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Ukraine parliament delays government vote / US to downsize its military / Renzi wins vote of confidence / Smog alarm in China / Charity warning on newborn deaths / The weather

25.02.2014

Ukraine parliament delays government vote

Ukraine's parliament has put off plans to vote on the formation of a national unity government until Thursday. The announcement comes as preparations get underway for a presidential election in May following the departure of Viktor Yanukovych who was last reported seen in the Crimea region of the country. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that Ukraine must not be forced to choose between ties with Russia or the West: "it's dangerous and counter-productive to try to impose a choice on Ukraine along the lines that you're either with us or against us. We are interested in Ukraine being a part of the pan-European family - in all meanings of the word." Meanwhile, the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has urged Ukraine's interim leaders to form an "inclusive" government. She didn't give any details of any foreign financial assistance, saying the International Monetary Fund would make its own assessment of the situation.

US to downsize its military

The US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has unveiled plans to reduce the US Army to its smallest size in over 70 years. He's outlined a plan to trim the current army as well as putting Cold War-era Air force fleets, including the U-2 spy plane, out of service.

Renzi wins vote of confidence

Italy's new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has won a vote of confidence for his new government in the Senate. He’s proposed a package of measures aimed at boosting the economy. Renzi’s coalition includes his centre-left Democrats and centre-right politicians. A second vote of confidence takes place in the Chamber of Deputies later today which he's expected to win.

Smog alarm in China

Parts of China are suffering from increasing air pollution. The National Meteorological Centre has raised its smog alert for northern and central areas of the country. Up to 150 industrial companies have cut or suspended production in the capital Beijing because of the problem.

Charity warning on newborn deaths

The charity "Save the Children" says a million babies a year around the world are dying within a day of being born. In a new report, it said providing more midwives could drastically reduce the number of deaths. Simon Wright is the author of the report: "if you're going to reduce newborn mortality, you need a functioning health system that means that a trained health worker is nearby, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because you can't schedule when a birth is going to happen. So it's a really good indicator of the strength of a health system."

The weather

It'll be mostly sunny with foggy patches clearing - but some cloud developing. A moderate wind and highs ranging between 5 and 13 degrees, where there's a föhn up to 15.

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