** Writ petition in HC seeks judicial probe into Narail teacher's humiliation ** Over 30 lakh homeless, 40,000 houses destroyed in flood-hit Sylhet ** Their Lordships would not convict him as enemy of the country if anyone had opposed Padma Bridge ** Desperate bid to keep reserve stable ** College teacher Utpal murder: Prime accused held in Gazipur ** WB Board approves $1.03 billion for Bangladesh and Nepal to help improve regional trade ** Inner containment dome installed at Unit-2 of Rooppur N-power plant ** Adity Sarker, a doctor, dies from self-inflicted burn wounds ** College teacher murder: Prime accused’s father arrested from Kushtia ** 135 Indian fishermen detained by Navy ** At least 51 dead in prison riot fire in Colombia, prisons agency says ** River transporters face uncertainty over ‘special’ Eid services ** Siltation of riverbeds and haors is the main cause of floods ** DUTA protests humiliation, killing of teacher ** Ferry services from Mawa terminal to continue: State Minister ** Padma Bridge to transform Bagerhat’s tourism industry ** Truck overturns after crossing Padma Bridge, injuring four people ** College teacher ‘beaten by students with cricket stump’ dies in Savar ** HC says govt must identify those who conspired against Padma Bridge project ** Fire at shoe factory in city under control ** Padma Bridge: Over Tk 2 cr toll collected from vehicles on 1st day ** Aggressive approach to collect more revenue is repressive for people ** Soybean oil price decreased by Tk 6 per liter ** Flood: 2 more deaths pushes up toll to 84 ** Padma Bridge opens to traffic; Hundreds of vehicles seen at Mawa and Jajira ends **

EU hikes military aid for Ukraine as NATO expansion faces roadblocks

15 May 2022

Europe pledged another half billion dollars in military support for Kyiv on Friday as Sweden and Finland's moves toward joining NATO hit multiple hurdles.
Moscow said it would cut off electricity to Helsinki, and the president of Turkey -- a member of the Atlantic alliance whose approval is required to expand it -- expressed opposition to the Scandinavian countries becoming part of NATO.
Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops continued along the long front in the Donbas with minor gains on both sides, and Ukrainian fighters under siege in a Mariupol steelworks pleaded for help.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu meanwhile spoke directly for the first time since before the war began.
But few details emerged from their one-hour call beyond Austin urging Shoigu to implement an immediate ceasefire, according to the Pentagon.
"The call itself didn't specifically solve any acute issues or lead to a direct change in what the Russians are doing or what they are saying," a senior US defense official said.
One day after leaders in Helsinki declared their nation must apply to join NATO "without delay," Russian state energy group Inter RAO said it would suspend electricity supplies to Finland beginning Saturday.
Inter RAO's subsidiary in the Nordic region blamed the suspension on not having received payment for electricity sold in May.
Noting that only 10 percent of the country's electricity comes from neighbouring Russia, the Finnish electricity network operator said it would be able to make do without Russian electricity.
"We're prepared for this and it won't be difficult. We can make do with a bit more imports from Sweden and Norway," said Timo Kaukonen, manager for operational planning at Finnish power firm Fingrid.
But the cutoff underscored the challenges as both Finland and Sweden prepare for the major geopolitical shift that their joining NATO would represent, after years of proudly staying out of the alliance.
A second hurdle appeared when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO.
"We do not have a positive opinion. Scandinavian countries are like a guesthouse for terror organisations," Erdogan told journalists, referring to a longstanding complain by Ankara that Scandinavian countries shelter members of Turkish breakaway and dissident groups.
US President Joe Biden spoke with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto Friday on the NATO plan, and the White House said it was "working to clarify" Erdogan's stance on the issue.
The Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers planned to meet their Turkish counterpart in Berlin on Saturday to discuss their potential NATO bids.
At a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in the German sea resort of Wangels as the war entered its 12th week, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell promised Ukraine an extra 500 million euros ($520 million), bringing the bloc's total military aid to two billion euros.
In a speech Friday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed gratitude for Ukraine's partners "strengthening sanctions against Russia and increasing military and financial assistance to us."
"This is the only recipe for defending freedom during Russia's invasion. It is not just expenses for Western countries. It is not about accounting. It's about the future," he said. A captured Russian soldier appeared in a court in Kyiv on Friday facing war crimes and murder charges.
Vadim Shishimarin, 21, allegedly gunned down an unarmed 62-year-old civilian who had witnessed a carjacking by fleeing Russian troops.
The trial marks a significant moment in Ukraine, where accounts of murder, torture and rape by Russian forces are multiplying.
In eastern Ukraine, witnesses in the village of Stepanki, near the regional capital of Kharkiv, accused the Russians of shelling a home, killing several people.They said six people who lived in the house were drinking tea in the courtyard when a tank approached.
"They started going into the house to hide," said Olga Karpenko, 52. The tank took aim and fired at them as they entered the house."Four people died, two were injured. My daughter died from a shrapnel wound in the back of her head," Karpenko said.- There is a Call for help from Mariupol -
Russian forces continued to shell the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, where around 1,000 Ukrainian fighters remained under siege.
From inside the plant, Sviatoslav Palamar, one of the leaders of the Ukrainian Azov regiment, told the online Kyiv Security Forum that there were 600 wounded there and pleaded for help to evacuate them.

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