World News Roundup: Tanks for Ukraine in sight as holdout Germany says new minister to decide; U.S. Supreme Court weighs Turkish lender Halkbank's bid to avoid charges and more
Berlin has so far resisted providing the modern tanks or allowing partners which have them to do so, saying Western tanks should only be supplied to Ukraine if there is agreement among Kyiv's main allies, particularly the United States. NATO deploys surveillance planes to Romania, to monitor Russian activity NATO surveillance planes were due to arrive in Romania on Tuesday to bolster the military alliance's eastern flank and help monitor Russian military activity.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Tanks for Ukraine in sight as holdout Germany says new minister to decide
Ukraine came a step closer on Tuesday to winning the fleet of modern battle tanks it hopes could turn the course of the war against Russia, after the West's big holdout Germany said this would be the first item on its new defence minister's agenda. In the central city of Dnipro, more bodies were pulled from the rubble of an apartment block on Tuesday, raising the death toll to 44 in the deadliest attack for civilians of a three-month Russian missile bombardment campaign.
U.S. Supreme Court weighs Turkish lender Halkbank's bid to avoid charges
The U.S. Supreme Court is set on Tuesday to hear arguments over a bid by Turkey's state-owned lender Halkbank to avoid criminal charges in the United States for allegedly helping Iran evade economic sanctions. The justices are weighing Halkbank's appeal of a lower court's ruling in favor of the U.S. government that allowed the prosecution of the bank to proceed. The case tests Halkbank's contention that it is shielded from prosecution because, as an entity majority owned by the Turkish government, it has sovereign immunity.
Aid groups resume some Afghan operations with female healthworkers
Several aid organisations have restored some operations in Afghanistan after they received assurances from Taliban-run authorities that women could work in areas such as health, in spite of restrictions last month barring female NGO workers. The International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children and CARE said this week they were again operating some programmes, mostly in health and nutrition.
Vietnam president quits as Communist Party intensifies graft crackdown
Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has resigned after the ruling Communist Party blamed him for "violations and wrongdoing" by officials under his control, the government said on Tuesday, in a major escalation of the country's anti-graft campaign. Phuc, a former prime minister widely credited with accelerating pro-business reforms, held the largely ceremonial post of president since 2021 and is the highest-ranking official targeted by the party's sweeping corruption crackdown.
Germany names new defence minister, will face pressure to send tanks to Ukraine
Germany's government named Boris Pistorius as the new defence minister on Tuesday as pressure mounts on Berlin from Western allies to allow Ukraine to use German-made tanks in the war with Russia. Christine Lambrecht resigned as defence minister on Monday, ahead of a conference on Friday at the U.S. military base in Ramstein on Western plans to provide Kyiv with more arms.
Hundreds of police face sack as part of clean-up - UK top officer
Hundreds of officers in London are likely be sacked for sexual and domestic abuse offences, Britain's most senior policeman said on Tuesday as he sought to regain public trust after an officer admitted being a serial rapist. London's Metropolitan Police ("the Met"), which has been rocked by scandals in recent years, was plunged into further crisis after David Carrick, 48, admitted carrying out 24 counts of rape over almost two decades while serving as a police officer while his colleagues missed chances to stop him.
Davos 2023: EU to counter game changing U.S. climate move with own law
The European Union responded on Tuesday to U.S. moves to boost its energy transition with plans to make life easier for the bloc's green industry, saying it would mobilize state aid and a fund to keep firms from moving to the United States. European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos that the moves would be part of the EU's Green Deal industrial plan to make Europe a centre for clean technology and innovation.
Davos 2023-German allies pressure Scholz to give green light on tanks for Ukraine
Germany's allies on Tuesday ramped up the pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to allow the supply of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine ahead of a crunch defence ministers meeting on Friday. Berlin has so far resisted providing the modern tanks or allowing partners which have them to do so, saying Western tanks should only be supplied to Ukraine if there is agreement among Kyiv's main allies, particularly the United States.
NATO deploys surveillance planes to Romania, to monitor Russian activity
NATO surveillance planes were due to arrive in Romania on Tuesday to bolster the military alliance's eastern flank and help monitor Russian military activity. NATO announced last week it would deploy the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance planes to Bucharest, where they will start reconnaissance flights solely over NATO territory.
Nepal plane crash searchers rappel, fly drones in last-ditch effort to find two people
Searchers used drones and rappelled down a 200-metre (656-feet) deep gorge in Nepal's second-biggest city on Tuesday to search for two people unaccounted for after the country's deadliest plane crash in 30 years killed at least 70 people. Difficult terrain and inclement weather was hampering rescue efforts near the tourist city of Pokhara, where the Yeti Airlines ATR 72 turboprop carrying 72 people crashed in clear weather on Sunday just before landing.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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