Daily: 15/06/2022

EU, Egypt, Israel Agree to Export Israeli Liquified Natural Gas to Europe

Egypt, Israel and the European Union signed a gas deal Wednesday in which Egypt will export Israeli liquified natural gas to Europe via two Egyptian LNG plants.

The memorandum of understanding was inked at the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo, expanding upon gas cooperation among the three partners.

Representatives of participants at the gas forum applauded announcement of the deal. Egypt is the only country in the gas forum to have plants that can produce liquified natural gas. 

Egyptian political sociologist Said Sadek told VOA that the announcement of the deal formalized cooperation among the EU, Egypt and Israel that has been going on for several months.

“This is a memo of understanding between Egypt, Israel and the EU that they will increase the gas production from Israel and Egypt, will process it and make it liquified, and export it to the EU,” Sadek said. “Already this is going on. A lot of things have been going on in the last few months in the gas field between Egypt, Israel and the EU. Now, this is just to add more.”

Sadek also said the U.S. “is currently trying to negotiate a settlement to the maritime territorial dispute between Israel and Lebanon so that the gas in the disputed sector can be used as part of the current deal with the EU.”

Al Jazeera TV reported that Russia cut exports of its natural gas to Europe on Wednesday “as a sign of displeasure at the deal signed in Cairo.”

Paul Sullivan, a Washington-based energy analyst at the Atlantic Council, told VOA that “the deal between the EU, Egypt and Israel to export LNG to the EU is one way the European Union can continue to extract itself from” what he called “over-reliance on Russian gas,” and that this “could benefit both Egypt and Israel economically and strategically.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi told a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that the agreement signed in Cairo was part of what he called “increasing cooperation between Egypt and the EU in numerous fields,” amid a difficult global political and economic period.

Sissi also thanked Egypt’s political partners, including the EU, for helping to “mitigate the effects of increasing food prices and the current crisis that is affecting many developing countries.”

Von der Leyen said during the press conference that the EU would contribute financially and technologically to help Egypt with food production.

“These investments will support food systems in your region and elsewhere so that we can together discuss how to develop solutions and technologies … modern technologies of precision farming … new crops adapted to climate change, because it is important for us that the production of food in the region is increased and the dependency on other regions is decreased,” she said.

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Зеленський подякував Байдену за «безпрецедентну» оборонну підтримку

Під час розмови президент повідомив Байдена про останні події на фронті та потреби Збройних сил України

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Cartier and Amazon Target Knock-offs in US Lawsuits

Amazon and Cartier joined forces Wednesday in U.S. court to accuse a social media influencer of working with Chinese firms to sell knock-offs of the luxury brand’s jewelry on the e-commerce giant’s site. 

The online personality used sites like Instagram to pitch Cartier jewelry such as “Love bracelets” to followers and then provided links that led to counterfeit versions on Amazon, one of two lawsuits alleged. 

The influencer appeared to be a woman in Handan, China, and the merchants involved in the “counterfeiting scheme” were traced to other Chinese cities, according to court documents. 

“By using social media to promote counterfeit products, bad actors undermine trust and mislead customers,” Amazon associate general counsel Kebharu Smith said in a statement. 

“We don’t just want to chase them away from Amazon — we want to stop them for good,” Smith added. 

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has booted vendors targeted in the suit from its platform and teamed with Cartier to urge a federal court to make them pay damages and legal costs for hawking knock-off jewelry there from June 2020 through June 2021. 

The “sophisticated campaign” sought to avoid detection by having the social media influencer pitch jewelry as being Cartier, but the vendors made no mention of the luxury brand at their shops at Amazon, the lawsuit said. 

Buyers, however, were sent jewelry bearing Cartier trademarks, the companies alleged in court documents. 

A second lawsuit accuses an Amazon store operating under the name “YFXF” last year of selling counterfeit Cartier goods, disguising jewelry as unbranded at the website but sending buyers knock-offs bearing the company’s trademark. 

Those involved in the scheme “advertised their counterfeit products on third-party social media websites by using ‘hidden links’ to direct their followers to the counterfeit Cartier products, while disguising the products as non-branded in the listings in the Amazon Store,” the lawsuit said. 

The companies said that Instagram direct messages and shared links were used to instruct social media followers about how to buy knock-offs at Amazon. 


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Адміністрація США оголосить про надання Україні військової допомоги на мільярд доларів – чиновники

У пакеті допомоги – протикорабельні ракетні системи, артилерійські ракети і снаряди для гаубиць

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Аксьонов визнав, що Росія продає українське зерно, завезене до Криму

«Зерно із звільнених (окупованих – ред.) територій до Республіки Крим проходить транзитом, далі йде до Севастополя на продаж. Ми самі себе забезпечуємо зерном»

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Study: Facebook Fails to Catch East Africa Extremist Content

A new study has found that Facebook has failed to catch Islamic State group and al-Shabab extremist content in posts aimed at East Africa as the region remains under threat from violent attacks and Kenya prepares to vote in a closely contested national election. 

An Associated Press series last year, drawing on leaked documents shared by a Facebook whistleblower, showed how the platform repeatedly failed to act on sensitive content including hate speech in many places around the world. 

The new and unrelated two-year study by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue found Facebook posts that openly supported IS or the Somalia-based al-Shabab — even ones carrying al-Shabab branding and calling for violence in languages including Swahili, Somali and Arabic — were allowed to be widely shared. 

The report expresses particular concern with narratives linked to the extremist groups that accuse Kenyan government officials and politicians of being enemies of Muslims, who make up a significant part of the East African nation’s population. The report notes that “xenophobia toward Somali communities in Kenya has long been rife.” 

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab has been described as the deadliest extremist group in Africa, and it has carried out high-profile attacks in recent years in Kenya far from its base in neighboring Somalia. The new study found no evidence of Facebook posts that planned specific attacks, but its authors and Kenyan experts warn that allowing even general calls to violence is a threat to the closely contested August presidential election. 

Already, concerns about hate speech around the vote, both online and off, are growing. 

“They chip away at that trust in democratic institutions,” report researcher Moustafa Ayad told the AP of the extremist posts. 

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue found 445 public profiles, some with duplicate accounts, sharing content linked to the two extremist groups and tagging more than 17,000 other accounts. Among the narratives shared were accusations that Kenya and the United States are enemies of Islam, and among the posted content was praise by al-Shabab’s official media arm for the killing of Kenyan soldiers. 

Even when Facebook took down pages, they would quickly be reconstituted under different names, Ayad said, describing serious lapses by both artificial intelligence and human moderators. 

“Why are they not acting on rampant content put up by al-Shabab?” he asked. “You’d think that after 20 years of dealing with al-Qaida, they’d have a good understanding of the language they use, the symbolism.” 

He said the authors have discussed their findings with Facebook and some of the accounts have been taken down. He said the authors also plan to share the findings with Kenya’s government. 

Ayad said both civil society and government bodies such as Kenya’s national counterterrorism center should be aware of the problem and encourage Facebook to do more. 

Asked for comment, Facebook requested a copy of the report before its publication, which was refused. 

The company then responded with an emailed statement. 

“We’ve already removed a number of these pages and profiles and will continue to investigate once we have access to the full findings,” Facebook wrote Tuesday, not giving any name, citing security concerns. “We don’t allow terrorist groups to use Facebook, and we remove content praising or supporting these organizations when we become aware of it. We have specialized teams — which include native Arabic, Somali and Swahili speakers — dedicated to this effort.” 

Concerns about Facebook’s monitoring of content are global, say critics. 

“As we have seen in India, the United States, the Philippines, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the consequences of failing to moderate content posted by extremist groups and supporters can be deadly, and can push democracy past the brink,” the watchdog The Real Facebook Oversight Board said of the new report, adding that Kenya at the moment is a “microcosm of everything that’s wrong” with Facebook owner Meta. 

“The question is, who should ask Facebook to step up and do its work?” asked Leah Kimathi, a Kenyan consultant in governance, peace and security, who suggested that government bodies, civil society and consumers all can play a role. “Facebook is a business. The least they can do is ensure that something they’re selling to us is not going to kill us.”

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«Газпром» зупинив ще одну турбіну «Північного потоку»

Це приведе до чергового зниження експорту газу газопроводом «Північний потік» до Німеччини

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Ukrainian Orphan Finds New Home and Hope in America

Phil and Kristie Graves are a U.S.couple from Maryland and parents of three biological children and an adopted girl with special needs from Armenia. Recently, they decided to adopt a six-year-old girl with special needs from Ukraine. But that was before the Russian invasion. Anush Avetisyan has the story.
Videographer: Dmytri Shakhov  

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Генерал Марченко: Керченський міст – військова ціль номер один

«Це буде ціль номер один для ураження. Це ми ніби основну кишку підтягування резервів просто повинні обрізати»

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Постачання газу до Німеччини «Північним потоком» скоротилися на 40% – «Газпром»

Влада Німеччини заявляє, що поки немає загрози дефіциту палива

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Заступник голови Радбезу РФ Медведєв припустив, що Україна не «існуватиме» через два роки

Прямими словами про можливість знищення української державності Медведєв висловився вперше

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Завод «Азот» у Сєвєродонецьку війська РФ знищують, попри переховування там цивільних – влада

«Завод просто знищується, тому що це великий об’єкт промисловий, який боронять наші Збройні сили»

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Прокуратура передала АРМА активи білоруської нафтової компанії на 20 млн грн – ОГП

У прокуратурі згадують білоруську нафтову компанію, засновниками якої є ЗАТ «Білоруська нафтова компанія» та Республіканське унітарне підприємство «Виробниче об’єднання «Бєлоруснафта»

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Allies to Discuss Ukraine’s Defense Needs

U.S. Defense Minister Lloyd Austin is leading a meeting of dozens of his counterparts from NATO member states and other parts of the world Wednesday to discuss their latest efforts to boost military aid to Ukraine in the face of the nearly four-month Russian invasion.

The talks are taking place on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

A virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group last month drew representatives from nearly 50 nations and pledges of new aid packages. Ukrainian officials continue to urge international partners to send more weapons, especially heavy artillery, in order to help Ukrainian forces, match up against Russia.

“The question is what do the Ukrainians need to continue the success they’ve already seen in slowing down and thwarting that Russian objective and that’ll be a major focus for the defense ministers,” a senior U.S. defense official said ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday that Ukraine “should have more heavy weapons.” He said Ukraine’s forces “absolutely depend on that to be able to stand up against the brutal Russian invasion.”

‘Donbas is the key’

The talks come as Russian forces push to gain full control of the eastern industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, located in the Donbas region that Russia has declared to be its main focus of its operation in Ukraine.

“Hanging in there in Donbas is crucial,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message late Tuesday. “Donbas is the key to deciding who will dominate in the coming weeks.”

Russia now controls about 80% of Sievierodonetsk and has destroyed all three bridges leading out of it, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said Tuesday.

With Russia’s destruction of bridges, Haidai acknowledged that a mass evacuation of civilians from Sievierodonetsk now is “simply not possible” because of Moscow’s relentless shelling and fighting in the city.

He said Ukrainian forces have been pushed to the outskirts of the city because of “the scorched earth method and heavy artillery the Russians are using.”

But Haidai told The Associated Press that Russian forces had not blocked off access to the city, leaving Ukraine with “an opportunity for the evacuation of the wounded, communication with the Ukrainian military and local residents.”

Population down to 12,000

About 12,000 of the city’s original population of 100,000 remain, with 500 civilians sheltering in the Azot chemical plant, which is being shelled by the Russians.

Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said a humanitarian corridor will be opened Wednesday to evacuate civilians from the chemical plant, but that they will be taken to the town of Svatovo, which is under control of Russian and separatist forces.

Slowly, but relentlessly, Russia appears to be gaining the upper hand in the fight for control of the Donbas region, which encompasses the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces of Ukraine that Russia recognizes as independent states.

Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and Kyiv’s forces have been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region since then.

Some material in this report came from Reuters, The Associated Press, and Agence France-Presse.

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UK Cancels First Flight to Deport Asylum Seekers to Rwanda

Britain has canceled its first deportation flight to Rwanda after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided there was “a real risk of irreversible harm” to the asylum-seekers involved. 

The flight had been scheduled to leave Tuesday evening, but lawyers for the asylum-seekers launched a flurry of case-by-case appeals seeking to block the deportation of everyone on the government’s list. 

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss had said earlier in the day that the plane would take off no matter how many people were on board. But after the appeals, no one remained. 

The decision to scrap the Tuesday flight caps three days of frantic court challenges as immigration rights advocates and labor unions sought to stop the deportations. The leaders of the Church of England joined the opposition, calling the government’s policy “immoral.” 

Earlier in the day, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had emphatically defended the plan. “We are going to get on and deliver” the plan, Johnson declared, arguing that the move was a legitimate way to protect lives and thwart the criminal gangs that smuggle migrants across the English Channel in small boats. 

The prime minister announced an agreement with Rwanda in April in which people who entered Britain illegally would be deported to the East African country. In exchange for accepting them, Rwanda would receive millions of pounds (dollars) in development aid. The deportees would be allowed to apply for asylum in Rwanda, not Britain. 

Opponents have argued that it is illegal and inhumane to send people thousands of miles to a country they don’t want to live in. Britain in recent years has seen an illegal influx of migrants from such places as Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Iraq and Yemen. 

Activists have denounced the policy as an attack on the rights of refugees that most countries have recognized since the end of World War II. 

Politicians in Denmark and Austria are considering similar proposals. Australia has operated an asylum-processing center in the Pacific Island nation of Nauru since 2012.

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Уряди ЄС розглянуть можливість надання Україні тимчасових сховищ для зернових – Мінагрополітики

Країни ЄС розглянуть можливість надання Україні тимчасових сховищ для зберігання зернових, заявив заступник міністра аграрної політики та продовольства Маркіян Дмитрасевич.

«За нинішніх низьких темпів експорту Україна може отримати дефіцит сховищ для врожаю на рівні 10-15 млн тонн. До війни загальна місткість зберігання становила 75 млн тонн зерна, але на сьогодні сховищ залишилося тільки на 60 млн тонн – решта втрачена внаслідок руйнувань та тимчасової окупації. Тому в нас є нагальна потреба в облаштуванні тимчасових зернових сховищ  – модульних конструкцій та поліетиленових пакетів», – сказав Дмитрасевич.

Можливість надання Україні тимчасових сховищ з боку ЄС могла б суттєво допомогти в збереженні врожаю та забезпеченні майбутніх поставок зернових на світові ринки, каже посадовець.

«Прискоренню експорту української продукції допоможуть функціональні фітосанітарні та ветеринарні лабораторії в Дунайському порту в Ізмаїлі, достатня кількість лабораторного обладнання на прикордонних пунктах пропуску, через які здійснюється транзит. Україна вже зробила відповідний запит до Європейської комісії», – розповів заступник міністра.

Дмитрасевич повідомив, що європейська делегація має наступного тижня відвідати прикордонні пункти пропуску, щоб оцінити ситуацію з перевірками та зменшити бюрократію на кордонах для проходженню експорту української сільгосппродукції.

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США передадуть Україні розвідувальні дані для ударів системами залпового вогню

За даними Пентагону, зараз українські військові закінчують навчання з використання систем HIMARS та MLRS

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Маляр: Україна отримала від партнерів 10% зброї, про яку просила

За її словами, на полі бою в день Україна витрачає близько 5-6 тисяч артилерійських снарядів, Росія витрачає в 10 разів більше

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Китай: Сі Цзіньпін підписав указ про «невоєнне» використання армії

Це викликає побоювання, що Пекін може готуватися до вторгнення на Тайвань

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London Marks 5 Years Since Deadly Grenfell Tower Fire

London has marked the fifth anniversary of the deadly Grenfell Tower inferno that killed 72 in Britain’s deadliest residential fire since World War II.

In a subsequent investigation, the 23-story residential building was found to have widespread flaws in building regulations.

Among the events marking the anniversary was a memorial service held Tuesday at Westminster Abbey, including 72 seconds of silence and a wreath laying.

“The bereaved survivors and residents that I have spoken to are clear if nothing changes, those who lost their lives will have died in vain, and they are not prepared to accept that,” solicitor Imran Khan told the congregation at Westminster Abbey.

The fire was started by an electrical problem in a refrigerator, but a combustible cladding system retrofitted to the tower’s external walls was the main factor in the relentless spread of the deadly flames.

Some information in this report comes from Reuters.

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