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МЗС: ІТ-індустрія та аерокосмічна галузь будуть у «серці» візиту Зеленського до Каліфорнії

Президент України Володимир Зеленський наприкінці місяця вирушає з візитом до США, де 31 серпня запланована його зустріч з американським президентом Джо Байденом

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Почалося мовлення з телевежі поблизу Попасної – Луганська ОДА

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У ніч на 25 серпня роботу метрополітену у Києві буде продовжено на 2 години

24 серпня перед початком концерту на НСК «Олімпійський» можливе обмеження (закриття) на вхід станції «Олімпійська»

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Штаб ООС про день на Донбасі – загинув військовий ЗСУ, бойовики тричі відкривали вогонь

За даними військових, обстріли зафіксовані поблизу Луганського та Мар’їнки

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Головне з пресконференції Зеленського і Меркель (відео)

У Маріїнському палаці в Києві 22 серпня відбулася пресконференція президента Володимира Зеленського і канцлерки Німеччини Анґели Меркель, яка перебуває в Україні з візитом.

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For France’s Sahel Mission, Echoes of Afghanistan  

 The chaotic aftermath of Washington’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is being followed with a mix of trepidation and glee thousands of kilometers away — in Africa’s Sahel, where another foreign power, France, also vows to wind down its long-running counterinsurgency operation, at least in its present form.  As the United States continued to evacuate thousands of citizens and allies at Kabul’s airport this week, dozens of civilians and soldiers were killed in several Islamist attacks across a vast and dangerous three-border region that straddles Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. It was just another marker in a protracted fight that has killed thousands, displaced 2 million and — like Afghanistan — is considered by some as unwinnable.  FILE – French President Emmanuel Macron pays his respect in front of the flag-draped coffins of the thirteen French soldiers killed in Mali, during a ceremony at the Hotel National des Invalides in Paris, Dec. 2, 2019.If there many stark differences between America’s war in Afghanistan and France’s in the Sahel — from their size and nature to their Islamist targets — there are also haunting similarities, analysts say.  Both involve yearslong foreign involvement in countries with weak and  unstable governments.  Both operations have struggled against troop fatigue, casualties, and dwindling support at home. Both are against Islamist groups which, many say, are patiently confident they will outlast their enemy.  “If there’s any lesson to draw, it’s that indefinite military solutions aren’t sustainable,” said Bakary Sambe,  Senegal-based director of the Timbuktu Institute think tank. “Sooner or later, there’s got to be an exit,” he said.  Staying put  Unlike the U.S., France for now has no intention of withdrawing from the Sahel, a vast area below the Sahara. It will, however, soon begin decreasing its 5,100-troop Barkhane operation, the linchpin of a regional counterterrorist fight spanning five West and Central African countries.  FILE – French President Macron reacts during a joint press conference with Niger’s president in Paris, on July 9, 2021, following a video summit with leaders of G5 Sahel countries.Nor was the Sahel mentioned in French President Emmanuel Macron’s first major response to the Taliban’s swift victory. Rather, he warned against resurgent terrorism in Afghanistan and illegal migration to Europe.  Yet it may be hard to compartmentalize.   “I think the French cannot afford not to look at what’s going on in Afghanistan when preparing for the very gradual drawdown” of Barkhane forces, said University of Kent conflict expert Yvan Guichaoua.  Images of mayhem and anguish at Kabul’s airport and elsewhere “is something that certainly shocked French officials,” he said, “and maybe made them think about the circumstances in which they are going to leave.”  FILE – Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 19, 2021.Others are not so sure.  “I don’t think [the French] are drawing this kind of direct parallel,” between Afghanistan and the Sahel, said Jean-Herve Jezequel, Sahel Project director for the International Crisis Group policy group.“Maybe this is a mistake. But the French are downsizing, they’re not withdrawing. They’re still the biggest military force in the region,” he said. 
 Different — but also echoes of Afghanistan Macron announced in July France’s Barkhane operation would formally end early next year, with troops shrinking to up to half their current numbers and shifted to other anti-terrorist missions — notably forming backbone of the European Union’s fledgling Takuba force, currently aimed at helping Mali fight terrorism in the Sahel region. FILE – The France-led special operations logo for the new Barkhane Task Force Takuba, a multinational military mission in sub-Saharan Africa’s troubled Sahel region, is seen Nov. 3, 2020.Yet France’s revamped mission with its narrowed goals — counterterrorism and beefing up local forces rather than securing large tracts of territory — comes after mounting casualties, fading support at home, a spreading insurgency and growing anti-French sentiment in some Sahel nations.  Born in 2013, France’s military intervention in that region is half as old as the U.S. war in Afghanistan was, with a fraction of its scope and troop losses. Originally aimed to fight jihadist groups in Mali, it later expanded to four other vulnerable former colonies — Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania — that together now form a regional G5 Sahel counterinsurgency operation. Meanwhile, the jihadists are moving south, into parts of sub-Saharan Africa.   
While Paris pushes for greater governance and democracy — in June, Macron briefly suspended operations in Mali after its second coup in a year — the nation-building efforts seen in Afghanistan are not likely, Crisis Watch’s Jezequel said.  “It’s a failure,” he added. “But it’s a failure of the Sahel states.”  Today, some of those states, especially Mali, are watching Afghanistan’s swift unraveling with alarm, experts say, even as extremists celebrate.  The Sahel’s myriad jihadi groups lack the deep roots and experience of the Taliban, which held power in the 1990s. Yet, especially Western recognition of Afghanistan’s new rulers “will comfort the idea that the Islamist alternative is possible,” Sambe said. “It will galvanize radical Islamist groups—and that’s the fear,” he said. The European Union’s executive arm said Saturday it does not recognize the Taliban.  Moving forward For France, moving forward in the Sahel means focusing southward, where the insurgency has spread, and beefing up the Takuba Task Force. Nearly a dozen European countries, including Estonia, Italy, Denmark and non-EU-member Norway have joined or promised to take part in the military mission. But many others remain on the sidelines, including Germany. “The fear of many European countries is to commit troops and then be confronted with a fiasco or death of soldiers,” Guichaoua said.  However, he and others add, French persuasion, from raising fears of conflict-driven migration to Europe, to offering military support in other areas, appears to be working.  Not under French consideration, though, is any dialogue with extremists — an effort controversially tried with the Taliban that is earning support among some Sahel authorities, at least when it comes to homegrown groups.  “The French have considered this a red line,” Guichaoua said. “Because that would mean somewhat that French soldiers died for nothing. But it is on the agenda for Malian authorities.”  Local-level negotiations with jihadi groups have long taken place, he said — to gain access to markets, for example, or get hostages released — but not high-level ones, “and the main reason is France.” For their part, the Sahel’s extremists appear willing to wait, as the Taliban did in Afghanistan. Both, Guichaoua said, are convinced foreign powers will eventually leave, so time is on their side. 

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US Vice President Harris Arrives in Singapore

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Singapore on Sunday, the start of a two-nation trip to Southeast Asia.Harris begins her public duties on Monday, speaking with Singapore President Halimah Yacob and holding a bilateral meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, according to The Associated Press.During the first leg of her trip to regional financial center Singapore, Harris will also make a stop at the Changi Naval Base, where she will speak to U.S. sailors aboard the visiting USS Tulsa.Late Tuesday, Harris arrives in Vietnam, becoming the first U.S. vice president to visit Hanoi, as Washington seeks to bolster international support to counter China’s growing global influence.She will speak with both Singaporean and Vietnamese officials about security, climate change, the pandemic and “joint efforts to promote a rules-based international order,” spokesperson Symone Sanders said. Her visit would follow Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s late July trip to the same two countries plus the Philippines and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s virtual meetings August 4 with counterparts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations at an annual summit.US Seen Bolstering Military Links in Southeast Asia to Counter China US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Hanoi and Manila this week to advocate ‘integrated deterrence’ among Southeast Asian statesThe trip appears a continuation of the Biden administration’s efforts to compete with China for influence in a crucial yet wary region of 660 million people, experts say.Southeast Asian nations have long valued the U.S. role in their “security,” according to a Foreign Policy Research Institute research organization analysis released in June.Washington periodically sends warships, sells arms and helps train troops.The 10-member Southeast Asian bloc, however, opposes overtly siding with any outside power, though, the analysis says. 

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UK Military: 7 People Killed in Chaos at Kabul Airport 

Seven people were killed near Kabul’s airport Saturday as thousands gathered in a desperate effort to leave the country as the Taliban take control, the British Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.The Taliban, after a 10-day offensive, entered the Afghanistan capital just a week ago, on August 15. Since then, the airport has been a chaotic site as thousands of people have tried to flee the country, fearing a return to the harsh interpretation of Islamic law practiced when the Taliban controlled the country 20 years ago.  “Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible,” the British Defense Ministry said in a statement.FILE – Hundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at the perimeter of the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021.Temperatures on Saturday in Kabul reached 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit). The Associated Press reported that it wasn’t immediately clear whether those killed had been physically crushed, suffocated or suffered a fatal heart attack in the crowds.   A Sky News correspondent who was at the Kabul airport, however, said tens of thousands of Afghans turned up on Saturday with those at the front crushed against the barricades, Reuters reported. Also Saturday, U.S. citizens in Afghanistan who want to leave the country have been advised not to go to Kabul’s airport unless they have received “individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so.”  FILE – Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy leader and negotiator, and other delegation members attend the Afghan peace conference in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2021. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via Reuters)Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban, returned to Afghanistan this week from Qatar, where he headed the group’s political office and oversaw peace negotiations with the Trump administration that culminated in the February 2020 deal that paved the way for U.S.-led allied troops to withdraw from nearly 20 years of war in Afghanistan. Biden delayed the May 1 withdrawal date that he inherited to August 31. But last week, Biden said during a national address from the White House that the U.S. may extend that deadline to evacuate Americans.   Abdullah Abdullah, coalition partner of the self-exiled President Ashraf Ghani, and former President Hamid Karzai have held repeated meetings with Taliban leaders over the past few days.     After a meeting Saturday, Abdullah said via Twitter that he and Karzai welcomed Taliban leaders at his residence.     “We exchanged views on the current security & political developments, & an inclusive political settlement for the future of the country,” Abdullah wrote.    Meanwhile, thousands of Afghans continued to swamp the Kabul airport in hopes of finding place on one of the flights the U.S. military and other countries are operating to evacuate foreign personnel and Afghans who served international forces in different capacities.    The White House said Saturday that in the last 24 hours, six U.S. military C-17s and 32 charter flights had departed the Afghan capital, evacuating about 3,800 passengers.    “Since the end of July, we have relocated approximately 22,000 people. Since August 14th, we have evacuated approximately 17,000 people,” it said.     Some information in this article came from The Associated Press, AFP and Reuters.

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Кличко каже, що його не пустили в аеропорт зустрічати Меркель

Мер виклав відео, на якому співробітник охорони каже, що Кличка не можуть пропустити, оскільки його немає у списку

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Greece: Forest Fire Destroys Jobs of Pine Resin Collectors

For generations, residents in the north of the Greek island of Evia have made their living from the dense pine forests surrounding their villages. Tapping the ubiquitous Aleppo pines for their resin, the viscous, sticky substance the trees use to protect themselves from insects and disease, provided a key source of income for hundreds of families. But now, hardly any forest is left. A devastating wildfire, one of Greece’s most destructive single blazes in decades, rampaged across northern Evia for days earlier this month, swallowing woodland, homes and businesses and sending thousands fleeing.  The damage won’t just affect this year’s crop, resin collectors and beekeepers say, but for generations to come. “It’s all over. Everything has turned to ash,” said Christos Livas, a 48-year-old resin collector and father of four.  Resin has been used by humans since antiquity and is found today in a dizzyingly broad array of products, from paint and solvents to pharmaceuticals, plastics and cosmetics. The north of Evia, Greece’s second-largest island, accounted for around 80% of the pine resin produced in Greece, and about 70% of the pine honey, locals say.  Satellite imagery shows the wildfire destroyed most of the island’s north. The devastation is breathtaking. Tens of thousands of hectares of forests and farmland were reduced to a dystopian landscape of skeletal, blackened trees silhouetted against a smoke-filled sky. For trees to grow back to the point where resin can be extracted will take more than two decades, and probably twice as long for the production of pine honey. “In 10 years, the forest will become green again,” Livas said. “But for tapping, it will take 20, 25 years. For me, it’s all over. Even for a 30-year-old – what’s he going to do, find a job and then come back when he’s 50, 60 to tap pines? His legs won’t even hold him.” Livas walked through the still smoldering remnants of the forest on the outskirts of his mountain village of Agdines, puffs of white and grey ash rising from beneath his boots as he surveyed the damage. “This one, I remember since I was a young boy, from 15 years old,” he said, pointing to a blackened pine, the strip of peeled bark where resin had been extracted still visible. “This must have been tapped for 32, 33 years.”  Most of his livelihood has literally gone up in smoke, lost in a horrifying roar as the giant wildfire raced toward the village.  “You could hear a rumble. … It was like an earthquake,” Livas said. The flames moved fast, leaving no time to collect the thousands of plastic bags pinned to the trees to gather the precious resin. Instead, local residents turned their attention to the village, ignoring an evacuation order and staying to save their homes.  They managed. But they couldn’t save the forest. And the villagers’ anger — at the government for not sending more firefighters sooner, for ordering evacuations when they say locals could have helped fight the flames — is palpable. Livas had been extracting resin from about 3,000 trees, producing about 9-10 tons per year at 27 euro cents (32 cents) per kilogram. Of all the trees he was tapping, just one survived. He supplemented his income by farming olive trees, raising animals and occasionally logging. But there are no trees to log now, and most of the olive trees are gone, too.  “I have nowhere left. Everywhere I’ve been, everything is burnt,” he said.  With four young children to support, the eldest just 13, Livas said he’d look for new kinds of work. But with only a primary school education and unable to read or write, he seemed overwhelmed by the thought. The forest, farming, and collecting resin, which he’s been doing since he was 15, are all he’s ever known. “What will I do now?” he said, stumbling for words. “I’ll look for a job. What will I do? Do I know what to do now?” Others were even worse off, he said. Some had several family members collecting resin, gathering around 30-40 tons a year. There were entire villages in northern Evia working almost exclusively in resin collection.  Fellow villager Antonis Natsios felt the same. He started collecting resin at the age of 12, learning the technique from his father, who had learned it from his father before him.  Now 51 and with three children, two of them in college, Natsios is unsure how he’ll make ends meet. Some of his fig trees were singed but would probably survive and produce a new crop, he said, and about 20% of his olive trees remained. But of the pine trees, his main source of income, “zero. Not even a branch.” He sees few options. “Either the state, or God, if he helps. Or migration,” Natsios said. The government has vowed to compensate all those affected by the fire. But nothing can make up for the loss of the source of their livelihoods for decades to come, the residents of north Evia say.  “We’ve lost everything for the next 30-40 years,” said beekeeper Makis Balalas, 44, who relied on Evia’s forests for pine honey each year. The forest’s destruction, he said, was far worse than the loss of any beehives. “I can create new beehives,” he said. “But this that has been lost, you can’t create that again.” For Natsios, it’s the loss of the forest he grew up in that pains him the most. “It’s not the future, it’s what we see. When you’ve been living something for 50 years and now you see this thing, this charcoal…” he trails off. “Now I, who was born in this forest, I have to breathe this blackness.” 

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У Москві пройшли пікети журналістів за свободу ЗМІ, поліція їх затримувала

Як повідомляє російська служба Радіо Свобода, поліція загалом затримувала шістьох осіб

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В Україні понад 3,1 мільйона людей повністю вакциновані від COVID-19 – МОЗ

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US East Coast Likely to See Flooding, Storm Surge With Hurricane Henri

As Hurricane Henri heads toward New York’s Long Island and southern New England with maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour, the National Hurricane Center said early Sunday the region could expect to experience weather conditions that include “dangerous storm surge” and “flooding rainfall.”  Sunday morning, Henri was located 215 kilometers south southeast of Montauk Point, New York, and 280 kilometers south of Providence, Rhode Island. Despite Henri being hundreds of kilometers away Saturday night, it still managed to ruin New York City’s “Homecoming Concert” in Central Park meant to “really tell people New York City was back, to tell the whole world,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. Barry Manilow was cut off midsong as concertgoers were told to calmly but quickly exit the park. Also among the performers were Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Jennifer Hudson, Carlos Santana, LL Cool J and Andrea Bocelli. Evacuation orders for New York’s Fire Island and some Connecticut coastal communities were issued Saturday.     Hurricane warnings stretched about 400 kilometers from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to New York’s Fire Island, but high winds and dangerous tidal surges were expected from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to the Jersey shore, a distance of 500 kilometers. Power outages could last a week or more, utilities warned. Several popular summer vacation destinations are in Henri’s path, including Long Island, as well as Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.   Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee both told their states’ residents to stay home through Monday morning. “We consider this a serious matter,” McKee said at a news conference. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker expressed relief Saturday that his state would not take a direct hit but joined Lamont and McKee is warning that the wind and rain could lead to serious damage and lengthy power outages. Hurricane, storm and storm surge watches and warnings have been declared for many locations along the East Coast of the U.S. A storm surge of 1 meter to 1.5 meters is possible from New York City to Massachusetts, the hurricane center said. Henri is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 8 to 15 centimeters over Long Island, New England, southeast New York and northern New Jersey Sunday into Monday, with isolated maximum totals near 25 centimeters. 

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Afghan Refugees in Eastern Turkey Hope for Better Future

Thousands of Afghans, hoping for a better future, are trying to escape the country as the Taliban seize control. VOA’s Arif Aslan visited with 30 Afghan refugees whose long, perilous trek had taken them to eastern Turkey. This report is narrated by Bezhan Hamdard.Producer and camera: Arif Aslan.

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White House: US Has Evacuated 17,000 From Kabul in Past Week

The U.S. military evacuated about 3,800 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in the past 24 hours, the White House announced Saturday, and 17,000 since August 14, the Saturday before the Taliban entered Kabul. The White House said a total of about 22,000 people had been evacuated since the end of July. Among the 17,000 evacuated over the past week were 2,500 Americans, Army Major General William Taylor said Saturday at a Pentagon media briefing.Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the briefing he did not have a “perfect figure” indicating how many Americans remain in Kabul and in other parts of Afghanistan.State Department spokesman Ned Price said Friday the total number depends on certain factors. He said the State Department is working to contact all U.S. citizens who have reached out to the department as well as at-risk Afghans seeking U.S. assistance.Biden Vows to Bring Americans Home From AfghanistanUS forces have evacuated 18,000 people since end of JulyNoting that the United States has “a tremendous airlift capacity,” he said, “We are going to do as much as we can for as long as we can for as many people as we can.”U.S. President Joe Biden reiterated a vow Friday to stay in Afghanistan until all American citizens who want to leave and Afghans who risked their lives working for the U.S. government during the conflict have been evacuated.  “Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home. Make no mistake, this is dangerous. It involves risks to our armed forces and is being conducted under difficult circumstances,” Biden said alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the White House.  Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
U.S. Air Force Airmen prepare cots at a hangar to provide temporary lodging for qualified evacuees from Afghanistan as part of Operation Allies Refuge, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, August 19, 2021.The president has faced criticism from U.S. lawmakers that his administration did not act quickly enough to relocate Americans and at-risk Afghans as the Taliban made sweeping advances across the country.General Taylor told reporters Friday that there are about 5,800 U.S. troops at the airport in Kabul to help the evacuation efforts.He said evacuations stopped Friday for more than six hours because of a backup at a refugee transit point at a U.S. airbase in Qatar. Taylor said that the flights resumed later in the day and that, in general, evacuation flights are steadily increasing.On Saturday, the White House said evacuees had been flown out on 6 flights using C-17 aircraft and 32 flights on charter planes. Despite the chaos and occasional violence outside the airport, the president has stressed that the U.S. military is in control at the airport and evacuating thousands, with the goal of getting everyone who needs to be evacuated, both American and Afghan, out by August 31. Concern is growing over reports that Afghans and American citizens are having trouble getting to the airport because of Taliban checkpoints. The U.S. is continuing to communicate with local Taliban commanders to move people through the checkpoints.The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a new security warning Saturday advising Americans not to go to the airport without “individual instructions from a U.S. government representative,” noting possible security threats posed by the Islamic State outside the airport gates.U.S. officials who spoke anonymously declined to provide details about the IS threats but said they are significant.Patsy Widakuswara and Steve Herman contributed to this report.