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News Trending

On the southern Russian shore of the Caspian Sea, authorities have discovered some 2,500 dead seals. According to officials, there is no evidence that they perished violently.

Although initially just 700 dead seals were recorded, later research has shown a substantially greater number, and counting is still ongoing. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed Caspian seals as endangered since 2008.

According to a statement from Zaur Gapizov, director of the Caspian Environmental Protection Center, the seals likely passed away two weeks ago. According to him, there is no proof that the animals were killed or caught in fishing nets.

A significant number had been discovered between the mouths of two rivers, the Sulak and the Shurinka, according to a Telegram post from the Dagestan region’s ministry of natural resources and the environment.

The ministry stated that experts have taken samples from the seals and that the causes of the deaths would be determined once the lab results are in. Through decades of overhunting and industrial pollution, the Caspian Sea’s seal population has significantly decreased.

Just 70,000 people remain today, according to the Caspian Environmental Protection Center, compared to more than a million a century ago.

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News Trending War

US intelligence agencies predict that the combat in Ukraine will continue to wane through the upcoming winter. However, according to US head of intelligence Avril Haines, there hasn’t been any indication of Ukrainian forces’ resistance weakening.

Both sides, according to her, would endeavour to “refit, replenish, and reconstitute” for any springtime counteroffensive. The crucial energy infrastructure of Ukraine had already been attacked by Russia.

Even though Russia has lost more than half of the territory it had conquered, the war in Ukraine is already in its ninth month. The majority of the combat is presently taking place near the eastern Ukrainian cities of Bakhmut and Donetsk, Ms. Haines stated at a defence symposium in California.

She said fighting had slowed down following Russia’s withdrawal of troops from the west of the Kherson region last month.

“We’re seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict… and we expect that’s likely to be what we see in the coming months,” she said.

She said both Ukraine and Russian militaries would be looking to prepare for any counter-offensive after the winter.

“But we actually have a fair amount of scepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that,” she said.

“I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame.”

According to Ms. Haines, US intelligence believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is now unaware of the full extent of his military’s difficulties.

“We observe ammo shortages, morale problems, supply problems, logistics, and a host of other issues that they are dealing with.”

On the other hand, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that a price ceiling imposed on Russian oil exports by his Western partners was “weak” and that it was not “severe” enough to harm the Russian economy.

The cap, which is set to take effect on Monday, aims to prevent nations from paying more than $60 (£48) a barrel for Russian crude oil that is transported by sea.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, stated that although Moscow had planned for the action, it would not sell its oil under the quota.

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According to Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Europe “is not strong enough” to resist Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on its own and has been forced to rely on US assistance. The head of the potential Nato member stated that Europe’s defences needed to be bolstered while on a visit to Australia.

She added, “I have to be brutally honest with you, Europe isn’t strong enough at the moment. Without the United States, “we would be in serious difficulty.” The majority of Ukraine’s military support comes from the US. According to a research briefing released by the UK’s House of Commons last month, it has invested $18.6 billion (€17.7 billion; £15.2 billion) in support since the conflict began in February.

According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the European Union is the second-largest donor, followed by the United Kingdom. However, the US’s contributions much outweigh theirs. Additionally, Ms. Marin argued that more needs to be done to strengthen European defences as military supplies from European nations to Ukraine are running low.

Ms. Marin stated: “The United States has contributed a lot of weaponry, a lot of money, a lot of humanitarian aid to Ukraine and Europe isn’t strong enough yet” on Friday at the Lowy Institute think tank in Sydney.

She continued by saying that Europe needed to “develop those capacities in terms of European defence, European defence industry, and making sure that we could handle in different sorts of situations.”

Donald Trump, the president of the United States, frequently criticised NATO members who do not spend enough on defence while in office. According to estimates, the US spent slightly over 3.7% of its GDP on defence in 2020, compared to an average of 1.77% for NATO members in Europe and Canada.

Prime Minister Marin continued by criticising recent initiatives by some European nations to improve their relations with Russia.

The UK said in June that its defence spending would reach 2.5% of GDP by the end of the decade under then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

According to NATO, all members must pledge 2% in order to “guarantee the alliance’s military readiness.” Additionally, new proposals have been made for NATO countries to raise their defence spending to 3% of GDP.

Finland, which has a significant border with Russia, submitted an official application to join NATO in May. Accession protocols were signed in July, but all other members have not yet ratified them.

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Entertainment News Trending

An expert panel has selected a female-directed movie as the best ever made.  The British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound survey placed Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, directed by Chantal Akerman, in first place.

It is the first time a female director’s film has made it into the top ten. The poll, which is conducted every ten years, has drawn flak for its lack of diversity.  For 40 years, Citizen Kane by Orson Welles occupied the top slot. Vertigo, a film by Alfred Hitchcock, surpassed it in 2012.

Jeanne Dielman, released in 1975, is the story of a Belgian widow who turns to prostitution to make ends meet, but kills one of her clients. The film runs for almost three and a half hours.

It has been praised as a “masterpiece” and a groundbreaking work of feminist film, despite not  being as well known outside of the field of film criticism as past winners. The 65-year-old Belgian director Chantal Akerman passed away in 2015.

The poll’s contributor, writer and film critic Lillian Crawford, called the movie the “essential text” of female cinema.

“Jeanne Dielman isn’t a film that I would say to someone getting into cinema ‘Oh, this is the first film you absolutely must see’,” she told the BBC.

“I think if you’re going to work through the list, maybe do it in reverse order and sort of build towards it, because it’s quite an ask to invite people to see this.

“But in an academic sense and thinking about cinema and encouraging more people to seek out experimental film, films by women, and in terms of the history of feminist cinema, this is absolutely the sort of essential text.”

In an article for the British Film Institute, Laura Mulvey, a professor of film studies at Birkbeck University, called the vote a “sudden shake-up”.

In 2012, Touki Bouki by Djibril Diop Mambéty and Jeanne Dielman, both directed by black filmmakers, were the only two black films to be included on the list.

The quantity and variety of those consulted have grown over time. The best 10 movies of the year were chosen by 1,639 critics, programmers, curators, archivists, and academics.

Vertigo, the previous winner, came in at number two, followed by Citizen Kane at number three.

Fourth place went to Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story, and fifth place went to Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love.

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In order to draw qualified individuals to its labour market, the German government has agreed to loosen its immigration regulations. The cabinet wants a points system a la Canada to hire people who speak German or possess the necessary qualifications.

Europe’s largest economy, Germany, requires an additional 400,000 foreign workers annually, according to analysts. According to Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, the changes will result in “the most modern immigration law in Europe.”

Conservative opposition leader Friedrich Merz criticised the measures, claiming that Germany was underutilizing its potential and had more than two million unemployed people.

He claimed that while it already benefited from the EU’s commitment to freedom of movement, individuals did not want to relocate there because “the paperwork is horrendous, the taxes are too expensive.” The workforce in Germany is getting older and there are shortages in the IT, healthcare, and construction industries. Hubertus Heil, the minister of labour, estimated that by 2035, seven million skilled workers will be required.

According to Rainer Dulger of the BDA employers’ confederation, “We need people who will help us to retain our success in this country.” The three-party coalition in power seeks to enact a “opportunity card,” based on a points system, which would be used to evaluate non-EU candidates by taking into account things like education and linguistic proficiency.

The process for recognising foreign qualifications would be simplified and unskilled workers would also be allowed in to fill certain sectors.

The suggestions may not be presented to the Bundestag, the German parliament, for several months, but Robert Habeck, the minister of economics, said there is now a pressing need to address the issue: “We have been aware of the impending demographic issue for years, but not enough has been done.”

The proposed immigration reforms follow closely on the heels of ideas to speed up the citizenship process for immigrants living in Germany. Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that certain persons might be allowed to become citizens after only three years as opposed to up to eight.

The proposed law would further shorten the five-year waiting period for applicants who can demonstrate integration and German language proficiency.

Additionally, the government intends to amend the constitution to permit dual citizenship, which is currently virtually prohibited in Germany.

This week, Mr. Scholz claimed that immigrants “are bringing Germany ahead” and that Germany had transformed into “a land of hope” for those seeking to start new lives.

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News Sports Trending

At the end of the year, Mattia Binotto will step down from his role as Ferrari team principal. The 53-year-old resigned from his position, according to a statement released by Ferrari on Tuesday, adding the search for a replacement was “underway”.

Since 1995, Binotto has been a member of the Ferrari team. He recently announced his decision to leave the company with regret. As difficult as it has been for me to make this decision, it is right to move forward.

Binotto rose through the ranks of the organisation, first overseeing the engine division, then serving as the technical director for the entire F1 team, and then becoming the helm. He leaves at the end of a season in which Ferrari achieved their goals of returning to winning races, but which was marked by a series of reliability failures and operational errors.

Binotto said: “I am leaving a company that I love, which I have been part of for 28 years, with the serenity that comes from the conviction that I have made every effort to achieve the objectives set.

“I depart from a solid and expanding team. I wish a strong team all the best in the future as they work together to accomplish the highest goals.”

Binotto was praised and given good wishes by Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna, who also said that because of his efforts, the team was “in a strong position to relaunch our challenge, above all for our amazing fans across the world, to win the ultimate reward in motorsport.”

Binotto’s successor is expected to be Frederic Vasseur, team principal of Alfa Romeo.

In an effort to eliminate the climate of fear that many people say prevents creativity and courageous actions at the team, Binotto strove to build a no-blame culture at Ferrari.

Ferrari was worried, though, because despite this, there didn’t seem to be any progress being made in resolving the team’s fundamental issues.

The goal of a no-blame culture is to foster an atmosphere of accountability and trust where problems may be recognised, comprehended, and resolved without anyone concerned about losing their job. Despite the numerous mistakes, however, not much seemed to change at Ferrari this year.

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According to police, a drug “super cartel” that was in charge of almost a third of Europe’s cocaine supply has been broken up. 49 persons were detained as part of Operation Desert Light, which involved six different European nations, according to Europol, the EU’s police agency.

One of them, a British national, is thought to be the operation’s leader. According to Europol, more than 30 tonnes (30,000 kg) of drugs were recovered during the two-year investigation.

Authorities from Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Operation Desert Light collaborated to dismantle the cartel, according to a statement from Europol. Six “high-value targets,” or those most sought after by international law enforcement, were among those detained.

The “drugpins” had established a “prolific criminal network engaged in large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering,” according to Europol. The size of the narcotics operation was described as “vast” in the addition.

It is the most recent in a string of police initiatives to access encrypted phones used by organised crime networks to smuggle drugs and launder cash. The majority of the arrests were made in the Netherlands in 2021, where cocaine imported from South America via the Netherlands was the main subject of the investigation.

According to Europol, the other raids took place earlier this month, from November 8 and 19, during planned operations in the other six nations. Teams of detectives and sniffer dogs were seen investigating homes filled with luxury cars in a video uploaded to the agency’s YouTube page, although it is not apparent if they found anything.

Data from the previous ten years, according to analysts, suggests that Europe’s annual access to cocaine is rising.  With an estimated 3.5 million adults using the substance in the last year, crimes involving cocaine use or possession are also on the rise.

The biggest stash of cannabis ever recovered was found earlier this month during a series of searches by Spanish police. The quantity of packaged marijuana discovered amounted to roughly 1.1 million plants.

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News Trending War

A senior Ukrainian official claims that Russia’s strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure constitute genocide. The prosecutor-general told the BBC that attacks on important buildings were intended to subdue Kyiv by targeting “the entire Ukrainian nation.”

An attempt to exterminate a group of people is referred to as a genocide. Russia denies having such objectives. Following persistent Russian strikes, millions of people in Ukraine are experiencing power outages in the chilly weather.

The task of re-connecting houses without electricity is ongoing. Following the city’s liberation by Ukrainian forces earlier this month, officials claim that Kherson has finally received a complete resupply.

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, usage limitations continue to apply to residents of 14 areas, including the capital city of Kiev. According to the UN Genocide Convention’s definition, genocide comprises “the purpose to eliminate, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.”

Forcibly removing that group’s children or killing or seriously injuring its members are two examples of actions that may qualify. Andriy Kostin, the prosecutor general of Ukraine, stated in his BBC interview that 11,000 Ukrainian children had been forcibly transported to Russia in addition to the attacks on the electricity grid.

Since Russia started its full-scale assault on February 24, Mr. Kostin claimed that his office has been looking into reports of more than 49,000 war crimes and crimes of aggression.

In other news, the leader of Ukraine’s state nuclear business Energoatom claims there are indications that troops from Moscow may be getting ready to depart the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility.

The plant was captured by the Russians in March, and both sides have accused one another of bombarding it, raising concerns of a potentially disastrous nuclear explosion. Petro Kotin, however, issued a warning because there was currently no proof of a Russian departure.

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News Trending

In what has been referred to as one of Sweden’s worst ever suspected espionage cases, two Swedish brothers who are accused of selling secrets to Russia’s intelligence agencies are on trial. The Kia brothers, Peyman, 42, and Payam, 35, are charged with espionage for Moscow during a ten-year period.

The older brother had previously served in the army and security forces of Sweden. Both men deny culpability, and Peyman Kia’s attorney maintains that there is insufficient evidence to support a conviction.

The case was special, according to the prosecutor, Mats Ljungqvist, who told Sweden’s state network SVT that the nation had not seen anything like it “in over 20 years.”

Due to the sensitivity of the subject being discussed, a large portion of the trial is being held behind closed doors. Everyone present in the Stockholm courthouse has undergone security checks, and press access is restricted.

The suspects had access to a list of every single Sapo employee, according to intelligence specialist Joakim von Braun, who called it the worst case of espionage in Sweden’s history. Russian intelligence concentrates on human sources, therefore just that is a big issue, he told SVT.

Peyman Kia reportedly worked in one of Swedish intelligence’s most top-secret divisions, the Office for Special Acquisition (KSI), at one time in his career.

Investigators seized mobile phones, a shattered hard drive, several other storage devices, and papers outlining cash and gold transactions in the months leading up to his and his brother’s arrest in late 2021.

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News Trending War

“We share your pain,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has told a group of mothers of Russian soldiers who have been fighting – and some of whom have been killed – in Ukraine.

“Nothing can replace the loss of a son”, he said in his opening remarks, before the footage on state TV was cut.

Reports that the mothers were carefully picked for the conference have gone unremarked by the Kremlin. The backlash against Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has been mounting.

Mothers of serving soldiers are openly complaining about the fact that their boys are being sent into fight with inadequate equipment and training, particularly as winter approaches.

Following a number of significant military defeats in recent months, some have also claimed that the Russian military is using civilians who were forcibly mobilised as “cannon fodder.”

In a rare acknowledgment, the Kremlin acknowledged that its efforts to mobilise army reservists had been flawed in September.

The most senior US general, Mark Milley, estimated earlier this month that since the war started on February 24, around 100,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or injured. Mr. Putin was pictured seated at a huge table with a group of 17 mothers at the meeting on Friday at his state estate outside of Moscow. Some of them donned mourning accessories like dark headscarves.

The president stated, “I want you to know that I personally, and all the leadership of the country, we share your anguish.

He continued, warning them not to trust “fakes” and “falsehoods” about the raging battle depicted on TV or the internet, saying, “We’ll be doing everything so you won’t be feeling forgotten.”

Soon after Mr Putin launched the full-scale invasion, Russian authorities brought in tough censorship laws against the media, criminalising “dissemination of false information” about its armed forces.

Media outlets face fines or even closure for calling it a war – the Kremlin describes the invasion as a “special military operation”.

That means balanced news can be difficult to get in Russia, leading some people to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass the biased state-run media coverage.

On Friday, President Putin also said he had wanted to meet the mothers to hear from them first-hand about the situation on the ground.

And he revealed that from time to time he was speaking directly to Russian soldiers on the battlefield, describing them as “heroes”.

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