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Italy announces bilateral security deal with Ukraine

The Italian government has announced a bilateral support agreement with Ukraine ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) leaders' meeting under Italy's presidency. Both events were held on Saturday as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine reached its second anniversary. The security partnership with a 10-year mandate between Rome and Kiev includes cooperation in defence, economy, infrastructure and energy, and humanitarian support, among other fields, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Italian media. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said that security and support for Ukraine will be among the main priorities under the G7 mandate. She was among a small group of world leaders who travelled to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, to commemorate the second anniversary of the conflict. "We reiterate the centrality of Ukraine to the agenda of Italy's G7 presidency and 360 degrees of Italy's assistance to Kiev, starting from reconstruction and in security matters," Meloni said on Saturday from Antonov Airport near the Ukrainian capital, according to Italian media reports. In addition to Meloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the unusual G7 meeting outside the territory of the host country in person, with leaders from other members of the group -- the UK, France, Germany, Japan and the US -- participating via video link. Other leaders in Kiev on Saturday included Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, whose country is holding the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) Council. The EU is a "non-enumerated member" of the G7. The next meeting on the calendar under Italy's G7 presidency is the minister-level gathering on industry and digital technology in the northern Italian cities of Verona and Trento on March 13-15. The centrepiece of the Italian G7 presidency will be the summit of heads of state and government to be held in the southern Italian region of Apulia in June. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

25 February,2024 08:19 AM IST | Rome | IANS
Representational pic

Pakistan: 26 persons lost their lives in Karachi owing to street crimes in 2024

The residents of Karachi have been becoming victims of outlaws, with 26 people, murdered by street criminals since the beginning of 2024, as reported by The News International. Despite several policies initiated by the Sindh police department, the numbers have been rising. Out of 26 people murdered by street criminals, a minor girl was also included. However, observers and survivors asserted that the Karachi people have been failing in controlling street crime, with bandits roaming freely around the city, despite the presence of police officials on the streets, according to The News International.  Every day, the law and order situation in the city has been deteriorating with every passing day. Reportedly, on Friday, a 2-year-old girl was shot dead in front of her father on their doorstep in Korangi. The survivors of these crimes and their families have been failing to protect the residents of the city and have demanded that incompetent officers, especially the relevant SHOs, be sacked, as reported by The News International.  In the past two days, three people were killed and several injured during muggings. In another incident, Sohrab Hussain, 50, was killed near Iqbal Market in Orangi Town, Sector 11. He was a passer-by who was shot dead by the suspects. Moreover, two brothers were shot when they resisted a mugging attempt near the Banaras Bridge in Peerabad. Abdul Moiz, 20, was killed and his brother Abdul Mannan, 16, was seriously injured.  They were riding a motorcycle when a couple of motorcyclists tried to rob them and fired indiscriminately at their resistance, resulting in serious injuries to both brothers, according to The News International. According to the observers, Sindh in general and Karachi in particular have been facing the ever-increasing menace of street crime over the past few years, resulting in a sharp increase in crimes of various dimensions.  However, the former governments claimed to improve the law-and-order situation but have been faced with the ground realities, with a large number of people having fallen prey to various criminals. The recently elected government is yet to assume control of the province, but it has vowed to restore the past glory of the city by combating the menace of lawlessness, as reported by The News International.  Notably, Karachi has witnessed an unprecedented upsurge in street crime, especially the snatching of phones, cars and motorbikes. Observers believed that the insufficient police strength, compounded with political interference in the police department, has resulted in a sharp increase in street crime. According to them, the government needs to induct some 50,000 officials based on merit in order to overcome the increasing policing challenges, The News International reported. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

25 February,2024 08:10 AM IST | Islamabad | ANI
Hamas is looking to negotiate a two-month ceasefire, which Israel is still unwilling to grant. Pic/Getty Images

Possibility of Israel-Hamas ceasefire looms on the horizon

A Hamas delegation— which is in Paris for negotiations for a ceasefire deal with Israel—has come down on many of its demands. Sources in the Israel defence ministry said that while Hamas is insisting for a permanent withdrawal of Israel troops from Gaza Strip, it has come down on many of its demands including release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from the Israel jails against the release of each Israeli hostage. Even as the Hamas negotiators are sticking to their demand for a permanent ceasefire, they may agree for a two-month ceasefire, which Israel has not agreed to. Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told media persons that Hamas has come down from their earlier demands due to Israel moving towards a ground offensive in Rafah, Gaza, which borders Egypt. Egypt is wary that if Israel Defense Forces attack Rafah, then there will be a huge spill over of Palestinians into its territory. Ahmad Kamal, head of Egyptian intelligence who is part of the mediatory talks, has told Arabian media that the talks were progressive and that things were heading in the right direction. During the one week ceasefire from November 24 to December 1, 105 Israel hostages in the custody of Hamas were released in exchange for 324 Palestinian prisoners from Israel jails. There are 134 Israeli hostages in custody of Hamas—all of whom are not alive, and according to information, 35 Israeli hostages would be released. Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns are part of the negotiations in Paris. Hamas and Israel are not directly talking to each other, but communicating through the mediators on their respective demands. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

25 February,2024 07:00 AM IST | Tel Aviv | Agencies
Ukrainian citizens hang up flags in memory of war victims in Kyiv. Pic/AP

This week marks two years of the Russia-Ukraine war

Western leaders descended on Kyiv  on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled overnight to Kyiv by train along with Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They arrived shortly after a Russian drone attack struck a residential building in the southern city of Odessa, killing at least one person. Three women also sustained severe burns in the attack Friday evening on a residential building, regional Governor Oleh Kiper said on his social media account. Rescue services are still combing rubble looking for survivors. The foreign leaders are in Ukraine to express solidarity as Ukrainian forces run low on ammunition and weaponry and Western aid hangs in the balance. “More than ever we stand firmly by Ukraine. Financially, economically, militarily, morally. Until the country is finally free,” von der Leyen said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, after she arrived in Kyiv. But, at the front line in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers pleaded for ammunition. “When the enemy comes in, a lot of our guys die. We are sitting here with nothing,” said Volodymyr, 27, a senior officer in an artillery battery. “In order to protect our infantry... we need a high number of shells, which we do not have now,” said Oleksandr, 45, commander of an artillery unit. The war has also come to Russia. Drones hit a steel plant in the Lipetsk region in southern Russia Saturday, causing a large fire, regional governor Igor Artamonov said, adding there are no casualties. Independent Russian media said the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant is the largest steel plant in Russia. Videos shared on Russian social media showed several fires burning at the plant. Independent Russian news outlet Mediazona said on Saturday that around 75,000 Russian men died in 2022 and 2023 fighting in the war. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

25 February,2024 06:24 AM IST | Kyiv | Agencies
Neptune’s moon tally rises to 16, while Uranus now has 28. Pic/AP

Neptune, Uranus have new moons on the block

Astronomers have found three previously unknown moons in our solar system—two additional moons circling Neptune and one around Uranus. The distant tiny moons were spotted using powerful land-based telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, and announced on Friday by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center. The latest tally puts Neptune at 16 known moons and Uranus at 28. One of Neptune’s new moons has the longest known orbital journey yet. It takes around 27 years for the small outer moon to complete one lap around Neptune, the vast icy planet farthest from the sun, said Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, who helped make the discovery. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

25 February,2024 05:58 AM IST | Washington | Agencies
Suzanne Noble

Toy story

While some women see their libido flop when they hit their 60s, it’s the exact opposite for Suzanne Noble. At 62, she loves sex, orgasms every single day AND enjoys regular love making sessions with her toyboy partner. The mum-of-two wakes up every morning primed and ready for a bit of action between the sheets. And if her partner isn’t with her, then she’ll reach for her trusty vibrator. Suzanne, who’s 62 and lives on her own in London, says: “I’m a morning person and what better way to start the day than with an orgasm. It sets me up to feel relaxed and happy for the rest of the day. And if for any reason I have to skip it, then I feel distracted, as if I have an itch that I can’t scratch! It’s a horrible feeling.”  Suzanne, who has a sex positive TikTok channel with nearly 230k likes, believes it’s time to break down any lasting stigma against women masturbating and using sex toys and even tests and reviews them for various companies. She says, “I’ve used sex toys for years–my first ones about 30 years ago were very basic, noisy and buzzing with rattly batteries. The toys of today which are very sophisticated, largely quiet and even ones you can use with a long-distance partner controlling them with an app.” Suzanne was first approached by a sex toy company about a year ago to test them. Since then, she’s shared her reviews via her podcast called Sex Advice for Seniors and on her TikTok account where she has over 56k followers. “At the moment, I’ve got 15 different toys that I use depending on my mood–I’ve had many more than that in my time, but I throw them away when I get a better one, otherwise my bedroom would be taken over by them.” What’s up, croc? Italian church has a taxidermized croc hanging from the ceiling  If you travel to the small municipality of Curtatone, in Lombardia, Italy, you’ll find a church with a five-century-old crocodile hanging from the ceiling. How the croc wound up at the Santuario Della Beata Vergine Maria Delle Grazie is, and will probably remain a mystery, but its purpose had been linked to religious symbolism. In ancient times, Christianity associated reptilian creatures like snakes, dragons, and crocodiles with evil, either as personifications of the devil or simply animals that lead humans to sin. So, having it chained high up in the vault of the church served both as a warning for churchgoers, but also as a symbol of victory of good over evil. While it might look like a prop at first, this is a real embalmed Nile crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) believed to be at least 500 years old, with the church itself dating back to the 13th century. Over the years, many legends surrounding the origin of the animal circulated around Lombardia, but the two most popular ones involve a local animal menagerie and two brave brothers who fought the animal. Some believe that the crocodile was caught and killed after escaping a private exotic zoo on the estate of Francesco Gonzaga, while others claim that the animal one day attacked two brothers resting on the banks of the Mincio River. One of them asked for the help of the Holy Virgin, and, armed with a knife, attacked and killed the crocodile. Makeup mania A Mexican beauty salon has been getting a lot of attention on TikTok because of its promotional videos, many of which seem to show some “horrible” makeup examples. Ohio Esthetic’s most popular videos are the ones showcasing the salon’s most bizarre makeup. With names like “Makeup to Go Sign the Divorce” or “When You Thought You Would Be Single on Valentine’s Day,” these viral clips show young women completely transformed, but not in a good way. Cabin fever A Gen Zer moved back into her childhood cabin in Homer, Alaska, last year—even though it has no running water or automatic heat and temperatures have reached 24 degrees below Zero Fahrenheit. Karma Wilcox, 19, was born in California and raised in the breath-taking two-story cabin by her dad until age eight. She resumed living there in March 2023, as she was craving a sense of “freedom.” “The insulation is not the best. The logs are cut down and layered around the cabin with moss, with sticks nailed in between to keep some warmth in,” Wilcox said. “My main source of heating is firewood, which is on 24/7, and I go through about a box of logs a day.” Miser or millionaire? An 80-year-old German man, Heinz B, has been dubbed the world’s most frugal millionaire for living off food and stuff found in dumpsters. The octogenarian might not look like much, but he is worth several millions of dollars. He claims to have been frugal his whole life and is more than happy living on food found in dumpsters. Pregnancy heist An Italian woman stands accused of faking no less than 17 pregnancies—12 natural abortions and 5 false births—over the last 24 years, to receive 1,10,000 euros (Rs 9,8,80,511) in maternity benefits. 50-year-old Barbara Loele’s pregnancies have resulted in years of maternity leave and a small fortune in state-paid benefits.  Smelly cure A Spanish woman sparked controversy after claiming that dripping urine into her eyes cured her myopia and astigmatism. TikTok user and “assistant metaphysical counselor” Suama Fraile claims that urine is also much better at treating eye problems than the chemical-infused medicine prescribed by most doctors. The woman claims to have dripped urine into her eyes daily until it cured her.

25 February,2024 05:35 AM IST | Italy | A Correspondent
Joe Biden. Pic/AFP

Biden tells governors he's eyeing executive action on immigration

President Joe Biden told the nation's governors on Friday that he's exploring what executive actions he can take to address migration across the southern border after a bipartisan deal collapsed in Congress this month. He seemed to express frustration at the limits of his authority to act unilaterally. Biden hosted members of the National Governors Association in the East Room, where he implored them to urge their representatives in Congress to resurrect the bipartisan proposal that collapsed within 48 hours. He also sharply criticized Republicans for backing away from the agreement after former President Donald Trump lobbied in opposition to the deal. Later, during a private question and answer session with the governors, he indicated he was looking at what his options are for doing something by executive order. "Over time, our laws and our resources haven't kept up with our immigration system and it's broken," Biden told the governors, lamenting that "petty politics intervened" to kill the deal. Utah Governor Spencer Cox, the Republican chair of the association, told reporters later that Biden didn't specify what actions he is considering, but he said the president noted that he was confronting the limits of what he can do without Congress. "He did say that he has been working with his attorneys, trying to understand what executive action would be upheld in the courts and would be constitutional, and that he seemed a little frustrated that he was not getting answers from attorneys that he felt he could take the kind of actions that he wanted to," Cox said. Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Democratic vice-chair of the governors' group, said governors got a "general sense that they're looking into whatever they can do on the executive side. Again, keeping our expectations realistic, that's going to be more limited than a congressional solution." Polis said Biden cited federal courts overruling some of former President Donald Trump's immigration actions, and a desire to avoid a similar fate with any action he took. "And so there was a frustration that that would occur under under his leadership as well, under any president, absent a change in the law," Polis said. "A lot of the steps we need to take simply aren't legal under current law." Cox added: "He mentioned the ability to declare an emergency at the border, what would that look like, could he do something like that. It was just kind of a general refrain when pushing back on you need to do more' and him saying my attorneys tell me I can't do more." Among the actions under consideration by Biden is invoking authorities outlined in Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which gives a president broad leeway to block entry of certain immigrants into the United States if it would be "detrimental" to the national interest. Trump, the likely GOP candidate to face off against Biden this fall, repeatedly leaned on the 212(f) power while in office, including his controversial ban on travellers from Muslim-majority nations. Biden rescinded that ban on his first day in office through executive order. How Biden would deploy that power to deal with his own immigration problems is being considered, and it could be used in a variety of ways, according to three people familiar with the discussions. For example, the ban could kick in when border crossings hit a certain number. That echoes a provision in the Senate border deal, which would have activated expulsions of migrants if the number of illegal border crossings reached above 5,000 daily for a five-day average. The people familiar with the talks spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to comment on private ongoing White House discussions. Cox noted that as he's pressed Biden to act unilaterally, ultimately, more comprehensive solutions will depend on Congress. "There's some disagreement on how much the president can do and can't do and I pushed back on the president on that," he said. "But we I think there's also general consensus that the Congress does have to do something." He said if Congress can't back the comprehensive deal, then perhaps pieces of it, like boosting money for border patrol agents and asylum officers, could be tacked on to coming spending bills. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

24 February,2024 08:40 AM IST | Washington | AP | PTI
Donald Trump. Pic/AFP

Trump says he 'strongly supports' IVF

Former President Donald Trump said Friday that he would "strongly support the availability of IVF" and called on lawmakers in Alabama to preserve access to the procedure. It was his first comments after an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that led some providers to suspend in vitro fertilisation treatments and has divided many Republicans nationally over the issue. Trump, in a post on his Truth Social network, said: "Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families. We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder!" The comments come after a ruling by the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. Since then, several clinics in the state have announced pauses on IVF services. As president, Trump nominated three of the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade, paving the way for dramatic restrictions in access to abortion across the country. Some anti-abortion advocates have suggested courts should go further to rule embryos are children, which would sharply ramp up restrictions on treatments like IVF.  This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

24 February,2024 08:35 AM IST | Columbia | AP | PTI
The Odysseus lunar lander is seen with the Earth in the background. Pic/AP

First US moon landing in over five decades

A private lander on Thursday made the first U.S. touchdown on the moon in more than 50 years, but managed just a weak signal back until flight controllers scrambled to gain better contact. Despite the spotty communication, Intuitive Machines, the company that built and managed the craft, confirmed that it had landed upright. But it did not provide additional details, including whether the lander had reached its intended destination near the moon’s South Pole. The company ended its live webcast soon after identifying a lone, weak signal from the lander. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

24 February,2024 07:45 AM IST | Cape Canaveral | Agencies
A demonstration against the Energy Charter Treaty by ‘Friends of the Earth, Europe’. File pic/X

UK withdraws from Energy Charter Treaty

Britain’s government said Thursday it is withdrawing from a controversial international energy treaty after efforts to modernise it ended in stalemate.  The UK’s move followed similar announcements by France, Germany and other European Union countries to quit the Energy Charter Treaty, which critics say is being used by the fossil fuel industry to legally challenge governments over their climate policies. The treaty entered into force in 1998 to protect and encourage international flows of investment in the energy sector. But a number of countries have faced costly legal challenges over reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and boosting greener energy sources. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

24 February,2024 07:41 AM IST | London | Agencies
Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in happier times. Pic/X

IMF ready to work with new Pak govt

The IMF is looking forward to working with the new government in Pakistan, a top official said while keeping mum on jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s demand that the global lender conduct an “audit” of the election results before approving any new loan. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Khan on Thursday said he will write to IMF, demanding it stop its support to Pakistan. Imran Khan, wife move court against marriage  Jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi on Friday separately moved a lower court challenging the verdict in the “un-Islamic” marriage case in which they were jailed for seven years and their marriage in 2018 declared illegal. Khan, 71, and Bushra Bibi, 49, were sentenced earlier this week. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

24 February,2024 07:39 AM IST | Washington/Islamabad | Agencies
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