All publications of Natalie Rozmari . Kremenchuk , Ukraine

Publications
https://avalanches.com/us/houston_promising_jobs_and_justice_ramaphosa_sworn_in_as_south_africas_president556_25_05_2019
Trade unionist-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa's president on Saturday, vowing to create jobs and tackle deep-rooted corruption that has strangled economic growth. Ramaphosa, who becomes the country's fourth democratically elected president since the end of apartheid, took the presidential oath before a crowd of about 32,000 people in a rugby stadium in the capital, Pretoria. "Today our nation enters a new era of hope and renewal," said Ramaphosa, 66, wearing a dark suit and flanked by foreign leaders including Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. "Let us forge a compact for growth and economic opportunities, for productive land and wider opportunities ... A compact of an efficient, capable and ethical state. A state that is free from corruption," said Ramaphosa, a former anti-apartheid activist and trade union leader who has wide-ranging business interests. Ramaphosa's African National Congress (ANC) clinched a 57.5% majority in a general election earlier in May, down from 62% in 2014 as voters turned against the ruling party due to revelations about government corruption and record unemployment.[nL5N22N06D] Ramaphosa narrowly won the ANC leadership race in late 2017 and replaced scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma as state president in February 2018, a year before the latter's term was due to expire. Since then he has struggled to mend factions in the party opposed to his reform plans, especially at cash-strapped state power supplier Eskom. His promises to punish party members accused of corruption have also stuttered.[nL5N2278NO] The challenges facing Ramaphosa were highlighted on Friday by the resignation of Eskom's chief executive, who quit only a year since he was appointed to stabilise the utility and keep the lights on after nationwide blackouts. [nL5N2304NG] Also on Friday, S&P Global Ratings kept South Africa's credit rating unchanged one notch below investment grade. The economy is set for a first quarter contraction after mining and manufacturing weakened, prompting the central bank to cut its 2019 growth forecast to 1%, well below the rate of at least 3% needed to bring down debt, budget deficits and joblessness.[L5N22Z4TE] "The challenges our country faces are huge and are real but they are not insurmountable. They can be solved and I stand here to say they are going to be solved," Ramaphosa said in his speech on Saturday. Many in the crowd at Pretoria's packed Loftus stadium were optimistic. "I love my president Cyril Ramaphosa. I know that as long as we have him here he is going to give us jobs and change many things," said Patience Shabangu, 45, a volunteer at a local clinic. Political analysts say a key test of Ramaphosa's ability to deliver reforms will be his announcement of new cabinet, which is expected to take place next week. "The speech was an honest and brutal reflection of South Africa's recent problems. But it was also optimistic," said Daniel Silke, director of the Political Futures Consultancy. "He will be judged on a very high bar and the next step is the cabinet. If it contains any semblance of the dead wood from the past he will be severely critiqued," Silke added. Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/promising-jobs-and-justice-ramaphosa-sworn-in-as-south-africas-president/ar-AABTYqE
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https://avalanches.com/us/houston_monster_tornado_that_ripped_20mile_trail_of_destruction_through_missouri_capital_was_almost_a_mile_wide555_25_05_2019
A clearer picture emerged Friday of the size and scope of the powerful tornadoes that tore across Missouri on Wednesday night, leaving a trail of destruction in their paths. The state's capital, Jefferson City, was among the hardest-hit places, struck overnight by a tornado with a peak wind speed of 160 mph that has been given preliminary rating of EF3. The monstrous nighttime tornado that struck Jefferson City, a city with a population of about 42,000, was almost a mile wide and was on the ground for nearly 20 miles, toppling homes, ripping roofs off homes and business below. At least 20 citizens were transported to local hospitals, according to Jefferson City Police, but no fatalities were reported. AccuWeather News Reporter Jonathan Petramala was on the ground in Jefferson City Thursday after the twister roared through the city surveying the damage and speaking with survivors. Aerial photos showed large portions of the city in ruins with debris strewn in all directions. While many residents had enough time to brace for the threat, some residents were not prepared for the tornado, including 86-year-old Bob Burnham, a Jefferson City resident. "I really didn't hear anything because I was asleep. The only thing I heard was that window breaking, and then I woke up," Burnham told Petramala, gesturing over to the side of his bedroom window, which is now shattered. The garage of his home also collapsed; however, Burnham survived the disaster without even a scratch. Many historic structures in the capital city are now in tatters. "It's pretty devastating to see it in shambles," an onlooker said to Petramala. Damages from the devastating tornado stretch over about 30 miles, leaving a long road to recovery for many survivors. As residents in Jefferson City cleaned up tornado damage Thursday morning, people in southwestern Missouri faced the same daunting task. The Golden City tornado was rated EF3 with maximum winds near 140 mph. Three people were killed in Golden City, Missouri, after a tornado moved across the region Wednesday evening. An elderly husband and wife were identified as two of the victims. Kenneth "Gene" Harris, 86, and his 83-year-old wife, Opal Harris, perished in the storm. Their bodies were found about 200 yards from their farmstead home outside Golden City Wednesday night, officials said. Local 41 Action News reporter Sarah Blake traveled to the Harris farmstead, where the damage was extensive. The Harrises were fourth-generation cattle ranchers. According to the family, Gene never missed a day of chores despite his advanced age. He loved golf, and he and Opal were devoted to family. The third fatality was Betty Berg, 56. She and her husband, Mark Berg, also 56, lived in a mobile home just west of Golden City, which was lifted up by the tornado and landed in pieces across Highway 126. Her husband was seriously injured and reportedly remained hospitalized in critical condition as of Friday. Their eight children and nine grandchildren are mourning the loss of Betty while trying to comfort Mark, who is in the hospital recovering, local news station KCTV News reported. Betty's friend Rose Burke remembered Betty as kind-hearted woman. "Betty was the first person I met when I moved to Missouri," Burke told KCTV. "She just took me in under her wings. She was like my best friend." "Betty was an amazing person," she added. "She watched my kids grow. She was called ‘Auntie Betty.'" Burke hopes to find memorabilia for Betty's family, as each photo found is a chance to remember her. "Please keep her kids and Mark in your prayers," she implored. "Please. They need it a lot." The damage from tornadoes spread further through the central U.S. A tornadic thunderstorm tracked from Ottawa County, Oklahoma, into Bexter Springs and Galena, Kansas, and then into Carl Junction, Oronogo and Golden City, Missouri. Preliminary damage surveys were done on these tornadoes from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Springfield, Missouri. The Golden City and Carl Junction tornadoes were rated EF3 with maximum winds near 140 mph. The Oronogo tornado was rated an EF0, according to officials at the NWS. Since Monday, there have been nearly 130 tornado reports across the Central states, and the threat will continue through Friday. At least 45 were reported on Wednesday. Some of these reports may be duplicates of the same tornado, meaning the final tally of tornadoes could eventually change. Cleanup efforts continue in the impacted areas into Friday throughout the state. State and local officials continue to survey the damage. "Those winds were strong. But we are stronger!" Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said in a tweet on Thursday night. Carrie Tergin, mayor of Jefferson City, joined the AccuWeather Network to speak with AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologists Brittany Boyer and Geoff Cornish about the damage and aftermath from the EF3 tornado that struck late Wednesday night. The city's police and fire department went into action after the tornado moved in. Other agencies, the state, the county and surrounding cities came together to assist by sending resources and officers to the scene. "We're very, very fortunate, with the amount of significant damage, that we did not have a lot of injuries and thankfully, there have been no fatalities reported," Tergin said. While the city was still assessing the total number of buildings destroyed, Tergin described the damages as "expansive from one end of town to the other." It started on the south end of Jefferson City and moved through the central core and out. "It really left a pretty widespread path," Tergin said. "It hit things from businesses to our brand new Special Olympics Training for Life facility. It hit a car dealership, and it literally had cars on top of each other." Power lines and trees were down everywhere. A lot of neighborhoods were hit, as well as a very historic area, Capital Avenue, suffered significant damage. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson confirmed damage to state buildings and that power was out in some areas. Parson traveled to areas devastated by the storm to survey the damage on Thursday. "Across the state, Missouri's first responders once again responded quickly and with strong coordination as much of the state dealt with extremely dangerous conditions that left people injured, trapped in homes, and tragically led to the death of three people," Parson said in a Thursday morning press conference. The Missouri Emergency Management Agency helps local agencies and other organizations with the cleanup efforts. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson traveled to Carl Junction on Thursday, where dozens of homes were damaged from the storm. Parson met with some of the local residents in the Briarbrook subdivision to witness the destruction. (Twitter photo/ Missouri Gov. Mike Parson) "Heads up for those involved in storm damage cleanup today: highs will be above average across the region & near-record highs are possible at St. Louis. It will also be more humid than it has been on recent warm days," the National Weather Service (NWS) office in St. Louis, Missouri, said in a tweet. Temperatures are forecast to be in the high 80s into the low 90s in Saint Louis on Friday. The AccuWeather RealFeel® high temperature is forecast to be around 91 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to tornadoes, other forms of severe weather rolled through the central U.S. Wednesday night, including flash flooding, destructive hail larger than golf balls and wind gusts over 70 mph. Severe weather reports have been recorded through a large portion of the U.S. from Tuesday to Thursday. The three fatalities in Missouri bring the death toll of the severe weather outbreak up to seven for the week. Two people were killed in a traffic accident near Springfield, Missouri, on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. Officials say the accident was weather related. One fatality was reported in Perkins, Oklahoma, when a motorist drowned on Tuesday after driving around a high water warning barricade and into a flooded roadway. A tornado-related death was reported in Adair, Iowa, after severe storms ripped through the area early Wednesday. Emergency responders recovered the body of 74-year-old Linda Brownlee, while 78-year-old Harold Brownlee was flown to a hospital to be treated for injuries. Some parts of the southern Plains have been hit with more than a month's worth of rain since the weekend. Deadly storms that ripped across Oklahoma and neighboring states earlier this week sparked dozens of reported tornadoes and on Wednesday resulted in devastating floods throughout parts of Oklahoma. More thunderstorms could cause floodwaters to expand even further, continuing to inundate roads and communities. "Because multiple storms may move repeatedly over the same locations late this week, flooding will again be a major concern. Some communities may receive another 3 to 6 inches of rain on top of what already fell early this week," AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said. Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/monster-tornado-that-ripped-20-mile-trail-of-destruction-through-missouri-capital-was-almost-a-mile-wide/ar-AABRtmM
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https://avalanches.com/us/houston_southern_californias_rainy_winter_portends_more_wildfire_disasters554_25_05_2019
Giant green stems with budding yellow flowers greeted hikers along a narrow path beneath the soaring Santa Monica Mountains on a recent drizzly day. This is where, just seven months ago, the worst fire in Los Angeles County history swept through, destroying more than 1,000 homes and blackening miles of hillsides and canyon. But thanks to one of the wettest seasons in years, rains have transformed the fire zone back to life with great speed. And all those flowering black mustard plants point to a looming disaster once the rains finally end and Southern California shifts to its dry, hot, windy summer and fall. California’s wet winter has extended well into May thanks to some new storms, but fire experts and climatologists said the extra moisture is likely to worsen the fire outlook because it will allow brush to grow even more. Mike Mohler, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, estimates this latest rainstorm will create at least the third layer of dried, dead grass that will blanket the state through the summer and into the fall. “It will probably cure and die in the next seven to 10 days,” he said. “Now we have all that fuel bed again.” Wet springs have historically been linked to more severe fires later in the year across much of the state, as the added moisture allows for increased vegetation growth, experts say. In areas hit repeatedly by fires, nonnative plants — like mustard — can grow faster than native species. Those plants eventually dry out during warm summer months and become fuel for wildfires. There are also still tens of millions of drought- and bark beetle-ravaged dead trees standing in the Sierra, ready to act as kindling for the next big blaze. “The good news is we need the water, but the bad news is it’s building the fuel load for what has always been our fire season,” said Bill Patzert, a local weather expert and former climatologist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A look at recent fire activity in the Central Valley and inland desert provide a sense of what the future could hold for the fire season across much of the state, Mohler said. Earlier this month, Kern County firefighters scrambled to extinguish a wind-driven grass fire that ran across 2,500 acres in a day. Near the Coachella Valley community of Thermal, a vegetation fire that broke out Saturday night grew amid 50-mph winds to more than 100 acres and injured a firefighter in the process. “That’s almost a precursor to what we can see statewide,” Mohler warned. The placement of the jet stream, a high-altitude river of air running from the Pacific across the United States, is a key factor playing into the state’s unusually wet and snowy May. The meandering jet stream has hammered California with a series of storms out of the South Pacific through winter and into spring. The atmospheric rivers that have made up much of this winter’s rain have bolstered the snowpack — a key source of the state’s water supply — filled reservoirs and streams, and lifted California out of drought conditions for the first time in nearly a decade. However, the storms typically move too fast and dump too much water at once to have the kinds of long-lasting benefits California’s parched soil needs. Experts say the widespread rainfall will likely delay the start of the grass fire season, which typically begins in May or early June, by at least a few weeks. Also, most of California’s native grasses have gone dormant for the season and won’t sprout from the latest storms, said Robert Krohn, a U.S. Forest Service meteorologist in Riverside County. “We’re just stalling for time going into the drier part of the year,” Krohn said. A report published this month by the National Interagency Fire Center found that while the fire season was off to a slow start, California can expect “above normal” potential for large wildfires this summer as heavy crops of grasses nourished by the wet winter dry out. Below-normal wildland fire potential is expected in the southern Sierra in June and July thanks to the heavy snowpack slowly melting. But heavy grass loads and the high number of dead trees in the Sierra foothills will lead to above-normal fire potential in many lower-elevation valleys. Southern California experienced the typical transition from cool, rainy weather to a warmer, drier pattern in April, and most storms that hit the West Coast were too far north or weren’t wet enough to provide widespread rain, according to the National Interagency Fire Center’s outlook report. The study said cooler temperatures could help Southern California during its fire season. But by June, the mountains and forests around the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the Sacramento Valley and nearby foothills are projected to have above-normal fire potential. The areas with above-normal fire potential are expected to expand north to the Oregon border in August. The report also noted that there are a large number of dead and downed trees and plants in the northern Sacramento Valley because of a heavy snowstorm in February that caused extensive damage. That will increase the potential for significant wildfires. In 2017, heavy rains in Northern California were followed by devastating fires that hit the wine country. Southern California received the bulk of its rain that year in the late fall and early winter before the spigot was completely shut off by March, essentially “flash-drying” the landscape, Krohn said. This season, the storms have been stretched out, giving communities time to prepare. Once the storms are gone, the area is poised to see some grass fire activity within two or three weeks after the final rainfall. “Take advantage,” Mohler said. “Take this window — don’t get a false sense of security — to clear your property while moistures are up. Work on evacuation plans. Almost take this as a call to action. This doesn’t happen very often.” Officials are particularly concerned about the yellow bloom of the invasive plant “Brassica nigra,” commonly known as black mustard, that have covered hillsides throughout the Santa Monica Mountains and much of the West. The tough plant germinates early in winter before native plants have taken hold, shoots up more than 6 feet tall, hogs the sunlight with its thick stalks and lays down a deep system of roots that beat out native plants for water. The weeds tend to dry up by July or August, and along with invasive European grasses serve as kindling during Southern California’s long wildfire season. In Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, prescribed burns that typically happen in spring may have to wait until summer, park spokesman Mike Theune said. That could include one in the area near the General Sherman tree set for a few weeks from now, Theune said. Even those burns will only happen if conditions are right and firefighters aren’t busy battling a blaze elsewhere. “What our concern becomes is, eventually the grasses and other vegetation will dry out. We don’t want to let our guard down. We want to remain vigilant because at some point a wildfire will happen,” he said. “Just because it’s raining now — four months from now, six months from now, no one is going to remember when everything is dried or cured.” Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/southern-californias-rainy-winter-portends-more-wildfire-disasters/ar-AABRk9b
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