Russian minister’s claim Ukraine war ‘launched against us’ met with laughter

Sergei Lavrov says Moscow ‘trying to stop’ war in remarks at India’s Raisina Dialogue conference

Comments by Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, were met with laughter at an international conference in India, when he said that the Ukraine war had been “launched against” his home country.

Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue, a politics and economics event in Delhi, Lavrov also claimed that Russia was trying to stop the war.

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Delhi audience laughs as Russian foreign minister says Ukraine war ‘was launched against us’ – video

Sergei Lavrov's description of Russian invasion as 'the war, which we are trying to stop, and which was launched against us using the Ukrainian people' was met with laughter at the Raisina Dialogue conference in India. The foreign minister said Moscow would be looking for alternative energy partners, adding: 'India and China are certainly among them'

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China says military budget to increase again by ‘appropriate’ level

Spokesperson does not specify figure but announces rise is needed to meet complex security challenges

China’s military budget is set to increase again, the spokesperson for its rubber-stamping parliament has said, before a week-long political meeting expected to make big changes to China’s system of governance and increase measures to combat international sanctions.

The spokesperson for the National People’s Congress, China’s legislative body, addressed the media on the eve of its annual meeting to outline the week’s agenda, including changes to the constitution and the legal sector, and endorsing new appointments to senior roles.

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Two children among 17 people killed after fire at Jakarta fuel storage depot

Another 60 people injured and hundreds evacuated after fire at Pertamina’s Plumpang depot

At least 17 people including two children have died after a fuel storage depot fire in Jakarta.

Three people are still missing after Friday night’s blaze at state energy firm Pertamina’s Plumpang depot in north Jakarta, with Indonesian officials the next day calling for an audit of “all fuel facilities and infrastructures” in the country.

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Hong Kong Tiananmen vigil organisers convicted under national security law

Three Hong Kong Alliance members, including prominent pro-democracy activist Chow Hang-tung, face up to six months in jail

Three former members of a Hong Kong group that organised annual vigils to mark China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown have been found guilty of not complying with a national security police request for information.

Chow Hang-tung, 38, a prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, was among those convicted by the magistrate court.

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State of emergency declared in Vanuatu after second cyclone in a week

Cyclone Kevin passed over the capital Port Vila less than three days after Cyclone Judy cut power in the city

A state of emergency was declared in Vanuatu as category 4 Cyclone Kevin brought gale-force winds and torrential rain to the Pacific nation battling its second major cyclone in a week.

Cyclone Kevin passed over the capital Port Vila late on Friday and was moving across the southern island province of Tafea on Saturday morning, bringing wind gusts in excess of 230km/h, according to the country’s meteorology department.

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Growers count cost as Cyclone Gabrielle buries New Zealand vineyards in silt

Deadly storm left wine regions of Hawkes Bay and Gisborne covered in mud just before harvest time

Some wine-growing regions in New Zealand’s North Island have been devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle, with vineyards there facing a long path to recovery after being buried by torrents of silt just before harvest time.

Wine drinkers face a long wait for their favourite bottle from the wine-growing regions of Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne after last month’s storm, which killed at least 11 people, and left Hawke’s Bay wine grower Philip Barber sheltering on the roof of his house with his wife and two small children.

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Thai factory used by Tesco faces criminal charges over treatment of workers

Exclusive: VKG, where workers made jeans for Tesco’s Thai branch between 2017 and 2020, faces charges including fraud

Thai police have brought criminal charges against a clothing factory that was used by Tesco to make F&F clothes, over its treatment of workers.

The Guardian revealed in December that Burmese workers who produced F&F jeans for Tesco in Thailand reported being made to work 99-hour weeks for illegally low pay in terrible conditions.

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