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Radioactivity Hike Seen in Northern Europe; Source Unknown

HELSINKI – Nordic authorities say they detected slightly increased levels of radioactivity in northe..

HELSINKI – Nordic authorities say they detected slightly increased levels of radioactivity in northern Europe this month that Dutch officials said might be from a source in western Russia and might “indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant.”

But the Russian news agency Tass, citing a spokesman with the state nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom. said the two nuclear power plants in northwestern Russia hadn’t reported any problems.

The Leningrad plant near St. Petersburg and the Kola plant near the northern city of Murmansk “operate normally, with radiation levels being within the norm,” Tass said.

The Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish radiation and nuclear safety watchdogs said this week that they’d spotted small amounts of radioactive isotopes harmless to humans and the environment in parts of Finland, southern Scandinavia and the Arctic.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority said Tuesday that “it is not possible now to confirm what could be the source of the increased levels” of radioactivity or from where a cloud, or clouds, containing radioactive isotopes that has allegedly been blowing over the skies of northern Europe originated. The Swedish agency’s Finnish and Norwegian counterparts also haven’t speculated about a potential source.

‘Man-made’ isotopes

But the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands said Friday that it had analyzed the Nordic data and “these calculations show that the radionuclides [radioactive isotopes] come from the direction of western Russia.”

“The radionuclides are artificial — that is to say, they are man-made. The composition of the nuclides may indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant,” the Dutch agency said, adding that “a specific source location cannot be identified due to the limited number of measurements.”

Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization tweeted on Friday that the organization’s radiation-monitoring sensors in Sweden had detected a slight increase of several harmless isotopes in northwestern European airspace.

The unnamed Rosatomenergo spokesman told Tass on Saturday that radiation levels at the Leningrad and Kola power stations and their surrounding areas “have remained unchanged in June, and no changes are also observed at present.”

“Both stations are working in normal regime. There have been no complaints about the equipment’s work,” Tass quoted him as saying. “No incidents related to release of radionuclide outside containment structures have been reported.”

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Air France to cut 7,580 jobs at French flagship carrier and regional unit Hop!

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 20:16Modified: 03/07/2020 – 20:16

Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7..

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 20:16Modified: 03/07/2020 – 20:16

Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7,500 jobs including 1,000 at sister airline Hop! on Friday, as staff protested over its response to the collapse in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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The French flag carrier, part of Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM, said it had lost €15 million a day during the worst part of the crisis, which also saw its revenues plunge by 95 percent. It did not see traffic returning to 2019 levels before 2024.

As a result, Air France plans to cut 6,560 or 16 percent of jobs at the main airline by the end of 2022, more than 3,500 of which will come through natural departures, it said after union talks.

Another 1,020 jobs will go over the next three years at Hop!, representing 42 percent of staff at the regional carrier based in the coastal city of Nantes, which has also been hit by job cuts at plane manufacturer Airbus.

The French government – which granted Air France €7 billion ($7.9 billion) in aid, including state-backed loans, to help it to survive – has urged the airline to avoid compulsory layoffs, though it has conceded Air France is "on the edge”.

"A successful labour reorganisation is one where there are no forced departures," junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio on Friday.

In its statement, Air France said it would give priority to voluntary departures, early retirement and staff mobility. It did not rule out compulsory redundancies, however.

The reconstruction plan will be presented at the end of July, together with a plan for the wider Air France-KLM Group.

This is not how I wanted to leave

Some 100 union members and employees, from cleaning staff to check-in assistants, demonstrated earlier outside the airline's base at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris against plans to cut staff after receiving state aid to absorb the pandemic fallout.

Air France employees gather to protest a restructuring plan that includes thousands of job cuts in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis outside the French airline's headquarters in Roissy-en-France near Paris on July 3, 2020. The sign at right reads, "Not born to end up in the dumpster.” © Gonzalo Fuentes, Reuters

"It's scandalous. The government is putting in €7 billion and the compRead More – Source

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French court opens inquiry into former PM Philippe in handling of Covid crisis

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 18:55Modified: 03/07/2020 – 18:55

A French court is opening an inquiry int..

Issued on: Modified:

A French court is opening an inquiry into former prime minister Édouard Philippe and two other ministers over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, a prosecutor said Friday.


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The inquiry, which is being opened after nine complaints filed against the ministers were deemed admissable, will be led by the Law Court of the Republic (CJR), which deals with claims of ministerial misconduct, said senior public prosecutor François Molins.

Along with Philippe, who was reRead More – Source

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Who is Jean Castex, Frances new prime minister?

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 15:28Modified: 03/07/2020 – 15:36

French President Emmanuel Macron has nam..

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 15:28Modified: 03/07/2020 – 15:36

French President Emmanuel Macron has named Jean Castex the country's new prime minister after the resignation of former PM Édouard Philippe's cabinet. Rather unknown to the public, Castex “comes from the mainstream right-wing party Les Républicains and is best known as "Monsieur Déconfinement" (Mr Post-lockdown) since April, when he was put in charge of organising Frances gradual exit from lockdown, something that has sRead More – Source

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