Australian PM Scraps Plan to Legalize Carbon Emissions Cuts

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has abandoned plans to enshrine the nation’s targeted limits of greenhouse gas emissions into law in the face of an angry revolt by his party’s staunch conservatives.

Australia set a target to cut carbon emissions by 26 percent below 2005 by the year 2030, as part of the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, commonly known as the Paris Agreement.

Turnbull sought to include the targets in the government’s National Energy Guarantee, but he conceded Monday that he could not get the legislation through the House of Representatives, where his Liberal Party holds a fragile one-seat majority. The conservative opposition, led by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, argue that the government should be focused on cutting soaring electricity prices. 

The internal revolt has led to speculation that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will challenge Turnbull for leadership of the Liberal Party, which both men have denied. It also comes amid a new voter survey showing the government trailing the opposition Labor Party 55 percent to 45 percent. The next national elections are scheduled to be held next May. 


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Euro Fund: Greece Has Officially Exited Bailout Program

“For the first time since early 2010, Greece can stand on its own feet,” the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund said as Athens exited its final, three-year international bailout program on Monday.

The ESM allocated about $71 billion over the past three years, after an agreement was reached in August 2015 to help the country cope with fallout from an ongoing debt crisis.

“Today we can safely conclude the ESM program with no more follow-up rescue programs,” Mario Centeno, the chairman of the ESM’s board of governors, said in a statement. “This was possible thanks to the extraordinary effort of the Greek people, the good cooperation with the current Greek government and the support of European partners through loans and debt relief.”

In 2010, Greece was declared at risk of default after struggling with massive debt, loss of investment and huge unemployment. Overall, nearly $300 billion in emergency loans were provided in three consecutive bailout packages from a European Union bailout fund and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In exchange, Athens was required to put in place severe austerity-based measures and reforms.

The completion of the loan program is a major accomplishment for Greece, but the country still faces an uphill battle to regain its economic stability.

 

The office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described the final bailout loan last week as the “last act in the drama. Now a new page of progress, justice and growth can be turned.”

“Greece has managed to stand on her feet again,” his office said.

 

Economic growth in Greece is slowly growing again, tourism is up nearly 17 percent in Athens this year, and once-record levels of joblessness are finally receding.

 

However, the country still faces massive challenges, including weak banks, the highest debt load in the European Union at 180 percent of GDP, and the loss of about a half-million mostly younger Greeks to Europe’s wealthier neighbors. Greece will also need to continue to repay its international loans until 2060.

The country’s three international bailouts took Europe to the brink of crisis.

 

The financial troubles exposed dangers in the European Union’s common currency and threatened to break the bloc apart. The large debt that remains in Greece and an even larger debt in Italy continue to be a financial danger to the EU.

The bailouts also led to regular and sometimes violent demonstrations in Athens by citizens angry at the government’s budget measures required by international lenders in return for the bailouts.

 

While Greece has begun to make economic progress, economics say the bulk of the austerity measures will likely need to remain in place for many years for the country to tackle its massive debt.

Some international economists have called for part of Greece’s loans to be written off in order for Greece to keep its ballooning debt payments in check. However, any kind of loan forgiveness would be a tough sell in Germany where the initially bailouts were unpopular.

The austerity measures included massive tax hikes as high as 70 percent of earned income and pension cuts that pushed nearly half of Greece’s elderly population below the poverty line.

Pensioner Yorgos Vagelakos, 81, told Reuters that five years ago he would go to his local market with 20 euros in his pocket, while today, he has just 2 euros. He says for him, the bailout will never end.

“It’s very often that just like today, I struggle, because I see all the produce on display at the market and I want to buy things, but when I don’t have even a cent in my pocket, I get really sad,” Vagelakos said.


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Український футболіст не повернувся до прапора Росії перед матчем, пояснивши, що молився – ЗМІ

Український футболіст Віталій Федорів не повернувся в бік прапора Росії перед матчем у Сочі 18 серпня, пізніше пояснивши, що молився у момент звучання гімну, повідомляє Meduza.

Увечері 18 серпня відбувся футбольний матч між командою «Нижній Новгород», у якій грає український футболіст Віталій Федорів, та командою «Сочі». Перед початком гри під час виконання гімну футболісти обох команд повернулися обличчям до прапора Росії.

Український захисник Віталій Федорів продовжив стояти обличчям до трибуни. Це спричинило обурення в соцмережах і російських ЗМІ.

19 серпня прес-служба футбольного клубу з Нижнього Новгорода пояснила, що українець не виявляв цим неповагу до росіян, а просто молився безпосередньо в момент звучання гімну. Федорів заявив, що як віруюча людина перед кожною грою промовляє на полі слова молитви.

«Моє глибоке переконання в тому, що спорт поза політикою. З повагою ставлюся до гімну та прапору будь-якої країни. Прошу не шукати в моїх діях нікого політичного підґрунтя», – сказав гравець.

Віталій Федорів раніше грав за київське «Динамо», а також за «Говерлу», «Олімпік» та «Кривбас». Два матчі він зіграв за національну збірну України. Контракт з російським клубом з Нижнього Новгорода гравець підписав у лютому 2018 року.


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Газопостачання до Авдіївки та ще 7 сіл почнуть відновлювати з 20 серпня – голова Донецької ОВЦА

Газопостачання до Авдіївки та ще семи сіл Ясинуватського району почнуть відновлювати з 20 серпня, повідомив голова Донецької обласної військово-цивільної адміністрації Олександр Куць у Facebook.

Йдеться про сім сіл Ясинуватського району: Орлівка, Ласточкине, Красногорівка, Нетайлове, Тоненьке, Первомайське та Водяне.

Олександр Куць зазначив, що спеціалісти облгазу вже другий день працюють над заповненням діючих розподільних мереж.

«Невдовзі прифронтові населені пункти будуть з газом», – зазначив Куць.

Внаслідок обстрілу 7 червня 2017 року пошкодили газогін «Макіївка-Авдіївка», внаслідок чого частина Авдіївки та ще сім населених пунктів залишилися без газу.

13 червня 2017 року керівник на той час Донецької ОВЦА Павло Жебрівський оголосив про початок будівництва нового газопроводу, щоб прифронтова Авдіївка отримувала газ із контрольованої Україною території.


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Maduro Unveils New Banknote, Other Economic Reforms

Uncertainty reigned in Venezuela Saturday after President Nicolas Maduro unveiled a major economic reform plan aimed at halting the spiraling hyperinflation that has thrown the oil-rich, cash-poor South American country into chaos.

Ahead of a major currency overhaul Monday, when Caracas will start issuing new banknotes after slashing five zeroes off the crippled bolivar, Maduro detailed other measures he hopes will pull Venezuela out of crisis.

Those measures include a massive minimum wage hike, the fifth so far this year.

But analysts say the radical overhaul could only serve to make matters worse.

“There will be a lot of confusion in the next few days, for consumers and the private sector,” said the director of the Ecoanalitica consultancy, Asdrubal Oliveros. “It’s a chaotic scenario.”

​‘Pure lie’

The embattled Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader, said the country needed to show “fiscal discipline” and stop the excessive money printing that has been regular practice in recent years.

The new currency, the sovereign bolivar — to distinguish from the current, and ironically named, strong bolivar — will be anchored to the country’s widely discredited cryptocurrency, the petro.

Each petro will be worth about $60, based on the price of a barrel of Venezuela’s oil. In the new currency, that will be 3,600 sovereign bolivars, signaling a massive devaluation.

In turn, the minimum wage will be fixed at half a petro (1,800 sovereign bolivars), starting Monday. That is about $28, more than 34 times the previous level of less than a dollar at the prevailing black market rate.

Maduro also said the country would have one fluctuating official exchange rate, also anchored to the petro, without saying what the starting level would be.

As it stands, the monthly minimum wage, devastated by inflation and the aggressive devaluation of the bolivar, is still not enough to buy a kilo of meat.

In the capital Caracas, residents were skeptical about the new measures.

“Everything will stay the same, prices will continue to rise,” 39-year-old Bruno Choy, who runs a street food stand, told AFP.

Angel Arias, a 67-year-old retiree, dubbed the new currency a “pure lie!”

1 million percent inflation

The International Monetary Fund predicts inflation will hit a staggering 1 million percent this year in Venezuela, now in a fourth year of recession, hamstrung by shortages of basic goods and crippled by paralyzed public services.

Maduro blames the country’s financial woes on opposition plots and American sanctions, but admits that the government will “learn as we go along” when it comes to the currency redenomination.

His government pushed back Saturday against criticism of the economic reform plan.

“Don’t pay attention to naysayers,” Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said. “With oil income, with taxes and income from gasoline price hikes … we’ll be able to fund our program.”

Electronic transactions are set to be suspended from Sunday to facilitate the introduction of the new notes.

Economy in turmoil

Oil production accounts for 96 percent of Venezuela’s revenue, but that has slumped to a 30-year low of 1.4 million barrels a day, compared to its record high of 3.2 million 10 years ago.

The fiscal deficit is almost 20 percent of GDP while Venezuela struggles with an external debt of $150 billion.

Venezuela launched the petro in a bid for liquidity to try to circumvent US sanctions that have all but stamped out international financing.

But there’s a good reason the redenomination hasn’t generated renewed hope or investor confidence: Venezuela has done this before.

Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez stripped three zeroes off the bolivar in 2008, but that failed to prevent hyperinflation.

Also, Cryptocurrency rating site ICOindex.com has branded the petro a scam, and the U.S. has banned its nationals from trading in it.


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Scientists Extract Uranium Powder from Seawater with Yarn

The world’s oceans are filled with trace amounts of uranium, the primary fuel for nuclear power reactors. The trick is extracting it from the seawater. Now, scientists in the U.S. say they have done that using yarn, and extracted 5 grams of the powdered form of uranium used to produce reactor fuel. Faith Lapidus reports.


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Turkey’s Economic Crisis Rattles Global Markets

A budding trade war between the U.S. and Turkey over a detained American pastor is having global consequences. A sharp drop in Turkey’s lira, inflation and the threat of loan defaults, could drag down other economies, particularly in emerging markets. Turkey’s troubles are causing ripple effects in countries as far away as Argentina and Indonesia, while weighing on Asian currency rates and triggering currency fluctuations. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Washington.


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Гроза із сильним вітром у Києві триватиме всю ніч – КМДА

Гроза у Києві триватиме до кінця ночі, очікуються шквали 15-18 м/с, сильний дощ, повідомляє Київська міська адміністрація з посиланням на Український гідрометцентр.

«Управління з питань надзвичайних ситуацій Департаменту міського благоустрою нагадує основні правила поводження у разі посилення вітру: усі вікна будинків щільно закрити, прибрати з балконів і лоджій предмети, які можуть випасти назовні; якщо ви опинилися на вулиці, то триматися подалі від рекламних щитів, ліній електропередачі, дерев; у разі сильного вітру сховатися в найближчому приміщенні або природному укритті; уникати перебування поблизу великих дерев, особливо тополь, а також не паркувати поруч із ними автотранспорт», – радять на сайті КМДА.

У ніч на 16 серпня сильна злива накрила Київ. У результаті були затоплені вулиці, повалені близько 200 дерев і п’ять опор електропередач.


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Researchers Plot Maps, Collect Data to Fight Future Infectious Disease Outbreaks

With the Democratic Republic of Congo facing its second major Ebola outbreak this year, emergency responders have worked to contain the spread of the disease. Scientists, meanwhile, are testing the effectiveness of experimental vaccines in the field.

Alongside these efforts, researchers in the DRC are collecting data that will improve how we respond to, and prevent, future outbreaks of Ebola and other infectious diseases.

Their work involves building a comprehensive picture of how diseases like Ebola spread by tracking cases and mapping where people live, work and seek health care.

Over time, a more sophisticated understanding of the environments through which contagious diseases spread will lead to faster, more effective treatment.

Long-term response efforts

Anne Rimoin is an associate professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health. She’s also the director of the UCLA-DRC Health Research and Training Program, an effort based in Kinshasa, Congo, that’s been underway for 16 years.

Rimoin returned to the U.S. last month from fieldwork in the DRC. She told VOA that her group is collecting data that will benefit responses to not just Ebola but emerging infectious diseases as well as.

“In an outbreak, you have to understand where people are and what their patterns of travel are. Where they’re going, where they’re working, where their fields are,” Rimoin said. “If you don’t know where things are, it becomes very difficult to define a response.”

Collecting this kind of data is especially important in a country like Congo, where small, unmapped villages checker vast forests, and the infrastructure hasn’t, for the most part, been developed.

“The DRC is a very large country,” Rimoin said. “There haven’t been good, accurate maps of the DRC available to date.”

​High-tech and local knowledge

Rimoin’s group partners with several organizations, including the DRC’s Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rimoin said the Health Research and Training Program in Kinshasa uses a mix of high-tech solutions and local knowledge. The group analyzes satellite imagery to understand the terrain and population centers in the DRC. But they also rely on insights from residents to compile a more accurate and complete data set.

These data-collection tools allow Rimoin’s team to figure out not just boundaries but human activities, including traffic flows and health centers.

They plot important landmarks like roads, rivers and health centers. They also track exposure to health care workers and people who have been vaccinated to compare them to other populations, building a more complete understanding of how prevention drugs work.

“It’s important for data to be available so that you can look for trends between outbreaks and try to find commonalities and try to be able to quickly ascertain similarities between outbreaks,” Rimoin said.

Local knowledge

Working with local populations is critical to the project’s success. It’s these experts who know the terrain and the population, and that expertise often proves invaluable, especially when faced with skepticism from residents about the efficacy of vaccines.

By partnering with local organizations and international efforts with a long-term commitment to the country, Rimoin said, the Health Research and Training Program is better positioned to work with communities to understand their needs, concerns and beliefs.

“It’s really important to work with people who are there all the time — not parachuting in,” Rimoin said. 


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Поліція просить батьків бути пильними: за літо у водоймах загинули 53 дітей

Цього літа за період від 1 червня до 16 серпня у водоймах загинули 53 дітей, з них 22 – до 10 років, решта – тінейджери, повідомив у Facebook перший заступник голови Нацполіції В’ячеслав Аброськін.

Він розповів, що у п’ятницю у річці Стир потонула 16-річна дівчина, намагаючись врятувати молодшу дитину.

 «Дітям потрібні дорослі, аби захищати їх та робити все, аби вони уникали небезпеку. Ми маємо навчитися вчасно приходити на допомогу нашим дітям й це має бути цілий комплекс дій від виховання в сім’ї, дитячому садочку до школи, як себе поводити на річці, автошляхах, загалом як поводити себе, аби зберегти власне життя та здоров`я», – написав поліцейський.

​Для порівняння Аброськін також наводить статистику смерті дітей у ДТП за цей же період – 51 випадок, а такожза весь час воєнних дій на Сході Україні – 63 дитини.

 

 


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