ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Mossad chief quoted saying US ‘rushing into a deal that is a lie’ with Iran

Barnea quoted by multiple outlets as saying the emerging accord with Iran is ‘very bad for Israel’ and ‘a strategic disaster’

Mossad chief David Barnea meets Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, August 25, 2022. (PMO)
Mossad chief David Barnea meets Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, August 25, 2022. (PMO)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.

Syria says two civilians injured in alleged Israeli airstrike

Syria’s state-run SANA broadcaster says two civilians are hurt after an Israeli airstrike near the city of Masyaf in the northwestern part of the country.

According to SANA, Israeli jets launch missiles from over the Mediterranean, southwest of the port city of Tartus, targeting several sites in the Hama region.

It says damage is caused to the sites that are hit, and there are fires in the area.

Footage published on social media shows prolonged secondary explosions at the sites allegedly hit by Israel.

The area around Masyaf, which is thought to be used as a base for Iranian forces and pro-Iranian militias, has been repeatedly targeted in recent years in attacks widely attributed to Israel.

Maccabi Haifa to face PSG, Juventus and Benfica in Champion’s League group stage

The Maccabi Haifa soccer team has been placed in group H of the Champion’s League group stage, where it will face off against French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, as well as Italian club Juventus and Portugal’s Benfica.

France’s defending champion, PSG, features some of the world’s top players, including Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. The team lost in the Champions League final two years ago, but betting sites list it as one of the favorites this year.

Haifa’s other matchups won’t be much easier: Juventus and Benfica are both two-time champions, and perennially at the top of the tables in their respective home leagues.

Maccabi clinched its spot in the group stage Tuesday on a 90th-minute own-goal by Belgrade Red Star, giving the team a 5-4 victory on aggregate. The team was mobbed by ecstatic supporters upon returning to Israel the next day.

It is just the third time Maccabi has made it this far in the UEFA Champions League, European soccer’s premier annual tournament. In their last appearance, in 2009-2010, the team made history by failing to score a single goal in all six matches.

The top two teams in each stage will advance to the knockout rounds. No Israeli team has ever made it past the group stage.

The Champions League group stage starts early this season on September 6 and ends five weeks sooner than usual on November 2 because of the World Cup in Qatar, which starts November 20.

Fixture congestion caused by the first World Cup played in the European winter means the Champions League final in Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium is on June 10.

The 32 teams will share about 2 billion euros ($1.99 billion) in UEFA prize money.

Iran urges IAEA to end undeclared nuclear sites issue

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian listens to a question during a joint press briefing with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Tehran, Iran, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian listens to a question during a joint press briefing with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Tehran, Iran, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran’s top diplomat demands that the UN nuclear watchdog drop the issue of three undeclared sites, as momentum builds to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.

Washington has said the United States remains adamant that Iran cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency to clear up suspicions about earlier work at three undeclared sites.

In June, the IAEA’s board of governors adopted a resolution censuring Iran for failing to adequately explain the previous discovery of traces of enriched uranium at three sites that Tehran had not declared as having hosted nuclear activities.

“We are very serious about safeguard issues, and do not want to allow some of the IAEA’s baseless accusations to remain,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says, according to state news agency IRNA.

The issue has poisoned relations between the IAEA and the Islamic Republic, which considers the matter “political in nature, and which should not be used as a pretext to punish Iran,” an Iranian diplomat says, quoted by IRNA.

The comments come a day after the United States responded to Iran’s proposals on reviving the landmark agreement trashed by former US president Donald Trump.

“We are in the process of examining the response of the Americans,” Amir-Abdollahian says.

3 more US states ban abortions in latest fallout from Supreme Court ruling

In this file photo taken on July 4, 2022, a reproductive rights activist, gagged by a scarf in the colors of the US flag, marches during a protest against a recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights, in New York (Ed Jones/AFP)
In this file photo taken on July 4, 2022, a reproductive rights activist, gagged by a scarf in the colors of the US flag, marches during a protest against a recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights, in New York (Ed Jones/AFP)

Abortion became illegal in three more US states today, further restricting access to elective terminations for millions of women.

Two months after the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, nearly 21 million women have already lost access to the procedure in their home states, according to an analysis by The Washington Post.

And with Idaho, Tennessee and Texas joining 10 other Republican-controlled states in implementing near-total bans on abortion, that number is set to rise. Another dozen states are expected to follow suit with their own restrictions.

The laws in Idaho, Tennessee and Texas were “triggered” after the Supreme Court on June 24 overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision enshrining a woman’s right to an abortion and allowed states to set their own laws.

Father of IDF chief Kohavi dies aged 89

Shaul Kohavi, father of the chief of the Israel Defense Forces has died aged 89, the military says.

“He passed away peacefully this evening at his home, with his family members by his side,” the IDF says in a statement.

His funeral will take place Sunday.

Mossad chief says US ‘rushing into a deal that is a lie’ with Iran

File: Mossad chief David Barnea attends a ceremony marking Remembrance Day for Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror in Jerusalem on May 3, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
File: Mossad chief David Barnea attends a ceremony marking Remembrance Day for Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror in Jerusalem on May 3, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Mossad chief David Barnea has said in recent meetings about the Iranian nuclear deal that the US “is rushing into an accord that is a lie,” according to multiple reports in Hebrew media outlets this evening.

Barnea is quoted as saying the emerging accord is “very bad for Israel” and “a strategic disaster.”

The reports in Channel 12, Ynet, Haaretz and others do not cite a source, but all seem to have received the same information on the Mossad chief’s internal comments.

Barnea adds that an accord appears inevitable “in light of the needs of the US and Iran.”

He said the deal “gives Iran license to amass the required nuclear material for a bomb.” It will also provide Tehran billions of dollars in currently frozen money, increasing the danger Iran poses through the region via its proxies.

He stresses that a deal will not obligate Israel, and the country will act however it sees fit. If it does not do so, it will be in danger, he says.

Israel reported to be striking targets in northwestern Syria

Syrian state media says air defenses are engaging “hostile targets” over the Masyaf region in northwestern Syria.

The state-run SANA broadcaster does not elaborate, but other reports in the country suggest air defenses are engaging an Israeli airstrike.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the alleged attack.

German president warns of radical threat on riot anniversary

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier delivers a statement during a ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary of violent xenophobic riots against migrants in 1992 in Rostock's Lichtenhagen district, on August 25, 2022. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier delivers a statement during a ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary of violent xenophobic riots against migrants in 1992 in Rostock's Lichtenhagen district, on August 25, 2022. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier warns of new extremist threats to German society as he marks 30 years since the country’s worst post-war racist violence.

Steinmeier traveled to the northern city of Rostock to commemorate the 1992 rampage when thousands of bystanders applauded as a marauding mob flung stones and petrol bombs at a housing block for asylum seekers.

He says Germany has failed to snuff out hatred and radicalism in the intervening years, as political leaders warn of potential militancy this winter linked to high energy prices, inflation and resumed pandemic measures.

“The risk that the trail of violence hasn’t ended is high,” Steinmeier tells the ceremony.

Gantz meets US CENTCOM chief in Florida to discuss cooperation, Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) arrives in Florida on his way to CENTCOM headquarters on August 25, 2022. (Courtesy: Israeli Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) arrives in Florida on his way to CENTCOM headquarters on August 25, 2022. (Courtesy: Israeli Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz is currently meeting with US Central Command chief General Michael Kurilla in Tampa, Florida.

The two are expected to discuss ways to increase cooperation between Israel and the US military, as well as methods of countering the Iranian threat in the Middle East, as nuclear negotiations between Tehran and world powers come to a head.

Gantz is set to discuss with Kurilla Israeli-American military cooperation on Iran under a scenario where a deal is reached and one where it is not.

Dozens of teams, firefighting planes battling blaze near Beit Shemesh

Some 50 firefighting teams are now operating at the scene of the blaze near Beit Shemesh, including 10 firefighting planes and police helicopters tracking the fire.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid is following developments.

Officials say there is no current danger to residents of the area, but efforts to douse the flames are expected to continue throughout the night.

UN’s Middle East envoy speaks of heightened tensions in south Lebanon

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefs, over video conference, the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question on January 26, 2021. (Daniela Penkova/UNSCO/File)
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefs, over video conference, the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question on January 26, 2021. (Daniela Penkova/UNSCO/File)

The UN’s Middle East envoy tells the Security Council of heightened tensions in south Lebanon.

“In recent months, at least four firing ranges, unknown to Lebanese authorities, have been observed in regular use south of the Litani River,” Tor Wennesland says, according to a statement from the UN. “This is a blatant violation of resolution 1701” that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

He says “the rising number of incidents affecting UNIFIL’s freedom of movement is unacceptable.”

He also denounces “regular and ongoing violations of Lebanese airspace by Israel.”

WHO announces million COVID deaths in 2022 so far

The World Health Organization announces that a million people have died from COVID-19 in 2022, calling it a “tragic milestone” when all the tools exist to prevent deaths.

Nearly 6.45 million deaths have been reported to the WHO since the virus was first detected in China in late 2019.

But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus questions whether the world is really on top of the pandemic, this far in.

“We cannot say we are learning to live with COVID-19 when one million people have died with COVID-19 this year alone,” he tells a press conference. “When we are two-and-a-half years into the pandemic and have all the tools necessary to prevent these deaths.”

Despite prosecutors’ objections, former senior cop to get early prison release

Former Jerusalem district commander Nissan Shaham, arrives at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court to hear his sentence on February 10, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Former Jerusalem district commander Nissan Shaham, arrives at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court to hear his sentence on February 10, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

A former Jerusalem police chief will be released from prison today after the High Court of Justice shoots down prosecutors’ efforts to prevent his early release.

Last month a prison parole board granted an early release for Nissan “Niso” Shaham, sentenced to 10 months in prison for sexual harassment, fraud and breach of trust, citing his good behavior. Shahad had only started his prison time in March.

The Tzalmon Prison board made the decision despite the opposition of prosecutors and rehabilitation authorities. The Na’amat women’s rights group slammed the development as “scandalous.”

Reports: Iran allows women to attend soccer game in Tehran

In a rare move, authorities in Iran have allowed women to attend a soccer game at the Tehran Azadi stadium in the Iranian capital, local media reports.

Videos posted on social media show women inside the stadium as the national league game between Esteghlal FC, the second most popular team in Iran, and Mes-e Kerman kicks off.

The footage shows women waving blue team flags of Esteghlal and cheering from their seats, in a special area designated for women at the 100,000-seat stadium.

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, 500 tickets were dedicated exclusively for women, though it isn’t immediately clear how many attended.

A news website, Asriran, says that four hours ahead of the match, tickets assigned for women sold for about $70 on the black market, compared to their official price of under $2.

Homes evacuated as firefighters struggle to contain forest fire near Beit Shemesh

A wildfire burns in the President's Forest outside Moshav Tarum, near the city of Beit Shemesh, August 25, 2022. (Fire and Rescue Services)
A wildfire burns in the President's Forest outside Moshav Tarum, near the city of Beit Shemesh, August 25, 2022. (Fire and Rescue Services)

A forest fire outside the city of Beit Shemesh prompts the evacuation of homes in a nearby agricultural community, as firefighters battle to bring the blaze under control.

Six planes and a police helicopter join 20 firefighting teams to try and extinguish the fire, which broke out in the afternoon at the President’s Forest.

An additional 15 teams are on their way, according to a Fire and Rescue Services statement.

The first line of houses closest to the fire in Moshav Tarum has been cleared out, though Fire and Rescue services say there is no immediate danger to the buildings.

Ukraine nuclear plant disconnected from grid – operator

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant under occupation by Russian troops has been disconnected from the national power supply, the state energy operator says.

“The actions of the invaders caused a complete disconnection of the (Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant) from the power grid — the first in the history of the plant,” Energoatom says on Telegram.

The Zaporizhzhia plant — Europe’s largest nuclear facility — has been occupied by Moscow’s troops since the opening weeks of the war.

It has remained on the frontlines ever since, and in recent weeks Moscow and Kyiv have traded blame over shelling around the complex in southern Ukraine.

Energoatom says the plant was disconnected from Ukraine’s national supply system after a power line was twice disconnected by fires at ash pits in an adjacent thermal power plant.

The three other power lines “were earlier damaged during terrorist attacks” by Russian forces, the operator says.

Latvia removes controversial Soviet monument

Latvia takes down a Soviet-era monument in Riga following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite protests from the Baltic state’s ethnic Russian minority to keep it.

Demolition machinery is used to remove the 79-meter (259-foot) World War II memorial, which has become a rallying point for pro-Kremlin supporters in Latvia, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

Latvia, like fellow Baltic states Estonia and Lithuania, is a NATO and EU member that has shown strong support for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia.

Built in 1985, the Monument to the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German Fascist Invaders featured statues of soldiers and a woman surrounding a central obelisk.

Local officials were forced to take down the monument after parliament voted to remove all remaining Soviet statues, plaques and bas-reliefs by mid-November.

New report compiles testimonies on Assad regime’s massacre of 700 Syrians in 2012

File: Damaged buildings in Daraya, a Damascus suburb, on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016 (AP Photo)
File: Damaged buildings in Daraya, a Damascus suburb, on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016 (AP Photo)

Details of the 2012 massacre in the Syrian town of Daraya, during the early stages of the Syrian Civil War, have emerged in a new comprehensive report issued 10 years after the events.

The investigation sponsored by the Syrian British Consortium collected evidence and testimonies from witnesses of the atrocities committed by Bashar Assad’s forces in the Damascus suburb, providing in-depth accounts of the killings of some 700 people.

“This investigation reveals that the Assad Government — including the Fourth Division, the Republican Guard, the Air Force Intelligence, shabiha and supporting Hezbollah and Iranian militias — engaged in a systematic attack against the civilian population of Daraya,” the report says.

“Government and affiliated forces engaged in a massacre, killing men, women and children. Witnesses reported that individuals and entire families were rounded up before being shot and killed at close range in their homes and in building basements.”

The investigation “showcases that despite the passage of 10 years and the collection of substantial evidence, accountability and justice continue to elude the people of Daraya.” It says witnesses “provided their testimony, recounting the heinous crimes committed in Daraya by their own government, based on their belief that their story — their truth — is not only worthy of documentation, but may one day assist in bringing justice and accountability.”

 

Lapid says would seek Joint List’s recommendation to form a government

Prime Minister Lapid reiterates his party’s position that it would seek the majority-Arab Joint List party’s recommendation to form a government after November’s election, and that the Joint List does not want to be in the government.

“The Joint List won’t be in the government because the Joint List doesn’t want to be in the government, they said it a thousand times, but I say it again: talk to us after the elections,” Lapid says in response to reporter questions at the Yesh Atid faction meeting.

Lapid’s political rivals, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and the right-religious bloc he leads, are campaigning on a narrative that Lapid can only form a government with help of the Joint List and Islamist party Ra’am, the latter of which is one of Lapid’s current political partners.

Lapid has not said explicitly that he would not include the Joint List — which has never sat with an Israeli coalition — in the government, but rather he and his party’s official line is that it won’t happen because of the Joint List’s lack of interest to join political hands.

With respect to Netanyahu, however, Lapid clearly states that the option is off the table.

“We won’t sit with Netanyahu in a government,” Lapid says.

Lapid’s outgoing government is a big tent amalgamation of the party’s across the left, right, centrist, and Arab corners of Israel’s political map. Fellow government ministers Ayelet Shaked and Yoaz Hendel are fighting to capture some of the coalition’s right-wing votes in their unified Zionist Spirit party, which is currently failing to pass the 3.25% vote threshold to enter Knesset in some polls.

Shortly after Lapid’s remarks on the Joint List, Zionist Spirit releases a statement that says: “Lapid admits he wants to form a minority government based on the Joint List.”

Israeli citizen captured while fighting for Ukraine said freed by pro-Russian forces

An Israeli citizen captured by pro-Russian forces as he fought on behalf of Ukraine has been released and will head to Israel, Russian state media reports.

Vladimir Kozlovsky was handed over to the Russian Jewish community and will later fly to Israel to join his wife in Tel Aviv, according to the Russian Television and Radio report.

A video report circulating on social media with English subtitles shows Kozlovsky being released and beginning his journey to freedom. He is also shown speaking by video call to his wife, joking with her about “how good I look. How handsome I am.”

Arabic reports claim Morocco’s king filmed drunk on streets of Paris

Was Morocco’s king seen ambling drunkenly on the streets of Paris? Numerous Arabic news sites seem to think so after a short video clip purportedly showing Mohammed VI walking along a street surrounded by bodyguards.

The reports claim the king seemed inebriated. The clip ends quickly as a member of the entourage apparently hurries over to tell the cameraman to stop filming.

Consuming alcohol is forbidden by Islam, though Morocco is lenient on the issue and allows the sale of alcoholic drinks.

Lapid urges Labor, Meretz to unite ahead of November election

Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting in Tel Aviv on August 25, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting in Tel Aviv on August 25, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

With a potential American return to a nuclear deal with Iran and a threatened teachers’ strike delaying the school year opening, Prime Minister Yair Lapid tells reporters that the next government has a responsibility to protect “the future of our children,” arguing that the current election season is not putting enough focus on core security and quality of life issues facing Israelis.

Saying that politicians “talk about polls, talk about unions and splits, they talk mostly about themselves,” Lapid says that “the only question that matters” is “Where do we want to be in another four years?”

Having denigrated talk of party mergers and splits, Lapid goes on to say it is “incredibly important” that the left-wing Labor and Meretz parties run together in the election.

He says running alone is dangerous because if one of the parties fails to pass the electoral threshold “it will bring back [Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Itamar] Ben Gvir.”

He says his own Yesh Atid party will not be joining with any others.

Yesterday, Lapid told reporters that the current Iranian deal is a “bad deal” that “does not obligate” Israel, a message that he reiterates in response to reporter questions today.

Lapid also says that Israel has been able to successfully influence American positions on the deal meant to prevent Iranian development of a nuclear weapon, and that Defense Minister Benny Gantz and national security adviser Eyal Hulata’s visits to Washington this week include discussions on the issue.

“The Americans accepted a large part of the things that we wanted them to include in the drafts,” Lapid says in response to a reporter’s question. “The dialogue with them is good.”

Putin orders Russian military to add 140,000 soldiers in 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the development of the country's metallurgical sector via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow on August 1, 2022. (Pavel Byrkin / Sputnik / AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the development of the country's metallurgical sector via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow on August 1, 2022. (Pavel Byrkin / Sputnik / AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian military to increase the size of the country’s armed forces by 137,000 amid Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.

Putin’s decree signed today doesn’t explain whether the military will beef up its ranks by drafting a bigger number of conscripts, by increasing the number of volunteer soldiers, or using a combination of both.

The Kremlin has said that only volunteer contract soldiers take part in what it calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine, rejecting claims that it is pondering a broad mobilization.

Police say East Jerusalem resident planned shooting attack in capital

An East Jerusalem resident suspected of planning a shooting attack is arrested in July 2022 (Israel Police)
An East Jerusalem resident suspected of planning a shooting attack is arrested in July 2022 (Israel Police)

Police say they arrested an East Jerusalem man suspected of planning a shooting attack in the capital’s center.

The man was arrested a month ago. Police and the Shin Bet security agency say the man is suspected of planning a shooting in central Jerusalem and had looked into buying an M16 assault rifle.

The man is set to be indicted tomorrow.

Ukrainian fears run high over fighting near nuclear plant

A man walks on a pedestrian crossing point near the Dnipro river and Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant on the other side in Nikopol, Ukraine, August 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)
A man walks on a pedestrian crossing point near the Dnipro river and Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant on the other side in Nikopol, Ukraine, August 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

Ukrainians are once again anxious and alarmed about the fate of a nuclear power plant in a land that was home to the world’s worst atomic accident in 1986 at Chernobyl.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the war, and continued fighting near the facility has heightened fears of a catastrophe that could affect nearby towns in southern Ukraine — or potentially an even wider region.

The government in Kyiv alleges Russia is essentially holding the Soviet-era nuclear plant hostage, storing weapons there and launching attacks from around it, while Moscow accuses Ukraine of recklessly firing on the facility, which is located in the city of Enerhodar.

“Anybody who understands nuclear safety issues has been trembling for the last six months,” says Mycle Schneider, an independent policy consultant and coordinator of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

Liudmyla Shyshkina, a 74-year-old widow who lived within sight of the Zaporizhzhia plant before her apartment was bombarded and her husband killed, says she believes the Russians are capable of intentionally causing a nuclear disaster.

Poland says graves of WWII soldiers destroyed by Belarus

Poland’s government alleges that authorities in Belarus are leveling a memorial site containing the graves of Polish soldiers who died during World War II.

Lukasz Jasina, the spokesman for Poland’s Foreign Ministry, says on Twitter that a cemetery in Surkonty, Belarus, where members of Poland’s largest wartime resistance force battled Soviet army troops, is being “devastated by the services of the Minsk regime.”

“Those who think that the human memory of heroes can be eradicated are very mistaken. The regime will pay for these acts of barbarism,” Jasina writes.

The allegation come a day after the Polish government said it was demolishing a monument to Soviet Red Army soldiers in Poland, one of dozens marked for destruction since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine six months ago.

There is no immediate comment from Belarus, and it is not clear if the developments are related. Belarus has destroyed other Polish memorial sites in the past.

Young woman hit by train and killed at Herzliya station

A young woman has been hit by a train and killed at Herzliya station.

Paramedics treated the woman, in her twenties, at the scene. The circumstances of the incident are not immediately clear.

WHO: Monkeypox cases drop 21%, reversing month-long increase

The number of monkeypox cases reported globally dropped by 21% in the last week, reversing a month-long trend of rising infections and a possible signal the outbreak in Europe may be starting to decline, according to a World Health Organization report.

The UN health agency reports 5,907 new weekly cases and says two countries, Iran and Indonesia, reported their first cases. To date, more than 45,000 cases have been reported in 98 countries since late April.

Cases in the Americas accounted for 60% of cases in the past month, WHO says, while cases in Europe comprised about 38%. It says infections in the Americas show “a continuing steep rise.”

EU warns Russia will be held accountable for ‘rocket terror’

Local residents watch Ukrainian firefighters puting out a fire in a destroyed house following a Russian shelling in the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk region on August 24, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Anatolii Stepanov / AFP)
Local residents watch Ukrainian firefighters puting out a fire in a destroyed house following a Russian shelling in the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk region on August 24, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Anatolii Stepanov / AFP)

The European Union condemns Russia’s deadly bombardment of a railway station in Ukraine and warns those “responsible for Russian rocket terror will be held accountable.

“The EU strongly condemns another heinous attack by Russia on civilians,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweets, as the death toll from the strike in Chaplyne rises to 25.

Borrell does not say how Brussels intends to hold Moscow to account, but next week he will host meetings of EU foreign and defense ministers in Prague to discuss the crisis.

S Korea, Russian company sign $2.25b deal for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant

File: Nuclear power plants, Kori 1, right, and Shin Kori 2 are seen in Ulsan, South Korea, Feb. 5, 2013 (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)
File: Nuclear power plants, Kori 1, right, and Shin Kori 2 are seen in Ulsan, South Korea, Feb. 5, 2013 (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

South Korea has signed a 3 trillion won ($2.25 billion) deal with a Russian state-run nuclear energy company to provide components for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.

South Korea’s government says the contract between the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power and ASE requires the South Koreans to provide turbine-related equipment and construction work for the plant being built in Dabaa, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) northwest of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast.

ASE is a subsidiary of Rosatom, a state-owned Russian nuclear conglomerate.

A senior aide of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol says the negotiations were slowed by “unexpected variables,” mainly Russia’s war on Ukraine and the US-led sanctions campaign against Moscow over its aggression.

Choi Sang-mok, Yoon’s senior secretary for economic affairs, says South Korea provided an explanation to the United States in advance about its plans to participate in the Dabaa project and that the allies will maintain close consultation as the work proceeds.

Medical residents say hundreds to quit every week, starting today: ‘Nothing to lose’

Dr. Rey Biton, head of the Mirsham organization of medical residents, holds a press conference on August 25, 2022. (screenshot)
Dr. Rey Biton, head of the Mirsham organization of medical residents, holds a press conference on August 25, 2022. (screenshot)

An organization representing medical residents is announcing hundreds of resignations due to the long-running dispute with the Health Ministry over lengthy prolonged shift hours.

The Mirsham organization says some 200 are submitting letters now, as a first stage, with many more coming if the crisis is not solved. Mirsham had given the Health Ministry a 2 p.m. ultimatum to meet its demands.

“Every week on Thursday at 2 p.m. further resignation letters will be filed in similar numbers,” says Dr. Rey Biton, head of Mirsham, addressing the government. “We very very much hope that before those letters take effect in some two weeks, you will wake up.”

“We are not afraid. We have nothing to lose,” she says.

While the government had originally agreed to shorten shifts by April this year, a July announcement said that the change would be pushed off until September 2023, angering the residents, citing procedural problems caused by the upcoming elections.

“The resignation letters being submitted right now with an aching heart and trembling hand are an indictment” against the government for failing to live up to its promises to end 26-hour shifts, Biton says.

“You are leading to the worst health crisis in Israel’s history,” she adds. “The government is not taking responsibility, only hiding behind the elections as though such an excuse can keep the disgrace away.”

Biton says the government “has decided to forsake” doctors and patients.

“We can no longer bear the injustice, pay the price and hurt our health and that of our patients,” she says.

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