karami was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
“Unfortunately, two persons were killed during the riots yesterday,” he said. “We are sure that this was done by counter-revolutionary agents.”