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Strong winds stoke wildfires in Greece

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Strong winds stoke wildfires in Greece

Several days without rain at temperatures around 36 degrees Celcius have contributed to the flare-up of several wildfires in Greece, the fire brigade reported on Friday.


Stoked by strong winds, 37 forest and bush fires were registered in the past 24 hours, prompting large-scale extinguishing operations with helicopters and planes.

A village for disadvantaged children in the resort town of Vari east of Athens had to be evacuated, according to the fire brigade.

Greek authorities have been quick to evacuate children’s camps and villages even when they are at low risk since a wildfire killed 100 people east of the capital in 2018.

In August 2019, a wildfire fanned by strong winds razed tracts of pine forest on the Greek island of Evia, leading to villages being evacuated and to an appeal from the authorities for assistance from its European partners.

A state of emergency was declared in central Evia as more than 227 firemen, supported by six helicopters and six other aircraft, battled the blaze.

Croatia and Italy were expected to send help after an appeal for airborne firefighting equipment from Greek authorities.

The four villages on the island were evacuated protectively.

The blaze on Evia, Greece’s second-largest island, generated thick smoke that reached the capital, Athens, some 110 kilometers (70 miles) away to the west.

By some accounts, the wall of flames was 11 kilometers long, fanned by strong, interchanging winds.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

Emmanuel Yashim: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Foreign

Survey: Germans largely in favour of US troops withdrawing

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The German population is largely in favour of almost 12,000 United States soldiers being withdrawn from their country, according to a survey conducted by opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of dpa.


Around 47 per cent of people surveyed were in favour of reducing the number of soldiers from 36,000.

One in four people surveyed thought that the United States forces should leave Germany completely.

By contrast, only 28 per cent said they were in favour of American troops remaining at their current strength while four per cent said they would approve an increase.

A further 21 per cent declined to make a statement.

United States Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, announced last week that the country will withdraw almost 12,000 soldiers from Germany.

Of those, 6,400 are to return to the United States and about 5,600 are to be transferred to other NATO member states in Europe, mainly to Italy and Belgium.

Five of the six parliamentary groups represented in the Bundestag reject the withdrawal of troops.

Only the Left Party is in favour of the idea, but additionally wants all United States soldiers to leave the country.

The picture is different among voters: only supporters of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc are predominantly against a reduction of United States soldiers, with 45 to 41 per cent against.

Among the voters of all other parties, those in favour of a withdrawal of troops are in the majority to varying degrees.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Sport

Murray says players need assurance on quarantine issues before United States Open

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Players need assurance that they would not face mandatory quarantine upon returning to Europe from the United States Open before travelling to New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Former world number one Andy Murray made this disclosure in an interview granted in London.

Organisers United States Tennis Association (USTA) will set up a strict bio-security “bubble’’ to minimise the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus during the Grand Slam.

The competition is due to be played from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.

The Western & Southern Open, which was relocated from Cincinnati this year because of COVID-19, will also be held in New York from Aug. 20 to 28.

It will serve as a tune-up for the hard court Grand Slam.

Mandatory quarantine would rule out players’ participation in other ATP and WTA claycourt events scheduled in Europe before the French Open from the end of September.

The two major clay court events in the lead up to Roland Garros are in Madrid (Sept. 13 to Sept. 20) and Rome (Sept. 20 to Sept. 27).

While Spain does not require mandatory quarantine, Italy will need travelers to quarantine for 14 days if coming from the United States

The USTA has said the organisers are working with relevant authorities to resolve issues.

“My understanding is that it would be sorted before we go to the United States But things can change in the next 10 to 12 days,” Murray said.

“Hopefully before we leave, the players will have the assurances that, when they come back from the United States, they won’t have to quarantine for two weeks.

“If that is the case, and if you do well in the United States Open, you can’t just arrive on the Sunday before the French Open starts on the Monday. That’s not going to work.”

The United States has over 4.68 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with more than 155,000 deaths.

Murray, a three-times Grand Slam winner, has not played competitively since November due to hip problems.

But he took part in some exhibition events recently with the professional circuit shut.

The 33-year-old said he was willing to take the travel “risk” as he missed playing in big events.

“(With)  the situation I’ve been in the last few years, I’ve not had opportunity to play in many Slams. I don’t know how many I’ll have left,” Murray said.

“So, while I’m feeling relatively decent … obviously there is a risk there. But I want to try and play in them and enjoy the biggest events again.”

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Foreign

German state premier to support town affected by United States troop withdrawal

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The premier of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate has pledged support to one of the regions affected by the withdrawal of United States troops from Germany.


“Whatever happens (at the military base) in Spangdahlem in the end – and we hope it will be very little – the state will of course support the local council and municipalities with the necessary measures,” Malu Dreyer said on Monday during talks with local officials.

The main aim was to maintain the United States military base in Spangdahlem and for the United States announcement to be reversed, the minister said.

“We are fighting for the site,” Dreyer added.

In the past week, the United States announced it would transfer F-16 fighter jets stationed in the town in the west of Germany to Italy, affecting around half of the 4,000 soldiers living at the air base.

The United States airforce said the base in Spangdahlem would continue to operate despite the troop withdrawal, though plans are not final yet.

Around 11,000 people live at the air base, including relatives.

United States President Donald Trump has announced the United States would withdraw about 12,000 troops stationed in Germany.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Coronavirus

Study finds people can transmit coronavirus to cats, dogs

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A study by Italian scientists has found that people can transmit the coronavirus SARSCOV-2 to cats and dogs.


The study tested 540 dogs and 277 cats living in households in northern Italy, particularly in Lombardy, where someone was infected with the virus or in areas where there were many cases.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, found coronavirus antibodies in 3.4 per cent of dogs and 3.9 per cent of cats, indicating they were infected with the virus.

Swab tests for active virus infections were negative in all animals, as the virus shedding period ended after two weeks.

The tests were conducted between March and May of this year.

Thomas Mettenleiter, leader of the German Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (FLI), said the results showed that the virus could be transmitted between humans and animals.

“This confirms what we already know,” Mettenleiter said, adding that the large scale of the study was unprecedented as it was difficult to get samples.

According to Mettenleiter, most animals in the study came from households affected by the coronavirus, indicating that infection is generally transmitted from humans to animals.

He added that this confirmed the FLI’s assumption that cats and dogs don’t play a significant role in the spread of COVID-19, and that healthy people needed not limit their contact with their pets.

People, who are infected with the virus, however, should limit their contact with their pets, although there are no indications so far that animals can die of the coronavirus, according to Mettenleiter.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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

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