09Aug/22

Explosions Rock Russian Air Base in Crimea

Powerful explosions erupted at a Russian air base in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula on Tuesday, killing one person and wounding five others, authorities said, but the cause of the blasts was unknown. Russia’s Defense Ministry said munitions blew up at the Saki base in the region seized by Russia in 2014, but it emphasized the installation had not been shelled. There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian authorities, but there was widespread speculation on Ukrainian social networks that Kyiv’s forces had hit the base with long-range missiles. Sunbathers fled a nearby beach as huge clouds of smoke from the explosions rose…

09Aug/22

Kyiv Says Russians Trying to Dislodge Its Forces in Donetsk, As Nuclear Concerns Persist

A Russian offensive is continuing toward the hub cities of Bakhmut and Avdiyivka in the eastern Donetsk region as the enemy tries to inflict “maximum losses” on Ukrainian forces, the Ukrainian Army’s General Staff said early on August 9. It said the Russian Air Force was bombarding military facilities in the direction of Donetsk in support of artillery and other ground operations aimed at dislodging Ukrainian units from the front lines. British intelligence warned on August 8 that Russia was using anti-personnel mines in an effort to defend and hold its defense lines in the Donbas, with resulting risks to…

09Aug/22

EU Lays Down ‘Final’ Text To Resurrect Iran Nuclear Deal

The European Union on Monday said it put forward a “final” text to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as four days of indirect talks between U.S. and Iranian officials wrapped up in Vienna. “What can be negotiated has been negotiated, and it’s now in a final text. However, behind every technical issue and every paragraph lies a political decision that needs to be taken in the capitals,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted. “If these answers are positive, then we can sign this deal,” he added as EU, Iranian and U.S. prepared to leave Vienna. Earlier, a senior…

08Aug/22

Ukraine ‘Optimistic’ After Arrival of First Grain Shipment

The first cargo ship to reach its final destination after departing from Ukraine under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv docked in Turkey on Monday, Kyiv said, while a consignment due in Lebanon reported delays. Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, was forced to halt almost all deliveries after Russia’s invasion, but Black Sea exports recently restarted under a deal brokered by the U.N. and Turkey. The Turkish cargo ship — the Polarnet — that reached its final destination left the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk last week carrying 12,000 metric tons of corn. It arrived in Turkey as…

08Aug/22

UK Museum Agrees to Return Looted Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

A London museum agreed Sunday to return a collection of Benin Bronzes looted in the late 19th century from what is now Nigeria as cultural institutions throughout Britain come under pressure to repatriate artifacts acquired during the colonial era.  The Horniman Museum and Gardens in southeast London said that it would transfer a collection of 72 items to the Nigerian government. The decision comes after Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments formally asked for the artifacts to be returned earlier this year and following a consultation with community members, artists and schoolchildren in Nigeria and the U.K., the museum…

08Aug/22

Ukraine Grain Headed for Lebanon Under Wartime Deal Delayed

The scheduled arrival Sunday of the first grain ship to leave Ukraine and cross the Black Sea under a wartime deal has been delayed, a Lebanese Cabinet minister and the Ukrainian embassy said. The cause of the delay was not immediately clear and Marine Traffic, which monitors vessel traffic and the locations of ships at sea, showed the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni at anchor in the Mediterranean Sea near Turkey. Lebanon’s transportation minister, Ali Hamie, tweeted the ship “that was supposed, according to what was rumored, to reach Tripoli port in Lebanon” changed its status. Hamie refused to comment further when…

08Aug/22

Temperatures Rise as France Tackles Worst Drought on Record

France on Sunday braced for a fourth heatwave this summer as its worst drought on record left parched villages without safe drinking water and farmers warned of a looming milk shortage in the winter. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s office has set up a crisis team to tackle a drought that has forced scores of villages to rely on water deliveries by truck, prompted state-run utility EDF to curb nuclear power output and stressed crops. Temperatures were expected to hit 37 Celsius in the southwest Sunday before the baking hot air spreads north early in the week. “This new heatwave is…

08Aug/22

WW2 Bomb Revealed in Drought-Hit Waters of Italy’s Po River

Heatwaves sweeping Europe this summer have brought not just record high temperatures and scorched fields: the drought-stricken waters of Italy’s River Po are running so low they revealed a previously submerged World War Two bomb. Military experts defused and carried out a controlled explosion on Sunday of the 450-kg (1,000-pound) bomb, which was discovered on July 25 near the northern village of Borgo Virgilio, close to the city of Mantua. “The bomb was found by fishermen on the bank of the River Po due to a decrease in water levels caused by drought,” Colonel Marco Nasi said. It was no…

07Aug/22

Ukrainian Risks Her Life To Rescue Wild Animals From War

Natalia Popova has found a new purpose in life: Rescuing wild animals and pets from the devastation wrought by the war in Ukraine. “They are my life,” says the 50-year-old, stroking a light-furred lioness like a kitten. From inside an enclosure, the animal rejoices at the attention, lying on her back and stretching her paws up toward her caretaker. Popova, in cooperation with the animal protection group UA Animals, has already saved more than 300 animals from the war; 200 of them went abroad and 100 found new homes in western Ukraine, which is considered safer. Many of them were…

07Aug/22

Tons of Grain Leaving Ukraine

Four grain ships sailed from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports Sunday. The Joint Coordination Center, the body set up under the Black Sea Grain Initiative to monitor its implementation, authorized the departures through the maritime humanitarian corridor. The ships moving out of Ukrainian ports are headed to China, Italy and two locations in Turkey. A fifth ship has been authorized to sail to Ukraine to pick up cargo. Ukraine is one of the world’s breadbaskets and the blockage of its ports has resulted in rising global food prices and the threat of famine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his daily address…

07Aug/22

Amnesty International Ukraine Report Sparks Furor, Resignation

The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine chapter has resigned, saying the human rights organization shot down her opposition to publishing a report that said Ukrainian forces had exposed civilians to Russian attacks by basing themselves in populated areas. In a statement posted Friday night on Facebook, Oksana Pokalchuk accused her former employer of disregarding Ukraine’s wartime realities and the concerns of local staff members who had pushed for the report to be reworked. The report, released Thursday, drew angry denouncements from top Ukrainian officials and criticism from Western diplomats, who accused the authors of making vague claims that appeared to…

07Aug/22

Beluga Whale Caught in France’s Seine Not Accepting Food

French environmentalists are working around the clock to try and feed a dangerously thin Beluga whale that has strayed into the Seine River. So far, they have been unsuccessful. Marine conservation group Sea Shepherd France tweeted Saturday that “our teams took turns with the Beluga all night long. It always ignores the fish offered to him.” The lost Beluga was first seen in France’s river, far from its Arctic habitat, earlier this week. Drone footage subsequently shot by French fire services showed the whale gently meandering in a stretch of the river’s light green waters between Paris and the Normandy…

07Aug/22

Huge Crowds Watch Amsterdam Pride’s Canal Parade Celebration

Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined Amsterdam’s historic canals Saturday to celebrate the Canal Parade, a Pride flotilla of 80 brightly decorated boats packed with people partying, singing and waving rainbow flags, balloons and umbrellas.  The boats representing rights groups, bars, clothing brands and even the Dutch military made their way slowly through the waterways in a resumption of the hugely popular LGBTQ Pride event that had been canceled for two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  “We are looking forward to a special edition where ‘being who you are and loving who you want’ is the norm and the struggle…

06Aug/22

12 Poles Killed in Croatia Bus Crash

A bus with Polish license plates skidded off a highway in northern Croatia early Saturday, killing at least 12 people, according to authorities.   Officials say at least 30 people were injured.  The bus was filled with religious pilgrims traveling to a Catholic shrine in Medjugorje, a town in southern Bosnia.  Reuters reports that all the victims are Polish citizens.     …

06Aug/22

Ukraine, Russia Trade Blame Over Damage to Nuclear Plant

Three more ships carrying thousands of tons of corn left Ukrainian ports Friday, part of a grain deal between Kyiv and Moscow, as the two countries accused each other of damaging a major Ukrainian nuclear power plant. Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom said Russian shelling had hit the Zaporizhzhia power station, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. “Three strikes were recorded on the site of the plant, near one of the power blocks where the nuclear reactor is located,” Energoatom said in a statement. It said there were no signs that the damage had caused a radioactive leak.   Three…

06Aug/22

Spain Leads Europe in Monkeypox, Struggles to Check Spread 

As a sex worker and adult film actor, Roc was relieved when he was among the first Spaniards to get a monkeypox vaccine. He knew of several cases among men who have sex with men, which is the leading demographic for the disease, and feared he could be next.  “I went home and thought, ‘Phew, my God, I’m saved,’ ” the 29-year-old told The Associated Press.  But it was already too late. Roc, the name he uses for work, had been infected by a client a few days before. He joined Spain’s steadily increasing count of monkeypox infections that has…