South Korean and U.S. troops will begin their expanded annual military drills next week in response to North Korea's evolving nuclear threats, the two countries said, a move that will likely enrage North Korea because it views its rivals' joint training as an invasion rehearsal. In recent months, North Korea has inflamed animosities on the Korean Peninsula with fiery rhetoric and continued missile tests. While it's unlikely for North Korea to launch full-blown attacks against South Korea and the U.S., observers say the North could still stage limited provocations along the tense border with South Korea.

On Wednesday (Feb. 28), the South Korea and U.S. militaries jointly announced that the allies will conduct Freedom Shield exercise, a computer-simulated command post training, and a variety of separate field training, from March 4-14. The allies' drills are designed to bolster their joint capabilities to prevent North Korea from using its nuclear weapons.

Prince Harry lost a High Court challenge against the government over the level of his security in the UK. The Duke of Sussex failed to overturn a previous ruling which saw his security status downgraded after he stopped being a working royal. The High Court found that decision was neither unlawful nor irrational. Prince Harry will seek to appeal the latest ruling, with a legal spokesperson saying he "hopes he will obtain justice".

His lawyers had argued the way the decision was made had been unfair, which the High Court ruling said was not the case. Prince Harry launched the legal challenge after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of publicly-funded protection when in the country. The Home Office had said his security on UK visits would be arranged depending on the perceived risk, as it is with other high-profile visiting dignitaries, and said it was "pleased" by the court's finding.

Prosecutors investigating the murder of Ecuadorean presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio say his assassination was planned from jail, by people linked to the Los Lobos gang. They have asked for six suspects - five Ecuadoreans and one Colombian - to be charged in connection with the murder. Villavicencio, 59, was shot dead as he was leaving a campaign rally in the capital, Quito, days before the presidential election in August 2023. He had denounced the influence of gangs and promised to tackle them.

Despite death threats, he continued to campaign and was gunned down by a group of assailants outside a school in the north of Quito. Police managed to identify one of the assailants and by tracing him arrested six Colombian suspects and seized weapons, ammunition and grenades. Weeks later, the seven men were killed inn two different prisons where they were being held in pre-trial detention. Prosecutors say that the seven men killed in jail were the assailants who attacked Villavicencio, but suspect that they were hired gunmen and that the order to kill the politician came from inside an Ecuadorean jail.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in action in the two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion. Zelenskyy said that the number was far lower than estimates given by Russian President Vladimir Putin's government. "31,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been killed in this war. Not 300,000, not 150,000, not whatever Putin and his deceitful circle have been lying about. But nevertheless, each of these losses is a great sacrifice for us", Zelenskyy said at the "Ukraine. Year 2024" forum in Kyiv.

The Ukrainian leader said that he wouldn't disclose the number of troops that were wounded or missing. He also said that "tens of thousands of civilians" had been killed in occupied areas of Ukraine, but said that no exact figures would be available until the war was over.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts