Taiwan Activist Urges Crackdown Against Floating Sweatshops

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Three videos from a mobile phone that described the beatings of an Indonesian crewman aboard a Taiwan-flagged vessel led Allison Lee to find her role as an advocate for those afflicted: migrant fishermen.  

Lee, the co-founder of the Yilan Migrant Fishermen Union, was recognized by the United States for safeguarding the rights of foreign fishermen working in Taiwan.  

 

In accepting her award in Washington on Tuesday, she made one appeal: to end slavery on the open sea.

To know the path from ocean to consumers’ dinner plates is to know the story of floating sweatshops, Lee told VOA on Tuesday.  

“Migrant fishermen are vulnerable to exploitation,” she said.

State Department award

Flanked by President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, Lee was one of the eight men and women to receive “Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery Award” at the State Department, where the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report was released.

Lee is the first Taiwan citizen to receive the honor.  

Migrant workers aboard Taiwan-flagged fishing vessels that operate in international waters are not covered by the so-called Labor Standards Act, the laws governing employer and employee rights. Therefore, they do not benefit from Taiwan’s minimum-wage regulations regarding overtime pay, Lee said.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen reaffirmed her government’s pledge to battle against human trafficking.

“Taiwan is committed to working with all stakeholders to fight human trafficking,” Tsai tweeted.  

For eight consecutive years, Taiwan has been ranked in the “Tier 1” category, the best ranking in the human-trafficking report.

While acknowledging Taiwan’s “serious and sustained efforts,” Washington urged Taipei to increase efforts to prosecute and convict traffickers under the anti-trafficking law.

‘Vigorously investigate’ infractions

The State Department also urged Taiwan to “vigorously investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute the owners of Taiwan-owned or -flagged fishing vessels that allegedly commit abuse and labor trafficking on board long-haul fishing vessels.”

The TIP Report is a symbol of the U.S. moral and legal obligation to combat tragic human rights abuses and as well as to advance human dignity around the world, said Susan Coppedge, the U.S. Ambassador-at-large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

“Tier 1 countries meet the minimum standards to combat trafficking, but that’s just the minimum. They don’t rest on their laurels, so to speak,” Coppedge told VOA on Tuesday.

“They need to continue their efforts to combat trafficking, and one of the areas where Taiwan can make additional progress is in labor trafficking,” she added.

On January 15, 2017, the Act for Distant Water Fisheries took effect in Taiwan amid growing pressure on Taiwan’s seafood industry to crack down on modern-day slavery and abuses for migrants working on the island’s fishing vessels.

Lee told reporters that being a Christian gave her strength to withstand the pressure from government officials and the industry.

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Italy Threatens to Block Ships Carrying Migrants

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Italian officials say their government has told the European Commission in Brussels it is considering stopping ships that are not Italian-registered from disembarking at its ports migrants who were rescued while trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya.

The dramatic move comes after nearly 11,000 asylum-seekers and economic migrants, mainly from African nations, arrived on Italian shores in a four-day period from war-wracked Libya. In a letter to the commission, Italy’s ambassador to the EU, Maurizio Massari, said the situation has become “unsustainable.”

In a meeting Wednesday, Massari informed Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s commissioner for migration, that his government is now considering denying landing rights to any ships that aren’t flying the Italian flag or are not part of the EU interdiction and rescue mission in the Mediterranean.

Libya as migrants’ gateway to Europe

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has accused fellow EU nations of “looking the other way,” and not doing enough to assist Italy with the surge in migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Libya has become the main gateway to Europe for migrants and refugees from across sub-Saharan Africa, and also from the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Syria and Bangladesh.

Many are fleeing war and persecution, but most who are using Libya are seeking to escape poverty. Italy has become the main point of arrival for all of those rescued off the coast of Libya. Stranded refugees often are picked up by boats operated or funded by private charities and non-government organizations.

An intense debate has erupted in Italy about whether ships operated by mainly international NGOs have effectively been in league with the people-smugglers, and thus inadvertently enabling the trade to continue

Nearly 11,000 arrivals in four days

There has been a dramatic rise, partly thanks to good weather, in the number of migrants attempting the short but perilous Mediterranean crossing. In the four-day period through Tuesday (June 24-27), 8,863 migrants landed in Italy, including more than 5,000 on Monday alone, according to the International Office for Migration. Another 2,000 landed on Tuesday.

In the first five months of this year, 60,228 migrants arrived in Italy by boat. The IOM reported that 1,562 died at sea. At the current rate, and with months of good sailing weather ahead, the number of migrants is on track to exceed the 200,000 who landed in Italy in 2016.

Around 15 percent of those arriving this year are Nigerian. Twelve percent are Bangladeshi; Guineans account for 10 percent and nine percent are Ivorians.

 

Other EU nations have closed their borders to migrants, hoping to block them from moving north. Poland and Hungary have refused to host some asylum seekers to help ease the burden on Italy and Greece, another front line country. Greece has seen a huge decline in asylum-seeking numbers since the EU concluded a deal with Turkey to curb refugees and migrants using Turkish territory to head to Europe.

The surge in migrants this week prompted Italy’s interior minister, Marco Minniti, to cancel a trip to Washington to address the growing humanitarian crisis, which is quickly morphing into a political one for the country’s left-leaning coalition government. In municipal elections this month the coalition lost ground to center-right parties such as Matteo Salvini’s Northern League, which has called for a “stop to the invasion.”

Domestic opposition growing

Italy’s right-wing Forza Italia party has campaigned for the denial of landing rights to ships carrying migrants. And even the maverick radical Five Star Movement is moving to a more anti-immigrant position, calling for a halt to any new migrants being lodged in Rome.

Italy is now asking for the European Commission to change EU asylum procedures and allow Italy to stop new migrant landings or reduce them dramatically. But it is not clear whether a denial of landing rights would comply with international seafaring law or commitments Italy made when it signed the 1951 Refugee Convention.

After meeting Ambassador Massari on Wednesday, EU migration commissioner Avramopoulos praised Italy’s exemplary behavior to date and agreed: “Italy is right that the situation is untenable.” 

Other EU member states must “step up” and contribute financial support to Italy, Avramopoulos said, along with aid to African nations like Libya to try to reduce the numbers of people leaving for Europe.

“Now is the moment to deliver, and we will hold them to this,” the commissioner said.

Avramopoulos made almost exactly the same remarks in February, and similar promises have been made by other EU officials. The bloc’s 28 national leaders also agreed last week that “front line” countries Italy and Greece should receive more help with the arrivals.

Last month, the interior ministers of Germany and Italy urged the European Union to set up a border mission along Libya’s frontier with Niger in a bid to stop mainly African migrants from reaching Europe. In the past, the EU has tried to curb the migrant flow by working with various authorities in Libya, which is divided between rival governments and their militia backers, but to little avail.

In a sign of the deepening chaos in the north African country, a five-vehicle United Nations convoy was ambushed Wednesday 30 kilometers from the Libyan capital Tripoli. Several U.N. employees were held for a while, then released. Local media reported the ambush was staged in an attempt to gain the release of three drug-runners arrested by a vigilante force in Tripoli.

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Fed Approves Dividend, Buyback Plans of All 34 Biggest Banks

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The Federal Reserve has given the green light to all 34 of the biggest banks in the U.S. to raise their dividends and buy back shares, judging their financial foundations sturdy enough to withstand a major economic downturn.

It was the first time in seven years of annual “stress tests” that every bank assessed by the Fed won approval for its capital plans. All have at least $50 billion in assets.

The Fed on Wednesday announced the results of the second round of its annual stress tests. Those allowed to raise dividends or repurchase shares include the four biggest U.S. banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

Capital One’s plan only got conditional approval and it has six months to revise it. But the bank was still allowed to return profits to shareholders.

After the results were made public, the banks quickly jumped in with announcements of dividend boosts and share buyback plans. They included a doubling of Citigroup’s dividend, a 60 percent dividend increase by Bank of America and a 12 percent hike for JPMorgan.

Capital One, because of its conditional status, opted to keep its dividend at its current level but is planning a share repurchase.

The second part of the seventh yearly checkup tested the banks to determine if their current plans for paying out capital to shareholders would still allow them to keep lending if hit by another financial crisis and severe recession.

Results show strength

With the 34 banks holding more than three-quarters of total assets of all U.S. financial companies, the results showed strength in an industry that nearly toppled the financial system — and has recovered handily nearly nine years on from the 2008-09 crisis. Banks large and small across the U.S. received hundreds of billions in taxpayer funds to prop them up during the financial meltdown.

Now the banks have a total of about $1.2 trillion in capital reserves as of the fourth quarter of last year, an increase of $750 billion over the beginning of 2009, in the depths of the crisis, according to the Fed. They are expected to pay out to shareholders nearly 100 percent of their net revenue over the next four quarters, compared with 65 percent in the same period last year.

“They can now more freely pay out dividends and buy back stock without worrying whether they are resilient in a financial crisis,” said David Wright, a managing director at Deloitte who formerly worked on bank supervision at the Fed.

The results may not be an explicit seal of approval for the banks by the Fed, but that’s the conclusion that can be drawn, Wright said.

“I don’t think they [the Fed] are quite ready to declare victory, though,” he added. “Some of the smaller firms still struggled to identify risks and there is more work to be done. But I think we are at, or close to, the summit.”

Fed Gov. Jerome Powell said in a statement the Fed’s assessment of banks’ capital plans in light of their reserves “has motivated all of the largest banks to achieve healthy capital levels, and most to substantially improve their capital planning processes.”

The financial industry has seized on the strong showing to buttress its assertion that regulations it sees as excessive should be rolled back. After the crisis that plunged the U.S. into the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s, banking industry profits have been steadily rising and banks have been lending more freely. The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have taken major steps this year toward easing the financial rules that came in under the Dodd-Frank law enacted by Democrats and President Barack Obama in response to the crisis.  

Worst-case scenario

Wednesday’s announcement on the second round of the tests followed last week’s initial results. There, the regulators determined that the 34 big banks are adequately fortified with capital buffers to withstand a severe U.S. and global recession and continue lending.

The Fed’s most extreme hypothetical scenario in this year’s tests envisions the U.S. economy falling into a deep recession causing the stock market to plunge about 40 percent. Under that scenario, unemployment — now at a 16-year low of 4.3 percent — climbs to at least 10 percent, while home prices drop 25 percent and commercial real estate prices tumble 30 percent.

The Fed said the 34 big banks would sustain $383 billion in loan losses under the most dire scenario. That’s down from $526 billion in losses for 33 banks last year. Even with $383 billion in losses, all the banks would still together hold a high-quality capital ratio of 9.2 percent, far above the 4.5 percent minimum and showing improvement from last year’s 8.4 percent. Capital ratios are an industry measure of how strong a cushion a bank holds against unexpected losses.

The dividend increases and share buyback plans are important to ordinary investors, and to banks. The banks know that their investors suffered big losses in the crisis, and they are eager to reward them. Some shareholders, especially retirees, rely on dividends for a portion of their income. For the banks, raising dividends can drive up their share prices and make their stock more valuable to investors.

But raising dividends is costly, and regulators don’t want banks to run down their capital reserves, making them vulnerable in another recession. Buybacks also are aimed at helping shareholders. By reducing the number of a company’s outstanding shares, earnings per share can increase.

CIT was added this year to the banks tested by the Fed. They are: Ally Financial, American Express, BancWest, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BMO Financial, Capital One, Citigroup, Citizens Financial, Comerica, Deutsche Bank, Discover, Fifth Third, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Huntington Bancshares, JPMorgan, KeyCorp, M&T, Morgan Stanley, MUFG Americas Holdings, Northern Trust, PNC, Regions Financial, Santander Holdings, State Street, SunTrust, TD Group, U.S. Bancorp, Wells Fargo and Zions Bancorp.

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Pope Tells New Cardinals: Be Humble, Help Poor, Fight Injustice

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Pope Francis elevated five senior clerics from outside Italy and the Vatican to the top rank of cardinal on Wednesday, urging them to be humble and not forget refugees and victims of war, terrorism and injustice.

Appointing new cardinals is one of the most significant powers of the papacy, allowing a pontiff to put his stamp on the future of the 1.2 billion-member Church.

Cardinals are the pope’s closest advisers in the Vatican and around the world and those under 80 years old are known as “cardinal-electors” because they can choose his successor.

Humble servants

The new cardinals come from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos and El Salvador and all five are under 80 years old. All of those countries, except for Spain, are getting their first cardinal.

With their elevation at a ceremony, known as a consistory, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis has now named nearly 50 cardinal-electors of a total 121.

During the ceremony where the new cardinals received their red hat, known as a “biretta,” the pope said they were called to be humble servants of others and not “princes of the Church.”

They had to “look at reality” and care for “the innocent who suffer and die as victims of war and terrorism.”

Swiss bank account

They should combat “the forms of enslavement that continue to violate human dignity even in the age of human rights; the refugee camps which at times seem more like a hell than a purgatory; the systematic discarding of all that is no longer useful, people included.”

The new cardinals are Archbishop Jean Zerbo, 73, from Mali, Archbishop Juan Jose Omella, 71, from Spain, Bishop Anders Arborelius, 67, from Stockholm, Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, 73, from Laos, and Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez, 74, from San Salvador.

The Church in Mali has denied recent French media reports about alleged irregularities concerning a bank account reportedly held by the Mali Church in Switzerland. A statement this month denied that it was involved in embezzlement but did not comment directly on the Swiss bank account.

The fact that none of the five are Italian and none hold Vatican positions underscores Francis’ conviction that the Church must be a global institution that should become increasingly less Italian and Europe-centric.

It was Francis’ fourth consistory since his election in 2013 and he has used each of them to show support for the Church in countries where Catholics are in a minority, in this case Sweden, Mali and Laos.

Chavez, the new cardinal from El Salvador, was a close associate of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated by a right-wing death squad in 1980. Francis is keen to see Romero made a saint during his pontificate.

Boost of morale in Sweden

The naming of Arborelius, the Swede, was significant because Sweden is where the Lutheran World Federation was founded in 1947 and because this year marks the 500th anniversary of protestant Martin Luther’s Reformation. Francis, who visited Sweden last year, is keen to further Catholic dialogue with Protestant churches.

Sweden is also one of the world’s most secular countries and the naming of a cardinal there will boost the morale of the tiny Catholic population.

After the ceremony in the basilica, the five new cardinals went to pay their respects to 90-year-old former Pope Benedict, who resigned in 2013 and is living on the grounds of the Vatican.

 

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Red-hot Iceland Keeps Some Investors Out in the Cold

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Iceland spent nearly a decade trying to keep foreign money in the country after a financial collapse, now it is trying to keep some of it out.

The economy is booming again and hedge funds and other foreign investors want exposure to a surging tourism sector, banks, property, infrastructure and the soaring krona currency.

Most capital controls from the 2008 banking crisis were lifted in March, allowing money to flow in and out of the country more freely.

But with over 20 financial crises since 1875 and warnings from economists about the risk of overheating again, the government is being cautious.

It has left in place restrictions making it prohibitively expensive to buy government bonds which offer returns of 4.5 percent, the highest of any developed economy.

On Monday, the central bank took another step to try and break the cycle of boom and bust on the isolated North Atlantic island, clamping down on derivatives and other avenues it was worried were being used to bet on the krona.

“There are a bunch of people I know who would love to put money into Iceland but they simply can’t because of restrictions on the inflows,” said Mark Dowding, who runs a hedge fund at BlueBay Asset Management and bought into the Icelandic government bond market in 2015, before the central bank rules were introduced.

The government is preparing other steps to make Iceland less attractive — a contrast to other economies recovering from crisis which have welcomed inflows of money.

The government is preparing to raise taxes for the tourism industry which has been growing at 20 to 25 percent a year as foreigners flock to its volcanoes, glaciers and geysers. It is also considering a currency peg for the krona.

Opportunities

Iceland offers other exciting investment opportunities.

Growth of more than 6 percent is forecast this year and the krona is up 20 percent versus both the dollar and euro over the last 12 months.

The central bank has cut interest rates four times in the last year and analysts say it would need to cut further if it wants to slow the rise of the currency. That could further stimulate the economy.

“Once every decade or two, I come across a market overseas which is most attractive and is worth considering,” said Gervais Williams, a portfolio manager at London-based Miton Group. “That last happened in 1995 in Ireland, and Iceland is the market I now like.”

Cumulative net capital inflows have gone from almost nothing to 150 billion crown ($1.45 billion) in two years.

New cars sales are at the highest in 10 years, Marriott will open Iceland’s first five-star hotel next year. Data center firms are also moving in as the climate and cheap geothermal energy cut the costs of cooling huge server stacks.

A potential float of Arion Bank, the domestic arm that emerged from the collapsed Kaupthing bank, meanwhile is expected to lead to a surge of new foreign money into the stock market which currently lists just 17 firms.

Several hedge funds — Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, Taconic Capital Advisors and Attestor Capital — bought stakes in Arion privately, after the bulk of capital controls were lifted earlier in the year.

On the back of the shifts, London and Iceland-based fund firm GAMMA Capital Management launched its first two funds — including one hedge fund — for foreign investors in November last year after requests from abroad.

“We have been getting a lot of interest … but investing in Iceland brings a lot of hurdles, so we created a simple conduit,” said Hafsteinn Hauksson, economist at GAMMA. Both funds have more than doubled in size this year, he said.

Red hot

Nevertheless, there are concerns that Iceland could overheat again.

The International Monetary Fund said in a report last week that there was a need for “vigilance with regards to credit growth and the real estate sector, labour market tightening and wage increases.”

It called for capital inflows to be managed carefully.

Iceland has a history of spectacular booms and bust.

The head of Iceland’s central bank regularly describes its 2007-2008 banking bust — when the top-three banks, Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki collapsed under heavy debts — as “the third-biggest bankruptcy in the history of mankind.”

A 2015 report by Bank of Iceland economists noted that this was not Iceland’s first financial crisis.

“In fact, over a period spanning almost one and a half century [1875-2013], we identify over twenty instances of financial crises of different types,” it said. “Recognizing that crises tend to come in clusters, we identify six serious multiple financial crisis episodes occurring every fifteen years on average.”

The report said the crises typically involved a sudden collapse in the currency and capital inflows.

Glacier bonds

Wary of its history and nervous that the end of capital controls would bring a wave of foreign money, the central bank brought in a rule in May 2016 forcing buyers of its bonds to park additional money in a low interest account.

That costly “special reserve ratio” arrangement has meant foreign investment in Icelandic debt has dropped close to zero.

Along with repeated interest rate cuts, it has taken some of the steam out of the crown over the last month.

“In the current domestic and global circumstances, the risk of excessive and volatile carry-trade type capital inflows was becoming significant,” a central bank spokesman said of why the measure was brought in.

Monday’s decision to scale back some exemptions aimed to make it harder for foreign investors to bet on the krona.

Those exemptions had made it possible to conduct carry trades by issuing krona-denominated bonds — nicknamed Glacier bonds — and entering derivatives contracts with domestic banks.

“Experience has shown that capital inflows in connection with foreign issuance of krona-denominated bonds [Glacier bonds] could weaken monetary policy,” the central bank said.

Iceland also still has controls in place that prevent proceeds from the sale of pre-crisis bonds leaving the country unless the investor signs up to the terms of the central bank’s buyback arrangement, which offer a punitive exchange rate.

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Манафорт міг отримати від регіоналів 30 мільйонів доларів, а визнав лише 17 – Лещенко

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Народний депутат України Сергій Лещенко, який раніше оприлюднював інформацію про платежі Полу Манфорту від Партії регіонів, вважає, що той занизив отриману суму за надані регіоналам послуги.

«З того, що я побачив там відсутня звітність Пола Манафорта з 2005 по 2012 роки. Тобто, сім років його роботи на Партію регіонів відчутні у звіті, який він подав до Міністерства юстиції США. Саме ці сім років припадають на так звану «чорну бухгалтерію» Партії регіонів. Ця «чорна бухгалтерія» охоплює період з 2007 ро 2012 роки і саме цих платежів немає у звіті Манафорта до Міністерства юстиції США. Чи то він забув як отримував ці гроші, чи він воліє не показувати тих платежів, які фігурують у «чорній бухгалтерії» тому, що ці платежі були зроблені не у відповідності законам Америки або України?», – сказав Лещенко в інтерв’ю Радіо Свобода.

«17 мільйонів – це астрономічна сума, якщо чесно! Звичайно, за гроші Манафорта має відповідати сам Манафорт і ФБР США, яке розслідує його фінансові оборудки. Але в «чорній бухгалтерії» Партії регіонів, яка охоплює період з 2007 по 2012 роки, згадується його прізвище на суму у понад 12 мільйонів доларів. Тобто, це платежі, які присутні в «тіньовій бухгалтерії» і які відсутні в офіційній звітності Манафорта. В його звітності за 2012-2014 роки ще 17 мільйонів, тобто загалом виходіть 30 мільйонів доларів за період роботи на партію регіонів з 2007 по 2014 роки. А ще є період з 2005 ро 2007 роки, який не відображений ні у «тіньовій бухгалтерії», ні в його офіційних звітах», – зазначає депутат.

Колишній голова виборчої кампанії 45-го президента США Дональда Трампа Пол Манафорт 27 червня був зареєстрований як іноземний агент через консультаційні послуги, які він раніше надав політичній партії колишнього президента України Віктора Януковича.

Манафорт повідомив Міністерству юстиції, що його фірма, DMP International, отримала від Партії регіонів понад 17 мільйонів доларів за консультування в період з 2012 до 2014 року.

Манафорт очолював кампанію Трампа впродовж приблизно п’яти місяців – до серпня 2016 року. Він відмовився від цієї діяльності одразу після того, як агенція Associated Press повідомила про приховане Манафортом лобіювання від імені української владної партії.

Пол Манафорт є одним із кількох людей, пов’язаних свого часу з кампанією Трампа, які перебувають під наглядом комітетів Конгресу США, що розслідують втручання Росії у вибори 2016 року.

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Голова Запорізької ОДА Бриль отримав у червні 228 тисячі зарплати від СБУ – #Точно

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Голова Запорізької обласної державної адміністрації Костянтин Бриль отримав у червні від Служби безпеки України заробітну плату в розмірі 228 759 гривень. Така інформація міститься у Єдиному державному реєстрі декларацій осіб, уповноважених на виконання функцій держави або місцевого самоврядування, повідомляє #Точно, проект Радіо Свобода.

У грудні 2016 року Служба безпеки України у відповідь на запит програми «Схеми» (спільний проект Радіо Свобода і телеканалу «UA:Перший») повідомила, що декларація голови Запорізької облдержадміністрації Бриля відсутня на сайті Національного агентства з питань запобігання корупції, оскільки він проходить військову службу у вищезгаданій спецслужбі.

Як заявили в СБУ, електронні декларації співробітників не оприлюднюються на сайті НАЗК, оскільки становлять державну таємницю.

Крім того, в СБУ повідомили, що Костянтин Бриль направлений на роботу в Запоріжжя, в тому числі, в інтересах контррозвідки.

Проте пізніше, 18 травня 2017 року, голова Запорізької ОДА заявив, що звільнився з СБУ і просить оприлюднити його електронну декларацію.

Згідно з інформаційною довідкою Державного реєстру речових прав на нерухоме майно, він є власником понад 40 соток землі та двох будинків на 282 і 625 квадратних метрів в елітному поселенні Пуща-Водиця у Києві.

Дружина Костянтина Бриля Майя є власницею квартири площею 222 квадратні метри і гаража в центрі Києва, однокімнатної квартири під Києвом, а також мисливського будинку в урочищі «Діброва» у Київській області. 

 

 

 

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Родичу померлого президента Узбекистану Карімова дали статус біженця в Україні

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Затриманому в Києві родичу померлого президента Узбекистану Іслама Карімова, розшукуваному Ташкентом за підозрою в розтраті, дали статус біженця в Україні, повідомили Радіо Свобода у прокуратурі Києва.

Речниця прокуратури Києва Надія Максимець поінформувала 27 червня, що 33-річного Акбаралі Абдуллаєва звільнили з-під домашнього арешту ще 14 червня після того, як Міграційна служба надала йому статус біженця.

«На даний момент він отримав статус біженця. Ми змушені погодитися з цим рішенням, і як передбачено в законодавстві України, скасувати екстрадиційний арешт щодо особи, яка отримала статус біженця. Тепер Україна може дати відмову тій стороні, яка вимагає його екстрадиції», – сказала речниця прокуратури.

Вона додала, що остаточне рішення про видачу або про відмову у видачі Акбаралі Абдуллаєва в Узбекистан ухвалить Генеральна прокуратура України.

Абдуллаєва, який є племінником вдови Карімова Тетяни Карімової, в Ташкенті звинувачують у розтраті і фінансовому шахрайстві в 2014 році.

Його затримали після прибуття в аеропорт «Жуляни» в Києві в січні. При собі Абдуллаєв мав паспорти громадянина Узбекистану і Домініканської республіки.

До 21 квітня він перебував у СІЗО, а потім був переведений під домашній арешт. Весь цей час розглядалося питання про його можливу екстрадицію до Узбекистану. Абдуллаєв на судовому слуханні в лютому заявляв, що в разі повернення на батьківщину його чекає смерть.

 

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Україна відзначає 28 червня День Конституції

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Україна 28 червня відзначає День Конституції, цей день є державним святом і неробочим днем. Президент України Петро Порошенко привітав співвітчизників зі святом.

«Конституція України хоч і відносно молода, однак має унікальне історичне коріння. У квітні 1710 року, коли в світі ще домінували абсолютні монархії, до американської Війни за незалежність і до Великої французької революції лишалися десятки років, а наші пращури вже склали по суті республікансько-демократичний маніфест. Маніфест, який на багато років випереджував свій час. З Днем Конституції України!» –написав у Facebook президент України.

Українців також привітав прем’єр-міністр Володимир Гройсман.

«Вітаю з Днем Конституції України! Шануймо символ нашої державності, Основний Закон України, що засвідчує – українці живуть у вільній, незалежній, демократичній країні. Впевнений, на нашу сильну європейську державу чекає успіх!» – йдеться в повідомленні прем’єр-міністра України у Facebook.

Перша Конституція незалежної української держави ухвалена Верховною Радою України 21 рік тому, 28 червня 1996 року. Головний закон країни пережив кілька трансформацій.

Згідно з Конституцією, Україна – суверенна і незалежна, соціальна і правова держава. Україна – унітарна держава, її територія в рамках чинного кордону є цілісною і недоторканною. Людина, її життя і здоров’я, честь і гідність, недоторканність і безпека визнаються в Україні найвищою соціальною цінністю. Державною мовою в Україні є українська.

Президент України виступає гарантом державного суверенітету, територіальної цілісності України, додержання Конституції України, прав і свобод людини і громадянина.

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Манафорт зареєструвався у США як іноземний агент через допомогу партії Януковича

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Колишній голова виборчої кампанії 45-го президента США Дональда Трампа Пол Манафорт 27 червня був зареєстрований як іноземний агент через консультаційні послуги, які він раніше надав політичній партії колишнього президента України Віктора Януковича.

Манафорт повідомив міністерству юстиції, що його фірма, DMP International, отримала від Партії регіонів понад 17 мільйонів доларів за консультування в період з 2012 до 2014 року.

Манафорт став другим колишнім учасником кампанії Трампа, зареєстрованим як іноземний агент. У березні колишній радник з питань національної безпеки Майкл Флінн зареєструвався в міністерстві юстиції через роботу, яку його консалтингова фірма виконувала для турецького бізнесмена.

Манафорт очолював кампанію Трампа впродовж приблизно п’яти місяців – до серпня 2016 року. Він відмовився від цієї діяльності одразу після того, як агенція Associated Press повідомила про приховане Манафортом лобіювання від імені української владної партії.

Пол Манафорт є одним із кількох людей, пов’язаних свого часу з кампанією Трампа, які перебувають під наглядом комітетів Конгресу США, що розслідують втручання Росії у вибори 2016 року.

Представник Манафорта Джейсон Мелоуні 12 квітня заявив про намір Манафорта зареєструватися як іноземний агент.

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US House Overwhelmingly Backs NATO Mutual Defense

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously on Tuesday to reaffirm the NATO alliance’s guarantee that all members defend each other, weeks after President Donald Trump raised doubts about Washington’s support for the agreement.

The vote was 423-4 in the House, where Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 48-seat majority, for a resolution “solemnly reaffirming” the U.S. commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

It also supports calls for every NATO member to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense by 2024.

During a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels in May that was part of his first overseas trip, Trump pointedly did not mention U.S. support for that critical portion of the NATO charter, rattling allies. Instead, he used a speech there to demand that member states pay more for the alliance’s defense.

Trump later said he backed the mutual defense agreement, and other senior officials rushed to express U.S. support.

“With all the threats we and our partners face around the globe, a strong and secure NATO is more important than ever before,” Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as the number two Republican and Democrat in the chamber, and the Republican chairman and the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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Ready or Not, Indian Businesses Brace for Biggest-ever Tax Reform

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Businessman Pankaj Jain is so worried about the impending launch of a new sales tax in India that he is thinking of shutting down his tiny textile factory for a month to give himself time to adjust.

Jain is one of millions of small business owners who face wrenching change from India’s biggest tax reform since independence that will unify the country’s $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market.

But he is simply not ready for a regime that from July 1 will for the first time tax the bed linen his 10 workers make, and require him to file his taxes every month online.

On the desk in his tiny office in Meerut, two hours drive northeast of New Delhi, lay two calculators. Turning to open a metal cabinet, he pulled out a hand-written ledger to show how he keeps his books.

“We will have to hire an accountant – and get a computer,” the thickset 52-year-old told Reuters, as a dozen ancient power looms clattered away in the ramshackle workshop next door. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says that by replacing several federal and state taxes, the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) will make life simpler for business.

To drive home the point, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has appeared in a promotional video in which he weaves a cat’s cradle between the fingers of his hands – symbolizing

India’s thicket of old taxes. With a flourish, the tangle is gone and Bachchan proclaims: “One nation, one tax, one market!”

Not so simple

By tearing down barriers between India’s 29 states, the GST should deliver efficiency gains to larger businesses. HSBC estimates the reform could add 0.4 percent to economic growth.

Yet at the local chapter of the Indian Industries Association, which groups 6,500 smaller enterprises nationwide, the talk is about how to cope in the aftermath of the GST rollout.

“In the initial months, there may be utter confusion,” said chairman Ashok Malhotra, who runs one firm that manufactures voltage stabilizers and a second that makes timing equipment for boxing contests.

A big concern is the Indian GST’s sheer complexity – with rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent, and myriad exceptions, it contrasts with simpler, flatter and broader sales taxes in other countries.

The official schedule of GST rates runs to 213 pages and has undergone repeated last-minute changes.

“Rubber goods are taxed at 12 percent; sporting goods at 18 percent. I make rubber sporting goods — so what tax am I supposed to pay?” asks Anurag Agarwal, the local IIA secretary.

Grace period?

The top government official responsible for coordinating the GST rollout rebuts complaints from bosses that the tax is too complex, adding that the IT back-end that will drive it – crunching up to 5 billion invoices a month – is robust.

“It is a technological marvel, as well as a fiscal marvel,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told Reuters in an interview.

The government will, however, allow firms to file simplified returns for July and August. From September they must file a total of 37 online returns annually – three each month and one at the year’s end – for each state they operate in.

One particular concern is how a new feature of the GST, the input tax credit, will work. This allows a company to claim refunds on its inputs and means it should only pay tax on the value it adds.

The structure will encourage companies to buy from suppliers that are GST-compliant, so that tax credits can flow down a supply chain.

That spells bad news for small firms hesitating to shift into the formal economy. The government estimates smaller companies account for 45 percent of manufacturing and employ more than 117 million people.

Adhia played down the risk of job losses, however, saying this would be offset by new service sector jobs.

Demonetization 2.0

The prospect of disruption is drawing comparisons with Modi’s decision last November to scrap high-value bank notes that made up 86 percent of the cash in circulation, in a bid to purge illicit “black money” from the system.

The note ban caused severe disruption to India’s cash-driven economy and slammed the brakes on growth, which slowed to a two-year low in the quarter to March.

“It could throw the business out of gear – it can affect your volumes by at least 30 percent,” said the head of one large cement company in the Delhi region.

Back in Meerut, Pankaj Jain worries that hiring an accountant and charging 5 percent GST on his bedsheets could eat up to two-thirds of his annual profits of 400,000-500,000 rupees ($6,210-$7,760).

“I know my costs will go up, but I don’t know about my income,” he said. “I might even have to shut up shop completely and go into trading.”

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Mali Archbishop to be Elevated to Cardinal Despite Scandal Rumors

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The Vatican says an archbishop from Mali will be appointed a cardinal in Rome on Wednesday despite a potential financial scandal.

There was speculation in Mali and Rome that Pope Francis had decided not to elevate Archbishop Jean Zerbo because of questions surrounding church funds in Mali. But Vatican officials confirmed Tuesday that Zerbo will be present at Wednesday’s ceremony along with candidates from four other countries.

Reports say Zerbo and other Malian church officials have opened more than $13 million in Swiss bank accounts.

While opening foreign bank accounts is legal, it is unclear where the money came from.

Another Malian bishop told The Associated Press that Zerbo and other prelates have “nothing to hide,” but he declined to provide additional information.

Zerbo helped negotiate the 2015 peace agreement between the Malian government and Tuareg rebels.

He is one of the highest-ranking Christians in Mali, where the population is overwhelmingly Muslim.

The other cardinals being appointed Wednesday are from El Salvador, Laos, Spain and Sweden.

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EU Hits Google With $2.7B Fine for Abusing Weaker Rivals

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European regulators fined Google a record 2.42 billion euros ($2.72 billion) for abusing its dominance of the online search market in a case that could be just the opening salvo in Europe’s attempt to curb the company’s clout on that continent.

The decision announced Tuesday by the European Commission punished Google for unfairly favoring its own online shopping recommendations in its search results. The commission is also conducting at least two other probes into the company’s business practices that could force Google to make even more changes in the way it bundles services on mobile devices and sells digital advertising.

Even so, Europe’s crackdown is unlikely to affect Google’s products in the U.S. or elsewhere. But it could provide an opportunity to contrast how consumers fare when the company operates under constraints compared with an unfettered Google.

The fine immediately triggered debate about whether European regulators were taking prudent steps to preserve competition or overstepping their bounds to save companies being shunned by consumers who have overwhelmingly embraced an alternative.

Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s top antitrust regulator, said her agency’s nearly seven-year investigation left no doubt something had to be done to rein in Google.

“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation,” Vestager told reporters Tuesday.

The fine was the highest ever imposed in Europe for anti-competitive behavior, exceeding a 1.06 billion euros penalty on Silicon Valley chip maker Intel in 2009.

The penalty itself is unlikely to leave a dent in Google’s finances. Parent company Alphabet Inc. has more than $92 billion (82 billion euros) in cash, including nearly $56 billion (50 billion euros) in accounts outside of the U.S.

The findings in Europe contrasted sharply with those reached by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in a similar investigation of Google completed in 2013. The FTC absolved Google of any serious wrongdoing after concluding that its search recommendations did not undermine competition or hurt consumers.

Leading up to that unanimous decision, though, some of the FTC’s staff sent a memo to the agency’s commissioners recommending legal action because Google’s “conduct has resulted – and will result – in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets,” according to a memo inadvertently released to The Wall Street Journal two years ago.

Google’s misbehavior in Europe boiled down to its practice of highlighting its own online shopping service above those of its rivals. Merchants pay Google for the right to show summaries of their products in small boxes displayed near the top of search results when someone seems to be interested in a purchase.

Meanwhile, Google lists search results of its biggest rivals in online shopping on page 4 – and smaller rivals even lower, based on the calculations of European regulators. That’s a huge advantage for Google when 90 percent of user clicks are on the first page.

Google says consumers like its shopping thumbnails because they are concise and convenient.

The commission’s decision “underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections,” Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, wrote in a blog post.

Europe’s investigation did not present any concrete evidence that consumers had been financially damaged by Google’s online shopping tactics, said Ibanez Colomo, a law professor at the London School of Economics.

“The only harm being alleged here is that competing services have suffered a decrease in traffic coming from Google,” Colomo said on a call organized by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a tech lobbying group.

Alphabet is mulling an appeal of Tuesday’s penalty, but even if that is filed, the Mountain View, California, company will still only have 90 days to comply with an order to stop favoring its own links to online shopping. If it does not, Alphabet faces more fines of up to 5 percent of its average daily revenue worldwide. That would translate into roughly $14 million (12 million euros), based on Alphabet’s revenue during the first three months of the year.

Rather than comply, Google could shut down its shopping service in Europe.

If that happens, “it will mean consumers in Europe are going to be worse off than consumers in the rest of the world,” predicted David Balto, a consumer advocate and antitrust expert who formerly served as the FTC’s policy director. “Consumers rarely benefit when bureaucrats put their thumbs on the economic scales to tip them one way or the other.”

Google’s critics applauded the EU for standing up to the company after the FTC backed down.

“Some may object to the EU moving so aggressively against U.S.-based companies, but these authorities are at least trying to deal with some of the new competitive challenges facing our economy,” said the News Media Alliance, a group representing U.S. newspapers whose revenue has plunged as more advertising flowed to Google during the past decade.

Other antitrust experts believe the fine levied on Google means European regulators are more likely to rein in other U.S. technology companies such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix as they win over more European consumers at the expense of homegrown companies.

“We already have been in an information trade war,” said Larry Downs, who studies antitrust issues as project director at Georgetown University’s Center for Business and Public Policy. “But I think it just went from being a cold war to a hot war with Europe.”

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Trump Hails ‘Energy Revolution’ as Exports Surge

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday hailed an energy revolution marked by surging U.S. exports of oil and natural gas.

Trump cited a series of steps the administration has taken to boost energy production and remove government regulations that he argues prevent the United States from achieving “energy dominance” in the global market.

“Together, we are going to start a new energy revolution — one that celebrates American production on American soil,” Trump said in a statement, adding that the U.S. is on the brink of becoming a net exporter of oil, gas and other energy resources.

The self-proclaimed “energy week” follows similar policy-themed weeks on infrastructure and jobs.

At the White House, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the administration is confident officials can “pave the path toward U.S. energy dominance” by exporting oil, gas and coal to markets around the world, and promoting nuclear energy and even renewables such as wind and solar power.

“One of the things we want to do at [the Department of Energy] is to make nuclear energy cool again,” Perry said.

The focus on energy began at a meeting between Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with U.S. natural gas exports part of the discussion. Trump is expected to talk energy Wednesday with governors and tribal leaders, and he will deliver a speech Thursday at the Energy Department.

Arctic, Atlantic drilling

Trump signed an executive order in April to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, reversing restrictions imposed by his predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump has also pushed to revive U.S. coal production after years of decline. Coal mining rose by 19 percent in the first five months of the year as the price of natural gas edged up, according to Energy Department data.

U.S. oil and gas production have boomed in recent years, primarily because of improved drilling techniques such as fracking that have opened up production in areas previously out of reach of drillers.

A report released in January by the Energy Information Administration said the country is on track to become a net energy exporter by 2026, although the White House said Tuesday that net exports could top imports as soon as 2020.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also focused on energy as he addressed the Western Governors’ Association in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana.

Zinke said increased offshore drilling could provide more than enough revenue to offset an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog in national parks.

“There’s a consequence when you put 94 percent of our offshore off limits. There’s a consequence of not harvesting trees. There’s a consequence of not using some of our public lands for creation of wealth and jobs,” he said.

Despite Trump’s withdrawal from the global Paris climate accord, Perry said the U.S. remains committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. He called nuclear power a key element to fight climate change.

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На Луганщині російський контрактник потрапив у полон – ЗМІ

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Російський військовослужбовець Віктор Агеєв, який служив контрактником, потрапив у полон до українських військових у Луганській області. Про це повідомляє російська служба британської медіакомпанії «Бі-бі-сі», посилаючись на джерела в 93-й бригаді Збройних сил України і в Міністерстві оборони України.

За інформацією компанії, Агеєв потрапив у полон 24 червня в районі села Жолобок Слов’яносербського району в результаті збройної сутички бійців 93-ї окремої механізованої бригади та розвідгрупи «4-ї механізованої бригади 2-го армійського корпусу» угруповання «ЛНР».

Мати Агеєва розповіла «Бі-бі-сі», що в березні 2017 року її син підписав контракт і нібито поїхав служити в місто Батайськ Ростовської області, яка межує з Україною. Джерела медіакомпанії повідомили, що Агеєв після затримання був переданий Службі безпеки України. Фотографії документів контрактника були опубліковані українськими журналістами.

26 червня президент України Петро Порошенко на зустрічі з президентом Франції Емманюелем Макроном розповів про затримання російських військовослужбовців на українській території.

Прес-центр штабу української антитерористичної операції проти спільних російсько-сепаратистських сил на окупованій частині Донбасу ще 25 червня повідомляв, що попереднього дня, 24 червня, українські бійці знешкодили диверсійно-розвідувальну групу противника, у складі якої було двоє громадян Росії. За тим повідомленням, один із росіян був ліквідований, інший, із Алтайського краю, був затриманий. Але тоді імені затриманого росіянина не називали, також тоді не наводили доказів, що він є чинним військовослужбовцем Збройних сил Росії на контракті. Ім’я загиблого росіянина, капітана Олександра Щербака, назвали в 93-й ОМБр.

Президент Росії Володимир Путін неодноразово заявляв, що на  Донбасі немає російських військових, хоча Москва визнає, що там можуть бути хіба що російські «добровольці». Українська влада вже не раз наводила факти безпосередньої участі в подіях на Донбасі кадрових військових із Росії.

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EU Fines Google $2.7 Billion

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EU antitrust regulators fined Google $2.7 billion Tuesday for unfairly boosting search results for its online shopping service.

The European Union said Google began efforts in 2008 to boost the service now known as Google Shopping by making its results show up higher in search results, while demoting the search results of rival companies.

The result, according to regulators, was the most highly ranked rival services appeared on average on the fourth page of the results, an area few consumers ever reach.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google has created many innovative products, but in this case abused its market dominance in internet searches.

Google said it will review the EU decision as it considers an appeal to the decision.

“When you shop online, you want to find the products you are looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That is why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both,” Kent Walker, a Google senior vice president, said in a statement.

Vestager said Google denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate, and denied European consumers a genuine choice of service.

In addition to the fine, Google is required to give rival comparison shopping services equal treatment, and the company must explain how it will accomplish that.

 

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France’s New Lawmakers Open First Parliament Session

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France’s newly elected lawmakers, most of them from President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party, are gathering their first parliament session.

Macron’s 14-month-old party, Republic on the Move!, won 308 of the 577 seats at France’s lower house of parliament in legislative elections earlier this month. His allies in Modem took 42 seats, giving the government a wide majority.

 

During the opening session Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers are choosing the president of the National Assembly, a key player in organizing legislative business and debates.

 

Experienced lawmaker Francois de Rugy, a former Green who joined Macron earlier this year, is the favorite to win the vote.

 

After Macron vigorously campaigned on a promise to renew France’s political landscape, other parties also made efforts to promote new faces.

 

Three-quarters of the lawmakers are starting their first term at the National Assembly and 38 percent are women — the highest proportion in France’s modern history.

 

Some previously had local political experience, but many are newcomers to politics.

 

The lawmakers’ average age is down from 55 in the previous term to 49 now. The youngest is 23, the oldest 79.

 

They expect to get to work quickly tackling the government’s proposed law on expanding police powers and a labor reform making it easier to hire and fire.

 

The conservative Republicans and their center-right allies are deeply divided over their political strategy: 94 lawmakers claim they are the main opposition to Macron’s majority, while about 40 others describing themselves as “constructive” say they are ready to vote for government laws legislation which they consider going in the right direction.

 

The Socialist Party, which dominated the outgoing Assembly, won only 30 seats.

 

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon’s party took 17 seats.

 

Far-right figure Marine Le Pen is going to enter the National Assembly for the first time as a lawmaker. Her National Front party won eight seats, including hers, up from two in the outgoing Assembly.

 

 

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Львів, Кропивницький та Івано-Франківськ лідирують у рейтингу прозорості – дослідження

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Влада, Новини, Україна

У рейтингу прозорості 100 міст України найбільшу кількість балів отримали Львів (59,7 зі 100), Кропивницький (майже 56), Івано-Франківськ (54,2), Київ (51,5) і Миколаїв (51,5). Рейтинг розробили аналітики Transparency International Україна й Інституту політичної освіти у рамках проекту «Розбудова прозорості у містах України».

Найменшу кількість балів отримали Новомосковськ (8), Мирноград (10), Дунаївці (11).

Рейтинг міст склали за 91 показником у 13 сферах. Зокрема, бралися до уваги фінансова і бюджетна сфера, закупівлі, житлова й комунальна політика, освіта, соціальні послуги, інформація про роботу місцевої влади.

Автори дослідження заявляють, що найпрозорішою сферою в містах України є доступ і участь – рівень її прозорості цієї складає 46%. «Це означає, що у багатьох містах громадськість може бути присутньою на засіданнях депутатських комісій ради без присутності депутатів. Проекти рішень міськради і порядок денний сесій оприлюднюються завчасно. Громадськість може впливати на те, як витрачається бюджет. Окрім того, існує можливість подати електронний запит або звернення», – заявляють у Transparency International Україна.

Друге місце за відкритістю посідає сфера інформування про роботу органів місцевої влади – майже 46% прозорості. 45% прозорості демонструють міста у кадрових питаннях.

«Сьогодні в Україні триває процес децентралізації. Ця реформа може бути успішною тільки за умови підзвітності місцевої влади. Інакше проблеми з центрального рівня просто опустяться на рівень влади на містах. Загалом рейтинг показав, що існують великі проблеми із відкритістю міст. Адже верхівка рейтингу ледь-ледь набирає більше 50 балів зі ста можливих. У порівнянні з іншими країнами, де проводився схожий рейтинг, це слабкі результати. Наприклад, у Словаччині міста-лідери набирають більше 70 балів», – прокоментував результати дослідження виконавчий директор представництва Transparency International в Україні Ярослав Юрчишин.

Найбільш закриті для людей сфери пов’язані з житлом, роботою комунальних підприємств і соціальних установ. 65% міст не отримали жодного балу в житловій сфері. Крім того, закритою є інформація про розподіл житла, онлайн-черги на ремонти приміщень і будинків відсутні. А за відкритість комунальних підприємств 11 міст зі 100 отримали 0 балів.

«Це означає закритий доступ до інформацій про тарифи на послуги, порядок їх формування, відсутні фінансові звітів та результати аудитів, немає інформацій про керівників підприємств. Наглядові ради не створені, зовнішній аудит не замовляється», – зазначив головний аналітик проекту Олександр Солонтай.

Як повідомляють ТІ Україна та Інститут політичної освіти, наступним етапом після оприлюднення рейтингу стане навчання представників громадськості, журналістів та представників влади із 15 міст найкращим практикам прозорості та підзвітності.

У попередньому такому рейтингу в квітні цього року експерти проаналізували 25 обласних центрів, а також Маріуполь (Донецька область), Сєверодонецьк (Луганська область) і Білу Церкву (Київська область).

 

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ПАРЄ схвалила процедуру відставки Аграмунта – українська делегація

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Парламентська асамблея Ради Європи проголосувала за процедуру імпічменту її чинного президента Педро Аграмунта, повідомив у Facebook голова української делегації депутат Володимир Ар’єв. За його словами, згадана процедура може початися негайно або тривати до осені, коли відбуватиметься наступна сесія ПАРЄ.

«Головне – процес очищення запущений, і є високі шанси, що він буде завершений. Людина, що втратила довіру, не може далі очолювати ПАРЄ і дискредитовувати організацію», – зазначив Ар’єв.

Як написав ще один представник України у ПАРЄ депутат Георгій Логвінський, за зміни до регламенту асамблеї проголосували більш ніж дві третини присутніх делегатів – 154 із 197, 30 проголосували проти.

На початку червня голова української делегації в Парламентській асамблеї Ради Європи Володимир Ар’єв повідомив, що регламентний комітет ПАРЄ ухвалив проект резолюції, яка передбачає можливість імпічменту президента та віце-президента асамблеї.

Українська делегація від початку виступала за відставку Педро Аграмунта, який у березні відвідав Сирію разом з делегацією російських депутатів. До цього часу недовіру чинному президентові висловили чотири з п’яти політичних груп ПАРЄ.

Після критики на свою адресу Аграмунт вибачився за поїздку. За даними члена української делегації в ПАРЄ Ірини Геращенко, 28 квітня Аграмунт мав намір добровільно подати у відставку, однак він цього не зробив.

У МЗС Росії назвали реакцію членів ПАРЄ на поїздку Аграмунта в Сирію «вакханалією». У Москві вважають, що Аграмунт зробив правильно, бо начебто мав змогу на власні очі побачити, що відбувається в Сирії. У МЗС Росії також назвали «крикливою меншістю» тих членів ПАРЄ, які висловили своє невдоволення візитом президента у Сирію.

Парламентська асамблея Ради Європи є консультативним органом, що складається з представників парламентів усіх 47 держав-членів РЄ. В Україні ПАРЄ відома передовсім тим, що ухвалює резолюції: зокрема, від початку російської агресії в Україні асамблея ухвалила низку резолюцій, в яких засудила Росію за анексію Криму й підтримку бойовиків на Донбасі. Крім того, члени ПАРЄ обирають суддів Європейського суду з прав людини, надсилають своїх спостерігачів на вибори, моніторять ситуацію з правами людини у країнах-членах.

 

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ЦПК: 5 чиновників покарали у НАЗК за конфлікт інтересів за неповний рік

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За останні 10 місяців Національне агентство України із запобігання корупції провело 219 перевірок потенційного конфлікту інтересів. За їх результатами склали 36 протоколів про адміністративні правопорушення, а притягли до відповідальності п’ятьох осіб, йдеться у відповіді НАЗК на запит активістів Центру протидії корупції. Прізвищ цих осіб не називають.

Згідно з документом, підписаним керівником апарату НАЗК Ігорем Ткаченком, ще 10 протоколів зараз перебувають на розгляді суду.

Більшість із 219 перевірок була ініційована за заявами фізичних осіб та самим Нацагентством, 36 – у рамках повної перевірки декларацій держслужбовців.

При цьому, за інформацією Ткаченка, у Національному агентстві відсутній окремий порядок проведення перевірок запобігання і врегулювання конфлікту інтересів, і правовими підставами для її проведення є Кодекс про адміністративні правопорушення.

Як заявляють активісти, неможливо встановити, хто конкретно у НАЗК ухвалює рішення про проведення перевірок на наявність конфлікту інтересів, в які терміни їх проводять і в який спосіб.

«Члени Національного агентства як уповноважені особи не ухвалюють рішень про проведення перевірок про щодо запобігання і врегулювання конфлікту інтересів», – йдеться у відповіді НАЗК на запит Центру протидії корупції.

У ЦПК заявили, що на 12 своїх заяв про перевірку на наявність конфлікту інтересів і сумісництва, відправлених протягом 2016-2017 років до НАЗК, отримали «відписки».

Згідно з повідомленням на сайті НАЗК, агентство має Департамент моніторингу дотримання законодавства про конфлікт інтересів та інших обмежень щодо запобігання корупції. Його завданням є «забезпечення реалізації повноважень Національного агентства щодо моніторингу дотримання законодавства про конфлікт інтересів та інших обмежень щодо запобігання корупції».

 

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Senior Ukrainian Intelligence Officer Killed in Car Bombing

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Ukrainian authorities say that a senior military intelligence officer has been killed in a car bomb in the country’s capital.

Police said in a statement that the driver of a luxury car was killed instantly as the vehicle blew up at a Kyiv intersection Tuesday morning. Photos released by Kiev police showed the mangled car in the middle of the road. Kyiv police say that a passer-by was hospitalized with injuries.

The Defense Ministry later identified the victim as Col. Maxim Shapoval of the Chief Directorate of Ukrainian military intelligence. Ukrainian media reported that Shapoval was chief of military intelligence’s special forces.

Police said they were treating the explosion as a terrorist attack.

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Asserting ‘Dominance,’ Trump Seeks Boost for US Energy Exports

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

President Donald Trump on Thursday will lay out his plan for reducing regulations to boost already-abundant U.S. production of oil, natural gas and coal and export it around the world, creating American jobs and helping allies.

Trump will deliver an address on his administration’s new mantra of “energy dominance” at the Energy Department, officials told reporters. They declined to give details on how he would tweak existing regulations that have not stopped a surge in exports.

“We’ve gone from the age of scarcity now to the age of abundance when it comes to American energy,” Mike Catanzaro, a White House energy policy aide, told reporters.

“We want to use those abundant resources for good here at home and for good abroad as well,” Catanzaro said.

Trump’s speech comes a week before he meets in Warsaw with leaders of a dozen central and eastern European nations who are eager to see more U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) in their markets as an alternative to Russian gas.

Trump is stopping at the summit on his way to the G20 in Hamburg, Germany, where he is expected to meet face-to-face for the first time in his presidency with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Shipments of LNG will play a big part in the “energy dominance” strategy, Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters, but so will exports of coal and U.S. technology that helps reduce emissions from coal-fired plants, he said.

Perry said he discussed the potential for U.S. coal exports to Ukraine with President Petro Poroshenko during his visit to Washington last week.

The Trump administration believes in an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, Perry said – borrowing the energy catch-phrase of the Obama administration.

U.S. domestic energy prices have plunged in recent years because of the natural gas boom, crowding out competing sources of power, including coal and nuclear. Dozens of nuclear power reactors are in danger of shutting down over the next several years as a result.

The Trump administration wants to make sure the United States remains “technologically and economically engaged” in the nuclear industry, Perry said. “If we do not, then China and Russia will fill that void,” he said.

But he said the administration would not be “wildly supportive” of subsidizing any sectors of the energy industry.

Perry said energy supports in the tax code would be examined as the administration and Congress look at tax reform later this year.

“I think we’ll have a good healthy conversation about the energy sector and tax incentives, subsidies – all of that needs to be on the table and we need to have a conversation about it,” Perry said.

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