Nation and world news in brief for Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Palestinians return to Khan Younis to find an unrecognizable city

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Stunned Palestinians in Gaza’s Khan Younis are finding their home city unrecognizable as they filter in to salvage what they can from the vast destruction left by Israeli troops. The troops withdrew from Khan Younis on Sunday after months of fighting and bombardment. With thousands of buildings destroyed or damaged, families are trying to find their homes along streets bulldozed down to the dirt, surrounded by landscapes of rubble and debris that were once blocks of apartments and businesses. The scenes underscore what has been one of the world’s most destructive and lethal military assaults in recent decades, leaving most of the tiny coastal territory unlivable for its 2.3 million people.


‘Panama Papers’ trial starts. 27 people charged in the worldwide money laundering case

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Panama has started the trial of 27 people charged in the worldwide “Panama Papers” money laundering case. Those on trial include the owners of the Mossack-Fonseca law firm that was at the heart of the 2016 massive document leak, and other former employees of the firm. The Panama Papers include a collection of 11 million secret financial documents that illustrate how some of the world’s richest people hide their money. The repercussions of the leaks have been far-ranging, prompting the resignation of the prime minister of Iceland and bringing scrutiny to the leaders of Argentina and Ukraine, Chinese politicians and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.

Ethnic guerrillas in Myanmar look set to seize important town on Thai border

BANGKOK (AP) — Guerrilla fighters from Myanmar’s Karen ethnic minority are claiming to be close to seizing control of a major trading town bordering Thailand. Soldiers and civil servants loyal to the military government appear to be preparing to abandon their positions. A spokesperson and members of the Karen National Union said Monday that their occupation of Myawaddy town appears imminent after the guerrillas seized or besieged strategic army outposts on the town’s outskirts. Myawaddy is Myanmar’s most active trading post with Thailand, and its fall would be the latest in a series of shock defeats recently suffered by the army since it seized power from a democratically elected government in 2021.

Ukraine, Russia trade fresh accusations of targeting a major nuclear power plant

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia and Ukraine are trading fresh accusations over renewed threats to Europe’s largest nuclear plant that has been caught up in the war. Moscow alleges Ukraine was behind drone attacks on the facility that were witnessed by U.N. inspectors. Kyiv, meanwhile, accuses Russia of disinformation tactics. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday called the drone attacks on the plant, in Russia-occupied southern Ukraine, “a very dangerous provocation.” The U.N.’s atomic watchdog agency on Sunday confirmed drone strikes on one of the plant’s six reactors, but did not attribute responsibility to either side. An official at Energoatom, Ukraine’s atomic energy company, blamed Russia for the attacks.

The US Army will hold combat training in the Philippines as maritime tensions rise

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The U.S. Army is introducing a joint battlefield training in the Philippines to improve combat readiness including by ensuring adequate supply of ammunition and other needs in difficult conditions in tropical jungles and on scattered islands. Maj. Gen. Marcus Evans, commanding general of the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division, told the AP that about 2,000 U.S. and Philippine army forces will join combat drills backed by helicopters and artillery fire against armed adversaries in a jungle setting in the northern Philippines in June. The U.S. has been strengthening military alliances in the Indo-Pacific to better counter China. The moves dovetail with Philippine efforts to shore up its defenses amid disputes with China in the South China Sea.

Prosecutors urge Supreme Court to reject Trump’s immunity claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Jack Smith’s team is urging the Supreme Court to reject former President Donald Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution in a case charging him with scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The brief from prosecutors was submitted just over two weeks before the justices will take up the legally untested question of whether an ex-president is shielded from criminal charges for official actions taken in the White House. The outcome of the April 25 arguments is expected to help determine whether Trump faces trial this year in a four-count indictment that accuses him of conspiring to block the peaceful transfer of power after losing the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.

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