Daily: 06/08/2022

Зеленський заявив про «красномовне мовчання» Amnesty International щодо ситуації на Запорізькій АЕС

«Дуже красномовне мовчання, яке ще раз вказує на маніпулятивну вибірковість цієї організації»

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Білий дім: у Байдена – негативний тест на COVID-19

79-річний Джо Байден вперше отримав позитивний результат тесту на COVID-19 21 липня, а через кілька днів – негативний. Він знову отримав позитивний результат 30 липня

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Президент: ЗСУ звільнили 1060 населених пунктів України

«Абсолютна більшість із них потребує значних відновлювальних робіт, розмінування, будівництва соціальних об’єктів»

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Huge Crowds Watch Amsterdam Pride’s Canal Parade Celebration

Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined Amsterdam’s historic canals Saturday to celebrate the Canal Parade, a Pride flotilla of 80 brightly decorated boats packed with people partying, singing and waving rainbow flags, balloons and umbrellas. 

The boats representing rights groups, bars, clothing brands and even the Dutch military made their way slowly through the waterways in a resumption of the hugely popular LGBTQ Pride event that had been canceled for two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We are looking forward to a special edition where ‘being who you are and loving who you want’ is the norm and the struggle for equal rights is the message,” Amsterdam Pride director Lucien Spee de Castillo Ruiz said. 

Spectators were packed several people deep along the Dutch capital’s canals and bridges to watch the 25th version of the parade that was the highlight of the city’s nine-day Pride event. 

Earlier, Dutch police stopped a boat supporting farmers protesting government climate plans to cut nitrogen emissions from joining the parade. Only 80 boats were allowed to take part and they had to register ahead of time. 

The farmers’ boat was decorated with flags saying, “Proud of the Farmers” and “No farmer, no food.” On board was a person in a cow costume and others wearing pink clogs and pink cowboy hats. 

 

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Тайвань звинуватив Китай в імітації нападу на острів

Міністерство оборони Тайваню заявило, що дії Пекіна «серйозно зашкодили миру»

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Україна отримає танки, літаки від Північної Македонії – ОПУ

«Багато народів сьогодні виявляють більше мужності, ніж половина G20. Як Північна Македонія, підставивши Україні плече у вигляді танків і літаків», – заявив Михайло Подоляк

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У Міноборони застерегли від коментарів «експертів», які шкодять роботі ЗСУ

Такі коментарі про дії ЗСУ в момент активної фази війни «вже час заносити у список 11-им гріхом», наголосила Ганна Маляр

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Ми не повинні переслідувати людей, які стали заручниками окупації – Ташева про російські «паспорти»

«Звичайні громадяни, які живуть на окупованій території та є заручниками обставин, не повинні відповідати»

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12 Poles Killed in Croatia Bus Crash

A bus with Polish license plates skidded off a highway in northern Croatia early Saturday, killing at least 12 people, according to authorities.  

Officials say at least 30 people were injured. 

The bus was filled with religious pilgrims traveling to a Catholic shrine in Medjugorje, a town in southern Bosnia. 

Reuters reports that all the victims are Polish citizens.  

 

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У Хіросімі генсек ООН попередив про ядерну загрозу: «людство грає із зарядженою зброєю»

У японському місті Хіросіма згадують атомне бомбардування 77 років тому

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У ДТП на Балканах загинули чотирнадцять людей

За участю автобусів сталися аварії у Хорватії та Болгарії

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Spain Leads Europe in Monkeypox, Struggles to Check Spread 

As a sex worker and adult film actor, Roc was relieved when he was among the first Spaniards to get a monkeypox vaccine. He knew of several cases among men who have sex with men, which is the leading demographic for the disease, and feared he could be next. 

“I went home and thought, ‘Phew, my God, I’m saved,’ ” the 29-year-old told The Associated Press. 

But it was already too late. Roc, the name he uses for work, had been infected by a client a few days before. He joined Spain’s steadily increasing count of monkeypox infections that has become the highest in Europe since the disease spread beyond Africa, where it has been endemic for years. 

He began showing symptoms: pustules, fever, conjunctivitis and tiredness. Roc was hospitalized for treatment before getting well enough to be released. 

Spanish health authorities and community groups are struggling to check an outbreak that has killed two young men. They reportedly died of encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, that can be caused by some viruses. Most monkeypox cases cause only mild symptoms. 

Spain has confirmed 4,942 cases in the three months since the start of the outbreak, which has been linked to two raves in Europe, where experts say the virus was likely spread through sex. 

The only country with more infections than Spain is the much larger United States, which has reported 7,100 cases. 

Global count

In all, the global monkeypox outbreak has seen more than 26,000 cases in nearly 90 countries since May. There have been 103 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo, where a more lethal form of monkeypox is spreading than in the West. 

Health experts stress that this is not technically a sexually transmitted disease, even though it has been mainly spreading via sex among gay and bisexual men, who account for 98% of cases beyond Africa. The virus can be spread to anyone who has close, physical contact with an infected person, their clothing or bed sheets. 

Part of the complexity of fighting monkeypox is striking a balance between not stigmatizing men who have sex with men, while also ensuring that both vaccines and pleas for greater caution reach those currently in the greatest danger. 

Spain has distributed 5,000 shots of the two-shot vaccine to health clinics and expects to receive 7,000 more from the European Union in the coming days, its health ministry said. The EU has bought 160,000 doses and is donating them to member states based on need. The bloc is expecting another 70,000 shots to be available next week. 

To ensure that those shots get administered wisely, community groups and sexual health associations are targeting gay men, bisexuals and transgender women. 

In Barcelona, BCN Checkpoint, which focuses on AIDS/HIV prevention in gay and trans communities, is now contacting at-risk people to offer them one of the precious vaccines. 

Pep Coll, medical director of BCN Checkpoint, said the vaccine rollout is focused on people who are already at risk of contracting HIV and are on preemptive treatment, men with a high number of sexual partners and those who participate in sex with the use of drugs, as well as people with suppressed immune responses. 

But there are many more people who fit those categories than doses, about 15,000 people just in Barcelona, Coll said. 

The lack of vaccines, which is far more severe in Africa than in Europe and the U.S., makes social public health policies key, experts say. 

Contact tracing more difficult

As with the coronavirus pandemic, contact tracing to identify people who could have been infected is critical. But, while COVID-19 could spread to anyone simply through the air, the close bodily contact that serves as the leading vehicle for monkeypox makes some people hesitant to share information. 

“We are having a steady stream of new cases, and it is possible that we will have more deaths. Why? Because contact tracing is very complicated because it can be a very sensitive issue for someone to identify their sexual partners,” said Amós García, epidemiologist and president of the Spanish Association of Vaccinology. 

Spain says that 80% of its cases are among men who have sex with men and only 1.5% are women. But García insisted that will change unless the entire public, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, grasps that having various sexual partners creates greater risk. 

Given the dearth of vaccines and the trouble with contact tracing, more pressure is being put on encouraging prevention. 

From the start, government officials ceded the leading role in the get-out-the-word campaign to community groups. 

Sebastian Meyer, president of the STOP SIDA association dedicated to AIDS/HIV care in Barcelona’s LGBTQ community, said the logic was that his group and others like it would be trusted message-bearers with person-by-person knowledge of how to drive the health warning home. 

Community associations that represent gay and bisexual men have bombarded social media, websites and blogs with information on monkeypox safety. Officials in Catalonia, the region including Barcelona that has over 1,500 cases, are pushing public service announcements on dating apps Tinder and Grindr warning about the disease. 

But Meyer believes fatigue from the COVID-19 pandemic has played a part. Doctors advise people with monkeypox lesions to isolate until they have fully healed, which can take up to three weeks. 

“When people read that they must self-isolate, they close the webpage and forget what they have read,” Meyer said. “We are just coming out of COVID, when you couldn’t do this or that, and now, here we go again. … People just hate it and put their heads in the sand.”

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Ukraine, Russia Trade Blame Over Damage to Nuclear Plant

Three more ships carrying thousands of tons of corn left Ukrainian ports Friday, part of a grain deal between Kyiv and Moscow, as the two countries accused each other of damaging a major Ukrainian nuclear power plant.

Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom said Russian shelling had hit the Zaporizhzhia power station, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

“Three strikes were recorded on the site of the plant, near one of the power blocks where the nuclear reactor is located,” Energoatom said in a statement.

It said there were no signs that the damage had caused a radioactive leak.

Three strikes

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Ukrainian forces were responsible for damaging the plant.

“Ukrainian armed units carried out three artillery strikes on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the city of Enerhodar,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Fortunately, the Ukrainian shells did not hit the oil and fuel facility and the oxygen plant nearby, thus avoiding a larger fire and a possible radiation accident,” it said.

Russian troops have occupied the plant in southern Ukraine since March.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia on Monday of using the plant as a shield for its forces.

An official with the Russian-backed administration in Enerhodar said earlier this week that Ukrainian forces had repeatedly attacked the plant, according to Reuters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Friday that Russia was committing acts of “nuclear terrorism.”

“Russia must take responsibility for the very fact of creating a threat to a nuclear plant,” he said.

Corn shipments

Three more ships carrying thousands of metric tons of corn left Ukrainian ports Friday in a sign that a deal to allow exports of Ukrainian grain, held up since Russia’s invasion of its neighbor in February, is starting to work.

The ships departed for Ireland, the United Kingdom and Turkey. Another ship, the Razoni, left Ukraine on Monday for Lebanon, carrying the first grain shipment through the Black Sea since the start of the war.

In New York on Friday, U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said another ship was headed toward the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk to pick up a grain shipment.

The U.N. and Turkey recently brokered a deal, the Black Sea Grain Initiative, aimed at enabling Ukraine to export about 22 million metric tons of grain currently stuck in silos and port storage facilities. The deal is meant to ease a global food crisis marked by soaring prices and food shortages in some regions.

Ukraine and Russia are key global suppliers of the wheat, corn, barley and sunflower oil that millions of people in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia rely on for survival.

In another hopeful sign, Taras Vysotsky, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of agriculture, said the country could start exporting wheat from this year’s harvest through its seaports as early as next month. According to Reuters, Vysotsky said Ukraine hoped in several months to increase shipments of grain through the route from 1 million metric tons expected this month to between 3 million and 3.5 million metric tons per month.

The initiative will run for a 120 day-period that ends in late November.

A backlog of nearly 30 ships that have been stranded in Ukraine’s southern ports because of the war has entered its sixth month. The Joint Coordination Center, or JCC, a body set up under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, says the ships need to move out so other ships can enter the ports and collect food for transport to world markets.

The crews and cargo of the vessels that set sail Friday will undergo checks at the JCC inspection area in Turkey’s territorial waters before moving on toward their destinations.

The JCC says that based on its experience with the first ship that sailed Monday, it is now testing moving multiple ships in the safe corridor, both outbound and inbound.

 

Erdogan in Russia

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Russia on Friday for talks with President Vladimir Putin that included the grain deal, prospects for talks on ending hostilities in Ukraine, and the situation in Syria.

In a statement issued at the conclusion of the talks in Sochi, which lasted four hours, Putin and Erdogan emphasized “the necessity of a complete fulfillment” of the grain deal.

They also said that “sincere, frank and trusting ties between Russia and Turkey” are important to global stability.

In other developments Friday, the Biden administration prepared its next security assistance package for Ukraine. Reuters reported that the package was expected to be worth $1 billion, one of the largest U.S. military aid packages to Ukraine to date.

On Thursday, Zelenskyy blasted human rights group Amnesty International for a report that said Ukrainian forces had put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas.

The report “unfortunately tries to amnesty the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim,” Zelenskyy said. “There cannot be, even hypothetically, any condition under which any Russian attack on Ukraine becomes justified. Aggression against our state is unprovoked, invasive and openly terroristic.”

The head of Amnesty International’s Ukrainian office, Oksana Pokalchuk, also took issue with the report. In posts on Facebook on Thursday, she said the Ukrainian office “was not involved in the preparation or writing” of the report and tried to prevent the material from being published.

Pokalchuk on Friday announced her resignation from Amnesty International in a Facebook post.

Amnesty International said its researchers investigated Russian strikes in Ukraine between April and July in the Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv regions. The organization said its “researchers found evidence of Ukrainian forces launching strikes from within populated residential areas as well as basing themselves in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in the regions.”

Some information for this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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