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U.N. Syria envoy warns of 'perfect storm' in Idlib

U.N. Syria envoy warns of 'perfect storm' in Idlib

World
Aug. 30 (UPI) -- U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura warned of a "perfect storm" facing the country's Idlib province Thursday. De Mistra expressed concern for the residents of Idlib as President Bashar al-Assad's government forces, which are backed by Russia, are expected to launch an offensive to clear militants from the al-Qaida and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham -- also known as the al-Nusra Front -- militant groups from the area. "While we are talking, there are some discussions taking place, and we hope that they will be fruitful but that doesn't mean that we should be not worried, on the contrary, we are worried about any hurried escalation," he said. The Russian military amassed a fleet of at least 10 warships and two submarines off Syria's northwest coast in preparation for an as...
Mars Opportunity: Rover 'should ride out storm'

Mars Opportunity: Rover 'should ride out storm'

Science
The American space agency says it is concerned but hopeful that its veteran robot rover on Mars can survive a big dust storm on the planet. The 15-year-old vehicle, known as Opportunity, has gone into an emergency mode because there is not enough sunlight reaching its solar panels to power onboard systems. All contact was lost at the weekend.The only function likely running off the batteries currently is a clock.The expectation is that the robot is using this timepiece to wake itself periodically to check whether skies have cleared."It is concerning; this team has a very strong bond with the rover," said John Callas, the Opportunity project manager at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory."We anthropomorphise this rover; we have a tig...
'Perfect storm' for retailers, warns McDonald's boss

'Perfect storm' for retailers, warns McDonald's boss

Business
Britain's retailers are facing "a perfect storm" that will see businesses squeezed and more corporate failures, according to the UK boss of McDonald's.In an exclusive interview for Sky News, Paul Pomroy said he had made the "bold decision" to keep investing in restaurants and staff since Brexit, but said conditions were getting ever tougher.Describing a "perfect storm of challenges, Mr Pomroy said: "I am really concerned by the amount of inflation that companies are carrying at the moment."Food inflation is running at between 4% and 7% across retail, there's pressure on wage inflation, interest rate movements and now you are seeing businesses becoming less brave in their decision-making.Image:Paul Pomroy says firms are becoming 'less brave in their decision-making'"They're not making the i...