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World narrowly avoids 'radiation disaster' at nuclear plant

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the world narrowly avoided a radiation disaster on Thursday as the last regular line supplying electricity to Ukraine's Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was restored hours after being cut.

Zelensky blamed shelling by Russia's military for fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal power station that disconnected the reactor complex, Europe's largest such facility, from the power grid.

He said back-up diesel generators had started to ensure power supply and keep the plant safe.

"If our station staff had not reacted after the blackout, then we would have already been forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident," he said in an evening address. "Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation one step away from a radiation disaster."


US senator arrives in Taiwan, defying angry Beijing

A US lawmaker on the Senate Commerce and Armed Services committees arrived in Taiwan on Thursday on the third visit by a US dignitary this month, defying pressure from Beijing to halt the trips.

Senator Marsha Blackburn arrived in Taiwan’s capital Taipei on board a US military aircraft, live television footage from the downtown Songshan Airport showed.

She was welcomed on the airport tarmac by Douglas Hsu, director-general of Taiwan’s foreign affairs ministry, Blackburn’s office said.


WHO chief says his relatives are 'starving' in Tigray

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced his personal pain on Thursday over the situation in Ethiopia's Tigray region, lamenting that he could not reach or help his relatives who were suffering and starving.

"I have many relatives there. I want to send them money. I cannot send them money. They're starving, I know, I cannot help them," Tedros told reporters from the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva.

"I cannot help them, I cannot help them... They are completely sealed off," he said. "I don't know even who is dead or who is alive."


Two plead guilty to stealing, selling Biden daughter's diary

Two people pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing and selling for US$40,000 (S$55,000) the private diary of President Joe Biden's daughter Ashley Biden, when he was running for office against Donald Trump in 2020.

The Justice Department announced the guilty pleas by Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander in court filings that refer to the victim as the daughter of "Candidate-1" - widely understood to be Biden.

According to the filings, the pair first sought to sell the diary to Trump's campaign - named as "Candidate-2" - and when rebuffed they took it to a conservative activist group.


Search for trapped Mexican miners could take 'almost a year'

Relatives of 10 workers trapped in a flooded Mexican coal mine reacted with despair on Thursday after being told by authorities that the search operation could take nearly a year.

The news appeared to extinguish any lingering hope of the miners being brought out alive, three weeks after the launch of a major rescue effort in the northern state of Coahuila.

"They tell us that it would take between six and 11 months to get them out," Juani Cabriales, the sister of one of the workers, said after being briefed by the government on its latest plan.


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