Fears of a radiation leak mount near Ukrainian nuclear plant:
This composite of satellite images taken by Planet Labs PBC shows smoke rising from fires at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
As of last Friday, authorities are distributing iodine tablets to residents near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in case of a radiation leak. This comes amid mounting fears that the fighting around the complex could trigger a catastrophe. The move came a day after the plant was temporarily knocked offline because of what officials said was fire damage to a transmission line.The Zaporizhzhia plant has been occupied by Russian forces and run by Ukrainian workers since early in the 6-month-old war. The two sides have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the site. The UN’s atomic energy agency has been attempting to send in a team to inspect and help secure the plant. Officials said preparations for the trip were underway, though it remains unclear when it might take place.
U.S. and China reach landmark audit deal in boon for Chinese tech companies:
A Chinese national flag flutters outside the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) building on the Financial Street in Beijing, China July 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
On Friday, Beijing and Washington took a major step towards ending a dispute that threatened to remove Chinese companies from the US stock exchange. The two countries signed a pact allowing US regulators to vet accounting firms in China and Hong Kong. Regulators have demanded access to audit papers of US-listed Chinese companies for over a decade, but Beijing has been reluctant to let overseas regulators inspect its firms. The deal marks a partial thaw in relations amid tensions over Taiwan and comes as a relief for hundreds of Chinese companies, investors, and US exchanges. According to US SEC Chair Gary Gensler, if it works in practice then it will prevent some 200 Chinese companies from being banned from US exchanges. Though this is intended as only a first step, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which oversees audits of the US.-listed companies, said it was the most detailed agreement the regulator has ever reached with China. The long-running dispute came to a head in 2020 when the United States passed the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which forced the SEC to take a tougher hand with US-listed Chinese companies. The PCAOB and SEC expect to make a determination on China's compliance with inspections by the end of the year, officials said.
Sudanese journalists form independent union to defend freedoms:
A Sudanese journalist casts her vote in the election of a syndicate leader and executive committee in Khartoum on 27 August 2022 (AFP)
Sudanese journalists have formed the country's first independent professional union for decades. Campaigners consider this an important step towards reestablishing freedoms after a military coup. This belief is largely due to the role of shadow unions that sprang up in opposition to autocrat Omar al-Bashir in an uprising that toppled him in 2019. A military coup last October ended a power-sharing arrangement with civilians that followed the uprising. The coup also led to the suspension of a radio station, and some TV journalists were subject to attacks, raids, or arrests. These were blamed on security forces and loyalists of the former regime. Journalists aligned with Bashir had attempted to prevent Sunday's vote going ahead by raising an ongoing legal complaint, saying the syndicate could not replace the pre-existing Bashir-era union. However, election committee head Faisal Mohamed Salih, who served as information minister in a civilian-led government between the uprising and the coup, said the vote "was executed in a completely democratic way... smoothly and with a high turnout and excitement among the journalists."