Category Archives: World News

Gays, Lesbians are children of God, church should welcome them – Pope.

Roman Catholic church leader, Pope Francis and the leaders of protestant churches in England and Scotland have denounced the criminalization of homosexuality, saying those with “homosexual tendencies” should be welcomed by their churches.

Archbishop Justin Welby and Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, travelled with the Pope to South Sudan where they jointly called for peace in the war-torn country.

Watch Video Here || Download Video Here

Advertisements

READ ALSO:

Speaking to reporters, the Pope said such laws were a sin and “an injustice”.

He added people with “homosexual tendencies” are children of God.

Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God and should be welcomed by their churches – Pope Francis

Archbishop Welby and Dr Greenshields praised the Pope’s comments during a news conference with reporters on board the papal plane as they travelled from Juba to Rome.

“I entirely agree with every word he said there,” said Archbishop Welby, noting that the Anglican church had its own internal divisions over gay rights.

Last month the Church of England said it would refuse to allow same-sex couples to be married in its churches.

Expressing his support, Dr Greenshields referred to the Bible, saying: “There is nowhere in the four Gospels that I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whoever he meets, and as Christians that is the only expression that we can give to any human being in any circumstance”.

During the news conference Pope Francis repeated his view that the Catholic Church cannot permit sacramental marriage of same-sex couples.

But he said he supported so-called civil union legislation, and stressed that laws banning homosexuality were “a problem that cannot be ignored”.

— Sign Up For 𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 —

Global Coverage Newsletter

Global Economy, Politics, Business, Education, Multiculturalism, Geopolitical Rise — we bring you the stories that matter.

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

He suggested that 50 countries criminalise LGBT people “in one way or another”, and about 10 have laws carrying the death penalty.

Currently 66 UN member states criminalise consensual same-sex relations, according to ILGA World – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.



“This is not right. Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God,” said the Pope.

“God loves them. God accompanies them… condemning a person like this is a sin.”

Advertisement

Buzz Aldrin, Second Man On The Moon, Marries Longtime Girlfriend On 93rd Birthday.

Legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second person to set foot on the Moon, said he had married his longtime girlfriend on Friday, his 93rd birthday.


Aldrin and Anca Faur, executive vice president of Buzz Aldrin Ventures, were wed in a private ceremony.

READ ALSO: Jeremy Renner Suffered ’30 Plus Broken Bones’ In Snow Plow Accident

“On my 93rd birthday… I am pleased to announce that my longtime love Dr. Anca Faur & I have tied the knot,” Aldrin tweeted along with pictures of himself and Faur, who is reportedly 63.

Watch Video Here || Download Video Here

Advertisements

READ ALSO:

“We were joined in holy matrimony in a small private ceremony in Los Angeles & are as excited as eloping teenagers.”


According to her LinkedIn profile, Faur earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1996 and had previously worked for Union Carbide and Johnson Matthey before joining Buzz Aldrin Ventures. She had also served as treasurer for the California Hydrogen Business Council.

Aldrin’s three previous marriages ended in divorce.

The US astronaut is the last surviving member of the Apollo 11 mission, during which he and Neil Armstrong become the first people to set foot on the Moon, on July 20, 1969.

Watch Video Here || Download Video Here

Advertisements

READ ALSO:

Michael Collins, who piloted the command module while his crewmates walked on the lunar surface, died in April 2021 and Armstrong died in 2012.


Since retiring from NASA in 1971, Aldrin has remained a strong advocate of space exploration.

A crater on the Moon near the Apollo 11 landing site is named in his honor.

AFP



Billions Still Exposed To Toxic Trans Fat – WHO.

Efforts to eliminate industrially-produced fat have a long way to go with five billion people exposed to toxic fat added to many food products, the UN health agency said Monday.

The World Health Organization called in 2018 for harmful trans fatty acids to be wiped out by 2023.


They are thought to be responsible for around 500,000 premature deaths from coronary heart disease each year.

Although 43 countries with combined populations of 2.8 billion people have now implemented best-practice policies, most of the world remains unprotected, it said.

WHO acknowledged in an annual progress report that the goal was still out of sight.

READ ALSO: UK Ambulance Workers Strike Again As Unions Call For Talks


Industrially-produced trans fat is often used in packaged foods, baked goods, cooking oils and spreads.

“Trans fat has no known benefit, and huge health risks that incur huge costs for health systems,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“By contrast, eliminating trans fat is cost effective and has enormous benefits for health,” he said.

“Put simply, trans fat is a toxic chemical that kills, and should have no place in food. It’s time to get rid of it once and for all.”


The WHO said that nine of the 16 countries with the highest estimated proportion of coronary heart disease deaths caused by trans fat intake were not implementing best-practice policies.

They include Australia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and South Korea.

Francesco Branca, the WHO’s nutrition and food safety director, told reporters that trans fat elimination policies were in place in 60 countries, covering 3.4 billion people or 43 percent of the world’s population.

Of those countries, 43 are implementing best practice standards.


Best practice means either a mandatory national limit of two grammes of industrially-produced trans fat per 100 grammes of total fat in all foods; or a national ban on the production or use of partially-hydrogenated oils, which are a major source of trans fat.

“WHO and partners call on countries with a high burden such as Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and South Korea to take urgent action,” he said.

“There are some regions of the world which do not believe the problem is there,” he said, insisting that it is “easy for them to take action to prevent these products being dumped onto them.”

Tom Frieden, president of the non-profit organisation Resolve to Save Lives, which partnered with the WHO to produce the report, agreed.

“There’s simply no excuse for any country not taking action to protect their people from this artificial toxic chemical,” said Frieden, a former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



‘Majority’ of EU want tests on passengers from China.

Advertisements

An “overwhelming majority” of the EU’s 27 member countries want passengers coming from China to be systematically tested for Covid before departure, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

The consensus recommendation emerged from a meeting of EU health ministry officials held Tuesday in Brussels. (Watch Video Here)

A crisis meeting to be held Wednesday on the issue will decide what coordinated measures will be applied across the bloc.

The gatherings were called in the wake of China deciding to lift its “zero Covid” policy, which has sparked massive demand for flights to other parts of the world by Chinese citizens and residents who had been grounded for nearly three years.

READ ALSO: Omicron: Travel Restrictions Had No Public Health Benefit, Disrupted Businesses – NCDC DG

The European Union fears a sudden influx of passengers from China could bring Covid variants that may be able to evade current vaccines. (Watch Video Here)

There are also concerns that China’s data on infections is incomplete, partial and insufficient.

“The overwhelming majority of countries are in favour of pre-departure testing,” a commission spokesman said after Tuesday’s meeting.

EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the officials also agreed to recommend stepped-up monitoring of wastewater from flights and at airports to detect traces of Covid, and for member states to boost surveillance.

She emphasised the need for EU “unity” at the meeting to take place on Wednesday. (Watch Video Here)

Several EU countries including France, Spain and Italy have already imposed testing requirements on arrivals from China pending a bloc-wide approach.

Beijing has reacted angrily to the increased restrictions, which are also being applied by the United States, Japan and Australia.

China has only recorded 22 Covid deaths since December and has dramatically narrowed the criteria for classifying such deaths — meaning that Beijing’s own statistics about the unprecedented wave are now widely seen as not reflecting reality. (Watch Video Here)

Data compiled by the World Health Organization, upon which the EU relies, shows no fresh Covid figures from China for over a week.

Earlier Tuesday, the commission said an “offer stands” for the EU to provide Covid vaccines and expertise to China.

A spokesman said Kyriakides had repeated the vaccine offer recently and that any supply of them was dependent on Beijing’s reaction.

Many EU countries have a surplus of mRNA vaccines — especially the one made by BioNTech/Pfizer — that scientific studies have shown to be more effective against severe Covid than the inactivated-virus ones China has developed and uses. (Watch Video Here)

Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

‘Perpetrator of Paris attack had history of anti-migrant violence’

Advertisements

The gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people in Paris had a history of anti-migrant (Watch Video Here) violence, officials said Friday.

Suspected racist motivations behind the attack will be investigated, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said. (Watch Video Here)

Visiting the site of the shooting, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the gunman was not previously known by intelligence officials for membership in ultra-right-wing groups or extremism. (Watch Video Here)

The suspect “obviously” acted alone, Darmanin said. He will testify soon after his treatment in the hospital, he added.

The man “was targeting foreigners” Darmanin told reporters while adding it was “not certain” that he was aiming to kill “Kurds in particular.” (Watch Video Here)

Darmanin also said an official investigation will help shed light on the incident.

No clear link to Türkiye
Despite pro-PKK circles’ claims, there appears to be no evidence that Friday’s shooting had political motives or was linked to Türkiye, Agency France-Press (AFP) reported. (Watch Video Here)

French authorities have been extremely cautious about suggesting a motive, with early suspicions being racism.

Paris prosecutor (Watch Video Here) Laure Beccuau, who visited the scene earlier, said the suspect carried out two attacks in the past, including slashing at least two migrants with a sword in a Paris camp last year, police and judicial sources told AFP. (Watch Video Here)

The man is believed to have slashed several tents in the migrant camp at Bercy park in eastern Paris on Dec. 8, 2021.

In June 2016, he was convicted of armed violence by a court in the northeastern suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, which he appealed. (Watch Video Here)

A year later, he was given a suspended six-month prison sentence for illegally possessing firearms, judicial sources told AFP. (Watch Video Here)

An investigation (Watch Video Here) has been launched into homicide, attempted homicide, and deliberate acts of armed violence, Beccuau added.

Meanwhile, the suspect, identified as William M., was a train driver and had retired from France’s national state-owned railway company Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer français (SNCF) and had been staying with his relatives since being released with judicial control on Dec. 12, sources said.

6 police were injured in clashes with terrorist PKK supporters
Terrorist PKK sympathizers clashed with French security forces on Friday, leaving at least six police officers injured, after a deadly shooting. (Watch Video Here)

The police responded with tear gas to the violence by the terrorist group supporters.

The violence started in the area after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin visited the site of a shooting on Enghien Street in the center of Paris.

Some pro-PKK protesters could be seen throwing objects at police and setting rubbish bins on fire, while several cars were damaged during the disturbances.

A 69-year-old gunman in Paris had earlier opened fire, killing at least three people and injuring three others, local media reported.

He was placed in custody and an investigation was launched.



Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

WHO Chief ‘Very Concerned’ About COVID Situation In China

Advertisements

The head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday said he was “very concerned” about an unprecedented wave of Covid cases in China, as the health body urged Beijing to accelerate vaccination of the most vulnerable.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

“WHO is very concerned over the evolving situation in China, with increasing reports of severe disease” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a weekly news conference, appealing for detailed information on disease severity, hospital admissions and intensive care requirements.

“WHO is supporting China to focus its efforts on vaccinating people at the highest risk across the country, and we continue to offer our support for clinical care and protecting its health system”, he added.

READ ALSO: Gambian Government Says Has Foiled Coup Attempt

Since 2020, China has imposed strict health restrictions as part of a so-called “zero Covid” policy.

But the government ended most of those measures without notice in early December amid growing public exasperation and a significant impact on the economy.

The number of cases has since soared, raising fears of a high mortality rate among the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable.

Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

Chinese authorities said on Tuesday that only those who had directly died of respiratory failure caused by the virus would now be counted under Covid death statistics.

The change in the criteria for recording virus deaths means most are no longer counted, and China said on Wednesday that not a single person had died of Covid-19 the previous day.

WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan stressed the need for more vaccinations: “We’ve been saying this for weeks that this highly infectious virus was always going to be very hard to stop completely, with just public health and social measures”.

“And most countries have really transitioned to a mixed strategy”.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

“Vaccination is the exit strategy in that sense from the impact of a wave of Omicron”, the prevalent Covid variant

Advertisements

Join our telegram news channel — Click Here »

Click Here »Join our WhatsApp news group

Follow us on FacebookClick Here »

Click Here »Follow us on Twitter

Like us on YouTubeClick Here »

Advertisements

PROFITABLE FOREX, BITCOIN AND BINARY TRADER. Do you require the service of a tested, trusted and experienced trader who can help you trade your online Forex, Bitcoin and Binary accounts for minimum 10-20% weekly profit?. Click here for details www.standfx.com, WhatsApp: +2348030797998

URGENT NEWS: Nigerians can now earn in US Dollars from home, let’s show you how our client earned $13,000 (₦9,600,000.00) on a premium domain name within 2 weeks of acquisition. Click here

Advertisements

UN chief calls climate summit in 2023.

Advertisements

Given the threatening climatic changes, U.N. Chief Antonio Guterres on Monday said to convene a “no-nonsense” climate ambition summit in September next year. He urged leaders from government, business, civil society and finance to step up with “new, tangible and credible” action.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

Guterres also said he “will not relent in persuading peace in Ukraine in line with international law and the United Nations Charter.” A key principle of the founding U.N. Charter is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Speaking at his year-end news conference, Guterres said he is “not optimistic” about the possibility of effective Ukraine peace talks in the immediate future and believes the military confrontation will go on, but added that he “strongly hopes” peace can be reached in Ukraine in 2023.

He also said he will keep pushing for a climate solidarity pact that would require big emitters to reduce emissions this decade and ensure support for those who need it.

Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

Countries are under pressure to ensure emissions are cut in half by 2030 and down to net zero by 2050 – the only path to hold global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“I will convene a climate ambition summit in September 2023. I call on every leader to step up,” he said.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

“The invitation is open. But the price of entry is non-negotiable U.N. chief calls ‘no-nonsense’ climate summit in 2023 U.N. chief calls ‘no-nonsense’ climate summit in 2023 – credible, serious and new climate action and nature-based solutions that will move the needle forward and respond to the urgency of the climate crisis. It will be a no-nonsense summit,” Guterres said.

Advertisements

Join our telegram news channel — Click Here »

Click Here »Join our WhatsApp news group

Follow us on FacebookClick Here »

Click Here »Follow us on Twitter

Like us on YouTubeClick Here »

Advertisements

PROFITABLE FOREX, BITCOIN AND BINARY TRADER. Do you require the service of a tested, trusted and experienced trader who can help you trade your online Forex, Bitcoin and Binary accounts for minimum 10-20% weekly profit?. Click here for details www.standfx.com, WhatsApp: +2348030797998

URGENT NEWS: Nigerians can now earn in US Dollars from home, let’s show you how our client earned $13,000 (₦9,600,000.00) on a premium domain name within 2 weeks of acquisition. Click here

Advertisements

COP27: Inflation, energy security frustrate commitments to climate change.

Advertisements

As global leaders commence discussions on climate change-related issues at this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, African leaders and stakeholders are championing a cause for the continuous exploration of fossil fuels to enable countries like Nigeria to finance development projects.

Unlike COP26, where global leaders were mostly unanimous in their decision on carbon emission goals, the fallout from the conflict in Ukraine has tilted the precarious balance of the energy ‘trilemma’ — sustainability, affordability and security, towards the latter.

For many countries globally, tackling inflation remains the greatest concern, considering that high energy prices form a major trigger of spiking prices, leaving many leaders restless. The main sources of global energy are still fossil fuels: oil, natural gas and coal.

With Europe scrambling to line up enough oil, gas and coal for the winter while looking to Africa for supplies, the argument for African stakeholders remains the justification for the continent not to give up its fossil fuels, even when such fuels represent solutions to some of its most pressing needs and even that of Europe.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

Indeed, stakeholders are insisting that Africa will not embrace the world’s timetable for transitioning to renewable fuels at the expense of the continent’s own energy security and economic well-being.

Already, United Nations Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell, has said the global body will be holding world leaders and people to account, to make their policies align with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Convention.

The UNFCCC official disclosed this while delivering his remarks at the opening plenary of COP 27 in Egypt, yesterday.

Stiell said: “We will be holding people to account, be they presidents, prime ministers or CEOs; accountability is chief to make our policies work, our businesses and actions, either personal or the public must be aligned with the Paris agreements and with the Convention.”

He emphasised that the heart of the implementation of climate pledges lies with everybody everywhere in the world, doing everything they possibly can to address the climate crisis.

“With the Paris Rulebook essentially concluded, thanks to COP26 in Glasgow last year, the litmus test of this and every future COP is how far deliberations are accompanied by action. Everybody, every single day, everywhere in the world, needs to do everything they possibly can to avert the climate crisis,” Stiell said.

He added: “COP27 sets out the direction for a new era of implementation: where outcomes from the formal and informal process truly begin to come together to drive greater climate progress — and accountability for that progress.”

Stiell asked governments to focus on three critical areas at COP27. He explained that the first is a transformational shift to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and putting negotiations into concrete actions.

“The second is cementing progress on the critical workstreams of mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage while stepping up finance notably to tackle the impacts of climate change.”

Stiell said the third focus of governments across the world is to enhance the delivery of the principles of transparency and accountability throughout the UN Climate Change process.

On his part, the Egyptian COP27 President, who doubles as the country’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, said the presidency intends to focus the world’s attention on key elements that address the most fundamental needs of people everywhere, including water security, food security, health and energy security.

He said: “We’re gathering this year at a time when global climate action is at a watershed moment. Multilateralism is being challenged by geopolitics, spiralling prices, and growing financial crises, while several countries battered by the pandemic have barely recovered, and severe and depleting climate change-induced disasters are becoming more frequent.”

The Egyptian minister asserted that the host country made sure that COP27 would provide the optimum setting to align and converge multiple views, as well as facilitate transparent, inclusive and fruitful discussion, to ensure the most positive outcome achievable.

He acknowledged the challenging economic and geopolitical factors, but noted, however, that external circumstances should not be allowed to negatively affect the negotiating process.

The President added that as a COP hosted in Africa, it must consider the needs of the developing countries and ensure climate justice by availing the appropriate finance and other means of implementation. This, he said, was necessary as African countries were the most affected by climate change.

COP27 is also holding against the backdrop of inadequate ambition to curb greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), CO2 emissions need to be cut 45 per cent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels to meet the central Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. This is crucial to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall.

Essentially, in COP26, countries agreed to deliver stronger commitments this year, including updated national plans with more ambitious targets. However, only 29 out of the 193 countries have submitted their plans against a backdrop of extreme weather events worldwide, an energy crisis propelled by the war in Ukraine and scientific data released by UN agencies that shows emissions are still growing at a record pace, as well as temperatures are on course to rise to dangerous levels by the end of the century.

For instance, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) warned African leaders to push for the continuous exploration of crude oil instead of joining the West on the need to ban fossil fuels.

Chairman of AEC, N.J. Ayuk, said Africa must oppose measures that prevent Africa from making full use of its fossil fuels.

“The world’s wealthy nations’ green agenda ignores Africa – or at least, it dismisses our unique needs, priorities and challenges.

“The green agenda of wealthy nations ignores those of us who point out that natural gas has the potential to bring life-changing prosperity to the continent in the form of jobs, business opportunities, capacity building and monetisation.

“It ignores the sustainable, logical path we’re proposing, which is using our resources, natural gas in particular, to help us meet current needs and to generate revenue that can help pay for our transition to renewables.

“The wealthy nations’ green agenda does not consider how much Africa needs natural gas to bring electricity to the growing number of Africans living without it. They do not understand that we, as Africans, are focused on growing Africa’s energy mix to include fossil fuels and renewables, instead of insisting on an all-or-nothing approach to our energy transition,” he said.

Chief Operating Officer of Aiteo Eastern E&P Co. Ltd, Ewariezi Use, in a chat with The Guardian, in Abuja, said Nigeria and other African countries must intensify efforts in harnessing their hydrocarbon resources.

“Renewable is good but let’s take it to step by step. We need to enjoy the benefits of our hydrocarbons. We will get there. I believe in going green but at what cost to us as a country? We need development, we need infrastructure and the oil sector as one of the major ways we can earn money,” Use said.

He noted that the country must harness its oil reserves and focus on building capacity that would gradually translate into a greener economy.

Speaking shortly after being conferred a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Use said the rate at which international oil companies are leaving Nigeria should not create concerns, as ingenious companies as well as Nigerian experts are capable of achieving projected goals in the nation’s oil and gas sector.

He disclosed that the local content laws in the oil sector as well as the Petroleum Industry Act are game changers, which have enabled Nigeria to have a human capacity footprint in all oil-producing countries in the world.

Use, who noted that he has been committed to serving across the different segments of the oil sector, noted that his company believes in the Nigerian dream and the capacity the country has to independently handle its oil sector.

According to him, most of his contemporaries operating, who were trained in Nigeria now operate across different continents even as over 99 per cent of the engineers operating under him are Nigerians.

Useh noted that meeting 70 per cent local content in the oil and gas sector as set by the Federal Government remained a realistic goal.

He disclosed that most of the assets taken over by indigenous companies and operated by Nigerian engineers are performing far better than they were acquired.

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, warned in a message at the launch of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), titled ‘Provisional State of the Global Climate Report 2022’ at the weekend that: “The last eight years have been the warmest on record, making every heatwave more intense and life-threatening, especially for vulnerable populations. Sea levels are rising at twice the speed of the 1990s – posing an existential threat to low-lying island states and threatening billions of people in coastal regions.

“People and communities everywhere must be protected from the immediate and ever-growing risks of the climate emergency. That is why we are pushing so hard for universal early warning systems within five years. We must answer the planet’s distress signal with action — ambitious, credible climate action,” Guterres said.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

Another report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, said: “Nations must dramatically increase funding and implementation of actions designed to help vulnerable nations and communities adapt to the climate storm.”

The Adaptation Gap Report 2022: Too, Too slow- Climate adaptation failures puts the world at risk, finds that global efforts in adaptation planning, financing and implementation are not keeping pace with the growing risks.

“Adaptation needs in the developing world are set to skyrocket to as much as $340 billion a year by 2030. Yet adaptation support today stands at less than one-tenth of that amount. The most vulnerable people and communities are paying the price. This is unacceptable,” UN Secretary-General said in a statement on the release of the report.

Programme Manager at Power Shift Africa and Lead Negotiator, Fatuma Hussein, said the common draft position, which focuses on the importance of implementation at COP27, called for the delivery and implementation of pledges and initiatives on finance and adaptation, mitigation, technology and capacity building.

Specifically, the Chair of the AGN, Ephraim Shitima, said: “COP27 should be about implementation, delivering on financial pledges and commitments by developed countries and the advancing of the implementation of nationally determined contributions.”

Join our telegram news channel — Click Here »

Click Here »Join our WhatsApp news group

PROFITABLE FOREX, BITCOIN AND BINARY TRADER. Do you require the service of a tested, trusted and experienced trader who can help you trade your online Forex, Bitcoin and Binary accounts for minimum 10-20% weekly profit?. Click here for details www.standfx.com, WhatsApp: +2348030797998

URGENT NEWS: Nigerians can now earn in US Dollars from home, let’s show you how our client earned $13,000 (₦9,600,000.00) on a premium domain name within 2 weeks of acquisition. Click here

World’s Longest Passenger Train Winds Through Swiss Alps.

Advertisements

The world’s longest passenger train — an assembly of 100 connected coaches measuring nearly two kilometres — wound through breath-taking scenery in the Swiss Alps Saturday.

The Rhaetian Railway (RhB) announced that it had beat the world record for the longest passenger train, at an event marking the 175th anniversary of Switzerland’s famous railway system.

The 1,910-metre (6,266-foot) train, composed of 25 separable multiple-unit trains, or 100 coaches, travelled through the Alps in the eastern Swiss canton of Graubunden.

“For me, this is just Swiss perfection,” RhB chief Renato Fasciati told the Blick daily’s live feed of the event, as the long, red train snaked slowly through the mountainous landscape.

While there are freight trains that are longer, with some measuring over three kilometres, Saturday’s event featured by far the longest passenger train ever run.

Advertisements

It was several hundred metres longer than a train that held the unofficial previous record, in Belgium in the 1990s, an RhB spokesman told AFP.

With dazzling sunshine reflecting off its shiny, silver roof and with a digital destination sign on the front reading “Alpine Cruise”, the train carried 150 passengers.

World heritage
It took the spectacular, spiralling Albula/Bernina route, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, covering the nearly 25 kilometres from Preda to Alvaneu in less than 45 minutes.

Some 3,000 people who had snapped up coveted tickets, watched the trip on a giant screen set up near Bergun, at the halfway-point in the historic journey.

Others lined the mountain roads and paths, cheering as the giant train slowly snaked between autumn-coloured trees.

It wound through 22 helical tunnels and crossing 48 bridges along the way, including the majestic Landwasser Viaduct, towering 65 metres over the ravine below.

Swiss media broadcast aerial footage showing the train at several levels simultaneously, with its snout exiting one tunnel as carriages further back were sliding through others.

The road up to the various look-out points was closed off to traffic, but many hiked or biked up the mountainside seeking out the best view.

And as the train made its way down one mountainside, a flock of people on bikes tried to follow alongside it on a parallel path.

Holding up the Guinness World Record diploma, Fasciati told reporters that there had been significant challenges to ensure such a long train could travel safely.

The seven train drivers and 21 technicians onboard had to make sure “that all 25 trains do the same, accelerating and breaking” at the same time, and were all “guided by the first… driver,” he said.

Few countries have a rail network as dense as Switzerland, which is famous for its punctual trains.

The wealthy Alpine country saw the departure of its first train service on August 9, 1847, linking Zurich with Baden, 23 kilometres to the northwest — a trip which took 33 minutes.

AFP

URGENT NEWS: Nigerians can now earn in US Dollars from home, let’s show you how our client earned $13,000 (₦9,600,000.00) on a premium domain name within 2 weeks of acquisition. Click here

PROFITABLE FOREX, BITCOIN AND BINARY TRADER. Do you require the service of a tested, trusted and experienced trader who can help you trade your online Forex, Bitcoin and Binary accounts for minimum 10-20% weekly profit?. Click here for details www.standfx.com, WhatsApp: +2348030797998

Five people die after whale strike causes boat to flip in New Zealand.

Advertisements

Five people were found dead after a small charter boat collided with a whale while the other six people aboard the boat were rescued.

Police said the 8.5-meter (28-foot) boat overturned near the South Island town of Kaikoura. Police said they were continuing to investigate the cause of the accident. Kaikoura Police Sergeant Matt Boyce described it as a devastating and unprecedented event.

“Our thoughts are with everyone involved, including the victims and their families, their local communities, and emergency services personnel,” Boyce said. He said police divers had recovered the bodies of all those who had died. He said all six survivors were assessed to be in stable condition at a local health center, with one transferred to a hospital in the city of Christchurch as a precaution.

Kaikoura Mayor Craig Mackle told The Associated Press (AP) that the water was dead calm at the time of the accident and the assumption was that a whale had surfaced from beneath the boat. He said there were some sperm whales in the area and also some humpback whales traveling through.

He said locals had helped with the rescue efforts throughout the day but the mood in the town was “somber” because the water was so cold and they feared for the outcome of anybody who had fallen overboard. Mackle said he’d thought in the past about the possibility of a boat and whale colliding, given the number of whales that frequent the region.

— Sign Up For 𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 —

Global Coverage Newsletter

Global Economy, Politics, Business, Education, Multiculturalism, Geopolitical Rise — we bring you the stories that matter.

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

“It always plays on your mind that it could happen,” he said, adding that he hadn’t heard about any previous such accidents. Mackle said the boat was a charter vessel typically used for fishing excursions. News agency Stuff reported the passengers belonged to a bird enthusiasts’ group. Police said they were still notifying the relatives of those who died, and couldn’t yet publicly name the victims.

Vanessa Chapman told Stuff she and a group of friends had watched the rescue efforts unfold from Goose Bay, near Kaikōura. She said that when she arrived at a lookout spot, she could see a person sitting atop an overturned boat waving their arms.

She said two rescue helicopters and a third local helicopter were circling before two divers jumped out. She told Stuff that the person atop the boat was rescued and a second person appeared to have been pulled from the water.

Kaikoura is a popular whale-watching destination. The seafloor drops away precipitously from the coast, making for deep waters close to the shore. Several businesses offer boat trips or helicopter rides so tourists can see whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures up close.

Compliance agency Maritime New Zealand said it sent two investigators to the scene and would be conducting a thorough investigation once recovery operations had concluded.

Principal Investigator Tracy Phillips said the agency “offers its heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the people who have died.”

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements


Royal ceremony officially proclaims Charles as king.

Advertisements

King Charles III was formally proclaimed as Britain’s monarch Saturday in a ceremony that followed the ancient tradition and broadcast live.

Charles automatically became king when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died on Thursday, but the accession ceremony is a key constitutional and ceremonial step in introducing the new monarch to the country.

Scores of senior politicians past and present, including Prime Minister Liz Truss and five of her predecessors, gathered in the ornate state apartments at St. James’s Palace for the meeting of the Accession Council.

They met without Charles, officially confirming his title, King Charles III. The king joined them to make a personal declaration, vowing to follow his mother’s “inspiring example” as he took on the duties of monarch.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me,” he said.

— Sign Up For 𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 —

Global Coverage Newsletter

Global Economy, Politics, Business, Education, Multiculturalism, Geopolitical Rise — we bring you the stories that matter.

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Speaking of his personal grief, he said, “I know how deeply you and the entire nation, and I think I may say the whole world, sympathize with me in this irreparable loss we have all suffered.”

The new king formally approved a series of orders – including one declaring the day of his mother’s funeral a public holiday. The date of the state funeral has not been announced, but it is expected to be around Sept. 19.

This is the first time the accession ceremony has been held since 1952, when Queen Elizabeth II took the throne.

Charles was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, and his eldest son Prince William. William is now heir to the throne and known by the title Charles long held, Prince of Wales.

After the ceremony, an official will read the proclamation aloud from a balcony at St. James’s Palace. It will also be read out in the medieval City of London and at other locations across the U.K.

Two days after the 96-year-old queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland following an unprecedented 70 years on the throne, people still came in their thousands to pay their respects outside Buckingham Palace in London. The scene was repeated at other royal residences across the U.K. and at British embassies around the world.

The monarch set the tone for his reign on Friday, vowing in a televised address to carry on the queen’s “lifelong service,” with his own modernizing stamp.

Charles looked to both the past – noting his mother’s unwavering “dedication and devotion as sovereign” – and the future, seeking to strike a reassuring note of constancy while signaling that his will be a 21st-century monarchy.

He reflected on how the country had changed dramatically during the queen’s reign into a society “of many cultures and many faiths,” and pledged to serve people in Britain and the 14 other countries where he is king “whatever may be your background or beliefs.”

He also tried to overcome a reputation for aloofness in his first hours as monarch, spending time shaking hands with some of the thousands who came to leave flowers and pay tribute to the queen at the gates of Buckingham Palace. He was greeted with shouts of “Well done, Charlie!” and “God save the king!” One woman gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Britain is holding a period of mourning for the queen, with days of carefully choreographed ceremonies marking the death of the only monarch most people have ever known.

In the next few days the queen’s body will be brought from Balmoral, first to Edinburgh and then to London, where she will lie in state before a funeral at Westminster Abbey, expected around Sept. 19.

In his speech, Charles struck a personal note, speaking of his sorrow at the loss of “my darling Mama.”

“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years,” he said, ending with a quote from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” – “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.'”

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements


Summer in full swing as Turkish Black Sea gem packed with Gulf tourists.

Advertisements

Accommodation facilities and resorts on Türkiye’s Black Sea coast are swarmed with tourists from the Gulf nations, in a bounce-back that is recalling pre-pandemic days, injecting a fresh boost for the country’s vital industry.

Skies over Trabzon province on the northeast coast have been dominated by planes bringing in tourists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, who are staging a post-pandemic comeback that comes as Türkiye’s ties with Gulf countries return to normal.

Escaping blistering desert summers, Arabs have been over years lured the Trabzon’s green surroundings, mountaintop lake and cool breeze. Türkiye generally counts on its large Mediterranean coast and rich heritage to draw more visitors.

With summer in full swing, visitors from the Gulf countries mainly opt for uplands, spearheaded by Uzungöl, a beautiful lakeside town an hour south of Trabzon. Surrounded by mountains and decorated with the greenest of trees, Uzungöl (Long Lake) is the jewel of the city that has become the most visited destination by tourists from Gulf countries.

The region is experiencing better-than-expected mobility this summer, says Türkiye Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB) Eastern Black Sea Region Representative Volkan Kantarcı.

Kantarcı says accommodation facilities are almost fully booked, with arrivals and growing demand strengthening prospects for a year that will top even the figures from 2019, dubbed the best tourism year ever.

While Germans, Russians and British tourists continue to top the list – most of them lured to Türkiye’s cheaper all-inclusive packages – high-spending tourists from Arab countries have also experienced big jumps this year.

“We had reached serious numbers in 2019. The number of foreign tourists had exceeded 600,000, and in the first months of this year, our assessment was that we would exceed the figures of 2019,” Kantarcı said.

“We thought that if we could reach 1 million, it would be very, very good. But especially after Eid al-Adha, there was a really unexpected demand. And the number of planes coming from international routes has increased. This big wave and the wind continue.”

High demand has delayed many bookings to September and October and winter months, he added.

“Both in terms of plane tickets, accommodation facilities and tour reservations, our expectation is that we will experience the best winter ever,” Kantarcı noted.

“Some airlines and tour operators are already making plans for winter. They are making the evaluations to be able to continue flights on certain days of the week. I hope that there will be no disruption, and in the winter months, both our city of Trabzon and other provinces in our region will experience a good tourism intensity.”

Türkiye attracted over 23 million foreign visitors from January through July, surging 128% annually, according to official data, paving the way for $37 billion in tourism revenues sought by the government.

The arrivals have been mainly backed by Russian visitors who opted for Türkiye due to flight restrictions applied by Western countries after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The numbers of German and British visitors also rose strongly.

Tourism revenues are vital to Türkiye’s economy as the government’s economic plan focuses on expanding the current account surplus to tackle high inflation and interest rates.

The government raised its year-end targets last month to 47 million tourists and $37 billion in revenues, up from its earlier targets of 45 million arrivals and $35 billion in income.

The number of foreign visitors soared 94.1% to 24.71 million last year when COVID-19 measures were eased compared to 2020. Tourism revenues doubled to almost $25 billion, but remained well below the level recorded in 2019.

Officials had hoped tourism this year could replicate or exceed the numbers from 2019, when some 52 million visitors brought in $34 billion in revenue.

— Sign Up For 𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 —

Global Coverage Newsletter

Global Economy, Politics, Business, Education, Multiculturalism, Geopolitical Rise — we bring you the stories that matter.

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements


Backed by European arrivals, Antalya enjoys best post-COVID days.

Advertisements

Foreign holidaymakers, spearheaded by Europe, continue to pour into Antalya, helping Türkiye’s Mediterranean gem have its most intense summer since the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The southern resort has seen around 8.5 million foreigners arrive so far this year, already nearing the 9 million who arrived throughout the whole of 2021. This figure peaked in 2019, dubbed the best tourism season ever, when arrivals reached 16 million, before the slump caused by the pandemic.

The big rebound this year has been driven by flocks of tourists from Europe, particularly Germany and the United Kingdom, in addition to arrivals from Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine had sparked fears across the vital industry.

This summer season, Antalya is witnessing a boom in demand that has been accumulating following the pandemic, according to Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers and Investors Association (AKTOB) chair Erkan Yağcı.

Yağcı stressed they expect to approach the peak levels seen in 2019. “When we look from January to today, we have reached 90% to 95% of the 2019 figures during the high season. If it continues in this way, we can get closer to the 2019 figures,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Türkiye itself attracted over 23 million foreign visitors from January through July, surging 128% annually, according to the official data, paving the way for $37 billion in tourism revenues sought by the government.

The arrivals have been mainly backed by Russian visitors who opted for Türkiye due to Western flight restrictions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The numbers of German and British visitors also rose strongly.

“The U.K. is on its way to becoming a source market,” said Yağcı. “The British market has made a significant comeback. This year, we will have hosted nearly 1 million British guests in Antalya. This is extremely important.”

He stressed the country’s efforts to diversify markets, saying that “our main goals are to increase the number of tourists in other markets such as Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium. We are in a period in which our basic strategies set before the pandemic have been revived.”

From January through July, Germans were Türkiye’s top source market with 2.99 million visitors, followed by 2.2 million Russians and 1.8 million Britons, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry data.

Despite concerns over the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government raised its year-end targets last month to 47 million tourists and $37 billion in revenues, up from its earlier targets of 45 million arrivals and $35 billion in income.

The current trend has somewhat washed away the panic from the beginning of the season, said Kemer Promotion Foundation head Volkan Yorulmaz. Kemer is one of the most popular districts of Antalya.

Yorulmaz said the 8 million figure was exceeded as of the beginning of August, which he says reaffirms his expectations for 12 million by the year-end.

He highlighted that the summer season has been extended, in part due to market diversification and that they expected a buoyant November. Yorlumaz cited a big jump in markets that to some extent managed to compensate for the loss that stemmed from the Ukraine war.

“There are serious increases in Polish, Czech, Serbian, German and British tourists. This year we have seen that we should not only do tourism based on Ukraine and Russia, and that this can be achieved. It is necessary to continue this.”

Backed by the easing COVID-19 measures, the number of foreign visitors soared 94.1% to 24.71 million last year. Tourism revenues doubled to almost $25 billion but remained well below the level recorded in 2019.

Russians and Ukrainians were the country’s first and third biggest sources of visitors, respectively. Russians accounted for 19% of foreign tourists, with 4.7 million people, while Ukraine was the third-largest at 8.3%, with 2.1 million people.

Officials had hoped tourism this year could replicate or exceed the numbers from 2019, when some 52 million visitors – including about 7 million Russians and 1.6 million Ukrainians – brought in $34 billion in revenue

— Sign Up For 𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 —

Global Coverage Newsletter

Global Economy, Politics, Business, Education, Multiculturalism, Geopolitical Rise — we bring you the stories that matter.

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements

more on WORLD
————————————–


Russia suspends deal with Japan on fishing near disputed islands.

Advertisements

Russia’s foreign ministry has said it is suspending an agreement with Japan that allowed Japanese fishermen to fish near the disputed Southern Kuril islands, accusing Tokyo of failing to make payments required under the deal.

“In the current situation, we are forced to suspend the implementation of the 1998 Agreement until the Japanese side fulfils all its financial obligations,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Tuesday.

Called the Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan, the string of volcanic islands is at the heart of a decades-long feud between the two countries that has prevented them from signing a formal World War II peace treaty.

Moscow regards the strategic archipelago – which separates the Sea of Okhotsk and Pacific Ocean – as its own, while Tokyo says the four islands belong to Japan and were seized by the Soviet army in the final days of the war.

In October, Japan’s new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said that Japan’s sovereignty extends to the four islands: Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, which lie at their closest point just a few kilometres off the north coast of Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands.

The Kremlin denounced that claim.


Moscow’s announced suspension of the fishing agreement comes as Japanese and NATO officials agreed on Tuesday to step up military cooperation and conduct joint exercises amid shared concerns that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing a deterioration of the security environment in Europe and Asia.

Japan also quickly joined the US and Europe in imposing sanctions against Russia, including freezing the assets of Russian officials and billionaires, restricting trade and investment, and providing support for Ukraine, following Moscow’s invasion in February.

In May, Prime Minister Kishida said Japan will ban Russian crude oil imports “in principle” and had already announced phasing out Russian coal imports.

Kuril islands

Japan, NATO step up ties
Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said at the beginning of his meeting with NATO Military Committee Chief Rob Bauer on Tuesday that Japan hoped to strengthen ties with European countries and welcomes NATO’s expanded involvement in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The security of Europe and Asia are closely intertwined, especially now with the international community facing serious challenges,” Kishi said.


Bauer’s visit to Tokyo comes as Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force is participating in NATO naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.

Also on Tuesday, Japanese and US fighter jets conducted joint flight drills over the Sea of Japan “amid an increasingly severe security environment, such as North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches,” Japan’s Ministry of Defence announced.

The four islands at the centre of the dispute between Moscow and Tokyo are located to the southeast of the Russian island of Sakhalin and are administratively part of the same region.

Strategically, control of the islands ensures Russia has year-round access to the Pacific Ocean for its Pacific Fleet of warships and submarines based in Vladivostok, as the strait between the islands of Kunashir and Iturup does not freeze over in winter.

Russia has military bases on the archipelago and has deployed missile systems on the islands.

With a population of approximately 20,000 people, the islands are rich in hot springs and minerals and rare earth metals such as rhenium, which is used in the production of supersonic aircraft.

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements


Russia’s Lavrov cancels Serbia visit after neighbors shut airspace.

Advertisements


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s planned visit to Serbia was canceled after countries around the Balkan nation closed their airspace to the plane that would have carried Moscow’s top diplomat to Belgrade on Monday.

The announcement by Serbia and Russia on Monday confirmed earlier reports, with Moscow accusing the West of preventing the trip by blocking the envoy’s plane flight.

Serbia’s neighbors – Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro – had reportedly refused to allow Lavrov’s plane to fly through their airspace to reach Belgrade.

“An unthinkable thing has happened,” Lavrov said during an online news conference Monday. “A sovereign state has been deprived of its right to conduct foreign policies. The international activities of Serbia on the Russian track have been blocked.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic earlier Monday met with Russia’s ambassador to Serbia who informed him that Lavrov could not come because the Russian government plane was denied necessary flyover permissions, a statement issued after the meeting said.

Vucic expressed “dissatisfaction” over the “circumstances” that prevented the visit and added that “despite all, Serbia will preserve independence and autonomy in political decision-making.”

Later Monday, Vucic told the state broadcaster RTS that the cancelation of the visit “was not too much of a surprise” and that arrangements faced problems from the start.

“Russia is a traditional friend of Serbia,” Vucic said, describing Serbia’s policies toward Russia as a “rational, sensible and soothing way within Europe, where it is not easy to hear a voice of reason and dialogue.”

While formally still seeking European Union membership, Serbia has maintained friendly ties with Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine, refusing to join Western sanctions against Moscow.

Many in Serbia view the fellow-Slavic nation as a close ally and Moscow has backed Serbia in its effort to retain its claim on Kosovo.

Lavrov blamed NATO countries for engineering the flight ban – Montenegro, Bulgaria and North Macedonia are all members of NATO – noting that the action showed again that the main purpose of the alliance expansion is to try to isolate Russia.

Lavrov still plans to travel for talks Wednesday in Turkey, where he can fly directly over the Black Sea. Turkey has sought to maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine while also trying to help international mediation efforts in the war.

The Russian foreign minister said the West has trampled on the principle of a free choice of foreign policy partners.

“From the Western viewpoint, Serbia mustn’t have any choice, any freedom in choosing its partners,” he said. “The West clearly shows that it would use any base means to apply pressure.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov deplored what he described as “hostile actions” but said this “won’t significantly hamper the continuation of our country’s contacts with friendly countries like Serbia.”

In Belgrade, Serbia’s pro-Russian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin expressed “deep regret” that a “great and proven” friend of Serbia could not come. Vulin added that “Serbia is proud that it is not part of anti-Russian hysteria, and the countries that are (part of it) will have time to be ashamed.”

Serbia, meanwhile, also is almost fully dependent on Russian gas. Vucic recently talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone to arrange a new deal on gas supplies for the next three years.

Analyst Slobodan Stupar described Lavrov’s attempted visit to Belgrade as a “show” that would have been used by Moscow to further vilify the West.

“I believe the Russians invited themselves” to Serbia, Stupar told The Associated Press (AP). “They are terribly isolated … They can now say that Europe and the world are not democratic and won’t allow a simple flyover.”

Stupar said Vucic has placed himself “in between” Russia and the West.

“That is the worst possible position one can imagine,” Stupar said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected in the region later this week

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements


World Cup police brace for huge crowds in Qatar’s capital.

Advertisements

Controlling hundreds of thousands of football fans in Qatar’s capital will be the biggest security challenge of World Cup 2022, FIFA told police chiefs from competing nations on Sunday.

Unlike previous World Cups, where only two teams and their supporters would generally converge on one city at any given time, all the games will take place in and around Doha.


The most geographically compact World Cup therefore represents the tournament’s biggest “challenge”, FIFA security director Helmut Spahn told a security conference for the tournament in Doha.

Qatar has predicted that 1.4 million people will visit during the 28 day tournament, that starts November 21, with “approximately 350,000” attendees in Doha “at the same time”, Spahn noted, speaking on the sidelines of the conference.

“You have to manage that,” he said. “But we can create history and I am pretty sure that we will manage it.”

Major General Abdulaziz Al-Ansari, head of Qatar’s World Cup security operation, also acknowledged that the numbers were the main concern.

“But we are very much confident that we have reviewed this over and over again,” Ansari said. “Of course there are going to be challenges, but the challenge is going to be part of the enjoyment.”

The Gulf state’s police are preparing an intricate system of road closures and extra public transport to move rival groups of football fans around.

The gas-rich nation has spent billions of dollars on seven new stadiums and refurbishing an eighth for the World Cup.

The longest distance between any of the two stadiums is about 70 kilometres (45 miles).

Ansari said police delegations from competing nations would inspect the World Cup stadiums and review transport in Doha over the next two days.

Spahn claimed the threat from “terrorism” had eased since Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018.

In the past “we had terrorist attack threats prior to a World Cup, we had strikes of private security and police, we had problems sometimes with infrastructure at stadiums not being ready. This is not the case here,” Spahn said.

The threat “is low and under control here in Qatar.”

European fans’ groups have been seeking clarity on Qatar’s tournament policy on alcohol consumption, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.

Ansari said a guide for fans going to Qatar would be released next month

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements


UN’s Linda Thomas-Greenfield says Global food shortages hit 10th level.

Advertisements

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Friday that global food shortages due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict have reached the highest level of alarm.

“I can tell you on a scale of one to 10, I’m probably at the 10 level of alarm, because this crisis has exacerbated what is already a serious food insecurity issue,” Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview with the BBC.

Consumer food prices in the U.S. alone made the largest 12-month increase since 1981 in April, when they slid up by 9.4%.

Thomas-Greenfield said that food insecurity was a serious issue before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but since the conflict the global crisis has severely worsened.

“Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, its blockade of the ports, blocking Ukrainian wheat from getting to the market has exacerbated this situation and made it even more dire and the impact is being felt across the world,” she said.

The ambassador discussed ways to aid food insecurity around the world, saying that “first and foremost, we have to keep the pressure on the Russians to end this unconscionable war against the Ukrainian people and allow Ukraine to go back to a situation where they are contributing to the food market around the world.”

“We encourage countries not to put export restrictions on food coming from their countries,” Thomas-Greenfield added. “The U.S. just gave $44 million to Ukraine, a large portion of that going toward humanitarian assistance.”

However, Thomas-Greenfield emphasized that the ball is in Russia’s court when it comes to ending the hunger crisis.

“The facts are that they are blocking food,” she said of Russia. “There are no sanctions on their agricultural products. They are attacking Ukrainian silos and keeping farmers from planting. So the action is in Russia’s hands to stop this food blockade, to also start to export their own food that they have put restrictions on.”

Thomas-Greenfield added: “But in the meantime, as we keep the pressure on Russia, we will increase our humanitarian funding, our in-kind funding of food, and we’re encouraging others to do the same to keep the food and agricultural markets open.”

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements

more on WORLD
————————————–


US requests UN Security Council over North Korea.

Advertisements

The United States has requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting for Wednesday to discuss North Korea, according to diplomats, amid fears that Pyongyang will resume nuclear testing in the coming weeks.

Washington holds the Security Council presidency for the month of May and has been considering calling a meeting since late last week, the same diplomats said Monday. The public meeting is scheduled for 1900 GMT.

It comes as Pyongyang has dramatically ramped up its sanctions-busting missile launches, conducting 15 weapons tests since January including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.

North Korea’s latest test occurred Saturday when Pyongyang fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile, its second missile launch in just three days.

Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

The Wednesday Security Council meeting will be held one day after the swearing in of South Korea’s hawkish new president Yoon Suk-yeol, who has vowed to get tough on Pyongyang and bolster the US security alliance.

Satellite imagery meanwhile indicates North Korea may also be preparing to resume nuclear testing, with the US State Department on Friday warning a test could come “as early as this month.”

No comment could immediately be obtained from the US diplomatic mission to the UN on Wednesday’s proposed meeting.

Washington has also recently proposed toughening sanctions on North Korea through the Security Council.

A draft Security Council resolution presented last month by the United States and seen by AFP would tighten sanctions, including by reducing from four million to two million barrels the amount of crude oil North Korea would be allowed to import each year for civilian purposes.

But the resolution stands little chance of approval as diplomats say there is no support from China or Russia, which hold veto power and have relations with Pyongyang.

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements

US requests UNSC over North Korea.

Advertisements

The United States has requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting for Wednesday to discuss North Korea, according to diplomats, amid fears that Pyongyang will resume nuclear testing in the coming weeks.

Washington holds the Security Council presidency for the month of May and has been considering calling a meeting since late last week, the same diplomats said Monday. The public meeting is scheduled for 1900 GMT.

It comes as Pyongyang has dramatically ramped up its sanctions-busting missile launches, conducting 15 weapons tests since January including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.

North Korea’s latest test occurred Saturday when Pyongyang fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile, its second missile launch in just three days.

Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

The Wednesday Security Council meeting will be held one day after the swearing in of South Korea’s hawkish new president Yoon Suk-yeol, who has vowed to get tough on Pyongyang and bolster the US security alliance.

Satellite imagery meanwhile indicates North Korea may also be preparing to resume nuclear testing, with the US State Department on Friday warning a test could come “as early as this month.”

No comment could immediately be obtained from the US diplomatic mission to the UN on Wednesday’s proposed meeting.

Washington has also recently proposed toughening sanctions on North Korea through the Security Council.

A draft Security Council resolution presented last month by the United States and seen by AFP would tighten sanctions, including by reducing from four million to two million barrels the amount of crude oil North Korea would be allowed to import each year for civilian purposes.

But the resolution stands little chance of approval as diplomats say there is no support from China or Russia, which hold veto power and have relations with Pyongyang.

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements

UN says 40,000,000 more faced acute hunger in 2021.

Advertisements

The number of people facing hunger rose to 193 million last year as conflict, climate change and economic crises ravaged people’s livelihoods, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said Wednesday.

While experts have warned that Russia’s war in Ukraine could cause famine, the FAO said in an annual report that nearly 40 million more people were pushed into “acute food insecurity” in 2021.

Among 53 countries facing the problem, the most affected include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Yemen and Afghanistan where millions face hunger after the country plunged into financial crisis following the Taliban takeover in 2021.

Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

The United Nations defines “acute food insecurity” as when a person’s inability to consume adequate food puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger.

“This is hunger that threatens to slide into famine and cause widespread death,” the FAO said.

The number has risen constantly since the first report was published by the FAO, the World Food Programme and the European Union in 2016.

The increase in 2021 has been “driven by a toxic triple combination of conflict, weather extremes and economic shocks”, with people affected in 53 countries, the FAO said.

Although the report does not take into account the conflict in Ukraine, the FAO said the war “stands to have the most devastating impacts on food crisis countries and on those on the brink of famine”.

Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of essential agricultural products, ranging from wheat and sunflower oil to fertiliser, and the FAO has previously said the conflict sent world food prices to an all-time high in March.

“The war has already highlighted the interconnected nature and fragility of global food systems,” the FAO said.

– Outlook ‘not good’ –

The agency noted that several countries battling major food crises obtained almost all of their wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine last year, including Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar.

Advertisements

The FAO warned that the “outlook moving forward is not good”.

“Today, if more is not done to support rural communities, the scale of the devastation in terms of hunger and lost livelihoods will be appalling,” the report said.

“Urgent humanitarian action is needed on a massive scale to prevent that from happening,” it said.

In 2021, conflict and insecurity was the main driver of acute hunger in 24 countries, affecting 139 million people.

Economic “shocks”, worsened by the impact of Covid, hit 30.2 million people in 21 countries.

Extreme weather was the main driver of acute food insecurity for 23.5 million people in eight African countries.

The FAO said it needs $1.5 billion to stabilise and increase local food production in at-risk regions where planting season is starting.

“There is no time to waste,” it said as it meets on the issue on Wednesday

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements

Journalists face many attempts to be silenced: UN

Advertisements

The United Nations has called on various governments to respect the rights and protect journalists and media workers in their respective countries.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, made the call in his message to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day tagged ‘journalism under digital siege’.

He stressed the need to shine a spotlight on the essential work of journalists and other media workers who seek transparency and accountability from those in power, often at great personal risk.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many media workers have been on the frontlines, providing accurate, science-based reporting to inform decision-makers and save lives,” Guterres said. “At the same time, journalists who cover climate, biodiversity, and pollution have succeeded in bringing global attention to this triple planetary crisis.

Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

“But the threats to the freedom of journalists and media workers are growing by the day. From global health to the climate crisis, corruption, and human rights abuses, they face increased politicisation of their work and attempts to silence them from many sides.

“Digital technology has democratised access to information. But it has also created serious challenges. The business models of many social media platforms are based not on increasing access to accurate reporting, but on increasing engagement – which often means provoking outrage and spreading lies.”

According to the UN scribe, media workers in war zones are threatened not only by bombs and bullets but by the weapons of falsification and disinformation that accompany modern warfare.

He worried that such persons could be attacked as the enemy, accused of espionage, detained, or killed, simply for doing their jobs.

Digital technology, Guterres stated, has also made censorship even easier as many journalists and editors around the world were at constant risk of their programmes and reports being taken offline.

Stressing that digital technology creates new channels for oppression and abuse, he lamented that women journalists were at particular risk of online harassment and violence.

“UNESCO found that nearly three in four women respondents had experienced online violence,” the UN chief explained, adding “Hacking and illegal surveillance also prevent journalists from doing their jobs.

“The methods and tools change, but the goal of discrediting the media and covering up the truth remains the same as ever. The results are also the same: people and societies that are unable to distinguish fact from fiction and can be manipulated in horrifying ways.

“Without freedom of the press, there are no real democratic societies. Without freedom of the press, there is no freedom. The United Nations is working to support journalists and media workers everywhere.”

Guterres explained that the UN established a Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists 10 years ago to protect media workers and end impunity for crimes committed against them.

“On World Press Freedom Day, we honour the essential work of the media in speaking truth to power, exposing lies, and building strong, resilient institutions and societies,” he said

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements

Indonesian gov’t invites Russian and Ukrainian leaders to G20 summit.

Advertisements

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been invited to the G20 summit in November, which will also be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the president of host nation Indonesia said Friday.

“I have invited President Zelenskyy to attend the G20 summit,” said Joko Widodo, suggesting a compromise had been reached following Western pressure to bar Russia from the event in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Putin confirmed in a phone call with Widodo he will attend the summit, to take place on Bali island, the Indonesian leader said in a livestreamed address.

Advertisements

Russia is a G20 member, while Ukraine is not.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Indonesia has faced fierce pressure from Western countries, led by the United States, to bar Russia from the summit.

But Jakarta had insisted that, as the host, it must remain impartial, while US President Joe Biden had suggested Ukraine could take part.

Zelensky had announced in a tweet that he was invited to the summit by Indonesia on Wednesday, following a call with Widodo

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements
Advertisements

Children from different countries bake ‘peace bread’ in Istanbul.

Advertisements

A festival in Istanbul brought together children from different countries ahead of Saturday’s National Sovereignty and Children’s Day observed in Turkey. In its 13th edition, the annual International Peace Bread Festival culminated in children baking the titular giant bread, which they then sent to world leaders via mail on Thursday.

The festival was organized by the municipality of Esenler, a district on city’s European side. Ministry of National Education Mahmut Özer joined children and local officials in preparation of the bread made of flour and water that every delegation of participants brought from their countries, plus yeast added by the Turkish delegation. After the bread was cooked in a giant oven, it was cut into slices and placed in envelopes by children from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Romania, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Iraq, and students from schools in Esenler. Each part was then mailed to important global figures, from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.



The children later performed folk dances as part of the event.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Özer said that the event had a “meaningful message” as it combined bread, something deemed sacred by various faiths and peace, with children of the world.

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements

Russia’s central bank signals rate cut, pushes digital ruble.

Advertisements

The Russian central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina signaled Thursday further interest rate cuts and a push for digital ruble and homegrown credit card system to curb payment issues stemming from Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nabiullina also said Russia is looking at adjustments to its foreign exchange controls to avoid situations where the ruble exchange rate deviates in a shadow market from official levels. As she begins her new five-year stint in charge of monetary policy, Nabiullina will have to deal with a full-scale economic crisis, tackling uncertainty stemming from Western sanctions.

The central bank’s emergency rate hike to 20% in late February helped stabilize the ruble and overcome a spike in inflation, Nabiullina said. The bank then cut the interest rate to 17% on April 8. Its next board meeting is on April 29.



“We will consider the possibility of its further reduction at upcoming meetings,” Nabiullina said, speaking in the lower house of parliament, the Duma. She did not say if a cut was likely at next week’s meeting.

Andrei Kostin, head of Russia’s second-largest lender VTB , also targeted by Western sanctions, said on Thursday he expected the central bank to cut the key rate to 15% this month and to 12%-13% by the end of the year, TASS news agency reported.

Inflation in Russia now stands at 17.6% and is on track to accelerate to 22% this year, while the economy is set to shrink by 9.2% in 2022, according to a poll of economists conducted by the central bank in April.

Nabiullina warned that Russia, which saw its strongest economic growth in 13 years in 2021, at 4.7%, will now undergo structural changes as its access to the global financial system and trade are limited by tough Western sanctions.

“Problems may arise even when there is a production with a high degree of localization when there has already been a fairly high import substitution,” Nabiullina said.

For example, she said, Russia produces its own paper but uses foreign bleaching agents, or urgently needs foreign-made packing materials for foodstuff produced in Russia.

“It all takes time,” she said.

The ruble, which has recovered after plunging to an unprecedented level of 150 to the U.S. dollar following the sanctions, is expected to trade at 85 rubles this year, 90 rubles in 2023 and 96 rubles in 2024. It was trading around the 80 to the dollar mark on Thursday.

The country is facing capital flight while grappling with a possible debt default after the West imposed sanctions on banks, businesses and individuals following what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Advertisements

Digital ruble, extending Mir system among priorities
With sanctions cutting off Russia from large parts of the global financial system, Moscow is looking for alternative ways to make key payments both at home and abroad.

Nabiullina said the bank plans for real-world “digital” rouble transactions to be possible next year, and that the digital currency could be used in some international settlements.

“The digital ruble is among the priority projects,” Nabiullina said. “We have fairly quickly created a prototype … now we are holding tests with banks and next year we will gradually have pilot transactions.”

Advertisements

| RECOMMENDED


Advertisements

Nabiullina also said Russia aims to extend the number of countries that accept Russia’s Mir banking cards, an alternative to VISA and MasterCard, which have joined other Western firms and suspended their operations in Russia.

Mir and China’s UnionPay are among the few options left for Russians to make payments abroad since Russian banks were isolated from the global financial system as part of the sanctions.

Russia, like many other countries around the world, has been developing digital money over the last couple of years to modernize its financial system, speed up payments and head off the threat of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin gaining influence.

The Bahamas was the first to launch a national digital currency back in 2020, while China is the most advanced among major economies having carried out a mass trial of a digital yuan at the Beijing Winter Olympics this year.

Some central bank experts have also suggested the new technologies mean countries would be able to deal more directly with each other, making them less dependent on Western-dominated payment channels such as the SWIFT system.

Meanwhile, efforts by the West to close possible routes for circumventing sanctions continued on Thursday.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, said it was deactivating the accounts of Russian nationals and companies based there that hold the equivalent of more than 10,000 euros ($10,900).

Those affected would still be able to withdraw their money, but they will now be banned from making new deposits or trading, a move Binance said was in line with European Union sanctions

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED

Advertisements

Ireland call on world powers to stop Russia-Ukraine war.

Advertisements

Ireland has called on world powers, including the United Nations, to look for ways to end the ongoing war, which it described as madness, immediately.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defense of Ireland, Simon Coveney, said diplomacy and dialogue must be employed to end the war.

He called on President Vladimir Putin of Russia to agree to an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Coveney said this in Tuesday’s UN briefing on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

The Minister said he had just visited the country and seen the devastation in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

“The only weapons that we have are diplomacy, dialogue, facts, collective leadership and, most importantly, a shared commitment to international law and the UN Charter,” Coveney said to the UN Security Council.

“As it was on Feb. 25, so it is today, this is a war of choice and it can end immediately if President Putin so decides.

“This is madness, that history will judge very harshly,” Coveney said. “We have to find a way to stop this war and this council has a unique responsibility to do that.”

Advertisements

| RECENTLY ADDED