Hundreds evacuated by ferry from Evia
The threat of advancing wildfires in the Greek island of Evia has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residence during the night and in the early hours of this moring. More than a thousand people were evacuated by ferries, as the raging fires made it impossible to use other means. Residents described the scenes as “like an apocalypse”. Some 154 fires are still active, with the situation becoming even more unpredictable due to the sudden change in the winds, that led the flames at the gates of Athens and Evia to change direction several times.
Tokyo Olympics to close in colourful ceremony
The Tokyo Olympics will draw to a close in a few hours’ time with a colourful closing ceremony and then the world will get ready for the 2020 Summer Paralympics, beginning in a forthnight on August 24 and the slow build-up to the next summer games, set for Paris in 2024. The theme of the Olympic Ceremonies is Moving Forward, refering to the global pandemic, with the closing ceremony theme being Worlds We Share, which is expected to cover Global Impact, Diversity, and a brighter future. On the last day of competitions, reigning Olympic champion, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge won the marathon in Sapporo arriving alone at the finish line, with a time of 2 hours 08 minutes and 38 seconds. Silver went to the Dutch Nageeye and Bronze to the Belgian Abdi.
EC to study Poland’s about-turn on justice reform
The European Commission has said it “will carefully analyse” orders issued by the Polish Supreme Court to suspend the activity of the disciplinary chamber, the body to supervise the judiciary at the centre of a profound conflict with the EU on the independence of judges. An EU spokesman said that they expect that by August 16, the Polish authorities would inform the Commission of the measures taken to comply with the sentence. The leader of the main party of the conservative ruling coalition in Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, had announced that the law that provided for a disciplinary body to supervise the judiciary, would be eliminated from the justice reform.
Blinken “concerned” over China’s nuclear arsenal
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was concerned about the proliferation of China’s nuclear arsenal. Speaking at an online meeting of ASEAN ministers, Blinken underlined how Beijing has now clearly deviated from the minimum deterrence strategy followed in recent decades, as explained by the spokesman for the Department, Ned Price. Last month, a report from the American Federation of Scientists concluded that China is building more than 100 silos to house nuclear-warhead missiles in the Xinjang region.
Iran rejects G7 accusations
Iran has rejected as “unfounded”, the G7’s accusations that Tehran was responsible for the drone attack on the oil tanker Mercer Street off the coast of Oman on July 29, an attack in which two people died. The foreign ministers of the G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States – together with the EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, condemned the attack, describing it as “a deliberate, targeted and a clear violation of international law”.
Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas of Kool & the Gang dies
Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, who founded one of the R&B and funk groups that became cult in the era of disco music, Kool & the Gang, has died in his sleep at the age of 70 in his home in New Jersey. He was one of the group’s saxophonists and contributed to the birth and success of unforgettable songs like “Celebration” and “Get Down On It” which made an entire generation dance in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Thomas’ death follows that of another of the band’s co-founders, Ronald “Khalis” Bell, also a saxophonist, earlier in 2020.