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Taiwan Hospital Fire Kills 12, Arson Suspected

LIBERTY TIMES, UNITED DAILY NEWS (Taiwan)

Worldcrunch

Arson is suspected in an overnight hospital fire in Taiwan that has killed 12 people, the Liberty Times reports. Police say a suspect has been arrested.

The fire at North Gate Hospital in Tainan, one of Taiwan's largest cities, began around 3:30 a.m.. Two other patients are still unaccounted for beyond the confirmed victims, who all died of smoke inhalation.

More than 150 firefighters battled the blaze, and were able to rescue 115 patients, though 72 of whom suffered from smoke inhalation and have been sent to 13 other hospitals. Many of the patients were acutely ill and unable to move by themselves, while several dozen were psychiatric patients.

The relatives of those who died said no one from the hospital had contacted them, and that they'd found out about the fire from television reports.

The hospital was facing an inspection today, the United Daily News reported. The fire broke out in a privately rented outsourced clinic on the second floor, the United Daily News added. There were 69 patients, and 6 staff on overnight duty. The provincial health department immediately ordered more than 500 hospitals to report within three days on their fire readiness.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

A Decisive Spring? How Ukraine Plans To Beat Back Putin's Coming Offensive

The next months will be decisive in the war between Moscow and Kyiv. From the forests of Polesia to Chernihiv and the Black Sea, Ukraine is looking to protect the areas that may soon be the theater of Moscow's announced offensive. Will this be the last Russian Spring?

Photo of three ​Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine

Anna Akage

Ukrainian forces are digging new fortifications and preparing battle plans along the entire frontline as spring, and a probable new Russian advance, nears.

But this may be the last spring for occupying Russian forces.

"Spring and early summer will be decisive in the war. If the great Russian offensive planned for this time fails, it will be the downfall of Russia and Putin," said Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence.

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Skinitysky added that Ukraine believes Russia is planning a new offensive in the spring or early summer. The Institute for the Study of War thinks that such an offensive is more likely to come from the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk than from Belarus, as some have feared.

Still, the possibility of an attack by Belarus should not be dismissed entirely — all the more so because, in recent weeks, a flurry of MiG fighter jet activity in Belarusian airspace has prompted a number of air raid alarms throughout Ukraine.

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