Other than small shifts on civilian evacuations, peace talks between Russia and Ukraine made no breakthroughs. And 75% of the Amazon rainforest is showing signs of loss.
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Ukraine-Russia talks end with little progress
A third round of talks between Russia and Ukraine ended Monday without any breakthroughs, although there were “some small positive shifts” on safe passages for civilians attempting to flee the war-torn country, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said without elaborating. Previous efforts to set up safe passage for civilians over the weekend fell apart mid shelling. The Russian Defense Ministry said Monday civilians would be allowed to leave the capital of Kyiv and the cities of Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy. Earlier Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov revealed Russia’s demands to end the conflict: Ukraine must halt its military activity, change its constitution to include neutrality so it can’t join the European Union or NATO, recognize Crimea as Russian territory and recognize independence for the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
3 wildfires burning in Florida Panhandle
Firefighters are battling three wildfires in the Florida Panhandle: the Adkins Avenue Fire, which started Friday on the east side of Panama City; the Bertha Swamp Road Fire, a massive blaze that crept into Bay County on Saturday afternoon; and the Star Avenue Fire, which popped up east of Panama City. Gov. Ron DeSantis made a second trip to Bay County on Sunday and said in a news conference that the Bertha Swamp Road Fire is “a big boy and is raging very quickly.” He confirmed that several first responders were injured tending to the fires. DeSantis said two Black Hawk helicopters and two Chinook helicopters with the US National Guard were deployed to help contain the fires. Heavy rain rolling in and strong winds dying down this week could be good news for those fighting Bay County’s wildfires, though the reprieve will probably be only temporary.
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Want to go to space?
Let’s face it: A trip to space is expensive. And the way gas prices are, I’ll be lucky if I can afford to aimlessly drive around listening to podcasts this month. The good news is that NASA is offering basically the next best thing (with a lot less motion sickness). Anyone, for free, can sign up to put their name on a flash drive going to space when NASA launches its Artemis I mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, this year. The Orion spacecraft will launch “on the most powerful rocket in the world” and will fly farther “than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown,” NASA says. Orion will fly 62 miles above the moon’s surface for approximately six days as the craft spends about a month in space.
75% of Amazon rainforest shows signs of loss
The Amazon rainforest may be nearing a “tipping point” of dieback, the point where rainforest will turn to savannah, to new study shows. Signs of loss have been found in more than 75% of the rainforest since the early 2000s, according to research that outlines this troubling trend. The cause of the decline? “Deforestation and climate change,” said study co-author Niklas Boers, a professor at the Technical University of Munich. The Amazon rainforest is becoming much less resilient, the research shows. Experts said the Amazon could soon reach a critical line, the crossing of which would trigger widespread dieback and turn much of the forest to savanna, which would have major consequences for biodiversity, global carbon storage and climate change.
How does COVID-19 change the brain?
A new study provides the most conclusive evidence yet that COVID-19 can damage the brain, even in people who weren’t severely ill. The study, published Monday in Nature, used before-and-after brain images of 785 British people, ages 51 to 81, to look for any changes. About half the participants contracted COVID-19 between the scans – mostly when the alpha variant was circulating – which left many people at least temporarily without a sense of smell. Analysis of the images from the UK Biobank showed that people infected with COVID-19 had a greater reduction in their brain volumes overall and performed worse on cognitive tests than those who had not been infected.
A break from the news
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism