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China has launched a spacecraft carrying a new three-person crew for its orbiting space station. This comes as it plans to put astronauts on the moon before the end of the decade. The Shenzhou 16 spacecraft lifted off from the Jiuquan launch center on the edge of the Gobi Desert in northwestern China atop a Long March 2-F rocket at 9:31 a.m. Tuesday. The crew, including China's first civilian astronaut, will overlap briefly with three aboard the Tiangong station, who will then return to Earth after completing their six-month mission. China said Monday it plans to expand the space station and launch a crewed mission to the moon before 2030.
Explosions have rattled Kyiv during daylight as Russian ballistic missiles fell on the Ukrainian capital. The barrage came hours after a more common nighttime attack on the city by drones and cruise missiles. Debris from missiles intercepted by Ukrainian air defenses Monday fell in Kyiv’s central and northern districts during the morning. Officials said missile fragments landed in the middle of traffic on a city road and also started a fire on the roof of a building. At least one civilian was reported hurt. Air defenses brought down more than 40 targets during the previous night as Russian forces bombarded Kyiv. It was their 15th nighttime attack on the city so far this month. Ukrainian air defenses were responding to another aerial attack Monday night.
Russia’s Interior Ministry has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham following his comments related to the fighting in Ukraine. Graham met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday. Zelenskyy's office later released an edited video of the encounter in which Graham notes that “the Russians are dying" and describes the U.S. military assistance to the country as “the best money we’ve ever spent.” Graham appeared to have made the remarks in different parts of the conversation. But the short video by Ukraine’s presidential office put them next to each other. It caused outrage in Russia. The Russian Interior Ministry issued the arrest warrant on Monday.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a judge to oversee an inquiry into allegations that the country supplied arms to Russia on a ship that docked secretly at a naval base in December. The allegations were made this month by the United States’ ambassador to South Africa, who said he was sure that weapons and ammunition were loaded onto the Russian-flagged cargo ship when it docked at the Simon’s Town naval base near Cape Town. Ramaphosa's office said Sunday that a former Supreme Court of Appeal judge would be the chairman of a three-member independent panel to investigate the incident.
Uganda’s president has signed into law new anti-gay legislation supported by many in the East African country but widely condemned by rights activists and others abroad. The version of the bill signed by President Yoweri Museveni doesn’t criminalize those who identify as LGBTQ, a key concern for rights campaigners, who condemned an earlier draft of the legislation as an egregious attack on human rights. However, the new law still prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as cases of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people.
North Korea has told neighboring Japan it plans to launch a satellite in coming days, which may be an attempt to put a military reconnaissance satellite into orbit. Japan's defense minister says he ordered the military to shoot down the satellite or debris, if any entered Japanese territory. The notice gave a launch window of between May 31 and June 11. It said it may affect waters in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and east of the Philippines’ Luzon Island. It said earlier this month its first military spy satellite is ready for launch. North Korea’s past launches have demonstrated an ability to deliver a satellite into space, but there are questions about the satellite’s capability.
The United Arab Emirates has unveiled plans to send a spaceship to explore the galaxy’s main asteroid belt, the latest space project by the oil-rich nation after it launched the successful Hope spacecraft to Mars in 2020. Dubbed the Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt, the project aims to develop a spacecraft in the coming years and then launch it in 2028 to study various asteroids. If successful, the spacecraft will soar at speeds reaching 33,000 kilometers per hour on a seven-year journey to explore six asteroids. It will culminate in the deployment of a landing craft onto a seventh, rare “red” asteroid that scientists say may hold insight into the building blocks of life on Earth.
The French general manager of Milan’s famed Teatro alla Scala is facing the threat of a tenure cut short, even as he unveiled a star-studded 2023-24 season on Monday. A decree adopted by the far-right-led government would require any general manager of a lyric opera theatre to step down on their 70th birthday. The new rules are widely seen as seeking to curtail foreign influence on Italian culture. For La Scala’s general manager, Dominique Meyer, that would be in August 2025, precluding a customary second mandate. His first runs out in the spring of that year.
After securing a strong new mandate in a runoff presidential election, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan could temper some positions that have irritated his NATO allies. But observers predicted that the country’s longtime strongman leader is unlikely to depart from his habit of engaging with both the West and Russia. Erdogan won reelection Sunday with more than 52% of the vote. He must now confront skyrocketing inflation that has fueled a cost-of-living crisis and rebuild in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people and leveled entire cities. Erdogan won partly due to the backing of conservative voters. They remain devoted to him for lifting Islam’s profile in Turkey and raising the country’s influence in international politics.
Greek authorities say they have arrested five police officers from a special border guard force on suspicion of working with smugglers to help migrants cross into the country from neighboring Turkey. A police statement says the five suspects are believed to have facilitated the entry of at least 100 people since late October, using boats to cross the Evros River that runs along the northeastern Greek land border with Turkey. During the arrests in the border town of Didymoteicho Monday, police confiscated some 26,000 euros ($28,000) in cash, and nearly 60 mobile phones. The Evros is a key crossing point into Greece for people seeking a better life in the European Union.
The NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force say that 25 of its troops were injured in the clashes with ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo who were trying to take over the offices of one of the municipalities where ethnic Albanian mayors took up their posts last week. The violence was the latest incident as tensions soared over the past week. Serbia has put its military on high alert and is sending more troops to the border with Kosovo, whose declaration of independence in 2008 is not recognized by Belgrade. Kosovo and Serbia have been foes for decades with Belgrade refusing to recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty. Ethnic Serbs tried to enter the local commune building in Zvecan on Monday and clashed with police.
Sudan’s warring sides have agreed to extend a shaky cease-fire in their battle for control of the country, after two key international mediators signaled impatience with persistent truce violations. The five-day extension of the cease-fire between Sudan’s military and its rival, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, was announced in a joint statement late Monday by Saudi Arabia and the United States. The extension comes after Riyadh and Washington called out the warring sides for specific breaches of a week-long truce. The specific statement came in place of yet another general appeal to both sides to respect agreements. Since fighting erupted April 15, there have been seven declared cease-fires, all of which have been violated to some extent.
Lebanon’s interior minister and security officials say assailants have kidnapped a Saudi Arabian citizen in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. But they say the motive behind the abduction was not immediately clear. State-run Saudi TV station Al-Ekhbariya reported Monday that the kidnapped man works for Saudi national airlines Saudia and that the unidentified kidnappers have demanded a $400,000 ransom. The officials in Beirut said the man was kidnapped around midnight Saturday on the road leading to Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport and search operations were underway to find him.
Belarus and Russia have no immediate plans to adopt a joint currency, Belarus' strongman leader announced on Monday. During talks with the head of Russia's central bank, Alexander Lukashenko said that introducing the Russian ruble in Belarus would not be “an easy process,” and that the authorities in Minsk had no intentions so far of doing so. Lukashenko has relied on Russian support to survive months of mass protests following the disputed 2020 election, and to keep Belarus' Soviet-style economy afloat. A Belarusian analyst told AP that Lukashenko's remarks marked an attempt to “preserve the remnants of [Belarusian] sovereignty” amid rumors of his deteriorating health.