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Thursday, Feb 29th

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Russian oil getting into UK via refinery loophole, reports claim

Russian oil getting into UK

Millions of barrels of fuel made from Russian oil are still being imported to the UK despite sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine, research claims.

A so-called "loophole" means Russian crude is refined in countries such as India and the products sold to the UK.

This is not illegal and does not breach the UK's Russian oil ban, but critics say it undermines sanctions aimed at restricting Russia's war funds.

The UK government denied there had been any imports of Russian oil since 2022.

But a spokesman said internationally recognised "rules of origin" define that crude, once refined in another country, is classed for the purposes of trade as originating from the refining country.

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King Charles III diagnosed with cancer following hospitalization for prostate procedure

King Charles IIIKing Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.

"During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer," Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

Charles underwent a "corrective procedure" last week at The London Clinic after the palace previously announced that the monarch, 75, was seeking treatment for an enlarged prostate. His wife, Queen Camilla, told people at the private hospital that the king was "doing well." His daughter-in-law, Princess Kate, was receiving care and recovering from abdominal surgery at the same facility.

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Lunar New Year traditions evolve in the Asian diaspora

Lunar New Year traditions evolve

Jan. 1 is an opportunity to start fresh for many people worldwide. They make resolutions to eat better, become healthier or take control of finances. Unfortunately, many people also abandon their resolutions by February. Luckily, it's around this time that I get a second chance to reflect on my year and set the tone for a new one.

This year, Feb. 10 marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year. It's one of the most important festivals in many Asian countries, including Vietnam, China, Korea as well as the Asian diaspora. The holiday prompts what is considered one of the world's largest annual human migrations as hundreds of millions of people travel back to their familial hometowns for the celebrations, which last up to two weeks. Certain foods are eaten only at this time of year. Often traditional costumes are worn. Celebrants gather to see parades and perform various rites and rituals with elders in order to guarantee a lucky year ahead.

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A requiem for Gaza's iconic sites, destroyed in the war

A requiem for Gaza's iconic sites

The stately palace where Napoleon is said to have slept for a few nights. The last remaining Turkish bath, offering full body oil scrubs. The antiques shop with its trove of dusty treasures for sale.

So many of Gaza City's gems are no more.

They withstood decades of upheaval, preserving the memory of Gaza's ancient glory as a crossroads of civilizations. Now they have now been decimated in Israel's ongoing bombardment of Gaza, the deadliest war Palestinians have ever faced, prompted by the deadliest day Israelis have ever endured, when Hamas attacked Oct 7.

"It's really heartbreaking to see all this, and to think about the city that I cherish, that I'm from, that I love, in complete ruins," says Palestinian-American author Laila El-Haddad, fighting off tears. Her parents grew up in Gaza and she used to live there. "I just can't imagine why — what the point is of destroying all these places."

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Israel issues its most detailed warning yet to Hezbollah, while the war in Gaza marks 4 months

Israelis demand hostage returnIsrael’s military on Saturday issued its most detailed warning yet to Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon that it would be “ready to attack immediately” if provoked, as it recounted its actions along the northern border during four months of war in Gaza and made a rare acknowledgement of dozens of airstrikes inside Syria against the militant group.

“We do not choose war as our first priority, but we are certainly prepared,” military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said, adding: “We will continue to act wherever Hezbollah is present, we will continue to act wherever it is required in the Middle East. What is true for Lebanon is true for Syria, and is true for other more distant places.”

The comments followed the defense minister’s warning that a cease-fire in Gaza against the militant group Hamas wouldn’t mean Israel wouldn’t attack Hezbollah as needed.

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Russia-Ukraine war: fire at major Russian oil refinery after drone attack

Ukranian soldiers

Volgograd’s governor has now confirmed that a fire erupted at a major Russian oil refinery in the south-western region overnight after a drone attack blamed on Ukraine.

Ukraine has launched drone attacks on Russia for months after Moscow’s almost two-year offensive.

Governor Andrei Bocharov said on Telegram:

Last night, the air defence and electronic jamming repelled an attack by drones in the Volgograd region’s Kalachyovsky and Zakanalye districts.

A fire started at the Volgograd refinery after one of the downed drones fell.

He added that the fire service had already brought the blaze under control by the start of the morning.

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For the first time, an Irish nationalist leads Northern Ireland's government

Michelle O'Neill is first nationalist Irish head of governmentAn Irish nationalist made history Saturday by becoming Northern Ireland's first minister as the government returned to work after a two-year boycott by unionists.

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill was nominated as first minister in the government that under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday peace accord shares power between Northern Ireland's two main communities — British unionists who want to stay in the U.K., and Irish nationalists who seek to unite with Ireland. Northern Ireland was established as a unionist, Protestant-majority part of the U.K. in 1921, following independence for the Republic of Ireland.

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