Irishman Shane Lowry Wins British Open

Ireland’s Shane Lowry won golf’s British Open on Sunday, his first career major championship, in front of thousands of cheering fans at Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush course alongside the Atlantic Ocean.

The bearded, 32-year-old Lowry led going in to the final round of professional golf’s last major championship of the year by four shots and was never seriously challenged.

He finished the 72-hole tournament at 15 under par, shooting a one-over par 72 in gusty winds and intermittent rain during the last day of the four-day event. His playing partner, Britain’s Tommy Fleetwood, started Sunday in second and finished second, but six shots behind Lowry, with a final round 74.

As the Irish throngs cheered Lowry’s final tap-in par on the last hole, Lowry raised his arms to the leaden skies and broke into a smile of satisfaction.

Lowry’s victory meant that four different golfers won the sport’s major championships in 2019, with Americans winning the other three — Tiger Woods at the Masters, Brooks Koepka at the Professional Golfers championship and Gary Woodland at the U.S. Open.
 

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Japan’s Ruling Coalition Secures Upper House Majority

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition secured a majority in Japan’s upper house of parliament in elections Sunday, according to vote counts by public television and other media. Exit polls indicated Abe could even close in on the super-majority needed to propose constitutional revisions.

NHK public television said Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner Komeito had won 64 seats in the upper house after two hours of vote counting. The two-thirds majority needed for constitutional revision could be within reach if the ruling bloc can gain support from members of another conservative party and independents.  
 
Up for grabs were 124 seats in the less powerful of Japan’s two parliamentary chambers. There are 245 seats in the upper house — which does not choose the prime minister — about half of which are elected every three years.
 
The results appeared to match or even exceed pre-election polls that indicated Abe’s ruling bloc was to keep ground in the upper house, with most voters considering it a safer choice over an opposition with an uncertain track record. To reach the two-thirds majority, or 164 seats, Abe needs 85 more seats by his ruling bloc and supporters of a charter change.
 
Opposition parties have focused on concerns over household finances, such as the impact from an upcoming 10% sales tax increase and strains on the public pension system amid Japan’s aging population.
 
Abe has led his Liberal Democratic Party to five consecutive parliamentary election victories since 2012.
 
He has prioritized revitalizing Japan’s economy and has steadily bolstered the country’s defenses in the backdrop of North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats and China’s growing military presence. He also has showcased his diplomatic skills by cultivating warm ties with President Donald Trump.
 
Abe was hoping to gain enough upper house seats to boost his chances for constitutional revision, his long-cherished goal before his term ends in 2021. Abe needs approval by a two-thirds majority in both houses to propose a revision and seek a national referendum. His ruling bloc already has a two-thirds majority in the more powerful lower house.
 
But Abe and his conservative backers face challenges because voters seem more concerned about their jobs, the economy and social security.
 
The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and three other liberal-leaning parties teamed up in some districts. They stressed support for gender equality and LGBT issues _ areas Abe’s ultra-conservative lawmakers are reluctant to back.
 
At a polling station in Tokyo’s Chuo district on Sunday, voters were divided over Abe’s 6 1/2-year rule.
 
A voter who identified himself only as a company worker in his 40s said he chose a candidate and a party that have demonstrated an ability to get things done, suggesting he voted for Abe’s ruling party and its candidate, as “there is no point in casting my vote for a party or a politician who has no such abilities.”
 
Another voter, Katsunori Takeuchi, a 57-year-old fish market worker, said it was time to change the dominance of Abe and his ultra-conservative policies.
 
“I think the ruling party has been dominating politics for far too long and it is causing damage,” he said.

 

 

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US Accuses Venezuela Jet of Aggressive Action Over Caribbean

U.S. authorities say a Venezuelan fighter jet “aggressively shadowed” an American intelligence plane flying in international airspace over the Caribbean, underscoring rising tensions between the two nations.

 The U.S. Southern Command said Sunday that Venezuela’s action demonstrates reckless behavior by President Nicolas Maduro, whose government accused the U.S. of breaking international rules.
 
U.S. authorities say their EP-3 plane was performing a multi-nationally approved mission and the Venezuelan SU-30 fighter jet closely trailed the plane, which the U.S. says endangered its crew.
 
Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez says the U.S. plane entered Venezuelan airspace without prior notification.
 
He says it also endangered commercial flights from Venezuela’s main airport.
 
The U.S. backs opposition leader Juan Guaido’s attempt to oust Maduro.
 

 

 

 

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Уряд Туркменистану поширив вітання від імені президента країни на тлі повідомлень про його смерть

Уряд Туркменистану 21 липня поширив привітання з днем медпрацівника від імені президента країни Гурбангули Бердимухамедова на тлі повідомлень у деяких ЗМІ про його смерть.

Крім того, на сайті 21 липня з’явилося повідомлення про те, що Бердимухамедов підписав розпорядження про відправлення до Афганістану нової партії гуманітарної допомоги.

Офіційно інформацію про смерть президента влада Туркменистану не спростовувала.

Проте російським ЗМІ в посольстві Туркменистану в Росії заперечили чутки про смерть Бердимухамедова і назвали відповідну інформацію фейком.

Раніше в низці ЗМІ та інтернет-виданнях з’явилася інформація нібито про смерть туркменського лідера.

62-річний Гурбангули Бердимухамедов керує багатою газом колишньою радянською республікою з моменту смерті його авторитарного попередника Сапармурата Ніязова, який помер у грудні 2006 року. Критики уряду і правозахисні організації стверджують, що він придушив інакомислення і зробив кілька обмежувальних змін після приходу до влади.

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У Гонконгу поліція застосувала сльозогінний газ і гумові кулі проти мітингувальників

Поліція в Гонконгу застосувала сльозогінний газ і гумові кулі для розгону мітингувальників 21 липня після масової антиурядової акції.

Сотні тисяч людей вийшли на вулиці 21 липня з вимогою до влади провести демократичні реформи і розслідувати насильство з боку поліції.

Силовики вдалися до таких дій після того, як учасники протесту відмовилися зупинитися у визначеній точці, продовжуючи рухатись до центральних державних установ Китаю.

У червні поліцейські при розгоні протестувальників застосували гумові кулі і сльозогінний газ. Про сутички демонстрантів із поліцією повідомляли і після маршу 14 липня, коли постраждали 11 поліцейських.

Протести в Гонконзі тривають від минулого місяця після того, як влада ініціювала законопроект про екстрадицію в материковий Китай. На вулиці виходили до мільйона людей.

Противники законопроекту вважають, що він може бути використаний для передачі в руки китайського правосуддя дисидентів і несправедливо переслідуваних людей.

Після масових протестів влада заявила, що зупиняє впровадження законопроекту, мітингувальники ж вимагали повністю від нього відмовитися.

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Recycled Water Part of Perth’s Plan to Beat Climate Change in Australia

As drought-hit towns across New South Wales and Queensland edge closer to completely running out of water, federal and state governments in Australia are trying to come up with ways to guarantee supplies into the future. But on the other side of the continent, the city of Perth is leagues ahead in its water efficiency following a long-term decline in rainfall. Part of its survival plan relies on recycled water from toilets, a move that many consumers elsewhere still consider to be unpalatable.

Since 2017, residents in the Western Australian city of Perth have been drinking water recycled from sewage. It is filtered using a process called reverse osmosis, which is similar to forcing water through a giant sponge. It is then disinfected with ultra-violet light at a treatment plant, pumped into natural aquifers, and extracted.

Perth is a city of two million people, and Clare Lugar from Western Australia’s Water Corporation said it has had to get used to climatic changes.

“We know from the mid-70s onwards Perth’s rainfall has been declining by about 20 percent, and that has had a huge impact on our water sources that are dependent on the climate.”

Lugar said convincing residents of the benefits of drinking recycled sewage did take time.

“So, it is only a small percentage of the water that comes into the plant is actually from our toilets. But getting over that perception, that kind of image you might be drinking the water that you flushing down the toilet – that was probably one of our big challenges initially,” said Lugar.

Two desalination plants supply about half of Perth’s water. Aquifers are also crucial, but recycling produces only two percent of the total. But that figure is soon expected to rise.

Ian Wright, an expert in environmental science at Western Sydney University, believes other parts of Australia should embrace recycling.

“In Sydney that is probably 150 liters per day per person of waste water that is completely wasted, and, yes, we have the availability of desalination on the coast, but Canberra does not have desalination and then the poor drought-stricken towns like Tamworth and Dubbo, and Broken Hill, they could really, really use that now,” he said.

Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent. Water is precious, and, in many places, scarce. More than 95 percent of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, is officially in drought, and the next three months are forecast to be drier than average.

 

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UK Treasury Chief Vows to Quit if Boris Johnson Becomes PM

British Treasury chief Philip Hammond said Sunday that he will quit if _ as widely expected — Boris Johnson becomes prime minister this week on a promise to leave the European Union with or without a divorce deal.
 
Hammond said Johnson’s vow to press for a no-deal Brexit if he can’t secure a new agreement with the EU is “not something that I could ever sign up to.”
 
Hammond was almost certain to be removed from office by the new leader in any case. He has angered Brexit-backers, who now dominate the governing Conservative Party, with his warnings about the economic pain that leaving the EU could cause.
 
Hammond told the BBC that if Johnson wins, “I’m not going to be sacked because I’m going to resign before we get to that point.”
 
Johnson is the strong favorite to win a two-person runoff to lead the Conservative Party and the country. The winner is being announced Tuesday, with the victor taking over from Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday.
 
Britain is due to leave the EU on Oct. 31 but Parliament has repeatedly rejected the divorce deal struck between May and the bloc. Both Johnson and his rival Jeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary, say they will leave the EU without an agreement if the EU won’t renegotiate.
 
Most economists say quitting the 28-nation bloc without a deal would cause Britain economic turmoil. The U.K.’s official economic watchdog has forecast that a no-deal Brexit would trigger a recession, with the pound plummeting in value, borrowing soaring by 30 billion pounds ($37 billion) and the economy shrinking 2% in a year.
 
But Johnson, who helped lead the “leave” campaign in Britain’s 2016 EU membership referendum, says a no-deal Brexit will be “vanishingly inexpensive” if the country prepares properly.
 
The EU insists it won’t reopen the 585-page divorce deal it struck with May.
 
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said Sunday that the bloc is “simply not going to move away from the Withdrawal Agreement.”
 
“If the approach of the new British prime minister is that they’re going to tear up the Withdrawal Agreement, then I think we’re in trouble,” he told the BBC. “We’re all in trouble, quite frankly, because it’s a little bit like saying: ‘Either give me what I want or I’m going to burn the house down for everybody.'”
 
Hammond is the third U.K. minister within a week to quit or say they will resign in order to try to prevent a cliff-edge Brexit. Britain looks set for a fall showdown between the new Conservative government and British lawmakers determined to thwart a no-deal exit.
 
“I am confident that Parliament does have a way of preventing a no-deal exit on October 31 without parliamentary consent and I intend to work with others to ensure parliament uses its power to make sure that the new government can’t do that,” Hammond said.
 

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UN: Humanitarian Situation in Syria Continues to Deteriorate

The United Nations says conditions in Syria continue to deteriorate and humanitarian needs for millions of civilians remain acute across the war-torn country. 

U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Najat Rochdi’s job is to keep tabs on the humanitarian situation in Syria. She said conditions in this country, which has been at war for more than eight year, are alarming. She is appealing to the international community to protect and support millions of vulnerable civilians who lack the bare essentials for survival.

She said an estimated 11.7 million people need humanitarian aid and five million are in acute need. She said it has been a particularly grave month for civilians caught up in intensified fighting between Government and rebel forces in Idlib in northwestern Syria.

Her spokeswoman, Jenifer Fenton, said at least 350 civilians reportedly have been killed and more than 330,000 have been displaced. She said some three million people are at particular risk. She said they are trapped in the battle zone and are at the mercy of the warring parties as there is no place where they can flee.

“Civilian infrastructure continues to be damaged and destroyed. Protection of civilians remains our foremost concern. Far too many civilians are dying. Fighting terrorism does not absolve any party of its obligations under international humanitarian law and we continue to call on parties to uphold their agreements and to stabilize the situation,” said the spokeswoman.

Fenton said the situation remains unsustainable for some 70,000 people living in the squalid, overcrowded Al Hol camp in northeastern Syria. These people fled to Al Hol after the Syrian government seized control of Deir-Ez-Zour, the radical Islamic State group’s last stronghold.

FILE – Women walk through al-Hol displacement camp in Hasaka governorate, Syria, April 1, 2019.

The vast majority of the camp population is comprised of Syrian and Iraqi women and children. This population includes more than 11,000 family members of suspected IS foreign fighters from dozens of countries. These nations are reluctant to bring back their nationals fearing prosecutions of IS fighters will be difficult and will alienate their citizens.

UNICEF and other agencies are urging nations to repatriate an estimated 29,000 children of foreign IS fighters, noting they are blameless and are victims of this brutal war.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports a number of children have been repatriated to their countries of origin in past weeks. But it adds thousands of others remain in Al Hol, facing an uncertain future.

 

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Поліція Японії отримала ордер на арешт чоловіка, підозрюваного у підпалі студії

Японська поліція отримала ордер на арешт підозрюваного в підпалі анімаційної студії в Кіото.

Через сильні опіки чоловіка було госпіталізовано. Поліція має намір заарештувати його, коли стан його здоров’я стабілізується.

В результаті пожежі в студії Kyoto Animation 18 липня загинуло 34 людини, більше 30 – отримали травми. Підозрюваний розлив і підпалив бензин усередині будівлі. Про це він сам розповів після затримання.

Аніме-студія Kyoto Animation заснована в 1981 році. Вона виробляє серіали і повнометражні фільми. Серед робіт студії – «Меланхолія Харухі Судзумії», «Кланнад», «K-On!». Головний офіс компанії знаходиться в Кіото.

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American Crocodiles Thriving Outside Nuclear Plant 

MIAMI — American crocodiles, once headed toward extinction, are thriving at an unusual spot — the canals surrounding a South Florida nuclear plant. 

Last week, 73 crocodile hatchlings were rescued by a team of specialists at Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point nuclear plant and dozens more are expected to emerge soon. 

Turkey Point’s 168-mile (270-kilometer) man-made canals serve as the home to several hundred crocodiles, where a team of specialists working for FPL monitors and protects them from hunting and climate change. 

From January to April, Michael Lloret, an FPL wildlife biologist and crocodile specialist, helps create nests for the creatures. Once the hatchlings are reared and left by the mother, the team captures them. They are measured and tagged with microchips to observe their development. Lloret then relocates them to increase survival rates. 

“We entice crocodiles to come in to the habitats FPL created,” Lloret said. “We clear greenery on the berms so that the crocodiles can nest. Because of rising sea levels wasting nests along the coasts, Turkey Point is important for crocodiles to continue.” 

Wildlife biologist/crocodile specialist Michael Lloret points out a crocodile nest on one of the berms along the cooling canals next to the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, July 19, 2019, in Homestead, Fla.

Now ‘threatened,’ not ‘endangered’

The canals are one of three major U.S. habitats for crocodiles, where 25% of the 2,000 American crocodiles live. The FPL team has been credited for moving the classification of crocodiles on the Endangered Species Act to “threatened” from “endangered” in 2007. The team has tagged 7,000 babies since it was established in 1978. 

Temperature determines the crocodiles’ sex: the hotter it is, the more likely males are hatched. Lloret said this year’s hatchlings are male-heavy because of last month’s weather — it was the hottest June on record globally. 

Because hatchlings released are at the bottom of the food chain, only a small fraction of them survive to be adults. Lloret said they at least have a fighting chance at Turkey Point, away from humans who hunted them to near-extinction out of greed and fear, even though attacks are rare. Only one crocodile attack has ever been recorded in the U.S. — a couple were both bitten while swimming in a South Florida canal in 2014, but both survived. 

“American crocodiles have a bad reputation, when they are just trying to survive,” Lloret said. “They are shy and want nothing to do with us. Humans are too big to be on their menu.” 

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