• Dutch officials report record catch of more than 23 tonnes of cocaine | Reuters

    Customs authorities in Germany and Belgium have seized a record haul of more than 23 tonnes of cocaine destined for the Netherlands in two raids this month, Dutch prosecutors said on Wednesday.

    The two shipments together represented a street value of roughly 600 million euros ($730 million), the prosecutors said, making it the biggest seizure of cocaine headed for the Netherlands.

    Prosecutors said a 28-year-old Dutchman had been arrested on Wednesday who was registered as the recipient of the containers in which the drugs were found.

    In Hamburg, Germany, 16.17 tonnes of cocaine were found in over 1,700 tins of wall filler which had arrived on a container ship from Paraguay.

    In the Belgian port of Antwerp around 7.2 tonnes of the drugs was found hidden in a container filled with wood blocks which had been shipped from Panama.

    Paraguay’s anti-drugs authority said later on Wednesday it carried out four simultaneous raids on premises allegedly linked to both the cocaine shipments discovered in Europe.

    We are finding evidence such as paint cans that are similar to those that were seized (in Europe),” Francisco Ayala, a spokesman for Paraguay’s National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) told reporters during one of the raids.

    Envases Paraguayos, the firm that owns the paint factory that was raided, denied involvement, saying in a statement that the company was a victim of organized crime gangs who had tampered with the shipment.

    Paraguay is a popular transit country for cocaine trafficking from Andean countries to Europe, according to the United Nations.

    However, its interior minister Arnaldo Giuzzio on Wednesday said “Although the containers depart from our country, the cargo can also be contaminated (with drugs) in other ports.”

  • Mekong River at ’worrying’ low level amid calls for more Chinese dam data | Reuters

    Water levels in the Mekong River have fallen to a “worrying level” in part due to outflow restrictions from Chinese hydropower dams upstream, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said on Friday, calling on Beijing to share all of its water data.

    #eau #barrage #réservoirs #Mékong

  • Exclusive : Proud Boys leader was ‘prolific’ informer for law enforcement

    Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012, according to a former prosecutor and a transcript of a 2014 federal court proceeding obtained by Reuters.

    d’un siècle l’autre


  • Lilly testing new antibody for South Africa coronavirus variant, says company executive | Article [AMP] | Reuters

    Non publié et sans que soit précisé à quoi correspond le “late-stage”

    The company on Tuesday also presented early data from a late-stage trial showing that its combination therapy of two antibodies, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, helped cut the risk of hospitalization and death in COVID-19 patients by 70%.

    Data from over 1,000 participants in a late-stage study testing the combination showed 11 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths in patients treated with the therapy, compared with 36 in those on placebo, representing a 70% risk reduction, the company said.


  • Nord Stream 2 says preparations for construction in Danish waters can go ahead | Reuters

    FILE PHOTO: The Russian pipe-laying ship “Fortuna” is seen in the Mecklenburg Bay ahead of the resumption of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline construction near Insel Poel, Germany January 14, 2021.
    REUTERS/Annegret Hilse_

    The Russia-led Nord Stream 2 (NS2) consortium on Friday said preparatory work to complete the subsea gas pipeline to Germany in Danish waters can go ahead, pointing to the latest notifications by the Danish Maritime Authority.

    Denmark’s Nautiskinformation notified shippers on Thursday that prohibited areas near Bornholm would be established beginning on Friday for the pipe laying vessel Fortuna, assisted by construction and supply vessels.

    Earlier, the German business daily Handelsblatt said the NS2 group, which is led by Russia’s Gazprom, was delaying the completion work, linking this to enhanced sanctions pressure from Washington aimed at halting the project.

    A spokesman for the Switzerland-based group, who had referenced the Danish website, said he would not comment any further.

    The consortium will probably be able to say at the end of January or in early February when work will resume, the Handelsblatt report had quoted the group as saying.

    More than 90% of the project has been completed.

    According to Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data, the Fortuna was anchored near the German port of Rostock on Friday.

    Construction of Nord Stream 2 was initially halted in December 2019 following the sanctions threat from the United States, which wants to cut Europe’s dependence on Russian energy and sell its own liquefied natural gas to the region.

  • Interpol red notices issued for ship captain, owner over Beirut blast - Lebanese state media | Reuters

    Five months since one of the biggest non-nuclear blasts on record, big questions remain about the ammonium nitrate that detonated after being stored at the port for years.

    The Interpol notices, which are not international arrest warrants, ask authorities worldwide to provisionally detain people pending possible extradition or other legal actions. Interpol issues them at the request of a member country.

    State news agency NNA said on Tuesday that Interpol also issued a notice for a Portuguese trader who examined the cargo at Beirut port in 2014, without giving a name or futher details.

    The Interpol global police coordination agency says it does not confirm or deny red notices that are not publicly available on its website. An Interpol spokesperson said if there was a notice and it was not published online, that meant it was for law enforcement only.

    Lebanese officials have faced accusations of negligence, with some port and customs employees detained in connection to the blast, which injured thousands of people. Families of the victims are still waiting for results of the investigation.

    Lebanon’s public prosecution asked Interpol in October to issue arrest warrants for two people it had identified as the Russian captain and owner of the Rhosus ship which arrived in Beirut in 2013, security and judicial sources said.

    Their names did not appear on the public list of Red Notices on Interpol’s website on Wednesday.

    Boris Prokoshev, the captain at the time, has said the chemicals ended up in Beirut after the ship’s owner told him to divert to pick up extra cargo, and that Lebanese authorities had paid little attention to the nitrate.

    I am shocked,” he told Reuters when asked about the report of an Interpol red notice on Tuesday. “I do not understand at all what could be the basis for my arrest.

  • 150 000 vaccinations par jour / Israël a lancé au pas de course la vaccination contre le Covid-19

    Déjà plus de 10 % de la population a reçu une première injection. Le premier ministre, Benyamin Nétanyahou, en campagne pour sa réélection, espère ainsi contrebalancer sa gestion désastreuse de la crise sanitaire.


    En deux semaines, plus d’un million d’Israéliens ont déjà reçu une première injection – sur neuf millions d’habitants. Quelque 300 centres ont été ouverts progressivement à travers le pays ; Israël est l’Etat qui vaccine le plus au monde. « Nous explosons tous les records », s’est félicité vendredi Benyamin Nétanyahou en saluant le millionième Israélien vacciné.


    Normalement, seuls les assurés de plus de 60 ans et les professionnels de santé sont prioritaires, mais les exceptions sont nombreuses. « Nous travaillons un peu sous pression, avec quatre points de vaccination, au maximum six, on fait près de 500 injections par jour, parfois jusqu’à 900 », reconnaît la médecin de 47 ans, voile bleu clair et blanc autour de son visage, où se lit la fatigue accumulée des dernières semaines.

    A côté, Abed Abu Surur note des horaires sur des petits tubes. Le protocole est strict. Une fois sorties du congélateur, les doses du vaccin Pfizer-BioNTech peuvent être conservées cinq jours. Le jour J, « on les sort du réfrigérateur deux heures avant, puis on ajoute de l’eau. Ensuite, on a six heures pour les utiliser, décrit l’infirmier de 54 ans, en secouant un petit flacon. On n’a jamais rien jeté. » La semaine dernière, la clinique a donc vacciné au pas de course, sans rendez-vous, pendant une journée, pour ne pas gâcher des doses sorties du congélateur cinq jours plus tôt.

    Israël s’y est pris très tôt, sans lésiner sur les moyens. Dès la mi-juin 2020, Benyamin Nétanyahou annonçait un accord avec Moderna pour de potentiels vaccins ; le 13 novembre, vantant ses liens personnels avec Albert Bourla, le PDG de Pfizer, le chef du gouvernement israélien signait une commande de huit millions de doses – assez pour vacciner près de la moitié du pays.

    Officiellement, Israël aurait déjà sécurisé de quoi faire dix millions d’injections ; dans la course mondiale pour le vaccin, les chiffres exacts et le coût des opérations restent secrets. Face à tant d’abondance, des critiques se sont élevées pour contraindre l’Etat hébreu à honorer ses obligations vis-à-vis des Palestiniens. Si les habitants de Jérusalem-Est, sous annexion illégale, sont éligibles à la vaccination, il n’est toujours pas prévu qu’Israël achemine des stocks vers la Cisjordanie et Gaza qu’il occupe depuis 1967.

    Campagne politique

    Le succès israélien en matière de vaccination ? « Il est dû à un mélange de plusieurs facteurs : nous avons l’infrastructure nécessaire pour vacciner rapidement, nous avons fait des simulations par le passé en cas d’attaque biologique… La majorité des Israéliens fait confiance aux vaccins, seule une infime partie de la population reste réfractaire et nous avons mené une large campagne sur les réseaux sociaux et les médias traditionnels pour informer le grand public en amont », énumère le professeur Nadav Davidovitch, directeur de l’école de santé publique de l’université Ben-Gourion et membre du comité de conseil national israélien sur le Covid-19. « A cela s’ajoute une forte volonté politique avant les élections. »

    Car cette campagne au pas de course profite avant tout à Benyamin Nétanyahou, fortement critiqué pour sa gestion de la pandémie. En septembre 2020, Israël affichait les pires taux de contamination au monde ; la coalition au pouvoir, chancelante, semblait ne plus rien contrôler. Elle s’est écroulée le 17 décembre, après des mois d’agonie et le pays s’achemine vers ses quatrièmes élections en deux ans.

    Au rythme de quelque 150 000 vaccinations par jour, le premier ministre entend sortir le pays du cauchemar du coronavirus d’ici début mars – juste à temps pour les législatives programmées le 23 mars. Un objectif ambitieux destiné à faire oublier son procès pour corruption qui devrait s’accélérer dès février et les mauvais résultats actuels.

    Israël vient en effet de commencer son troisième confinement et le taux de contamination dépasse les 5 000 cas par jour – plus de 3 400 décès sont à déplorer depuis le début de l’épidémie. Le gouvernement étudie la possibilité d’étendre encore les restrictions. Hors du vaccin, point de salut.

    Convaincre les plus religieux

    Les autorités y jettent donc toutes leurs forces. Dans le sud de Jérusalem, un immense complexe sportif a même été transformé en clinique pour l’occasion. Aux murs, quatre écrans géants égrainent des numéros ; les patients se succèdent, à la chaîne, de 8 heures à 22 heures, même le shabbat, le samedi, jour chômé pour les juifs. Une dizaine de flacons dans les mains, Shira Hershkop, secouriste de 21 ans, sourit derrière son masque violet : « Nous sommes en train de vivre un moment historique, tout le monde ressent ça ici. »


    C’est l’autre défi qu’ont en partie réussi à surmonter les autorités : convaincre les plus religieux et les Arabes israéliens de se faire vacciner. Pour la communauté juive ultraorthodoxe, certains grands rabbins ont donné l’exemple. D’autres se sont contentés de ne pas interdire à leurs ouailles de recevoir des injections. Dans les communautés arabes, les centres ont mis du temps à ouvrir et les Arabes israéliens, descendants des Palestiniens restés sur leurs terres à la création d’Israël, restaient méfiants. Certains dignitaires musulmans ont été mis à contribution pour encourager les fidèles à se faire vacciner.

    Mais jusqu’à quand ? Déjà des rumeurs de rupture de stocks font frémir les autorités. La prochaine livraison de vaccins Pfizer devrait arriver mi-janvier, affirme le professeur Davidovitch ; d’ici là, la vaccination de nouveaux patients devrait être suspendue dès la semaine prochaine, pour s’assurer que ceux qui ont déjà reçu une première dose puissent finir le processus, a affirmé le ministre de la santé, Yuli Edelstein.

    « La campagne de vaccination est importante partout pour garantir l’immunité, mais ce n’est pas l’unique solution, met en garde le professeur Davidovitch. Nous devons, en Israël et ailleurs, tirer les leçons de la crise due au Covid-19, notamment sur le fait que le système de santé a été sous-financé et sous-staffé. »

    #covid-19 #vaccination

  • Google told its scientists to ’strike a positive tone’ in AI research - documents

    OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Google this year moved to tighten control over its scientists’ papers by launching a “sensitive topics” review, and in at least three cases requested authors refrain from casting its technology in a negative light, according to internal communications and interviews with researchers involved in the work. Google’s new review procedure asks that researchers consult with legal, policy and public relations teams before pursuing topics such as face and (...)

    #Google #Gmail #YouTube #algorithme #biométrie #géolocalisation #manipulation #religion #COVID-19 #discrimination (...)


  • Venezuela : l’Assemblée nationale sortante, où l’opposition est majoritaire, s’autoprolonge et délègue ses pouvoirs à un comité plus restreint. Juan Guaidó reste(ra) donc président par intérim en tant que président de l’Assemblée nationale et considérant que le président Nicolás Maduro est illégitime.

    La nouvelle assemblée a été élue le 6 décembre et est pratiquement monocolore, l’opposition ayant boycotté l’élection. Elle prend ses fonctions début janvier.

    Et l’Assemblée nationale constituante, montée pour contrer l’ancienne assemblée, qui s’était auto-attribués les pouvoirs législatifs va se séparer sans avoir fait la moindre proposition de constitution.

    Venezuela’s opposition-held Congress extends term after disputed vote | Reuters

    Venezuela’s opposition-held National Assembly on Saturday approved a statute extending its term into 2021, after a disputed Dec. 6 election in which allies of President Nicolas Maduro’s ruling socialist party won 91% of the seats in Congress.

    The South American country’s four main opposition parties boycotted the parliamentary vote, arguing conditions for a free and fair election were not met, and most Western democracies, including the United States, have said they do not recognize the election results.

    Saturday’s vote paves the way for opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognized by dozens of countries as the crisis-stricken OPEC nation’s legitimate leader, to retain his role as the parliament’s speaker. Guaido’s nearly two-year push to oust Maduro, who he labels a dictator, has been unsuccessful.

    Despite threats from the dictatorship and intimidation from the regime, the parliament will continue in this extraordinary period,” Guaido said on Saturday.

    The statute provides for a small group of legislators to carry out the National Assembly’s functions. The change comes as dozens of legislators have fled the country, or have expressed unwillingness to continue serving in Congress next year, due to what they describe as threats from the government.

    Members of one of the four major parties that make up Guaido’s coalition, Democratic Action, abstained from the vote because they did not support delegating the functions of parliament to a small group.

  • Challenging police violence … while Black

    Encounters like these, occurring across the United States, inform persistent complaints that racial bias poisons policing in the country — complaints that coalesced into a mass movement for policing reform after the May 25 death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis cop.

    A growing body of research supports the perception that police unfairly target Black Americans. They are more likely to be stopped, searched and arrested than their white compatriots. They also are more likely to be killed by police.

    The aftermath of each of the three incidents examined for this article followed a common pattern. The officers who killed Stewart and roughed up Dobbins and Howse said the force they used was appropriate because the men ran, resisted or otherwise didn’t follow orders. The officers – all of them white – were cleared of wrongdoing by their departments. Local prosecutors brought no charges against them.

    But Stewart’s family, Dobbins and Howse all felt wronged and hoped to hold the police accountable. The men didn’t comply, they said, because they had no idea why police engaged with them in the first place, and as Black men, they were justifiably frustrated or afraid or both. As Stewart’s mother, Mary, put it: “Luke wasn’t doing anything illegal, and now he’s dead … It was racism. It was police brutality.”

    #états-unis #violences_policières

  • Apple supplier Wistron puts India plant damage at up to $7 million

    TAIPEI (Reuters) - The ransacking of an iPhone manufacturing facility in India caused up to T$200 million ($7.12 million) in damage though production facilities were not as badly hit as reported, its Taiwan-based operator Wistron Corp said on Tuesday. Thousands of contract workers gathered on the grounds of the Wistron site on the outskirts of India’s tech hub of Bengaluru on Saturday demanding unpaid wages and better working hours. As police arrived, the crowd turned violent and video (...)

    #Apple #Wistron #iPhone #smartphone #violence #lutte #travail

    • the company said major production facilities and warehouses had not suffered as serious damage as reported by local media, and that it was initially estimating losses at T$100-200 million.

      Ce ne sont donc pas essentiellement les machines qui ont été touchées

      Apple Inc said on Monday it was investigating whether Wistron had flouted supplier guidelines. Apple said it was sending staff and auditors to the site and was cooperating with police in their investigation. Wistron is one of Apple’s top global suppliers.

      Il n’existe pas, par ailleurs, une campagne internationale contre les pratiques de sous-traitance d’Apple ? J’ai l’impression d’avoir déjà entendu parler d’une telle initiative.

  • Suspected Russian hackers spied on U.S. Treasury emails - sources | Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hackers believed to be working for Russia have been monitoring internal email traffic at the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, according to people familiar with the matter, adding they feared the hacks uncovered so far may be the tip of the iceberg.

    There is some indication that the email compromise at NTIA dates back to this summer, although it was only recently discovered, according to a senior U.S. official.


  • Les Etats-Unis reconnaissent la marocanité du Sahara en échange de relations diplomatiques entre Maroc et Israël
    10 décembre 2020

    Le président américain sortant Donald Trump a annoncé la signature d’un accord entre les Etats-Unis et le Maroc, reconnaissant la souveraineté du royaume sur le Sahara.

    « Aujourd’hui, j’ai signé une proclamation reconnaissant la souveraineté marocaine sur le Sahara occidental. La proposition d’autonomie sérieuse, crédible et réaliste du Maroc est la SEULE base d’une solution juste et durable pour une paix et une prospérité durables », a-t-il indiqué sur son compte Twitter.

    Today, I signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal is the ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution for enduring peace and prosperity !
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2020

    Le président américain a indiqué, dans un autre tweet, que le Maroc a accepté de normaliser ses relations avec Israël, décrivant une « grande percée pour la paix au Moyen-Orient ».

    Another HISTORIC breakthrough today ! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East !
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2020

    Dans un communiqué confirmant la première annonce, le cabinet royal a indiqué ce jeudi que le roi Mohammed VI s’est entretenue par téléphone avec le président des Etats-Unis d’Amérique. « Lors de cet appel, le président américain a informé Sa Majesté le Roi qu’il a publié un décret présidentiel, avec un effet immédiat, annonçant que les Etats-Unis d’Amérique reconnaissent, pour la première fois de leur histoire, la pleine souveraineté du Royaume du Maroc sur toute la région du Sahara marocain », indique le communiqué relayé par l’agence MAP.


    • Exclusive: U.S. nears sale of four sophisticated drones to Morocco - sources
      By Mike Stone, Patricia Zengerle | December 10, 20207:06 PM

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is negotiating the sale of at least four sophisticated large aerial drones to Morocco, according to three U.S. sources familiar with the negotiations, and is expected to discuss the deal with members of Congress in the coming days.

      The sources did not indicate whether the deal, which has been in the works for several months, was related to the agreement brokered with U.S. help for Morocco to normalize relations with Israel.

      While the State Department has authorized the sale of the unmanned aerial vehicles, the sources said, it was not known if the U.S. officials have approved exporting the drones with weapons attached, two of the people said.

      The deal must be approved by members of Congress, who may receive notification as soon as Friday, one of the people said. Congress could block a final agreement but that was not expected two of the people said.

      The four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones made by General Atomics have a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,100 km) and could survey huge swaths of sea and desert.

      A deal with Morocco would be among the first drone sale after President Donald Trump’s administration moved ahead with its plan to sell more drones to more countries by reinterpreting an international arms control agreement called the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

      Following the Trump administration’s reinterpretation of the MTCR, U.S. Senators introduced legislation that would block the export, transfer or trade of many advanced drones to countries that are not close U.S. allies. Sales would be allowed to NATO members, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and Israel.

      Still, this fall drone sales moved ahead to Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE sale drew criticism from some members of the U.S. Senate.

      The U.S. State Department and Morocco’s Washington embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    • Maroc-Etats-Unis : Contrat de 1MM$ pour 4 drones et des missiles de précision
      Article modifié le 2020/12/12 à 00h21

      Comme annoncé jeudi 10 décembre, l’administration Trump a soumis à l’approbation du Congrès un nouveau projet de contrat d’armement au profit du Maroc, d’une valeur d’un milliard de dollars, indique Reuters.

      Les armed commandées par le royaume comprennent quatre drones MQ-9B SeaGuardian, fabriqués par la société privée General Atomics, et des missiles à guidage de précision Hellfire, Paveway et JDAM fabriquées par Lockheed Martin, Raytheon et Boeing, expliquent des sources à la même agence de presse.

      Ce nouveau développement intervient dans le sillage de la reprise des relations diplomatiques entre le Maroc et Israël grâce à une médiation des Etats-Unis.

    • Sahara occidental : « La politique étrangère marocaine n’a jamais été dans le marchandage »
      Publié le : 12/12/2020, Par : Nina Kozlowski

      Ce 10 décembre, les États-Unis d’Amérique ont acté la reconnaissance de la souveraineté du Maroc sur le Sahara occidental, tandis que le Maroc a annoncé la reprise de ses relations diplomatiques avec Israël. Deux décisions historiques concomitantes, qui laissent penser à un « deal » entre le Royaume et Donald Trump, au dépend des engagements marocains en faveur de la Palestine. Nasser Bourita, ministre des Affaires étrangères au Maroc, réfute cette idée, il est l’invité de Nina Kozlowski. (...)

    • Déclarations officielles de politique étrangère du 11 décembre 2020
      France-Diplomatie-Ministère des Affaires étrangères

      4 - Maroc-Israël

      Q - Avez-vous une réaction au rétablissement des relations entre le Maroc et Israël ? Ce rétablissement se produit avec l’annonce que les Etats-Unis reconnaissent la souveraineté du Maroc sur le Sahara occidental. Dans quelle mesure cette reconnaissance change la donne dans le conflit sur le Sahara occidental et le rôle des Etats-Unis ? Quelle est la position de la France ? Est-elle modifiée ?

      Deux points : Est-ce que l’annonce de la normalisation entre Royaume du Maroc et l’Etat d’Israël peut avoir un effet sur la politique de l’UE envers le dossier du Sahara occidental ? Et est-ce que ce rapprochement a bénéficié d’une quelconque intercession française ou de la part d’élus français franco-marocains ou franco-israéliens ?

      R - La France se félicite de l’annonce de la reprise des relations diplomatiques entre le Maroc et Israël, qui sont pour elle deux partenaires essentiels. Elle salue, dans ce cadre, le rappel par les autorités marocaines de leur soutien à la solution des deux Etats vivant côte à côte dans la paix et la sécurité, comme de l’importance des négociations entre les parties pour parvenir à une paix durable. Avec ses partenaires, la France est déterminée à contribuer à une reprise du dialogue sur la base du droit international et des paramètres agréés.

      Le conflit au Sahara occidental n’a que trop duré et fait peser un risque permanent de tensions, comme nous l’avons vu récemment à Guerguerate. La France est attachée à la recherche d’une solution politique dans le cadre de la légalité internationale. Elle est, sur cette base, favorable à une solution politique juste, durable et mutuellement acceptable, conformément aux résolutions du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies. Dans cette perspective, elle considère le plan d’autonomie marocain comme une base de discussions sérieuse et crédible./.


  • Giant iceberg on course to collide with south Atlantic penguin colony island | Reuters
    (150 km de long, portfolio de 5 images, par avion et satellite)

    °A satellite image of the A-68A iceberg (L) as it approaches South Georgia island (R) in the South Atlantic, December 4, 2020.
    Copernicus Sentinel-Pierre Markuse/Handout via REUTERS °

    An enormous iceberg is heading toward South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic, where scientists say a collision could devastate wildlife by threatening the food chain.

    Scientists have long been watching this climate-related event unfold, as the iceberg - about the same size as the island itself – has meandered and advanced over two years since breaking off from the Antarctic peninsula in July 2017.

    The peninsula is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth, registering a record high temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius (69.35 degrees Fahrenheit) on Feb. 9. The warming has scientists concerned about ice melt and collapse leading to higher sea levels worldwide.

    The gigantic iceberg - dubbed A68a - is on a path to collide with South Georgia Island, a remote British overseas territory off the southern tip of South America. Whether that collision is days or weeks away is unclear, as the iceberg has sped up and slowed down with the ocean currents along the way, said Geraint Tarling, a biological oceanographer with the British Antarctic Survey who has been tracking the icy mass.

    A collision, while looking increasingly likely, could still be avoided if the currents carry the iceberg past the island, Tarling said.

    The currents “still have the power to take this iceberg in one direction or another away from South Georgia,” Tarling said in an interview on Wednesday. “But it is really, really close, less than 50 kilometers away from the south shelf edge. That’s getting so close that it’s almost inevitable.

    Images captured by a British Royal Air Force aircraft and released on Tuesday show the magnitude of the monstrous, 4,200-square-km (1,620-square-mile) iceberg, its surface carved with tunnels, cracks and fissures. A number of smaller ice chunks can be seen floating nearby.

    The sheer size of the A68a iceberg means it is impossible to capture its entirety in one single shot,” British officials said in a statement.

    Still, the berg is diminished from its original size of 5,800 square km (2,240 square miles), measured when the mass broke off from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf 2-1/2 years ago.

  • EU to toughen sanctions on Turkish drilling - draft statement | Reuters

    Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz is escorted by Turkish Navy frigate TCG Gemlik (F-492) in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus.
    Picture taken August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

    The European Union will impose sanctions on more Turkish individuals and companies responsible for drilling in contested waters in the Mediterranean, according to a draft statement prepared for EU leaders to agree at a summit on Thursday.

    If agreed, the EU will “prepare additional listings” on the basis of a sanctions list already in place since 2019 and “if need be, work on the extension” of its scope, according to the draft statement seen by Reuters.

    Such sanctions would be among the more conservative measures available to EU leaders, who vowed in October to use “all instruments” to pressure Turkey to stop exploring for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus and Greece.

    France had voiced support for “sectorial” sanctions on the Turkish economy. But imposing them on a NATO ally and EU candidate country is seen by Germany, Spain and Italy as a step too far that would put Turkey in the same camp as Russia, which is viewed as hostile to the bloc.

    The hydrocarbons dispute is part of wider issues with Turkey including the divided island of Cyprus and Turkey’s foreign policy in Libya and Syria, which the United States and the EU say undermines Western goals.

    However, Turkey’s role as a host for Syrian migrants fleeing civil war who would otherwise seek refuge in the EU limits European appetite to punish Ankara, diplomats say.

  • U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye discloses breach, theft of hacking tools

    FireEye, one of the largest cybersecurity companies in the United States, said on Tuesday that it had been hacked, likely by a government, and that an arsenal of hacking tools used to test the defenses of its clients had been stolen. The hack of FireEye, a company with an array of contracts across the national security space both in the United States and its allies, is among the most significant breaches in recent memory. The company’s shares dropped 8% in after-hours trading. The FireEye (...)

    #spyware #hacking

  • OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges | Reuters

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Purdue Pharma LP pleaded guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription painkiller OxyContin, capping a deal with federal prosecutors to resolve an investigation into the drugmaker’s role in the U.S. opioid crisis.

    Members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue and previously sat on the company’s board were not part of Tuesday’s court proceedings and have not been criminally charged. They agreed in October to pay a separate $225 million civil penalty for allegedly causing false claims for OxyContin to be made to government healthcare programs such as Medicare. They have denied the allegations.

    Purdue’s plea deal carries more than $5.5 billion in penalties, most of which will go unpaid. A $3.54 billion criminal fine is set to be considered alongside trillions of dollars in unsecured claims as part of Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings.

    Purdue earlier settled separate Justice Department civil claims, agreeing to a $2.8 billion penalty also expected to receive little financial recovery in the drugmaker’s bankruptcy case.

    The plea deal and other related settlements have come under fire from Democrats on Capitol Hill calling for Purdue and its owners to face more severe consequences for their alleged roles in the opioid crisis.

    The company reaped more than $30 billion from sales of OxyContin over the years, enriching Sackler family members, according to U.S. and state officials. Since 1999, roughly 450,000 people have died in the United States from opioid-related overdoses, according to U.S. data.

    Purdue, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year here under an onslaught of litigation, has proposed settling thousands of lawsuits in a deal it values at more than $10 billion. That is contingent on donations of opioid reversal and addiction treatment medications it has under development and a $3 billion cash contribution from the Sacklers, who would cede control of Purdue.

    #Opioides #Sackler #A_gerber

  • Le vaccin Oxford-AstraZeneca serait plus efficace lorsque la dose de la première injection est 50% moins importante que la seconde.

    Mais pourquoi avoir donné la moitié de la dose ? Par erreur...

    Dosing error turns into lucky punch for AstraZeneca and Oxford | Article [AMP] | Reuters

    Around the time when Astra was initiating its partnership with Oxford at the end of April, university researchers were administering doses to trial participants in Britain.

    They soon noticed expected side effects such as fatigue, headaches or arm aches were milder than expected, he said.

    “So we went back and checked ... and we found out that they had underpredicted the dose of the vaccine by half,” said Pangalos.

    He added the company decided to continue with the half dose and administer the full dose booster shot at the scheduled time.