Daily: 12/08/2022

Germany Suspends Elements of Military Mission in Mali

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a statement that because Malian leaders of the U.N. mission to Mali, MINUSMA, denied overflight rights, the German mission must stop all reconnaissance and transport operations until further notice.

The comments from Lambrecht were posted Friday to the defense ministry’s Twitter account.

In them, Lambrecht said she had spoken with Malian Defense Minister Sadio Camara, “to describe to him the irritations” about problems with denial of flight permissions.

Lambrecht also said that “Germany can only stay involved with MINUSMA in Mali if this doesn’t happen again and we are welcome in the country.”

Germany provides more than 1,000 soldiers to the U.N. mission to Mali.

There was no immediate comment from Malian and MINUSMA officials.

The episode is another sign of tension between Mali’s military rulers and foreign military forces stationed in Mali to help stabilize the country.

In July, Mali arrested 49 soldiers from Ivory Coast who came to Mali to support a U.N. contingent, calling them “mercenaries.” After MINUSMA spokesperson Olivier Salgado said on Twitter that Mali had been notified of the soldiers’ arrival, he was expelled from the country.

French forces are in the final stages of withdrawing from Mali, following increasing tensions with the government and concerns over Mali working with mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a private Russian military company with ties to the Kremlin. The government has said it works only with official Russian instructors.

Earlier this week, Mali received a shipment of military aircraft from Russia, the latest of multiple shipments of aircraft and weapons from the country’s new ally in the decade-long fight against Islamist insurgents.

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Turkey’s Engagement With Afghanistan Has Grown Since Taliban Takeover

While many countries cut diplomatic ties with Afghanistan after the Taliban’s return to power last year, Turkey, the only NATO member with a diplomatic presence in the war-torn country, has been active on many fronts.

Recently, the second phase of the Kajaki hydroelectric dam in Helmand province was completed by the Turkish company 77 Construction, which has invested $160 million in the project.

Several senior Taliban officials attended the opening ceremonies for the dam, including Abdul Ghani Baradar and Abdul Salam Hanafi, acting deputy prime ministers of the Taliban government. Turkey’s ambassador in Kabul, Cihad Erginay, also was present.

“Although the Kajaki dam is an important investment in economic relations between our country and Afghanistan, our relations are more diverse and deeper,” Erginay said during the ceremony, adding that total trade volume between the countries increased 23% in the first six months of 2022.

‘Positive legacy’

Some experts think that Turkey’s engagement with Afghanistan derives from the countries’ shared diplomatic legacy, which dates back to modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Afghanistan’s modernist king Amanullah Khan in the 1920s.

“That positive legacy has throughout all these years never been interrupted,” Alper Coskun, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told VOA.

From 2001 until the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, Turkey had taken part in NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

“Turkey took a very deliberate position in ensuring that Turkish forces were not involved in [active warfare or lethal force] against the Afghan population in any way whatsoever,” Coskun said. “That, I believe, is something that the current regime in Afghanistan, the Taliban, are also cognizant of.”

Turkey withdrew its troops from Afghanistan before the Taliban’s August 2021 deadline for foreign forces to leave the country.

Kabul airport

According to Turkey’s Defense Ministry, one of the Turkish soldiers’ final assignments in Afghanistan was to provide “operational and force protection services” in Kabul at what was then known as the Hamid Karzai International Airport, since renamed the Kabul Airport.

Senior Turkish authorities have repeatedly shown interest in running the airport.

Last August, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that “a secure, operational airport we feel is integral to our ability to have a functioning diplomatic presence on the ground. So, the safety, the security, the continuing operation of that airport — it is of high importance to us.”

“We are grateful that our Turkish partners have indicated a willingness to play a role in protecting that,” Price added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a NATO summit in Madrid in June that Turkey had offered to operate the airport with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates but was awaiting the group’s response.

On July 7, however, Reuters quoted sources familiar with the negotiations saying the Taliban was close to handing all airport operations to the United Arab Emirates.

Some experts say Turkey’s proposal was significant even though the bid fell through.

“It’s no small matter that Turkey was one of just a few countries in a position to be negotiating an accord to provide security at the Kabul Airport,” said Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center.

“That accord didn’t work out, but the fact that Turkey was even involved was significant, especially as the Taliban have made clear that they won’t allow any foreign security presence on their soil,” he told VOA.

Recognition

Turkey has not formally recognized the Taliban, and Kugelman thinks that Turkey does not want to be the first to do so, considering “some reputational costs.”

On the other hand, Turkey hosted Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister, for high-level talks in October and the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, organized by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, in March.

On the sidelines of the forum, Thomas West, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, met Muttaqi and Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to talk about Washington’s Afghanistan policy.

West on Twitter thanked Turkey for hosting the event and said that “I look forward to discussions with important partners regarding international engagement with Afghanistan.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after his meeting with Muttaqi, “We have told the international community about the importance of engagement with the Taliban administration. In fact, recognition and engagement are two different things.”

Turkey has advised the Taliban to form an inclusive government and ensure girls’ education under its rule. Ankara has also repeatedly talked about the importance of stability in Afghanistan to prevent additional refugee flow into Turkey.

“Our country, which is currently hosting around 5 million foreigners — 3.6 million of whom have come from Syria — cannot shoulder a new migration burden originating from Afghanistan,” Erdogan said at the G-20 meeting on Afghanistan in October.

According to figures from Turkey’s Presidency of Migration Management, Turkish authorities arrested around 70,000 irregular Afghan migrants in 2021.

Humanitarian aid

Speaking at the 15th annual summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization in November, Erdogan also said that the Afghan economy should be revitalized to prevent a refugee crisis, adding that Turkey supports “efforts aimed at keeping basic state structures, including critical sectors such as health care and education, functioning.”

Since the Taliban’s return to power a year ago, Turkey’s state-run Disaster and Emergency Management Authority has sent five charity trains with 5,570 tons of humanitarian aid to the war-torn country. The Turkish Red Crescent, which has been operating in Afghanistan, has delivered aid assistance to people affected by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake on June 22.

Active in Afghanistan since 2005 and with offices in Kabul, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, Turkey’s state-run Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency has recently delivered 2,000 aid kits to help malnourished Afghan children.

Turkey also exerts soft power in Afghanistan via the Yunus Emre Institute, a cultural center owned by the Turkish government; Diyanet, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs; and at least 46 Afghan-Turk Maarif Schools in seven provinces.

Twelve of these schools had been owned by the Gulen movement, a group Turkey blames for a failed coup attempt in 2016, but the Afghan government transferred the schools to the Turkish government’s Maarif Foundation in 2018.

Azarakhsh Hafizi, former head of the international relations committee at Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries, calls the Turkey-run schools “near to international standards,” adding, “The youth of Afghanistan need these services.”

Some analysts say, however, that one of the reasons Ankara has active public diplomacy in Afghanistan is because it wants to boost its domestic popularity.

“Ankara likes to see itself as a world player, and so having its foundations and education apparatuses participating in Afghanistan is a good … domestic political checkmark to show that it has an active foreign policy,” said Aaron Stein, director of research at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

But Stein thinks Ankara’s Afghanistan policy does not resonate with the Turkish public.

“They care about the cost of living rather than foreign policy in that sense,” he told VOA. “They are a lot like everybody else around the world, like, ‘Our cost of living is skyrocketing. Take care of that. We don’t care about what’s going on in Afghanistan.’”

This story originated in VOA’s Turkish Service.

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США: у Нью-Йорку напали на письменника Салмана Рушді

Про стан Рушді поки що не повідомляється.

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У Чернівцях демонтували пам’ятник червоноармійцю – міська рада

Пам’ятник «поїхав на зберігання», а що буде замість нього – вирішуватимуть «всі разом, але вже після нашої перемоги»

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У Британії оголосили перелік міст, де можуть провести «Євробачення-2023»

Серед тих, хто не потрапив до фінального списку, є Лондон

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Шредер подав у суд на Бундестаг через позбавлення його привілеїв ексканцлера

Шредер і його адвокат упевнені, що законодавці незаконно позбавили його офісу в уряді, повідомляють німецькі ЗМІ

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П’ятий караван з українським продовольством вийшов із портів «Чорноморськ» і «Південний» – уряд

«Зокрема, Star Laura стало першим судном класу Panamax, яке вийшло з порту «Південний» з початку реалізації «зернової ініціативи»

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ФБР шукало документи про ядерну зброю під час обшуків резиденції Трампа – ЗМІ

Трамп і його союзники-республіканці назвали обшуки актом політичної відплати

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У Forbes підрахували вартість знищених у Криму російських літаків

Видання, спираючись на різні джерела, підрахувало, що вартість цієї техніки могла становити 650-850 мільйонів доларів

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Zelenskyy Calls Nuclear Plant Shelling a Global Concern

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address late Thursday that “another shelling by Russia was recorded” around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Europe’s largest nuclear power facility.

“No one else has used a nuclear plant so obviously to threaten the whole world,” Zelenskyy said. “And absolutely everyone in the world should react immediately to expel the occupiers from the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. This is a global interest, not just a Ukrainian need.”

Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the shelling at the nuclear plant.

“The facility must not be used as part of any military operation,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “Instead, urgent agreement is needed at a technical level on a safe perimeter of demilitarization to ensure the safety of the area.”

Zelenskyy also said that on Thursday he met with chef Jose Andres, the founder of World Central Kitchen, the international humanitarian organization that feeds people in countries suffering wars and natural disasters.

“From the first days of Russia’s full-scale war against our country, his organization started working on the border with Poland – for migrants,” Zelenskyy said. “Subsequently, it started activities in many cities of Ukraine. … More than 130 million meals have been cooked for our citizens.”

In another development, two ships left Ukraine ports Friday. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure, wrote in a tweet that one of the vessels would be loaded with 23,000 tons of grain bound for Ethiopia. Fourteen ships, including the two Friday, have left Ukraine’s ports laden with foodstuffs.

Some information for this report came from Reuters.

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Розслідування CNN: версія Росії про події в Оленівці – «найімовірніше, є вигадкою»

Розслідування телеканалу ґрунтується на аналізі зображень і відео з місця події, супутникових знімків до і після, журналісти також поговорили з експертами з озброєнь

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Ukraine Cyber Chief Visits ‘Black Hat’ Hacker Meeting in Las Vegas

Ukraine’s top cyber official addressed a room full of security experts at a hackers convention following a two-day trip from Kyiv to a casino in Las Vegas.

During his unannounced visit, Victor Zhora, deputy head of Ukraine’s State Special Communications Service, told the so-called Black Hat convention Wednesday that the number of cyber incidents that have hit Ukraine tripled in the months following Russia’s invasion of his country in late February.

“This is perhaps the biggest challenge since World War II for the world, and it continues to be completely new in cyberspace,” Zhora told an audience at the annual conference.

Ukraine faced a number of “huge incidents” in cyberspace from the end of March to the beginning of April, Zhora said, including the discovery of the “Industroyer2” malware that could manipulate equipment in electrical utilities to control the flow of power.

Russian hackers also hit Ukraine at the onset of the war though a cyberattack that took down regional satellite internet service.

Since the beginning of the year, Ukraine had detected over 1,600 “major cyber incidents,” Zhora said.

Zhora told Reuters in an interview that Microsoft, Amazon and Google had offered pro bono cloud computing services to the Ukrainian government as it moves its data out of the country, away from the destruction wreaked by Russian bombs and missiles.

Some of Ukraine’s data archives are being held within data centers across “multiple [European] countries,” he added, without elaborating.

Zhora said his trip to Las Vegas took two days. He traveled to neighboring Poland to stay a night before flying to the United States.

Zhora said he would not waste time on the slot machines at the sprawling Mandalay Bay casino, where the Black Hat conference is being held: “It would be inappropriate for me to gamble here while Ukrainian soldiers are defending our land.” 

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Swiss Mountain Pass Ice to Melt Completely Within Weeks

The thick layer of ice that has covered a Swiss mountain pass for centuries will have melted away completely within a few weeks, a ski resort said Thursday.

Following a dry winter, the summer heatwaves hitting Europe have been catastrophic for the Alpine glaciers, which have been melting at an accelerated rate.

The pass between the Scex Rouge and Tsanfleuron glaciers has been iced over since at least the Roman era.

But as both glaciers have retreated, the bare rock of the ridge between the two is beginning to emerge and will be completely ice-free before the summer is out.

“The pass will be entirely in the open air in a few weeks,” the Glacier 3000 ski resort said in a statement.

While the ice measured about 15 meters thick in 2012, the ground underneath “will have completely resurfaced by the end of September.”

The ridge is at an altitude of 2,800 meters in the Glacier 3000 ski domain and effectively marks the border between the Vaud and Wallis cantons in western Switzerland.

Skiers could glide over the top from one glacier to the other. But now a strip of rock between them has emerged, with just the last remaining bit of ice left.

“No one has set foot here for over 2,000 years; that’s very moving,” said Glacier 3000 chief executive Bernhard Tschannen.

The Scex Rouge glacier is likely to turn into a lake within the next 10 to 15 years. It should be about 10 meters deep with a volume of 250,000 cubic meters.

Covers have been put on sections of the Tsanfleuron glacier by the pass to protect them from the sun’s melting rays.

Glaciologist Mauro Fischer, a researcher at Bern University, said the loss of thickness of the glaciers in the region will be on average three times higher this year compared with the past 10 summers. 

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У Радбезі ООН розпочалось засідання щодо ситуації на Запорізькій АЕС

Це засідання Радбезу ООН ініціювала Москва

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«Ми не втомимося». Воллес заявляє, що конференція в Копенгагені є повідомленням Росії

«Ми не втомимося і будемо поруч з Україною сьогодні, завтра і в наступні місяці»

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Новий очільник Херсонської ОВА Янушевич заперечує, що він був люстрований за роботу при Януковичі

За даними ЗМІ, Янушевич в 2014 році був люстрований і не мав право займати державні посади до 2024 року.

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McDonald’s To Reopen Some Ukraine Restaurants

The McDonald’s corporation announced Thursday it plans to begin reopening some of its restaurants in Ukraine, after closing them due to Russia’s invasion of that country in February.

In a statement to the company’s employees, the senior vice president of international operated markets, Paul Pomroy, said the decision was made “after extensive consultation and discussion with Ukrainian officials, suppliers, and security specialists.”

He said McDonald’s also considered the “strong desire” to return to work expressed by the company’s more than 10,000 employees in Ukraine.

The statement said McDonald’s will, over the next few months, institute a phased plan to “reopen some restaurants in Kyiv and western Ukraine, where other businesses have safely reopened.”

The statement noted that McDonald’s has continued to pay the salaries of its Ukrainian employees and established an employee assistance fund to support them and help aid the relief efforts.

The Associated Press reports other multinational companies have resumed operating in Ukraine in areas away from fighting. Western businesses like Nike, KFC and Spanish clothing retailer Mango are open in Kyiv.

AP also reports Ukraine’s economy has been severely damaged by the war and restarting businesses like McDonald’s restaurants, even in a limited capacity, would help. The International Monetary Fund expects Ukraine’s economy to shrink 35 percent this year.

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