Daily: 29/07/2022

Блінкен застеріг Лаврова від спроб Росії анексувати окуповані території України

У заяві російського МЗС йдеться, що Лавров повторив наміри Росії продовжувати агресію, доки вона не досягне своїх цілей в Україні

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Russian Charged with Using US Groups to Spread Propaganda

A Russian operative who worked on behalf of one of the Kremlin’s main intelligence services has been charged with recruiting political groups in the United States to advance pro-Russia propaganda, including during the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday.

Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov is accused of using groups in Florida, Georgia and California to spread pro-Kremlin talking points, with prosecutors accusing him of funding trips to Russia and paying for travel for conferences.

He is charged in federal court in Florida with conspiring to have U.S. citizens act as illegal agents of the Russian government. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf, and he is not currently in custody.

The indictment alleges Ionov directed one of the political activists to post a petition on the website created by former President Barack Obama’s team, change.org. The petition, entitled “Petition on Crime of Genocide against African People in the United States,” could still be found on change.gov on Friday and had more than 113,000 signatures.

The organizations were not identified in the indictment, which was filed in a federal court in Florida.

The Treasury Department also announced sanctions Friday against Ionov, accusing him of giving money to organizations that he and Russian intelligence services thought would create a social or political disturbance in the U.S., and also looked into ways to support an unspecified 2022 gubernatorial candidate.

“As court documents show, Ionov allegedly orchestrated a brazen influence campaign, turning U.S. political groups and U.S. citizens into instruments of the Russian government,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said in a statement.

The case is part of a much broader Justice Department crackdown on foreign influence operations aimed at shaping public opinion in the U.S. In 2018, for instance, the Justice Department charged 13 Russian nationals with participating in a huge but hidden social media campaign aimed at sowing discord during the 2016 presidential election won by Republican Donald Trump.

FBI Special Agent in Charge David Walker in Tampa called the Russian efforts “some of the most egregious and blatant violations we’ve seen.”

“The Russian intelligence threat is continuous and unrelenting,” Walker said at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Today’s actions should serve as a deterrent.”

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У Лівані затримали судно, яке перевозило зерно з Криму – посол

Дипломат розповів, що українське посольство оперативно відреагувало на появу судна із зерном у порту Тріполі, і тепер домагається експертизи цього зерна

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Russia, Ukraine Accuse Each Other of Prison Attack That Killed Ukrainian POWs

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling a prison in eastern Ukraine killing dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war, including some who were captured after the fall of Mariupol in May. 

Neither claim could be independently verified.

Russia said Ukraine’s military used multiple rocket launchers to strike the prison in Olenivka, a settlement controlled by the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic. Separatist authorities and Russian officials said the attack killed 53 Ukrainian POWs and wounded 75.

The Ukrainian military denied making any rocket or artillery strikes in Olenivka and said it only aims for Russian military targets.  It accused the Russians of shelling the prison to cover up the alleged torture and execution of Ukrainians there.

The Russian claims are part of an “information war to accuse the Ukrainian armed forces of shelling civilian infrastructure and the population to cover up their own treacherous action,” Ukraine’s military said.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson described the strike as a “bloody provocation” aimed at discouraging Ukrainian soldiers from surrendering.

Meanwhile, the British Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update on Twitter Friday that Russia, “in a significant change,” has handed over responsibility for portions of its frontline activities to the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company.  

The post said the move makes it difficult for Russia to deny links between such companies and the Russian state. The measure was undertaken, according to the ministry, because Russia likely has “a major shortage of combat infantry.” 

“Since March, Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner Group has operated in eastern Ukraine in coordination with the Russian military,” the British ministry posted.  “Wagner has likely been allocated responsibility for specific sectors of the front line, in a similar manner to normal army units.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address Thursday, “No one in the world invests in terrorism more than Russia.” 

He said, “This really needs a legal response at the global level.  And there is no rational reason why such a reaction should not occur, particularly in the United States.”

Zelenskyy thanked U.S. senators who have “unanimously approved the resolution calling on the U.S. Department of State to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.”  Russia would join Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria.

For the first time in weeks, Russia launched missile attacks Thursday on 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 shot down one of the missiles, but that Moscow’s forces hit a military compound in the village of Liutizh outside the capital city, destroying one building and damaging two others.

Kyiv regional Governor Oleksiy Kuleba linked the attacks to the Day of Statehood commemoration that Zelenskyy instituted last year, and that Ukraine marked on 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 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.

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

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

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Білорусь відкликала посла із Великої Британії

Британська сторона поки що не коментувала рішення офіційного Мінська

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Record EU Inflation Expected; Economy Continues to Grow

The European Union’s statistical office, Eurostat, on Friday estimated inflation is expected to reach a record 8.9% in July, while the Eurozone and EU economy overall continued to grow during the first quarter of 2022.

In its report, Eurostat indicated inflation in July was driven largely by the energy sector with 39.7% growth, down from 42% in June. The food, alcohol and tobacco sector follows, with a rise of 9.8%, compared with 8.9% in June. The non-energy industrial goods sector grew 4.5% compared with 4.3% in June, and the services sector grew 3.7%, compared with 3.4% in June.

For months, inflation has been running at its highest levels since 1997, when record-keeping for the euro began, leading the European Central Bank to raise interest rates last week for the first time in 11 years and signal another boost in September.

Meanwhile, Eurostat also reported Friday the eurozone’s seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 0.7% and by 0.6% in the EU overall, compared with the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2022, GDP had grown by 0.5% in the euro area and 0.6% throughout the EU.

The positive numbers come despite stagnant growth in Germany, Europe’s largest economy. France showed modest 0.5% growth, while Italy and Spain exceeded expectations with 1 and 1.1% economic expansions, respectively.

Eurostat says the numbers for both GDP growth and inflation are preliminary flash estimates based on data that are incomplete and subject to further revision.

The Associated Press, citing regional economic analysts, reports a rebound in tourism following the COVID-19 pandemic helped drive economic growth. The analysts caution, however, that inflation, rising interest rates and the worsening energy crisis are expected to push the region into recession later this year.

Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press.

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Німеччина надасть Україні 16 танків-мостоукладачів – Міноборони

«Для подальшої підтримки сухопутних військ України міністр Крістіне Ламбрехт ухвалила рішення доставити партію з 16 броньованих мостоукладачів Biber»

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ОПУ: удар в Оленівці є «цинічним і продуманим» нападом «під чужим прапором»

Михайло Подоляк закликав до «негайної твердої реакції» ООН та інших міжнародних організацій

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Чисельність російських втрат на війні в Україні сягнула близько 40,5 тисяч осіб – Генштаб

Найбільших втрат армія РФ зазнала на Криворізькому напрямку

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Інфляція в єврозоні сягнула нового рекорду на тлі підвищення цін через війну в Україні

Основною причиною зростання курсу стали ціни на енергоносії та продукти харчування

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Російського співака Кіркорова не пустили у Молдову – ЗМІ

Раніше цього тижня Філіп Кіркоров виступив із концертами в анексованому Росією Криму

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Belarusian Sources See Lingering Russian Threat to Ukraine’s North, Disagree on Belarus’ Role

Exiled Belarusian sources say recent Russian military activities inside Belarus, a key Moscow ally, show Russia is trying to maintain a threat of attack from Belarus against northern Ukraine after failing in a land-based assault on the region housing Ukraine’s capital Kyiv earlier this year.

While the Belarusian journalists, analysts and dissidents say another Russian invasion of northern Ukraine from Belarus does not appear imminent, that prospect has sparked a debate among them about whether the forces of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko would join such a Russian offensive.

Belarus-based Russian forces pushed into northern Ukraine at the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country in late February in a bid to capture Kyiv, a 150-kilometer drive from the Belarusian border. Lukashenko kept his forces out of direct involvement in the invasion, while publicly supporting it and allowing Russia’s military to use Belarusian territory and infrastructure.

Ukrainian forces supplied with Western weapons stopped the Russian assault outside Kyiv and counterattacked, prompting a Russian withdrawal from northern Ukrainian areas around Kyiv and a retreat into Belarus by early April.

Russia had deployed tens of thousands of troops in Belarus by the start of its all-out war on Ukraine. Now, the Russian troop presence in Belarus is in the hundreds, according to Franak Viacorka, a senior adviser to exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

“There are only up to 1,000 Russian troops, but a lot of Russian military equipment remains,” Viacorka told VOA in a July 21 interview from the Latvian capital, Riga. “If the Russians decide to come back to Belarus [in greater numbers] to attack Ukraine from Belarus territory, it’s still possible,” he said.

Lithuania-based independent Belarusian foreign policy analyst Katsiaryna Shmatsina, who has worked for several U.S. and European research organizations, told VOA by phone that Russia would have two main goals in any new assault on northern Ukraine via Belarus.

“Russia would be interested to block or undermine the shipment of Western military aid through northern Ukraine, and also to distract attention” from eastern and southern Ukraine, where the nation’s forces are concentrated against the main Russian offensive, Shmatsina said.

A news outlet called the Belarusian Hajun project, founded by Lithuania-based exiled Belarusian dissident Anton Motolko, has been posting reports on Telegram and Twitter of almost daily sightings of Russian military movements in Belarus in recent weeks.

Those reports by citizen journalists inside the country, some with photographs, include apparent sightings of Russian troops and military vehicles on roads and Russian military planes landing at and taking off from Belarusian airfields. Those citizen journalists also have reported seeing Russian Iskander-M mobile short range ballistic missile units and Russian S-400 mobile surface-to-air missile units at an airfield in the Gomel district of southeastern Belarus.

Ukrainian officials said Russia fired missiles from Belarus at the nearby Chernihiv district of Ukraine on Thursday.

The Belarusian Hajun project tweeted what is said were photos of the Russian missiles being launched from a Belarusian airfield in Gomel.

VOA cannot independently verify the photos or the other reported sightings of Russian military activities inside Belarus.

Shmatsina said Motolko’s news outlet is the main Belarusian source of information on those Russian activities, although she said the accuracy of citizen journalist reports is unclear.

Open-source intelligence assessments from this month concluded that Belarus still is granting Russia access to its airspace. Those assessments pointed to Ukrainian intelligence sources that found Belarus likely transferred the use of its Pribytki airfield in Gomel to Russia.

Viacorka said most of the Russian forces in Belarus are maintaining equipment, collecting intelligence and communicating with Belarusian officials and military personnel. “But these are not troops that usually are used for [land-based] operations in a war,” he said.

In a Thursday tweet, the Belarusian Hajun project said it does not see Russian forces in Belarus having the right conditions for another invasion of northern Ukraine in the near future.

Some exiled Belarusian commentators see a longer-term threat of a Russian reinvasion and a potential for Belarusian military forces to join such an assault on Ukraine for the first time.

In a July 12 audio program produced by VOA sister network RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Belarusian political scientist Pavel Usov said the latest concentrations of Russian military equipment and personnel in Belarus indicate a “rather high probability that the northern front [of Russia’s war on Ukraine] will be opened again.”

Usov, head of the Centre for Analysis and Political Forecast in Warsaw, said mutual defense agreements between Belarus and Russia, which exercises strong military and economic influence over its smaller neighbor, create “prerequisites” for the direct involvement of Lukashenko’s armed forces in the Ukraine war.

Speaking to the same July 12 RFE/RL audio program, Belarusian journalist Natalya Radina also said the Belarusian military’s participation in another Russian assault on Ukraine is possible, citing recent statements by Lukashenko and his deputy chief of the general staff Ruslan Kosygin.

In a July 2 speech reported by Belarusian state news agency BelTA, Lukashenko said his armed forces “will fight” if “the enemy” invades Belarusian territory, without naming any nation. Four days later, BelTA cited Kosygin as saying Belarus’ response to “any kind of armed provocation will definitely be adequate and tough.”

“Of course, [Lukashenko] wants to participate in this [Ukraine war],” said Radina, a Warsaw-based chief editor for the Charter-97 news outlet. “Even more aggressive statements are heard from his side than from the lips of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin … It is clear that politically and economically he is absolutely dependent on Putin, but he himself enjoys his participation in this monstrous war,” she said.

Other Belarusian commentators were skeptical that either Lukashenko or Putin would want Belarusian forces to join a Russian reinvasion of northern Ukraine.

Shmatsina said many Belarusian soldiers lack experience in offensive operations and there is little public support for them fighting against Ukraine. She also noted that Lukashenko has faced a domestic legitimacy crisis since declaring himself the winner of a sixth presidential term in a disputed 2020 election that the opposition, the United States and European Union allege was rigged and that triggered weeks of public anti-Lukashenko protests.

“If we see Belarusian deaths in Ukraine, coffins returning home, this would create even more instability in Belarus. Would the Russians want this additional instability at their border?” Shmatsina said. “Belarusian infrastructure seems to be much more useful for the Russian military in Belarus [than Belarusian personnel],” she added.

Viacorka said it is possible that some Belarusian military officers would desert and resist orders to join Russia in fighting Ukraine. He also said Russia may again prepare an invasion of northern Ukraine without involving Belarusian officers, in which case he said those officers “would not even know about it.”

Latvian military analyst Igors Rajevs, a reserve colonel of the Latvian Land Forces, said in an interview with VOA’s Russian Service that he also sees no motivation for Russia or Belarus to change their posture regarding involvement in the war against Ukraine. The most likely scenario is for them to maintain the status quo, he said.

National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report from Washington and VOA Russian stringer Anna Plotnikova contributed from Vilnius.

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В ОПУ запевняють, що Росія відповість за знущання над українськими полоненими

Михайло Подоляк: «Туман війни не допоможе уникнути кари катам. Всіх ідентифікуємо. Кожного дістанемо»

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Ukraine Celebrates Its Tank-Towing Farmers

Towed away gleefully as if it were parked illegally, the Soviet-era armored personnel carrier doesn’t look so intimidating as it is paraded before the delighted Ukrainians gathered to celebrate its seizure.

Theoretically, the 1970s MT-LB belongs to the Russian forces, but they abandoned it in Ukraine’s northeast, around 30 kilometers from the warring neighbors’ shared border.

It was found by tractor driver Vitaliy Denysenko, who grins, a mischievous twinkle in his eye, as he pulls his prize around a field in the village of Mala Rogan, where it was left during a hasty withdrawal at the end of March.

“We needed two tractors to pull it out, which we were able to do after the military demined the field,” the 44-year-old tells a group of reporters gathered to cover the spectacle.

Footage of Russian tanks and other military vehicles being towed away by plucky Ukrainian tractors has appeared regularly on social media since Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and quickly became a defining image of the country’s resistance.

Denysenko followed the example of farmers across the country by donating his quarry to the military.

“We could not use it for ourselves. What could we do with it? Drive it to the village disco?” he said.

Ukrainian farmers have commandeered so many Russian vehicles in areas occupied and then abandoned by Moscow’s withdrawing forces that wags on the internet began calling them Europe’s “fifth-largest army.”

Craze

Now their chutzpah is being celebrated by the country’s national postal service, which had representatives in Mala Rogan on Thursday to launch a new stamp depicting one of the infamous heists.

Tetyana Fomenko, manager of the Kharkiv regional postal service’s stamp-collection store, said it was the fourth military-themed stamp issued during the war, with 5 million due to go on sale.

It is unclear which Ukrainian first towed a Russian tank but the craze really took hold when Viktor Kychuk and his friends took charge of a Soviet T-80 on March 1 in Slatyne, a northeastern town of 6,000, just 13 kilometers from Russia.

“We found a lot of vehicles and equipment in our village once it was liberated… This one was really stuck,” the 44-year-old told AFP, recalling shell fire raining down as they carried out the daring operation.

“There was a lot of discarded equipment, but the local team made the best of it,” he added.

“They cut out all the wiring, punched through all the optics and everything that remained. Four units were taken out. And four pieces of equipment were taken away by our guys from the village.”

Symbol of defiance

Kychuk sent a clip of him and his friends riding the tank away to regional military head Volodymyr Usov, who uploaded it to YouTube, where it went viral, quickly clocking 350,000 views.

The Ukrposhta postal service has become something of a symbol of Ukrainian defiance after issuing a stamp in April depicting a soldier making giving the middle finger to the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva.

The warship had been sunk days earlier by an explosion and fire that Ukraine claimed was caused by a missile strike — while Russia said the damage was due to an explosion of munitions on board.

In Kyiv on Thursday there was a huge queue of people outside the central post office waiting to snap up the latest stamp.

Those in line were told there was a three-hour wait to get their hands on the prized memento.

“This is how we support the struggle of our people against the Russian aggressor,” lifelong stamp collector Vitaliy, 60, told AFP.

“But now there is a war going on, we, as patriots, support our country. A part of the money from the sale of these stamps will go to the armed forces of Ukraine.”

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У ОГП розповіли про справи через сприяння окупаційним силам на Херсонщині

В Офісі генерального прокурора заявили, що заочно повідомлено про підозру громадянину України у пособництві державі-агресору та у колабораційній діяльності.

«За даними слідства, колишній учасник тероборони України в Херсонській області на початку червня 2022 року, перебуваючи на території міста Херсон, закликав через засоби масової інформації військовослужбовців ЗСУ, територіальну оборону, резервістів та громадян, які не сприймають окупаційну владу, скласти зброю та підтримати ворога. Також він передав окупаційній адміністрації держави-агресора персональні відомості про учасників Сил ТрО. Тим самим підозрюваний вчинив дії, спрямовані на пособництво державі-агресору з метою завдання шкоди Україні», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Крім того, двом громадянам України заочно повідомлено про підозру у колабораційній діяльності.

«За даними слідства, у травні 2022 року мешканець м. Херсона вступив у злочинну змову з окупаційними військами РФ та добровільно погодився зайняти псевдопосаду «голови військово-цивільної адміністрації Голопристанської міської територіальної громади Скадовського району Херсонської області». Виконуючи функції керівника незаконного органу, підозрюваний з червня «призначає» голів сільських адміністрацій на підвідомчій йому території. Також встановлено, що місцева мешканка, реалізуючи свої політичні амбіції, зайняла посаду так званого «першого заступника голови військово-цивільної адміністрації Голопристанської міської територіальної громади Скадовського району Херсонської області», – йдеться в повідомленні.

В ОГП додають: «До призначень окупаційною владою так званий «голова» займався підприємницькою діяльністю, а його пособниця очолювала один із відділів виконавчої влади Чулаківської сільської об’єднаної територіальної громади».

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Congress OKs Bill to Aid Computer Chip Firms, Counter China 

The House on Thursday passed a $280 billion package to boost the semiconductor industry and scientific research in a bid to create more high-tech jobs in the United States and help it better compete with international rivals, namely China. 

The House approved the bill by a solid margin of 243-187, sending the measure to President Joe Biden to be signed into law and providing the White House with a major domestic policy victory. Twenty-four Republicans voted for the legislation. The Senate passed the bill Wednesday, 64-33.

“Today, the House passed a bill that will make cars cheaper, appliances cheaper and computers cheaper,” Biden said. “It will lower the costs of everyday goods. And it will create high-paying manufacturing jobs across the country and strengthen U.S. leadership in the industries of the future at the same time.” 

As the vote was taking place, Biden was discussing the economy with CEOs at the White House. During the event, he was handed a note informing him it was clear the bill would pass — a development that produced a round of applause before the tally was final. 

Most Republicans argued that the government should not spend billions to subsidize the semiconductor industry. GOP leadership in the House recommended a vote against the bill, telling members the plan would provide enormous subsidies and tax credits “to a specific industry that does not need additional government handouts.” 

 

Taxes, regulations

Representative Guy Reschenthaler, a Pennsylvania Republican, said the way to help the industry would be through tax cuts and easing federal regulations, “not by picking winners and losers” with subsidies — an approach that Representative Joseph Morelle, a New York Democrat, said was too narrow. 

“This affects every industry in the United States,” Morelle said. “Take, for example, General Motors announcing they have 95,000 automobiles awaiting chips. So, you want to increase the supply of goods to people and help bring down inflation? This is about increasing the supply of goods all over the United States in every single industry.” 

Some Republicans viewed passing the legislation as important for national security. 

Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was critical to protect semiconductor capacity in the U.S. and that the country was too reliant on Taiwan for the most advanced chips. That could prove to be a major vulnerability should China try to take over the self-governing island that Beijing views as a breakaway province 

“I’ve got a unique insight in this. I get the classified briefing. Not all these members do,” McCaul said. “This is vitally important for our national security.” 

The bill provides more than $52 billion in grants and other incentives for the semiconductor industry as well as a 25% tax credit for those companies that invest in chip plants in the U.S. It calls for increased spending on various research programs that would total about $200 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. 

The CBO also projected that the bill would increase deficits by about $79 billion over the coming decade. 

Senate health, climate package

A late development in the Senate — progress announced Wednesday night by Democrats on a $739 billion health and climate change package — threatened to make it harder for supporters to get the semiconductor bill over the finish line, based on concerns about government spending that GOP lawmakers said would fuel inflation. 

Representative Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican, said he was “disgusted” by the turn of events. 

Despite bipartisan support for the research initiatives, “regrettably, and it’s more regrettably than you can possibly imagine, I will not be casting my vote for the CHIPS and Science Act today,” Lucas said. 

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, likened the bill’s spending to “corporate welfare to be handed out to whoever President Biden wants.” 

Leading into the vote, it was unclear whether any House Democrats would join with Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, in voting against the bill; in the end, none did. 

Democrats urged to step up

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo talked to several of the most progressive members of the Democratic caucus in a meeting before the vote, emphasizing that the proposal was a critical part of the president’s agenda and that Democrats needed to step up for him at this important moment. 

Some Republicans criticized the bill as not tough enough on China, and GOP leaders emphasized that point in recommending a “no” vote. Their guidance acknowledged the threat China poses to supply chains in the U.S. but said the package “will not effectively address that important challenge.” 

But, as McCaul pointed out, China opposed the measure and worked against it. The bill includes a provision that prohibits any semiconductor company receiving financial help through the bill from supporting the manufacture of advanced chips in China. 

Zhao Lijian, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, commenting before the House vote, said the U.S. “should not put in place obstacles for normal science, technology and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation” and “still less should it take away or undermine China’s legitimate rights to development.”

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Study: Climate Change Made UK Heat Wave Hotter, More Likely

Human-caused climate change made last week’s deadly heat wave in England and Wales at least 10 times more likely and added a few degrees to how brutally hot it got, a study said.

A team of international scientists found that the heat wave that set a new national record high at 40.3 degrees Celsius was made stronger and more likely by the buildup of heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. They said Thursday that temperatures were 2 to 4 degrees Celsius warmer in the heat wave than they would have been without climate change, depending on which method scientists used.

The study has not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal yet but follows scientifically accepted techniques, and past such studies have been published months later.

“We would not have seen temperatures above 40 degrees in the U.K. without climate change,” study senior author Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College of London, said in an interview. “The fingerprint is super strong.”

World Weather Attribution, a collection of scientists across the globe who do real-time studies of extreme weather to see whether climate change played a role in an extreme weather event and if so how much of one, looked at two-day average temperatures for July 18 and 19 in much of England and Wales and the highest temperature reached in that time.

The daily highest temperatures were the most unusual, a one-in-1,000-year event in the current warmer world, but “almost impossible in a world without climate change,” the study said. Last week’s heat smashed the old national record by 1.6 degrees Celsius. The average over two hot days and nights is a once a century event now but is “nearly impossible” without climate change.

When the scientists used the long history of temperatures in England to determine the impact of global warming, they saw a stronger climate change influence than when they used simulations from climate models. For some reason that scientists aren’t quite certain about, climate models have long underestimated extreme weather signals in the summer in Western Europe, Otto said.

With climate models, the scientists simulate a world without the 1.2 degrees Celsius of warming since pre-industrial times and see how likely this heat would have been in that cooler world without fossil fuel-charged warming. With observations they look at history and calculate the chances of such a heat wave that way.

“The methodology seems sound, but candidly, I didn’t need a study to tell me this was climate change,” said University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd, who wasn’t on this study team but was on a U.S. National Academy of Sciences panel that said these types of studies are scientifically valid. “This new era of heat is particularly dangerous because most homes are not equipped for it there.”

The World Weather Attribution study refers to another analysis that estimates a heat wave like this would kill at least 800 people in England and Wales, where there is less air conditioning than in warmer climates.

Otto, who had to sleep and work in the basement because of the heat, said as the world warms, these record-smashing heat waves will continue to come more frequently and be hotter.

In addition to spurring people to cut greenhouse gas emissions, study co-author Gabe Vecchi said, “this heat wave and heat waves like it should be a reminder that we have to adapt to a warmer world. We are not living in our parents’ world anymore.”

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US Probes Cyber Breach of Federal Court Records System

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating a cyber breach involving the federal court records management system, the department’s top national security attorney told lawmakers Thursday.

Matt Olsen, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, alluded to the threat of cyberattacks by foreign nations as he told the U.S. House of Representative Judiciary Committee that the incident was a “significant concern.”

Olsen made the remarks in response to questions from Representative Jerrold Nadler, the panel’s Democratic chairman, who said that “three hostile foreign actors” had attacked the courts’ document filing system.

Nadler said the committee learned only in March of the “startling breadth and scope” of the breach. Olsen said the Justice Department was working closely with the federal judiciary around the country to address the issue.

“While I can’t speak directly to the nature of the ongoing investigation of the type of threats that you’ve mentioned regarding the effort to compromise public judicial dockets, this is of course a significant concern for us given the nature of the information that’s often held by the courts,” Olsen said.

Olsen did not comment on who was behind the attack, but he noted that his division was focused generally on the risk of cyberattacks by foreign nations including China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in January 2021 said it was adding new security procedures to protect confidential or sealed records following an apparent compromise of its electronic case management and filing system.

The Administrative Office, the judiciary’s administrative arm, in a statement on Thursday called cybersecurity a high priority and said it has been taking “significant actions to protect our systems and the sensitive information they contain.”

Further details could not be immediately determined. A Justice Department spokesman said the department as a general policy does not confirm or deny the existence of specific investigations.

The federal judiciary has been working to modernize its electronic case management and filing system and the related online portal known as PACER, which is used to access records, citing the risk of cyberattacks on the aging electronic system.

“We are vulnerable,” U.S. Circuit Judge Amy St. Eve testified at a House committee hearing in May on the judiciary’s budget request. 

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У Чехії п’яту добу горить національний парк «Чеська Швейцарія»

Із вогнем борються близько 500 чеських і німецьких пожежників, також залучені гвинтокрили зі Словаччини й Польщі

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Політика США щодо Тайваню не змінилася – Байден у розмові із Сі Цзіньпіном

Зі свого боку, Сі підкреслив претензії Китаю на острів, де десятиліттями керує демократичний уряд

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