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Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked Xi Jinping for China’s efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict.

The two leaders met in Beijing where the Chinese president said he hoped Europe will return to peace and stability soon.

Ukraine war latest:
Putin in China; Russia advancing

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchange bilateral documents during a meeting in Beijing, China. Pic: Sputnik/Sergei Bobylev/Pool via Reuters
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchange bilateral documents in Beijing. Pic: Sputnik/Sergei Bobylev/Pool via Reuters

China offered a 12-point plan for peace last year – which Ukraine and the West rejected.

It has yet to condemn Russia or describe the war in Ukraine as an “invasion” – and has also criticised Western sanctions imposed on Moscow.

“China hopes for the early return of Europe to peace and stability and will continue to play a constructive role toward this,” Mr Xi said, speaking alongside Mr Putin.

Mr Xi said the two countries were furthering their relationship as “good neighbours, good friends, good partners”, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, echoing their commitment to the “no limits” relationship they signed in 2022, just before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian leader – on a two-day state visit to China – said he would inform the Chinese leader in detail about “the situation in Ukraine”, adding: “We are grateful for the initiative of our Chinese colleagues and friends to regulate the situation.”

Why Putin may visit Vietnam next

There is a possibility Vladimir Putin will visit Vietnam after his summit with Xi Jinping in Beijing, or later this month. It would be Putin’s first state visit to the country since 2017.

Vietnam is one of Russia’s three closest partners in Asia, alongside China and North Korea.

Experts suggest a visit from Putin would signal to the world that he’s committed to a “Turn to the East” policy and allow the Russian leader to show that Western efforts to isolate his government over its invasion of Ukraine have failed.

Maintaining a close connection to Moscow is a priority for the Vietnamese leadership. They have a tricky balancing act trying to juggle ties with both America and China.

Beijing’s encroachments into the South China Sea represents a potential territorial threat to Hanoi. While America is an obvious counterweight to that, the US is also considered a threat to the ruling Communist Party.

Welcoming Putin to Hanoi, a leader the West has sought to cut off, is proof the Vietnam government wants close relationships with as many powerful nations as possible.

Russia is one of its seven so-called “strategic partners” and it would come as no surprise if Putin does touch down in Hanoi. Vietnam could also be expected to seek an arms deal with its historical ally and replenish its ageing Soviet-era military equipment.

The two leaders signed a joint statement on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between their two nations, with Mr Xi saying China and Russia would continue to uphold a position of non-alliance and non-confrontation.

Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti quoted Mr Putin as saying that Russia-China relations are “not directed against anyone. Our cooperation in world affairs today is one of the main stabilising factors in the international arena”.

Beijing – which claims to take a neutral position in the Ukraine conflict – has forged increasingly close ties with Moscow as the war has dragged into a third year.

China continues to supply Russia with key components for its production of weapons.

Its purchase of Russian oil and gas has also helped boost Russia’s economy.

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China-Russia military ties have also strengthened – with both countries hosting each other’s ground forces for joint drills.

They have also held a series of war games in recent years including naval drills and patrols by long-range bombers over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.

Read more:
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On the eve of the visit, Mr Putin said in an interview with Chinese media the Kremlin has “never refused to negotiate” over the conflict in Ukraine.

“We are open to a dialogue on Ukraine, but such negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours,” the Russian leader was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said any negotiations must include a restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, the release of all prisoners, a tribunal for those responsible for the aggression, and security guarantees for Ukraine.

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Four girls stabbed at cinema in Massachusetts

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Four girls stabbed at cinema in Massachusetts

Four girls aged between nine and 17 were stabbed in an “unprovoked” attack at a cinema in Massachusetts, US police have said.

A 21-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man were also found stabbed in a McDonald’s restaurant in an incident that may be connected, according to officers.

A man, whose identity has not been released, was taken into custody following a vehicle chase that ended in a crash in Sandwich, Cape Cod.

Police said a man came into the AMC Braintree 10 complex, south of Boston, at about 6pm local time on Saturday and entered one of the movie theatres without paying.

“Without saying anything and without any warning, he suddenly attacked the four young females,” the Braintree police department said in a statement.

“The attack appeared to be unprovoked. After the attack, the man ran out and left in a vehicle.”

The girls sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospitals in Boston for treatment.

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The suspect’s vehicle – what appeared to be a black SUV – and number plate was seen on camera, police said.

A vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle was later seen in Plymouth, about 27 miles south of Braintree.

Police said it had left a McDonald’s restaurant, where a 21-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man were found stabbed and both were taken to hospitals with injuries.

Police found the vehicle another 20 miles south, in Sandwich, and attempted to pull it over, but it didn’t stop and later crashed.

The driver was taken into custody shortly afterward and was being treated at a hospital.

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Passengers and crew injured after turbulence on Qatar Airways flight to Dublin

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Passengers and crew injured after turbulence on Qatar Airways flight to Dublin

Eight people have been taken to hospital due to turbulence on a flight to Dublin.

Dublin Airport said six passengers and six crew members on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Dublin were hurt after experiencing turbulence over Turkey.

In a later statement, the airport said all passengers were assessed for injury before getting off the plane and eight were taken to hospital.

Graeme McQueen, a spokesman for DAA, the operator of Dublin Airport, told Sky News the aircraft was met by emergency services upon landing shortly before 1pm on Sunday.

The scene at Dublin Airport

Qatar Airways described the injuries sustained by passengers and crew as “minor”.

It said: “[They] are now receiving medical attention… The safety and security of our passengers and crew are our top priority.”

An internal investigation into what happened has now been launched.

Read more:
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Earlier this week, in a separate incident, a British man died on a Singapore Airlines flight after extreme turbulence on a Heathrow-Singapore journey.

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Singapore Airlines passenger Josh Silverstone describes ordeal

Turbulence is defined as a sudden change in airflow and wind speed.

It can often be associated with storm clouds, which are usually well forecast and monitored, allowing planes to fly around them, Sky News weather producer Jo Robinson said.

Clear-air turbulence (CAT) is much more dangerous as there are no visual signs, such as clouds.

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This invisible vertical air movement usually occurs at and above 15,000ft and is mostly linked to the jet stream.

It is unclear what type of turbulence the Qatar Airways flight went through.

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Papua New Guinea: More than 2,000 people buried alive in landslide – as ‘major destruction’ hampers rescue efforts

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Papua New Guinea: More than 2,000 people buried alive in landslide - as 'major destruction' hampers rescue efforts

More than 2,000 people have been buried by a massive landslide in northern Papua New Guinea, the country’s disaster agency has said.

The landslide levelled the mountainous Kaokalam village in Enga Province – about 370 miles (600km) northwest of the capital Port Moresby.

It hit the Pacific nation at around 3am local time on Friday (6pm on Thursday UK time), and the United Nations had earlier said it estimated 670 people had been killed. Local officials had initially put the number of dead at 100 or more.

People search through a landslide in Yambali village. Pic: Kafuri Yaro/UNDP Papua New Guinea via AP
Image:
People search through a landslide in Yambali village. Pic: Kafuri Yaro/UNDP Papua New Guinea via AP

The Papua New Guinea national disaster centre said the landslide had buried more than 2,000 people.

“The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused major destruction to buildings, food gardens and caused major impact on the economic lifeline of the country,” an official from the national disaster centre said in a letter to the United Nations.

Earlier, Serhan Aktoprak, head of the United Nations’ International Organisation for Migration mission on the island nation, said the figure of 670 deaths was based on calculations by local officials that more than 150 homes had been buried. The previous estimate was 60 homes.

“They are estimating that more than 670 people [are] under the soil at the moment,” he said.

More than 4,000 people were likely impacted by the disaster, humanitarian group CARE Australia said earlier.

It said the area was “a place of refuge for those displaced by [nearby] conflicts”.

Pic: New Porgera Limited/Reuters
Image:
Pic: New Porgera Limited/Reuters

Pic: New Porgera Limited/Reuters
Image:
Pic: New Porgera Limited/Reuters

About six villages were affected by the landslide in the province’s Mulitaka region, according to Australia‘s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Three bodies were pulled from an area where 50 to 60 homes were destroyed. Six people, including a child, were pulled from the rubble alive, the UN’s Papua New Guinea office said.

But hopes of finding more survivors were diminishing.

Pic: AP
Villagers use heavy machinery to search through a landslide in Yambali in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Sunday, May 26, 2024. The International Organization for Migration feared Sunday the death toll from a massive landslide is much worse than what authorities initially estimated. (Mohamud Omer/International Organization for Migration via AP)
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Villagers use heavy machinery to search through the landslide. Pic: AP

Yambali was among the villages affected. Pic: Mohamud Omer/International Organisation for Migration via AP
Image:
Yambali was among the villages affected. Pic: Mohamud Omer/International Organisation for Migration via AP

The landslide left debris up to eight metres deep across 200 sq km (77 sq miles), cutting off road access, which was making relief efforts difficult. Helicopters were the only way to reach the area.

Survivors searched through tonnes of earth and rubble by hand looking for missing relatives while a first emergency convoy delivered food, water and other provisions on Saturday.

However, Mr Aktoprak added: “Hopes to take the people out alive from the rubble have diminished now.”

In February, at least 26 men were killed in Enga Province in an ambush amid tribal violence that prompted Prime Minister James Marape to give arrest powers to the country’s military.

Mr Marape has said disaster officials, the defence force and the department of works and highways were assisting with relief and recovery efforts.

View of the damage after a landslide in Maip Mulitaka, Enga province, Papua New Guinea May 24, 2024 in this obtained image. Emmanuel Eralia via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.?
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A damaged house after the landslide. Pic: Reuters

People carry bags in the aftermath of a landslide in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, May 24, 2024, in this still image obtained from a video. Andrew Ruing/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT
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Locals carry their belongings away from the scene of the landslide. Pic: Reuters

Papua New Guinea, with a population of around 10 million, is a diverse, developing nation of mostly subsistence farmers with 800 languages. There are few roads outside the larger cities.

It is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where much of the world’s earthquake and volcanic activity occurs.

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In March, the country was hit by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake.

The US and Australia are building closer defence ties with the strategically important nation, while China is also seeking closer security and economic ties.

US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said their governments stood ready to help respond to the landslide.

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