The coffins of 11 Ukrainians have arrived in Kiev on Sunday. They were killed when Iran’s military mistakenly shot down a passenger airliner, after takeoff from Tehran international airport.
Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, and other senior Ukrainian officials took part in a solemn ceremony after the 11 flag-draped coffins arrived in the Ukrainian capital. They were carrying the bodies of nine Ukrainian international airlines crew members, and two passengers. They died along with a hundred sixty-five others when their plane was shot down twelve days ago.
Iranian officials have said the plane was un-intentionally shot down by air defenses who were on high alert during heightened tensions with the United States.
Ukrainians and officials from four other countries that lost nationals in the disaster have demanded a “thorough, independent, and transparent” investigation.
Senior Iranian officials have called for the punishment of those responsible for shooting down the plane.
Foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Ukraine issued a joint statement after a meeting in London on Saturday to pressure Iran to give a full accounting.
Most of the victims on the flight were Iranians or dual citizens, many of them students returning to studies abroad, or families returning home after visiting relatives in Iran.
Joe Biden Announces All-Female Media Team At His White House
US President-elect Joe Biden has on Sunday announced an all-female senior White House communications team led by campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield who served as communications director for Biden while he was vice president.
Ahead of January 20 swearing-in, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have sought to inject diversity in their appointments and nominations so far.
The latest move to announce the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women in what the office called a first in the country’s history would see three veterans of the Obama administration take up key positions.
Jen Psaki served as a White House communications director and a spokesperson at the state department; and Neera Tanden served as a senior adviser to the-then health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.
Biden said in a statement that “these qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”
Other appointees include Ashley Etienne as communications director for Harris and Symone Sanders as Harris’s senior adviser and chief spokesperson.
Pili Tobar was named deputy White House communications director and Karine Jean-Pierre will be principal deputy press secretary.
Elizabeth Alexander was named communications director for incoming First Lady Jill Biden.
Unlike most cabinet-level positions, these appointments do not require Senate confirmation.
UK Cuts Overseas Aid After Worst Recession In Over 300 Years
The British government is facing so much criticism over its decision to cut overseas aid and divert the funds to finance other spending priorities in the wake of what it described as the deepest recession in more than three centuries.
Treasury chief, Rishi Sunak, says the move is widely expected to free up at least five and a half billion dollars for the conservative government to use for other concerns.
Sunak says government needed to make tough choices at a time of unprecedented crisis.
He said the government aims to return to the target introduced by the labour government of Tony Blair around two decades ago, but that even with the new target, the U.K. Will still be the second biggest aid spender among the group of seven leading industrial nations.
Critics from inside the political spectrum indicate the decision goes against the government’s promise in last year’s general election to maintain the aid target.
Chief executive of the non-governmental organization, save the children, Kevin Watkins, says the NGO is deeply disappointed by the cut, and that, the UK had “broken a promise” to the world’s neediest people that could lead to “100,000 lives not saved by immunization.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the world’s Anglican communion, Justin Welby, said the cut “is shameful and wrong,” and against the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Turkey Jails Hundreds For Life Over 2016 Failed Coup Attempt
A Turkish court has jailed for life, three hundred thirty-seven former pilots and other suspects over an unsuccessful plot to overthrow president Recep Tayyip Erdogan four years ago.
475 defendants were accused of carrying out the attempt to overthrow the government in 2016, from an airbase near the capital Ankara.
More than 250 persons were killed in the attempt as rogue soldiers commandeered warplanes, helicopters and tanks in a bid to take control of key state institutions.
Of the 337 life sentences given, 291 were aggravated life sentences, the most severe punishment in Turkish courts. This means there is no possibility of parole.
State news agency, Anadolu, and other sources, said at least 25 F-16 pilots were given aggravated life sentences.