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Wildlife Crossing Will Aid California’s Mountain Lions, Other Species

An ambitious project in California will create a wildlife bridge across a busy highway, providing a safe corridor for mountain lions and other species. As Mike O’Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, the effort aims to help animals hemmed in by growing cities. Camera: Roy Kim

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Російські війська намагаються атакувати Луганщину на дев’яти напрямках – Залужний

Головнокомандувач ЗСУ назвав Сєвєродонецьк ключовою точкою в системі оборони Луганської області

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US Federal Reserve Imposes Large Interest Rate Hike

The U.S. Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would raise interest rates by the largest amount in nearly 30 years in an effort to cool inflation without tipping the economy into a recession. 

The central bank said it would raise its key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, the largest amount since November 1994, and signaled more hikes to come. 

The rate increase comes as inflation, which measures the price of common goods such as food and fuel, rose by 8.6% over the 12 months ending in May — the highest rate in 40 years — driven by high post-pandemic demand for homes, cars, travel and other goods and services, global supply chain problems, strict COVID-19 lockdowns in China, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

In a statement announcing the rate hike, the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting board, said it remains “strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2% objective.” 

The three-quarter-point rate increase exceeds the one-half-point rate increase that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had previously suggested would be imposed.  

He told reporters Wednesday that the latest information showed higher inflation than expected. 

“We thought strong action was warranted at this meeting,” he said, “and we delivered that.”

Shortly after the Fed’s announcement, Powell said if inflation shows no sign of abating, the central bank would likely impose either a half- or three-quarter-point increase at its next meeting in July.   

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.  


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Велика Британія та Данія анонсували донорську конференцію для України – Зеленський

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Сумщина: троє людей загинули через підрив на міні, ще одна – через обстріл околиць Глухова

Також загалом семеро людей отримали поранення, повідомляє голова ОВА

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EU, Egypt, Israel Agree to Export Israeli Liquified Natural Gas to Europe

Egypt, Israel and the European Union signed a gas deal Wednesday in which Egypt will export Israeli liquified natural gas to Europe via two Egyptian LNG plants.

The memorandum of understanding was inked at the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo, expanding upon gas cooperation among the three partners.

Representatives of participants at the gas forum applauded announcement of the deal. Egypt is the only country in the gas forum to have plants that can produce liquified natural gas. 

Egyptian political sociologist Said Sadek told VOA that the announcement of the deal formalized cooperation among the EU, Egypt and Israel that has been going on for several months.

“This is a memo of understanding between Egypt, Israel and the EU that they will increase the gas production from Israel and Egypt, will process it and make it liquified, and export it to the EU,” Sadek said. “Already this is going on. A lot of things have been going on in the last few months in the gas field between Egypt, Israel and the EU. Now, this is just to add more.”

Sadek also said the U.S. “is currently trying to negotiate a settlement to the maritime territorial dispute between Israel and Lebanon so that the gas in the disputed sector can be used as part of the current deal with the EU.”

Al Jazeera TV reported that Russia cut exports of its natural gas to Europe on Wednesday “as a sign of displeasure at the deal signed in Cairo.”

Paul Sullivan, a Washington-based energy analyst at the Atlantic Council, told VOA that “the deal between the EU, Egypt and Israel to export LNG to the EU is one way the European Union can continue to extract itself from” what he called “over-reliance on Russian gas,” and that this “could benefit both Egypt and Israel economically and strategically.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi told a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that the agreement signed in Cairo was part of what he called “increasing cooperation between Egypt and the EU in numerous fields,” amid a difficult global political and economic period.

Sissi also thanked Egypt’s political partners, including the EU, for helping to “mitigate the effects of increasing food prices and the current crisis that is affecting many developing countries.”

Von der Leyen said during the press conference that the EU would contribute financially and technologically to help Egypt with food production.

“These investments will support food systems in your region and elsewhere so that we can together discuss how to develop solutions and technologies … modern technologies of precision farming … new crops adapted to climate change, because it is important for us that the production of food in the region is increased and the dependency on other regions is decreased,” she said.

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Buffalo Supermarket Suspect Charged with Federal Hate Crimes

The white 18-year-old man accused of fatally shooting 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket at a Buffalo supermarket was charged Wednesday with federal hate crimes and could face the death penalty.

The criminal complaint filed Wednesday against Payton Gendron coincided with a visit to Buffalo by Attorney General Merrick Garland. The attorney general was expected to address the federal charges and meet with the families of the people who were killed.

Garland placed a bouquet of white flowers tied with a yellow ribbon at a memorial to the victims outside the store, which has been shuttered and undergoing renovations since the attack.

Gendron was already facing a mandatory life sentence without parole if convicted on previously filed state charges in the May 14 rampage.

The attack, at Tops Friendly Market, also left three survivors — one Black, two white. Ballistics evidence indicated that Gendron fired approximately 60 shots during the attack, according to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.

Gendron’s radical, racist worldview and extensive preparation for the attack were laid out in documents he apparently authored and posted online shortly before authorities say he started shooting.

FBI agents executing a search warrant at Gendron’s home the day after the shooting found a note in which he apologized to his family for the shooting and stated that he “had to commit this attack” because he cares “for the future of the White race,” according to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.

Gendron signed the note and addressed it to his family, the affidavit said.

Agents at the Conklin, New York home also found a receipt for a candy bar purchased from the supermarket on March 8, the day Gendron said in an online diary he went to scout out the store, as well as hand drawn sketches of the store’s layout, the affidavit said.

The affidavit also includes detailed accounts of Gendron’s plot to attack the store, which he documented in detail in an online diary, and the attack itself, which he live streamed on social media.

In his writings, Gendron embraced a baseless conspiracy theory about a plot to diminish white Americans’ power and “replace” them with people of color, through immigration and other means.

The posts detail months of reconnaissance, demographic research and shooting practice for a bloodbath aimed at scaring everyone who isn’t white and Christian into leaving the country.

Gendron drove more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) from his home in a nearly all-white town near the New York-Pennsylvania border to a predominantly Black part of Buffalo. There, authorities say, he mowed down shoppers and workers using an AR-15-style rifle, wearing body armor to protect himself and livestreaming the carnage from a helmet-mounted camera.

Gendron’s rifle had writings on it, including the names of other people who’ve committed mass shootings, racial slurs and statements such as, “Here’s your reparations!”, and a reference to the replacement theory, the affidavit said.

The 18-year-old surrendered to police as he exited the supermarket.

He has pleaded not guilty to a state domestic terrorism charge, including hate-motivated domestic terrorism and murder.

According to the online documents attributed to Gendron, he had scouted out the supermarket in March, drawing maps and even counting up the number of Black people he saw there.

Federal authorities had said they were considering hate crime charges in the killings, which compounded the unabating toll of gun violence in the United States.

Ten days after the attack in Buffalo, another 18-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school, killing 19 children and two teachers.

Soon after, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed 10 public safety-related bills, including one prohibiting New Yorkers under age 21 from buying semi-automatic rifles and another that revised the state’s “red flag” law, which allows courts to temporarily take away guns from people who might be a threat to themselves or others.

The U.S. Senate followed on June 12 with a bipartisan agreement on more modest federal gun curbs and stepped-up efforts to improve school safety and mental health programs.

The case is likely to present a quandary for Garland, who has vowed to aggressively prioritize the prosecutions of civil rights cases but also instituted a moratorium on federal executions last year after an unprecedented run of capital punishment at the end of the Trump administration.

The moratorium put in place in July 2021 halts the Bureau of Prisons from carrying out any executions. But the memo does not prohibit federal prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, a decision that ultimately will fall to Garland. The Biden administration has previously asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the Boston Marathon bomber’s original death sentence.

The executions have been halted as the Justice Department conducts a review of its policies and procedures for capital punishment. The review, which is ongoing, comes after 13 people were executed at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana between July 2020 and January 2021.

President Joe Biden has said he opposes the death penalty and his team vowed that he would take action to stop its use while in office.

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Аксьонов визнав, що Росія продає українське зерно, завезене до Криму

«Зерно із звільнених (окупованих – ред.) територій до Республіки Крим проходить транзитом, далі йде до Севастополя на продаж. Ми самі себе забезпечуємо зерном»

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У Херсоні «ми їх будемо бити з двох боків» – генерал Марченко

«Там наші люди живуть, ми не можемо їх залишити і ми не повинні їх залишити»

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«Газпром» зупинив ще одну турбіну «Північного потоку»

Це приведе до чергового зниження експорту газу газопроводом «Північний потік» до Німеччини

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Ukrainian Orphan Finds New Home and Hope in America

Phil and Kristie Graves are a U.S.couple from Maryland and parents of three biological children and an adopted girl with special needs from Armenia. Recently, they decided to adopt a six-year-old girl with special needs from Ukraine. But that was before the Russian invasion. Anush Avetisyan has the story.
Videographer: Dmytri Shakhov  

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Biden Tells Oil Refiners: Produce More Gas, Fewer Profits 

President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on U.S. oil refiners to produce more gasoline and diesel, saying their profits have tripled during a time of war between Russia and Ukraine as Americans struggle with record high prices at the pump.

“The crunch that families are facing deserves immediate action,” Biden wrote in a letter to seven oil refiners. “Your companies need to work with my Administration to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions that address the crisis.”

Gas prices nationwide are averaging roughly $5 a gallon, an economic burden for many Americans and a political threat for the president’s fellow Democrats going into the midterm elections. Broader inflation began to rise last year as the U.S. economy recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, but it accelerated in recent months as energy and food prices climbed after Russia invaded Ukraine in February and disrupted global commodity markets.

The government reported on Friday that consumer prices had jumped 8.6% from a year ago, the worst increase in more than 40 years.

The letter notes that gas prices were averaging $4.25 a gallon when oil was last near the current price of $120 a barrel in March. That 75-cent difference in average gas prices in a matter of just a few months reflects both a shortage of refinery capacity and profits that “are currently at their highest levels ever recorded,” the letter states.

As Biden sees it, refineries are capitalizing on the uncertainties caused by “a time of war.” His message that corporate greed is contributing to higher prices has been controversial among many economists, yet the claim may have some resonance with voters.

Some liberal lawmakers have proposed cracking down on corporate profits amid the higher inflation. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, in March proposed a 95% tax on profits in excess of companies’ pre-pandemic averages.

The president has harshly criticized what he views as profiteering amid a global crisis that could potentially push Europe and other parts of the world into a recession, saying after a speech Friday that ExxonMobil “made more money than God this year.” ExxonMobil responded by saying it has already informed the administration of its planned investments to increase oil production and refining capacity.

“There is no question that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is principally responsible for the intense financial pain the American people and their families are bearing,” Biden’s letter says. “But amid a war that has raised gasoline prices more than $1.70 per gallon, historically high refinery profit margins are worsening that pain.”

The letter says the administration is ready to “use all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied.” It notes that Biden has already released oil from the U.S. strategic reserve and increased ethanol blending standards, though neither action put a lasting downward pressure on prices.

The president is sending the letter to Marathon Petroleum, Valero Energy, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP and Shell.

He also has directed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to convene an emergency meeting and consult with the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory group that is drawn from the energy sector.

Biden is asking each company to explain to Granholm any drop in refining capacity since 2020, when the pandemic began. He also wants the companies to provide “any concrete ideas that would address the immediate inventory, price, and refining capacity issues in the coming months — including transportation measures to get refined product to market.”

There may be limits on how much more capacity can be added. The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday released estimates that “refinery utilization will reach a monthly average level of 96% twice this summer, near the upper limits of what refiners can consistently maintain.”

The letter says that roughly 3 million barrels a day of refining capacity around the world have gone offline since the pandemic began. In the U.S., refining capacity fell by more than 800,000 barrels a day in 2020.

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Allies to Discuss Ukraine’s Defense Needs

U.S. Defense Minister Lloyd Austin is leading a meeting of dozens of his counterparts from NATO member states and other parts of the world Wednesday to discuss their latest efforts to boost military aid to Ukraine in the face of the nearly four-month Russian invasion.

The talks are taking place on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters NATO defense ministers would meet late Wednesday with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and get an update on “what Ukraine urgently needs.”

Amid comments by Ukrainian officials that not enough military aid has come, and not quickly enough, Stoltenberg said such efforts take time but that NATO leaders realize the urgency and are working with Ukraine to overcome hurdles.

Stoltenberg also said he expects NATO allies will also make new announcements of support for Ukraine on Wednesday.

“The question is what do the Ukrainians need to continue the success they’ve already seen in slowing down and thwarting that Russian objective and that’ll be a major focus for the defense ministers,” a senior U.S. defense official said ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday that Ukraine “should have more heavy weapons.” He said Ukraine’s forces “absolutely depend on that to be able to stand up against the brutal Russian invasion.”

‘Donbas is the key’

The talks come as Russian forces push to gain full control of the eastern industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, located in the Donbas region that Russia has declared to be its main focus of its operation in Ukraine.

“Hanging in there in Donbas is crucial,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message late Tuesday. “Donbas is the key to deciding who will dominate in the coming weeks.”

Russia now controls about 80% of Sievierodonetsk and has destroyed all three bridges leading out of it, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said Tuesday.

With Russia’s destruction of bridges, Haidai acknowledged that a mass evacuation of civilians from Sievierodonetsk now is “simply not possible” because of Moscow’s relentless shelling and fighting in the city.

He said Ukrainian forces have been pushed to the outskirts of the city because of “the scorched earth method and heavy artillery the Russians are using.”

But Haidai told The Associated Press that Russian forces had not blocked off access to the city, leaving Ukraine with “an opportunity for the evacuation of the wounded, communication with the Ukrainian military and local residents.”

Population down to 12,000

About 12,000 of the city’s original population of 100,000 remain, with 500 civilians sheltering in the Azot chemical plant, which is being shelled by the Russians.

Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said a humanitarian corridor will be opened Wednesday to evacuate civilians from the chemical plant, but that they will be taken to the town of Svatovo, which is under control of Russian and separatist forces.

Slowly, but relentlessly, Russia appears to be gaining the upper hand in the fight for control of the Donbas region, which encompasses the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces of Ukraine that Russia recognizes as independent states.

Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and Kyiv’s forces have been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region since then.

Some material in this report came from Reuters, The Associated Press, and Agence France-Presse.

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Завод «Азот» у Сєвєродонецьку війська РФ знищують, попри переховування там цивільних – влада

«Завод просто знищується, тому що це великий об’єкт промисловий, який боронять наші Збройні сили»

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Прокуратура передала АРМА активи білоруської нафтової компанії на 20 млн грн – ОГП

У прокуратурі згадують білоруську нафтову компанію, засновниками якої є ЗАТ «Білоруська нафтова компанія» та Республіканське унітарне підприємство «Виробниче об’єднання «Бєлоруснафта»

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У Сербії спороджують памʼятник російському імператорові Петру І

Нещодавно президент Росії Володимир Путін порівняв себе з Петром Першим, а вторгнення в Україну – з Північною війною

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Amid Rising Tension with Beijing, US Creates ‘China House’

Amid tensions in bilateral relations, the U.S. State Department is creating a new entity known as “China House” to better track what China is doing around the world. 

At a just-concluded security conference in Singapore, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said it’s up to the United States to improve bilateral relations

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted the “alarming” increase in unsafe and unprofessional encounters between Chinese planes and vessels and those of other countries. 

The China House project reflects U.S. concern about what Secretary of State Antony Blinken described last month as Beijing’s emergence as “the most serious long-term challenge to the rules-based order.” 

A State Department spokesperson declined to provide details about the status of China House, describing it as “a department-wide integrated team that will coordinate and implement our policy across issues and regions.” 

“We will continue and accelerate efforts to integrate PRC expertise and resources in this new central policy coordination hub,” the spokesperson, who declined to be named, told VOA last week. 

‘We are watching’

In an email to VOA Mandarin, Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said, “The key for the China-U.S. relationship to walk out of the predicament is for the U.S. side to abandon its mania for zero-sum games, give up its obsession with encircling and containing China and stop undermining China-U.S. relations. 

“We have noted that Secretary Blinken said in his speech that the U.S. is not looking for conflict or a new Cold War with China; it doesn’t seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop China from growing its economy; and it wants to coexist peacefully with China. We are watching what the U.S. will do.” 

Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Global Times and an influential special commentator for the publication, downplayed the China House with a signed piece that boiled down to “so what?” 

The new entity will track Beijing’s activities by adding 20 to 30 additional regional China “watch” officers, “a category of officials first created during the Trump administration to track Beijing’s activities around the world under the State Department’s regional bureaus,” according to an article published in Foreign Policy last September, before the China House initiative became official. 

China House was officially announced on May 26 amid a U.S. ramp up in its diplomatic efforts to address growing rivalry with China. 

Washington has been homing in on the small island nations in the Indo-Pacific and Asia Pacific since China launched a more aggressive diplomatic outreach in recent years.

In May, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, completed a 10-day tour of eight nations in the South Pacific after signing a security agreement with the Solomon Islands in April. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged U.S. President Joe Biden at a White House meeting on May 31 to engage more with Pacific Island states in response.

In Washington, local lore has long stated that nothing better indicates an issue’s importance than the creation of a new agency for it. Some former U.S. government officials and experts on Sino-U.S. relations say they believe that with the creation of the China House, the Biden administration is taking a stand on the future relationship with China. 

Offering a perspective on that relationship is Douglas Paal, a non-resident scholar at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

“I think the administration is trying to respond to public and internal assessments that China is our greatest challenge in the new era,” said Paal in a Skype interview with VOA Mandarin. 

“And they want to show Congress, the public, that they’re effectively preparing and dealing with it by throwing resources, especially human resources, into the mix to show the world how to get the best outcome for the U.S. in its rising confrontation period of competition with China,” he added. Paal has also served as director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy there. 

Zack Cooper, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, told VOA Mandarin in an email, “I think the administration is trying to show its seriousness on China.” 

“I don’t think the new bureaucracies are going to make it more difficult to coordinate – they could make it easier,” said Cooper. “But it really depends on whether these teams have substantial increases in staff and resources. If so, they will more likely be an asset than an impediment, in my view.” 

After the Biden administration came to power, the State Department provided Chinese translations of the administration’s policy statements, memoranda of meetings and important speeches on its website. In addition, the State Department designated staff to run its Chinese blog and write articles about all aspects of the United States. 

“The obvious need for U.S. diplomacy to keep up with China’s emergence as a global power has broad bipartisan support,” Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific security chair at Hudson Institute, told VOA Mandarin. “The creation of China House, which represents a growing team of diplomatic professionals following China’s multi-faceted activities in all regions of the globe, will strengthen U.S. foreign policy in dealing with Chinese officials and international actors who must contend with Beijing’s policies.” 

Miles Yu, a senior fellow and director of the China Center at Hudson Institute, told VOA Mandarin last September that, “This is a welcome initiative, and it is long overdue. This reflects the reality of China’s increased weight in America’s foreign policy.” 

Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow from the conservative Heritage Foundation, says he thinks the U.S. needs a ring of China experts that extends beyond the State Department. 

“What I would actually prefer to see if you’re going to establish a China House is a State Department that convenes a group of China experts that includes China experts from the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Commerce, OSTP (the Office of Science and Technology Policy), NASA, because China is a comprehensive power that poses a comprehensive challenge,” Cheng told VOA Mandarin. 

“The State Department needs to think beyond diplomacy and summits and all that sort of thing, to also think about trade, to think about investment, to think about Chinese investment in the United States as well as Western investment in China,” he added. “It is vitally necessary to have that cross dialogue.” 

Cheng says he thinks the Treasury and the Commerce departments should lead the effort in countering China. 

“China is not at this point likely to go to war with the United States or even go to war leading to American intervention such as over Taiwan, but it is every day an economic competitor, financial competitor, technological competitor with the United States,” he said. “So it might do us a lot of good to have that be our leading edge in terms of how we think about countering China.”

Adrianna Zhang and Nike Ching contributed to this report.

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Dangerous Heat Wave Descends on Parts of Midwest and South 

A dangerous heat wave hit much of the Midwest and South on Tuesday, with temperatures hitting triple digits in Chicago and combining with the humidity to make it feel even hotter there and in other sweltering cities. 

More than 100 million people were expected to be affected by midweek, and authorities warned residents to stay hydrated, remain indoors when possible, and be aware of the health risks of high temperatures. Strong storms brought heavy rain and damaging wind to many of the affected areas on Monday, and more than 400,000 customers remained without power as of Tuesday afternoon. 

Excessive heat warnings are in effect for much of Illinois and Indiana along with parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio from Tuesday through Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service. 

Heat index values — which take into account the temperature and relative humidity and indicate how hot it feels outdoors — approached and topped 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) in some locations, including Chicago, the weather service said. 

“Full sun today will make it feel even hotter,” the weather service wrote. “There will not be much relief for those without air conditioning today through Wednesday night.” 

Much of southeastern Michigan — from just south of Flint to the state lines with Ohio and Indiana — was put under an excessive heat watch Wednesday through Thursday morning as the warm front is forecast to move east. 

A heat advisory was also issued, stretching from as far north as Wisconsin down to the Florida Panhandle on the Gulf coast. 

Health risks of heat 

In Chicago, where a ferocious storm Monday night heralded temperatures that were expected to exceed 90 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday, the May deaths of three women when temperatures climbed above 32 C (90 F) served as a reminder of the dangers of such heat — particularly for people who live alone or are dealing with certain health issues. 

Pat Clemmons, an 81-year-old resident of the apartment complex where the women died, said everything was working well Tuesday morning as the temperatures climbed. She said that she had lived in the building for about 20 years and that she had never experienced issues before “that one horrible Saturday” in May. 

“They have every kind of air conditioner, air blower, fan jets and everything else. … I’m fine right now,” Clemmons said. “The air’s on. You know they’re going to have everything working perfectly right now ’cause all the chaos that happened.” 

By mid-afternoon, the temperature at Chicago Midway National Airport reached 100 F (38 C) for the first time since July 2012, the area’s weather service office reported. 

Officials encouraged Chicagoans to check on their neighbors and loved ones and to quickly report any problems with cooling their homes. The city opened six large cooling centers and encouraged people to cool off in libraries, park district buildings and other public locations. 

“The next two days will require that we all look out for one another and provide extra attention and resources for our vulnerable neighbors,” said Alisa Rodriguez, managing deputy commissioner for Chicago’s Department of Family Services and Support. 

The Detroit suburb of Westland opened many of its public buildings as cooling stations Tuesday, including its city hall, fire and police stations, a library and a community center. Residents can get out of the heat, charge cellphones and get bottled water there, the city said. 

South sizzles 

With a noon temperature at 35 C (95 F) and the heat index pushing 43 C (110 F) on Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama, Cindy Hanger sat outside the food truck where she works. Her face was red and her green T-shirt was soaked with sweat. 

“I am worn out and I’m hot, and I’m ready to go home and have a cold drink,” she said. 

Hanger works outside the small rig taking and filling orders while two relatives work inside cooking. That arrangement is just fine with her on such days. 

“You think it’s hot out here? Imagine in there,” she said. 

The heat was also stressing certain power grids. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which serves 10 million people in Tennessee and parts of six surrounding Southern states, said that on Monday, it experienced record power demand for a single day in June. It said it provided 31,311 megawatts of energy at an average temperature of 94 F (34 C) in its region, which broke the previous June high of 31,098 megawatts that was set on June 29, 2012. 

The power provider said similar demand could continue through the end of the week as more hot and humid weather was expected

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UK Cancels First Flight to Deport Asylum Seekers to Rwanda

Britain has canceled its first deportation flight to Rwanda after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided there was “a real risk of irreversible harm” to the asylum-seekers involved. 

The flight had been scheduled to leave Tuesday evening, but lawyers for the asylum-seekers launched a flurry of case-by-case appeals seeking to block the deportation of everyone on the government’s list. 

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss had said earlier in the day that the plane would take off no matter how many people were on board. But after the appeals, no one remained. 

The decision to scrap the Tuesday flight caps three days of frantic court challenges as immigration rights advocates and labor unions sought to stop the deportations. The leaders of the Church of England joined the opposition, calling the government’s policy “immoral.” 

Earlier in the day, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had emphatically defended the plan. “We are going to get on and deliver” the plan, Johnson declared, arguing that the move was a legitimate way to protect lives and thwart the criminal gangs that smuggle migrants across the English Channel in small boats. 

The prime minister announced an agreement with Rwanda in April in which people who entered Britain illegally would be deported to the East African country. In exchange for accepting them, Rwanda would receive millions of pounds (dollars) in development aid. The deportees would be allowed to apply for asylum in Rwanda, not Britain. 

Opponents have argued that it is illegal and inhumane to send people thousands of miles to a country they don’t want to live in. Britain in recent years has seen an illegal influx of migrants from such places as Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Iraq and Yemen. 

Activists have denounced the policy as an attack on the rights of refugees that most countries have recognized since the end of World War II. 

Politicians in Denmark and Austria are considering similar proposals. Australia has operated an asylum-processing center in the Pacific Island nation of Nauru since 2012.

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Уряди ЄС розглянуть можливість надання Україні тимчасових сховищ для зернових – Мінагрополітики

Можливість надання Україні тимчасових сховищ з боку ЄС могла б суттєво допомогти в збереженні врожаю, кажуть в уряді