Поїзд їде з Маріуполя до найбільш високогірного міста України
Поїзд їде з Маріуполя до найбільш високогірного міста України
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday unveiled a White House plan to build 500,000 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the country, part of President Joe Biden’s goal of making the vehicles more accessible for both local and long-distance trips.
Harris made the announcement during a ceremony at an EV charging facility in suburban Maryland outside the U.S. capital, Washington.
“There can be no doubt: The future of transportation in our nation and around the world, is electric,” Harris said, adding that the nation’s ability to manufacture, charge and repair electric vehicles will help determine the health of U.S. communities, the strength of the nation’s economy and the sustainability of the planet.
The EV Charging Plan takes $5 billion from the infrastructure law signed last month and allocates it to states to build a nationwide network of charging stations. The law also provides an additional $2.5 billion for local grants to support charging stations in rural areas and in disadvantaged communities.
In a statement, the White House also announced it will establish on Tuesday a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, leveraging the resources from each of the departments to implement the EV charging network and other electrification provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The White House says the goal of the plan is to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles for consumers and commercial fleets. They network as planned would reduce emissions and help meet the goal of net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
Biden has established another ambitious goal of having electric vehicles account for 50% of all vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030. Last year, industry experts said sales of fully electric vehicles accounted for about 2% of vehicles sold in the U.S.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.
Температура протягом вівторка від 2° тепла до 3° морозу, в Карпатах 2-7° морозу
Справу про 12 валіз кокаїну розглядали в Москві понад два роки
Russia has vetoed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that warns about the security implications of climate change, with its envoy calling it “unacceptable” for his government.
“We are against creating a new area for the council’s work which establishes a generic, automatic connection between climate change and international security, turning a scientific and socio-economic issue into a politicized question,” Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia said just before casting his veto.
Twelve Security Council members voted to adopt the resolution Monday, while China abstained and India voted no.
“The force of the veto can block the approval of a text, but it cannot hide our reality,” said Ambassador Abdou Abarry of Niger, who along with Ireland’s ambassador, penned the draft.
India’s envoy asked what a resolution could achieve that the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) could not.
“Why is it that one needs a U.N. Security Council resolution to take action on climate change, when we have commitments under the UNFCC toward concerted climate action?” Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti asked.
In a rare occurrence, the text was co-sponsored by 113 countries from the U.N. membership, showing the majority’s belief that the council should consider the link between global warming and security issues.
While the Security Council has considered climate change in some of its work, this would have been the first time it singled out the subject for a resolution of its own.
“This resolution is about enabling the U.N. Security Council to address climate change with the tools it has within its mandate,” Ireland’s envoy Geraldine Byrne Nason said before the vote. “The council has already taken steps to integrate climate-related security risks into some of its mandated operations.”
Among the sponsors were several small island states in the Pacific, who say global warming and rising seas could put their countries underwater, as well as nations in Africa’s Sahel — Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria — where climate events including recurring severe droughts have contributed to intercommunal fighting.
U.S. envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield said climate change is “a threat to every person, in every nation, on every continent” and clearly within the council’s purview.
“We categorically reject the notion that Security Council action undermines the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change,” she said. “In fact, it does exactly the opposite. The Security Council can and should complement, support, and reinforce our collective work under the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC in ways that are necessary to fight this security threat.”
China, India and Russia have drafted a resolution of their own focused on the situation in Africa’s Sahel, where climate has been linked to conflict. China’s envoy urged council members and the wider U.N. membership to support that text instead.
“China, Russia and India have jointly submitted a draft resolution focusing on security issues in the Sahel region, including climate change challenges,” Ambassador Zhang Jun told the council. “The aim of which is to effectively respond to the specific concerns of the countries in the Sahel region.”
No date has been announced for a vote on their text.
Speaking to reporters after the failed adoption, Irish Ambassador Byrne Nason said the Security Council must adjust to a changing world.
“This council will never live up to its mandate for international peace and security if it does not adapt,” she said. “It must reflect the moment we are now living in, the threats to international peace and security which we now face.”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been at the forefront of global efforts to mitigate the impact of global warming. His spokesman said the secretariat would continue to integrate climate risks into its political analysis, conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts.
An imprisoned Azerbaijani activist says he is now refusing to drink water as he enters his 38th day of a hunger strike to protest what he calls his wrongful imprisonment.
Initially detained on narcotic possession charges, Saleh Rustamov, a government critic and opposition activist, was later sentenced to seven years and three months of imprisonment on additional charges including money laundering and illegal entrepreneurship.
Numerous human rights organizations and international observers view the charges as politically motivated.
Rustamov previously warned authorities that he would continue his hunger strike until death. On Monday, his lawyer, Bahruz Bayramov, told VOA that Rustamov announced that he would start refusing water.
“He can no longer walk. He has no strength to walk,” Bayramov said. “He has lost 17 kilograms in weight. His speech is slurred, and he cannot sleep due to pain.”
On Friday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price urged the Azerbaijani government to release Rustamov on “humanitarian grounds,” saying U.S. officials are deeply troubled by reports of his worsening condition.
The rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Azerbaijan raised alarms about Rustamov’s condition as early as October.
“Mr. Rustamov’s case is one of many examples of the lack of independence of the justice illustrated by a long-standing pattern of repression of the government’s critics which is a major concern in Azerbaijan,” Austria’s Stefan Schennach and Britain’s Richard Bacon said in a statement calling upon the Azerbaijani authorities to review the cases of all alleged political prisoners.
Azerbaijani authorities have not responded to the international calls with regard with Rustamov’s case. The request by the European Court of Human Rights for Azerbaijani authorities to report on Rustamov’s state of health has gone unanswered.
The Penitentiary Services of Azerbaijan’s Justice Ministry issued a statement on December 9 calling the reports on social media regarding Rustamov’s health “untruthful,” although it did confirm that he was refusing food.
The statement noted the authorities have facilitated visits to the prisoner by the representatives of the International Red Cross, Ombudsman’s Office and civil rights activists.
In recent weeks, dozens of protesters took to the streets of capital city Baku to demand Rustamov’s release.
The protests were quickly dispersed as the police detained the activists, severely beating some of them.
Rustamov, who had served in the government during the 1992-93 rule of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan, had been living in Russia since 1997.
Rustamov was arrested in May of 2018 when he returned to Azerbaijan to attend the funeral of a relative.
The World Health Organization and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading cancer center in the United States, are planning to provide cancer medication free-of-charge to children in developing countries.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, killing about 10 million people a year. The World Health Organization estimates 400,000 children globally develop cancer every year, with nearly 100,000 dying.
The most common types of childhood cancers include leukemias, brain cancers, lymphomas, and solid tumors. WHO reports nearly nine in 10 children with cancer live in low-and-middle income countries.
Andre Ilbawi, who heads WHO’s cancer division in the department of noncommunicable diseases, said about 80 percent of children who have cancer in high-income countries survive — a major achievement and improvement over the past decades.
“But that progress has not been achieved for children who are living in low-and middle-income countries, where 30 percent or less will survive a cancer diagnosis,” he said. “One of the primary reasons is because of care that is simply not available or accessible, and medicines are a core part of the treatment of childhood cancer.”
WHO and St. Jude’s hospital have formed a partnership to change this situation, establishing a platform that will dramatically increase access to childhood cancer medicines around the world.
To kickstart this program, St. Jude is making a six-year investment by contributing $200 million. Ilbawi said the money initially will provide medicines at no cost to 12 countries that will take part in a two-year pilot program, with governments involved in the care of the children and in selecting the medicines that are needed.
“From there we will work with country partners to make sure those medicines are delivered safely and effectively to the children in need,” Ilbawi said. Over time, this will increase to 50 countries or more within six years. This means that almost every child around the world, particularly those in low-and middle-income countries, will benefit from this platform.”
The new platform aims to provide safe and effective cancer medicines to approximately 120,000 children between 2022 and 2027. The health partners say the program will be scaled up to include many more beneficiaries in future years.
As Europe starts vaccinating younger children, countries are pursuing very different strategies in what will be a major test of parents’ willingness to get their kids inoculated.
One region in Italy is sending in clowns and jugglers to clinics, France and Germany are targeting only the most vulnerable kids, while Denmark has been administering shots even before the specially-designed vials and syringes have arrived.
“Vaccination must be a game, a joyful moment when children can feel at ease,” said Alessio D’Amato, health chief of the central Lazio region, in a video as he declared Dec. 15 “Vax Day” for children in the region.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of Pfizer’s lower-dose vaccine on the 5-11 age group last month, following the go-ahead for older children in May.
The first deliveries of the smaller pediatric vials will not arrive until Monday though. Timings for the rollout vary, but most countries are preparing to start getting shots into young arms a day or two after the first shipments arrive.
Belgium may not start roll-out until early January while the national authorities prepare to issue guidance.
Spain, which ranks among the world’s most-highly immunized countries with 90% of people aged 12 or over fully vaccinated, will start inoculating younger children on Dec. 15.
Inoculating children and young people, who can unwittingly transmit COVID-19 to others at higher risk of serious illness, is considered a critical step towards taming the pandemic. In Germany and the Netherlands, kids now account for the majority of cases.
The roll-out comes as the European Union battles a major wave of infections, accounting for well over half of global infections and 50% of deaths globally.
Some 27 million 5-11 year olds are eligible for the vaccine in the bloc of about 450 million.
But a major hurdle will be winning over parents.
In the Netherlands, 42% of almost 1,800 parents with kids in the 5-12 age range said they would not get their children inoculated and 12% said they would probably decline, according to a poll by Dutch current affairs television program Een Vandaag. Only 30% said they would get their kids vaccinated.
A survey in Italy by polling firm Noto Sondaggi published on Dec. 5 found that almost two-thirds of those surveyed backed vaccinations, but the percentage dropped to 40% among parents with children aged 5-12 years old.
A lack of data on the effects on children was given as the main reason for the hesitancy, while a third thought that children would be less likely to get infected and 9% worried about long-term side-effects.
The U.S. roll-out has been sluggish since it started last month. Of the 28 million eligible U.S. children in that age group, around 5 million have received at least one dose.
Some parents have been concerned about reports of heart inflammation, a rare vaccine side effect seen in young men at higher rates than the rest of the population.
Last week, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had not found any reports of the condition among 5–11-year-old recipients of the vaccine.
No serious safety concerns related to the vaccine have been identified in clinical trials, Pfizer and BioNTech have said.
“The data show that it is safe, effective, and with results very similar to those for older children,” said Dr Luigi Greco, a pediatrician and Lombardy regional manager for training for the Italian family pediatricians’ union.
Still, some governments are limiting the rollout until there is more data available.
In France, only kids who are overweight or who have a serious health condition will be offered access to vaccination to start with.
Germany’s vaccination advisory commission STIKO said it could not make a general recommendation for the vaccine due to limited data available.
It recommended that children aged five to 11 with pre-existing conditions be given a shot.
Some health authorities aren’t even waiting for the specially-made kits to arrive, however, instead using vaccines in stock for adults but extracting only a third of the dose.
When the Austrian capital Vienna last month opened the first 9,200 slots for inoculating kids, all the appointments were booked within days.
Denmark followed suit on Nov. 28, saying there was no time to lose. After less than two weeks, more than 49,000 children aged 6 to 11 had received their first shot, around 13% of that age group.
The German state of Saxony, among the hardest hit by surging COVID-19 infections, started vaccinating at-risk children under 12 years of age.
On Friday, Franz Knoppe travelled more than 100 kilometers to the Leipzig Heart Centre in the state’s most populous city from Chemnitz with his two children, aged seven and 11, for a kids’ vaccination drive.
“We were so happy that vaccinations for children under the age of 12 are possible now,” he told Reuters at the hospital.
Mathilda, who did not provide her last name, was at the hospital with her six-year old daughter Erna.
“It’s important to vaccinate the children and to offer safety, just like for adults,” Mathilda said.
Regional authorities in Italy, meanwhile, are coming up with inventive ways to entertain and engage kids while they get jabbed and making it easy for parents to arrange a slot.
In Liguria, the authorities have created a cartoon superhero called Captain Vaccine who carries a doctor’s bag and dons a white coat with a big “V” printed on his chest. He stars in a comic to be distributed in vaccination centers.
Втрат серед військовослужбовців Об’єднаних сил немає
Українські представники в Лізі чемпіонів «Динамо» і «Шахтар» свої виступи в головному турнірі континенту припинили на груповій стадії
Через відсутність 100% вакцинації освітян у «червоній» зоні працювати дистанційно продовжують 56 шкіл
Britain has recorded its first death from the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the death Monday, the day after he warned during a nationally televised speech that Britain was facing a “tidal wave” of new infections from omicron.
Johnson announced his government was launching a campaign to get everyone in the country a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by New Year’s Eve, accelerating his previous deadline by a full month.
The prime minister said that more than 40 military planning teams will be deployed across the country to establish vaccination centers, and ordered primary doctors, known in Britain as general practitioners, or GPs, to postpone appointments for routine medical procedures to help meet the goal of vaccinating 1 million people a day.
The government raised the COVID-19 alert level Sunday before Johnson’s speech from level three to level four – its second-highest — warning that omicron is spreading much faster than the delta variant, which would overwhelm the National Health Service with new case. Recent studies suggest a third dose is more effective in preventing infections from omicron than the standard two-dose regimen.
Prime Minister Johnson’s accelerated vaccination campaign comes as he faces a revolt from members of his Conservative party over his government’s new restrictions, including mandatory mask wearing and requiring people to show proof they have been vaccinated before they can enter large venues.
Johnson is also under fire over revelations that his staff held parties at his official office and residence on 10 Downing Street last year despite a strict lockdown imposed on the public.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Jakarta on a 48-hour visit that includes talks with leaders about U.S.-Indonesia collaboration as well as a speech about the Biden administration’s wider policy aims for the region.
Blinken met Monday with Indonesian President Joko Widodo as the top U.S. diplomat made the first of three stops in southeast Asia this week.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken and Widodo discussed ways to boost the U.S.-Indonesia relationship, as well as “address challenges to democracy and human rights, as well as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The secretary congratulated the president on Indonesia’s G-20 presidency and expressed support for Indonesia’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific as the world’s third-largest democracy and a strong proponent of the rules-based international order,” Price said in a statement, adding that Blinken also “reiterated the U.S. commitment to ASEAN centrality.”
Blinken also plans to go to Malaysia and Thailand in the coming days, seeking to reinforce ties with allies and promote freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
China’s activities in the South China Sea have led to tensions. China vies with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam for sovereignty over parts of the resource-rich sea, which stretches from Hong Kong to Borneo.
Last month, China pledged to avoid dominance in the South China Sea, but experts said the pledge comes too late to convince smaller Southeast Asian claimants to the strategic waterway after years of Chinese expansion.
Blinken is scheduled to give an address Tuesday in Jakarta about the administration’s approach to the Indo-Pacific region.
Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are members of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
(State Department Bureau Chief Nike Ching and Ralph Jennings contributed to this report.)
Причиною, через яку міністри заявили про відставку, став авансовий платіж, який компанія «Білоруськалій» перерахувала «Литовській залізниці» за перевезення добрив у грудні та частково у січні, тобто вже після початку дії американських санкцій
За словами спікера, це потрібно на випадок, якщо «щось станеться із приміщенням унаслідок якоїсь умовної воєнної агресії на Грушевського, 5»
Judy Burton’s hands shivered as she gazed up at what had been her third-floor apartment. She could see her clothes still hanging in the closet, through the building’s shredded walls. Across the street, her church was boarded up. A few blocks away, the spire was ripped away from the town’s grand courthouse, its roof caved in. The restaurant where neighbors met for lunch, too, was lost in the rubble.
She clasped her hands together and tried to quiet their quivering. Burton and her dog had narrowly escaped as a tornado hit her town, part of an outbreak of twisters across the Midwest and South. Now, she stood among the grind of heavy machinery clearing the wreckage of landmarks, businesses and homes of Mayfield, population 10,000.
“It’s gone. It’s terrible, just terrible, I’m shaking,” she said. “It’s going to take me awhile to settle my nerves.”
Burton can’t imagine a single family here not mourning. Theirs is the sort of town where everyone is connected to everyone else. Mayfield was one of the worst-hit towns in the unusual mid-December spate of tornadoes, and Burton looked around at a disorienting jumble of boards and bricks and broken glass.
Hundreds of buildings have been reduced to nothing. Roofs are sheared off those that stand. Some streets are littered with snapped trees, clothes, chunks of insulation and blown-away Christmas decorations. The fire station is inoperable, most police cars destroyed.
At least eight people working at a Mayfield candle factory were killed, and eight more are missing. It’s still unclear how many others in Mayfield died. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear had feared more than 100 dead statewide, but on Sunday afternoon he scaled back that estimate to as low as 50, with many at the candle factory accounted for.
Burton worries for her neighbor and her little dog. They’re feared among the dead, as they were probably unable to escape as the walls collapsed around them.
Burton and others evacuated in the middle of the night. She harnessed her dog, grabbed a neighbor by the hand and herded them to the elevator toward the basement. About 15 people there cried, screamed and prayed for protection as the wind blew open locked doors.
Down the hall, Johnny Shreve had been watching the storm approach from his window. Lightning crashed, and in that split second of brightness, he realized that their town would not be the same come morning: He saw an office building across the street disintegrate. Then he dove onto his kitchen floor as chunks of concrete pelted his body.
“It felt like everything in the world came down on me,” he said.
He lay there for more than an hour, trying to dig himself out and shouting for his neighbors and his Shih Tzu, Buddy. Finally, Shreve broke through into the living room. There was Buddy, trying to scratch toward him from the other side.
He posted on Facebook that they were alive and added: “Y’all pray for Mayfield.”
“It blew my mind when the sun came up,” Shreve said, when he and others returned over the weekend to salvage what they could and traded stories of survival in the parking lot. “I don’t see how this town can recover. I hope we can, but we need a miracle.”
In the nearby town of Wingo, more than 100 people took shelter at a church — babies, people in their 80s and 90s, family pets. Everyone has a story, a reason they have nowhere else to go.
Meagan Ralph, a schoolteacher volunteering to coordinate the shelter, pulled up an aerial photo of Mayfield, her hometown, on her phone. She zoomed in, seeking a landmark to orient herself.
“I can’t recognize it, it’s not recognizable,” she said. “I can’t even identify what I’m looking at, it’s that bad.”
But she has found hope at the shelter. Donations have poured in. Volunteers from surrounding counties came in droves. People from Mayfield take care of each other, she said.
As the news spread of the horrors at the candle factory on the night of the storm, hundreds of ordinary people arrived at the factory to help, braving slippery rubble until authorities told them to go home, said Stephen Boyken, who’s a chaplain there. That spirit is part of the fabric of Mayfield, he said: “If you’re off in a ditch, there’s somebody going to stop by, probably three or four trucks try to get you out and help you.”
By the time the sun came up, they were lined up at churches and school gymnasiums to give piles of clothes and coats, food and water.
“We will recover, absolutely.” Ralph said. “We’re small but mighty.”
She looked around the shelter, and noted that the task before them is extraordinary, with hundreds of their neighbors now with nothing and nowhere to go.
Wanda Johnson, 90, ended up here after she was evacuated from the same apartment building where Burton escaped. Johnson’s windows burst, and she clung to her doorframe, pleading: “Dear God, help me, please help me get out of here.”
At the shelter with her son and granddaughter, she wonders what will become of them now.
“They tell me we don’t have a town,” Johnson said. “Everything’s gone. It’s just wiped away. It just flipped over our city.
“We don’t know where we’re going to go — we don’t know what’s left to go to.”
The Western U.S. is bracing for the brunt of a major winter storm expected to hit Monday, bringing travel headaches, the threat of localized flooding and some relief in an abnormally warm fall.
Light rain and snow fell in Northern California on Sunday, giving residents a taste of what’s to come. The multi-day storm could drop more than 8 feet (2.4 meters) of snow on the highest peaks and drench other parts of California as it pushes south and east before moving out midweek.
“This is a pretty widespread event,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Wanless in Sacramento. “Most of California, if not all, will see some sort of rain and snow.”
The precipitation will bring at least temporary relief to the broader region that’s been gripped by drought caused by climate change. The latest U.S. drought monitor shows parts of Montana, Oregon, California, Nevada and Utah in exceptional drought, which is the worst category.
Most reservoirs that deliver water to states, cities, tribes, farmers and utilities rely on melted snow in the springtime.
The storm this week is typical for this time of the year but notable because it’s the first big snow that is expected to significantly affect travel with ice and snow on the roads, strong wind and limited visibility, Wanless said. Drivers on some mountainous passes on Sunday had to wrap their tires in chains.
Officials urged people to delay travel and stay indoors. Rain could cause minor flooding and rockslides, especially in areas that have been scarred by wildfires, according to the forecast. The San Bernardino County sheriff’s department issued evacuation warnings for several areas, citing the potential for flooding. Los Angeles County fire officials urged residents to be aware of the potential for mud flows.
Forecasters also said strong winds accompanying the storm could lead to power outages. Karly Hernandez, a spokesperson for Pacific Gas & Electric, said the utility that covers much of California didn’t have any major outages on Sunday. Crews and equipment are staged across the state to respond quickly if the power goes out, Hernandez said.
Rain fell intermittently across California on Sunday. Andy Naja-Riese, chief executive of the Agricultural Institute of Marin, said farmers markets carried on as usual in San Rafael and San Francisco amid light wind.
The markets are especially busy this time of year with farmers making jellies, jams and sauces for the holidays, he said. And, he said, rain always is needed in a parched state.
“In many ways, it really is a blessing,” Naja-Riese said.
Lichen Crommett, manager of the San Lorenzo Garden Center in Santa Cruz, California, said customers weren’t deterred by a light sprinkling of rain Sunday morning.
“It’s not like raincoat worthy just yet, but any second it could change,” she said.
A second storm predicted to hit California midweek could deliver almost continuous snow, said Edan Weishahn of the weather service in Reno, which monitors an area straddling the Nevada state line. Donner Summit, one of the highest points on Interstate 80 and a major commerce commuter route, could have major travel disruptions or road closures, Weishahn said.
The weather follows a calm November that was unseasonably warm.
“With this storm coming in, it’s going to be a wakeup call to a lot of folks,” Weishahn said.
Vail Resorts’ three Tahoe-area ski resorts opened with limited offerings over the weekend after crews worked to produce artificial snow. Spokeswoman Sara Roston said the resorts are looking forward to more of the real thing.
“We will assess once the storm comes in, but we do expect to open additional terrain following,” she wrote in an email.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Avalanche Center warned heavy snow and strong winds on top of a weak snowpack could cause large and destructive avalanches. One man died Saturday at a ski resort in the Pacific Northwest when he was caught in an avalanche that temporarily buried five others.
«Показники дають нам змогу вивести з «червоного» рівня епідемічної небезпеки ще дві області: Вінницьку і Хмельницьку»
Rescuers were pulling out bodies on Monday from the rubble of houses destroyed by a suspected gas explosion on Saturday in the Sicilian town of Ravanusa, with the national fire service confirming at least seven people had died in the incident.
Sniffer dogs found four bodies in the early hours of the morning, including a nurse that was nine-months pregnant, and firefighters and men from the Civil Protection Department were extracting them from the wreckage, according to a Reuters Witness.
Three bodies were found in the night between Saturday and Sunday and two people are still missing, a spokesman for the national fire service said on RAI NEW24 television.
In the explosion late on Saturday, four houses collapsed and another three were damaged, authorities said, adding the blast was likely triggered by a gas leak from the town’s pipes, although an investigation was underway to ascertain the cause.
Ravanusa is a town of about 11,000 people near the southwestern Sicilian city of Agrigento, which is famous for its Greek temples.
When Katie Posten walked outside Saturday morning to her car parked in her driveway, she saw something that looked like a note or receipt stuck to the windshield.
She grabbed it and saw it was a black and white photo of a woman in a striped sundress and headscarf holding a little boy in her lap. On the back, written in cursive, it said, “Gertie Swatzell & J.D. Swatzell 1942.” A few hours later, Posten would discover that the photo had made quite a journey – almost 209 kilometers on the back of monstrous winds.
Posten had been tracking the tornadoes that hit the middle of the U.S. Friday night, killing dozens of people. They came close to where she lives in New Albany, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. So, she figured it must be debris from someone’s damaged home.
“Seeing the date, I realized that was likely from a home hit by a tornado. How else is it going to be there?” Posten said in a phone interview Sunday morning. “It’s not a receipt. It’s a well-kept photo.”
So, doing what any 21st century person would do, she posted an image of the photo on Facebook and Twitter and asked for help in finding its owners. She said she was hoping someone on social media would have a connection to the photo or share it with someone who had a connection.
Sure enough, that’s what happened.
“A lot of people shared it on Facebook. Someone came across it who is friends with a man with the same last name, and they tagged him,” said Posten, 30, who works for a tech company.
That man was Cole Swatzell, who commented that the photo belonged to family members in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, almost 209 kilometers away from New Albany, as the crow flies, and 269 kilometers away by car. Swatzell on Sunday didn’t respond to a Facebook message seeking comment.
In Dawson Springs — a town of about 2,700 people 97 kilometers east of Paducah — homes were leveled, trees were splintered and search and rescue teams continued to scour the community for any survivors. Dozens of people across five states were killed.
The fact that the photo traveled almost 209 kilometers is “unusual but not that unusual,” said John Snow, a meteorology professor at the University of Oklahoma.
In one documented case from the 1920s, paper debris traveled 370 kilometers from the Missouri Bootheel into southern Illinois. The paper debris rides winds, sometimes reaching heights of nine- to 12 kilometers above the ground, he said.
“It gets swirled up,” Snow said. “The storm dissipates and then everything flutters down to the ground.”
Posten plans to return the photo to the Swatzell family sometime this week.
“It’s really remarkable, definitely one of those things, given all that has happened, that makes you consider how valuable things are — memories, family heirlooms, and those kinds of things,” Posten said. “It shows you the power of social media for good. It was encouraging that immediately there were tons of replies from people, looking up ancestry records, and saying, ‘I know someone who knows someone and I’d like to help.'”