According to UNICEF, the number of children suffering dire drought conditions across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has more than doubled in the past five months. Currently, an estimated 20.2 million children are facing the threat of severe hunger, thirst and disease, which is a stark increase from the 10 million reported in July. Climate change, conflict, global inflation and grain shortages have all contributed to the devastating conditions in the Horn of Africa.
Uzbekistan's state-owned railway company Temir Yullari has announced that for the first time, a cargo train carrying copper concentrate has been sent from Uzbekistan to Europe via the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor.
This route bypasses Russia, and offers Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries an alternative connection to European markets.
Ukraine has announced on Monday (19 December) that it is increasing defenses along its northern border with Belarus amid concern that Russia may be preparing a second assault on Kyiv.
In conversation with BBC Ukraine, Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Yenin said: "We are building up our defence lines all across the border with Russia and with Belarus." An increase in Russian military hardware and personnel in Belarus has been noted over the past few weeks.