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Heavy Russian losses in the east

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Ukraine’s military is continuing with its fierce attacks in the eastern Donetsk region, leaving Russia battered and bruised

It comes as President Zelensky flags the possibility of further assaults by Moscow on his nation’s energy infrastructure.

In Kyiv, the mayor says residents should be prepared to flee if the city goes dark.

According to Zelensky’s nightly address, he warned that Russia may be concentrating its forces for renewed attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

His warning comes as the nine-month war may be entering a period of stalemate as winter weather sets in. Ukrainian forces in the southern front have been tightening their grip on the Russian-held city of Kherson, but so far have not been able to advance into that city.

Following a series of military setbacks, Russian forces have increasingly targeted Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, bombarding power plants that provide electricity and heat ahead of winter.

Over the weekend the Washington Post reported that the United States is privately encouraging Kyiv to signal an openness to negotiate with Moscow.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said that the message from American officials was not aimed at pushing Ukraine toward the negotiating table with the Russian aggressor, but a calculated move: appearing open to peace talks to maintain the support of other nations.

The Post reported U.S. and Ukrainian officials acknowledged that Zelensky’s ban on talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin had generated concern in parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America, where the war’s effect on the cost of food and fuel are felt most sharply.

The White House National Security Council had no immediate comment on the accuracy of the report.

“The United States is going to be with Ukraine for as long as it takes in this fight.”

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said during a visit to Kyiv last week that Washington’s support for Ukraine would remain “unwavering and unflinching” and laying the blame for the conflict squarely on Putin.

“This war could end very easily. Russia chose to start it, Russia could choose to end it by ceasing its attack on Ukraine, ceasing its occupation of Ukraine and that’s precisely what it should do, from our perspective.”

The United States announced $400 million worth of additional security assistance for Ukraine, including refurbishing tanks from the Czech Republic and missiles for air defences that could be used against Russian drones and cruise missiles.

The new help brought the amount of U.S. military aid sent to Kyiv to more than $18.2 billion since the invasion.

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Australia lowers its terrorism threat level for the first time in nearly a decade

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Australia’s national terrorism threat level has been lowered but ASIO has warned an attack could still happen

Australia’s national terrorism threat level has been lowered from ‘probable’ to ‘possible’.

However, ASIO has warned a deadly attack could still occur on Australian soil in the next 12 months.

“A decision of this nature is not taken lightly or made casually,” said Mike Burgess, who is the Director General of ASIO.

It is the first time the warning has been lowered since 2014 when radicalised foreign fighters begun travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organisations.

Burgess said the threat of terrorism has not been eradicated, and Australia remains a target for terrorist organisations—even within the next 12 months.

“We keep the terrorism threat level under constant review. There can be no set and forget in security intelligence,” he said.

How common is terrorism in Australia?

There have been 11 terrorist attacks on Australian soil since 2014. In addition, 21 plots have been detected and disrupted.

“Thankfully, there have been no attacks or major disruptions this year,” Burgess said.

However, ASIO remains on alert for violent extremists despite “fewer” operating with the intention to conduct an onshore attack.

“Ideologically motivated violent extremism—particularly nationalist and racist violent extremism—remains a threat and its adherents will continue to engage in offensive behaviours.”

MIKE BURGESS, ASIO DIRECTOR GENERAL

ASIO maintains these extremists are likely to focus their attention on recruitment and radicalisation, rather than attacking.

Authorities believe the most likely terrorist attack to occur in Australia will see a lone actor using a basic weapon, like a knife or vehicle.

These attacks can be difficult to detect ahead of time and can occur with little or no warning entirely.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he has confidence in the nation’s security agencies.

“I won’t second-guess them and I won’t comment on their behalf,” he said.

Mr Albanese’s government has led the repatriation effort of Australian women and children linked to ISIS from Syria.

The women and children were assessed by ASIO before they arrived in Australia. The decision to lower the terrorism threat level also considered the unfolding situation.

ASIO said foreign fighters may return from the Middle Eastern conflict zone and could bring “dangerous ideologies and capabilities with them”.

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Dozens injured in Turkey following a magnitude 6.0 earthquake

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It’s been a week of major earthquakes, and this time Turkey has fallen victim.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6 struck the west of the country on Wednesday.

35 people have been injured in the quake. But authorities have confirmed there were no immediate reports of deaths or significant damage.

It struck at a depth of 2 kilometres and authorities continue their checks into damage.

The country’s interior minister says there were some barns were wrecked, and power was cut in some parts.

It’s believed the quake was felt in major cities of Istanbul and the capital of Ankara.

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BORDER CRISIS: Republicans call for Homeland Security Sec. to resign

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GOP delegation led by Kevin McCarthy showed ‘gratitude’ to border patrol and called for Mayorkas to resign or potentially face impeachment

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, a Republican delegation led by GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is touring the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas.

Officials say the visit to the southern border is a way for lawmakers to show gratitude to border patrol agents who have been inundated by unprecedented illegal crossings this year.

After their tour on Tuesday, Leader McCarthy called for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign over his handling of the migrant crisis at the southern border – or potentially face an impeachment inquiry when Republicans take control of the House next year.

According to statistics some 2.3-million illegal migrants have walked across America’s southern border in this year alone.

The sheer volume of crossings are not only a security risk but also a humanitarian crisis.

America already is a country that has one of the most welcoming policies for legal immigration.

The all-important midterm elections have given Republicans the majority in the U.S. House of Representative.

In his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border since being nominated to be speaker of the House for the next Congress by his Republican caucus, McCarthy in warning Biden and Democrats that they plan to use subpoena power to secure the border.

McCarthy accuses the White House of ‘actively undermining’ immigration enforcement—a contentious issue that has been plaguing the Executive branch of government under the Biden administration which has been turning a blind-eye to the criminal activity.

In a letter sent to Republicans last week, McCarthy said the southern border is the most important issue facing the new Congress.

Tuesday’s tour is the California Republican’s third trip to the southern border since President Joe Biden took office.

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