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JUST IN: Arthur Nzeribe Is Dead

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Oguta-born maverick Second Republic politician, Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe, is dead. He was aged 83.

A reliable source close to the family who spoke to  to Atlantic Reporters Sunday afternoon on the condition of anonymity.

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US Ending Abortion Right Huge Blow To Human Rights – UN Chief

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The decision by the United States Supreme Court on Friday to end the right to abortion is “a huge blow to women’s rights and gender equality”, the United Nations Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet, said.

“Access to safe, legal, and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human rights law and is at the core of women and girls’ autonomy and ability to make their own choices about their bodies and lives,” Bachelet said in a statement.

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“This decision strips such autonomy from millions of women in the US, in particular, those with low incomes and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities.

“More than 50 countries with restrictive laws have relaxed their abortion laws in the past 25 years,” the former Chilean president said.

With today’s ruling, the US is regrettably moving away from this progressive trend.”

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The ruling does not make terminations illegal but returns the United States to the situation before the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 when each state was free to allow them or not.

Several US states announced measures to ban abortions in their jurisdiction shortly after the court’s announcement.

READ ALSO: Abortion: US Supreme Court Ruling Big Step Backwards, Says Boris Johnson

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UN human rights experts denounced the Supreme Court decision and urged US President Joe Biden to take all necessary measures to mitigate its consequences.

Describing the ruling as shocking and dangerous, the experts branded it “a monumental setback for the rule of law and for gender equality”, in a joint statement.

They said the move would increase the number of women and girls seeking clandestine and unsafe abortions and would fuel abortion stigma, creating “a nightmare scenario for those dealing with the uncertainty and trauma of an unplanned pregnancy.”

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The statement was backed by eight special rapporteurs and the UN working group on discrimination against women and girls.

UN experts do not speak for the global body but report their findings to it.

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Fears As Drought Hits Italy’s Hydroelectric Power Plants

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Hydroelectric power in Italy has been affected as a result of a drought that has sparked water restrictions and also posed fears for the agricultural industry, sources said on Friday.

Hydropower facilities, mostly located in the mountains in the country’s North, provide almost one-fifth of Italy’s energy demands.

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But the lack of rain is causing problems, at a time when Rome is desperately trying to wean itself off its dependence on Russian gas due to the war in Ukraine.

“From January to May 2022, hydro production fell by about 40 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2021,” a spokesman for Utilitalia, a federation of water companies, told reporters.

“Hydro production has been steadily decreasing since July 2021,” he said, blaming “the severe shortage of water even at high levels.”

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An industry source told newsmen that while the situation was constantly changing, estimates for the first six months of 2022 suggested nationwide hydroelectric generation would be almost half the equivalent period of 2021.

One small plant near Piacenza, southeast of Milan, was shut indefinitely on June 21 due to low levels on the River Po that feeds it, the Enel energy company said.

Considering the current drought situation, other hydro plants are not operating at full capacity,” a spokesman added, without giving further details.

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The Po River is Italy’s largest reservoir of fresh water. Much of it used by farmers, but it is suffering its worst drought for 70 years.

READ ALSO: War: Ukraine Forces Withdraw From Battlefront As Russia Forces Take Over

Italy’s largest agricultural association, Coldiretti, said the drought is putting over 30 per cent of national agricultural production and half of livestock farming in the Po Valley at risk.

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On Friday, the northern region of Lombardy called a state of emergency due to the drought, that recommends, among other measures, less water use by consumers and directs mayors to curtail non-essential water use, such as street washing and watering parks and sportsgrounds.

Further to the west in Piedmont, water is being rationed in more than 200 municipalities, according to the ANSA news agency.

The Maggiore and Garda lakes are both far lower than usual for this time of year, while further South, the level of the River Tiber that runs through Rome has also dropped.

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AFP

 

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War: Ukraine Forces Withdraw From Battlefront As Russia Forces Take Over

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Ukraine has begun withdrawing its forces from Severodonetsk as Russian forces take over the region.

The withdrawal operation is expected to last a few days as the head of the Severodonetsk district military administration, Roman Vlasenko told CNN.

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“As of now, the Ukrainian military still remains in Severodonetsk,” Vlasenko said on Friday. “They are being withdrawn from the city at the moment. It started yesterday.

“There are a lot of units there, so I think the withdrawal will take a few days,” he added, without specifying where they were withdrawing to.

READ ALSO: EU, NATO Forming Coalition To Fight Russia – Minister

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Vlasenko went on to say that 568 civilians were also in the city, inside the Azot plant.

“They will be able to get out as soon as the shelling is over, but to the occupied territory,” he added.

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