Friday morning news: March 17, 2023 | WORLD
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Friday morning news: March 17, 2023


WORLD Radio - Friday morning news: March 17, 2023

The UN says Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine, a Russian jet dumped fuel on the US surveillance drone that crashed in the Black Sea, Poland is the first Western nation sending fighter jets to Ukraine, unenriched uranium disappears in Libya, the French Prime Minister passes pension reform without vote from Parliament, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reports to the Senate Finance Committee, and Florida lawmakers introduce a heartbeat bill.

Jasminka Dzumhur, left, Commissioner of Inquiry on Ukraine, Erik Mose, center, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine and Pablo de Greiff, right, Commissioner of Inquiry on Ukraine, speak about the release of comprehensive report by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine to the Human Rights Council, during a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

For WORLD Radio, I'm Kent Covington.

UN report on Russian war crimes » The United Nations says Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

A UN panel unveiled a new report on Thursday after a long investigation.

Erik Mose is chairman of that panel. He said Russia’s offenses include:

ERIK MOSE: Excessive incidental death, injury or damage, wilful killings, torture, rape.

The U.N. investigators did note what they deemed a “small number” of violations by Ukrainian forces.

Investigators will present to U.N. authorities a list of individuals they believe are responsible for war crimes in Ukraine.

Drone video » Footage released by the Pentagon shows a Russian jet dumping fuel on a U.S. surveillance drone just before the drone crashed into the Black Sea.

White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby:

JOHN KIRBY: It is clear that it was aggressive flying, reckless flying, that they were dumping fuel and that they struck the drone, those three points were clear.

The video shows a fighter jet dropping fuel on the drone twice. The second time, it seems to have hit a propeller blade, forcing the drone out of the sky.

Pentagon Press Secretary General Pat Ryder:

PAT RYDER: The United States does not seek conflict with Russia, we do not seek escalation with Russia and so we’re going to continue to stay focused on our primary mission in the Ukraine area which is supporting Ukraine in it’s fight.

Gen. Mark Milley says the fuel dump was likely intentional, but it’s unclear whether Russia meant to take it down.

Poland fighter jets » Poland is set to be the first Western nation to supply fighter jets to Ukraine.

WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports.

ANDRZEJ DUDA: (Speaking Polish)

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN: Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday announced plans to deliver at least a dozen or so MiG-29s.

Kyiv has been urgently requesting fighter jets for months.

Poland also was the first NATO nation to provide Ukraine with German-made Leopard 2 tanks.

The Polish government this week said some other countries also had pledged MiGs to Kyiv, but did not name them. The United States still has no immediate plans to supply fighter jets.

The White House said Poland’s decision to supply the fighter jets is a sovereign decision and lauded the Poles for continuing to—quote—“punch above their weight” in assisting Kyiv.

For WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

Uranium missing in Libya » The UN’s nuclear watchdog says some 2.5 tons of natural uranium have gone missing from a site in war-torn Libya.

Natural uranium cannot immediately be used for bomb fuel as it first must be enriched.

But each ton of natural uranium — in the wrong hands with sufficient technology can be refined into 12 pounds of weapons-grade material.

Forces allied with a warlord battling the Libyan government claimed last night that they recovered the material. UN inspectors said they were trying to confirm that report.

France pensions » Top French leaders are taking an unpopular stand for economic reform. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.

ELISABETH BORNE: (Speaking French)

JOSH SCHUMACHER: French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne invoked a special constitutional power to push through a pension reform bill minutes before parliament was set to vote on it.

The bill would raise the national retirement age from 62 to 64.

President Emmanuel Macron says without the change the nation’s social security funds will run out by 2035.

The move has sparked protests throughout the country. Opposition leaders in the government are moving to block the bill by filing a no-confidence motion.

Passing that motion requires approval by more than half of the National Assembly.

For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

Treasury Secretary hearing about banks » Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is working to calm the nerves of jittery bank depositors and investors, declaring

JANET YELLEN: That our banking system is sound and that Americans can feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need them.

Yellen testifying to the Senate Finance Committee days after the collapse of two regional banks. The federal government insures bank deposits up to $250,000. But the Biden administration is backstopping every penny of deposits in those banks.

The top Republican on the committee, Senator Mike Crapo told Yellen:

MIKE CRAPO: I’m concerned about the precedent of guaranteeing all deposits and the market expectation moving forward.

Some worry that could encourage risky behavior by banks with the belief that Uncle Sam will provide a safety net.

By the time her testimony was over, another major institution, First Republic Bank, received an emergency infusion of $30 billion in deposits from 11 banks, according to Treasury to avoid a third bank failure.

Florida heartbeat law » State legislators in Florida have introduced a bill that would protect unborn children from abortion in nearly every case. WORLD’s Elias Ferenczy has more.

ELIAS FERENCZY: Current Florida law allows abortion in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The new proposal would protect the unborn after six weeks of gestation except in cases of rape or incest, when the 15-week limit would apply.

The bill would also prevent the U.S. Postal Service and other companies from shipping abortion pills by mail, and it would restrict the state of Florida from offering funds to help women travel out of state for an abortion.

The bill is expected to be approved by the legislature and signed into law.

For WORLD, I’m Elias Ferenczy.

I’m Kent Covington.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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