Bywire News

GENEVA - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for an immediate end to military activity near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Europe's largest. "I am calling on the military forces of the Russian Federation and Ukraine to immediately cease all military activities in the immediate vicinity of the plant and not to target its facilities or surroundings," he said in a statement. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Jon Boyle)...
FREETOWN - At least 13 civilians were killed in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, during anti-government protests on Wednesday, staff at the city's main mortuary said on Thursday. (Reporting by Umaru Fofana, writing by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Jon Boyle)...
By Angelo Amante ROME - The leaders of a newly-formed Italian centrist group said on Thursday their pact will offer an alternative to "populist" rightist and leftist parties at a national election scheduled next month. The Sept. 25 ballot was called following the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi's broad unity administration in July after some key parties snubbed a confidence vote. The former European Central Bank chief resigned, but agreed to stay on as acting premier. The centrist pact came after the Azione party led by Carlo Calenda surprisingly decided to quit the centre-left alliance, citing the presence of parties who failed to support Draghi as one of the reasons. "A serious and pragmatic alternative to the right-wing and left-wing populism that has devastated this country ... was born today," Calenda wrote on Twitter after signing off on the deal with the Italia Viva party of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi...
JAKARTA - Indonesia will include the popular tourist destination of Bali as one of its priority zones for a vaccination programme against foot and mouth disease (FMD) to prevent its further spread, a government official said on Thursday. Indonesia is aiming to get a FMD outbreak under control by the end of the year while cattle-producing countries such as Australia and New Zealand have raised their guard against the disease after infections were found in Bali. "Bali is being prioritised for vaccination because of the high human traffic, both domestic and international, that could be a factor spreading the disease," Wiku Adisasmito, spokesperson for the government task force handling the outbreak, told a briefing. Australians are among the top foreign visitors to Bali. FMD is highly transmissible and causes lesions and lameness in cattle, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals, but does not affect humans....
BRUSSELS - Poland will get money from the European Union recovery fund only after it reaches the milestones and targets that the Polish government has jointly agreed with the EU in many months of negotiations, the European Commission said on Thursday. Poland is eligible for 24 billion euros in grants and 11.5 billion euros in very cheap loans to rebuild its economy greener and more digitalised after the COVID-19 pandemic. But the money is frozen because Poland's ruling eurosceptic PiS party does not want to roll back changes to the judiciary introduced over the last seven years, even though it is one of the conditions that was jointly agreed with the Commission. PiS leaders this week vowed they would not make any concessions and threatened to make EU decision-making difficult unless Poland can draw on the EU fund. "The Commission and Poland have discussed this plan for months, in every detail, it has been signed by both side...
LONDON - Haleon - GSK's recently spun off consumer health unit - is not a party to the U.S. litigation focused on the heartburn medicine Zantac, a spokesperson told on Thursday. "We have never marketed Zantac in any form in the U.S., as Haleon or as GSK consumer healthcare," the spokesperson said in response to queries about sharp declines in Haleon shares. Given over-the-counter Zantac has been sold by several companies over time, that "may make third parties liable ahead of any Haleon exposure," the spokesperson added. (Reporting by Natalie Grover in London)...
DUBLIN - A strengthening recovery in air travel "across all major regions" boosted second-quarter revenue at AerCap by 36% year-on-year to $1.67 billion, the world's top aircraft lessor said on Thursday. While Dublin-based AerCap said lease rents were negatively impacted by the loss of revenue from Russian aircraft in the quarter, the recovery in passenger demand led to higher overall levels of cash collection and greater utilisation of its fleet. It added that a number of supply chain issues would continue to constrain aircraft production over the next few years, supporting demand for lessors who now control more than half the world's fleet of aircraft. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by David Evans)...
LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on a call that cooperation between the two countries on Ukraine and regional stability was "hugely important for the world", Johnson's spokesperson said. "The Prime Minister praised the Crown Prince's success in bringing prosperity to both the UAE and the Gulf more generally," the Downing Street spokesperson said on Thursday. "He (Johnson) expressed his confidence that this cooperation will continue in the years ahead." (Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Kate Holton)...
By Clement Uwiringiyimana KIGALI - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday he had raised with Rwanda's president U.S. concerns over the jailing of Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed in the film "Hotel Rwanda" sheltering hundreds of people during the 1994 genocide. Rusesabagina, 67, a U.S. permanent resident, was sentenced last September to 25 years in prison over eight terrorism charges tied to an organization opposed to President Paul Kagame's rule. Rwanda's foreign minister Vincent Biruta said he was convicted lawfully, but Rusesabagina has denied all the charges and refused to take part in a trial that he and his supporters have called a political sham. The United States in May determined he had been wrongfully detained. Rusesabagina, who was feted around the world after being portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in 2004's "Hotel Rwanda," is a vocal critic of Kagame. He is being held in a Rwandan prison....
By Joice Alves LONDON - Sterling fell against the euro on Thursday a day ahead of gross domestic product (GDP) figures which are expected to show further signs of a weakening British economy. The pound is one of the worst performers out of the G10 currencies this year, having fallen almost 10% against the U.S. dollar in 2022. On Thursday, sterling was roughly flat against a weakening dollar on the back of softer-than-expected U.S. inflation data. Traders said the UK currency's fall against the euro gave a clearer picture of the state of the economy. According to a poll of economists, UK GDP is expected to have shed 0.3% in the second quarter from a 0.4% growth in the first three months of the year. "On the back of the U.S. CPI inflation release the market has reassessed the amount of Fed rate hikes that could be in the pipeline," Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank in London said. "The...
By Cecile Mantovani and Denis Balibouse CHARMEY, Switzerland - Swiss army helicopters have been drafted in to airlift water to thousands of thirsty farm animals sweltering under this summer's soaring temperatures in the country's Alpine meadows. Lower rainfall this year forced farmers to call on the army to swoop in with much-needed refreshments for their animals and prevent a drought causing feed shortages later in the year. A two-week operation is now under way with Super Puma helicopters flying to refill the near-empty reservoirs used by farmers for their cows, whose milk is often used to make Gruyere cheese, and other animals such as pigs and goats. "There's been a huge shortage of water this year," said Frederic Menetrey, director of agriculture in the canton of Fribourg. "It has a big impact on the pastures, breeding but also lowland agriculture." Without the emergency water supply, the animals would have...
By Christoph Steitz and Matthias Inverardi FRANKFURT -RWE is holding talks with a larger number of suppliers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), not just Qatar and North America, CEO Markus Krebber said, as Germany's largest power producer continues its efforts to replace Russian gas volumes. RWE earlier this year said it was in discussions with potential LNG suppliers in the United States and Qatar, as Germany tries to diversify away from Russia, its largest supplier of natural gas. Sources told in May that talks with Qatar have proven difficult over disagreement regarding key contract clauses, most notably differences over how long supply agreements would run. German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said last month Qatar had decided not to make a good offer and that potential importers had procured gas elsewhere for now, Bild am Sonntag reported. "We are talking to all kinds of suppliers, and there are certainly other...
- Scottish curler Eve Muirhead, who helped Britain seal their only gold medal at this year's Beijing Winter Olympics, announced her retirement from the sport on Thursday and said she wanted to explore more opportunities. The 32-year-old led Britain to victory over Japan in the women's curling final in Beijing in February, securing her nation's only gold medal at this year's Games. She calls time on her career as the current European and world champion. "After 15 years of international curling and 21 international titles I have made the hardest decision of my life to hang up my curling shoes and retire," Muirhead said in a post on Twitter. Throughout my career and like most athletes, I have experienced both the highest of the highs (becoming an Olympic champion) and the lowest of lows and at times the future seemed very distant. It's been an emotional journey but a journey I am very proud of." Muirhead, who also...
By Alan Baldwin - Formula E holds its 100th race this weekend with a South Korean double marking the end of an era for the electric series and likely to see Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne take the title in a farewell for Mercedes. From a debut in 2014 around the stadium built for Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics, Formula E reaches its century milestone on Sunday by racing near the stadium that hosted the 1988 Seoul Games. The season's final race will be the end of the road for the 'Gen2' era, with next season bringing in a new generation of cars that will be faster, lighter and more efficient than anything seen so far. Series co-founder Alberto Longo said the city-based single-seater championship had proven the critics wrong and was here to stay. "Eight years ago everyone was laughing at electric vehicles basically and the limited range that they had," the Spaniard told reporters. "When we launched the c...
LONDON - Britain said it is considering ways to support combining electricity generated using biomass, such as wood pellets, with technology to capture and store the resulting carbon emissions. A government consultation is looking at offering developers a guaranteed price for the electricity produced by the power plant and a price for each tonne of carbon dioxide captured. Britain hopes technology to capture emissions at power stations and industrial factories will help it achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050 to tackle climate change. British power generator Drax is seeking to develop a carbon capture project at its biomass power plant in North Yorkshire, England, but has said it would need a support mechanism from the government to make the project viable. "Drax plans to invest 2 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) in what will be the biggest carbon capture in power project in the world, supporting UK energy security,...
By Toby Sterling and Elvira Pollina UTRECHT, Netherlands/PALERMO, Italy - As Europe braces for another heatwave, one group of workers has little choice but to sweat it out: the couriers shuttling around town getting lunches and dinners to customers. "It's hot, sometimes really hot. But what can we do? God is in charge of the weather," says Gennaro Guarracino, 47, who delivers food by scooter around the Italian city of Naples for the company Glovo. Temperatures were expected to reach 34-38 degrees (93-100 degrees Fahrenheit) across Western Europe on Thursday. But labour practices such as offering workers cold water, shade and extra paid breaks are not universally adopted or enforced, with the meals delivery market a prominent example because many of its workers are on freelance contracts. In July the mayor of Palermo on the Italian island of Sicily signed an order that horses carrying tourists be given at least...
VILNIUS - Latvia's parliament on Thursday designated Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism" over the war in Ukraine and called on Western allies to impose more comprehensive sanctions on Moscow in order to bring an end to the conflict. "Latvia recognises Russia's actions in Ukraine as targeted genocide against the Ukrainian people," the Baltic nation's parliament said in a resolution. Western nations should increase their military, financial, humanitarian and diplomatic backing for Ukraine and support initiatives condemning Russia's actions, it added. Millions of Ukrainians have fled their homes and thousands have been killed since Russia's invasion in February. Moscow says it does not deliberately target civilians in what it calls its "special military operation" aimed at safeguarding Russia's security and protecting Russian speakers in Ukraine. Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he was grateful f...
COPENHAGEN - Britain and Denmark will provide more financial and military aid to Ukraine, they said on Thursday as European defence ministers met in Copenhagen to discuss long-term support for the country's defence against Russia's invasion. Britain, which has already donated advanced weapons systems to Ukraine and given thousands of its troops military training, said it would send more multiple-launch rocket systems. It would also donate a "significant number" of precision guided M31A1 missiles that can strike targets up to 80 km (50 miles) away. "This latest tranche of military support will enable the armed forces of Ukraine to continue to defend against Russian aggression and the indiscriminate use of long-range artillery," UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement. "Our continued support sends a very clear message, Britain and the international community remain opposed to this illegal war and will stand should...
LONDON - VK, owner of Russian social network VKontakte, reported a second-quarter net loss of 3.4 billion roubles ($56 million) on Thursday, partly due to a 14 billion rouble ($231 million) foreign exchange hit. The VKontakte network, often compared to Facebook, has emerged as a key player in the race to replace Western services in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and blocks imposed by Moscow since then on Western social media platforms. VK's second quarter result was adjusted from a 3.6 billion rouble profit after volatility in the rouble, which recovered from a record low in March to a near seven-year peak in June. The company said that total adjusted EBITDA had fallen 37% year on year to 4.2 billion roubles ($69 million). Russia is pushing for the rapid development of domestic digital alternatives and has accelerated efforts to exert control since launching the war on Ukraine on Feb. 24. The Kremlin has blocked ac...
(This content was produced in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.) MOSCOW - Russia on Thursday condemned a move by Latvia's parliament to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. Writing on Telegram, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova called the decision "xenophobic". (Reporting by ; Editing by Kevin Liffey)...