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Russian and Philippines journalists win 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

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(Last Updated On: October 8, 2021)

Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa, journalists whose work has angered the rulers of the Philippines and Russia, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, an award the committee said was an endorsement of free speech rights under threat worldwide.

The two were awarded “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression” in their countries, Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told a news conference.

“At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions,” she added.

“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda.”

Muratov is editor-in-chief of Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which has defied the Kremlin under President Vladimir Putin with probes into wrongdoing and corruption, and extensively covered the conflict in Ukraine.

When Reuters interviewed him six years ago, his office was across the hall from portraits of six Novaya Gazeta journalists killed since 2001, including Anna Politkovskaya, known for her fearless reporting on Russia’s wars in Chechnya, who was shot dead in her stairwell on Putin’s birthday in 2006.

Muratov, 59, is the first Russian to win the Nobel Peace Prize since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev — who himself helped set up Novaya Gazeta with the money he received from winning the award in 1990.

Ressa, 58, is the first Nobel Peace laureate from the Philippines. She heads Rappler, a digital media company which she co-founded in 2012, and which has grown prominent through investigative reporting, including into large scale killings during a police campaign against drugs.

“Fighting a government is crazy: I didn’t set out to do it, but it became necessary in order to do my job,” she wrote in the Financial Times in December.

“I was arrested for being a journalist — for publishing truthful articles unpalatable to those in power — but this has only served to unshackle me, to help me understand what was happening and to chart the path ahead.”

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Turkish, US foreign ministers hold bilaterals on NATO summit sidelines

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Antony Blinken met on the sidelines of NATO summit in Latvian capital Riga on Wednesday Two foreign ministers held bilateral talks at the Atta Center, where the NATO Foreign Ministers summit was underway.

Before the meeting, Cavusoglu said Turkey is in contact with Ukraine and Russia to ease tensions, adding that sanctions on Moscow will not solve the crisis.

Ukrainian and Western officials say Moscow has massed forces on the border with Ukraine, which is battling Russia-backed separatists who control part of its territory to the east, and Kyiv on Wednesday urged NATO to prepare sanctions on Russia.

Cavusoglu and Blinken were expected to discuss latest developments in the region, including Ukraine, Libya and Afghanistan.

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Three Russian aircraft with humanitarian aid arrive in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Three Russian aircraft landed in Kabul on Wednesday carrying 36 tonnes of humanitarian aid, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

All three Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, involved in delivering humanitarian aid to Afghanistan would also evacuate Russian citizens, as well as citizens of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states, Russia’s Defense Ministry, said in a statement.

“Some three Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifters of the Russian Defense Ministry have delivered humanitarian aid to the Kabul airport and are boarding evacuees for departure from Afghanistan,” the statement read.

A total of over 380 Russians, citizens of the CSTO member states (mainly Kyrgyzstan), and Afghan students from Russian universities will fly out on the departing planes, the ministry said.

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India considers re-opening mission in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

As countries slowly start reopening their embassies in Kabul, India is also reportedly considering the possibility of re-staffing its mission in Afghanistan.

So far, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan all have a diplomatic presence in the country.

Japan and the EU have also discussed the possibility of returning to Afghanistan.

One senior Indian official told The Hindu on Wednesday that “establishing a presence in Afghanistan has nothing to do with recognition [of the IEA government]. It simply means that you would like to have people on the ground dealing with the new regime, to continue engagement with the people.”

He said the Modi government is not convinced about the need to re-open its mission, but that discussions are continuing on what India’s strategy should be, The Hindu reported.

At present, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which was evacuated within two days of the IEA talking control, is intact and being guarded by IEA forces.

While calls from within the country to reopen grow, officials told The Hindu that much depends on what India’s other partners and friendly countries choose to do.

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