The United States has said it was starting to evacuate its citizens out of Haiti by helicopter, amid reports of fresh fighting in the Caribbean country’s gang-dominated capital, with particularly fierce gunfire in some of the city’s wealthiest enclaves. A state department spokesperson, Vedant Patel, told reporters on Wednesday that government-chartered aircraft were in the process of beginning to ferry evacuees from Port-au-Prince to the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. “The violence on the ground in Port-au-Prince has been dire and the security situation is certainly one of high risk but we would not conduct such an operation if we did not feel it was safe to do so and we did not have the expertise,” Patel said. - The Guardian

When the U.S. and Europe tried to sever Russia from the Western financial system, Moscow found workarounds. Key among them: banks in the Gulf and Europe that maintained ties with Russia. Now, Washington’s efforts to close these loopholes appear to be paying off. Dubai’s main state-owned bank has shut some accounts held by Russian oligarchs and traders of Russian oil. Turkish lenders are growing wary of handling Russian-related business. The US put bankers in Vienna, another financial hub, on notice - WSJ


Portugal's president has invited centre-right politician Luís Montenegro to form a minority government. The Democratic Alliance (AD) won snap elections this month but fell short of winning a majority in parliament. The party rejected working with the far-right Chega party, which won a record number of seats. Portugal, governed by the Socialists since 2015, now has its most fragmented parliament since the end of its dictatorship half a century ago. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa invited Mr Montenegro to become prime minister shortly after midnight on Thursday after consulting with party leaders. The AD won 80 seats, well short of the 116 needed for a majority. The party will require the support of either the Socialists, who hold 78 seats or Chega (Enough), which won 50, to pass legislation - BBC


Russian missile attacks in the past 24 hours in Kharkiv and Kyiv have left at least five dead and scores injured. There is extensive property damage in both major Ukrainian cities. It was the biggest attack on the Ukrainian capital in weeks. Ukraine said it had intercepted all 31 missiles fired at Kyiv. But debris injured many

Jared Kushner has praised the “very valuable” potential of Gaza’s “waterfront property” and suggested Israel should remove civilians while it “cleans up” the strip. The former property dealer, married to Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, made the comments in an interview at Harvard University on 15 February. The interview was posted on the YouTube channel of the Middle East Initiative, a program of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, earlier this month. Kushner was a senior foreign policy adviser under Trump’s presidency and was tasked with preparing a peace plan for the Middle East. Critics of the plan, which involved Israel striking normalisation deals with Gulf states, said it bypassed questions about the future for Palestinians. His remarks at Harvard gave a hint of the kind of Middle East policy that could be pursued in the event that Trump returns to the White House, including a search for a normalisation deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. “Gaza’s waterfront property could be very valuable … if people would focus on building up livelihoods,” Kushner told his interviewer, the faculty chair of the Middle East Initiative, Prof Tarek Masoud. Kushner also lamented “all the money” that had gone into the territory’s tunnel network and munitions instead of education and innovation. “It’s a little bit of an unfortunate situation there, but from Israel’s perspective I would do my best to move the people out and then clean it up,” Kushner said. “But I don’t think that Israel has stated that they don’t want the people to move back there afterwards.” Masoud replied that there was “a lot to talk about there”. Kushner also said he thinks Israel should move civilians from Gaza to the Negev desert in southern Israel - The Guardian


In one of the most bizarre efforts to date to evade the draft in Ukraine, the son of an employee of the Military Commissariat tried to sail to Romania. The covert operation came to light Monday when Romanian border guards detained a 25-year-old boy in the Danube River (on the territory of Romania) and informed the Ukrainian border guards about it. During the inspection, it turned out that the boy, together with his mother and father, who is an employee of the Izmail RTCC and SP, went to the border island of Kislytskyi and when presenting the documents, said that they were going fishing. A few hours later, the husband and wife returned without their son and refused to comment on the situation. Under martial law, men between the ages of 18 and 60 are forbidden to leave Ukraine without special permission - Suspilne


Civilians caught up in Sudan's civil war have given graphic accounts to the BBC of rape, ethnic violence and street executions. Top UN officials have said the conflict has plunged the country into "one of the worst humanitarian nightmares in recent history" and could trigger the world's largest hunger crisis. There are also fears that in Darfur, in the west of the country, a repeat of what the US called genocide 20 years ago may be beginning to unfold. The vicious power struggle between the country's military and its former ally, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, has killed at least 14,000 people across the country - possibly many more - BBC

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Arab residents of Gaza should be removed to Arab countries and the Gaza Strip should be dissolved and occupied by Israelis. Then vacation resorts could be built all along the zMediterranean coast.