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.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Global finance leaders single out China as barrier to faster debt relief

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals!<<<<

WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Western countries this week ratcheted up their criticism of China, the world’s largest bilateral creditor, as the main obstacle to moving ahead with debt restructuring agreements for the growing number of countries unable to service their debts.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday that high inflation, tightening monetary policies, currency pressures and capital outflows were increasing debt burdens in many developing countries, and more progress was urgently needed.

She said she discussed those issues during a dinner with African finance ministers and in many other sessions. The Group of Seven rich nations also met African finance ministers, who worry that the focus on the war in Ukraine is draining resources and attention from their pressing concerns.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

“Everyone agrees Russia should stop its war on Ukraine, and that would address the most significant problems that Africa faces,” Yellen told reporters at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Washington.

But she said a more effective debt restructuring process was also needed, and China had a big role to play.

“Really, the barrier to making greater progress is one important creditor country, namely China,” she said. “So there has been much discussion of what we can do to bring China to the table and to foster a more effective solution.”

As China is the missing piece in the puzzle of a number of debt talks under way in developing markets, the Group of 20 launched in 2020 a Common Framework to bring creditors such as China and India to the negotiation table along with the IMF, Paris Club and private creditors.

Zambia, Chad and Ethiopia have applied to restructure under this new, yet-to-be tested mechanism. Sri Lanka is set to start talks with bilateral creditors including China after a $2.9 billion staff level agreement with the IMF under a similar platform. The Paris Club creditor nations last month reached out to China and India seeking to coordinate closely on Sri Lanka’s debt talks, but are still awaiting a reply.

The world’s poorest countries face $35 billion in debt-service payments to official and private-sector creditors in 2022, with more than 40% of the total due to China, according to the World Bank.

Spanish Finance Minister Nadia Calvino, who chairs the IMF’s steering committee, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that there was increasing concern about China not participating fully in debt relief efforts, noting that China had not sent officials to participate in person at this week’s IMF and World Bank meetings.

“China is a necessary partner. It’s indispensable that we have them in the room and in the discussions when it comes to debt relief,” Calvino said, adding that many heavily indebted countries were also being hit hard by inflation and climate shocks.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner also joined the growing criticism of China’s lack of timely participation in debt restructuring for lower-income countries. China has argued it would not take part in some cases unless the IMF and World Bank also took a haircut.

Lindner told reporters he regretted that China had not accepted his invitation to participate in the G7 roundtable with African countries.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Paul Simao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Toll of Russian Strikes Mounts, Adding Urgency to Ukraine’s Pleas for Weapons

Credit…Jean-Francois Badias/Associated Press

PARIS — France began pumping natural gas directly to Germany for the first time on Thursday, part of a landmark agreement struck by both governments to help each other confront Europe’s energy crisis as Russia cuts off gas supplies to Europe.

Volumes of gas capable of producing around 31 gigawatt-hours per day of electricity began flowing early on Thursday into Germany, the French network operator GRTgaz said. The connection has a maximum capacity of 100 gigawatt-hours per day, equal to the power output of four nuclear reactors, or about 10 percent of the amount of liquefied natural gas that France imports each day, the company said.

GRTgaz said that months ago it had begun modifying its pipeline networks to be able to send gas to Germany. For years, the German economy has relied on Russian gas exports, but this year Moscow has slashed them in response to Western sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine.

France gets its gas from the Netherlands, Norway and Russia, according to the International Energy Agency, although supplies from Russia were cut off in September. It also receives deliveries of liquefied natural gas from several L.N.G. terminals.

To face the energy crunch, France has been storing gas and getting more of it from its European partners and Qatar. Recently, President Emmanuel Macron has burnished relations with Algeria, a former French colony, which has agreed to sharply increase gas exports to France.

In exchange for the gas from France, Germany has pledged to export more electricity to that country as it grapples with an unprecedented crisis in its nuclear power industry that has reduced power production.

“Germany needs our gas, and we need the electricity produced in the rest of Europe, and in particular in Germany,” President Emmanuel Macron said last month after speaking with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, about the agreement. “We will contribute to European solidarity in gas and benefit from European solidarity in electricity.”

“Merci beaucoup,” Klaus Müller, the head of Germany’s federal network agency, wrote in a Twitter message to GRTGaz on Thursday. “The gas deliveries from France, through Saarland, help Germany’s energy security.”

European countries have pledged to work together to get through winter as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine raises the prospect of a prolonged energy crisis. On Thursday, Spain proposed increasing its gas deliveries to France by 18 percent in the coming months, Spain’s ecological transition minister, Teresa Ribera, said.

As Europe’s largest economy and the one most dependent on Russian gas, Germany has been among the countries worst affected by the energy crisis rippling across Europe, where natural gas costs about 10 times what it did a year ago. Both Berlin and Paris have imposed a broad range of conservation measures, including lowering thermostats and hot water heaters, encouraging the use of public transport and requiring public buildings to turn off lights early.

The energy crunch has forced European governments to fall back on less-desirable power sources that they had been trying to phase out in a push to go green. Germany, for instance, has decided to keep coal-fired power plants online and restart several others that had been mothballed.

In addition, Germany decided to keep two of its three remaining nuclear power plants operational as an emergency reserve for its electricity supply, breaking a political taboo and delaying its plans to become the first industrial power to go nuclear-free for its energy.

And in France, the government is facing an energy crisis of its own after half its fleet of nuclear power plants — the largest in Europe — was taken offline earlier this year for inspections and repairs. The electricity shortage has driven prices to record levels, forcing factories to cut production and put tens of thousands of employees on furlough.

Bruno Le Maire, France’s economy minister, warned Thursday that high energy prices continued to pose a “major risk” to French industry and would lead to a 10 percent decline in industrial production this winter.

Berlin this month announced a 200 billion euro (about $196 billion) aid plan for German households, businesses and industries. It includes policies to curb natural gas and electricity prices domestically. And France has already spent around €100 billion since last winter doing the same.

But with Mr. Scholz facing pushback over his government’s decision to keep nuclear plants running, Germany’s ability to uphold its end of the energy-swap deal with France may wind up depending on the French themselves: GRTgaz said that the exported French gas would allow Germany to produce more electricity, which in turn would be sent back to the French grid during peak hours.

“If we did not have European solidarity,” Mr. Macron said in a televised interview on Wednesday, “we would have serious problems.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Kanye West’s Antisemitic Posts Land Him in Trouble on Instagram and Twitter

Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, has set off one controversy after another in the last week, first at his fashion show and then on social media, prompting accusations of racism and antisemitism.

On Monday, at Paris Fashion Week, he debuted a T-shirt for his fashion line bearing the phrase “White Lives Matter.” On Friday, he suggested on Instagram that Sean Combs, the rapper known as Diddy, was being controlled by Jewish people. Ye’s account was restricted by Instagram that day.

Early on Sunday morning, he went on Twitter and lashed out against Jewish people in a series of tweets.

Ye tweeted that he would soon go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” an apparent reference to the United States’ defense readiness condition, known as Def. Con.

separate tweet, Ye accused Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, which owns Instagram, of removing him from Instagram.

“Who you think created cancel culture?” he added in another tweet.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Twitter said Ye’s account was locked for violating Twitter’s policies. A spokeswoman for Meta said it places restrictions on accounts that repeatedly break its rules.

Representatives for Ye could not immediately be reached.

The restrictions on Twitter and Instagram mean that Ye’s account is still active, but that the rapper cannot post for an undisclosed period.

Ye had returned to Twitter on Saturday after not posting for nearly two years.

The posts were yet another test of social media companies’ willingness to monitor content that is perceived as hateful.

called “White Lives Matter” a hateful phrase used by white supremacists.

At first, Ye appeared to relish in the T-shirt controversy, writing on Instagram that “my one t-shirt took allllll the attention.”

But outrage continued to build online from several artists, including Mr. Combs, who criticized the design in a video on Instagram.

“Don’t wear the shirt. Don’t buy the shirt. Don’t play with the shirt,” Mr. Combs said. “It’s not a joke.”

On Thursday, Adidas said it would put its partnership with Yeezy “under review.” (Ye ended his partnership with Gap last month.)

On Friday, Ye posted screenshots from a text message exchange with Mr. Combs to his Instagram account, where he suggested that Mr. Combs was being controlled by Jewish people. The comments were called antisemitic by several Jewish groups.

buy the social media company for $44 billion and could loosen its content moderation policies, replied to the tweet.

“Welcome back to Twitter, my friend!” Mr. Musk wrote.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Engine parts makers must cross ‘valley of death’ to reach EV era

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals!<<<<

KIDDERMINSTER, England, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Auto engine parts makers eyeing the promising electric-vehicle market are dealing with a severe case of delayed gratification.

Until EVs truly take off, engine parts makers face a perilous few years where they must invest heavily in new machinery, while struggling with falling sales of fossil-fuel cars.

Evtec Aluminium, a small supplier with two plants in England, is a case in point. It barely survived.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Within the last decade in the European Union – when Britain was still a member – diesel was the green fuel of the future. Carmakers, including Evtec’s main customer Tata Motors (TAMO.NS)-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), invested tens of billions of dollars in new diesel models and production capacity.

Suppliers followed suit. Evtec, then known as Liberty Aluminium, invested tens of millions of pounds in new machines, some of which sit idle but are still being paid off.

Then the EU, spurred on in part by Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) “Dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal, swiftly abandoned diesel in favour of EVs and now plans to effectively ban combustion-engine car sales by 2035.

“We went in thinking diesel is the future,” said Evtec’s business director, Brett Parker, on a tour of the company’s half-empty foundry in Kidderminster in England’s Midlands, the historical heart of Britain’s car industry. “We backed the wrong horse, unfortunately.”

Evtec was saved last year when a group led by investor David Roberts bought it. Roberts says Evtec’s foundry in Kidderminster is Britain’s most modern – vast machines here pump molten aluminium heated to around 660 degrees Celsius (1,220°F) into castings to make complex shapes – and stands to benefit as UK carmakers look to build EVs that need aluminium parts.

“For me it was a no-brainer to invest in that business,” Roberts said.

As recently as 2015, diesel made up nearly 52% of EU car sales. After Dieselgate and the shift in favor of EVs, diesel fell to 19.6% of EU sales in 2021 and has fallen further this year. In Britain, diesel car sales halved to just 8.2% in 2021.

Petrol car sales in the EU declined to around 40% in 2021 from over 45% in 2015 and will fall further as Europe goes electric.

Major engine parts suppliers like Vitesco Technologies Group AG (VTSCn.DE) and Schaeffler (SHA_p.DE) are already investing in transitioning to electric, but smaller players like Evtec – for which tracking data is not widely available – must adapt or die.

“Engine parts makers are ground zero for the most amount of pain in this transition because they have the least amount of portability into EV world,” said Mark Wakefield, global co-leader of consultancy AlixPartners’ automotive and industrial practice.

Some major carmakers have warned of huge job losses, as EV motors have only a third of the parts of a combustion engine and require less labour.

Fewer parts also mean fewer suppliers.

Engine parts suppliers must either transform into an EV-focused business, or diversify into other industries making parts for anything from heavy equipment to hair dryers.

Or go out of business.

“People have to realize this transition comes at a cost,” Evtec investor Roberts said. “We all have our own valley of death to get to EVs, but for some suppliers it will be so much harder.”

‘CAN’T GROW WITHOUT MONEY’

Declining combustion-engine car sales have already cost jobs.

World No. 4 carmaker Stellantis NV (STLA.MI), for instance, is shifting its plant in Tremery, France – long the world’s largest diesel engine plant – over to EV motors.

Tremery employs 2,400 people now, down from 3,000 in 2019. Many others will not be replaced when they retire.

German supplier Bosch (ROBG.UL) is transforming its plant in Rodez in southern France away from diesel injectors to new products including hydrogen fuel cells, cutting 750 of 1,250 jobs.

Auto industry consultant Bernd Bohr said larger, deep-pocketed suppliers will likely be the “last man standing” for delivering a particular part.

“A lot of companies are fighting for a piece of a smaller and smaller cake and the question is, who’s getting that volume?” he said.

Powertrain supplier Vitesco is focused on combustion engines, but by 2030 the company expects EVs will account for 70% of sales.

In January, the German supplier will split its business into two main divisions, one focused on EV components and the other on higher-value technology that can also be used in combustion engines to bring in cash as that business winds down.

Some parts of the business no longer considered to be core will be shut down or sold off.

“We have to generate the necessary funds so we can invest in the future,” Vitesco CEO Andreas Wolf said. “I can’t grow without money.”

Parts supplier Schaeffler expects its future EV business will be smaller than today’s combustion-engine sales, so the German company is focused on diversifying its customer base.

For instance, the ball bearings Schaeffler sells to carmakers could be sold to other industries.

‘OTHERS WILL DROP OUT’

Smaller suppliers are already struggling with soaring raw material and energy costs, plus the need to invest in greener products to meet carmakers’ climate goals.

Funding new equipment for EV parts could be tough.

Evtec’s investor Roberts said the company has around 330 million pounds’ worth ($363.8 million) of business lined up for EV parts for JLR over a seven-year contract, plus around another 250 million pounds with other carmakers.

But because of long auto industry lead times, the models in those contracts will not start production for two to three years.

Evtec must spend up to 70 million pounds for new tools and machines for those contracts, of which Roberts will pay half, long before any revenue comes in.

Evtec also has support from JLR, which considers it a strategic supplier.

“Our suppliers play a pivotal role in our transformation,” a JLR spokesperson said. “We are working closely with them during the automotive industry’s transition … to electrification.”

AlixPartners estimates carmakers have committed $526 billion to go electric and if they do not proactively address supplier problems they could end up spending another $70 billion to fix them.

Suppliers making key components could get rescued, but carmakers cannot afford too many bailouts, Wakefield said.

Evtec’s Parker said with an investor backing its transition, in the short term the company is looking to “plug the gaps” in revenue.

Earlier this year, when an Israeli supplier folded, Evtec took over some of its business. As suppliers struggle after two years of pandemic, supply shocks and inflation, Parker expects more such opportunities.

“If you can hang on long enough, others will potentially drop out,” Parker said. “Then you’ve got more chance of picking up business.”

($1 = 0.9070 pound)

(This story has been corrected to fix paragraph 27 and 28 to remove reference to third division )

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Nick Carey in Kidderminster, England, and Christina Amann in Berlin
Additional reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris
Editing by Ben Klayman and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

U.S. Markets Sink Ahead Of Another Expected Interest Rate Hike

By Associated Press
September 19, 2022

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials and for the S&P 500 each tumbled nearly 1% Monday morning.

Wall Street pointed lower before the opening bell Monday ahead of another expected large interest rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials and for the S&P 500 each tumbled 0.9%.

Britain was observing a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday.

Germany’s DAX lost 0.4%, while the CAC 40 in Paris shed 1%.

Markets have been on edge because of stubbornly high inflation and the increases in interest rates being used to fight it. The fear is that the Fed and other central banks might overshoot their policy targets, triggering a recession.

Most economists forecast that the Fed will jack up its primary lending rate another three-quarters of a point when the central bank’s leaders meet this week.

“Fact is, hawkish expectations built on the ‘hot under the hood’ U.S. inflation print means that markets have good reason to be braced for headwinds amid prospects of higher (for longer) rates; and arguably ‘higher for longer’ USD (dollar) as well,” Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1% to 18,565.97 while the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.4% to 3,115.60. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gave up 0.3% to 6,719.90. In Seoul, the Kospi sank 1.1% to 2,355.66.

Japan’s central bank meets Wednesday and Thursday amid rising pressure to counter a sharp decline in the yen’s value against the dollar. That has raised costs for businesses and consumers, who must pay more for imports of oil, gas and other necessities.

However the Bank of Japan has held firm so far in maintaining an ultralow benchmark rate of minus 0.1% in hopes of stimulating investment and spending.

On Friday, a stark warning from FedEx about rapidly worsening economic trends elevated anxiety in markets. The S&P 500 fell 0.7%, while the Nasdaq lost almost 1%. The Dow lost almost half percent.

The S&P 500 sank 4.8% for the week, with much of the loss coming from a 4.3% rout on Tuesday following a surprisingly hot report on inflation.

All the major indexes have now posted losses four out of the past five weeks.

FedEx sank 21.4% for its biggest single-day sell-off on record Friday after warning investors that its fiscal first-quarter profit will likely fall short of forecasts because of a drop-off in business. The package delivery service is also shuttering storefronts and corporate offices and expects business conditions to further weaken.

Higher interest rates tend to weigh on stocks, especially the pricier technology sector. The housing sector is also hurting as interest rates rise. Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates climbed above 6% last week for the first time since the housing crash of 2008. The higher rates could make an already tight housing market even more expensive for American homebuyers.

But the rate hikes have yet to cool the economy substantially.

Last week, the U.S. reported that consumer prices rose 8.3% through August compared with last year, the job market is still red-hot and consumers continue to spend, all of which give ammunition to Fed officials who say the economy can tolerate more rate hikes.

In other trading Monday, U.S. benchmark crude lost $2.01 to $83.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It edged up 1 cent to $85.11 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude oil gave up $1.93 to $89.42 per barrel.

The dollar strengthened to 143.57 Japanese yen from 142.94 yen. The euro slipped to 99.93 cents from $1.0014.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

A Welsh Village Embraces Its Bond With the Queen

ABERFAN, Wales — As the days count down to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday, Gaynor Madgwick has been of two minds: Should she watch the ceremony from her home in South Wales or join the crowds in London to pay her respects in person?

Her brain says stay. Ms. Madgwick, 64, has feared crowds and confined spaces since an avalanche of slurry — a mixture of debris from a coal mine and water — cascaded down the hillside above her village of Aberfan in 1966. One of the worst civilian disasters in contemporary British history, the avalanche crushed the village school, killed 144 villagers, 116 of them children, and left Ms. Madgwick trapped, but alive, beneath the rubble.

Her heart says go. The queen built an unusually strong relationship with Aberfan, beginning in the days after that very disaster and extending through four visits the queen made to the village.

the death of Queen Elizabeth II — the ever-present backdrop to a century of dramatic social change — has felt like a rug snatched from beneath them, even if they never met or saw her.

reassessment of national identity that, in Wales, includes calls for an independent Welsh state.

Elizabeth arrived in Bonn on the first state visit by a British monarch to Germany in more than 50 years. The trip formally sealed the reconciliation between the two nations following the world wars.

Ms. Madgwick survived, her leg broken by a dislodged radiator. Her sister and brother, Marilyn and Carl, both died.

The scale of the disaster quickly made it a moment of national introspection and trauma, and the queen soon decided to visit.

One of the biggest regrets of her reign was that she did not go sooner, a leading aide later said, and some villagers say the eight-day delay rankled the community at the time. But today, the residents largely remember her arrival as a moving gesture of solidarity from someone they never expected to lay eyes on.

research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Other wings of the British state angered the village by refusing to prosecute any coal industry officials for negligence. Successive governments also declined to cover the whole cost of removing other dangerous slurry tips near the village, forcing villagers to dip into donations intended for survivors, until they were finally fully reimbursed in 2007.

But the queen’s concern for Aberfan meant that she was seen as separate from the state’s indifference, despite being its titular head.

Elsewhere in Britain, people have debated whether the queen could really ever rise beyond politics, given the monarch’s interest in maintaining her own role in Britain’s political system. But in Aberfan, there was less doubt.

“There’s no political agenda there,” said Jeff Edwards, 64, the last child to be rescued from the rubble. “The queen is above all that.”

In Aberfan, most people expressed sympathy for her family and respect for her sense of duty. But there are those, particularly among young generations, who have had a more ambivalent response to the queen’s death.

For some, the accession of King Charles III — as well as the abrupt appointment of his son William to his former role of Prince of Wales — is more problematic.

“I should be Prince of Wales, I’m more Welsh than Charles or William,” said Darren Martin, 47, a gardener in the village, with a laugh. Of the queen, he said: “Don’t get me wrong, I admire the woman. But I do think the time has come for us in Wales to be ruled by our own people.”

The abruptness of the queen’s death was a psychological jolt that has prompted, in some, a rethinking of long-held norms and doctrines.

“If things can change drastically like that, why can’t things change here?” asked Jordan McCarthy, 21, another gardener in Aberfan. “I would like Welsh independence.”

Of a monarchy, he added: “Only if they’re born and raised in Wales — that’s the only king or queen I’ll accept.”

Generally, though, the mood in Aberfan has been one of quiet mourning and deference. The local library opened a book of condolence. Villagers gathered in the pub to watch the new king’s speeches and processions. Some left bouquets beside the tree planted by the queen.

On Monday night, a men’s choir, founded by grieving relatives half a century ago, gathered for their biweekly practice. Proud Welshmen, they were preparing for their next performance — singing songs and hymns, some of them in Welsh, on the sidelines of the Welsh rugby team’s upcoming game.

But halfway through, the choir’s president, Steve Beasley, stood up.

“We all know about the queen,” Mr. Beasley said. “Please stand up for a minute’s silence.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Biden To Meet With South African Leader About Ukraine, Trade, Climate

By Associated Press
September 16, 2022

South African leaders have accused the U.S. of focusing on the Ukraine conflict to the detriment of other global crises.

U.S. President Joe Biden and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are set to meet Friday at the White House for talks on Russia’s war in Ukraine, climate issues, trade and more.

Ramaphosa is among African leaders who have maintained a neutral stance in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with South Africa abstaining from a United Nations vote condemning Russia’s actions and calling for a mediated settlement.

South Africa’s international relations minister, Naledi Pandor, said Ramaphosa would emphasize the need for dialogue to find an end to the conflict during his meeting with President Biden and in separate talks with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Pandor added that the issue will be South Africa’s focus when it participates in the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly next week.

“We would want a process of diplomacy to be initiated between the two parties and we believe the U.N. must lead, the U.N secretary-general in particular,” Pandor said.

The White House meeting comes on the heels of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to South Africa last month, in which he said the Biden administration sees Africa’s 54 nations as “equal partners” in tackling global problems.

But the administration has been disappointed that South Africa and much of the continent have declined to follow the U.S. in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

During the Blinken visit, Pandor accused the U.S. and other Western powers of focusing on the Ukraine conflict to the detriment of crises around the globe.

“We should be equally concerned at what is happening to the people of Palestine, as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine,” she said.

The Biden administration, meanwhile, has sought to underscore that Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has led to scarcities in grain, cooking oil and fertilizer — resulting in disproportionate impact on Africans.

South Africa’s neutral position is largely because of the support the Soviet Union gave during the Cold War era to Ramaphosa’s African National Congress in its fight to end apartheid, South Africa’s regime of repression against the Black majority that ended in 1994. South Africa is seen as a leader of the several African countries that will not side against Russia.

Despite the differences on the war in Ukraine, the Biden administration recognizes the importance of strengthening relations in Africa as China has spent decades entrenching itself in the continent’s natural resources markets. Improving relations with South Africa — one of the continent’s biggest economies — is central to the U.S. effort.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the two leaders would also discuss climate change and opportunities to increase trade and investment. Harris and Ramaphosa will discuss global health security, space cooperation and other matters, when they meet over breakfast at the vice president’s residence, Jean-Pierre said.

South Africa’s ambitious efforts to transition from coal to cleaner energy are expected to be discussed during the leaders’ talks. The U.S., Britain, France and Germany announced a plan last year to provide $8.5 billion in loans and grants over five years to help South Africa phase out coal.

Ramaphosa could also raise with President Biden the failure of the United States and other wealthier nations to make good on a more than decades-old pledge — first made in 2009 and reaffirmed at the 2015 Paris climate talks — to spend $100 billion to help developing nations deal with climate change.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

King Charles III, In First Address, Vows ‘Lifelong Service’

King Charles III speech was broadcast on television at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where some 2,000 people were attending a service of remembrance.

King Charles III vowed in his first speech to the nation as monarch Friday to carry on Queen Elizabeth II’s “lifelong service,” as Britain entered a new age under a new sovereign. Around the world, the queen’s exceptional reign was commemorated, celebrated and debated.

Charles, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role of king, addressed a nation grieving the only British monarch most people alive today had ever known. He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.

He spoke of his “profound sorrow” over the death of his mother, calling her an inspiration.

“That promise of lifelong service I renew to all today,” he said in the recorded, 9 1/2-minute address, delivered with a framed photo of the queen on a desk in front of him.

“As the queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I, too, now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation,” he said.

The king’s speech was broadcast on television and streamed at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where some 2,000 people attended a service of remembrance for the queen. Mourners at the service included Prime Minister Liz Truss and members of her government.

As the country began a 10-day mourning period, people around the globe gathered at British embassies to pay homage to the queen, who died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

In London and at military sites across the United Kingdom, cannons fired 96 shots in an elaborate, 16-minute salute marking each year of the queen’s life.

In Britain and across its former colonies, the widespread admiration for Elizabeth herself was occasionally mixed with scorn for the institution and the imperial history she symbolized.

On the king’s first full day of duties, Charles left Balmoral and flew to London for a meeting with Truss, appointed by the queen just two days before her death.

He arrived at Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s London home, for the first time as sovereign, emerging from the official state Bentley limousine alongside Camilla, the queen consort, to shouts from the crowd of “Well done, Charlie!” and the singing of the national anthem, now called “God Save the King.” One woman gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Under intense scrutiny and pressure to show he can be both caring and regal, Charles walked slowly past flowers heaped at the palace gates for his mother. The mood was both grieving and celebratory.

The seismic change of monarch comes at a time when many Britons are facing an energy crisis, the soaring cost of living, the war in Ukraine and the fallout from Brexit.

As the second Elizabethan Age came to a close, hundreds of people arrived through the night to grieve together outside the gates of Buckingham Palace and other royal residences, as well as British embassies worldwide. Some came simply to pause and reflect.

Finance worker Giles Cudmore said the queen had “just been a constant through everything, everything good and bad.”

At Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, mourner April Hamilton stood with her young daughter, struggling to hold back tears.

“It’s just such a momentous change that is going to happen,” she said. “I’m trying to hold it together today.”

Everyday politics was put on hold, with lawmakers paying tribute to the monarch in Parliament over two days, beginning with a special session where Truss called the queen “the nation’s greatest diplomat.”

Senior lawmakers will also take an oath to King Charles III.

Meanwhile, many sporting and cultural events were canceled as a mark of respect, and some businesses — including Selfridges department store and the Legoland amusement park — shut their doors. The Bank of England postponed its meeting by a week.

But while Elizabeth’s death portends a monumental shift for some, day-to-day life in Britain went on in other respects, with children in school and adults at work, facing concerns about inflation.

Charles, who became the monarch immediately upon his mother’s death, will be formally proclaimed king at a special ceremony Saturday. The new king is expected to tour the United Kingdom in the coming days.

The queen’s coffin will be brought to London, where she is expected to lie in state before a funeral at Westminster Abbey, expected around Sept. 19.

Elizabeth was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of constancy in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and disarray in her scandal-plagued family.

The impact of Elizabeth’s loss will be unpredictable. The public’s abiding affection for the queen had helped sustain support for the monarchy during the family scandals, including the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, but Charles does not command that kind of popularity.

“Charles can never replace her, you know,” said 31-year-old Londoner Mariam Sherwani.

Like many, she referred to Elizabeth as a grandmother figure. Others compared her to their mothers, or great-grandmothers.

But around the world, her passing revealed conflicting emotions about the nation and institutions she represented.

In Ireland, some soccer fans cheered.

In India, once the “jewel in the crown” of the British empire, entrepreneur Dhiren Singh described his own personal sadness at her death, but added, “I do not think we have any place for kings and queens in today’s world.”

For some, Elizabeth was a queen whose coronation glittered with shards of a stunning 3,106-carat diamond pulled from grim southern African mines, a monarch who inherited an empire they resented.

In the years after she became queen, tens of thousands of ethnic Kikuyu in Kenya were rounded up in camps by British colonizers under threat from the local Mau Mau rebellion. Across the continent, nations rejected British rule and chose independence in her first decade on the throne.

She led a power that at times was criticized as lecturing African nations on democracy but denying many of their citizens the visas to visit Britain and experience it firsthand.

While the global fascination with the British queen is puzzling to some, others felt a personal connection to a woman who seemed ubiquitous, from banknotes used on multiple continents to TV shows like “The Crown” — which is pausing production to honor her.

Adi Trivedi, a 33-year-old British lawyer living in Paris, called Elizabeth “a model of humility, a model of duty, taking the ego out of an office of state.” He hopes to join the mourners at Buckingham Palace soon, so that “we can really celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II together.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press. 

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Princess Diana’s Global Impact 25 Years After Her Death

By Luke Hanrahan
August 31, 2022

A young woman who positively altered the public’s perception of the royal family and made a lasting impact on the world is remembered 25 years later.

Capturing imaginations from the very beginning, Diana — then an innocent 20-year-old but marrying the future king — would transform her life. 

Photographers would follow her wherever she went.  

While the princess hated the intrusion, she quickly learned the media was also a tool she could use to bring attention to a cause.

Before she met Prince Charles, Princess Diana lived in a three-bedroom apartment in South Kensington. She had “chief chick” written above her bedroom door. She was an archetypal small-town girl from the English countryside who would come and go in a Mini Metro car. People remember her as a typical girl next door. It’s difficult to believe how Princess Diana would go on to impact not just British society, but further afield too.

“I think the one that sticks to memory is the walking amongst the mines … I can still see that very clearly today,” Diana’s former neighbor John Fultner said. “It was quite an emotional time. It was quite significant.” 

Whether it was stepping out onto an active minefield to aid in the call for an international ban on land mines, or highlighting poverty alongside Mother Teresa, Diana made a positive impact on the contemporary issues of her day.  

Raymond Kyle is a former neighbor who, like many, has his own personal and long-lasting memories of Diana.

“I think the AIDS thing, there was a real stigma and Princess Diana went out to shake hands with them. And that really, I think, did help,” he said. 

She was a woman who became not just a mother but an international style icon who made a difference to millions.  

Her death 25 years ago on Aug. 31 shook the world: a car crash in Paris, precipitated by a paparazzi chase.  

The scale of the outpouring of public emotion in Britain had never been seen before and has never been seen since.   

“I admired and respected her for her energy and commitment to others and, especially, for her devotion to her two boys,” Queen Elizabeth II said during Diana’s funeral.

Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have similarly learned to harness the power of the media to shine a light on just causes.

“I think she would be extremely proud of both of them,” London resident Jill Brailey said. “They’ve gone in separate directions but they’re really good lads and I think she would be proud of them.”

“The monarchy, having witnessed a sharp decrease in its popularity in the aftermath of Diana’s death, basically looks to these boys as the saviors of the institution and the entire, if you like, front of the institution is remodeled around their ambitions as two young royals,” royal historian Ed Owens said. “So the reason she matters is because she transformed the institution during her lifetime. But in terms of her legacy, she’s continued to transform the institution through the figures of her two sons.” 

Diana was a young woman who positively altered the public’s perception of the royal family and made a lasting impact on the world — a legacy her sons continue to honor and maintain.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<