Daily: 29/08/2022

США закликають до «контрольованої зупинки» Запорізької АЕС

Речник Білого дому з національної безпеки назвав такий варіант найбільш безпечним у короткостроковій перспективі

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Ірак: прихильники шиїтського клірика взяли штурмом урядові будівлі в Багдаді

В урядовому кварталі Багдада прогриміли вибухи та ракетні удари, силовики застосували сльозогінний газ

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МЗС повідомило деталі місії МАГАТЕ на Запорізьку АЕС

У міністерстві розраховують, що МАГАТЕ сприятиме демілітаризації станції

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Слідчий комітет Росії підтвердив вбивство нардепа Ковальова

Як стверджують у Слідчому комітеті РФ, також загинула його співмешканка

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Germany Secures Link to Planned Baltic Sea Renewable Energy Island

Germany has secured a power link to a planned offshore wind hub in the Danish part of the Baltic Sea that will help reduce energy dependence on Russia, Denmark’s energy ministry said on Monday.

The planned energy hub on the island of Bornholm will by 2030 link several offshore wind parks in the Baltic Sea with a total generating capacity of at least 3 gigawatts, enough to power 4.5 million German households, the ministry said in a statement.

The hub will be connected to Germany via a 470 kilometer power cable.

Investment and future profit will be shared equally between Germany and Denmark, the statement said without giving financial details.

“The Danish-German cooperation is a flagship project,” Germany’s Minister of Economy and Climate, Robert Habeck, said in the statement.

“The green electricity from Bornholm Energy Island will supplement the national electricity production and reduce our dependence on importing fossil energy,” he said.

Last year, the two countries began operating a smaller cross-border cable that also connects several wind farms in the Baltic Sea.

Bornholm Energy Island is part of Denmark’s broader plan to increase domestic offshore wind power production five-fold by 2030.

Early plans by Northern European countries to create a common power grid under the North Sea to connect future offshore wind farms have faced financing and regulatory challenges.

Denmark will host an energy summit on the Baltic Sea island on Tuesday.

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Norwegian CO2 Storage Company Agrees to Store Emissions Captured at Fertilizer Maker

Norwegian carbon dioxide (CO2) storage company Northern Lights and its owners have agreed to store emissions captured at fertilizer maker Yara’s Dutch operation from 2025 in what they say is a commercial breakthrough for the business.

The joint venture founded by oil companies Equinor, TotalEnergies and Shell plans to inject CO2 from industrial plants into rock formations beneath the North Sea ocean floor.

“With the first commercial agreement for transportation and storage of CO2, we open a value chain that is critical for the world to reach net zero by 2050,” Equinor Chief Executive Anders Opedal said in a statement.

Under the deal with Yara, 800,000 tons of CO2 per year will be transported on ships from the Netherlands from early 2025.

Northern Lights also has preliminary deals to store CO2 from a cement plant and a waste plant that, if confirmed, will fill the project’s phase 1 capacity of 1.5 million tons per year.

Following the Yara deal, the partnership will now work on expansion of its storage capacity to between 5 million and 6 million tons of CO2 per year, Equinor said.

The International Energy Agency says carbon capture and storage (CCS) is vital to reducing global CO2 emissions, including from hard-to-abate sectors such as cement production, to curb global warming.

However, there are few commercial projects in existence.

Norway tried a decade ago to create a carbon capture project at a gas power plant in a plan once touted as the oil-producing country’s “moon landing,” but it failed because of cost issues.

In addition, some environmentalists say that CCS merely serves to prolong the age of burning carbon for energy and that the world needs a more decisive shift to renewables.

Yara, one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturers, uses natural gas in its production processes and has long sought solutions to cutting the resulting emissions.

France’s TotalEnergies said the deal to transport CO2 to Norway and store it 2,600 meters (8,500 feet) under the seabed was a breakthrough for commercial CCS operations.

“TotalEnergies aims to develop CO2 storage capacity of more than 10 million tons per year by 2030, both for its own facilities and for its customers,” Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said in a separate statement.

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Вступ України до ЄС: в уряді розповіли, коли можуть розпочатись переговори

Більш чітко про ймовірний початок переговорів щодо вступу України до ЄС можна буде говорити ближче до кінця 2022 року, кажуть в уряді

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«Кривава вистава»: у Зеленського відреагували на нічний обстріл Енергодара

«Варварам байдуже, скільки людей убити заради пропагандистської картинки»

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ФСБ Росії заявляє про причетність ще одного громадянина України до загибелі Дугіної

Через два дні після загибелі Дар’ї Дугіної ФСБ Росії заявила, що виконавицею замаху є громадянка України Наталія Вовк

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Diamond magnate’s appeal of Swiss bribery verdict opens 

French-Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz will be back in court in Switzerland on Monday to appeal against a corruption verdict linked to mining rights in Guinea. 

The 66-year-old businessman was convicted in January 2021 of setting up a complex financial web to pay bribes to ensure his company could obtain permits in an area estimated to contain the world’s biggest untapped deposits of iron ore. 

He was sentenced by a Geneva court to five years in prison and also ordered to pay 50 million Swiss francs ($52 million) in compensation.   

Steinmetz, who maintained his innocence throughout that trial, has changed his legal team for the appeal.   

“We expect that the tribunal recognises that Beny Steinmetz did not bribe anyone,” his new lawyer Daniel Kinzer told AFP in an email.  

“I am confident the appeals court can be convinced,” he said, adding a deeper look at the case revealed “a totally different picture than the one painted by the first verdict”. 

Far from being corrupt, Beny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR) had legitimately obtained the mining rights in question and had striven in difficult and complex circumstances to set up an operation that would have benefited Guinea’s national interests, his team said.

‘Pact of corruption’   

Swiss prosecutors, however, accuse Steinmetz and two partners of bribing a wife of the then Guinean president Lansana Conte and others in order to win mining rights in the southeastern Simandou region.   

The prosecutors said Steinmetz obtained the rights shortly before Conte died in 2008 after about $10 million was paid in bribes over a number of years.   

Conte’s military dictatorship ordered global mining giant Rio Tinto to relinquish two concessions to BSGR for around $170 million in 2008. 

Just 18 months later, BSGR sold 51 percent of its stake in the concession to Brazilian mining giant Vale for $2.5 billion. 

But in 2013, Guinea’s first democratically elected president Alpha Conde launched a review of permits allotted under Conte and later stripped the VBG consortium formed by BSGR and Vale of its permit.   

To secure the initial deal, prosecutors claimed Steinmetz and representatives in Guinea entered a “pact of corruption” with Conte and his fourth wife Mamadie Toure. 

Toure, who has admitted to having received payments, has protected status in the United States as a state witness.  

‘No crystal ball’  

She and several other key witnesses in the case failed to appear in the first trial, and Kinzer said he had “no crystal ball as to what they will do for the appeals trial”. 

Steinmetz, who lived in Geneva during the years when the bribes were allegedly paid, continues to insist the bribery allegations are “totally false,” according to a document released by his team. 

It stresses that Rio Tinto had lost the rights to half of its concessions in Simandou for failing to develop them, and BSGR later legitimately bid for and obtained exploration rights. 

“The mining rights were withdrawn from a competitor because it was hoarding them and then awarded to BSGR on the basis of a solid and convincing business case with no need to bribe a public official,” Kinzer said. 

Steinmetz, who was granted a legal free-passage guarantee in order to participate in the first trial, left Switzerland without serving his sentence. 

He is back in Geneva to argue his case after receiving another free-passage. 

The appeal hearings are due to last through September 7. The verdict will come at a later date. 

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Зеленський: збережена незалежність і перемога України стануть найкращим вшануванням памʼяті захисників

«Наш народ ніколи не забуде кожного й кожну, хто бореться за Україну, хто віддав за неї своє життя»

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UN Team on Way to Assess Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant  

Fears of radiation leaks remain at Zaporizhzhia, but International Atomic Energy Agency says Ukraine reports the facility remains operational

The head of the U.N.’s atomic energy agency said it has a team on the way to visit Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, situated near the front line of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi tweeted that he is leading the team that will be at the power plant “later this week.”

“We must protect the safety and security of #Ukraine’s and Europe’s biggest nuclear facility,” Grossi said.

The IAEA said the mission will focus on assessing physical damage at the plant, determining the functionality of safety and security systems, evaluating staff conditions and performing “urgent safeguards activities.”

Russia has controlled the plant site since early in its six-month invasion, but the plant is being operated by Ukrainian engineers.

Despite numerous attacks in the area that Russia and Ukraine have blamed on each other, Grossi said Ukraine has told the agency that “all safety systems remained operational and there had been no increase in radiation levels.”

Russia launched new rocket and artillery attacks near the facility early Sunday, with Ukrainian officials reporting significant damage.

Ukraine’s Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said that heavy firing during the night left parts of Nikopol, about 10 kilometers from the nuclear site, without electricity. Rocket strikes damaged about a dozen homes in another nearby city, Marhanets.

The city of Zaporizhzhia, about 40 kilometers upriver from the nuclear facility, was also attacked, with city council member Anatoliy Kurtev saying two people were injured.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed Sunday that shells fired by Ukrainian forces fell near buildings storing reactor fuel and radioactive waste.

The U.S. State Department accused Russia of blocking a consensus document on a nuclear non-proliferation treaty because the agreement noted the risk posed by fighting near the Zaporizhzhia plant.

“For the Russian Federation to not accept such language in the face of overwhelming international consensus underscores the need for the United States and others to continue urging Russia to end its military activity near ZNPP and return control of the plant to Ukraine,” the statement said. 

Moscow said it supports the work of the IAEA but has refused to withdraw its soldiers from the complex to create a demilitarized zone.

An engineer working under Russian occupation since March 4 at the Zaporizhzhia power plant has told VOA that Russian forces have placed artillery and missile installations within and around the property.

The engineer, whose identity is being withheld for fear of retaliation by the occupying authorities, supports Ukrainian government claims that Russia itself is responsible for the explosions.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Turkey Says Greek Missiles Locked on Its Fighters Over Med

 Greek surface-to-air missiles locked on to Turkish F-16 fighter jets carrying out a reconnaissance mission in international airspace, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said Sunday.

The allegation is the latest claim from Turkey that its neighbor and fellow NATO member Greece has been targeting its aircraft above the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Seas.

The radar of a Greek S-300 missile system based on the island of Crete locked on to the Turkish jets on Aug. 23, Anadolu reported, citing Defense Ministry sources.

The F-16s were at an altitude of 10,000 feet to the west of Greece’s Rhodes island when the Russian-made S-300’s target tracking radar locked on, the report added. The Turkish planes completed their mission and returned to their bases “despite the hostile environment.”

It added that radar lock-ons are considered an act of hostility under NATO rules of engagement.

Calls to the Greek Embassy in Ankara went unanswered Sunday.

Last week, Turkey summoned the Greek military attaché and filed a complaint with NATO after Greek F-16s allegedly harassed Turkish F-16s that were conducting a mission for the alliance.

Anadolu said the Greek pilots put Turkey’s aircraft under a radar lock over the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey “gave the necessary response” and forced the planes to leave the area, Anadolu said, without elaborating.

Greece rejected the Turkish version of events. The Defense Ministry said five Turkish jets appeared without prior notification to accompany a flight of U.S. B-52 bombers — which hadn’t been due to have a fighter escort — through an area subject to Greek flight control.

It said four Greek fighters were scrambled and chased off the Turkish planes, adding that Athens informed NATO and U.S. authorities of the incident.

Although both NATO members, Turkey and Greece have decades-old disputes over an array of issues, including territorial claims in the Aegean Sea and disputes over the airspace there. The disputes have brought them to the brink of war three times in the past half-century.

Tensions flared in 2020 over exploratory drilling rights in areas of the Mediterranean Sea where Greece and Cyprus claim exclusive economic zones, leading to a naval standoff.

Turkey has accused Greece of violating international agreements by militarizing islands in the Aegean Sea. Athens says it needs to defend the islands — many of which lie close to Turkey’s coast — against a potential attack from Turkey’s large fleet of military landing craft.

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Delaware Veteran Receives France’s Highest Honor

Ernest Marvel has a case full of medals in his Frankford home.

He was awarded his most recent addition, the French Legion of Honor, in July — almost 80 years after he helped liberate the country from the Germans in World War II.

Marvel, now 98, has rarely left the Bethany Beach area, save for the war.

“I’m a home boy,” he said.

He speaks fondly of his family. His garden is his pride and joy. He likes to dance and sing karaoke on the weekends at the local VFW and Eagles Club.

But Marvel also holds dark memories of a different time, when heroes had to fight through Europe to free thousands held in concentration camps under Adolf Hitler’s control.

He was one of those heroes.

In 1945, Marvel made his way through French and German villages, across the Rhine River and to the gates of Dachau.

Marvel’s war story

Pfc. Marvel entered the war late, just after the Battle of the Bulge, according to historian Eric Montgomery. A member of U.S. Army Company B, 179th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 45th Infantry Division, the 20-year-old made his way to Europe aboard the Queen Elizabeth troopship.

One of Marvel’s first missions, according to Montgomery, was to crawl “across an enemy-held field (strewn) with mines and booby traps.”

“We had to climb from foxhole to foxhole to get to our headquarters to let them know where we were,” Marvel said. “Each foxhole had two Germans in it, but they were kids. They were maybe 15 or 16 years old, and they were scared to death.”

His division crossed the Rhine River in storm boats as the Germans fired mortars at them.

“About three boats down from me there was a mortar shell landing, and it blew it apart,” Marvel said. “We were about halfway across. It could’ve been us.”

From there, the soldiers moved into Germany, taking village after village, often house by house.

“I was a bazooka man for a good while, and I would knock out the wheels of a tank so they couldn’t move. I’d shoot a phosphorus grenade into the turret, and it’d get so hot, they’d have to come out. Some would come out fighting, some with their hands up,” Marvel said.

He bombed German soldiers shooting from perches in church steeples, as well.

“I could hear ‘em for ages, screaming as it blew ’em out,” Marvel said.

He became reflective as he spoke.

“It’s not a good feeling,” he said. “I’m doing better.”

Marvel said he has post-traumatic stress disorder. After the war, he’d wake his wife up in the night as he experienced flashbacks. Ultimately, he got help from a psychiatrist.

“He said my trouble was it was all bottled up in me; I wouldn’t let it out. He said, ‘You start letting it out and you’ll feel better.’ And I did. I started telling different people about different things and it started coming around, but it’s still never left my mind,” he said.

Liberating Dachau concentration camp

Part of the trauma he experienced was during the liberation of Dachau concentration camp. Marvel’s memories are vivid of the horrific place where thousands of people were killed.

“There was about a half a mile of concrete road, and they had a big German barrack made out of brick on each side of the road. In between was a white-bark tree,” he said.

Marvel and his fellow soldiers moved through the buildings and killed or took prisoner the German soldiers inside.

Elsewhere on the grounds, he opened up a boxcar, only to find it and several others like it full of bodies.

“The smell was terrible. They had … big incinerators that they were burning them with and they couldn’t burn them as fast as they were dying,” he said.

That day, U.S. soldiers found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies brought to Dachau, all in an advanced state of decomposition, according to the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum.

He was shocked by the condition of the prisoners still alive inside the camp, who were starving and wracked with diseases.

“You’ve seen ‘The Walking Dead’?” Marvel asked of the zombie apocalypse TV series. “They looked worse than that. They were dying of malnutrition. They were nothing but skin and bones, and their eyes sunk right into their heads.”

Soldiers “tossed candy bars and cigarettes over the barbed wire to the starving prisoners until ordered to stop,” according to the July 2022 National WWII Museum article, “The Last Days of the Dachau Concentration Camp,” but most of them stayed out of the main compound for “fear of disease.”

“Medical staff came, regulated the supply of food and water to those beset with malnutrition and created a typhus ward to respond to the epidemic of that dreaded disease in the camp,” the article states.

U.S. forces liberated 32,000 prisoners at Dachau, according to the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A connection to the present

The only injury Marvel said he suffered during the war was from being hit by shrapnel on his arm. He still has a scar.

“Our general … he wanted us to take this village. He said they had been flying over and reconnaissance planes saw no activity,” he said. “We got out halfway into the field. It was breaking day, and they started shooting at us. … And the shrapnel was flying everywhere.”

Marvel was one of eight of 28 men to survive the attack, he said.

One of the soldiers who did not survive was Orla Moninger, a man Marvel had become close friends with since arriving in Europe, he said. When they returned to retrieve the bodies the next day, Moninger’s hand was over his heart, holding photos of his family, Marvel said.

Marvel’s grandson, Donnie Carey, knew of Moninger from stories shared by his grandfather. He began wondering if the fallen soldier had any family still alive. The historian he’d been working with, Montgomery, found Moninger did indeed have a living son, and Carey gave him a call.

“He said he heard (his father) was getting off a train in Germany and was shot,” Carey said, recalling the conversation with Moninger’s son. “The hair just stood up on my arm because I knew I had some information he had never heard. … It was right before holidays and he was like, ‘I have a story I can tell now.’ It was a great moment.”

A grandson, a country music singer and the Legion of Honor

Carey said he became interested in learning more about his grandfather’s time in the war about six years ago. That was when his wife read “The Diary of Anne Frank,” the well-known writings of a young Jewish girl who spent two years hiding from Nazis with her family and ultimately died in a concentration camp.

“She said, ‘You know, your grandfather experienced a lot of this stuff at Dachau,’ and I just realized how honored I was to still have the opportunity to help him and learn from him,” Carey said. “He’s my hero.”

Carey and the rest of Marvel’s extended family surprised him last summer when they took him to see country music singer Jamey Johnson at the Freeman Arts Pavilion in Selbyville. Johnson gave Marvel a shoutout before singing “In Color,” a song about a veteran.

The family made their way to the front of the stage and Johnson said, “Thank you for your sacrifice, sir.” He then came down and gave Marvel a handshake, a hug and some guitar pics.

Video of the moment was posted online, and one of those who viewed it reached out to let Carey know Marvel qualified for the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration.

“I’m just trying to do everything I can to help him be recognized while he’s still here,” Carey said.

Marvel turned 98 in May.

This summer, he contracted pneumonia on top of COVID-19, but recovered in time for the Legion of Honor ceremony in Washington, D.C. It was held the day before Bastille Day, (July 14) France’s most notable patriotic holiday. Marvel and two other American World War II vets were presented the award by French Ambassador Phillipe Etienne.

The award was created in 1802 “to recognize outstanding services rendered to France by military and civilian personnel,” Etienne said.

An average of 2,200 French citizens and 300 foreigners are decorated each year, according to the Legion of Honor website.

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NASA Moon Rocket on Track for Launch Despite Lightning Hits 

NASA’s new moon rocket remained on track to blast off on a crucial test flight Monday, despite a series of lightning strikes at the launch pad.

The 322-foot (98-meter) Space Launch System rocket is the most powerful ever built by NASA. It’s poised to send an empty crew capsule into lunar orbit, a half-century after NASA’s Apollo program, which landed 12 astronauts on the moon.

Astronauts could return to the moon in a few years, if this six-week test flight goes well. NASA officials caution, however, that the risks are high and the flight could be cut short.

In lieu of astronauts, three test dummies are strapped into the Orion capsule to measure vibration, acceleration and radiation, one of the biggest hazards to humans in deep space. The capsule alone has more than 1,000 sensors.

Officials said Sunday that neither the rocket nor capsule suffered any damage during Saturday’s thunderstorm; ground equipment also was unaffected. Five lightning strikes were confirmed, hitting the 600-foot (183-meter) towers surrounding the rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The strikes weren’t strong enough to warrant major retesting.

“Clearly, the system worked as designed,” said Jeff Spaulding, NASA’s senior test director.

More storms were expected. Although forecasters gave 80 percent odds of acceptable weather Monday morning, conditions were expected to deteriorate during the two-hour launch window.

On the technical side, Spaulding said the team did its best over the past several months to eliminate any lingering fuel leaks. A pair of countdown tests earlier this year prompted repairs to leaking valves and other faulty equipment; engineers won’t know if all the fixes are good until just a few hours before the planned liftoff.

After so many years of delays and setbacks, the launch team was thrilled to finally be so close to the inaugural flight of the Artemis moon-exploration program, named after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology.

“We’re within 24 hours of launch right now, which is pretty amazing for where we’ve been on this journey,” Spaulding told reporters.

The follow-on Artemis flight, as early as 2024, would see four astronauts flying around the moon. A landing could follow in 2025. NASA is targeting the moon’s unexplored south pole, where permanently shadowed craters are believed to hold ice that could be used by future crews.

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Hundreds of Migrants Reach Italian Shores Over Weekend 

Italian authorities scrambled Sunday to relieve overcrowding in shelters after scores of boats carrying a total of about 1,000 migrants reached Italy’s southern shores and two of its tiny islands over the weekend.

Nearly 50 boats arrived between Friday night and Saturday on Lampedusa island off Sicily, according to state radio and other Italian media. Other boats carrying migrants reached Pantelleria, another tiny island favored by vacationers.

Hundreds of migrants stepped ashore from the virtual flotilla of smugglers’ vessels on those islands. Several of the vessels launched by migrant smugglers held as few as eight passengers. But others had around 100 passengers aboard, many of them from Tunisia, according to the reports.

Other boats reached the shores of the Italian mainland Saturday, either unaided or assisted by Italian coast guard vessels.

The Italian news agency ANSA said that 92 migrants, most of them from Afghanistan, reached Puglia — the “heel” of the boot-shaped peninsula — in a sailboat Saturday. Still other migrants sailed to Calabria in the “toe” of the peninsula, while other boats reached Sicily and Sardinia, Italy’s two biggest islands, in the last two days.

On Sardinia, Carabinieri paramilitary police spotted 29 migrants walking along a road, ANSA said.

The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders tweeted that one of its rescue ships, Geo Barents, saved 25 migrants, including five minors, from a small boat in distress in international waters near Libya Saturday night. Geo Barents already had other migrants abroad plucked to safety in other rescue operations, the group said.

With the disembarkation of hundreds of migrants from boats in the last days, the residence temporarily housing rescued migrants on Lampedusa quickly became overcrowded. Corriere della Sera said the residence housed 1,500 asylum-seekers, nearly four times its capacity.

Interior ministry authorities arranged for a commercial passenger ferry to sail from Sicily to Lampedusa, where it was expected to arrive on Sunday night, embark 250 migrants and take them to Sicilian migrant residences to lessen crowding on the tiny island’s facility.

While hundreds of thousands of migrants have set sail from Libyan shores aboard smugglers’ boats in the last decades, many also set out from Tunisia.

Italian media noted the Tunisian coast guard had thwarted at least a score of attempts by vessels filled with migrants to head toward Italy and rescued many others from boats in distress on Friday and Saturday.

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