Bywire News

BERLIN - The European Union is looking into ways of using the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to fund the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday. The commission proposed on Wednesday a 9 billion euro loan to Ukraine to keep the country going as it struggles to fend off the Russian invasion and wants to set up a reconstruction facility for after the war. "Our lawyers are working intensively on finding possible ways of using frozen assets of the oligarchs for the rebuilding of Ukraine. I think Russia should also make its contribution," she told ZDF television. Von der Leyen also said she favoured coupling the long-term reconstruction of Ukraine with reforms needed for it to join the European Union. While Ukrainians see their future within the EU, certain standards have to be met for membership in areas such as the rule of law and in the economic and pol...
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday said Russian forces had "completely destroyed" the industrial Donbas region and accused Moscow of carrying out senseless bombardments as it intensified its offensive. Zelenskiy also accused Russian forces of attempting to kill as many Ukrainians and do as much damage as possible, repeating his charge that Russia was carrying out a genocide. Zelenskiy said that while Ukrainian forces were continuing to liberate the Kharkiv region to the east of Kyiv, Russia was trying to exert even more pressure in the Donbas, which lies in the southeastern part of Ukraine. "It is hell there - and that is not an exaggeration," he said in a late night video address, adding that 12 people had been killed in the "brutal and absolutely senseless bombardment" of Severodonetsk on Thursday. "(There are) constant strikes on the Odesa region, on the cities of central Ukraine. The Donbas is complete...
OSLO - Wage talks involving around 8,000 oil drilling workers in Norway broke down on Thursday, labour unions said, raising the risk of strike action that would disrupt oil and gas exploration. The talks between the Norwegian Shipowners' Association (NSA) and the Safe, Industri Energi and DSO unions will resume at a later date under the leadership of a state-appointed mediator, and could end in a strike if those negotiations fail. Any industrial action would most likely have only a marginal impact on production of oil and gas in the short-term, but could have a greater impact in the medium- to long-term as expansion projects and the start-up of new fields would be delayed. Companies affected by the talks include Transocean, Saipem, Odfjell Drilling, Maersk Drilling, Archer, Seadrill and others. The unions represent workers on mobile offshore units as well as platform drilling on permanent installations. Under N...
By Trevor Hunnicutt ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - President Joe Biden is likely to get a warm welcome from South Korea's leadership on his first trip to Asia, but he may face a less friendly greeting from North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Biden lands in South Korea on Friday evening, where he meets new President Yoon Suk-yeol, a relative newcomer to politics, for the first time in person. The two will tour a Samsung Electronics plant together Friday ahead of a full day of events on Saturday. Biden and Yoon may quickly move from formalities to dealing with a weighty issue with North Korea at the top of the agenda. Leader Kim Jong Un abandoned a freeze on intercontinental ballistic missile testing and appears poised to resume testing of nuclear bombs, perhaps while Biden is in the region. U.S. cooperation with South Korea and Japan "will only strengthen in the face of further provocations" by North Korea, Biden national security adviser Jak...
BERLIN - The European Union is looking into ways of using the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to fund the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday. "Our lawyers are working intensively on finding possible ways of using frozen assets of the oligarchs for the rebuilding of Ukraine. I think Russia should also make its contribution," she told ZDF television. (Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Chris Reese)...
PARIS - French utility EDF said on Thursday it was pushing back the start date on its Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor to June 2027 and now estimated project costs in the range of 25 billion to 26 billion pounds ($31 to $32 billion). "The start of electricity generation for Unit 1 is targeted for June 2027, the risk of further delay of the two units is assessed at 15 months, assuming the absence of a new pandemic wave and no additional effects of the war in Ukraine," the company said in a statement. EDF last updated its Hinkley Point construction schedule in January 2021, when it said Britain's first new nuclear plant to be built in decades would be delayed by six months to June 2026 with the cost rising by an additional 500 million pounds to 22 billion to 23 billion pounds. Thursday's statement said the pandemic had severely constrained people, resources and supply chains, restricting efficiency. "In addition, the quantities...
SEOUL - North Korea reported 263,370 more people with fever symptoms, and two more deaths as the country battles its first confirmed outbreak of COVID-19, the North's official KCNA said on Friday. It did not report how many of those cases had tested positive for the coronavirus. (Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Chris Reese)...
SAO PAULO - Shareholders of Carrefour Brasil approved on Thursday the acquisition of Grupo BIG Brasil SA, according to a securities filing. The local unit of the French retail giant announced on March 2021 the acquisition of Grupo BIG for roughly 7.5 billion reais ($1.52 billion) from Walmart and investment firm Advent International. ($1 = 4.9310 reais) (Reporting by Peter Frontini)...
CANNES, France - “Armageddon Time,” which premiered Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival, whisks the audience to the cusp of the Ronald Reagan presidency, exploring issues of race and privilege in American society with a star-studded cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Strong and Jessica Chastain.     The film directed by James Gray is told through the view of young Paul Graff, played by Michael Banks Repeta. It tells the story of his friendship with Johnny, played by Jaylin Webb. Together, the two boys have high ambitions - but run up against unbending social structures.    “It’s very emotional for me, it’s my story in a way,” a tearful Gray said, to a standing ovation.     The 64-year-old director, who has had four other films in competition at the festival in past years, said it was the first time he had spoken to an audience there. Gray's latest movie, which is being distributed by Comcast Corp's...
LONDON - Marco Alonso scored a glorious equaliser to earn Chelsea a 1-1 home draw with Leicester City on Thursday and effectively seal third place in the Premier League ahead of the final round of fixtures. The draw lifted Chelsea to 71 points, 19 behind leaders Manchester City and three ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, but Chelsea's far superior goal difference means Spurs have no realistic chance of overtaking them. Leicester took the lead in the seventh minute when Kasper Schmeichel sent a sweeping long ball to Timothy Castagne, and his deflected pass fell into the path of James Maddison who advanced before curling a perfect shot past Edouard Mendy. Chelsea's 34th-minute equaliser was exquisite, Reece James lofting a diagonal ball into the box for Alonso to volley home, and though they completely dominated the game the hosts could not find the net again and had to be content with a draw. (Reporting...
By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan's new Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Thursday he would like to pivot away from single-issue transactional relationship with the United States as he seeks to repair frayed ties with Washington. "Our relationship with the United States has been colored too much by the geopolitical context in our region, and particularly by the events and circumstances in Afghanistan," Bhutto-Zardari told reporters at the United Nations during his first visit to the United States as foreign minister. "We would like to pivot away from a transactory relationship, a one point agenda relationship, to a more broad-based relationship with a particular emphasis on trade," he said a day after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appointed Bhutto-Zardari, son of assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto, three weeks ago. Sharif took over l...
LIVERPOOL, England - Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored five minutes from time to guarantee Everton’s Premier League survival as they rallied from two goals down to secure a thrilling 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace at a rocking Goodison Park on Thursday. Everton needed a win to ensure they continue their 68-year top-flight stay and Calvert-Lewin, who has been a peripheral figure this season due to injury, headed a Demarai Grey free-kick in at the Gwladys Street end to spark a pitch invasion from the delirious home fans. Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew, who perhaps should have had a red card moments earlier, scored first half goals for mid-table Palace, who were well on top, but Everton rallied in the second period thanks to goals from Michael Keane and Richarlison, before Calvert-Lewin’s winner. It will be huge relief for manager Frank Lampard and Everton’s vociferous fans, who provided another massive show of support ahead of the game...
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tiger Woods struggled mightily in the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club where he played through significant discomfort over his closing holes and will have plenty of work to do to make the cut. Woods, in his second start since a February, 2021 car crash that nearly ended his career, looked good early but pushed his body to its limits and it cost him as he gritted his teeth in pain towards the end of his opening four-over-par 74. "Yeah, my leg is not feeling as good as I would like it to be," Woods told reporters after finishing his round nine shots behind clubhouse leader Rory McIlroy. "We'll start the recovery process and get after it tomorrow." Woods started on the back nine and his right leg was clearly troubling him by the time he got to the par-four seventh. He had a slight limp as he approached the green at his penultimate hole before grimacing and reaching for his bac...
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Energy Department launched a program on Thursday to fund four large-scale projects across the country that can remove carbon dioxide from the air, investing $3.5 billion in a nascent technology the Biden administration says is necessary to meet a goal of achieving net zero emissions by mid century. The agency released a formal notice saying it would fund the $3.5 billion program created by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastucture Law that would create four regional direct air capture hubs to spur the widespread deployment of the technology and carbon dioxide transport and storage infrastructure.  The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last month that said the world will need “carbon dioxide removal” technologies - ranging from planting trees that soak up carbon to grow, to costly technologies to suck carbon dioxide directly from the air to meet global goals to curb climate change. “The UN'...
- Applied Materials forecast third-quarter revenue below expectations on Thursday, suggesting that supply bottlenecks, exacerbated by the lockdowns in China, would hamper its ability to meet demand for its chipmaking tools. Shares of the chip tools maker fell 5.1% to $105.10 in extended trading. A semiconductor and parts shortage for machines used to produce chips has been pressuring the broader chip supply chain that is already facing more demand than chipmakers are able to meet. "Demand for Applied Materials' products and services has never been stronger, yet we remain constrained by on-going supply chain issues," Chief Executive Officer Gary Dickerson said. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world's largest contract chipmaker, last month had warned that its tool suppliers were facing labour, component and chip constraints, which is extending delivery time for both older technology as well as advanced chip making...
By Daphne Psaledakis WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would provide some $40 billion in additional military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine following Russia's invasion as the Biden administration predicts a prolonged conflict. The war has reduced cities to rubble, forced millions from their homes and, according to the U.N. human rights body, killed an estimated 3,500 civilians. Russia has little to show for it beyond a strip of territory in southern Ukraine and marginal gains in the eastern part of the country. The United States has rushed $3.9 billion worth of armaments to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, including howitzers, anti-aircraft Stinger systems, anti-tank Javelin missiles, ammunition and armed drones. The following are some of the main elements in the funding package: HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE The legislation includes more than $4 billion in...
- Five foreign vice-presidents of Russia's Rosneft have resigned because of European Union sanctions forbidding European citizens or Russians living in the EU to work at the Kremlin oil major, six sources familiar with the matter said. They said the five - Didier Casimiro, Eric Liron, Zeljko Runje, Avril Conroy and Otabek Karimov - left Rosneft days ahead of fresh EU sanctions over the Russian assault on Ukraine that came into effect on May 15, the sources said. All five joined the state-owned Russian company in 2012 or early 2013, according to the Rosneft website. Rosneft declined to comment. Casimiro did not respond to a message. Liron, Runje, Conroy and Karimov could not be reached. Rosneft’s boss Igor Sechin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has long said he wants Rosneft to rival the likes of Exxon Mobil Corp by hiring foreign managers and using the best of western technology and expertise....
TUNIS - At least 4 migrants died and another 10 were missing after a boat sank off Tunisia on Thursday, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, a security official said. The coastguard rescued 44 migrants aboard the overcrowded boat which sank off the coast of Louza in Sfax governerate. (Reporting By Tarek Amara)...
By Nancy Lapid - The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Post-infection vaccination may reduce long COVID Vaccination after infection with SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to a reduction in the burden of long COVID symptoms, a new study suggests. Researchers tracked 6,729 volunteers ages 18 to 69, who got two shots of either AstraZeneca's viral vector vaccine or an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna after recovering from an infection with the coronavirus and who reported long COVID symptoms of any severity at least once between February and September 2021. The odds of reporting long COVID - symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks - fell by an average of 13% after a first vaccine dose, the researchers reported on Wednesday in The BMJ. The second dose, given 12 weeks after the fi...
- A panel of advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday voted to recommend that all children aged 5 to 11 should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose at least five months after completing the primary vaccination course. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)...