Russia assumes UN Security Council presidency
Russia has taken the presidency of the UN Security Council despite Ukraine urging members to block the move.
Each of the council’s 15 members takes up the presidency for a month, on a rotating pattern.
The last time Russia had the presidency, February 2022, it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
It means the Security Council is being led by a country whose president is subject to an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes.
The International Criminal Court – which is not a UN institution – issued the warrant for Vladimir Putin last month.
Despite Ukraine’s complaints, the United States said it could not block Russia – a permanent council member – from assuming the presidency.
The other permanent members of the council are the UK, US, France, and China.
The role is mostly procedural, but Moscow’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, told the Russian Tass news agency that he planned to oversee several debates, including one on arms control.
He said he would discuss a “new world order” that, he said, was coming to “replace the unipolar one”.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Russia’s presidency “the worst joke ever for April Fool’s Day” and a “stark reminder that something is wrong with the way international security architecture is functioning”.
Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhaylo Podolyak, said the move was “another rape of international law… an entity that wages an aggressive war, violates the norms of humanitarian and criminal law, destroys the UN Charter, neglects nuclear safety, can’t head the world’s key security body”.
President Volodymyr Zelensky called last year for the Security Council to reform or “dissolve altogether”, accusing it of failing to take enough action to prevent Russia’s invasion.
He has also called for Russia to be removed of its member status.
But the US has said its hands were tied as the UN charter does not allow for the removal of a permanent member.
“Unfortunately, Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and no feasible international legal pathway exists to change that reality,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a news briefing this week.
She added the US expects Moscow “to continue to use its seat on the council to spread disinformation” and justify its actions in Ukraine.
The UN Security Council is an international body responsible for maintaining peace.
Five nations are permanently represented on the Security Council. They reflect the post-war power structure that held sway when the council was formed.
Members of this group work alongside 10 non-permanent member countries.
Russia’s presence as a permanent member on the Security Council means it can veto resolutions.
To pass a Security Council vote, there must be nine votes in favour, with none of the five permanent members voting against.
In February last year Russia vetoed a resolution that intended to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine (China, India and the United Arab Emirates all abstained).
In September it vetoed a resolution calling for the reversal of its illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine. Brazil, China, Gabon and India abstained.
Joe Biden ‘fine’ after fall on stage in Colorado
President Joe Biden is “fine” after tripping and falling over at an event in Colorado, White House officials say.
He stumbled on a sandbag while handing out diplomas at a graduation ceremony for the US Air Force Academy.
Mr Biden, who is the nation’s oldest serving president at 80, was helped back onto his feet and appeared to be unhurt after Thursday’s fall.
“I got sandbagged!” the president joked to reporters as he arrived back at the White House that evening.
He had been standing for about an hour and a half to shake hands with each of the 921 graduating cadets.
Footage shows Mr Biden appearing to point at one of two sandbags used to prop up his teleprompter as he was helped up by an Air Force official and two members of his Secret Service detail.
He was seen walking back to his seat unassisted and later jogging back to his motorcade when the ceremony ended.
“There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands,” White House communications director Ben LaBolt wrote on Twitter. “He’s fine.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden had boarded the plane flashing “a big smile”, although one reporter noted that he did not take questions before the flight.
Elon Musk becomes the world’s richest man again
Elon Musk has reclaimed his position as the world’s wealthiest person.
That’s according to a Bloomberg Billionaires tally, which estimated the Tesla (TSLA) CEO’s net worth is now about $192 billion, compared to LVMH (LVMHF) CEO Bernard Arnault’s $187 billion.
The two centibillionaires, a term used to refer to people with fortunes of more than $100 billion, have been neck-and-neck for the top spot for months.
This week, Arnault’s wealth slid after a drop in LVMH’s stock Wednesday, according to Bloomberg calculations.
Arnault surpassed Musk in December, as his wealth climbed due to a boom in luxury goods sales that helped drive up LVMH’s stock price. LVMH, one of the world’s biggest conglomerates, is home to brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Celine.
Musk, meanwhile, has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the world’s rich lists in recent years as his fortunes are directly linked to those of Tesla, the electric automaker. His biggest asset is the company’s stock, of which he owns about 13%, according to Bloomberg.
Outside of Tesla, Musk is also CEO of SpaceX, the space exploration firm, and the owner of social network Twitter (TWTR).
LVMH’s shares are up 19.7% this year, while Tesla’s have risen 65.6% in the year to date.
Turkish President elected for a 3rd term
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters celebrated well into the night after Turkey’s long-time president secured another five years in power.
“The entire nation of 85 million won,” he told cheering crowds outside his enormous palace on the edge of Ankara.
But his call for unity sounded hollow as he ridiculed his opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu – and took aim at a jailed Kurdish leader and pro-LGBT policies.
The opposition leader did not explicitly concede victory.
Complaining of “the most unfair election in recent years”, Mr Kilicdaroglu said the president’s political party had mobilised all the means of the state against him.
President Erdogan ended with just over 52% of the vote based on near-complete unofficial results – almost half the electorate in this deeply polarised country did not back his authoritarian vision of Turkey.
Ultimately Mr Kilicdaroglu was no match for the well-drilled Erdogan campaign, even if he took the president to a run-off second round for the first time since the post was made directly elected in 2014.
But he barely dented his rival’s first-round lead, falling more than two million votes behind.
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