Maryna Lialko had raised the girls alone after their father left the family, their grandmother, Nina Lialko, said.

“She was devoted to these two girls,” she said.

Kateryna was discharged this fall from Ohmadyt hospital, where she received psychiatric and physical therapy, and the girls are now in Kyiv living with their grandmother and aunt.

The aunt, Olha Lialko, said she has seen a shift in their personalities. Kateryna is increasingly turning inward; she speaks very little and struggles to maintain eye contact. Yuliia still can’t fully comprehend the loss.

“Katya is very closed; she keeps it all to herself,” Olha Lialko said. “Yuliia is missing mom a lot. She needs attention, she likes to cuddle.”

The family is trying to help the girls process their loss. And occasionally they see glimpses of the girls they knew before the war.

They dye their hair wild colors and play with makeup. They fight as only sisters can, and cling closely to each other for company.

But no one knows what will come next for them. Their life is on hold. They attend school online and have few friends in the new city. The family is unable to return home to Donetsk but unwilling to commit to staying in Kyiv.

“It will be very difficult for them to live without her,” their grandmother said. “This life has no sense at all.”

Oleksandra Mykolyshyn contributed reporting

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Elon Musk Takes Twitter, and Tech Deals, to Another Level

Forget about the endless drama, the bots, the abrupt reversals, the spectacle, the alleged risk to the Republic and all we hold dear. Here is the most important thing about Elon Musk’s buying Twitter: The moguls have been unleashed.

In the old days, when a tech tycoon wanted to buy something big, he needed a company to do it. Steve Case used AOL to buy Time Warner. Jeff Bezos bought Whole Foods for Amazon. Mark Zuckerberg used Facebook to buy Instagram and WhatsApp and Oculus and on and on. These were corporate deals done for the bottom line, even if they might never have happened without a famous and forceful proprietor.

Mr. Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, which finally became a reality on Thursday, six months after he agreed to the deal, is different. It is an individual buying something for himself that 240 million people around the world use regularly. While he has other investors, Mr. Musk will have absolute control over the fate of the short-message social media platform.

It’s a difficult deal to evaluate even in an industry built on deals, because this one is so unusual. It came about whimsically, impulsively. But, even by the standards of Silicon Valley, where billions are casually offered for fledging operations — and even by the wallet of Mr. Musk, on most days the richest man in the world — $44 billion is quite a chunk of change.

the midterm elections’ most prominent campaign contributor, pumping tens of millions of dollars into right-wing congressional candidates. Two of his former employees are the Republican nominees for senator in Ohio and Arizona.

Richard Walker, a professor emeritus of economic geography at the University of California, Berkeley and a historian of Silicon Valley, sees a shift in the locus of power.

“In this new Gilded Age, we’re being battered by billionaires rather than the corporations that were the face of the 20th century,” he said. “And the tech titans are leading the way.”

bought The Washington Post for $250 million. Marc Benioff of Salesforce owns Time magazine. Pierre Omidyar of eBay developed a homegrown media empire.

Deals have been a feature of Silicon Valley as long as there has been a Silicon Valley. Often they fail, especially when the acquisition was made for technology that either quickly grew outdated or never really worked at all. At least one venerable company, Hewlett-Packard, followed that strategy and has practically faded away.

$70 billion-plus acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is pending, has garnered a fraction of the attention despite being No. 2.

said in April after sealing the deal. “I don’t care about the economics at all.”

He cared a little more when the subsequent plunge in the stock market meant that he was overpaying by a significant amount. Analysts estimated that Twitter was worth not $44 billion but $30 billion, or maybe even less. For a few months, Mr. Musk tried to get out of the deal.

This had the paradoxical effect of bringing the transaction down to earth for spectators. Who among us has not failed to do due diligence on a new venture — a job, a house, even a relationship — and then realized that it was going to cost so much more than we had thought? Mr. Musk’s buying Twitter, and then his refusal to buy Twitter, and then his being forced to buy Twitter after all — and everything playing out on Twitter — was weirdly relatable.

Inescapable, too. The apex, or perhaps the nadir, came this month when Mr. Musk introduced a perfume called Burnt Hair, described on its website as “the Essence of Repugnant Desire.”

“Please buy my perfume, so I can buy Twitter,” Mr. Musk tweeted on Oct. 12, garnering nearly 600,000 likes. This worked, apparently; the perfume is now marked “sold out” on its site. Did 30,000 people really pay $100 each for a bottle? Will this perfume actually be produced and sold? (It’s not supposed to be released until next year.) It’s hard to tell where the joke stops, which is perhaps the point.

Evan Spiegel.

“What was unique about Twitter was that no one actually controlled it,” said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed Partners. “And now one person will own it in its entirety.”

He is relatively hopeful, however, that Mr. Musk will improve the site, somehow. That, in turn, will have its own consequences.

“If it turns into a massive home run,” Mr. Greenfield said, “you’ll see other billionaires try to do the same thing.”

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A Lonely Protest in Beijing Inspires Young Chinese to Find Their Voice

“I thought to myself that there are many Chinese who also want freedom and democracy,” she said. “But where are you? Where can I find you? If we meet on the street, how can we recognize each other?”

At about 4 the next morning, she went downstairs from her dorm room to print some posters. She was nervous about running into other Chinese students, most of whom she would describe as “little pinks,” or pro-Beijing youths. She wore a mask to avoid cameras, even though she had seldom worn one since arriving in London a few weeks ago.

She was even more nervous putting up the posters on campus. Every time she saw an East Asian face, she would run to hide in a corridor or a restroom. She was afraid they could report her to the embassy or post photos of her on social media. Her parents are still in China, so she needs to take their safety into account.

After putting up the posters all over her campus, she felt much more at peace with herself.

A week later, when a new chat group titled “‘My Duty’ Democracy Wall in London” was set up on the messaging app Telegram, Kathy was one of the first to join. Within a day, more than 200 Chinese had also signed up. By Sunday, four days later, there were more than 400 members. Most introduced themselves as students and professionals in the U.K. Many said they had joined to find like-minded people because they, like Kathy, didn’t know whom to trust and felt lonely and powerless.

Citizens Daily CN, the Instagram account, organized Telegram chat groups in London, New York, Toronto and two other places to provide a safe online space for overseas Chinese to exchange views. Most people use online handles that disguise their identity.

They have discussed the depths of their frustration with political apathy and the best way to deal with pro-Beijing youth. Quite a few admitted that they were once nationalistic themselves, but added that China’s harsh zero-Covid policy had made them realize the importance of having a government accountable to its people. More important, they discussed what further actions they could take.

On Sunday, Kathy, who is in her early 20s, joined a demonstration for the first time in her life. For safety, she wore a mask and sunglasses, even though it was dark when the protest reached the Chinese Embassy in London. A young Chinese woman started chanting slogans made popular by the Bridge Man: “Students, workers, let’s strike. Depose the despotic traitor Xi Jinping.”

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Live Updates: Zelensky Asks G7 Nations for Better Air Defense Systems After Russia Strikes

A top British intelligence official will warn in a speech on Tuesday that while Russia’s aggression has created an urgent threat, China’s expanding use of technology to control dissent and its growing ability to attack satellite systems, control digital currencies and track individuals pose far deeper challenges for the West.

In an interview on Monday ahead of his address, the official, Jeremy Fleming, who heads GCHQ — the British electronic intelligence-gathering and cyber agency made famous for its role in breaking the Enigma codes in World War II — also said he was skeptical about how far China would go to support Russia’s aggression.

“I don’t think that this is a ‘relationship without limits,’” he said, using the term that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China employed when they met at the Beijing Olympics early this year, just before the invasion of Ukraine. In light of Russia’s dismal battlefield performance and its brutality, he said, China “needs to be weighing up the advantages and disadvantage of continuing to align themselves strongly with Russia.”

Mr. Fleming’s agency — formally called Government Communications Headquarters, the counterpart to the National Security Agency in the United States — plays an increasingly central role in tracking Russian communications and preparing for the day when China’s advances in quantum computing may defeat the kinds of encryption used to protect both government and corporate communications.

A three-decade veteran of the British intelligence services, Mr. Fleming rarely speaks in public. But in recent months, several of Britain’s spy chiefs have deliberately taken a carefully crafted public role in describing future security threats.

Mr. Fleming has gone further, detailing the capabilities and rules surrounding Britain’s use of offensive cyber capabilities, which it employed in Syria against terror groups and reportedly against Russian forces in Ukraine, a subject Mr. Fleming declined to discuss.

Yet in the interview, he described Russia as “a disrupter” that was “unpredictable in its actions at the moment.” But he said the performance of Russia’s military had revealed deep weaknesses, and excerpts from his forthcoming speech describe Mr. Putin’s decision-making as “flawed,” its forces as “exhausted” and its reliance on mobilizing 300,000 “inexperienced conscripts” as evidence of Mr. Putin’s “desperate situation.”

“The Russian population has started to understand that, too,” he argued. “They’re seeing just how badly Putin has misjudged the situation.”

He added, “They’re fleeing the draft, knowing their access to modern technologies and external influences will be drastically restricted.”

But Mr. Fleming’s warning is another reminder of the speed at which the Western allies have come to view themselves as in direct competition, and sometimes in conflict, with both of the world’s other major nuclear superpowers. Of the two, he clearly regards Russia as the more manageable.

Until recent years, most European nations have been muted in their public critiques of Beijing and its ambitions, because trade with China became critical to growth, especially for Germany. Britain even permitted Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant that the United States fears could pose a security threat, to provide some 5G equipment to Britain’s communications network — under some strict conditions — until sanctions imposed on the company by the United States made that impossible.

Mr. Fleming’s warnings about the strategies behind China’s investment in new technologies, and its effort to create “client economies and governments,” sound much like speeches given by his American counterparts for the past five or more years. But he spoke just before the opening of a Communist Party congress starting in Beijing on Sunday at which Xi Jinping is expected to be named to a third five-year term as the country’s top leader.

Mr. Fleming said that in the case of China, this could be “the sliding-doors moment in history,” in which the United States and its allies may soon discover that they are too far behind in a series of critical technologies to maintain a military or technological edge over Beijing.

He described China’s move to develop central bank digital currencies that could be used to track transactions as a shift that could also “enable China to partially evade the sort of international sanctions currently being applied to Putin’s regime in Russia.” He said that was one example of how China was “learning the lessons” from the war in Ukraine, presumably to apply them if it decided to move against Taiwan and prompted further efforts by the U.S. and its allies to isolate it economically.

Mr. Fleming also described China’s moves to build “a powerful antisatellite capability, with a doctrine of denying other nations access to space in the event of a conflict.” And he accused China of trying to alter international technology standards to ease the tracking of individuals, part of its effort to repress dissent, even the speech of Chinese citizens living abroad.

But his biggest warning surrounded dependence on Chinese companies that are closely linked to the state, or that would have no choice but to turn over data on individuals upon demand by the Chinese authorities. The Huawei experience, he said in the interview, “opened our eyes to the extent to which even the biggest businesses in China are ultimately wrapped up with the Chinese state” and have no choice but to comply “because of the way in which the Communist Party works and the national security laws operate.”

Yet in the Huawei case, the United States and its European partners have yet to offer truly competitive alternatives for much of the company’s networking equipment, officials from many countries say. “We have to be able to provide alternatives,” Mr. Fleming said. When pressed on whether Europe and the United States had provided those alternatives in the years since the campaign against Huawei gained traction, he acknowledged, “No, we don’t.”

Last week, the Biden administration announced sweeping new limits on the sale of semiconductor technology to China, hoping to cripple Beijing’s access to critical technologies that are needed for supercomputers, advanced weapons and artificial intelligence applications.

It was a sign of how fast the world’s two largest economies had become engaged in a clash over technological advantage, with the United States trying to establish a stranglehold on advanced computing and semiconductor technology that China views as essential to its own ambitions.

But Mr. Fleming conceded that over the next few months, he would be focused — as American leaders are — on the question of whether Russia might seek to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine to make up for its failures on the battlefield.

“This is a concerning moment,” he said. But he noted that Mr. Putin had been cautious and “has been careful not to escalate beyond the borders of Ukraine.”

“He’s been careful not to escalate in terms of the types of weapons they’re using,” he said.

He added: “We’re in a situation where escalation risks are very real.” But if “Putin decided he would make use of tactical nuclear weapons,” he said, it would be a “complete departure” from his past action and from Russian military doctrine.

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Moss & Company Finds More Property Owners Choosing to Go Local for Management Needs

SHERMAN OAKS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–When it comes to choosing a property management company, the size of a company often becomes a sticking point for many property owners. It’s not hard to understand the many advantages a national property manager can offer to an owner, such as vast resources and economies of scale at a national level. In the past year, however, there’s been a trend of many property owners turning to the regional managers, in some cases at a higher fee, to improve their bottom line. So, what is it that prompts the property owners to leave their national operators and go local? We’ve spoken with a few of these property owners and it turns out bigger isn’t always better when it comes to operating real estate.

Location, location, location!

Property owners often turn to regional property managers for the extensive knowledge of the area. In most cases, the regional companies have the staff, including key decision makers, live and work in the areas where the properties are located. It is not uncommon for a CEO of a regional company to personally stop by the properties they manage and shop the competition. This type of a hands-on approach allows regional operators to make better informed decisions to improve operations, and to adopt to any sub-market changes quickly.

To reduce liability and risk, a property manager must be current and well-versed not only in Federal Fair Housing laws, but also in the local ordinances and regulations. Regional operators are typically very familiar with all the nuances of the local laws, and are often the first to hear and act on any changes that occur in their localities. This enables regional operators to ensure protection of the managed assets while reducing liability and risk for property owners.

A more concentrated regional footprint of a local company can offer better economies of scale when compared to a dispersed footprint of a national company. The local plumber doesn’t care about how many buildings their customer has in other states. Having more properties located near each other gives regional operators greater leverage to negotiate with property vendors. This leverage leads to better service and greater savings for property owners.

Flexibility and Agility.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to property management. Every asset and every owner requires individual attention and strategy, and tailoring to each need can be a challenge for any operator. A national operator may have a steady hand on the pulse of their portfolio at a macro level, but can miss the mark by not adjusting to the unique needs of a property. This is often the case when a national company takes on smaller size properties, and tries to fit them into their national model. National operators usually look for cost-saving models based on streamlined process and limited flexibility, often unwilling to take on properties smaller than 100 units or an owner with a single asset. On the other hand, most regional companies will gladly take on smaller buildings as their models typically allow for more flexibility and agility, which in turn better aligns with the owner’s vision and goals.

Human Connection.

It doesn’t matter how big or technologically advanced the property management company is, if it lacks human connection it is destined to eventually lose customers. So, while national operators become increasingly reliant on automation and tech-heavy reporting, regional operators continue focusing on personal interactions and building relationships.

To understand the importance of human connection in property management, we spoke with Chris Gray, President at Moss & Company Property Management. “Property management companies are only as good as the people that make up the team of employees,” says Mr. Gray. “Good team members want progress and growth in their careers. With 14,000 units in Los Angeles, we are able to offer our employees more opportunities for advancement without having to pack their bags and move their families across the state lines. Our concentrated footprint allows us to build a tight knit culture resulting in employment tenure of 20-30 years. Our clients love the consistency, and our employees love the growth. This along with our local purchasing power, due to size, provides our clients with better results and therefore greater returns.”

About Moss & Company

Moss & Company boasts its reputation of being the regional expert, operating nearly 14,000 residential units and approximately 2 million square feet of commercial space in the Greater Los Angeles area. Founded in 1960 with headquarters in Sherman Oaks, Moss & Company is Southern California’s premier property management firm.

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Worldwide Passivated Emitter Rear Cell Industry to 2027 – Key Drivers and Challenges – ResearchAndMarkets.com

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The “Global Passivated Emitter Rear Cell Market By Component (Anti-Reflective Coating, Silicon wafers, Passivation layer, Capping Layer, Others), By Type (Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, Thin Film), By Application, By Region, Competition, Forecast and Opportunities , 2017-2027” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The global passivated emitter rear cell market is projected to register a significant CAGR during the forecast years, 2023-2027. Increasing demand for better and more efficient energy storage solutions to meet the growing energy requirement worldwide is the primary driver for the global passivated emitter rear cell market.

Solar panels with passivated emitter rear cells (PERCs) contain an extra layer covering the typical solar cells’ backs, increasing the efficiency and output of electrical energy from solar radiation. The safety of the solar panels can be enhanced by using PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) modules.

These modules are able to reduce back recombination and prevent longer-wavelength solar light from turning into heat energy, both of which are detrimental to the device and its performance. Market players are continuously making high-end investments in research and development activities to find new innovative solutions and upgrade the existing infrastructure.

Further improvements to the device are being made to lower installation and maintenance costs in addition to improving its efficiency. Modern PERC panels make better use of available space and operate more efficiently even when fewer panels are put in, which reduces installation time and expense.

The global passivated emitter rear cell market segmentation is based on component, type, application, regional distribution, and competitive landscape. Based on type, the market is divided into monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film. The monocrystalline segment is expected to hold the largest market share during the forecast period, 2023-2027.

Monocrystalline passivated emitter rear cell is a combination of single-crystal cell, passivated emitter cell, and back cell. The solar panel provides high flexibility and has various placements viability & tilt options without compromising efficiency. Monocrystalline passivated emitter rear cells are also efficient in case of low lighting; thus, regions such as Europe can effectively use these for power generation.

Years considered for this report:

Objective of the Study:

Companies Mentioned

Report Scope:

In this report, global passivated emitter rear cell market has been segmented into the following categories, in addition to the industry trends which have also been detailed below:

Passivated Emitter Rear Cell Market, By Component:

Passivated Emitter Rear Cell Market, By Type:

Passivated Emitter Rear Cell Market, By Application:

Passivated Emitter Rear Cell Market, By Region:

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/n6onw8

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South Korea, U.S. fire missiles to protest ‘reckless’ North Korean test

SEOUL/UNITED NATIONS, Oct 5 (Reuters) – South Korea and the U.S. military conducted rare missile drills and an American supercarrier repositioned east of North Korea after Pyongyang flew a missile over Japan, one of the allies’ sharpest responses since 2017 to a North Korean weapon test.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that nuclear-armed North Korea risked further condemnation and isolation if it continued its “provocations.”

However, Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy told a U.N. Security Council meeting called by the United States that imposing sanctions on North Korea was a “dead end” that brought “zero result,” and China’s deputy U.N. ambassador said the council needed to play a constructive role “instead of relying solely on strong rhetoric or pressure.”

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North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) farther than ever before on Tuesday, sending it soaring over Japan for the first time in five years and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover.

Washington called the test “dangerous and reckless,” and the U.S. military and its allies have stepped up displays of force.

South Korean and American troops fired a volley of missiles into the sea in response, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday, and the allies earlier staged a bombing drill with fighter jets in the Yellow Sea.

The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, a U.S. Navy ship that made its first stop in South Korea last month for the first time in years, will also return to the sea between Korea and Japan with its strike group of other warships. The South Korean military called it a “highly unusual” move designed to show the allies’ resolve to respond to any threats from North Korea.

Speaking during a visit to Chile, Blinken said the United States, South Korea and Japan were working closely together “to demonstrate and strengthen our defensive and deterrent capabilities in light of the threat from North Korea.”

He reiterated a U.S. call for Pyongyang to return to dialogue, and added: “If they continue down this road, it will only increase the condemnation, increase the isolation, increase the steps that are taken in response to their actions.”

The U.N. Security Council met on Wednesday to discuss North Korea despite China and Russia telling council counterparts they were opposed to an open meeting of the 15-member body.

The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink, accused China and Russia this week of emboldening North Korea by not properly enforcing sanctions.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in an address to the Security Council, said North Korea had “enjoyed blanket protection from two members of this council.”

In May, China and Russia vetoed a U.S.-led push to impose more U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches, publicly splitting the Security Council for the first time since it started punishing Pyongyang with sanctions in 2006.

Kritenbrink also said a resumption of nuclear weapons testing by North Korea for the first time since 2017 was likely only awaiting a political decision.

South Korean officials said North Korea had completed preparations for a nuclear test and might use a smaller weapon meant for operational use or a big device with a higher yield than in previous tests.

SOUTH KOREAN MISSILE FAILURE

The South Korean military confirmed that one of its Hyunmoo-2C missiles failed shortly after launch and crashed during the exercise, but that no one was hurt.

Footage shared on social media by a nearby resident and verified by Reuters showed smoke and flames rising from the military base.

South Korea’s military said the fire was caused by burning rocket propellant, and although the missile carried a warhead, it did not explode. It apologised for worrying residents.

It is not rare for military hardware to fail, and North Korea has suffered several failed missile launches this year as well. However, the South Korean failure threatened to overshadow Seoul’s efforts to demonstrate military prowess in the face of North Korea’s increasing capabilities.

The Hyunmoo-2C is one of South Korea’s latest missiles and analysts say its capability as a precision “bunker buster” make it a key part of Seoul’s plans for striking the North in the event of a conflict.

In its initial announcement of the drill, South Korea’s military made no mention of the Hyunmoo-2C launch or its failure, but later media briefings were dominated by questions about the incident.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has made such displays of military force a cornerstone of his strategy for countering North Korea, had vowed that the overflight of Japan would bring a decisive response from his country, its allies and the international community.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned North Korea’s test in the “strongest terms,” and the European Union called it a “reckless and deliberately provocative action.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the launch and said it was a violation of Security Council resolutions.

It was the first North Korean missile to follow a trajectory over Japan since 2017, and its estimated 4,600-km (2,850-mile) flight was the longest for a North Korean test, which are usually “lofted” into space to avoid flying over neighbouring countries.

Analysts and security officials said it may have been a variant of the Hwasong-12 IRBM, which North Korea unveiled in 2017 as part of what it said was a plan to strike U.S. military bases in Guam.

Neither North Korea’s government nor its state media have reported on the launch.

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Reporting by Joori Roh in Seoul, Humeyra Pamuk in Santiago, David Brunnstrom in Washington and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Chris Reese, Sandra Maler, Gerry Doyle and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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U.K. Borrowers React to Soaring Interest Rates in Mortgage Market

LOUGHTON, England — After nearly two decades of renting in one of the world’s most expensive cities, the Szostek family began the week almost certain that they would finally own a home.

Transplants to London who fell in love as housemates, Laetitia Anne, an operations manager from France and her husband, Maciej Szostek, a chef from Poland, had long dreamed of being homeowners. They had waited out the uncertain pandemic years and worked overtime shifts to save up for the deposit for a mortgage on a three-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood outside London. Their 13-year-old twins were excited they could finally paint the walls.

That was before British financial markets were upended, with the pound briefly hitting a record low against the dollar on Monday and interest rates soaring so rapidly that the Bank of England was forced to intervene to restore order. The economic situation was so volatile that some mortgage lenders temporarily withdrew many products.

By Tuesday evening, the Szostek family learned the bad news: The loan that they were close to securing had fallen through. Suddenly, they were scrambling to find another lender as interest rates climb higher.

loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

Rising home prices and income inequality priced many out of the market, but for strivers who aspired to homeownership, the latest ruptures to the economy hit hard. The release of the new government’s sweeping plan for debt-funded tax cuts led to a big uptick in interest rates this week that roiled the mortgage market. Many homeowners are calculating their potential future mortgage payments with alarm, amid soaring energy and food prices and a general cost-of-living crisis.

Before they were informed they were no longer eligible, the family had been in the final stages of applying for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage on an apartment priced at £519,000, or around $576,000, in the leafy parish of Loughton, a town about 40 minutes north of London by train where the streets fill with students in the afternoon and the properties span from lower-end apartments to million-pound mansions.

according to the Financial Conduct Authority. And more than a third of all mortgages are on fixed rates that expire within the next two years, most likely exposing those borrowers to higher rates, too. By contrast, the vast majority of mortgages in the United States are locked in for 30-year fixed terms.

And the abrupt surge in interest rates could threaten to set off a housing market crisis, analysts at Oxford Economics wrote in a note on Friday, adding that if mortgage rates stayed at the levels now being offered, that would suggest that house prices were around 30 percent overvalued “based on the affordability of mortgage payment.”

“This just adds a significant further strain to finances in the order of hundreds of pounds a month,” said David Sturrock, a senior research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, adding that the squeeze on household budgets will affect the broader economy.

Uncertainty and even panic was clear this week, with many homeowners seeking financial advice. Mortgage brokers said they were receiving a higher volume of inquiries than normal from people stressed about refinancing their loans.

“You can feel the fear in people’s voices,” said Caroline Opie, a mortgage broker working with Ms. Anne who said she had not seen this level of worry in a long time. One couple this week even called her the morning of their wedding, she said, to set an appointment to refinance their mortgage next week.

the war in Ukraine. “Something has got to give,” he said. “Prices are too high anyway.”

To save for the deposit, Mr. Szostek, 37, picked up construction shifts and cleaning jobs when restaurants closed during Covid-19 lockdowns. A £5,000 inheritance from Ms. Anne’s grandfather went into their deposit fund. At a 3.99 percent interest rate, the mortgage repayments were set to be about £2,200 a month.

“I wanted to feel at home for real,” said Ms. Anne, adding she would have been the first in her family to own a property. Mr. Szostek called it “a lifelong dream.”

On Wednesday night, that dream still seemed in reach: The mortgage dealer Ms. Opie had found another loan, which they rushed to apply for.

The higher interest rate — 4.6 percent — will mean their new monthly mortgage payment will be £2,400, the upper limit of what the Szostek family can afford. Still, they felt lucky to secure anything at all, hoping it will mean their promises to their children — of bigger bedrooms, more space, freedom to decorate how they like — will materialize.

They would wait to celebrate, Mr. Szostek said, until they had the keys in hand.

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NASA Delays Moon Rocket Launch Due To Potential Hurricane

By Associated Press
September 24, 2022

This marks the third delay in the past month for the lunar-orbiting test flight, which will feature mannequins but no astronauts.

NASA is skipping next week’s launch attempt of its new moon rocket because of a tropical storm that’s expected to become a major hurricane.

It’s the third delay in the past month for the lunar-orbiting test flight featuring mannequins but no astronauts, a follow-up to NASA’s Apollo moon-landing program of a half-century ago. Hydrogen fuel leaks and other technical issues caused the previous scrubs.

Currently churning in the Caribbean, Tropical Storm Ian is expected to become a hurricane by Monday and slam into Florida’s Gulf coast by Thursday. The entire state, however, is in the cone showing the probable path of the storm’s center — including NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Given the forecast uncertainties, NASA decided Saturday to forgo Tuesday’s planned launch attempt and instead prepare the 322-foot rocket for a possible return to its hangar. Managers will decide Sunday whether to haul it off the launch pad.

If the rocket remains at the pad, NASA could try for an Oct. 2 launch attempt, the last opportunity before a two-week blackout period. But a rollback late Sunday or early Monday likely would mean a lengthy delay for the test flight, possibly pushing it into November.

The Space Launch System rocket is the most powerful ever built by NASA. Assuming its first test flight goes well, astronauts would climb aboard for the next mission in 2024, leading to a two-person moon landing in 2025.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Puerto Rico Struggles To Reach Areas Cut Off By Hurricane Fiona

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
September 22, 2022

Roughly 900,000 people on the island were without power four days after the storm, and nearly 500,000 people did not have water service.

Hurricane Fiona left hundreds of people stranded across Puerto Rico after smashing roads and bridges, with authorities still struggling to reach people four days after the storm smacked the U.S. territory, causing historic flooding.

For now, government officials are working with religious groups, nonprofits and others braving landslides, thick mud and broken asphalt by foot to provide food, water and medicine for people in need, but they are under pressure to clear a path so vehicles can enter isolated areas soon.

Nino Correa, commissioner for Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, estimated that at least six municipalities across the island had areas that were cut off by Fiona, which struck as a Category 1 hurricane and was up to Category 4 power Wednesday as it headed toward Bermuda.

Living in one of those areas is Manuel Veguilla, who has not been able to leave his neighborhood in the north mountain town of Caguas since Fiona swept in on Sunday.

“We are all isolated,” he said, adding that he worries about elderly neighbors including his older brother who does not have the strength for the long walk it takes to reach the closest community.

Veguilla heard that municipal officials might open a pathway Thursday, but he doubted that would happen because he said large rocks covered a nearby bridge and the 10-foot space beneath it.

Neighbors have shared food and water dropped off by nonprofit groups, and the son of an elderly woman was able to bring back basic supplies by foot Wednesday, he said.

Veguilla said that in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that struck five years ago and resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, he and others used picks and shovels to clear the debris. But Fiona was different, unleashing huge landslides.

“I cannot throw those rocks over my shoulder,” he said.

Like hundreds of thousands of other Puerto Ricans after Fiona, Veguilla had no water or electricity service, but said they there is a natural water source nearby.

Fiona sparked an islandwide blackout when it hit Puerto Rico’s southwest region, which already was still trying to recover from a series of strong earthquakes in recent years. Some 62% of 1.47 million customers were without power four days after the storm amid an extreme heat alert issued by the National Weather Service. Some 36% of customers, or nearly half a million, did not have water service.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent hundreds of additional personnel to help local officials as the federal government approved a major disaster declaration and announced a public health emergency on the island.

Neither local nor federal government officials had provided any damage estimates as Puerto Rico struggles to recover from the storm, which dropped up to 30 inches of rain in some areas. More than 470 people and 48 pets remained in shelters.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Puerto Rico who have endured so much suffering over the last couple of years,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of operations and logistics at the Red Cross.

After Puerto Rico, Fiona pummeled the Dominican Republic and then swiped past the Turks and Caicos Islands as it strengthened into a Category 4 storm. Officials there reported relatively light damage and no deaths, though the eye of the storm passed close to Grand Turk, the small British territory’s capital island, on Tuesday.

“God has been good to us and has kept us safe during this period when we could have had a far worse outcome,” Deputy Gov. Anya Williams said.

Fiona was forecast to pass near Bermuda early Friday, and then hit easternmost Canada early Saturday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph on Thursday morning. It was centered about 485 miles southwest of Bermuda, heading north-northeast at 13 mph.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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