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Ukrainian president warns country faces battle for existence amid calls for reservists

Ukraine’s president has called up the country’s reservists and warned that Ukraine could face a battle for its very existence as more countries joined in sanctions against Russia.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ruled out a general mobilisation in an evening address to the nation. But the decision to bring reservists back into active duty was a further sign that Ukraine was bracing for a possible military clash with its neighbour. It came after Russia began moving troops into the country’s east.

Satellite imagery over the past 24 hours shows several new troops and equipment deployments in western Russia and more than 100 vehicles at a small airfield in southern Belarus, which borders Ukraine, according to US firm Maxar. The Ukrainian military said early on Wednesday one soldier had been killed and six wounded in 96 incidents of shelling by pro-Russian separatists in the east over the previous 24 hours. It said separatist forces used heavy artillery, mortars and Grad rocket systems.

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putinsaid that Russia will support the territorial claims of self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk, dramatically increasing the likelihood of a larger war in the near future. US president Joe Biden denounced the move as an attempt to carve out “a big chunk” of the country.

The US president said he was bringing in tough new sanctions against Russia for “beginning” an invasion of Ukraine but that there was still time to avoid war.

“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries?” Mr Biden said, announcing sanctions on two Russian banks and sweeping measures to stop Russia raising capital in western markets.

Early on Wednesday, Russia’s US ambassador Anatoly Antonov dismissed the sanctions, saying: “I don’t remember a single day when our country lived without any restrictions from the western world. We learned how to work in such conditions. And not only survive, but also develop our state.”

US secretary of state Antony Blinken cancelled a meeting planned for Thursday with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, saying Russia’s actions indicated it was not serious about a diplomatic path to resolving the crisis.

Speaking alongside Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba in Washington, Mr Blinken warned the crisis was the “greatest threat to Europe since world war two”. He said: “[Vladimir Putin’s] plan all along has been to invade Ukraine, to control Ukraine and its people, to destroy Ukraine’s democracy, which offers a stark contrast to the autocracy that he leads.”

Vladimir Putinsaid that Russia will support the territorial claims of self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk. Photograph: AP
Vladimir Putinsaid that Russia will support the territorial claims of self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk. Photograph: AP


The warnings came as Australia, Canada and Japan joined the US, UK and European Union in announcing sanctions against Russia and after Germany halted the approval process for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

British prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that three billionaire allies of the Russian president and five Russian banks would face punitive measures, his foreign secretary, Liz Truss has written in the Times that the UK is also considering sanctions for members of the Russian Duma and Federation Council, and extending Crimea’s territorial sanctions to the separatist controlled territories in the Donbas. “No UK individual or business will be able to deal with these territories until they are returned to Ukraine,” she said.

Truss said the UK was willing to “[TURN] up the heat” on a “long list” of people complicit in the actions of the Russian leadership. The UK was willing to introduce other “measures to limit Russia’s ability to trade and prohibit a range of high-tech exports, degrading the development of its military industrial base for years”.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday the Russian government was “behaving like thugs and bullies” and there “must be consequences for Russia’s actions”. Eight senior Russian security officials and the oil and gas sectors will be targeted in the first round, he said, and security agencies were on alert for possible counter-actions by Russia such as espionage and cyber-attacks.

Justin Trudeau said Canada was sending hundreds more troops to eastern Europe to bolster Nato forces and imposing new sanctions. The prime minister said: “Make no mistake this is a further invasion of a sovereign state and it is completely unacceptable.”

Mr Trudeau said trade links with the two Russian-controlled territories in east Ukraine would be severed, the purchase of Russian sovereign debt banned, and Russian MPs and state-backed banks targeted.

Japan targeted Russian government bonds and trade and people linked to the self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk. “We strongly urge Russia to return to diplomatic process in resolving the development,” said prime minister Fumio Kishida.

Urgent warnings

For weeks Mr Zelenskiy has urged calm, and a search for diplomatic solutions, even as western allies issued increasingly urgent warnings about Russian invasion plans. Now he has told his country it must “increase the readiness of the Ukrainian army for all possible changes in the operational situation”. He added: “We need to promptly replenish the Ukrainian army and other military formations.”

Mr Zelenskiy’s defiant speech came after the US said on Wednesday that the invasion it had forecast for weeks had finally begun. Zelenskiy said that Ukraine is a peaceful country, but its people would not stay quiet in the face of aggression.

“If we remain silent today, we will disappear tomorrow. We have hard work ahead, every day, but we are read for it, with confidence in ourselves, our country and victory,” he said.

Mr Zelenskiy also said he had held a cross party meeting to propose a defence coalition government and announced the launch of an “economic patriotism” programme of tax breaks and other incentives to bolster a country battered by the threat of war.

Ukraine is losing billions of dollars a month as Europe’s worst security crisis in decades has prompted many who are able to flee the capital, Kyiv, moving to other cities or out of the country entirely.

He urged businesses to defy diplomatic warnings to foreign citizens to leave the country, after many embassies moved west to the city of Lviv; US diplomats even sleep in neighbouring Poland and commute to their jobs. – Guardian

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Hottest property markets revealed: Homes in Liverpool take just 17 DAYS to sell – half the typical average

  • Liverpool and Manchester homes selling the fastest, Zoopla data shows
  • Cheaper homes in demand while four-beds are taking longer to sell  

Homes in Liverpool and Manchester are the fastest selling in England, new data reveals. 

While properties in the North West are seeing rapid average sales times, those in southern England, Wales and the Midlands are taking almost two weeks longer to sell than in 2022.

Across England, homes are on the market for an average of 34 days before securing a sale, figures from Zoopla claim. 

Rapid sale: Homes in Liverpool and Manchester are selling quickly, Zoopla says

Rapid sale: Homes in Liverpool and Manchester are selling quickly, Zoopla says 

Homes in Salford, Basingstoke and Deane and Sheffield are also selling reasonably quickly, with an average timeframe of up to 24 days. 

Waltham Forest is the only London borough to see homes selling faster than the national average for England, with sales agreed in around 24 days. 

Two-bedroom terraced houses are the fastest selling property type in four in five regions, while four-bedroom homes are taking the longest to sell. 

In London, pricey detached homes with four or more bedrooms are taking around 59 days to sell, the findings suggest.  

In hotspots like the North West, the fastest selling type of property is the one-bedroom flat, taking 21 days on average to sell, and with prices around the £100,000 mark.

Meanwhile, four-bedroom homes in the North West are typically taking around 53 days to sell, with higher price tags at around £477,000. 

In the North West and North East, the average home is between £72,000 to £125,000 less expensive than the national average, according to Zoopla.

Quick sale: New data suggests it only takes an average of 17 days to sell a home in Liverpool

Quick sale: New data suggests it only takes an average of 17 days to sell a home in Liverpool

Higher interest rates on mortgages and the rising cost of living have been causing some buyers to ponder for longer when it comes to property purchases.

Izabella Lubowiecka, a senior property researcher at Zoopla, said: ‘Over the last 12 months, the time to agree a sale has increased by almost two weeks. 

‘This is due to a few factors: there are fewer buyers in the market alongside cost of living concerns and higher mortgage rates which has meant many have had to pause a search for their next home. 

‘However, we are now simply seeing a return to more normal market conditions experienced in the years leading up to the pandemic. 

‘Anyone thinking about selling should bear this in mind and be prepared that it may take longer to sell their property than in recent years.’

Data published by Nationwide on Wednesday revealed house prices defied expectations by rising 0.9 per cent last month.

But the index showed that house prices remain 3.3 per cent down compared to October last year.

House prices also remain 5.23 per cent, or £14,328 below their peak in August 2022, before mortgage rates began to rapidly rise.

The average home increased in price from £257,808 in September to £259,423 in October, Nationwide said.

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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
YouTube Channel

Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

Air France – Deals & Destinations

Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
— For More Info. & News Submissions:
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Want to sell your home over Christmas? Here’s why you should put the decorations AWAY

Across the country, a warm glow is beginning to appear — but might it be from Yuletide decorations destroying the chances of selling your home?

For some people the festive season involves inflatable Santas clinging to windowsills like burglars. Others prefer illuminated reindeers in the front garden.

But if you’re among the 100,000 households trying to sell this Christmas, the advice from many experts is to leave the lights in the garage and the plastic snowman in the loft.

Keep them in the garage: Over-the top decorations

Keep them in the garage: Over-the top decorations

Vendors must avoid anything that handicaps a sale in today’s difficult market.

Rightmove says the average asking price of homes across the UK coming to the market in November is 1.7 per cent down on October, while posh estate agency Savills reports some London prices are now 19 per cent below their peak.

And as buyers struggle to afford mortgages, the number of house sales nationwide this year is expected to be one million, according to Zoopla — or 20 per cent lower than usual.

The Your Move chain of estate agents is clear that decorations should be off the agenda, adding: ‘The key to potential buyers falling in love with a property is them being able to imagine themselves living there.

‘Piles of clutter and decorations make it harder. So make it easier for them by keeping spaces as open as possible.’

The key to potential buyers falling in love with a property is them being able to imagine themselves living there. Piles of clutter and decorations make it harder

The public seems to agree. A survey by GetAgent, a comparison site on which the public can find favourably reviewed estate agents, shows 24 per cent of would-be buyers say they’re deterred from viewing a home with excessive outdoor Christmas lights.

Colby Short, chief executive of GetAgent, advises: ‘Selling at Christmas is no different to any time of year and you have to remember that not everyone will share your tastes, or sense of humour.

‘A blank canvas works best when it comes to attracting potential buyers and if your home is covered in Christmas decorations, it can be hard for them to get a true sense of the property.’

Tasteful: Forget inflatable Santas and pick refined, calming colours if you're hoping to sell a property this Christmas

Tasteful: Forget inflatable Santas and pick refined, calming colours if you’re hoping to sell a property this Christmas

Tips for selling a home over Christmas

GetAgent recommends sellers stick to white lights and not coloured, flashing ones visible on a ‘walk-by’ initial viewing, and no gaudy exterior decorations.

Instead it suggests a festive twist on the smell of freshly baked bread — vendors should use Christmas scents such as cinnamon and mulled wine.

Not every agent is against decorations. Some, like Alex Oliver of buying service Prime Purchase, says they are inevitable and most buyers grin and bear them.

Nonetheless he tells sellers that if they must have decorations, they should follow two golden rules.

Firstly, don’t get a home photographed by agents at this time of year because listings on Rightmove with decorations in the photographs will make a home feel stale in the New Year.

Secondly, take the decorations down soon after the festivities to avoid giving the wrong message.

‘If the decorations were still up I’d be concerned there may be other issues that the vendor has not kept on top of such as maintenance or permissions for any works they may have had done,’ Oliver adds.

But many experts say listing your house now and having it on sale over the festive season has unexpected advantages.

That’s because Christmas is when many families have time to make plans for major events such as house-moving and, sadly, many couples agree to split up.

Agents say anyone preferring to view homes now instead of relaxing is likely to be a serious buyer, while there will also be significantly fewer homes on the market too, so you will face less competition.

Twelve months ago there were a jaw-dropping 51 million visits to Rightmove between Boxing Day and the first working day of 2023.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s data director, says: ‘Traffic to our website more than doubles between Christmas and the New Year, those sellers who get a head start now and have their home ready to launch can benefit.’

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