United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres vowed on Sunday, Jan. 29, to hold to account "any U.N. employee involved in acts of terror" after allegations that some refugee agency staffers were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. But Guterres implored governments to continue supporting the U.N. refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) after nine countries paused funding. “Any U.N. employee involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution," the U.N. chief said in a statement. "The Secretariat is ready to cooperate with a competent authority able to prosecute the individuals in line with the Secretariat’s normal procedures for such cooperation." - Reuters

Hungary will drop its objections to the creation of a €5 billion ($5.4 billion) Ukraine military assistance fund, paving the way for an agreement to revamp a vehicle that aims to steady supply of weapons to Kyiv, once member states sort out technical issues. Budapest said it won’t stand in the way of a consensus at a meeting of European Union ambassadors on Wednesday, where a deal on a larger €50 billion financial aid package remains stuck, according to people familiar with the matter - Bloomberg


Ukraine's security service says it has uncovered corruption in an arms purchase by the military worth about $40m (£31m). The SBU said five senior people in the defense ministry and at an arms supplier were being investigated.  It said the defense officials signed a contract for 100,000 mortar shells in August 2022. Payment was made in advance, with some funds transferred abroad, but no arms were ever provided - BBC

Ukraine Strives to Kickstart Electric Car Industry
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Ukraine Strives to Kickstart Electric Car Industry

Capitalizing on its lithium reserves, Ukraine plans to boost domestic electric vehicle production, but the reality could be more challenging.

Russia is increasingly confident that deepening economic and diplomatic ties with China and the Global South will allow it to challenge the international financial system dominated by the United States and undermine the West, according to Kremlin documents and interviews with Russian officials and business executives. Russia has been buoyed by its success in holding off a Western-backed Ukrainian counteroffensive followed by political stalemates in Washington and Brussels over continued funding for Kyiv. In Moscow’s view, the U.S. backing of Israel’s invasion of Gaza has damaged Washington’s standing in many parts of the world. The confluence of events has led to a surge of optimism about Russia’s global position. Officials in Moscow point to growing trade with China, military cooperation with Iran, diplomatic outreach in the Arab world and the expansion of the BRICS grouping of major emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — to include Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Ethiopia. The BRICS expansion demonstrated the group’s “growing authority and role in world affairs,” and its work will focus on “sovereign equality,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a Jan. 1 statement as Russia assumed the chairmanship of the group. The Kremlin has begun to refer to itself as part of the “Global Majority. Internal Russian Security Council documents obtained by a European intelligence service and reviewed by The Washington Post, show that the Kremlin convened meetings in 2022 and 2023 on ways to undermine the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency. The ultimate goal, one of the documents stated, was to dismantle the post-World War II global financial system and the power it gives Washington – Washington Post


Canada is joining the United States in suspending funding for a UN agency that supports Palestinians, in response to allegations agency staff played a role in the Hamas attack on Israel last October - CP

Once again Canadian foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly repeated language previously used by Ottawa that its critics have called “incomprehensible” in response to the case brought by South Africa that accuses Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians. “Canada supports the ICJ’s critical role in the peaceful settlement of disputes and its work in upholding the international rules-based order,” Joly said in a statement. “Our support for the ICJ does not mean that we accept the premise of the case brought by South Africa. It is for the ICJ to make a final decision on the case, which it has not done today. We continue to follow the case very closely.” The language will please neither side - Global News


On Tuesday, Jan. 30, the US House Homeland Security Committee plans to vote on a resolution to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, moving closer to making him just the second Cabinet secretary in history to be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors over what House Republicans claim is a dereliction of duty as crossings at the US-Mexico border reach record highs – CNN


This review is reprinted with the author’s permission from his World Briefing blog. See the original here.

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