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EU and US work on new Russia sanctions in response to capture of Ukrainian sailors | World News

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The European Union and the United States are working on new sanctions against Russia following the capture of 24 Ukrainian sailors off the coast of Crimea, Sky News has learned.

Brussels and Washington are understood to be co-ordinating their action to strengthen the effect on President Vladimir Putin’s regime, according to European sources.

“When there is common ground there is much better impact,” one source said.

Britain and a number of other EU allies are pushing for new “restrictive measures” to be announced by the European Union in the coming weeks, three sources told Sky News.

The Ukrainian sailors were detained as they attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait
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The Ukrainian sailors were detained as they attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait

“It is right that we now move to raise the cost on Russia for its actions,” a second source said.

Foreign ministers from the 28 EU member states are expected to talk about the prospect of further sanctions as part of a wider debate on the situation in Ukraine during a foreign affairs council meeting in Brussels on Monday.

This follows Russia’s decision on 25 November to detain the Ukrainian sailors and their three navy vessels as they attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov. The sailors remain in detention.

Moscow accuses the Ukrainians of illegally entering Russian waters, something Kiev denied.

Moscow accuses Ukraine of illegally entering Russian waters
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Moscow accuses Ukraine of illegally entering Russian waters

One source said there is evidence of Russia continuing to restrict the flow of ships through that stretch of water, with signs that the volume of shipping has fallen over the past two months.

There is an awareness in Western capitals that their response to Russia’s actions in the Azov Sea has so far been weak, allowing what amounted to a violation of the international law of the sea to go unpunished.

There is a risk that this could embolden Russia to continue to disrupt shipping in the area unless action is taken.

Initially certain EU member states had hoped that the seizure of the Ukrainian sailors and vessels could be resolved diplomatically with the Kremlin.

However there is no indication that Moscow plans to release the personnel.

Putin said he would pull out of the treaty in the same time frame as the US
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Mr Putin could be facing further sanctions

“There is no sign they are willing to de-escalate,” a source said.

Talks are understood to be under way at a tactical, working-group level within the EU to draw up new sanctions, which will target those individuals responsible for the Kerch Strait incident, sources said.

“Some more names, asset freezes”, a diplomatic source added.

A final decision has yet been made by the EU on the sanctions but this is expected to happen in the coming weeks.

“What might happen is we have a political green light followed in the coming weeks with actual action,” an EU source said.

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Scientists prove bathing 90 minutes before bed helps sleep | Science & Tech News

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Scientists have proven that taking a bath 90 minutes before going to bed can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Researchers at the University of Texas in Austin analysed thousands of studies on “water-based passive body heating” or bathing and showering with hot water.

The biomedical engineers found that bathing between one and two hours before bedtime in water between 40C (105F) and 42C (109F) can significantly improve sleep.

“When we looked through all known studies, we noticed significant disparities in terms of the approaches and findings,” said Shahab Haghayegh, a PhD candidate and lead author on the paper.

“The only way to make an accurate determination of whether sleep can in fact be improved was to combine all the past data and look at it through a new lens.”

The team published its paper in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews after analysing 5,322 studies.

A lot of the science proving how a bath or shower improves sleep is already established.

Both sleep and core temperature in humans are regulated by something called the circadian clock, which is located within the brain’s hypothalamus which sets the pattern for our bodily functions.

Our body temperature is closely involved in regulating our sleep, and our temperatures can be up to three degrees Fahrenheit higher in the late afternoon and early evening than when we sleep.

BathtubHAMBURG, GERMANY - JANUARY 13: A rubber duck swims in a foam bath in a bath tub on January 13, 2007 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
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Baths around 40C (105F) are ideal

As our temperature rises during the night it works like a kind of biological alarm clock which ultimately disrupts our sleeping.

According to the researchers: “The temperature cycle leads the sleep cycle and is an essential factor in achieving rapid sleep onset and high efficiency sleep.”

They discovered that perfect timing between having a bath and our core body temperature cooling down to improve sleep quality is 90 minutes.

“Warm baths and showers stimulate the body’s thermoregulatory system, causing a marked increase in the circulation of blood from the internal core of the body to the peripheral sites of the hands and feet, resulting in efficient removal of body heat and decline in body temperature,” according to the researchers.

“Therefore, if baths are taken at the right biological time, 1-2 hours before bedtime, they will aid the natural circadian process and increase one’s chances of not only falling asleep quickly but also of experiencing better quality sleep.”

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India launches rocket to far side of moon – just days after aborted take-off | World News

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India’s space agency has launched an unmanned spacecraft to the far side of the moon just a week after aborting the mission due to a technical problem.

The Chandrayaan rocket lifted off from a site in Sriharikota, off the Bay of Bengal, as scheduled at 2.43pm local time (10.13am UK time) on Monday.

Named after the Sanskrit word for mooncraft, Chandrayaan is designed to land on the lunar south pole in September and send a rover to explore water deposits that were confirmed by a 2008 mission which orbited the moon.

The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Chandrayaan-2 (Moon Chariot 2), on board the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-mark III-M1), launches in Sriharikota in the state of Andhra Pradesh on July 22, 2019
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The rocket was launched off the Bay of Bengal

Last week’s launch of the $141m (£113m) mission was called off less than an hour before lift-off due to a “technical snag”.

Media reports said it was aborted after a leak was discovered while filling helium in the rocket’s cryogenic engine.

The space agency neither confirmed nor denied the reports, saying instead that the problem had been identified and corrected.

The spacecraft is carrying an orbiter, a lander and a rover that will move around on the lunar surface for 14 earth days.

The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Chandrayaan-2 (Moon Chariot 2), on board the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-mark III-M1), launches in Sriharikota in the state of Andhra Pradesh on July 22, 2019
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Chandrayaan is named after the Sanskrit word for mooncraft

It will take about 47 days to travel before landing on the moon in September.

India, which put a satellite into orbit around Mars in the nation’s first interplanetary mission in 2013 and 2014, plans to send its first manned spaceflight by 2022.

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Stena Impero: Crew seen in first pictures from inside UK-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran | World News

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The crew of a British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf have been pictured inside the vessel for the first time since armed soldiers took control.

Some of the 23 personnel stationed aboard the Stena Impero are seen working in the kitchen and assembled around a table, while others are visible near the windows on one of the decks, looking up towards an official stood in-front of them alongside a large pile of shoes.

Tehran had already released video footage of the moment on Friday that members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard rappelled on to the vessel, which is now being held at the Bandar Abbas port.

Iran has said the crew are in 'good health'
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Iran has said the crew are in ‘good health’
There are 23 people in the crew
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There are 23 people in the crew

Those on-board the Swedish-owned, European-operated tanker are from India, Latvia, Russia and the Philippines – and all are said to be in “good health”.

Among the crew is Dijo Pappachan, from Kochi, India, whose parents have said they are “shocked” by the situation.

His father, TV Pappachan, told the Khaleej Times newspaper: “He called and spoke with his mother on Thursday morning saying he is on his way to Saudi Arabia from Dubai. To our utter shock, we got a call from his company the next day saying the ship is under Iran’s custody.

“I am not speaking only for my son. All the 23 crew members set sail to foreign countries for work. They are on-board to make a living. We are all praying for the entire crew’s safe return.”

Stena Impero
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Some of the crew of the Stena Impero can be seen in this picture from inside the vessel
The crew of can be seen working in the kitchen
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The crew can be seen working in the kitchen

The crew had been expecting to arrive in the Saudi Arabian industrial city of Jubail on Sunday, having departed Fujairah on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

As it passed westward through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, it was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter, from which troops from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard rappelled on to the vessel to seize control.

The vessel’s course shifted north towards the Iranian coast.

Dijo Pappachan
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Dijo Pappachan is among the crew aboard the vessel
Deena and TV Pappachan, whose son is among the crew
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Deena and TV Pappachan, whose son is among the crew

Some 40 minutes later, there was a similar course shift by the UK-operated, Liberian-flagged Mesdar.

That crew was allowed to continue their voyage a few hours later after the ship was boarded by armed guards.









Moment Iranian troops board tanker

The seizure of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz has sparked widespread condemnation in the UK, with a Cobra emergency committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said it looked like Iran was choosing a “dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour”, but wants a “diplomatic solution” to the dispute.

He is due to update the House of Commons on the situation, with sanctions against Iran for its “illegal interference” said to be on the cards.

Ministers are reportedly considering freezing Iranian regime assets, which will exacerbate tensions that have been on a rapid rise since US sanctions came into effect at the start of May.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards patrolling around the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero off the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas
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Iranian Revolutionary Guards patrolling around the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero

It began when two US oil tankers in the region were attacked on 13 June, with Iran denying it was to blame after the regime was accused by Donald Trump.

Britain has since become embroiled in a tit-for-tat of its own, starting with the involvement of Royal Marines in the seizure of an Iranian supertanker near Gibraltar due to suspicions it was carrying oil to the Syrian regime.

Bob Seely MP, from the foreign affairs committee, has said the situation constitutes a “massive crisis” that will only grow unless there is “an Iranian nuclear deal that gets the US back in it”.

President Trump has said he "was not happy" about what the crowd had to say.
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Iran has blamed Donald Trump for the heightened tensions in the Gulf

Mr Trump took the US out of the international agreement earlier this year, and its remaining Western backers fear it will soon collapse.

The deal – considered one of the most significant foreign policy achievements of the Obama administration – was designed to see Iran eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and reduce the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.



Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has been in a Cobra meeting discussing what 'further measures' will be taken







Hunt to Iran: ‘We need that ship released’

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has blamed the US for the current situation in the Gulf, saying Washington wants to drag the UK “into a quagmire”.

Meanwhile, Iran claims it has broken up a CIA spying ring and sentenced some of the 17 suspects to death.

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