‘Unfreeze Afghan assets’
Iran has once again called for unfreezing Afghan assets as the country is reeling from the devastating earthquake in the east. Iran's permanent ambassador to the United Nations said the release of Afghanistan's blocked assets is crucial for helping its economy and saving lives. Majid Takht-Ravanchi added that the unfreezing of the assets should not be politicized or conditional in any way. He made the remarks during a UN Security Council session on the situation in Afghanistan. The Iranian diplomat also said that UN sanctions imposed on certain Afghan individuals must not impede humanitarian, economic, or developmental cooperation with Afghanistan. The United States has frozen about 7 billion dollars of Afghan funds.
UK Tory Party chairman quits
Triple blows to the British prime minister, as the chairman of his ruling Conservative party, steps down following defeats in Thursday’s parliamentary by-elections. Premier Boris Johnson has admitted that the vote results were tough, and said he has to listen to voters. Johnson also implied that the deepening cost-of-living crisis is to blame for the defeat. The premier, however, fell short of talking about the resignation of the Tories’ chairman. Oliver Dowden has said it would not be right for him to remain in office. He added, that the by-elections are the latest in the Tories' poor results. They lost their seat to the opposition Labour Party in Wakefield, northern England, after three years. Labour says the result shows there’s no trust in the Tories.
Battle for Donbas
Friday marks four months since Russia began its war in Ukraine. Russian troops have been focusing their fight in eastern Ukraine over the past month, trying to take the Donbas region. In the latest development, the Russians have taken control of a major village near a key highway to Lysychansk. That’s the last city under full Ukrainian control in Luhansk. Local officials say Ukrainian troops may have to retreat from Lysy-chansk to avoid encirclement. The Russians are also tightening their grip in another Luhansk city, Severo-Donetsk. But, they’re still facing fierce resistance from the Ukrainians. Taking Severo-Donetsk and Lysy-chansk would allow Russia to press further into the Donbas region, and potentially farther west.