Albanian Parliament approves controversial deal to hold migrants for Italy

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s Parliament has approved a deal for the country to hold thousands of asylum seekers for Italy despite protests from opposition lawmakers and human rights groups. Under the five-year deal, Albania would shelter up to 3,000 migrants rescued from international waters at any one time. With asylum requests expected to take around a month to process, the number of asylum seekers sent to Albania could reach up to 36,000 in a year. Parliament voted 77-0 on Thursday to approve the deal, with 63 lawmakers absent and conservative opposition lawmakers trying to disrupt the vote with whistles. The deal has worried many human rights activists, but the EU sees the agreement as a possible future template.

Russia’s forces turn their focus on Ukraine’s northeast

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — An official says Russian forces are probing Ukrainian defenses for weak points in the country’s northeast. That’s an area where analysts believe the Kremlin is aiming to build on its recent success in taking the city of Avdiivka by mounting an ambitious four-pronged offensive to break through the front line. Russia overwhelmed Ukraine’s army in Adviidka, a strategic eastern city, where it brought to bear its significant battlefield advantage in men, aircraft and artillery. Moscow appears determined to leverage its superiority as it shifts its economy onto a war footing. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a co-pilot’s seat to fly in a Tu-160M strategic bomber on Thursday after visiting an aircraft manufacturing plant.

Guinness World Records annuls ‘oldest dog ever’ title for a dead Portuguese canine

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Guinness World Records has ruled against a Portuguese dog that died last year keeping the title of oldest canine ever. GWR said Thursday that following a review it no longer has the evidence it needs to support Bobi’s claim as the record holder. Bobi was a reportedly 31-year-old guard dog who was proclaimed the world’s oldest living dog and oldest dog ever in February 2023. He was said to have been born on May 11, 1992. Bobi died last October. GWR said it opened an inquiry following concerns raised by veterinarians, other experts and media investigations.

Farmers from 10 EU countries join forces to protest agricultural policies

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech farmers are driving their tractors and other vehicles to several border crossings to join forces with their colleagues from neighboring countries in their protests against European Union agriculture policies, bureaucracy and overall conditions for their business. Farmers complain that the 27-nation EU’s policies on the environment, such as the Green Deal, which calls for limits on the use of chemicals and on greenhouse gas emissions, limit their business and make their products more expensive than non-EU imports. The farmers met their colleagues from neighboring Poland and Slovakia at several borders crossings.


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