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Ukraine Crisis

Humans to blame for deadly Germany floods, study finds



Human behaviour is contributing to an increase in significant weather events, with an excess in heavy rainfall occurring as a result.

Heavy rain flooded the streets of Germany and Belgium

Findings from a new study found climate change induced by human activity may be to blame for Germany’s deadly flooding event.

The once-in-a-400-year occurrence killed at least 220 people after record rainfall led to heavy flash flooding back in July this year.

Buildings and homes were also destroyed across both Germany and Belgium as some parts of the two European countries got a month’s worth of rain in a day. 

The study was conducted by 39 scientists and researchers as part of the World Weather Attribution project.

Friederike Otto, the associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford says that not even developed countries are safe from extreme weather events.

“This is an urgent global challenge and we need to step up to it,” Otto said in a statement.

“The science is clear and has been for years.”

The study found that climate change could increase the intensity of daily extreme rainfall by up to 19 percent.

The Ahr and Erft rivers in Germany and the Meuse in Belgium were the main focus areas of the assessment. 

All three areas recorded record-breaking levels of rainfall. 

France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland were also areas of interest as researchers wanted to establish how extreme weather events are influenced by increasing global temperatures. 

If climate change isn’t managed, the study reveals that such rain events will grow more intense and frequent as the earth gets warmer. 

More specifically, a rise of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels would see the intensity of rain increase significantly. 

Written by Rebecca Borg

Ukraine Crisis

Zelensky’s hometown in Russian crosshairs



Ukraine said on Wednesday that Russia might be building a strike force to target Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s hometown

Ukraine has warned that Moscow could be preparing new offensive operations in southern Ukraine.

Russia occupies broad stretches of Ukrainian territory in the south of the country,

Much of which Russia captured early on in the war after it launched its February 24 invasion.

Ukraine has also said that Russia has begun to assemble a military strike force – and may be aiming for Kryvyi Rih – the hometown of the Ukrainian president.

“It’s also quite likely that the enemy is preparing a hostile counter-offensive with the subsequent plan of getting to the administrative boundary of Kherson region”

Ukraine southern military command

However, Ukraine has also said it was to mount a counter-offensive to regions of Ukraine that Russia currently holds.

Kryvyi Rih is a steel-producing town around 50km (30 miles) from the southern frontline of the war.

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Ukraine Crisis

Grain vessel allowed to leave Ukraine waters



A cargo vessel carrying grain for export has been permitted to leave Ukrainian waters via the Black Sea in a rare Russia-Ukraine agreement

The vessel, named “Razoni” under a Sierra-Leone registration left the port of Odesa bound for Lebanon, carrying 26,000 tonnes of grain on board.

It’s the first cargo vessel that’s been permitted to carry cargo on the Black Sea following an export agreement between Ukraine and Russia that was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations.

Russia and Ukraine account for a third of the world’s global wheat supply between them.

But Russian blockades of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast as well as the ongoing war have meant exports have plummeted – leading many nations to worry over interrupted food supplies.

Crew aboard the vessel spoke of their concerns about sea mines.

“To be honest, I am scared from the fact that there are naval mines. This is the only thing that I fear during this trip, as for the other things, we are used to them as sailors.”

Abdullah jendi, junior engineer aboard razoni

But they also spoke of their joy at being allowed to sail through.
Junior engineer Abdullah Jendi said it was a great feeling.

“Everyone on the ship was very happy,” he said. “I can say that it was the best feeling we have had in 2022.”

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Ukraine Crisis

Russia cuts down European gas supply



Russia cuts gas capacity to Europe to a fifth of normal supplies, sending prices soaring and EU nations agreeing to voluntary rationing

Russia has cut down supplies of gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to a fifth of its usual capacity.

Gazprom, Russia’s state run energy and gas firm, has blamed the current reduction on a turbine that was undergoing repairs in Canada.

But the German government has said there’s no technical reason for the current supplies to be limited.

It comes as the European Union member states agreed to voluntary rationing of gas supplies – aiming for a 15 per cent reduction in gas usage between August and March next year.

But the agreements have been messy, with many exemptions being granted for several EU nations where a 15 per cent reduction is not feasible.

Moscow says that the recent spike in gas prices is down to Western sanctions, and that it’s not responsible for the price hike – insisting it is a reliable business partner when it comes to gas.

But critics of Moscow say that it’s using blackmail, holding supplies of gas hostage as a weapon of war.

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