Moscow, Jul 28 (AP/UNB) — Nearly 1,400 people were detained in a violent police crackdown on an opposition protest in Moscow, a Russian monitoring group said Sunday, adding that was the largest number of detentions at a rally in the Russian capital this decade.
OVD-Info, which has monitored police arrests since 2011, said the number of the detentions from Saturday's protest reached 1,373 by early Sunday. The overwhelming majority of people were soon released but 150 remained in custody, OVD-Info and a lawyers' legal aid group said Sunday.
Crackdowns on the anti-government protesters began days before the rally. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested and sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail for calling for Saturday's protest against election authorities who barred some opposition candidates from running in the Sept. 8 vote for Moscow city council.
Navalny was unexpectedly hospitalized Sunday with a severe allergy attack, his spokeswoman said.
Kira Yarmysh said Navalny, who did not have any allergies beforehand, was taken from the Moscow jail to a hospital in the morning, arriving with severe facial swelling and red rashes. Hours later, she said Navalny was in a "satisfactory condition."
Russian police violently dispersed thousands of people who thronged the streets of Moscow on Saturday to protest the move by election authorities. Several protesters reported broken limbs and head injuries. Police justified their response by saying that the rally was not sanctioned by authorities.
Along with the arrests of the mostly young demonstrators, several opposition activists who wanted to run for the Moscow City Duma were arrested throughout the city.
Police eventually cordoned off the City Hall and dispersed protesters from the area, but thousands of demonstrators reassembled in several different locations nearby and a new round of arrests began. Russian police beat some protesters to the ground with wide truncheon swings while others tried to push the police away.
Police said the protesters numbered about 3,500 but aerial footage from several locations suggested at least 8,000 people turned out.
Dmitry Gudkov, an opposition figure who was barred from running for city council office in Moscow, was detained Sunday afternoon as he delivered food to some of the Moscow protesters still in jail.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Sunday decried the violent crackdown as "use of disproportionate police force" and the Russian presidential human rights council said it was concerned about the police brutality.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stayed away from Moscow over the weekend.
On Sunday, he led Russia's first major naval parade in years, going aboard one of the vessels in the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, on the Gulf of Finland. The parade included 43 ships and submarines and 4,000 troops.
Paris, July 25 (AP/UNB) — Hot, hotter, hottest! Paris, London and places across Europe are sweltering under all-time high temperatures or near-record heat Thursday as the second heat wave this summer bakes the continent.
Climate scientists warn this could become the new normal in many parts of the world. But temperate Europe — where air conditioning is rare — isn't equipped for the temperatures frying the region this week.
So tourists frolicked in fountains to seek relief, and authorities and volunteers fanned out to help the elderly, sick and homeless hit hardest by the heat. Trains were canceled in Britain and France, and French authorities urged travelers to stay home.
One by one, heat records are being broken across Europe. On Thursday afternoon the Paris area hit 40.6 C (105.1 F,) beating the previous record of 40.4 C (104.8 F) in 1947. Authorities said the temperature was still rising, as a result of hot, dry air coming from northern Africa that's trapped between cold stormy systems.
London expects to see 39 C (102 F). And swaths of Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland could face temperatures exceeding 40 C (104 F).
In Belgium, the meteorological institute said the nation saw temperatures rise past the 40 C mark for the first time since records were kept in 1833. The new all-time high now stood at 40.2 C (104.4 F), recorded close to Liege in eastern Belgium's Angleur on Wednesday.
Germany recorded 40.5 degrees (104.9 F) Wednesday, and the German Weather Service is expecting even higher temperatures Thursday.
In Austria, a 2-year-old died of dehydration in the country's Styria region after he climbed into an overheated parked car without his family noticing and fell asleep in it.
The Austrian news agency APA reported Thursday that the boy, who climbed into a car parked at the family's farm on Monday, died at a children's hospital on Wednesday.
In the Netherlands, a government health institute warned of high levels of smog due to ozone in the air in parts of the country.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment issued a "smog alarm" Thursday for regions including the densely populated cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
The institute said air quality in the some regions will be "extremely bad" because light winds mean that pollution is not being blown away and sunlight transforms it into ozone. The smog can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and leave people coughing and short of breath.
Across Germany, Switzerland and Austria, some communities painted rail tracks in white hoping the light color would bring down the temperature by a few degrees. In Heiligendamm on the Baltic Sea in eastern Germany, train services were canceled temporarily during last month's heat wave after the tracks were deformed by the heat.
Across London and Paris, authorities and charity workers handed out water and sunscreen to homeless people and opened day centers for them to rest and shower.
"They are in the street all day, under the sun. No air conditioning, no way to protect oneself from the heat, so for some it's really quite complicated," said Ruggero Gatti, an IT worker joining other Red Cross volunteers handing out water bottles, soup and yogurt to the homeless in the Paris suburb of Boulogne.
Tourists clustered around fountains and canals. "It's too hot. In Brazil, where I live, we have the beach but here, since there is no beach, we can enjoy this fountain," said Ederson Lista-Vajes, a Brazilian tourist playing with spurts of water at Trocadero plaza across from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
France is particularly wary after a 2003 heat wave killed nearly 15,000 people, especially the elderly.
Since then the government has introduced a color-coded heat alert system to warn people when temperatures are expected to rise to dangerous levels in their area and trigger government assistance efforts.
The alert system went to its maximum level of red for the first time during last month's heat wave , when France saw its highest-ever recorded temperature of 46 degrees. On Thursday, about one-fifth of French territory was under a red alert, stretching from the English Channel through the Paris region and down to Burgundy.
The national rail authority and Paris public transit system urged passengers to avoid travel Thursday. Messages to "Hydrate yourselves!" came from the radio, television and public message boards.
French Health Minister Agnez Buzyn said that temperatures on Thursday are expected to be 2 degrees higher than in 2003. Some 20 million French are expected to be hit by the heatwave, she said.
Summers are usually mild in much of Europe and few homes have air conditioning. It's not that common in hospitals, stores or restaurants either.
Electric fans are selling fast around Paris — and traditional folding fans seem to be making a comeback, waved by many on the stuffy subway.
In Bavaria's prisons, inmates were getting cold cucumber soup, fruit and yoghurt for lunch and more water than normal, the German news agency dpa reported.
The heat wave is intense but expected to be short, with temperatures dropping Friday and Saturday.
As emissions continue to warm the planet, scientists say there will be more and hotter heat waves, like those increasingly hitting the U.S. though it's too early to know whether this hot spell is linked to man-made climate change.
"There is likely the DNA of climate change in the record-breaking heat that Europe and other parts of the world are experiencing. And it is unfortunately going to continue to worsen," said Marshall Shepherd, professor of meteorology at University of Georgia.
London, Jul 25 (AP/UNB) — Boris Johnson is convening his first Cabinet meeting as Britain's prime minister, pledging to break the impasse on issues that flummoxed predecessor Theresa May.
Johnson has less than 100 days to make good on his promise to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 after what he called "three years of unfounded self-doubt."
The new Cabinet arrived early at Johnson's Downing Street office — a collection of fresh faces after Johnson culled senior members of May's team. The new line-up includes Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Treasury chief Sajid Javid and House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg.
In his first speech as prime minister, Johnson offered a plethora of promises, from more police on the streets to ending a ban on genetically modified crops to faster internet access.
The Hague, Jul 25 (AP/UNB) — Thousands of passengers flying to and from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport suffered delays and canceled flights Wednesday because of problems refueling planes that crippled the busy European aviation hub for hours.
Airport spokeswoman Willemeike Koster said 180 flights were canceled at the airport just outside Amsterdam, stranding passengers at Schiphol and other airports. Field beds were set up at the airport as a precaution in case passengers were forced to wait overnight for their flights, Koster told The Associated Press.
It wasn't clear how many passengers were affected by the delays and cancellations, but Koster said the number ran into the thousands.
The problem began in the early afternoon and was finally fixed hours later. Schiphol announced around 10 p.m. (2000 GMT) that the fuel delivery system had restarted. Spokeswoman Madelon van der Hof said that aircraft were being refueled and departing as the airport gradually began returning to normal operations.
The airport said earlier that a company that supplies fuel to planes at the airport had "a fault in their system. That means that planes cannot be refueled right now, which is causing delays."
Schiphol warned earlier that the problem could last deep into the evening and said it regretted the inconvenience for travelers and airlines.
The exact nature of the problem wasn't immediately clear.
Before the system was successfully restarted, only one-third of the usual number of flights was arriving at Schiphol on Wednesday night, Koster said. Even fewer were leaving.
"If they have enough fuel they can go," Koster said. "There are planes departing, but it is at a minimum level."
Dutch airline KLM said it was possible flights would be canceled Thursday as well due to a "phased restart" of operations at the airport.
The fuel problem came during the busy summer vacation period in the Netherlands and on a day that saw a heat wave set a record high temperature. The Dutch weather service Weerplaza said the southern city of Eindhoven reported a temperature of 39.3 C (102.7 F), the hottest day in the country in 75 years.
Airport spokesman Hans van Kastel told Dutch broadcaster NOS that the fuel issue wasn't believed to be linked to the hot weather.
Berlin, Jul 25 (AP/UNB) — Europeans cooled off in public fountains Wednesday as a new heat wave spread across parts of the continent and was already breaking records.
Belgium and Germany registered their highest-ever temperatures, while the Netherlands saw its hottest day in 75 years.
And the mercury is expected to rise even further.
Paris and other parts of France could see temperatures exceeding 40 C (104 F) on Thursday along with Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
The heat is putting pressure on authorities to help protect the elderly and the sick. Air conditioning is not common at homes, offices, schools or hospitals in European cities.
The weather is also aggravating droughts since it hasn't rained much in many parts of Europe this summer. The combination of heat, wind and possible lightning from thunderstorms also increases the risk of wildfires.
WHY IS IT SO HOT?
The second likely-to-be-record-breaking heat wave in two months in Europe includes some of the same ingredients of the first — hot dry air coming from northern Africa. That hot air is trapped between cold stormy systems in the Atlantic and eastern Europe and forms "a little heat dome," said Ryan Maue, a private meteorologist in the U.S.
This heat wave is a relatively short event where the heat comes with a southerly wind — and dust — from Africa's Sahara Desert, in contrast to the big European heat waves of 2003 and 2010 which lasted much longer and were sustained by a stationary high pressure system with little wind, experts say.
At the end of June, several countries reported record temperatures, and France hit its all-time heat record: 46 C (114.8 F) in the small southern town of Verargues.
IS CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSING THIS?
Heat waves are happening more frequently in large parts of Europe, Asia and Australia, experts say. As the world warms, scientists say there will be more and hotter heat waves, but attributing single events to climate change involves precise computer modeling and calculations.
A team of European climate scientists did a quick, non-peer reviewed analysis of Europe's June heat wave and found man-made warming made it at least five times more likely.
"Either of the two European heat waves this summer would have been remarkable in isolation. But now we are seeing multiple episodes of record heat in a given summer. By mid-century, we will simply call these episodes 'summer' — if we continue on this trajectory," said Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, who wasn't part of the European group.
The heat waves aren't just because the world is 1 degree Celsius warmer than before the industrial era, but also because climate change and the melting of Arctic sea ice has slowed down the jet stream, which is the river of air that moves weather along, Mann said. The slow jet stream is "a big part of the story when it comes to these very persistent heat extremes we have seen in recent summers," Mann said in an email.
HOW HOT COULD IT GET THIS WEEK AND WHERE?
Temperatures in France especially are likely to be 15 C (27 F) higher than normal, with Paris likely to break its all-time hottest record mark of 40.4 degrees (104.7 Fahrenheit). Surrounding areas around Paris may hit 41 or 42 C (106 to 108 Fahrenheit), weather experts said.
The Dutch meteorological institute tweeted that Wednesday's heat wave broke a record that stood for nearly 75 years of the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Netherlands. The Dutch weather service Weerplaza said that the southern city of Eindhoven reported a temperature of 39.3 (102.7 F) Wednesday afternoon.
Belgium measured its highest temperature since records were first kept in 1833. In sun-baked Kleine Brogel in northeastern Belgium, temperatures rose to 39.9 C (102.3 F), and the weather forecaster of the Royal Meteorological Institute said that it was "the highest ever Belgian temperature."
Also, temperatures won't cool down much at night, and maybe stay around 24 C (75 F) or higher.
The German Weather Service said a probable record high of 40.5 C (104.9 F) for the country was recorded in Geilenkirchen and put the entire country on heat alert. The previous record of 40.3 C (104.5 F) was set in 2015.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE AND AUTHORITIES DOING TO STAY COOL?
France in particular is haunted by the 2003 heat wave that killed an estimated 15,000 people there, most of them isolated elderly people whose families in many cases were on vacation. The country has since taken measures to try to ensure such a catastrophe isn't repeated.
Those measures include a color-coded heat alert system to warn people when temperatures are expected to rise to dangerous levels in their area. The alert system went to its maximum level of red for the first time during last month's heat wave, when France saw its highest-ever recorded temperature.
There are also public service announcements on television, radio and in public transportation systems about risks of high temperatures, telling people to drink water and watch out for isolated elderly people.
Millions of euros in extra funding for emergency services, including more staff members in hospitals and nursing homes overwhelmed in 2003. A government report at the time blamed the death toll on lack of coordination among government agencies, nursing homes that lacked air conditioning and overnight staff, lack of a public alert system, and other problems.
Still, few homes in France or Germany have air conditioning, and many public buildings also lack air conditioning, including hospitals and schools.
In the Netherlands, local authorities have taken an unusual precaution — with trucks scattering salt on the roads like they usually do in the winter.
The salt spreaders are usually used to prevent ice forming on Dutch roads in the cold, but Arnhem municipality started using them to cool off asphalt that is baking in the heat wave.
The city says in a statement that the salt "attracts moisture from the air and cools the asphalt." It also prevents the asphalt from becoming sticky.
Across London, authorities started handing out water and sunscreen to homeless people and opened day centers for them to rest and shower. In the Lewisham district of the British capital, garbage collectors will start working as early as 5 a.m. in the morning to beat the heat.
London police warned people not to swim in the city's River Thames after a young man died there Tuesday night.
"Whilst at times, the Thames may look appealing, especially in this hot weather, it remains very dangerous all year round," police said in a statement. "On initial entry the water can seem warm on the surface, but further in it can be freezing cold and there are often very strong undercurrents."
WHEN IS IT OVER?
The heat wave will end in a few days. On the weekend, temperatures are expected to fall. However, quite often end of a heat wave brings storms, including lightning and heavy flooding.