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Russia-West tensions

Tensions remain high between Russia and the US over Ukraine. Washington again accuses Moscow of seeking a pretext to invade its neighbor, an allegation Russia vehemently denies. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the allegations are unsubstantiated and not backed by evidence. On Friday, the US said Russia has already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine to lay the groundwork for invasion. For weeks now, the US and the western military alliance, NATO, have been accusing Russia of intending to attack Ukraine. That has raised tensions with Moscow which is unhappy with increased military activity by NATO near its borders. Russia says NATO expansion further east threatens the country’s security.

Attack on US base

A new attack on US-led foreign forces based in Iraq, this time in Salahuddin province, north of the capital Baghdad. Iraqi media quoting security officials say a drone attack hit Balad Air Base housing US-led forces. The attack caused fire in some parts of the base, but the extent of the damage is not clear yet. Still, no claim of responsibility. That’s the latest in attacks targeting American forces and their bases in Iraq in recent weeks. On Thursday, three Katyusha rockets hit the US embassy in Baghdad’s fortified green zone. All these are happening as the US is facing growing calls in Iraq to leave. Those calls began after the US assassinated top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and a senior Iraqi commander in January 2020.

US rental evictions

New York police arrest demonstrators, holding a sit-in to demand government protection for tenants. The protesters called for extension of the state’s eviction moratorium, which is set to expire on January 15, amid rising coronavirus cases. The expiration ends a critical economic support put in place at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. It sets the stage for a possible rush by landlords to try to evict low-income renters. Organizers are pushing for new laws to be passed for greater protection and for the moratorium to be extended until June.


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