Authorities allow a massive chemical plant fire in Rockton, Illinois, to burn itself out, which could take several days, rather than risk chemical runoff spilling into the nearby Rock River.
Fire department officials said the air near the plant is safe at ground level, and no workers were injured in the explosion and fire at the Chemtool factory in Rockton, near the Wisconsin state line. The fire prompted a mandatory evacuation order near the plant.
The fire began around 7 a.m. at the Chemtool plant at 1165 Prairie Hill Rd. Some neighbors in the area reported hearing small explosions as the fire started burning. The company manufactures fluids, lubricants, and grease products for machinery.
CBS 2’s Brandon Merano reported he could see the plume of smoke from the fire from 50 miles away as he headed to the scene.
More than 40 fire departments were called in to help contain the fire, fighting falling debris and grass fires in nearby yards.
A scuffle occurred during the rally of supporters of acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan, Report informs, citing Armenian media.
The incident occurred between Pashinyan’s supporters and representatives of the Prosperous Armenia party.
Everything started with verbal exchanges and grew into violence. The participants in the scuffle were separated by the police.
In April, Pashinyan said in a televised address that he was stepping down from his post but would continue to serve until early parliamentary elections. He also said that the ruling Civil Contract party would take part in the early parliamentary elections to take place on June 20. He will be nominated for the post of Prime Minister of Armenia.
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan shared a video from the Kamalli village of Lachin district.
Note, the territories of Azerbaijan, which was occupied by Armenia nearly 30 years ago, was liberated from the occupation during the 44-day Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. The war started on September 27 when the Armenian Armed Forces launched a large-scale military attack on positions of Azerbaijani army on the front line, using large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery and lasted until November 10. Until November 10, the Azerbaijan Army liberated some villages and cities of Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli, Zangilan, Khojavend, Khojaly, Terter, Shusha and Lachin districts.
On November 10, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement to end six weeks of fierce fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Under the agreement, Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the front line in Nagorno-Karabakh under a five-year mandate and the corridor between the region and Armenia.
Also, according to the agreement, on 20 November, Armenia handed over the Aghdam region which lies to the east of Nagorno-Karabakh, to Azerbaijan. This followed on 25 November by the Kalbajar region to the northwest of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Finally, on 1 December, Armenia handed over the Lachin District, over which the Lachin pass connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia passes.
On June 9, the Caspian Policy Center (CPC) hosted Day 1 of the 5th Annual Trans-Caspian Forum to explore the business, trade, and investment opportunities between the United States and the Trans-Caspian corridor countries, Report informs, citing the Center.
This year’s forum is co-organized by the Embassies of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan, and supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Agency for International Development, with the participation of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. National Security Council.
“The Caspian region plays a vital role in connecting people and goods across continents. The Trans-Caspian acts as a bridge between Europe and Asia and serves as a hub for commerce, infrastructure, and energy,” said Efgan Nifti, Chief Executive Officer of the CPC who opened up the Forum with his welcome remarks. “Since the countries of the Caspian region gained independence thirty years ago, they have been important strategic partners for the United States. They have eagerly worked with Washington to enhance global energy security, combat extremism, and control the flow of narcotics and nuclear material, among countless other initiatives.”
Roya Rahmani, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States; Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States; David Bakradze, Ambassador of Georgia to the United States; Yerzhan Ashikbayev, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United States; Baktybek Amanbaev, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States; Javlon Vakhabov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the United States; and Sinan Ertay, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Turkey to the United States joined the Forum to share their thoughts on how their countries would mount strong recoveries in 2021-2022 that can be supported by further international investment into the region and close collaboration with the European Union and the United States.
“We should be learning and leaning on each other to promote our collective security and prosperity. We cannot neglect to develop our soft infrastructure, which will enable digital trade and broader connectivity. Investing in infrastructure will create jobs and hope for Afghans, which will aid in the pandemic recovery process but far more importantly, economic growth will have a stabilizing effect that will help mitigate the ongoing conflict,” said Ambassador Rahmani.
“The core of the Southern Gas Corridor was the regional cooperation between Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia,” said Ambassador Suleymanov.
Matt Edwards, Director of the Office of Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Global Market-U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Security and Politics Program Chair at the Caspian Policy Center, moderated an insightful conversation among the Forum participants on the connectivity and infrastructure development in the Caspian region.
Moreover, Emil Majidov, Advisor to Minister of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Lasha Darsalia, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia; Zhaslan Madiyev, Deputy Chairman of the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Yavuz Selim Kıran, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey; Abdurahmon Safarali Abdurahmonzoda, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Tajikistan joined the ministerial roundtable to provide their thoughts on the interregional and international opportunities for strategic partnerships in the Caspian region.
Armenia is engulfed in a political crisis ahead of the snap parliamentary elections scheduled for June 20, 2021.
A clash again erupted between the supporters of Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and ex-president Robert Kocharyan, leaving several people injured.
According to information, Kocharyan’s supporters chanted various slogans, calling Pashinyan a ‘traitor’.
A few days ago, Pashinyan’s supporters attacked the headquarters of the ‘Hayastan’ bloc, headed by Kocharyan, and threw eggs at the building.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation is working on the restoration and repair of three historic mosques in Azerbaijan’s Shusha city.
Karbalai architect of all three mosques is Safikhan Garabagi, and the mosques have been included in the list of historical and cultural monuments of national importance.
These mosques, like many other historical and cultural monuments, were vandalized during the occupation of Shusha city by the Armenians.
The interior of Yukhari Govhar Agha Mosque was destroyed, the decor of the minarets was damaged, the covering and other architectural elements were also destroyed. The first stage of the reconstruction of the mosque has been completed and the work is underway in the second stage.
At this stage, the stones in the walls of the mosque are put in accordance with the original project.
Assessment work is being carried out with the participation of foreign experts in Ashaghi Govhar Agha Mosque, which was destroyed during the Armenian occupation.
After the occupation of Shusha city by the Armenians, the Saatli historic mosque, located in the Saatli area of the city, was destroyed and turned into ruins.
“May God rest the souls of our colleagues who died in Kalbajar. I offer my condolences to their families. We have faced similar dangers. The danger did not only lie behind mines in Tartar and other cities. We also backed from death’s door several times. Rockets and bombs fell 30-50 meters away,” said the operator of the Turkish Haber Global TV Ünsal Çakin, who was sent to Azerbaijan during the Second Karabakh War.
Report quotes him as saying that landmines were the biggest threat in the liberated territories.
“We moved there only under the guidance of the military and tried not to go beyond the areas that they pointed to. Because we saw many boards pointing to the danger of mines, and they did not take us to those territories. Armenians had planted mines in the places where these signs were installed, but there were also unknown mined places. There were soldiers killed in the search for mines,” he said.
“The minefields have been empty for 30 years. Now those people want to return to their ancestral lands, but there is a danger awaiting them. Armenia must provide Azerbaijan with mine maps to eliminate this threat and allow the returning people to live comfortably. Civilians will live in those territories in the future. The world powers must exert pressure on Armenia for mine clearance and provision of maps.
Political tensions continue in Armenia before the elections, according to the Armenian media.
Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan’s supporters attacked former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan’s polling stations. Clashes occurred between the sides.
Another incident occurred in Charentsavan city yesterday evening. Pashinyan’s supporters attacked the headquarters of the ‘Hayastan’ bloc headed by Robert Kocharyan and threw eggs at the building.
Pashinyan’s supporters threw eggs at the headquarters and insulted the people: “Whoever votes for Kocharyan will be no different from our neighbors,” they shouted.
Pashinyan’s supporters also broke doors and windows of the headquarters. In the end, a hand-to-hand fight broke out between the sides.
Magawa the rat, who was awarded a gold medal for his heroism, is retiring from his job detecting landmines, Report informs, citing BBC News.
In a five-year career, the rodent sniffed out 71 landmines and dozens more unexploded items in Cambodia.
But his handler Malen says the seven-year-old African giant pouched rat is “slowing down” as he reaches old age, and she wants to “respect his needs.”
There are thought to be up to six million landmines in the South East Asian country.
Magawa was trained by the Belgium-registered charity Apopo, which is based in Tanzania and has been raising the animals – known as HeroRATs – to detect landmines since the 1990s. The animals are certified after a year of training.
Last week, Apopo said a new batch of young rats had been assessed by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and passed “with flying colors.”
Magawa, the group said, would stay in post for a few more weeks to “mentor” the new recruits and help them settle in.
“Magawa’s performance has been unbeaten, and I have been proud to work side-by-side with him,” Malen said.
“He is small, but he has helped save many lives allowing us to return much-needed safe land back to our people as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.”
Last September, Magawa was awarded the PDSA Gold Medal – sometimes described as the George Cross for animals – for his “life-saving devotion to duty”. He was the first rat to be given the medal in the charity’s 77-year history.
He weighs 1.2kg and is 70cm long. While that is far larger than many other rat species, Magawa is still small enough and light enough that he does not trigger mines if he walks over them.
The rats are trained to detect a chemical compound within the explosives, meaning they ignore scrap metal and can search for mines more quickly. Once they find an explosive, they scratch the top to alert their human co-workers.
Magawa is capable of searching a field the size of a tennis court in just 20 minutes – something Apopo says would take a person with a metal detector between one and four days.