Yahoo Finance's Akiko Fujita highlights world news as Russia releases video footage of military soldiers near Ukraine border, UK police looks into lockdown parties at Prime Minister Johnson's office, and theAustralian Open reverses ban on Peng Shuai protest t-shirts.
AKIKO FUJITA: In our World View today, Russia has launched new military exercises in response to moves by NATO and the US. The country's defense ministry released video showing short range ballistic missile crews being deployed to take part in a series of drills. The military also announced a separate exercise in the south of the country involving more than 60 Russian fighter jets and bombers.
The move comes after the Pentagon announced it was placing 8,500 US soldiers on high alert to support NATO troops deployed to the region. Tensions between Russia and NATO have escalated amid growing concerns the Kremlin is planning an imminent attack on Ukraine. It has placed more than 100,000 troops along Russia's border with the country.
Over in London, Scotland Yard has launched a criminal investigation into parties at Downing Street, adding to growing pressure for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign. The police commissioner said she's looking into potential violations of COVID restrictions over the last two years, though she didn't specify if Johnson was part of that investigation.
Now, the prime minister welcomed that news, adding that it would help to give the public clarity in the face of accusations his staff deliberately violated the country's COVID protocols. The investigation delays the findings of a government ethics report into parties held in Downing Street while much of the country remained in lockdown. And lawmakers have threatened to hold a no confidence vote to remove Johnson from office.
And the Australian Open is reversing course here, allowing for demonstrations in support of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Tournament organizers eased the rules after they faced pushback for removing a small group of protesters wearing shirts that read, "Where is Peng Shuai?" The tennis star has been missing from the court since she accused China's former vice premier of sexual assault. While she's re-emerged in public, Peng has largely remained silent about those allegations, leading to accusations that Chinese authorities are censoring her. That prompted the Women's Tennis Association to pull all of its tournaments from China last year.