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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (May 13) – Nation & World News – WUFT

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May 13, 2022 News from NPR, World

Russian army Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday. He is accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian. The first war crimes trial since Moscow

A roundup of key developments and the latest in-depth coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

(Image credit: Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

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WHO chief Tedros reappointed to second five-year term – India Today

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was reappointed to a second five-year term on Tuesday by the UN health agency’s member countries.

No other candidate challenged Tedros for the post amid the ongoing difficulties of responding to the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

“This is overwhelming,” Tedros said, after another World Health Organisation official asked everyone in the room to stand and applaud him.

Fighting back tears, Tedros described himself as “a child of war” after signing the contract for his extension. He said that after witnessing his younger brother’s death at an early age, it was “luck (that) brought me all the way here.”

Tedros, a former government minister from Ethiopia, has directed WHO throughout its management of the global response to COVID-19 and withstood occasionally withering criticism over its multiple missteps.

He is the first African to lead the agency and the only director-general not qualified as a medical doctor.

He is also the first WHO leader not to be supported by their home country; Ethiopia has previously accused Tedros of “ misconduct ” after his sharp criticism of the war and humanitarian crisis there and raised concerns about his leadership on Tuesday.

Under Tedros, the U.N. health agency failed to call out countries including China for blunders that WHO officials grumbled about privately, advised against mask-wearing for months, and said initially that the coronavirus wasn’t likely to mutate rapidly.

Scientists drafted by WHO to investigate the coronavirus’ origins in China said the critical probe was “ stalled ” last year, after issuing a report that even Tedros acknowledged had prematurely ruled out the possibility of a laboratory leak.

“There have been some mishaps, but Tedros has also been a steady voice throughout the pandemic, advocating for an equitable response,” said Javier Guzman, director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development in Washington.

He said despite reservations about Tedros’ leadership, some countries weren’t willing to push for change.

“We are in the middle of the pandemic and there is some pressure for consistent leadership to take us through this difficult moment,” Guzman said.

Tedros has frequently railed against rich countries for hoarding the world’s limited supply of vaccines and insisted that pharmaceuticals aren’t doing enough to make their medicines available to the poor.

Amid the near-universal focus on Ukraine after the Russian invasion, Tedros slammed the global community for not doing enough to solve crises elsewhere, including Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan, arguing that it was possibly because those suffering weren’t white.

Still, critics say Tedros has failed on some fundamental issues, like holding staff accountable after allegations that dozens of outbreak workers managed by WHO sexually abused young women in Congo during an Ebola outbreak that began in 2018, in one of the biggest sex scandals in UN history.

None of the senior WHO managers alerted to the abuse allegations and who did little to stop the exploitation, have been fired.

In January, The Associated Press reported that staffers in WHO’s Western Pacific office filed an internal complaint accusing regional director Dr. Takeshi Kasai of abusive, racist and other misconduct, undermining efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. In response, Tedros said an investigation into the allegations had been launched and promised to act “with urgency.”

But last week, several WHO staffers wrote to the agency’s Executive Board complaining that Kasai “has been able to continue his unethical, abusive and racist conduct without any form of restriction.” In an email to staff, Kasai disputed the charges.

Public health expert Guzman said the apparent culture of impunity at WHO was problematic.

“We do need to see a stronger (WHO) director-general going forward, where misconduct is not tolerated,” he said, calling for extensive reforms to make the agency accountable.

As Tedros begins his second term, some experts have also raised concerns that WHO isn’t fulfilling its primary role as a technical agency providing science-based guidance to countries.

Dr. David Tomlinson, a cardiologist who has campaigned for better protective equipment for health workers in Britain’s health system, says he has been appalled by WHO advice, most notably their reluctance to acknowledge that COVID-19 is widely spread in the air.

In July 2020, more than 230 scientists published a paper appealing to WHO to recognise the coronavirus was airborne; that later prompted the organisation to alter some of its recommendations.

Tomlinson and others say Tedros should ensure WHO’s top priority during future health emergencies is evaluating the science.

“They have perpetuated untruths that have ultimately led to the deaths of millions of people,” he said, citing the estimated 15 million people who have died during the pandemic.

“We need an agency that’s unafraid to tell the truth, but that’s unfortunately not what we have.”

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Russia's war in Ukraine: Live Updates – CNN

David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23.
David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The head of the UN World Food Programme called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to reopen ports in Ukraine to prevent children around the world from starving.

Speaking to CNN’s Julia Chatterley at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, David Beasley called on the Russian leader to “have a heart.”

The growing food crisis has been a major issue at the forum, with Beasley being one of the leading voices calling for action. He warned that the Ukraine war has meant that “the breadbasket of the world was becoming the bread line of the world.”

Some background: Before the war, wheat supplies from Russia and Ukraine accounted for almost 30% of global trade, and Ukraine is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of corn and the fifth-largest exporter of wheat, according to the US State Department. 

Beasley said that 325 million people around the world are facing starvation, with 49 million people in 43 countries now “knocking on famine’s door.”

“The world is facing a food security crisis. It is immediate and long term. If we are struggling now to feed 7.7 billion, what is going to happen when we have 10, 12, 13 billion? That is on top of climate impact. It’s going to be resonating around the world,” he added.

He also said that renewed focus on the food crisis was a good thing, with world leaders recognizing the size of the problem, with solutions to solve issues.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen earlier today accused Putin of “weaponizing” food supplies in his invasion of Ukraine. The Russian army is confiscating grain suppliers and machinery in areas of Ukraine and blocking exports from ports in the Black Sea, von der Leyen said.

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Ukraine should give up territory to reach peace deal with Russia, says former US secretary of state – India Today

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said it would be ‘fatal’ for the West to get swept up in the ‘mood of the moment’ and forget Russia’s position of power within Europe and suggested Ukraine should give up territory, reported Daily Mail.

Kissinger, 98, was speaking during the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland.

Kissinger said Ukraine should begin negotiations before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easy to overcome.

“Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante. Pursuing the war beyond that point will not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself,” he told the conference on Monday.

These statements come after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s opening speech at this week’s Davos summit.

Zelensky had said that brute force will once again rule the world if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is allowed to go unanswered.

He told delegates that their summit would become pointless if Putin was allowed to win the war.

According to The Telegraph, he explained that Russia was an ‘essential part of Europe’ for over 400 years, noting that European leaders must ‘not lose sight of the longer-term relationship’ or otherwise risk putting Russia in a permanent alliance with China.

He also said, “I hope the Ukrainians will match the heroism they have shown with wisdom.”

Zelensky’s speech came at the start of the four days of talks during which Ukraine is expected to launch a global charm offensive to secure economic and military backing to ensure survival.

This year, Russia will take part in the Davos meeting as the organisers had banned Moscow from sending a delegation.

“The theme for this year’s summit is, ‘history at a turning point’,” Zelensky told a packed auditorium on Monday morning.

“This year, the words, turning, and point, are more than a rhetorical talking point. This year is the year when it is decided whether brute force will rule the world,” he said.

“If so, the powerful are not interested in our thoughts and there is no further use for meeting in Davos,” he said.

Zelensky said, “The Brute force seeks nothing but the subjugation of those who it seeks to subdue and it does not talk, it kills, as Russia does in Ukraine, just as we speak today.”

Recalling the horrors of Russia’s invasion, Zelensky said, “Instead of peaceful cities there are only black ruins, instead of normal trade, seas full of mines and blocked ports, instead of tourists, closed skies and the sound of Russian bombs and cruise missiles.”

“This is what the world will look like if that turning moment does not have a proper response from humanity, it would resemble a large set of war crimes,” he said.

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