While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 3

A children's swin is seen outside a residential building, partially destroyed after a missile strike in Kharkiv on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK / AFP) AFP

Kyiv accuses Russians of selling Ukraine children for sex

Kyiv’s human rights commissioner on Thursday accused Russians of kidnapping his country’s children and selling them for sex.

“Telegram channels revealed that Russians are kidnapping Ukrainian children and making sexual videos with them,” the Ukrainian parliament’s rights commissioner, Mr Dmytro Lubinets, said in a post on messaging app Telegram.

“For example, they are offering 250,000 rubles (130,000 hryvnia) for a boy who should start school soon,” he said, describing the boy as a Ukrainian orphan. 130,000 hryvnia equates to around S$4,500.

Mr Lubinets posted an excerpt from an exchange on WhatsApp between two people allegedly discussing using a young boy for a child pornography shoot.


Nearly 1,000 migrant children yet to be reunited with parents

Nearly 1,000 migrant children separated at the US-Mexico border by the administration of former president Donald Trump have yet to be reunited with their parents despite a two-year effort by President Joe Biden.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Thursday of the 998 children still separated, 148 were in the process of reunification.

Mr Biden, a Democrat, issued an executive order shortly after taking office in January 2021 that established a task force to reunite children separated from their families under Mr Trump, a Republican and immigration hardliner, calling such separations a “human tragedy.”


US lawmakers censure Democrat over anti-Semitic remarks

The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to oust a controversial Democrat from a powerful committee over anti-Semitic comments, in a move seen by her party chiefs as revenge for their previous removal of far-right Republicans.

Former Somali refugee Ilhan Omar, the third Democrat to be stripped of committee assignments by Republicans this year, has made several comments critical of Israel since 2012 that were condemned on all sides.

“I am a Muslim, I’m an immigrant and, interestingly, I’m from Africa,” the 40-year-old Minnesota progressive said, in a defiant floor speech ahead of her removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee. “Is anyone surprised that I’m being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy?“


Adani in talks to prepay share pledges to boost confidence

Embattled billionaire Gautam Adani is in talks with creditors to prepay some loans backed by pledged shares as he seeks to restore confidence in his conglomerate’s financial health, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The move would see lenders release some of the stock in Adani Group companies that was pledged as collateral, according to the person.

The Indian group has not faced margin calls on these pledges and is seeking the prepayment proactively, the person said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.


Coalition expected to seek ban on Russia, Belarus athletes

Poland believes it will be possible to build a coalition of some 40 countries, including the US, Britain and Canada, by Feb 10 supporting the call to block Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Olympics, a Polish minister said on Thursday.

The Baltic nations and Poland earlier on Thursday called on international sports bodies to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the Olympics and other events while the war in Ukraine continues.

“I’m convinced that a meeting that is planned for Feb 10 will reach a conclusion of over 30 or maybe 40 sports ministers including those from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Japan to decisively reject the idea to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in the Games,” Poland’s Sport and Tourism Minister Kamil Bortniczuk told Reuters.


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