A volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma that has been erupting for six weeks spewed greater quantities of ash from its main mouth Sunday, a day after producing its strongest earthquake to date.
Lava flows descending toward the Atlantic Ocean from a volcanic ridge have covered 970 hectares (2,400 acres) of land since the eruption began on Sept. 19, data from the European Union’s satellite monitoring service, showed. On the way down the slope, the molten rock has destroyed more than 2,000 buildings and forced the evacuation of over 7,000 people.
But authorities in the Canary Islands, of which La Palma is part, have reported no injuries caused by contact with lava or from inhaling the toxic gases that often accompany the volcanic activity.
Experts said that predicting when the eruption will end is difficult because lava, ash and gases emerging to the surface are a reflection of complex geological activity happening deep down the earth and far from the reach of currently available technology.
The Canary Islands, in particular, “are closely connected to thermal anomalies that go all the way to the core of the earth,” said Cornell University geochemist Esteban Gazel, who has been collecting samples from the Cumbre Vieja volcano.
“It’s like a patient. You can monitor how it evolves but saying exactly when it will die is extremely difficult,” Gazel said. “It’s a process that is connected to so many other dimensions of the inside of the planet.”
Signs monitored by scientists —soil deformation, sulfur dioxide emissions and seismic activity— remained robust in Cumbre Vieja. The Spanish Geographic Institute, or IGN, said that a magnitude 5 quake in the early hours of Saturday was not just felt on La Palma, but also in La Gomera, a neighboring island on the western end of the Canary Islands archipelago.
IGN said the ash column towering above the volcano reached an altitude of 4.5 kilometers (15,000 feet) on Sunday before heavier wind scattered it. Many nearby towns and a telescope base further north that sits on a mountain at 2,400 meters above sea level (7,800 feet) were covered in a thick layer of ash.
The eruption has also turned the island into a tourist attraction, especially as many Spaniards prepared to mark All Saints Day, a Catholic festivity that honors the dead, on Monday.
Local authorities said some 10,000 visitors were expected over the long weekend and 90% of the accommodations on La Palma were fully booked. A shuttle bus service for tourists wanting a glimpse of the volcano was established to keep private cars off the main roads so emergency services could work undisturbed.
Thousands of opposition supporters filled the street outside Georgia’s national parliament building Sunday to protest municipal election results that gave the country’s ruling party a near sweep.
Candidates of the Georgian Dream party won 19 of the 20 municipal elections in runoff votes on Saturday, including the mayoral offices in the country’s five largest cities: Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Batumi and Poti.
The opposition alleges fraud.
Nika Melia, the head of the main opposition party United National Movement and a mayoral candidate in Tbilisi, claimed that “the victories gained by the opposition in many municipalities were taken away…like they never happened.”
An election observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the “voting and counting were overall assessed positively despite some procedural issues, particularly during counting.”
“The persistent practice of representatives of observer organizations acting as party supporters, at times interfering with the process, and groups of individuals potentially influencing voters outside some polling stations were of concern,” the OSCE observers said in a statement.
Melia told the protest crowd, which shut down the capital’s main avenue, that opposition leaders would be sent to other cities to marshal supporters to come to Tbilisi for a massive rally on Nov. 7.
The Saturday runoff elections were held after no candidate in the cities won an absolute majority during the first round of nationwide municipal elections on Oct. 2.
The elections were overshadowed by the arrest of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, the founder of the United National Movement, on Oct. 1.
Saakashvili left Georgia in 2013; he was convicted in absentia of abuse of power and sentenced to six years in prison. He returned to Georgia from his home in Ukraine, hoping to boost the opposition in the first round of voting, but was arrested within a day and imprisoned. He called a hunger strike soon after his arrest.
Учасники не домовилися про точну дату досягнення вуглецевої нейтральності
G-20 leaders meeting in Rome have agreed to work to reach carbon neutrality “by around mid-century” and pledged to end financing for coal plants abroad by the end of this year.
The final communique was issued Sunday at the end of a two-day summit, ahead of talks at ahead of a broader U.N. climate change summit, COP26, this week in Glasgow, Scotland.
Leaders in Rome addressed efforts to reach the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with a global commitment made in 2015 at the Paris Climate Accord to keep global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably to 1.5 degrees.
“We recognize that the impacts of climate change at 1.5°C are much lower than at 2°C. Keeping 1.5°C within reach will require meaningful and effective actions and commitment by all countries,” the communique said, according to Reuters.
The group of 19 countries and the European Union account for more than three-quarters of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Two dozen countries this month have joined a U.S.- and EU-led effort to slash methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
Coal, though, is a bigger point of contention. G-20 members China and India have resisted attempts to produce a declaration on phasing out domestic coal consumption.
Briefing reporters ahead of the summit, a U.S. senior administration official said U.S. President Joe Biden and other leaders are hoping to get a commitment to end overseas financing of coal-fired power generation.
Climate financing, namely pledges from wealthy nations to provide $100 billion a year in climate financing to support developing countries’ efforts to reduce emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change, is another key concern. Indonesia, a large greenhouse gas emitter that will take over the G-20 presidency in December, is urging developed countries to fulfill their financing commitments both in Rome and in Glasgow.
Global supply chain
Biden will hold a meeting at the summit’s sidelines to address the global supply chain crisis. The group of 20 countries in the summit account for more than 80% of world GDP and 75% of global trade.
“The President will make announcements about what the United States itself will do, particularly in respect to stockpiles, to improving… the United States’ capacity to have modern and effective and capable and flexible stockpiles,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told VOA aboard Air Force One en route to Rome, Thursday. “We are working towards agreement with the other participants on a set of principles and parameters around how we collectively manage and create resilient supply chains going forward.”
Addressing global commerce disruptions has been a key focus for the Biden administration, which is concerned that these bottlenecks will hamper post-pandemic economic recovery. To address the nation’s own supply chain issues, earlier this month the administration announced a plan to extend operations around the clock, seven days a week, at Los Angeles and Long Beach, two ports that account for 40% of sea freight entering the country.
“Whether it’s you’re talking about medical equipment or supplies of consumer goods or other products, it’s a challenge for the global economy,” said Matthew Goodman, senior vice president for economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Some of the concrete measures to alleviate global supply chain pressure points may need to be longer term, such as shortening supply chains and rethinking dependencies, said Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the U.S. and the Americas program at Chatham House.
“Those are not quick fixes,” she said. “But the G-20 is historically set up really to be dealing with short-term crises. So, I think that there will be considerable effort made to really discuss and come to terms with that.”
While global supply chain issues are a key concern for the leaders in Rome, Goodman said he doubts the meeting will result in tangible solutions.
“It’s a very difficult group — the G-20 to get consensus to do very specific things. And this may be one area in which it’s going to be particularly difficult,” he added.
President Xi Jinping of China, considered to be the “world’s factory,” is not attending the summit in person. In his virtual speech to G-20 leaders, Xi proposed holding an international forum on resilient and stable industrial and supply chains, and welcomed participation of G-20 members and relevant international organizations.
White House officials say U.S. President Joe Biden had “very constructive talks” with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome Sunday amid simmering tensions and strategic disagreements between Washington and Ankara.
“The President made clear his desire to have constructive relations with Turkey and to find an effective way to manage our disagreements,” a senior Biden administration told reporters.
The official said topics of discussion included Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, the South Caucuses, climate, human rights as well as Turkey’s request to purchase U.S. F-16 fighter jets.
On the subject of the jets, Biden was “very clear that there was a process underway that we had to go through,” the official said.
In 2019, during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, the Pentagon kicked Turkey out of the F-35 program because of its purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems. Now Ankara wants to buy 40 F-16 fighter jets made by U.S. company Lockheed Martin and nearly 80 modernization kits for its air force’s existing warplanes.
U.S. lawmakers have urged the Biden administration not to sell F-16s to Turkey, saying Ankara has “behaved like an adversary.”
“This meeting is important for President Biden to send some messages to Turkey about what is and is not acceptable behavior from a NATO ally,” said Rachel Ellehuus, deputy director of the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She said Biden will convey his expectations for Turkey as a partner in a range of issues including security challenges following U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, its role in the Black Sea region and performance in NATO.
Bilateral relations between the two NATO allies have also been strained over human rights. As president, Biden has pledged to restore human rights and democracy as pillars of U.S. foreign policy. In August of last year, before taking office, then-Democratic presidential candidate Biden advocated for a new U.S. approach to the “autocrat” Erdogan. Ankara slammed the comment as “interventionist.”
Since then, the two leaders have taken a more pragmatic approach to maintaining a relationship. Biden is keen to avoid another escalating flashpoint in the region following the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, while Erdogan is embattled politically at home.
“The Turkish economy is faltering, he [Erdogan] is actually losing in popularity,” Ellehuus said. “Whether he’ll admit it or not, I think he needs to be perceived as having at least a cooperative relationship with President Biden.”
This is the second in-person discussion between the leaders under the Biden presidency, following a June meeting in Brussels, on the sidelines of the NATO summit.
26 жовтня Генеральний штаб ЗСУ повідомив, що турецький безпілотник Bayraktar знищив бомбою російську гаубицю, яка обстрілювала українських військових
Радіо Свобода у неділю проведе ефір, присвячений виборам мера Харкова. Початок о 19:45
Після оголошення результатів лідер опозиційного «Єдиного національного руху» Ніка Меліа заявив, що не визнає результати виборів
Як повідомили у Нацполіції, напередодні «день тиші» минув без серйозних правопорушень
За даними штабу, напередодні бойовики 6 разів порушили режим припинення вогню
Britain and France faced calls Saturday to sort out their post-Brexit spat over fishing rights in the English Channel, which threatens to escalate within days into a damaging French blockade of British boats and trucks.
French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the dispute is testing the U.K.’s international credibility, while each country accused the other of being in breach of the post-Brexit trade agreement that Britain’s government signed with the European Union before it left the bloc.
As the war of words intensified, Britain said it was “actively considering” launching legal action if France goes through with threats to bar U.K. fishing boats from its ports and slap strict checks on British catches.
“If there is a breach of the (Brexit) treaty or we think there is a breach of the treaty then we will do what is necessary to protect British interests,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told British broadcasters in Rome, where he and Macron are both attending a Group of 20 summit.
At stake is fishing — a tiny industry economically that looms large symbolically for maritime nations like Britain and France. Britain’s exit from the economic rules of the 27-nation bloc at the start of this year means the U.K. now controls who fishes in its waters.
France claims some vessels have been denied permits to fish in waters where they have long sailed. Britain says it has granted 98% of applications from EU vessels, and now the dispute comes down to just a few dozen French boats with insufficient paperwork.
But France argues it’s a matter of principle and wants to defend its interests as the two longtime allies and rivals set out on a new, post-Brexit relationship.
The dispute escalated this week after French authorities accused a Scottish-registered scallop dredger of fishing without a license. The captain was detained in Le Havre and has been told to face a court hearing next year.
France has threatened to block British boats crossing the English Channel and tighten checks on boats and trucks from Tuesday if the licenses aren’t granted. France has also suggested it might restrict energy supplies to the Channel Islands — British Crown dependencies that lie off the coast of France and are heavily dependent on French electricity.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex appealed to the EU to back France in the dispute, saying the bloc should demonstrate to people in Europe that “leaving the Union is more damaging than remaining in it.”
U.K. Brexit Minister David Frost called Castex’s comments “troubling” and accused France of a pattern of threats “to our fishing industry, to energy supplies, and to future cooperation.”
He said if France acted on the threats it “would put the EU in breach of its obligations under our trade agreement,” and said Britain was “actively considering launching dispute settlement proceedings,” a formal legal process in the deal.
He urged France and the EU to “step back.”
Many EU politicians and officials regard Frost, who led negotiations on Britain’s divorce deal, as intrinsically hostile to the bloc.
Macron, who is scheduled to meet Johnson on Sunday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, defended France’s position and said the fishing dispute could hurt Britain’s reputation worldwide.
“Make no mistake, it is not just for the Europeans but all of their partners,” Macron told the Financial Times. “Because when you spend years negotiating a treaty and then a few months later you do the opposite of what was decided on the aspects that suit you the least, it is not a big sign of your credibility.”
Macron said he was sure that Britain has “good will” to solve the dispute. “We need to respect each other and respect the word that has been given,” he said.
Johnson said the fishing issue was a distraction from fighting climate change — top of the G-20 leaders’ agenda at their meeting, which comes before a U.N. climate conference in Scotland next week.
“I am looking at what is going on at the moment and I think that we need to sort it out. But that is quite frankly small beer, trivial, by comparison with the threat to humanity that we face,” Johnson added.
Jean-Marc Puissesseau, president and chairman of the northern French ports of Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer, said the spat was “ridiculous” and urged both sides to resolve it.
He told BBC radio that the dispute was over just 40 boats — “a drop in the ocean” — and that there would be “terrible” consequences if France carried out its threat of blocking British trawlers from French ports.
“If no agreement can be found, it will be a drama, it will be a disaster in your country because the trucks will not cross,” he said.your ad here
As Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu made an unprecedented trip to Brussels on Friday, it remained unclear whether Europe will face repercussions from China for displaying closer ties with the self-ruled East Asian island claimed by China.
China previously imposed sanctions on EU parliamentarians after the EU sanctioned Chinese officials linked to Xinjiang, a far western Chinese province where millions of ethnic minority Muslims have been detained in internment camps.
Now, as Wu’s travels take him to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Belgium, it is possible China could use the same tactics again, according to Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S.
“Beijing could impose sanctions on EU officials who met with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. It could also postpone a planned meeting between Xi Jinping and European Council President Charles Michel, and a 27+1 meeting that has been broached,” she said, referring to a summit between China and EU leaders.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a wayward province that will one day be united with the mainland. Under Xi, Beijing has taken a more aggressive policy of squeezing Taiwan out of international space and is quickly angered when its government or officials are treated as though they are independent.
After news of Wu’s trip was reported last week, Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin urged Europe not to “undermine the political foundation of bilateral relations” with China, according to Reuters.
Undeterred, Charlie Weimers, a Swedish member of the European Parliament and its EU-Taiwan relations rapporteur, shared updates about meeting with Wu on Twitter, as did Belgian politician Els Van Hoof, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the country’s Chamber of Representatives, one of the Belgian houses of Parliament, and member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.
While Wu has previously visited Europe, his meetings in the administrative capital of the EU are unprecedented. The trip comes as Taiwan publicizes its growing ties with EU member states such as Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The three countries together donated more than 850,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan after earlier receiving face masks and other medical supplies donated by Taiwan.
At the same time, Europe has become more wary of China’s expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, prompting the bloc to include China as a potential security threat in its first Indo-Pacific strategy report released this year. Germany, France and the Netherlands all have separate strategies for the region as well, which include concerns about China, while NATO is also publicly discussing the Asian superpower.
“There is a tangible push for the EU to upgrade ties with Taiwan, largely shaped by the [European Parliament],” said Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy, a doctoral research fellow at the European Union Centre in Taiwan at National Taiwan University.
The push, she added, is not for the EU to recognize Taiwanese sovereignty but instead to disconnect EU-Taiwanese cooperation from EU-China relations.
Pushing trade deal
Wu called Friday for a bilateral investment deal that could see Taiwan invest more in Europe in a speech at an Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China conference in Rome, which he attended by video link, according to Taiwanese media.
While China has major investments from Western Europe and to Serbia, Hungary and Poland, promises of large projects from China elsewhere in the Baltics, Eastern and Central Europe have not been as fruitful as some nations once hoped.
Earlier this year, Lithuania pulled out of the 17+1 regional cooperation bloc of Central and Eastern European countries, as well as Estonia and Latvia, aimed at promoting closer business ties with Beijing. China had invested on an estimated $94.7 million in Lithuania — a relatively small amount — in projects since 2015, according to findings from the Central and Eastern European Center for Asian Studies.
China halted trade with the tiny Baltic state in retaliation for its actions. China has also showcased the economic benefits of a closer relationship as seen last week in Greece, where China’s state-owned company COSCO raised its investment stake in Greece’s Piraeus Port Authority to 67%, according to Nikkei Asia.
The carrot-and-stick approach from Beijing “serves to send a message to member states who might be on the fence that there would be consequences to their ‘mistakes,'” said Ferenczy. “But it also has a domestic consideration, to show that China doesn’t allow countries, for example Lithuania, to disrespect it, but that China is generous, and its generosity is respected, for example in Greece.”
Earlier this week, however, Wu himself warned European nations to “think twice” about Chinese investments.
“If you think that you are dependent on China, your foreign policy may become skewed,” Wu told RFE/RL in an exclusive interview in Prague on Oct. 27. “If you think that you depend on China, your actions, or your policies, your behaviors need to be [cautious] because you don’t want to jeopardize your business opportunities.”
Part of Wu’s diplomatic pitch, RFE/RL reported, is to offer Taiwan as a small, open, and democratic alternative to Beijing’s authoritarian politics, “wolf warrior” tactics, and so-called “debt-trap diplomacy” that has become associated with Chinese investment across the world, from Africa to Central Asia.
For smaller countries with fewer strategic interests in China, there might be very little Beijing can do in retaliation — especially if the EU states back each other up. Lithuania, for example, is not expected to suffer major economic consequences from fewer economic links to China than a country like Poland or Serbia.
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Parts of the planet that were once thought to be permanently frozen are starting to thaw – posing problems for countries like Russia where permafrost covers vast areas of its territory. The thaw is threatening Russia’s oil economy as Oleksandr Yanevskyy tells us in this report narrated by Amy Katz.
Camera: Oleksandr Yanevskyy
The G-20 Summit hosted by Italy in Rome this weekend brought together leaders from the world’s major economies. White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara has this report from Rome.
Згідно з домовленостями, великі корпорації з 2023 року мають сплачувати мінімальний податок у розмірі 15%, хоч де б вони працювали
Очікується, що Центральна виборча комісія оприлюднить офіційні результати до ранку 31 жовтня
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made stops in Belgrade, Serbia, and Tirana, Albania, this week, seeking to further the Chinese government’s “17+1” effort to promote trade and investment between Beijing and the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.
While Wang was received cordially in both countries, Serbia and Albania have taken somewhat different approaches to economic cooperation with Beijing through China’s Belt and Road initiative, which has funded infrastructure projects throughout the developing world.
A stop in Greece on Wednesday and a scheduled stop in Italy on Saturday served as bookends to Wang’s visit to the Balkans. The trip is widely seen as China’s attempt to shore up economic ties in the region, which has traditionally looked more toward the European Union for development assistance.
Friendship ‘made of steel’
In Serbia, officials presented Wang with a building permit for a stretch of railway from Novi Sad to Subotica, part of a larger project to modernize the railroad between Belgrade and Budapest, Hungary. The move reflects Serbia’s relative openness to Chinese investment in the country.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić reiterated that Belgrade supports the “one China” policy, which considers Taiwan part of China. Wang, in turn, said Beijing respects the territorial integrity of Serbia, a signal that Beijing will continue to refuse to recognize the independence of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Wang said the friendship between the two countries was “made of steel” and added, “Serbia is a country that has its own principles and that Beijing is proud to have such a friend.”
Vučić said that Serbia and China are implementing joint projects worth 8 billion euros ($9.3 billion) and trade between the two countries has tripled.
Large Chinese presence
According to Bojan Stanić, the assistant director for analytics at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in addition to 1.5 billion euros ($1.73 billion) in direct foreign investment from China in the past five years, more than 20,000 people in Serbia work in Chinese-owned companies. Additionally, more than half of the suppliers of the Smederevo Ironworks, which is owned by the Chinese HBIS Group, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, are Serbian companies.
Serbia and China have had a strategic partnership agreement since 2009 and a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement since 2016. The latter involves more high-level meetings between both country’s officials, and more extensive personnel exchanges. China is the dominant lender for road construction in Serbia. Beijing is also the owner of the Bor mining complex and the Linglong tire factory, which is under construction.
Extensive Chinese ownership of businesses in Serbia has raised concerns about compliance with environmental protection and working condition regulations in factories.
Other concerns arise from the difficulty in understanding the relationship between Chinese firms and the Chinese Communist Party’s security services.
Igor Novaković, research director at the Center for International and Security Affairs Centre – ISAC Fund, said it is not always clear where a company’s commercial interest ends and the CCP’s political interests begin.
“I do not claim that companies operating in Serbia are dangerous in themselves, but when there is a connection between politics and business, then there is a danger of using business decisions in favor of the political interests of the country from which investments come,” Novaković said.
Wang traveled from Belgrade to Tirana Thursday, ahead of Friday’s meetings with Albanian President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama, and Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Olta Xhaçka.
In Belgrade, officials have historically been much more cautious with regard to Chinese investment and lending.
“The truth is that serious doubts have actually been raised about Chinese funding following the experiences in some African countries and in the Balkans as the time comes for debt refinancing, that is, debt repayment and liabilities that have placed the governments of these countries in great financial difficulties,” said Selami Xhepa, an economist and a member of the Assembly of the Republic of Albania.
“This has required some kind of renegotiation, or similar diplomacy, with the Chinese authorities,” he added. “I think market discipline is better than diplomatic negotiations.”
UN Security Council
Last year, Albania joined a group of nations, headed by the United States, that has shut out Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE from providing equipment essential to the rollout of 5G wireless service in the country.
Nevertheless, with Albania about to take a seat on the United Nations Security Council, of which China is a permanent member, experts saw Wang’s visit to the country as an important opportunity to cement ties between the two countries and open dialogue about issues important to Albania. Among those issues is China’s continued effort to block the recognition of Kosovo as an independent country, which Albania supports.
“China is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and it is necessary to talk about Kosovo, about Kosovo’s accession to the United Nations, where China is a very big obstacle,” said Besnik Mustafaj, a former foreign minister of Albania who now serves as president of the Council of Albanian Ambassadors. “It is time to say that there is no parallelism between Kosovo and Taiwan, that Albania recognizes only one China.”
Ilirian Agolli of VOA’s Albanian Service and VOA’s Serbian Service contributed to this report.
Молдова 22 жовтня оголосила надзвичайний стан після того, як наприкінці минулого місяця закінчився термін дії її газового контракту з російським «Газпромом»
Активісти «Правого сектору» прийшли до управління поліції в Сумській області після похорону свого товариша Олександра Іванини, якого ввечері 27 жовтня перед під’їздом його власного будинку на очах дружини вбив невстановлений чоловік