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Departure ceremony of Chinese aid to Tonga held in Fiji******
A departure ceremony for a batch of relief supplies donated by China to Tonga was held on Monday.
The batch of aid including drinking water, food, generators and medical supplies, is set to arrive in Tonga on Thursday.
Trump announces plans to launch social network******
Former US president Donald Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch his own social network, in the latest push to reclaim his Internet dominance after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook in the wake of the Capitol insurrection.
The move is likely to further strengthen speculation that Trump is gearing up for another presidential run in 2024.
"TRUTH Social" will be owned by Trump Media & Technology Group, and is expected to begin its beta launch for "invited guests" next month. It is already available for pre-order on Apple's App Store, the group said in a statement.
TMTG also intends to launch a subscription video on-demand service that will feature "non-woke" entertainment programming and will be led by Scott St John, an executive producer from "America's Got Talent," it said.
For years, Trump, who wielded Twitter in particular as a rhetorical weapon during his presidency, has battled tech giants that he argues have wrongfully censored him. "I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech," Trump, banned from Twitter and Facebook for stoking the January 6 US Capitol attack, was quoted as saying in the statement on Wednesday.
"We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable."
US Congressional investigators are examining the January 6 attack, when thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol nine months ago in an effort to overturn President Joe Biden's election victory. They had been egged on by Trump, whose fiery speech earlier that day falsely claiming election fraud was the culmination of months of baseless claims about a contest he lost fairly to Biden.
The investigative committee has charged that Trump was "personally involved" in organizing the attack.
The free-speech fight escalated when the world's dominant social media platforms banned Trump as punishment for stirring up the mob that ransacked Congress.
Facebook banned Trump indefinitely on January 7, later narrowing the ban to two years.
Twitter quickly followed, permanently suspending Trump's account – which had more than 88 million followers at the time – due to the "risk of further incitement of violence."
Germany suspends certification of Nord Stream 2 pipeline******
This file photo taken on September 7, 2020, shows the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility in Lubmin, north eastern Germany.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Tuesday the suspension of the certification process of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline citing Russia's course of action over Ukraine.
"The situation today has fundamentally changed," he told journalists. "We will reassess the situation that has evolved over the past few days."
"I asked the Economy Ministry today to withdraw the existing report on the analysis of supply security at the Federal Network Agency," Scholz said, adding that it was a necessary administrative step to prevent the certification and thus the operation of Nord Stream 2.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs would now make a new assessment of the security of supply taking the last days' development into account, he said.
Russia's decision to recognize "the Lugansk People's Republic" and "the Donetsk People's Republic" as independent states was a "serious breach of international law" that violated the Minsk agreements and the Charter of the United Nations, Scholz said.
Scholz said it is now important to "prevent a further escalation, and thus a catastrophe. That is what all our diplomatic efforts are aimed at."
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to transport 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. The 1,234-km pipeline, however, has been lying idle, pending a go-ahead from Germany and the European Union.