CLASHES RESUME IN KIEV DESPITE TRUCE
Deadly fights between the police and people occupying Kiev’s Independence Square resumed this morning despite the truce announced last night by the government and opposition leaders, who were supposed to meet this morning to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis. Reports about the number of new deaths vary from 10 to 35, with over 500 injured.
There are conflicting reports about which side reignited the violence. According to The Kyiv Post, “Police threw Molotov cocktails into the opposition-occupied Music Conservatory to start it on fire,” while police snipers were allegedly spotted on the roofs of surrounding buildings. But Reuters quotes President Viktor Yanukovych’s office as saying that the protesters launched the offensive. “They are working in organized groups. They are using firearms, including sniper rifles. They are shooting to kill,” the statement said. The Kyiv Post’s live blog also shows pictures of policemen captured by the crowd, while a correspondent for Vice magazine says protesters were spitting on the officers.
RT quotes the Interior Ministry as saying that 23 police officers were injured by snipers. At least one officer was reported killed. Both sides accuse each other of firing live ammunition. A British correspondent for the Daily Telegraph says he saw 10 victims among the protesters, “all killed by single bullets to the head.”
On her Twitter feed, RT journalist Denise Reese said that her team was also targeted by snipers. One cameraman was hit but not injured because he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland were in Kiev this morning ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers later today in Brussels. Despite early reports that they had left due to the lack of security, they are said to have met with President Yanukovych. The EU ministers are expected to discuss imposing sanctions on those Brussels considers responsible for the violence. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara told RT that opposition leaders should be subject to the sanctions. “We think that today all responsibility for violence lies with the opposition,” he said.
What looks in every aspect like the beginning of a civil war is forcing some Ukrainian athletes currently competing in Sochi to leave the Olympic Games and return home. Read more from Reuters.
60 DEAD IN ISLAMIST ATTACK IN NIGERIA
At least 60 people have been killed by gunmen from Islamist group Boko Haram in the northeast Nigerian town of Bama, AFP reports.
PRO-ASSAD OFFICIAL KILLED IN LEBANON
A Lebanese politician from the Arab Democratic Party who openly supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was shot dead in the northern town of Tripoli, AFP reports. The death of Abdelrahman Diab, an Alawite like al-Assad, sparked violent clashes between Alawites and Sunnis, killing at least one person, The Daily Star reports.
DEADLY PROTESTS CONTINUE IN VENEZUELA
Anti-government protests moved into their second week in Venezuela, as demonstrators challenged police lines with stones and slingshots. A local beauty contest winner died of a gunshot wound on Wednesday, the fifth death from the country’s ongoing political unrest. Our snapshot of the Venezuela fighting is here.
MASSIVE NEW LEAK AT FUKUSHIMA
The operator of Fukushima, TEPCO, announced the discovery of a new leak of about 100 tons of highly radioactive water at the nuclear power plant, AFP reports. Yesterday, TEPCO revealed that only one of nine thermometers were still working in one of the reactors.
RELEASE HALTED OF FORMER INDIAN PM’S KILLERS
India’s Supreme Court has suspended a decision from the government of the state of Tamil Nadu to release the people found guilty of murdering former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, The Indian Express reports. Of the seven that were to be freed, the Supreme Court has blocked the release of the three who saw their death sentence lifted earlier this week. A new hearing is scheduled for March 8.
FAMILY REUNIONS BEGIN IN NORTH KOREA
Reunions in North Korea of families separated by the Korean War began this morning. According to Yonhap news agency, more than 100 South Koreans have left for the North to meet with relatives they have not seen in over 60 years. The reunions are expected to last until Feb. 25, one day after the launch of joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea.
David Bowie waded into the debate about Scottish independence via Kate Moss, who accepted an honor on the singer’s behalf at last night’s Brit Awards. Read here what he had to say.
BY THE NUMBERS
Facebook has purchased the messaging app Whatsapp for a staggering $19 billion. See how many Instagrams, Washington Posts and Boston Globes WhatsApp it’s worth?
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD