The Democratic-led U.S. Senate was expected to vote early on Tuesday for final passage of a $95.34 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, amid growing doubts about the legislation's fate in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Soon after lawmakers swept aside the last procedural hurdle facing the legislation late on Monday, Republican opponents of the bill took to the Senate floor for an overnight marathon of speeches. Aides predicted that a vote on passage could begin before 7 a.m. EST (1200 GMT) on Tuesday. But both houses of Congress must approve the legislation before Democratic President Joe Biden can sign it into law. And the bill faces long odds in the House, where Republican Speaker Mike Johnson faulted the measure for lacking conservative provisions to stem a record flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border - Reuters


US President Joe Biden has said civilians who are "packed" into Rafah in the Gaza Strip are "exposed and vulnerable" and must be protected. Israel must make "credible" efforts to protect the more than one million Palestinians sheltering in the southern Gazan city, he said. Rafah has come under heavy Israeli air strikes in recent days, with a number of casualties reported - BBC

France’s far right is forecast to record its highest-ever result in the upcoming European Parliament election, new poll data shows. The far-right National Rally, led by outgoing member of the European Parliament (MEP) Jordan Bardella, could win 33 percent of the vote, while the far-right Reconquête party would stand at 6 percent, according to a poll from consultancy firm Portland Communications shared with POLITICO. It was also carried out in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, where similar results were found among samples of similar sizes. Far-right parties are expected to make sizeable gains everywhere but in Poland, where Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s liberal Civic Coalition is forecast to receive 35 percent of the vote. In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is projected to win 17 percent of the vote, up from 11 percent in the 2019 EU election - Politico


Russia on February 13 launched drone strikes on Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region for the second day in a row, targeting energy infrastructure facilities, regional Governor Serhiy Lysak said on Telegram. "Our defenders downed 10 drones over Dnipro," Lysak wrote on Telegram. "But there were several hits on energy facilities in the city, and a fire broke out." Lysak said workers had restored the power supply to Pavlohrad, east of Dnipro. Separately, Ukraine's air defenses said it downed 16 out of 23 drones Russia launched at the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson regions on February 13 - RFE/RL

Thailand's controversial billionaire former premier Thaksin Shinawatra has been granted parole after serving six months in detention, the prime minister said Tuesday, while highlighting his service to the country. The influential Thaksin, a political heavyweight and arguably Thailand's best known prime minister, made a dramatic homecoming after living abroad for 15 years in self-exile to avoid prison for a conflict of interest - Reuters


RFE/RL reporters found themselves pursued by a drone and questioned by Italian police after getting close to a $700 million superyacht believed to be owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The 140-meter luxury ship Scheherazade was seized by Italy in May 2022 as part of EU sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A U.S. federal court case over superyacht seizures is pending and investigative journalists have alleged that Putin's ownership is being concealed behind a straw owner. Eduard Khudainatov, the former CEO of Russian energy giant Rosneft, says he is the owner of the Scheherazade -- and two other seized superyachts linked to oligarchs.

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

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