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US Declares Monkeypox Outbreak a Public Health Emergency

The United States has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, the health secretary said Thursday, a move expected to free up additional funding and tools to fight the disease. 

The declaration came as the tally of cases crossed 6,600 in the United States on Wednesday, almost all of them among men who have sex with men. 

“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said at a briefing. 

The declaration will also help improve the availability of monkeypox data, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said, speaking alongside Becerra. 

The World Health Organization also has designated monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern,” its highest alert level. The WHO declaration last month was designed to trigger a coordinated international response and could unlock funding to collaborate on vaccines and treatments. 

Biden earlier this month appointed two top federal officials to coordinate his administration’s response to monkeypox, following declarations of emergencies by California, Illinois and New York. 

First identified in monkeys in 1958, the disease has mild symptoms including fever, aches and pus-filled skin lesions, and people tend to recover from it within two to four weeks, according to the WHO. It spreads through close physical contact and is rarely fatal. 

Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, told Reuters on Thursday that it was critical to engage leaders from the gay community as part of efforts to rein in the outbreak, but cautioned against stigmatizing the disease and its victims. 

“Engagement of the community has always proven to be successful,” Fauci said. 

Unlike when COVID-19 emerged, there are vaccines and treatments available for monkeypox, which was first documented in Africa in the 1970s. 

The U.S. government had distributed 156,000 monkeypox vaccine doses nationwide through mid-July. It has ordered an additional 2.5 million doses of Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine. 

The first U.S. case of monkeypox was confirmed in Massachusetts in May, followed by another case in California five days later. 

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Зеленський назвав звіт Amnesty International спробою «перекласти відповідальність з агресора на жертву»

Президент України каже: «Якщо аналізуються якісь дані про жертв, а що робив агресор в цей час – ігноруються, то з цим не можна миритися»

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Pentagon Announces New Press Secretary

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has named a U.S. Air Force brigadier general as the new Pentagon press secretary.

“Today, I named Brigadier General Patrick S. Ryder as the next Pentagon press secretary. Pat will fill a critical role, leading our efforts to provide timely, accurate information to the media, and through the media to the American people,” Austin said in a statement on Thursday.

Ryder currently serves as the top public affairs officer for the Air Force and Space Force. Prior to that he was the top spokesman for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and served as the spokesman for Austin when he was the head of U.S. Central Command from 2013 to 2016.

Ryder will become the first Pentagon press secretary to serve while still in military uniform since then-Rear Admiral John Kirby served under Defense Secretaries Chuck Hagel and Ash Carter from 2013 to 2015.

Upon taking office, Carter made clear to officials that he wanted a nonuniformed spokesman and soon replaced Kirby with a new Pentagon press secretary. Kirby retired from the military in 2015 and has since served as State Department spokesman under the Obama administration and Pentagon press secretary and White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.

The military is an apolitical organization, which could cause potential problems should Ryder be asked to expand upon a political position. Civilians control the military in the United States, with rules established by Congress to ensure that secretaries of defense spend at least seven years out of military uniform before taking office.

Exceptions have been made with congressional approval, however, and lawmakers recently have waived that requirement for former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Austin, the current secretary.

CNN first reported the decision to appoint Ryder on Wednesday.

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Влада повідомляє про удари військ РФ по Харкову

Близько десятої вечора у Харкові та області було оголошено повітряну тривогу

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Янукович із сином потрапили під нові санкції ЄС

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4 Police Officers Face Federal Charges in Fatal Breonna Taylor Raid

The U.S. Justice Department has charged four Louisville police officers involved in the deadly Breonna Taylor raid with civil rights violations. 

Federal charges against former officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison and Kelly Goodlett, along with Sgt. Kyle Meany were announced by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday. 

Garland said federal officials “share but cannot fully imagine the grief” felt by Taylor’s family. 

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” he said. 

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was shot to death by Louisville officers who had knocked down her door while executing a search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times. 

Hankison, who was dismissed from the department in 2020, was one of the officers at Taylor’s door and one of three who fired shots that night. He was acquitted by a jury of state charges of wanton endangerment earlier this year in Louisville. 

Jaynes had applied for the warrant to search Taylor’s house. He was fired in January 2021 by former Louisville Police interim chief Yvette Gentry for violating department standards in the preparation of a search warrant execution and for being “untruthful” in the Taylor warrant. 

 

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Поблизу Травневого, Кодеми та Пісків тривають бойові дії – Генштаб

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Звіт Amnesty International є маніпулятивним та таким, що надає більшу перевагу діям країни-агресора – омбудсмен

Amnesty International каже, що українські військові наражають на небезпеку мирне населення, створюючи бази і розміщуючи озброєння в житлових районах, у тому числі в школах і лікарнях

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Зеленський призначив Янушевича головою Херсонської ОДА – указ

У липні з посади голови Херсонської ОДА було звільнено Геннадія Лагуту згідно з поданою ним заявою

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Erdogan and Putin to Meet in Sochi for 2nd Time in a Month

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. A just-concluded deal on freeing up Ukrainian grain, along with Russian backing for a new Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces will be on the agenda.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Friday meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the Black Sea resort of Sochi will be the second time the two leaders have met in a month.

The meeting comes just after the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the Black Sea under a Turkey-U.N.-brokered deal between Kyiv and Moscow.

Analyst Ilhan Uzgel of the Duvar news portal said Erdogan’s success in brokering the U.N. deal and the Sochi meeting sends a powerful message to Turkey’s western allies about the Turkish leader.

“It helps to ameliorate his troublemaker image internationally and regionally. He is still trying to show that he can make deals with Putin, showing to the United States and Biden administration that Putin is a close ally and friend of Erdogan. He can meet Putin twice a month,” he said.

Zaur Gasimov, a professor of history at Bonn University and a specialist on Turkish-Russian relations, said, with Ankara pursuing a balanced approach to the Ukrainian conflict, the grain deal will further deepen ties between Russia and Turkey.

“The current Turkish Russian relations have definite bonds with the current war in Ukraine. Ukraine wheat exports is a new chapter for the region, and Turkey plays a quite significant role as an intermediary. And also, close military cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey and the aspect of Turkey not joining the anti-Russian sanctions all that results in dynamics that are of importance to Moscow and for Ankara,” he said.

Turkey-Russia relations are intertwined from North Africa to the Middle East, to the Caucasus, in a mixture of rivalries and cooperation. The two also have a deepening partnership on energy.

Analyst Uzgel said Erdogan hopes the Sochi meeting will help resolve an impasse with Putin over Syria. The Turkish leader is looking to launch a major offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces, which Ankara accuses of being linked to an insurgency inside Turkey.

“They have already met in Tehran two weeks ago. It seems that Erdogan could not get what he wanted from Putin. The permission for a Turkish incursion in northern Syria, where he openly stated the names of two places, Tel Rifat and Manbij. Most likely that he is looking for the possibility of such a military move into Northern Syria,” he said.

Ankara needs Moscow’s cooperation for its military operation, given that Russia controls Syrian airspace.

Analyst Gasimov said Putin is wary of Turkey’s growing military presence in Syria but says the two leaders are experienced in managing differences.

“Definitely, we see certain inconveniences on both sides but also the very huge readiness to discuss it with each other,” he said.

That readiness to talk and the growing list of common interests across the region means the frequent meetings between the two leaders may become a regular thing.

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With Group’s Help, US Airline Passengers Deliver Aid to Ukraine

Travelers heading from the United States to Europe this summer can also help transport relief supplies to Ukraine. Khrystyna Shevchenko has the story, narrated by Anna Rice.

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Наєв: російські війська більше не пройдуть на Київському напрямку

«Впевнений, що ворог цим напрямком більше не пройде. Ми робимо все для того, щоби ця впевненість була реальною»

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Months Into War, Ukraine Refugees Slow to Join EU Workforce

Liudmyla Chudyjovych used to have a career as a lawyer in Ukraine and big plans for the future. That was before the Russian invasion forced the 41-year-old to put her daughter’s safety first and leave both her job and home behind.

Since fleeing the town of Stryj in western Ukraine in May, Chudyjovych has found a new job in the Czech Republic. But instead of practicing law, she’s had to settle for work as a housekeeper at a hotel in the capital, Prague.

“It’s just a different stage of my career,” she said. “That’s simply how it is.”

One of the millions of refugees who have fled Ukraine since the Feb. 24 Russian invasion, Chudyjovych considers herself lucky to have a job at all. Not fluent enough in either Czech or English, Chudyjovych said she didn’t mind the work as long as she and her daughter are safe.

Although the European Union introduced regulations early in the war to make it easier for Ukrainian refugees to live and work in its 27 member nations while they decide whether to seek asylum or return home, many are only now starting to find jobs — and many are still struggling.

Some 6.5 million Ukrainians, have entered the EU since February, according to Frontex, the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, streaming into neighboring countries before many moved on to more prosperous nations in the West. Around half have since returned to Ukraine.

Only a relatively small number of those who stayed had entered the EU labor market by mid-June, according to the European Commission.

A recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report looking at the potential impact Ukrainian refugees will have on the EU workforce projected it will be about twice as large as the 2014-17 inflow of refugees, which included many fleeing war in Syria.

The study estimated the Czech Republic, which has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, would add the most Ukrainians to its workforce by the end of the year, with an increase of 2.2%, followed by Poland and Estonia. About 1.2 million workers would be added to the European workforce overall, mainly in service occupations, the report said.

Still, the influx is unlikely to drive down wages or boost unemployment in European countries, many of which face labor shortages due in part to their aging populations.

“Considering the labor needs of the main host countries, a negative impact in terms of employment or wages for the resident population … seems very unlikely,” the report concluded.

The EU effort to help the Ukrainians has won praise from the U.N. Refugee Agency and other rights groups dealing with migration. But they also note a major difference in the treatment of people fleeing wars or poverty in the Middle East, Africa or Asia, who often have to wait years before overcoming the hurdles for acquiring residency papers or work permits.

Still, there are many challenges ahead for Ukrainian refugees looking for work.

In addition to language barriers, skilled workers from Ukraine often lack documentation to prove their professional credentials to get better-paid employment. Their diplomas may not be recognized in their host countries, meaning many have to take language and training courses before they can seek professional opportunities.

Because men between the ages of 18 and 60 are banned from leaving Ukraine, many refugees are women with children, which can be an additional obstacle for trying to find work. Many women are still weighing their options and might decide to return home for the start of the school year in September, officials say, despite the war being far from over.

In Poland, which has taken in about 1 million Ukrainian refugees, more than any other EU nation, just over a third have found work, according to the Polish minister of labor and social policy, Marlena Malag. Some have gotten jobs as nurses or Ukrainian language teachers in Polish schools, while others are working as housekeepers or waitresses.

In Portugal, some of the country’s largest companies have special job recruitment programs for Ukrainians, while the Institute for Employment and Professional Training offers free Portuguese language classes.

In Germany, about half of some 900,000 Ukrainian refugees have registered with the country’s employment agency, though no figures are available on how many have actually found jobs. The Mediendienst Integration group, which tracks migration in Germany, says about half have university degrees, but doesn’t specify how many have been able to work in their professional fields.

Natalia Borysova was chief editor of a morning TV show in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv before fleeing with her daughters, 11 and 13, in March, and settling in the German city of Cologne. She applied for low-paying jobs such as housekeeping, but ultimately decided to turn them down to focus on learning German.

“I’m an optimist and I am sure that I will find a job after learning the language,” the 41-year-old said via WhatsApp. “Perhaps on a different level than in Ukraine, but in the same field. Now it just doesn’t make sense for me to work for the minimum wage.”

Borysova, like other Ukrainian refugees, receives an allowance from the German government that helps the family pay for food and housing, but said she wants to return to work as soon as she masters German.

Chudyjovych is among some 400,000 Ukrainians in the Czech Republic who have registered for special long-term visas that grant access to jobs, health care, education and other benefits. Nearly 80,000 have already found work, the government said.

At the Background café in Prague’s Old Town, 15 Ukrainian refugees work with the Czech staff as part of a project sponsored by the Mama Coffee chain. The refugees also receive free language classes and other programs.

Lisa Himich, 22, from Kyiv, likes it and says “it feels like home here.”

For Chudyjovych, working as a housekeeper is far better than living in fear and under the constant sound of air raid sirens.

“I thought I would miss Ukraine and be homesick but that hasn’t happened at all,” Chudyjovych said. “It’s peaceful here, and I feel like a human being.”

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Китай почав військові навчання навколо Тайваню після візиту Пелосі

Як повідомило агентство Reuters, навчання, найбільші в історії Китаю в Тайванській протоці, включатимуть бойову стрільбу у водах і в повітряному просторі навколо Тайваню

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Closing Arguments Expected in Griner’s Russia Trial

Closing arguments are expected Thursday in American basketball star Brittney Griner’s drug trial in a Russian court.

Griner is facing a potential sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted.

She was arrested at a Moscow airport in February with what she has acknowledged were vape cannisters with cannabis oil in her luggage.

Griner’s lawyers argued she had no criminal intent and had been prescribed the cannabis to treat pain. U.S. officials said she was wrongfully detained.

Russian officials have said Griner violated Russian law.

In a call last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to accept a prisoner swap that would send Griner and accused spy Paul Whelan – who U.S. officials say is also wrongfully detained – to the United States.

People familiar with the matter say the U.S. proposal would include releasing arms trader Viktor Bout to Russia.

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

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«Заохочує Росію до продовження крадіжок». У МЗС України розчаровані рішенням суду в Лівані щодо судна з зерном

У міністерстві закликали скасувати рішення і вжити заходів задля запобігання подальшим спробам використовувати Ліван «для оборудок із краденими українськими зерновими»

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Естонія розробила план допомоги інвестиціями в інфраструктуру та освіту Житомирщини – Рейнсалу

Естонія була однією з перших держав, які підтримали Україну в питанні надання зброї

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Зеленський після заяв Шредера – «огидно», коли колишні лідери держав працюють на Росію

Такі слова президента озвучені на тлі заяв ексканцлера Німеччини Герхарда Шредера, що Путін буцімто хоче дипломатичного врегулювання війни з Україною

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China Reacts Fiercely to Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit  

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi concluded on Wednesday a whirlwind visit to Taiwan that was warmly welcomed by the Taiwanese government and seen by Beijing as a “major political provocation” and a challenge to China’s sovereignty.

China said punishment for the United States and Taiwan would follow. Here’s what Beijing has done so far.

On the diplomatic front: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi condemned Pelosi’s visit as a violation of the “one China” policy, according to Chinese state media CGTN. He told reporters on the sideline of an ASEAN meeting in Cambodia that “those who offend China will be punished.” Yet when asked Wednesday in a daily briefing about what punishment was planned, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded by asking “for some additional patience and confidence.”

On Tuesday night as Pelosi landed in Taipei, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng called in Nicholas Burns, the American ambassador in Beijing, to protest the visit. China’s state Xinhua News Agency quoted Xie as saying that “the United States says one thing, does another,” and “uses any means to play the ‘Taiwan card.’ ”

On the military front: China’s People’s Liberation Army said it would be conducting live-fire drills Thursday through Sunday on six swaths of sea surrounding Taiwan, according to CGTN. Hua Chunying, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said on Wednesday this was to “dialogue with the U.S. and the Taiwan separatist forces in a language they can understand.”

The large-scale drill could mark a new stage of brinkmanship. A spokesman for Taiwan’s defense ministry, Major General Sun Li-fang, said Wednesday that Taiwan would resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and national security but would not irrationally escalate conflicts. “We prepare for war, but we do not seek it,” he said.

On the economic front: China has unleashed a slew of retaliatory restrictions aimed at Taiwan.

On Wednesday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced it had suspended natural sand exports to Taiwan, without specifying why. China’s Xinhua News Agency quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying the suspension was “in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.” 

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Wednesday that it would suspend imports of grapefruit, lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits from Taiwan. China’s General Administration of Customs said the products had been found to contain pests and excessive pesticides residue on multiple occasions. 

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China Launches Military Exercises as Pelosi Completes Taiwan Visit

China is warning that Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit will have a “severe impact” on ties with the United States, while the House speaker made clear in Taipei that Washington would not abandon Taiwan in the face of Beijing threats. VOA Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports.