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14
AUG
4pm

Syrian state media says three killed in Israeli attacks

Aug 14 (Reuters) - Three Syrian servicemen were killed and three wounded in Israeli attacks on Sunday, Syrian state media reported, citing the military.
State media said air defence forces were confronting what it said was an Israeli attack aimed at targets in the vicinity of the Syrian coastal province of Tartous.
It said the forces were also confronting “hostile targets” over the Qalamoun mountainsnear the border with Lebanon.
A Syrian military statement said there were two simultaneous Israeli attacks, a missile attack targeting the countryside near the capital, Damascus, carried out from the direction of southeast of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
The other came from the direction of the sea, aimed at points south of Tartous. Air defences forces shot down some of the missiles, but there was “some material damage”, the statement added.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said fires caused by the attacks were controlled, without specifying where they had broken out.
The Israeli military declined to comment on reports of a possible strike in Syria.
Israel has been carrying out strikes for years against what it has described as Iranian and Iran-backed targets in Syria, where Tehran has deployed forces in support of President Bashar al-Assad since the Syrian war began in 2011.
The first ship to leave Ukraine under a deal to resume grain exports from the country two weeks ago was approaching the Syrian port of Tartous on Sunday, two shipping sources told Reuters earlier.
(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah; additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in JerusalemEditing by Alexander Smith and Nick Macfie)
14
AUG
3pm

Republicans push to see affidavit that justified FBI search of Trump’s home

WASHINGTON, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Republicans stepped up calls on Sunday for the release of an FBI affidavit showing the justification for its seizure of documents at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home amid reports of heightened threats against federal law enforcement personnel.
By David Lawder
A search warrant released last week after the unprecedented search showed that Trump had 11 sets of classified documents at his home, and that the Justice Department had probable cause to conduct the search based on possible Espionage Act violations. Read full story
Republicans are calling for the disclosure of more detailed information that persuaded a federal judge to issue the search warrant, which may show sources of information and details about the nature of the documents and other classified information. The unsealing of such affidavits is highly unusual and would require approval from a federal judge. Read full story
“I think a releasing the affidavit would help, at least that would confirm that there was justification for this raid,” Republican Senator Mike Rounds told NBC’s “Meet the Press”.
“The Justice Department should “show that this was not just a fishing expedition, that they had due cause to go in and to do this, that they did exhaust all other means,” Rounds said. “And if they can’t do that, then we’ve got a serious problem on our hands.”
Representative Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN on Sunday that the Biden administration should provide more details on what led to the search.
“Congress is saying, ‘Show us. We want to know what did the FBI tell them? What did they find?'” Turner said.
The Department of Justice did respond to a request for comment on the FBI affidavit.
HEIGHTENED THREATS
The calls from Republicans came amid reports that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned of increased threats to law enforcement emanating from social media platforms in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago search.
The FBI said in a statement that it is always concerned about threats to law enforcement and was working with other agencies to assess and respond to such threats, “which are reprehensible and dangerous.”
Republican Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent and prosecutor from Pennsylvania, said he was concerned about the safety of federal law enforcement officers amid such threats, adding “everybody needs to be calling for calm.”
He told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the search of Trump’s home “was an unprecedented action that ...
14
AUG
3pm

Salman Rushdie off ventilator and ‘road to recovery has begun,’ agent says

Aug 14 (Reuters) - Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed author who was stabbed repeatedly at a public appearance in New York state on Friday, 33 years after Iran's then-supreme leader called for him to be killed, is off a ventilator and his health is improving, his agent and a son said on Sunday.
By Nathan Layne
“He’s off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun,” his agent, Andrew Wylie, wrote in an email to Reuters. “It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.”
Rushdie, 75, was set to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York on the importance of the United States as a haven for targeted artists when police say a 24-year-old man rushed the stage and stabbed the novelist.
The Indian-born writer has lived with a bounty on his head following the publication of his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses,” which is viewed by some Muslims as containing blasphemous passages. In 1989 Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for his assassination.
The suspect in the stabbing, Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault at a court appearance on Saturday, his court-appointed lawyer, Nathaniel Barone, told Reuters.
Neither local nor federal authorities have offered any additional details on the investigation, including a possible motive.
An initial law enforcement review of Matar’s social media accounts showed he was sympathetic to Shi’ite extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to NBC New York. The IRGC is a powerful faction that Washington accuses of carrying out a global extremist campaign.
Rushdie was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, for treatment after the attack.
Following hours of surgery, he had been put on a ventilator and was unable to speak as of Friday evening, Wylie had said in a prior health update, adding that he would likely lose an eye and had nerve damage in his arm and wounds to his liver.
One of Rushdie’s sons said on Sunday that his father remained in critical condition but was able to say a few words after getting off the ventilator.
“Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humor remains intact,” Zafar Rushdie wrote on Twitter.
The stabbing was condemned by writers and politicians around the world as an assault on freedom of expression. In a ...
12
AUG
8am

Carbon emissions from French wildfires hit record

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Ongoing wildfires in France have already released record amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, new satellite data has shown.
The fires, which have burned large parts of the southwestern Gironde region, unleashed nearly 1 million metric tonnes of carbon from June to August, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS).
That is roughly equal to the yearly carbon dioxide emissions from 790,000 cars.
In the past two decades, France has averaged around 300,000 tonnes of annual carbon emissions from fires.
The only year that has come close to this summer’s record for France is 2003 — coincidentally the same year that satellite monitoring began. Intense summer heat and dry conditions then saw about 650,000 metric tonnes of carbon released from June to August wildfires.
Emissions data from southwestern Europe offers a “reflection of the size and persistence of the fires,” said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at CAMS. This, he added, is tied to the region’s plants and trees becoming more flammable under “long-standing drier and warmer conditions”.
Spain also registered record wildfire emissions during a mid-July heatwave, CAMS reported last month. By comparison, Portugal wildfires resulted in lower emissions than previous years.
More than 60,000 hectares (230 square miles) have burned so far in France this year, six times the full-year average from 2006 to 2021, according to data from European Forest Fire Information System.
While France’s emissions are “fairly negligible” when it comes to global wildfire emissions, said Parrington, the fires have a big impact on regional air quality.
Recent satellite images show a huge smoke plume unfurling into the Bay of Biscay. In addition to carbon, wildfires release other pollutants like Particulate Matter 2.5 which can make people sick.
Smoky conditions have also been found to reduce solar energy output, in some cases by nearly half. That is because tiny airborne particles from fires can prevent the sun’s energy from reaching panels.
France’s Gironde region is home to a 40,000-strong solar panel installation that provides power to almost 13,000 people.
By Gloria Dickie
(Reporting by Gloria Dickie in London; editing by Philippa Fletcher)
12
AUG
8am

Ethiopia completes third phase of filling giant Nile dam

ADDIS ABABA, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Ethiopia has completed the third phase of filling the reservoir for its huge dam on the Blue Nile river, the government said on Friday, a process that continues to irk the country's downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan.
Addis Ababa says the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a $4 billion hydropower project, is crucial to powering its economic development, but Egypt and Sudan consider it a serious threat to their vital water supplies.
Long-running diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute between the three countries have yielded little success.
Ethiopia sees the GERD as the centrepiece of its bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, with a projected capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts.
“Prime minister Abiy Ahmed announced the successful completion of the GERD’s 3rd filling,” the prime minister’s office said on Twitter, adding that Ethiopia was working “to ensure the benefits of the lower basin countries”.
Abiy held a ceremony officially turning on the dam’s second turbine on Thursday, six months after the first came online. Photographs shared by Abiy’s office showed him standing at a podium in front of a huge plume of water being discharged from the front of the dam.
By Giulia Paravicini
(Reporting by Giulia ParaviciniEditing by Hereward Holland and Frances Kerry)
12
AUG
8am

Fury announces retirement days after making Chisora challenge

Aug 12 (Reuters) - WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury said on Friday he is to "walk away" from boxing, two days after insisting he would make a comeback to the sport to complete a trilogy against fellow-Briton Derek Chisora.
Fury said in April, after beating Dillian Whyte at Wembley stadium, that he had promised his wife he would retire, before then declaring his interest in fighting Anthony Joshua in England provided the bout was free to watch and attend.
The promise of completing two trilogies, one with Deontay Wilder and a second with Chisora, appeared to confirm Fury’s retirement plans had been shelved, only for the 34-year-old to make another u-turn.
“Massive thanks to everyone who had an input in my career over the years and, after long hard conversations, I’ve finally decided to walk away and on my 34th birthday I say ‘bon voyage’,” he posted on Instagram.
The outcome of a rematch between Joshua and Ukraine’s WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia next week, may persuade Fury to think again.
Fury and Joshua appeared to be on a collision course last year until an arbitrator ruled Fury had to fight Wilder for a third time.
(Reporting by Peter HallEditing by Christian Radnedge)
12
AUG
7am

Mass fish die-off in German-Polish river blamed on unknown toxic substance

BERLIN/WARSAW, Aug 12 (Reuters) - An unidentified highly toxic substance in the Oder river, which runs through Poland and Germany, appears to be the cause of a mass die-off of fish in the waterway, officials from both counties said.
An analysis of river water taken this week showed evidence of “synthetic chemical substances, very probably also with toxic effects for vertebrates,” the German state of Brandenburg’s environment ministry said on Thursday, adding that it remained unclear how the substance entered the water.
According to local German broadcaster rbb, the state laboratory found high levels of mercury in the water samples.
However, Wladyslaw Dajczak, the head of Poland’s Lubusz province, quoted by PAP news agency said that tests run on Aug. 10 and 11 showed mercury was found only in “trace amounts”, well within allowed levels.
He said a barrier would be set up on the Oder near the city of Kostrzyn to collect dead fish flowing down the river, with 150 Territorial Defence Forces soldiers delegated to help with the clean-up.
The head of Poland’s national water management authority said the situation was serious and that by Thursday evening Poland had collected over 11 tonnes of dead fish.
“In my opinion, there was chemical contamination on the Oder river by some industrial plant,” Przemyslaw Daca, the head of Polish Waters, was quoted as saying by Polish Radio 24.
“(It) is being investigated by the prosecutor’s office, the police and local environmental protection inspectorates. The problem is enormous, the wave of pollution runs from Wroclaw to Szczecin. Those are hundreds of kilometres of river, the pollution is gigantic.”
A spokesperson for the German environment minister told a news conference on Friday that they were following the situation closely, and that it was not yet clear what had got into the water.
“We have an incomplete picture,” the spokesperson said. “We need clarity on what materials are in the water.”
(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Pawel Florkiewicz; Additional reporting by Thomas Escritt, Writing by Rachel More; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Mike Harrison and Toby Chopra)
11
AUG
11pm

FBI sought nuclear documents in search of Trump’s home – Washington Post

US federal agents were looking for documents relating to nuclear weapons when they raided former president Donald Trump’s home in Florida this week, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
It was not clear if such documents were recovered at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, the Post said. Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.
The US Justice Department asked a judge on Thursday to make public the warrant that authorised the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, after Trump, a Republican, portrayed it as political retribution.
The request means the public could soon learn more about what investigators were looking for during the unprecedented search of a former president’s home.
The move was part of an investigation into whether Trump illegally removed records from the White House as he left office in January 2021, some of which the Justice Department believes are classified.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, the country’s top law enforcement officer and an appointee of Democratic President Joe Biden, told a news conference that he had personally approved the search. The Justice Department also seeks to make public a redacted receipt of the items seized.
“The department does not take such a decision lightly. Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search, and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken,” Garland said.
His decision to publicly confirm the search was highly unusual. US law enforcement officials typically do not discuss ongoing investigations in order to protect people’s rights. In this case, Trump himself announced the search in a Monday night statement.
Garland said the Justice Department made the request to make public the warrant “in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter”.
A source familiar with the matter said the FBI retrieved about 10 boxes from Trump’s property during the search.
Trump was not in Florida at the time of the search.
Will Trump lawyers object?
It was unclear whether Trump’s legal team would object to the release of the warrant.
The government has until 3pm ET (1900 GMT) on Friday to let the court know whether Trump’s attorneys will object to unsealing the warrant. The case is before US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who reviewed the warrant to ensure the Justice Department had sufficient probable cause for the search.
While seeking to unseal the warrant, the Justice Department has not asked the judge to unseal the ...
11
AUG
3pm

Britain’s dry summer set to trigger drought declarations

LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Parts of England are likely to declare a drought on Friday, local media reported ahead of a meeting between the government, its environment agency and water companies to discuss a long period of dry weather.
Parts of England are in the middle of their second heatwave this summer with temperatures forecast to top 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) for the next few days, having reached their highest ever of more than 40C last month.
Much of Europe has been baking in high temperatures that have triggered huge wildfires, with unprecedented droughts causing shortages, threatening crops and disrupting river shipping routes. Read full storyRead full story
This July was the driest on record for some English regions and the driest for England overall since 1935, with just 35% of average rainfall.
That, coupled with continued dry forecasts, is expected to push some areas of the country to formally declare a drought after a meeting of the ‘National Drought Group’ which is due to begin on Friday morning.
Sky News said these could apply to several different reasons, citing an unnamed source in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The government said no decisions had yet been taken.
Any declaration would be regional and would not automatically trigger specific government interventions. However, it could cause local water companies to enact new restrictions for households or businesses to preserve supplies.
Several water companies have already announced restrictions on water usage. A ban on hoses and sprinklers for South East Water customer comes into effect on Friday, and Thames Water, which supplies 15 million people around London, said it was also planning restrictions.
(Reporting by William James; editing by John Stonestreet)
11
AUG
3pm

DOJ to Ask Judge to Unseal Trump Warrant, US AG Garland Says

(Bloomberg) -- Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department is asking a judge to unseal a search warrant executed on former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate.
The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday looking for classified documents that Trump may have improperly removed from the White House.The unprecedented search of a former president’s home unleashed a torrent of public criticism by Trump and his Republican allies including House GOP leaders in Congress. Garland’s statement about an ongoing investigation is also rare, although he was facing increasing pressure to explain the search.
By Zoe Tillman and Sabrina Willmer
Aug 11, 2022, 9:10 PM
Word Count: 97
–With assistance from Mark Niquette and Jennifer Jacobs.
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.
11
AUG
2pm

Remains of small armor-plated dinosaur unearthed in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Paleontologists on Thursday heralded the discovery of a previously unknown small armored dinosaur in southern Argentina, a creature that likely walked upright on its back legs roaming a then-steamy landscape about 100 million years ago.
By Miguel Lo Bianco
The Cretaceous Period dinosaur, named Jakapil kaniukura, would have been well-protected with rows of bony disk-shaped armor along its neck and back and down to its tail, they said. It measured about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and weighed only 9 to 15 pounds (4-7 kg), similar to an average house cat.
Its fossilized remains were dug up over the past decade near a dam in Patagonia in Rio Negro province’s La Buitrera paleontological zone. The scientists described Jakapil in a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The scientists said Jakapil marks a first-of-its-kind discovery of an armored dinosaur from the Cretaceous in South America. It is part of the thyreophoran dinosaur group that includes the likes of Stegosaurus, known for its bony back plates and spiky tail, and tank-like Ankylosaurus, covered in armor and wielding a club-like tail.
Lead paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia and his colleagues found a partial skeleton of Jakapil along with 15 tooth fragments featuring a leaf-like shape, similar to iguana teeth.
Jakapil resembles a primitive form of thyreophoran that lived much earlier, making it a surprise that it dated from the Cretaceous. Apesteguia said never before has such a thyreophoran been dug up anywhere in the southern hemisphere.
11
AUG
2pm

N.Y. Times Is Targeted as ValueAct Takes 7% Stake, Urges Changes

(Bloomberg) -- Activist investor ValueAct Capital Management has built a new position in the New York Times Co., contending the iconic newspaper company could improve digital sales and margins through an aggressive rollout of its subscriber-only bundles.
San Francisco-based ValueAct said in a letter to investors Thursday that it now owns a 7% stake in the Times. It said it believed the current valuation doesn’t reflect the company’s long-term growth prospects in almost any potential economic environment and that management has several opportunities to offset the macroeconomic headwinds that face the industry.
Key to this growth will be a more aggressive rollout of all its subscriber-only products, it said. Those products include the Athletic, as well as crosswords and games, cooking and news.
“Our research suggests that most current readers and subscribers are interested in the bundle and would pay a large premium for it but are not aware the offering even exists,” ValueAct said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg. “This is an opportunity we believe management needs to drive with urgency, as it is the biggest lever to accelerate growth, deepen NYT’s competitive moat, and ensure the long-term strength and stability of the platform.”
Revenue growth
The investment firm believes that, over the long run, there is potential for the Times to see strong double-digit digital revenue growth and see margins expand by up to three times, it said.
“We believe NYT may be one of the few consumer subscription businesses well positioned for the current environment,” ValueAct said. “They are in the early innings of penetrating a large, addressable market, can sustainably increase their customer lifetime value, are already solidly profitable, and have a much more attractive competitive environment.”
The company’s shares had fallen about 32% this year before Thursday. They rose as much as 12% and were up 10.8% to $35.11 at 2:11 p.m. in New York trading, giving the company at market value of about $5.8 billion.
“We are aware that ValueAct has made an investment in the company,” a spokesperson for the Times said in an email, adding that the company speaks regularly with shareholders about strategy. “Members of our management team have had conversations with ValueAct to hear their views and share ours. The board and management team will continue to make decisions that we believe are in the best interest of the company and all company shareholders.”
A representative for ValueAct declined to comment.
The Times has ...

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