World this week
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in a lightning tour intended to raise Moscow's profile as a Middle East power broker, even as his war in Ukraine grinds on. Putin landed in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates, that is hosting the United Nations' COP28 climate talks. It was his first trip to the region since before the coronavirus pandemic and the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at the start of his talks with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Putin offered to discuss energy cooperation, the conflict in the Middle East and the "Ukrainian crisis." He praised the current state of Russia's relations with the UAE and congratulated the country for hosting the COP28 climate talks. After Putin's arrival in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, he and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman exchanged a strong handshake and smiles as they walked to their meeting. Putin said Russia-Saudi relations have "reached a level they never saw before."
The UK government triggered criticism from opponents and division inside the governing Conservatives with a bill that will let it ignore a part of the country's human rights law in order to send asylum-seekers on a one-way trip to Rwanda. The legislation is part of government plans to overcome a block by the UK Supreme Court on its Rwanda policy. The court ruled last month that the plan was illegal because Rwanda isn't a safe country for refugees.
Britain and Rwanda have since signed a treaty pledging to strengthen protection for migrants. The UK government says that will allow it to pass a law declaring Rwanda a safe destination. Home Secretary James Cleverly said the fresh Safety of Rwanda Bill "will make absolutely clear in UK law that Rwanda is a safe country." He urged lawmakers in Parliament to pass the legislation, even though it may violate international human rights rules.
The Republicans in the US Senate blocked a move to pass an aid bill for Ukraine after failing to secure border compromises they sought in exchange. The $110bn package included $61bn for Ukraine, as well as funds for Israel and aid for Gaza. The White House has warned that US funds for Ukraine could soon run out. A Ukrainian official said that failure to secure more US aid would mean a "very high possibility" that the war will be lost to Russia.
While Republican members are generally in favour of aid to Ukraine, some have sought to use the issue as a way to address mounting domestic concerns over the US southern border. Senators - including every single Republican - voted 51 to 49 against advancing the bill, with 60 votes needed. Even if it had passed in the Senate, the package still would have faced an uphill battle in the House of Representatives, where Republicans are in the majority.
India's ruling Hindu nationalist party won in three of four state elections, according to results released Sunday (Dec. 3) from a crucial vote that pitted the main opposition party against that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi before national polls next year. Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, wrested control of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan states from Indian National Congress and was reelected in Madhya Pradesh for a record fifth term, according to the election commission's website. The Congress party comfortably won in Telangana state, which is ruled by the strong Telangana Rashtra Samithi, known for opposing BJP.
In a fifth state where results were released the next day, the Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), an opposition alliance of six parties, posted a thumping victory over the incumbent government, which was in alliance with the BJP. The elections in the five states were held last month and more than 160 million people, or a sixth of India's electorate, were eligible to vote.
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