Crisis Lines – Namiaz Wed, 28 Sep 2022 11:03:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Crisis Lines – Namiaz 32 32 Ukraine Crisis – Situation Analysis (09/23/2022) – Ukraine Wed, 28 Sep 2022 08:55:07 +0000




If Ukrainian forces can hold the significant areas they have reportedly recaptured in recent weeks, or indeed continue to be successful, more areas are likely to be accessible for humanitarian aid. The reclaimed areas were characterized by widespread UXO and mine contamination, as well as significant damage to civilian infrastructure, affecting utilities such as heating, gas, electricity, and telecommunications, and the loss of many civilian homes. In addition, attacks on Ukrainian city centers continue to pose a threat, with the city of Kharkiv reporting attacks on electricity and water supplies causing a power outage for large parts of the city.


The displacement picture remains volatile, with the number of internally displaced people rising by 330,000 in the last month.
Somewhat confusing is the number of returnees, currently estimated at just over six million, but many of these are likely to be temporary. Conflict and security remain the biggest push/pull factors, but access to services and employment also play a major role. The largest number of IDPs now live in the eastern macro-region, which is also where the majority of IDPs come from (61%). This will put a heavy strain on areas close to the conflict fronts, which are also furthest away in terms of supplies and logistics. The average household size of IDPs has decreased, perhaps because some family members are returning, but the number of vulnerable groups in the IDP population remains significant.

Humanitarian Access

Access for humanitarian aid is severely restricted by conflicts in the east and south of the country, with much of the aid in frontline areas being provided by government officials and national NGOs.
Access to NGCAs is severely restricted and there is little information about the humanitarian situation in cities like Mariupol and Kherson. Evacuations from areas near the frontline in the east continued, but it is estimated that over 330,000 residents remain in Donetska Oblast.
Logistical challenges are another obstacle as the road and rail network is extensively destroyed and supply routes are cut off. In addition, the high fuel costs have a particular impact on local NGOs.

humanitarian conditions

The conflict in Ukraine had a significant impact on the humanitarian situation. Damage and fears of violence have caused nearly seven million people to flee their homes, while hundreds others remain in conflict-affected areas where they have limited access to goods, services and assistance and risk protection incidents. At least 5,663 civilians have died and 8,055 have been injured since February, including 365 children killed and 623 wounded.

The stress associated with the trauma has resulted in an estimated 15 million people across the country needing psychological help.

In addition, large-scale intra-country migration, including many trying to return to their areas of origin, is facilitating the transmission of communicable diseases, leading to multiple outbreaks. The lack of health services, overcrowded and poor housing and lack of access to clean water exacerbate the risk of disease. It is estimated that six million people have limited or limited access to tap water.
The costs of services and goods also put households under pressure and lead to negative coping strategies. By July, over 35% of families reported using nutrition-based coping mechanisms at or above crisis levels. Both the cost of food (28% annual increase in the food basket) and the cost of medicines (between 10% and 25% since January) are threatening the health of families who may be suffering from nutritional problems and untreated NCDs.

As winter approaches, the risk increases for vulnerable households with increased needs for heat and electricity, particularly in conflict zones, and for displaced people who are struggling to find adequate shelter before winter.

With winter approaching, will Putin’s “partial mobilization” help Russia win the war in Ukraine? Mon, 26 Sep 2022 05:50:30 +0000

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent announcement of a “partial mobilization” of 300,000 Russian troops to fight in Ukraine sounded decisive. It is not.

The official position, fleshed out by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, was that the new Russian conscripts would be recruited from among those with previous military experience and those with special skills.

But the reality is that this is a policy on the fly. It will result in a flood of untrained, often elderly and infirm, Russians on the front lines. At best, it buys Putin time for another cold Ukrainian winter. At worst, this will lead to chaos on the battlefield and possibly mass slaughter.

In any case, the decision means more Russians, as well as Ukrainian military and civilians, will be sacrificed on the altar of Putin’s hubris.

Putin’s arbitrary call

Paradoxically, Putin’s appointment is both highly selective and seemingly random.

Russia’s ethnic minorities – many of whom live far from the main power centers of Moscow and St Petersburg – remain prime targets for Russian mobilization efforts. In particular, Buryats from Russia’s Far East and Dagestanis from the Caucasus were disproportionately attacked.

Meanwhile, Putin continues to isolate the urban elites, who could cause him the most trouble if they radically oppose the war. Those studying at Russia’s state universities, usually the privileged children of Putin’s “nomenklatura” who go on to become the next generation of bureaucrats, are exempt from mobilization.

But the ones in the second row of private educational institutionsoften from the regions of Russia, can be drafted into private military companies such as the notorious Wagner Group, run by “Putin’s cook” Yevgenyi Progozhin.

Read more: Russian Army: Putin Describes Next Phase of Ukraine War and Who Will Be Called Up

So much for the arguments of domestic nationalists that Russia is the “Third Rome”, peacefully uniting people of different ethnicities and faiths. Indeed, as has happened repeatedly throughout Russian history, the nation’s minorities continue to be viewed as objects of suspicion and potential disagreement, and used as replaceable labor or cannon fodder in Russia’s wars.

There are also signs that little thought has been given to who will be called up and why. Some local counties appear to be operating under a quota system, with police roaming public spaces and phoning passers-by, including those over 60 and those with chronic health conditions.

Elsewhere, anti-war protesters – as well as innocent bystanders – were arrested and immediately drafted into the military.

An estimated 261,000 Russian males have fled the country. Conscripts were presented with old and poorly preserved old military equipment, including rusty assault rifles.

Others drafted into the Russian-occupied Donetsk province of Ukraine received Mosin rifles, which were developed in the late 19th century and are no longer in production.

Why mobilize?

All of this is a recipe for military disaster. But there are clear reasons why Putin decided to agree to the mobilization, which he had long resisted.

First, Russian hardliners are urging him to do more to support the armed forces and end the campaign. Having spent a large amount of its precision-guided munitions and failed to establish air superiority, Russian forces are finding it difficult to accurately hit Ukrainian command and control centers, as well as critical infrastructure such as power generation.

Mobilizing a massive military force (which some say will eventually reach over a million people) is a way of showing his uncompromising domestic critics that Putin is listening.

Read more: Putin is playing the annexation card, pushing the war in Ukraine into a dangerous new phase

Secondly, a large part of the Russian armed forces (about 60-70% of their total conventional capacity) is already stationed in Ukraine and after seven months of non-stop deployment it is almost exhausted. Sending new recruits to the theater of war will allow Russian front-line troops to rest and regroup for new efforts in the European Spring.

All of this means that Russian offensive operations in Ukraine are practically on hold. The best that Putin’s army of recruits can do is act as a blocking force while Moscow tests Europe’s patience and willingness to bear the cost of reduced energy supplies.

At the same time, the Kremlin has upped the use of its nuclear threats, clearly indicating that it would consider using tactical nuclear weapons if the territory it holds in eastern Ukraine (which will be formally annexed by Russia following mock referendums in four provinces) , this is attacked by Ukrainian troops.

But Putin’s statement that he is “not bluffing” on the nuclear issue should hardly inspire confidence in the power of his position.

Increasingly, it is the actions of a damaged leader who seek to instill strength.

A weakened Putin

That alone poses a conundrum for both Ukraine and the West: could a weakened Putin decide to lash out, and at what point?

As Caitlin Talmadgea senior nuclear strategy expert in the United States recently suggested that in the face of certain defeat, leaders may choose to choose courses of action that would otherwise be irrational.

While using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukrainian (and even NATO) targets could be seen by Putin as a bad option, he could see it as his least-worst option if the strategic situation continues to deteriorate or if his own domestic power base falters significantly in danger.

However, we should also be aware that Western surrender is exactly what Putin wants. That would starve Ukraine of much-needed military supplies and heavy weapons to extend its advantage after impressive gains from its Kharkiv counteroffensive.

Putin has consistently pursued a strategy of compulsiveness throughout the crisis: to demonstrate to Ukraine and its Western backers that he has a higher risk-taking attitude.

In these circumstances, and with both Ukrainian sovereignty and Western credibility at stake, it is absolutely crucial that Putin’s opponents show him who actually holds the position of strength.

Read more: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is slowly approaching a tipping point. Is the West ready to fight back?

Here are the key lines you may have missed from Tuesday’s official speeches Wed, 21 Sep 2022 22:55:00 +0000
US President Joe Biden arrives in New York City on Tuesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

President Biden is expected to build on his administration’s push to reform the United Nations Security Council in the face of flagrant violations of the UN Charter by one of the council’s permanent members: Russia.

“The council needs to be more representative of a larger segment of the world’s population, and it needs to be filled with countries willing to uphold the charter and work together on common problems,” a senior State Department official said Tuesday ahead of Biden’s address to the UN General Assembly .

It remains to be seen what the US President will say specifically on this issue and whether the US will come up with any concrete proposals this week.

“I expect that the President will speak at length on the issue of UN Security Council reform during his visit to New York. Whether he does so publicly or whether he communicates privately with the Secretary General and others, we’re still working on that today,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield noted earlier this month that the US has co-sponsored a “veto resolution requiring permanent members to veto the General Assembly.” She also said that the Security Council “should better reflect current global realities and incorporate geographically different perspectives.”

Biden is not expected to directly call for removing Russia from the Security Council, but is expected to be more specific than before on reforming the Council.

One official suggested the US could push to expand the council’s permanent membership.

There are currently five nations that have permanent seats and veto power on the Council: the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.

“In the past, we have named three countries that we believe should be members of the Security Council: Germany, Japan, India,” the senior State Department official noted. “So if the President rekindles real conversation and we get back to serious negotiation about what it’s going to look like, countries will benefit. We will be for it.”

However, they also said that “the idea is to open it up more widely,” noting that “we have entire continents that don’t have permanent representation” on the council.

Officials say it is an important matter to follow, especially in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The senior State Department official also accused Beijing of violating the principles of the UN Charter, citing Beijing’s response to Spokesperson Nancy Pelosis’ visit to Taiwan as an example.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak provided coverage for this post.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says it’s a “great day not to be in Jackson amid the water crisis.” Sun, 18 Sep 2022 04:56:52 +0000

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said Friday it was, as always, “a great day not to be in Jackson,” the capital, which has been facing a water crisis after Pearl River flooding damaged its water system .

The big picture: Reeves made the comments while speaking in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It’s the latest in a back-and-forth between Reeves and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

  • They have both accused the other’s office of failing to address long-standing problems with the city’s water treatment before the crisis, Axios’ Shawna Chen reports.
  • “I feel like I should take off my emergency manager hat and leave it in the car and take off my public works director’s hat and leave it in the car,” Reeves added in the speech.

Flashback: Reeves claimed that city officials failed to give the state and federal governments a plan to fix longstanding problems with the water system and that staff at the water facility where the fault occurred were “abandoned.”

  • Lumumba shared records that he says contradict Reeves’ statements, including the city’s capital improvement plan from a few years ago, which included requests for funding for the water treatment plant, and a document detailing a series of critical repairs and a timeline for implementation listed.
  • And last year, Reeves said Jackson needed to work harder to “collect their water bill payments before they start going out and asking everyone else to come up with more money,” the Washington Post reported.

Jackson is citywide The advisory about boiling water, which came into effect weeks before the flooding, was lifted on Thursday.

]]> Word over the weekend: This could trigger the next financial crisis, and these are the most – and least – vulnerable housing markets if the US goes into recession Fri, 16 Sep 2022 21:48:00 +0000

By Andrew Keshner

The best personal finance stories of Friday

Hello market watchers. Don’t miss these top stories.

At the weekend it was said: This can trigger the next financial crisis

Also, a preview of the Federal Reserve’s next steps to fight inflation and a painful warning from FedEx. Continue reading

These are the most – and least – vulnerable real estate markets when the US enters a recession

According to a report by Attom Data Solutions, housing markets in some major cities are the most vulnerable to declines when a downturn occurs. Continue reading

15 SUVs with panoramic sunroofs for under $40,000

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of SUVs that cost under $40,000 when they come with a pano sunroof or sunroof, and how much the option costs for each. Continue reading

Prepare yourself for these questions when applying for a credit card

You’ll have to provide a lot of personal information, so be prepared. Continue reading

Yellen: The IRS will be staffing the customer service phone lines for tax season now that they have $80 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act

A frustrating lack of phone service at the IRS for both taxpayers and tax preparers was a glaring problem, experts said. Continue reading

Is the housing market really collapsing? Redfin’s chief economist shares her predictions

Inflation is high and interest rates continue to rise, leading to much speculation about the real estate market, with many tossing the word ‘crash’ around. Continue reading

Kim Kardashian is reportedly listing her Calabasas condo (again) and her Hidden Hills home

If you’ve always wanted to keep up with the Kardashians, now’s your chance to actually live like one. Kim Kardashian is reportedly sorting out her real estate portfolio. Continue reading

Workers and employers are poised to benefit from Medicare drug price reforms, research shows

States can rely on the Inflation Reduction Act to extend drug savings in the commercial market. Read more

-Andrew Keshner


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Swedes go to the polls in a close election marred by crime and the energy crisis Sat, 10 Sep 2022 22:09:00 +0000

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  • Social Democrat Prime Minister Andersson faces right-wing opposition
  • Kristersson of the Moderates has allied himself with the Sweden Democrats
  • Campaigns focus on crime, cost of living crisis
  • Opinion polls show a neck-and-neck race between blocks
  • Polling stations close at 1800 GMT

STOCKHOLM, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Swedes will vote in an election on Sunday that will pit the incumbent centre-left Social Democrats against a right-wing bloc that has embraced the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats for power after eight years in opposition to win back .

With an ever-growing number of shootings unsettling voters, campaign parties have struggled to be the toughest to crack down on gang crime, while rising inflation and the energy crisis following the invasion of Ukraine have come under increasing focus.

Law and order is a home game for the right, but economic storm clouds gathering as homes and businesses face sky-high electricity prices could give a boost to Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who is seen as a safe pair of hands and more popular than her own party. Continue reading

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“My clear message is: During the pandemic we have supported Swedish companies and households. I will do the same thing again if I get your renewed confidence,” she said in one of the final debates before the vote this week.

Andersson was finance minister for many years before becoming Sweden’s first female prime minister a year ago. Her biggest rival is the leader of the moderates, Ulf Kristersson, who sees himself as the only one who can unite the right and overthrow it.

Kristersson has spent years deepening ties with the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration party with white supremacists among its founders. Initially shunned by all other parties, the Sweden Democrats are now increasingly centered on the right. Continue reading

“We will prioritize law and order to make working and building new climate-friendly nuclear power plants profitable,” Kristersson said in a video released by his party. “Put simply, we want to sort out Sweden.”

Opinion polls show that the centre-left party is neck and neck with the right-wing bloc, where the Sweden Democrats appear to have recently overtaken the Moderates as the second strongest party behind the Social Democrats. Continue reading

For many centre-left voters – and even some on the right – the prospect of Jimmie Akesson’s Sweden Democrats having a say in government policy or joining the cabinet remains deeply troubling, and the election is being viewed in part as a referendum on whether to give them This power.

Kristersson wants to form a government with the small Christian Democrats and possibly the Liberals, relying only on the support of the Sweden Democrats in parliament. But these are assurances that the centre-left party does not take at face value.

There is great uncertainty in the election as both blocs face long and tough negotiations to form a government in a polarized and emotionally charged political landscape.

Andersson will need support from the Center Party and the Left, which are ideologically opposed, and likely from the Green Party as well if she wants a second term as Prime Minister.

“I have quite a few red lines,” said Annie Loof, whose Center Party split from Kristersson over his embrace of the Sweden Democrats, in a recent SVT interview.

“One red line I have is that I will never let a government that gives influence to the Sweden Democrats through.”

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Additional reporting by Terje Solsvik and Anna Ringstrom, editing by William Maclean

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

European Midday Briefing: Miners, Oil Majors Help Lift Stocks; Energy crisis debated Fri, 09 Sep 2022 09:36:00 +0000



European stocks posted solid gains on Friday, with investor attention remaining focused on inflation and central bank monetary policy.

More hawkish comments on Thursday from Jerome Powell, who said the central bank should not waver in its commitment to aggressively tackling inflation, and the European Central Bank’s historic rate hike have added to the narrative that financial conditions will tighten further.

Nonetheless, shares were on track to end the week in positive territory, even as pressures from higher interest rates – which have plagued the stock market this year and heightened the risk of a recession – remain evident.

The energy crisis remains in focus, with European ministers discussing plans for intervention in the continent’s energy markets at an emergency meeting aimed at curbing soaring electricity prices.

Read more here.

Comments from post-ECB analysts:

The ECB press conference confirmed market prices for a short, sharp cycle, Citi said.

On the hawkish side of the ECB’s rhetoric were the hike to 75 basis points, the sharp rise in inflation forecasts, commitments to further rate hikes in the next few meetings and the suggestion that rates are still a long way from where inflation is needed to target, said Citi.

On the more dovish side, Citi mentioned Christine Lagarde, who said a 75 basis point rate hike is not the norm, an acknowledgment that the ECB can’t lower energy-driven inflation and that market prices aren’t too bad.

RBC Capital Markets raised its forecast for ECB interest rate decisions and planned further increases by 175 basis points to a final rate of 2.5%.

“We expect that to be achieved in a further 75bp move in late October, followed by a 50bp move in December and two smaller 25bp hikes in the first quarter of next year,” RBC said.

Stocks to watch:

Airbus deliveries are slightly behind the rate of previous years, but this reflects supply chain issues rather than weaker customer demand, Citi said.

The aircraft manufacturer booked no new aircraft orders and delivered 39 aircraft in August. The 382 aircraft it has delivered so far this year represents 55% of its full-year 2022 target, but the company is 2% behind the average for the three-year period ended 2019, Citi said.

“Deliveries are a little behind what we would like, but we don’t see this as insurmountable.”

Read: Airbus Delivery Guidance looks challenging

Economic insight:

A UK recession in the coming quarters is no longer likely following the introduction of a price cap on household electricity and natural gas bills, Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

With the measure, the average household will spend less on energy in the next six months than in the last six, which will improve the near-term inflation outlook.

“CPI inflation will rise from 10.1% in July to a peak of 10.8% in October before easing thereafter,” Pantheon said.

Household real disposable income has already bottomed out and the expected recovery looks strong enough to ensure that an economic recession is narrowly avoided.

US markets:

Stocks were expected to rise and endure a three-week losing streak, with investor attention remaining focused on inflation and central bank monetary policy.

Further hawkish comments from Jerome Powell, who said the central bank should not waver in its commitment to aggressively tackling inflation and the European Central Bank’s historic rate hike, have added to the narrative that tightening financial conditions in the US will face one blistering inflation.

Still, stocks have been on track to emerge from a three-week losing streak, even as pressures from higher interest rates – which have plagued the stock market this year and heightened the risk of a recession – remain evident.


The dollar fell to a weekly low in early trade, with the DXY dollar index slipping below 109.00 even after Jerome Powell underscored his commitment to fighting inflation.

“The driver of this USD pullback appears to be some reversal from recent JPY weakness, with USD/JPY falling on Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s warning that the JPY’s rapid weakening is undesirable after meeting the Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is drifting back below 143,” said UniCredit Research.

EUR/USD surged to a 3-week high.

Morgan Stanley said it remains short EURUSD, expecting it to trade below par again and targeting 0.97 with a stop at 1.05.

The background to his view is that the ECB’s monetary policy normalization may be inefficient to support the currency if the normalization takes place in a stagflationary environment.

She sees the Italian elections on September 25, euro-zone inflation data at the end of the month and the prospect of price support for European energy as key catalysts.

Danske Bank said it still sees further downside risk for the euro and is targeting EUR/USD at 0.95 on a 12-month horizon, adding that medium-term valuation drivers should weigh more sustainably on the cross in the coming quarters.

“Until we see a broad recovery in global growth, an investment boom, a sharp drop in energy prices and/or the Fed’s rate cuts, we believe EUR/USD has more downside in store and the ECB decision won’t change that.”


Euro-zone government bond yields extended gains early Friday in further reaction to the ECB’s rate hike and promises of more hikes.

“We believe that the ECB will be looking to bring its interest rates into neutral territory relatively quickly and as a result expect another 50 basis point rate hikes in October and December,” Pimco said.


Oil prices were higher, bolstered by Vladimir Putin’s threat to halt crude oil supplies to nations supporting the price cap plan and as investors judged the recent sell-off “exaggerated,” ANZ said.


Base metals and gold rose ahead of a national festival in China, with commodities gaining on a weakening dollar.

Marex said traders may seek to cover positions with the SHFE index closing for the Mid-Autumn Festival, as well as a possible LME closure after the Queen’s death in the UK




Europe holds emergency talks on energy market interventions

BRUSSELS- European energy ministers discuss plans to intervene in the continent’s energy markets at an emergency meeting aimed at curbing soaring electricity prices.

Diplomats said many countries – including the European Union’s biggest economies Germany and France – seemed to agree ahead of Friday’s meeting on the idea of ​​capping power generators’ revenues from nuclear, renewables and other non-gases and the money redistribute businesses and consumers.


Cineworld Receives $785 Million First Day Relief from Bankruptcy Court

Cineworld Group PLC announced on Friday that it had received “day one” court approval from a US bankruptcy court, giving it immediate access to approximately $785 million from a $1.94 billion line of credit granted to support the business.

Shares were up 0.21p, or 5%, at 07:30 GMT at 4.35p.


The Baltic States and Poland are shortening the land route to the EU for most Russian visa holders

European Union countries on Thursday announced new restrictions on Russian tourists coming to the bloc, with the Baltic states and Poland saying they would restrict entry for most Russian visa holders because of the war in Ukraine.

With air routes to the EU largely disrupted, Russian tourists have entered the EU in large numbers overland via Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Finland. Estonia had already started blocking Russian visa holders. Finland has reduced the number of new tourist visas to be issued.


Ukrainian forces advance east, threatening Russian supply lines

The Ukrainian military advanced as much as 30 miles to the east of the country and liberated more than 20 villages and towns, a senior commander said, in a rapid push aimed at cutting off Russian supply routes.

Brig. General Oleksiy Hromov, a senior officer in Ukraine’s General Staff, gave the first official confirmation of the successes of an offensive launched Tuesday east of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.



The Fed’s Powell reiterated the need to take decisive action on inflation

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank was focused squarely on bringing down high inflation to prevent it from taking hold as it did in the 1970s, reiterating expectations of a third Rate hike of 0.75 percentage points in a row later this month.

“It is very strongly our view, and my view, that we must act openly and strongly now, as we have done, and we must carry on until the job is done,” Mr Powell said Thursday morning at a virtual conference that hosted from the Cato Institute.


Inflation eases in China as growth challenges mount

Inflation in China unexpectedly eased in August, a renewed sign of trouble in the world’s second largest economy as fresh lockdowns in major cities again threaten growth.

Consumer prices rose 2.5% in August year on year, China’s national statistics bureau said on Friday, down from 2.7% in July. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had expected 2.8%.


White House considers order to review US tech investments in China and other countries

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is considering an executive order to review and potentially limit U.S. overseas investment in the development of cutting-edge technology in China and other potentially hostile countries.

According to people familiar with the matter, the White House intends to issue such an order within the next few months to monitor and potentially block foreign investment by American companies and investors.


Inflation expectations are ‘collapsing’ – which is why this could lead to a rebound in equities

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NDP is asking the Secretary of Sport to conduct a “continuity review” of Hockey Canada Wed, 07 Sep 2022 20:35:00 +0000

support for survivors
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and needs support, you can find province-specific centers, hotlines and services in Canada here. A list of resources and references is provided for readers in America here.

NDP MP Peter Julian is calling on the federal government to conduct a “thorough audit” of Hockey Canada’s 2016 finances.

The request, made in a letter to Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge on Tuesday, relates to thousands of dollars in expenses attributed to the sport’s national governing body, including high-end dinners, luxurious hotel suites and championship rings for board members.

Julian, a member of the House of Commons Inheritance Committee who has been investigating the federation since an explosive allegation of sexual assault and subsequent tacit payment was uncovered in the spring, wrote that he also raised the issue in another letter to the embattled CEO of Hockey Canada, Scott Smith, addressed .

Julian told the Canadian press last month he’d received information about the perks – including more than $5,000 worth of meals – and swanky accommodations from an unnamed former board member.

In a statement provided to CP at the time, Hockey Canada said board expenses “are regularly reviewed to ensure they are reasonable.”

St-Onge oversees Sport Canada and Hockey Canada, and according to Julian, “It is your responsibility to ensure that Hockey Canada uses government funds and hockey parent registration fees in an responsible and transparent manner.”

The BC MP added in his letter that the recent revelations “show that Hockey Canada has not been transparent and accountable to the public, and particularly to hockey parents.”

Hockey Canada has come under intense scrutiny since TSN first reported an undisclosed settlement paid to a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of the 2018 World Junior Team, at a gala event in London, Ontario be.

The complainant had sought damages of $3.55 million. None of the allegations were tested in court.

St-Onge ordered a Hockey Canada forensic audit to ensure no public funds were used as part of the settlement.

Hockey Canada officials told the Heritage Committee in July that it used the organization’s National Equity Fund, which relies on small hockey membership dues, to settle $7.6 million in uninsured claims in nine related settlements charged with sexual assault or abuse since 1989.

This number did not include the alleged incident in London.

Hockey Canada has also announced that it is investigating an alleged sexual assault involving members of the country’s 2003 world junior team.

The federation’s current board said last month it supported Smith, who also serves as president, and his executive team despite calls for changes at the top.

This led Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to state that Hockey Canada’s leadership had lost the confidence of the federal government and the country at large.

The federation’s response to the scandal has included the release of an action plan and a third-party review of its leadership, but the only leadership change so far has been the resignation of chief executive Michael Brind’Amour, whose term was due to end in November.

He resigned on August 6 and was replaced on an interim basis by Andrea Skinner three days later. Skinner then released the August 29 statement supporting Smith.

Conservative MP Karen Vecchio, chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, told The Canadian Press last week she believes everything Hockey Canada is doing at the moment is related to optics.

“It’s actually disingenuous,” she said. “I believe that.”

“No one gives up, that’s great,” Vecchio added sarcastically. “You guys have done such a great job so far.

“It’s like going back to the same restaurant that continues to serve you bad food.”

]]> Energy issues in Ukraine and Europe take center stage Sun, 04 Sep 2022 20:30:38 +0000

Energy troubles plagued Ukraine and Europe as much of the Russian-held region, home to a largely paralyzed nuclear power plant, was reported experiencing temporary power outages on Sunday.

Only one out of six reactors at the Zaporizhia plant was connected to the grid, and Russia’s main natural gas pipeline to Germany remained shut down.

Fighting in Ukraine and related disputes over pipelines lie behind power and natural gas shortages, which have worsened as Russia’s war in Ukraine, which began February 24, enters a seventh month.

Both topics will be the focus of this week. Inspectors from the UN nuclear agency are scheduled to brief the Security Council on Tuesday about their inspection and safety visit to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. European Union energy ministers were scheduled to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels on Friday to discuss the bloc’s electricity market, which European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said was “no longer operational”.

Much of the Zaporizhia region, including the key city of Melitopol, lost power on Sunday.

But it was later restored, said Vladimir Rogov, the head of the Russian-installed local administration in Enerhodar, the city where the nuclear power plant is located. According to the Russian news agency Tass, the power also went out in several parts of the port city of Cherson in the south-west.

While Rogov said no new shelling of the area around the six-reactor Zaporizhia plant was reported on Sunday, the impact of previous strikes continued.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday that the plant was disconnected from its last external main power line and one reactor was disconnected due to grid restrictions. Another reactor was still operational, producing power for cooling and other essential safety functions on-site and off-site for homes, factories and others through a back-up power line, the IAEA said.

Russian forces have held the Zaporizhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, since early March and Ukrainian workers continue to operate it.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said he would brief the UN Security Council on Tuesday on a mission he led to the plant last week. The 14-strong delegation braved gunfire and artillery fire to reach the plant last Thursday after months of negotiations to allow passage through the front lines of the fighting.

Without blaming either side at war, Grossi said his major concern is the physical integrity of the facility, its power supply and the condition of its personnel.

Europe’s energy picture remained clouded by the war in Ukraine.

Just hours before Russian energy company Gazprom was due to resume natural gas supplies to Germany via a major pipeline after a three-day hiatus, it said on Friday it could not do so until oil leaks in turbines were fixed.

This is the latest development in a saga in which Gazprom has cited technical problems as the reason for reducing gas flows through Nord Stream 1 – statements that German officials have dismissed as a cover for a political power play. Gazprom’s recent rationale for the shutdown dismissed Siemens Energy of Germany, which makes turbines the pipeline uses, saying turbine leaks could be patched while gas continues to flow through the pipeline.

Von der Leyen blamed the energy crisis in Europe on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine. Ahead of next Friday’s EU energy ministers’ meeting, she said that electricity and natural gas prices should be decoupled and that she supports a price cap on Russian pipeline gas exported to Europe.

Natural gas is one of the most important fuels for power generation and, alongside oil exports, an important source of income for Russia.

On the Ukraine battlefield, Russian shellfire hit the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv overnight, damaging a medical treatment facility, the city’s mayor said on Sunday.

Mykolayiv and the surrounding area have been hit daily for weeks. One child was killed and five people injured in rocket attacks in the region on Saturday, Governor Vitaliy Kim said.

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych reported no injuries in the night’s attack, which he said also damaged apartment buildings. Mykolayiv, located 30 kilometers (20 miles) upstream from the Black Sea on the Southern Bug, is a major port and shipbuilding center.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Russian shelling late Saturday torched a large wooden restaurant complex, according to the region’s emergency services. One person was killed and two others injured in shelling in the region, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the eastern Donetsk region, where Russian forces have tried to take full control, said four people were killed in shelling on Saturday.

Andrew Katell contributed to this story from New York.

Jackson’s water system could require billions of dollars in repairs. Federal infrastructure funds are not a quick fix. Fri, 02 Sep 2022 23:55:47 +0000

JACKSON, Mississippi — Residents of the Mississippi capital — who currently don’t have clean drinking water from their tap and in some neighborhoods don’t have enough water pressure to flush toilets — had good reason to hope the ambitious $1 trillion Last year’s infrastructure contract would help.

President Joe Biden shared the city’s struggles in promoting the August 2021 infrastructure bill, saying, “We can never again allow what happened in Flint, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi.”

In a state where financial fortunes are rare, the federal package could be transformative for Jackson, who desperately needs funds to repair a brittle system where sewer lines frequently rupture and residents regularly experience outages and notices to boil their water. Mississippi is expected to receive $429 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to repair its water and sewage systems over the next five years, primarily through loans, some of which are forgivable, and grants funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to be provided.

However, with the city remaining under a state of emergency, it could be a long wait for some of those funds — and a battle for the city’s share. One of two state agencies responsible for providing millions of dollars in federal infrastructure funding said it could be at least mid to late 2023 before allocations are made. And Jackson won’t be the only one coming to the table; The money will reach communities across the state.

Even if the state gave Jackson all the funds Mississippi should receive, that wouldn’t be enough. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a Democrat, said the price of overhauling the city’s water infrastructure could be in the billions. This far exceeds the funds allocated by the Infrastructure Act.

“We’re already in a life-or-death crisis,” said Danyelle Holmes, a Jackson resident who helps distribute water to the city and works as a national social justice organizer at Repairers of the Breach, which mobilizes voters and low-income earners the campaign of the poor. “Due to the water crisis, lives have been put at risk on a daily basis and pushing this another year to 2023 just won’t work for the citizens of Jackson, especially when we talk about humanity and preserving life.”

No deaths related to the water outage have been reported as of Friday, but health advocates have raised concerns about the vulnerability of dialysis patients who need access to clean water for treatment.

There is a repair funding mechanism that could reach Jackson sooner. This year, the Mississippi Legislature launched a $450 million program to fund water infrastructure using money the state received through the Congressional Covid Relief Package passed in 2021. However, the plan requires cities and counties to put up dollars to match, and Jackson only has about $25 million in funds to commit in the American Rescue Plan Act, according to State Senator John Horhn. Applications for the program opened Thursday, and some of that money could be awarded by the end of the year.

Ty Carter fills jugs with non-potable water at Forest Hill High School in Jackson, Mississippi, with Garrett Enterprises on Wednesday.Brad Vest/Getty Images

Infrastructure in the Mississippi capital has been likened to “peanut brittle,” prone to water mains, constant service disruptions and sewage spills on residential streets. Some pipes in the system were installed before the Great Depression. There’s also a history of deferred maintenance, culminating in repair costs that dwarfed the city’s entire budget.

The consequences of the maintenance failure were acute. References to boiling water are common in Jackson, and local residents’ concerns about contaminants slipping through remain. In 2016, routine tests found elevated levels of lead, leading state health officials to warn pregnant people and young children not to drink the city’s water, a recommendation that has remained in effect since last year.

Even if there is no advice, some locals avoid drinking from the tap. That means paying a bill every month for a service they can’t fully use and also at the grocery store for cases of bottled water. Wallets took an even bigger hit in February 2021, when many residents were without access to running water for a month after machinery was frozen by a cold snap. Some locals have been unable to work as shops have closed.

Attempts to solve the problems have been hampered by insufficient city-level revenue after decades of population decline. There has also been a lack of aggressive investment by the state legislature, which for many black Jacksonians is a painful modern reflection of Mississippi’s long troubled history with races: Jackson is a majority-black city with Democratic leadership, while the statehouse has been in recent memory Sessions dominated by mostly white male Republican leaders. And even though Mississippi has the largest percentage of black residents in the state, all of the state’s elected officials are white.

Lumumba said he was not in a position to refuse state aid, but noted earlier in the week that the city had “gone it alone” in recent years. Members of the city’s legislative delegation last year tried to get the city an additional $42 million from the state, but failed; the bill that contained the funds died in committee.

State Rep. Shanda Yates, an independent living in Jackson who led the effort, said a $42 million direct grant from the Legislature would likely have flowed to the city sooner than the American Rescue Plan’s equivalent grant program, that is just beginning on the way.

A direct assignment to the city from the Legislature, she explained, might have meant the city could start some work “sooner rather than later.”

“Maybe we could have started doing that already,” she said of the repair work that the money would have covered.

Some residents have long argued that racial inequality in state representation is why the city’s crisis has been allowed to smolder without significant financial support from the legislature.

“What’s really sad is that we have the resources and the technology to prevent this type of disaster,” Holmes said. “The failure to prevent such a catastrophe is a direct failure of governance.”

While the relationship between city and state leaders has been troubled in recent years, more recently Lumumba and Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, have put forward a united front. On Thursday, the two made their first appearances at the same press conference on the current water crisis.

A spokesman for Reeves did not respond to requests for comment; a spokesman for Lumumba did not comment.

As many across the country prepare for an extended Labor Day weekend, Jackson continues to suffer from a water outage. At times, tens of thousands of residents across the city had little to no running water. Locals were already grappling with a boiling water warning in place since July 29 and preparing for possible flooding after days of heavy rain when the latest crisis hit.

On August 29, Jacksonians had breathed little relief after learning that the city would likely be spared severe flooding when Reeves announced that the capital’s water system was on the verge of collapse.

City officials said the flood affected the operation of one of its water treatment plants, adding to the disruption. An emergency rental pump was introduced to increase performance.

Some of the longer-term solutions previously mentioned by city officials could involve replacing water lines across the capital at a cost of over $11 million. Before the recent outage, repairs to water treatment plants were expected to be worth over $35.6 million. And fixing some problems in the city’s sewage system is estimated at $30 million.

The $429 million Mississippi will receive from the federal infrastructure bill over the next five years will flow primarily through two agencies.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality administers the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program. (Revolving fund programs recycle money repaid from past borrowers to future borrowers and help cities and counties that may not have enough income from their tax base to pay for repairs.) The agency initially received about $17 million and said, she expects to start allocating funds in the second half of 2023.

Though the money hasn’t been disbursed yet, Jan Schaefer, a spokeswoman for the agency, said Jackson was recently awarded about $31.7 million for a project involving its sewage system from a previous round of federal funding. The city has also completed the initial planning needed to receive an additional $163 million in funding from the state’s revolving credit programs, it said in a statement, but has not yet submitted any applications.

Once the necessary paperwork is complete, she said, the projects could be “probably funded for the next few years.”

Another portion of the infrastructure money goes to the State Department of Health’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. According to Les Herrington of the agency’s Office of Environmental Health, that fund already has more than $19 million from the law that it has begun folding into planned allocations. The agency did not immediately share details of its timeline for awarding additional funds.

In fiscal 2021, $27 million in revolving loans from the federally-backed drinking water fund were made to Jackson to improve treatment facilities, but no new applications have been made since last year, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

As the process of disbursing federal funds continues, residents continue to wait in water supply lines that stretch for a mile for basic supplies. A final date for the service to be restored was not given.

As of Friday morning, the city said water pressure is improving but is not yet up to ideal standards.

Sam Mozee, director of the Mississippi Urban Research Center at Jackson State University, says his team is monitoring what happens with future funding. His colleagues know firsthand how crucial money will be – the campus has been switched to virtual classes due to the outage.

“Health, safety, economic vitality – water affects everything,” Mozee said. “The whole system, everything is at stake.”

Bracey Harris reported on Jackson; Daniella Silva reported from New York.