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An "accident of fate" led the Seattle Storm to Interbay for its new training facility

Seattle Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder hopes the team's new practice center will create “see it, be it” moments for Seattle youth......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 24th, 2022

The Marines are considering abandoning iconic Parris Island training depot due to extreme weather threats

Parris Island is far from the only military installation that might need to be abandoned, or modified, because of climate change. Marine Corps recruits during the Crucible, the final challenge of recruit training, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, December 3, 2020.Marine Corps Sgt. Dana Beesley The US Marine Corps is considering relocating some of its facilities because of climate change. One of those installations is the iconic recruit training depot in Parris Island, South Carolina. Research shows that Parris Island will face more intense hurricanes, more frequent floods, and extreme heat. The Marine Corps is considering moving some of its bases to other locations, including the iconic Parris Island Training Depot, in response to the growing effects of climate change, Navy officials said."I'm aware that there are conversations in the Marine Corps about the possibility of moving bases right now," Meredith Berger, the assistant secretary of the Navy for Environment, Installations and Energy, told reporters on a call Monday when asked about moving the Parris Island facility."We are seeing some real impacts there in terms of its geography, in terms of ... impacts that we've seen in storms, water impacts," Berger explained, speaking specifically about Parris Island, before adding that "they're usually in the path of a storm there."Read Next: Marine Corps' Twentynine Palms Base Put on LockdownA string of recent reports has predicted that Parris Island will face increasingly frequent and ferocious hurricanes, floods and extreme heat.Those escalating temperatures are already a growing risk to trainees on the island. Between 2016 and 2020, Parris Island reported 576 cases of heat-related illnesses, according to a study released last year by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch.Berger's comments, made as part of the Navy's rollout of its "Climate Action 2030" plan, come as the Pentagon worries about the effects of climate change on the force as a whole.A drill instructor corrects a recruit at Recruit Depot Parris Island, March 25, 2014.DVIDS/Octavia DavisWhen contacted by Military.com, Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Kevin Stephensen said that "both Marine Corps recruit depots face significant infrastructure challenges that negatively impact the long-term training of our future force.""In order to address these challenges, it is only prudent to explore all options to find a solution, to include understanding the cost-benefit of a consolidated Recruit Training site," Stephensen added.Stephensen noted that a new, consolidated base "is only one of several modernization efforts we are exploring," before adding that it is "too early to discuss or speculate further."Established in 1915, Parris Island has trained Marine recruits for more than 100 years. As a result, the base, whose iconic motto is "We Make Marines," holds a special place in the already lore-centered Corps."What happens on the parade decks of Parris Island ... is what makes Marines," Gen. Carl Mundy wrote in a guide on leadership when he was commandant of the Corps in the 1990s.This isn't the first time the future of Parris Island has been debated by Pentagon and service officials. Commandant Gen. David Berger told Military.com in 2020 that replacing the training center was possible because the South Carolina base hadn't fully integrated gender-neutral training, stoking speculation the historic training camp could close.Marines graduate from recruit training at Recruit Depot Parris Island, March 29, 2019.US Marine Corps/Cpl. Vivien AlstadSouth Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, as well as nearby town and city officials, sounded the alarm on how economically devastating base closure in the area would be.Parris Island and nearby Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort provide $1.5 billion in economic activity for the state, as well as 12,000 jobs, according to a report by South Carolina's Lowcountry Council of Governments, an organization that advocates for the state's coastal communities.But Parris Island is far from the only military installation that might need to be abandoned, or modified, because of climate change.Last year, the Department of Defense announced a bold Climate Adaptation Plan focused on managing and navigating the costly effects of rising natural disasters and extreme weather hurting the force in recent years.Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska was hit with disastrous flooding in 2019, Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida was hit with $3 billion worth of hurricane damage in 2018, and California military bases continue to face growing issues from repeated wildfires.More recently, the environmental threats facing Parris Island and Beaufort were laid out in a Department of Defense-funded report published last month by the Lowcountry Council of Governments.A Marine Corps senior drill instructor with recruits at Parris Island.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesThe findings show that increased natural disasters, high levels of rainfall and coastal erosion are serious factors facing the Marine Corps' largest training facility on the East Coast.While military officials at Parris Island and Beaufort have been focused on small fixes such as raising roads to mitigate damage, scientists are raising the alarm about long-term issues the bases may face."By 2050, the currently flood-prone areas within both bases could experience tidal flooding more than 300 times annually and be underwater nearly 30 percent of the year given the highest scenario," according to a 2016 case study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy organization.South Carolina's hurricane-prone areas will continue to experience more dramatic rainfall and flooding and, by the end of the century, the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that nearly three-quarters of the Parris Island base could be underwater from the daily tides.The Lowcountry Council of Governments's report states that continual projects will be necessary around Parris Island, MCAS Beaufort and the surrounding community to mitigate damage and impact from more extreme weather events and climate change.Many of those projects will come with hefty price tags. Base leaders told the State newspaper in South Carolina last year that they have $200 million worth of improvements planned in future years.Marines finishing training at Parris Island.Alfred T. Palmer/The Library of CongressIt's hard to overstate just how central a role the facility plays to the identity of the Marine Corps.It was Parris Island that came up with the now-infamous yellow footprints on which recruits first stand after getting off the bus. They appeared in January 1965, according to the Marine Corps history of the base. The base was also featured in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film "Full Metal Jacket" with R. Lee Ermey playing the memorable drill instructor."Parris Island has the designation of being the second oldest post in the Marine Corps," a Marine history of the base boasted. "Over the past 100 years, Parris Island has made over one million new Marines and will remain steadfast in its commitment to the lowcountry and nation for the next 100 years."Will Grimsley, secretary of South Carolina's Department of Veterans' Affairs, which also lobbies for military bases in the state, said Parris Island's famous "We Make Marines" sign should continue to ring true in the state despite the increased climate threats."There is a local impact, but it's broader," Grimsley said. "It's national and international. Parris Island is an iconic training facility for the Marines. ... I believe it's here for the long haul to stay, and South Carolina is proud to host them."Editor's Note: This story and headline have been updated after a Marine Corps spokesperson provided comment following publication.— Konstantin Toropin can be reached at konstantin.toropin@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.— Thomas Novelly can be reached at thomas.novelly@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.Related: Marines Weigh Closing Parris Island and San Diego to Open New Coed Boot CampRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 25th, 2022

The 46 best fantasy books to escape into this summer, from the classics to new highly anticipated sequels

Whether you like fantasy books with a dash of drama, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, these novels are sure to become favorites. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Whether you like fantasy books with a dash of drama, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, these novels are sure to become favorites.Amazon; Alyssa Powell/Insider Fantasy books are delightfully filled with magic, creatures, and new worlds. This list ranges from classic fantasy novels to exciting new releases. We looked at bestsellers, award-winners, and reader recommendations to find the best fantasy books. Fantasy books are a blissful escape from reality into worlds of magical creatures, mythological heroes, and folklore come to life. They are where we can discover new worlds where heroes and heroines face brutal beasts, travel across distant lands, and unearth forgotten kingdoms. From epic high fantasy to magical realism, the fantasy genre is expansive. Fantasy can include countless different types of magic, characters, and adventurous pursuits and many of these novels intertwine with other genres, especially science fiction and romance. To compile this list of best fantasy books, we looked at all-time fantasy bestsellers, award-winners, and new releases about which readers are raving. So whether you're looking to find a magical first fantasy read or delve deeper into a sub-genre you already love, here are some of the best fantasy novels to read this summer. The 46 best classic and new fantasy books to read in 2022:A historical fantasy retelling of an ancient Indian epicAmazon"Kaikeyi" by Vaishnavi Patel, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.54For fans of "Circe," "Kaikeyi" is the historical fantasy tale of a young woman who discovers her magic while looking for deeper answers in the texts she once read with her mother. When Kaikeyi transforms into a warrior and a favored, feminist queen, darkness from her past resurfaces and the world she has built clashes with the destiny the gods once chose for her family, forcing Kaikeyi to face the consequences of resistance and the legacy she may leave behind. A new exciting fantasy sequelAmazon"Fevered Star" by Rebecca Roanhorse, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.49"Fevered Star" is the highly anticipated sequel to "Black Sun," and continues as sea captain Xiala finds new allies with the war in the heavens affecting the Earth. Meanwhile, avatars Serapio and Naranpa must continue to fight for free will despite the wave of destiny and prophecy they face in this fantasy novel loved for its unique cast of characters and incredible world-building. The first epic fantasy novel in an upcoming trilogyAmazon"The Woven Kingdom" by Tahereh Mafi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99"This Woven Kingdom" intertwines fantastical Persian mythology and rich romance in the first novel of an upcoming fantasy trilogy about Alizeh, the long-lost heir to the kingdom for which she works as a servant. Kamran, the crown prince, has heard the prophecies his kingdom is destined to face but couldn't imagine the strange servant girl would be the one to uproot everything he's ever known. The most classic fantasy you can getAmazon"The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.37An introduction to the mystical world of "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit" is one of the most charming adventure fantasies in history. It's the timeless story of Bilbo Baggins meeting Gandalf as they set out to raid the treasure guarded by a dragon — indisputably a classic fantasy novel, and a must-read for any fantasy lover. A fantastical retelling of Chinese mythologyAmazon"Daughter of the Moon Goddess" by Sue Lynn Tan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19Inspired by the legend of Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, "Daughter of the Moon Goodess" follows Xingyin as her existence is discovered by the feared Celestial emperor and she must flee her home and leave her mother behind. In this mythological retelling, Xingyin must learn archery and magic in the very empire that once exiled her mother and challenge the Celestial Emperor with her life, loves, and the fate of the entire realm at stake. A steamy fantasy retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"Amazon"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49In this wildly popular series, Feyre is brought to a magical kingdom on the crime of killing a faerie where both she and the secrets of her captor are closely guarded. This series is known for its careful pacing, beautiful romance, and nightmarish fantasy creatures. The final book was just released, so now you can binge-read straight to the end. A historical fantasy that you won’t soon forgetAmazon"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19In 1714, Addie LaRue accidentally prays to the gods that answer after dark and curses herself to a life in which she cannot be remembered. This book spans 300 years as Addie lives without a trace until one day, she meets a boy who remembers her name. Contrary to the premise, Addie's story is one that stays with you long after you finish this book. This was my favorite book of 2020 and remains in my top five of all time. A fantasy book that begins with "It was a dark and stormy night"Amazon"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.35This is one of the few books from my childhood that has stood the test of time and remained on my bookshelf to this day. Meg Murry — along with her mother and brother — rushes downstairs in the middle of the night to find a strange visitor in the kitchen, launching an adventure through space and time to save Meg's father and the world. I was whisked away by the magic in this story, along with so many other readers. A fantasy story that will take you to a new worldAmazon"The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.64Though chronologically second, this was the first "Chronicles of Narnia" book to be published and therefore should be read first. It tells the story of three siblings who step through the door of a wardrobe and find themselves in the magical land of Narnia, enchanted by the evil White Witch. They team up with a lion and join the battle to save Narnia. C.S. Lewis wrote: "Some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again," and that resonates with so many readers who pick this book up and hold it close to their hearts forever.A fantasy series that's quickly become a modern classicAmazon"A Game of Thrones" series by George R. R. Martin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $26.93The "Game of Thrones" series is hailed as an undeniable classic even though it was just published in 2005. The entire series is iconic. It's about families caught in a never-ending war over who rules over the seven kingdoms. In these books, the good guys don't always win and the heroes don't always live. There are highly complicated characters, tons of subplots, and every kind of conflict imaginable. A powerful and diverse fantasy with contemporary issuesAmaozon"Legendborn" by Tracy Deonn, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $16.29"Legendborn" has quickly become a favorite amongst fantasy readers since it was published in September 2020. It weaves issues of grief, racism, and oppression with Arthurian-inspired magic. Bree enrolls in a college program for gifted high schoolers after an accident that left her mother dead. When an attempt to wipe Bree's memory after she witnesses a magical attack fails, her own magic and memories begin to return to her and leave her wondering if her mother's death was truly an accident. An enchanting, magical fantasy adventureBookshop"The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea" by Axie Oh, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99Mina's homeland has been devastated by storms for generations so every year, a maiden is sacrificed to the sea in the hopes the Sea God will take a true bride and end the villages' suffering. When Shim Cheong, her brother's beloved, is chosen for the next sacrifice, Mina throws herself into the sea in her place and is swept into the Spirit Realm where she seeks to wake the Sea God, confront him — and save her homeland before her time in the realm runs out. A feminist fairy tale classicAmazon"Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $7.35Whether or not you've seen the hilarious Anne Hathaway movie, this is one to pick up. It's the story of Ella, enchanted as an infant with the "gift" of obedience. It quickly turns into a curse as Ella can't help but do what she's told no matter who orders her or how silly (or dangerous) the order may be. When Ella finds she might be in danger, she sets out to undo the curse and ends up on an adventure with ogres, elves, even the classic pumpkin carriage. I thought this book was just as amusing as the movie and I probably read it a dozen times as a teen. A deadly fantasy tale of three royal sistersAmazon"Three Dark Crowns" series by Kendare Blake, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.99In every royal generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born. They are each equal heirs to the throne and possess one of three magics: control of the elements, affinity to nature and animals, or immunity to poison. When the girls turn sixteen, the fight for the crown begins and will only end once only one queen remains. In this dark series about strong women, the tension and twists build with each novel until the action-packed and intensely satisfying ending. The magic in these books is easy to understand and really entertaining to read. I loved seeing this sisterhood grow and change over the four books.A bloody fantasy epic of warrior womenAmazon"The Gilded Ones" by Namina Forna, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.39Deka is already different from the rest of her village, but when she bleeds gold — the mark of a demon girl — during a ceremony, she faces consequences worse than death. She is soon offered a choice: to stay and face her fate or leave and fight in an army of girls like her. This story moves swiftly with a mix of dystopian fantasy, horror, and a touch of romance. It can be quite violent at times, as demon girls suffer death after gruesome death. If you've ever been hesitant about picking up YA fantasy, this is one that won't disappoint. A dark fantasy that's perfect for a rainy dayAmazon"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.29While you are probably more familiar with "Coraline," "Neverwhere" is a Neil Gaiman book that just can't be passed over. On the streets of London, Richard Mayhew stops to help a bleeding girl and ends up in Neverwhere — a dark version of London where monsters lurk in the shadows. After finishing this, you'll ask yourself why you haven't read more of his novels. Gaiman also has a series on MasterClass that deconstructs his storytelling yet somehow adds more magic to every book. A classic fantasy novel full of magicAmazon"A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.79When Ged was young, he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. Now he's grown into the most powerful sorcerer in Earthsea, but he must face the consequences of the power-hungry actions of his younger self. This book (and the entire six-book series) continues to enchant fantasy readers 50 years after its first publication. Through graceful writing and impeccable character development, Le Guin challenges us to know and embrace our true selves.A high seas pirate adventure storyAmazon"Fable" by Adrienne Young, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69Fable is a trader, a fighter, and a survivor. Four years ago, she watched her mother drown in a ruthless storm and her father abandon her on an island of thieves. Relying on the skills her mother taught her, Fable enlists West to help her confront her father and demand a place on his crew. When she finally makes it off the island, Fable learns how much more dangerous her father's work has become and finds that the island may have been the safest place for her after all. This is a gritty story with a strong feminist lead and (thankfully) a sequel that was just released.A fantasy series where light and dark magic exist in parallel worldsAmazon"A Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99Kell is a smuggler and one of the last magicians able to travel between parallel Londons: red, white, grey, and (long ago) black. After being robbed and then saved by Delilah Bard, the two set out on an adventure to save themselves and the worlds through which they travel. Schwab is a masterful world-builder and you will absolutely travel right along with this pair. Because of this series, I have become a sucker for a parallel universe trope. The fantasy story of a forced marriage between a witch and a witch hunterAmazon"Serpent & Dove" by Shelby Mahurin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.59In Belterra, witches are feared and burned at the stake by ruthless witch hunters. For two years, Louise hid her magic to stay alive until one mistake set in motion a story of impossible choices, an enemies-to-lover romance, and a tangled battle between right and wrong. With how compelling the writing is, you'd never guess it is a debut novel. I bought this one just for the gorgeous cover and had no idea how extraordinary it would be.A criminal account of a steampunk band of anti-heroesAmazon"Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99Kaz is a professional criminal, offered an alluring heist that he can't pass up, but he can't pull off alone. This story is completely brilliant, gritty, and a little messy. With six main characters, "Six of Crows" is a fast-paced heist, a story that leaves you constantly surprised as you'll never fully know any one character's intentions due to its third-person point of view.The fantastical tale of a magical unicornAmazon"The Last Unicorn" by Peter S. Beagle, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.99This is a beautiful fairy tale with poems and songs set throughout the pages. In this book, a unicorn who lives alone in a forest protected from death decides to find what happened to the others. Helped by a magician and a spinster, the unicorn sets out on a journey of love and destiny, faced with an evil king who aims to rid the world of the final unicorn. The life lessons woven throughout this book are bittersweet, but also real and honest. A cherished chronicle of magical children and guarded secretsAmazon"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by T.J Klune, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.29This is one of the few books I refer to as "beautiful." Linus Baker is a quiet caseworker for the Department of Magical Youth — and has just been charged with investigating a highly secretive case that requires him to travel to an island where six dangerous magical orphans (including the actual son of Satan) live under the care of Arthur Parnassus. This book is all about family, filled with comforting magic as you come to care for fictional characters. Plus, reading about a child who is trying to be a good kid while also being the literal Anti-Christ is absolutely hysterical and was the highlight of this book for me.A dark, horror-fantasy book about occult magicAmazon"Ninth House" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.55Alex Stern is recovering in the hospital after surviving an unsolved homicide when she's mysteriously offered a full ride at Yale University. The only catch: she has to monitor the activities of the school's secret societies that practice dark magic. Alex, a high school dropout from LA, has no idea why she's been chosen but by the time she finds out, she'll be in too deep. This book won the Goodreads Choice Awards "Best Fantasy" category in 2019 and it absolutely lives up to the hype. It's intense, bloody, and powerful as dangerous magic weaves itself into an everyday school setting. A truly fun Greek mythology storyAmazon"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.98Deeply loved, the Percy Jackson books are just as regarded as "The Hunger Games" or "Divergent." Percy has no idea that he is a demigod, son of Poseidon, but he's having trouble in school, unable to focus or control his temper. Percy is sure that his teacher tried to kill him and when his mom finds out, she knows she needs to tell him the truth about where he came from. He goes to a summer camp for demigods and teams up with two friends to reach the Underworld in order to prevent a war between the gods. Percy makes a great hero and it's so easy to root for him as he pushes through his journey, the pages filled with Grade-A characters, action scenes, and monsters. A West-African inspired fantasy world of danger and magicAmazon"Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99After a ruthless king left the world without magic and her mother dead, Zélie finds she has only one chance to save her people. On a dangerous journey to restore magic to the land before it is lost forever, Zélie's greatest danger may be herself. Readers agree that the best parts of this book are the characters, who all go on a transformative journey as they fight for peace. This is in TIME's Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time, which is a huge deal. A captivating vampire fantasy novelAmazon"Crave" by Tracy Wolff, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.51It's easy to draw a comparison between "Crave" and "Twilight," especially since the moment "brooding vampires" is mentioned, everyone's first thought is Edward Cullen. Plus, the cover looks like it's part of Stephanie Meyer's famous saga. But the "Crave" series is more sophisticated and literary while embracing the inherent cringe that now seems to accompany any vampire story. This is an engaging read because it blends nostalgia with something fresh and new. Open this book when you're ready to have fun with reading — the cheesy moody vampire moments are absolutely present amongst turf wars, a gothic academy, and dragons. A dark urban fantasy where people hunt the godsAmazon"Lore" by Alexandra Bracken, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99Greek mythology meets "The Hunger Games" in this world where every seven years, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by those eager to steal divine power and immortality for themselves. Lore wants to leave this brutality behind when her help is sought out by two opposing participants: a childhood friend she thought long dead and a gravely wounded Athena. The world created in this standalone is thorough and complex. But if you love crazy twists and that "just one more chapter" feeling, you should give this a shot.An iconic fantasy book that checks every boxAmazon"The Princess Bride" by William Goldman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.11"The Princess Bride" is a modern classic that has something for everyone: action, beasts, true love, and a whole lot of fighting. A beautiful girl, Buttercup, and her farm boy, Westley, have fallen madly in love. Westley sets off to claim his fortune so he can marry her before he's ambushed by pirates. Thinking he's dead, Buttercup marries an evil prince as Westley plans to return to her. It's riddled with narration from the author that really adds to the passion and humor of this book.A 200-years-later fantasy sequel to "Cinderella"Amazon"Cinderella is Dead" by Kalynn Bayron, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.63200 years after Cinderella found her prince, girls are required to appear at the annual ball where men select their wives. If a girl is not selected, she is never heard from again. Sophia would much rather marry her love, Erin, so she flees the ball where she runs into Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella. Together, they decide to bring down the king once and for all. This book gathered attention for its Black and queer lead characters that have no intention of waiting for a night in shining armor to save them. It's a story of bravery, anger, and fighting for love.A fantasy that's all about booksAmazon"Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Meggie's father is reading to her from a book called "Inkheart" one night when an evil stranger from her father's past knocks on their door. When Meggie's dad is kidnapped, she has to learn to control the magic to change the story that's taken over her life, creating a world that she's only read about in books. It's a story about magic, for sure, but also about the unwavering bond between Meggie and her father — a truly heartwarming love that you'll feel as a reader.  A darker collection of fairy talesAmazon"The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales" by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $4.95The German brothers who wrote this book aimed to collect stories exactly how they were told. This led to a collection of fairy tales that we all know and love, minus the obligatory "happily ever afters." It has all the classics like "Cinderella" and "Rapunzel" that haven't been softened or brightly colored for younger audiences. This is great for anyone who loves the feeling of discovering all the secrets behind the stories or movies we loved when we were young.A fantasy re-telling of "Romeo and Juliet," set in 1920s ShanghaiAmazon"These Violent Delights" by Chloe Gong, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99In 1926, a blood feud has left the city starkly divided, Juliette the heir to the Scarlet Gang and Roma the heir to the White Flowers. They were each other's first love, separated by their families and long ago (but not forgotten) betrayal. Now, as a mysterious illness is causing the people to claw their own throats out, Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to save their city. This one features a river monster, a serious amount of blood and gore, and nods to the original "Romeo and Juliet" throughout. A fantastical tapestry of legends and rivalriesAmazon"The Priory of the Orange Tree" by Samantha Shannon, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.24Told from four points of view, Queen Sabran IX must conceive a daughter, for the legends say that as long as a queen rules, the monster beneath the sea will sleep. But as the assassins close in, the eastern and western kingdoms of Virtudom refuse to unite, even against an ancient and monumental threat that could kill them all. This is 800 pages of high fantasy, charged by dragons, queer representation, and a large cast of characters — but don't worry, you can find a glossary and character list in the back to help you keep it all straight. It's been hailed as "A feminist successor to 'The Lord of the Rings'" and decidedly embraces that praise.A fantasy novel hailed for its romanceAmazon"From Blood and Ash" by Jennifer L. Armentrout, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.67While this absolutely falls into the fantasy genre, it actually won the Goodreads Choice Awards for "Best Romance" in 2020. Poppy is the Maiden, chosen to fulfill a destiny that has never been fully explained to her, living the life of a recluse and awaiting to ascend to prove she is worthy to the gods and can protect her land from the curse. When she can't stand it anymore, she sneaks away from the kingdom and meets Hawke, spurring a desperate secret romance. The beginning of the first book is slow, but the momentum builds quickly. It ends on a huge cliffhanger but the second one has already been released and the third is out on April 20, 2021. A classic Arthurian taleAmazon"The Sword in the Stone" by T. H. White, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.50Before the famous King Arthur, there was a boy named Wart, a wizard named Merlin, and a sword stuck in a stone. In this story, Merlin helps Wart learn valuable coming-of-age lessons as he grows up. It feels both medieval and modern, with an emotional ending as Wart finally faces the sword. If you loved the Disney movie, you should still read this, since they're very different. The witchy prequel to “Practical Magic”Amazon"The Rules of Magic" by Alice Hoffman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.30Franny, Bridget, and Vincent are growing up in the 1950s, aware that they are different but held under strict parental rules to keep them safe and away from magic. When they visit their Aunt Isabelle in Massachusetts where their family name holds great history, the Owens siblings learn to embrace their magical sides. You don't need to have read "Practical Magic" to love this story of sibling love and finding your identity. The book is simply delightful and the whole thing feels like a cool autumn in Salem. A fantasy series that you'll hold close long after the final bookAmazon"Throne of Glass" series by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.59This entire eight-book series has insanely high reviews, with a ton of fantasy readers picking up anything Sarah J. Maas writes. It follows Celaena Sardothien, an assassin who is offered a chance to serve as the King's Champion and earn her freedom after serving in a camp for her crimes. Celaena is drawn into a series of battles and a deeply woven conspiracy, discovering secrets about the kingdom and herself. This is an epic, powerful, and brilliant journey that might just become your new favorite series.The first in a new "Shadowhunter" seriesAmazon"Chain of Gold" by Cassandra Clare, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49Cordelia is a Shadowhunter, a warrior who has trained all her life to battle demons. On a mission to prove her father's innocence, she travels to London where she meets James, a childhood friend. She's whisked into his secret and dazzling life when a series of demon attacks hit London. These new monsters seem impossible to kill as they hide in plain sight and close off the city. The characters are what drives this book and if you've read other "Shadowhunter" novels by Cassandra Clare, you'll love getting to know family members you've heard about before. A portal fantasy that all begins with a girl finding magic in a bookAmazon"The Ten Thousand Doors of January" by Alix E Harrow, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99While serving as the ward to a wealthy man, January finds a strange book that tells a story of secret doors, adventure, and danger. As she reads, January is taken on an imaginative journey of discovery as a book she thought was fiction elaborately bends her reality. It's a portal story of love and enchanting adventure, a book about a book that will mercilessly break your heart but gracefully put it back together. A wintery fairytale story, loosely based on “Rumpelstiltskin”Amazon"Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.99Miryem quickly earns a reputation for being able to spin silver to gold after setting out to save her family from poverty, capturing the attention of the Ice King. This is a woven story of three women, three mothers, and three marriages. Naomi Novik does an incredible job of helping you follow each story, creating some amazingly strong female protagonists. This is not your typical fairytale, but it's still full of whimsical writing, familial bonds, and tons of charm.  A deep-sea fantasy journey with seven kinds of magicAmazon"All The Stars and Teeth" by Adalyn Grace, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89In a kingdom where you can choose your magic, Amora knows that to be queen, she must master the dangerous but fickle soul magic. When her demonstration fails, Amora flees and strikes a deal with a pirate: she will help him reclaim his magic if he can help her prove that she's fit to rule. "All the Stars and Teeth" is an epic adventure-driven fantasy featuring mermaids, sea monsters, and a kingdom in danger. A fantasy book that will pull you in from the first lineAmazon"A Curse So Dark and Lonely" by Brigid Kemmerer, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89Set in the parallel land of Emberfall, a cursed Prince Rhen has become a destructive, murderous monster. Harper, a regular girl with cerebral palsy, was mistakenly kidnapped and is now the prince's only hope. Yes, this is the second "Beauty and the Beast" retelling in this roundup but they are both so different and so loved. Readers come for the complexity of Rhen and Harper and stay for the snarky, hysterical bickering between the two.A fantasy story of a darkly magical school where you graduate or dieAmazon"A Deadly Education" by Naomi Novik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.41At Scholomance, magically gifted students must survive to graduate — and failure means death. There are no teachers, no breaks, and only two rules: don't walk the halls alone, and beware of the monsters that lurk everywhere. El has no allies, just incredibly strong dark magic that could save her — but might kill all the other students. El's evolution and hilarity during this story plus Novik's thoughtful world-building and extremely diverse cast of characters are what make this a favorite. A fae-centered high fantasyAmazon"The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.9910 years ago, Jude and her sisters were kidnapped after their parents' murder and taken to the land of Faerie, where they are mortal humans amongst fantastical but cruel creatures. In order to belong, Jude must win a place in the high court which will require her to defy the youngest prince. Holly Black (crowned the supreme Faerie-world writer) creates a world so real, you'll forget its magic. A new fantasy duology of a world of enchanted injusticeAmazon"Spellbreaker" by Charlie N. Holmberg, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $8.49There are two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those born with the ability to break them. Elise was born a spellbreaker but her gift is a crime. While on a mission to break the enchantments of aristocrats, Elise is discovered and must strike a bargain with an elite wizard to protect herself. It's a fun fantasy mystery with plenty of twists and danger that are sure to keep you intrigued.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 23rd, 2022

2 German volunteers went to Ukraine to fight the Russians. Confusion, chaos, and then COVID-19, defeated them instead.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called on foreign fighters to help defend against Russian attacks. Many weren't what the Ministry of Defense had in mind. Lukas and Tobias, two German volunteers, arrive in the western city of Lviv, just over a week after Russia's invasion of Ukraine began.Alan Chin for Insider To help defend against Russian attacks, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called on foreign fighters.  Volunteers poured in, but many were perhaps not what the Ministry of Defense had in mind. On March 2, two German volunteers arrived in Lviv, ready to become war heroes. Chaos ensued. The two Germans burst into the hostel in Lviv, Ukraine, at 2 a.m., bumping into the door frame and shouting questions about where the beds were and how to find the bathroom. It was March 2, a week into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the hostel was mostly filled with shell-shocked women and children escaping war to the east. The Germans were starkly out of place. Marie and Etterem, the Ukrainian-Turkish couple who ran the place, had been sleeping on the kitchen floor down in the basement—now doubling as an air raid bunker—to leave more room for guests. They got up to prepare tea for the newcomers, giving the men a chance to explain themselves."We are volunteer soldiers for the International Legion of the Ukrainian military," Lukas, the younger of the two men, said. His companion, Tobias, twitched with excitement as he interrupted with, "We're here to fight the Russians."Marie and Etterem thanked the men for their bravery and headed back to bed. The Germans stepped out onto the balcony for a smoke, inviting me—a jet-lagged journalist who had been staying at the hostel since the war began—to join their late-night conversation. Sharply dressed in pristine blue-and-white tennis shoes, with a nose piercing and studded ears, Lukas, 33, had been living in Montenegro for the last six months while working at his father's IT company. He had come with a small backpack containing little that might come in handy for a soldier, and just enough money to pay for a few nights at a hostel.As he would tell me later, Lukas was bored with his tech job and was looking for something "real." Ukraine seemed as real as it could get. When he told his family and his girlfriend that he planned to join the International Legion, they tried to hide his passport. He slipped out in the middle of the night. "It was my decision and no one could stop me," Lukas said.Tobias—a decade older, at 44—was a luxury watchmaker by trade and spent weekends DJ-ing at techno clubs. Tall and lanky, with gauged earlobes and an uneven buzz cut, he carried only a small, overstuffed suitcase on two wheels, a well-worn black backpack, and a khaki shoulder bag that he seemed unwilling to part with. A simple black watch hung on his wrist. Tobias had been watching the news from his home in Fulda, outside Frankfurt, and was moved by a striking image of a Ukrainian girl carrying a Kaloshnikov in Kyiv. She looked to be around the same age as his daughter, Luna. "What if that were my Luna?" he remembers thinking. "How could I let her do this fight alone?"  Over the last year, Tobias had fallen out with his father and sister, lost ownership of the business he'd spent years building, and relapsed into binge drinking and drugs. He hadn't seen either of his two kids in more than six months. "My family is everything, and I don't have them anymore," he said. So, why not go to Ukraine, he figured."Were we supposed to just stand by and watch?" Tobias asked, digging into his pocket for his lighter. "We are from Germany," he said, halting his incessant fidgeting to emphasize his words and allude to his country's WWII history. "Not again."Neither man had any military experience or combat training, or even a connection to Ukraine. Lukas, smoking a joint, pulled his jacket more tightly around himself. He had brought rolling papers, but not a scarf or gloves. It was just 26 degrees that night in Lviv, and snowing.'Please come, we will give you weapons'On February 26—two days after the start of the Russian bombardment—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited foreign nationals who considered themselves friends of Ukraine to join the fight, saying, "Please come. We will give you weapons."A day after that, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense provided more details: "Anyone who wants to join the defense of Ukraine, Europe, and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals." Practically unprecedented in modern times, it brought to mind the call for anti-fascist volunteers to Spain in the 1930s, when over 60,000 volunteers from 50 countries (George Orwell among them) rushed to the Republicans' side in the Spanish civil war.These foreign fighters would be incorporated into the military under a voluntary contract with the same rights and responsibilities as the 100,000 or more Ukrainian militiamen already organized within 25 Territorial Defense Force brigades around the country.The International Legion added to Ukraine's 200,000-plus active-duty troops and 900,000 reservists—Europe's second largest military force, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Only Russia oversees a bigger military in the region, dwarfing the forces of its neighbors, with over 900,000 active-duty soldiers and two million reservists.Formed at breakneck speed, many of the recruits were perhaps not who the Ministry of Defense had hoped to attract or was prepared to train. And, although legislation already existed to recruit foreigners, the military infrastructure that is needed to prepare inexperienced volunteers for war was still developing.On March 2, Ukraine updated its guidelines, and specified that recruits must sign up at the nearest Ukrainian embassy, complete a background check, and pass a health screening before presenting for service. (By March 7, Ukraine said 20,000 foreign recruits from 52 countries had applied to join the International Legion. Some estimates suggest the number has grown to 40,000.)But by that time, Tobias and Lukas were already in Ukraine—heading to training in their sneakers and jeans. The Georgian LegionTobias and Lukas had met at the train station in Przemysl, a small town on the Polish-Ukrainian border, during the long wait for the next train to Lviv—40 miles to the east. Tobias had overheard Lukas chatting with another man in German and, happy to hear his mother tongue, introduced himself. Lukas had been telling people that he was heading to Ukraine as a humanitarian volunteer. But when Tobias mentioned that he already had a military contact inside Ukraine, Lukas came clean. Tobias (left) and Lukas at the train station in Lviv.Alan Chin for InsiderA few days earlier, back in Germany, Tobias had reached out to the Ukrainian embassy in Frankfurt and learned that Ukraine's borders were open for volunteer fighters from anywhere in the world. No visa was required, so travel wouldn't be a problem. Tobias went on Facebook in search of a contact for the International Legion. He discovered instead the Georgian Legion—a battalion of volunteer soldiers mostly from the ex-Soviet country, many of whom carried anger towards Russia from when President Putin attacked their country in 2008. Tobias was given an email address and instructed to reach out once he crossed into Ukraine. While Tobias might have thought he had nothing to lose, his family saw things differently. "It was like a rollercoaster," Tobias' daughter, Luna, told me when I reached her by phone. "Always waiting for messages to know if he was okay."Lukas had done even less research, jumping on a train without any plans, instructions, or contacts. Once in Ukraine, he figured, it wouldn't be difficult to connect with a recruiter for the Legion. And then, he met Tobias, who seemed to have all the information Lukas needed. The Germans decided to continue the journey together. On that first frigid night in Lviv, they arrived too late to meet their Georgian contact. Instead, they were told they should find a place to sleep, and a car would come for them the next morning to take them to the training center.  The hostel was the only place their taxi driver could find with two open beds in the packed city, which had become a transit hub for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the bombardments of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and other cities.  Lukas (left) helps Tobias repack his bags as they prepare to meet their Georgian Legion escort at the hostel in Lviv, Ukraine.Katie Livingstone for InsiderThe next morning, after just a few hours of sleep, the Germans showered and repacked their bags. Lukas finished first and watched as Tobias struggled to stuff all his things into his two bags. After a while, Lukas gamely plopped onto Tobias' suitcase so that his companion could more easily zip it up.Sure enough, later that morning a dark blue skoda with two armed soldiers pulled up in front of the hostel. The car was unmarked, but the soldiers wore the telltale yellow armband meant to differentiate Ukrainian troops from Russian soldiers. Making their way to the car, the Germans promised me they would stay in touch. (Over the next three weeks, I would hear from them almost daily, and meet them for several more interviews. They asked that Insider use only their first names.)  Tobias and Lukas climbed into the back seat and off they sped to some unknown location to begin their service to Ukraine. 'Katastrophe'In a hushed phone call that first night, Tobias explained that he and Lukas had been taken to the Georgian Legion's barracks, just outside Lviv. The place was barren and disorganized. They had expected to receive gear and start training right away. Instead, they spent most of that day and night drinking and smoking with their new brothers-in-arms while trying to communicate in whatever lingua-franca passed for the moment. (Most of the soldiers were Georgian, and about a third were from other places.) "Katastrophe," Tobias repeated over and over again. "There's no organization, no organized training. Everyone just wants to kill the Russians." Lukas and Tobias depart the Lviv hostel for training with the Georgian Legion.Katie Livingstone for InsiderThe next morning, Tobias and Lukas were told the Georgians were evacuating the base after getting a report that Russians were heading their way. They should take a train to Kyiv, they were told.But the details were foggy. Still without any military gear, they told me they were instructed to pose as Red Cross volunteers and prepare reports on any suspicious activity that they observed en route. "They want us to spy on the people on the train," Tobias said. Once in the capital, they would meet up with another squadron at a safe-house. After that, they'd go to the front, they were told.When asked why the Legion would make such a request of two foreigners with no experience in the country who couldn't speak the local languages, Lukas said simply: "They asked, so we are going." Out of Lukas' earshot, Tobias offered another explanation. "The Georgian officer asked Lukas to stop smoking in the room twice last night. And he didn't want to. He's not thinking. Then, the officer asked us to go to Kyiv, and Lukas agreed. Katastrophe," Tobias lamented. He had agreed to accompany Lukas because he didn't want the younger man to go alone, he said.Fissures in the brotherhood were already becoming apparent.Meanwhile, since the war began, no Russian troops have been reported in Lviv by any media outlets. Instead, across Lviv, paranoia about Russian saboteurs was palpable. At the hostel where Tobias and Lukas stayed, Marie and Etterem said they received almost nightly calls from an intelligence officer asking if any of their guests seemed dubious. One night, prior to the Germans' arrival, police had burst into the small lodge and interrogated all of the male foreigners staying there, and then left without another word. Hundreds of check-points have gone up around greater Lviv and residents are told to call a hotline to report anything suspicious."I remember two crazy Germans," Mamuka Mamulashvili, the commander of the Georgian Legion, told me when I reached him over Skype. I showed him a picture of Tobias and Lukas, just to be sure, and Mamulashvili burst out laughing, explaining that he tries to personally interview every recruit. "That's them.""My officers told me there were these two guys trying to party in the barracks, and they had to go. They were gone the next day," Mamulashvili said. Mamulashvili said the Georgian Legion is a Special Forces battalion made up of combat-ready fighters, and that it has been repeatedly confused with Ukraine's newly-organized International Legion, which has training capacity for less experienced soldiers."I don't know anything about the 'spy story,' though," he added with a smirk, after I summarized what the Germans had told me.'Ukraine must know its heroes'Unlike the packed trains carrying mostly women and children toward the Polish border, the trains heading east had plenty of seats. Tobias and Lukas' trip to Kyiv was uneventful, even as their excitement grew. "We have gone past some blown-up buildings, and I think I saw an unexploded missile in a field," Tobias texted from the train."This isn't what I signed up for," Lukas admitted in an audio message, adding, "But we are ready." Tobias and Lukas arrived at Kyiv's central train station that evening, still wearing their civilian clothes. As instructed, they called their Georgian commander back in Lviv. The phone rang and rang. No one answered. Now at the war's doorstep, they had no plan and no idea where they would spend the night.By this point in the war—ten days after Kyiv was first hit—Russian missile assaults had driven over a million people to the west and into neighboring countries. That day, Russian troops had occupied the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, stirring up decades-old fears of nuclear war. Incessant bombing had started in Mariupol, southeast from Kyiv—the start of one of the worst civilian disasters in Ukraine since the war began.Tobias on the train from Lviv to Kyiv, where he and Lukas hoped to finally reach the front line.TobiasBut Ukrainian forces had stalled the 40-mile-long line of Russian troops heading into the capital from Belarus, repelling forces from the capital through a stunningly successful combination of air defense tactics and street combat. Zelenkskyy continued to speak to the Ukrainian people from Kyiv's iconic city squares, proving to the world that the capital was still in Ukrainian hands. Still, shelling was heard nightly and many residents of the capital took refuge in the city's subway stations, which had been built during the Cold War to withstand a nuclear attack. Without a better idea, Tobias and Lukas began approaching uniformed soldiers to ask if they could join their squads. They eventually found two friendly Ukrainian reservists in fatigues and, with the help of a translation app on their phones, introduced themselves. The reservists said their squadron had not yet been mobilized. They invited the Germans back to their makeshift barracks, in the back of a storefront, to sleep for the night. "Only civilians are protecting the train station! There's a ring of Russians around Kyiv! We don't know how to get out!" Tobias exclaimed on the phone that night. I checked the news and, in fact, trains were still leaving daily to the east. With their Georgian commander still not picking up their calls, the Germans passed the hours drinking the reservists' alcohol and smoking the last of the marijuana Lukas had brought—bonding over their united mission against Russia. Tobias (second from left) and Lukas (right) hang out with the Ukrainian reservists they met at the Kyiv train station. The Ukrainians invited them to stay at their makeshift barracks.TobiasThe next morning, the reservists drove Tobias and Lukas around Kyiv to search for a new group to join, the Germans told me. But no one would have them. "They told us to leave because the war is lost and it is too dangerous," Tobias said later. (In fact, the steadfast resolve of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians alike has been well documented. Insider was unable to speak to the reservists by phone to confirm details of the visit.)Their best bet was to return to Lviv and try to reconnect with the International Legion there, Tobias and Lukas decided.  Back at Kyiv's train station, they found, for the first time, they were heading in the same direction as throngs of other people. Children still in their pajamas from hasty escapes, elderly people with blank stares and almost no luggage. When a Lviv-bound train pulled up at the platform, the scene was chaotic, as hundreds of people tried to push their way onto the already crowded train. The Germans noticed a shell-shocked woman standing nearby, who seemed unable to jostle her things onto the train. They sprung into action, securing the woman a seat on the next train out and, as her escorts, finding just enough space to squeeze themselves into the train's corridor. The woman, named Yulia, was 38 and had fled the besieged northeastern city of Kharkiv. She carried just one small suitcase and said she wasn't sure if her apartment had been bombed. She said she thought it had.  On the long ride west, Tobias and Lukas hatched a plan to escort Yulia to Germany. "It's too dangerous for a woman to travel on her own," Tobias told me later that night, with conviction and satisfaction in his voice. But the next morning, after another night spent in the bunk-beds of the Lviv hostel, they changed their minds about leaving Ukraine so quickly. They accompanied Yulia to the bus station, and waved as she headed towards Poland, where she had family waiting for her."I am very grateful to these guys who literally dragged me onto the train to Lviv," she later posted on Facebook. (She also confirmed the details of Tobias and Lukas' story to Insider.) "I can't tell you how I felt at that moment, only tears of joy and gratitude. Ukraine must know its heroes—Sláva Ukrayíni! (Glory to Ukraine!)"Reinvigorated by their brief visit to Kyiv, Tobias and Lukas finally gave up on the Georgians and decided to focus on the International Legion. But it still wasn't clear how they would do that. So, once again, they began approaching men in uniform.Soon, a friendly man in fatigues was leading them to a small building that had just been repurposed into a military post for the International Legion. Inside, they were led past the long line of Ukrainian men presenting for service with the Territorial Defense Forces, to the much shorter line reserved for foreigners.Tobias and Lukas were asked a few questions and then heard the words they had been waiting for: The International Legion of the Ukrainian armed forces would welcome them at its training center. The Yavoriv training center was located at a former NATO base, 15 miles from the Polish border. Tobias and Lukas would spend the night at a way-station in Novoyavorivsk, not far from the base. Finally, it seemed, Tobias and Lukas were on the right course.'Drive as fast as the rockets!'The first day at the Yavoriv training center of the International Legion was a blur of activity. There were recruits from the US, Canada, Israel, and several other countries. Taking pictures at the base was forbidden and the recruits were told to switch their phones to airplane mode to avoid detection.As Tobias and Lukas would later tell me, Ukrainian soldiers took their passport details and had them sign documents, which they said they couldn't understand because they were written in Ukrainian. No copies were provided. Every recruit was given pants with a digital camouflage pattern (too thin for the winter, they said), several button-down shirts, some undershirts and underwear (several sizes too big, they said), boots, and a duffle bag. They were offered a Kalashnikov, but no ammunition since foreign recruits were not allowed to carry loaded weapons on the base.Days on the base started every day at 6 a.m. with breakfast in the mess hall, followed by marches in formation and combat exercises. They were taught about Russian weaponry and field tactics via PowerPoint presentations. Recruits sat shoulder to shoulder in packed rooms, often without enough chairs.Tobias in uniform during training at Yavoriv.LukasTo verify what the men were telling me, I went to one of the International Legion's offices in Lviv and interviewed Col. Anton Myronovych, a public affairs officer for the Ukrainian military.He told me the contracts he's seen are translated into English—it's the same contract as Ukrainian volunteers for the Territorial Defense Forces—and trainees receive copies of everything they sign. Foreign fighters are also entitled to the same pay and benefits as Ukrainians. "There's no difference between Ukrainians and foreigners in this situation," he said. Col. Myronovych said that troops in the International Legion are initially trained in separate groups according to their skill level, and later put into squadrons with skilled soldiers. When international battalions are sent to the front, he said, they are paired with Ukrainian battalions already on the battlefield to face the enemy as a united force. At Yavoriv, Lukas had grown tight-lipped. He said he couldn't talk while on the base. But Tobias was in high spirits. "They're crazy happy I have a license to drive trucks," Tobias said in a WhatsApp message after the first day of training. He imagined they might assign him to transport goods to the front since there were so few available drivers. "But this is also very dangerous," he said. "So I'll have to drive as fast as the rockets!"'Someone watching your back'One of the first people Tobias and Lukas met in Novoyavorivsk was Kevin, a sturdy, 58-year-old Irishman with bright white hair. Unlike most of the other recruits, Kevin had arrived in Ukraine with a bullet-proof vest and a helmet, and seemed well versed in modern weaponry and tactics. As a young man, he had served in the Irish special forces, and had later worked as a security contractor in some of the world's hotspots. (Kevin would later show me dog-eared pictures of from his military days, which he'd brought with him to Ukraine.) With high blood pressure and persistent pain from, he said, a crushed vertebra from a parachuting accident years ago, he was no longer in top form, but he thought he could still be useful in a fight.Like the Germans, Kevin had hoped to join a small squadron and get out to the front line as soon as possible. "When you see the suffering, the killing of women and children and the elderly, it's pretty hard to just sit back and watch it happen," Kevin told me later. Kevin displays two photographs from his younger days as a soldier.Katie Livingstone for InsiderWhen Kevin contacted the Ukrainian embassy in Ireland, they only insisted on recruits having some military experience, according to an email reviewed by Insider. After Kevin crossed the border, he found a military representative, who directed him to the training center at Yavoriv. In Tobias and Lukas, Kevin saw men with "good hearts." "We all agreed that we would help and look out for each other," Kevin told me when I first interviewed him. "In situations like this, it is essential to have someone watching your back and vice versa." Meanwhile, three other recruits had also joined the Germans' unofficial crew. There was William, a moody, 25-year-old Frenchman, who cited his hundreds of hours playing Call of Duty when asked about his military experience; Misha, 42 and Czech, who admitted he didn't know how to handle a gun but said he could survive off the land for months at a time if needed; and Erik, a 20-year-old medic from Germany, had brought along a well-stocked first aid kit and flak jacket from his time training (but not fighting) with the military back home.'I came to fight for Ukraine, not to die for Ukraine'Within about three days, doubt once again had set in. There wasn't any time for questions, or enough equipment for hands-on practice. Many of the recruits weren't taking the training seriously, and were smoking cigarettes during drills. Then, there was the constant clamor of air raid sirens—day and night—and the furious rush to take cover in case they signaled a true threat. And all over the base, the men noticed that fellow recruits were getting sick. On around the third day of training, Tobias started feeling unwell. A high fever kept him up at night. Kevin wouldn't admit it, but others noticed something wrong in him, too. William fainted twice during their morning exercises. The three men started skipping training to rest—which was fine, since no one required them to attend. There was no COVID-19 testing available on the base, but all three suspected they'd come down with the virus. With a hint of hyperbole, the men said that half of the recruits appeared to be sick, and some were giving up on training entirely and leaving the camp. (Col. Myronovych denied any large-scale Covid outbreak, or shortage of medical care.) "I am wondering if I made the right decision to come," Tobias wrote in a WhatsApp message.  "But it is too late to turn back now." At around the same time, Neumann, a German field medic who was helping to lead some of their drills, started showing signs of mounting stress, the men said. He had begun shouting during their lessons, they said, losing his patience more often with both the recruits and the Ukrainian officers. That afternoon, Neumann pulled Tobias, Kevin and a few others aside. He whispered urgently that he had overheard some of the Ukrainian officers talking. Behind their backs, officers were referring to recruits like them—those without combat training but with a will to fight—as "cannon fodder" and "mine meat." They'd be used to open up the battlefield and test their enemy's capabilities before risking more valuable, better-trained troops, he said. With tears streaming down his face, he urged the men to leave. Insider was unable to reach Neumann, and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine did not respond to requests for comments on these accusations. When I asked Col. Myronovych about this, he said he didn't recognize the name Neumann, and denied that such an attitude existed.Foreign recruits have access to the same training resources and safety measures as Ukrainian members of the Territorial Defense Forces, Col. Myronovych said, adding that the Legion was doing the best they could to quickly and effectively train these rookie troops alongside veteran soldiers. "They cannot only fight and die in the first day. They have to survive. They have to stay safe. It's one of our goals—they have to come back alive." Back at Yavoriv, Neumann's warning terrified Tobias, Lukas, and the others. Erik's tactical first aid vest, which he brought with him from Germany.Used with permission"I came to fight for Ukraine, not to die for Ukraine," Erik told me later. "Being in these legions is like holding a loaded gun to your head and pulling the trigger." The six men decided it was time to leave, and went to their commanding officer to report their decision. After that, things moved quickly. They were immediately separated from the other troops, and forbidden from reentering the barracks or other communal areas unaccompanied. They were ushered back into the registration area to sign more forms and then into the storerooms to return their gear. Within a couple hours of their announcement, they were waiting for a taxi back to Novoyavorivsk, hoping to make it back to Lviv before the 10 p.m. curfew. Thanks to a last-minute cancellation on Booking.com, they ended up lucking out and finding an apartment in downtown Lviv that could house all six of them for the next week. It only had 2 double beds, but seemed warm and safe. At around midnight, the six soldiers arrived at the apartment, and promptly fell asleep on couches, floors, and beds. Close callThe next morning, at about 5:50 am — as the six men slept in their rented apartment in Lviv — 30 high-precision missiles hit the Yavoriv training center.Initial estimates said that 35 people had been killed and another 134 were wounded, making it one of the most devastating attacks on a military facility since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began. A Russian spokesman later said that the strike had targeted "foreign mercenaries" and a large shipment of weapons from the west. The six men, safe in Lviv, only learned of the bombing when they awoke hours later. They had slept through the sirens that had blared across the region to announce the danger. Groggy and still incredulous from the many false alarms they had endured in the last week, they pulled up shaky videos of the base on social media. They saw smoke rising from courtyards they recognized, strewn with debris, and heard victims crying for help in the background. They tried calling a few of the fellow trainees, who's numbers they'd collected. For hours, no one picked up. It seemed that the horrible reality of war had finally started to sink in, and they didn't yet seem to have the words to describe the mix of relief and guilt they were feeling at having narrowly escaped the carnage."If I was there, I could have at least tied a tourniquet," Erik said later. The men spent the rest of the day arguing about what to do next. The three youngest – Lukas, William, and Erik – talked about going to the front to join the unofficial squadrons they'd heard about. But at this point, Tobias and Kevin had been paying everyone's way, and they announced they were tired of it. The next day, Kevin told Lukas, William, and Erik they had to go. "Wake up. This isn't a game and we're not your parents," Kevin told them as his parting words, handing them bus money and a spare iPhone since Erik's had disappeared at the base.  From left to right, Kevin, William, and Eric at the apartment in Lviv.Katie Livingstone for InsiderEleven days after arriving in Ukraine with Tobias, Lukas left without saying goodbye. He was out of the war zone by later that afternoon. "I am dead," Lukas told me later over WhatsApp.Back in Montenegro, Lukas vowed to return to Ukraine soon, better prepared, to finish his mission. Maybe he hadn't understood how easily it would be to die in a war that had already claimed thousands of Ukrainian and Russian lives. William ultimately stayed in Ukraine for a few more weeks to volunteer with the Cross of Malta, and has since returned to his IT job in France. Erik is gone too. Back home, he told me he was having nightmares about the people he didn't help. Misha was the next to left Ukraine. Only Tobias and Kevin remained.They had come to "kill some Russians," as they often said, and still weren't ready to give up on that. They went to the train station to volunteer, but were turned away because, they were told, each group already had enough help. Tobias thought about trying to link up with the reservists in Kyiv, who had been mobilized since their first meeting. In truth, Tobias was too sick to do much of anything. On top of the fever, headaches and racing hearts, Kevin had also run out of his blood pressure medicine, and Tobias was out of the pills he took to manage his anxiety.On Wednesday, March 16, both men tested positive for COVID-19.Tobias' positive COVID-19 test.Tobias On Friday, Tobias sat outside their apartment under the glare of a full moon, whispering because it was after curfew and he didn't want the neighbors to call the police. "I don't want my kids to grow up without a father," he said emotionally, finally realizing he didn't want to die in this war."I am too sick to fight. I am useless, I must go home," Tobias said. He left Ukraine on March 21.A week later, while trying out tricks on a bike he had bought for his son, Tobias fell—breaking his shoulder. He sent me a picture, displaying his wounded body. "Unbelievable," Tobias texted. "Back from Ukraine and totally injured in Germany." Kevin made the same concession and returned to Ireland—though he, like Lukas, plans to return to Ukraine soon. Less than three weeks after valiantly trekking across Europe to join a fight more visceral and complicated than any of them had imagined, Tobias, Lukas, and the others had returned home without ever meeting a Russian soldier. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 29th, 2022

An employee at an Illinois food manufacturer lost a finger after getting it stuck in a machine, the labor department said

It was the 20th time the company had been cited for violating safety procedures in the past five years, the DOL said. OSHA asked Hearthside to pay $231,625 in penalties for three violations related to a carton-closing machine.Xu Wu/Getty Images A worker at an Illinois food manufacturer lost their finger after it got stuck in a machine, the DOL said. The DOL cited Hearthside Food Solutions and asked it to pay $231,625 in penalties. The DOL said it was the 20th time the company had been cited in the past five years. The labor department said an accident at an Illinois food manufacturer that resulted in an employee losing a finger was the twentieth safety violation by the company in the last five years.In a press release, the Department of Labor said Friday that it has cited Hearthside Food Solutions 20 times "for exposing workers to amputation and other serious hazards." In the latest incident, the DOL said it received a referral from the firm in October after a maintenance employee had one finger amputated, and another partially amputated, while troubleshooting a carton-closing machine at Hearthside's facility in Romeoville, a town 26 miles southwest of Chicago.Investigators from the DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the worker's hand had contacted the machine's pulley, the department said.In the citation, OSHA asked Hearthside to pay $231,625 in penalties for three violations related to the carton-closing machine.James Martineck, OSHA director for the Chicago south area, said that OSHA standards are put in place to prevent workers from suffering life-altering injuries. He added: "This company's history of violating federal standards shows a corporate culture that lacks urgency to keep workers safe. Hearthside Food should immediately re-evaluate its training and safety procedures at all of its facilities."Hearthside didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. The DOL did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about whether the employee lost their finger during the incident or whether it was amputated by medical workers afterwards.OSHA said that the company had not listed specific procedural steps for shutting down the equipment, "thereby exposing employees to caught-in, electrical, and pneumatic hazards during servicing and maintenance activities." The machine wasn't turned off when the worker who was injured performed the servicing work and the company had also failed to use lockout procedures to control hazardous energy sources, OSHA said.Hearthside operates 38 production sites across the US and Europe, which make snack bars, cookies, granola, baked goods, and other fresh and frozen foods sold under various name brands. It also manufactures packaging for food products.On its website, Hearthside says: "The safety of our people and products always comes first." It says that it has a network-wide OSHA incident rate of 1.25, which takes into account the number of workplace injuries and hours worked. The average rate for food-manufacturing companies in 2020 was 5.1, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 27th, 2022

"Quite Frankly Explosive": Wuhan Lab Allowed To Destroy "Secret Files" Under Its Partnership With US National Lab

"Quite Frankly Explosive": Wuhan Lab Allowed To Destroy 'Secret Files' Under Its Partnership With US National Lab Authored by Eva Fu via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has the right to make a partnering U.S. lab wipe all data arising from their collaborative work, a legal document reveals. An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei Province on April 17, 2020. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images) A memorandum of understanding (MOU) of cooperation, signed between the Wuhan lab and the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, makes it obligatory for each of the two labs to delete “secret files” or materials upon the request of the other party. “The party is entitled to ask the other to destroy and/or return the secret files, materials, and equipment without any backups,” states the MOU obtained by U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit investigative research group focused on public health, through a freedom of information request. The MOU focused on promoting research and training cooperation between the two labs. It was signed in 2017 and stays in effect through this October. But the confidentiality terms would remain binding even after the agreement’s five-year-duration expires, the agreement states. The document goes on to broadly define what materials are to be treated as “confidential,” opening the door to potentially all documents and data from any collaboration being subject to a deletion request. “All cooperation and exchange documents, details and materials shall be treated as confidential info by the parties,” the MOU states. The WIV has been at the center of the controversy due to growing speculation that the virus that causes COVID-19, which has now killed millions around the globe, may have leaked from the facility. The lab has denied these allegations but Beijing has blocked international investigators to data and records from the facility thus preventing any meaningful probe into the hypothesis. WIV and the the Galveston National Laboratory formally declared their partnership the following year to “streamline future scientific and operational collaborations on dangerous pathogens,” according to a joint announcement in the journal Science. Experts said the MOU terms about data removal raise alarm bells and can potentially constitute a breach of the law. “The clause is quite frankly explosive,” Reuben Guttman, a partner at Guttman, Buschner & Brooks PLLC who focuses on ensuring the integrity of government programs, told Right to Know. “Anytime I see a public entity, I would be very concerned about destroying records.” “You can’t just willy nilly say, ‘well, you know, the Chinese can tell us when to destroy a document.’ It doesn’t work like that,” he added. “There has to be a whole protocol.” Christopher Smith, a spokesperson for University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), told the Right to Know that the lab was “built by the National Institutes of Health to help combat global health threats.” “As a government-funded entity, UTMB is required to comply with applicable public information law obligations, including the preservation of all documentation of its research and findings.” The Epoch Times has contacted the UTMB and the lab. The P4 laboratory of Wuhan Institute of Virology is seen behind a fence during the visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters) Under Scrutiny The Galveston National Laboratory is one of two federally-funded university-based highest-level biosecurity labs in the United States. It began collaborating with the WIV in 2013, a cooperation that entails training WIV scientists and conducting joint research programs. The then-Galveston lab director James Le Duc, who retired last year, made multiple trips over the years to WIV. The Galveston lab was also among the first in the world to receive samples of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly three weeks after Le Duc urged his Chinese counterparts to share the material. The revelations contained in the 2017 MOU appear to contradict claims from WIV scientists that they would never scrub critical research information. Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, who heads the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the WIV, had characterized allegations that her lab would delete such data as “baseless and appalling.” “Even if we gave them all the records, they would still say we have hidden something or we have destroyed the evidence,” she said in a February interview with MIT Technology Review. Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli is seen inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 23, 2017. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images) In September 2019, months before several of its researchers allegedly fell ill with COVID-like symptoms, the facility took its main database of virus samples offline. The Wuhan lab’s safety standards have also attracted scrutiny since the pandemic broke out from the city. Footage from 2017 showed that some researchers from the facility were feeding a bat while wearing only surgical gloves, and at least one researcher wore only a pair of regular glasses and a surgical mask when out collecting bat samples. In April 2020, the Department of Education launched a probe into Galveston National Laboratory’s ties with the Wuhan lab. The Epoch Times has contacted the department for comment. That same month, Le Duc had asked Shi to review a draft briefing he prepared for the university and the Congressional staff investigating the issue. “Please review carefully and make any changes that you would like. I want this to be as accurate as possible and I certainly do not want to misrepresent any of your valuable contributions,” he wrote in an email to Shi that Right to Know obtained. Shi one day earlier declined to talk with Le Duc over the phone “[d]ue to the complicated situation,” but insisted that the virus “is not a leaky [sic] from our lab or any other labs.” Smith, UTMB’s director of media relations, had told the investigative group that “the information Dr. Le Duc wanted Dr. Shi to review was a description of her research on coronaviruses as he understood it.” In corresponding with others, Le Duc nonetheless acknowledged that he considered a lab accident a possible source of the pandemic. “It is certainly possible that a lab accident was the source of the epidemic and I also agree that we can’t trust the Chinese government,” he wrote on April 10, 2020, according to another email obtained by the group. Tyler Durden Thu, 04/21/2022 - 16:20.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 21st, 2022

20 of the most anticipated young adult books coming out this spring, from fantasy sequels to rom-com debuts

According to Goodreads users, these are the new YA releases to look out for — from bestselling authors like Casey McQuiston and Namina Forna. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.According to Goodreads users, these are the new YA releases to look out for — from bestselling authors like Casey McQuiston, Namina Forna, and Emiko Jean.Amazon, Insider YA books may star teenage characters but they aren't just for teenage readers. These upcoming releases are popular on preorder lists and are receiving rave reviews. For more books, check out the most anticipated books of 2022. I used to think "young adult" books were only to be enjoyed by teenagers, but I'm far from the only adult reader who still fills their shelves with YA stories. Young adult novels usually take place in high school settings with teenage characters but offer serious, moving, or timely subjects in an easily digestible form. These upcoming young adult books are topping preorder lists, being added to readers' "Want to Read" shelves on Goodreads, and already receiving rave reviews from advanced reviewers. We've sorted them by their fast-approaching release dates and you can preorder every title on this list now so it's delivered as soon as it's published. Whether you're looking for an exciting new fantasy read or the latest release of your favorite series, here are 20 of the most anticipated YA books of spring 2022.Learn more about how Insider Reviews reviews and researches books.The 20 most anticipated spring young adult books of 2022:"Hotel Magnifique" by Emily J. TaylorAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.19When the legendary Hotel Magnifique comes to town, Jani and her sister Zosa set out to work at the mysterious hotel that somehow appears in a different place each morning. As Jani begins to lift the curtain of the hotel's glamour, she must unravel its dark secrets to rescue her sister and the staff in this fantasy read full of whimsical and enchanting magic. Publication date: April 5, 2022"She Gets the Girl" by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson DerrickAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.32When Alex meets Molly the night before classes start on their new college campus, she offers to help Molly get her dream girl so she can prove to her ex that she isn't a selfish flirt. As Alex and Molly set out on their five-step plans to woo their respective love interests, the chemistry between them begins to grow in this young adult romantic comedy. Publication date: April 5, 2022"Very Bad People" by Kit FrickAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.39In this dark thriller, Calliope is starting at a new elite boarding school her mother once attended, though she died six years prior in an inexplicably tragic car accident that nearly claimed her and her sisters' lives as well. When Calliope joins a social justice-seeking secret society, she discovers a possible link between the group and her mother's death. Publication date: April 5, 2022"An Arrow to the Moon" by Emily X.R. PanAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.47"An Arrow to the Moon" is a "Romeo and Juliet" retelling mixed with fantastical elements of Chinese mythology as Luna Chang's stifling present and looming future is overturned by a new boy in class, Hunter Yee. When strange occurrences force Hunter and Luna together, they're left to unearth their families' secrets before their fate proves inescapable. Publication date: April 12, 2022"Blaine for the Win" by Robbie CouchAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.39On their one-year anniversary, Blaine's boyfriend, Joey, breaks up with him to pursue more "serious" guys. Hurt but determined to prove Joey wrong, Blaine decides to run for student council president against Joey's new boyfriend in this feel-good upcoming romance. Publication date: April 12, 2022"My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding" by Sajni PatelAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.46Zurika Damani's dream is to play hip-hop violin, but when she's rejected by Juilliard, her last hope remains with a contest judged by college scouts. As her sister's wedding week draws near, Zurika must find a way to compete without her parents finding out and without ruining her sister's celebration. Publication date: April 19, 2022"Queen of the Tiles" by Hanna AlkafAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.46One year after Najwa Bakri's best friend Trina passed away, her formerly inactive Instagram account begins posting cryptic messages that suggest her death wasn't as straightforward as anyone thought. As Najwa begins digging into who is behind the posts, she unearths terrible secrets in this Scrabble-laced mystery. Publication date: April 19, 2022"I Kissed Shara Wheeler" by Casey McQuistonAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99Casey McQuiston has already established themselves as an unparalleled queer romance writer with "Red, White & Royal Blue" and "One Last Stop", and their new upcoming release is sure to impress just the same. A month before graduation, Chloe Green's high school rival, Shara Wheeler, kisses her along with two other students, leaves a strange trail of clues, and mysteriously disappears. We interviewed McQuiston about their newest book, which you can check out here. Publication date: May 3, 2022"Family of Liars" by E. LockhartAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.43"We Were Liars" took readers by storm with its fast-moving story and mind-blowing plot twist. Now, "Family of Liars" offers the story of an earlier Sinclair generation, equally shocking secrets, and another summer read of betrayal and lies. Publication date: May 3, 2022"Charm" by Tracy WolffAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.99Tracy Wolff's "Crave" series has taken off since the first vampirical novel was published in 2020. "Charm" is the fifth book in the series, which will answer readers' questions about what happened during the four months Grace found herself trapped with Hudson after transforming into a Gargoyle to protect Jaxon. Publication date: May 3, 2022 "Bravely" by Maggie StiefvaterAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.99Featuring the beloved Princess Merida from "Brave," this upcoming YA book is set several years after the movie. As Merida searches for a new adventure, she finds an unexpected challenge when a supernatural being appears on Christmas Eve and threatens to demolish the realm. Merida has only a year to evoke change in her family and takes three epic voyages to inspire their revolution and save the realm.Publication date: May 3, 2022"A Show for Two" by Tashie BhuiyanAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99Mina needs to win the Golden Ivy student film competition when indie film star Emmitt Ramos enrolls in her school under a fake name to research his next role. When she solicits his help, Emmitt makes a counteroffer — he'll be in her film if she helps him with a photography contest. As they tour New York City together for his project, Mina begins to see her home in a new light and questions the dreams she's held dear for so long.  Publication date: May 10, 2022"The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School" by Sonora ReyesAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.46After being outed as a lesbian at her last school, Yamilet Flores is determined to fly under the radar and make her mom proud at her new Catholic school. When Yamilet meets the only openly queer girl at school, she finds her nearly impossible to resist, but fears rejection from her mother in this young adult story about sharing your true self with the people you love. Publication date: May 17, 2022"Rivals" by Katharine McGeeAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99"Rivals" is the third regal installation of the "American Royals" series where Beatrice is finally queen, Sam is in love with Lord Marshall David, and Nina and Daphne find a shared enemy. As relationships, new friendships, and old rivalries are tested, this young adult read offers drama, romance, and royalty to readers who can't wait for its release.Publication date: May 31, 2022"Tokyo Dreaming" by Emiko JeanAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.15Everything seems to be going perfectly for Japanese American princess Izumi Tanaka. until her boyfriend makes a shocking decision and The Imperial Household Council refuses to approve of her parent's engagement. In this heartwarming "Tokyo Ever After" sequel, Izumi will do anything to help her parents reach their "happily ever after," even if it means she won't get her own. Publication date: May 31, 2022"The Merciless Ones" by Namina FornaAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49In "The Gilded Ones", readers met Deka, whose gold blood marked her an alaki — a near-immortal with a rare gift. Now, six months later, Deka must free the rest of the goddesses but finds a strange and unnatural symbol that seems to repel her powers with a dark force. She and her army must stop the powerful and sinister forces behind the symbol in this fantastical and adventurous read. Publication date: May 31, 2022"Together We Burn" by Isabel IbañezAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99During their 500th-anniversary show, Zarela's famous Dragonador father is injured and she must take his place as the next Dragonador to protect her family's arena from the greedy hands of the Dragon Guild. Zarela solicits the help of Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, a dragon hunter, who may be her only chance to protect her ancestral home from those who seem determined to ruin her family. Publication date: May 31, 2022"Hell Followed with Us" by Andrew Joseph WhiteAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.19Benji is on the run from the fundamentalist cult that decimated the world's population and infected him with a bioweapon when he's rescued by a group of teens from the Acheson LGBTQ+ Center (ALC). Though the bioweapon is slowly mutating Benji into a terrible monster, the ALC welcomes him in as long as he uses the monster to defend them — until their mysterious leader's secrets come to light and reveal a hidden agenda. Publication date: June 7, 2022"Home Field Advantage" by Dahlia AdlerAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.46When the quarterback of Amber's high school football team is killed in a car accident and replaced by a girl named Jack, the whole school is outraged and the cheerleaders hatch a plan to take her down. However, the growing romance between cheerleader and quarterback changes everything when Amber can't seem to find a way to stay on the squad and stand up for Jack at the same time.Publication date: June 7, 2022"This Wicked Fate" by Kalynn BayronAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.76In this sequel to "This Poison Heart," Briseis is on a mission to find the last fragment of the Absyrtus Heart before her enemies can in her final chance to save her mother. Following a nail-biter ending in the last book, this fantasy conclusion shines with elements of Greek mythology, family secrets, and alluring magic. Publication date: June 21, 2022Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 1st, 2022

CITGO Enters 2022 With Strong Momentum

Profitable 4Q Marks Best Results Since 3Q 2019 HOUSTON, March 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- CITGO Petroleum Corporation today reported its 2021 fourth quarter and year-end financial results. For the fourth quarter of 2021, CITGO generated net income of $21 million, EBITDA1 of $236 million and adjusted EBITDA of $139 million, representing the strongest quarterly net income and EBITDA performance since the third quarter of 2019, prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Company's overall financial and operational performance for the year were negatively affected by Winter Storm Uri, which forced a complete emergency shutdown of the Corpus Christi refinery for approximately two weeks, contributing to a significant first quarter loss of $(180) million. Given these headwinds, CITGO reported a net loss of approximately $(160) million and adjusted EBITDA of $557 million for the 2021 full year, both significantly improved over full year 2020 results. The improved results compared to 2020 were achieved despite the financial impacts of the storm and were primarily due to higher throughput volumes, higher margins and improved economics related to the pandemic. "Winter Storm Uri was a significant obstacle for our Corpus Christi refinery and contributed to a challenging start to 2021," said CITGO President and CEO Carlos Jordá, "yet we still achieved excellent reliability at our Lake Charles and Lemont refineries and were able to capture available margins as demand improved. We also set many production-related records and, at the same time, achieved our best-ever TRIR (total recordable incident rate) performance and second-best process safety performance since 2012. This is a real testament to the professionalism and commitment of our employees as they continued dealing with the ongoing effects of the pandemic and other operational challenges, such as the Colonial Pipeline interruption." 4Q and Full Year Highlights: Financial Increased maximum borrowing capacity under the CITGO accounts receivable securitization facility from $250 million to $500 million, with full availability at end of year. Refinanced $650 million of senior secured notes due 2022 with the proceeds of a private offering of $650 million of 6.375% senior secured notes due 2026. Received approximately $556 million, including interest, from the Internal Revenue Service during the third quarter, reflecting its share of U.S. income tax refund payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Refinery Throughput Total refinery throughput for 4Q was the highest of the year at 796,000 bpd (barrels-per-day), with crude utilization increasing from 85% in 3Q to 94% in 4Q. For full year 2021, total refinery throughput was 730,000 bpd, up 14% compared with the prior year. This resulted in a 15% increase in crude utilization, from 72% in 2020 to 87% in 2021. Turnarounds and capital investments – Successfully executed the Lake Charles and Lemont planned turnarounds within budget and planned timeline, spending approximately $184 million in 2021 on turnaround and catalyst costs. Invested $200 million in capital projects: $100 million in Regulatory and HSE projects, $98 million in maintenance projects and $2 million in strategic projects. Exports – 4Q exports increased to 167,000 bpd from 136,000 bpd in the prior quarter as Latin America continued to reopen. For full year 2021, exports averaged 134,000 bpd. Operational excellence – Both the Lake Charles and Lemont refineries achieved records in safety and environmental performance, production, and plant reliability. The Corpus Christi refinery was negatively affected by Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, yet achieved a light crude processing record and was also recognized for the second year in a row with the EPA's Energy Star Certification. Additionally, the terminals group was recognized by ILTA (International Liquids Terminal Association) for occupational safety performance. 1 EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are non-GAAP financial measures. Please see the reconciliation towards the end of this press release for more information. 2 See "General – Refinery EBITDA Estimate" for additional information regarding how we calculate and estimate Refinery EBITDA. Governance and Leadership: CITGO continued its focus on corporate governance and ethics throughout the year, led by the Company's first dedicated Ethics & Compliance Officer.  Notable ethics and compliance related enhancements include launching the CITGO Code of Business Conduct and Ethics on the citgo.com website and deploying a new online Code of Business Conduct and Ethics training module. The Company also continued to strengthen its management team. Shane Moser was named Vice President of Health, Safety & Environment; Mark Holstein was named General Counsel; Balvy Bhogal-Mitro was named Vice President Strategic and Corporate Planning; and Steve Scarpino was named Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer. Gina Coon, Corporate Treasurer, retired after 30 years of service. "As the first quarter comes to a close, our industry is dealing with the effects of the recent events in Ukraine, which clearly illustrate the need for reliable, secure supply. We believe CITGO is well-positioned to continue being a reliable supplier of fuel products to the North American and Latin American markets," concluded Jordá. About CITGO Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CITGO Petroleum Corporation is a recognized leader in the refining industry and operates under the well-known CITGO brand. CITGO operates three refineries located in Lake Charles, La.; Lemont, Ill.; and Corpus Christi, Texas, and wholly and/or jointly owns 38 active terminals, six pipelines and three lubricants blending and packaging plants. With approximately 3,300 employees and a combined crude capacity of approximately 769,000 barrels-per-day (bpd), CITGO ranks as the fifth-largest and is one of the most complex independent refiners in the United States. CITGO transports and markets transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products, and supplies a network of approximately 4,400 locally owned and operated branded retail outlets, all located east of the Rocky Mountains. CITGO Petroleum Corporation is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION General: CITGO publishes financial and other information on its website, including reports of quarterly and annual results of operations and financial condition. While CITGO's historical financial information is presented in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), except for certain non-GAAP financial measures (see below), CITGO is not an SEC reporting company and does not report all information required of SEC reporting companies. Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains "forward-looking statements" regarding financial and operating items relating to the CITGO business. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, developments and business decisions to differ materially from those contemplated by these forward-looking statements. This press release may also contain estimates and projections regarding market and industry data that were obtained from internal company estimates as well as third-party sources believed to be generally reliable. However, market data is subject to change and cannot always be verified with complete certainty due to limits on the availability and reliability of raw data and other limitations and uncertainties inherent in any statistical survey, interpretation or presentation of market data and management's estimates and projections. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made only as of the date of this press release. CITGO disclaims any duty to update any forward-looking statements. Non-GAAP Financial Measures: This press ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 31st, 2022

The US "annihilated" Russian mercenaries in Syria 4 years ago. But in Ukraine, the stakes are much higher.

Experts and officials caution that Russia's direct involvement in Ukraine raises the stakes and that a clash with its forces could quickly escalate. Smoke rises amid damaged buildings after a Russian attack on the Yavoriv military base in western Ukraine on March 13, 2022.@BackAndAlive/via REUTERS Russia's invasion of Ukraine has raised fears of direct conflict between the US and Moscow. Advocates of more aggressive US responses cite previous military encounters to play down the risks. But experts warn that Russia's involvement raises the stakes and that a clash could quickly escalate. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Western efforts to resupply Ukraine's military and reinforce NATO's eastern flank have raised concerns that a close encounter or accident could escalate into a broader war.Proponents of increased US assistance or of direct US involvement have played down the likelihood or likely severity of a Russian response, but Russia has shown it's willing to strike near NATO territory. Russian missiles hit a base near Ukraine's border with Poland on Sunday and an aircraft-repair facility in Lviv, also near the border, on Friday."The Russians used missiles to hit targets that are very close to the Polish border. One of those missiles hits Poland, President Biden has made very clear that it'll be considered an attack on NATO, and then you do have a world war on your hands," Leon Panetta, a former secretary of defense, said this week at George Mason University event."I think this is a dangerous moment," Panetta said, adding that the risk isn't "just a missile that goes astray. It's bad judgment. It's somebody who makes a lousy decision."Experts and former officials say the nature of the conflict, with uniformed troops from a nuclear-armed power in combat near NATO forces, mean even a limited clash carries more risk.Others argue a clash with Russia wouldn't necessarily escalate, citing previous encounters — including the Battle of Khasham, an hours-long firefight between US-led and Russian-led forces in northeastern Syria.'Those guys got lit up'US artillery in Syria.Sgt. Matthew Callahan/US Marine CorpsThe clash on February 7, 2018, was sparked by a pro-Assad regime force, including mercenaries from Russia's Wagner Group, advancing on an outpost manned by US special operators and their Kurdish partners.That night, the pro-regime force opened fire on the outpost with a mix of tanks and large artillery and mortars, according to documents seen by The New York Times. The US force at the outpost — made up of US Army Delta Force, Special Forces, and Rangers soldiers — took cover and returned fire with anti-tank missiles and machine guns.The US and Russia had used a de-confliction line to avoid encounters as they operated in Syria, and US officials used it again at the outset of the attack, asking Russian officials to stop the attack but without success.When Wagner personnel began to bracket the US position, firing artillery on either side to pinpoint their aim, other US forces were "cleared hot" and opened fire, an official told Aaron Stein, director of research at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.Members of 5th Special Forces Group (A) conducting 50. Cal Weapons training during counter ISIS operations at Al Tanf Garrison in southern Syria on November 22, 2017.US Marine CorpsRussian jets were in the air but were held at bay by US aircraft, according to Stein's account. The strikes by US drones, fighter jets, bombers, gunships, attack helicopters, and artillery that followed are believed to have killed 200 to 300 pro-regime fighters, including many Russians."The Russian high command in Syria assured us it was not their people," then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senators in April 2018. "My direction to the Chairman [of the Joint Chiefs] was the force then was to be annihilated. And it was."Moscow has close ties to Wagner Group and is Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's main backer, but it chose to stand aside at Khasham, Stein told Insider."The Russians claimed they weren't theirs, and so those guys got lit up and lit up badly," Stein said.The Soviets acted similarly in Cold War conflicts, according to Noel Maurer, a professor of international affairs at George Washington University."Some pundits have averred that because the Soviet Union sent its pilots to engage with American air forces in 1951 Korea, then NATO can send its pilots to engage in 2022 Ukraine," Maurer said Wednesday, pointing to a New York Times op-ed.TV tower in Kyiv, Ukraine, is hit by an airstrike.Ukraine NOWBut during that war, Maurer added, Joseph Stalin "went out of his way to plausibly deny Soviet involvement" and to signal a desire to avoid escalation "no matter what.""Needless to say, Putin is not maintaining discreet silence, claiming that only proxies are invading Ukraine, or signaling a willingness to lose," Maurer said.Asked about the battle by Sen. Tom Cotton during a hearing this week, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said it "tells you a lot" about US capabilities and showed that mercenaries would have "a qualitative disadvantage.""Also if they're fighting against an extremely determined people that are digging their heels within their homeland, like the Ukrainian army, that maybe we shouldn't think that they or even Russian regulars are 10 feet tall," Cotton said, drawing agreement from McKenzie.Stein, who has researched and written about the air war over Syria and the Battle of Khasham, said Russia's response to an attack on its forces in Ukraine would differ from its response at Khasham."I think the two issues are not comparable in the slightest bit," Stein said. "If you have NATO forces come across that border, the Russians are going to do something. It may not necessarily lead to direct escalation right away, but it's not going to help things."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

Live updates: Russia advances towards Kyiv, Ukrainian death toll passes 137 as official predicts "hardest day"

Russia began its attack on Ukraine on Thursday morning. One official warned Friday would be the "hardest day." Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv on February 25, 2022.AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak Russia continued its attack on Ukraine on Friday, advancing toward the capital, Kyiv. One Ukrainian official warned Friday would be the "hardest day" and the military issued instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails. 137 Ukrainians were dead as of early Friday morning. The death toll has since risen. Recap: Ukraine says 137 people died on Thursday alone. The death toll has since risen.A building hit by a missile in Kyiv, Ukraine, seen on February 25, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesUkrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said that 137 people, including 10 military officers, had been killed and 316 were wounded on Thursday.He did not say how many were civilians, but Ukrainian officials have confirmed that civilians were killed.There were more deaths reported on Friday, though the exact number is not clear.Zelensky said that "people died" in heavy fighting on Friday, but did not say now many or what country they were from.One of Zelensky's advisors said that around 400 Russian soldiers had died as of Friday, the Associated Press reported. Russia has not given a death toll.Ukraine says radiation levels around Chernobyl are increasing after Russia captured itView of the Chernobyl nuclear power on April 26, 1986, after the explosion.Photo by SHONE/GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesUkraine said on Friday that the radiation levels around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site were increasing, though Russia said on Thursday that they were still normal.Ukrainian officials said that Russian troops seized the remnants of the nuclear plant on Thursday.Experts from Ukraine's nuclear agency told Reuters that the radiation increase was caused by radioactive dust being kicked up into the air by heavy military equipment there.Read Full Story Russian foreign minister says his country will talk to Ukraine once it stops fighting, doubles down on claim it wants 'de-Nazification'Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in January 2022.Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty ImagesSergei Lavrov said on Friday that Russia will only talk to Ukraine if its troops stop fighting, adding: "We do not want Neo-Nazis to rule Ukraine."He was repeating Russia's baseless claim that its attack on Ukraine was motivated by Nazism in Ukraine.Ukraine's president is a Jewish man whose native language is Russian. He came into office after a democratic election.Russia has previously tried to justify its attack by claiming it wanted to prevent a "genocide" in Ukraine and to achieve the "de-Nazification" of the country. Kyiv mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion says he'll fight for UkraineWladimir and Vitali Klitschko.Getty/Richard HeathcoteUkrainian boxing icons Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko said they would take up arms to defend Ukraine against Russia.Vitali, who has also been the mayor of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, since 2014, said he was ready to fight in a "bloody war.""I don't have another choice, I have to do that. I'll be fighting," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Friday. "I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people."Wladimir wrote in a LinkedIn post on Thursday: "Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone.""Here, we will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy. You can also act. Let not fear seize us; let's not remain frozen."Read Full StoryUkraine official predicts 'hardest day' as Russia advances on KyivPeople rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter on Thursday.AP Photo/Emilio MorenattiUkraine Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashenko said on Friday: "The hardest day will be today. The enemy's plan is to break through with tanks from Ivankiv and Chernihiv to Kyiv."Ukraine has been 'left alone' to defend itself from Russia, president saysUkrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv on February 25, 2022.AP Photo/Oleksandr RatushniakVolodomyr Zelensky said in an early Friday speech that Ukraine was not getting help on the ground, saying: "We are left alone in defense of our state.""Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly — I do not see such. Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine's accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid."Many nations have condemned Russia and sent weapons to Ukraine. But they have not sent troops, and NATO and the US have said they won't do so.Zelensky also praised the people of Ukraine in his speech, saying: "You are brilliantly defending the country from one of the most powerful countries in the world."Read Full Story Ukraine posts instructions for making Molotov cocktails and asks people who own drones for helpThe post below, from Ukraine's national guard, contained instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails to use against Russian troops.—НГУ (@ng_ukraine) February 25, 2022Ukraine's military also posted a Facebook callout on Friday asking for drone owners to help out."Do you know how to drive a drone? Join the joint patrol with units 112 of the separate brigade of the city of Kyiv!" it said.The Champions League final is moved from Russia to FranceGetty Images/Daniele BadolatoEuropean soccer governing body UEFA said Russia has been stripped of the 2022 Champions League final, and that it will now take place in Paris.UEFA said the game being moved comes after "the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe."Read Full StoryRussia 'failed to deliver' its day-one aims for invading Ukraine, UK defense secretary saysUK Secretary for Defence Ben Wallace.Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBen Wallace told Sky News on Friday: "Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives,"  "In fact it's behind its hoped-for timetable. They've lost over 450 personnel.""The Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective."He gave the example that Russian special forces had failed to secure a "significant" airport that was once again under Ukrainian control. Read Full Story Ukrainian leaders compare Russia's attack on Kyiv to Nazi Germany's assault in 1941A night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesRussia's attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has prompted comparisons to Nazi Germany's assault on the city in 1941.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked World War II while speaking directly to the Russian people in a speech Friday morning as explosions were reported over Kyiv."Tonight, you began bombing residential areas in the hero city of Kyiv. This is like 1941. I want to tell all Russian citizens who are coming out to protest: we hear you, you heard us, you started to believe us. Fight for us. Fight the war," Zelensky said.Read Full StoryRussia's richest 22 billionaires lost $39 billion in one day after the invasion of UkraineVladimir Potanin, Russia's richest man, lost $3 billion in one day on Thursday. He is now worth $26.1 billion.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesRussia's 22 richest individuals saw their net worths plunge by a collective $39 billion in less than 24 hours after their country invaded Ukraine, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.The wealth wipeout came after Moscow's benchmark MOEX Russia Index crashed and closed 33% lower on Thursday.The Russian billionaires lost more money on Thursday than they had lost year-to-date up until Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.Read Full StoryAustralian PM Scott Morrison slams China for throwing a 'lifeline' to RussiaMorrison said that it is "simply unacceptable" for China to ease trade restrictions on Russia when other countries are imposing sanctions.STEVEN SAPHORE/AFP via Getty ImagesAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned China for easing its restrictions on Russian wheat amid the Ukraine crisis, even as other countries impose fresh sanctions on Russia."You don't go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they're invading another country," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday morning, per Australia's ABC News. Read Full StoryMitch McConnell has urged Biden to 'ratchet the sanctions all the way up' against RussiaSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged President Joe Biden not to hold back with tough sanctions on Russia.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday advised President Joe Biden to hold nothing back when imposing sanctions on Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine. "We're all together at this point, and we need to be together about what should be done," McConnell said."Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don't hold any back," he added. "Every single available tough sanction should be employed and should be employed now." Read Full StoryLarge explosions heard in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital cityA night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, as seen on Thursday.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesKyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was awakened by explosions in the early hours of Friday morning local time, CNN reported."Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued," Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, told CNN Thursday.The outlet also reported multiple bombardments — two blasts in Kyiv and an explosion in the distance. Read Full StoryUkraine is crowdfunding to shore up its defenses against the Russian militarySoldiers seen aboard a Ukrainian tank in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday.REUTERS/Carlos BarriaUkraine is crowdfunding to bolster its armed forces against the Russian invasion.In a tweet on Thursday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine called for donations and provided a link to the country's official website.Collected funds will be used for the "logistical and medical support" of the Ukrainian armed forces, said the webpage, which is operated by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian Institution.Read Full Story5 reasons Putin and others have given for the invasionRussian President Vladimir Putin claims the Ukraine invasion is aimed at preventing the "genocide" of ethnic Russians in the country.Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesRussian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching a large-scale and unprovoked invasion that was feared for weeks.Here are some reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin has given for why Russia invaded Ukraine — some of which are based on falsehoods — along with what the US and NATO have said about his motivations.Read Full StoryThe Biden administration is considering training Ukrainian soldiers in an outside country, according to AxiosUkrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine on January 20, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Getty ImagesAs Russian forces enclose on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the Biden administration is eyeing its next steps in the ongoing conflict.Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the US government is considering possible ways to train Ukrainian troops outside of Ukraine, should Russia seize control of the country, according to Axios.Austin reportedly told lawmakers that officials are trying to find ways to provide more defense equipment, including ammunition to Ukrainian forces — a feat made more challenging as Russian forces assault the country.The secretary also told House members that the Biden administration will continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government as long as it is "viable," the outlet reported.Ukrainian president announces general mobilization of all conscripts and reservists to last 90 daysUkrainian soldiers sit on top of a military vehicle parked outside the hotel in Prypiat, Ukraine on February 4.Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty ImageUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday ordered a general military mobilization throughout the country as Russia continues its large-scale military assault in Ukraine. The declaration ordered the conscription of conscripts and reservists for military service, as well as their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to "ensure the defense of the state." The mobilization, which included all of Ukraine's major cities, will be carried out within 90 days, the decree said. It will provide personnel, vehicles, infrastructure, and land use for the Ukrainian government and military amid Russia's ongoing invasion, according to the decree. Ukraine has also banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country, according to CNN, which cited the State Border Guard Service. READ FULL STORYZelensky says 'enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv' and that he is 'number one target'Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.Photo by Ronald Wittek - Pool/Getty ImagesIn his second video address on Thursday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "enemy sabotage groups" entered Kyiv, and that he plans to remain, despite being Russia's "number one target.""According to preliminary data, unfortunately, we have lost 137 of our heroes today — our citizens. Ten of them are officers," Zelensky said in his address. "316 are wounded."He also used the opportunity to dispel rumors that he had fled Kyiv, and that his family had left the country."I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital," he said. "My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now."READ FULL STORYWhite House is 'outraged' over reports that staff at Chernobyl have been taken hostage by Russian forcesServicemen take part in a joint tactical and special exercises of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ukrainian National Guard and Ministry Emergency in a ghost city of Pripyat, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 4, 2022.Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty ImagesPress secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is outraged over reports from Ukrainian officials that staff at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian troops.Russian forces took over the remnants of Chernobyl earlier on Thursday during the country's invasion of Ukraine. The move indicated Russia is likely to assault Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, which is located just south of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history."We're outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facility hostage," Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, adding "we condemn it and we request their release."Psaki said the situation at Chernobyl was not clear but that the hostage taking was "incredibly alarming and greatly concerning," adding it could hurt efforts to maintain the facility, which is dangerously contaminated with radioactivity as a result of the 1986 nuclear disaster.read full STORYUS secretary of state is 'convinced' Russia will try to overthrow the Ukrainian governmentUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on April 11, 2021.Meet The Press/NBCUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said he is "convinced" Moscow will try to overthrow Ukraine's government."You don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what President Putin wants. He has made clear he'd like to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, short of that he'd like to reassert a sphere of influence around the neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc," Blinken said during a national TV interview. The secretary pledged that NATO would intervene before Putin successfully accomplished his ultimate goal."Now, when it comes to a threat beyond Ukraine's borders. There's something very powerful standing in his way. That's article five of NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all," the top diplomat said.  Expert says Russia's Ukraine invasion will result in 'horrific scenes,' could be launch of 'Cold War 2.0'Ukrainians gather in front of the White House in Washington, USA to stage a protest against Russia's attack in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA former aide to President Barack Obama is warning that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "game changer" in international relations that will result in "horrific scenes" in the coming days, with President Vladimir Putin intent on pursuing regime change at all costs."I think it's just a matter of time before Kyiv falls," Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who also served on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, told Insider.READ FULL STORYThe White House says it's ready to accept Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasionWhite House press secretary Jen Psaki.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia's invasion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN."We are," Psaki said when asked whether the US was ready to assist fleeing Ukrainians. "But we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours."She added that US officials have been engaging with Europeans on the matter "for some time." Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield just outside KyivUkraine army says battle under way for airbase near Kyiv on February 24, 2022Daniel LEAL / Getty ImagesUkrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Russian forces attacked and seized Hostomel (Gostomel) airfield, a cargo airport near Kyiv that is also known as Antonov airport, early Thursday, according to AFP. Ukraine's leadership reportedly vowed to take it back."The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.Read Full StoryUkraine's health minister says dozens killed and over 160 injuredBlack smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty ImagesUkraine's health minister said 57 Ukrainians have been killed and 169 were wounded after Russia attacked on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.Explosions, gunfire, and sirens were reportedly heard in Kyiv on Thursday. Witnesses also described missile blasts in other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odesa, reports said. Sean Penn is filming a documentary in Ukraine while Russia invadesActor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via ReutersSean Penn was spotted in Ukraine on Thursday just after Russia invaded the country. Penn was seen in the front row of a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, photos obtained by Reuters show. The actor and director has been working on a documentary about tensions in Ukraine since last year.Read Full StoryUkrainians and Russians are packing ATM lines, prompting fears of what happened in the US during the Great DepressionPeople wait in line at an ATM in Kyiv.DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images.Many Ukrainians who haven't already fled the country as Russia's threat turned into invasion stood in long lines outside of banks and ATMs hoping to take out their funds, Reuters reported on Thursday. Meanwhile in Russia, people are also queuing outside of ATMs trying to get US dollars as its citizens worry their own currency's value will continue to tank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Banks in the capital city of Moscow are running out of money, MSNBC reported. All of this has led to fears of bank runs, which is when people withdraw money en masse because they worry banks will cease to function. That's what happened in the United States during the Great Depression, and it triggered mass unemployment and loan scarcities.  Read Full StoryA top Russian business lobbyist pleaded with Putin to 'demonstrate as much as possible' that Russia wants to remain 'part of the global economy'Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin attend a meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 16, 2017.Sergei Ilnitsky/AP PhotoThe head of one of Russia's biggest business groups urged President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to avoid severe economic pain and remain "part of the global economy" as NATO members ready a harsher salvo of sanctions.Putin held a televised meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just hours after Russian forces began attacks in Ukraine.The threat of new sanctions was enough for Alexander Shokhin, the business group's president, to raise concerns with Putin about remaining a member of the world economy.The lobbyist urged the president to pad against major economic pain and to ensure conflict in Ukraine doesn't fuel widespread harm to the global financial system."Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke, including through some kind of response measures, global negative phenomena on world markets," Shokhin said.Read Full StoryBiden says he'll try to limit what Americans pay at the gas pump as the US slaps Russia with more sanctions: 'This is critical to me'U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions after delivering remarks about Russia's “unprovoked and unjustified" military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden sought to quell fears of another spike in gas prices on Thursday after Russia unleashed a military assault on Ukraine that threatened to upend the global economy.The threat of war in Ukraine in recent weeks has contributed to spiking oil prices, with the benchmark Brent crude oil hitting $100 for the first time since 2014 Wednesday night amid the early stages of Russia's invasion."I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting," he said at a White House address. "I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump."He opened the door to another release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a step the Biden administration also took in November to try and provide relief at the pump.Read Full StoryBiden says Putin's Ukraine invasion will cause a 'complete rupture' in US-Russia relationsPresident Joe Biden listens to questions from reporters while speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.Alex Brandon/APPresident Joe Biden on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine will cause a "complete rupture" of US-Russia relations if it continues. Biden condemned Putin and his escalating invasion of Ukraine in a speech from the White House.Biden, who met with G7 members on Thursday morning, also announced a raft of new sanctions against Russia on Thursday."What's the risk that we are watching the beginning of another Cold War, and is there now a complete rupture in US-Russian relations?," a reporter asked Biden following his address. Read Full StoryFamed Russian rapper cancels concerts in protest, saying he can't perform while 'Russian missiles fall on Ukraine'Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.AP Photo/Pavel GolovkinA prominent Russian rapper canceled his concert in protest of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, saying he can't perform while "Russian missiles fall on Ukraine."Rapper Oxxxymiron announced via a video posted to his Instagram account that he is postponing "six of my major gigs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg indefinitely," because he said he is "specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine.""I'm sure you can understand me; I can't entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine, while Kyiv residents are forced to hide in the basements and subway, and while people are dying," he said.Read Full StoryUS Treasury targets Belarusian support for Russian invasion of UkraineBelarusian President Alexander LukashenkoDmitry Astakhov/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesIn addition to the second round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion. The sanctions target Belarus's defense sector and financial institutions — two sectors closely tied to Russia.Massive protests erupted in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg as Russians voice opposition to war in UkraineA demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.Photo by SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesMassive protests erupted on Thursday in Russian President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, as people voiced their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.Videos posted to Twitter show a sea of people gathered in a section of St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs to object to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.Russian government forces have threatened to arrest anti-war protesters, who took to the streets after Putin announced military action against Ukraine on Thursday.Read Full StoryPhotos show Russian authorities dragging away protesters opposed to Putin's invasion of UkrainePolice Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesAnti-war protesters in Russia quickly took to the streets following Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Some activists were met with hostility by Russian authorities who hauled them away. More than 1,000 anti-war protesters have already been detained in dozens of cities across Russia, according to protest-monitoring group OVD-Info. Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."Read Full StoryBiden slaps 'additional strong sanctions' on Russia as it mounts a large-scale attack on UkrainePresident Joe Biden delivers remarks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the East Room of the White House on February 07, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will impose a second, harsher round of sanctions on Russia following its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.Biden announced that he had authorized "additional strong sanctions" and "new limitations" on what can be exported to Russia."We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the United States and our allies," Biden said."We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy," the president said of the sanctions. "We're going to stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy."Read Full StoryA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears and begged the world to 'save our people' from being 'murdered' by Russian forcesUkrainian Parliament member Halyna Yanchenko speaks during a CBS interviewCBS NewsA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears during an interview with CBS News and begged the international community to "save our people" from being "murdered" by Russian forces."I beg you, please save our people. Dozens of people — maybe hundreds of people — might be murdered tonight," Member of Parliament Halyna Yanchenko said as she sobbed during an interview with CBS News on Thursday.  She added: "Please save Ukrainian men, women, and children." Read Full StoryPhotos show Ukrainian families fleeing the Russian invasion amid warnings of a mass refugee crisisPeople wait for trains at a train station as they attempt to evacuate the city on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels.Pierre Crom/Getty Images)Ukrainian residents fled their homes after the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion. Train stations were packed with people on the move and roads filled with cars of people leaving the country, with their loved ones and prized possessions in tow.Before the invasion took place, there were warnings of a mass refugee crisis.Read Full StoryRussian government websites — including ones for the Kremlin and the legislature — went dark after cyberattacks target UkraineA night view of Kyiv as the Kyiv mayor declared a curfew from 10pm to 7am on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesMultiple Russian government websites reportedly went down on Thursday after the country launched an attack on Ukraine. NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed on Twitter that multiple sites went offline shortly after 8:45 p.m. local time in Moscow.The Kremlin's website and that of the Russian Federal Assembly's lower house — or State Duma — were both down for at least 15 minutes. As of 9 p.m. local time, the State Duma website was since restored. Shortly after 9:10 p.m. local time, the Kremlin's website was also back online.  Read Full StoryPutin had a range of ways to attack Ukraine. He went with the worst-case scenario for the West.A convoy of Russian military vehicles is seen as the vehicles move towards border in Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on February 23, 2022 in Russian border city Rostov.Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesIn the build-up to Russia's assault on Ukraine, analysts and leaders envisioned numerous ways the conflict might play out, from a limited incursion to an all-out invasion.Putin used precision missile strikes and airstrikes, followed shortly later by ground maneuvers, the officials said.Analysts said attacks came from the east, south, and north, a description consistent with reports on the ground and Insider's map of the invasion.All three lines of attack — as per this analysis in The Conversation — had previously been floated as individual possibilities for an invasion.Defense analysts warned that Russia's multipronged attack was full-scale but still in an early phase, with a lot more forces to push into Ukraine to seize key areas or capture its leadership.Putin's overall endgame remains an area of pressing debate.Read Full StoryKey Democratic congressman says the US can't send support to Ukraine quickly enough 'to repel' Russia's invasionRep. Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, ruled out surging supplies into Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to stall Russia's invasion, arguing it's unlikely such support would arrive quickly enough to make a difference."The odd of us being able to do that in a rapid enough fashion to be able to repel the invasion are remote," Smith told CNN on Thursday when asked about a Ukrainian official's request for more equipment. "I don't think it's realistic to think that we can reinforce them enough in the short term to be able to repel the invasion."Read Full StoryPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden are refusing to play their 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in Russia after it attacked UkraineA protester holds a poster reading "Sanctions against Russia now" during a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm on February 24, 2022, after Russia launched military operations in Ukraine.Photo by CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden said they are refusing to play their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine on Thursday.Based on the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine, "the signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there," the three countries said in a joint statement addressed to FIFA's General Secretary Fatma Samoura. The statement continued: "The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations."Read Full StoryRussia's moving on Kyiv and the plan appears to be to take out Ukraine's leadership, US defense official warnsA column of army trucks approaches the Perekop checkpoint on the Ukrainian border. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine.Sergei MalgavkobackslashTASS via Getty ImagesRussian forces invaded Ukraine Thursday morning, and a senior US defense official says they are moving on Kyiv, likely to topple the country's government and install their own.Russia is "making a move on Kyiv" a senior defense official who addressed reporters Thursday said, according to CNN. "We would describe what you are seeing as an initial phase" of a "large-scale invasion," the official said, according to The Washington Post's Dan Lamothe.Read Full StoryMaps show Russia's invasion of UkraineMaps of Ukraine.Shayanne Gal/InsiderRussia invaded Ukraine early Thursday, leading to dozens of Ukrainian and Russian casualties.These maps show where Russian troops have attacked Ukraine, which is happening from multiple sides.Read Full StoryUK plots far harsher sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading UkraineBritish Prime Minister Boris JohnsonAdrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoThe UK announced a new set of harsher sanctions on Russia after the country invaded Ukraine early Thursday. A spokesman for the UK government told journalists at a briefing that the UK plans to impose a second round of sanctions. The most intense of the new list of sanctions is an asset freeze on all major Russian banks and an asset freeze against VTB — the second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion. The UK also plans to sanction another 100 individuals and entities.This is a large step up from the sanctions it announced Wednesday, which were limited to five smaller banks, three individuals close to Putin, and politicians in Russia who voted for military action. Russia has begun arresting anti-war protesters as demonstrations break out after Putin invades UkrainePolice officer detain a woman during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Dmitry SerebryakovThe Russian government on Thursday threatened anti-war protesters demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, warning they could face arrest for organizing.And according to a protest monitoring group, the detentions have already begun as small protests have broken out in some Russian cities.Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens in a statement not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."The committee said that people should be aware of the "negative legal consequences of these actions," which it said includes criminal liability. Read Full StoryUkraine's official Twitter is using memes to rip into Putin's bogus comparison between it and Nazi GermanyRussian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.Alexei Nikolsky/Associated PressAfter Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the marching orders for an attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, Ukraine's official Twitter account got busy. One photo showed what appeared to be caricature images of Adolf Hitler tending to a small Putin. "This is not a 'meme', but our and your reality right now," Ukraine said in a follow-up tweet.  The account also called for a so-called "Twitter-storm" at 12 p.m. local time in Kyiv on Thursday, urging people to use various hashtags to "tell the world of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is under attack."Ukraine's latest post said to "Tag @Russia and tell them what you think about them," racking up tens of thousands of likes and quote tweets. Read Full StoryMap shows reported movement of Russian troops in Ukraine Thursday!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Live updates: Ukraine official says Friday will be "hardest day" as Russia advances toward capital Kyiv

Russia attacked Ukraine on Thursday morning and was reported to be advancing toward the capital, Kyiv, on Friday. Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv on February 25, 2022.AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak Russia continued its attack on Ukraine on Friday, advancing toward the capital, Kyiv. One Ukrainian official warned Friday would be the "hardest day" and the president called for help. The UK's defense minister said Russia did not achieve what it wanted on the first day of its attack. Russian foreign minister says it will talk to Ukraine once it stops fighting, doubles down on claim it wants 'de-Nazification' if UkraineRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in January 2022.Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty ImagesSergei Lavrov said on Friday that Russia will only talk to Ukraine if its troops stop fighting, and said: "We do not want Neo-Nazis to rule Ukraine."He was repeating Russia's baseless claim that its attack on Ukraine was motiviated by Naziism in Ukraine.Ukraine's president is a Jewish man whose native language is Russian and who came into office after a democratic election.Russia has tried to justify its attacks by claiming it wants to prevent a "genocide" in Ukraine and to achieve the "de-Nazification" of the country. Former heavyweight boxing champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko say they'll go to war for Ukraine against RussiaWladimir and Vitali Klitschko.Getty/Richard HeathcoteUkrainian boxing icons Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko said they would take up arms to defend Ukraine against Russia.Vitali, who has been the mayor of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, since 2014, said he was ready to fight in a "bloody war.""I don't have another choice, I have to do that. I'll be fighting," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Friday."I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people."Wladimir wrote in a LinkedIn post on Thursday: "Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone," he wrote. "Basically, there is no democracy without democrats."Here, we will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy. You can also act. Let not fear seize us; let's not remain frozen."Read Full StoryUkraine official predicts 'hardest day' as Russia advances on KyivPeople rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter on Thursday.AP Photo/Emilio MorenattiUkraine Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashenko said on Friday: "The hardest day will be today. The enemy's plan is to break through with tanks from Ivankiv and Chernihiv to Kyiv."Ukraine has been 'left alone' to defend itself from Russia, president saysUkrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv on February 25, 2022.AP Photo/Oleksandr RatushniakVolodomyr Zelensky said in an early Friday speech that Ukraine was not getting help on the ground, saying: "We are left alone in defense of our state.""Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly — I do not see such. Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine's accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid."Many nations have condemned Russia and sent weapons to Ukraine. But they have not sent troops, and NATO and the US have said they won't do so.Zelensky also praised the people of Ukraine in his speech, saying: "You are brilliantly defending the country from one of the most powerful countries in the world."Read Full Story Ukraine posts instructions for making Molotov cocktails and asks people who own drones for helpThe post below, from Ukraine's national guard, contained instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails to use against Russian troops.—НГУ (@ng_ukraine) February 25, 2022Ukraine's military also posted a Facebook callout on Friday asking for drone owners to help out."Do you know how to drive a drone? Join the joint patrol with units 112 of the separate brigade of the city of Kyiv!" it said.The Champions League final is moved from Russia to FranceGetty Images/Daniele BadolatoEuropean soccer governing body UEFA said Russia has been stripped of the 2022 Champions League final, and that it will now take place in Paris.UEFA said the game being moved comes after "the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe."Read Full StoryRussia 'failed to deliver' its day-one aims for invading Ukraine, UK defense secretary saysUK Secretary for Defence Ben Wallace.Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBen Wallace told Sky News on Friday: "Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives,"  "In fact it's behind its hoped-for timetable. They've lost over 450 personnel.""The Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective."He gave the example that Russian special forces had failed to secure a "significant" airport that was once again under Ukrainian control. Read Full Story Ukrainian leaders compare Russia's attack on Kyiv to Nazi Germany's assault in 1941A night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesRussia's attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has prompted comparisons to Nazi Germany's assault on the city in 1941.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked World War II while speaking directly to the Russian people in a speech Friday morning as explosions were reported over Kyiv."Tonight, you began bombing residential areas in the hero city of Kyiv. This is like 1941. I want to tell all Russian citizens who are coming out to protest: we hear you, you heard us, you started to believe us. Fight for us. Fight the war," Zelensky said.Read Full StoryRussia's richest 22 billionaires lost $39 billion in one day after the invasion of UkraineVladimir Potanin, Russia's richest man, lost $3 billion in one day on Thursday. He is now worth $26.1 billion.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesRussia's 22 richest individuals saw their net worths plunge by a collective $39 billion in less than 24 hours after their country invaded Ukraine, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.The wealth wipeout came after Moscow's benchmark MOEX Russia Index crashed and closed 33% lower on Thursday.The Russian billionaires lost more money on Thursday than they had lost year-to-date up until Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.Read Full StoryAustralian PM Scott Morrison slams China for throwing a 'lifeline' to RussiaMorrison said that it is "simply unacceptable" for China to ease trade restrictions on Russia when other countries are imposing sanctions.STEVEN SAPHORE/AFP via Getty ImagesAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned China for easing its restrictions on Russian wheat amid the Ukraine crisis, even as other countries impose fresh sanctions on Russia."You don't go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they're invading another country," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday morning, per Australia's ABC News. Read Full StoryMitch McConnell has urged Biden to 'ratchet the sanctions all the way up' against RussiaSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged President Joe Biden not to hold back with tough sanctions on Russia.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday advised President Joe Biden to hold nothing back when imposing sanctions on Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine. "We're all together at this point, and we need to be together about what should be done," McConnell said."Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don't hold any back," he added. "Every single available tough sanction should be employed and should be employed now." Read Full StoryLarge explosions heard in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital cityA night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, as seen on Thursday.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesKyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was awakened by explosions in the early hours of Friday morning local time, CNN reported."Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued," Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, told CNN Thursday.The outlet also reported multiple bombardments — two blasts in Kyiv and an explosion in the distance. Read Full StoryUkraine is crowdfunding to shore up its defenses against the Russian militarySoldiers seen aboard a Ukrainian tank in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday.REUTERS/Carlos BarriaUkraine is crowdfunding to bolster its armed forces against the Russian invasion.In a tweet on Thursday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine called for donations and provided a link to the country's official website.Collected funds will be used for the "logistical and medical support" of the Ukrainian armed forces, said the webpage, which is operated by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian Institution.Read Full Story5 reasons Putin and others have given for the invasionRussian President Vladimir Putin claims the Ukraine invasion is aimed at preventing the "genocide" of ethnic Russians in the country.Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesRussian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching a large-scale and unprovoked invasion that was feared for weeks.Here are some reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin has given for why Russia invaded Ukraine — some of which are based on falsehoods — along with what the US and NATO have said about his motivations.Read Full StoryThe Biden administration is considering training Ukrainian soldiers in an outside country, according to AxiosUkrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine on January 20, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Getty ImagesAs Russian forces enclose on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the Biden administration is eyeing its next steps in the ongoing conflict.Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the US government is considering possible ways to train Ukrainian troops outside of Ukraine, should Russia seize control of the country, according to Axios.Austin reportedly told lawmakers that officials are trying to find ways to provide more defense equipment, including ammunition to Ukrainian forces — a feat made more challenging as Russian forces assault the country.The secretary also told House members that the Biden administration will continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government as long as it is "viable," the outlet reported.Ukrainian president announces general mobilization of all conscripts and reservists to last 90 daysUkrainian soldiers sit on top of a military vehicle parked outside the hotel in Prypiat, Ukraine on February 4.Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty ImageUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday ordered a general military mobilization throughout the country as Russia continues its large-scale military assault in Ukraine. The declaration ordered the conscription of conscripts and reservists for military service, as well as their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to "ensure the defense of the state." The mobilization, which included all of Ukraine's major cities, will be carried out within 90 days, the decree said. It will provide personnel, vehicles, infrastructure, and land use for the Ukrainian government and military amid Russia's ongoing invasion, according to the decree. Ukraine has also banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country, according to CNN, which cited the State Border Guard Service. READ FULL STORYZelensky says 'enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv' and that he is 'number one target'Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.Photo by Ronald Wittek - Pool/Getty ImagesIn his second video address on Thursday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "enemy sabotage groups" entered Kyiv, and that he plans to remain, despite being Russia's "number one target.""According to preliminary data, unfortunately, we have lost 137 of our heroes today — our citizens. Ten of them are officers," Zelensky said in his address. "316 are wounded."He also used the opportunity to dispel rumors that he had fled Kyiv, and that his family had left the country."I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital," he said. "My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now."READ FULL STORYWhite House is 'outraged' over reports that staff at Chernobyl have been taken hostage by Russian forcesServicemen take part in a joint tactical and special exercises of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ukrainian National Guard and Ministry Emergency in a ghost city of Pripyat, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 4, 2022.Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty ImagesPress secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is outraged over reports from Ukrainian officials that staff at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian troops.Russian forces took over the remnants of Chernobyl earlier on Thursday during the country's invasion of Ukraine. The move indicated Russia is likely to assault Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, which is located just south of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history."We're outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facility hostage," Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, adding "we condemn it and we request their release."Psaki said the situation at Chernobyl was not clear but that the hostage taking was "incredibly alarming and greatly concerning," adding it could hurt efforts to maintain the facility, which is dangerously contaminated with radioactivity as a result of the 1986 nuclear disaster.read full STORYUS secretary of state is 'convinced' Russia will try to overthrow the Ukrainian governmentUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on April 11, 2021.Meet The Press/NBCUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said he is "convinced" Moscow will try to overthrow Ukraine's government."You don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what President Putin wants. He has made clear he'd like to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, short of that he'd like to reassert a sphere of influence around the neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc," Blinken said during a national TV interview. The secretary pledged that NATO would intervene before Putin successfully accomplished his ultimate goal."Now, when it comes to a threat beyond Ukraine's borders. There's something very powerful standing in his way. That's article five of NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all," the top diplomat said.  Expert says Russia's Ukraine invasion will result in 'horrific scenes,' could be launch of 'Cold War 2.0'Ukrainians gather in front of the White House in Washington, USA to stage a protest against Russia's attack in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA former aide to President Barack Obama is warning that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "game changer" in international relations that will result in "horrific scenes" in the coming days, with President Vladimir Putin intent on pursuing regime change at all costs."I think it's just a matter of time before Kyiv falls," Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who also served on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, told Insider.READ FULL STORYThe White House says it's ready to accept Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasionWhite House press secretary Jen Psaki.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia's invasion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN."We are," Psaki said when asked whether the US was ready to assist fleeing Ukrainians. "But we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours."She added that US officials have been engaging with Europeans on the matter "for some time." Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield just outside KyivUkraine army says battle under way for airbase near Kyiv on February 24, 2022Daniel LEAL / Getty ImagesUkrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Russian forces attacked and seized Hostomel (Gostomel) airfield, a cargo airport near Kyiv that is also known as Antonov airport, early Thursday, according to AFP. Ukraine's leadership reportedly vowed to take it back."The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.Read Full StoryUkraine's health minister says dozens killed and over 160 injuredBlack smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty ImagesUkraine's health minister said 57 Ukrainians have been killed and 169 were wounded after Russia attacked on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.Explosions, gunfire, and sirens were reportedly heard in Kyiv on Thursday. Witnesses also described missile blasts in other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odesa, reports said. Sean Penn is filming a documentary in Ukraine while Russia invadesActor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via ReutersSean Penn was spotted in Ukraine on Thursday just after Russia invaded the country. Penn was seen in the front row of a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, photos obtained by Reuters show. The actor and director has been working on a documentary about tensions in Ukraine since last year.Read Full StoryUkrainians and Russians are packing ATM lines, prompting fears of what happened in the US during the Great DepressionPeople wait in line at an ATM in Kyiv.DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images.Many Ukrainians who haven't already fled the country as Russia's threat turned into invasion stood in long lines outside of banks and ATMs hoping to take out their funds, Reuters reported on Thursday. Meanwhile in Russia, people are also queuing outside of ATMs trying to get US dollars as its citizens worry their own currency's value will continue to tank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Banks in the capital city of Moscow are running out of money, MSNBC reported. All of this has led to fears of bank runs, which is when people withdraw money en masse because they worry banks will cease to function. That's what happened in the United States during the Great Depression, and it triggered mass unemployment and loan scarcities.  Read Full StoryA top Russian business lobbyist pleaded with Putin to 'demonstrate as much as possible' that Russia wants to remain 'part of the global economy'Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin attend a meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 16, 2017.Sergei Ilnitsky/AP PhotoThe head of one of Russia's biggest business groups urged President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to avoid severe economic pain and remain "part of the global economy" as NATO members ready a harsher salvo of sanctions.Putin held a televised meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just hours after Russian forces began attacks in Ukraine.The threat of new sanctions was enough for Alexander Shokhin, the business group's president, to raise concerns with Putin about remaining a member of the world economy.The lobbyist urged the president to pad against major economic pain and to ensure conflict in Ukraine doesn't fuel widespread harm to the global financial system."Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke, including through some kind of response measures, global negative phenomena on world markets," Shokhin said.Read Full StoryBiden says he'll try to limit what Americans pay at the gas pump as the US slaps Russia with more sanctions: 'This is critical to me'U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions after delivering remarks about Russia's “unprovoked and unjustified" military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden sought to quell fears of another spike in gas prices on Thursday after Russia unleashed a military assault on Ukraine that threatened to upend the global economy.The threat of war in Ukraine in recent weeks has contributed to spiking oil prices, with the benchmark Brent crude oil hitting $100 for the first time since 2014 Wednesday night amid the early stages of Russia's invasion."I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting," he said at a White House address. "I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump."He opened the door to another release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a step the Biden administration also took in November to try and provide relief at the pump.Read Full StoryBiden says Putin's Ukraine invasion will cause a 'complete rupture' in US-Russia relationsPresident Joe Biden listens to questions from reporters while speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.Alex Brandon/APPresident Joe Biden on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine will cause a "complete rupture" of US-Russia relations if it continues. Biden condemned Putin and his escalating invasion of Ukraine in a speech from the White House.Biden, who met with G7 members on Thursday morning, also announced a raft of new sanctions against Russia on Thursday."What's the risk that we are watching the beginning of another Cold War, and is there now a complete rupture in US-Russian relations?," a reporter asked Biden following his address. Read Full StoryFamed Russian rapper cancels concerts in protest, saying he can't perform while 'Russian missiles fall on Ukraine'Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.AP Photo/Pavel GolovkinA prominent Russian rapper canceled his concert in protest of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, saying he can't perform while "Russian missiles fall on Ukraine."Rapper Oxxxymiron announced via a video posted to his Instagram account that he is postponing "six of my major gigs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg indefinitely," because he said he is "specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine.""I'm sure you can understand me; I can't entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine, while Kyiv residents are forced to hide in the basements and subway, and while people are dying," he said.Read Full StoryUS Treasury targets Belarusian support for Russian invasion of UkraineBelarusian President Alexander LukashenkoDmitry Astakhov/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesIn addition to the second round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion. The sanctions target Belarus's defense sector and financial institutions — two sectors closely tied to Russia.Massive protests erupted in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg as Russians voice opposition to war in UkraineA demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.Photo by SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesMassive protests erupted on Thursday in Russian President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, as people voiced their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.Videos posted to Twitter show a sea of people gathered in a section of St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs to object to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.Russian government forces have threatened to arrest anti-war protesters, who took to the streets after Putin announced military action against Ukraine on Thursday.Read Full StoryPhotos show Russian authorities dragging away protesters opposed to Putin's invasion of UkrainePolice Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesAnti-war protesters in Russia quickly took to the streets following Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Some activists were met with hostility by Russian authorities who hauled them away. More than 1,000 anti-war protesters have already been detained in dozens of cities across Russia, according to protest-monitoring group OVD-Info. Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."Read Full StoryBiden slaps 'additional strong sanctions' on Russia as it mounts a large-scale attack on UkrainePresident Joe Biden delivers remarks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the East Room of the White House on February 07, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will impose a second, harsher round of sanctions on Russia following its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.Biden announced that he had authorized "additional strong sanctions" and "new limitations" on what can be exported to Russia."We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the United States and our allies," Biden said."We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy," the president said of the sanctions. "We're going to stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy."Read Full StoryA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears and begged the world to 'save our people' from being 'murdered' by Russian forcesUkrainian Parliament member Halyna Yanchenko speaks during a CBS interviewCBS NewsA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears during an interview with CBS News and begged the international community to "save our people" from being "murdered" by Russian forces."I beg you, please save our people. Dozens of people — maybe hundreds of people — might be murdered tonight," Member of Parliament Halyna Yanchenko said as she sobbed during an interview with CBS News on Thursday.  She added: "Please save Ukrainian men, women, and children." Read Full StoryPhotos show Ukrainian families fleeing the Russian invasion amid warnings of a mass refugee crisisPeople wait for trains at a train station as they attempt to evacuate the city on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels.Pierre Crom/Getty Images)Ukrainian residents fled their homes after the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion. Train stations were packed with people on the move and roads filled with cars of people leaving the country, with their loved ones and prized possessions in tow.Before the invasion took place, there were warnings of a mass refugee crisis.Read Full StoryRussian government websites — including ones for the Kremlin and the legislature — went dark after cyberattacks target UkraineA night view of Kyiv as the Kyiv mayor declared a curfew from 10pm to 7am on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesMultiple Russian government websites reportedly went down on Thursday after the country launched an attack on Ukraine. NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed on Twitter that multiple sites went offline shortly after 8:45 p.m. local time in Moscow.The Kremlin's website and that of the Russian Federal Assembly's lower house — or State Duma — were both down for at least 15 minutes. As of 9 p.m. local time, the State Duma website was since restored. Shortly after 9:10 p.m. local time, the Kremlin's website was also back online.  Read Full StoryPutin had a range of ways to attack Ukraine. He went with the worst-case scenario for the West.A convoy of Russian military vehicles is seen as the vehicles move towards border in Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on February 23, 2022 in Russian border city Rostov.Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesIn the build-up to Russia's assault on Ukraine, analysts and leaders envisioned numerous ways the conflict might play out, from a limited incursion to an all-out invasion.Putin used precision missile strikes and airstrikes, followed shortly later by ground maneuvers, the officials said.Analysts said attacks came from the east, south, and north, a description consistent with reports on the ground and Insider's map of the invasion.All three lines of attack — as per this analysis in The Conversation — had previously been floated as individual possibilities for an invasion.Defense analysts warned that Russia's multipronged attack was full-scale but still in an early phase, with a lot more forces to push into Ukraine to seize key areas or capture its leadership.Putin's overall endgame remains an area of pressing debate.Read Full StoryKey Democratic congressman says the US can't send support to Ukraine quickly enough 'to repel' Russia's invasionRep. Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, ruled out surging supplies into Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to stall Russia's invasion, arguing it's unlikely such support would arrive quickly enough to make a difference."The odd of us being able to do that in a rapid enough fashion to be able to repel the invasion are remote," Smith told CNN on Thursday when asked about a Ukrainian official's request for more equipment. "I don't think it's realistic to think that we can reinforce them enough in the short term to be able to repel the invasion."Read Full StoryPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden are refusing to play their 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in Russia after it attacked UkraineA protester holds a poster reading "Sanctions against Russia now" during a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm on February 24, 2022, after Russia launched military operations in Ukraine.Photo by CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden said they are refusing to play their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine on Thursday.Based on the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine, "the signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there," the three countries said in a joint statement addressed to FIFA's General Secretary Fatma Samoura. The statement continued: "The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations."Read Full StoryRussia's moving on Kyiv and the plan appears to be to take out Ukraine's leadership, US defense official warnsA column of army trucks approaches the Perekop checkpoint on the Ukrainian border. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine.Sergei MalgavkobackslashTASS via Getty ImagesRussian forces invaded Ukraine Thursday morning, and a senior US defense official says they are moving on Kyiv, likely to topple the country's government and install their own.Russia is "making a move on Kyiv" a senior defense official who addressed reporters Thursday said, according to CNN. "We would describe what you are seeing as an initial phase" of a "large-scale invasion," the official said, according to The Washington Post's Dan Lamothe.Read Full StoryMaps show Russia's invasion of UkraineMaps of Ukraine.Shayanne Gal/InsiderRussia invaded Ukraine early Thursday, leading to dozens of Ukrainian and Russian casualties.These maps show where Russian troops have attacked Ukraine, which is happening from multiple sides.Read Full StoryUK plots far harsher sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading UkraineBritish Prime Minister Boris JohnsonAdrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoThe UK announced a new set of harsher sanctions on Russia after the country invaded Ukraine early Thursday. A spokesman for the UK government told journalists at a briefing that the UK plans to impose a second round of sanctions. The most intense of the new list of sanctions is an asset freeze on all major Russian banks and an asset freeze against VTB — the second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion. The UK also plans to sanction another 100 individuals and entities.This is a large step up from the sanctions it announced Wednesday, which were limited to five smaller banks, three individuals close to Putin, and politicians in Russia who voted for military action. Russia has begun arresting anti-war protesters as demonstrations break out after Putin invades UkrainePolice officer detain a woman during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Dmitry SerebryakovThe Russian government on Thursday threatened anti-war protesters demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, warning they could face arrest for organizing.And according to a protest monitoring group, the detentions have already begun as small protests have broken out in some Russian cities.Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens in a statement not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."The committee said that people should be aware of the "negative legal consequences of these actions," which it said includes criminal liability. Read Full StoryUkraine's official Twitter is using memes to rip into Putin's bogus comparison between it and Nazi GermanyRussian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.Alexei Nikolsky/Associated PressAfter Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the marching orders for an attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, Ukraine's official Twitter account got busy. One photo showed what appeared to be caricature images of Adolf Hitler tending to a small Putin. "This is not a 'meme', but our and your reality right now," Ukraine said in a follow-up tweet.  The account also called for a so-called "Twitter-storm" at 12 p.m. local time in Kyiv on Thursday, urging people to use various hashtags to "tell the world of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is under attack."Ukraine's latest post said to "Tag @Russia and tell them what you think about them," racking up tens of thousands of likes and quote tweets. Read Full StoryMap shows reported movement of Russian troops in Ukraine Thursday!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Live updates: Ukraine official says Friday will be "hardest day" as Russia advances toward country"s capital

Russia started its attack on Ukraine on Thursday morning. President Volodomyr Zelensky said Ukraine needs help from the rest of the world. Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft seen in in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday.AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak Russia continued its attack on Ukraine on Friday, advancing towards the capital. One Ukrainian official warned Friday would be the "hardest day" and the president said Ukraine needs help. The UK's defense minister said Russia did not achieve what it wanted on its first day of attack. Ukraine official predicts 'hardest day' as Russia advances on KyivPeople rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter on Thursday.AP Photo/Emilio MorenattiUkraine Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashenko said on Friday: "The hardest day will be today. The enemy's plan is to break through with tanks from Ivankiv and Chernihiv to Kyiv." Ukraine has been 'left alone' to defend itself from Russia, president saysUkrainian servicemen walk at fragments of a downed aircraft seen in in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022AP Photo/Oleksandr RatushniakVolodomyr Zelensky said in a Friday speech that Ukraine was not getting on-the-ground help, saying "we are left alone in defense of our state.""Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly — I do not see such. Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine's accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid."Many nations have condemned Russia, and sent weapons to Ukraine. But they have not sent troops, and NATO and the US have said they won't do so.Zelensky also praised the people of Ukraine in his speech, saying: "You are brilliantly defending the country from one of the most powerful countries in the world."Read Full Story Ukraine national guard posts instructions for making Molotov Cocktails—НГУ (@ng_ukraine) February 25, 2022 The Champions League final has been moved from Russia to FranceGetty Images/Daniele BadolatoSoccer's biggest annual match has been moved from Russia.European soccer governing body UEFA said Russia has been stripped of the 2022 Champions League final, and that it will now take place in Paris.UEFA said the game being moved comes after "the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe."Read Full StoryRussia 'failed to deliver' its day-one aims for invading Ukraine, the UK defense secretary saysThe UK Secretary of State for Defense, Ben Wallace.Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBen Wallace told Sky News on Friday: "Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives,"  "In fact it's behind its hoped-for timetable. They've lost over 450 personnel.""The Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective."He gave the example that Russian special forces had failed to secure a "significant" airport that was once again under Ukrainian control. Read Full Story Ukrainian leaders compare Russia's attack on Kyiv to Nazi Germany's assault in 1941A night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesRussia's attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has prompted comparisons to Nazi Germany's assault on the city in 1941.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked World War II while speaking directly to the Russian people in a speech Friday morning as explosions were reported over Kyiv."Tonight, you began bombing residential areas in the hero city of Kyiv. This is like 1941. I want to tell all Russian citizens who are coming out to protest: we hear you, you heard us, you started to believe us. Fight for us. Fight the war," Zelensky said.Read Full StoryRussia's richest 22 billionaires lost $39 billion in one day after the invasion of UkraineVladimir Potanin, Russia's richest man, lost $3 billion in one day on Thursday. He is now worth $26.1 billion.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesRussia's 22 richest individuals saw their net worths plunge by a collective $39 billion in less than 24 hours after their country invaded Ukraine, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.The wealth wipeout came after Moscow's benchmark MOEX Russia Index crashed and closed 33% lower on Thursday.The Russian billionaires lost more money on Thursday than they had lost year-to-date up until Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.Read Full StoryAustralian PM Scott Morrison slams China for throwing a 'lifeline' to RussiaMorrison said that it is "simply unacceptable" for China to ease trade restrictions on Russia when other countries are imposing sanctions.STEVEN SAPHORE/AFP via Getty ImagesAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned China for easing its restrictions on Russian wheat amid the Ukraine crisis, even as other countries impose fresh sanctions on Russia."You don't go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they're invading another country," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday morning, per Australia's ABC News. Read Full StoryMitch McConnell has urged Biden to 'ratchet the sanctions all the way up' against RussiaSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged President Joe Biden not to hold back with tough sanctions on Russia.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday advised President Joe Biden to hold nothing back when imposing sanctions on Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine. "We're all together at this point, and we need to be together about what should be done," McConnell said."Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don't hold any back," he added. "Every single available tough sanction should be employed and should be employed now." Read Full StoryLarge explosions heard in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital cityA night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, as seen on Thursday.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesKyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was awakened by explosions in the early hours of Friday morning local time, CNN reported."Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued," Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, told CNN Thursday.The outlet also reported multiple bombardments — two blasts in Kyiv and an explosion in the distance. Read Full StoryUkraine is crowdfunding to shore up its defenses against the Russian militarySoldiers seen aboard a Ukrainian tank in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday.REUTERS/Carlos BarriaUkraine is crowdfunding to bolster its armed forces against the Russian invasion.In a tweet on Thursday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine called for donations and provided a link to the country's official website.Collected funds will be used for the "logistical and medical support" of the Ukrainian armed forces, said the webpage, which is operated by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian Institution.Read Full Story5 reasons Putin and others have given for the invasionRussian President Vladimir Putin claims the Ukraine invasion is aimed at preventing the "genocide" of ethnic Russians in the country.Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesRussian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching a large-scale and unprovoked invasion that was feared for weeks.Here are some reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin has given for why Russia invaded Ukraine — some of which are based on falsehoods — along with what the US and NATO have said about his motivations.Read Full StoryThe Biden administration is considering training Ukrainian soldiers in an outside country, according to AxiosUkrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine on January 20, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Getty ImagesAs Russian forces enclose on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the Biden administration is eyeing its next steps in the ongoing conflict.Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the US government is considering possible ways to train Ukrainian troops outside of Ukraine, should Russia seize control of the country, according to Axios.Austin reportedly told lawmakers that officials are trying to find ways to provide more defense equipment, including ammunition to Ukrainian forces — a feat made more challenging as Russian forces assault the country.The secretary also told House members that the Biden administration will continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government as long as it is "viable," the outlet reported.Ukrainian president announces general mobilization of all conscripts and reservists to last 90 daysUkrainian soldiers sit on top of a military vehicle parked outside the hotel in Prypiat, Ukraine on February 4.Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty ImageUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday ordered a general military mobilization throughout the country as Russia continues its large-scale military assault in Ukraine. The declaration ordered the conscription of conscripts and reservists for military service, as well as their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to "ensure the defense of the state." The mobilization, which included all of Ukraine's major cities, will be carried out within 90 days, the decree said. It will provide personnel, vehicles, infrastructure, and land use for the Ukrainian government and military amid Russia's ongoing invasion, according to the decree. Ukraine has also banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country, according to CNN, which cited the State Border Guard Service. READ FULL STORYZelensky says 'enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv' and that he is 'number one target'Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.Photo by Ronald Wittek - Pool/Getty ImagesIn his second video address on Thursday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "enemy sabotage groups" entered Kyiv, and that he plans to remain, despite being Russia's "number one target.""According to preliminary data, unfortunately, we have lost 137 of our heroes today — our citizens. Ten of them are officers," Zelensky said in his address. "316 are wounded."He also used the opportunity to dispel rumors that he had fled Kyiv, and that his family had left the country."I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital," he said. "My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now."READ FULL STORYWhite House is 'outraged' over reports that staff at Chernobyl have been taken hostage by Russian forcesServicemen take part in a joint tactical and special exercises of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ukrainian National Guard and Ministry Emergency in a ghost city of Pripyat, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 4, 2022.Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty ImagesPress secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is outraged over reports from Ukrainian officials that staff at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian troops.Russian forces took over the remnants of Chernobyl earlier on Thursday during the country's invasion of Ukraine. The move indicated Russia is likely to assault Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, which is located just south of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history."We're outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facility hostage," Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, adding "we condemn it and we request their release."Psaki said the situation at Chernobyl was not clear but that the hostage taking was "incredibly alarming and greatly concerning," adding it could hurt efforts to maintain the facility, which is dangerously contaminated with radioactivity as a result of the 1986 nuclear disaster.read full STORYUS secretary of state is 'convinced' Russia will try to overthrow the Ukrainian governmentUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on April 11, 2021.Meet The Press/NBCUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said he is "convinced" Moscow will try to overthrow Ukraine's government."You don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what President Putin wants. He has made clear he'd like to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, short of that he'd like to reassert a sphere of influence around the neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc," Blinken said during a national TV interview. The secretary pledged that NATO would intervene before Putin successfully accomplished his ultimate goal."Now, when it comes to a threat beyond Ukraine's borders. There's something very powerful standing in his way. That's article five of NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all," the top diplomat said.  Expert says Russia's Ukraine invasion will result in 'horrific scenes,' could be launch of 'Cold War 2.0'Ukrainians gather in front of the White House in Washington, USA to stage a protest against Russia's attack in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA former aide to President Barack Obama is warning that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "game changer" in international relations that will result in "horrific scenes" in the coming days, with President Vladimir Putin intent on pursuing regime change at all costs."I think it's just a matter of time before Kyiv falls," Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who also served on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, told Insider.READ FULL STORYThe White House says it's ready to accept Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasionWhite House press secretary Jen Psaki.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia's invasion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN."We are," Psaki said when asked whether the US was ready to assist fleeing Ukrainians. "But we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours."She added that US officials have been engaging with Europeans on the matter "for some time." Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield just outside KyivUkraine army says battle under way for airbase near Kyiv on February 24, 2022Daniel LEAL / Getty ImagesUkrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Russian forces attacked and seized Hostomel (Gostomel) airfield, a cargo airport near Kyiv that is also known as Antonov airport, early Thursday, according to AFP. Ukraine's leadership reportedly vowed to take it back."The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.Read Full StoryUkraine's health minister says dozens killed and over 160 injuredBlack smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty ImagesUkraine's health minister said 57 Ukrainians have been killed and 169 were wounded after Russia attacked on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.Explosions, gunfire, and sirens were reportedly heard in Kyiv on Thursday. Witnesses also described missile blasts in other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odesa, reports said. Sean Penn is filming a documentary in Ukraine while Russia invadesActor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via ReutersSean Penn was spotted in Ukraine on Thursday just after Russia invaded the country. Penn was seen in the front row of a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, photos obtained by Reuters show. The actor and director has been working on a documentary about tensions in Ukraine since last year.Read Full StoryUkrainians and Russians are packing ATM lines, prompting fears of what happened in the US during the Great DepressionPeople wait in line at an ATM in Kyiv.DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images.Many Ukrainians who haven't already fled the country as Russia's threat turned into invasion stood in long lines outside of banks and ATMs hoping to take out their funds, Reuters reported on Thursday. Meanwhile in Russia, people are also queuing outside of ATMs trying to get US dollars as its citizens worry their own currency's value will continue to tank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Banks in the capital city of Moscow are running out of money, MSNBC reported. All of this has led to fears of bank runs, which is when people withdraw money en masse because they worry banks will cease to function. That's what happened in the United States during the Great Depression, and it triggered mass unemployment and loan scarcities.  Read Full StoryA top Russian business lobbyist pleaded with Putin to 'demonstrate as much as possible' that Russia wants to remain 'part of the global economy'Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin attend a meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 16, 2017.Sergei Ilnitsky/AP PhotoThe head of one of Russia's biggest business groups urged President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to avoid severe economic pain and remain "part of the global economy" as NATO members ready a harsher salvo of sanctions.Putin held a televised meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just hours after Russian forces began attacks in Ukraine.The threat of new sanctions was enough for Alexander Shokhin, the business group's president, to raise concerns with Putin about remaining a member of the world economy.The lobbyist urged the president to pad against major economic pain and to ensure conflict in Ukraine doesn't fuel widespread harm to the global financial system."Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke, including through some kind of response measures, global negative phenomena on world markets," Shokhin said.Read Full StoryBiden says he'll try to limit what Americans pay at the gas pump as the US slaps Russia with more sanctions: 'This is critical to me'U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions after delivering remarks about Russia's “unprovoked and unjustified" military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden sought to quell fears of another spike in gas prices on Thursday after Russia unleashed a military assault on Ukraine that threatened to upend the global economy.The threat of war in Ukraine in recent weeks has contributed to spiking oil prices, with the benchmark Brent crude oil hitting $100 for the first time since 2014 Wednesday night amid the early stages of Russia's invasion."I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting," he said at a White House address. "I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump."He opened the door to another release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a step the Biden administration also took in November to try and provide relief at the pump.Read Full StoryBiden says Putin's Ukraine invasion will cause a 'complete rupture' in US-Russia relationsPresident Joe Biden listens to questions from reporters while speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.Alex Brandon/APPresident Joe Biden on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine will cause a "complete rupture" of US-Russia relations if it continues. Biden condemned Putin and his escalating invasion of Ukraine in a speech from the White House.Biden, who met with G7 members on Thursday morning, also announced a raft of new sanctions against Russia on Thursday."What's the risk that we are watching the beginning of another Cold War, and is there now a complete rupture in US-Russian relations?," a reporter asked Biden following his address. Read Full StoryFamed Russian rapper cancels concerts in protest, saying he can't perform while 'Russian missiles fall on Ukraine'Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.AP Photo/Pavel GolovkinA prominent Russian rapper canceled his concert in protest of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, saying he can't perform while "Russian missiles fall on Ukraine."Rapper Oxxxymiron announced via a video posted to his Instagram account that he is postponing "six of my major gigs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg indefinitely," because he said he is "specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine.""I'm sure you can understand me; I can't entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine, while Kyiv residents are forced to hide in the basements and subway, and while people are dying," he said.Read Full StoryUS Treasury targets Belarusian support for Russian invasion of UkraineBelarusian President Alexander LukashenkoDmitry Astakhov/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesIn addition to the second round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion. The sanctions target Belarus's defense sector and financial institutions — two sectors closely tied to Russia.Massive protests erupted in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg as Russians voice opposition to war in UkraineA demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.Photo by SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesMassive protests erupted on Thursday in Russian President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, as people voiced their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.Videos posted to Twitter show a sea of people gathered in a section of St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs to object to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.Russian government forces have threatened to arrest anti-war protesters, who took to the streets after Putin announced military action against Ukraine on Thursday.Read Full StoryPhotos show Russian authorities dragging away protesters opposed to Putin's invasion of UkrainePolice Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesAnti-war protesters in Russia quickly took to the streets following Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Some activists were met with hostility by Russian authorities who hauled them away. More than 1,000 anti-war protesters have already been detained in dozens of cities across Russia, according to protest-monitoring group OVD-Info. Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."Read Full StoryBiden slaps 'additional strong sanctions' on Russia as it mounts a large-scale attack on UkrainePresident Joe Biden delivers remarks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the East Room of the White House on February 07, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will impose a second, harsher round of sanctions on Russia following its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.Biden announced that he had authorized "additional strong sanctions" and "new limitations" on what can be exported to Russia."We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the United States and our allies," Biden said."We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy," the president said of the sanctions. "We're going to stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy."Read Full StoryA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears and begged the world to 'save our people' from being 'murdered' by Russian forcesUkrainian Parliament member Halyna Yanchenko speaks during a CBS interviewCBS NewsA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears during an interview with CBS News and begged the international community to "save our people" from being "murdered" by Russian forces."I beg you, please save our people. Dozens of people — maybe hundreds of people — might be murdered tonight," Member of Parliament Halyna Yanchenko said as she sobbed during an interview with CBS News on Thursday.  She added: "Please save Ukrainian men, women, and children." Read Full StoryPhotos show Ukrainian families fleeing the Russian invasion amid warnings of a mass refugee crisisPeople wait for trains at a train station as they attempt to evacuate the city on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels.Pierre Crom/Getty Images)Ukrainian residents fled their homes after the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion. Train stations were packed with people on the move and roads filled with cars of people leaving the country, with their loved ones and prized possessions in tow.Before the invasion took place, there were warnings of a mass refugee crisis.Read Full StoryRussian government websites — including ones for the Kremlin and the legislature — went dark after cyberattacks target UkraineA night view of Kyiv as the Kyiv mayor declared a curfew from 10pm to 7am on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesMultiple Russian government websites reportedly went down on Thursday after the country launched an attack on Ukraine. NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed on Twitter that multiple sites went offline shortly after 8:45 p.m. local time in Moscow.The Kremlin's website and that of the Russian Federal Assembly's lower house — or State Duma — were both down for at least 15 minutes. As of 9 p.m. local time, the State Duma website was since restored. Shortly after 9:10 p.m. local time, the Kremlin's website was also back online.  Read Full StoryPutin had a range of ways to attack Ukraine. He went with the worst-case scenario for the West.A convoy of Russian military vehicles is seen as the vehicles move towards border in Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on February 23, 2022 in Russian border city Rostov.Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesIn the build-up to Russia's assault on Ukraine, analysts and leaders envisioned numerous ways the conflict might play out, from a limited incursion to an all-out invasion.Putin used precision missile strikes and airstrikes, followed shortly later by ground maneuvers, the officials said.Analysts said attacks came from the east, south, and north, a description consistent with reports on the ground and Insider's map of the invasion.All three lines of attack — as per this analysis in The Conversation — had previously been floated as individual possibilities for an invasion.Defense analysts warned that Russia's multipronged attack was full-scale but still in an early phase, with a lot more forces to push into Ukraine to seize key areas or capture its leadership.Putin's overall endgame remains an area of pressing debate.Read Full StoryKey Democratic congressman says the US can't send support to Ukraine quickly enough 'to repel' Russia's invasionRep. Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, ruled out surging supplies into Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to stall Russia's invasion, arguing it's unlikely such support would arrive quickly enough to make a difference."The odd of us being able to do that in a rapid enough fashion to be able to repel the invasion are remote," Smith told CNN on Thursday when asked about a Ukrainian official's request for more equipment. "I don't think it's realistic to think that we can reinforce them enough in the short term to be able to repel the invasion."Read Full StoryPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden are refusing to play their 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in Russia after it attacked UkraineA protester holds a poster reading "Sanctions against Russia now" during a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm on February 24, 2022, after Russia launched military operations in Ukraine.Photo by CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden said they are refusing to play their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine on Thursday.Based on the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine, "the signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there," the three countries said in a joint statement addressed to FIFA's General Secretary Fatma Samoura. The statement continued: "The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations."Read Full StoryRussia's moving on Kyiv and the plan appears to be to take out Ukraine's leadership, US defense official warnsA column of army trucks approaches the Perekop checkpoint on the Ukrainian border. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine.Sergei MalgavkobackslashTASS via Getty ImagesRussian forces invaded Ukraine Thursday morning, and a senior US defense official says they are moving on Kyiv, likely to topple the country's government and install their own.Russia is "making a move on Kyiv" a senior defense official who addressed reporters Thursday said, according to CNN. "We would describe what you are seeing as an initial phase" of a "large-scale invasion," the official said, according to The Washington Post's Dan Lamothe.Read Full StoryMaps show Russia's invasion of UkraineMaps of Ukraine.Shayanne Gal/InsiderRussia invaded Ukraine early Thursday, leading to dozens of Ukrainian and Russian casualties.These maps show where Russian troops have attacked Ukraine, which is happening from multiple sides.Read Full StoryUK plots far harsher sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading UkraineBritish Prime Minister Boris JohnsonAdrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoThe UK announced a new set of harsher sanctions on Russia after the country invaded Ukraine early Thursday. A spokesman for the UK government told journalists at a briefing that the UK plans to impose a second round of sanctions. The most intense of the new list of sanctions is an asset freeze on all major Russian banks and an asset freeze against VTB — the second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion. The UK also plans to sanction another 100 individuals and entities.This is a large step up from the sanctions it announced Wednesday, which were limited to five smaller banks, three individuals close to Putin, and politicians in Russia who voted for military action. Russia has begun arresting anti-war protesters as demonstrations break out after Putin invades UkrainePolice officer detain a woman during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Dmitry SerebryakovThe Russian government on Thursday threatened anti-war protesters demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, warning they could face arrest for organizing.And according to a protest monitoring group, the detentions have already begun as small protests have broken out in some Russian cities.Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens in a statement not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."The committee said that people should be aware of the "negative legal consequences of these actions," which it said includes criminal liability. Read Full StoryUkraine's official Twitter is using memes to rip into Putin's bogus comparison between it and Nazi GermanyRussian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.Alexei Nikolsky/Associated PressAfter Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the marching orders for an attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, Ukraine's official Twitter account got busy. One photo showed what appeared to be caricature images of Adolf Hitler tending to a small Putin. "This is not a 'meme', but our and your reality right now," Ukraine said in a follow-up tweet.  The account also called for a so-called "Twitter-storm" at 12 p.m. local time in Kyiv on Thursday, urging people to use various hashtags to "tell the world of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is under attack."Ukraine's latest post said to "Tag @Russia and tell them what you think about them," racking up tens of thousands of likes and quote tweets. Read Full StoryMap shows reported movement of Russian troops in Ukraine Thursday!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Live updates: Zelensky says "enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv" and that he is "number one target"

Russia attacked Ukraine Thursday morning. Blasts were heard across the country, with reports of artillery fire from Russian forces across the border. Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.Aris Messinis / AFP via Getty Images US President Joe Biden announced a new round of "strong sanctions" on Russia. Russian forces attacked Ukraine on Thursday morning. Ukraine called it a "full-scale invasion." Ukraine said eight civilians were killed, as well as dozens more troops on both sides. Large explosions heard in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital cityA night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, as seen on Thursday.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesKyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was awakened by explosions in the early hours of Friday morning local time, CNN reported."Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued," Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, told CNN Thursday.The outlet also reported multiple bombardments — two blasts in Kyiv and an explosion in the distance. Read Full StoryUkraine is crowdfunding to shore up its defenses against the Russian militarySoldiers seen aboard a Ukrainian tank in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday.REUTERS/Carlos BarriaUkraine is crowdfunding to bolster its armed forces against the Russian invasion.In a tweet on Thursday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine called for donations and provided a link to the country's official website.Collected funds will be used for the "logistical and medical support" of the Ukrainian armed forces, said the webpage, which is operated by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian Institution.Read Full Story5 reasons Putin and others have given for the invasionRussian President Vladimir Putin claims the Ukraine invasion is aimed at preventing the "genocide" of ethnic Russians in the country.Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesRussian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching a large-scale and unprovoked invasion that was feared for weeks.Here are some reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin has given for why Russia invaded Ukraine — some of which are based on falsehoods — along with what the US and NATO have said about his motivations.Read Full StoryThe Biden administration is considering training Ukrainian soldiers in an outside country, according to AxiosUkrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine on January 20, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Getty ImagesAs Russian forces enclose on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the Biden administration is eyeing its next steps in the ongoing conflict.Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the US government is considering possible ways to train Ukrainian troops outside of Ukraine, should Russia seize control of the country, according to Axios.Austin reportedly told lawmakers that officials are trying to find ways to provide more defense equipment, including ammunition to Ukrainian forces — a feat made more challenging as Russian forces assault the country.The secretary also told House members that the Biden administration will continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government as long as it is "viable," the outlet reported.Ukrainian president announces general mobilization of all conscripts and reservists to last 90 daysUkrainian soldiers sit on top of a military vehicle parked outside the hotel in Prypiat, Ukraine on February 4.Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty ImageUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday ordered a general military mobilization throughout the country as Russia continues its large-scale military assault in Ukraine. The declaration ordered the conscription of conscripts and reservists for military service, as well as their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to "ensure the defense of the state." The mobilization, which included all of Ukraine's major cities, will be carried out within 90 days, the decree said. It will provide personnel, vehicles, infrastructure, and land use for the Ukrainian government and military amid Russia's ongoing invasion, according to the decree. Ukraine has also banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country, according to CNN, which cited the State Border Guard Service. READ FULL STORYZelensky says 'enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv' and that he is 'number one target'Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.Photo by Ronald Wittek - Pool/Getty ImagesIn his second video address on Thursday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "enemy sabotage groups" entered Kyiv, and that he plans to remain, despite being Russia's "number one target.""According to preliminary data, unfortunately, we have lost 137 of our heroes today — our citizens. Ten of them are officers," Zelensky said in his address. "316 are wounded."He also used the opportunity to dispel rumors that he had fled Kyiv, and that his family had left the country."I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital," he said. "My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now."READ FULL STORYWhite House is 'outraged' over reports that staff at Chernobyl have been taken hostage by Russian forcesServicemen take part in a joint tactical and special exercises of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ukrainian National Guard and Ministry Emergency in a ghost city of Pripyat, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 4, 2022.Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty ImagesPress secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is outraged over reports from Ukrainian officials that staff at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian troops.Russian forces took over the remnants of Chernobyl earlier on Thursday during the country's invasion of Ukraine. The move indicated Russia is likely to assault Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, which is located just south of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history."We're outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facility hostage," Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, adding "we condemn it and we request their release."Psaki said the situation at Chernobyl was not clear but that the hostage taking was "incredibly alarming and greatly concerning," adding it could hurt efforts to maintain the facility, which is dangerously contaminated with radioactivity as a result of the 1986 nuclear disaster.read full STORYUS secretary of state is 'convinced' Russia will try to overthrow the Ukrainian governmentUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on April 11, 2021.Meet The Press/NBCUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said he is "convinced" Moscow will try to overthrow Ukraine's government."You don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what President Putin wants. He has made clear he'd like to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, short of that he'd like to reassert a sphere of influence around the neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc," Blinken said during a national TV interview. The secretary pledged that NATO would intervene before Putin successfully accomplished his ultimate goal."Now, when it comes to a threat beyond Ukraine's borders. There's something very powerful standing in his way. That's article five of NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all," the top diplomat said.  Expert says Russia's Ukraine invasion will result in 'horrific scenes,' could be launch of 'Cold War 2.0'Ukrainians gather in front of the White House in Washington, USA to stage a protest against Russia's attack in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA former aide to President Barack Obama is warning that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "game changer" in international relations that will result in "horrific scenes" in the coming days, with President Vladimir Putin intent on pursuing regime change at all costs."I think it's just a matter of time before Kyiv falls," Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who also served on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, told Insider.READ FULL STORYThe White House says it's ready to accept Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasionWhite House press secretary Jen Psaki.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia's invasion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN."We are," Psaki said when asked whether the US was ready to assist fleeing Ukrainians. "But we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours."She added that US officials have been engaging with Europeans on the matter "for some time." Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield just outside KyivUkraine army says battle under way for airbase near Kyiv on February 24, 2022Daniel LEAL / Getty ImagesUkrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Russian forces attacked and seized Hostomel (Gostomel) airfield, a cargo airport near Kyiv that is also known as Antonov airport, early Thursday, according to AFP. Ukraine's leadership reportedly vowed to take it back."The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.Read Full StoryUkraine's health minister says dozens killed and over 160 injuredBlack smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty ImagesUkraine's health minister said 57 Ukrainians have been killed and 169 were wounded after Russia attacked on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.Explosions, gunfire, and sirens were reportedly heard in Kyiv on Thursday. Witnesses also described missile blasts in other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odesa, reports said. Sean Penn is filming a documentary in Ukraine while Russia invadesActor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via ReutersSean Penn was spotted in Ukraine on Thursday just after Russia invaded the country. Penn was seen in the front row of a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, photos obtained by Reuters show. The actor and director has been working on a documentary about tensions in Ukraine since last year.Read Full StoryUkrainians and Russians are packing ATM lines, prompting fears of what happened in the US during the Great DepressionPeople wait in line at an ATM in Kyiv.DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images.Many Ukrainians who haven't already fled the country as Russia's threat turned into invasion stood in long lines outside of banks and ATMs hoping to take out their funds, Reuters reported on Thursday. Meanwhile in Russia, people are also queuing outside of ATMs trying to get US dollars as its citizens worry their own currency's value will continue to tank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Banks in the capital city of Moscow are running out of money, MSNBC reported. All of this has led to fears of bank runs, which is when people withdraw money en masse because they worry banks will cease to function. That's what happened in the United States during the Great Depression, and it triggered mass unemployment and loan scarcities.  Read Full StoryA top Russian business lobbyist pleaded with Putin to 'demonstrate as much as possible' that Russia wants to remain 'part of the global economy'Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin attend a meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 16, 2017.Sergei Ilnitsky/AP PhotoThe head of one of Russia's biggest business groups urged President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to avoid severe economic pain and remain "part of the global economy" as NATO members ready a harsher salvo of sanctions.Putin held a televised meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just hours after Russian forces began attacks in Ukraine.The threat of new sanctions was enough for Alexander Shokhin, the business group's president, to raise concerns with Putin about remaining a member of the world economy.The lobbyist urged the president to pad against major economic pain and to ensure conflict in Ukraine doesn't fuel widespread harm to the global financial system."Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke, including through some kind of response measures, global negative phenomena on world markets," Shokhin said.Read Full StoryBiden says he'll try to limit what Americans pay at the gas pump as the US slaps Russia with more sanctions: 'This is critical to me'U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions after delivering remarks about Russia's “unprovoked and unjustified" military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden sought to quell fears of another spike in gas prices on Thursday after Russia unleashed a military assault on Ukraine that threatened to upend the global economy.The threat of war in Ukraine in recent weeks has contributed to spiking oil prices, with the benchmark Brent crude oil hitting $100 for the first time since 2014 Wednesday night amid the early stages of Russia's invasion."I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting," he said at a White House address. "I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump."He opened the door to another release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a step the Biden administration also took in November to try and provide relief at the pump.Read Full StoryBiden says Putin's Ukraine invasion will cause a 'complete rupture' in US-Russia relationsPresident Joe Biden listens to questions from reporters while speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.Alex Brandon/APPresident Joe Biden on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine will cause a "complete rupture" of US-Russia relations if it continues. Biden condemned Putin and his escalating invasion of Ukraine in a speech from the White House.Biden, who met with G7 members on Thursday morning, also announced a raft of new sanctions against Russia on Thursday."What's the risk that we are watching the beginning of another Cold War, and is there now a complete rupture in US-Russian relations?," a reporter asked Biden following his address. Read Full StoryFamed Russian rapper cancels concerts in protest, saying he can't perform while 'Russian missiles fall on Ukraine'Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.AP Photo/Pavel GolovkinA prominent Russian rapper canceled his concert in protest of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, saying he can't perform while "Russian missiles fall on Ukraine."Rapper Oxxxymiron announced via a video posted to his Instagram account that he is postponing "six of my major gigs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg indefinitely," because he said he is "specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine.""I'm sure you can understand me; I can't entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine, while Kyiv residents are forced to hide in the basements and subway, and while people are dying," he said.Read Full StoryUS Treasury targets Belarusian support for Russian invasion of UkraineBelarusian President Alexander LukashenkoDmitry Astakhov/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesIn addition to the second round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion. The sanctions target Belarus's defense sector and financial institutions — two sectors closely tied to Russia.Massive protests erupted in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg as Russians voice opposition to war in UkraineA demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.Photo by SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesMassive protests erupted on Thursday in Russian President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, as people voiced their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.Videos posted to Twitter show a sea of people gathered in a section of St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs to object to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.Russian government forces have threatened to arrest anti-war protesters, who took to the streets after Putin announced military action against Ukraine on Thursday.Read Full StoryPhotos show Russian authorities dragging away protesters opposed to Putin's invasion of UkrainePolice Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesAnti-war protesters in Russia quickly took to the streets following Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Some activists were met with hostility by Russian authorities who hauled them away. More than 1,000 anti-war protesters have already been detained in dozens of cities across Russia, according to protest-monitoring group OVD-Info. Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."Read Full StoryBiden slaps 'additional strong sanctions' on Russia as it mounts a large-scale attack on UkrainePresident Joe Biden delivers remarks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the East Room of the White House on February 07, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will impose a second, harsher round of sanctions on Russia following its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.Biden announced that he had authorized "additional strong sanctions" and "new limitations" on what can be exported to Russia."We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the United States and our allies," Biden said."We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy," the president said of the sanctions. "We're going to stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy."Read Full StoryA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears and begged the world to 'save our people' from being 'murdered' by Russian forcesUkrainian Parliament member Halyna Yanchenko speaks during a CBS interviewCBS NewsA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears during an interview with CBS News and begged the international community to "save our people" from being "murdered" by Russian forces."I beg you, please save our people. Dozens of people — maybe hundreds of people — might be murdered tonight," Member of Parliament Halyna Yanchenko said as she sobbed during an interview with CBS News on Thursday.  She added: "Please save Ukrainian men, women, and children." Read Full StoryPhotos show Ukrainian families fleeing the Russian invasion amid warnings of a mass refugee crisisPeople wait for trains at a train station as they attempt to evacuate the city on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels.Pierre Crom/Getty Images)Ukrainian residents fled their homes after the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion. Train stations were packed with people on the move and roads filled with cars of people leaving the country, with their loved ones and prized possessions in tow.Before the invasion took place, there were warnings of a mass refugee crisis.Read Full StoryRussian government websites — including ones for the Kremlin and the legislature — went dark after cyberattacks target UkraineA night view of Kyiv as the Kyiv mayor declared a curfew from 10pm to 7am on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesMultiple Russian government websites reportedly went down on Thursday after the country launched an attack on Ukraine. NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed on Twitter that multiple sites went offline shortly after 8:45 p.m. local time in Moscow.The Kremlin's website and that of the Russian Federal Assembly's lower house — or State Duma — were both down for at least 15 minutes. As of 9 p.m. local time, the State Duma website was since restored. Shortly after 9:10 p.m. local time, the Kremlin's website was also back online.  Read Full StoryPutin had a range of ways to attack Ukraine. He went with the worst-case scenario for the West.A convoy of Russian military vehicles is seen as the vehicles move towards border in Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on February 23, 2022 in Russian border city Rostov.Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesIn the build-up to Russia's assault on Ukraine, analysts and leaders envisioned numerous ways the conflict might play out, from a limited incursion to an all-out invasion.Putin used precision missile strikes and airstrikes, followed shortly later by ground maneuvers, the officials said.Analysts said attacks came from the east, south, and north, a description consistent with reports on the ground and Insider's map of the invasion.All three lines of attack — as per this analysis in The Conversation — had previously been floated as individual possibilities for an invasion.Defense analysts warned that Russia's multipronged attack was full-scale but still in an early phase, with a lot more forces to push into Ukraine to seize key areas or capture its leadership.Putin's overall endgame remains an area of pressing debate.Read Full StoryKey Democratic congressman says the US can't send support to Ukraine quickly enough 'to repel' Russia's invasionRep. Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, ruled out surging supplies into Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to stall Russia's invasion, arguing it's unlikely such support would arrive quickly enough to make a difference."The odd of us being able to do that in a rapid enough fashion to be able to repel the invasion are remote," Smith told CNN on Thursday when asked about a Ukrainian official's request for more equipment. "I don't think it's realistic to think that we can reinforce them enough in the short term to be able to repel the invasion."Read Full StoryPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden are refusing to play their 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in Russia after it attacked UkraineA protester holds a poster reading "Sanctions against Russia now" during a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm on February 24, 2022, after Russia launched military operations in Ukraine.Photo by CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden said they are refusing to play their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine on Thursday.Based on the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine, "the signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there," the three countries said in a joint statement addressed to FIFA's General Secretary Fatma Samoura. The statement continued: "The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations."Read Full StoryRussia's moving on Kyiv and the plan appears to be to take out Ukraine's leadership, US defense official warnsA column of army trucks approaches the Perekop checkpoint on the Ukrainian border. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine.Sergei MalgavkobackslashTASS via Getty ImagesRussian forces invaded Ukraine Thursday morning, and a senior US defense official says they are moving on Kyiv, likely to topple the country's government and install their own.Russia is "making a move on Kyiv" a senior defense official who addressed reporters Thursday said, according to CNN. "We would describe what you are seeing as an initial phase" of a "large-scale invasion," the official said, according to The Washington Post's Dan Lamothe.Read Full StoryMaps show Russia's invasion of UkraineMaps of Ukraine.Shayanne Gal/InsiderRussia invaded Ukraine early Thursday, leading to dozens of Ukrainian and Russian casualties.These maps show where Russian troops have attacked Ukraine, which is happening from multiple sides.Read Full StoryUK plots far harsher sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading UkraineBritish Prime Minister Boris JohnsonAdrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoThe UK announced a new set of harsher sanctions on Russia after the country invaded Ukraine early Thursday. A spokesman for the UK government told journalists at a briefing that the UK plans to impose a second round of sanctions. The most intense of the new list of sanctions is an asset freeze on all major Russian banks and an asset freeze against VTB — the second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion. The UK also plans to sanction another 100 individuals and entities.This is a large step up from the sanctions it announced Wednesday, which were limited to five smaller banks, three individuals close to Putin, and politicians in Russia who voted for military action. Russia has begun arresting anti-war protesters as demonstrations break out after Putin invades UkrainePolice officer detain a woman during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Dmitry SerebryakovThe Russian government on Thursday threatened anti-war protesters demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, warning they could face arrest for organizing.And according to a protest monitoring group, the detentions have already begun as small protests have broken out in some Russian cities.Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens in a statement not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."The committee said that people should be aware of the "negative legal consequences of these actions," which it said includes criminal liability. Read Full StoryUkraine's official Twitter is using memes to rip into Putin's bogus comparison between it and Nazi GermanyRussian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.Alexei Nikolsky/Associated PressAfter Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the marching orders for an attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, Ukraine's official Twitter account got busy. One photo showed what appeared to be caricature images of Adolf Hitler tending to a small Putin. "This is not a 'meme', but our and your reality right now," Ukraine said in a follow-up tweet.  The account also called for a so-called "Twitter-storm" at 12 p.m. local time in Kyiv on Thursday, urging people to use various hashtags to "tell the world of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is under attack."Ukraine's latest post said to "Tag @Russia and tell them what you think about them," racking up tens of thousands of likes and quote tweets. Read Full StoryMap shows reported movement of Russian troops in Ukraine Thursday!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

City green lights Two Trees’ Williamsburg waterfront plan

The New York City Council has approved the revised River Ring proposal for the Williamsburg waterfront, ushering in a mixed-use development that will provide 263 residences for low- and middle-income New Yorkers, out of 1,050 new units, and will be anchored by a waterfront park. The final proposal includes funding the construction... The post City green lights Two Trees’ Williamsburg waterfront plan appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. The New York City Council has approved the revised River Ring proposal for the Williamsburg waterfront, ushering in a mixed-use development that will provide 263 residences for low- and middle-income New Yorkers, out of 1,050 new units, and will be anchored by a waterfront park. The final proposal includes funding the construction of approximately 150 new units in the Williamsburg community designated as affordable homes for senior residents. The Council vote follows three years of community engagement with local residents, business owners and stakeholders across the city, and recent approvals during the land use process by Brooklyn Community Board 1, Borough President Eric Adams, and the New York City Planning Commission. Two Trees Management expects to begin construction in 2024.  Key highlights of Two Trees Management’s final River Ring Waterfront Master Plan include: Significant new affordable housing, including 263 permanently affordable apartments (out of 1050 total on-site homes), which feature the same design and amenities as market rate units, available at an average of 60% AMI with some units as low as 40% AMI. More than 150 new units of affordable housing for seniors, to be built in Community Board 1 on land funded by Two Trees. A 3-acre world-class public park to be financed and maintained by Two Trees Management, plus an additional 3 acres designated for previously unavailable in-water recreational opportunities, including kayaking, marine ecology, education, tidal wetlands and an accessible beach.$100 million investment in resiliency infrastructure and open space also that protects hundreds of properties upland and up-river from River Ring.A state-of-the-art, 50,000 square foot YMCA facility featuring a full-service community swim program that includes free swimming lessons for second grade students in CB1.2,000 construction jobs and more than 500 permanent jobs with a subsidized training program and local hiring, in collaboration with local workforce development partners. $1.75 million in funding for community initiatives, including a new environmental benefits fund to help retrofit neighborhood buildings and a major open space planning study of the community district to connect new and existing parks.Green technology and sustainable design, including a commitment to all-electric buildings and the development of on-site wastewater treatment.Ongoing meaningful dialogue with community partners to bring new access to the waterfront and support environmental justice and education. “After more than two years of conversations with residents, stakeholders and leaders, we’re grateful to Council Member Levin, the Zoning Subcommittee, and the Land Use Committee for their support of a precedent-setting project,” said Jed Walentas, Principal of Two Trees Management.  “River Ring will change how New Yorkers interact with our waterfront while also increasing affordable housing, providing a new model for resiliency, building a new public park and investing in community programs and spaces. We will bring the same commitment and dedication to River Ring that we’ve brought to the Domino redevelopment and Domino Park. Taken together, these two projects will provide approximately 1,000 units of affordable housing integrated within new, world-class buildings. Thanks to Council Member Levin, we have also committed to creating an acquisition fund to support the development of over 150 units of senior housing within Community Board 1. And by connecting River Ring and Domino, we will finally fill the missing link in North Brooklyn’s waterfront greenway.” The River Ring Waterfront Master Plan, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and James Corner Field Operations (Field Operations), will enhance the connectivity of the public waterfront, reinstate natural habitats, elevate the standard for urban waterfront resiliency, and transform the way New Yorkers interact with the East River.  In total, the River Ring Plan will create approximately 3 acres of public open space and another 3 acres of protected in-water access, including natural habitat — far beyond the 0.7 acres required under zoning regulations. Combined with the neighboring Domino Park, Two Trees is poised to deliver more than 8 acres above the required amount of accessible waterfront public space along the East River waterfront in Williamsburg. The site features a pair of mixed-income residential buildings designed by BIG. The project is designed around cutting-edge open space designed by Field Operations (including three acres of protected water for aquatic uses) and ecological infrastructure that will increase resilience for the site and surrounding area. The project’s public and community spaces — which have been tailored through direct community input — will introduce a first-of-its-kind protected public beach and in-water areas for New Yorkers to enjoy an array of aquatic activities including boating, fishing, tide pool exploration and potentially in the future: swimming.  The introduction of a public waterfront park at the former industrial site, directly north of Two Trees’ award-winning Domino development, will help to complete a stretch of continuous waterfront access that will eventually extend from South Williamsburg to Greenpoint.  “The River Ring project is unlike almost any waterfront development proposal, and Two Trees is pioneering how we can build innovative public spaces in a way that directly confronts the impacts of climate change,” said Cortney Koenig Worrall, CEO and President, Waterfront Alliance. “The project promises to transform how New Yorkers relate to water while protecting communities from rising waters using technologies that honor the local habitat, raising the bar for how we as a city can build safety and responsibly along our waterfronts.” “The River Ring proposal creates desperately needed open space for New Yorkers, delivers critical support for the city’s resilience infrastructure, and brings online significant affordable housing. That’s a triple-win for New York City. We thank the City Council for helping to realize this transformative vision which addresses multiple challenges for the city head on while delivering major investments for the local community,” said Adam Ganser, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Parks. “The River Ring project is a prime model for how cities can get transformative projects moving in the right direction,” said Tom Wright, President and CEO of Regional Plan Association. “From the beginning it was informed by local engagement and feedback with resiliency and the community in mind. When it becomes reality, it will create new affordable housing and a three-acre resilient waterfront park in Brooklyn – which will transform the way New Yorkers interact with the water. We look forward to seeing this become reality – and become the standard for addressing communities’ development at the water’s edge.” RESILIENCY AND HABITAT RESTORATION Borrowing from models used in places like the Netherlands that have come to terms with a wetter future, the River Ring plan embraces the river instead of building walls and hard surfaces that accelerate storm surge and push it to adjacent riverfronts. Waterfront infrastructure and open space will feature berms, breakwaters, marshes and wetlands designed to increase resilience by taking the energy out of storm surges, reducing flooding, providing more room to absorb water and slow down its retreat, reducing erosion risk, and better protecting the local waterfront in the face of habitat loss and climate change. The plan also includes a new tidal basin capable of holding four million gallons of water that is designed to flood, mitigating damage from receding waters. Additionally, the development expands the shoreline with various wave breaks, attenuating the impacts from severe storms, sustaining intertidal habitat and creating calmer waters to promote in-water access and nurture habitat. The new waterfront park will enable the restoration of salt marshes, wetlands, oyster beds and tidal flats, enriching wildlife and habitat while creating protected areas that will enable more in-water engagement and recreational uses and provide ecological education to the community.  PARK DESIGN AND COMMUNITY INPUT Designed by Field Operations, the waterfront park features a circular esplanade extending into the East River that promotes access in and around the river, as well as an amphitheater, large sandy beach, tidal pools, salt marsh, and a fishing pier. This ring connects to the park’s breakwaters which provide protection and form a series of nature trails that extend out to the historic concrete caissons. A boating cove at North 1st Street includes a sandy beach for boat access surrounded by wetlands and is adjacent to a series of community kiosks and a children’s natural play area. The community kiosks, totaling approximately 5,000 SF, will be made available to local community partners through a request-for-proposal process. Potential users include kayak rental, educational partners, artist installations and other waterfront related uses. These features were inspired by a series of community charrettes convened by Two Trees Management, where there was a strong consensus for the park to engage the river with places to touch the water, for places of respite and access to nature, and a place that is a model for resiliency. Like Domino Park, the new park will be maintained in perpetuity by Two Trees Management and will operate based on NYC Parks Department rules and regulations. “The past two years have revealed an increased appreciation of parks and public spaces, and hopefully a shift to understanding them as essential infrastructure. River Ring embodies this way of thinking as an adaptive nature-based solution that rethinks regulatory frameworks and design standards,” says Lisa Switkin, Senior Principal at James Corner Field Operations. “The park showcases integrated co-benefits, designed to increase resilience and waterfront access, provide diverse park experiences and recreational opportunities, restore habitat, and change the mindset from living against water to living with water.” MIXED-USE BUILDING PLAN The masterplan includes two Bjarke Ingels Group-designed mixed-use buildings with 1,050 total units of housing, 263 of which will be below-market rate (made available to applicants with low AMIs), a new 50,000-square-foot YMCA, 30,000 square feet of neighborhood retail space and 57,000 square feet for office space. The new YMCA will feature a waterfront aquatic center that will offer subsidized swim lessons for community youth in need. The residential towers are oriented to limit view obstruction from the neighborhood and maximize the Metropolitan Avenue view corridor. Blending the towers with the landscape softens the relationship between building and park, forming a gateway that welcomes the community to the water. “With the River Ring we close one of the last remaining gaps in the continuous transformation of the Williamsburg waterfront into a post-industrial urban park scape. Rather than stopping at the hard edge of the old dock, Metropolitan avenue is split into a pedestrian loop extending all the way into the river, connecting the dots of the concrete caissons to form an urban archipelago of recreative islands while protecting a beach with tidal pools and wetlands,” said Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner & Creative Director. “The radical transformation of Copenhagen’s port into a swimmable extension of the public space that we helped pioneer two decades ago, now seems to be knocking at the door in Williamsburg and the entire East River. The River Ring will be the first of many invitations for New Yorkers to dip their toes in the water.” SITE HISTORY The site was once home to the No. 6 fuel oil storage complex for Con Edison North First Street Terminal. The above ground fuel oil storage tanks were removed when the terminal was decommissioned. The existing site also includes a number of structures seaward of the bulkhead line that extend to the pierhead line, which are in varying states of repair. Two Trees recently purchased the 3.5 acre site from Con Edison in an auction for $150 million.  The post City green lights Two Trees’ Williamsburg waterfront plan appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyDec 20th, 2021

Around The World

Around The World Via Academy Securities, In this month’s edition of Around the World with Academy Securities, our Geopolitical Intelligence Group (GIG) focuses on providing their perspective on the following geopolitical risks and potential surprises for 2022: 1. Will Russia Invade Ukraine in 2022? 2. Will there be a China | Taiwan Conflict in 2022? 3. Potential for Military Action against Iran in 2022. 4. Risk of a Major Cyber Attack in 2022. In this report, we examine the potential geopolitical surprises/risks that we could see in 2022. We open with the high likelihood of a Russian incursion into Ukraine next year. Next, we review the tension between China and Taiwan and conclude that while an invasion in 2022 is unlikely, the risks grow over the next 3-5 years. We also revisit the Iranian nuclear discussions and while a return to the old JCPOA is unlikely, the chance of a U.S. attack on Iran is low next year. However, Israeli covert activities will continue against Iran’s nuclear facilities and there is a risk of a military strike if Iran gets close to a nuclear breakout. Finally, considering the high-profile ransomware attacks that occurred in 2021, we review the chances of a more significant cyber-attack on critical infrastructure in 2022. In addition to these areas, other risks our GIG sees in 2022 include the growth of Chinese influence in Central/South America (including in Nicaragua where the government there just flipped from supporting Taiwan to China) and a possible shift of support from Taiwan to China in Honduras as well. While the U.S. stands ready to “surge” economic aide to Honduras to encourage the new government there to maintain its ties with Taiwan, the fact that China is moving into the Western hemisphere and courting countries for support is concerning. Our GIG is also worried that the withdrawal from Afghanistan and a “fractured” NATO alliance could embolden our adversaries to act against U.S interests globally in 2022. Front and Center: Will Russia Invade Ukraine in 2022? In our last ATW and recent SITREP, we addressed the recent buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. Currently, there are ~100k troops near the Ukrainian border and the concern is that Putin could be in a position to invade by January 2022. While U.S. intelligence does not believe that Putin has made a final decision on whether to invade Ukraine, preparations are being made, including moving more Russian troops to the border and establishing the supply lines that could support a larger incursion into the country. In the December 7th virtual summit with President Putin, President Biden made it clear that there would be severe economic consequences if Russia were to move forward with an invasion. While it would require getting Germany to agree, there is a high likelihood that the Nord Stream 2 would not be granted final approvals if an invasion were to occur. With the high price of energy and a frigid winter heading to Europe, this would have both political and economic implications. In addition, the G7 (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.S.) came out on December 13th with a statement that read, “Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law…Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe costs in response.” backslashWhile a move into Ukraine would come at a high cost, the fact that Ukraine appears to be moving away from Russia and closer to the West could be worth the risk for Putin. While not a NATO member, the U.S. has shown its support for Ukrainian independence and has supplied Ukraine with $2.5b in military support, including Javelin anti-tank systems. Putin views the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago as the largest geopolitical disaster of the 20th Century. Putin is worried that the positioning of NATO missiles (pointed at Russia) in Ukraine could be an option one day and he will do everything in his power to convince the West that he is capable of mounting an invasion to bring Ukraine back into the Russian sphere of influence. To ease tensions, President Biden has been trying to organize a meeting including a few key European NATO members with Putin directly. This offer has angered some of the Eastern European NATO allies (i.e., the Baltic states). This concerns them because not only do these countries’ leaders feel that Russia should not have a say on who is included in NATO, but they also believe that Putin will use this meeting to further drive a wedge in between the West/East members of NATO. Putin has already demanded that NATO rescind the offer made in 2008 to include Ukraine and Georgia in the alliance at some point and that NATO should agree not to hold military exercises/deploy military forces to countries that border Russia. Our GIG will continue to closely monitor the situation, but chances are high that Putin takes advantage of a fractured NATO and executes a military incursion into Ukraine. In 2022, our GIG believes that there is a high chance of a Russian incursion into Ukraine after certain conditions are met and preparations are complete. “Russia has already taken parts of the Donbass region and Crimea from Ukraine. Putin wants all the previous Soviet Bloc countries back under his control. Ukraine is his biggest prize. He remains focused on intimidation, coercion, and influence operations to weaken and overthrow the Zelensky government. His approach is aimed at targeting Ukraine itself, NATO, and the EU. Expect him to continue to push on these doors and see how far he can get. I don’t see a cross-border invasion until a series of influence operations by Russia show weakness by the West. He is on that path.” - General Robert Walsh  “If we define "advance" as some number of Russian troops crossing the internationally recognized border between Ukraine and Russia, I'd say that the chances are high (with a moderate chance of a full-scale invasion in 2022). However, Russians in general absolutely hate to lose face in public. So, until someone comes up with a way for Putin to withdraw his troops from the border without losing face, the troops will remain there, and the threat of invasion will remain high.” - Captain Wendy Lawrence “Russia will continue to increase gray zone activity in Ukraine to set the conditions for Russia/Russian citizens to look like the victim and then take action to secure a portion of Ukraine, much like they did with Crimea.” - General KK Chinn “In 2022, there is more than a 50% chance (of invasion) as there is little downside from Putin’s perspective. The way this is developing is that Russia is testing the West (probing for weaknesses) and may attack if an opportunity presents itself. At the same time, Russian authorities understand that any attempt to occupy Ukrainian territory would face widespread public opposition and trigger sweeping western sanctions that could batter the Russian economy. The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan may embolden Putin. The situation is complicated by the fact that Ukraine is a former part of the Soviet Union and it is not a member of NATO, and therefore the U.S. has no formal defense treaty obligations with Ukraine. However, it’s important to note that the U.S. and Ukraine did sign a strategic defense framework this past August that reiterates the DoD’s continued support for Ukraine’s right to decide its own foreign policy, free from outside interference, including Ukraine’s NATO aspirations. Right now, we really don’t know if the Russian troop buildup is a warning to NATO to back down or an actual buildup to launch an invasion. Putin is an expert at brinkmanship. His economy is not big enough to gain influence on the world stage so he’s using his military strength to wield power. That’s why you see pressure growing in the West to deter Putin from taking any aggressive action. He will push the EU and U.S. right up to the brink and then may blink or press into Ukraine. I think he just may push into Ukraine using tactics that are confusing and less than a conventional invasion, but none the less, Putin will use Russian forces on Ukrainian soil.” - General David Deptula Will there be a China | Taiwan Conflict in 2022? As we discussed in our previous ATW, President Biden met virtually with President Xi and discussed a wide range of topics including Taiwan, cyber, human rights, trade, Iran, and nuclear weapons. The goal of the meeting was to keep the lines of communication open and prevent a military accident that could quickly escalate. Dozens of incursions into the Taiwanese Air Defense Identification Zone this year have caused tensions to rise between China and Taiwan and even resulted in U.S. Secretary of Defense Austin calling these incursions “rehearsals” of China’s future intentions. With the U.S. shoring up its partnerships in the region, including the “Quad” and the nuclear submarine deal with Australia and the UK, China is feeling the pressure. While the risk of a nearterm crisis over Taiwan is slim with the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, China continues to speak out against what it perceives as the U.S. overstepping its boundaries. The U.S. inviting Taiwan to the December 9th Summit for Democracy and diplomatically boycotting the Winter Games over human rights concerns have further enflamed the tension. China’s Xi believes that a unification with Taiwan must be “fulfilled,” and China’s military capabilities have grown over the past few years. The August 2021 Chinese test of a hypersonic missile, their development of the DF-21D medium range ballistic anti-ship missile, and their desire to drastically expand their nuclear capabilities have demonstrated that China’s military is not anywhere near the same force that quickly backed down during the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. China has also expanded their reach into the South China Sea in “plain sight”. Making the situation even more complicated, Chinese and Russian joint naval exercises were conducted in October of this year. These actions reinforced the concern that U.S. adversaries will continue to engage with one another as they see a growing threat from U.S. partnerships in the region. In addition, during a virtual meeting between Xi and Putin on December 14th, regarding the situation on the Ukrainian border, Xi supported Putin’s request for security guarantees from the West. In 2022, our GIG sees a low chance of a Chinese move on Taiwan, but the risk rises significantly by 2025. However, there is a moderate/high risk of an incident involving China and one of our allies/partners in the region next year. “In the South China Sea, China’s military is itching to demonstrate their newly developed military capabilities. However, they will not go to war in the near-term until they feel that they have a “full domination” capability which will take years to develop. Expect small and more serious confrontational events to occur where China begins to intimidate and confront the Quad countries and their partners like we are already seeing with the Philippian Navy and Marine Corps. With respect to Taiwan, I don’t see this occurring in 2022 with the Beijing Olympics and the Chinese Communist Party holding its 20th National Party Congress. The intimidation campaign will continue to keep pushing on Taiwan to weaken their resolve along with their regional partners’ willingness to come to their aid.” - General Robert Walsh “It is not in the self-interest of China to invade Taiwan and be seen as the aggressor. China will continue to work gray zone activities to set conditions for them to be viewed as the victim of aggression and over time through the democratic process, slowly gain control of Taiwan by 2049. In the interim, it is important for the U.S./its allies and partners to remain united in confronting China. However, after the Olympics, there is a strong likelihood that there will be an incident that occurs between China and a member of the Quad/smaller nations in the region. China will continue to project their image as the dominant power player in the region and that they are the primary security provider in Asia. Look for rivals to acquiesce on territorial claims and China to project power to protect oil and natural resources within their nine-dash line.” - General KK Chinn “It depends on the definition of “confrontation,” but the likelihood of ships and aircraft "playing chicken" with each other is high and I think that China will be the aggressor. With respect to Taiwan, I suspect what China is doing right now is more of a pressure campaign than an actual preparation for an invasion.” - Captain Wendy Lawrence “Taiwan is an emotional issue for the PRC. If they were smart, they would back off today and take the long view. Within the next 100-200 years, Taiwan will assimilate into the PRC. However, the PRC sees the U.S. as unlikely to respond, and even if the U.S. does, the PRC feels that they will be able to defeat them, especially if they wait 2-3 years. They know that the U.S. has plans to recapitalize and grow their forces to meet the challenges that the PRC presents, but not until the early 2030s, so they may be willing to apply maximum pressure (to include military action) against Taiwan before 2030. How the U.S. works with the Quad could be key and a form of “containment” of the PRC and may be effective if orchestrated correctly.” - General David Deptula “Every century there has been a different leading state: U.S. (20th century), Britain (19th), France (18th), Netherlands (17th), Spain (16th). Who will it be in the 21st century? China’s 100-year plan/vision (1949-2049) ends with China being the dominant power in the world. Can the U.S. with its allies and partners unite the smaller and surrounding countries around China to choose sovereignty, freedom, democracy, and make the U.S. their primary security partner or will these countries choose their biggest trading partner (China)? Our strategic center of gravity is our allies and partners, and we need to leverage them to challenge both China and Russia with overwhelming threats in all domains to lend credence to conventional deterrence. Smaller countries matter because they have a vote in multilateral organizations like the UN. However, when under China’s control, they self-censure or support China’s action or get penalized economically. We must counter China’s political and economic influence by conducting strong messaging campaigns against China, reassuring allies that December 17, 2021 Around the World with Academy Securities 5 they can count on the U.S. as part of their larger national security strategy, which includes the deterrence umbrella, and that we will fulfill our long-term security commitments. The Arctic and Antarctica will become regions of great power competition between Russia, China, and the U.S. Both regions have the strong potential for oil and rare earth minerals that China will need in the future to fuel their growing economy. In Latin America in 2021, the leftist populist regimes (Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru) leveraged or deepened relationships with China, Russia, Iran, and other U.S. rivals. There is a strong potential for this to continue in 2022 with the potential that Honduras, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil turn to China. The region is being enabled by money from our adversaries and we need to develop a strategy or risk losing the region. China flipped Nicaragua to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan and we can expect Honduras to be next, leaving only Guatemala and Belize in Central America maintaining diplomatic ties with Taiwan. No surprise this was announced at the same time as the Biden administration’s Summit for Democracy. The harsh reality is that countries have options today and U.S. influence has diminished significantly in the Central America region and there is the risk that El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and potentially Honduras could support China in the near future.” - General KK Chinn Potential for Military Action against Iran in 2022 n our October ATW and our most recent webinar, we discussed the likelihood of re-entering a nuclear deal with Iran. On December 4th, the talks adjourned allowing representatives from the parties involved, including Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany to brief their respective governments. However, there was little optimism in a deal being reached. This development was not surprising as the new hard line chief negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, believes the previous deal went too far in restricting Iran’s nuclear program and wants all sanctions to be removed and for the U.S. to agree not to leave the deal again. The state of the negotiations has deteriorated to the point that it is frustrating all parties involved, including China and Russia. Earlier this year, China signed a 25-year economic agreement with Iran and continues to buy Iranian oil in defiance of U.S. sanctions. China took a larger role in the negotiations in Vienna, which means that a breakthrough is possible, or the discussions are close to falling apart. China can use their leverage to their advantage, especially when it comes to other issues of tension with the U.S. However, if these talks do fail, besides sanctions targeting the oil sales to China, covert operations (led by Israel) will likely continue in Iran utilizing the vast network its intelligence service has built. Israel used its network to execute attacks on the nuclear facility at Natanz that not only damaged the buildings in the complex, but also the centrifuge systems. In addition, the Israelis have been conducting joint training exercises with the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet as well as with the UAE and Bahrain. Our GIG believes there is a low/moderate chance of a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2022, but only after all available diplomatic means have been exhausted and Iran is close to a nuclear breakout, which would force Israel to take military action. “The JCPOA is DOA (i.e., not going to happen). However, the U.S. will take no action against Iran during a Biden administration because they have no stomach for it. Biden’s entire national security team is not interested in poking the Iranian beehive. To Israel however, Iran’s nuclear threat is real and they will take whatever action is necessary to nip it in the bud. Israel’s F-35s will be key in any military action along with cyber and Special Operations Forces.” - General David Deptula “There will be a miscalculation by Iran/Iranian proxies at some point in 2022 that will lead to the U.S. conducting military action against Iran. Israel will never allow Iran to develop into a nuclear capable country and will do whatever is necessary to stop Iran from attaining the capability through either covert or overt action.” - General KK Chinn “With respect to Israel, (an attack on Iran) is less likely now that Netanyahu is no longer in charge. But like Russia under Putin, it seems to me that Israel doesn't really care what the rest of the world thinks, especially when it comes to what the country perceives as self-preservation. If Iran attacks U.S. troops or assets, the U.S. will respond. If Iran doesn't instigate, then there is a low probability of U.S. action. Regarding the JCPOA, Iran will drag out negotiations, but I think something will get done by the end of the year.” - Captain Wendy Lawrence “I don’t see an attack by the U.S. on Iran happening in 2022. Also, the U.S. initiated JCPOA negotiations will force Israel to back off their own desire to attack Iran. Israel still respects the Biden administration enough to not act unilaterally. Biden is putting his reputation on the line to solve the nuclear weapons problem diplomatically through the JCPOA negotiations and the strategy he set during his election campaign. The Biden administration wants the JCPOA too much to let details get in the way. They will move throughout 2022 towards a renewed agreement even if they must concede leverage and concessions to Iran. This same negotiating group in the Biden administration negotiated the original agreement during the Obama administration and they are determined to get back to their original plan and reverse the Trump administration’s actions.” - General Robert Walsh Risk of a Major Cyber Attack in 2022 As we reported in our July and May ATWs, a cyber-attack on U.S. critical infrastructure orchestrated by a criminal group/state sponsor came to fruition in 2021. In May, a ransomware attack by a Russian criminal gang called Darkside took down the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline which supplies 45% of the East Coast’s fuel. While Putin denied supporting the attack, the event highlighted the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure. In July, the Biden administration (and European allies) took the significant step of accusing China of the massive hack of the Microsoft Exchange email system. This email system is used by some of the world’s largest companies, including many defense firms. Cyber-attacks have become a global threat to critical infrastructure and in December, Israel led a 10-country exercise (including U.S., UK, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Thailand, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank) that tried to increase cooperation between different entities in protecting the global financial system. In addition, the U.S. Cyber Command/NSA led by Gen. Paul M. Nakasone is getting more involved in gathering intelligence and “imposing costs” on entities tied to ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure. Our GIG believes there is a moderate/high risk of a cyber-attack on U.S. critical infrastructure in 2022 and that probability increases in the event of a military conflict. “There is a chance of a significant attack, but a critical cyber-attack against U.S. infrastructure will most likely be held as part of the initiation of, or along with, a major conflict somewhere else to distract and degrade a U.S. response. For example, a PRC move against Taiwan in the mid-2020s.” - General David Deptula “There is a small chance of an attack across the U.S. in an integrated fashion to deny or disrupt critical infrastructure that has regional or national strategic effects. However, there is a 50% chance we could see another Colonial Pipeline ransomware type attack that is more focused on individual companies for monetary gain.” - General Robert Walsh “If you think about it, how far away are we from digital risk leading to physical casualties in the future – hospitals, etc. There will be attacks and in a perfect world we will be able to defend against them so it will not cause a massive financial upheaval in the markets.” - General KK Chinn Tyler Durden Fri, 12/17/2021 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 17th, 2021

Taiwanese Lab Leak Sharpens Debate On Pandemic Origin

Taiwanese Lab Leak Sharpens Debate On Pandemic Origin Authored by Hans Mahncke and Jeff Carlson via The Epoch Times, On Dec 9, 2021, Taiwan announced that a researcher working in a Biosafety-level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory in Taipei had tested positive for the Delta variant of COVID-19 “while experimenting on the virus in the lab.” Chen Shih-chung, the head of Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed that the female researcher had tested positive for COVID-19 after being “exposed to the pathogen” during research that was conducted in mid-November at the Academia Sinica’s Genomics Research Center in Taipei. Notably, Taiwan has not experienced any recent cases of COVID-19, a fact noted by Chen who said, “We believe the possibility of infection from the workplace is higher because we have zero confirmed infections in the community.” It was later reported that the researcher had been bitten by a mouse during two separate incidents. Taipei’s deputy mayor Huang Shan-shan, who described the woman as a “research assistant,” said that she had been bitten by a laboratory mouse carrying the Gamma strain of the virus on Oct. 15, but subsequently tested negative for infection. Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung arrives at a press conference at the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei on March 11, 2020. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images) However, a little more than a month later on Nov. 19, she was again bitten by a mouse in the lab. This time, for reasons that remain unknown, the researcher did not undergo testing after the second bite until well after she had developed physical symptoms. According to Taiwan News, the woman developed a cough in late November, which intensified during the first week of December, but she did not seek out testing until Dec. 8. James Liao, the president of Academia Sinica, cited six separate failures that contributed to the infection incident. These included the “failure to duly report a scientist being bitten by lab mice; not working with lab mice in a biosafety cabinet; not following protocols in removing hazmat suits; new personnel not receiving adequate training; lack of supervision and monitoring during experiments; and lax management in lab practices.” Academia Sinica’s Genomics Research Center in Taipei, Taiwan, on Feb. 6, 2018. (Lysimachi/CC BY-SA 4.0) Taiwan Leak Occurred Despite Use of High Security Lab Taiwan’s lab leak of COVID-19 took place at a BSL-3 lab, which mandates the use of personal protective equipment, biosafety cabinet​s, sustained directional airflow without recirculation, as well as self-closing and interlocked doors. By contrast, the gain-of-function experiments being conducted on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were done at much less secure BSL-2 labs. As context, Rutgers University biologist Richard Ebright has stated: “BSL-2 is the biosafety level of a US dentist’s office (i.e., lockable door, screened windows, sterilizer, gown, and gloves).” Ebright told the Financial Times: “If [coronavirus] work was happening, it should definitely not have been happening at BSL-2, that is roughly equivalent to a standard dentist office.” The use of BSL-2 labs for gain-of-function experiments by the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been heavily criticized by many scientists. Michael Lin, a bioengineer at Stanford University, told MIT Technology Review that allowing work on potentially dangerous bat viruses at BSL-2 is “an actual scandal.” And a prominent and early supporter of the natural origins narrative, Columbia University virologist Ian Lipkin, changed his mind about the virus’s origin after the Wuhan Institute admitted it conducted its coronavirus experiments at a BSL-2 lab. “It shouldn’t have happened,” Lipkin stated. “People should not be looking at bat viruses in BSL-2 labs.” Lipkin said that he now considers a lab leak to be a viable theory, saying that his “view has changed.” Taiwan Leak Response Stands in Stark Contrast to CCP’s Wuhan Response Additionally, the open and immediate manner in which the Taiwanese government handled its lab leak incident contrasts sharply with China’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials refused to acknowledge the outbreak until Taiwan notified international authorities on Dec. 31, 2019. But despite the CCP’s refusal to acknowledge an outbreak, there were earlier warnings from those stationed in Wuhan. According to the U.S. Consul General in Wuhan, the city was hit by an unusually vicious flu-like outbreak in October 2019. And a November 2019 intelligence report by the U.S. military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence reportedly warned of a contagion and stated that “it could be a cataclysmic event.” Chinese authorities have reportedly traced early cases of COVID-19 to mid-November. A man wears a mask while walking in the street in Wuhan, China on Jan. 22, 2020. (Getty Images) Notably, at the same time that the outbreak in Wuhan appeared to be reaching a critical juncture, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control, which was conducting coronavirus research alongside the Wuhan Institute of Virology, suddenly moved its lab’s location on Dec. 2, 2019, to a spot just a few hundred yards from the Huanan Seafood market—which would initially be cited as the origin of the early COVID-19 cases. The CDC’s new location for its lab was also directly adjacent to another hotspot of later COVID-19 cases, the Union Hospital, where a group of doctors first became infected. The genomic sequence of COVID-19 was discovered no later than Dec. 27, 2019. Both Chinese and Western scientists obtained copies at that time. But, under pressure from the CCP, neither Chinese nor Western scientists shared the information publicly. When a Chinese scientist from Shanghai finally released the sequence on Jan. 11, 2020, the CCP shut down his lab. The CCP’s cover-up and the capitulation by scientists allowed the virus to continue to spread at a critical time. It also gave the CCP additional time to obfuscate the virus’s origins and create a Natural Origins narrative centered around the Huanan Seafood Market. Additionally, although the World Health Organization’s (WHO) initial report on the origins of the outbreak stated that a lab leak was extremely unlikely, the lead investigator of that report, Peter Ben Embarek, told a Danish documentary team that the lab leak theory was probable, and suggested that a Chinese researcher could have been infected by a bat while taking samples in connection with research at a Wuhan lab. A sign of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 24, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images) Embarek also admitted that a deal had been struck between the WHO’s investigative team and their Chinese counterparts. The lab leak theory could be mentioned in the WHO’s final report, but only on the condition the report didn’t recommend any specific studies to further that hypothesis. China’s censorship has taken many forms. Recently, Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth, the body through which Dr. Anthony Fauci funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology, told the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that he was unable to hand over requested genetic sequence data from his gain-of-function experiments to the NIH because the data was going through an approval process by CCP authorities. WHO team member Peter Daszak leaves his hotel after the World Health Organization (WHO) team wrapped up its investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on February 10, 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images) This arrangement with the CCP is a breach of the terms and conditions of Daszak’s NIH grant, which specifically required that all genetic sequence data be made publicly available. CCP oversight and control was not part of Daszak’s agreement. The fact that genetic sequence data that may relate directly to the origin of the pandemic remains under the control of the CCP also raises questions about the claims of both Daszak and NIH that their Wuhan experiments could not have caused the pandemic. Lab Leaks Common The incident in Taiwan has renewed the debate over the origin of the pandemic. According to Yanzhong Huang, a Chinese public health expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, “if the lab worker is confirmed to have been infected at her workplace, then this will add credibility to the lab leak theory.” Although this case is raising new questions about the likelihood of a lab as the origin of the pandemic, lab leaks are not as rare as the media would have the public believe. The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic marked the first appearance of the H1N1 virus. Although the initial outbreak was natural, the virus’s sudden reappearance in the late 1970s was actually due to a laboratory leak of a stored strain of the H1N1 virus. We know this because the genetic sequence of the virus in the 1970s outbreak was nearly identical to the sequences of decades-old strains. Put another way, the virus was not evolving during this time, it was sitting in a lab. Indeed, the NIH notes that a “biosafety lapse in a research laboratory is now most often cited as the cause of the 1977-1978 reemergence of the H1N1 influenza virus strain.” Seattle policemen wear white cloth face masks during the Spanish flu pandemic, Dec. 1918. (Public Domain) In 1979, spores of anthrax leaked from a lab in the Soviet Union, killing scores of people. At the time Soviet authorities covered up the origins of the outbreak, claiming that it came from contaminated meat. In a twist eerily reminiscent of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 origins investigation, a molecular biologist from Harvard University, Matthew Meselson, was allowed to travel to the Soviet Union to investigate the outbreak. Upon his return, he issued a report that backed the Soviet version of events, claiming that the outbreak started at a contaminated meat processing plant. Meselson stated that that explanation was “plausible and consistent with what is known from medical literature and recorded human experiences with anthrax.” In another parallel to the natural origins narrative for COVID-19, where illegal wildlife markets were initially blamed for the pandemic, Meselson claimed that the outbreak was caused by “the illegal sale of meat.” After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was finally revealed in 1992 that the outbreak had in fact originated at a military research facility. The original Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 made headlines across the world. However, a lesser known fact is that the SARS virus has subsequently leaked out of various labs at least six times. The first incident occurred in Singapore—a country known for its meticulousness and attention to detail—shortly after the initial outbreak ended. There were subsequent SARS lab leaks in Beijing as well as in Taiwan in 2003 and 2004. The years 2013 and 2014 were particularly bad for lab accidents. Notably, many of the accidents that happened during this period took place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where lab mice escaped the university’s lab on at least eight occasions, including mice that were infected with SARS and H1N1 viruses. In response, the NIH stated that “it appears the measures taken by the University of North Carolina to reduce the likelihood of these events have not been effective.” Poor biosafety at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is all the more notable in light of the fact that the university houses Ralph Baric’s lab. In 2015, Baric, who is a pioneer of gain-of-function experiments, famously collaborated with the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli, to create a hybrid version of a bat coronavirus that had been adapted to grow in mice and to mimic human disease. Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli is seen inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, capital of China’s Hubei Province, on Feb. 23, 2017. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images) Richard Ebright, who warned in 2015 that the only impact of gain-of-function work was “the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk,” has stated that these prior leaks underscore the fact that it “is eminently plausible that a Wuhan laboratory worker handling Sars-related coronaviruses was infected and then transmitted the infection to the general public, sparking the pandemic.” Notably, Ebright’s 2015 warning was in response to the experiments carried out by Baric and Shi Zhengli. Incidents of lab leaks in just the last 10 years have involved notably dangerous pathogens, including Dengue, Anthrax, H5N1, smallpox, Ebola and Zika. Although there are far too many incidents of lab leaks to list here, one event is particularly relevant—the November 2019 lab accident in China when nearly 200 staff at the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute became infected with brucellosis, also known as Mediterranean Fever. Subsequently, thousands of residents of Lanzhou reportedly also fell ill. CCP authorities have denied that the Veterinary Research Institute was responsible, blaming the outbreak on polluted waste gas from a pharmaceutical facility which was allegedly carried by wind to the research institute. Ironically, even if the CCP’s version of events is accurate, it would still have been a lab accident. Taiwan’s Leak Refocuses Debate on COVID-19 Origin The Lanzhou outbreak, which happened at almost exactly the same time as the Wuhan outbreak, should have served as an immediate red flag for anyone looking into the origins of COVID-19. But the Lanzhou Outbreak has been largely ignored by the media. The incident underscored not only that laboratory accidents happen with disturbing regularity but also that the CCP has a history of covering them up. In 2019, Yuan Zhiming, the vice-director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, wrote a review of the many safety deficiencies within China’s many laboratories. He noted that “several high-level BSLs have insufficient operational funds for routine yet vital processes,” noting that many of China’s BSL-3 laboratories “run on extremely minimal operational costs or in some cases none at all.” Just one year earlier, in 2018, U.S. Embassy officials visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology and warned the State Department that there was “inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats.” They also reported that there was a lack of trained staff at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. FDA Commissioner-designate Scott Gottlieb testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 5, 2017. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images) Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb has stated that “lab leaks happen all the time.” During a May 2021 interview on Face the Nation, Gottlieb noted, “In China, the last six known outbreaks of SARS-1 have been out of labs, including the last known outbreak, which was a pretty extensive outbreak that China initially wouldn’t disclose that it came out of a lab.” Gottlieb said that “It was only disclosed finally by some journalists who were able to trace that outbreak back to a laboratory.” The transparency and responsiveness with which Taiwan handled its recent biosafety lapse contrasts sharply with China’s ongoing efforts to impede any investigation into the origins of the pandemic. China’s efforts to thwart any true investigation of the virus’s origin also raise questions as to why the United States was providing technology and funding for gain-of-function experiments to a communist regime that is known for its lack of transparency. Former-MI6 chief, Sir Richard Dearlove recently summed up China’s approach to the pandemic when he told the Australian, “I’m pretty sure that the Chinese after the outbreak in Wuhan, and they’re very good at doing this, sat down and developed their own information campaign and this was almost certainly driven by the Ministry of State Security and run out of the PRC leadership to make sure that there was suppression of any suggestion that their narrative was not the correct one.” Dearlove echoed the concerns of many when he ominously noted that ”what concerns me and what worries me is the extent to which the West went along with this.” Tyler Durden Wed, 12/15/2021 - 19:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 15th, 2021

Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2021 Results

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SWX) reported a consolidated loss of $0.19 per diluted share and adjusted consolidated earnings of $0.05 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2021, compared to consolidated and adjusted consolidated earnings of $0.32 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2020. Consolidated net loss and adjusted net income were $11.6 million and $3.1 million, respectively, for the third quarter of 2021, compared to consolidated net income and adjusted consolidated net income of $18.3 million for the third quarter of 2020. The adjustments for the third quarter of 2021 consist of a $5 million ($0.06 per share) legal reserve at the utility and Centuri's transaction costs for the Riggs Distler acquisition of $13 million ($0.18 per share). The natural gas segment had a net loss of $27.5 million and an adjusted net loss of $23.7 million for the third quarter of 2021 compared to a net loss and adjusted net loss of $16 million for the third quarter of 2020. The current quarter does not reflect any change in company-owned life insurance ("COLI") cash surrender values while the prior-year quarter reflects a $4.5 million increase. The utility infrastructure services segment delivered net income of $18.5 million and adjusted net income of $29.5 million in the third quarter of 2021, compared to net income and adjusted net income of $34.9 million in the third quarter of 2020. Due to the seasonal nature of the Company's businesses, results for quarterly periods are not generally indicative of earnings for a complete twelve-month period. Commenting on the performance and outlook of Southwest Gas Holdings, John P. Hester, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "In the third quarter, we continued executing on our strategy to create a higher performing, stronger company, while taking actions to enhance our financial flexibility and capital allocation to pursue value-creating, accretive opportunities. While our financial results for the reported quarter reflect one-time transaction costs and other non-recurring expenses, we are excited about the longer-term strategic and financial opportunities opening up to our company. Drawn by robust economies, job growth, attractive business climates, and excellent quality of life, thousands of residents and businesses like Intel, Lucid Motors, and Taiwan Semiconductor have been moving into Southwest's service territories of Arizona, Nevada, and California. We are well positioned for meaningful earnings growth in 2022 as we execute our longer-term strategy and focus on providing growing returns to our investors, excellent service to our customers, and opportunities to our employees." "With the acquisition of Riggs Distler, we believe Centuri is well positioned for continued growth and significant upside as investments in energy infrastructure are made nationwide to address the needs of a low-carbon energy future. In early October, we also announced an agreement to acquire Questar Pipelines, a compelling collection of assets that aligns with our long-term value creation goals. The combination of FERC-regulated pipelines and accompanying storage facilities will significantly increase and expand our regulated business mix, as it provides a robust stream of steady earnings and cash flows. We look forward to benefiting from the extremely attractive energy transition opportunities in RNG/RSG, hydrogen and CO2 transportation following closing the transaction. We plan to leverage the strong portfolio of assets we've built to continue driving an attractive, risk-adjusted total return for our stockholders, based on earnings growth and a meaningful dividend to increase long-term stockholder value." For the twelve months ended September 30, 2021, consolidated net income was $234.4 million, or $4.02 per diluted share, and adjusted consolidated net income was $249.8 million, or $4.28 per diluted share, compared to consolidated net income and adjusted consolidated net income of $220.5 million, or $3.97 per diluted share, for the twelve-month period ended September 30, 2020. The current twelve-month period includes a $14 million, or $0.24 per share, increase in the cash surrender values of COLI policies, while the prior-year period included COLI-related income of $7.2 million, or $0.13 per share. Natural gas segment net income and adjusted net income were $182.1 million and $185.9 million, respectively, in the current twelve-month period compared to net income and adjusted net income of $156 million in the prior-year period. Utility infrastructure services segment net income and adjusted net income were $56.7 million and $68.4 million, respectively, in the current twelve-month period compared to net income and adjusted net income of $66.6 million in the prior-year period. The adjustments for the twelve months ended September 30, 2021 consist of a $5 million ($0.07 per share) legal reserve at the utility and Centuri's cumulative transaction costs for the Riggs Distler acquisition of $14 million ($0.18 per share). Natural Gas Operations Segment Results Third Quarter Operating margin increased $18 million compared to the prior-year quarter. Approximately $2 million of incremental margin was attributable to customer growth from 37,000 first-time meter sets during the last twelve months. Rate relief in Arizona, Nevada, and California added approximately $13 million of margin. Also contributing to the increase were late fees that were $1.5 million greater in the current quarter due to lifting the moratorium on such fees that had been in place since March 2020. Amounts collected from and returned to customers associated with regulatory account balances, as well as differences in miscellaneous revenue and margin from customers outside the decoupling mechanisms, also impacted the variance between quarters. Operations and maintenance expense increased $18.5 million compared to the prior-year quarter reflecting a $5 million legal reserve, a $1.7 million increase in the service-related component of employee pension costs, and $2.2 million of incremental temporary staffing, training, and stabilization-period costs associated with a new customer information system implemented in May 2021. In addition, vacation, other time-off, and miscellaneous employee benefits increased $2.5 million when compared to the COVID-impacted third quarter of 2020, when costs overall were very low. Increased expenditures for pipeline damage prevention programs, higher travel and training costs, and general cost increases were also recognized in the current quarter. Depreciation and amortization increased $5.4 million, or 10%, compared to the prior-year quarter due to a $574 million, or 7%, increase in average gas plant in service, including the replacement of Southwest's customer information system, which occurred in May 2021. Amortization related to regulatory account recoveries increased approximately $1.5 million compared to the prior-year quarter. The increase in plant included pipeline capacity reinforcement work, franchise requirements, scheduled pipe replacement activities, and new infrastructure. Taxes other than income taxes increased $4 million between quarters due to an increase in Arizona property taxes (ultimately recovered under our regulatory tracking mechanism). Other income decreased $6 million compared to the prior-year quarter primarily due to a decline in income associated with COLI policies. The current quarter reflects no change in COLI policy cash surrender values, while the prior-year quarter reflected a $4.5 million increase. Amounts associated with the allowance for funds used during construction ("AFUDC") decreased $1.2 million in the current quarter. Offsetting these combined impacts is a decrease in the non-service-related components of employee pension and other postretirement benefit costs between quarters. Net interest deductions decreased $1 million compared to the prior-year quarter primarily due to a decrease in the amortization of an interest-related regulatory balance in Arizona. Twelve Months to Date Operating margin increased $72 million between the comparative twelve-month periods. Customer growth provided $13 million, and combined rate relief provided $52 million of incremental operating margin. Offsetting these impacts was a reduction in late fees ($817,000) due to the pandemic-period moratorium on late fees from March 2020 through March 2021. Regulatory account balance surcharges impacted both periods, in addition to margin from customers outside the decoupling mechanisms. Operations and maintenance expense increased $26 million between comparative twelve-month periods primarily due to higher legal-claim related costs, higher levels of service-related pension and post-retirement benefit costs ($7.3 million), expenditures for pipeline damage prevention programs associated with a growing infrastructure and customer base, increased customer-related and information technology costs, and higher reserves ($1.1 million) for customer accounts deemed uncollectible. Depreciation and amortization expense increased $19 million, or 8%, between periods due to a $579 million, or 7%, increase in average gas plant in service since the prior twelve-month period, and to a $3.8 million increase in regulatory amortization. Taxes other than income taxes increased $12.9 million between periods primarily due to an increase in property taxes in Arizona. Other income increased $7.1 million between comparative twelve-month periods, reflective of the $14 million increase in COLI policy cash surrender values and recognized death benefits in the current period, while the prior-year period reflected a $7.2 million increase in values. The non-service cost components of employee pension and other postretirement benefit costs were $3.3 million lower between comparative twelve-month periods, which was offset by lower equity AFUDC. Net interest deductions decreased $2.9 million between comparative twelve-month periods primarily due to decreases in the amortization of an interest-related regulatory balance in Arizona. Income tax expense in both periods reflects that COLI results are recognized without tax consequences, and also reflect the impacts of amortization of EADIT balances. Utility Infrastructure Services Segment Results Third Quarter Utility infrastructure revenues increased $52.5 million in the third quarter of 2021 when compared to the prior-year quarter, including $49.5 million from Riggs Distler & Company subsequent to the August 27, 2021 acquisition date. Revenues specific to electric infrastructure services increased $40.1 million in the third quarter of 2021 when compared to the prior-year quarter, of which $34.1 million related to Riggs Distler. Included in electric services revenues overall was $45.7 million from emergency restoration services performed by Linetec and Riggs Distler following hurricane, tornado, and other storm damage to customers' above-ground utility infrastructure in and around the Gulf Coast and eastern regions of the U.S., compared to $48.6 million in the third quarter of the prior year in regard to Linetec. Storm restoration work typically generates a higher profit margin than core infrastructure services, due to improved operating efficiencies related to equipment utilization and absorption of fixed costs. Partially offsetting the increased revenues overall was reduced work with two significant gas infrastructure services customers during the third quarter of 2021 (totaling $17.1 million), due to timing and mix of projects under each customer's multi-year capital spending programs. Utility infrastructure services expenses increased $64.3 million (including $13 million of professional fees related to the acquisition of Riggs Distler) compared to the prior-year quarter, and also included $42.4 million in expenses recorded by Riggs Distler subsequent to the acquisition. Higher fuel costs and equipment rental expense are reflected in expenses due to the mix of work completed and in support of growth in our electric infrastructure business. Included in total Utility infrastructure services expenses were general and administrative costs, which increased approximately $18 million between comparative periods (including the $13 million of professional fees previously noted), $3 million of other administrative costs incurred by Riggs Distler subsequent to the acquisition, and other costs resulting from general growth in the business. Depreciation and amortization increased $5.8 million compared to the prior-year quarter, of which $4.7 million was recorded by Riggs Distler subsequent to the acquisition. The remaining increase was attributable to equipment and computer systems purchased to support the growing volume of infrastructure work. Net interest deductions increased $4.3 million compared to the prior-year quarter, primarily due to incremental borrowings under Centuri's $1.545 billion amended and restated secured revolving credit and term loan facility that was entered into during August 2021 in conjunction with the acquisition of Riggs Distler. Income tax expense decreased $4 million between quarters, primarily due to reduced profitability in 2021. Certain costs related to the Riggs Distler acquisition were non-deductible for U.S. federal income tax purposes, impacting the recorded Income tax expense during the third quarter of 2021. Twelve Months to Date Utility infrastructure services revenues increased $187.8 million, or 10%, in the current twelve-month period when compared to the prior-year period, primarily due to incremental electric infrastructure revenues of $129.5 million from expansion of work with existing customers and securing work with new customers. Included in the incremental electric infrastructure revenues during the twelve-month period of 2021 was $83.5 million from emergency restoration services performed by Linetec and Riggs Distler following hurricane, tornado, and other storm damage to customers' above-ground utility infrastructure in and around the Gulf Coast and eastern regions of the U.S., compared to $55.9 million in similar services during the twelve-month period in 2020. Centuri's revenues derived from storm-related services vary from period to period due to the unpredictable nature of weather-related events. The remaining increase in revenue includes revenue from continued growth with existing gas infrastructure customers under master service and bid agreements. Utility infrastructure services expenses increased $187 million (including $14 million of acquisition costs) between periods, largely due to incremental costs related to electric infrastructure work, including costs associated with storm restoration ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 9th, 2021

The 20 best books of 2021, according to Book of the Month readers

Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/Insider Book of the Month sends great books from emerging authors directly to subscribers. At the end of each year, readers vote for their favorite books they read through the service. Here are the 20 most loved BOTM selections of 2021. The winner will be announced on November 11. Book of the Month sends new and noteworthy books - often before they become popular - to subscribers each month. In the past, the company has picked hits such as "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah, "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee, and "The Girl With the Louding Voice" by Abi Daré to bring to its readers.Membership (small)At the end of the year, the club's thousands of subscribers vote on the best books they read through the service, making it a more curated version of Goodreads' best books of the year. For example, the 2020 winner was "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett, which also won the 2020 Goodreads award for Best Historical Fiction.Below, you'll find a reading list of the top 20 books of 2021 according to Book of the Month readers. Book of the Month will announce the best book of 2021 on November 11, awarding the winning author a $10,000 prize. The 20 best books picked by Book of the Month in 2021, according to its readers:Descriptions are provided by Amazon and edited lightly for length and clarity. "Things We Lost To The Water" by Eric Nguyen Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she sends letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she attempts to come to terms with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memories and imaginations. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong gets involved with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity — as individuals and as a family — threatens to tear them apart, un­til disaster strikes the city they now call home, and they are suddenly forced to find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them. "Imposter Syndrome" by Kathy Wang Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.59Julia Lerner, a recent university graduate in computer science, is living in Moscow when she's recruited by Russia's largest intelligence agency in 2006. By 2018, she's in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America's most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self-promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia's asking for more, and Julia's getting nervous.Alice Lu is a first-generation Chinese-American whose parents are delighted she's working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she's slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial "founder's girlfriend." One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she's burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine's privacy settings aren't as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself. The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she's the one who built her career; isn't she entitled to protect the lifestyle she's earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, "Impostor Syndrome" is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream. "The Lost Apothecary" by Susan Penner Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99Hidden in the depths of 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary's fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious 12-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.Meanwhile, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her 10th wedding anniversary alone in present-day London, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London 200 years ago, her life collides with the apothecary's in a stunning twist of fate — and not everyone will survive. "This Close To Okay" by Leese Cross-Smith Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15.62On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing at the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett. Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. What she doesn't realize is that Emmett isn't the only one who needs healing — and they both are harboring secrets.Alternating between Tallie and Emmett's perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge's edge — as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with since her marriage ended — "This Close to Okay" is an uplifting, cathartic story about chance encounters, hope found in unlikely moments, and the subtle magic of human connection. "We Are the Brennans" by Tracey Lange Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.49When 29-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all — and her high school sweetheart — five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions.Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets — secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes — and ultimately find a way forward together. "The Maidens" by Alex Michaelides Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.78Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this, Mariana is confident. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike ― particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana's niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?When another body is found, Mariana's obsession with proving Fosca's guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything ― including her own life. "Razorblade Tears" by S.A. Cosby Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.10Ike Randolph has been out of jail for 15 years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.Derek's father, Buddy Lee, was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father's criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their prejudices about their sons and each other as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. "Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.80Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over — especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud — because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about has promised she'll be there.And Kit has a couple of secrets of her own — including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.By midnight the party will be entirely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come rising to the surface. "Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.49Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the land's bounty is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman's only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: Marriage to a man she barely knows.By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work, and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa's tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa ― like so many of her neighbors ― must make an agonizing choice: Fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family. "The People We Keep" by Alison Larkin Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $22.99Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo's diner, she's left fending for herself in a town where she's never quite felt at home. When she "borrows" her neighbor's car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good — setting off on a journey to find her own life.Driving without a chosen destination, she stops to rest in Ithaca. Her only plan is to survive, but as she looks for work, she finds a kindred sense of belonging at Cafe Decadence, the local coffee shop. Still, somehow, it doesn't make sense to her that life could be this easy. The more she falls in love with her friends in Ithaca, the more she can't shake the feeling that she'll hurt them the way she's been hurt.As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn't dictate who she has to be. "The Heart Principle" by Helen Hoang Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands — the more unacceptable the men, the better.That's where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex — he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna's family, she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love — but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. "Instructions for Dancing" by Nicola Yoon Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.40Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began… and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: Adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything — including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? "Once There Were Wolves" by Charlotte McConaghy Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.99Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing 14 gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape but Aggie, too — unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she's witnessed ― inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet, as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept that her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn't make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect? "People We Meet On Vacation" by Emily Henry Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $9.98Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She's a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year, they live far apart — she's in New York City, and he's in their small hometown — but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.Poppy has everything she should want, but she's stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together — lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong? "The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina" by Zoraida Cordove Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.49The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty or why their matriarch won't ever leave their home in Four Rivers — even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.Seven years later, her gifts have manifested differently for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly's daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea's line. Determined to save what's left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador — to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back. "Damnation Spring" by Ash Davidson Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.81Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It's 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn't what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now, that way of life is threatened. Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It's a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall — a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son — and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient Redwoods. Colleen, desperate to have a second baby, challenges the logging company's use of herbicides that she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community — including her own. The pair find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict that threatens the very thing they are trying to protect: Their family. "The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany" by Lori Nelson Spielman Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $10.95Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than 200 years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily single baker at her grandfather's Brooklyn deli, claim it's an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it's an actual hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she'll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her 80th birthday — and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed — secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. "The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $12.92Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers — Owen's 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As Hannah's increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen's boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn't who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen's true identity — and why he disappeared.Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen's past, they soon realize they're also building a new future — one neither of them could have anticipated.You can read our interview with author Laura Dave here. "The Office of Historical Corrections" by Danielle Evans Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $17.49Danielle Evans is known for her blisteringly smart voice and X-ray insights into complex human relationships. With "The Office of Historical Corrections," Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters' lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love and getting walloped by grief — all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history — about who gets to tell them and the cost of setting the record straight. "Infinite Country" by Patricia Engel Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.80I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally reunite with her family.How this family came to occupy two different countries — two different worlds — comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering — the costs they've all been living with ever since. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Concerned Graduates Of West Point Challenge Leadership Of Military Academy: Letter

Concerned Graduates Of West Point Challenge Leadership Of Military Academy: Letter Authored by Enrico Trigoso via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Three retired U.S. military officers—LTG Thomas McInerney, USAF; MG Paul Vallely, U.S. Army; and Colonel Andrew O’Meara Jr., U.S. Army—signed a letter authored by “Concerned Graduates of West Point and The Long Gray Line,” protesting against mandatory vaccinations, CRT classes, sanitary conditions, progressive political activism, and other “woke actions,” in the military academy. U.S. Military Academy cadets attend the 2020 graduation ceremony at West Point, New York, on June 13, 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images) “The Long Gray Line” refers to the continuum of graduates United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. “We wanted to challenge the leadership of the Academy and the Defense Dept on their WOKE actions, CRT, Diversity training and the other discrepancies in the Academy. We found it pervasive at the Naval and Air Force Academies so we knew it was directed from the highest levels of our Military Leadership,” Vallely told The Epoch Times. Paul E Vallely MG US Army (Ret) (Courtesy of Paul E Vallely) “We all want the Military to get back on track to training and leading our Armed Forces to secure America and its Citizens,” Vallely, who has been sounding the alarm against a socialist takeover of the United States, added. The letter, titled “Declaration of Betrayal of West Point And the Long Gray Line,” asks for the following information: An explanation for the irregularities in the enforcement of the Honor Code. A justification for the mandatory vaccinations of cadets with the COVID Virus despite widespread adverse reactions to the inoculation, as well as provisions for exceptions for cadets with religious objections. An explanation for teaching Critical Race Theory at the Academy that constitutes an attack upon the Constitution and our constitutional Republic. This is behavior that constitutes unconstitutional conduct, if not sedition. An explanation of reported mismanagement of the cadet dining facility resulting in unsanitary conditions, inadequate food prepared for the meal, and food served that was reportedly unfit for consumption. Political activism on the part of civilian faculty members constituting political activity violating the long-standing policy of the Academy and Army Regulations. The practice of exclusive reliance upon radical progressive guest speakers to address the Corps of Cadets. This practice results in prejudiced political activism on the part of the Staff and Faculty in violation of Army Regulations. An explanation for the failure of the Superintendent to respond to correspondence inquiring about problems identified at the Academy. Read more here... Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge10 hr. 38 min. ago

Explosive Report Confirms Expansive CIA "Stealth Network" Of Spies & Commandos Inside Ukraine

Explosive Report Confirms Expansive CIA 'Stealth Network' Of Spies & Commandos Inside Ukraine A fresh New York Times report has confirmed what many already suspected - that the CIA is still very active inside Ukraine - especially with training as well coordinating weapons among its Ukrainian allies. The Times report details "a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training," based on US and European intelligence officials with knowledge of the operations. The report says Ukrainian forces are reliant on this Western clandestine network "more than ever" while outgunned by the Russians. This comes months after investigative journalist Zach Dorfman's bombshell expose in Yahoo News which detailed how a prior 8-year long CIA covert program to train Ukrainian fighters helped provoke the Russian invasion. The only question that remained after that March report was the extent to which the CIA was still active in the ongoing fight against the invading Russians. Special operations file image, via Sandboxx The new Times reporting confirms that the US program is not only active and ongoing, but appears larger in scale than previously thought given the CIA's close cooperation with the Ukrainians is happening both inside and outside the country, across multiple locations. "Much of this work happens outside Ukraine, at bases in Germany, France and Britain, for example. But even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kyiv, directing much of the vast amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces, according to current and former officials," the report indicates. It appears much the CIA's work in Ukraine is centered on coordinating intelligence with local intel services and counterparts. "Few other details have emerged about what the C.I.A. personnel or the commandos are doing, but their presence in the country — on top of the diplomatic staff members who returned after Russia gave up its siege of Kyiv — hints at the scale of the secretive effort to assist Ukraine that is underway and the risks that Washington and its allies are taking," NY Times continues. Over the weekend, Canada also has been reported to have special operations troops inside Ukraine. This was reported months ago, but with a separate NYT report offering further confirmation. "Both CTV and Global News reported in late January that Canadian special forces had been sent to Ukraine, but National Defence did not comment on that deployment," Ottawa Citizen writes Sunday. Back in January, a full two months before the invasion, Yahoo News disclosed the following: The CIA is overseeing a secret intensive training program in the U.S. for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and other intelligence personnel, according to five former intelligence and national security officials familiar with the initiative. The program, which started in 2015, is based at an undisclosed facility in the Southern U.S., according to some of those officials. The CIA-trained forces could soon play a critical role on Ukraine’s eastern border, where Russian troops have massed in what many fear is preparation for an invasion. The U.S. and Russia started security talks earlier this week in Geneva but have failed thus far to reach any concrete agreement. While the covert program, run by paramilitaries working for the CIA’s Ground Branch — now officially known as Ground Department — was established by the Obama administration after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, and expanded under the Trump administration, the Biden administration has further augmented it, said a former senior intelligence official in touch with colleagues in government. These details further seems to authenticate those voices which have been insisting NATO and Russia are in fact waging a proxy war inside Ukraine, a label which Biden administration officials have previously sought to deny and downplay. New York Times: The CIA has no idea what's happening on the ground in Ukraine. New York Times, 17 days later: Ukraine is full of CIA personnel. pic.twitter.com/zlea6upOWm — Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) June 25, 2022 Writes NY Times further of the international nature of Ukraine's on-the-ground assistance, "At the same time, a few dozen commandos from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, also have been working inside Ukraine." But the report adds the caveat that "The United States withdrew its own 150 military instructors before the war began in February, but commandos from these allies either remained or have gone in and out of the country since then, training and advising Ukrainian troops and providing an on-the-ground conduit for weapons and other aid, three U.S. officials said." This strongly suggests the very scenario that many long suspected: that CIA operations which had gone on for eight years in Ukraine didn't wind down or cease upon the Feb.24 start of the Russian invasion, but only increased and were ramped up. Of course, the same goes for the Pentagon's special operations presence inside the country and along its Western borders, particularly in Poland. On Sunday, the Kremlin underscored angrily that even as such clandestine programs are made public via deliberate "leaks" to the media, Washington has refused to answer simple questions regarding Western operatives and mercenaries inside Ukraine - also after a couple of American fighters were recently captured. So the NYT confirms that CIA and NATO “boots on the ground” have been in Ukraine all along, but two months ago you were a totally unhinged disinformation agent if you suspected this — Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 26, 2022 Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday: "As [Russian Ambassador to London Andrey] Kelin said, they [Western countries] are writing some provocative, boorish things. They don’t want to answer the question we ask about their activities." She charged the West with only seeking to perpetuate the conflict, saying, "They are sparing no effort so that the conflict in Ukraine continued as long as possible. We remember what US 43rd President George Bush Jr said: Ukraine’s mission is to kill as many Russians as possible.... They have endowed Ukraine and the Kiev regime with this duty. "They are using (Ukraine - TASS) as an instrument and the entire logistics are centered round that - weapons supplies, sending people, anything to keep the conflict burning, as [UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson told [French President Emmanuel] Macron today, to prevent the settlement of this situation. Otherwise, their plan will fail," Zakharova said according to TASS. Tyler Durden Sun, 06/26/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 26th, 2022

Airlines Say Understaffed FAA "Crippling" East Coast Traffic

Airlines Say Understaffed FAA "Crippling" East Coast Traffic Last week, Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg warned airlines that they faced federal government action—presumably including fines—over mounting flight cancellations and delays. While pilot shortages won't be quickly resolved, Buttigieg urged airlines to hire more customer service representatives to help customers rebook when things go wrong.   On Friday, the airline industry group Airlines for America (A4A) turned the tables, saying the Federal Aviation Administration's own understaffing is "crippling" East Coast air traffic. The group's members include American Airlines, Delta, United, Southwest, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines as well as shippers FedEx and UPS. "One of our A4A member carriers estimates that air traffic control (ATC) related issues were a factor in at least one-third of recent cancellations," the letter said. The group asked Buttigieg to arrange a meeting in which the FAA would share its controller staffing plan for the July 4th weekend and the rest of the summer travel season.  In a diplomatically-worded letter to Buttigieg, Airlines for America called out air traffic control shortages at two key FAA facilities: New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON N-90). Located in Westbury, Long Island, this facility acts a single hub controlling approaches to JFK, Newark and LaGuardia airports, along with dozens of smaller airports, including Teterboro and Long Island MacArthur. Jacksonville Center (JAX). This Jacksonville, Florida facility controls 160,000 square miles of airspace parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas—including airspace over 225 civilian and 20 military airports.  The two-page letter notes that "JAX has been understaffed for 27 of the last 30 days, which is crippling to the entire east coast traffic flows."  Jacksonville Center is one of 20+ domestic control centers overseeing flights during the "en route" phase between departure and destination Buttigieg's earlier shot across the industry's bow came after his own flight was cancelled, forcing him to drive from Washington to New York. Fittingly, the cancellation happened on the day after Buttigieg met with airline executives.   "That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering," Buttigieg told the Associated Press. Approximately 2,800 U.S. flights were cancelled over Memorial Day weekend, and now July 4th looms large.   Airlines for America identified other opportunities to reduce pressure on the nation's air traffic system, including: The establishment of "a real-time, dynamic scheduling and management tool of special activity airspace used by the Department of Defense (DoD) to optimize the use of the national airspace system for all stakeholders" "Reduction of airspace closures due to commercial space launches and more optimal scheduling of such events to avoid high-volume air traffic times" The group also noted that U.S. air carriers reduced their planned summer flights by 15% compared to what they'd targeted at the beginning of 2022, and have "accelerated robust hiring and training programs in all areas, including flight crew, customer service agents and airport staff in addition to increasing pay for many positions." On Friday, the Air Line Pilots Association announced its approval of a new contract that would hike the pay of United Airlines pilots by more than 14% over the next year and a half, seemingly paving the way for similarly-large pay-hikes at competing carriers.  As we've previously reported, a pilot shortage is a major factor in the deluge of flight cancellations and delays. As United CEO Scott Kirby told investors, "The pilot shortage for the industry is real, and most airlines are simply not going to be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren't enough pilots, at least not for the next five-plus years.” We've also noted that an exorbitant training requirement imposed by Congress in 2010 as a knee-jerk reaction to a 2009 plane crash is needlessly contributing to the pilot shortage.       Tyler Durden Sat, 06/25/2022 - 23:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 26th, 2022