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Moon goes blood red this weekend: Parts of America will witness 2022's first total lunar eclipse – Economic Times

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA: A total lunar eclipse will grace the night skies this weekend, providing longer than usual thrills for stargazers across North and South America.

The

action unfolds Sunday night into early Monday morning (Sunday morning in local time), with the moon bathed in the reflected red and orange hues of Earth’s sunsets and sunrises for about 1 1/2 hours, one of the longest totalities of the decade. It will be the first so-called blood moon in a year.

Observers in the eastern half of North America and all of Central and South America will have prime seats for the whole show, weather permitting. Partial stages of the eclipse will be visible across Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Left out: Alaska, Asia and Australia.

“This is really an eclipse for the Americas,” said NASA‘s Noah , a planetary geologist who specializes in the moon. “It’s going to be a treat.”

All you need, he noted, are “patience and eyeballs.”

A total eclipse occurs when Earth passes directly between the moon and the sun, and casts a shadow on our constant, cosmic companion. The moon will be 225,000 miles (362,000 kilometers) away at the peak of the eclipse – around midnight on the U.S. East Coast.

“This is this gradual, slow, wonderful event that as long as it’s clear where you are, you get to see it,” Petro said.

If not, NASA will provide a livestream of the eclipse from various locations; so will the Slooh network of observatories.

There’ll be another lengthy total lunar eclipse in November, with Africa and Europe lucking out again, but not the Americas. Then the next one isn’t until 2025.

Launched last fall, NASA’s asteroid-seeking Lucy spacecraft will photograph this weekend’s event from 64 million miles (103 million kilometers) away, as ground controllers continue their effort to fix a loose solar panel.

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, a geologist, plans to set her alarm clock early aboard the International Space Station.

“Hopefully, we can be up in time and be at the right place at the right time to catch a good glimpse,” she told The Associated Press earlier this week.

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Europe accepts Putin's ruble payment system to avoid gas cutoffs – The Washington Post

ROME — European energy companies appear to have bent to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand that they purchase natural gas using an elaborate new payment system, a concession that avoids more gas shut-offs and also gives Putin a public relations victory while continuing to fund his war effort in Ukraine.

The system, which involves the creation of two accounts at Gazprombank, enables Europe to say it is technically paying for natural gas in euros, while Russia can say it is receiving payment in rubles — a requirement Putin imposed on “unfriendly” nations.

Putin’s insistence on rubles may be more about forcing European countries to scramble at his behest than about shoring up his country’s currency, some economists and energy experts suspect. European Union countries have been touchy about the notion they might violate their sanctions on Russia, and questions about the arrangement tested European unity, leading to weeks of chaos and contradictory guidance from Brussels. It also got countries talking about how much they still need Russian gas, even as they debate a Russian oil embargo.

In the short term, they are willing to jump through some hoops to avoid an energy crisis.

But that also means sending money to Russia even as they condemn the Kremlin-launched war, sanction oligarchs and supply weapons to Ukraine.

Russia had already used strict capital controls and a massive interest rate hike to stabilize the ruble. With Europe now signaling that it will use the payment system as bills come due this week, the currency is strengthening all the more.

Under the new billing system, gas payments will continue to be invoiced and sent in euros. The noteworthy change is that Russia will then take the money from the European energy company’s euro account, convert the euros into rubles, transfer the money into a special ruble account also belonging to the energy company, and then take the money once and for all.

“This is a transaction where everybody saves face,” said Alessandro Lanza, a professor at Rome’s LUISS University and a former economist at Eni, Italy’s major energy company.

A broad European refusal to adjust its payment terms to Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, would have pushed prices even higher for consumers and potentially led to rationing measures across the bloc. Two European Union members — Poland and Bulgaria — had their supplies cut in late April by Gazprom after refusing to go along with the new system, in what Poland’s prime minister called a “direct attack.” Finland this week was subject to a similar cutoff, as retaliation for its NATO application.

Russia cuts off gas to Poland, Bulgaria, stoking tensions with E.U.

But most European countries have appeared to go a different route, moving away from rhetoric about refusing to be blackmailed and making peace with an arrangement based on the technicalities.

“Timely payment for the received gas deliveries from Russia is ensured,” said a statement from OMV, the Austrian oil-and-gas company.

Along the way, many European policymakers have been confused about the arrangement — both the fine points and whether Russia might stand to gain anything meaningful. As such, the European Union’s own guidance on how countries should proceed has been vague.

As recently as last week, Eric Mamer, the European Commission’s chief spokesman, said opening an account for rubles would constitute a breach of sanctions.

A day later, Paolo Gentiloni, Europe’s economic minister, seemed to give the new payment scheme an all-clear. Paying in rubles would constitute a sanctions violation. “But this is not what is happening,” he said.

In recent interviews, Italian officials familiar with the deal say they believe there are clear reasons the new arrangement does not breach European sanctions. While Europe has prohibited all transactions with Russia’s central bank, the conversion process does not involve the central bank — something Eni has received assurances of in writing, according to one person familiar with the deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it publicly. That person said that even if a European company were to pay directly in rubles, it would not violate sanctions.

“The ruble itself is not sanctioned,” the person said.

In theory, a strengthening currency gives Russians more buying power abroad — a big advantage in normal times. But that advantage is diminished because Russians have become so isolated amid the war from the global financial system.

Divisions emerge among Western allies over how to cut Russian oil profits

While Eni said directly that it was opening an account for the ruble conversion, OMV said more vaguely that it was opening a “conversion account.” The company wouldn’t comment when asked if the account was for rubles.

Uniper, a Germany-based energy company, said in a statement: “We opened the necessary account at Gazprom bank in Russia … but will continue to pay in euros in line with the new payment mechanism.”

Alexander Novak, Russia’s deputy prime minister, said last week that “about half” of Gazprom’s 54 foreign clients have opened ruble accounts. An account of Novak’s comments from the Tass news agency did not say how many of those 54 were from countries considered adversarial.

Roberto Perotti, an economist at Bocconi University in Milan, said there appears to be only “political value” in forcing European companies to open a ruble account, with Putin proving that he can set the terms with E.U. nations. Russia, he said, could have ended up with an identical bottom line by accepting the euros and converting them on the exchange market. But such a transaction would have gotten scant public attention.

Without immediate and sharp cuts to its energy supply, Europe has bought itself some time to ramp up its storage for peak demand periods next winter.

There is still a chance that the Kremlin could retaliate. The draft conclusions compiled for an upcoming European Council summit suggest countries will agree to prepare for the possibility of “major supply disruptions.” That would mean bolstering procurement from other non-E.U. countries and also creating deals to share supplies within the bloc.

Europe has tried to wean its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, first with an embargo of coal. A more ambitious plan to phase out oil imports, while supported by most E.U. nations, has so far been held up by countries that remain dependent on Russian oil, most notably Hungary.

Gas is the most significant question looming for continent because 40 percent of the gas burned in Europe comes from Russia. The European Union has said it is committed to reducing Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of the year, but it has not followed the United States in creating an outright ban on imports.

At least in the short term, said Alessandro Pozzi, an equities analyst at Mediobanca who follows the energy industry, “Europe will likely have to continue paying Putin for his gas.”

Emily Rauhala and Quentin Aries in Brussels, Loveday Morris in Berlin and Rick Noack in Paris contributed to this report.

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ConCourt Revises Zimbabwe’s Age Of Consent From 16 To 18 Years – iharare.com

ConCourt Revises Zimbabwe’s Age Of Consent From 16 To 18 Years

ConCourt Revises Zimbabwe's Age Of Consent From 16 To 18 Years
Image Credit: Twitter

The Zimbabwe Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has revised the age of consent from 16 to 18 years.

The ConCourt has reportedly struck down provisions of the law that held that the age of sexual consent at 16.

Tendai Biti who argued the matter emphasized that the age of consent is now 18 years.

Announcing the development on Twitter, Tendai Biti law firm wrote;

The constitutional court has just handed down a judgment in a case argued by our principal

@BitiTendai holding that the age of sexual consent is 18, not 16.Provisions of the law that held that the age of consent is 16 have been struck down

Permanent Secretary for Information and Publicity Nick Ndavingi Mangwana also confirmed the development on his Twitter handle saying;

The age of sexual consent is the stage at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity.

In Zimbabwe, the age of consent had initially been set at 16 years. The issue of age of consent has always been a topical issue in Zimbabwe.

In 2019,  there was great furore on social media after news filtered from a workshop held by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care in Kadoma, that parliamentarians were pushing for the reduction of the age of consent from 16 years to 12years.

The Zimbabwe Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care later came out to deny the allegations that it is pushing for the legal age of se_xual consent to be reduced to 12.

The chairperson of the committee, Dr Ruth Labode said that the issue had been taken out of context as the Committee was actually pushing for minors to be able to access se_xual health care without a parent or guardian.


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    Wall Street retreats as economic data, weak outlooks fuel recession jitters – Reuters.com

    • Snap Inc set for worst day on record after profit warning
    • Abercrombie & Fitch slumps after lowering revenue outlook
    • Indexes down: Dow 0.50%, S&P 1.43%, Nasdaq 2.73%

    NEW YORK, May 24 (Reuters) – Wall Street veered lower on Tuesday as fears over whether attempts to curb decades-high inflation growth could tip the U.S. economy into recession dampened investor risk appetite.

    All three major U.S. stock indexes retreated from Monday’s rally, with the S&P 500 hovering within percentage points of confirming it has been in a bear market since reaching its all-time high on Jan. 3.

    “You have this environment where investors and traders are suspect of any bounce in the market,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut. “Investors are concerned that we haven’t reached the bottom, and days like yesterday are simply bear market rallies.”

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    Much of the sell-off was driven by a profit warning from Snap Inc , which sent the company’s shares plummeting 41.8%, sparking contagion throughout the social media segment.

    Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Twitter Inc and Pinterest Inc (PINS.N) were down between 4% and 22%, and the broader S&P 500 Communications Services sector (.SPLRCL) slid 4.2%.

    Global supply chain disruptions have been exacerbated by Russia’s war with Ukraine and restrictive measures in China to control its latest COVID-19 outbreak, sending inflation to multi-decade highs.

    The U.S. Federal Reserve has vowed to aggressively tackle persistent price growth by hiking the cost of borrowing, and minutes from its most recent monetary policy meeting, expected on Wednesday, will be parsed by market participants for clues regarding the speed and extent of those actions.

    Investors currently expect a series of 50-basis-point rate hikes over the next several months, fueling fears that the central bank could push the economy into recession, a scenario that is increasingly being baked into analyst projections.

    “With all this uncertainty, how aggressive is the Fed going to be?” Pavlik said. “We’re in a no-man’s-land until we get a more complete picture.”

    “We might be closer to recession than we were led to believe,” Pavlik said. “We might be in recession now.”

    Data released on Tuesday painted a picture of waning economic momentum, with new home sales plunging and business activity decelerating.

    Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s counterpart in Frankfurt, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, said she expects the ECB deposit rate to be raised at least 50 basis points by the end of September, read more

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 158.61 points, or 0.5%, to 31,721.63, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 56.83 points, or 1.43%, to 3,916.92 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 314.41 points, or 2.73%, to 11,220.87.

    Among the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, communication services and consumer discretionary (.SPLRCD) were down the most.

    Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co (ANF.N) tumbled 30.9% after posting a surprise quarterly loss and cutting its annual sales and margins outlook. read more

    Work-from-home darling Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM.O) jumped 6.3% after it raised it full-year profit forecast, citing solid enterprise demand. read more

    Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.12-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.96-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

    The S&P 500 posted two new 52-week highs and 40 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 12 new highs and 398 new lows.

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    Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Devik Jain and Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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