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Why is Russia invading Ukraine?

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By air, land, and sea, Russia has launched a devastating attack on Ukraine, a European democracy of 44 million people. For months President Vladimir Putin had denied he would invade his neighbour, but then he tore up a peace deal, sending forces across borders in Ukraine’s north, east and south.
As the number of dead climbs, he is now accused of shattering peace in Europe and what happens next could jeopardise the continent’s entire security structure.

Where have Russian troops attacked and why?

Airports and military headquarters were hit first, near cities across Ukraine, including the main Boryspil international airport in Kyiv.
Then tanks and troops rolled into Ukraine in the north-east, near Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million people; in the east near Luhansk, from neighbouring Belarus in the north and Crimea in the south. Paratroops seized a key airbase just outside Kyiv and Russian troops landed in Ukraine’s big port cities of Odesa and Mariupol too.

Moments before the invasion began, President Putin went on TV declaring that Russia could not feel “safe, develop and exist” because of what he called a constant threat from modern Ukraine.

Many of his arguments were false or irrational. He claimed his goal was to protect people subjected to bullying and genocide and aim for the “demilitarisation and de-Nazification” of Ukraine. There has been no genocide in Ukraine – it is a vibrant democracy led by a president who is Jewish. “How could I be a Nazi?” said Volodymr Zelensky, who likened Russia’s onslaught to Nazi Germany’s invasion in World War Two.

President Putin has frequently accused Ukraine of being taken over by extremists, ever since its pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted in 2014 after months of protests against his rule. Russia then retaliated by seizing the southern region of Crimea and triggering a rebellion in the east, backing separatists who have fought Ukrainian forces in a war that has claimed 14,000 lives.

Late in 2021 he began deploying big numbers of Russian troops close to Ukraine’s borders. Then this week he scrapped a 2015 peace deal for the east and recognised areas under rebel control as independent.

Russia has long resisted Ukraine’s move towards the European Union and the West’s defensive military alliance Nato. Announcing Russia’s invasion, he accused Nato of threatening “our historic future as a nation”.

How far will Russia go?

Russia has refused to say if it seeks to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected government, although it believes that ideally Ukraine should be “freed, cleansed of the Nazis”. Mr Putin spoke of bringing to court “those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians”.

It was a thinly veiled hint and by invading from Belarus and seizing Antonov airport close to the outskirts of Kyiv, there is little doubt that the capital is well within his sights.

In the days before the invasion, when up to 200,000 troops were within reach of Ukraine’s borders, he had focused his attention on the east.

By recognising the Russian proxy separatist areasof Luhansk and Donetsk as independent, he had already decided they were no longer part of Ukraine. Then he revealed that he supported their claims to far more Ukrainian territory. The self-styled people’s republics cover little more than a third of the whole of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions but the rebels covet the rest, too.

How dangerous is this invasion for Europe?

These are terrifying times for the people of Ukraine and horrifying for the rest of the continent, witnessing a major power invading a European neighbour for the first time since World War Two.
Dozens have died already in what Germany has dubbed “Putin’s war”, both civilians and soldiers. And for Europe’s leaders this invasion has brought some of the darkest hours since the 1940s. It was, said France’s Emmanuel Macron, a turning point in Europe’s history. Recalling the Cold War days of the Soviet Union, Volodymyr Zelensky spoke of Ukraine’s bid to avoid a new iron curtain closing Russia off from the civilised world.

For the families of both armed forces there will be anxious days ahead. Ukrainians have already suffered a gruelling eight-year war with Russian proxies. The military has called up all reservists aged 18 to 60 years old. Top US military official Mark Milley said the scale of Russian forces would mean a “horrific” scenario with conflict in dense urban areas.

The invasion has knock-on effects for many other countries bordering both Russia and Ukraine. Latvia, Poland and Moldova say they are preparing for a big influx of refugees. A state of emergency has been declared in Lithuania and Moldova, where thousands of women and children have already entered.
This is not a war that Russia’s population was prepared for either, as the invasion was rubber-stamped by a largely unrepresentative upper house of parliament.

What can the West do?

Nato has put warplanes on alert but the Western alliance has made clear there are no plans to send combat troops to Ukraine itself. Instead they have offered advisers, weapons and field hospitals. Meanwhile, 5,000 Nato troops have been deployed in the Baltic states and Poland. Another 4,000 could be sent to Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia.
Instead, the West is targeting Russia’s economy, industry and individuals.
The EU has promised to restrict Russian access to capital markets and cut off its industry from latest technology. It has already imposed sanctions on 351 MPs who backed Russia’s recognition of the rebel-held regions

Germany has halted approval on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a major investment by both Russia and European companies

The US says it will cut off Russia’s government from Western financial institutions and target high-ranking “elites”

The UK says all major Russian banks would have their assets frozen, with 100 individuals and entities targeted; and Russia’s national airline Aeroflot will also be banned from landing in the UK.

Ukraine has urged its allies to stop buying Russian oil and gas. The three Baltic states have called on the whole international community to disconnect Russia’s banking system from the international Swift payment system. That could badly impact the US and European economies.
The Russian city of St Petersburg will no longer be able to host this year’s Champions League final for security reasons. Europe’s football governing body Uefa is also planning further measures.

By Paul Kirby
BBC News

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Yo Gotti Disrupts Music Industry To Sign Highly-Coveted Emerging Artist GloRilla

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Today, multiplatinum musician, entrepreneur and record executive, Yo Gotti announces his signing of the most-sought after emerging artist in the industry, GloRilla –off the heels of her smash Billboard Hot 100 anthem “FNF (Let’s Go).”
Since releasing “FNF” in late-April, GloRilla has taken the music industry by storm, as the song sparked the viral #FNFChallenge on TikTok while the music video generated over 22 million views (and counting) since its release in late-April. By signing the scorching star to his esteemed CMG record label in partnership with Interscope Records, Gotti is adding more firepower to CMG’s loaded roster while further showcasing the label’s versatility.
“GloRilla is a natural born star – she has a different sound and approach that’s needed in hip-hop right now,” Gotti said. “It’s one of the quickest rises that I’ve seen in my career because she only dropped in late-April and now she has the hottest cultural records in music. Glo is hungry for success and determined to win. We look forward to watching her grow as an artist and reach her full potential.”

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In recent months, GloRilla has garnered widespread support across the hip-hop community, receiving co-signs from the likes of Cardi B, Saweetie, Latto and more. She has continued to maintain her momentum by teaming up with Duke Deuce for their explosive collaboration on “Crunk Ain’t Dead.”
“I’ve put in years of hard work to get this point and I’m blessed to sign with the hottest label in music with CMG,” GloRilla said. “I manifested this moment and trusted my talent even when others didn’t. I’m grateful for Gotti for believing in me and I’m not gonna let up. Trust that I have more new heat on the way.”
The announcement comes shortly after CMG was featured on the cover of Billboard and crowned as “The Hardest-Working Label in Hip-Hop.” Signing GloRilla merely fortifies CMG’s loaded roster that includes Moneybagg Yo, 42 Dugg, EST Gee, Mozzy, Blac Youngsta, Blocboy JB, Lil Poppa, Big Boogie, Lehla Samia and 10Percent.
Through the first six months of 2022, CMG has expanded exponentially. In recent months, Gotti signed his first R&B artist in Lehla Samia, inked Jacksonville hip-hop artist Lil Poppa, brought on up-and-comer 10Percent and announced that Mozzy joined the label at the acclaimed, CMG Press Conference in February.
Most recently, Gotti’s CMG collaboration with Moneybagg Yo, Mozzy and Lil Poppa on “Big League” was recently tapped as the official song of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics.
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A county in Florida is going under quarantine after Giant African land snail were discovered there

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A Florida county is under quarantine due to the discovery of a fast-growing population of invasive giant African land snails.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) confirmed there were giant African land snails in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County on June 23, according to FDACS’ website.
The snails pose a health risk to humans because they carry a parasite called rat lungworm, which can cause meningitis, Christina Chitty, a public information director at FDACS, told CNN.

They can produce up to 2,500 eggs per year, so the population is difficult to control.

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According to Chitty, the population in Pasco County likely originated from the illegal pet trade. Giant African land snails are illegal to own as pets in the United States. But some exotic pet owners still keep the invasive pests. If the owners discard them into the wild or accidentally lose them, they can quickly establish a foothold, feeding on over 500 different plant species and even consuming the paint and stucco off houses as a source of calcium.
Chitty said the department is currently investigating the population and determining how many snails are in Pasco County. The snails are native to east Africa and can grow up to 8 inches long.

The quarantine took effect June 25 and prevents residents from moving the snail or related items, like plants and soil, in or out of the designated quarantine area. Residents who think they have spotted a giant African land snail are advised to call the FDACS hotline and avoid touching the snail without gloves on due to the meningitis risk.
According to Chitty, FDACS plans to spend three years eradicating the population in Pasco County, using the pesticide metaldehyde to treat the soil.

“The goal is to eradicate” the snails, said Chitty. “It is a comprehensive and extensive process.”
This is not the first time Florida has dealt with an invasion of giant snails. In 2011, a population of the pests was discovered in Miami-Dade County. It wasn’t until 2021 the population was fully eradicated.
While the snails in Miami-Dade County had grey-colored flesh, the snails in Pasco County have white flesh, said Chitty.

Culled form CNN

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