Posts tagged with "Reuters"

Putin ominously warns Sweden of Russian ‘response’ if it joins NATO alongside Finland

May 17, 2022

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday, May 16, that her nation will formally apply to join NATO; in unity with Finland, which had stated its intentions the day before.

Her announcement came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that there will be consequences that “could be nuclear” if both countries join forces with the North Atlantic alliance, reports Forbes.

Andersson confirmed Sweden’s NATO bid a day after Finnish President Sauli Niinisto  announced  his country’s intention to join the alliance.

Speaking at a meeting in Moscow earlier Monday with several Kremlin-aligned leaders, Putin said Sweden and Finland joining NATO would “certainly provoke our response” according to Reuters’ translation  of his comments.

According to Forbes, Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids break a long history of neutrality for the Nordic countries in a move that would add a significant land border between Russia and the military alliance—and represent a major fallout from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which Putin said was due to NATO’s increasing eastern presence.

Putin did not specify on Monday what Russia may do, should its Nordic neighbors join NATO, saying Russia “will see what threats are created for us,” according to Reuters.

Although Putin didn’t say Monday, the Kremlin has previously suggested it may respond to Finland and Sweden’s NATO potential accession with nuclear weapons.

Last month, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president and the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said Russia may deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea, should Finland and Sweden join NATO—and a presenter on the state-run Russia-1 television station said on May 15 that Russia will have “no choice” but to deploy nuclear weapons to “neutralize” the threat, according to the BBC’s translation.

Putin said Monday he has “no problem” with Finland and Sweden and that the two joining NATO doesn’t pose a “direct threat” to Russia, The New York Times reported.

Putin’s statement strays from the Kremlin’s prior comments about the countries’ NATO bids, as the Russian Foreign Ministry said last week that the move would threaten to upend the “stability and security” of Northern Europe, indicating the Russian government is on its back foot following the historic applications from Finland and Sweden.

Research contact: @Forbes

USA to announce hundreds of millions in new security assistance to Ukraine

April 14, 2022

On Wednesday, April 13, sources close to the Biden Administration said America would announce hundreds of millions of dollars in new military assistance to Ukraine, reports CNN.

The final amount had not been confirmed as of Tuesday, but most estimated that the bottom line would be $700 million, with President Joe Biden using his drawdown authority to authorize the new aid package for Ukraine.

Reuters first reported on the new security assistance package.

If approved, the addition of approximately $800 million in security assistance would bring the total aid to Ukraine to more than $3 billion since the start of the Biden Administration—including nearly $2.5 billion since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s 2020 defense budget was only about $6 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. In less than two months, the United States has provided nearly half of that in security assistance, underscoring the pace at which the White House has worked to send in weaponry and equipment.

U.S. shipments of an $800 million security assistance package approved in mid-March will likely wrap up by the middle of April, a senior defense official said Tuesday. And a $100 million package of Javelin anti-armor systems approved in early April will also likely complete delivery very soon, the official added. These packages came from Defense Department inventories, making it relatively easy and quick to transfer the weapons and systems to Ukraine.

According to a draft list of the shipment described to CNN that had been sent to Congress, the Administration was considering the delivery of weapons systems to Ukraine that would include MI-17 helicopters, coastal sea drones, Howitzers, armored Humvees, and other weapons that had been in previous aid packages.

As of Tuesday night, two sources said helicopters had been removed from the list, which officials say is heavily caveated, with items regularly changed or removed up until it receives the final authorization and signature from Biden.

On April 1, the White House also authorized a separate $300 million in security assistance to Ukraine, but this package will take more time, since it has to be procured from defense contractors first.

Research contact: @CNN

Biden agrees ‘in principle’ to meet with Putin, if Russia has not invaded Ukraine

Febraury 22, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden has accepted “in principle” a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in what could represent a last-ditch effort at diplomacy over tensions surrounding Ukraine and a possible avenue to avert a looming invasion directed by Moscow, reports CNBC.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Sunday evening, February 20,  that the summit between the two world leaders would happen following a meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. That meeting is scheduled for later this week.

Psaki noted that the agreement is conditioned on Moscow holding off on an invasion.

“As the President has repeatedly made clear, we are committed to pursuing diplomacy until the moment an invasion begins,” Psaki said in a statement. “President Biden accepted in principle a meeting with President Putin following that engagement, again, if an invasion hasn’t happened. We are always ready for diplomacy.”

The Kremlin said on Monday, February 21, that there were currently no concrete plans for a meeting between Putin and Biden, according to Reuters.

News of a possible one-on-one between Biden and Putin comes as the White House warns that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could come at any time. Moscow has for weeks built up its military force on its ex-Soviet neighbor’s northern and eastern borders, with recent totals putting Russia’s force at about 190,000.

Research contact: @CNBC

French pet care firm stops selling goldfish bowls because they drive fish crazy

January 28, 2022

French pet care market leader AgroBiothers Laboratoire has announced that it will no longer sell any aquariums with a capacity of less than 4 gallons—and then only rectangular ones—because putting fish in small bowls without filtration and oxygenation is animal abuse, Canoe reports.

“People buy a goldfish for their kids on impulse, but if they knew what a torture it is, they would not do it. Turning round and round in a small bowl drives fish crazy and kills them quickly,” AgroBiothers CEO Matthieu Lambeaux recently told Reuters.

Goldfish can live up to 30 years and grow to about 10 inches in big aquariums or outdoor ponds, but in tiny bowls they often die within weeks or months.

Lambeaux says that goldfish are social animals who need the company of other fish, ample space, and clean water—and that having an aquarium requires a minimum of equipment and expertise.

France is Europe’s number one market for red aquarium fish, with about 2.3 million fish, according to Lambeaux.

Germany and several other European countries have long banned fish bowls, but France has no legislation on the issue.

“It is a French anachronism; that is why we decided to move. We cannot educate all our customers to explain that keeping fish in a bowl is cruel. We consider that it is our responsibility to no longer give consumers that choice,” Lambeaux said.

AgroBiothers, which has a French market share of about 27% in pet care products, sold about 50,000 fish bowls per year at about US$20 apiece in previous years.

“There is demand for fish bowls, but the reality is that what we offer children is the possibility to see gold fish die slowly,” he said.

Research contact: @Canoe

Peloton sues Lululemon in dispute over new apparel line

November 29, 2021

Peloton Interactive, the exercise bike company, has sued Lululemon Athletica after the athletic apparel maker threatened its own lawsuit over Peloton’s new apparel line, reports Reuters.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday night, November 24—just 2-1/2 months after Peloton launched its apparel brand following the end of its five-year co-branding relationship with Lululemon, a break Peloton characterized as amicable.

Peloton said Lululemon’s claims that five of its women’s bra and legging products – Strappy Bra, High Neck Bra, Cadent Peak Bra, Cadent Laser Dot Bra and Cadent Laser Dot Leggings—infringed on six Lululemon design patents “lack any merit.”

The new apparel line could help New York-based Peloton rely less on its bikes and treadmills, after sales growth slowed because more people received COVID-19 vaccines and stayed home less.

In a November 11 letter, Lululemon’s lawyer said the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company would sue Peloton unless it stopped selling its new apparel.

But Peloton said its products and Lululemon’s designs are easy to tell apart, and Lululemon’s designs are too “obvious” to deserve patent protection.

“On top of the numerous clear and obvious differences in design, Peloton and Lululemon’s brands and logos are also distinctive and well-recognized, making confusion between products a virtual impossibility,” Peloton said.

Peloton wants a court declaration that it has not infringed Lululemon patents and trade dress, and that Lululemon’s patent claims are invalid.

“At Lululemon we are known for our product innovation and iconic design,” Lululemon said in a statement on Friday, November 26. “We will defend our proprietary rights, to protect the integrity of our brand, and to safeguard our intellectual property.”

In late morning trading, Peloton shares were up $1.76, or 4%, at $45.68, as investors worried that a new coronavirus variant would spread and keep more people at home longer.

The case is Peloton Interactive Inc v Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-10071.

 Research contact: Reuters

Have you heard? Midas, the ‘four-eared’ rescue kitten, has a safe-and-sound home

November 23, 2021

A sweet gray kitten’s unique appearance has earmarked her for Internet fame, reports HuffPost.

Midas, now four months old, has two normal ear canals, but each one has two earflaps, giving her a decidedly “four-eared” appearance. She was born in a backyard in Ankara, Turkey, and ultimately adopted by a family who wanted to make sure Midas found a loving home—fearing others might be put off by her slightly kooky look, owner Canis Dosemeci recently told Reuters.

“We have never thought of buying a cat, we just wanted to rescue a cat from the street, and we wanted to adopt her,” Dosemeci said.

She and her family chose the name Midas in reference to the king from Greek mythology who was said to be able to turn everything he touched to gold. As the myth goes, Midas ended up offending the god Apollo, who punished the king by giving him donkey ears.

While the donkey ears were a huge source of shame to the mythical king, they seem to be a plus for the real cat. Though some people find her look “scary,” Dosemeci said, most are taken with how cute she is. The cat now has more than 82,000 followers on her Instagram account, where some of Dosemeci’s other pets also make the occasional cameo.

Another piece of good news: The extra earflaps don’t cause her any negative health effects, Dosemeci’s veterinarian told Reuters. The news outlet also noted that Midas has a defective jaw―both conditions are believed to be caused by a genetic mutation―but it’s unclear if that causes any problems for her.

That said, Midas is clearly enjoying life, unaware of her fame in the wide world.

“She is a very playful cat. But very friendly as well,” Dosemeci told the Daily Mail, adding that Midas loves to sleep on her chest or shoulder, and is great buds with the family dogs.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Right-wing conspiracy network OAN receives 90% of its funding from AT&T

October 8, 2021

AT&T, the world’s largest communications company, has been bankrolling a right-wing conspiracy network, an investigation by Reuters has revealed.

According to HuffPost, the damning Reuters report, published on Wednesday, October 6, shows that AT&T helped fund and create One America News Network (OAN)―a right-wing network famous for its fawning coverage of former President Donald Trump; and for spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election that Trump lost.

Without AT&T’s $250 million offering, OAN’s value “would be zero,” according to an accountant’s court testimony obtained by Reuters.

More from the publication:

  • OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring, Sr., has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives.
  • “They told us they wanted a conservative network,” Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. “They only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [leftwing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.”
  • Since then, AT&T has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN, providing tens of millions of dollars in revenue, court records show. Ninety percent of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, including satellite broadcaster DirecTV, according to 2020 sworn testimony by an OAN accountant.
  • Herring has testified he was offered $250 million for OAN in 2019. Without the DirecTV deal, the accountant said under oath, the network’s value “would be zero.”
  • Dallas-based AT&T, a mobile-phone and Internet provider, also owns entertainment giant Warner Media, which includes CNNand HBO. AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015 and in August spun off the satellite service, retaining a 70% share in the new, independently managed company. AT&T’s total U.S. television subscriber base, including satellite and streaming services, fell from 26 million in 2015 to 15.4 million as of August.

Court filings obtained by Reuters show that Herring cited monthly fees in a five-year deal with AT&T as costing approximately $57 million.

In the last two years of his presidency, Trump repeatedly urged his followers to watch OAN, a network that has been loyal to the former president even when facts have gotten in the way of praise. Last year, as the coronavirus swept through the United States, OAN saw a ratings boost as Trump and the network churned out lies about the virus.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Permission to Dance? BTS band members sing their way through United Nations

september 22, 2021

Fully vaccinated South Korean boy band BTS members danced their way through the United Nations in a broadcast on Monday, September 20—promoting global goals tackling poverty, inequality, injustice, and climate change ahead of the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders, Reuters reports.

The seven-member group filmed a music video to its song, “’Permission to Dance,” in the world body’s New York headquarters, dancing through the General Assembly hall and out into the gardens. It was broadcast during an event promoting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

BTS—whose members declared they were all fully vaccinated against COVID-19 —also appeared in person at the event in the General Assembly, introduced by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. They are the U.N.’s Special Presidential Envoys for Future Generations and Culture.

They shared their thoughts and those of young people worldwide on the past two years and the future—expressing their frustration during the pandemic.

“I was saddened to hear that entrance and graduation ceremonies had to be canceled,” said Jeon Jung-Kook, known as Jungkook. “These are moments in life you want to celebrate and missing out on them must have been upsetting. We were heartbroken when our long planned concert tours were canceled.”

They praised the resilience of youth, saying they were not “COVID’s lost generation.”

“I think it’s a stretch to say they’re lost, just because paths they tread can’t be seen by grown-up eyes,” said BTS group leader Kim Nam-Joon, known as RM.

Kim Seok-Jin, known as Jin, added: “Instead of the ‘lost generation’ a more appropriate name would be the ‘welcome generation’ because instead of fearing change, this generation says ‘welcome’ and keeps forging ahead.”

Breaking news: @Reuters

It’s a wrap! Arc de Triomphe is cloaked in fabric for posthumous Christo installation

September 16, 2021

Parisians were surprised on Sunday, September 12, to see more than 100 workers at the Arc de Triomphe monument—beginning to wrap the iconic landmark in a shimmering material, in an installation planned to be a posthumous homage to the artist Christo, reports Reuters.

L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped” is expected to be completed and available for public viewing from September 18 through October 3, according to coverage by Veranda. When complete, the 50-meter high (55-yard), 19th century arch will diisplay 25,000 square meters (2,690,977 square feet) of silvery blue, recyclable plastic wrapping.

This project marks the culmination of the final two posthumous public works of art from Christo and his wife and artistic partner, Jeanne-Claude. In accordance with his wishes, the installation is being completed by his team, in partnership with the Centre des monuments nationaux (CMN); and with the support of the Centre Pompidou and Ville de Paris.

Like all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, it will receive no public funding and has been entirely supported by sales from the couple’s original works of art. And 30 years after the couple’s Pont Neuf wrapping, this temporary artwork represents an homage to the couple’s creative vision and desire to make art accessible for all.

Imagined decades ago in 1961 by the late Bulgarian-born artist and his wife, both of whom died in 2009, “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped” was finally brought to life by Christo’s nephew, Vladimir Yavatchev at a cost of about $16.54 million.

“The biggest challenge for me is that Christo is not here. I miss his enthusiasm, his criticisms, his energy and all of these things. That, for me, really is the biggest challenge,” Yavatchev told Reuters.

Christo, who spent part of his life in Paris and part in New York, once rented a small room near the famed Champs-Elysees avenue after moving to Paris in 1958, when he experimented with wrapping discarded crates and barrels with fabric and rope, according to an official site about the artist.

Christo, whose full name was Christo Javacheff, was known for his larger-than-life installations. He wrapped up a stretch of coastline in Australia and the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin, and strung up a huge curtain in part of a canyon in Colorado. He worked closely with Jeanne-Claude on the projects.

The pair covered Paris’s Pont Neuf bridge in yellow cloth in 1985.

The Arc de Triomphe project, involving the most visited monument in Paris–which looms over one end of the Champs-Elysees—will still allow tourists to visit the site and its panoramic terrace. The monument is also home to a tribute to the Unknown Soldier, in the form of a flame of remembrance that is rekindled every day.

Research contact: @Reuters