STORY: The Bank of England has stepped in with a bid to calm markets. On Wednesday (September 28) policymakers said they would buy long-dated government debt on “whatever scale necessary”. The move comes after UK bond prices tumbled in feverish trade. Markets have been spooked by the government’s plans to slash taxes and ramp up borrowing. That has seen sterling tumble along with UK debt. By early Wednesday the yield on the country’s long-term bonds was above 5% - drastically raising the cost of all that new borrowing. After the BoE intervention, markets turned around, with yields tumbling back below the 5% mark. The move comes after international criticism put sterling under fresh pressure. The International Monetary Fund warned that “large and untargeted fiscal packages” would be likely to heighten inequality. It said inflation pressures meant they were unwise, and warned that fiscal policy shouldn’t work against monetary policy. Analysts called the rare intervention by the global lender “scathing”, and a “rebuke”. Ratings agency Moody’s piled in later. It said the unfunded tax cuts were “credit negative” for the country. The comments sent sterling tumbling again, and the Bank of England’s intervention did little to help. By lunchtime in London, the pound was down around 1.5% versus the greenback, nearing Monday's (September 26) record lows, though it then clawed back some ground. Some analysts have predicted sterling could soon go below parity for the first time.
STORY: Referring to the 'sham referenda and annexation that does seem to be proceeding in Ukraine', Blinken stated: "We will not indeed we will never recognise the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia.""Ukraine has the absolute right to defend itself throughout its territory," he added during a news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.He stated that there will be additional severe and swift costs on Russia and the US would continue to support Ukraine in its attempts to seize back the annexed land.
STORY: Royal Dutch Shell will buy African solar provide Daystar Power, the two companies said on Wednesday (September 28).That's as the oil giant pursues a mandate of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.Shell is one of the most influential oil producers in Africa but the Daystar purchase is its first power acquisition on the continent.Thomas Brostrom, Shell's vice president for renewable generation, said in a statement that Shell was helping to address a "critical energy gap for many who rely on diesel generators for backup power".Daystar is headquartered in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos.It provides off-grid power to commercial and industrial clients in Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Senegal.It has 300 power installations with installed solar capacity of 32 megawatts, but aims to boost capacity to 400 MW by 2025.Here's Daystar co-founder Christian Wessels speaking earlier this year."We are at the beginning of what is nothing shy of a power revolution of turning to more renewables, but what is also important, it will never be only solar. We have to find an intelligent mix between solar and other sources of energy.’’Neither Shell nor Daystar commented on the sale price. Shell - which has in the past faced criticism and court action over pollution in Nigeria - has earmarked $2-3 billion in capital expenditure for renewables and energy solutions in 2022.
STORY: "Taking into account the fact that the population of the republic approved the decision in the referendum, I ask you to consider the issue of Luhansk People's Republic becoming a part of Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation," separatist leader Leonid Pasechnik said.Russian-installed officials in four occupied regions of Ukraine reported huge majorities on Tuesday (September 27) in favor of becoming part of Russia after five days of voting in so-called referendums that Kyiv and the West denounced as a sham.Western countries said the votes were a coercive exercise to provide a pretext for Russia to annex around 15% of Ukrainian territory, and threatened new sanctions against Moscow if annexation plans went ahead.Vote tallies from complete results on Tuesday in the four provinces ranged from 87% to 99.2% in favor of joining Russia, according to officials.If Russia declares the four Ukrainian regions part of its territory, Putin could portray any Ukrainian attempt to recapture them as an attack on Russia itself, justifying a potentially harsher military response.Russia says it intervened in Ukraine in part to protect Russian-speakers living in the eastern Donbas region, comprising the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, from persecution.Kyiv and the West reject this as a baseless pretext for a wider war of aggression.
Scottish Water has begun using drones and laser technology to help survey its sewer network in a safer, more efficient way, allowing access to “parts of the network that traditional surveying methods can’t reach.”The new techniques, the utility said, will enable it “to more accurately assess the sewers’ condition and make key decisions about investment in maintenance or rehabilitation.” This, Scottish Water said, will “reduce the risk of leaks, collapses and environmental pollution” across a 33,000-mile network, some of which is from the Victorian era.Scottish Water said the video here was made during a pilot period during the summer, in partnership with civil engineers Environmental Techniques and drone manufacturer Good Friday Robotics.With the technology, Scottish Water said two workers could do the work of a team of 15, reducing carbon emissions from sewer surveys by as much as 80 percent, and helping the company reach its 2040 net-zero carbon target. Credit: Scottish Water via Storyful
STORY: Residents who escaped to Ukrainian-held territory in recent days have told of people being forced to tick ballots in the street by roving officials at gunpoint. Footage filmed during the exercise showed Russian-installed officials taking ballot boxes from house to house with armed men in tow.Russia says voting was voluntary and turn-out was high.At a reception center for evacuees in Ukraine-held Zaporizhzhia, Liudmyla Porych, an evacuee from occupied village near Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region said: “I saw members of the (voting) commission filling in the ballots themselves while sitting in their cars." “Results was nicely drawn on paper, but in reality people didn’t vote, the turnout wasn’t that massive. (People) are very opposed to the referendum, no one wants to join Russia, no one. But with this pressure… people are scared. Scared of everything,” said Aliona Surgan, who came from the occupied town of Verhnii Rohachyk in Kherson region.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a press conference on Tuesday, September 27, that initial reports on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 leaks indicated that they could be “the result of an attack or some kind of sabotage”.Blinken was speaking alongside Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the US Department of State in Washington.He said: “The leaks are under investigation. There are initial reports indicating that this may be the result of an attack or some kind of sabotage, but these are initial reports and we haven’t confirmed that yet. But if it is confirmed, that’s clearly in no one’s interest.”The Danish Military said on Tuesday that it had observed two leaks on the Nord Stream 1 line northeast of the island of Bornholm and one on the Nord Stream 2 line southeast of the island. Credit: US Department of State via Storyful
The Ukrainian armed forces said on Tuesday, September 27, that soldiers had fully recaptured Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi in Kharkiv Oblast from occupying Russian troops.A special forces unit was officially in control of Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi, on the left bank of the Oskii River, the Ukrainian defense intelligence department said on Tuesday.Video posted by @DzevelinB on Twitter showed uniformed soldiers on foot in Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi and being greeted by a woman in the area. Credit: @DzevelinB via Storyful
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told a press conference on Tuesday, September 27, that it was “probable” that the leaks found in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were caused by an act of “sabotage”.Andersson was speaking in Stockholm alongside the Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist.The PM said: “We have Swedish information but also received information from our contact with Denmark and from that we can conclude that it is probable that this was a deliberate act. It is likely a question of sabotage.”Andersson continued: “It is also important to point out that these detonations did not take place on Swedish or Danish waters, but rather in our countries’ economic zones and North Stream 1 and 2 are not owned by Sweden or Denmark, so this is not a question of an attack on Swedish or Danish territory.”“We do not exclude any scenarios and we will not speculate on motive or actors, Linde said. “What we can conclude is that this is an act of probable sabotage. The security and political situation in our area and globally is uncertain and unpredictable right now, which I discussed on Saturday with the UN Secretary General in New York. It is important right now that the EU and NATO continue to stand united. That is our most important weapon.” Credit: Regeringskansliet via Storyful
STORY: "I was expecting it was coming. I have a military background, it all matches, I'm under 35 years old", said Dmitry, one of the reservists. "Well, who (will go) if not us", he added.Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation to help Russian forces fighting in what Moscow calls its "special military operation in Ukraine".Protests against the call-up and Russia's actions in Ukraine have been seen in dozens of Russian cities.
STORY: Bitcoin is struggling to go green.(Tom Wilson, Cryptocurrency correspondent) "The global network creates about the same amount of carbon emissions as the entire country of Greece.’’New research from the University of Cambridge shows the world's largest cryptocurrency has only made slim gains in its usage of sustainable energy in the year to January 2022.So why is it that?And is bitcoin's carbon footprint likely to improve?Processing bitcoin transactions and "mining" new tokens uses a lot of energy.Reuters cryptocurrency correspondent Tom Wilson explains.‘‘Making new bitcoin is a process called mining, and it's incredibly energy intensive. It uses really powerful computers which are hooked up across a global network, and they'll fight against each other to solve very difficult math problems, to create a new bitcoin. Doing that uses very powerful computers and therefore a huge amount of electricity. The process relies heavily on polluting fossil fuels such as coal,drawing criticism from policymakers, investors and environmentalists who worry over its impact on global warming.In response, the industry has tried to find ways to shift bitcoin mining towards cleaner energy."Over the last couple of years, the Bitcoin mining industry has tried really hard to come up with ways to make bitcoin mining greener. Some people have tried to use byproducts from traditional mining, such as flare gas. Other people have tried to shift bitcoin mining towards renewable sources of power like hydroelectric.''Despite these efforts, research by the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index showed that fossil fuels still made up some 62% of bitcoin's energy mix in January 2022 versus 65% a year earlier.While the level of coal fell from 47% to 37%bitcoin became more reliant on gas, which in January accounted for a quarter of its energy mix versus 16% a year earlier.The role of sustainable power - classed as nuclear, hydro, wind and solar - barely rose, hitting about 38% from 35% a year earlier. Hydro dropped to 15% from around 20%.Bitcoin mining is mostly unregulated and opaque, with few centralized bodies gathering data. The Cambridge study is based on data on the geographical spread of mining across the world and the energy mix of individual countries.Bitcoin's greenhouse gas emissions are set to hit more than 53 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2022. ‘’Lots of investors are still pretty skeptical about bitcoin because of its environmental impact. There are still lots of initiatives in place to try to make Bitcoin go greener. But unless there is a really radical breakthrough in the underlying computer code that Bitcoin is based on, it's still quite difficult to see exactly how it can switch to a greener energy mix. So in short, Bitcoin mining still has a bit of a green problem that it's trying to solve.’’
STORY: The strike in Jenin targeted two Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks, Israeli police said. They opened fire and set off a bomb as commandos closed in, and were shot, it said. Palestinian medics said 40 people were wounded."The Dens of Lions," a Palestinian umbrella group formed of militants from different factions, said one of the dead gunmen also worked for the security services of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals with Israel from the early 1990s.The Dens of Lions identified a second man killed in Jenin on Wednesday (September 28) as the brother of a Palestinian who shot dead three people in Tel Aviv in April - among a series of street attacks within Israel that triggered its intensified West Bank raids.A third gunman was killed by the Israeli forces in Jenin on Wednesday (September 28), the Dens of Lions said. The Israeli police statement said commandos had traded fire with other gunmen.
A trailcam caught two bears engaging in “two rounds” of a muddy wrestling match in South Lake Tahoe, California, with the adorable grapple shared to Instagram on September 6.Footage of the pair was posted by local nature enthusiast Toogee Sielsch, with the duo seen wrestling each other before one exits off camera.The footage then shows what appears to be the same pair of bears taking each other on less than ten minutes later.Sieslch gave the video a WWE-style introduction, writing that this was a “middleweight division match” in the “South Tahoe Black Bear Wrestling Federation”.A keen observer of bears in the region, Sieslch added that the pair were “two sibling yearlings” who were “doing the same thing they’ve been doing since they first opened their eyes in the birthing den 18 months ago.” Credit: Toogee Sielsch via Storyful
STORY: Apple is dropping plans to increase production of its new iPhone this year, as an anticipated demand increase failed to materialize. That’s according to a Bloomberg News report, citing people familiar with the matter. The company reportedly told suppliers to ditch plans to increase assembly of its iPhone 14 product family by up to 6 million units in the second half of the year. Instead, the report says the tech giant aims to produce 90 million handsets for this period – a similar number to the year previous, and in line with Apple’s original forecast this summer. Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.Demand for the higher priced iPhone 14 Pro models is stronger than for entry-level versions, and at least one Apple supplier is shifting production towards premium models, Bloomberg reported. Apple said this week it would start manufacturing the recently launched iPhone 14 in India, as the California-based company moves some production away from China.
The European Union said on Wednesday, September 28, that it was “deeply concerned” about the leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea, as footage by the Swedish Coast Guard showed gas bubbling to the surface.In a statement issued on Wednesday, the EU said: “The European Union is deeply concerned about damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that has resulted in leaks in the international waters of the Baltic Sea.”The statement ruled out the possibility of a routine break on the lines, continuing: “All available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act. We will support any investigation aimed at getting full clarity on what happened and why, and will take further steps to increase our resilience in energy security.”The Danish Military said on Tuesday that it had observed two leaks on the Nord Stream 1 line northeast of the island of Bornholm and one on the Nord Stream 2 line southeast of the island. Credit: Swedish Coast Guard via Storyful
STORY: The recruits were shown with their newly-assigned weapons, as well as being put through their paces in training on manoeuvring and handling weapons during battlefield operations."All mobilised military personnel comply with the standards for shooting from small arms. In addition, citizens called up from the reserve restore their skills in the operation and maintenance of weapons, military and special equipment," the Defense ministry said on its Telegram channel in reference to training at another military facility in Kaliningrad. The ministry said training has also been held to increase firing skills and prepare military personnel for "confident actions on the battlefield".
STORY: Harris accused China of undermining the international rules-based order in her remarks during a visit to the largest overseas U.S. Navy installation in the world at Yokosuka, outside of Tokyo. The remarks and Harris' trip to Asia come days after U.S. President Joe Biden pledged in an interview aired on Sept. 18 to defend the Chinese-claimed island against an "unprecedented attack."The U.S. subscribes to a "one China" policy that formally recognizes only Beijing but binds the U.S. government to provide democratically ruled Taiwan with the means to defend itself.In the wake of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August, China carried out its largest-ever military exercises around the island. Harris said U.S. forces would operate in the region "undaunted and unafraid" even as the United States expects "continued aggressive" actions by China.
STORY: The pound took another hit on Wednesday (September 28). That after a wave of international criticism over UK plans to slash taxes and ramp up borrowing. The International Monetary Fund warned that “large and untargeted fiscal packages” would be likely to heighten inequality. It said inflation pressures meant they were unwise, and warned that fiscal policy shouldn’t work against monetary policy. Analysts called the rare intervention by the global lender “scathing”, and a “rebuke”. Ratings agency Moody’s piled in later. It said the unfunded tax cuts were “credit negative” for the country. The comments sent sterling tumbling again. In early London trade the pound was down around half a percent versus the dollar, not far above the record low of almost 1.03 hit on Monday (September 26). Some analysts have predicted it could soon go below parity for the first time. The selloff is also slamming UK government bonds. On Wednesday the yield on long-term debt pushed above 5% to hit multi-year highs. Such moves will raise the cost of borrowing the sums set out in the latest spending plans.
An NOAA plane traveled through the eye of Hurricane Ian in the Caribbean on Tuesday, September 27, as the hurricane was over Cuba.Cuba lost power in an island-wide blackout on Tuesday after the storm hit. The National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Ian battered the island’s west with high winds and a life-threatening storm surge.By Wednesday, September 28, the National Hurricane Center said Ian had strengthened into an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane. Life-threatening storm surges, catastrophic winds and flooding were expected for Florida. Credit: Nick Underwood/NOAA via Storyful
STORY: Russian-installed officials in Ukraine's Donetsk region declared victory late Tuesday (September 27), after the results of a hasty vote there pointed towards joining Russia.Donetsk is one of four occupied regions of Ukraine where five days of voting has taken place. So-called referendums - that Kyiv and the West have denounced as 'shams'.Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia wasn't even trying to hide it. "This farce in the occupied territories cannot even be called an imitation of a referendum. What would be proclaimed as results were known beforehand. Even the intelligence community didn't have to put too much effort into it. The agreed-upon figures for this farce were leaked to the media. Russia is blatant about it."The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said they were planning to introduce a resolution to the body in the coming days. "So, we are putting forward a resolution, with Albania, that condemns the sham referenda, calls on all states to not recognize any altered status of Ukraine and obligates Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine immediately."Russia's ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia however dismissed the accusations and said the referendums were conducted transparently and in line with electoral norms."More than 100 independent international observers observed it from 40 countries. They actively put their opinions in the media, and they were particularly surprised by the enthusiasm of the people and how enthusiastic they were about the referendum and how long they had awaited to hear this. Unfortunately, you won't hear this."The regions that stand to be annexed, Donetsk and Luhansk in the east as well as Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south, make up about 15% of Ukrainian territory altogether. Kyiv says it will press on with plans to retake all territory occupied by invading forces. One senior Russian official said annexation could come as early as next week. If Russia annexes the four Ukrainian regions, Russian President Vladimir Putin could portray any Ukrainian attempt to recapture them as an attack on Russia itself.He might also make good on recent threats to use nuclear weapons to defend what he calls the 'territorial integrity' of Russia.
STORY: Crashing waves could be seen at a Key West pier, as people walked around waist-deep in stormy waters while taking selfies.While a separate video posted on social media late on Tuesday showed homes and cars already flooded on the island.According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Wednesday, Hurricane Ian was leading to storm surge flooding across the lower Florida Keys. More than 2.5 million Floridians were under evacuation orders or warnings with the sprawling storm on track to make landfall as a potentially deadly Category 4 hurricane Wednesday evening, somewhere along Florida's Gulf Coast.It had pummeled Cuba on Tuesday and left the entire Caribbean island nation without power.
STORY: Ukrainian police and military were at the scene and searching through the rubble on Wednesday and debris from a damaged power transformer were also visible.Local authorities reported earlier four attacks on the city of Kharkiv that lead to power outages.The report followed a rocket attack on Kharkiv on September 9 in which at least 10 people were wounded. Ukrainian officials said that attack was revenge for its forces' successes on the battlefield against Russia.
STORY: This boiling water, churning above Russian gas pipelines, is the result of what Germany, Denmark and Sweden are now calling ‘attacks’ which have caused major leaks into the Baltic Sea.The two Nord Stream pipelines are at the center of an energy standoff between Russia and Europe. Denmark and Sweden released striking images a day after the leaks were reported, saying the largest gas leak had caused surface disturbance of around 0.6 miles in diameter.But it remains unclear what -- or who -- could have been behind the Nord Stream pipeline leaks. Europe on Tuesday said it was investigating claims of intentional attack levelled by several countries.Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau pointed fingers at Russia - though without evidence.“We are not in a position to reject the notion that this could be an element of Russian hybrid war against NATO.”"The explosions took place very close to Danish territorial waters, but not within the Danish territorial waters because if this were the case, this would be an intrusion into the NATO territory.”Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson also expressed concern. "We have Swedish intelligence, but we have also received information in our contacts with Denmark, and based on this concluded that this is probably a deliberate act. It is probably a matter of sabotage."Kristoffer Bottzauw is head of Denmark's Energy Agency."It is very rare that damages of this type occur, and now three damages have happened within 24 hours, which is why we are very worried about what the reason for this could be."Bottzauw says it could take a week for gas to stop draining out of Nord Stream 2, that ships could lose buoyancy if they entered the area, and warned that because the sea surface is full of methane, there is an increased risk of explosions.Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia after they launched what they called a 'special military operation' in Ukraine earlier this year.Moscow slashed its gas deliveries to Europe in retaliation, blaming Western sanctions for causing technical difficulties.But on Tuesday, Moscow also agreed that sabotage was a possibility. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that sabotage was a lose-lose situation. "The leaks are under investigation, there are initial reports indicating that this may be the result of an attack or some kind of sabotage, but these are initial reports and we haven't confirmed that yet. But if it is confirmed, that is clearly in no one's interest."The escalating energy war between European capitals and Moscow has damaged major Western economies, sent gas prices soaring, and has sparked a hunt for alternative supplies.While neither of the two pipelines currently leaking were in use on Monday, the incidents will sink any remaining expectations that Europe could receive fuel via Nord Stream 1 before winter.
STORY: Congress member Alirio Barrera walked into the legislative palace next to his white horse, surrounded by news crews.“If a cat or a dog and all of these animals are allowed to enter, why shouldn't an animal such as this one?" he asked. "I was saying, this animal is less dangerous and makes less harm than many of the politicians that have passed through here, and some – just some, not all- who are still here, harm the people more. This is a helpless animal.”The lawmaker's move is part of a protest against initiatives that could prohibit certain activities involving horses such as cattle herding.Starting this week, Colombian congress members will be allowed to take their pets to work with them.
STORY: Despite an ever increasing death toll and a fierce crackdown by security forces using tear gas, clubs and, in some cases, live ammunition woman cutting hair: protests continue to gather momentum amongst Iranians over the death of young Iranian woman Mahsa Amini while in police custody.Riot police clashed with protesters in dozens of cities on Tuesday, according to state and social media platforms. Videos posted on social media showed protesters calling for the fall of the clerical establishment.Globally, momentum has not wavered. Rallies have been held continuously over the last week from New York to Buenos Aires, Syria and here in Athens.Amnesty International Tweeted that Iran's security forces have responded to the protests with, "unlawful force, including by using live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds of others."Masih Alinejad, a U.S.-based Iranian journalist and women's rights activist, said the protests erupting is a "tipping point" for Iran.“For millions of Iranian people right now, the brutal death of Mahsa Amini is becoming a turning point. But for the Islamic Republic, the murder of Mahsa Amini is becoming a tipping point because compulsory hijab is not just a small piece of cloth. It's like the Berlin Wall. And if Iranian women manage to tear this wall down, the Islamic Republic won't exist."State media in Iran have branded the protesters "hypocrites, rioters, thugs and seditionists," while state television said police clashed with "rioters" in some cities.Videos posted on social media from inside Iran showed protesters chanting, "Woman, Life, Liberty," while women waved and burnt their veils.On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Iran's clerical rulers to "fully respect the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and association." Iranian author and professor of political science at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Saeid Golkar, said we should support Iran like we support Ukraine:"The entire world, especially people living in the most democratic societies, should remember that we are fighting in one battle. In liberalism, liberal democracy against authoritarianism. Iranians are part of this fight, you cannot leave them alone, you have to support them as you are supporting Ukraine, completely, rightly and with all you have. You have to support Iranians, they are demanding their basic right. And if you believe in human rights, if you believe in liberal values, you have to believe it for everybody else.”Officials say 41 people, including members of the police and a pro-government militia , have died during the protests. But Iranian human rights groups have reported a higher toll.