Trump to Make Understated Vatican Visit

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When U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrive Wednesday at the Vatican for a planned 20-minute audience with Pope Francis and Roman Catholic Church leaders they will be received with far less pomp than in Saudi Arabia.

Their arrival at the Vatican will be via what’s in effect a side-entrance to the Holy See, Porta del Perugino, a consequence of the pope’s request the faithful not be disturbed in St. Peter’s Square on the eve of Ascension Day. The pope is scheduled to hold his regular general audience in the square shortly after meeting Trump.

The understated arrival, though, is reflective of an eagerness by both the White House and the Vatican to lower expectations. American and Vatican officials have been nervous in the run-up to the meeting.

Tense exchanges

The two men have never met, but they have traded pointed exchanges. Last year, in February, Trump accused Francis of allowing himself to be used as a political pawn by the Mexican government on the issue of migration. The pontiff responded by questioning then-candidate Trump’s Christian faith, saying his plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico had no basis in the Gospel. “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges is not Christian,” the pontiff told reporters while flying to Mexico.

That drew a harsh retort from Trump, who replied to Francis’ comments with a three paragraph statement in which he warned the Vatican could be attacked by Islamic State terrorists and then church leaders would be grateful if he were in the White House. “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” Trump said.

Since then the pair have not argued directly, but the pope, the spiritual leader of America’s 50 million Catholics, has clearly been at odds with Trump on a range of issues, including climate change, asylum-seekers and nuclear arms.



Bridging the divide

Earlier this month, though, Francis was more conciliatory, saying the upcoming Trump visit offered an opportunity to listen to each other. “I never make a judgment about a person without listening to them,” the pontiff said. He followed up by saying, “I will say what I think; he will say what he thinks.”

In recent weeks there have been intense discussions about the agenda for the meeting, and, a Vatican official told VOA, they aimed to avoid “mishap” and to stage a partial reconciliation between the pope and the president. For the White House, a good visit at the Vatican will help further the goal of presenting Trump as a figure eager to unite three religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, in the fight against Islamic militants.

Papal aides told Corriere della Sera newspaper Sunday, “the meeting will be fine.” Although the paper commented that it wasn’t sure if this were a prediction, a wish or a prayer. An official told the newspaper that Melania Trump’s attendance was being seen by some papal aides as useful, as it would likely help to prevent the encounter from becoming too hard-edged.

But for all their differences, the pope, who is highly political, is guided by a deep wish to forge unity and to build consensus and he sees disagreement as a useful dynamic, argue some Vatican-watchers. In Argentina, as a cardinal he strove to nurture relationships with diametrically opposed politicians and to build trust with them and between them, acting as a pastor.

American Catholics

Francis will also likely be mindful that six in 10 white American Catholics backed Trump in the November elections. There is already considerable tension between the Vatican and American Catholics, especially over the church’s handling of child abuse by parish priests.

While some U.S. and Italian reporters are anticipating the meeting between the pair as a possible prize-fight between ideological pugilists, some who know the pontiff say he will search for common ground and may focus on the downsides of globalization to the need to combat human trafficking.

Austen Ivereigh, who has written a book on the pontiff, argued Sunday in Crux, a U.S.-based independent Catholic media outlet, “Pope Francis wants to be in a relationship with world leaders, whomever they are, and whatever their views, so that when the opportunity to work together arises, the bond is there.”


Луценко: слідство покаже, чи затриманий на хабарі у 150 тисяч доларів досі працює у НАБУ

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Генеральний прокурор України Юрій Луценко не впевнений, що затримана на хабарі у 150 тисяч доларів особа працює в Національному антикорупційному бюро. Це ще має встановити слідство, заявив він, відповідаючи на запитання журналіста програми «Схеми», спільного проекту Радіо Свобода і телеканалу «UA: Перший», на яких підставах базувалась заява прес-секретаря Луценка Лариси Сарган про затримання на хабарі працівника НАБУ.

«Подальші дії слідства встановлять, хто правий. Виходячи з матеріалів «прослушки», ми чуємо, що людина працювала в цьому органі. Також він представлявся в ході вимагання працівником на адміністративній посаді цього органу. Зараз я чую заяви НАБУ (про те, що затримана особа не працює в НАБУ – ред.). Звіримо наші дані», – зазначив Юрій Луценко.

На уточнююче питання журналістів, чи є інші докази того, що затримана особа працює в НАБУ, наприклад, дані про отримання нею зарплати в цьому органі, генпрокурор зазначив: «Ні, це буде визначатися слідством».

На запитання, чи достатньо було підстав стверджувати, що затриманий є працівником НАБУ, генпрокурор відповів ствердно.

При цьому Юрій Луценко додав, що в підозрі, яку він підписав вчора, ця особа «фігурує як екс-працівник правоохоронних органів, який вимагав хабар для діючих працівників правоохоронних органів».

19 травня речниця генпрокурора Юрія Луценка Лариса Сарган на своїй сторінці у Facebook заявила про затримання співробітника НАБУ на отриманні хабара у 150 тисяч доларів від власниці торговельної мережі на Сумщині. 

Того ж дня на своїй сторінці у соцмережі Сарган натякнула, що підозрюваний – Олександр Самковий. Вона опублікувала скріншот його декларації.

Того ж дня у прес-службі НАБУ спростували цю заяву. «Ця інформація не відповідає дійсності і НАБУ спростовує її. Жодного з чинних співробітників наразі не затримували за фактом вимагання неправомірної вигоди або скоєння будь-якого іншого злочину. Відповідно ця інформація, яку повідомила Лариса Сарган, не є достовірною», – зазначили в Національному антикорупційному бюро.


Russian Capital’s Residents Resist Massive Demolition Plan

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Thousands of Moscow residents protested this month against plans to move more than a million people if their apartments, built during the 1950’s era of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, are torn down. 

Russian authorities say some 8,000 short-story buildings are in disrepair, and promise to find or build the residents better apartments.  While some living in crumbling buildings celebrate, many Muscovites are skeptical and suspect corruption.

Families like Elmira Shagiakhmetova’s have lived in their home for generations.  They are shocked that it may be demolished.  

“I’ll be here until the bulldozers start,” says Elmira.  “I am not going to leave as by the (Russian) Constitution I have the right to stay in my property. This building is not falling apart.”

Family home

For Elmira and her mother, Galina, their modest but recently-refurbished two bedroom apartment is a home full of memories.  “We moved here in ’79 and it’s the place where my children were born, lived and their conscious experience started,” says Galina.  “It’s my history and my memory.”

Galina moved out some years ago and her husband passed away.  But the apartment is still their family home.

“When my father was still alive we celebrated his 50th birthday,” says Elmira describing the scene as she sits in the same living room.  “So many people came to congratulate him that we couldn’t find seats for them all in one room.  So the tables continued into the corridor.  And I remember this because then I understood how important it was to have a home that would hold all your friends together.”

Public uproar

After a public uproar, Moscow guaranteed the residents better apartments in the same areas or ‘appropriate’ financial compensation.  City authorities removed about half the buildings from a demolition list, including Elmira’s, and say they now will be razed only if more than two-thirds of residents agree.  Those living in Elmira’s building are to take a vote at the end of May.

But, like many Muscovites resisting the plan, Galina and Elmira suspect corruption as their building was not even inspected before its supposed need for demolition was announced.  “You know, a special commission should work and declare the building dangerous to live in,” says Galina.  “We have not seen such a commission ever here. So by many indications we may judge that it is not the people who are most important, but the location.”

Elmira agrees.  “The draft (law) that’s debated now is not about improvement of the living conditions, it’s about overriding the rights of property owners,” she says.  “It allows the authorities to get the land on which the houses stand free and to strip off the owners of their right to own and defend their property.”

No comment

The Moscow mayor’s office did not respond to VOA’s request for a TV interview with a spokesperson on the issue or written replies to submitted questions. 

Russian media reports quoted Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin saying he was prepared to take unpopular moves if he felt it was best for the city and people. 

Russia’s parliament is still drafting the final legislation for the Moscow renovation plan.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the law should not violate property rights or he would not sign it.

For families like Elmira’s, the controversy has moved them – for the first time – to protest against the state.  If authorities fail to satisfy Russians in the capital, they risk growing opposition at the polls in next year’s key presidential and mayoral elections. 

Ricardo Marquina Montanana contributed to this report.


Moscow Residents Resist Massive Demolition Plan

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Resistance is building in Moscow over buildings — Soviet-era apartment buildings, scheduled to be demolished because authorities say they are in disrepair. They promise the million-plus people displaced will be relocated to new, modern apartments. But many Muscovites are skeptical, spawning protests and feeding suspicions of corruption. More from VOA’s Moscow correspondent Daniel; Schearf.


Україна дасть юридичну оцінку скарзі Росії до СОТ через санкції – Мін’юст

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Україна дасть «належну юридичну оцінку» скарзі Росії, поданій до Світової організації торгівлі через запроваджені Києвом санкції, заявляє міністр юстиції України Павло Петренко.

«Наша позиція дуже чітка: ми маємо право робити такі обмеження, і ці обмеження стосуються національної безпеки. Якщо Росія впадає в істерію про те, що їхні економічні права порушені тим, що ми запровадили чергові санкції та заблокували частину… яка контролюється ФСБ, зокрема «ВКонтакте», «Одноклассники», то, напевно, ці санкції ефективні, якщо Росія так стривожилася на цю дію української влади», – сказав Петренко 22 травня в Києві.

«Їхні скарги до СОТ отримають належну юридичну оцінку з боку України як члена СОТ», – додав міністр.

20 травня російський міністр економіки Максим Орєшкін заявив, що Москва подала до Світової організації торгівлі запит на проведення консультацій у зв’язку з обмеженнями з боку України. За його словами, позов стосується порушення базових угод СОТ.

Президент України Петро Порошенко 15 травня підписав указ про запровадження оновлених санкцій щодо фізичних та юридичних осіб із Росії у зв’язку з агресією Росії проти України і підтримки нею сепаратизму на українських територіях.


НАБУ планує до червня завершити розслідування щодо Насірова

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Національне антикорупційне бюро України розраховує завершити розслідування провадження стосовно відстороненого голови Державної фіскальної служби Романа Насірова до кінця травня – початку червня.

«Ми плануємо цього місяця завершити досудове слідство і відкрити матеріали стороні захисту. Можливо, це буде наприкінці місяця, можливо, – на початку наступного», – сказав директор НАБУ Артем Ситник 22 травня у Києві на тренінгу з питань боротьби з топ-корупцією, організованого Transparency International.

Слідство вважає, що Роман Насіров протягом 2015–2016 років, діючи в інтересах депутата Верховної Ради Олександра Онищенка, надав керівникам регіональних і територіальних органів ДФС незаконну вказівку ухвалювати безпідставні рішення про розстрочення податкового боргу трьом компаніям. Такими рішеннями державі завдано збитків на суму майже 2 мільярди гривень. Захист Насірова і він сам ці звинувачення заперечують.

На початку березня суд арештував Насірова з можливістю застави в 100 мільйонів гривень, яку внесли його дружина і тесть. Після цього відсторонений голова ДФС вийшов із СІЗО.

При цьому антикорупційна прокуратура просила суд встановити грошову заставу у розмірі два мільярди гривень.

Пізніше цей запобіжний захід продовжили до 26 червня.

Насіров був призначений головою Державної фіскальної служби у травні 2015 року, до цього він був народним депутатом, він пройшов до Верховної Ради за списками партії «Блок Петра Порошенка».​





Turkey’s Erdogan Extends Emergency Rule

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has formally extended the state of emergency declared after a failed 2016 military coup, saying the decree will remain in place until the country finds “welfare and peace.”

Erdogan spoke Sunday in Ankara to tens of thousands of his followers and members of his ruling (AK) Justice and Development Party, which convened to re-elect their party co-founder to the post.

The state of emergency permits Erdogan and his Cabinet to issue decrees without parliamentary approval or judicial review.  

Erdogan’s announcement and his return as party chief came four weeks after Turkish voters narrowly approved a national referendum greatly expanding presidential powers.

The April 18 vote created a powerful executive presidency that largely sidelines Turkish lawmakers and the office of prime minister.  Under the constitutional amendments, Erdogan will also set the national budget and appoint judges to the high court and the constitutional court.

Critics, including prominent human rights organizations, have argued the reforms are tantamount to creating an elected dictatorship.  Erdogan and his supporters claim they will create a less cumbersome system of government better able to confront terrorism and a sluggish economy.

Tens of thousands jailed in crackdown

Under emergency rule, more than 47,000 people have been arrested and 100,000 others dismissed from public service for alleged connections to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Erdogan has accused the cleric of fomenting the July 15, 2016, uprising that left more than 260 people dead.  Gulen has denied involvement.

Erdogan’s address comes just days after his visit to the White House, where he sought to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to scrap a U.S.-led military alliance with Syrian Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State extremists in northern Syria.

Erdogan’s efforts appeared unsuccessful.  The Turkish leader also drew sharp U.S. public criticism when, hours after the White House visit, he was shown outside the Turkish embassy in Washington standing by as his bodyguards assaulted protesters opposed to his rule.


Tillerson: US Expressed ‘Dismay’ Over Violence at Turkish Embassy

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. has expressed its “dismay” to Turkish officials about last week’s clash in which Turkish security personnel apparently attacked demonstrators in Washington.

Tillerson told Fox News Sunday that Turkey’s ambassador to the U.S. has been told that last Tuesday’s violence was “simply unacceptable.”

“There is an ongoing investigation,” he said, adding that he will wait on the outcome of that probe before deciding on a more formal response.

The clash broke out between Turkish security personnel and protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington.

Protesters say they were attacked by Turkish security forces as they demonstrated peacefully. Turkey blamed the clash on the demonstrators, claiming they aggressively provoked people who had gathered to see Erdogan.

VOA’s Turkish service recorded images at the scene that indicated the Turkish security detail suddenly turned on the demonstrators, knocking them to the ground and kicking them until American police pushed the Turks away. The video showed Erdogan standing beside his limousine, watching the brawl.

U.S. officials briefly detained two members of Erdogan’s security detail, but they were soon released, under customary diplomatic protocols granting immunity to aides accompanying a visiting dignitary.

Some U.S. lawmakers have demanded the United States take stronger action, including Republican Senator John McCain, who called for the Turkish ambassador to be expelled.



Germany’s Social Democrats Target Merkel in Turkey Airbase Row

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Germany’s Social Democrats raised pressure on conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, saying if she could not resolve a row with Turkey over access to the Incirlik air base, German troops should move.

Merkel’s defense minister, tacitly admitting the possibility said she had been looking for other locations and hinted that Jordan could be one.

Turkey, which has refused permission for German lawmakers to visit their troops at Incirlik, has said Berlin is free to move its soldiers from the base. That would, however, be a significant snub to a NATO ally.

Already strained bilateral ties have deteriorated further over Incirlik where roughly 250 German soldiers are stationed as part of the coalition against Islamic State militants.

“If Mrs Merkel doesn’t succeed at the NATO summit on Thursday to get Turkey to change course, we need alternative bases,” Thomas Oppermann, head of the SPD parliamentary group told Bild am Sonntag.

The SPD, or Social Democrats, trail Merkel’s conservatives in polls four months before the national election. It is desperate to score points with voters on issues other than social justice, its main focus in the last couple of months which has so far failed to resonate.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is looking at alternatives, including Jordan and Cyprus, and said on Saturday she had been impressed with a possible base in Jordan but stressed the government had not yet made a decision.

Merkel is vulnerable on relations with Turkey as critics accuse her of cosying up to President Tayyip Erdogan, who last month won sweeping new powers in a referendum, as she needs his help to control the flow of migrants to western Europe.

The SPD, junior partner in Merkel’s right-left coalition, also tried at the weekend to raise its profile on European issues.

Leader Martin Schulz, a former president of the European Parliament, has tried to ally himself with new pro-EU French President Emmanuel Macron and on Saturday said he would model his campaign on the Frenchman’s.

On Sunday he told a rally in Bavaria it was time for a “new German-French initiative for a socially fair Europe of growth.”

A week after a disastrous election defeat in Germany’s most populous state, an Emnid poll showed the gap widening between Merkel’s conservatives, up 1 percentage point at 38 percent, and the SPD, down 1 point at 26 percent.


EU’s Moscovici Confident Eurogroup Will Reach Deal on Greece

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The European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, said on Sunday he was confident an agreement between Athens and its creditors could be found at a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Monday in Brussels.

Athens needs funds to repay 7.5 billion euros ($8.4 billion) of debt maturing in July.

“We are very close to an overall agreement,” Moscovici told France Inter radio.

“Greece has assumed its responsibilities,” he said, referring to measures on pension cuts, tax hikes and reforms adopted on Thursday by the Greek Parliament.

“I now wish that we, the partners of Greece, also take our responsibilities,” he said.

Moscovici said his optimism over a deal was partly linked to the fact Germany was now aware of the need to find a structural solution to Greece’s problems.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed during a call on Wednesday that a deal was “feasible” by Monday.


Порошенко обіцяє підписати закон про заборону «георгіївської стрічки»

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Президент України Петро Порошенко обіцяє одразу підписати закон про заборону виготовлення і публічного використання так званих «георгіївських» стрічок і запровадження за це адміністративної відповідальності, щойно документ надійде з парламенту. Про це петро Порошенко повідомив під час заходів, присвячених Дню пам’яті жертв політичних репресій, на території Національного історико-меморіального заповідника «Биківнянські могили».

За його словами, «георгіївська стрічка» – це не є символіка Другої світової. «Ця символіка – символ агресії проти України 2014-2017 років. Тому що обвішані цими стрічками бойовики вбивають наших воїнів кожного дня і ночі, і прямо зараз, поки ми тут, вони теж цілять в українських воїнів», – наголосив Порошенко.

Порошенко нагадав, що парламентська асамблея ОБСЄ 8 років тому ухвалила резолюцію про тотожність нацистського та сталінського режимів. Саме тому, за його словами, в Україні проходить декомунізація. Він наголосив, що «комуністичним ідолам немає і не буде місця в нашій країні».

«До речі, і без підконтрольних КДБ-ФСБ соціальних мереж мій український народ теж здатний прожити», – додав глава Української держави.

16 травня Верховна Рада ухвалила закон «Про внесення доповнення до Кодексу України про адміністративні правопорушення щодо заборони виготовлення та пропаганди георгіївської (гвардійської) стрічки». Документ передбачає, що публічне використання, демонстрація або носіння «георгіївської стрічки» передбачає накладення штрафу від 50 до 150 неоподатковуваних мінімумів доходів громадян (850–2550 гривень). За повторні такі дії передбачений штраф до 300 неоподатковуваних мінімумів доходів громадян (5100 гривень) або адміністративний арешт на строк до 15 доби з конфіскацією стрічки чи її зображення.

15 травня Порошенко своїм указом увів у дію рішення РНБО про оновлення списку санкцій проти низки російських компаній, згідно з яким в Україні буде заблоковано доступ до російських соціальних мереж «ВКонтакте», «Одноклассники», ресурсів Yandex, 17 травня цей указ набув чинності.


Macedonia Suspends 16 Police Officers After Parliament Invasion

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The Macedonian Interior Ministry has suspended 16 police officers for their failure to prevent a violent storming of the parliament building by nationalist protesters.

The angry invasion of the parliament on April 27, which included masked men, resulted in dozens of journalists and lawmakers being injured, including Social Democratic Union leader Zoran Zaev.

Zaev is now attempting to form a government and become Macedonia’s prime minister after he received the mandate from President Gjorge Ivanov, who had previously refused to do so.

The attack on parliament came after the appointment of an ethnic Albanian, Talat Xhaferi, as speaker.

The May 20 announcement named 11 police officers, four members of the special police unit, and a senior ministry official as being suspended because they “passively observed a crowd who entered and moved freely within the parliament…and did not help other police officers,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that disciplinary proceedings had also begun against the suspended police.

About 25 percent of Macedonia’s 2 million citizens are ethnic Albanians.

The attack on parliament was seen as a blow for the country’s aspirations to join both NATO and the EU.

Nationalists were upset by demands made by the ethnic Albanian parties that were negotiating to form a government with the Social Democrats, including making Albanian a second state language.

Some material for this report came from AFP and AP.


Softbank-Saudi Tech Fund Becomes World’s Biggest With $93B of Capital

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The world’s largest private equity fund, backed by Japan’s Softbank Group and Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund, said Saturday that it had raised over $93 billion to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics.

“The next stage of the Information Revolution is under way, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large-scale, long-term investment,” the Softbank Vision Fund said in a statement.

Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman of Softbank, a telecommunications and tech investment group, revealed plans for the fund last October, and since then it has obtained commitments from some of the world’s most deep-pocketed investors.

In addition to Softbank and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the new fund’s investors include Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment, which has committed $15 billion, Apple Inc., Qualcomm, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology and Japan’s Sharp Corp.

The new fund made its announcement during the visit of President Donald Trump to Riyadh and the signing of tens of billions of dollars’ worth of business deals between U.S. and Saudi companies. Son was also in Riyadh on Saturday.

After meeting with Trump last December, Son pledged $50 billion of investment in the United States that would create 50,000 jobs, a promise Trump claimed was a direct result of his election win.

Saudi tech access

The fund may also serve the interests of Saudi Arabia by helping Riyadh obtain access to foreign technology. Low oil prices have severely damaged the Saudi economy, and policymakers are trying to diversify into new industries.

The PIF signaled an interest in the tech sector last year by investing $3.5 billion in U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber.

Saturday’s statement did not say how much the PIF had committed to the fund, but previously it had said it would invest up to $45 billion over five years. Softbank is investing $28 billion.

The new fund said it would seek to buy minority and majority interests in both private and public companies, from emerging businesses to established, multibillion-dollar firms. It expects to obtain preferred access to long-term investment opportunities worth $100 million or more.

Other sectors in which the fund may invest include mobile computing, communications infrastructure, computational biology, consumer internet businesses and financial technology. The fund aims for $100 billion of committed capital and expects to complete its money-raising in six months, it added.


Умеров повідомив, що перше засідання суду окупованого Криму у його справі буде закритим

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Перше попереднє судове засідання у кримінальній справі проти заступника голови Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу Ільмі Умерова буде закритим. Про це сам Умеров написав на сторінці у Facebook.

«31 травня о 11:00 відбудеться перше попереднє засідання суду у кримінальній справі проти Ільмі Умерова. Місце проведення – сімферопольський районний суд», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Про час і формат засідання Умерову стало відомо від помічника судді Андрія Кулішова.

За даними сайту підконтрольного Кремлю Сімферопольського районного суду, кримінальну справу стосовно Ільмі Умерова за статтею 280.1 Кримінального кодексу Росії  два дні тому було передано для вивчення судді Андрію Кулішову.

За інформацією, розміщеною на сайті «Миротворець», Андрій Кулішов розшукується правоохоронними органами України за порушення присяги судді й підозрюється у державній зраді. При цьому у списку звільнених кримських суддів Вищою радою судочинства України суддя Андрій Кулішов не вказаний.

12 травня 2016 року екс-прокурор анексованого Криму Наталія Поклонська повідомила, що слідчі ФСБ Росії порушили проти Ільмі Умерова кримінальну справу за статтею про екстремізм.

Затримання, обшук і порушення кримінальної справи, утримання в психіатричній лікарні для проведення примусової судово-психіатричної експертизи відомого учасника національно-визвольного руху кримських татар, заступника голови Меджлісу Ільмі Умерова викликало сильний громадський і міжнародний резонанс.

Голова Меджлісу Рефат Чубаров вважає переслідування Ільмі Умерова частиною кампанії гонінь і утисків кримськотатарського народу в анексованому Росією Криму.


На Донбасі поранені четверо українських воїнів – штаб

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У зоні бойових дій 19 травня зазнали поранень четверо українських військових, йдеться у повідомленні прес-центру штабу АТО на сторінці у Facebook.

«Ситуація у зоні проведення АТО залишається складною, з частковими ознаками ескалації конфлікту з боку російсько-терористичних військ. Кількість ворожих збройних провокацій минулої доби сягнула відмітки 55. Все частіше ворог застосовує артилерійське озброєння, використання якого суворо заборонене Мінськими домовленостями», – вказано в повідомленні.

За даними штабу, найбільше обстрілів напередодні було на приморському напрямку – 26. Крім обстрілу позицій українських військових, бойовики обстріляли і житлові райони, йдеться в повідомленні.

«Одна з ворожих мін калібру 82 міліметри знову влучила у житловий квартал Красногорівки. На щастя, руйнувань та постраждалих серед цивільних осіб немає», – додали у штабі.

В угрупованні «ЛНР» звинуватили Збройні сили України у восьми порушеннях режиму тиші на підконтрольних бойовикам територіях. За даними сепаратистів, вогонь вівся з 82 та 120-міліметрових мінометів, озброєння БМП, протитанкових гранатометів та стрілецької зброї. В угрупованні «ЛНР» станом на 9:00 суботи не надають інформації про останні години на захоплених донецькими бойовиками територіях.

Наприкінці березня учасники Тристоронньої контактної групи домовилися про чергове перемир’я у зоні збройного конфлікту на сході України, воно мало почати діяти від 1 квітня. Проте обстріли не припинилися, а сторони конфлікту звинуватили в цьому одна одну.


Evidence of Pro-Nazi Extremists in German Military Deepens

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Evidence of far-right extremism within the German armed forces is growing following the arrest Friday of four students at a military university in Munich. Police are trying to establish whether they have links to another soldier accused of plotting to frame refugees in a terror attack. As Henry Ridgwell reports, the allegations remain sensitive in a country where the 20th century Nazi history casts a long shadow.


Job Prospects for 2017 College Grads, Best in More Than a Decade

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About 3 million Americans will enter the job pool this year as graduation ceremonies get underway at various colleges and universities across the United States. With unemployment at a 10-year low, 2017 is shaping up to be a good year for new grads. But as Mil Arcega reports, success for many will depend on a desire to keep learning and a willingness to go where the jobs are.


Nervous NATO Leaders Await Trump Visit

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During President Donald Trump’s first overseas trip, he will meet in Brussels with the other leaders of NATO member states. Some of them are nervous about the president’s commitment to the defense alliance in which the United States has played a central role since NATO’s formation at the start of the Cold War. VOA White House Bureau Chief Correspondent Steve Herman reports.


US: Turkish Security Detail’s Clash in Washington Is ‘Deeply Disturbing’ 

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The U.S. State Department said a clash in Washington this week in which Turkish security personnel apparently attacked demonstrators was “deeply disturbing.”

A State Department statement Friday promised a “thorough investigation’’ to hold those responsible accountable. Tom Shannon, the acting deputy secretary of state, met Wednesday with Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic to discuss the altercation.

“The State Department has raised its concerns about these events at the highest levels,” the statement said.

Watch: Turkish President Erdogan Watched Violent Clash Near Embassy

The clash broke out Tuesday between Turkish security personnel and protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington.

Protesters say they were attacked by Turkish security forces as they demonstrated peacefully. Turkey blamed the clash on the demonstrators, claiming they aggressively provoked people who had gathered to see Erdogan.

VOA reporters recorded images at the scene that indicated the Turkish security detail suddenly turned on the demonstrators, knocking them to the ground and kicking them until American police pushed the Turks away. The video showed Erdogan standing beside his limousine, watching the brawl.

U.S. officials briefly detained two members of Erdogan’s security detail, but they were soon released, under customary diplomatic protocols granting immunity to aides accompanying a visiting dignitary.

Some U.S. lawmakers have demanded the United States take stronger action.


У НАБУ заявляють, що розслідують лише справи щодо Лозового і Дейдея

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У НАБУ повідомляють про проведення розслідування у кримінальних провадженнях лише щодо двох народних депутатів, з яких Генпрокуратура просить зняти недоторканність – Євгена Дейдея і Андрія Лозового.

«Проте лише стосовно одного з цих двох парламентарів, а саме Євгена Дейдея, проект підозри та відповідного подання до Верховної Ради підготовлено детективами НАБУ за матеріалами проведеного досудового розслідування. Дії підозрюваного кваліфіковано за ч.3 ст. 368-2 Кримінального кодексу України (незаконне збагачення)», – повідомили у НАБУ ввечері 19 травня.

«Щодо решти підозр, то в їхній підготовці детективи участі не брали. НАБУ наразі невідомо, на підставі яких матеріалів досудового розслідування підготовлено ці документи», – додали у НАБУ. 

Генеральний прокурор Юрій Луценко у п’ятницю повідомив, що у ході перевірки електронних декларацій підготовлені подання до Верховної Ради щодо зняття депутатської недоторканності з народного депутата від депутатської групи «Відродження» Геннадія Бобова, депутата від фракції «Народний фронт» Євгена Дейдея та депутата з фракції Радикальної партії Андрія Лозового.

У жовтні 2016 року завершився перший етап подання електронних декларацій за 2015 рік для суб’єктів декларування, які посідають відповідальне й особливо відповідальне становище: президента, прем’єра, членів уряду, депутатів, суддів, правоохоронців. Відповідно до процедури, подання про зняття депутатської недоторканності до Верховної Ради вносить генпрокурор.


Hey, Graduates: Good Jobs Exist With or Without 4-Year Degree

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About three million American university graduates will enter the job market this year. And with unemployment currently at a 10-year low, it’s a good time to be graduating, says Nicole Smith, chief economist at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW).

“We are at one of the lowest unemployment rates we’ve had since May of 2007, so what that means for the graduating class of 2017 is that the likelihood of getting a job is really, really good,” she said.

The U.S. Labor Department says unemployment for those with a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher is 2.5 percent, compared to the overall jobless rate of 4.5 percent. For those with a high school diploma or less, the average unemployment rate is 6.8 percent.

Watch: Job Prospects for 2017 College Grads, Best in More Than a Decade

Demand for graduates with associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees is particularly strong in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

However, Smith says, a four-year degree is not necessary to compete in today’s economy.

“There are about 28 million jobs or so in the U.S. economy that are good-paying jobs; that are high-skilled jobs for people without a B.A,” she said.

While higher learning can give new workers the upper hand, Smith says almost a third of students with bachelor’s degrees are under-unemployed.

“So we have to do this cakewalk, this tightrope walk, to understand exactly what the market demands,” she said.

Options without college degree

A survey of the hottest employment sectors in 2017 shows some of the fastest-growing fields don’t require a four-year degree, according to senior analyst Mark Hamrick.

“You don’t have to have a college degree for some of those technical jobs, where, let’s say, a kind of therapy might be involved — physical or occupational therapy,” he said.

Health care and service-oriented jobs aimed at the needs of a graying population are bound to remain strong as baby boomers — those born between 1946 to 1964 — continue to retire. But, Hamrick says, some skills are harder to learn in school.

“One of the skills which has been in strong demand really involves people skills — closing the deal, sales … business strategy; charting the course for a viable enterprise, that’s something that’s needed,” he said.

What is clear is that jobs that fueled the economy three or four decades ago are not the same jobs driving the economy today. In the 1970s, manufacturing accounted for nearly two of every five jobs; today, those manufacturing jobs account for fewer than one in 10.   

“The types of manufacturing jobs that remain are jobs that are really high-skill, high-tech, high-demand manufacturing jobs. So those jobs require a lot more skills than their predecessors did,” Smith said.

Life-long learning key

Today’s job market also differs from the past because rapid technological and societal change demands a commitment to life-long learning, which means that getting a degree is just the beginning, according to Smith.  

“Each year, there’s a new … version of technology that we must use,” she said. “So what the students need to be aware of is that they will need to come back to re-up their certification, to re-up their skills.”

Participating in today’s economy also means older and newer workers must be willing to move where the jobs are. Demand for workers is greatest where local economies are dynamic and where populations are growing, says’s Hamrick. That means the exodus toward bigger cities on the East and West coasts will continue. 

“That’s a process that’s accelerating,” Hamrick said. “It’s not slowing down, and so having the right skills, going where the jobs are located — those are the keys to obtaining and maintaining employment.”

The most recent jobs report shows the U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in April, and unemployment fell to 4.4 percent. That’s a sharp contrast to the dark days that followed the 2008 financial crisis, when the U.S. economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month and unemployment peaked at 10 percent. 


Why Trump’s Combative Trade Stance Makes US Farmers Nervous

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A sizable majority of rural Americans backed Donald Trump’s presidential bid, drawn to his calls to slash environmental rules, strengthen law enforcement and replace the federal health care law.

But last month, many of them struck a sour note after White House aides signaled that Trump would deliver on another signature vow by edging toward abandoning the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Farm Country suddenly went on red alert.

Trump’s message that NAFTA was a job-killing disaster had never resonated much in rural America. NAFTA had widened access to Mexican and Canadian markets, boosting U.S. farm exports and benefiting many farmers.

“Mr. President, America’s corn farmers helped elect you,” Wesley Spurlock of the National Corn Growers Association warned in a statement. “Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture.”

Within hours, Trump softened his stance. He wouldn’t actually dump NAFTA, he said. He’d first try to forge a more advantageous deal with Mexico and Canada – a move that formally began Thursday when his top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, announced the administration’s intent to renegotiate NAFTA.

Farmers have been relieved that NAFTA has survived so far. Yet many remain nervous about where Trump’s trade policy will lead.

As a candidate, Trump defined his “America First” stance as a means to fight unfair foreign competition. He blamed unjust deals for swelling U.S. trade gaps and stealing factory jobs.

But NAFTA and other deals have been good for American farmers, who stand to lose if Trump ditches the pact or ignites a trade war. The United States has enjoyed a trade surplus in farm products since at least 1967, government data show. Last year, farm exports exceeded imports by $20.5 billion.

“You don’t start off trade negotiations … by picking fights with your trade partners that are completely unnecessary,” says Aaron Lehman, a fifth-generation Iowa farmer who produces corn, soybeans, oats and hay.

Many farmers worry that Trump’s policies will jeopardize their exports just as they face weaker crop and livestock prices.

“It comes up pretty quickly in conversation,” says Blake Hurst, a corn and soybean farmer in northwestern Missouri’s Atchison County.

That county’s voters backed Trump more than 3-to-1 in the election but now feel “it would be better if the rhetoric (on trade) was a little less strident,” says Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Trump’s main argument against NAFTA and other pacts was that they exposed American workers to unequal competition with low-wage workers in countries like Mexico and China.

NAFTA did lead some American manufacturers to move factories and jobs to Mexico. But since it took effect in 1994 and eased tariffs, annual farm exports to Mexico have jumped nearly five-fold to about $18 billion. Mexico is the No. 3 market for U.S. agriculture, notably corn, soybeans and pork.

“The trade agreements that we’ve had have been very beneficial,” says Stephen Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association. “We need to take care not to blow the significant gains that agriculture has won.”

The U.S. has run a surplus in farm trade with Mexico for 20 of the 23 years since NAFTA took effect. Still, the surpluses with Mexico became deficits in 2015 and 2016 as global livestock and grain prices plummeted and shrank the value of American exports, notes Joseph Glauber of the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Mexico has begun to seek alternatives to U.S. food because, as its agriculture secretary, Jose Calzada Rovirosa, said in March, Trump’s remarks on trade “have injected uncertainty” into the agriculture business.

Once word had surfaced that Trump was considering pulling out of NAFTA, Sonny Perdue, two days into his job as the president’s agriculture secretary, hastened to the White House with a map showing areas that would be hurt most by a pullout, overlapped with many that voted for Trump.

“I tried to demonstrate to him that in the agricultural market, sometimes words like ‘withdraw’ or ‘terminate’ can have a major impact on markets,” Perdue said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think the president made a very wise decision for the benefit of many agricultural producers across the country” by choosing to remain in NAFTA.

Trump delivered another disappointment for U.S. farm groups in January by fulfilling a pledge to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the Obama administration negotiated with 11 Asia-Pacific countries. Trump argued that the pact would cost Americans jobs by pitting them against low-wage Asian labor.

But the deal would have given U.S. farmers broader access to Japan’s notoriously impregnable market and easier entry into fast-growing Vietnam. Philip Seng of the U.S. Meat Export Federation notes that the U.S. withdrawal from TPP left Australia with a competitive advantage because it had already negotiated lower tariffs in Japan.

Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports, thereby raising fears that those trading partners would retaliate with their own sanctions.

Farmers know they’re frequently the first casualties of trade wars. Many recall a 2009 trade rift in which China responded to U.S. tire tariffs by imposing tariffs on U.S. chicken parts. And Mexico slapped tariffs on U.S. goods ranging from ham to onions to Christmas trees in 2009 to protest a ban on Mexican trucks crossing the border.

The White House declined to comment on farmers’ fears that Trump’s trade policy stands to hurt them. But officials say they’ve sought to ease concerns, by, for example, having Agriculture Secretary Perdue announce a new undersecretary to oversee trade and foreign agricultural affairs.

Many farmers are still hopeful about the Trump administration. Some, for example, applaud his plans to slash environmental rules that they say inflate the cost of running a farm. Some also hold out hope that the author of “The Art of the Deal” will negotiate ways to improve NAFTA.

One such way might involve Canada. NAFTA let Canada shield its dairy farmers from foreign competition behind tariffs and regulations but left at least one exception – an American ultra-filtered milk used in cheese. When Canadian farmers complained about the cheaper imports, Canada changed its policy and effectively priced ultra-filtered American milk out of the market.

“Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult,” Trump tweeted last month. “We will not stand for this. Watch!”

Some U.S. cattle producers would also like a renegotiated NAFTA to give them something the current version doesn’t: The right to label their product “Made in America.” In 2015, the World Trade Organization struck down the United States’ country-of-origin labeling rules as unfair to Mexico and Canada.

Many still worry that Trump’s planned overhaul of American trade policy is built to revive manufacturing and that farming remains an afterthought.

“So much of the conversation in the campaign had been in Detroit or in Indiana” and focused on manufacturing jobs,” said Kathy Baylis, an economist at the University of Illinois. The importance of American farm exports “never made it into the rhetoric.”