The Latest: Wildfires Turn Deadly, Cuomo’s Out, Messi Landing In Paris
Welcome to Wednesday, where wildfires turn deadly in Algeria, New York state will have its first ever woman governor and there's a Messi landing in Paris. We also have Livy Bereg's report from the "Zone" around Chernobyl, as Ukraine looks to revitalize the areas contaminated 35 years ago by the worst nuclear accident in history.
• Dozens killed in Algeria wildfires: While wildfires have been particularly widespread around the world this summer, blazes in Algeria have killed at least 65 people, including 25 soldiers who tried to save residents from the flames ripping through mountain forests and villages east of the capital, Algiers. Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud has blamed arsonists.
Mexican president vows to protect journalist: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has publicly defended prominent TV news anchor, Azucena Uresti, after she received a death threat from a powerful drug cartel. In a video message delivered by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, a masked man surrounded by gunmen accused Uresti of bias coverage in favor of so-called self-defense groups battling with the cartel in the state of Michoacan. López Obrador has guaranteed special government protection for the Milenio media star.
• New York governor to step down: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on Tuesday following an inquiry that found he sexually harassed 11 women. Mr. Cuomo said his resignation would take effect in 14 days while Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be sworn in to replace him, becoming the first woman in history to occupy New York State's top office.
• China sentences Canadian businessman to 11 years: A Chinese court has sentenced Beijing-based Canadian businessman Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage. Spavor, who regularly traveled to North Korea, was first detained in December 2018 alongside Canadian Michael Kovrig for illegally providing state secrets to foreign countries. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the verdict 'absolutely unacceptable,' as tensions continue between the countries since the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December 2018.
• Ethiopian forces accused of systematic rape: A damning Amnesty report provides detailed accounts of Ethiopian government forces systematically raping and abusing hundreds of women and girls in the current conflict in Tigray. The report comes as Ethiopia's government this week called on all capable citizens to join the military to stop resurgent forces from the Tigray region.
• North Korea warns of escalating tensions over US-Seoul drills: North Korea says the U.S. and South Korea risk a serious security crisis by conducting joint military drills. Kim Yong Chol, a general and politician who played a leading role during historic summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former U.S. President Donald Trump, said Seoul must be made to "clearly understand how dearly they have to pay" for choosing their alliance with Washington.
• Meatball-scented candles, to Americans: Ikea is offering meatball-scented candles as a prize in a sweepstakes event celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the free loyalty program in the U.S. The company says 1,925 lucky winners will get to claim a meatball candle in an event that runs through August 22. The furniture giant notes it doesn't plan to offer the prize in its native Sweden.
The daily newspaper Times Union, headquartered in Albany, the capital of New York state, reports on NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's resignation announcement, which comes on the heels of several sexual harassment accusations.
Destination Chernobyl? Radioactivity, Jobs And Tourism
It's been 35 years since the world's worst nuclear accident. Ukraininan news site Livy Bereg revisits what is perhaps the best-known — and certainly, the most dangerous — place in Ukraine, referred to as the "Chernobyl Exclusion Zone," which both local and national leaders are looking to revitalize for the good of locals, as well as touristic and scientific endeavors:
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is promising major changes to the site of the worst civilian nuclear disaster in history. People who'd returned to their native villages after being forcibly evicted in the aftermath of the 1986 accident still live there. But life has been troubled in these specially designated towns and communities: contaminated areas are often located alongside their vegetable gardens, new infrastructure cannot be built, and there is virtually no work.
In the community of Naroditsy, there are 10,000 hectares of wasted land. But they grow crops on some of them, which is both illegal and unhealthy. According to the State Environmental Inspection, 5,000 hectares of contaminated land are being used to plant crops in the Zhytomyr region alone.
Olga Vasilevskaya-Smaglyuk, a member of Parliament, says changes and new building permits are needed for local communities to survive. "We need tourism and economic development. Tourists who go to the Chernobyl zone should have a place to eat or fill up their cars," she said.
Read more on Worldcrunch.com
International seafood company Grieg Seafood accidently leaked nearly 4,000 gallons of chlorine into a northern Norway fjord, killing approximately 96,000 farmed salmon. The chlorine, which the company uses to disinfect processing water at its harvesting plant, has already flowed into the Atlantic Ocean, according to local police.
It would be very ill-advised for Prince Andrew to ignore judicial process
— David Boies, the attorney representing Virginia Giuffre, said he and his client have tried everything they can to resolve the matter. Giuffre brought a lawsuit against Prince Andrew on Tuesday, accusing him of sexually abusing her when she was 17. Giuffre says she was compelled by multiple sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to engage in sexual acts with the British prince. Boies said that ignoring the suit would lead to a default judgement against him, enforced not only in the U.S. "but in virtually every civilised country in the world."
Newsletter by Carl Karlsson, Alessio Perrone, Meike Eijsberg, and Genevieve Mansfield