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Thousands flee as Taliban takes over Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul

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The Taliban has taken over Afghanistan’s Presidential palace as the militant group moves further into the capital city, Kabul

Afghanistan’s former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country only hours ago. He left officials with the duty of ‘handing over’ the palace to Taliban militants.

A Taliban security member told media that “no blood was shed in the handover”. He also said there is a “peaceful handover of government facilities ongoing across the country.”

The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist group operating throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group first formed back in 1994 following the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from the territory.

This comes as de facto leader Mullah Baradar has issued this message in congratulations to the Taliban on the group’s declaration of the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’.

The militant group gained power and momentum quickly and first took control of Kabul in September 1996. The group had a hold over Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

During the peak of the Taliban’s rule, it enforced strict Islamic laws on the public. It banned television, music and non-Islamic holidays.

The Taliban also banned women from receiving an education, forced them to wear full head-to-toe coverings and prohibited them from working.

Biden orders additional troops

Just moments ago, US President Joe Biden ordered the deployment of 1,000 additional troops. He said this would ensure an “orderly and safe drawdown”.

The move has brought the total number of military personnel to 6,000.

In a tweet, the White House said:

“This morning the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the drawdown of civilian personnel in Afghanistan and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.”

The US to withdraw all troops by August

Afghanistan’s fall follows Biden’s commitment to the total withdrawal of all military personnel from the country by the end of August. This has allowed the militant group to regain control of the nation.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the United States was prepared for this latest insurrection. But the Biden administration is copping a lot of criticism, particularly from the Republican party.

Michael McCaul from the House of Representatives says the decision to remove troops from Afghanistan has already stained Biden’s presidency.

The United Nations Security Council is also set to meet in the coming hours, as leaders from around the world pledge their assistance to Afghanistan

Turkey says it will work with Pakistan to help stabilise the situation. Meanwhile, the UAE is assisting with embassy evacuations in Kabul. Diplomats and other officials continue to flee the city for safety.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said his country will continue to assist any who helped the British.

Did US occupation of Afghanistan make a difference?

There is growing shock among the US soldiers who fought tirelessly for 20 years to bring Afghanistan back to sovereignty. One former lieutenant colonel told military.com, “this one will hurt for a long time”.

Air Force Officer, Christy Barry says: “you pour your heart into it, and at the time, it feels like you’re doing something great and you’re making a difference”. She says she now looks back on it with sadness.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

World

U.S. praises Australia for standing up to “Chinese aggression”

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Chinese aggression

U.S. and Australian diplomats meet in Washington, agree to stand up to what leaders call “ongoing Chinese aggression”

Top U.S. and Australian diplomats have met in Washington and it seems relations between the two nations have never been stronger.

Following today’s talks, it’s been confirmed America will have a greater military presence in Australia. This is in response to what leaders are calling “ongoing Chinese aggression”.

Australia’s Defence Minister, Richard Marles, and Foreign Affairs Minister, Penny Wong, are in Washington. The pair are meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin.

Blinken praised Australia for standing up to Beijing, while pledging to support the country thorough thick and thin.

“We’re increasingly weaving together our alliances in Europe and Asia, in the Atlantic and across the Pacific because the challenges and threats those alliances face are increasingly interconnected, and we’re more effective when we stand and work together,” Blinken said.

It’s the 32nd annual Australia – U.S. Ministerial meeting, also known as AUSMIN.

Leaders are looking to strengthen peace across the Taiwan Strait and address any attempts by China to intimidate other countries through economic coercion.

Defence Secretary Austin believes China is engaging in “dangerous actions throughout the Indo Pacific”.

Austin says Australia and America stand united and determined to be a force for stability.

Following agreements made at today’s meeting, the U.S. will increase the presence of its forces in Australia.

This includes rotations of bomber task forces, fighters, and future rotations of U.S. Navy and Army capability. It will also fill the so-called “capability gap” that will be created when Australia’s current Collins-class submarines are retired.

“We recognise where Australia is and where its capability begins to diminish and of course we will address that in the pathway we create,” Austin said.

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Climate Change

‘Orgy of destruction’ – A stark climate warning

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Humanity has become ‘weapon of mass extinction’  according to UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres

At the biodiversity COP15 conference in Montreal, Canada Guterres opened the meet with a brutal reality.

“Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction...

This conference is our chance to stop this orgy of destruction.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Guterres called for an end to destruction of nature saying our “land, water and air are poisoned by chemicals and pesticides, and choked with plastics.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also took to the stand to urge countries to protect their precious land and waters.

The leader also took the opportunity to announce Canada’s $350m biodiversity finance fund.

“There are lots of disagreements between governments.

But if we can’t agree as a world on something as fundamental as protecting nature, then nothing else matters.”

Justin Trudeau – Canada’s Prime Minister
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks during the opening ceremony of the COP15 UN conference on biodiversity in Montreal on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

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World

Should a non-strike rule apply to UK emergency staff?

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Thousands of UK emergency workers are preparing to walk off the job, just days before Christmas

Thousands of UK Ambulance workers are preparing to go on strike, just days before Christmas, on December 21.

All over a pay dispute, 25,000 emergency staff are expected to walk off the job.

Hospital bosses are warning the strikes will put lives at risk and make wait times significantly longer.

“Our priority is to ensure emergency services continue to operate for those who need it.

People should continue to use NHS 111 online for urgent healthcare advice and call 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.”

STEVE BARCLAY, Health Secretary
FILE PHOTO: Downing Street Chief of Staff Steve Barclay arrives at 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville

UK PM Rishi Sunak was pressed about the potentially fatal outcome, but Downing Street says it’s important not to ‘speculate.’

“Our focus now is on mitigating any potential detrimental impact these strikes could have.”

UK Prime minister’s office

Speaking on behalf of the workers, the health Union says the Government needs to start “genuine conversations about pay.”

“The Government will only have itself to blame if there are strikes in the NHS before Christmas.
“Ambulance staff don’t want to inconvenience anyone but ministers are refusing to do the one thing that could prevent disruption — start genuine talks about pay.”

Sara Gorton, head of health at Unison
UNISON’s Sara Gorton. Unison Centre, London, UK.

“Patients’ lives are already at risk but this government is sitting on the sidelines.
“Fail to act now to avert these strikes and the blame will rest firmly at the Government’s door.”

SHAron graham, Unite general secretary

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