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Russian Invasion Ukraine: Ukraine: Attacks on nuclear plants not banned by international law

Since March, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine has been under Russian occupation. Since late July, the largest nuclear plant in Europe has been shelled repeatedly, with Kyiv and Moscow blaming each other for the attacks. This has sparked fears of a nuclear disaster. Last week, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation without getting any closer to a solution.

It is not the first time in this war that the question of nuclear safety and security has been raised. This is not only about the potential use of nuclear weapons — Russian President Vladimir Putin has openly expressed this thought — but also about nuclear power stations being used as military targets.

Read more at: Ukraine: Attacks on nuclear plants not banned by international law | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.08.2022

US Banking Industry:Overdraft as a Handy Facility or a Protection Racket

There are many reasons why this happens, and one is merchant error. Overdraft may occur if a retailer debits an account by mistake. For example, the client authorizes a payment of $10 which is posted as $100. In this case, the account holder can use chargeback to get his money back. There are other reasons why holders may be overdrawn. These include bank error, authorization holds, and return check deposits. With authorization holds, funds are transferred from your debit card to a retailer. Authorization is required to complete the transaction, with funds released by your financial institution. The hold will fall off in 1 to 5 days, but the funds won’t be available in the account. The problem is that retailers are not allowed to cancel transactions in many cases. Even if cancellation is possible, the money is still held for up to 5 days. If you or a merchant swipes your card twice by mistake this will result in a double hold. Other reasons for overdraft include electronic withdrawals, short-term loans, fraud, playing the float, and bank fees. Withdrawing more money from an ATM than what is available in the account often results in penalty fees. This is possible if your financial institution has your consent. The account holder is allowed to revoke the service and is offered a notice that describes the conditions. 

Read more at: Overdraft as a Handy Facility or a Protection Racket -


EU considers Iran's response on nuclear deal talks

EU has been the go-between in the indirect talks as Iran refused to negotiate directly with America since then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the accord in 2018.

Read more at: EU considers Iran's response on nuclear deal talks | Euronews


The Netherlands: Record number of vacancies as staff shortages in Netherlands grow

At the end of December, there were 387,000 unfilled vacancies in the Netherlands - 105 vacancies per 100 unemployed. In the third quarter, there were 372,000 vacancies or 93 per 100 unemployed. As in previous quarters, most vacancies were in trade, business services, and care. Together, these three sectors account for half of the open vacancies. 

The number of employees with a permanent contract increased by 34,000 to 5.3 million - the highest since 2013. According to CBS chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen, this clearly shows the storage in the labor market. "Coronavirus hardly had any effect on permanent contracts. The number of people with permanent jobs has been growing for some time. It may be a strategy of employers to bind people to them if higher wages are not an option. The risk is now limited for them too," he said, according to NOS.

The number of employees with a flexible contract also increased in the fourth quarter, by about 38,000 compared to the previous quarter.

Van Mulligen called the increasing staff shortages striking. "Over 70 percent of the Dutch population between 15 and 75 currently have paid work. That has never been so high, and it is higher every month. We will have to get used to it.

 Read more at: Record number of vacancies as staff shortages in Netherlands grow | NL Times

Russians Scramble for Visas as EU Mulls Travel Restrictions


“I don’t believe the EU will stop issuing all visas to Russians. However, I will feel more comfortable with a Schengen visa, even if I'm not going anywhere right now,” said one Moscow resident who applied for an EU visa after the start of the ban discussions.  

The idea of a European ban on Russian tourists has caused heated debate since Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky backed it earlier this month, with supporters saying Russians must be held accountable for their government’s actions and opponents questioning the validity of policy making based on the idea of collective responsibility. 

Finland said Tuesday it will reduce the number of visas issued to Russians by 90% starting next month and Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia have recently also announced restrictions on tourist visas for Russians. 

The three Baltic states and Finland, which share land borders with Russia, have reported an increase in the numbers of Russians using their airports to transit further into the EU as a workaround to the bloc’s ban on Russian travelers. 

Read more at: Russians Scramble for Visas as EU Mulls Travel Restrictions - The Moscow Times

China - US Relations: Are China and the United States on a Collision Course to War? - by Kevin Peraino

Here is one way the American era could end: China, on a pretext or piqued by some provocation, orchestrates an invasion of Taiwan. Beijing launches a shower of missiles toward Taipei, crippling its American-supplied military, followed by attacks on Okinawa and Guam. More than 200,000 People’s Liberation Army troops climb ashore at 20 different beachheads along the Taiwanese coast. American submarines sink some Chinese ships; still, it’s not enough to slow the onslaught of paratroopers and helicopters. Slowly — then swiftly — the pitched fighting tilts in favor of the Middle Kingdom, altering the military and political balance in East Asia. The result, which ultimately reduces a world superpower to one weakened player among many, comes to be seen by historians as the “American Waterloo.”

Read more at: Are China and the United States on a Collision Course to War? - The New York Times