Monthly Archives : July 2021

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Turkey Evacuates Panicked Tourists by Boat From Wildfires 

31
Jul,2021

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Panicked tourists in Turkey hurried to the seashore to wait for rescue boats Saturday after being told to evacuate some hotels in the Aegean resort of Bodrum because of the dangers posed by nearby wildfires, Turkish media reported.Coast guard units were leading the operation and authorities asked private boats and yachts to assist in evacuation efforts from the sea as new wildfires erupted. Video showed plumes of smoke and fire enveloping a hill close to the seashore.The death toll from wildfires raging in Turkey’s Mediterranean towns rose to six Saturday after two forest workers were killed, the country’s health minister said. Fires across Turkey since Wednesday have burned down forests and some settlements, encroaching on villages and tourist destinations and forcing people to evacuate.The minister of agriculture and forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, said Saturday that 91 of the 101 fires that broke out amid strong winds and scorching heat had been brought under control. Neighborhoods affected by fire in five provinces were declared disaster zones by Turkey’s emergency and disaster authority.Government assistancePresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan inspected some damage Saturday from a helicopter.Speaking from the town of Manavgat, Erdogan announced that the Turkish government would cover the rents for people affected by fire and rebuild their homes. He said taxes, social security and credit payments would be postponed for those affected and small businesses would be offered credit with zero interest.”We cannot do anything beyond wishing the mercy of God for the lives we have lost, but we can replace everything that was burned,” he said.A man watches wildfires in Kacarlar village near the Mediterranean coastal town of Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey, July 31, 2021.Erdogan said the number of planes fighting the fires had been increased from six to 13, including planes from Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, and that thousands of Turkish personnel, as well as dozens of helicopters and drones, were assisting the firefighting efforts.At least five people have died from the fires in Manavgat and one died in Marmaris. Both towns are Mediterranean tourist destinations. Tourism is an important source of revenue for Turkey, and business owners were hoping this summer would be much better than last year, when pandemic travel restrictions caused tourism to plummet.Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 400 people affected by the fires in Manavgat were treated at hospitals and released, while 10 others were still hospitalized for fire injuries. In Marmaris, 159 people were treated at a hospital and one person was still undergoing treatment for burns.In southern Hatay province, flames jumped into populated areas but later apparently were brought under control.Common occurrencesWildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the arid summer months. Turkey has blamed some previous forest fires on arson or outlawed Kurdish militants. Erdogan said Saturday that authorities were investigating the possibility of “sabotage” causing fires.Meanwhile, a heat wave across southern Europe, fed by hot air from Africa, has led to wildfires across the Mediterranean.Firefighters on the Italian island of Sicily battled dozens of blazes Saturday fueled by high temperatures, prompting the region’s governor to request assistance from Rome. Some 150 people trapped in two seaside areas in the city of Catania were evacuated late Friday by sea, where they were picked up by rubber dinghies and transferred to Coast Guard boats.Temperatures in Greece and nearby countries in southeast Europe are expected to climb to 42 degrees Celsius (more than 107 Fahrenheit) Monday in many cities and towns.

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What Are Deep Fakes and Why Are They Dangerous?

31
Jul,2021

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Fake videos generated by artificial intelligence — also known as deep fakes — are becoming more common and harder to detect. But some deep fakes are being used for a good cause. Karina Bafradzhian has the story.

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Вітренко розповів про можливі «альтернативні» поставки газу в Україну

31
Jul,2021

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Глава правління «Нафтогазу» наголосив, що не хоче називати конкретні країни, щоб на них не чинила тиск Росія

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Україна субсидує виробників «зеленої» енергії на суму до 2 мільярдів доларів щороку – Вітренко

31
Jul,2021

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На підвищення енергоефективності і розвиток відновлюваної енергетики йдуть у тому числі гроші, які український бюджет отримує від транзиту газу

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Вітренко: битва проти «Північного потоку-2» програна, але війна триває

31
Jul,2021

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За словами очільника «Нафтогазу», українська сторона бореться за те, щоб російський газопровід не запрацював

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Olympics: French Men’s Basketball Team Coasts to Quarterfinals With Win Over Iran

31
Jul,2021

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France secured a comfortable win over Iran in Olympic men’s basketball on Saturday to qualify for the quarterfinals and remain undefeated in the preliminary round.Real Madrid’s Thomas Heurtel led with 16 points in France’s 79-62 victory at the Saitama Super Arena, north of Tokyo. They swept their opponents in Group A, including a shock defeat of Team USA on Sunday, the first Olympic loss for the Americans since 2004.”The focus really was more about us and trying things out,” Evan Fournier, who plays for the NBA’s Boston Celtics, said about France’s decisive win. Despite his team’s dominant showing so far, he wouldn’t speculate on medal odds.”Quarter-final first. Focus on that,” he said. “Too many times we’ve beaten very, very good teams and we lost in the semi-final, so no more of that.”The men’s quarterfinals are Tuesday.Iran finished 0-3 in the group stage. Arsalan Kazemi lamented that the travel restrictions imposed on Iran affected their performance.”We cannot really get out of Iran for any good friendly game,” he said at a press conference. “For Olympic preparation, we could have gone to a lot of different countries like other teams and played like 10, 11, 12 good games, and would have come here and would have competed differently.”The United States bounced back with a win over Iran earlier this week and will face the Czech Republic later on Saturday.Team USA has historically been the team to beat at basketball, with a 139-6 record and 15 gold medals since 1936. But as the sport has grown in popularity around the globe, many national teams can field teams with NBA experience, and the U.S.’s talent advantage has shrunk.Before losing to France at these Games, the United States dropped two straight exhibition games this month, including a defeat to world 22nd-ranked Nigeria. 

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US Complies With Russia Ban, Lays Off Local Embassy Staff

31
Jul,2021

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The United States said Friday it has laid off nearly 200 local staffers working for its diplomatic missions in Russia ahead of an August 1 deadline set by the Kremlin for their dismissal. The move is the latest in a series of measures taken by both sides that have strained U.S.-Russia relations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the layoffs are regrettable and something the U.S. had hoped to avert, despite a sharp deterioration in ties between Moscow and Washington, which show few signs of improvement.  FILE – Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department in Washington, July 12, 2021.”These unfortunate measures will severely impact the U.S. mission to Russia’s operations, potentially including the safety of our personnel as well as our ability to engage in diplomacy with the Russian government,” Blinken said in a statement. “Although we regret the actions of the Russian government forcing a reduction in our services and operations, the United States will follow through on our commitments while continuing to pursue a predictable and stable relationship with Russia,” he said.  The Russian Foreign Ministry was silent on the matter, and the Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a query. Russia earlier this year announced a ban on almost all non-American staff at the embassy in Moscow and consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. That came in response to U.S. expulsions of Russian diplomats and tit-for-tat closures of numerous diplomatic facilities in each country. Those expulsions and closures came in the context of U.S. sanctions imposed over Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, and the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny and crackdown on his supporters, as well as involvement in the SolarWind hack of U.S. federal agencies. All are activities that Russia has denied. After the announcement of the ban, the embassy suspended routine consular services and since May has been processing immigrant visas only in the case of life-or-death emergencies.  The suspension of consular services has also left Russian businessmen, exchange students and romantic partners adrift because they are no longer able to obtain U.S. visas in Russia.  Still, the U.S. had been cautiously optimistic that the Russian decision might be reversed at last month’s meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva. But those hopes evaporated even after the two sides resumed strategic arms control talks this week. FILE – U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meet at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021.Thus, Friday’s announcement sealed the employment fate of 182 locally employed staffers who worked as office and clerical staff, drivers and contractors at the U.S. facilities. Only security guards who work outside the gates of the compounds were exempted from the ban.  “The United States is immensely grateful for the tireless dedication and commitment of our locally employed staff and contractors at U.S. Mission Russia,” Blinken said. “We thank them for their contributions to the overall operations and their work to improve relations between our two countries. Their dedication, expertise and friendship have been a mainstay of Mission Russia for decades.”We value our deep connection to the Russian people,” Blinken added. “Our people-to-people relationships are the bedrock of our bilateral relations.” 

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Firefighters Continue to Battle Deadly Wildfires in Southern Turkey

31
Jul,2021

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Firefighters continued to battle raging wildfires in southern Turkey Friday that have killed at least four people and forced the evacuation of villages and hotels.More than 70 wildfires broke out this week in Turkey’s Mediterranean and southern Aegean region and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that crews were still trying to contain them in 14 locations after bringing 57 other wildfires under control since Wednesday. Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said the uncontained wildfires were in six provinces and vowed to hold accountable anyone found to be responsible for starting them. Authorities said Thursday that investigations into the fires had begun.The mayor of the Turkish resort town of Marmaris said he could not dismiss the possibility of “sabotage” as the cause of a mountainside fire that threatened holiday homes and hotels on Thursday.Erdogan said a plane from Azerbaijan would join planes from Russia and Ukraine to battle the fires, adding “with the arrival of the planes, we are turning in a positive direction.”In addition to at least five planes, the Turkish president said 45 helicopters, drones and nearly 1,100 firefighting vehicles are involved in the effort.Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the dry summer season, but arson or Kurdish militants have been blamed for some previous forest fires.

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Держава втратила контроль над понад 16 тисяч кілометрів газорозподільчих мереж – Данілов

31
Jul,2021

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«Там тотальна монополія, одна з компаній володіє 70% облгазів, це безпосередньо має стосунок до пана Фірташа»

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Millions in 23 Hunger Hot Spots Face Famine, Death, UN Agencies Say

30
Jul,2021

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The United Nations warns global hunger is increasing and urgent action is needed to stave off famine and death over coming months in nearly two dozen unstable, violence-prone countries.A report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program said more than a half-million people are experiencing catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity and 41 million are at risk of famine.The report from the WFP and FAO focuses on the particularly serious situation in 23 so-called hunger hot spots.  Most of those countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, with others in Central America, Asia and the Middle East.Patrick Jacqueson, FAO officer in charge of the Geneva office, said acute hunger is set to increase in those countries over the next four months without urgent, scaled-up humanitarian assistance.“Conflict continues to be the primary driver for the largest share of people facing acute food insecurity,” Jacqueson said. “Closely associated with conflict are humanitarian access constraints, which remain significant, compounding food insecurity. Weather extremes and climate variability are likely to affect several parts of the world during the outlook period.”The report said dry conditions are likely to affect Haiti, Nigeria’s Middle Belt and the “Dry Corridor” in Guatemala, while above-average rainfall and flooding are forecast in South Sudan, central and eastern Sahel, and Gulf of Guinea countries.400,000 face starvation in TigrayThe report highlighted the perilous situation in Ethiopia and Madagascar, the world’s newest highest-alert hunger hot spots.Annalisa Conte, WFP Geneva Office director, said the aggravation of conflict in recent months is having a catastrophic impact on the food security of the Tigrayan population in Ethiopia.  She warned that more than 400,000 people would face starvation if they did not receive sufficient humanitarian aid.“If we move to Madagascar, Madagascar is experiencing the worst drought in 40 years,” Conte said. “On top of that, economic decline largely caused by COVID. As a result, 1.3 million people are currently facing the acute food insecurity.”The FAO and WFP said fighting, blockades that cut off lifesaving aid to families on the verge of famine, and a lack of funding were hampering efforts to provide emergency food aid to millions of desperate people.The agencies said families who rely on humanitarian aid to survive were hanging by a thread. They noted that most of those on the verge of famine in the 23 hot spots were farmers and must receive help to resume food production.  That, they said, will allow them to feed themselves and become self-sufficient.

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Amazon Hit With Record EU Data Privacy Fine

30
Jul,2021

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Amazon.com Inc has been hit with a record $886.6 million (746 million euros) European Union fine for processing personal data in violation of the bloc’s GDPR rules, as privacy regulators take a more aggressive position on enforcement.The Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) imposed the fine on Amazon in a July 16 decision, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing on Friday.Amazon will appeal the fine, according to a company spokesperson. The e-commerce giant said in the filing it believed CNPD’s decision was without merit.CNPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, requires companies to seek people’s consent before using their personal data or face steep fines.Globally, regulatory scrutiny of tech giants has been increasing following a string of scandals over privacy and misinformation, as well as complaints from some businesses that they abuse their market power.Alphabet’s Google, Facebook Inc, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp have drawn heightened scrutiny in Europe.In December, France’s data privacy watchdog handed out its biggest ever fine of 100 million euros ($118.82 million) to Google for breaching the nation’s rules on online advertising trackers.

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Міжбанк: гривня оновлює 13-місячні максимуми проти долара США

30
Jul,2021

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«Поява на ринку Нацбанку і викуп ним 20 мільйонів доларів у межах до 26,81 гривні зупинила просідання котирувань» – аналітики

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British Transportation Minister Defends Quarantining French Visitors

30
Jul,2021

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Britain’s transportation minister Friday defended the country’s decision to continue quarantine requirements on fully vaccinated French visitors, saying they do not want to take chances on thwarting their COVID-19 vaccination program.In an interview, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said Britain does not want to take chances with the progress of its vaccination program. He said the presence of the beta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which was originally identified in South Africa, and now in France has prompted Britain to exercise caution.Shapps was responding to comments made Thursday by French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune, who called Britain’s policy “discriminatory and incomprehensible.”  Britain, on Wednesday, had announced it was lifting the quarantine requirement on fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and the European Union, except for France.Beaune argued the beta strain accounted for fewer than 5% of COVID-19 cases in France, and mostly occurred in overseas territories from where relatively few people travelled to Britain.In his interview Friday, Shapp insisted the beta variant has not just been limited to far away French island territories but has also been an issue in northern France. But he added that he has been in discussions with his French counterpart, Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari.  They agree that every country must look at the data and follow the science.  
Shapp said that is what they are doing right now – looking at the latest data on where the beta variant is going. He said the plan right now is to review the decision on France next week. 

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Курс НБУ: гривня досягла проти долара США максимуму за 13 місяців

30
Jul,2021

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На міжбанківському валютному ринку торги завершилися на рівні 26 гривень 78–80 копійок за долар

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Israel’s NSO Under Fire for Spyware Targeting Journalists, Dissidents

30
Jul,2021

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There is growing international criticism of Israel following allegations that software from the private security company NSO was used to spy on journalists, dissidents, and even political leaders around the world. A group of American lawmakers is urging the U.S. government to take punitive action against the company, which denies any wrongdoing. In Israel, some experts are calling for better regulation of cyber exports. Linda Gradstein reports for VOA from Jerusalem.

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Big Tech Companies to Allow Only Vaccinated Employees into US Offices

30
Jul,2021

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Big tech companies are making it mandatory for employees in the United States to get COVID-19 vaccinations before entering campuses, as the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus drives a resurgence in cases.Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. said on Wednesday all U.S. employees must get vaccinated to step into offices. Google is also planning to expand its vaccination drive to other countries in the coming months.According to a Deadline report, streaming giant Netflix Inc. has also implemented a policy mandating vaccinations for the cast and crew on all its U.S. productions.Apple Inc. plans to restore its mask requirement policy at most of its U.S. retail stores, both for customers and staff, even if they are vaccinated, Bloomberg News reported.Apple and Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comments.Many tech companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Uber, have said they expect employees to return to their offices, months after pandemic-induced lockdowns forced them to shift to working from home.In April, Salesforce said it would allow vaccinated employees to return to some of its offices.Google also said on Wednesday it would extend its global work-from-home policy through Oct. 18 due to a recent rise in cases caused by the delta variant across different regions.”We’ll continue watching the data carefully and let you know at least 30 days in advance before transitioning into our full return-to-office plans,” the company said.   

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