Daily: 28/07/2022

Зеленський подякував Сенату США за підтримку визнання Росії спонсором тероризму

«Можна взяти будь-який день в Україні, щоб побачити, що ніхто у світі не вкладається в тероризм більше, ніж Росія»

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До Лівану прибуло сирійське судно з ячменем з окупованих територій України – посольство

«Висловлено прохання вжити заходів для з’ясування обставин його перебування в ліванських територіальних водах»

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Macron Hosts Saudi Crown Prince With Oil, Iran, Rights on Agenda

French President Emmanuel Macron hosts Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday as part of increased Western efforts to court the major oil-producing state amid the war in Ukraine and faltering talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.

French opposition figures and human rights groups have criticized Macron’s decision to invite to dinner at the Elysee Palace a man Western leaders believe ordered the murder in 2018 of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The visit to Paris by the de facto Saudi ruler, comes two weeks after he held talks in Saudi Arabia with U.S. President Joe Biden. The West is keen to reset relations with the Gulf Arab oil giant as it seeks to counter the rising regional influence of Iran, Russia and China.

“The rehabilitation of the murderous prince will be justified in France as in the United States by arguments of realpolitik. But it’s actually bargaining that predominates, let’s face it,” Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said on Twitter ahead of the crown prince’s visit.

France and other European countries are looking to diversify their sources of energy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has seen Moscow cut gas supplies to Europe. Macron wants Riyadh, the world’s largest oil exporter, to raise production.

A French presidency official told reporters Macron would bring up human rights questions, including individual cases, as well as discussing oil production and the Iran nuclear deal.

France is one of Riyadh’s main arms suppliers but has faced growing pressure to review its sales because of the humanitarian crisis, the world’s worst, in Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels since 2015.

Macron, who last December became the first Western leader to visit Saudi Arabia since the Khashoggi affair, has dismissed criticism of his efforts to engage the crown prince by saying the kingdom was too important to be ignored.

The killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul sparked an international furor. U.S. intelligence concluded the crown prince had directly approved the murder of the Washington Post columnist. The crown prince denied any role in the killing.

French prosecutors are studying complaints filed against the prince over the Saudi role in the Yemen war. Rights groups Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), and TRIAL International said on Thursday they had filed a new complaint asking French authorities to open an investigation into the prince over the torture and killing of Khashoggi.

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Russian Missiles Hit Kyiv, Chernihiv Regions

For the first time in weeks, Russia launched missiles Thursday at Ukraine’s capital area, Kyiv, and the northern Chernihiv region, in what Ukraine alleged was retaliation for its continued resistance to Moscow’s invasion.

Russia attacked the Kyiv region with six missiles launched from the Black Sea, wounding 15 people, five of them civilians, a Ukrainian regional governor said. Ukraine said it had shot down one of the missiles but that Moscow’s forces had hit a military compound in the village of Liutizh outside the capital, destroying one building and damaging two others.

Kyiv regional Governor Oleksiy Kuleba linked the attacks to the Day of Statehood observance that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy instituted last year and that Ukraine marked Thursday for the first time.

“Russia, with the help of missiles, is mounting revenge for the widespread popular resistance, which the Ukrainians were able to organize precisely because of their statehood,” Kuleba told Ukrainian television. “Ukraine has already broken Russia’s plans and will continue to defend itself.”

Chernihiv regional Governor Vyacheslav Chaus reported that Russia also had fired missiles from neighboring Belarus at the village of Honcharivska. The Chernihiv region had not been targeted in weeks.

Russia withdrew from the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas months ago after failing to capture either region or to topple Zelenskyy’s government.

Meanwhile, Ukraine said it had launched an offensive to recapture the Kherson region that Russia took control of earlier in the war, on Wednesday knocking out of commission a key bridge over the Dnieper River.

Ukrainian media quoted Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych as saying Kyiv’s forces were planning to isolate Russian troops and leave them with three options — “retreat, if possible, surrender or be destroyed.”

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, warned that the Russians were augmenting their forces in the Kherson region, saying, “A very large-scale movement of their troops has begun.”

The British military assessed that Ukraine had used its new, Western-supplied long-range artillery to damage at least three of the bridges across the Dnieper that Russia has relied on to supply its forces.

The daily assessment from the British Defense Ministry said the city of Kherson “is now virtually cut off from other occupied territories.”

Russian officials said their forces would use other ways to cross areas with damaged bridges, including pontoon bridges and ferries.

Zelenskyy adviser Arestovych acknowledged that Russian forces had taken over Ukraine’s second-biggest power plant. He characterized the development, however, as only a “tiny tactical advantage” for the Russians.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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Через санкції ЄС у Чорногорії почали заморожувати нерухомість росіян

За даними ЗМІ, після початку повномасштабної війни Росії проти України попит на чорногорську нерухомість з боку росіян збільшився вдвічі.

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Rehab Center in Ukraine’s Irpin Helps Military Veterans, Wounded Civilians

The first rehabilitation center built according to U.S. standards opened in Irpin, Ukraine, three years ago. So far, it has survived the war intact and is once again accepting patients. Anna Kosstutschenko has the story. Camera and video editing by Paviel Syhodolskiy.

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Сенат США закликав Держдепартамент визнати Росію країною-спонсором тероризму

3 травня до обох палат Конгресу із проханням визнати Росію країною-спонсором тероризму звернулася Верховна Рада України

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Росія втратила близько половини сил, які відправила на масштабну війну проти України – США

«Понад 75 тисяч росіян були вбиті або поранені, що є величезним числом», – заявила американська сенаторка Елісса Слоткін

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Twitter Accepts Oct. 17 Trial but Is Concerned Musk Will Try to Delay

 Twitter Inc. does not object to Elon Musk’s proposal to start a trial on October 17 over Musk’s bid to walk away from his $44 billion acquisition deal but the social media company wants a commitment to complete the trial in five days, Twitter said in a court filing on Wednesday. 

Musk has said he needs time to complete a thorough investigation of what he says is Twitter’s misrepresentation of fake accounts, which he said breached their deal terms. 

He originally sought a February trial, but on Tuesday proposed an October 17 trial after a judge ruled the proceeding was to start in three months. 

Twitter has called the fake accounts a distraction and pushed for the trial to hold Musk to the deal to start as soon as possible, arguing that delay damages its business. It said in its court filing that Musk had offered no assurance a trial would be completed in five days, as ordered by the judge, Kathaleen McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery. 

“Twitter sought that commitment because it believes Musk’s objective remains to delay trial, render impracticable the Court’s expedition order, and thus avoid adjudication of his contractual obligations,” said the Twitter filing. 

Attorneys for Musk, the world’s richest person and chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc, did not respond to requests for comment. 

Twitter also dismissed Musk’s claims that the company was dragging its feet in responding to his demands for documents. 

Twitter said Musk is the one holding up the process by refusing to answer the company’s complaint, which it said would clarify the issues and any counterclaims he may assert. 

Shares of Twitter closed up 1.3% at $39.85 on Wednesday. 

Musk agreed to acquire the company for $54.20 a share. 

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Олександра Клименка затвердили на посаді керівника САП – Єрмак

На необхідності призначити керівника антикорупційної прокуратури наполягав ЄС, це одна з вимог кандидатства України в Євросоюзі

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Президент Литви прибув до Києва

«У цей особливий день, коли Україна вперше відзначає День державності, звернуся до українського народу у Верховній Раді. Також зустрінуся з президентом України Володимиром Зеленським»

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US Proposes Swapping Prisoners With Russia

The United States said Wednesday it has made a “substantial proposal” to Russia, which people familiar with the matter described as a prisoner swap that would send convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout back to Moscow to secure the release of American professional basketball star Brittney Griner and accused spy Paul Whelan.

The proposal was made several weeks ago, in June, although nothing has come of it to date even as officials from the two governments have discussed it. But U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while declining to discuss details of the would-be deal, told reporters in Washington he expects to raise the issue yet again this week in a phone call with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

News of a possible prisoner swap came the same day as Griner, who has admitted arriving in Russia in February with vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage, testified at a court hearing that a language interpreter provided to her translated only a fraction of what was being said as authorities arrested her.

Griner, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of transporting drugs, said she was instructed by officials to sign documents at the Moscow airport without them providing an explanation for what she was acknowledging. A Russian court has authorized her detention until Dec. 20.

Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, has been imprisoned in Russia for alleged espionage since 2018, with his family and Griner’s pleading with the White House to expedite efforts to gain their release.

For years, Russia has sought the release of Bout, an arms dealer once labeled the “Merchant of Death.” He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012 after his conviction in a scheme to illegally sell millions of dollars in weapons.

The possible prisoner swap was approved by U.S. President Joe Biden, CNN reported, with Biden’s support overriding opposition from the Department of Justice, which is generally against prisoner trades for fear they would incentivize other governments to seize Americans overseas in hopes of prisoner swap deals of their own.

At the White House, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby declined to spell out details of the negotiations with Russia at a time the U.S. has led world opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

“But I will say that the president and his team are willing to take extraordinary steps to bring our people home, as we’ve demonstrated with Trevor Reed, and that’s what we’re doing right here,” Kirby said. “It’s actively happening now. This has been the top of the mind for the president and for his whole national security team.”

The U.S. secured the release of Reed in April. He was a former Marine who was held captive in Russia for more than two years after being accused of assaulting a Russian police officer. He was traded for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot then serving a 20-year federal prison sentence for a cocaine smuggling conspiracy.

In the sixth session of her slow-moving trial, Griner testified Wednesday she had no criminal intent in carrying the cannabis oil into Russia. She said she still does not know how the cannabis oil for which she had a doctor’s recommendation ended up in her luggage.

She explained she had packed in haste for the 13-hour flight from the U.S. to Russia, where she was planning to play during the offseason of the Women’s National Basketball Association.

Griner said she was offered neither an explanation of her rights as she was detained nor access to lawyers to explain the documents she signed.

During a Tuesday court session, a Russian neuropsychologist testified about worldwide use of medicinal cannabis, but the drug remains illegal in Russia. Griner’s lawyers have presented a U.S. doctor’s letter recommending that she use medical cannabis to treat pain, which she says she has sustained from her basketball career.

Griner testified Wednesday that cannabis oil is widely used in the U.S. for medicinal purposes and has fewer negative effects than some other painkillers.

But a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said last week that the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use in parts of the U.S. had no bearing on what happens in Russia.

Some material in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters

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Russia Captures Power Plant in Southern Ukraine

A Ukrainian official said Wednesday that Russian forces have taken over Ukraine’s second-biggest power plant and are carrying out a “massive redeployment” of troops to three regions in southern Ukraine. 

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, confirmed the capture of the Vuhlehirsk power plant in the eastern Donetsk region. But Arestovych said the development was a “tiny tactical advantage” for the Russians. 

He said Russia’s troop redeployment involved sending forces to the Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson areas as part of an apparent shift to strategic defense efforts. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday he will speak to his Russian counterpart in coming days, with issues of discussion expected to include the implementation of a deal to resume grain exports through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and Russia’s annexation of the Donbas region. 

Blinken said he will also speak to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about a “substantial” offer aimed at bringing home American basketball star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, both currently detained in Russia. People familiar with the matter described it as a prisoner swap that would send convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout back to Moscow. 

Blinken and Lavrov last spoke in person on February 15, days before Russia launched its military invasion in Ukraine. 

The tentative deal on grain exports that Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations reached last week is also high on the list of U.S. priorities. U.S. officials urged Moscow to uphold its commitment after Russian missiles struck infrastructure Saturday in Ukraine’s port of Odesa – the day after the deal was signed. 

Blinken said Russia needs to follow through on its pledge to allow the grain vessels to pass through the Black Sea. 

“End this blockade, allow the grain to leave, allow us to feed our people, allow prices to come down. … The test now is whether there’s actual implementation of the agreement. That’s what we’re looking at. We’ll see in the coming days.” 

Turkish officials have opened a joint coordination center for Ukrainian grain exports and say they expect shipments to begin in the coming days. Kyiv said work had resumed at three Black Sea ports in preparation for the shipments. 

At the United Nations, spokesperson Farhan Haq welcomed the opening of the joint coordination center which, he said, will “establish a humanitarian maritime corridor to allow ships to export grain and related foodstuffs” from Ukraine.

Lavrov, wrapping up a four-nation trip to Africa in Addis Ababa, pushed back Wednesday on Western allegations that his country is to blame for the global food crisis. Lavrov said food prices were rising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and what he called “green policies” pursued by the West. 

State Department officials cautioned the expected call between Blinken and Lavrov does not mean business as usual between the U.S. and Russia, but rather is an opportunity to convey Washington’s concerns clearly and directly. 

There is no plan for in-person meetings between the two on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum that will be held in Cambodia in early August. 

The chief U.S. diplomat said he will warn Lavrov in the phone conversation that Russia must not annex occupied areas of Ukraine as the war enters its sixth month. 

VOA’s Margaret Besheer contributed to this story. Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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Маляр повідомила деталі контролю за використанням західної зброї

«Пришвидшено процес впровадження LOGFAS і вже проводиться підготовка військових використання цієї системи»

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На крейсері «Москва» загинув син контрадмірала Чорноморського флоту Росії – ЗМІ

Офіційно 37-річний капітан-лейтенант Валерій Криворог вважається зниклим безвісти

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Community Solar Powers New York City’s Green Grid

Located on the rooftops of commercial skyscrapers, apartment buildings and warehouses, micro solar plants are starting to play a larger role in America’s quest for a green electrical grid. Aron Ranen reports from New York City.

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Russia Seeks Allies in Africa Amid War-Triggered Food Crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is on a major tour of Africa, seeking allies amid global anger and isolation over food shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports. Tatiana Vorozhko contributed.

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US Offers Russia ‘Substantial’ Deal to Bring Home 2 Detained Americans

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he will speak to his Russian counterpart in the coming days about a “substantial” offer aimed at bringing home American basketball star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, both currently detained in Russia.

Other issues expected to come up between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov include the implementation of a deal to resume grain exports through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, and Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

The two top diplomats last spoke in person on February 15, days before Russia launched its military invasion in Ukraine.

At a press conference Wednesday, Blinken said Washington had communicated a “substantial” offer to Moscow in order to bring home Griner and Whelan. He declined to disclose details of the offer.

“With a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate the release [of Whelan and Griner], our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal,” said Blinken, adding that he plans to follow up personally during a phone call with Lavrov.

“My hope would be in speaking to Foreign Minister Lavrov, I can advance the efforts to bring them home,” he said, adding that President Joe Biden has been directly involved and signed off on the U.S. offer.

Griner, who has admitted arriving in Russia in February with vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage, testified at a court hearing Wednesday that a language interpreter provided to her translated only a fraction of what was being said as authorities arrested her.

Whelan, a Michigan corporate security executive being held on espionage-related charges that his family contends are bogus, has been held in Russia since late 2018.

Blinken stopped short of confirming media reports speculating that either or both of the Americans could be exchanged for prominent Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, who is jailed in the U.S.

The tentative deal on grain exports that Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations reached last week is also high on the list of U.S. priorities. U.S. officials urged Moscow to uphold its commitment after Russian missiles struck infrastructure Saturday in Ukraine’s port of Odesa – the day after the deal was signed.

Blinken said Russia needs to follow through on its pledge to allow the grain vessels to pass through the Black Sea.

“End this blockade, allow the grain to leave, allow us to feed our people, allow prices to come down. … The test now is whether there’s actual implementation of the agreement. That’s what we’re looking at. We’ll see in the coming days.”

Turkish officials have opened a joint coordination center for Ukrainian grain exports and say they expect shipments to begin in the coming days. Kyiv said work had resumed at three Black Sea ports in preparation for the shipments.

At the United Nations, spokesperson Farhan Haq welcomed the opening of the joint coordination center which, he said, will “establish a humanitarian maritime corridor to allow ships to export grain and related foodstuffs” from Ukraine.

Lavrov, wrapping up a four-nation trip to Africa in Addis Ababa, pushed back Wednesday on Western allegations that his country is to blame for the global food crisis. Lavrov said food prices were rising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and what he called “green policies” pursued by the West.

State Department officials cautioned the expected call between Blinken and Lavrov call does not mean business as usual between the U.S. and Russia, but rather is an opportunity to convey Washington’s concerns clearly and directly.

There is no plan for in-person meetings between the two on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum that will be held in Cambodia in early August.

The chief U.S. diplomat said he will warn Lavrov in the phone conversation that Russia must not annex occupied areas of Ukraine as the war enter its sixth month.

On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces have struck a strategically important bridge in the southern part of the country, using what a Russia-appointed official said were rocket systems supplied by the United States.

The Antonivskyi Bridge crossing the Dnieper River was closed Wednesday following the Ukrainian strike.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russia-appointed administration for the Kherson region, said the bridge was still standing after the late Tuesday strike, but the road deck was full of holes.

Stremousov said Ukrainian forces used the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to carry out the strike.

The bridge is a key link allowing Russia to supply its forces in southern Ukraine.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, highlighted the bridge strikes in a tweet Wednesday, saying Russian forces should take them as a warning.

Podolyak said the Russians “should learn how to swim across” the river or “leave Kherson while it is still possible.”

Ken Bredemeier, Chris Hannas and Margaret Besheer contributed to this story. Some information came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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Meta Posts First Revenue Drop as Inflation Throttles Ad Sales

Meta Platforms Inc. issued a gloomy forecast after recording its first ever quarterly drop in revenue Wednesday, with recession fears and competitive pressures weighing on its digital ads sales. 

Shares of the Menlo Park, California-based company were down about 4.6% in extended trading. 

The company said it expected third-quarter revenue to be in the range of $26 billion to $28.5 billion, which would be a second consecutive year-over-year drop. Analysts were expecting $30.52 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. 

Total revenue, which consists almost entirely of ad sales, fell 1% to $28.8 billion in the second quarter ended June 30, from $29.1 billion last year. The figure slightly missed Wall Street’s projections of $28.9 billion, according to Refinitiv. 

The company, which operates the world’s largest social media platform, reported mixed results for user growth. 

Monthly active users on flagship social network Facebook came in slightly under analyst expectations at 2.93 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 1% year over year, while daily active users handily beat estimates at 1.97 billion. 

Like many global companies, Meta is facing some revenue pressure from the strong dollar, as sales in foreign currencies amount to less in dollar terms. Meta said it expected a 6% revenue growth headwind in the third quarter, based on current exchange rates. 

Still, the Meta results also suggest that fortunes in online ads sales may be diverging between search and social media players, with the latter affected more severely as ad buyers reel in spending. 

Alphabet Inc., the world’s largest digital ad platform, reported a rise in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, with sales from its biggest moneymaker, Google search, topping investor expectations. 

Snap Inc. and Twitter both missed sales expectations last week and warned of an ad market slowdown in the coming quarters, sparking a broad sell-off across the sector. 

On top of economic pressures, Meta’s core business is also experiencing unique strain as it competes with short video app TikTok for users’ time and adjusts its ads business to privacy controls rolled out by Apple Inc. last year. 

The company is simultaneously carrying out several expensive overhauls as a result, revamping its core apps and boosting its ad targeting with AI, while also investing heavily in a longer-term bet on “metaverse” hardware and software. 

Meta executives told investors they were making progress in replacing ad dollars lost as a result of the Apple changes but said it was being offset by the economic slowdown. 

They added that Reels, a short video product Meta is increasingly inserting into users’ feeds to compete with TikTok, was now generating over $1 billion annually in revenue. 

However, Reels cannibalizes more profitable content that users could otherwise see and will continue to be a headwind on profits through 2022 before eventually boosting income, executives told analysts on Wednesday. 

“They are being greatly affected by everything,” Bokeh Capital Partners’ Kim Forrest said, referring to the economic slowdown as well as competition from TikTok and Apple.  

“Meta has a problem because they’re chasing TikTok and if the Kardashians are talking about how they don’t like Instagram … Meta should really pay attention to that.” 

On Monday, two of Instagram’s biggest users, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, shared a meme imploring the company to abandon its shift to TikTok-style content suggestions and “make Instagram Instagram again.” 

Not persuaded

CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not appear to be swayed, however. 

About 15% of content on Facebook and Instagram is currently recommended by AI from accounts users do not actively follow, and that percentage will double by the end of 2023, he told investors on the call. 

For now, at least, the metaverse part of Meta’s business remains largely theoretical. In the second quarter, Meta reported $218 million in non-ad revenue, which includes payments fees and sales of devices like its Quest virtual reality headsets, down from $497 million last year. 

Its Reality Labs unit, which is responsible for developing metaverse-oriented technology like the VR headsets, reported sales of $452 million, down from $695 million in the first quarter. 

Although Meta has recently slowed investments as cost pressures increased, executives reassured investors it was still on track to release a mixed-reality headset called Project Cambria later this year, focused on professionals. 

Meta broke out the Reality Labs segment in its results for the first time earlier this year, when it revealed the unit had lost $10.2 billion in 2021. 

Its second-quarter operating profit margin fell to 29% from 43% as costs rose sharply and revenue dipped. 

In November, Chief Financial Officer David Wehner will become Meta’s first chief strategy officer. Susan Li, Meta’s current vice president of finance, will become CFO.

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У США винесли вирок двом останнім обвинуваченим у справі про смерть Джорджа Флойда

Джей Александер Куенг проведе у в’язниці три роки, Ту Тао – 42 місяці

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