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World in brief: February 11, 2024

UKRAINE: Russian forces launched 45 drones over Ukraine today in a five-and-a-half-hour barrage as the war entered its third year.

The Ukrainian air force said it shot down 40 of the Iranian-made Shahed drones over nine different regions, including on the outskirts of the capital Kiev.

The attack targeted agricultural facilities and coastal infrastructure, officials for Ukraine’s southern defence forces reported.

SOMALIA: The al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab claimed an attack that killed four Emirati troops and a Bahraini military officer on a training mission at a military base in the Somali capital, authorities said today.

Saturday’s attack targeted the troops at the General Gordon Military Base in Mogadishu, though details about the attack and whether it killed others remained scarce today. 

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud offered his condolences to the United Arab Emirates for the loss of its troops.

MADAGASCAR: Parliament has passed a law allowing for the chemical and, in some cases, surgical castration of those found guilty of the rape of a minor, prompting criticism from international rights groups.

Justice Minister Landy Mbolatiana Randriamanantenasoa said it’s a necessary move because of an increase in cases of rape against children. 

In 2023, 600 cases of the rape of a minor were recorded, she said, and 133 already in January this year.

“The current penal code has not been enough to curb the perpetrators of these offences,” she said.

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis and Argentinian President Javier Milei embraced Sunday in St Peter’s Basilica, at a mass to canonise the country’s first female saint.

The ceremony to declare Mama Antula a saint marked the first meeting between the Argentinian cleric and the neoliberal extremist politician who once called Francis an “imbecile” for defending social justice.

The president bent over and gave the Pope a big bearhug when Francis was wheeled over to him at the end of the service.

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