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Posted by Ukrap on

Гуманітарними коридорами 9 квітня вдалося евакуювати понад 4,5 тисячі людей – ОП

Зокрема, із підконтрольних українській владі міст Луганщини (Лисичанськ, Рубіжне, Попасна, Сіверськодонецьк, Кремінна) вдалося вивезти 578 людей

Posted by Ukrap on

Україна запровадила повне торговельне ембарго проти Росії

Також на засіданні у суботу уряд денонсував договір між Україною та Білоруссю про співробітництво в галузі науки і технологій

Posted by Worldkrap on

Florida Groups Canvass Spring Breakers to Warn of Fentanyl

In the days after a group of West Point cadets on spring break were sickened by fentanyl-laced cocaine at a South Florida house party, community activists sprang into action.

They blitzed beaches, warned spring breakers of a surge in recreational drugs cut with the dangerous synthetic opioid and offered an antidote for overdoses, which have risen nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Street teams stood under the blistering sun, handing out beads, pamphlets and samples of naloxone, a drug known by the brand name Narcan, which can revive overdose victims.

“We weren’t sure how people would react,” said Thomas Smith, director of behavioral health services for The Special Purpose Outreach Team, a local mobile medical program. “But the spring breakers have been great. Some say, ‘I don’t do drugs, but my buddy sometimes does something stupid.’ They are happy to get Narcan.”

Smith’s team pulls up to Fort Lauderdale beach in a brightly colored mobile clinic van. They walk the sidewalks that run parallel to the beach, across the main drag from the bustling oceanfront clubs and restaurants.

“Have you heard of Narcan?” Huston Ochoa, a clinical counselor for The SPOT, asked Tristan Gentles on a recent afternoon as music blared from the Elbo Room, a bar at the heart of Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Gentles, who worked as a bartender and bouncer in New York City before moving to Fort Lauderdale, said he appreciates their efforts.

“There’s only so much you can do when you see someone on the floor,” he said, adding that he had witnessed numerous overdoses during his days in New York.

Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, which can be 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin or prescription opioids, are what make the overdoes so dangerous, said David Scharf, who oversees community programs for the Broward Sheriff’s Office and is the chairman of the county’s Opioid Community Response Team.

Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that for the first time more than 100,000 Americans had died of drug overdoses over a 12-month period. About two-thirds of the deaths were linked to fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. Stress from the coronavirus pandemic and the use of fentanyl are considered factors in the increase in deaths, according to preliminary reports by the CDC.

Broward County led the state in fentanyl deaths in 2020, the latest year for which statistics are available from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. In the vast majority of the deaths, fentanyl was combined with another drug, the sheriff’s office said.

“One snort, one swallow, one shot can kill,” said Jim Hall, a retired epidemiologist from Nova Southeastern University, who has worked with the county’s opioid response team. “It is not just in Florida but anywhere in North America.”

For the first three months of 2022, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue responded to 373 calls involving a possible overdose, where Narcan was administered, Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said. That’s an average of more than four per day.

The reaction in Broward was swift after the five U.S. Military Academy cadets overdosed in Wilton Manors on March 10, just as thousands of college students were heading to Fort Lauderdale for spring break.

The following Monday, more than 100 people representing agencies from law enforcement to social service organizations and hospitals met via Zoom to devise a plan to keep spring breakers safe.

Groups such as The SPOT and the South Florida Wellness Network, which partner with the United Way of Broward County, agreed to hit the beaches to talk with people about the dangers associated with fentanyl-laced drugs. They also talked to restaurant and bar owners who could distribute Narcan if “someone went down,” Scharf said.

The groups have so far distributed more than 2,000 doses of Narcan supplied by state grants. The SPOT volunteers handed out packages with two doses of the nasal spray plus instructions.

“It was kind of a blitz operation to get out there as quickly as possible, and to get as much information and Narcan out on the streets,” Scharf said.

The volunteer groups and sheriff’s office don’t have figures on how many of the distributed doses were actually used but believe the program has succeeded in raising awareness.

The region isn’t yet out of the spring break period, which runs until mid-April, but Scharf said organizers have been heartened to see a couple of weekends pass without any overdoses that resulted in emergency calls.

Posted by Worldkrap on

Iran Imposes Sanctions on 24 Americans as Nuclear Talks Stall

Iran said Saturday it had imposed sanctions on 24 more Americans, including former Army Chief of Staff George Casey and former President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, as months of talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have stalled.

Almost all the people named were officials who served during Trump’s administration, which imposed sanctions on Iranian officials, politicians and companies and withdrew the United States from Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers.

In a statement carried by local media, the Iranian Foreign Ministry accused the sanctioned Americans – who also included several business figures and politicians – of supporting “terrorist groups and terrorist acts” against Iran, and Israel’s “repressive acts” in the region and against Palestinians.

Eleven months of indirect talks between Iran and the United States in Vienna on salvaging the 2015 deal have stalled as both sides say political decisions are required by Tehran and Washington to settle the remaining issues.

The sanctions let Iranian authorities seize any assets held by the individuals in Iran, but the apparent absence of such assets means the move will likely be symbolic.

Gen. Austin Scott Miller, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and several former ambassadors are among the officials targeted by the new Iranian sanctions.

In a similar move announced in January, Iran imposed sanctions on 51 Americans, many of them from the U.S. military, over the 2020 killing of General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Iraq.

Last year, it imposed sanctions on Trump and several senior U.S. officials.

Posted by Ukrap on

Лондон повідомив, яку зброю надасть Україні

Зеленський за результатами переговорів із Джонсоном закликав до «ще більшого тиску» на Росію з наданням українцям допомоги в «обороні, а також у санкціях»

Posted by Worldkrap on

European Leaders Stream Into Ukraine to Show Solidarity

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Saturday joined the stream of European leaders showing their support for Ukraine by traveling to the nation’s capital for face-to-face meetings with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Johnson’s surprise visit included a pledge of new military assistance, including 120 armored vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems. This came a day after he promised to send an additional 100 million pounds ($130 million) of high-grade military equipment to Ukraine, saying Britain wanted to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression.

Johnson also confirmed further economic support, guaranteeing an additional $500 million in World Bank lending to Ukraine, taking Britain’s total loan guarantee to up to $1 billion.

“Today I met my friend President @ZelenskyyUa in Kyiv as a show of our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine,” Johnson said on Twitter. “We’re setting out a new package of financial & military aid which is a testament of our commitment to his country’s struggle against Russia’s barbaric campaign.”

The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said “the conversation was rich and constructive,” but offered no details.

An image of the two leaders meeting was posted online by the Ukrainian Embassy in London with the headline: “Surprise,” and a winking smiley face.

The package of military aid Britain announced Friday includes more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, another 800 anti-tank missiles and precision munitions capable of lingering in the sky until directed to their target.

“Ukraine has defied the odds and pushed back Russian forces from the gates of Kyiv, achieving the greatest feat of arms of the 21st century,” Johnson said in a statement. “It is because of President Zelenskyy’s resolute leadership and the invincible heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people that Putin’s monstrous aims are being thwarted.”

As Zelenskyy makes a continuous round of virtual appearances to drum up support from lawmakers around the world, an increasing number of European leaders have decided the time is right to travel to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, for in-person talks. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was in Kyiv on Friday, following earlier visits from the Czech, Polish and Slovenian prime ministers.

Nehammer met with Zelenskyy earlier Saturday and pledged that the EU would continue to ratchet up sanctions against Russia “until the war stops.”

“As long as people are dying, every sanction is still insufficient,” he said, adding that Austrian embassy staff will return to Kyiv from western Ukraine.

Von der Leyen, who heads the European Union’s executive branch, traveled to Warsaw on Saturday to lead a fundraising event for Ukraine. She was joined by Polish President Andrzej Duda, with Zelenskyy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appearing by video link.

At the end of the 90-minute meeting, von der Leyen said 10.1 billion euros ($11 billion) had been raised for Ukrainian refugees.

The event was held in Warsaw because more than 2.5 million of the 4.4 million people who have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began February 24 have entered Poland. Many have stayed, though some have moved on to other countries.

Convened jointly by von der Leyen and Trudeau, the event sought to attract pledges from governments, global celebrities and average citizens.

It ended with Julian Lennon singing his father John Lennon’s peace song “Imagine,” which he said is the first time he did so publicly.

Julian Lennon posted on social media that he always said he would only sing the song if it was the “end of the world.” He says it’s the right song to sing now because “the war on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy,” and he felt compelled to respond in the most significant way that he could.

Posted by Worldkrap on

Putin Reputation ‘Permanently Polluted’ After Bucha Killings, UK’s Johnson Says

The discovery of civilian bodies in Ukrainian towns has “permanently polluted” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reputation, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a visit to Kyiv on Saturday.

“What Putin has done in places like Bucha and Irpin is war crimes that have permanently polluted his reputation and the reputation of his government,” Johnson said, standing next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Johnson became the latest European leader to visit Kyiv this weekend after the bodies were discovered in several towns from where the Russian army retreated.  

Ukraine ‘defied odds’  

Johnson praised Ukraine for “defying odds” and rebuffing a Russian offensive on Kyiv.

“The Russians believed Ukraine could be engulfed in a matter of days and that Kyiv would falls in hours to their armies,” he said, referring to Western intelligence.  

“How wrong they were,” he said.

The Ukrainian people have “shown the courage of a lion,” he added.

“The world has found new heroes and those heroes are the people of Ukraine,” Johnson said.

After talks with Zelenskyy, Johnson vowed U.K. armored vehicles and anti-ship missiles for Ukraine.

Zelenskyy called on the West to follow the U.K. in providing military aid to Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia.

“Other Western democratic countries should follow the U.K.’s example,” Zelenskyy said after talks with Johnson.  

“It is because of President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy’s resolute leadership and the invincible heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people that [Vladimir] Putin’s monstrous aims are being thwarted,” Johnson said after meeting Zelenskyy, according to a Downing Street statement.

Military aid

Johnson set out extra military aid of 120 armored vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems, “to support Ukraine in this crucial phase while Russia’s illegal assault continues,” the statement added.

That is on top of U.K. aid announced Friday of more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles and another 800 anti-tank missiles, along with “loitering” drones for “precision strikes” against the Russians.

As world powers held a fundraising round for Ukraine, Johnson also promised an extra $500 million via the World Bank.

Johnson said it had been a “privilege” to meet Zelenskyy in person on his surprise visit, which was not pre-announced in London.

“Ukraine has defied the odds and pushed back Russian forces from the gates of Kyiv, achieving the greatest feat of arms of the 21st century,” he said.

“I made clear today that the United Kingdom stands unwaveringly with them in this ongoing fight, and we are in it for the long run.”

Posted by Ukrap on

У Рубіжному на Луганщині зафіксоване нове влучання в цистерну з азотною кислотою – Гайдай

Попереднє влучання в цистерну з азотною кислотою було зафіксоване 5 квітня

Posted by Ukrap on

«Новий пакет фінансової та військової допомоги» – речник Джонсона про деталі візиту до Києва

Раніше, повідомляючи про цей візит, заступник керівника Офісу президента Андрій Сибіга назвав Британію «лідером у оборонній підтримці України, лідером в антивоєнній коаліції, лідером у санкціях щодо російського агресора»

Posted by Worldkrap on

Space Station’s First All-Private Astronaut Team Docked to Orbiting Platform

The first all-private team of astronauts ever launched to the International Space Station (ISS) arrived safely at the orbiting research platform Saturday to begin a weeklong science mission hailed as a milestone in commercial spaceflight.

The rendezvous came about 21 hours after the four-man team representing Houston-based startup company Axiom Space, Inc. lifted off Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, riding atop a SpaceX-launched Falcon 9 rocket.

The Crew Dragon capsule lofted to orbit by the rocket docked with the ISS at about 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) Saturday as the two space vehicles were flying roughly 250 miles (420 km) above the central Atlantic Ocean, a live NASA webcast of the coupling showed.

The final approach was delayed by a technical glitch that disrupted a video feed used to monitor the capsule’s rendezvous with ISS. The snafu forced the Crew Dragon to pause and hold its position 20 meters away from the station for about 45 minutes while mission control repaired the issue.

With docking achieved, it was expected to take about two hours more for the sealed passageway between the space station and crew capsule to be pressurized and checked for leaks before hatches can be opened, allowing the newly arrived astronauts to come aboard ISS.

The multinational Axiom team, planning to spend eight days in orbit, was led by retired Spanish-born NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, 63, the company’s vice president for business development.

His second-in-command was Larry Connor, a real estate and technology entrepreneur and aerobatics aviator from Ohio designated as the mission pilot. Connor is in his 70s but the company did not provide his precise age.

Rounding out the Ax-1 crew were investor-philanthropist and former Israeli fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe, 64, and Canadian business owner and philanthropist Mark Pathy, 52, both serving as mission specialists.

Stibbe became the second Israeli to fly to space, after Ilan Ramon, who perished with six NASA crewmates in the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster.

They will be joining the existing ISS occupants of seven regular, government-paid space station crew members – three American astronauts, a German astronaut from the European Space Agency and three Russian cosmonauts.


The new arrivals brought with them two dozen science and biomedical experiments to conduct aboard the ISS, including research on brain health, cardiac stem cells, cancer and aging, as well as a technology demonstration to produce optics using the surface tension of fluids in microgravity.

The mission, a collaboration among Axiom, Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX and NASA, has been touted by all three as a major step in the expansion of space-based commercial activities collectively referred to by insiders as the low-Earth orbit economy, or “LEO economy” for short.

NASA officials say the trend will help the U.S. space agency focus more of its resources on big-science exploration, including its Artemis program to send humans back to the moon and ultimately to Mars.

While the space station has hosted civilian visitors from time to time, the Ax-1 mission marks the first all-commercial team of astronauts sent to the ISS for its intended purpose as an orbiting research laboratory.

The Axiom mission also stands as SpaceX’s sixth human space flight in nearly two years, following four NASA astronaut missions to the space station and the “Inspiration 4” launch in September that sent an all-civilian crew to orbit for the first time. That flight did not dock with the ISS.

Axiom executives say their astronaut ventures and plans to build a private space station in Earth orbit go far beyond the astro-tourism services offered to wealthy thrill-seekers by such companies as Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, owned respectively by billionaire entrepreneurs Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.

Posted by Ukrap on

На Дніпропетровщину доправили понад 80 поранених із Краматорська, кожен п’ятий – дуже тяжкий

Медики забирали всіх, кого можна було транспортувати. Прийом пацієнтів триває, серед них 19 дітей

Posted by Worldkrap on

UN Official Calls for Localized Cease-Fires in Ukraine

United Nations humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths is calling for localized cease-fires in war-torn Ukraine to allow humanitarian aid into areas under siege and to allow trapped civilians to leave.

Griffiths this week discussed a possible humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Griffiths, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, stopped in Moscow Monday on his way to Ukraine.

He did not obtain a commitment for a cease-fire, but U.N. humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke said Friday that Griffiths views the meeting as only a first step in what is likely to be a long process. Meanwhile, he said Griffiths considers it of utmost importance to get the warring parties to agree to localized cease-fires.

“It is a top priority of that is to get silencing of the guns in those cities with Mariupol being the worst-affected,” he said. “Those cities where civilians are trapped, to allow them to get to safety voluntarily, to a place of their choosing and to allow aid to get in.”  

Hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of Mariupol have been under siege since Russia invaded Ukraine more than six weeks ago.  They have been forced to hide in underground bunkers while their city was being turned into rubble by Russian strikes.

Laerke said during his visit to Ukraine, Griffiths witnessed first-hand the scenes of death and destruction in the towns of Bucha and Irpin on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv.  He said Griffiths, who saw a mass grave and dozens of destroyed building blocks in Bucha, described the sights as horrifying and called for an investigation into the atrocities allegedly committed by Russian forces.

Russian troops have failed to win control of the capital, Kyiv, and have retreated.  They have shifted their focus toward capturing the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Laerke said U.N. officials hope the situation of Mariupol will not be repeated as fighting moves toward Luhansk and Donetsk.  

“People are still hunkered down in basements in Luhansk and Donetsk,” he said.  “We have in our planning convoys to go there, I understand, already next week.  If everything, again—whether that happens or not depends on the security situation.  But it will be ready to go there if we can get there.”  

Laerke said Griffiths is very worried about what might happen in the Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine. Since leaving Ukraine, Griffiths has told media he is not optimistic about a cease-fire.

Posted by Worldkrap on

More Civilians Flee East Ukraine After Deadly Station Strike

Civilian evacuations moved forward Saturday in patches of battle-scarred eastern Ukraine a day after a missile strike killed at least 52 people at a train station where thousands were waiting to leave the increasingly vulnerable region before an expected Russian onslaught.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demanded a tough global response to Friday’s train station attack in Kramatorsk, calling it the latest sign of war crimes by Russian forces and hoping to prod Western backers to step up their response to help his country defend itself.

“All world efforts will be directed to establish every minute of who did what, who gave what orders, where the missile came from, who transported it, who gave the command and how this strike was agreed,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address, his voice rising in anger.

Russia denied it was responsible and accused Ukraine’s military of firing on the station to try to turn blame for civilian slayings on Moscow. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman detailed the missile’s trajectory and Ukrainian troop positions to bolster the argument. Western experts and Ukrainian authorities insisted that Russia launched the missile.

Ukraine’s state railway company said in a statement that residents of the country’s contested Donbas region, where Russia has refocused its forces after failing to take over the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, could flee through other train stations on Saturday.

“The railways do not stop the task of taking everyone to safety,” the statement on the messaging app Telegram said.

Watch related video by Henry Ridgwell:

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 10 evacuation corridors were planned for Saturday in hopes of allowing residents to leave war zones in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which comprise the Donbas, as well as neighboring Zaporizhzhia.

Ukrainian authorities have called on civilians to get out ahead of an imminent, stepped-up offensive by Russian forces. Britain’s Defense Ministry reported Saturday that Russian naval forces were launching cruise missiles to support the ground operations in eastern Ukraine, including in the port cities of Mykolaiv and Mariupol.

Photos taken after Friday’s missile strike showed corpses covered with tarpaulins, and the remnants of a rocket painted with the words “For the children” in Russian. The phrasing seemed to suggest the missile was sent to avenge the loss or subjugation of children, although its exact meaning remained unclear.

The attack came as Ukrainian authorities worked to identify victims and document possible war crimes by Russian soldiers in northern Ukraine. The mayor of Bucha, a town near Kyiv where graphic evidence of civilian slayings emerged after the Russians withdrew, said search teams were still finding the bodies of people shot at close range in yards, parks and city squares.

On Friday, workers unearthed the bodies of 67 people from a mass grave near a church, according to Ukraine’s prosecutor general. Russia has falsely claimed that the scenes in Bucha were staged.

After failing to occupy Kyiv in the face of stiff resistance, Russian forces have set their sights on eastern Ukraine. Many of the civilians now trying to evacuate are accustomed to living in or near a war zone because Moscow-backed rebels have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014 in the Donbas.

The same week Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of areas controlled by the separatists and said he planned to send troops in to protect residents of the mostly Russian-speaking, industrial region.

Although the Kramatorsk train station is in Ukrainian government-controlled territory in the Donbas, the separatists, who work closely with Russian troops, blamed Ukraine for the attack.

Western experts, however, dismissed Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov’s assertion that Russian forces “do not use” Tochka-U missiles, the type that hit the station. A Western official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence, said Russian forces have used the missile — and that given the strike’s location and impact, it was likely Russia’s.

Ukrainian authorities and Western officials have repeatedly accused Russian forces of committing atrocities in the war that began with Russia’s February 24 invasion. A total of 176 children have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the war, while 324 more have been wounded, the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office said Saturday.

Ukrainian authorities have warned they expect to find more mass killings once they reach the southern port city of Mariupol, which is also in the Donbas and has been subjected to a monthlong blockade and intense fighting.

As journalists who had been largely absent from the city began to trickle back in, new images emerged of the devastation from an airstrike on a theater last month that reportedly killed hundreds of civilians seeking shelter.

Military analysts had predicted for weeks that Russia would succeed in taking Mariupol but said Ukrainian defenders were still putting up a fight. The city’s location on the Sea of Azov is critical to establishing a land bridge from the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine eight years ago.

Some of the grisliest evidence of atrocities so far has been found in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv, from which Russian troops pulled back in recent days. An international organization formed to identify the dead and missing from the 1990s Balkans conflicts is sending a team of forensics experts to Ukraine to help put names to bodies.

In an excerpted interview with American broadcaster CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Friday, Zelenskyy cited communications intercepted by the Ukrainian security service as evidence of Russian war crimes. The authenticity of the recordings could not be independently verified.

“There are [Russian] soldiers talking with their parents about what they stole and who they abducted. There are recordings of [Russian] prisoners of war who admitted to killing people,” he said. “There are pilots in prison who had maps with civilian targets to bomb. There are also investigations being conducted based on the remains of the dead.”

The deaths of civilians at the train station brought renewed expressions of outrage from Western leaders and pledges that Russia would face further reprisals for its actions in Ukraine. On Saturday, Russia’s Defense Ministry tried to counter the dominant international narrative by again raising the specter Ukraine planting false flags and misinformation.

A Russian ministry spokesman, Major Gen. Igor Konashenkov, alleged Ukraine’s security services were preparing a “cynical staged” media operation in Irpin, another town near Kyiv. Konashenkov said the plan was to show — falsely, he said — more civilian casualties at the hands of the Russians and to stage the slaying of a fake Russian intelligence team that intended to kill witnesses. The claims could not be independently verified.

A senior U.S. defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal military assessments said Friday the Pentagon believes Russia has lost between 15% and 20% of its combat power overall since the war began.

While some combat units are withdrawing to be resupplied in Russia, Moscow has added thousands of troops around Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, in the country’s east, the official said.  

Ukrainian officials have almost daily pleaded with Western powers to send more arms, and to further punish Russia with sanctions, including the exclusion of Russian banks from the global financial system and a total European Union embargo on Russian gas and oil.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Saturday was the latest in a parade of top leaders from the European Union to visit Zelenskyy in Kyiv. The head of the EU’s executive arm, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, gave the Ukrainian president a questionnaire Friday that could lead to Ukraine’s membership in the 27-member-country bloc.

Zelenskyy wryly promised to fast-track a response.

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Will U.S. Adopt Permanent Daylight Saving Time?

When Daylight Saving Time starts in most U.S. states every spring, clocks are set ahead one hour to make daylight last later each day through fall. Now, the U.S. Congress wants to make the shift permanent. VOA’s Veronica Balderas Iglesias looks into the so-called Sunshine Protection Act.

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Is the ‘Great Resignation’ Really the ‘Great Job Switch’?

Millions of Americans voluntarily left their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the quit rate hitting a record high of 3% — 4.5 million people — in November 2021. So, where did all those workers go?

Chris Decker, an economics professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha, says the pandemic hastened retirement for some older workers.

“A lot of folks were either furloughed or perhaps laid off, and perhaps they were in their mid to late 50s,” Decker says. “Many, from what I’ve been able to glean, chose an early retirement path, and that kind of fueled, I believe, a lot of the spikes that we’ve seen.”

The latest numbers put the quit rate at 2.9%. So, while 4.4 million workers decided to leave their jobs in February 2022, about 6.7 million people were hired during that same time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Yes, lots of people are quitting, but they’re going someplace else. They’re not sitting on their couches,” says Jay Zagorsky, a senior lecturer at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, who doesn’t embrace the theory that COVID-19 drove more people to retire. “The ‘Great Resignation,’ in some ways, is real. And in other ways, it’s a bit of a fable.”

A fable, in part, because quit-rate data has been collected only since December 2000, meaning there are no official BLS numbers from before 2000 to compare with today’s numbers.

‘Great Job Switch’

Also, the fact that 6.7 million people got hired in February suggests that something else might be going on, according to Zagorsky.

“It’s not so much … about the ‘Great Resignation’ — like everyone’s quitting and going off and, you know, writing the great American novel or connecting with their family,” he says. “Instead, lots of people are quitting, but they’re getting rehired someplace else. They’re switching jobs. I would call it not the ‘Great Resignation’ but the ‘Great Job Switch.'”

But the “Great Job Switch” isn’t happening everywhere. For example, government employees are, for the most part, staying put. Quit rates are highest in the leisure and hospitality industries, such as hotels, restaurants and bars, as well as in retail.

“We’re also seeing it among the young, and especially geographically, in the South,” Zagorsky says. “Why is that? That, I can’t tell you.”

Decker says younger people might be furthering their education.

“I think a lot of people decided that rather than go right back into the labor force after getting furloughed … or actually getting laid off, chose to go back to school full time,” he says. “I know our university is seeing an increase in enrollment in some of our professional degree programs.”

Quitting trend

Government data suggests that except for a few dips, American quit rates rose steadily in the 20 years leading up to the pandemic.

“The story in my mind is that the U.S. has always had exceptionally high quit rates,” Zagorsky says. “We have a very fluid labor market. The question is, do we have too fluid a labor market?”

A recent Harris/USA Today poll found that 20% of people — 1 in 5 — who quit during the past two years now regret doing so. Twenty-five percent said they miss the job culture at their previous place of employment.

Zagorsky says people need to have a better understanding of what a job entails before they take it, while employers must understand that the appeal of a position involves more than money.

“Is my job important? Am I helping others besides myself? Am I getting positive feedback? All these kinds of things have nothing to do with pay but have a lot to do with why people quit,” Zagorsky says. “People quit because of nonfinancial reasons. People need to feel they’re valued and not being abused and not being disrespected. If people feel valued, if they feel respected, if they feel they’re an important part of an organization, they tend not to quit.”

Decker expects labor demand to continue to be robust in the long term, while the labor supply will be challenging as America deals with an aging population. Labor supply will be an issue particularly in the Midwest, where Decker lives and works, as educated younger workers move to bigger cities. He sees one potential fix, which could be politically controversial.

“Revisit the immigration policies to see if there’s some way to balance the immigration flow, perhaps with a little bit less caustic and difficult political environment, to one that might be a little bit more based on numbers and potential impacts on labor force,” Decker says.

Posted by Worldkrap on

Russia Latest Country to Establish Diplomatic Ties With Taliban

Their government still unrecognized by any country in the world, Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban have found a way to beat international isolation: opening diplomatic ties with neighboring countries and others, with an eye to gaining formal recognition.

In recent months, at least four countries — China, Pakistan, Russia and Turkmenistan — have accredited Taliban-appointed diplomats, even though all have refused to recognize the 8-month-old government in Afghanistan.

Last month, Russia became the latest country to establish diplomatic ties with the Taliban when its Foreign Ministry accredited Taliban diplomat Jamal Nasir Gharwal as Afghan charge d’affaires in Moscow.

“We regard this as a step towards the resumption of full-fledged diplomatic contacts,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

Although Zakharova said it was premature “to talk about official recognition of the Taliban,” the move is not sitting well in Washington, where officials are concerned it could confer undeserved legitimacy on the Taliban.

A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. and its allies “remain deeply troubled by recent steps the Taliban have taken, including steps to restrict education and travel for girls and women.”

“Now is not the time to take any steps to lend credibility to the Taliban or normalize relations,” the spokesperson said in response to a query from VOA. “This move sends the wrong signal to the Taliban.”

In the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last August, the U.S. and other Western countries shut down their diplomatic posts in Kabul. But they’ve maintained contact with the group, if only to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid into the country and influence Taliban policies.

The countries that have received Taliban diplomats all maintain embassies in Afghanistan.

Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Kabul and the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, said it was a “mistake” for Russia and other nations to accredit Taliban diplomats while the international community seeks cooperation from the Taliban on a number of fronts.

“When they accredit the diplomats, then they weaken the influence of the pressure that says you have to allow girls’ education and you have to cooperate with the NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) to help feed people or you won’t get recognition,” Neumann said. “So what the Taliban will see is that if they pay no attention to those statements, some states will begin to move toward recognition anyway.”

Accrediting a foreign diplomat is not the same as giving formal recognition, Neumann said. But that’s not how the Taliban see it.

“In practice, this is the equivalent of recognition, but it is not enough,” said Suhail Shaheen, who has been appointed by the Taliban to serve as Afghanistan’s envoy to the U.N. “Countries must recognize the Islamic Emirate.”

Shaheen, whose appointment has not been endorsed by the U.N., told VOA that about 10 countries have “accepted” Taliban diplomats, including China, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan.

Of those, only four — China, Pakistan, Russia and Turkmenistan — have formally accredited diplomats appointed by the Taliban, according to announcements by Afghan embassies and the foreign ministries of the host countries.

But previously appointed diplomats at Afghanistan’s embassies in Iran, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia now follow the Taliban foreign ministry’s “instructions,” Shaheen said.

“We don’t have any problem with anyone who contacts the current government of the Islamic Emirate and follows its instructions,” Shaheen said via WhatsApp. “That’s what they’ve done.”

Abdul Qayyum Sulaimani, the Afghan charge d’affaires in Tehran and a holdover from the previous government, told reporters in January that he’d received a letter from Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban foreign minister, confirming his status as acting ambassador.

Representatives of the Afghan embassies in Kaula Lumpur and Ryadh could not be reached for comment.

Qatar is a “special case,” Neumann said. The Gulf state has long allowed the Taliban to operate a political office in Doha, and it represents some U.S. diplomatic interests in Afghanistan. In November, Muttaqi met with Afghan embassy staff in Doha.

The Qatar Embassy in Washington did not respond to a question about whether the Qatari government had accredited any Taliban diplomats.

Afghanistan maintains 45 embassies and 20 consulates around the world. The majority are still run by diplomats appointed by the government of former President Ashraf Ghani and have refused to work with the Taliban government.

Mohammad Zahir Aghbar, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan, said Taliban pressure to oust Afghan diplomats won’t work.

“No country will let them do that,” Aghbar told VOA’s Afghan Service.

Tajikistan, which maintains close ties to an anti-Taliban resistance group, is the only Afghanistan neighbor that has refused to allow Taliban officials to visit the Afghan Embassy.

Last week, a senior Taliban foreign ministry official visited an Afghan consulate in neighboring Uzbekistan “to improve and organize the consular affairs of the Afghan consulate” in the border town of Termez, according to a Taliban official.

Last month, Afghanistan’s embassy in Washington and its consulates in New York and Los Angeles shut down after running out of money.

Senior State Department Correspondent Cindy Saine and VOA Afghan Service’s Mirwais Rahmani contributed to this article.

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Spain Bans Harassment of Women Entering Abortion Clinics

Spain is awaiting the publication in coming days of a new law banning the intimidation or harassment of women entering abortion clinics.

The law comes into force when it is published in the Government Gazette, possibly next week, after the Spanish Senate on Wednesday endorsed a law passed earlier by parliament.

The Senate gave its blessing by 154-105 votes for changes to the penal code in Spain, where abortions are available for free in the public health service through the 14th week of pregnancy.

The legal changes mean that anyone harassing a woman going into an abortion clinic will be committing a crime that can be punished with up to one year in prison.

Spain’s government, led by the center-left Socialist government, proposed the law last year and lawmakers approved it in September.

In the Senate, as in parliament, the changes were opposed by right-of-center political groupings.

They argued that the alterations flew in the face of the constitutional right to free speech and the right to assemble.

Anti-abortion groups said their gatherings outside abortion clinics were organized to pray and offer help to the women.

The national Association of Accredited Clinics for Pregnancy Termination says that more than 100 cases of harassment are reported outside clinics each year.

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Росія змінила командувача військ в Україні – Бі-Бі-Сі

На Заході переконані, що російським військам поставлено завдання досягти якогось успіху в Україні до 9 травня

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ГУР: російські війська перегруповуються і планують просуватися до Харкова

«Вони планують наступати в першу чергу на Харків. Вони спробують добити місто Маріуполь і лише після цього можуть спробувати ініціативно наступати на Київ»

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Війська РФ обстрілюють Харків, намагаються обійти Ізюм – голова ОВА

За добу російські військові завдали майже 50 ударів з артилерії, мінометів, танків і РСЗВ