⏳ Wednesday Fix: 'Let's See'
A Russian commitment met with skepticism, a prince back in a prominent position, and a closely-watched rape trial in Ireland.
We're keeping an eye on it all.
Click the screenshot below to access the podcast version of today's NewsFix.
UKRAINE - WHAT'S THE LATEST?
Russia said they will commit to significantly scaling down their military operations near Kyiv. Ukraine, the UK and the US were quick to express caution and skepticism on the matter, with President Biden saying "let's see".
Officials from the US and Ukraine say the repositioning of forces away from Kyiv, is "likely as part of an effort to refocus on eastern regions". Meanwhile, RTÉ News described it as "the most tangible sign yet of progress towards negotiating an end to the war".
Meanwhile in Mariupol: reports have circulated that people are beginning to die of starvation in port city of Mariupol. In fact, 35% of those in the country are currently thought to not have enough to eat.
International impacts of war: According to US deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, up to 13 million people around the world - north Africa, the middle east and Asia in particular - face possible "food insecurity" because of the war in Ukraine.
How? As The Irish Times noted, Ukraine and Russia are vital when it comes to agricultural production.
"30% of the world’s wheat exports typically came from the Black Sea region, as did 20% of the world’s corn and 75% of sunflower oil."
Russian ramifications: In what was described as a "coordinated move", four EU countries expelled Russian diplomats on Tuesday. Belgium, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands told a combined total of 43 diplomats to leave their countries, with two weeks notice.
Why? All said the move was in relation to national security, some saying the Russian diplomats were secretly operating as intelligence officers.
TUESDAY'S OTHER TOP LINES
Prince Andrew played a prominent role in escorting the Queen to her seat at Westminster Abbey for the service to Prince Philip on Tuesday.
"He could have sat in the congregation with others, with his relatives, but they actively decided that he would have this role of supporting her. So she has chosen, in essence, to remind people that he hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing, he’s not guilty of anything, he’s innocent. And she’s very clearly stating that he has a role at family occasions." - Peter Hunt, former BBC royal correspondent
On our Instagram account, nearly three quarters of you (73%) said it was fair he could attend the public event, given it was a service for his father.
The Foo Fighters made the expected announcement that the rest of their tour has been cancelled in light of the sudden death of their drummer, Taylor Hawkins, over the weekend.
KEEPING AN EYE...
An extraordinary rape trial is underway in Ireland, where four men face charges of raping a teenager back in 2016.
All four men were between the ages of 17 and 19 at the time of the alleged incident. The woman was 17.
According to multiple media reports, two months after the alleged incident one of the accused told gardaí (Irish police) he would tell the woman he was "sorry, try to forgive us".
What allegedly happened? According to what was heard during the trial, the woman was reportedly collected by the car of men in the early hours of a morning in late December, in a town in the midlands. According to the prosecution, she was assaulted by all of the men in the car, and then driven to a "remote location". At this point - according to The Irish Times - "it is alleged that all five men raped her in turn", before moving to another location and continuing the assault.
Worth noting: The 1981 Rape Act in Ireland means those accused cannot be identified. As a result, the media have faced many restrictions in their reporting on this story.
Here is the most helpful article we've seen on this case, but if you don't have a subscription this also makes for an informative read.
ON TODAY'S AGENDA...
Shane Warne's state memorial takes place in front of 50,000 people at Melbourne Cricket Ground today, following the cricket star's sudden death earlier this month.
Warne - often described as one of the greatest cricket players of all time - died on March 4 at the age of 52, from a suspected heart attack.
- BBC News: Jada Pinkett Smith breaks silence on Oscars slap (it was just an Instagram post saying "this is a season for healing and I'm here for it.")
- The Guardian: Live/Ukraine war latest news: Russian units forced to return to Belarus and Russia to resupply, UK says - live
- The Financial Times: Russia says it will reduce military activity around Kyiv
- Al Jazeera: Ukraine distrusts Russia pledge to pull troops from Kyiv
- The Irish Times: He banged our passports down and said 'not you people again'
According to a newly-released UN report, there are roughly 121 million unintended pregnancies that happen each year. This means approximately 6% of the world's women go through this each year.
Of those unintended pregnancies, an estimated 60% end in abortion - with a staggering 45% of abortions considered unsafe.
It honestly makes for a highly informative and thought-provoking report, which you can read here.
Why? Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria are expecting their seventh child. As The Los Angeles Times noted, the couple are already parents "to six kids born since 2013".
Why? The former president scored a hole-in-one while playing golf with Ernie Els. Here is a video of the celebration.
The Telegraph sarcastically reported the statement below - which is genuine - was "on a matter of great national importance".
20 years since the death of the Queen Mother, who died peacefully in her sleep in Windsor at the age of 101.
WATCHING OUT FOR
A new documentary releasing on Netflix today looks like it'll make for quite a fascinating watch - Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King.
The story is about the mysterious death of Gerry Cotton - the former founder of one of Canada's largest crypto exchanges. With him, died the password to $250 million worth of Bitcoin.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
An oldie but an absolute goldie, in light of the fact a new report has found Jackie Weaver did not in fact "have the authority" during the chaotic council meeting that went viral last year.
If you haven't watched this yet, here is your reminder to do so!