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Nokia to stop doing business in Russia

Telecoms equipment maker Nokia is pulling out of the Russian market, its CEO told Reuters, going a step further than rival Ericsson, which said on Monday it was indefinitely suspending its business in the country.

Hundreds of foreign companies are cutting ties with Russia following its February 24 invasion of Ukraine and after Western sanctions against Moscow.

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While several sectors, including telecoms, have been exempted from some sanctions on humanitarian or related grounds, Nokia said it had decided that quitting Russia was the only option.

“We just simply do not see any possibilities to continue in the country under the current circumstances,” CEO Pekka Lundmark said in an interview.

He added Nokia would continue to support customers during its exit, and it was not possible to say at this stage how long the withdrawal would take.

Nokia is applying for the relevant licenses to support customers in compliance with current sanctions, it said in a statement.

Both Nokia and Ericsson made a low single-digit percentage of sales in Russia, where Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE have a bigger share.

Nokia does not expect this decision to impact its 2022 outlook but said it would lead to a provision in the first quarter of about 100 million euros ($109 million).

Russia is also at loggerheads with Finland and Sweden, the home countries of Nokia and Ericsson respectively, over their interest in joining the NATO military alliance.

Russia had also been pushing for companies to start building networks using only Russian equipment, seeking to persuade Nokia and Ericsson to set up factories in the country.

Lundmark said Nokia would not implement a plan announced in November to set up a joint venture with Russia’s YADRO to build 4G and 5G telecom base stations.

Nokia’s decision to leave Russia will affect about 2,000 workers, and some of them might be offered work in other parts of the world, Lundmark said.

Nokia has about 90,000 employees globally.

“A lot would have to change before it will be possible to consider again doing business in the country,” Lundmark said.

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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