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In The News

Offline Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Has The World Holding Its Breath

Offline Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Has The World Holding Its Breath

At the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger, Lila Paulou, Chloe Touchard and Emma Albright

The transmission line connecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant with the power system in Ukraine was disconnected due to Russian shelling. Three other transmission lines had also been damaged during Russian shelling earlier in the conflict. As a result, two operating units of the power plant were disconnected from the grid, causing the complete disconnection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant from the power grid.

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In his nightly address, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that back-up diesel generators ensured power supply, which are vital for systems at the plant. "If our station staff had not reacted after the blackout, then we would have already been forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident," he said. He also stated that the coming winter will be the most difficult in the history of Ukraine due to high gas prices.

As a result of the continued risks around the nuclear plant, the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi announced the visit of an IAEA delegation to the station in the coming days. “Almost every day there is a new incident at or near the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. We can't waste any more time. I intend to personally lead the IAEA mission, which will arrive at the station in the coming days, to help stabilize the situation in the field of nuclear and physical security,” said Grossi on French news broadcast France24.

The visit of the IAEA mission to the plant has been discussed since the beginning of August, when the plant began to be actively shelled. Russia and Ukraine continue to blame each other for the attacks.

Putin Signs Decree To Increase Russian Troops By 10%

Moscow Higher Military Command School

Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday to raise the number of Russian troops by 137,000 military personnel. Previously, the limit was set to 1,013,628 people, while the number of civilian staff should not exceed 900,000. The decree asks for funds from the federal government to be unlocked. The change should be effective by Jan. 1, 2023.

It is unclear whether the new troops will be found through voluntary recruitment or through conscription. Russian men between 18 and 27 can be enlisted for a year in the army, though it is easy for them to be exempted or to reduce the time of their service for medical reasons or by enrolling in higher education. They can be sent to the front after four months of training.

According to Western officials, between 70,000 and 80,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since the beginning of the invasion on Feb. 24. Popular enthusiasm for joining the army has been very limited since Russian progress stalled in Ukraine. In response, a recruitment campaign offers large cash incentives for volunteers.

Chaplyne Attack Death Toll Rises, Ukraine Military Fights Back

Missile Attack On Chaplyne

Dmytro Smolienko/Ukrinform/Zuma

Russia has stated that the attack on the Chaplyne railway station in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday killed 200 Ukrainian military personnel. Meanwhile, Kyiv reported that the attack killed 25 civilians, but Moscow denies these reports.

The Russian ministry said an Iskander missile hit a military train at Chaplyne station that was to deliver arms to Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbas region.

Meanwhile, according to the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian assaults on the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region. They also said they had struck ammunition storages in the southern Kherson region.

Zelensky’s “Great” Phone Call With Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Adam Schultz/White House/Planet Pix/Zuma

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a telephone call with U.S. President Joe Biden during which they discussed further financial support for Ukraine.

“Had a great conversation with POTUS. Thanked him for the unwavering support of the Ukrainian people in the field of security and financial assistance from the United States. We discussed Ukraine's next steps,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

Russia Burns Off Millions Worth Of Gas Amid EU Energy Crisis

With nowhere to sell it, Russia is burning around $10 million worth of natural gas a day, according to independent energy research company Rystad Energy. The flames and heat spotted by Russia’s Finnish neighbors in early June are said to be coming from the liquefied natural gas plant of Portovaya, located near the border and close to the start of the Nord Stream pipeline that provides gas to Germany.

The move is seen as a statement of Russia's dominance over the European energy markets, as prices keep surging and countries struggle to find alternatives and turn to energy-saving measures. Experts say they have never seen gas flaring of that scale and worry about its environmental impact, as the burning releases an estimated 9,000 tons of CO2 every day.

A Million Russians Have Entered The EU Since War Began

Russian passport


Deutsche Welle reports that 998,085 Russian citizens have entered the European Union between Feb. 24, and Aug. 22. Over 60% of those did so via Estonia and Finland, according to the union's border guard agency, Frontex.

This news comes as more and more European countries are unilaterally restricting the issuance of Schengen visas for Russian citizens. Such measures have already been taken by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. Finland plans to follow in September, and Poland is considering the possibility. Denmark insists on a pan-European decision on visas for Russians, warning that otherwise, it will act on its own.

Duma Says Moscow Ready To “Discuss And Respond To” Negotiations With Kyiv

LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky

Russian State Duma/TASS

The head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky said that Moscow would discuss the possibility of negotiations with Kyiv if it received a signal of readiness for dialogue.

“If the Ukrainian side declares that it is ready for negotiations at any level, in any format, then we will discuss and respond to this,” Slutsky said following the unscheduled Council of the State Duma.

Negotiations between the delegations of Russia and Ukraine were terminated by Kyiv. Russia's permanent representative in Geneva said last week that he sees no possibility for contact between the two countries.

U.S. Still Importing $1 Billion Of Russian Goods

In spite of heavy sanctions, AP reports that Russian exports to the U.S. still account for nearly $1 billion. In the wake of Russia's war against Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden promised to enact strict sanctions to cripple Russia's economy, but the U.S. continues to import raw materials, including wood, metals and rubber, among others.

Latvia Orders Removal Of All Soviet Statues

A view of the Monument to Liberators of Riga in Victory Park

Taisiya Vorontsova/TASS/Zuma

The Latvian parliament has ordered the removal of all remaining Soviet statues and plaques in the country. The first monument to be brought down was the 79-meter high World War II memorial in Riga, which was suspected of attracting Latvian Kremlin supporters.

Latvia follows in the footsteps of Estonia, which started removing Soviet-era monuments from public spaces in mid-August. The replica of a T-34 tank in Narva, a city close to Russian borders, was moved to the Estonian War Museum.

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Not Your Grandma's Nonna: How Older Women In Italy Are Reclaiming Their Age

Women in Italy are living longer than ever. But severe economic and social inequality and loneliness mean that they urgently need a new model for community living – one that replaces the "one person, one house, one caregiver" narrative we have grown accustomed to.

Not Your Grandma's Nonna: How Older Women In Italy Are Reclaiming Their Age

Italy is home to many elderly people and few young ones.

Barbara Leda Kenny

ROMENina Ercolani is the oldest person in Italy. She is 112 years old. According to newspaper interviews, she enjoys eating sweets and yogurt. Mrs. Nina is not alone: over the past three years, there has been an exponential growth in the number of centenarians in Italy. With over 20,000 people who've surpassed the age of 100, Italy is in fact the country with the highest number of centenarians in Europe.

Life expectancy at the national level is already high. Experts say it can be even higher for those who cultivate their own gardens, live away from major sources of pollution, and preferably in small towns near the sea. Years of sunsets and tomatoes with a view of the sea – it used to be a romantic fantasy but is now becoming increasingly plausible.

Centenarians occupy the forefront of a transformation taking place in a country where living a long life means being among the oldest of the old. Italy is the second oldest country in the world, and it ranks first in the number of people over eighty. In simple terms, this means that Italy is home to many elderly people and few young ones: those over 65 make up almost one in four, while children (under 14) account for just over one in 10. The elderly population will continue to grow in the coming years, as the baby boomer generation, born between 1961 and 1976, is the country's largest age group.

But there is one important data set to consider when discussing our demographics: in general, women make up a slight majority of the population, but from the age of sixty onwards, the gap progressively widens. Every single Italian over 110 years old is a woman.

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