Дощі, місцями з грозами, синоптики прогнозують у західних та північних областях
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Thousands of people protested France’s special virus pass by marching through Paris and other French cities on Saturday. Most demonstrations were peaceful but some in Paris clashed with riot police, who fired tear gas.About 3,000 security forces deployed around the French capital for a third weekend of protests against the pass that will be needed soon to enter restaurants and other places. Paris police took up posts along the Champs-Elysees to guard the famed avenue.With virus infections spiking and hospitalizations rising, French lawmakers have passed a bill requiring the pass in most places as of August 9. Polls show a majority of French support the pass, but some are adamantly opposed. The pass requires a vaccination or a quick negative test or proof of a recent recovery from COVID-19 and mandates vaccine shots for all health care workers by mid-September.For anti-pass demonstrators, liberty was the slogan of the day.Hager Ameur, a 37-year-old nurse, said she resigned from her job, accusing the government of using a form of blackmail.”I think that we mustn’t be told what to do,” she told The Associated Press, adding that French medical workers during the first wave of COVID-19 were quite mistreated. “And now, suddenly we are told that if we don’t get vaccinated it is our fault that people are contaminated. I think it is sickening.”Tensions flared in front of the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub in northern Paris during what appeared to be the largest demonstration. Lines of police faced down protesters in up-close confrontations during the march. Police used their fists on several occasions.Protesters attend a demonstration called by the “yellow vest” movement against France’s restrictions, including a compulsory health pass, to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, in Paris, July 31, 2021.Tear gas, water cannon, injuriesAs marchers headed eastward and some pelted police with objects, police fired tear gas into the crowds, and plumes of smoke filled the sky. A male protester was seen with a bleeding head and a police officer was carried away by colleagues. Three officers were injured, the French press quoted police as saying. Police, again responding to rowdy crowds, also turned a water cannon on protesters as the march ended at the Bastille.A calmer march was led by the former top lieutenant of far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who left to form his own small anti-EU party. But Florian Philippot’s new cause, against the virus pass, seems far more popular. His contingent of hundreds marched Saturday to the Health Ministry.Among those not present this week was Francois Asselineau, leader of another tiny anti-EU party, the Popular Republican Union, and an ardent campaigner against the health pass, who came down with COVID-19. In a video on his party’s website, Asselineau, who was not hospitalized, called on people to denounce the “absurd, unjust and totally liberty-killing” health pass.French authorities are implementing the health pass because the highly contagious delta variant is making strong inroads. More than 24,000 new daily cases were confirmed Friday night, compared with just a few thousand cases a day at the start of the month.The government announcement that the health pass would take effect August 9 has driven many unvaccinated French to sign up for inoculations so their social lives won’t be shut down during the summer holiday season. Vaccinations are now available at a wide variety of places, including some beaches. More than 52% of the French population has been vaccinated.About 112,000 people have died of the virus in France since the start of the pandemic.
France secured a comfortable win over Iran in Olympic men’s basketball on Saturday to qualify for the quarterfinals and remain undefeated in the preliminary round.Real Madrid’s Thomas Heurtel led with 16 points in France’s 79-62 victory at the Saitama Super Arena, north of Tokyo. They swept their opponents in Group A, including a shock defeat of Team USA on Sunday, the first Olympic loss for the Americans since 2004.”The focus really was more about us and trying things out,” Evan Fournier, who plays for the NBA’s Boston Celtics, said about France’s decisive win. Despite his team’s dominant showing so far, he wouldn’t speculate on medal odds.”Quarter-final first. Focus on that,” he said. “Too many times we’ve beaten very, very good teams and we lost in the semi-final, so no more of that.”The men’s quarterfinals are Tuesday.Iran finished 0-3 in the group stage. Arsalan Kazemi lamented that the travel restrictions imposed on Iran affected their performance.”We cannot really get out of Iran for any good friendly game,” he said at a press conference. “For Olympic preparation, we could have gone to a lot of different countries like other teams and played like 10, 11, 12 good games, and would have come here and would have competed differently.”The United States bounced back with a win over Iran earlier this week and will face the Czech Republic later on Saturday.Team USA has historically been the team to beat at basketball, with a 139-6 record and 15 gold medals since 1936. But as the sport has grown in popularity around the globe, many national teams can field teams with NBA experience, and the U.S.’s talent advantage has shrunk.Before losing to France at these Games, the United States dropped two straight exhibition games this month, including a defeat to world 22nd-ranked Nigeria.
The United States said Friday it has laid off nearly 200 local staffers working for its diplomatic missions in Russia ahead of an August 1 deadline set by the Kremlin for their dismissal. The move is the latest in a series of measures taken by both sides that have strained U.S.-Russia relations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the layoffs are regrettable and something the U.S. had hoped to avert, despite a sharp deterioration in ties between Moscow and Washington, which show few signs of improvement. FILE – Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department in Washington, July 12, 2021.”These unfortunate measures will severely impact the U.S. mission to Russia’s operations, potentially including the safety of our personnel as well as our ability to engage in diplomacy with the Russian government,” Blinken said in a statement. “Although we regret the actions of the Russian government forcing a reduction in our services and operations, the United States will follow through on our commitments while continuing to pursue a predictable and stable relationship with Russia,” he said. The Russian Foreign Ministry was silent on the matter, and the Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a query. Russia earlier this year announced a ban on almost all non-American staff at the embassy in Moscow and consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. That came in response to U.S. expulsions of Russian diplomats and tit-for-tat closures of numerous diplomatic facilities in each country. Those expulsions and closures came in the context of U.S. sanctions imposed over Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, and the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny and crackdown on his supporters, as well as involvement in the SolarWind hack of U.S. federal agencies. All are activities that Russia has denied. After the announcement of the ban, the embassy suspended routine consular services and since May has been processing immigrant visas only in the case of life-or-death emergencies. The suspension of consular services has also left Russian businessmen, exchange students and romantic partners adrift because they are no longer able to obtain U.S. visas in Russia. Still, the U.S. had been cautiously optimistic that the Russian decision might be reversed at last month’s meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva. But those hopes evaporated even after the two sides resumed strategic arms control talks this week. FILE – U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meet at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021.Thus, Friday’s announcement sealed the employment fate of 182 locally employed staffers who worked as office and clerical staff, drivers and contractors at the U.S. facilities. Only security guards who work outside the gates of the compounds were exempted from the ban. “The United States is immensely grateful for the tireless dedication and commitment of our locally employed staff and contractors at U.S. Mission Russia,” Blinken said. “We thank them for their contributions to the overall operations and their work to improve relations between our two countries. Their dedication, expertise and friendship have been a mainstay of Mission Russia for decades.”We value our deep connection to the Russian people,” Blinken added. “Our people-to-people relationships are the bedrock of our bilateral relations.”
The United Nations warns global hunger is increasing and urgent action is needed to stave off famine and death over coming months in nearly two dozen unstable, violence-prone countries.A report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program said more than a half-million people are experiencing catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity and 41 million are at risk of famine.The report from the WFP and FAO focuses on the particularly serious situation in 23 so-called hunger hot spots. Most of those countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, with others in Central America, Asia and the Middle East.Patrick Jacqueson, FAO officer in charge of the Geneva office, said acute hunger is set to increase in those countries over the next four months without urgent, scaled-up humanitarian assistance.“Conflict continues to be the primary driver for the largest share of people facing acute food insecurity,” Jacqueson said. “Closely associated with conflict are humanitarian access constraints, which remain significant, compounding food insecurity. Weather extremes and climate variability are likely to affect several parts of the world during the outlook period.”The report said dry conditions are likely to affect Haiti, Nigeria’s Middle Belt and the “Dry Corridor” in Guatemala, while above-average rainfall and flooding are forecast in South Sudan, central and eastern Sahel, and Gulf of Guinea countries.400,000 face starvation in TigrayThe report highlighted the perilous situation in Ethiopia and Madagascar, the world’s newest highest-alert hunger hot spots.Annalisa Conte, WFP Geneva Office director, said the aggravation of conflict in recent months is having a catastrophic impact on the food security of the Tigrayan population in Ethiopia. She warned that more than 400,000 people would face starvation if they did not receive sufficient humanitarian aid.“If we move to Madagascar, Madagascar is experiencing the worst drought in 40 years,” Conte said. “On top of that, economic decline largely caused by COVID. As a result, 1.3 million people are currently facing the acute food insecurity.”The FAO and WFP said fighting, blockades that cut off lifesaving aid to families on the verge of famine, and a lack of funding were hampering efforts to provide emergency food aid to millions of desperate people.The agencies said families who rely on humanitarian aid to survive were hanging by a thread. They noted that most of those on the verge of famine in the 23 hot spots were farmers and must receive help to resume food production. That, they said, will allow them to feed themselves and become self-sufficient.
Firefighters continued to battle raging wildfires in southern Turkey Friday that have killed at least four people and forced the evacuation of villages and hotels.More than 70 wildfires broke out this week in Turkey’s Mediterranean and southern Aegean region and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that crews were still trying to contain them in 14 locations after bringing 57 other wildfires under control since Wednesday. Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said the uncontained wildfires were in six provinces and vowed to hold accountable anyone found to be responsible for starting them. Authorities said Thursday that investigations into the fires had begun.The mayor of the Turkish resort town of Marmaris said he could not dismiss the possibility of “sabotage” as the cause of a mountainside fire that threatened holiday homes and hotels on Thursday.Erdogan said a plane from Azerbaijan would join planes from Russia and Ukraine to battle the fires, adding “with the arrival of the planes, we are turning in a positive direction.”In addition to at least five planes, the Turkish president said 45 helicopters, drones and nearly 1,100 firefighting vehicles are involved in the effort.Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the dry summer season, but arson or Kurdish militants have been blamed for some previous forest fires.
Thursday marks the second and final day of the Global Education Summit in London, hosted by Kenya and the United Kingdom. International governments and corporations pledged to donate $4 billion for the Global Partnership for Education, which provides fair access to public education in 90 countries and territories that account for 80% of children out of school. The summit emphasized the importance of equitable access to education amid warnings that COVID-19 has exacerbated already under-resourced public education programs in less economically developed countries. Experts alerted the organization that it was unlikely for those forced out of schools due to the pandemic to return. Australia’s former prime minister Julia Gillard gestures as she speaks during the closing ceremony on the second day of the Global Education Summit in London, Britain, July 29, 2021.Julia Gillard, former Australian prime minister and chair of the partnership, noted that the pandemic affected access to education in all nations but poorer countries where families may lack internet connection or electricity were devastated. Gillard said that this pledge puts the partnership on track for completing the goal of raising $5 billion over five years. Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, Kenyan Cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, warned of the pandemic’s devastating impact on global education, saying “education is the pathway, the way forward.” Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan and activist for female education, spoke to the summit leaders and stressed the significance of accessible education for young girls who are often discriminated against. She warned that 130 million girls were unable to attend school because of the pandemic and said that “their futures are worth fighting for.” Addressing the conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his government’s commitment to girls’ education and its goal of enrolling 40 million more girls in school by 2026. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson applaud during the closing ceremony on the second day of the Global Education Summit in London, Britain, July 29, 2021.”Enabling them to learn and reach their full potential is the single greatest thing we can do to recover from this crisis,” Johnson said. Johnson faced criticism for advocating for girls’ education while simultaneously cutting the U.K.’s overseas aid budget. The prime minister pledged $602 million to the Global Partnership for Education, while slashing $5.6 billion from the U.K.’s international development allowance. British officials said that the budget cut is temporary and was a necessary action due to the economic strain from pandemic recovery. The Global Partnership for Education also received criticism for continuing funding to partner countries that openly discriminate against students. Investigations by Human Rights Watch uncovered open exclusion of pregnant students in Tanzania and Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh. Some information for this report came from the Associated Press.
France’s European Affairs Minister on Thursday called Britain’s decision to lift quarantine requirements for all fully vaccinated travelers arriving from Europe except France “discriminatory and incomprehensible” and said he hopes it is reviewed as soon as possible. Clement Beaune made the comments during an interview on French television a day after Britain announced it was dropping the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union and the United States but that it would review rules for travelers from France only at the end of next week. FILE – French minister for European affairs Clement Beaune arrives at a General Affairs meeting in Luxembourg, June 22, 2021.The British government has said it is keeping quarantine rules for travelers from France because of the presence of the beta variant there. But Beaune told French broadcaster LCI the beta strain accounted for fewer than 5% of COVID-19 cases in France, and mostly occurred in overseas territories from where relatively few people traveled to Britain. “We are saying to the British that, on the scientific and health levels, there are no explanations for this decision,” he said. In a Wednesday interview, British Transportation Minister Grant Shapps said the government will not be able to review the decision until the end of next week because they need to see the data. Beaune said he will continue pressuring Britain to review the requirement, but said, for now, he is not planning to impose similar measures on British travelers to France. Some information in this report came from Associated Press, Reuters and AFP.
A German cycling official has been suspended and will be sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after using a racist slur during the men’s time trial.
German cycling federation sports director Patrick Moster had been overseeing the cycling squad at the Tokyo Games. He used the slur while urging German rider Nikias Arndt to catch up to riders from the African nations of Algeria and Eritrea during Wednesday’s time trial. It was heard on TV broadcasts and widely condemned in Germany.
Moster later apologized and the German team initially indicated he would stay in Tokyo but said Thursday he would be sent home.
German Olympic committee president Alfons Hörmann said he considers Moster’s apology to be “sincere” but that he “breached the Olympic values.”
Hörmann added that “fair play, respect and tolerance … are non-negotiable” for the German team.
The International Cycling Union later said it had provisionally suspended Moster ahead of a full hearing.
“The UCI Disciplinary Commission urgently examined the matter and considered that Mr. Moster’s remarks were discriminatory and contrary to basic rules of decency,” the UCI said. “The UCI condemns all forms of racist and discriminatory behavior and strives to ensure integrity, diversity and equality in cycling.”
Algerian rider Azzedine Lagab told German news outlet Der Spiegel that he had not received a personal apology for Moster or the German team. Lagab added he had repeatedly faced racist comments during his career.
Arndt, condemned the official’s comments.
“I am appalled by the incident at the Olympic time trial today and would like to distance myself clearly from the sporting director’s statements,” the German rider wrote on social media Wednesday. “Such words are not acceptable.”
On Thursday, Arndt posted a picture of the Olympic rings with the message “Cycling against racism!”
U.S. swimmers added two more gold medals to their collection at the Tokyo Olympics Thursday.
Three days removed from helping the U.S. win gold in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Caeleb Dressel set a new Olympic record of 47.02 seconds in the men’s 100-meter freestyle race at the Tokyo Aquatic Center to win his first individual gold medal, beating Australian Kyle Chalmers by sixth-hundredths (0.60) of a second. Kliment Kolesnikov of the Russian Olympic Committee came in third to take the bronze medal.
Dressel’s 21-year-old teammate Bobby Finke won the gold medal in the first-ever men’s 800-meter freestyle race, outdueling silver medalist Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy with a time of 7:41.87 (seven minutes, 41.87 seconds), with Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk winning the bronze.
On the women’s side, China set a new world record of 7:40.33 (seven minutes, 40.33 seconds) to win the 4×200-meter freestyle relay race. The United States finished just four-hundredths (0.40) of a second to edge out Australia for the silver medal, due to Katie Ledecky’s strong performance in the final lap.
In other races, Izaac Stubblety-Cook added to Australia’s tally of gold medals when he beat Amo Kamminga of the Netherlands in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke, setting a new Olympic record of 2:06.38 (two minutes, six .38 seconds). The bronze medal went to Matti Mattsson of Finland, the first for that country at Tokyo.
And another Olympic record was set in the women’s 200-meter butterfly final by China’s Yufei Zhang, who won gold with a time of 2:03.86 (two minutes, three.86 seconds.) U.S. swimmers Regan Smith and Hali Flicking finished in first and second, respectively.
Meanwhile, pole vaulters Sam Kendricks of the United States and Argentina’s Germán Chiaraviglio have become the latest athletes forced to withdraw from the Tokyo Games after both men tested positive for COVID-19.
Shortly after Kendricks went into isolation, Australian Olympics officials announced every member of its track and field team had gone into isolation as a “precautionary measure” after coming into contact with a member of the U.S. track and field team without naming the person.
The team was eventually given the “all clear” to emerge from isolation and resume their normal activities later Tuesday.
Tokyo recorded 3,865 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, overtaking the record 3,177 new cases just on Wednesday. Olympic organizers say at least 198 new cases have been linked to the Games.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters, AFP.