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Tributes are left at the site where an apartment block was heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike in Dnipro, Ukraine.

REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

What We're Watching: Russia lashes out, Khan ups election ante, China's population shrinks

Russia strikes civilians, braces for long war in Ukraine

At least 40 people died in Saturday's Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro, Ukraine's fourth-largest city, authorities said Monday. It was one of Russia's deadliest attacks against Ukrainian civilians since the invasion began, as Moscow doubles down on the strategy of targeting civilians to turn the tide of the war in its favor. Meanwhile, the Washington, DC-based Institute for the Study of War on Sunday claimed that the Kremlin is preparing for a drawn-out conflict and a fresh mobilization to push back against Ukraine's military gains in recent months. What does that mean for Kyiv? That the US and its NATO allies will need to stay the course on providing weapons to keep the Russians at bay. Clearly on message, the UK on Friday announced that it would for the first time send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. This might open up a can of worms within NATO: Poland wants to supply the Ukrainians with German-made Leopard tanks but has yet to get the green light from Berlin, while the US, Germany, and France have so far only agreed to give Ukraine light armored vehicles. If they all go a step further and send in the heavy equipment, Vladimir Putin will know that Ukraine's friends remain committed to its defense and are less worried about Russia escalating.

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Soldiers drive toward North Waziristan during a 2014 military offensive against the Pakistani Taliban.

REUTERS/Ihsan Khattak

As Pakistan confronts the Taliban, Washington backs Islamabad — kind of

Afghanistan and Pakistan are on the brink of direct conflict.

Terror attacks from the Pakistani Taliban — aka the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or the TTP, who are ideologically affiliated with and politically backed by the Afghan Taliban — are increasing across Pakistan. In the last two weeks, Pakistani intelligence operatives have been gunned down in the country’s biggest province, and a detention facility has been overtaken and officials held hostage.

To defend itself, Islamabad has hinted that it might attack TTP hideouts in Afghanistan … with Washington’s blessing.

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Art imitates life, but politics quash both in India and Pakistan.

Luisa Vieira

Art imitates life, but politics quash both in India and Pakistan

As the hit 2022 film “The Legend of Maula Jatt”, the best-performing movie in Pakistan’s history, was set to be released in one of the world’s largest movie-watching markets last weekend, it was abruptly canceled. No official reason was given by India’s film authorities, but right-wing Indian politicians took credit for the change of plan.

Pakistani films have not been screened by India’s lucrative film market since 2011. Though there’s no official ban, New Delhi adheres to an unofficial prohibition aimed at reducing the presence of Pakistani art on Indian screens. This has been expanded under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist rule to also exclude Pakistani actors from performing in India’s Bollywood.

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A police officer stands inside a cordoned-off area after a suicide car bombing in Islamabad, Pakistan.

REUTERS/Waseem Khan

Pakistan vs. (Pakistani) Taliban

Pakistan’s “second war against terror” has effectively begun.

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Voters heading to the polls.

GZERO Media

The big votes of 2023

In 2022, voters in South Korea, France, Kenya, Brazil, the United States and other countries produced some dramatic and consequential election results.

Here are four major elections to watch in 2023.

Nigeria (Feb 25)

Nearly 100 million voters in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, will head to the polls in February to choose a new president, and because this country is Africa’s political heavyweight and largest economy, outsiders will be watching closely. The incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, is term limited. In his place, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos, the country’s most populous state, has won the internal fight to lead the incumbent All Progressives Congress Party.

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Pakistan's new army chief Gen. Asim Munir meets with President Arif Alvi in Islamabad.

Press Information Department/Handout via REUTERS

Operation Cleanup: Pakistan’s new general has an old assignment

After months of drama and debate, Pakistan finally has a new army chief, ostensibly the most powerful man in the land. While Gen. Asim Munir inherits a country in the midst of political chaos and economic disaster, he is also confronted by a crisis of confidence in Pakistan’s most powerful and organized institution.

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Imran Khan supporters chant slogans as they condemn the assassination attempt on the former PM in Wazirabad, Pakistan.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

After Imran Khan attack, Pakistan’s fatal political threesome escalates

Pakistan is still reeling after the assassination attempt on ex-PM Imran Khan, the born-again Muslim populist who has been campaigning for snap elections and a return to power since being ousted from office last April. After he survived gunshot wounds on his legs Thursday, a three-way political battle between Khan, the civilian government, and its military backers is now spilling onto the streets.

The flurry of accusations, questions, and investigations in the wake of the shooting doesn’t bode well for political and social stability in the world’s fifth most populous country and the only nuclear-armed Islamic republic.

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A supporter of Pakistan's former PM Imran Khan in Karachi gestures following the shooting incident on his long march in Wazirabad.

REUTERS/Imran Ali

What We're Watching: Pakistan’s former PM shot, Olaf goes to Beijing

Imran Khan survives assassination attempt

Pakistan’s former PM Imran Khan — aka “Kaptaan” for his cricket accolades and lead-from-the-front style of populist politics — survived an assassination attempt on Thursday during his “Long March” to Islamabad. Khan was shot in the leg as his truck-driven stage rolled through the central Pakistani city of Wazirabad, and he was rushed to a hospital in Lahore, where he was eventually declared stable. Eight other members of his entourage were also injured, and one party worker was killed. At least one alleged gunman was challenged and apprehended by a brave bystander. “He was misleading people and I couldn’t take it,” the suspect said in a leaked confession to police. “I tried to kill only him.” Meanwhile, Khan’s party accused PM Shehbaz Sharif's government of plotting the attack and threatened protests nationwide if they weren’t removed from power. As if on cue, widespread protests kicked off against military and government officials. Khan, who was removed from office last April, has been demanding snap elections, but so far he’s been ignored. Despite his party sweeping by-elections, mass rallies, and his summoning of unprecedented support against the military, the political establishment hasn’t blinked. Will this attack force their hand?

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