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  • Nagasaki marks 75 years since atomic bombing news

    The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Sunday commemorated the 75th anniversary of its destruction by a US atomic bomb, with its mayor and the head of the United Nations warning against a nuclear arms race. Nagasaki was flattened in an atomic inferno three days after Hiroshima -- twin nuclear attacks that rang in the nuclear age and gave Japan the bleak distinction of being the only country to be struck by atomic weapons. Survivors, their relatives and a handful of foreign dignitaries attended a remembrance ceremony in Nagasaki where they called for world peace.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 02:01:12 -0400
  • Nagasaki urges nuke ban on 75th anniversary of US A-bombing news

    The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Sunday marked its 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing, with the mayor and dwindling survivors urging world leaders including their own to do more for a nuclear weapons ban. At 11:02 a.m., the moment the B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped a 4.5-ton (10,000-pound) plutonium bomb dubbed “Fat Man,” Nagasaki survivors and other participants stood in a minute of silence to honor more than 70,000 dead. The Aug. 9, 1945, bombing came three days after the United States dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the world’s first ever nuclear attack that killed 140,000.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 22:03:46 -0400
  • Kim Jong-un sends aid to North Korean border city in lockdown news

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the distribution of aid to the border city of Kaesong after the area was locked down last month to fight the coronavirus, state media said on Sunday. Authorities raised the state of emergency to the maximum level for the city in July, saying they had discovered the country's first suspected virus case. A train carrying goods arrived in the "totally blocked" city of Kaesong on Friday, the official KCNA news agency reported. "The Supreme Leader has made sure that emergency measures were taken for supplying food and medicines right after the city was totally blocked and this time he saw to it that lots of rice and subsidy were sent to the city," it said. Mr Kim had been concerned "day and night" about people in Kaesong as they continue their "campaign for checking the spread of the malignant virus", the report added. Last month, Pyongyang said a defector who had left for South Korea three years ago returned on July 19 by "illegally crossing" the heavily fortified border dividing the two countries. The man showed symptoms of coronavirus and was put under "strict quarantine", authorities said, but the North has yet to confirm whether he tested positive. If confirmed, it would be the first officially recognised case of Covid-19 in North Korea, where medical infrastructure is seen as woefully inadequate to deal with any epidemic. The nuclear-armed North closed its borders in late January as the virus spread in neighbouring China. It imposed tough restrictions that put thousands of people into isolation, but analysts say the country is unlikely to have avoided the contagion.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 22:02:15 -0400
  • Letter from Africa: 'How I helped put Gambians on Google Maps' news

    A journalist is instrumental in the introduction of an address system which could help save lives.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 19:31:35 -0400
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine again tests negative for coronavirus news

    The fourth COVID-19 test result for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine came back negative Saturday after he received conflicting positive and negative results two days before, ahead of a scheduled meeting with President Trump. The governor and first lady, Fran DeWine, were tested at Ohio State University “out of an abundance of caution” following a rollercoaster day Thursday that began with DeWine receiving a positive test result followed by two negatives.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 15:56:13 -0400
  • Global Ethylene Carbonate Industry

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 15:27:00 -0400
  • Global Ethylene Glycol Industry

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 15:07:00 -0400
  • Italy approves outpatient use for abortion pill

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 15:00:55 -0400
  • Protesters decry government's anti-LGBT attitudes in Poland news

    Demonstrators turned out in Warsaw and other Polish cities Saturday to protest anti-LGBT attitudes promoted by the government as well as the detention of pro-LGBT protesters. “You will not lock all of us up!” people chanted at a protest in Warsaw that drew thousands of mostly young people. The protests came a day after LGBT rights supporters in Warsaw scuffled with police who arrested a transgender activist, Malgorzata Szutowicz, known best as “Margot.”

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:49:58 -0400
  • Global Evaporative Condensing Units Industry

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:47:00 -0400
  • Thousands throng central Jerusalem in anti-Netanyahu protest news

    Thousands of demonstrators thronged the streets near the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in central Jerusalem on Saturday night, in a renewed show of strength as weeks of protests against the Israeli leader showed no signs of slowing. Throughout the summer, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to call on Netanyahu to resign, protesting his handling of the country’s coronavirus crisis and saying he should not remain in office while on trial for corruption charges. Self-employed workers whose businesses have been hurt by the economic crisis also joined Saturday's march.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:42:08 -0400
  • Bikers descend on Sturgis rally with few signs of pandemic news

    The coronavirus may be changing the world, but there aren't many signs of the pandemic at the massive annual motorcycle rally being held this week at a small city along Interstate 90 in western South Dakota. The scene Saturday at the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was familiar to veterans of the event, with throngs of maskless bikers packing the streets. Motorcyclist Kevin Lunsmann, 63, rode more than 600 miles (965 kilometers) to the rally from Big Lake, Minnesota, with several friends.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:37:04 -0400
  • Global Fifth Wheel Coupling Industry

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 13:07:00 -0400
  • Why some Tory MPs are very worried about the Withdrawal Agreement news

    He may have succeeded in ditching the Irish backstop and getting his Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament against all the odds. But as Boris Johnson prepares to redraw the Brexit battlelines with the EU as negotiations resume later this month, he once again faces the prospect of a backbench rebellion over the deal he struck with Brussels last October. Although senior Brexiteers endorsed the treaty when faced with a remainer rebellion that threatened to reverse the referendum result, there is mounting disquiet among leave MPs that the agreement still isn’t worth the paper it is written on. As with Theresa May’s original deal, Tory members of the European Research Group (ERG) who universally endorsed the Prime Minister’s replacement plan in January are now voicing serious concerns about its similarities to its predecessor. Former Conservative party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who is leading the charge, insists the creation of a border in the Irish Sea with customs and regulatory checks on goods crossing from Britain to Northern Ireland remains a major bone of contention. “This sense of semi-detachment from the EU remains unacceptable to many,” he told The Telegraph. There are also concerns over ongoing powers for the European Court of Justice over the UK, special legal privileges for EU citizens living in Britain and the threat that the UK could be forced to participate in ambitious EU defence and security arrangements. The EU is also challenging the right of the UK to take back control of its fishing waters after Brexit - not to mention the reported £160 billion cost of the UK apparently remaining on the hook for the bloc’s ongoing liabilities.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 12:41:40 -0400
  • Brazil makes grim milestone -- 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 news

    Brazil surpassed a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday night, and five months after the first reported case the country has not shown signs of crushing the disease. The Health Ministry said there had been a total of 3,012,412 confirmed infections with the new coronavirus — death and infection tolls second only to the United States. In a tribute to COVID-19 victims Saturday morning, the non-governmental group Rio de Paz placed crosses on the sand on the famed Copacabana beach and released 1,000 red balloons into the sky.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 12:38:03 -0400
  • At his New Jersey golf club, Trump finds supportive audience news

    They hustled down the stairs, the rain dabbing their polo shirts and golf attire, as they dashed inside the clubhouse, drinks in their hands and masks missing from their faces. It was an unexpected perk of their country club membership: being the audience for President Donald Trump’s hurriedly announced news conference Friday evening at his course in Bedminster, New Jersey. As if it were a political rally, the well-heeled crowd offered cheers and jeers as the president delivered broadsides against his political foes.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 12:17:04 -0400
  • Global Flexible Foam Industry

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:27:00 -0400
  • David Frost to stay on as Brexit  negotiator if deal not agreed by September, sources say news

    David Frost, the Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator, will oversee talks with the EU even after he takes up his new post as National Security Advisor (NSA) in September. Boris Johnson’s Europe advisor is understood to have told colleagues he will stay on if a trade deal has not been agreed with Brussels by the Autumn. His appointment in June was intended to send a signal to the bloc that Britain was willing to walk away if a deal could not be struck over the summer. A government source said: “He’s said he will stay in charge of the negotiations until they have been completed. He will take up the new post in September but plans to spend 90 per cent of his time on the trade talks if that’s what is needed.” The revelation will raise concerns that Mr Frost’s dual role could leave the UK vulnerable in the event of a terrorist attack. His predecessor, Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, who announced in June he was stepping down as the UK’s top civil servant, faced criticism for combining that demanding role with acting as chief advisor to the Prime Minister on national security issues. Theresa May first appointed him as NSA in April 2017 but then also gave him the role of acting Cabinet Secretary in June 2018, while the late Sir Jeremy Heywood took a leave of absence on medical grounds, replacing him upon his retirement in October 2018. When his new role was announced, career diplomat Mr Frost, 55, said the EU talks would “remain my top single priority until those negotiations have concluded, one way or another.” The talks are due to resume in Brussels on August 17. As well as the promotion, Mr Johnson also gave a life peerage to Mr Frost, who was one of his key advisers as foreign secretary. Unpopular with security services However, reports soon emerged that his appointment was unpopular with military and security services who felt that Mr Frost was underqualified. Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell and former NSA Peter Ricketts also criticised the appointment amid concerns that the civil service’s impartiality was being eroded by giving a special adviser the post. Speaking in the House of Commons in June, former Prime Minister Theresa May highlighted the political nature of the appointment and questioned Mr Frost’s readiness for the role. She asked Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove: " Why is the new national security adviser a political appointee with no proven expertise in national security?" Mr Gove said Mr Frost was highly qualified and would be accountable to the PM, pointing out there were precedents for non civil servants to take on such roles and that the official that oversees senior government appointments agreed this was appropriate in this case. He said Mr Frost would neither be a civil servant nor a special adviser but would have the status of an envoy. Welcoming Mr Frost’s appointment, Mr Johnson described him as “an experienced diplomat, policy thinker, and proven negotiator, with a strong belief in building Britain’s place in the world.” Crediting him with “negotiating the deal that finally enabled us to leave the EU in January”, he added: “In his new role I am confident he will make an equal difference to this country’s ability to project influence for the better.” Mr Frost is coming under mounting pressure from Tory MPs to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement he struck with the EU last October and which passed through Parliament in January, after a Centre for Brexit Policy report endorsed by former ministers described it as “seriously flawed” and a “poison pill”.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:26:26 -0400
  • Program allows some Alaska Native Vietnam vets to get land news

    Stewy Carlo had a short life, but he lived every moment. After his service years, he roamed South America where he developed a love of photography, and then later turned heads while driving an exotic Maserati to a construction job back home in Alaska. Carlo, a member of the Koyukon Athabascan tribe, was a math whiz from Fairbanks who quit college in 1967 to volunteer for the Army, to serve in Vietnam.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:16:53 -0400
  • Joe Arpaio defeated in what’s likely his last political race news

    This political campaign was likely the last for Joe Arpaio, the former six-term sheriff of metro Phoenix known for leading immigration crackdowns and building a political career around the harsh treatment of jail inmates. Arpaio got edged out Friday in the Republican primary for Maricopa County sheriff by his former second-in-command, Jerry Sheridan, in a race that was lower profile and more modestly funded for Arpaio than the blowout campaigns of his heyday. While he still faced criticism over his 2017 criminal conviction — which President Donald Trump pardoned — many didn’t know he was running until they saw his name on the ballot.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:12:30 -0400
  • Global Floating Power Plants Industry

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 10:47:00 -0400
  • Global Floor Coatings Industry

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 10:27:00 -0400
  • States race to pass policing reforms after Floyd's death news

    The death of George Floyd and widespread protests over racial injustice have prompted several states to move at a lightning pace to pass significant policing reform proposals that in some cases have languished for years. The urgency is bipartisan, as both Democratic and Republican majorities in various legislatures have moved quickly to pass bills banning chokeholds, making it easier to hold officers legally accountable for their actions and other reforms. GOP-controlled Iowa took about a week to pass a series of policing bills in mid-June.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 10:22:37 -0400
  • Schools face big virus test as students return to classroom news

    Reopening schools is easy. As educators prepare to welcome students back to class for the first time in months, schools’ ability to quickly identify and contain coronavirus outbreaks before they get out of hand will be put to the test in thousands of districts around the country. Newly reopened schools in Mississippi, Indiana and Georgia have already reported infections just days into the academic year, triggering virus protocols that include swiftly isolating infected students, tracing their contacts and quarantining people they exposed.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 10:16:31 -0400
  • Trump to discuss Beirut response with Lebanese leaders news

    President Donald Trump will join world leaders, including senior figures from Lebanon, as the United States takes part in a global aid effort to help the survivors of a deadly blast that rocked the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Tuesday. Trump will join a conference call on Sunday, led by France and the United Nations, to rally aid and funds in the aftermath of the colossal explosion, which killed more than 150 people and injured at least 5,000, many of whom are now homeless. Later on Friday, at a news conference at his golf club in New Jersey, Trump called the massive explosion a "horrible event" and said that he had spoken to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, informing him that three U.S. aircraft were en route to the Middle Eastern country to deliver supplies and personnel.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 09:29:00 -0400
  • Doctors, hospitals launch voter registration efforts news

    An emergency room doctor in Boston is assembling thousands of voter registration kits for distribution at hospitals and doctor's offices. Later this month, students at Harvard and Yale’s medical schools are planning a contest to see which of the Ivy League rivals can register the most voters. Amid the dual public health crises of COVID-19 and racism, some in the medical community are prescribing a somewhat nontraditional remedy: voting.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 09:02:17 -0400
  • Census Bureau drop-outs complicate door-knocking efforts news

    Bob Garick was looking forward to being a field supervisor during the door-knocking phase of the 2020 census, but as the number of new coronavirus cases in Florida shot up last month, he changed his mind. With widespread home visits for the 2020 census set to begin next week, the Census Bureau is losing workers like Garick to pandemic fears. “Before, I thought it was my civic duty, to do my part, but now it’s like the health concerns are too great,” said Garick, 54, a software development director who is between jobs.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:55:34 -0400
  • Mogadishu: Several killed in attack at Somali military base news

    The militant group Al-Shabab has said it was behind the explosion that rocked the capital Mogadishu.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:51:40 -0400
  • AP FACT CHECK: Trump misleads on mail ballots, virus vaccine news

    It was a week of relentless attacks by President Donald Trump and his allies on mail-in voting for the November election, and truth took a beating at every turn. Fearing a pandemic-induced surge in such voting will work against him, Trump persisted in arguing that fraud is rampant for mail-in ballots yet quite fine and safe for absentee votes, which are also mailed. Meanwhile, on the coronavirus, Trump painted a far rosier picture than his own health experts on when a vaccine could become available.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:41:14 -0400
  • Why France is 'walking on the edge of a precipice' when it comes to Lebanon news

    Anger abounds in Lebanon following Tuesday's massive blast in Beirut's port that killed 154 people and injured 5,000 as it's become increasingly clear that the catastrophe stemmed from governmental neglect and mismanagement of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse for years. The Lebanese people's frustration with the country's political class is not new, however. For months before the explosion, protesters took to the street to demonstrate against corruption in the government and a severe economic crisis in the country. Now, some are looking abroad for help.One university student, Celine Dibo, told Reuters she wished "the United Nations would take over Lebanon," while psychologist Maryse Hayek said "I hope another country would just take us over." Indeed, more than 60,000 people have signed a petition asking France to restore the mandate it held between 1920 and 1946. But critics have pushed back against the idea.French President Emmanuel Macron — who himself has dismissed the idea he could "substitute" for Lebanese leaders — has received praise for visiting the country during the aftermath, promising aid, and even bringing the heads of Lebanon's divided political factions into the same room. But the French president has also been criticized for seeking a way to restore French influence over Lebanon and patronizing the politicians, The Associated Press reports, with one university student in Beirut wondering how Macron is "giving advice to us" when he "hasn't resolved issues with his country."Jack Lang, a former French government official told AP that France's position is difficult — ultimately, he said, France is "walking on the edge of precipice" when it comes to Lebanon, adding that "we have to aid, support, and encourage the Lebanese people, but at the same time not give the impression that we want to establish a new protectorate, which would be completely stupid." Read more at Reuters and The Associated Press.More stories from Trump attempts to bypass Congress with slew of pandemic-related executive orders Trump would reportedly 'show off' the capabilities of weapons systems he was briefed on to impress billionaires The case against American truck bloat

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:17:00 -0400
  • AP PHOTOS: In flash, Beirut blast tore up thousands of homes news

    The gigantic explosion in Beirut on Tuesday tore through homes, blowing off doors and windows, toppling cupboards, and sent flying books, shelves, lamps and everything else. Within a few tragic seconds, more than a quarter of a million people of the Lebanese capital’s residents were left with homes unfit to live in. The sisters were both knocked unconscious for a few moments, before they woke up again to an apocalyptic scene.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:12:45 -0400
  • Latin America Infrastructure Woes Add to Inequality news

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Latin America’s baleful infrastructure is only too familiar. So, too, are the opportunity costs of years of underinvestment and neglect in ports, roads, water works and the electricity grid. Just ask the almost two thirds of private companies in Argentina, Venezuela and Ecuador that the World Bank says are trying to do business amid chronic power failures.If the region fails to put more money into infrastructure, Latin America and the Caribbean could forfeit as much as 15% of potential gross domestic product growth over the next 10 years, Inter-American Bank (IADB) manager for infrastructure and energy Jose Agustin Aguerre told me. With the region already forecast to lag behind the rest of the developing world in GDP growth, the misfortunes will likely increase. That’s just one of the takeaways of “From Structures to Services,” a new IADB study on the region’s infrastructure woes. Another is who suffers the most for the debacle.While all 33 nations in Central and South America and the Caribbean are at risk, it’s clear that the burden of shabby services is not shared equally. The poorest workers and households shoulder an inequitable share of the cost of ramshackle transportation, dirty water, serial power outages and patchy communications. Throw in the coronavirus pandemic, and the plight of those at the bottom is even more dire.It’s no secret that a robust infrastructure spurs growth. But politicians in the region have traditionally hurled up ill-conceived grand public works and crisscrossed their nations with asphalt and transmission lines to nowhere, too often lining their pockets along the way. (Build and bilk was the driving logic behind Operation Carwash, the Brazilian government procurement scandal.) Latin American and Caribbean companies pay twice as much in bribes on public contracts as do their peers in the wealthier nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.Running and maintaining all that showy hardware is another story, and this is where regional leaders have fallen down. Faulty oversight, lack of competition and corruption lead to inefficiencies that cost Latin America and the Caribbean 0.65% of gross domestic product a year, the IADB found.Latin America was just recently celebrating a dramatic drop in poverty and the narrowing of one of the world’s widest income gaps. Its targeted cash transfer programs to struggling families became a policy benchmark for fighting poverty without busting welfare budgets. The social gains came to a halt with the end of the commodities boom, and have reversed since the region became the pandemic’s new epicenter. “The most vulnerable populations and individuals are once again being hit the hardest,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said last month.Covid-19 has already laid bare the region’s class-centric digital infrastructure. School closings during quarantine left 154 million Latin American students to study online, according to UNICEF. And yet, at least six in 10 households among the lowest-earning fifth of society lack the fast and reliable web connections needed for remote learning. Compare that to the top fifth of earners, where eight in 10 households have access to fixed high-speed broadband connections at home, the OECD reports.While half of 15-year-olds in well-heeled homes log on to learning platforms such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, just a fifth of those in poor zones have that ability, the OECD found. Worse, just 45% of students in poorer families have access to home computers, compared with 88% of their peers in higher income schools. In Bolivia, the poorest nation in South America after Venezuela, the government this week canceled the rest of the school year citing the lack of internet connections. The digital divide goes beyond the classroom. Even for Latin Americans who are wired, just connecting to the internet can be frustrating - and prohibitive. The bottom earning 40% of Latin Americans must shell out around 10% of their monthly wages for a basic - 1 gigabyte - broadband subscription. That’s more than three times what their low-earning counterparts in the richer OECD nations pay for the same service, and five times the baseline target set by the United Nations Broadband Commission for 2025.Urban mobility is also skewed toward the well-heeled. Consider that the poor, who often live farther from work, spend a greater share of their earnings on shaky public transportation systems. With few options for public transportation, or simply to save on bus and metro fares, some 40% of the lowest earners walk to work or the market, compared with just 10% of the wealthiest commuters.The poor also shell out dearly for energy, often consuming pricier bottled gas for cooking because the municipal street gas pipelines do not reach their communities. As late as 2016, some 80 million Latin Americans still relied on expensive and polluting fuels such as coal, kerosene and wood.And despite aggressive expansion of electric lines, many of the humblest homes – including almost half the poor in Panama, 30% in Guatemala and Honduras, and 20% in Bolivia and Peru – have no reliable access to electricity when they are not entirely off the grid. Overall, the bottom half of Latin American and Caribbean society spends almost 30% more on utilities than other developing regions, Aguerre and his research team concluded.Encouragingly, if the least fortunate are also the big losers in the infrastructure bust, they also stand to gain the most from the sorely needed upgrades. Consider urban mobility. Expanding rapid bus services, which now service 13 countries in the region, could slash urban travel times – by seven minutes in Lima and 11 minutes in Cali – for the lowest income passengers who have the longest commutes.Raising infrastructure efficiency through smart technology (digital metering, drones and GPS systems) could lower fares, fees and utility rates. Since the poor spend so much of their earnings on such services, they have proportionately more to gain from falling prices. The IADB estimates that a decade of infrastructure efficiency gains could raise the earnings of lowest paid consumers by 28% more on average than the rich. Poor Chileans could see their incomes jump 70% more than those of the rich, while the differential for poor Peruvians would be 40% over the wealthiest.This presents Latin America with a rare opportunity to reboot the region’s tapped out pipes, cables and bus queues and turn a rout into a win for development and social justice. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:00:02 -0400
  • Tens of thousands in fresh anti-Kremlin rally news

    Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Russia's Far East for a fifth consecutive weekend as anti-Kremlin rallies showed little sign of dying down on Saturday. The rallies in the city of some 600,000 people on the border with China is a major show of defiance against Moscow's policies and present a headache for President Vladimir Putin, observers say. The demonstrations were sparked by the sudden arrest of Khabarovsk's popular governor in a murder probe but has since acquired a wider, distinctly anti-Kremlin agenda.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 07:31:54 -0400
  • MV Wakashio: Mauritius declares emergency as stranded ship leaks oil news

    Mauritius declares a state of emergency after Japanese-owned carrier MV Wakashio starts leaking oil.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 07:27:17 -0400
  • Unknown gunman kills 2 Lebanese in Iranian capital

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:49:14 -0400
  • Gaza students back to school with few virus safety measures news

    Hundreds of thousands of students in the isolated Gaza Strip returned to schools after five months of closure, despite the ongoing pandemic that has seen school years postponed elsewhere across the globe. There have been no known cases of community transmission among the 2 million residents of Gaza, which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since the militant Hamas group took power in 2007. From the outset, the blockade has restricted movement in and out of Gaza mostly to its residents with humanitarian causes and workers of international aid groups.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:16:59 -0400
  • The Fearless Journalist Targeted by a Murderous Dictator news

    Ramona Diaz’s latest documentary, A Thousand Cuts, stars former CNN correspondent and Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa, a formidable Filipino reporter who was born in the country yet spent much of her youth, as well as her college years, in the U.S. Ressa became famous herself when she began being targeted by the violent populist government of President Rodrigo Duterte and its online followers. The attacks have intensified to the level of political retaliation, and the government has levied multiple charges, from cyber-libel to tax fraud, against Ressa and Rappler, a news website. On June 15, Ressa was convicted of the first cyber-libel charge against her. A Thousand Cuts follows Ressa as well as a handful of her colleagues/employees at Rappler, from police beat reporter Rambo Talabong to investigative reporter Patricia Evangelista, who have spent years on the ground covering the graphic, out-in-the-open government-mandated murders of poor Filipinos who are deemed—rightly or wrongly—drug addicts and drug pushers. The film also follows two of Duterte’s most fervent and influential supporters, social media personality and former dancer Mocha Uson and former Police General Bato dela Rosa. Despite its panoptical view, A Thousand Cuts focuses on Ressa and the extreme nature of her predicament. The world over, journalists are targeted, jailed, disappeared, and even murdered (as was the Saudi exile Jamal Khashoggi) for doing their work. Ressa, who chose to live in the Philippines instead of the U.S. after the people-powered revolution that ousted the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, has repeatedly returned to the Philippines rather than try to escape the trouble that has awaited her for years. The Daily Beast spoke to Ressa about what the most important takeaways are during a global descent into authoritarianism. It's a very sensitive moment for you, Maria, where this film is being made while you're in the midst of various complicated processes involving the politically motivated retaliation against you. My need was, realizing that we were in quicksand, this is a unique moment and we knew that in 2016, that we were under attack. So we grappled with: how do you report on yourself? And then I wanted it documented, but I couldn’t use Rappler’s resources for the longer term because we’re very small. Our organization’s a hundred people total and we only have 25 editorial people. Even in our video group, we work like crazy. So I felt bad even thinking of having someone document us. And then if it’s someone who knows you well documenting you if it’s an internal thing, then it’s clouded with lots of things. There were several people who asked, who were following me for periods of time. So, that was the stage that Ramona came into. That was my context. I wanted it documented and I wasn’t going to pay for it. ‘Immigration Nation’ Filmmakers Reveal How Team Trump Tried to Block and Censor Their ICE Documentary‘The Kingmaker’: A Scathing Portrait of the Female Donald TrumpHow do you build trust? Of course, I knew Ramona’s work because in 2004, she turned me down for an interview for [her documentary] Imelda. And at that point I was at CNN. I knew she had a different framework, which is the fly on the wall kind of cinema vérité. But my thing [is] at a certain point, a journalist makes a decision because if you’re doing a daily story, you make a decision immediately in terms of framework, in terms of the story. And inevitably, there are only eight themes globally. Every story falls into that. And so you make a judgment about the person you’re talking about. You don’t tell it to people, but for instance, if someone is lying to you, you know they’re lying to you and you put context to it. So that’s what she had to hurdle because I wasn’t completely convinced about her framework. I felt that the film really followed closely along to what at least seemed to me to be your personality, Maria, which is this ability to take grave moments or chaos, and to constantly reframe and recontextualize, to tell the people around you (or the audience) that this is how we need to look at it. And that's a very journalistic trait, but the fact that you’re able to do that in your real life in real time is impressive. Everyone’s different when they’re being documented in any way, but were you thinking about this comportment as the film was rolling? No. At a certain point I really did forget they were there because they became part of Rappler in a weird way, you know? And yet really the things we were dealing with were off the wall. And this is something I learned from CNN when you’re in a conflict zone. I became a reporter for CNN in 1987, and in 1987, live shots were $10,000 for every 10 minutes. So you didn’t do a lot of live shots from the Philippines.The thing about live shots is you have max two minutes, maybe a minute and a half. And if you don’t have your thoughts organized, if you’re not on in that minute and a half, you lose your window. So that’s perfect, wonderful training because I learned to take a complex world and boil it to three points, because that’s all you can get in a minute. I’ve learned a ton just even in the last four years, but it’s been four years of these attacks [from Duterte and his administration]. That’s the big difference. I’m used to being a journalist and being in a war zone for two weeks. Three weeks, and you’re going stir crazy if you’re still in a conflict area. Three weeks, it frays your edges; it changes the way you look at the world. I’ve had colleagues—some of whom are not are no longer here—who get addicted to it because there’s a certain adrenaline of conflict and war zone coverage that isn’t constructive to you. That makes you lose your ties, the ties that really matter to your family and friends. So I got out of conflict reporting at just the right time, I think. And I wanted to build something. That’s why I’m in the Philippines. Let’s hope I didn’t make the wrong choiceThere’s comparisons made to the U.S. in the film and what’s going on here with Trump and his administration. The ways that populist dictator-types like Duterte and Trump function is that they try to manipulate the law. When the very premise of democracy, the very premise of fairness is being broken down, is it sufficient to react with the same tools you would have used in a fair and just society?I think that’s a great question. And I think that is playing out right now. We were talking about David Kaye—he was the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression—[because] his last day was last night. And the question I asked him, and this is connected to yours, is, “If facts are debatable,” because the biggest problem right now is that the world’s largest distributor of news is social media, and these platforms actually make sure lies laced with anger and hate spread faster than facts. But [the question I asked was], “If facts are debatable”—which is the biggest problem, this is the enabler of the rise of digital authoritarians, like a Trump and Duterte or Bolsonaro or Orbán in Hungary—”and we know that large groups of people are being manipulated by geopolitical forces, can we even have democracy? Do we have integrity of elections if we don’t have facts?” So if you think about it, that’s why journalists are under attack globally. Every report from Reporters Without Borders to CPJ will tell you that in the last decade, the attacks against journalists have just gone off the scale. Again, David Kaye, the U.N. special rapporteur, last night came out with a report that said that COVID-19 is closing the digital spaces.Law is the next phase, because facts are where everything begins, right? The facts are where two opposing sides—whether a journalist or someone else are at the water-cooler—can have a discussion. But if they have different facts, you have a big problem. And what is law? Law is still talking about the facts. It is to try to put order in society. So there is accountability, but if your facts are debatable, you cannot have laws. So that's also something I’ve learned in the last four years, working with like the people like Amal Clooney and Caoilfhionn Gallagher, the Covington lawyers who are [handling my case], I’m realizing that as journalists are fighting for facts and for truth, lawyers—both in the Philippines and the U.S., in international law, and, God forbid, international human rights law—all of this is quicksand right now, and they are trying to define it because the facts are debatable. So this is all connected in our world. I don’t think there’s any other time that epitomizes creative destruction as now. And I’ve lived through so many of these in Indonesia, in the Philippines before. I mean, today, really, truly everything that we thought we knew has been crushed and destroyed because facts are debatable. All the old systems we put in place can’t work when facts are debatable, when people are being manipulated. We have had courts and tribunals throughout history, but they haven’t always actually operated on the same set of facts as say, certain marginalized members of the population. You could take the Guatemalan genocide, for instance, and the impossibility of having indigenous voices fully heard by the system. But now these issues are coming up in a very disconcerting way. How do you reckon with the reality that there are all of these people in the Philippines who have legitimately felt marginalized by previous governments, even democratic governments, and so now they’ve turned to populism. It’s like COVID coming onto the world: the old problems are there, and they have not been solved. And then you come in with this added layer of technology that’s literally transforming all of us. I talk about social media as a behavioral modification system. And now it’s gone from governments to individuals. So, that’s happened. And then you add this layer of the pandemic. That’s what I mean, that everything is rubble. And again, I know this really well because I have been the target of these disinformation campaigns. Russian military doctrine includes these kinds of influence operations, as it does the U.S., which people forget. Influence operations are meant to change the way people think. So it changes the way they act.You don’t get justice by creating another wrong. You don’t. In our case, in the Philippines, it’s actually one of our reporters who said, “What does Duterte want and how does he get the crowd?” Because he promises them revenge, right? Again, the 1 percent versus the 99 percent, the inequality of the world has been there, but you don’t fix it with more injustice. And then I actually really think, because I had been the target of these misogynistic attacks, the kinds of exponential attacks that are meant to dehumanize me so that others will hate—this is inciting to hate. And the last time a German friend of mine actually said—because I’ve started showing some of the really nasty stuff that I wake up to—he said, “You know, this is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews, because when you’re dehumanized, then it opens the door to violence.” And there’s absolutely no sense of fairness in that. I think this is one of those moments in history where it isn’t just one nation, local is global and global is local because Silicon Valley has made these decisions about how facts are distributed to all of us around the world. And it’s just wrong. The decisions they’ve made, they have caused genocide in Myanmar, deaths in the Philippines and the drug war, I could go to jail. I love the question because it does expand it to justice, which is in the end why I became a journalist! Now, for Filipinos, our institutions are weak at best, corruption is endemic, law and order is sometimes an illusion, regardless of who’s in power. But for decades, from 1986 to 2016,  if you look at all of the surveys, Filipinos would go to news organizations for a sense of justice. It is always a search for justice, right? That’s always what motivates us. That’s why we have civilized society. because we know that there should be rule of law, but the paradigm, the paradigm is busted. If you don’t have facts—even if some facts are debatable, at least let’s agree on the shared facts.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 05:17:15 -0400
  • Russia Looks to Africa to Extend Its Military Might news

    MOSCOW—From Russia’s cyber-meddling in the U.S. presidential elections to its alleged hacking of coronavirus research, it’s clear the Kremlin is keen to undermine the democratic West. And it’s now looking to a new front to extend its hard and soft power and prop up fellow authoritarian regimes: the continent of Africa.Last week, the German newspaper Bild raised alarms about Russia’s growing influence in Africa, citing a classified German Foreign Ministry report that Russia has concluded agreements with six African nations to install military bases abroad, including in Egypt and Sudan.A private pro-Kremlin Russian newspaper, seeming to offer an unofficial answer, called the report false and countered that the West is merely jealous of warming trade ties.  The Real Reason Behind Russia’s COVID-19 Vaccine HacksRussians Are Using African Troll Factories—and Encrypted Messaging—to Attack the U.S.Still, Vladimir Putin has made little secret of his interest in projecting the Kremlin’s influence around the world, and of making Africa a priority region for military cooperation. By forging military agreements with African countries, Russia is trying to “fit” the modern security system, pro-Kremlin experts say, competing with China and the United States. Russia’s military return to Africa began soon after the conflict in Ukraine in 2014. Moscow signed agreements for cooperation with more than 20 countries, including Madagascar, Angola, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Algeria is the largest recipient of Russian armaments in Africa, followed by Egypt, Sudan, and Angola. Many of these countries cooperated with the Soviet Union for decades. Soviet military surveillance planes, such as the Tu-95s and Tu-142s, used Luanda, the Angolan capital, as a base from which they could comb the Southern Atlantic Ocean for U.S. submarines.The Soviet Union had also teamed up with Angola’s Marxist leaders and backed a Cuban military intervention in Angola that continued from 1975 to 1991, poisoning relations between Moscow and Washington on African issues. Russian independent military expert Alexander Golts believes U.S. President Donald Trump’s isolationist policy has encouraged the Russian moves. America’s pullback, he said, makes it “comfortable” for Russia to expand its activity in the Middle East and Africa. Putin’s Man in the Central African Republic: Is Valery Zakharov at the Heart of Russian Skulduggery?Russian Trolls Are Staging a Takeover in Africa—With Help From Mercenaries“We can see that Russian military officers work in the Central African Republic, we see how Moscow increases its military activities in adventurous campaigns in Syria and Libya, while Trump prefers to stay away,” Golts told The Daily Beast. “Repeating the practice of Soviet leaders, who for decades threatened with expansion, Russia is trying to convince the United States and especially China that it can compete in Africa. But this time, it is much more a psychological thing by Putin—who’s been promising Russians to get them off their knees—than ideological,” as was the Russian support for African communist movements.   On Sunday, Bild cited a classified report by the German Foreign Office on “Russia’s new Africa ambitions.” It said the Kremlin had “contractually assured that it would build military bases in six states: the Central African Republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Madagascar, Mozambique and Sudan.”  The newspaper explained that African dictatorial regimes already use Russian mercenaries to gain or remain in power: “Russia, just like China, does not link its aid to questions of the rule of law” in the autocratic states on the continent, the report says. “In the secret paper, the Foreign Office analysts do not mince words: the capabilities of Russia’s armed forces and mercenaries are ‘of great interest to autocratic regimes in possible operations against their own people,’” the newspaper reported. In response, the Russian newspaper Arguments of the Week immediately countered: “Berlin is afraid that Russia will occupy Africa.”“Our country has a big part of the market on the Dark Continent,” the newspaper wrote, using a derogatory phrase for Africa, even in Russian. “Berlin is concerned that Russia can strengthen its position on the international arena, receiving Africa’s support for its policy at the United Nations.”  Indeed, last year Russia teamed up with African members of the U.N. Security Council to block statements regarding a coup in Sudan. “Russia has cultivated authoritarian regimes in Africa as potential allies in blocking international efforts to promote human rights and democratic governance through U.N.-affiliated organizations and agencies,” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace warned.Additionally, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said two years ago, in March 2018, that at least 175 Russian military experts and instructors traveled to the Central African Republic to train local soldiers. Still, “it is one thing to train soldiers and sell weapons and a completely different thing to build military bases. That would require approval by the Russian parliament; besides, I cannot imagine Russia building a military base in Egypt,” where the United States already has close military cooperation with the country, Golts, the independent military expert, told The Daily Beast. “I think that the report published by Bild was a compilation of all the open sources that we have already heard about.”  After nearly a decade of absence in Africa, the Kremlin announced its full-scale return last year. Putin received more than 10,000 delegates from 54 African states at his summer residence in the resort city of Sochi for a conference on Russia and Africa. In meetings with leaders of dozens of African states, Putin toasted $12.5 billion worth of deals for building nuclear plants, selling missile defense systems and military jets: “Let’s drink to the success of our joint efforts to develop full-scale mutually beneficial cooperation, well-being, peaceful future and prosperity of our countries and people,” he proclaimed. At the summit, Russian officials promised to expand joint cooperation between Russian and African special services, exchange information, and continue training soldiers in African states. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014, and the war in Eastern Ukraine, Moscow actively looked southwards for new bases, building one in Syria’s Latakia for the Russian air force and re-enforcing a Mediterranean naval base at Tartus, which Russia has held since Soviet times. The bases in Africa appear to be the next step in global expansion. “A few new Russian bases in Africa would be nothing compared to thousands of the U.S. military bases, which are like a net covering our entire planet,” Yuriy Krupnov, a pro-Kremlin geopolitical analyst, told The Daily Beast. “Russia has around 100 various projects around the strategically important continent of Africa, with [its] population of one billion people, with Russia-educated experts in nearly every country; but compared to China’s more than $60 billion investments, Russia’s hardly developing any infrastructure,” Krupnov added. Russia’s military comeback in Africa partners the country with a list of states notorious for violating human rights, suggesting an alternative source of military and secret service expertise for governments that fall from favor with Western Europe or the United States. Compared to China’s investments in Africa, Russia’s financial outlays are tiny. But as an exercise in extending influence, Russia’s moves in Africa are now undeniable. Says the pro-Kremlin analyst Krupnov: “Our return is just an effort to fit into the modern security system.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 05:14:35 -0400
  • The Latest: Beirut protesters enter government buildings news

    Dozens of Lebanese protesters have stormed the buildings of a number of government ministries and the headquarters of the country's banking association channeling their rage against state and financial institutions after the huge blast that killed over 160. Earlier on Saturday, protesters entered the empty buildings of the Foreign Ministry and declared it the headquarters of their protest movement. Others fanned out to enter the Economy and Energy ministries, and some walked away with documents claiming they will reveal the extent of corruption that permeates the government.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 05:08:25 -0400
  • Fury over Beirut blast fuels protests, clashes with police news

    Public fury over this week’s massive explosion in Beirut took a new turn Saturday night as protesters stormed government institutions and clashed for hours with security forces, who responded with heavy volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets. Activists who called for the protest set up symbolic nooses at Beirut's Martyrs' Square to hang politicians whose corruption and negligence they blame for the explosion. The blast was fueled by thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate that had been improperly stored at the port for more than six years.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 04:49:17 -0400
  • At least 8 soldiers dead in blast outside Somali army base

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 04:19:54 -0400
  • Bison, wild horses bring biodiversity to ex-army base news

    Wild horses, bison and other big-hoofed animals once roamed freely in much of Europe. Now they are transforming a former military base outside the Czech capital in an ambitious project to improve biodiversity. Where occupying Soviet troops once held exercises, massive bovines called tauros and other heavy beasts now munch on the invasive plants that took over the base years ago.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 03:54:14 -0400
  • Is France helping Lebanon, or trying to reconquer it? news

    It was almost as if Emmanuel Macron forgot that Lebanon is no longer a French protectorate. Visiting explosion-ravaged Beirut this week, France’s leader comforted distraught crowds, promised to rebuild the city and claimed that the blast pierced France’s own heart. “France will never let Lebanon go,” Macron said.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 03:43:43 -0400
  • Coronavirus in South Africa: Why the vuvuzelas fell silent news

    The country's fight against Covid-19 was initially celebrated, but the public mood has now soured.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 03:39:52 -0400
  • A father, a sister, a son: Beirut blast takes a heavy toll news

    A close twin sister, now separated forever. Tuesday's enormous explosion that killed scores of people, injured thousands and caused widespread destruction across Lebanon's capital touched off widespread mourning for the victims.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 03:03:50 -0400
  • UN set for showdown over US Iran arms embargo push news

    The UN Security Council is set next week to roundly reject a US resolution to extend an Iranian arms embargo, diplomats say, setting up a lengthy showdown with repercussions for the Iran nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that the United States would put forward its long-awaited resolution despite ardent opposition from Russia and China. "The resolution takes a maximalist position on Iran," one diplomat told AFP.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 02:22:59 -0400
  • Belarus' leader faces toughest challenge yet in Sunday vote news

    After 26 years in office, the authoritarian leader of Belarus is facing the toughest challenge yet as he runs for a sixth term. Discontent over a worsening economy and the government's dismissive response to the coronavirus pandemic has helped fuel the country's largest opposition rallies since Alexander Lukashenko became its first and only elected president following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rumblings among the ruling elite and a bitter rift with Russia, Belarus's main sponsor and ally, compound the reelection challenge facing the 65-year-old former state farm director on Sunday.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 02:15:17 -0400
  • US intel: Russia acting against Biden; China opposes Trump news

    U.S. intelligence officials believe that Russia is using a variety of measures to denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of the November election and that individuals linked to the Kremlin are boosting President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, the country’s counterintelligence chief said in the most specific warning to date about the threat of foreign interference. U.S. officials also believe China does not want Trump to win a second term and has accelerated its criticism of the White House, expanding its efforts to shape public policy in America and to pressure political figures seen as opposed to Beijing’s interests.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 02:13:10 -0400
  • Survivors of deadly India crash say plane swayed violently news

    The plane swayed violently as it approached a hilltop runway soaked by monsoon rain, and moments later the special return flight for Indians stranded abroad by the pandemic skidded off, nosedived and cracked in two, leaving 18 dead and more than 120 injured. Among the injured on Friday night, at least 15 were in critical condition, said Abdul Karim, a senior police officer in southern Kerala state. The dead included both pilots of the Air India Express flight, the airline said in a statement, adding that the four cabin crew were safe.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 02:12:19 -0400
  • Ex-Green Berets sentenced to 20 years for Venezuela attack news

    A Venezuelan court has sentenced two former U.S. special forces soldiers to 20 years in prison for their part in a blunder-filled beach attack aimed at overthrowing President Nicolás Maduro. Lawyers for the former Green Berets, Luke Denman and Airan Berry, said they were barred from the secretive jailhouse proceedings Friday night in what they consider a violation of their constitutional rights to a defense. Maduro's chief prosecutor announced the surprise decision late Friday night.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 01:25:11 -0400
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