The Central Asian nation of Turk-menistan yesterday said it would shut off natural gas supplies to Russia and Ukraine, but Russia's Gazprom gas giant pledged the cut-off would not affect its customers further downline. \nThe Turkmen Foreign Ministry had said on Thursday that the interruption in supplies to Russia was due to pipeline repairs and would last until Friday next week. The ministry said that the head of Russia's state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom would be flying to Turkmenistan early this month to sign a new contract. \nAlexander Medved, the general director of Gazprom's Gazeksport subsidiary, said yesterday that the cut-off "will not have an impact on Gazprom's fulfillment of its obligations to consumers in Russia and abroad." \nHe said in particular that Gazprom would continue to supply gas to Ukraine, but stressed that was "on condition that the Ukrainian side fully fulfills its transit obligations." \nTurkmenistan also said it would cut off all gas supplies to Ukraine beginning yesterday due to the lack of a contract for this year. \nThe Turkmen Foreign Ministry said that Ukraine "has been reluctant to hold [talks] over the past few days. Instead, media outlets have circulated unreliable reports saying that such negotiations are in progress. \n"As noted earlier, the decision is not politically motivated. The only explanation is that 2005 gas supply contracts have not been signed with Ukrainian companies yet," the ministry said. \nThe Interfax news agency, citing Gazprom, said gas supplies were to stop at 10am Moscow time. Gazprom's press service said it could not confirm that the supplies had in fact stopped. \nRussia could meet its gas needs on its own, but the cheap Turkmen supplies relieve Gazprom of costly investments in natural-gas field exploration and development in Siberia. \nUkraine, however, gets some 45 percent of its natural gas from Turkmenistan and potentially could see an impact on its economy. \nEarlier this month, the Turkmen national gas company said it would raise the price of natural gas for Russia and Ukraine from US$44 to US$60 per 1,000m3. \nThe ministry said later that neither Ukraine's Naftohaz nor Russia's Gazeksport had agreed to the new price and warned of an impending cutoff. \nTurkmenistan, the second-largest natural-gas producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia, said the price rise was connected to increased production costs and a major increase in the cost of gas-extraction equipment.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete