News Burst 24 January 2022 – Get The News!

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  • Chaotic scenes unfolded on the streets of the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Sunday, as thousands of protesters joined a mass march against Covid-19 health passes and other restrictions introduced by European governments in the name of combating the pandemic.
  • -53C marathon at Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold in Yakutia – Sixty five runners, including sportsmen from the United Arab Emirates, America and Belarus, started the run earlier today at extremely low temperature in Oymyakon, Yakutia’s Pole of Cold. The international team of men and women ran full distance, half-marathon, and also 10km and 5km. The winner was Vasily Lukin, teacher from Churapcha Institute of Physical Culture and Sport.
  • The researchers, from Shenzhen Kangning Hospital and Southwest Hospital, reviewed 473,957 subjects with an average age of 69 from the UK Biobank database, including 16,559 Covid-positive individuals. They divided them into groups by drinking status (non-drinker, former drinker, and current drinker) and by frequency of alcohol consumption (less than three times a week, more than three times a week, and never). The researchers concluded that “red wine, white wine, and champagne have chances to reduce the risk of Covid-19.” Heavy drinking is not healthy with any category of alcoholic beverage.
  • According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) , tourism arrivals around the globe are not expected to return to their pre-pandemic levels until 2024 at the earliest.
  • Police were called after a man was brought into a post office in Carlow, Ireland, propped up by two others. It was later discovered that he was deceased, and the pair were attempting to collect his earnings under the pretense that he was still alive. At a small post office, employees and customers waiting in line became immediately suspicious, Irish media reported. One neighbor said her daughter saw the man’s feet dragging as he was pulled into the post office. Police confirmed to local media that they are investigating the strange incident, and the autopsy of the body will determine where the investigation goes. Meanwhile, a nearby house has been cordoned off as a crime scene as the investigation continues.
  • At least half a dozen former US military servicemen have landed in Ukraine amid rapidly escalating tensions in the east of the country. The group, known as Forward Observations, has posted a string of photos and videos on its official Instagram, with geotags showing that the men are in the war-torn Donbass region. The Americans are seen wearing combat gear, apparently inspecting the Ukrainian army’s battle positions and trenches. Some of the men in the photos are also holding assault weapons, though it is not clear whether these are American or Ukrainian soldiers. All of those featured in the photos have their faces blurred.
  • New guidelines for inclusive language have been introduced by the University of Washington, rolling out dozens of words that were deemed “problematic” as regards sexual orientation, age, gender or disability. The guide highlights words such as “grandfather”, “housekeeping”, “lame”, “see”, “crazy”, “ninja”, “guru” or “spirit animal” as “problematic”, offering some alternatives for those willing to promote a linguistically inclusive environment. For example, words such as “crazy” and “lame” are considered “ableist”, whereas using “ninja”, “guru” or “mantra” may be racially unethical. “In reference to office work, this language can feel gendered,” the guide reads when it comes to the words “housekeeping”. “It carries a fraught history and connotation of women’s traditional domestic role as housekeepers.” Even words such as “Christmas” and “apple pie” might be considered offensive and/or racist.
  • [Weekly Asteroid] A giant asteroid is approaching Earth, but there is no risk of collision, NASA records have showed. The US space agency classified the 2017 XC62 as a “Near Earth Object” (NEO), which NASA believes is at least 623 feet (189 metres) wide. It means that the asteroid is more than twice the size of the Statue of Liberty. NASA scientists continue to keep an eagle eye on the huge celestial body, which is due to get as close as it can to Earth on Monday, moving at a speed of 9,500 miles (15,288 kilometres) per hour.
  • Scientists have completed the monitoring of the breakaway Antarctic “megaberg” designated A68a, researchers from the University of Leeds in the UK have reported, determining in their study that the 5,719-square-kilometre berg released some 152 billion tonnes of freshwater in mere months before melting away completely. The researchers followed the megaberg using five satellites, monitoring its size, thickness, and estimated volume. According to them, the iceberg was melting at a rate of 7 metres per month at its peak. A68a released the billions of tonnes of freshwater it consisted of in just three months as it floated near the island of South Georgia in the Atlantic Ocean some 1,400 kilometres away from the Falkland Islands. So far, no adverse effects have been detected.
  • Reddit users have resurfaced an old photo of British actress Emma Watson and American producer-turned-sex offender Harvey Weinstein. In the picture taken in 2011, Watson is seen looking concerned and borderline frightened and uncomfortable as Harvey Weinstein is holding her both arms back. At the time, Weinstein was yet to face the accusations of sexual harassment from dozens of women, including famous actresses like Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Eva Green, Gwyneth Paltrow, and many others.
  • The UK’s Grenadier Guards are believed to want Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, to be their new colonel instead of Prince Andrew, The Times has reported, citing regiment officials. “From straw polling through the ranks, they would all love it to be Kate”, a senior official in the Grenadier Guards told the outlet. There were no official comments from either the Grenadier Guards or the Duchess concerning the matter. Kate Middleton, should she be chosen to take the role, would become the first female colonel of the Grenadier Guards.
  • A team of archeologists, while restoring the funerary complex of King Amenhotep III, uncovered two large Sphinxes built around 3,300 years ago. The discovery was made near the modern-day city of Luxor at the “Temple of Millions of Years.” The 26-foot-tall limestone statues depict King Amenhotep III as a Sphinx. Amenhotep is depicted with a royal beard and wearing a mongoose headdress and a wide necklace, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
  • Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty of sex trafficking, is now learning Russian to avoid going insane in her prison cell, The Mail on Sunday has reported. Maxwell is awaiting her sentencing, scheduled for June, in solitary confinement at New York’s Metropolitan Detention Centre. According to the newspaper, she is on suicide watch, wearing only paper clothing, and unable to obtain any books, pens, or pencils. However, she is allowed to use a laptop for a few hours a day to learn Russian using a CD language course.
  • NATO’s newly released space doctrine expands on the alliance’s 2019 Space Policy – which recognised space as a new “operational domain”, alongside air, land, sea, and cyberspace – and vows to help make its members’ space capabilities compatible and interoperable. According to NATO, space is becoming more “crowded and competitive” with satellites being vulnerable to interference from certain countries, including Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, which have developed and tested a wide range of counter-space and anti-satellite technologies (ASAT). The alliance proclaims that attacks in space against its members could lead to the invocation of NATO’s Article 5, but falls short of defining what exactly constitutes an “attack”. Instead, the doctrine says that decisions about this will be made on a “case-by-case” basis.
  • Gabriel Boric’s victory in Chile has coincided with a string of election wins by left-wing presidential candidates across the continent, notes geopolitical analyst and scholar Juan Martin Gonzalez Cabañas, suggesting that a win by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil could facilitate a deeper regional consolidation. Boric’s win is highly symbolic for the region, as it sealed the ultimate failure of the neoliberalism in “the first laboratory of the Chicago School in South America,” says Juan Martin Gonzalez Cabañas, an Argentine political consultant and geopolitical analyst at international think tank Vision & Global Trends. After Pinochet’s CIA-backed 1973 military coup, the country embraced the junta’s “market dictatorship” which was replaced by a “neoliberal democracy” in the 1990s and a “centrist consensus” between post-Pinochet conservative forces and the traditional Chilean left, according to Gonzalez Cabañas. However, this supposed “democratic consensus” didn’t change the economic, social and political structures inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship, the analyst notes.
  • Kiev’s ambassador to the UK has compared Germany’s reluctance to supply arms to Ukraine or block a Russian pipeline to Nazi Second World War crimes. Vadym Prystaiko told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday morning he couldn’t say what “I really think of Germany” since “there are cameras around”.
  • France’s Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune has lashed out at calls made by the country’s opposition leader to withdraw France from NATO, claiming that they play into the hands of Russia. Referring to tensions between Moscow and western countries over Ukraine, he told the French news network Europe1 that he had “heard some suggest that now is an opportunity” to call for France’s exit from the North Atlantic alliance.
  • The SpaceX CRS-24 cargo ship undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting Earth. The Dragon spacecraft, which arrived at the station on 22 December, brought scientific instruments and Christmas treats for the astronauts. It is scheduled to return to Earth next afternoon, carrying a retired microscope and samples from studies on colloids and cellular signalling.
  • The defense minister of Burkina Faso has rejected reports on detention of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and said that the situation in the country was under control, after shooting was heard in some cities on Sunday. “The head of state was not detained… it is all under control,” Barthelemy Simpore told the country’s Omega radio station. Earlier in the day, the media reported citing a communique that the government of Burkina Faso rejected reports on the seizure of power by the army.
  • Bird flu outbreaks have been registered at two poultry farms in the most populous South Korean province of Gyeonggi, with about 427,000 chickens slated for culling in accordance with the country’s regulations, Yonhap News Agency reported on Saturday, citing the agricultural ministry. The quarantine authorities reportedly began culling birds on Sunday. The agricultural ministry did not specify the time frame of the procedure. Since 8 November 2021, the country has suffered 24 H5N1 outbreaks, including the current ones. H5N1 is a highly contagious virus that can cause influenza in birds and result in their deaths.
  • The Ministry of Interior (MOI) of the United Arab Emirates have banned flying drones operations for enthusiasts in light of the recent drone attack on Abu Dhabi carried out by the Houthi rebels controlling northern Yemen. “MOI is currently stopping all flying operations for owners, practitioners and enthusiasts of drones, including drones and light sports aircraft. This encompasses also air and sail spots”, the ministry said in a statement published on its official website on Saturday.
  • Ukraine – The end of the Soviet Union may have given Ukraine independence but for Ukrainian society at large it has been an economic disaster. Ukraine suffered a devastating shock in the 1990s. GDP per capita in constant PPP terms halved between 1990 and 1996. It then recovered to 80 percent of its 1990 level in 2007 and has stagnated ever since. Thirty years on, Ukraine’s GDP per capita (in constant PPP dollars as measured by the World Bank) is 20 percent lower than in 1990. GDP per capita numbers paint a picture of painful stagnation. In addition, Ukraine’s weakness has left it vulnerable to repeated and painful foreign exchange and financial crises. Ukraine continues to be a fragile ward of the International Monetary Fund. What is clearly true is that Ukraine’s elite have not come up with a formula for delivering the material basis of legitimacy, i.e. a minimum of stability and sustained economic growth. Economic frustration compounds the divisions between regions, language groups, factional interests. Since independence, the oligarchic super-rich have played a baneful and disruptive part in Ukraine’s politics… The divisions within Ukrainian politics continue to be extreme, with the nationalists exerting a whip-hand. In March 2020, President Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andryi Yermak, met with the Putin’s point man Dmitry Kozak, and agreed on a special Advisory Council in which Ukrainian officials would discuss the peace process with representatives of the Russian-backed separatist governments. On his return to Kiev, Yermak was slapped with criminal charges by the Ukrainian security services and faced accusations of treason in parliament. This confirmed Moscow’s view that nationalist zealots in Ukraine call the shots. In 2021 February, in an unexpected move the Ukrainian authorities announced severe sanctions against pro-Russian politicians and media. On February 2, President Zelensky shut down three pro-Russian TV channels, accusing their owner of financing Donbas separatists. This was followed on February 19 by sanctions against Ukrainian and Russian individuals and companies on the same charges. Most dramatically, Kiev struck against Viktor Medvedchuk, who in recent years has been Putin’s only interlocutor in Ukrainian politics and is a crucial go between. Given the strong support for his pro-Russian party Medvedchuk was also a serious challenger to Zelensky in political terms… The Western media tend to treat Russia’s commentary on Ukraine as purely instrumental talk… But what if we take seriously what the Russians say?… In that case what they are concerned about is something like the Georgian scenario… An over-ambitious or desperate nationalist regime in Kiev, encouraged by loose Western talk about NATO membership, attempts, through force, to reincorporate Donbass… That would require Moscow to react with massive force… Whatever its desires or ours, the government in Ukraine has simply never been in a position to fully join the West — it’s too economically weak, too internally divided and simply in the wrong place… The United States cannot do nothing if Russia invades Ukraine; we also would be insane to join the war on Ukraine’s side… Accepting some pain for the sake of a more sustainable position is simply what happens when you’ve made a generation’s worth of poor decisions, and you’re trying to find a decent and dignified way to a necessary retreat. ~ American Historian Professor Adam Tooze At Columbia University

News Burst 24 January 2022

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By cindyloucbp

Cynthia is the typical Pisces! Her left brain activities include scientific activities in the hospital laboratory as a director. Her right-brain activites show as a painter, photographer and musician. She is known as the scientist who sings!

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