The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 14, 2022 1:00 am


Russia hinting at Cuba deployment

Associated Press

MOSCOW – Russia raised the stakes Thursday in its dispute with the West over Ukraine and NATO's expansion when a top diplomat refused to rule out a military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States escalate.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said he could “neither confirm nor exclude” the possibility of Russia sending military assets to Latin America if the U.S. and its allies don't curtail their military activities on Russia's doorstep.

“It all depends on the action by our U.S. counterparts,” the minister said in an interview with Russian television network RTVI, citing Russian President Vladimir Putin's warning that Moscow could take unspecified “military-technical measures” if the U.S. and its allies fail to heed its demands.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan dismissed the statements about a possible Russian deployment to Cuba and Venezuela as “bluster in the public commentary.”

Prince Andrew loses roles over lawsuit

Prince Andrew has been stripped of his honorary military roles as the growing furor over allegations that he sexually abused a teenage girl trafficked by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein threatened to taint the House of Windsor.

Buckingham Palace said late Thursday that Queen Elizabeth II had also agreed that Andrew, 61, will give up his honorary leadership of various charities, known as royal patronages. He will also no longer use the title “his royal highness” in official settings, British media said.

Virginia Giuffre alleges she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was 17. A New York judge Wednesday rejected Andrew's effort to have the suit dismissed, increasing the chance he will have to testify in the case if it goes to trial.

Costa Concordia anniversary marked

Fog horns wailed and church bells tolled Thursday as Italy honored the 32 victims of the Costa Concordia shipwreck on the 10th anniversary of the disaster, with a commemoration that recalled the moment the cruise ship struck a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Some of the 4,200 survivors attended the anniversary events, which began with a noontime Mass and ended with a candlelit procession to Giglio's dock at the exact moment, 9:45 p.m. local time, that the Concordia hit the rocks that sliced a 230-foot gash in its hull. Bells rang out earlier Thursday in the same Giglio church that opened its doors that freezing night and took in hundreds of passengers who abandoned ship and reached shore in lifeboats.

The Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for manslaughter and other charges for having ordered the crew to steer the ship off course and closer to Giglio in a stunt known as “tourist navigation” to give passengers and those on shore a thrill.

2021 6th-hottest year on record

Earth simmered to the sixth hottest year on record in 2021, according to several newly released temperature measurements. And scientists say the exceptionally hot year is part of a long-term warming trend that shows hints of accelerating.

Two U.S. science agencies – NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – and a private measuring group released their calculations for last year's global temperature on Thursday, and all said it wasn't far behind ultra-hot 2016 and 2020.

Six different calculations found 2021 was between the fifth and seventh hottest year since the late 1800s. NASA said 2021 tied with 2018 for sixth warmest, while NOAA puts last year in sixth place by itself.

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