Global Review – 12th July

Fear grows of a ‘cold, dark and expensive winter’

Twelve EU member states have already been affected by Russian gas cuts. The EU Commission wrote in a tweet that President Putin continues to use energy as a weapon. “Filling up our gas storage capacities before this winter can help us prepare for any further disruptions and cuts in gas supplies.” It said the situation “is clearly serious and we must be prepared. In mid-July, as is well known, a prevention plan will be launched in view of the winter,” according to Tim McPhie, spokesman for the EU Commission. “It is necessary to reach an energy autonomy from Russia as soon as possible”, he added, stressing how it was necessary to communicate to the population “the importance of energy saving”.  The fear of a complete cut in Russian gas supplies is growing throughout Europe and particularly in Germany, where it is imagined that next winter will be “cold, dark and expensive”, as the weekend edition of the ‘Handelsblatt’ business newspaper headlined.

France could cut electricity to some companies

The French government is working on “load-shedding plans” that could see electricity and gas supplies reduced for some companies over the winter, Economy Minister Bruno le Maire confirmed, warning that Russia is highly likely to turn off the tap. “Let’s prepare for a total cut-off of Russian gas. This is now the most likely option,” Le Maire told attendees at the Rencontres Economiques in Aix-en-Provence. This means that “you also have to prepare load-shedding plans, we are doing it.” Gazprom has announced it will supply Italian Eni with volumes of gas equal to approximately 21 million cubic metres per day, compared to an average of about 32 million cubic metres in recent days. The Austrian company OMV also announced that Gazprom is further reducing the supply of gas to the country.

German unions ask for 8% wage increase

The German union of the steel and electronics workers, IG Metall, will ask for an 8% salary increase, which is the highest claim since 2008. Leader Joerg Hoffmann motivated the decision with high inflation that deteriorates the purchasing power of workers in the sector. “Workers need to be supported also in view of the bills that will be even higher in 2023”, he said. The union represents 3.9 million employees.

Europe braces for heatwave

Less than a month after the previous heat wave, mercury levels started to rise in France on Monday with the country braced for a heatwave this week that will also scorch Spain, Portugal and Italy, where the temperature exceeded 42OC in some parts. The south of France could experience possible peaks of 39 OC Tuesday as global warming causes increasingly hot summers. The intensity and duration of the heatwave are still difficult to predict, according to experts at Météo France, the French national meteorological service, but by Monday, the mercury topped 30 OC in much of France.

Iran to supply Russians with armed drones for Ukraine

Iran is planning to supply hundreds of drones with combat weapon capabilities to Russia for use in Ukraine, a top US official said Monday. White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said the information received by the United States supported views that the Russian military is facing challenges sustaining its weaponry after significant losses in Ukraine. “The Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline,” Sullivan told reporters. “Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs, with initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July,” he said. Sullivan said it was not clear whether Iran had delivered any of the drones to Russia yet.

New UK prime minister on September 5

The new UK prime minister to replace the outgoing Boris Johnson will be announced on September 5, the ruling Conservative party said Monday, with 11 hopefuls currently vying for the job. The leadership contest was triggered last week when Johnson, 58, was forced to step down after a frenzy of more than 50 resignations from his government, in opposition to his scandal-hit premiership. The influential 1922 Committee of non-ministerial Tory MPs in parliament on Monday outlined a timetable for the party’s leadership election. Nominations will officially open and close Tuesday, with a new prime minister set to be installed when parliament returns from the summer break on September 5. Tory MPs will whittle the current list down to a final two through a series of ballots, with the worst-performing candidate eliminated after each round, before party members choose the winner.

Twitter fires back at Musk, denying it breached deal

Twitter fired back at Elon Musk on Monday, accusing the world’s richest person of “knowingly” breaching an agreement to buy the social media firm, days after the Tesla Inc chief sought to back out of the $44 billion deal. In a letter sent to Musk, dated Sunday and filed with regulators on Monday, Twitter said it had not breached its obligations under the merger agreement as indicated by Musk on Friday for looking to end the deal.

World population to reach 8 billion by November

By November, the world population could reach 8 billion. This is confirmed by the UN data according to which India in 2023 will overtake China becoming the most populous country in the world. According to the UN study, the fertility rate is decreasing overall, but the population is increasing, also thanks to the developments in medicine that allows people to live longer. By 2050, global life expectancy will be around 77.2 years.

Deepest ever view of early universe revealed

The James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful observatory to be placed in orbit, has revealed the “deepest and sharpest infra-red image of the early universe” ever taken, going back 13 billion years, NASA said Monday. The stunning shot, revealed in a White House briefing by President Joe Biden, is overflowing with thousands of galaxies and features the faintest objects ever observed, colorised from infrared to blue, orange and white tones. “This telescope is one of humanity’s great engineering achievements,” he said. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, it shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, which acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it. Webb’s primary imager NIRCam – which operates in the near infra-red wavelength spectrum because light from the early universe has been stretched out by the time it reaches us – has brought these faint background galaxies into sharp focus.

England set Euro record in eight-goal rout of Norway

England recorded the biggest win in European Championship history as Beth Mead’s hat-trick inspired an 8-0 demolition of Norway that booked the hosts’ quarter-final place Monday. Sarina Wiegman’s side scored six in the first half on route to smashing their own women’s Euro record margin of victory set when they beat Scotland 6-0 in 2017. No team, either male or female, had ever scored eight at a European Championship until England’s incredible goal-spree against the overwhelmed Norwegians in Brighton. England’s win guaranteed they will finish top of Group A with one match still to play. They face Northern Ireland in Southampton on Friday before returning to Brighton a week on Wednesday to play the runners-up in Group B, which features Germany and Spain, in the quarter-finals. Earlier on Monday, Northern Ireland, who lost 2-0 against Austria, have now been eliminated. Third placed Norway, expected to be among the title contenders, and second placed Austria both have three points after two games. They will meet on Friday to decide the other quarter-final qualifier from the group. Today’s matches, Group D: Denmark v. Finland (6pm) and Germany v. Spain (9pm).

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