even tougher winter next year as natural gas stocks are used up and as new supplies to replace Russian gas, including increased shipments from the United States or Qatar, are slow to come online, the International Energy Agency said in its annual World Energy Outlook, released last week.

Europe’s activity appears to be accelerating a global transition toward cleaner technologies, the I.E.A. added, as countries respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by embracing hydrogen fuels, electric vehicles, heat pumps and other green energies.

But in the short term, countries will be burning more fossil fuels in response to the natural gas shortages.

gas fields in Groningen, which had been slated to be sealed because of earthquakes triggered by the extraction of the fuel.

Eleven countries, including Germany, Finland and Estonia, are now building or expanding a total of 18 offshore terminals to process liquid gas shipped in from other countries. Other projects in Latvia and Lithuania are under consideration.

Nuclear power is winning new support in countries that had previously decided to abandon it, including Germany and Belgium. Finland is planning to extend the lifetime of one reactor, while Poland and Romania plan to build new nuclear power plants.

European Commission blueprint, are voluntary and rely on buy-ins from individuals and businesses whose utility bills may be subsidized by their governments.

Energy use dropped in September in several countries, although it is hard to know for sure if the cause was balmy weather, high prices or voluntary conservation efforts inspired by a sense of civic duty. But there are signs that businesses, organizations and the public are responding. In Sweden, for example, the Lund diocese said it planned to partially or fully close 150 out of 540 churches this winter to conserve energy.

Germany and France have issued sweeping guidance, which includes lowering heating in all homes, businesses and public buildings, using appliances at off-peak hours and unplugging electronic devices when not in use.

Denmark wants households to shun dryers and use clotheslines. Slovakia is urging citizens to use microwaves instead of stoves and brush their teeth with a single glass of water.

website. “Short showers,” wrote one homeowner; another announced: “18 solar panels coming to the roof in October.”

“In the coming winter, efforts to save electricity and schedule the consumption of electricity may be the key to avoiding electricity shortages,” Fingrad, the main grid operator, said.

Businesses are being asked to do even more, and most governments have set targets for retailers, manufacturers and offices to find ways to ratchet down their energy use by at least 10 percent in the coming months.

Governments, themselves huge users of energy, are reducing heating, curbing streetlight use and closing municipal swimming pools. In France, where the state operates a third of all buildings, the government plans to cut energy use by two terawatt-hours, the amount used by a midsize city.

Whether the campaigns succeed is far from clear, said Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies, a European think tank. Because the recommendations are voluntary, there may be little incentive for people to follow suit — especially if governments are subsidizing energy bills.

In countries like Germany, where the government aims to spend up to €200 billion to help households and businesses offset rising energy prices starting next year, skyrocketing gas prices are hitting consumers now. “That is useful in getting them to lower their energy use,” he said. But when countries fund a large part of the bill, “there is zero incentive to save on energy,” he said.

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Counselors And Cops Working Together Can Save Lives

Co-responder teams of police and mental health experts can better meet the needs of people in mental health crisis.

One night last June, 22-year-old Christian Glass called 911 for help with his stranded car. A little over an hour later he was dead.

 Asked about weapons, Glass mentions tools his family says he used as an amateur geologist. 

“I have two knives and a hammer, um, and a rubber mallet. I guess that’s a weapon?,” Glass said. “I’m not dangerous. I will keep my hands completely visible.”

But when deputies in Colorado’s Clear Creek County show up, Glass tells them he’s too scared to get out of his car. 

Then they see the knife.

Over about the next hour, officers try to get him out. 

Glass smiles — even makes a heart with his hands — but stays in the car. 

Officers seem to realize glass is having a mental health crisis. A Colorado State Patrol sergeant notes Glass hasn’t done anything wrong. 

“If there’s no crime and he’s not suicidal, homicidal or a great danger, then there’s no reason to contact him,” the sergeant says.

 But for reasons that are unclear and now under investigation, officers eventually smash the car window. 

What happens next is chaos, and then tragedy. 

Officers shoot beanbags and tasers. 

Finally, a deputy opens fire.

The next moments are too disturbing for TV. Even the police appear stunned. 

Glass’ family says he was a gentle soul, an artist who had bouts of depression. His parents blame police for escalating a situation they say was never truly dangerous. 

“We’re a very gentle, quiet family,” said Christian’s mother Sally Glass. “So that level of aggression and those officers really wasn’t in his world. He would have really struggled with that, you know, that would have been outside his comfort zone even to be spoken like that and treated like that.”

Nationwide last year, 101 people “behaving erratically” or having a mental health crisis were killed by police. What happened to Glass is exactly what many police departments across the country say they’re trying harder to prevent.

In Douglas County Colorado, Zachary Zepeski and Kalie Bryant are part of an innovative partnership. He’s a sheriff’s deputy, and she’s a licensed professional counselor with a master’s degree in mental health counseling. 

They’re part of what’s called a co-responder team. Handling not only mental health calls, but as their shift starts, also checking in on people they’ve dealt with before. 

“Sounds like they are concerned she may be ‘slipping’ is the word they use, again, into a mental health crisis,” Bryant said. “So we are just following up to see how she’s doing. To see what support we can offer her.”

Next, they get called to help with someone who appears to be in crisis.

As they arrive, a sergeant tells them the man may still be inside his home. 

The man has committed no crime, but Zepeski and Bryant need to make sure he’s OK.

But rather than barge inside, potentially making things worse, the team holds off.

“We don’t try to go in an agitate a situation anymore,” Zepeski said. “There was no crime. The things that were broken were his own, you can break your own stuff. So that’s why we didn’t really force the issue.”

Eventually, they find out the man already left. But their work is just beginning.

“Now is kind of a waiting game,” Zepeski said. “We will keep this one on our radar so now we’ll know if something happens at this address again, that we have an idea of what’s going on inside that apartment.”

“I feel like that we have the ability to develop a relationship with these people and truly get to know them so that they know that they can call for us if they need it,” Bryant said.

In one year across Colorado, teams like this one responded to 15,000 calls and made nearly 8,000 follow-up visits.

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock says before “co-responder” teams, people having a mental health crisis often ended up behind bars. 

“We’re talking misdemeanor crimes, and these people were in the jail,” Spurlock said. “Not a place for someone who has a mental health disorder. We’re not equipped in the jail to treat them, or quite frankly even to house them.”

But more than half of Colorado’s counties do not have “co-responder” teams, including Clear Creek where Christian Glass was killed. His family wants officers held accountable. 

“Christian’s killing is a stain on Clear Creek County and on Colorado,” said Christian’s father Simon Glass. “It was a murder by a Colorado official. It cannot stand.”

Newsy reached out to the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department. They declined to give is an interview or statement. The district attorney and state investigators are now reviewing the case to see if any officers should face criminal charges. And the FBI and Justice Department tell Newsy they are aware of the case and will “take appropriate action” if they find evidence of federal criminal civil rights violations.

Source: newsy.com

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‘Biosphere’ Review: A Hilariously Thought-Provoking Sci-Fi Comedy

By Daniel Feingold
September 16, 2022

This uproariously funny and clever buddy comedy uses humor to talk about pressing societal issues.

Two dudes are in a biosphere after the world has ended. We don’t know exactly why, or how long ago. But childhood friends Ray (Sterling K. Brown) and Billy (Mark Duplass), who also co-wrote the screenplay with director Mel Eslyn, in a stellar debut) are now presumably spending the rest of their days in a dome protecting them from whatever made Earth uninhabitable. Climate change feels implied but is never directly referenced. Ray is a charismatic, quietly confident scientist who built the biosphere, while Billy is a well-meaning putz who somehow served as the last president of the United States when end times happened. Humanity had to have already been on its last legs for Billy to be an elected official at any level of government.  

The biosphere is designed not just to sustain life, but to also maintain some semblance of normalcy. The guys play video games, exercise, read, cook and have the necessities for comfortable living, relatively speaking. But they both seem to recognize this can only last for so long, and it’s a ceremonious seafood dinner, of all things, that sparks a doomsday scenario for their safety inside the dome, challenging their friendship, the way they see each other and the way they see themselves.  

And that’s really all I feel I should say. The less you know about this movie going in, the better. No trailer, no detailed plot summary, not even too much discussion about the themes “Biosphere” is tackling. Because, rest assured, while it approaches some deep, important topics in the span of 106 minutes, even knowing what those are would tip you off to possible directions the story is headed. That doesn’t seem fair. “Biosphere” made its world premiere with a surprise screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is appropriate for a movie you should embrace as a complete surprise.  

What I will tell you is “Biosphere” is creative, daring and hysterical. Eslyn and Duplass show no hesitation in pushing these two characters to unexpected, bold places. And they do so with comedy that often plays as both outrageous and tender. It’s their conduit for the social commentary that reverberates throughout the biosphere and in the feelings and interactions of the last men on Earth who inhabit it.  

 Eslyn also makes a remarkably assured feature-length directorial debut, helming an ostensible sci-fi comedy that’s so much more. A lot could go wrong with how this story is told and the messages it offers, and the seemingly unique but actually relevant questions it presents. She fearlessly handles this with sincere thoughtfulness and empathy.  

And when you have a cast of two, that dynamic had better work. Brown and Duplass are a delight to watch, both together and individually. Their chemistry as lifelong friends is believable from the moment we meet them on their morning jog around the dome, discussing the dynamics of video-game brothers Mario and Luigi. It’s a galaxy-brain conversation you have only with someone you feel comfortable around. Their banter never feels forced, and it seems likely the screenplay was light on dialogue in some places to allow space for the two actors to just riff organically.  

A surprise entry at TIFF, and one of the most pleasant surprises of the year for me, “Biosphere” goes far deeper than what it means to live in a post-apocalyptic world, continually pushing the audience to consider the human experience in ways most ordinarily wouldn’t. In the case of Ray and Billy, that consideration comes while stuck in a doomsday dome. Fortunately for us, all it could take is watching a movie.

Source: newsy.com

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400M Tons Of Plastic Waste Created Each Year But Only 2M Tons Recycled

Newsy’s Scott Withers visits the largest residential recycling plant in the country, located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Americans generate a lot of waste — about five pounds per person per day — and a lot of it is plastic. Those flimsy grocery bags, shrink wrap packaging and of course, bottles — lots and lots of bottles.  

Every year, we toss out 2.5 million plastic bottles.  

“They are highly recyclable and its imperative they end up in your recycling bin,” Republic Services External Communications Manager Jeremy Walters said.

Together, we create 400 million tons of plastic waste a year. Only two million tons of that gets recycled. We used to do better but during the pandemic, our recycling rate dropped because we started making more garbage.  

“It’s how much trash is generated versus how much recycling is generated. And when that trash starts to go up, the recycling volumes start to dilute,” Walters continued. 

Vegas—What happens here, gets recycled here. It’s not the official slogan for the city, but it could be. 

This city is known for excess — huge hotels and big casinos. And it also has the largest residential recycling plant in the country.  

Republic Services recycles two million pounds every day, which is the equivalent weight of 500 cars. Workers at the massive plant sort the mixed recyclables, plastics, aluminum, glass and paper and remove the wish-cycle items, which are things we wish we could recycle but can’t. 

“Bowling balls, shoes, engine blocks, steel security doors—I promise you, if you use your imagination, we’ve seen it here,” Walters said.

Paper is easily the most recycled item — 50 million tons of it per year, and we also break down and recycle almost all of our cardboard boxes. More than 90% of those boxes get recycled.

There is plenty that doesn’t get recycled, though. One hundred and ten million glass bottles get thrown away every year. Glass can be recycled indefinitely—same with aluminum— but we still don’t recycle about seven million tons a year. And then there’s all those plastic bottles.

All the trash that we create, which does not go through recycling plants like this one, ends up piling up in landfills.  

Source: newsy.com

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‘Glass Onion’ Review: A Middling Satire With Appealing Performances

By Daniel Feingold
September 15, 2022

The highly anticipated sequel to “Knives Out” is never dull but not as sharp-witted as its predecessor.

“It’s so dumb!” – Daniel Craig in one of the more entertaining scenes of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”, but also an accurate description of how I felt for stretches of the sequel to 2019’s widely beloved “Knives Out.” That’s OK, though. While “Onion” lacks the same charisma, charm and wit as its predecessor, it’s still undoubtedly a crowd pleaser that buzzes along despite a 139-minute runtime.  

Craig’s shtick as renowned detective Benoit Blanc is perhaps even more fun this time around. Rian Johnson is also back as writer/director, with a new murder mystery that, to his credit, has an entirely distinct setup from the last film.  

A group of friends (Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Jessica Henwick, Dave Bautista, Madelyn Cline), all successful in their very different careers, receive an invitation in the mail. Their ultra-rich tech buddy, Miles Bron (Edward Norton), is inviting them to stay at his remote Greek island to solve his own murder — as in a dinner party murder mystery. (Blanc also gets an invite, though Bron swears he never sent him one. Blanc would like a prize… perhaps an iPad… for whoever solves the mystery). But when this much wealth, privilege and ignorance among friends considered “disrupters” in their respective fields gathers under one roof, something bad is bound to happen. It does, of course – just not in the way, or when, we expect. And so, we’re off.  

Johnson ratchets up the comedy in “Glass Onion” to mixed results. The first third of the film is an unwelcome (and unnecessary) reminder of pandemic lockdowns and mandates, along with an over-reliance on spoofing the ultra-wealthy. Of course, lampooning the ignorance of privilege is part of the fun of both “Knives Out” movies, but some of the satire in this case is so on the nose that it feels patronizing. You can almost feel Johnson elbowing the audience saying, “Rich people, am I right or what?!” There must be a more creative, thoughtful way to riff on toxic greed and influencer culture than, for instance, Hudson’s character casually tweeting an antisemitic remark because she’s a self-proclaimed “truth teller.” These types of punchlines are neither nuanced nor outrageous enough to be particularly funny.  

The hit-and-miss nature of the laughs isn’t helped by a cast of characters I just never wanted to spend time with. Johnson mostly gives his actors caricatures to work with, and the dialogue does a little too much winking to the audience for its own good. Again, both “Knives Out” movies featured mostly unlikeable characters. I found the first bunch deplorably fun, while I wouldn’t want to RSVP to a party with this crew — even on a Greek island with a literal onion-shaped glass room.  

Along with Craig, Monáe is excellent as Andi Brand, the lone member of the friend group with a soul. Monáe is asked to carry large parts of the movie. She succeeds, giving us some of the most intriguing moments of the film as the puzzle pieces come together. Norton also completely works playing the insufferably snobbish genius who feels compelled to rent the actual Mona Lisa from The Louvre (the museum needed some money during the pandemic) just to remind his friends — and himself — how impressive he is. The entire ensemble, really, understands the assignment here. This is a big, ridiculous, meta whodunnit. The talent of the main cast (plus fun cameos!) is not in question.  

The good news is “Onion” begins to click once we get all the unpleasantries of meeting these unsavory characters out of the way and the mystery plot kicks in. The more screen time for Craig and Monáe, the better. Johnson clearly recognizes what he has with the pairing, not unlike Craig and Ana de Armas in 2019. Their chemistry is delightful, and their comedic moments feel organic and earned.  

What starts as Johnson’s forced attempt to show he can still subvert the murder mystery genre with biting social commentary turns into another fun trip through the peculiar mind of one Benoit Blanc. “Glass Onion” is consistently entertaining; and just as Johnson said after the TIFF premiere that he’ll keep making these movies until Craig blocks his number, I’ll keep watching Craig have fun in this role. I can’t help but feel, though, that this second entry into the franchise suffers a bit from the Netflixification of cinema, with a baseline level of competence from everyone involved in a big-budget production that’s just serviceable; you stream it and move on. At least that iPad will come in handy. 

Source: newsy.com

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Shock Waves Hit the Global Economy, Posing Grave Risk to Europe

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the continuing effects of the pandemic have hobbled countries around the globe, but the relentless series of crises has hit Europe the hardest, causing the steepest jump in energy prices, some of the highest inflation rates and the biggest risk of recession.

The fallout from the war is menacing the continent with what some fear could become its most challenging economic and financial crisis in decades.

While growth is slowing worldwide, “in Europe it’s altogether more serious because it’s driven by a more fundamental deterioration,” said Neil Shearing, group chief economist at Capital Economics. Real incomes and living standards are falling, he added. “Europe and Britain are just worse off.”

eightfold increase in natural gas prices since the war began presents a historic threat to Europe’s industrial might, living standards, and social peace and cohesion. Plans for factory closings, rolling blackouts and rationing are being drawn up in case of severe shortages this winter.

China, a powerful engine of global growth and a major market for European exports like cars, machinery and food, is facing its own set of problems. Beijing’s policy of continuing to freeze all activity during Covid-19 outbreaks has repeatedly paralyzed large swaths of the economy and added to worldwide supply chain disruptions. In the last few weeks alone, dozens of cities and more than 300 million people have been under full or partial lockdowns. Extreme heat and drought have hamstrung hydropower generation, forcing additional factory closings and rolling blackouts.

refusing to pay their mortgages because they have lost confidence that developers will ever deliver their unfinished housing units. Trade with the rest of the world took a hit in August, and overall economic growth, although likely to outrun rates in the United States and Europe, looks as if it will slip to its slowest pace in a decade this year. The prospect has prompted China’s central bank to cut interest rates in hopes of stimulating the economy.

“The global economy is undoubtedly slowing,” said Gregory Daco, chief economist at the global consulting firm EY- Parthenon, but it’s “happening at different speeds.”

In other parts of the world, countries that are able to supply vital materials and goods — particularly energy producers in the Middle East and North Africa — are seeing windfall gains.

And India and Indonesia are growing at unexpectedly fast paces as domestic demand increases and multinational companies look to vary their supply chains. Vietnam, too, is benefiting as manufacturers switch operations to its shores.

head-spinning energy bills this winter ratcheted up this week after Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company, declared it would not resume the flow of natural gas through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline until Europe lifted Ukraine-related sanctions.

Daily average electricity prices in Western Europe have reached record levels, according to Rystad Energy, surging past 600 euros ($599) per megawatt-hour in Germany and €700 in France, with peak-hour rates as high as €1,500.

In the Czech Republic, roughly 70,000 angry protesters, many with links to far-right groups, gathered in Wenceslas Square in Prague this past weekend to demonstrate against soaring energy bills.

The German, French and Finnish governments have already stepped in to save domestic power companies from bankruptcy. Even so, Uniper, which is based in Germany and one of Europe’s largest natural gas buyers and suppliers, said last week that it was losing more than €100 million a day because of the rise in prices.

International Monetary Fund this week to issue a proposal to reform the European Union’s framework for government public spending and deficits.

caps blunt the incentive to reduce energy consumption — the chief goal in a world of shortages.

Central banks in the West are expected to keep raising interest rates to make borrowing more expensive and force down inflation. On Thursday, the European Central Bank raised interest rates by three-quarters of a point, matching its biggest increase ever. The U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to do the same when it meets this month. The Bank of England has taken a similar position.

The worry is that the vigorous push to bring down prices will plunge economies into recessions. Higher interest rates alone won’t bring down the price of oil and gas — except by crashing economies so much that demand is severely reduced. Many analysts are already predicting a recession in Germany, Italy and the rest of the eurozone before the end of the year. For poor and emerging countries, higher interest rates mean more debt and less money to spend on the most vulnerable.

“I think we’re living through the biggest development disaster in history, with more people being pushed more quickly into dire poverty than has every happened before,” said Mr. Goldin, the Oxford professor. “It’s a particularly perilous time for the world economy.”

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Ukrainian Plastic Surgeons Are Treating Wounded Civilians For Free

After Russian missiles hit a residential building in Ukraine, plastic surgeons stepped up to help the injured recover.

In a country at war, 21-year-old Gleb Ivankovich wanted to celebrate his college graduation with his close friends.  

They rented a room at a resort, and recorded much-needed carefree moments.  

It could be young people anywhere in the world.  

But this is Ukraine.  

“We graduated from university. And wanted just swimming and relax,” said Ivankovich.  

Just hours after they recorded their video, Russian cruise missiles pummeled the resort and a residential building next to it.  

More than 22 people died, most of them moments after being awoken by wailing air raid sirens. 

NEWSY’S JASON BELLINI: When you heard the air raid sirens, what did you do? 

GLEB IVANKOVICH: We were having fun in the room, listening to music and getting ready for bed. We just sat around like normal when we heard the alarm. People only react to alarms in areas where fighting is taking place. We knew, our parents knew, there were no military facilities there. 

The July 1 attack was the worst thus far on the Odesa region. 

One of Ivankovich’s friends recorded a video just after the attack. All five of the friends survived. 

Though they narrowly missed being among the 5,700 Ukrainian civilians killed in Russian attacks since February, they’re part of another count: The more than 8,100 who’ve been injured.  

Most casualties of this war result from Russian shells and missiles exploding, spraying micro missiles of glass and metal. 

Artur Tumbashan, a specialist in scar prevention like the one treating Ivankovich, is struggling to help so many victims. 

“This is our battlefield. We’re surgeons, that’s what we do best. We’re good at it, and we want with all our heart and soul to help people avoid all sorts of deformities, which cause depression,” said Tumbashan. 

BELLINI: Who’s paying for this? 

ARTUR TUMBASHAN: We do them for free. This is our conscious choice. We’re not forced to do it. It’s done from the heart.

In Ivankovich’s case, hundreds of sharp shards from this window pelted his body. 

Five weeks later, he’s still helping his doctors locate the pieces still inside his back. 

IVANKOVICH: Early on, it was like a volcano crater. My legs are scarred. I’ll show you what happened to my arms and my face too. I’ll show you everything, so people can see what happened to me.

BELLINI: Do you remember when you first looked in the mirror what that was like? 

IVANKOVICH: When I saw myself in the mirror, I wasn’t scared. I thought ‘everything will heal. It’s okay. Everybody’s alive. That’s the most important thing. 

His doctor says, yes, his wounds will heal and the nerves in his face will eventually repair themselves. But even with laser treatments, some scars are for life.  

Ivankovich considers himself a victim of terrorism. 

“The main problem is that the Russian military, they are not a military, they are terrorists. An army fights against an army. Terrorists are those who attack ordinary civilians, who launch rockets into residential areas where there are no military facilities,” said Ivankovich. 

His doctors say his appearance from before the attack will never be fully restored. 

When he would otherwise be starting his career, Ivankovich recovers, and waits for his wounds and scars, on the outside at least, to heal.  

Source: newsy.com

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Strippers At Los Angeles Club Look To Be First In U.S. To Unionize

The dancers say they’ve been seeking better protection, pay, safety and workplace conditions from their management for a long time.

Strippers who work at a club in Southern California have filed with the National Labor Relations Board in an effort to unionize. As on stage performers, they want to join the Actors Equity Association (AEA).

The performers say they have been seeking better protection, better pay, better safety and better workplace conditions from their management for a long time — but they haven’t gotten it.

“They’ve reported significant wage theft that leaves them going home often without having even made minimum wage — and physical safety — glass on the stage, being touched without consent by patrons, things you might expect, but things that we think a union contract will help protect against,” said Kate Shindle, president of the AEA.

Should their efforts succeed, the move to unionize could set a real precedent for workers all over the country.

The next step for these dancers is a formal vote, which the National Labor Relations Board will oversee. If a majority of the performers at the club do vote to unionize, they’ll start negotiating their very first contract with the AEA and their management.

Source: newsy.com

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Live Updates: Ukraine Estimates Sharply Higher Russian Casualty Toll in Crimea Blasts

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

BAKHMUT, Ukraine — Ukrainian soldiers scurried around the howitzer in a field one recent morning. In a flurry of activity, one man lugged a 106-pound explosive shell from a truck to the gun. Another, using a wooden pole, shoved it into the breach.

“Loaded!” the soldier shouted, then knelt on the ground and covered his ears with his hands.

The gun fired with a thunderous boom. A cloud of smoke wafted up. Leaves fluttered down from nearby trees. The shell sailed off toward the Russians with a metallic shriek.

It is a scene repeated thousands of times daily along the frontline in Ukraine: artillery duels and long-range strikes from both sides on targets ranging from infantry to fuel depots to tanks.

And what followed the salvo fired on Wednesday morning in eastern Ukraine was also indicative of the rhythm of this war: a coffee break.

This is a war fought in a cycle of opposites — bursts of chaos from outgoing or incoming shelling, and then long lulls in which soldiers undertake the most routine activities. Fighters who minutes before unleashed destructive weapons with a thunderous roar settled in a grove of oak trees around a picnic table of wooden ammunition boxes, boiling water on a camp stove and pouring cups of instant coffee.

They rested in an oak forest, overlooking a field of tall green grass and purple flowering thistles. Elsewhere, soldiers used a lull to smoke or get a haircut.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

On a recent visit, soldiers from the 58th Brigade fighting in and around the city of Bakhmut, where the artillery war is raging, were both attacking and under attack from artillery.

All about on the rolling, grassy hills west of Bakhmut, puffs of brown smoke rose from incoming Russian strikes, aimed at Ukraine’s artillery positions.

The pivotal importance of long-range fire was one reason the United States and other allies rushed NATO-caliber howitzers to Ukraine. Its military is close to depleting the entire stock of Soviet-legacy shells in its own arsenal and from allied countries in Eastern Europe, and it is now shifting to more abundant NATO ammunition.

Russia has vast supplies of artillery ammunition but indications are surfacing that it is dipping into older reserves that more frequently do not detonate on impact.

The Soviet-legacy howitzer the Ukrainian team fires, a model called the D-20 that is nicknamed the “fishing lure,” has held up well, said the commander, Lieutenant Oleksandr Shakin. American-provided long-range weaponry such as the M777 howitzer and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS, have extended the reach of Ukraine’s army, but the bulk of the arsenal is still Soviet-era guns.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

The cannon they fired was made in 1979, he said, and most of the shells were from the 1980s. Still, Lt. Shakin said, “They have not let me down yet.’’

Typically, he said, he fires around 20 shells a day from each gun, conserving Ukraine’s dwindling supply of 152 millimeter ammunition.

“We have a lot of motivation,” said Captain Kostyantin Viter, an artillery officer. “In front of us are our infantry and we have to cover them. Behind us are our families.”

Inside the city of Bakhmut on Wednesday, at a position where soldiers of the 58th Brigade are garrisoned in an abandoned municipal building, the whistles of their colleagues’ shells could be heard sailing overhead — aimed at Russian forces to the east of town.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

The soldiers stood in a courtyard, smoking and listening to the whizzing of shells overhead and thuds of explosions in the distance.

The buzzing of electric clippers filled the air, too, as one soldier gave another a haircut. A few trucks were parked in the yard and a dozen or so soldiers milled about.

Half an hour or so on, a new noise joined the background of distant booms: the clang of nearby explosions. What had been a languid summer morning became a scene of chaos.

Soldiers dashed for cover or dove to the ground. After a dozen or so booms, it was over. An acrid smoke wafted over the courtyard, and shards of glass lay about. “Is everybody alive?” a soldier shouted.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

All of the soldiers who had been in the yard escaped unhurt. But the Russian rocket strike killed seven civilians and wounded six others in the neighborhood near the soldiers’ base, the authorities reported later.

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Authorities Seeking Cause For Indiana House Explosion That Killed 3

By Associated Press
August 11, 2022

The ATF is also investigating the blast that left debris strewn over a 100-foot radius in Evansville, Indiana.

Authorities worked Thursday to determine the cause of a house explosion in a southern Indiana neighborhood that killed three people and left another person hospitalized.

The explosion Wednesday afternoon in Evansville damaged 39 homes, and crews had not yet completed thorough searches of all of them due to instability of the structures, Fire Chief Mike Connelly told reporters Thursday morning.

Eleven of the damaged homes were uninhabitable and will have to be demolished, Connelly said, and finding a cause is expected to be a “very tedious process — and lengthy.”

Names of the dead hadn’t been released as of Thursday morning. Injuries to the fourth victim weren’t considered life-threatening, Connelly said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also was investigating.

Evansville is located along Indiana’s border with Kentucky. The blast left debris strewn over a 100-foot radius. Debris included construction materials like wooden boards, window glass and insulation.

CenterPoint Energy, the local gas utility, was last called to the home in January 2018, Connelly said Wednesday.

“CenterPoint Energy is working closely with the Evansville Fire Department, State Fire Marshal and other agencies as the investigation of this incident continues,” the utility said.

It was the second house explosion in the area in just over five years. A house explosion on June 27, 2017, killed two people and injured three others.

Wednesday’s explosion also brought to mind a massive blast in 2012 that destroyed or damaged more than 80 homes on Indianapolis’ south side and killed two people. A man was convicted of tampering with a natural gas line at his then-girlfriend’s home in an attempt to commit insurance fraud.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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