Mugla, Turkey(AA)

The Turkish Coast Guard on Tuesday rescued 19 asylum seekers who were pushed back by Greek coastal authorities into Turkish waters off the Aegean coast, according to security sources.

A coast guard team was dispatched off the coast of Datca in the southwestern Mugla province after learning that the asylum seekers, including 17 Syrians, were stranded on a boat.

A suspected human smuggler on the boat was also arrested.

Separately, another 35 migrants were rescued off Mugla’s Marmaris district.

After routine checks, the asylum seekers were taken to the provincial migration authority.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying that it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.

Brent crude LCOc1 was trading at $42.03 a barrel, down 63 cents or 1.5%, by 1555 GMT, after earlier sliding to $41.51, its lowest since July 30.

West Texas Intermediate U.S. crude CLc1 fell 67 cents, or 1.7%, to $39.10 per barrel after hitting $38.55, its lowest since July 10.

“The mood has turned somewhat pessimistic in the second half of last week and the immediate risk is skewed to the downside,” said oil broker PVM’s Tamas Varga.

The world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, cut the October official selling price for Arab Light crude it sells to Asia by the most since May.

“The decrease was interpreted by the markets as a sign that the demand recovery in the region, home to the second and third largest oil consumers, is running out of steam,” said Rystad Energy analyst Paola Rodriguez-Masiu.

China, the world’s biggest oil importer which has been supporting prices with record purchases, slowed its intake in August and increased its products exports, customs data showed on Monday.

“There are so many uncertainties with regard to the Chinese economy and their relationship with key industrialised countries, with the U.S. and these days, even Europe,” Keisuke Sadamori, director for energy markets and security at the International Energy Agency, told Reuters.

“It’s not such an optimistic situation ... that casts some shadow over the growth outlook.”

The Labour Day holiday on Monday marks the traditional end of the peak summer demand season in the United States and that renewed investors’ focus on the current lacklustre fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil user.


All people arriving in England from seven popular Greek islands will have to self-isolate for two weeks, Britain’s transport secretary said Monday.

Travellers from Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos, and Zakynthos will be asked to isolate themselves for 14 days starting from 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, Grant Shapps said.

Speaking at the House of Commons, the secretary said "enhanced data" allowed the UK to pinpoint risk on those islands, providing flexibility to add or remove them as infection rates change.

"Through the use of enhanced data we will now be able to pinpoint risk in some of the most popular islands, providing increased flexibility to add or remove them – distinct from the mainland – as infection rates change,” Shapps said.

"This development will help boost the UK's travel industry while continuing to maintain maximum protection to public health, keeping the travelling public safe."

"My officials are now working with health experts with the aim of cutting the quarantine period without adding to infection risk or infringing our overall NHS test capacity," he also said./aa


At least eight people were arrested in western Turkey for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, a security source said on Monday.

The arrests were made in Denizli province after the chief public prosecutor's office issued warrants for the suspects, including a lieutenant and three former cadets, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

One suspect was remanded in custody while the others were released on judicial control, the source added.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary./aa


The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Monday welcomed the landing of approximately 300 Rohingya refugees on the northern coast of Aceh, Indonesia, after seven months at sea.

An unknown number of the refugees need medical attention after their ordeal, said the UNHCR.

Among the group, two of three are women and children, and more than 30 of them are estimated to have died during the voyage.

The UNHCR said around 330 Rohingya refugees were understood to have embarked on the journey from Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, in February.

"Their hazardous ordeal has been prolonged by the collective unwillingness of states to act for more than six months," said the refugee agency.

It cited the Bali Process as the only existing regional coordination mechanism able to convene states on such maritime movements.

However, the process has failed to deliver comprehensive, regional action to predictably save lives through rescue and disembarkation, the organization added.

"The group had repeatedly tried to disembark over more than 200 days at sea, to no avail,

"Refugees have reported that dozens passed away throughout the journey."

The UN agency said it and others have repeatedly warned of dire consequences if refugees at sea are not permitted to land safely and expediently.

"Ultimately, inaction over the past six months has been fatal," said UNHCR.

The agency said its staff in Aceh are supporting local authorities to assess the needs of the refugees.

"The immediate priority is providing first aid and medical care as required. All will be tested for COVID-19 under standard health measures in Indonesia for all arrivals," said the agency.

It added that at the time of the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal crisis five years ago, the Bali Process states acknowledged the need for a reliable and collective response to this genuinely regional challenge.

The Bali Process was launched in 2002 as a mechanism co-chaired by Australia and Indonesia to take life-saving action for refugees stranded at sea. Still, hundreds of Rohingya people died at sea in 2015 in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal crisis despite the initiative.

"Having created a mechanism to convene governments from across the region for precisely this purpose, the promise of that commitment remains unfulfilled," said UNHCR.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women, and children fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million./aa

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on Monday announced that all the schools across the country will reopen from Sept. 15, ending a six-month closure propelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the decision after a meeting of the provincial education ministers in the capital Islamabad, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that some 300,000 schools, colleges, and universities will reopen in phases starting from Sept. 15, in an attempt to avoid another wave of the virus.

In the first phases, Mahmood said all the institutions of higher learning across the country will reopen from Sept. 15, whereas students in grade nine to 12 will also be returning to school on the same day.

“If all goes well,” he added, students in grade six to eight will return to school on Sept. 23, while students in nursery to grade five will be back to school on Sept. 30.

The decision will also be applied on over 30,000 religious seminaries across the country.

“All the schools will have to strictly follow the SOPs [standard operating procedures]. A strict disciplinary action will be taken against violators,” Mahmood warned.

Mask, which has become a rare sight throughout the country following a sharp decline in number of coronavirus cases over the past few months, will be mandatory for all the teachers, and the students.

Faisal Sultan, prime minister’s adviser on health Affairs, who effectively acts as health minister, said the normal strength of a class would be reduced by half in order to contain the chances of another outbreak.

Latest surveys show the number of parents opposing the reopening of schools have declined from 73% to only 37% in the last two months.

Pakistan is among a handful of countries to have witnessed a dramatic drop in coronavirus cases, from nearly 7,000 to merely 300 plus daily cases over the past few months, with daily fatalities from the novel virus hovering in the single digits each day.

The country has so far recorded 298,903 cases, of which 286,010 have recovered, according to Health Ministry data.

The number of fatalities from COVID-19 stands at 6,345.

The government is currently following a "mini smart lockdown" strategy. Instead of closing entire streets or shopping centers, only houses or workplaces where infections are reported will be sealed./aa

JAKARTA, Indonesia

Nearly 300 Rohingya refugees were found on a beach in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Monday, a humanitarian group said.

“At least 295 Rohingyas arrived at Lhokseumawe Beach by one boat at 01.00 a.m. local time,” said Thariq Farline, the head of ACT’s Lhokseumawe Branch.

According to Thariq, 181 women, 100 men and 14 children have been evacuated from the site.

"Some of them are weak and sick. They have been taken to the Lhokseumawe Hospital immediately,” he told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar's security forces launched a brutal crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.ş

The UN refugee agency revealed that some of them were registered as refugees and others are from Bangladesh.

“We have not asked them directly considering their psychological condition and due to some restrictions,” Thariq added.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian authorities claimed that they have deployed a team to follow up information about the refugees.

Teuku Faizasyah, the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said: “The ministry had sent a team to join the Foreign Refugee Task Force to directly monitor the Rohingya refugees,” said.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

As many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes burned down while 113,000 others vandalized, it added./aa

ROME (AP) — Three migrants stranded aboard a tanker for over a month awaiting a port to disembark jumped into the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday in a sign of increasing despair on deck, the ship reported.

Maersk Tankers A/S said the captain and crew of its chemical tanker Etienne quickly rescued the three migrants and brought them back aboard. But the company repeated its demand for a port and urgent humanitarian assistance to ensure that the passengers “are immediately given the attention and care that they need.”

The Etienne rescued a group of 27 would-be refugees on Aug. 4 at the request of Maltese authorities as the migrants’ fishing boat sank. Malta, however, has refused to let the migrants disembark and the Etienne has been stuck in international waters 17 miles off the small European Union island nation as food and water supplies are running low.

The Maersk has reported that tensions aboard the ship were growing, culminating in Sunday's desperate jumps.


Malta, like Italy, often balks at taking in rescued migrants, insisting that other EU nations should share the burden of caring for people rescued in the central Mediterranean. While such standoffs have become increasingly common, the Etienne’s plight is the longest in recent times and suggests that other mercantile ships might be less willing to respond to distress calls from migrants in the future.

Not helping those in need on the sea, however, goes against maritime standards, placing ship captains in an untenable position.

On Saturday, the GNV Rhapsody ferry moored off Lampedusa to take migrants off the small Italian island. Italian officials have been hastily chartering ferries and putting other measures into place to fight severe overcrowding at migrant centers on Lampedusa.

In Britain, anti-migrant protesters demonstrated Saturday in the English city of Dover against immigration and the journeys made by refugees crossing the Channel. They called for authorities to do more to protect English shores at the southern port nearest to mainland Europe.

•             France-based Flying Whales is developing an environmentally friendly cargo transport aircraft with commercial production posied to begin in 2025.

•             The LCA60T airship can off-load its up to 66-ton payload mid-air.

•             Because the LCA60T is a VTOL, it won't require any extra infrastructure to operate, allowing it to serve more remote locations without harming the environment.

Flying Whales is producing a blimp-like aircraft that can transport and drop off cargo mid-flight.

Several components of the cargo transport airship are made to be environmentally friendly, such as its floating capabilities powered by helium, hybrid-electric propulsion system, and lack of need for extra infrastructure during take-offs and landings.

But don't get confused by its oblong shape and helium-powered floating capabilities: the LCA60T is rigid and can't be "deflated", setting it apart from the traditional blimp despite its exterior appearance.

The aircraft was originally designed to transport wood logs around inaccessible areas by creating an airship that didn't need infrastructure support. However, the France-based team quickly pivoted to a larger, less targeted client base, the team told Business Insider.

"We realized that this solution could be used in a lot of other sectors, so the [later] goal was not to make something that was only able to work for wood transport," Romain Schalck, marketing manager for Flying Whales, told Business Insider. "But we wanted to start with something because it's, generally speaking, easier to start designing something to answer a specific market."

In terms of other iterations, Flying Whales is currently working with both state and private financial supporters and clients across various industries in Europe, Asia, and Canada, with plans to eventually expand to the US as the team grows in the future.

As of right now, one of the company's biggest investors is the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The same year AVIC first called Flying Whales (2017), the company also received an investment from the French state of around $29.5 million, according to Schalck.

Around then, the company started expanding from its team of five to six people, to 50 employees.

Now, Flying Whales has over 130 employees with plans to expand even more when the group starts shifting from an engineering to an industrial company, which will come when it's ready to start physically producing the airships.

"Maybe at the end of the program development, we will be close to 300 people in the design office," Pierre-Yves Fouillen, market manager at Flying Whale, told Business Insider. "Once we start to operate the airships, the number of employees will just explode."

Flying Whales plans to build its first factory in France in the coming year with the goal of having the first LCA60T in the air by 2024.

Commercial production is poised to begin in 2025, and the final goal is to make over 162 LCA60Ts in the first decade of production.

As of now, the price of the aircraft is confidential, but according to the Flying Whales team, its tag is closer to that of a helicopter than a plane.

The company also plans to develop an "ownership operator" segment of its business that will allow clients to use the airships for short-term projects instead of having to purchase an entire unit just for one mission.

The rigidity of the structure that sets the LCA60T apart from a blimp is its "multilayer envelope technology," which uses several thin layers of textile fabric panels — similar to that of an inflatable boat — over the actual structure, according to Schalck.

And since the air vehicle uses helium to hover, the LCA60T has a low fuel consumption compared to traditional aircrafts.

The airship can also load and remove cargo while hovering, which is done by employing winches that are controlled by a "loadmaster."

Despite its 66-ton payload, the LCA60T can carry objects of any size or shape by using slings that hang under the aircraft, although there's also a cargo holding area inside.

The LCA60T can cruise at around 62 miles-per-hour with the aim of doing "short" — within around 124 to 186 miles — trips.

The LCA60T has vertical take-off and landing capabilities, which means additional infrastructures like runways won't be needed just to operate the aircraft.

According to Schalck, the lack of any extra infrastructure means remote areas can be accessed without harming the environment.

The hybrid electric propulsion system that powers the airship also gives Flying Whales the opportunity to then shift to full electric propulsion in the future, further decreasing the airship's carbon footprint.

"We decided to equip the first airship with a hybrid propulsion first because we think today, we are in a world in which we cannot create new industrial tools without taking into account the protection of the environment," Schalck said. "A hybrid electric propulsion is not the perfect saver for the environment, but it's a good first step."

Business Insider

Climate change has arrived

September 07, 2020

What has shifted?
For years, climate scientists have been wary of attributing extreme weather directly to man-made atmospheric warming, but that's changing in the face of historic heat waves and cascading natural disasters. In recent weeks alone, a "derecho," a complex of unusually powerful, hurricane-like storms, tore through the Midwest, destroying homes and crops across a 745-mile path; Hurricane Laura crashed into the Gulf Coast with sustained 150-mph winds; and hundreds of California wildfires incinerated an area the size of Rhode Island in just a week. The Southwest suffered a punishing heat wave with a high of 130 in Death Valley, perhaps the hottest day in world history. It followed highs of 125 in Iraq and a record 100-degree day in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, a once-in-100,000-years event. These freak patterns, researchers say, are almost certainly the result of mankind pumping 2.6 million pounds of CO
2into the atmosphere per second. "We've gotten to the point where, when it comes to extreme heat waves, there is almost always a human fingerprint," said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain.

How strange is recent weather?
The expression "500-year storm" is losing its meaning: Houston has suffered five of them in a five-year span. California's wildfires — ignited by 1,200 lightning strikes in a 72-hour span — produced the second- and third-worst blazes in state history, even without the aid of the fall's strong Santa Ana winds. The Atlantic coast has seen 10 named storms so far this season, a mark typically hit in October, and upcoming storms are projected to be twice as intense as usual, because of extremely warm ocean waters. Hurricanes have done $335 billion in damage over the past three years, compared with $38.2 billion across the entire 1980s, adjusted for inflation. Climate disasters of all types inflicted $807 billion in damage during the 2010s, the hottest decade on record.

What's the link to climate change?
Weather patterns are shaped by an intricate web of atmospheric and oceanic conditions, which is why scientists traditionally resist drawing causal links between climate change and any one event. But when both rising temperatures and disasters become consistent and pervasive, the connection becomes obvious. The average daily highs in Northern California during wildfire season are 3 to 4 degrees warmer than they were in 1900. Warming of the planet's surface causes atmospheric instability than can producer stronger, more frequent storms, while rising ocean temperatures and unusually moist air spawn hurricanes that grow rapidly more powerful, then stall after making landfall and dump torrential rain.

Where is it worst?
The future of climate chaos is being previewed in northern latitudes, where a CO
2 domino effect plays out: Warm winters melt more snow, causing the ground to absorb more heat, which leads to dry soil that fuels wildfires and thaws permafrost, releasing carbon into the atmosphere. In Russia this summer, thawing permafrost caused a power-plant fuel tank to collapse, spilling more than 20,000 tons of diesel into the Ambarnaya River. Russia's average temperature was nearly 11 degrees above its January-to-April norm, the largest anomaly ever for any country. In February, Antarctica hit a record 69 degrees, causing a 120-square-mile chunk of glacier to break off.

How else is climate change felt?
Disrupted weather patterns are rippling around the globe, creating bizarre, almost biblical catastrophes. Extreme temperatures in the Indian Ocean caused drought and wildfires in Australia while spawning cyclones in eastern Africa. The torrential rain there created perfect conditions for desert locusts, which reproduced at terrifying rates. By March, hundreds of billions of the finger-length insects swept across the region, devouring every crop in their path, and pushing tens of millions of Africans to the brink of starvation. People are even experiencing climate change through their sinuses. Airborne pollen increases as temperatures climb, which is why residents of Alaska, where warming is happening twice as fast as the global average, report especially bad allergies. "There's irrefutable data," said Jeffrey Demain, director of an Alaskan allergy center.

What does the future hold?
Much depends on the oceans, which play a critical role in absorbing CO
2 and heat, and regulating weather. "The amount of heat we have put in the world's oceans in the past 25 years equals 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom bomb explosions," said Lijing Cheng, a Beijing physics professor. Warming oceans are circulating more slowly — by about 15 percent in the Atlantic Ocean since 1950. The reduction in their moderating influence could cause warmer summers, colder winters, changing rainfall patterns, and more destructive storms. Climate change is no longer a theoretical threat. In California, average temperatures have climbed 1.8 degrees since 1980 while precipitation has dropped 30 percent, doubling the number of extreme-risk days for wildfires each year. A few weeks ago, rancher Taylor Craig drove for his life as flames raced toward his Northern California home. Later, sitting in a Walmart parking lot, Craig said he realized he had joined a new and growing club. "I'm a climate refugee," he said.

A CO2 silver lining
The pandemic forced automobile and airplane travel to fall off a cliff, and satellite images of pollution in the atmosphere offered a striking before-and-after contrast. At the height of April's coronavirus lockdowns, Google's mobility data indicated that 4 billion people cut their travel in half. As a result, worldwide daily CO
2 emissions dropped by an estimated 18.7 million tons, falling to levels not seen since 2006. Reduced car, bus, and truck traffic contributed to 43 percent of the drop-off, although emissions from residential buildings ticked up 2.8 percent, mostly from people running air conditioners while stuck at home. Scientists, however, are not celebrating. They anticipate just a 7 percent decline in carbon emissions this year, and point to historical evidence of emissions shooting back up after declines during recessions or world wars. "It goes to show just how big a challenge decarbonization really is," said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. To reach the global emissions targets of the 2015 Paris climate accord, CO2 would need to drop as it did in 2020 every year for the next decade.

 The Week