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Barrage of Russian strikes hits key Ukrainian infrastructure

Barrage of Russian strikes hits key Ukrainian infrastructure

A massive barrage of Russian strikes on Monday morning hit critical infrastructure in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities in apparent retaliation for what Moscow alleged was a Ukrainian attack on its Black Sea Fleet over the weekend.

Loud explosions were heard across the Ukrainian capital in the early morning as residents prepared to go to work. Some of them received text messages from the emergency services about the threat of a missile attack, and air raid sirens wailed for three straight hours.

Large areas of the city were cut off from power and water supplies as a result, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. Local authorities were working to restore a damaged energy facility that supplies power to 350,000 apartments in the capital, he said.

In the outlying region, authorities warned people to be prepared for a long power outage because of the emergency cuts. Kyiv region Gov. Oleksii Kuleba also said that one person was wounded and a number of houses were damaged as a result of this morning attack.

In Kharkiv, two strikes hit critical infrastructure facilities, according to the authorities, and the subway ceased operating. Officials also warned about possible power outages in the city of Zaporizhzhia resulting from the strikes there.

Critical infrastructure objects were also hit in the Cherkasy region southeast of Kyiv, and explosions were reported in other regions of Ukraine. In the Kirovohrad region of central Ukraine, the energy facility was hit, according to local authorities. In Vinnytsia, a missile that was shot down landed on civilian buildings, resulting in damage but no casualties, according to regional Gov. Serhii Borzov.

Some parts of Ukrainian railways were also cut off from power, the Ukrainian Railways reported.

The attack comes two days after Russia accused Ukraine of a drone attack against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet off the coast of the annexed Crimean Peninsula. Ukraine has denied the attack, saying that Russia mishandled its own weapons, but Moscow still announced halting its participation in a U.N.-brokered deal to allow safe passage of ships carrying grain from Ukraine.

Commenting on Monday’s attacks, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak said that Russian forces “continue to fight with civilian facilities.”

“We will persevere, and generations of Russians will pay a high price for their disgrace,” Yermak said.

Deputy head of the presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said urgent power shutdowns were being carried out after “Russian terrorists once again launched a massive strike on energy facilities in a number of Ukrainian regions.”

It’s the second time this month that Russia unleashed a massive barrage of strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure. On Oct. 10, a similar attack rocked the war-torn country following an explosion on the Kerch Bridge linking annexed Crimea to mainland Russia — an incident Moscow blamed on Kyiv.

This time, however, the Ukrainian forces say they were able to intercept most of the missiles launched by Russia.

Ukraine’s air force said that more than 50 X-101/X-555 cruise missiles were launched from Tu-95/Tu-160 strategic aviation missile-carrying aircraft from the north of the Caspian Sea and from the area around the Russian city of Volgodonsk in the Rostov region. A total of 44 of them were shot down.

The Russian military haven’t yet commented on the attack.

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International

Guatemalan Leader, Deputy Jailed For Fraud

A Guatemalan court on Wednesday sentenced former President Otto Perez to 16 years in prison, finding him guilty of leading a massive customs fraud scheme while in office.

Perez, who was forced to resign in 2015, was found guilty of racketeering and fraud targeting the customs system, Judge Irma Valdes said as she read out the sentence.

Perez was sentenced to eight years on each count.

His former vice president Roxana Baldetti received the same sentence.

A United Nations-backed anti-corruption body revealed several scandals in Guatemala before it was shut down in 2019 by then-President Jimmy Morales after it began investigating him.

One of its key successes was uncovering a multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat Guatemala’s customs duty system, which ultimately led to Perez’s resignation.

Those involved in the scheme – known as “La Linea” (The Line) – received bribes of some $3.5 million, according to investigators, who estimate that Guatemala was defrauded out of almost $10 million in tax revenue.

After the sentence was handed down Perez, 72, told reporters, “I truly feel frustrated, I feel disappointed.”

He said he would appeal the ruling.

Sixteen other people involved in the scam were convicted during the sentencing and 11 others were acquitted.

“The ‘La Linea’ case is one of the most symbolic and is a milestone in Guatemalan history,” director of Transparency International’s local chapter, Citizen Action, Edie Cux, told AFP.

“It is important that in some way the people of Guatemala have justice and that the case does not go unpunished,” she added.

(AFP)

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International

Trump Organization Convicted Of Tax Fraud

Donald Trump’s real estate company was convicted on Tuesday of carrying out a 15-year-long criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities, adding to the legal woes facing the former U.S. president as he campaigns for the office again in 2024.

The Trump Organization – which operates hotels, golf courses, and other real estate around the world – was found guilty of paying personal expenses for top executives including former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, and issuing bonus checks to them as if they were independent contractors.

The company faces up to $1.6 million in fines after being convicted on all charges, including scheming to defraud tax authorities, conspiracy and falsifying business records. Trump was not charged in the case.

Justice Juan Merchan, who presided over the trial in state court in New York, set a sentencing date for Jan. 13.

While the fine is not expected to be material for a company of the Trump Organization’s size, the conviction could complicate its ability to do business.

Weisselberg, 75, testified as the government’s star witness as part of a plea deal that calls for a sentence of five months in jail.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office prosecuted the case, called the verdict “very just.”

“The former president’s companies now stand convicted of crimes,” Bragg said in the New York courthouse after the verdict, speaking of the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation, the two units of the Trump Organization which were convicted.

Asked if he regretted not charging Trump in the case, Bragg did not respond.

He has said that the office’s investigation into Trump is continuing.

(Reuters)

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International

Forbes says Elon Musk Is No Longer World’s Richest Man

Twitter owner and Tesla (TSLA.O) boss Elon Musk briefly lost his title as the world’s richest person on Wednesday, according to Forbes, following a steep drop in the value of his stake in the electric-car maker and a $44 billion bet on the social media firm.

Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of luxury brand Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH (LVMH.PA), and his family briefly took the title as the world’s richest, but were back at No. 2 with a personal wealth of $185.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Musk, who has held the top spot on the Forbes list since September 2021, has a net worth of $185.7 billion. Musk took over the title from Amazon.com (AMZN.O) founder Jeff Bezos.

Tesla shares, which have lost more than 47% in value since Musk made his offer to buy Twitter earlier this year, were down 2.7%.

Musk’s net worth dropped below $200 billion earlier on Nov. 8 as investors dumped Tesla’s shares on worries the top executive and largest shareholder of the world’s most valuable electric-vehicle maker is more preoccupied with Twitter.

Tesla has lost nearly half its market value and Musk’s net worth has dropped by about $70 billion since he bid for Twitter in April. Musk closed the deal for Twitter in October with $13 billion in loans and a $33.5 billion equity commitment.

Besides Tesla, Musk also heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup that is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.

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