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Russia to probe environmental impact of Lake Baikal bottling plant

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Construction of the plant began this year on the south-western shore of Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume.

Over 880,000 people have signed a Change.org petition in recent days, asking for a stop to the project.

“We cannot create a situation that could worsen the environmental situation surrounding Baikal,’’ Medvedev told reporters in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, according to state news agency TASS.

The plant, to be run by the Russian company AquaSib in the town of Kultuk in the Irkutsk region, is planned to have a production capacity of 190 million litres per year, state media reported.

“Considering that people are expressing their concerns, I’ll definitely give an order for all of these to be checked for compliance with the highest ecological standards,’’ Medvedev said.

The total investment in the project, which is backed by a Chinese business, has amounted to about $22.8 million, AquaSib said in a statement.

The plant will be “one of the most modern and ecological,’’ the statement said.

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Rescuers contain diesel spill in Russia’s Arctic

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Rescuers have managed to localize a diesel spill near Russia’s Arctic city of Norilsk, having collected over 200 tons of the fuel out of about 20,000 tons leaked, the Emergencies Ministry said Friday.

The ministry said in a statement that its minister visited a rescuers’ camp at the site of the accident Friday, after chairing a meeting of a field commission in Norilsk on Thursday.

The rescuers’ camp, where work continues to retrieve the fuel, is equipped with everything necessary for the operation and for ensuring the vital functions of its staff, the statement said.

The ministry plans to soon increase the number of rescuers from the current 100 to 500, who will provide assistance to local authorities.

On May 29, due to the depressurization of one of the reservoirs, some 20,000 tons of diesel was spilled on the industrial site of the Nadezhdinsky Metallurgical Plant, a unit of the Russian mining and metals giant Nornickel in Norilsk. A significant part of the fuel polluted local rivers.

Nornickel said on its website that the main cause of the accident was warming under permafrost conditions, which set in motion the supports under the fuel tank.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to declare a state of emergency of federal scale in Norilsk.

(XINHUA)

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Russia slams United States, Britain for Hong Kong discussion in UNSC

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The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday blasted the United States and Britain for organizing a discussion on the situation in Hong Kong in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on May 29.

“We consider the situation in Hong Kong an internal affair of China and urge external forces to abstain from interfering in relations between the central government and the special administrative region of that country,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a news briefing.

“Such actions undermine the sovereignty of the PRC (the People’s Republic of China) and they represent a gross violation of the fundamental standards of international law fixed in the UN Charter, and we believe they result from nothing else but the desire to settle accounts with a foreign political adversary,” she added.

The attempts to fill the agenda of the UNSC with issues which are outside the framework of its mandate are counterproductive and may lead to a reduction of the efficiency and a weakening of the authority of this organ, which is the most important for the modern system of international relations, Zakharova said.

On May 28, the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China adopted the “Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security.”

The United States and the United Kingdom, for their own political purposes, have been making unwarranted comments, interfering and obstructing, and attempted to push for an open video conference in the UN Security Council.

China expressed strong opposition, and the vast majority of the Council members did not support the United States proposal, believing that the Hong Kong-related issues were China‘s internal affairs and had nothing to do with the mandates of the Security Council. The Security Council rejected the unreasonable request of the United States, and its attempt failed.

In face of strong opposition from China and Security Council members, the United States and the UK could only mention Hong Kong under “any other business” in the informal consultations of the Council.

This move was strongly countered by China and generally opposed by Council members. They urged the United States and the UK to stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and making groundless accusations against China.

There was no consensus, no formal discussion in the Security Council, and the United States and the UK‘s move came to nothing.

(XINHUA)

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Russia’s COVID-19 cases near 450,000

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Russia has confirmed 8,726 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to 449,834, its coronavirus response center said in a statement Friday.nnnnThe death toll grew by 144 to 5,528, while 212,680 people have recovered, including 8,057 over the last 24 hours, according to the statement.nnnnMoscow, the country’s worst-hit region, reported 1,855 newly confirmed cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total to 191,069.nnnnAs of Thursday, 317,006 people were under medical observation, while over 12 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted nationwide, Russia’s consumer rights and human well-being watchdog said in a statement Friday.nnnnOn Thursday, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that most of the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the pandemic in the city will be lifted by July 1. n
(XINHUA)

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Sancho, other Borussia Dortmund players under fire over haircut photos

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Jadon Sancho and other Borussia Dortmund players have come under fire from the Bundesliga club over having haircuts at home and appearing to violate hygiene rules.

Photos on social media showed them and the hairdresser without face masks.

Sports director Michael Zorc said on Thursday it appeared that the players and the hairdresser observed all rules during the cut itself.

“However, taking off the masks for the photo violated the rules.

“We were in contact with the German Football League (DFL) which says in the hygiene concept that allowed the Bundesliga restart that players must have no contact to the outside world at home and cannot receive visitors.

“We talked to the players again in a very clear way and made it very clear to them how they should behave.

“We also talked to the hairdresser. I don’t understand why you have to take pictures as well,” Zorc said.

He confirmed that young star forward Sancho was among the players but also said “we shouldn’t forget that Jadon is 19 and testing his limits.”

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund host Hertha Berlin on Saturday without suspended defender Mats Hummels while teenage striker Erling Braut Haaland will be a late decision following injury.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)
)

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Turkish, Russian military conduct 15th joint patrol in Idlib, Syria

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Turkish and Russian troops held their 15th joint patrol along a key highway in northwestern Idlib province of Syria, the Turkish defense ministry said on Thursday.

“Within the framework of TUR-RF Agreement/Protocol, the 15th TUR-RF Combined Land Patrol on M-4 Highway in Idlib was conducted with the participation of land and air elements,” the ministry said on Twitter.

The first joint Russian-Turkish patrol of the M4 highway in the Idlib de-escalation zone took place on March 15 in a bid to uphold a cease-fire agreement in the region.

On March 5, Turkey and Russia sealed a deal to maintain a temporary cease-fire for “all military actions along the line of contact in the Idlib de-escalation area” and envisaged the establishment of a security corridor six km to the north and six km to the south of the M4 highway, after nearly 60 Turkish soldiers were killed in escalated tensions between the Syrian government and Turkish troops in the region.

The key M4 highway, located about 30 km away from the southern border of Turkey, links Aleppo to Latakia in Syria.

(XINHUA)

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Russia confirms 8,831 new COVID-19 cases, total now 441,108

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Russia has confirmed 8,831 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, with its total reaching 441,108, its coronavirus response center said in a statement Thursday.

The death toll increased by 169 to 5,384, while 204,623 people have recovered, including 8,666 over the last 24 hours, according to the statement.

Moscow, the country’s worst-hit region, reported 1,998 newly confirmed cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total to 189,214.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Wednesday during an online meeting of the presidium of the government’s anti-coronavirus coordination council that the epidemic situation in Russia was gradually improving.

(XINHUA)

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Russian FM calls for early ceasefire in Libya at meeting with GNA officials

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for an early cessation of hostilities at a meeting with Ahmed Maiteeq, deputy prime minister of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), and Mohamed Siala, foreign minister of the GNA, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

“The two sides exchanged views on the developments in Libya during a thorough conversation. The Russian side emphasized the importance of an early cessation of hostilities and establishment of an inclusive dialogue with all leading Libyan political forces and social movements,” it said in a statement.

“They also discussed the tasks to consolidate international efforts in support of the Libyan settlement under the UN auspices, based on the decisions of the international conference on Libya held in Berlin on January 19 and Resolution 2510 of the UN Security Council,” it said.

In this context, they emphasized the particular timeliness of appointing a new special representative of the UN Secretary-General to Libya instead of Ghassan Salame who resigned on March 1, it added.

Since the ouster and killing of Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the North African country has been locked in a civil war that escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments: the UN-backed GNA based in the capital Tripoli and a government in the northeastern city of Tobruk which is allied with the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar.

(XINHUA)

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Egypt FM holds phone talks with Russia, Germany FMs on regional issues

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held separate phone talks on Wednesday with his Russian and German counterparts where they discussed regional issues of mutual concern, said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

In his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and later with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Shoukry focused on the situation in the war-torn Libya and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to statements by Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez.

“Minister Shoukry stressed the necessity of supporting the UN efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution that would restore security and eliminate all aspects of terrorism in Libya,” Hafez said.

Both Egypt and Russia support Khalifa Haftar, head of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), in his conflict against the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) led by his rival Fayez al-Serraj.

Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments: the UN-backed GNA based in the capital Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with Haftar’s LNA.

The separate phone conversations also addressed efforts to revive the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis, urging for a comprehensive and just settlement based on the UN-proposed two-state solution and warning against Israeli plans to further annex occupied Palestinian lands.

They also discussed chances for resuming Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, stressing that any relevant unilateral measures “would push the region towards further complication.”

The Egyptian minister also explained Egypt’s willingness to resume tripartite negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that Ethiopia is building on their shared Nile River.

Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating Ethiopia’s grand hydropower dam have been fruitless, amid Egyptian concerns that the GERD construction would affect Egypt’s annual share of Nile water.

(XINHUA)

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WHO reminds Russia of virus threat ahead of WWII parade, referendum

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday  reminded Russia of the continued threat posed by the coronavirus ahead of celebrations marking the end of World War II in Europe and a nationwide referendum.

The WHO is advising Russia to undertake measures to protect public health during such large-scale events, representative Melita Vujnovic said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

“Discussions are under way on how to make sure that mass events pose no threat to public health,” Vujnovic said.

Russia has reported more than 430,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, the world’s third largest caseload behind that of the United States and Brazil.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted a declining infection rate in the country in recent weeks as officials have begun lifting mass quarantine restrictions.

Putin has rescheduled a grand parade in Moscow for the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe to June 24 and a referendum exactly a week later seeking popular approval for constitutional amendments to enable him to remain in power after his current term ends.

Putin has declared non-working days for both events, which he had initially postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The referendum would enable Putin, whose current term ends in four years, to seek re-election two more times and theoretically remain president until 2036.

Putin, 67, has already been in power as president or prime minister for two decades.

He is the longest serving Russian or Soviet leader since Joseph Stalin.


Edited By: Halima Sheji/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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