Russia's agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor on Thursday banned imports of sunflowers, maize grits, soy beans and soy bean meals from Ukraine, Itar-Tass said. The ban comes into effect August 1, said Aleksey Alekseenko, the watchdog’s deputy head. He cited tests that showed cereals and vegetables from Ukraine often fail to meet Russian sanitary requirements.
Earthquakes of magnitude 6.2 and 6.1 struck Myanmar and India's Andaman islands on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing the US Geological Survey. No tsunami warning was issued after the Andaman quake, according to the India Meteorological Department. The Myanmar quake struck 185 miles west of Mergui at a depth of 19.3 miles deep. The USGS also said a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit 284 kilometers east-northeast of Port Blair, India, at a depth of 10 kilometers.
The death toll from an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has risen to 729, the World Health Organization said Thursday. Fifty-seven deaths were reported between July 24 and 27 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, Reuters reported. Nigerian authorities have so far identified 59 people who had come into contact with a US citizen who died in Lagos last week after traveling from Liberia, via Togo and Ghana, the WHO added.
Spain said on Thursday it was pulling its ambassador and embassy staff out of Libya temporarily, Reuters said. Madrid evacuated 29 Spanish residents and their families on Tuesday. “The situation in Libya will get much worse very quickly,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo told parliament, as clashes among rival militia push the North African country further into chaos. Greece is also sending vessels to Libya to evacuate embassy workers and a few hundred Chinese and European nationals.
Ukrainian parliament overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk’s resignation on Thursday, Reuters said. MPs earlier in the day approved legislation the prime minister said was needed to avoid a financial default.
Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is waiting for the Russian authorities’ decision, either to extend his temporary asylum in Russia for another year, or to grant him political asylum, Itar-Tass quoted his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena as saying Thursday. His current one-year temporary asylum permit, issued by the Federal Migration Service, expires July 31. “We hope that the issue will be resolved today or tomorrow,” Kucherena told LifeNews TV.
Russia’s Justice Ministry on Thursday said it does not see a European court’s ruling in the Yukos case as fair and unbiased. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) earlier in the day awarded shareholders in Yukos 1.9 billion euro ($2.6 billion) in compensation, Reuters reported. The ministry said penalties imposed on Yukos over tax violations were based on requirements of the Russian legislation, RIA Novosti reported. The ruling will be appealed within three months.
Sierra Leone has declared a public health emergency to tackle the worst ever outbreak of Ebola. The country will also call in security forces to quarantine epicenters of the deadly virus, President Ernest Bai Koroma said. The similar anti-Ebola package was announced by neighboring Liberia on Wednesday evening. Koroma has canceled a visit to Washington for a US-Africa summit next week because of the crisis.
Forty-two rescue workers in India on Thursday were trying to find more than 100 people swallowed up by a landslide, with the confirmed death toll at 21, Reuters said. Seven teams of rescuers worked through the night at the village of Malin, 60km from the city of Pune in Maharashtra state as incessant rain, mud and poor communications in the remote area slowed their efforts. The National Disaster Response Force said 129 people feared trapped under the mud that covered dozens of houses.