«Ми хочемо добрих відносин із Росією, але це залежить від її дій. Вона має припинити свої провокації» – президентка Єврокомісії
«Ми хочемо добрих відносин із Росією, але це залежить від її дій. Вона має припинити свої провокації» – президентка Єврокомісії
Surging coronavirus cases across the world are threatening health care systems in countries seeing a significant spread. The newest variant, omicron, led to thousands of flight cancelations ahead of the Christmas holiday. U.S. President Joe Biden last week announced plans to send one thousand service members to support U.S. hospital staff, and plans to stockpile masks and gowns. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi has more.
Для Франції – це вже третя доба, коли фіксуються рекордні показники кількості випадків коронавірусу
Постраждалий депутат звернувся по медичну допомогу
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would ponder various options if the West fails to meet Moscow’s demands for security guarantees, amid heightened tensions involving a massive deployment of Russian troops near Ukraine.
Moscow earlier this month submitted draft security documents demanding an end to NATO’s eastward expansion and military cooperation with countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, among other things.
Speaking at his annual news conference last week, Putin urged the West to meet the demands “immediately,” listing off a litany of grievances about Ukraine and NATO.
He warned that Moscow would have to take adequate measures if the West continues its “aggressive” course “on the threshold of our home.”
Asked to specify what Moscow’s response could be, he said in comments aired by Russian state TV on December 26 that “it could be diverse,” adding: “It will depend on what proposals our military experts submit to me.”
He did not elaborate.
U.S. officials have said publicly that they were willing to hold talks on the Russian demands. Privately, however, officials in Washington and elsewhere have said some of the demands are either unworkable, impossible, or fundamentally contrary to Western values.
The United States and its allies have agreed, however, to launch security talks with Moscow next month to discuss its concerns.
On December 25, a NATO official was quoted as saying Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had decided to convene a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on January 12 and that the alliance was in contact with Russia on the matter.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the proposal was still under consideration, with the format and timing needing clarification.
It would be the first meeting of the council in 2 1/2 years.
Kyiv and its Western backers accuse Russia of having massed around 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders in a possible prelude to an invasion. The United States and the European Union have threatened Moscow with harsh consequences in the event of a military escalation.
Russia has denied intending to launch an invasion.
Moscow illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and shortly after threw its support behind separatists battling Ukrainian government forces in the country’s east in a conflict that has claimed more than 13,200 lives since April 2014.
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on December 25 that more than 10,000 troops had finished monthlong drills near Ukraine, and that the soldiers involved were returning to their permanent bases.
The ministry said in a statement that the exercises for Southern Military District forces had taken place in a host of southern Russian regions such as Rostov and Krasnodar, and further afield, including in Stavropol, Astrakhan, and the North Caucasus.
Combat training sessions were also held in Russia’s ally Armenia, occupied Crimea, and the Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it said.
Information from AP, AFP and Current Time were used in this report.
U.S. airlines called off hundreds of flights for a third day in a row on Sunday as surging COVID-19 infections due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant grounded crews and forced tens of thousands of Christmas weekend travelers to change their plans.
Commercial airlines canceled 656 flights within, into or out of the United States on Sunday, slightly down from nearly 1,000 from Christmas Day and nearly 700 on Christmas Eve, according to a tally on flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.
Further cancellations were likely, and more than 920 flights were delayed.
The Christmas holidays are typically a peak time for air travel, but the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has led to a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, forcing airlines to cancel flights with pilots and crew needing to be quarantined.
Delta Air Lines Inc expected more than 300 of its flights to be canceled on Sunday.
“Winter weather in portions of the U.S. and the Omicron variant continued to impact Delta’s holiday weekend flight schedule,” a Delta spokesperson said in an emailed statement, adding that the company was working to “reroute and substitute aircraft and crews to get customers where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible.”
When that was not possible, it was coordinating with impacted customers on the next available flight, the spokesperson said.
Globally, FlightAware data showed that nearly 2,150 flights were called off on Sunday and another 5,798 were delayed, as of 9.40 a.m. EST (1440 GMT).
Omicron was first detected in November and now accounts for nearly three-quarters of U.S. cases and as many as 90% in some areas, such as the Eastern Seaboard. The average number of new U.S. coronavirus cases has risen 45% to 179,000 per day over the past week, according to a Reuters tally.
While recent research suggests Omicron produces milder illness and a lower rate of hospitalizations than previous variants of COVID-19, health officials have maintained a cautious note about the outlook.
Втрат серед військовослужбовців Об’єднаних сил внаслідок обстрілів немає, кажуть у штабі ООС
Причина виникнення пожежі наразі невідома
Від початку вакцинальної кампанії в Україні, за даними МОЗ, принаймні одну дозу вакцини отримали понад 14,5 мільйонів людей, дві дози – більше ніж 13,3 мільйона
2021 was a historic year for all-things space … from the success of private spaceflight companies to robots exploring Mars in a road trip for the ages. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi beams us through the Year in Space.
The results of the 2020 election did not just usher in a new era of governance in Washington, it also focused renewed attention on how Americans vote. From voter suppression to voter fraud, 2021 was a year when the democratic process was up for debate. VOA’s Congressional Correspondent Katherine Gypson has more on how American politics changed this year.
Produced by: Katherine Gypson
As 2021 nears its end, hopes that the coronavirus pandemic might be ending are rapidly fading – as the new omicron variant sweeps across the world. Henry Ridgwell looks back on a tumultuous year in Europe as populations and policymakers struggled to return to normality. Producer: Barry Unger
Parts of California are getting a White Christmas after all, with snowfall pounding mountains across the state.
Other areas of California, however, saw a wet and rainy Christmas as storms continue to drench the state, causing flash flooding and evacuations in some areas over the holiday period.
A 113-kilometer stretch of interstate highway over the top of the Sierra Nevada was closed Saturday when a storm that dropped nearly 60 centimeters of snow on some ski resorts around Lake Tahoe overnight got a second wind.
Interstate 80, which connects Reno, Nevada, to Sacramento, California, over the Sierra, was closed in both directions because of poor visibility from the Nevada-California state line to Colfax, California.
“The worst part of the storm is here, so expect long delays,” the California Highway Patrol in Truckee tweeted Saturday afternoon.
Friday night into Saturday, 50 centimeters of snow fell at Homewood on Tahoe’s west shore. About 30 centimeters was reported at Northstar near Truckee, California, and 25 centimeters at the Mount Rose ski resort on the southwest edge of Reno.
At Donner Pass in the Sierra, which is along the closed interstate, officials with the University of California, Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory speculated on Twitter if the recent snowfall would break the snowiest December record of 4.6 meters set in 1970.
There’s been at least 3 meters recorded so far this month, according to The Mercury News, with more expected in the next 72 hours.
The snowpack in the Sierra was at dangerously low levels after recent weeks of dry weather, but the state Department of Water Resources reported on Christmas Eve that the snowpack was between 114% and 137% of normal across the range with more snow expected.
The Los Angeles area is likely to see rain and mountain snow for the next week, according to the National Weather Service, with temperatures significantly below normal through the middle of the week.
The San Diego region should see scattered showers, with heavy snow in the San Bernardino and Riverside County mountains, with precipitation possibly going into Thursday.
The storms across the West, which could drop rain and snow over much of the region into next week and plunge the Pacific Northwest into a lengthy cold snap, an atmospheric river that delivered copious amounts of precipitation earlier this week.
The National Weather Service says the Seattle-Tacoma area is likely to see up to 7.6 centimeters of snow over the weekend. By early next week, the Seattle area will dip as low as -7.7 degrees Celsius, the lowest in several years. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will drop to -20 C by Wednesday, and Portland will drop to the low 20s and high teens.
Rain and snow records broke in Nevada and state officials in Oregon declared an emergency ahead of the freezing temperatures, snow and ice.
Recent forecasts show at least an inch of snow is likely to fall Sunday in the Seattle and Portland regions, which don’t typically see snow.
But forecasters and state officials say the main concern is cold temperatures in the region, with daytime highs next week struggling to reach above freezing, that are likely to affect people experiencing homelessness and those without adequate access to heating.
In Arizona, a winter weather advisory remained in effect Saturday through the weekend in the upper elevations of the mountains north of the Grand Canyon near the Colorado line. But the wet weather that dumped record-breaking rain on Phoenix and Flagstaff on Friday was moving out of the area.
The 4.2 centimeters of rain that fell at the airport in Flagstaff on Friday shattered the old record of 2.2 centimeters set in 2019. The 2.5 centimeters that was recorded in Phoenix on Friday broke the old record of 2.4 centimeters in 1944.
It also was the wettest day for the city since February 22, 2020, when just more than 2.5 centimeters fell.
Three members of the K-pop superstar group BTS have tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from abroad, their management agency said.
RM and Jin were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Saturday evening, the Big Hit Music agency said in a statement. It earlier said another member, Suga, tested positive for the virus on Friday.
All three received their second shots in August, the agency said.
BTS is a seven-member boy band. The four other members are J-Hope, Jungkook, V and Jimin.
According to the agency, RM has exhibited no particular symptoms, while Jin is showing mild symptoms including light fever and is undergoing self-treatment at home. The agency said Friday that Suga wasn’t exhibiting symptoms and was administering self-care at home in accordance with the guidelines of the health authorities.
RM had tested negative after returning from the United States earlier this month following his personal schedule there. But he was later diagnosed with the virus ahead of his scheduled release from self-quarantine, the agency said.
After returning to South Korea this month, Jin underwent PCR tests twice — upon arrival and later before his release from self-quarantine — and tested negative both times. But he had flulike symptoms on Saturday afternoon before he took another PCR test that came back positive, the agency said. Media reports said he also had traveled to the U.S.
Suga, who has had a number of personal engagements in the United States during the band’s official time off, was diagnosed with COVID-19 during quarantine after returning from the U.S., the agency said.
The agency said it will continue to provide support for the three members for their speedy recovery. It said it will cooperate with the requests and guidelines of the South Korean health authorities.
Since their debut in 2013, BTS has garnered global recognition for their self-produced music and activism, which includes giving a speech at the United Nations and publicly calling out anti-Asian racism.
BTS was named artist of the year and favorite pop duo or group, and also won the favorite pop song award for Butter at the American Music Awards in November. In October, the group’s collaboration with British rock band Coldplay, My Universe, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was BTS’ sixth Hot 100 No. 1.