Global News This Week #21 | NFWorld Latest News

Nuclear Weapons

Putin Nuclear Weapons | Biden Eases Green Card | Toxic Cough Syrups: WHO | Canada’s Most Deadliest Road Accidents | 3000 yr old Egyptian Figurine – Global News This Week

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Putin Stations Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Belarus for Defense Purposes

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the deployment of the first batch of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, as part of a strategic move to ensure the defence and security of Russia’s territory and state. The decision, revealed during a speech at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, aims to act as a deterrent against potential threats or strategic defeats posed to Russia.

Assurance from US Government on Russia’s Nuclear Intentions

Contrary to concerns raised by this move, the United States government has expressed no indications that the Kremlin has any plans to utilize nuclear weapons in an offensive against Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the absence of evidence pointing towards Russia’s readiness to employ such extreme measures.

The Nature of Tactical Nuclear Weapons and Their Purpose

Tactical nuclear weapons are classified as small-scale nuclear warheads and accompanying delivery systems specifically designed for localized battlefield applications or limited strikes. These weapons possess the capability to neutralize enemy targets within a defined area without causing extensive radioactive fallout.

The Scale and Significance of Tactical Nuclear Weapons

Ranging in size from one kiloton or less, equivalent to a thousand tonnes of TNT, to as large as 100 kilotons, tactical nuclear weapons vary in destructive power. For comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 had a yield of 15 kilotons.

Heading: Belarus as a Strategic Ally and Launchpad

Belarus, a crucial ally of Russia, served as a pivotal launchpad for Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February of the previous year. The strategic significance of Belarus in facilitating military operations and its geopolitical proximity make it a valuable location for the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons.

Completion of Deployment by the End of Summer

President Putin stated that the transfer of tactical nuclear warheads to Belarus would be finalized by the conclusion of the summer season. The aim is to reinforce the concept of containment and to serve as a reminder to any potential aggressor contemplating inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia.

Maintaining Global Security and Russia’s Defensive Stance

In response to concerns over the use of these weapons, President Putin affirmed that Russia has no intention of threatening the world at large. He reiterated that extreme measures, including the utilization of tactical nuclear weapons, would only be considered in the event of a direct threat to Russian statehood, thereby emphasizing Russia’s defensive posture and commitment to maintaining global stability.

Biden Administration Eases Green Card Norms Ahead of PM Modi’s US Visit

The Biden administration has recently released policy guidance, providing relief to individuals waiting for green cards to work and stay in the United States. This development comes just days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US from June 21-24, following an invitation from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. A state dinner is scheduled to honour Prime Minister Modi on June 22, along with an address to the Joint Session of the Congress. The newly issued guidelines by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding eligibility criteria for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) applications are expected to benefit numerous Indian technology professionals who have been anxiously awaiting their green cards or permanent residency.

Benefits for Indian Technology Professionals Waiting for Green Cards:

The policy guidance released by USCIS aims to assist Indian technology professionals who have been facing a prolonged wait for their green cards. By providing clarity on eligibility criteria for initial and renewal EAD applications in compelling circumstances, it offers relief to these individuals.

USCIS Guidelines on Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Eligibility:

The USCIS guidance outlines specific requirements that applicants must fulfil to be eligible for an initial EAD based on compelling circumstances. These requirements include being the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, maintaining valid non-immigrant status or authorized grace period, not having filed an adjustment of status application, and meeting certain biometrics and criminal background requirements.

Addressing Compelling Circumstances for Initial EAD Applications:

USCIS will exercise discretion in determining whether an applicant demonstrates compelling circumstances justifying the issuance of employment authorization. The non-exhaustive list of qualifying circumstances provided by USCIS allows individuals to present evidence supporting their case. For example, those with approved immigrant visa petitions in oversubscribed categories may submit evidence such as school enrollment records, mortgage records, or long-term lease records to demonstrate compelling circumstances.

Positive Impact on Individuals Facing Challenging Situations:

The new policy measures are a significant step towards supporting individuals facing challenging situations and ensuring their ability to work legally in the United States. It offers relief to those dealing with serious illness, disability, employer disputes or retaliation, significant harm, or disruptions to employment. Advocates for immigrant rights have highlighted the importance of these measures, especially for individuals and their dependents who may face the potential loss of their homes, withdrawal of children from school, or the need to relocate due to job loss.

In conclusion, the Biden administration’s release of policy guidance on green card eligibility criteria brings relief to Indian technology professionals awaiting their green cards. The upcoming visit of Prime Minister Modi to the US further highlights the significance of these measures. USCIS guidelines regarding initial EAD applications in compelling circumstances offer individuals an opportunity to present evidence supporting their case, providing a crucial lifeline for those facing challenging situations.

Global Threat of Toxic Cough Syrups: WHO Working to Track Dangerous Medicines

The World Health Organization (WHO) has intensified its efforts to address the ongoing global threat posed by toxic cough syrups. In collaboration with six additional countries, the WHO is working to track potentially deadly children’s medicines, expanding on the previously revealed nine countries where tainted syrups may have been available. Last year, over 300 infant deaths across three continents were linked to these drugs.

Potential Danger of Contaminated Medicines and Ongoing Investigations:

Rutendo Kuwana, the WHO team lead for incidents with substandard and falsified medicines, cautioned that contaminated medicines could still be in circulation for several years. This is due to the possibility of adulterated barrels of an essential ingredient, propylene glycol, remaining in warehouses. Both cough syrups and propylene glycol have shelf lives of approximately two years, posing an ongoing risk.

Propylene Glycol Substitution with Toxic Alternatives:

Unscrupulous actors sometimes replace propylene glycol, a key ingredient in cough syrups, with cheaper and toxic alternatives such as ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol. These alternatives are commonly used in products not intended for human consumption, such as brake fluid.

WHO’s Working Theory and Challenges in Identifying Suppliers:

The WHO’s working theory suggests that during a spike in propylene glycol prices in 2021, one or more suppliers may have mixed the cheaper toxic liquids with the legitimate chemical. However, identifying the suppliers and their locations remains challenging due to obscure supply chains.

Countries Affected and Safety Measures Implemented:

The WHO has named several countries where contaminated syrups were identified, including Gambia, Uzbekistan, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Indonesia. Investigations and safety measures are ongoing, with licenses of implicated pharmaceutical manufacturers being revoked and affected products being recalled. The WHO has offered assistance to countries like Liberia and Cameroon, where contaminated cough syrups may be in circulation.

In conclusion, the WHO is actively working to combat the global threat of toxic cough syrups. By collaborating with more countries and urging increased surveillance, the WHO aims to track and address the availability of dangerous medicines. Identifying suppliers and ensuring safety measures are essential to protect vulnerable populations from the risks associated with contaminated cough syrups.

Tragic Collision in Manitoba Claims Lives of 15, Making it One of Canada’s Deadliest Road Accidents

In a devastating incident, at least 15 individuals lost their lives in the Canadian prairie province of Manitoba. The fatalities occurred when a semi-trailer truck collided with a small bus, primarily carrying elderly passengers. This collision marks one of the most fatal road accidents in recent Canadian history.

Location and Circumstances of the Accident:

The crash took place at the intersection of two major roads near the town of Carberry in southwestern Manitoba, approximately 170 km west of Winnipeg. Reports from CBC News indicated that the bus passengers were en route to a casino in Carberry at the time of the collision, according to a spokesperson from the casino.

Devastating Impact on Elderly Passengers and Ongoing Investigation:

Assistant Commissioner Rob Hill, commanding the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police, confirmed the tragic outcome, stating that at least 15 individuals had lost their lives as a result of the collision. The majority of the bus passengers were elderly. Additionally, ten other individuals were receiving treatment in hospitals. The drivers of both vehicles survived, and investigations are underway to determine the cause of the crash.

Previous Similar Incidents in Canada’s History:

Canada has witnessed other heart-wrenching road accidents in the past. In April 2018, a truck collided with a bus carrying a junior hockey team in Saskatchewan, resulting in the deaths of 16 people. The truck driver received an eight-year prison sentence in 2019. The country’s worst traffic accident occurred in 1997 when a bus carrying seniors plunged into a ravine in Quebec, claiming the lives of 44 individuals.

As news of the tragedy spread, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his deepest condolences to those affected by the accident. Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson also expressed her sympathy and solidarity with the victims and their families.

In conclusion, the collision in Manitoba involving a semi-truck and a small bus has led to the devastating loss of 15 lives, making it one of the deadliest road accidents in recent Canadian history. The incident highlights the importance of road safety measures and ongoing investigations to determine the cause of such tragic incidents.

Remarkable Discovery on Israel’s Palmahim Beach: 3,000-Year-Old Egyptian Figurine Found

On Palmahim beach, located south of Tel Aviv in Israel, a 74-year-old woman named Lydia Marner stumbled upon a remarkable find – a 3,000-year-old figurine of an Egyptian goddess. Ms Marner, an Azerbaijani immigrant residing in Lod, spotted the object emerging from the sea during a stormy day approximately a month ago. Recognizing its significance, she sought the expertise of her archaeology-informed friends and subsequently contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority through their Facebook page. Inspectors from the Authority were dispatched to examine the ancient figurine, and after careful examination and cleaning, the find was officially announced on Tuesday.

Contacting Archaeologists: A Fortuitous Encounter Leads to the Israel Antiquities Authority

Delighted by her discovery, Ms Marner expressed her initial disbelief, stating that her husband initially laughed at her. However, the entire family now celebrates the extraordinary story that unfolded. Grateful for the opportunity to find such a significant artefact, she turned the figurine over to the Israel Antiquities Authority for further study and preservation.

The Significance of the Figurine: Representation of Hathor, the Egyptian Goddess

The Israel Antiquities Authority confirmed that the figurine represents Hathor, an Egyptian goddess associated with fertility, strength, protection, and wisdom. Dr Amir Golani, an expert on the Bronze Age at the Authority, explained that the Canaanites adopted ritual and religious customs from the Egyptians, who ruled the region during that era. Similar to contemporary practices of hanging religious symbols in homes, the Canaanites would place ritual figurines in prominent locations for good luck and protection.

Connection to Canaanite Culture: Ritual Practices of the Ancient Egyptians

The statuette, made of clay embedded into a stone pattern, exemplifies the expedited production of numerous figurines. Dr Golani highlighted distinct features of the figurine, such as the hairstyle resembling the horns of a bull, as well as the prominent eyes and ears, characteristic of Hathor’s representation.

Coinciding Campaign: Antiquities Authority Encourages Return of Artefacts

Ms Marner’s discovery aligns with the Antiquities Authority’s recently launched campaign, “Return Them With a Click,” aiming to encourage individuals in possession of historical artefacts to voluntarily submit them to the state. The Authority emphasizes the legal obligation to report any accidental findings of antiquities, fostering preservation and knowledge of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

In conclusion, the fortuitous encounter of a 74-year-old woman on Palmahim beach led to the discovery of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian figurine, representing the goddess Hathor. This finding highlights the connection between Canaanite and Egyptian cultures during ancient times. Furthermore, it aligns with the ongoing campaign by the Israel Antiquities Authority to encourage the return of historical artefacts and promote the preservation of the nation’s valuable heritage.

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