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Tajikistan approves Chinese plan to construct security base near Afghan border

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Tajikistan has accepted a Chinese offer to build a police outpost on the Afghan border

China will spend about $8.6 million USD on the facility before turning it over to Tajik control.

It’s the latest indication of Beijing’s growing security concerns in the region after the US ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan.

The base points to deepening security cooperation between impoverished Tajikistan and China, which is reported to maintain another base in the southeast of the ex-Soviet country.

No Chinese personnel will be housed at the facility even though the nation has expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

It has urged the new Taliban Government to prevent terror groups from forming.

Beijing has routinely denied its overseas military facilities as bases. Tajikistan has also denied a Chinese military presence in the country.

Tajikistan, a country of 9.5 million, has received financial assistance from both China and the United States to build and reinforce its border posts and hosts a major Russian military base.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Nord Stream pipe attack “acts of sabotage”

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The US State Department has described recent leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines as “apparent acts of sabotage”

U.S State Department spokesperson Ned Price says they have more questions than answers at this point.

Adding Secretary of State Antony Blinken will begin discussing the issue with European counterparts as soon as Wednesday.

Price confirmed the leak “impacts Europe’s broader energy security and energy resilience”.

When was pressed on whether sabotage would rise to the level of a breach of NATO Article 5, he declined to speculate.

But noted the investigation could take some time.

It comes as European countries ramp up their military presence at oil and gas facilities, following the Nord Stream incident.

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Russia is about to annex Ukraine, so what happens next?

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Moscow is about to annex a swath of Ukraine, releasing what it called vote tallies showing support in four partially occupied provinces to join Russia.

It looks like Russia is poised to annex a large chunk of Ukraine.

This comes after so-called referendums were held in four occupied provinces, which showed overwhelming support for joining Russia.

Of course, these referendums were anything but legitimate. They were held at gunpoint and were widely denounced by Kyiv and the West as sham votes.

“They can announce anything they want. Nobody voted in the referendum except a few people who switched sides. They went from house to house but nobody came out,” said Lyubomir Boyko, 43, from Golo Pristan, a village in Russian-occupied Kherson province.

People attend a rally and a concert in support of annexation referendums in Russian-held regions of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg on September 23, 2022. 

Moscow takes charge

Nevertheless, it looks like Moscow is moving ahead with its plans to absorb these Ukrainian regions. A tribune has been set up on Red Square, with giant video screens proclaiming “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!”

The Russian-installed administrations of the four Ukrainian provinces on Wednesday formally asked Putin to incorporate them into Russia, which Russian officials have suggested is a formality.

“The results are clear. Welcome home, to Russia!,” Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Telegram.

It’s expected that President Vladimir Putin will give a speech within days confirming the annexation. This would mean that, in just over a week, Putin has gone from endorsing the sham referendums to formalizing the annexation of Ukrainian territory.

This latest development is sure to increase tensions between Russia and the West. It also further diminishes the chances of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

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EU sees Nord Stream gas pipeline leaks as ‘a deliberate act’

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European countries are investigating two Russian gas pipelines that have leaked into the baltic sea near Denmark and Sweden

The Nord Stream carries gas from Russia to the rest of Europe.

Governments around Europe are being cautious to not rule out sabotage… as evidence so far suggests it has been physically damaged.

But U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says it would be ‘in no-one’s interest’ to damage this essential energy source.

The leaks have led Denmark to restrict shipping in a five nautical mile radius…. while in Sweden, the country’s prime minister says the leaks are seen as deliberate acts.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters “No option can be ruled out right now.”

Both pipelines have been crucial talking points in an escalating energy war between Europe and Moscow.

It’s sent gas prices soaring around the world as countries race to find alternative energy sources.

Nord Stream itself says “its not possible to estimate a timeframe” to fix the leaks.

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