Your Wednesday briefing: Russia is bombing the East

Hello. We cover Russia’s aggressive eastward turn, catastrophic flooding in South Africa and the collapse of Myanmar’s healthcare syste...


Hello. We cover Russia’s aggressive eastward turn, catastrophic flooding in South Africa and the collapse of Myanmar’s healthcare system.

Moscow has said its offensive for control of eastern Ukraine is underway as it bombed hundreds of targets overnight through the industrial heartland of the country.

Ukraine said it was resisting Russia’s initial push, but its disputed region is preparing to a head-on attack. Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped there. Here is the latest.

The Pentagon estimated that Russia had already moved an additional 8,000 to 11,000 troops east and had tens of thousands more in reserve. The sprawling offensive could reshape the conflict.

Analysis: Russia’s military campaign appears much more methodical than those he pursued in the early days of the war. Ukrainian and Pentagon officials said Russian forces appeared to be engaged in “formatting operationswhich are smaller attacks that are often precursors to larger troop movements or distractions from other fronts.

Tactical: Ukrainians are using internet memes and selling merchandise to rally support from international audiences. That works.

State of the war:

  • At least 1,000 civilians were trapped in a large steel plant in Mariupol with Ukrainian forces conducting what appeared to be the city’s last defense.

  • At least three other people were killed in Kharkiv by a Russian artillery strike.

Other updates:


More than 440 people have died and nearly 4,000 homes have been destroyed after catastrophic floods swept through the Durban area last week. About four dozen people are still missing and the survivors are struggling to rebuild their lives.

“It’s probably one of the worst things I’ve seen” a rescue worker said. “Just the scale of the devastation.”

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said a state of disaster. “We are a nation united in our grief,” he said.

The government plans to clear and repair the area while trying to recover dozens of bodies believed to have been buried under mud or washed out to sea. Much of the death and destruction has taken place in settlements of flimsy shacks built by people who otherwise they would not be able to afford stable housing.

Analysis: A series of severe storms recently devastated southern and eastern Africa, killing hundreds of people and destroying communities already struggling with poverty. For many, the floods highlighted the growing toll of climate changeparticularly on the most socio-economically vulnerable communities.


In recent weeks, security forces in Myanmar stepped up their repression on doctors who oppose the military junta, arresting them at their homes and in hospitals. Soldiers revoked the licenses of prominent doctors and searched hospitals for injured resistance fighters.

As a result, Myanmar is now one of the most dangerous places in the world be a medical worker. At least 140 doctors have been arrested since the coup; 89 of them remain behind bars, a rights group said. At least 30 doctors have been killed, another rights group said.

Analysis: Myanmar faces a persistent health emergency, with a severe shortage of health professionals and a chronic lack of resources. Many hospitals and clinics have closed. Anti-regime doctors estimate that hundreds of people die each week for lack of emergency surgery.

Quoteable: Dr Kyaw Swar was performing surgery when soldiers came for him. He hid in the operating room and continued. “If they had found us, they would have arrested us,” he said. “But I won’t run away while I’m operating on a patient. It is not a crime for a doctor to treat patients.

Working from home has given employees of Japanese companies the opportunity to rethink your priorities, both personal and professional. Many want more flexibility, autonomy and control – a far cry from the country’s traditional lifetime job model.

Developing countries do not always keep official death records. Nine out of 10 deaths in Africa, and six out of 10 globally, go unrecorded.

This may have profound implications: WHO estimates that 15 million people worldwide will have died from the coronavirus pandemic by the end of 2021 — more than double the current official balance of six million.

In a new effort, researchers are go door to door try to create an electronic record of the loss: an “electronic verbal autopsy”.

In countries like Sierra Leone, they survey an entire village, asking people who have died in the past two years. The information is fed into a nationwide survey, which doctors review to classify each death.

This is an extremely labor intensive approach. But in Sierra Leone, where a large majority of people die from preventable or treatable causes, it is necessary.

The country began its digital autopsies in 2018. The first big surprise was learning that malaria was the biggest killer of adults in Sierra Leone. The second was better news: its maternal mortality rate was half of what the UN estimated, suggesting the government’s efforts were paying off.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Your Wednesday briefing: Russia is bombing the East
Your Wednesday briefing: Russia is bombing the East
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