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A model of a natural gas pipeline, a Euro banknote and a torn EU flag placed on a Russian flag.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Hard Numbers: EU gas price dip, Swedish camera thieves, Myanmar festival attack, Qatar vs. LGBTQ

100: The cost of burning natural gas to produce a megawatt hour of electricity in Europe has dipped below 100 euros ($99) for the first time since Russia began cutting supplies to the EU earlier this year. Experts say milder-than-expected weather and topped-up storage units are to thank for the price relief. Can it last?

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Melt Down of UK Conservative Party Since Brexit | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Truss resigns in continued Tory meltdown

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

First, what's really happening in the UK?

It's tragic in a way. Once upon a time, the Conservative Party was the natural governing party of the United Kingdom, and we've seen it in a gradual sort of melt down since Brexit with the one prime minister replacing the others, with the one scandal after the others, with the entire party on the verge of some sort of implosion. It has disturbing implications for the governance of the UK, and it is truly tragic. What will be the end of this is anyone's guess. There has to be a new Prime Minister within a week or so, and we can just wish the suffering British people all the best.

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Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis holds a rally in Clearwater, Florida.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: DeSantis to do it all again, Sweden’s new government, China’s corruption party-pooper, flood toll in Nigeria

100: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is reportedly planning to send another group of undocumented migrants to a Democrat-run state, with about 100 people set to be put on flights to Illinois and Delaware. DeSantis, who has blasted the Biden administration’s immigration policies while positioning himself as a rising GOP star, is already facing legal blowback from the last time he shipped migrants northwards.

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Europe Supports Ukraine Despite Energy Crisis: EU's Von der Leyen | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Europe supports Ukraine despite energy crisis: EU’s von der Leyen

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

What were the main points of the commission President Ursula von der Leyen's State of Europe speech?

Well, the first point was obviously support for Ukraine in different forms. And she highlighted in particular the need to get Ukraine full access to the European internal market, thus facilitating the long-term development of the Ukrainian economy. The second item that she dealt with quite a lot was, of course, the energy crisis in order to bear and handle the winter as the Russians are cutting the gas.

Second question: what's going to happen in Sweden after the recent election?

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Ukrainian soldiers pose with their national flag outside a Kharkiv village recently liberated from Russia.

Ukrainian Armed Forces/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Ukraine retakes Kharkiv, Sweden turns right

Ukraine makes big gains, Putin gets rare pushback

As the war reached its 200-day mark Sunday, the Ukrainian military made its most significant gains against Russia since the invasion began. President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 1,000 km of territory had been liberated and promised that the ultimate goal is “de-occupation.” The loss of Izyum and dozens of other Kharkiv towns and villages that had been under Russian occupation was met by Moscow with a flurry of air strikes to knock out power and water in the region. Russia notably admitted on Sunday that it had lost much of the northern Kharkiv region. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin came under fire from pro-war conservatives and allies like Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who publicly admitted that the “special military operation” was not going to plan. Also, local officials in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg petitioned the Duma (parliament) to oust the president for committing alleged treason (they’ve been dealt with swiftly). Finally, there has been some relief at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine: after losing all power and the ability to cool its last functioning reactor, the facility was finally reconnected to a backup power line on Sunday.

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Annie Gugliotta

What We’re Watching: Australia’s climate bill, Ukraine’s progress, Sweden’s election

Australia passes climate bill after a decade

The Australian parliament has passed its first piece of climate legislation in over a decade just months after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the center-left Labor Party came to power vowing to prioritize climate change mitigation efforts. The bill – supported by the Green Party and independents but not by former PM Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party – passed the Senate (and is all but assured to be passed by the lower house). It includes a commitment to slash greenhouse emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. For context, the US emission reduction goal for 2030 is 50%, Canada’s is 40%, and the UK’s is 78% by 2035. Although the new target is an improvement from the former conservative government’s 26%, critics say the bill doesn’t go far enough to offset Australia’s large carbon footprint. Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of coal and relies on coal for 75% of its electricity consumption. The Albanese government has notably not banned new coal and gas projects – lucrative Australian exports – which some say could make this 43% target hard to meet. Still, after years of government foot-dragging, many Aussies are hailing this progress four months after a general election that was seen in large part as a referendum on climate (in)action.

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Firefighters embrace as they work to contain a fire in the Gironde region of southwestern France.

REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Hard Numbers: Fires in French wine country, Sweden gives Turkey a bone, fertilizer emergency, monkeys at risk

10,000: Out-of-control blazes on the outskirts of Bordeaux in southwest France have caused 10,000 people to flee their homes. Dubbed a “monster” wildfire by emergency services, this comes amid a hellish summer in France, where fires have already destroyed thousands of acres of forestry.

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Putin looks on during his meeting with the Lebanese president at the Kremlin in Moscow.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Is NATO expansion bad for Russia?

For the first time in nearly two decades, NATO just got a lot closer to Russia’s borders. At a summit in Madrid on Wednesday, alliance leaders formally invited Sweden and Finland to join, ending more than half a century of neutrality by both countries.

At the same time, the alliance adopted a new strategic plan in which Russia has gone from being the West’s “strategic partner” to its “most significant threat.” And to underscore the point, NATO is putting more than 300,000 troops on high alert against Russian aggression.

Looks pretty bad for Vladimir Putin, wouldn’t you say? Well, let’s consider a few perspectives.

Yes, of course it’s very bad. NATO’s border with Russia has just doubled to more than 1,600 miles, and those two new members are no strategic slouches. Sweden and Finland are both highly advanced militaries with decades of experience keeping a close eye on Russia, especially the Finns.

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