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Кличко пояснив, за якої умови пункти обігріву в столиці працюватимуть цілодобово

Gункти обігріву можуть працювати 24 години на добу, коли є надзвичайна ситуація. Коли ж у місті є світло та тепло, то немає сенсу тримати там людей, уточнив Кличко

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NCA: в Лондоні затримали та звільнили під заставу російського мільярдера

Під час обшуку в будинку російського бізнесмена було вилучено кілька цифрових пристроїв та значну суму готівки

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ЗСУ підняли перший прапор України на лівому березі Херсонської області

Український прапор встановлений на стрілі річкового портового крана, і завдяки цьому його видно на сотні метрів навколо

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Mauna Lao Lava Inches Toward Highway 

Lava from Mauna Lao, the world’s largest active volcano, is inching its way toward the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, a key transportation artery on Hawaii’s Big Island.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in its latest update that the lava flow has “slowed down significantly over the past couple of days, as expected.”

The observatory said, “Advance rates may be highly variable over the coming days and weeks due to the way lava is emplaced on flat ground. On flat ground, lava flows spread out and inflate. … There are many variables at play and both the direction and timing of flow advance are expected to change over periods of hours to days, making it difficult to estimate when or if the flow will impact Daniel K. Inouye Highway.”

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Estonia to Buy US Rocket Artillery System in $200M Deal 

NATO member and Russia’s neighbor Estonia is boosting its defense capabilities by acquiring an advanced U.S. rocket artillery system in the Baltic country’s largest arms procurement project ever, defense officials said Saturday.

The deal signed Friday for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is worth more than $200 million and includes equipment such as ammunition and rockets, as well as training.

The package includes HIMARS rockets with ranges of 70-300 kilometers (43-186 miles), the Estonian Center for Defense Investment said in a statement. Lockheed Martin Corp. is expected to make the first deliveries in 2024. Estonian officials didn’t disclose the number of rocket launchers, but local media outlets said the purchase consists of six HIMARS.

“The HIMARS multiple rocket launchers are a new important step in the development of Estonia’s defense capabilities,” Lt. Col. Kaarel Mäesalu, head of the capability development department at the Estonian Defense Forces said in a statement. “This makes it possible to decisively influence the enemy even before coming into contact with our infantry units.”

Estonia’s Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania either have or are currently in the process of acquiring their own HIMARS.

Washington has provided Ukraine with the rocket launchers during Russia’s invasion of the country. The Estonian Defense Ministry said the HIMARS systems “have helped to destroy Russian military ammunition warehouses, transport nodes, and command and control centers with pinpoint accuracy beyond the range of the howitzers Ukraine has been using.”

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Армія РФ вдарила по Краматорську: в ОВА розповіли подробиці

У Краматорську чотири ракети вдарили по промисловій зоні міста, повідомив очільник МВА

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Зеленський скликав чергове засідання Ставки: говорили про відновлення енергетики та духовну незалежність

Розглянули питання автономної роботи об’єктів критичної інфраструктури та заходів із забезпечення духовної незалежності України

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У КМДА розповіли, як забезпечуватиметься водопостачання у столиці в разі блекауту

Питну воду та воду для інших потреб доставлятимуть до пунктів обігріву. Влада столиці вже відпрацювала з комунальними службами схеми транспортування цистерн із водою

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Росія зацікавлена в «превентивних поступках» Заходу в питанні України – ISW

Раніше, 1 грудня, президент США Джо Байден заявив, що готовий до переговорів із Путіним, але тільки після консультацій із союзниками по НАТО

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Треба 30 доларів, а не 60 – офіс Зеленського про запровадження стелі цін на російську нафту

«Знизити потрібно було б до 30 доларів, щоб швидше знищити економіку ворога», – написав у телеграмі голова Офісу президента України Андрій Єрмак

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US Forces Monitor Mideast Skies at Qatar Base Amid World Cup

As World Cup fans throng stadiums across Qatar, about 8,000 American troops stationed just nearby watch over the airspace of the tumultuous Middle East from a major base run by this energy-rich nation.

Built on a flat stretch of desert about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Qatari capital Doha, Al-Udeid Air Base once was considered so sensitive that American military officers identified it as only being somewhere “in southwest Asia.”

Today, the sprawling hub is Qatar’s strategic gem, showcasing the Gulf Arab emirate’s tight security partnership with the United States, which now considers Doha a major non-NATO ally.

At the height of U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, more than 10,000 troops called the base and other sites in Qatar home. That number has dropped by a fifth since the Biden administration began drawing down some forces from the Mideast in preparation for the so-called Great Powers competitions looming with China and Russia.

But the Qataris have continued to pour money into the base — more than $8 billion since 2003. On a visit Friday, Associated Press journalists saw a new barracks and dining hall as airmen discussed other improvements on the way. And airmen said the creation of a new task force focused on drones and other off-the-shelf battlefield technology at Al-Udeid shows that Washington is there to stay, despite fears to the contrary.

“There is a tremendous commitment from the U.S. Air Force to this region,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Erin Brilla told the AP. “We are staying as an enduring capability.”

Al-Udeid’s birth and growth mirrors the “forever wars” that followed the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington by al-Qaida. As Saudi Arabia asked American forces to leave the kingdom, Qatar offered Al-Udeid, built at an estimated initial cost of $1 billion.

Al-Udeid soon became the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command. Its Combined Air Operations Center oversees combat missions, surveillance flights and drones across the Mideast, North Africa and Asia.

While the “forever wars” wound down, conflicts still rage across the region. As tensions with Iran run high, the U.S. and its allies are looking for ways to counter the low-cost drones employed in the region by Tehran and its militia allies, like Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The Air Force’s new Task Force 99, newly stationed al Al-Udeid, is focused on countering them — or imposing the same “dilemmas” on militias that they do on the U.S. when they force allies to fire a “$1 million missile versus a $1,000 drone,” Brilla said.

That’s a real-world example. The Saudi military has fended off most of the Houthis’ barrages with its American-made Patriot surface-to-air missile system, typically firing two missiles at an incoming target. That has become expensive and inefficient, as each Patriot missile costs more than $3 million and the kingdom’s supply has run low.

Task Force 99 follows a similar force in the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which dispatches drones into Mideast waters. Like the Navy, the Air Force wants to focus on widely available off-the-shelf technology it could share with allied nations and not fret about losing, as opposed to the $32 million MQ-9 Reaper drones that have flown out of Al-Udeid in the past.

For Qatar, hosting the base provides protection in a fractured region, allowing it to defy its neighbors. Just two years ago, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain mounted a boycott on Qatar, severing trade and travel links. Iran, which shares a huge natural gas field with Qatar, sits just across the waters of the Persian Gulf.

As the shared hub for the Qatari Emiri Air Force, the U.K. Royal Air Force and Central Command, the base boasts parking lots of C-17 transporters and the long runways to accommodate the heaviest bombers taking off in the desert heat that can reach 50 C (122 F) in the summer. It can feel like a self-contained bubble, albeit one with a Burger King, a Pizza Hut and a gym.

Even so, World Cup fever is seeping onto the base — a rare dose of the outside world for the U.S. troops typically more engaged in faraway wars than Qatar’s diversions. Signs in Arabic promote the World Cup. American troops said they often drive out to the eight stadiums in and around Doha to root for the United States national team when they get the time, with one service member even earning a reputation as a World Cup fanatic after attending seven matches.

“I am through and through very excited to see us compete and put their heart and souls on the field, just like our airmen here putting their hearts and souls into the mission,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Kayshel Trudell, who saw the U.S. beat Iran 1-0 earlier this week at the stadium, where members of the Air Force Band crooned acoustic covers.

She also said she’d be decked out in red, white and blue, cheering on the U.S. at its match against the Netherlands on Saturday — the country’s chance to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

Al-Udeid’s FOX Sports Bar, the base’s main watering hole, broadcasts the tournament, allowing troops passionate about soccer to follow the matches. FIFA has granted permission to the Defense Department’s American Forces Network to air the matches.

“It’s an exciting time to be here in Qatar with the World Cup right down the road,” Brilla said, adding that “just about every TV” in the command center shows the matches. She paused, apparently reflecting on the many screens tracking the sky. “Not the ones monitoring the air picture, but the others.”

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Fighting Words: Founding Fathers Irked England by Inventing American English

Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, coined the words “electioneering” and “indecipherable.” John Adams (No. 2) came up with “caucus.” James Madison (No. 4) was the first to use “squatter” when referring to someone who occupies a property or territory they don’t own.

As they set out to build a new nation, America’s Founding Fathers were determined to give the fledgling republic its own identity and culture by making up new words that were unique to the American experience.

“It was thought by many of the early presidents — Jefferson, Adams, [George] Washington and others — that they were doing something important,” says Paul Dickson, author of “Words from the White House: Words and Phrases Coined or Popularized by America’s Presidents.” “It was this belief that we were separating ourselves from the British.”

The practice of making up new words outraged British purists, some of whom viewed Americans as people without a language who stole England’s mother tongue.

“Some of the first words that the British really went crazy over were the words ‘congressional’ and ‘presidential.’ They said they were barbarous,” Dickson says. “But those were words we needed. George Washington, one of the words he created — and again, this helped frame who we were — he talked about his ‘administration.’ That word never existed in terms of a noun to describe the body of people that ruled with you in your Cabinet.”

In some cases, the presidents didn’t come up with the words and phrases. Some were created by speechwriters, aides and other acquaintances and then popularized by the president. For example, John Jay, Washington’s secretary for foreign affairs, is said to have coined “Americanize.”

A key nonpresidential figure who helped codify these new Americanisms was Noah Webster, who published his first dictionary in 1806. Webster fought in the Revolutionary War, which secured America’s independence from England. While wandering through a New York military camp filled with war veterans, he saw the need for a unique American language.

“He was hearing voices of Indigenous people. He was hearing Irish brogues. He was hearing all sorts of different kinds of language and different kinds of speaking, and heavily accented,” Dickson says. “And he realized that this country is going to be a big mix of different people, different interests, and it needed a new language. It needed something called the ‘American language,’ which is a term he created. … Noah Webster actually said that creating a new language was an act of defiance.”

While future presidents also coined new words, Dickson says the founders were particularly prolific. Jefferson alone is credited for coming up with more than 100 words, including “belittle,” “pedicure,” “monotonously” and “ottoman” [footstool]. Fittingly, he also invented the verb “neologize,” which is the practice of coining new words or expressions.

Instead of saying “within doors,” Washington created the word “indoors.” The first president also came up with “average” and “New Yorker.”

Adams borrowed from the classic Spanish novel, “Don Quixote” to create the adjective “quixotic” [unrealistic schemes]. The first recorded uses of “hustle” [to move rapidly] and “lengthy” [long, protracted] came from Adams’ journal entries.

Although the earliest American leaders started the practice, neologizing eventually became something of a presidential tradition.

“There were certain presidents that have a knack for this, and some of it was conscious. Some of it was sort-of semi-conscious,” Dickson says. “It became, it was, sort of, the American way.”

Despite inventing numerous memorable words and phrases, America’s early leaders fell short of coining a term to describe themselves — the extraordinary group of men who founded the United States and created the framework for its government. That didn’t happen until a century later.

In the 1920s, President Warren Harding dubbed them the “Founding Fathers” and in doing so, created one of the most memorable and iconic Americanisms of them all.

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Росія «викликає стурбованість» у питанні дотримання релігійної свободи – держсекретар США

Міжнародна релігійна організація «Свідки Єгови» була визнана екстремістською та заборонена на території Росії у квітні 2017 року. Після анексії Криму Росією у 2014 році сотні кримських татар зазнали кримінального переслідування за участь у релігійному русі «Хізб ут-Тахрір»

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«Обмовка ведучого» про армію РФ і карта з Кримом у складі Росії – головред «Дождя» прокоментував інциденти

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Війська РФ обстріляли Херсон – пошкоджені електромережі

Після відступу з Херсона російські загарбники почали регулярно обстрілювати місто

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«Ми пройдемо цей шлях» – митрополит Епіфаній про повернення української молитви до Києво-Печерської лаври

«Мирно, спокійно, впевнено ми пройдемо цей шлях. І в святині нашого народу нарешті зазвучить щоденна молитва рідною мовою – за перемогу, за справедливий мир, за вигнання російських агресорів та за добро для України»

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White House Says Biden Not Intending to Talk to Putin

The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden has “no intentions” at present of holding negotiations with President Vladimir Putin about ending the war in Ukraine, a day after Biden appeared to make a conditional offer to talk to his Russian counterpart.

“We’re just not at a point now where talks seem to be a fruitful avenue to approach right now,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Friday.

At a news conference Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron, Biden said, “I’m prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war. He hasn’t done that yet.”

Biden’s comments appeared to be a cautious diplomatic overture from the White House.

When asked about those comments Friday, Kirby noted that Biden said Putin has yet to show any interest in talking.

“Putin has shown absolutely no inclination to be interested in dialogue of any kind. In fact, quite the contrary,” Kirby said.

“The president wasn’t at all indicating that now is the time for talks. In fact, he has been consistent that only (Ukrainian) President Zelenskyy can determine if and when there’s going to be a negotiated settlement and what the circumstances around that settlement would look like,” Kirby said.

The Kremlin said Friday that Putin is ready for negotiations with the West — provided the West recognizes Russia’s “new territories” taken from Ukraine.

In a statement, the Kremlin said the West must accept Putin’s proclamation that the southern region of Kherson and three other partly occupied regions of Ukraine now belong to Russia, before any talks can take place. Russia’s invasion has been condemned as illegal by most countries.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “The president of the Russian Federation has always been, is and remains open to negotiations in order to ensure our interests.”

Also Friday, Putin spoke on the phone with Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Scholz is quoted as telling Putin “there must be a diplomatic solution as quickly as possible, which includes a withdrawal of Russian troops.”

For his part, Putin accused “Western states, including Germany,” of making it possible for Kyiv to refuse to negotiate with Russia.

“Attention was drawn to the destructive line of Western states, including Germany, which are pumping the Kyiv regime with weapons and training the Ukrainian military,” the Kremlin said.

In a written statement, Scholz’s spokesperson said, “the chancellor condemned in particular the Russian airstrikes against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and stressed Germany’s determination to support Ukraine ensuring its defense capability against Russian aggression.”

Speculation about negotiations to end the war has increased as Moscow’s military advances in Ukraine have stalled and in some cases been turned back. Russia’s missile strikes against Ukraine’s power infrastructure have left millions of Ukrainians without power, heat and water as winter sets in.

President Biden has not spoken with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine. Last March, Biden called Putin “a war criminal.”

On Thursday, France announced its support for creating a special tribunal to try those accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Russia’s foreign ministry said Friday it was “outraged” by France’s position.

“We demand that French diplomats, who are so attentive to human rights issues, not divide people into ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ ‘ours’ and ‘not ours,'” the foreign ministry said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the EU would try to set up a specialized court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russia during its invasion.

Russia has denied targeting civilians and other war crimes.

U.N.-appointed investigators are examining whether Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, leaving millions without heating as temperatures plummet, amount to war crimes, a member of the inspection team said Friday.

Fierce fighting continued Friday in Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions, where Ukraine’s military said it fought off wave after wave of Russian attacks.

Kyiv said Russian troops attacked Ukrainian positions in 14 settlements, while carrying out 30 airstrikes and 35 multiple-rocket attacks on civilian areas.

The battlefield reports could not be independently verified.

The British Defense Ministry’s intelligence update Friday on Ukraine said, “Russia’s withdrawal from the west bank of the Dnipro River last month has provided the Ukrainian Armed Forces with opportunities to strike additional Russian logistics nodes and lines of communication.”

“This threat has highly likely prompted Russian logisticians to relocate supply nodes, including rail transfer points, further south and east,” according to the report posted on Twitter. “Russian logistics units will need to conduct extra labor-intensive loading and unloading from rail to road transport. Road moves will subsequently still be vulnerable to Ukrainian artillery as they move on to supply Russian forward defensive positions.”

The ministry said, “Russia’s shortage of munitions [exacerbated by these logistics challenges] is likely one of the main factors currently limiting Russia’s potential to restart effective, large scale offensive ground operations.”

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

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Prayers? Bombs? Hawaii History Shows Stopping Lava Not Easy

Prayer. Bombs. Walls. Over the decades, people have tried all of them to stanch the flow of lava from Hawaii’s volcanoes as it lumbered toward roads, homes and infrastructure.

Now Mauna Loa — the world’s largest active volcano — is erupting again, and lava is slowly approaching a major thoroughfare connecting the Big Island’s east and west sides. And once more, people are asking if anything can be done to stop or divert the flow.

“It comes up every time there’s an eruption and there’s lava heading towards habited areas or highways,” said Scott Rowland, a geologist at the University of Hawaii. “Some people say, ‘Build a wall’ or ‘Board up,’ and other people say, ‘No, don’t!”

Humans have rarely had much success stopping lava and, despite the world’s technological advances, doing so is still difficult and dependent on the force of the flow and the terrain. But many in Hawaii also question the wisdom of interfering with nature and Pele, the Hawaiian deity of volcanoes and fire.

Prayers to Pele

Attempts to divert lava have a long history in Hawaii.

In 1881, the governor of Hawaii Island declared a day of prayer to stop lava from Mauna Loa as it headed for Hilo. The lava kept coming.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Princess Regent Lili’uokalani and her department heads went to Hilo and considered ways to save the town. They developed plans to build barriers to divert the flow and place dynamite along a lava tube to drain the molten rock supply.

Princess Ruth Ke’elikōlani approached the flow, offered brandy and red scarves and chanted, asking Pele to stop the flow and go home. The flow stopped before the barriers were built.

More than 50 years later, Thomas A. Jaggar, the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, asked U.S. Army Air Services to send planes to bomb a Mauna Loa vent to disrupt lava channels.

Lt. Col. George S. Patton, who later became famous as a general in Europe during World War II, directed planes to drop 20 272-kilogram demolition bombs, according to a National Park Service account of the campaign. The bombs each had 161 kilograms of TNT. The planes also dropped 20 smaller bombs that only had black powder charge.

Jagger said the bombing helped to “hasten the end of the flow,” but Howard Stearns, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist onboard the last bombing run, was doubtful. In his 1983 autobiography, he wrote: “I am sure it was a coincidence.”

According to the park service, geologists today also are doubtful the bombing stopped the lava flow, which didn’t end with the bombing. Instead, the flows waned over the next few days and didn’t change paths.

 

Local advises to go with the flow

Rowland said authorities could use a bulldozer to pile a big berm of broken rock in front of Daniel K. Inouye Highway. If the terrain is flat, then lava would pile up behind the wall. But the lava may flow over it, like it did when something similar was attempted in Kapoho town in 1960.

Rapidly moving lava flows, like those from Kilauea volcano in 2018, would be more difficult to stop, he said.

“It would have been really hard to build the walls fast enough for them. And they were heading towards groups of homes. And so you would perhaps be sacrificing some homes for others, which would just be a legal mess,” he said.

He said he believes most people in Hawaii wouldn’t want to build a wall to protect the highway because it would “mess with Pele.”

If lava crosses the highway, Rowland said officials could rebuild that section of the road like they did in 2018 when different routes were covered. There are no current plans to try to divert the flow, a county official said.

Thinking you should physically divert lava is a Western idea rooted in the notion that humans have to control everything, said Kealoha Pisciotta, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner. She said people need to adjust to the lava, not the other way around.

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US Designates Iran, China as Countries of Concern Over Religious Freedom

The United States on Friday designated China, Iran and Russia, among others, as countries of particular concern under the Religious Freedom Act over severe violations, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

In a statement, Blinken said those designated as countries of particular concern, which also include North Korea and Myanmar, engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom.

Algeria, the Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam were placed on the watch list.

Several groups, including the Kremlin-aligned Wagner Group, a private paramilitary organization that is active in Syria, Africa and Ukraine, also were designated as entities of particular concern. The Wagner Group was designated over its activities in the Central African Republic, Blinken said.

“Around the world, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail, and even kill individuals on account of their beliefs,” Blinken said in the statement. “The United States will not stand by in the face of these abuses.”

He added that Washington would welcome the opportunity to meet with all governments to outline concrete steps for removal from the lists.

Washington has increased pressure on Iran over the brutal crackdown on protesters. Women have waved and burned headscarves, which are mandatory under Iran’s conservative dress codes, during the demonstrations that mark one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

The United Nations says more than 300 people have been killed so far and 14,000 arrested in protests that began after the September 16 death in custody of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini after she was detained for “inappropriate attire.”

U.N. experts also have called on majority Shiite Muslim Iran to stop persecution and harassment of religious minorities and to end the use of religion to curtail the exercise of fundamental rights.

The Baha’i community is among the most severely persecuted religious minorities in Iran, with a marked increase in arrests and targeting this year, part of what U.N. experts called a broader policy of targeting dissenting beliefs or religious practices, including Christian converts and atheists.

The United States has expressed grave concerns about human rights in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, which is home to 10 million Uyghurs.

Rights groups and Western governments have long accused Beijing of abuses against the mainly Muslim ethnic minority, including forced labor in internment camps.

The United States has accused China of genocide. Beijing vigorously denies any abuses.

The other countries designated as countries of particular concern were Cuba, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The U.S. Religious Freedom Act of 1998 requires the president, who assigns the function to the secretary of state, to designate as countries of particular concern states that are deemed to violate religious freedom on a systematic and ongoing basis.

The act gives Blinken a range of policy responses, including sanctions or waivers, but they are not automatic.

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UN Weekly Roundup: November 26 – December 2, 2022 

Editor’s note: Here is a fast take on what the international community has been up to this past week, as seen from the United Nations perch.

UN launches record humanitarian appeal for 2023

The United Nations launched a $51.5 billion appeal Thursday for humanitarian needs in 2023. Needs are the highest they have ever been, with 339 million people in 69 countries requiring some form of humanitarian assistance. That’s 65 million more people than at the start of this year. The U.N. and its partner agencies hope to reach 230 million of those most in need in 2023. U.N. Humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said that 2022’s extreme events are spilling into next year, including deadly climate events such as droughts and floods, and the impact of the war in Ukraine. More than 100 million people are displaced globally and 828 million people are facing severe food insecurity. Famine is a real risk for 45 million of them. So far this year, donors have provided $24 billion as of mid-November, but the funding gap stands at 53% with just three weeks left in the year.

EU chief calls for UN-backed tribunal on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called Wednesday for a special U.N.-backed court to investigate and prosecute Russia’s crime of aggression against Ukraine. The U.N. secretary-general’s spokesman said any decision to establish such a tribunal, with or without U.N. involvement, rests with member states. But creating such a court may be difficult.

EU Calls for Special Russia Aggression Tribunal May Be Tough to Realize

Watch this explainer on how Russians accused of war crimes in Ukraine could face prosecution: Video Explainer: How Could Russians Accused of War Crimes in Ukraine Face Prosecution?

Russia donates 260,000 tons of fertilizer to African nations

Russia has donated 260,000 metric tons of fertilizer it produced that was sitting in European ports and warehouses for use by farmers in Africa, the United Nations said Tuesday. The U.N. welcomed the move, saying it would help alleviate humanitarian needs and prevent catastrophic crop loss in Africa. World fertilizer prices have surged 250% since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Russia Donates 260,000 Tons of Fertilizer to Africa

UNESCO warns Australia’s Great Barrier Reef at risk from climate change

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, said Tuesday that “a rapid escalation of corrective measures” is needed to safeguard the future of the country’s Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300 kilometer reef runs along Australia’s northeastern coast and is home to 9,000 known species of marine life. In a report, UNESCO said Australia had failed to adequately address climate change and other key threats, including poor water quality and over-fishing. UNESCO’s World Heritage committee will consider next year whether to recommend the reef be listed as “in danger.”

UN Warns Australia Over Health of Great Barrier Reef

In brief

— UNAIDS said in a report to mark World AIDS Day on December 1 that gender inequalities are holding back the goal of ending the virus by 2030. Watch this VOA report about women at risk in South Africa: African Women and Girls Most at Risk of HIV

— U.N. Human Rights Chief Volker Turk called on Myanmar to suspend all executions and return to a moratorium on the death penalty Friday, following reports that more than 130 people have now been sentenced to death by secret military courts since the February 2021 coup. At least seven university students were also sentenced to death by a military court on Wednesday and as many as four youth activists were reportedly sentenced to death on Thursday. The U.N. human rights office said it is seeking clarification of those sentences. The high commissioner said the military is using the death penalty as a political tool to crush opposition and it shows their disdain for the efforts of regional bloc ASEAN and the international community in trying to end the violence and start a political dialogue.

— The International Labor Organization said in a report Wednesday that real monthly wages have fallen significantly in many countries, hurting low-wage earners the most. The ILO estimates that global monthly wages fell in real terms to minus 0.9% in the first half of 2022, making it the first time this century that real global wage growth has been negative. The organization attributed the decline to global inflation combined with the slowdown in economic growth, due in part to the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis.

— The U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, told reporters Wednesday that as temperatures begin to drop and snow will soon make many roads impassable, it’s urgent to pre-position humanitarian assistance across the country. Funding shortfalls are making that difficult, as the $4.4 billion humanitarian response is just under half funded. He said 6 million Afghans are a step away from famine levels of hunger and 25 million people overall need some form of assistance. Alakbarov said $768 million is needed to complete winter preparedness — $614 million by the end of this year.

— An inter-agency convoy of 16 trucks carrying 482 metric tons of food and other humanitarian supplies, crossed conflict front lines from Aleppo into Sarmada in northwest Syria on Wednesday. The U.N. said it is the ninth such cross-line convoy since the adoption of Security Council resolution 2585 in July 2021. While important, the U.N. says cross-line convoys are currently unable to replace the massive cross-border operation from Turkey into northwest Syria, which reaches 2.7 million people each month. That operation is up for renewal next month and is likely to face a contentious negotiation, as Russia and the regime in Damascus, have been opposed to its continuation for the last few years.

Quote of Note

“Peace is never easy — but peace is always necessary.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking to reporters Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the sidelines of the African Union-U.N. annual conference.

What we are watching next week

Let’s be honest … football. With the whole world represented at the United Nations, there is definitely some serious World Cup fever going on in Turtle Bay. As the field shrinks to 16, the excitement is growing.