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Libya’s Struggle Amidst Floods and Devastation

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Libya's Struggle Amidst Floods and Devastation

Derna, a devastated city in eastern Libya, is grappling with a rising death toll caused by the floodwaters unleashed by Storm Daniel. The catastrophe unfolded as two dams burst on Sunday afternoon, following the storm’s impact, resulting in a destructive surge of water that inundated the city, causing the collapse of buildings and the tragic loss of lives.

As of late Tuesday, the initial death toll reported by authorities in the politically fragmented North African nation stood at a grim figure of at least 2,300 fatalities. Emergency services revealed that over 5,000 people were missing, and approximately 7,000 sustained injuries. Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies expressed concern, stating, “The death toll is huge and might reach thousands.”

Reports from media outlets cited a spokesperson from Libya’s eastern government’s interior ministry, who stated that “more than 5,200” individuals had lost their lives in Derna. The city, located 250 kilometers (150 miles) east of Benghazi, is characterized by its encirclement by hills and the presence of a normally dry riverbed in the summer, which, after the storm, turned into a destructive torrent of muddy waters, sweeping away bridges and structures.

Derna was home to approximately 100,000 residents, and the devastating flood resulted in the collapse of many multi-story buildings along the riverbed, causing the disappearance of people, their homes, and vehicles in the torrential waters.

With the global community expressing deep concern over the disaster, several nations offered urgent aid and rescue teams to assist the war-torn country. A UN official described the situation as “a calamity of epic proportions.”

In other areas of eastern Libya, the Norwegian Refugee Council reported that “entire villages have been overwhelmed by the floods, and the death toll continues to rise.” The disaster further compounds the challenges faced by communities in Libya, which have endured years of conflict, poverty, and displacement. Hospitals and shelters are expected to be strained by the unfolding crisis.

Oil-rich Libya is still in the process of recovery following years of warfare and instability that ensued after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising, resulting in the toppling and death of the longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. The nation remains divided between two competing governments: the UN-brokered, internationally recognized administration based in Tripoli and a separate administration in the disaster-affected east.

Rescue teams from Turkey have arrived in eastern Libya, and the United Nations, along with several countries including Algeria, Egypt, France, Italy, Qatar, and Tunisia, have offered assistance. France, for instance, is dispatching a field hospital and approximately 50 military and civilian personnel capable of treating up to 500 people daily, as announced on Tuesday.

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North Korea says deal between Putin and Kim requires immediate military assistance in event of war

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A new agreement between Russia and North Korea reached by their leaders requires the countries to use all available means to provide immediate military assistance in the event of war, North Korean state media said.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Thursday reported the language of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement reached by its leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang on Wednesday. The agency said Article 4 of the agreement states that if one of the countries gets invaded and is pushed into a state of war, the other must deploy “all means at its disposal without delay” to provide “military and other assistance.”

The deal could mark the strongest connection between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War. Both Kim and Putin described it as a major upgrade of their relations, covering security, trade, investment, cultural and humanitarian ties.

Russia and North Korea sign partnership deal, vowing closer ties as rivalry deepens with West

The summit came as the U.S. and its allies expressed growing concerns over a possible arms arrangement in which Pyongyang provides Moscow with badly needed munitions for its war in Ukraine, in exchange for economic assistance and technology transfers that could enhance the threat posed by Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile program.

Following their summit, Kim said the two countries had a “fiery friendship,” and that the deal was their “strongest-ever treaty,” putting the relationship at the level of an alliance. He vowed full support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Putin called it a “breakthrough document” reflecting shared desires to move relations to a higher level.

North Korea and the former Soviet Union signed a treaty in 1961, which experts say necessitated Moscow’s military intervention if the North came under attack. The deal was discarded after the collapse of the USSR, replaced by one in 2000 that offered weaker security assurances.

South Korean officials said they were still interpreting the results of the summit, including what Russia’s response might be if the North comes under attack, and whether the new deal promises a similar level of protection with the 1961 treaty. South Korean officials didn’t immediately comment on the North Korean report about the details of the deal.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest point in years, with the pace of both Kim’s weapons tests and combined military exercises involving the U.S., South Korea and Japan intensifying in a tit-for-tat cycle.

The Koreas also have engaged in Cold War-style psychological warfare that involved North Korea dropping tons of trash on the South with balloons, and the South broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda with its loudspeakers.

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Tesla shareholders voting yes for Musk’s $56 bln pay package, CEO says on X

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Tesla shareholders are voting to approve a $56 billion pay package for Elon Musk and to move the electric vehicle maker’s legal home to Texas, Musk said on social media platform X on Wednesday, adding that passage was by wide margins.

Shareholders of the electric-car maker are voting on a proposal to ratify CEO Musk’s 2018 incentive package, valued at up to $56 billion at the time and the largest in US corporate history, after a Delaware judge voided the plan approved by its board “beholden” to Musk.

The result will be announced at a meeting on Thursday.

A person familiar with the preliminary tally confirmed Musk’s post, and said that a combination of big institutional investors and retail investor got the ‘yes’ result over the line.

Shareholders, however, are allowed to change their vote up to the start of the annual meeting.

Tesla shareholders also cast ballots on other proposals including the move of Tesla’s legal headquarters from Delaware to Texas, as well as the re-election of two board members: Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk and James Murdoch.

Musk referred to the resolutions on his pay package and the move in his tweet, thanking shareholders for their support.

Some investors viewed the vote on Musk’s pay as a test of confidence in his leadership. While he is undoubtedly Tesla’s driving force, and is credited with much of its success, the company has recently seen slowing sales and profits.

The board said the world’s richest person deserves the package, because he hit all the ambitious targets on market value, revenue and profitability.

The pay package is also needed to keep Musk devoted to Tesla, the board said, even though the Delaware judge said the 2018 pay plan failed to make sure that Musk committed a substantial amount of time to Tesla.

Musk has threatened to build AI and robotics products outside Tesla, if he fails to gain enough voting control, which requires the 2018 pay package to be approved.

Some large shareholders including Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and California’s two largest pension funds have said they will vote against the compensation, saying the pay is excessive.

Tesla has been drumming up support for Musk’s pay package, especially from retail investors, who make up an unusually high percentage of its ownership base but who often do not vote.

Company executives have posted messages on X, saying Musk is critical to Tesla’s success. Tesla has run social media ads, and Musk has promised a personal tour of Tesla’s factory in Texas to some shareholders who cast votes.

COURT BATTLE

The same package was previously rejected by a Delaware judge who invalidated it as an “unfathomable sum” granted by a conflicted board with close personal and financial ties to its top executive.

The board held the shareholder vote as a way to bolster its appeal of the ruling, in which the judge cited the board’s failure to fully inform shareholders before approving the pay package in 2018.

Musk has to wait months or years to get his pay package restored as appeals wind their way up to Delaware’s Supreme Court.

Tesla could also face more litigation from some shareholders. One of them this month filed a lawsuit challenging the upcoming shareholder vote on Musk’s pay package and the change of domicile.

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Fire in Mangaf Workers’ Accommodation Claims 41 Lives

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A devastating fire broke out early Wednesday in a building housing workers in Mangaf, southern Kuwait, resulting in the deaths of at least 41 people, according to Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah.

During his visit to the site, Sheikh Fahad, who also oversees the interior and defense ministries, criticized real estate owners for their violations and greed, attributing these factors to the tragic incident.

“Unfortunately, the greed of real estate owners is what leads to these matters,” Sheikh Fahad stated.

The blaze was reported to authorities at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), according to Major General Eid Rashed Hamad.

“The building was used to house a large number of workers. Dozens were rescued, but sadly, many succumbed to smoke inhalation,” a senior police commander informed state television.

He further emphasized the longstanding warnings against overcrowding in worker accommodations, though he did not specify the workers’ occupations or nationalities.

The fire has been contained, and authorities are currently investigating its cause, officials said.

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