EU imports more gas from the US than from Russia
June was the first month in history that the European Union has imported more liquid gas (LNG) from the United States than via pipeline from Russia. Writing on Twitter, International Energy Agencyexecutive director Fatih Birol has said
Russia’s recent sharp cuts in natural gas flows to the EU, “require efforts to reduce EU demand and prepare for a harsh winter”. Russian giant Gazprom reduced gas production by 8.6% in the first six months of 2022 and exports to non-member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CSI, former Soviet republics) by 31%. The daily average of exports in June fell by a quarter compared to last May. The lines of the Nord Stream gas pipeline will be closed from July 11 to 21, the operator stating that the interruption is due to “maintenance works” including tests of mechanical components and automation systems to ensure effective, safe and reliable operation. of the pipeline.
EU insurance ban targets Russian oil exports
An EU ban on insuring ships transporting Russian oil could potentially hurt Moscow more than its embargo on the nation’s crude, analysts say. The European Union recently unveiled the insurance ban in a sixth set of economic sanctions aimed at punishing Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. In a further knock, G7 leaders are seeking a price cap for Russian oil to further hurt Kremlin revenues. The EU insurance and reinsurance ban, covering all maritime transportation of Russian oil, comes as Moscow seeks to ramp up sales to China and India to help offset the embargo.
Record inflation in Eurozone: 8.6% in June
Inflation in the Eurozone reached a record level and touched 8.6% in June, a level never before reached since the setting up of the European Union economic and monetary zone. Figures published by the European Union Statistics Office, Eurostat, show inflation in June among the 19 countries in the Eurozone shot up to 8.6% – an increase of half a percentage point over May when inflation had registered a record 8.1%. Eurostat figures show energy prices have increased by 41.9% as a result of the world energy crisis while food prices shot by 8.9%, and prices of non-energy industrial products have gone up by 4.3%. Prices for services have increased by 3.4%. Holidays have become more expensive, with flights increasing by 90.4% and also hotels by 18.1% . The highest rates of inflation for June have been registered in Estonia with 22%, Lithuania with 20.5%, and Latvia with 19%. At the other end of the scale, the lowest rates were registered in Malta with 6.1%, France with 6.5% and Finland with 8.1%.
Protesters storm Libya’s parliament building
Protesters stormed Libya’s parliament building in the eastern city of Tobruk on Friday, demonstrating against deteriorating living conditions and political deadlock. Several television channels said that protesters had managed to penetrate the building and committed acts of vandalism, while media outlets showed images of thick columns of black smoke coming from its perimeter as angry young protesters burned tyres. Other media reports said part of the building had been burned. The parliament building was empty. Images Friday showed that a protester driving a bulldozer had managed to smash through part of a gate, allowing other demonstrators to enter more easily, while cars of officials were set on fire. Other protesters, some brandishing the green flags of the Gaddafi regime, threw office documents into the air. Libya has endured several days of power cuts, worsened by the blockade of several oil facilities against the backdrop of political rivalries.
Xi Jinping hails Hong Kong takeover as “true democracy”
There is no reason to change Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” formula of governance, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on a rare visit to the global financial hub after swearing in the city’s new leader, John Lee. Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997, with Beijing promising wide-ranging autonomy, unfettered individual rights and judicial independence at least until 2047. China’s critics, including Western nations, accuse authorities of trampling on those freedoms with a sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing on the city in 2020 in the aftermath of mass pro-democracy protests the year before. China and Hong Kong reject the accusations, saying the law “restored order from chaos” so that the city can prosper. Xi said the security law was beneficial for the “democratic rights” of the city’s residents and that the “one country, two systems” formula would remain in place.
EU chief urges Ukraine to speed anti-corruption reform
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told Ukraine’s parliament that EU membership was “within reach” but urged them to press forward with anti-corruption reforms. “You have created an impressive anti-corruption machine,” she told the lawmakers by video link. “But now these institutions need teeth, and the right people in senior posts.” Von der Leyen’s address heaped praise on Ukraine’s parliament and President Zelensky’s government for their swift and successful push to become candidates for EU membership. And she stressed that Brussels and the EU member states were firmly behind Ukraine in both its battle with the ongoing Russian invasion and the quest to be “reunited with our European family”. But she also insisted on the need to build on reforms already introduced since Ukraine’s 2014 revolt against its previous government to battle corruption and the grip of oligarchs on its economy. Von der Leyen urged the Ukrainian parliament to pass laws in line with norms promoted by the Council of Europe to improve selection procedures for independent judges on the constitutional court.
‘Russia of using phosphorus bombs in fresh strikes on Snake Island’
Ukraine’s army accused Russia of carrying out strikes using incendiary phosphorus munitions on Snake Island on Friday, just a day after Moscow withdrew its forces from the outcrop in the Black Sea. Meanwhile, the death toll in the Russian missile strikes which hit an apartment building and a resort near the city of Odesa early Friday morning, rose to 21 people. The Kremlin dismissed allegations that Russian missiles had struck the apartment building.
UN urges ambitious action to protect the oceans
World leaders must do more to protect the oceans, a major United Nations conference concluded on Friday, setting its sights on a new treaty to protect the high seas. “Greater ambition is required at all levels to address the dire state of the ocean,” the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon said in its final declaration. The meeting, attended by government officials, experts and advocates from 140 countries, sets the agenda for final international negotiations in August on a treaty to protect the international waters beyond national jurisdiction.
First same-sex couples marry in Switzerland
With smiles, pride and emotion, the first same-sex couples tied the knot in Switzerland on Friday following a referendum that changed the landscape for LGBTQ rights in the country. Among the first to get married were Aline, 46, and Laure, 45, who have been together for 21 years. The Swiss government’s plans to finally introduce “marriage for all” were challenged by opponents, who successfully triggered a referendum held last September. But 64.1 percent of voters backed the introduction of same-sex marriage. Switzerland was one of the last remaining western European nations where same-sex marriages had yet to be adopted. The Netherlands was the first to make the change in 2001.
Monkeypox cases triple in Europe – WHO
The World Health Organization’s Europe chief warned Friday that monkeypox cases in the region have tripled in the last two weeks and urged countries to do more to ensure the previously rare disease does not become entrenched on the continent. To date, more than 5,000 monkeypox cases have been reported from 51 countries worldwide that don’t normally report the disease. Kluge said the number of infections in Europe represents about 90% of the global total, with 31 countries in the WHO’s European region having identified cases. Kluge said data reported to the WHO show that 99% of cases have been in men – the majority in men that have sex with men.