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Через туман IBU переніс індивідуальну гонку на Кубку світу з біатлону в Поклюці

Міжнародний союз біатлоністів (IBU) ухвалив рішення про перенесення на 6 грудня чоловічої індивідуальної гонки на першому етапі Кубка світу, який приймає словенська Поклюка. Причиною такого рішення став густий туман, який практично унеможливлює точну стрільбу учасників змагання, а також ставить їх у нерівні умови.

Початок змагань 5 грудня планувався на 15:15 за Києвом, новий час старту – 11:15 6 грудня.

Українську команду в цій гонці представлятимуть Сергій Семенов, Артем Прима, Артем Тищенко та Віталій Кільчицький.

Таким чином, 6 грудня в Поклюці має відбутися дві індивідуальні гонки – чоловіча об 11:15 і жіноча о 15:15. 

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У листопаді в Україні зафіксовані 18 випадків порушення свободи слова – ІМІ

У листопаді в Україні зафіксовані 18 випадків порушення свободи слова у восьми регіонах, повідомив Інститут масової інформації. З них 14 випадків – це фізична агресія щодо журналістів.

Найбільшу кількість порушень – дев’ять – експерти зафіксували в категорії «перешкоджання законній журналістській діяльності». У жовтні таких випадків було вісім, у вересні – п’ять, у серпні – чотири.

«Журналістам представники місцевої та центральної влади перешкоджали знімати, намагалися вигнати із засідання, невідомі особи відбирали камеру, обливали кефіром, забороняли вести відеозйомку, плювали в обличчя», – заявили в ІМІ

Згідно з повідомленням, далі за кількістю порушень ідуть погрози журналістам – чотири випадки.

Загалом із початку року Інститут масової інформації зафіксував 89 випадків перешкоджання законній професійній діяльності журналістів, 31 випадок погроз, 29 випадків побиття журналістів, 17 випадків обмеження доступу до інформації та 14 випадків кібератак.

Відповідно до моніторингу міжнародної організації «Репортери без кордонів» Україна посідає 101-е місце в «Індексі свободи преси».

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ЄС підготував «план дій проти дезінформації»

Європейська зовнішньополітична служба та Єврокомісія на тлі наближення євровиборів збільшать фінансування свого дезінформаційного підрозділу до 5 мільйонів євро в 2019 році. Про це у Брюсселі повідомив віце-президент Єврокомісії Андрус Ансіп. 

«Це допоможе використовувати нові засоби і технології для боротьби з дезінформацією», – каже віце-президент Єврокомісії, зауважуючи, що це незначна сума, якщо порівнювати з Росією, яка витрачає на медіа, що поширюють дезінформацію, 1,1 мільярда євро щороку.

«Наша мета не полягає у створенні чогось подібного до того, що вже є в Росії – машини пропаганди в ЄС. Ми хочемо визначати, звідки йде дезінформація та зупиняти її, оприлюднюючи факти. Для цього ми маємо краще обмінюватися інформацією між підрозділами, які вже це роблять в кожній із країн ЄС. Але якби це залежало тільки від мене, то я б виділив не 5, а 50 мільйонів», – заявив представник виконавчого органу ЄС.

Як пояснюють у Єврокомісії, «філософія роботи, націленої на боротьбу з дезінформацією, – у спільних, об’єднаних зусиллях. Кожна з держав-членів має інвестувати в цю справу – грошима, персоналом чи розумними технологіями. Тому порівняння бюджетів ЄС та Росії на дезінформаційну компанію – некоректне, бо вводить в оману».

Порівняно із 1,9 мільйона євро, виділених у 2018 році, це все ж значно суттєвіший бюджет для протидії російській пропаганді та дезінформаційній кампанії, повідомляє брюссельський кореспондент Радіо Свобода.

Віце-президент Єврокомісії також повідомив, що планується істотно збільшити кількість персоналу, зокрема, підрозділу East StratCom, який займається моніторингом та спростуванням російської пропаганди. З-поміж інших численних пунктів нового «плану дій проти дезінформації», окремо виділяється запуск «Системи швидкого попередження», що працюватиме на всій території ЄС. Ця система буде «швидко реагувати на фейки правдивими фактами», – заявив Андрус Ансіп.

«Вона протидіятиме дезінформації твердими фактами, допоможе обмінам та оцінкам даних розвідки. Надаватимуться кращі та численніші аналізи загроз», – пояснив віце-президент Єврокомісії, додаючи, що «дезінформація є частиною воєнної доктрини Росії та її стратегії з розділення й послаблення Заходу».

Представництва ЄС у сусідніх країнах, у першу чергу, з-поміж держав колишнього Радянського Союзу, отримають необхідні інструменти для аналізу даних і також будуть значно посилені.

Це лише частина всеосяжного «плану дій», спрямованого на боротьбу із дезінформацією, перед наступними європейськими виборами, який 5 грудня представила Комісія ЄС. 

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Indonesian Public and Human Rights Groups Decry West Papuan Arrests

Indonesian human rights groups decried the arrests made of West Papuan students and pro-independence activists after they staged peaceful rallies across Indonesian cities on Saturday. 

Benny Wenda, chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), demanded accountability from the Indonesian law enforcers, writing, “in the strongest possible terms, the ULMWP condemns the Indonesian government for the arrest and brutal treatment of over 500 West Papuan people and Indonesians in solidarity, who were targeted on 1st December simply for peaceful commemorating West Papua National Day.”

Amnesty International Criticism

“These arbitrary arrests add to the long list of acts of harassment, intimidation and arrests faced by Papuans this year, not to mention the attacks they faced from hostile groups at yesterday’s rallies,” Amnesty International’s Usman Hamid said in a statement.

The most number of arrests — more than 200 — took place in the city of Surabaya, East Java, where demonstrators — from organizations such as the Alliance of Papuan Students (AMP) — staged a peaceful rally commemorating West Papua’s National Day. On December 1, 1961, the morning star flag — a symbol for its independence — was first raised under Dutch administrative rule. 

December 1 has since been regarded as the day West Papua carved out its independence. In 1963, West Papua was formally absorbed into Indonesia; with the trails blazed by the UN and the West, Indonesia held a contentious referendum in 1969 in which only over a thousand were selected to agree, through bribery and threats, to the formal absorption.

Charges of Treason

The rally on Saturday, as human rights lawyer and the activists’ legal council Veronica Koman told VOA, was rife with accusations of treason and separatism of the West Papuans, lobbed by more than a dozen nationalist groups. “Because of the nature of our criminal code on treason is pretty broad, it’s used to persecute these students. During the Dutch rule, there would have to be an attack in order for an act to be considered treasonous. Now it’s not,” she said.

Anindya Shabrina, a student and activist with National Students Front (FMN) who was there to document the Surabaya rally, said that she saw the nationalist groups pelt rocks, glass shards and bamboo sticks at the dormitory where the rally took place. According to her, 16 people were injured, three of them required stitching for their injuries. 

“The [state apparatus] always does this in the name of the Surabaya people, even though the working class over here perhaps doesn’t really care that much about this stuff. Sentiments against dark-skinned people exist, I’m sure, but they don’t themselves commit any acts of discrimination. They accept them,” she told VOA.

It was also reported that two people involved in the Surabaya rally were missing: university students Fachri Syahrazad and Arifin. They have since returned home. On the day of the rally, they were taken to the police crime investigation unit building to be interrogated. “I wasn’t given a chance to contact my family or a lawyer,” Fachri told VOA, adding that he was there to document the rally and that his phone and wallet were confiscated by officers. “The next day, I woke up at 7 only to be grilled again and the official report, along with further questioning, was made at 12. It was very intimidating.” Veronica said that it should have been illegal to deny someone who has just been arrested a chance to contact any form of legal council.

Surabaya police chief Rudi Kurniawan told VOA that no arrests have been made. “That was an effort at protection and repatriation because an order was disturbed,” he said.

Widespread Protests

The arrests were not the first for West Papuan activists or students. 

Crackdowns on protests also took place in the special province of Yogyakarta in 2016. Security was also cited as the reason. The crackdown took place again the following year, when President Joko Widodo made a visit to Yogyakarta.

The provinces of Papua and West Papua have been plagued by intimidation and violence, with over 500,000 Papuans killed since the 1960s. It is also Indonesia’s poorest province, with 28 percent of its people living below the poverty line. A military presence, complicated by its involvement with Freeport McMoran (Papua houses the lucrative Grasberg gold mine), has also been cited as one of the sources of violence in the region. In 2014, four people of the Paniai regency were shot by security forces. In 2017 shootings between the Free Papua Movement and security forces were reported.

Febriana Firdaus, an investigative journalist who has written extensively on West Papua, said that what’s caused the rift is Indonesia’s treatment of Papuans. “They’re not transparent about what happened between Indonesia and Papua. Papuans feel suspicious that their freedom of expression is silenced. Indonesia never opens up to Papua, especially with regards to the [The Act of Free Choice] referendum, in which people were captured and killed,” she said.

“There’s no democracy for Papuan students to express their political aspirations as prescribed by Indonesia’s constitution,” said Dorlince Iyowau, spokesperson for the “Alliance of Papuan Students.” “There’s no good future for West Papuans because the only good future for West Papuans is independence from Indonesia’s colonialism.”

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Taiwan Expected to Adjust Its Hands-Off Stance Toward China after Elections

Taiwan is expected to adjust its largely hands-off stance toward political rival China by 2020, following losses for the ruling party in local elections last month, while still holding a middle ground between independence and unification. 

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen may take a slightly more accommodating stance toward China, some analysts believe, possibly by focusing on economic relations over politics. Conversely, some say, the government could swing further toward Washington to resist China. Tsai faces pressure to do something palpable before the Taiwan presidential race of 2020.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, but the island is self-ruled and 83 percent of Taiwanese like it that way, according to government figures. Tsai, elected in 2016, rejects Beijing’s dialogue condition that both sides see themselves as part of a single China, and Beijing responded by cutting off talks.

“For the next stage, ahead of the presidential election, I think the roles of Beijing and Washington will be stronger than before, therefore whether it’s the Democratic Progressive Party or President Tsai, it’s required that you make some policy adjustments,” said Andy Chang, China studies professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan.

Decisions in Taipei can quickly thaw or chill China-Taiwan relations, which have raised military tension multiple times over the past seven decades. Unhappy with Tsai, the globally powerful Chinese government periodically flies military aircraft near Taiwan and squelches Taiwanese foreign diplomacy.

The two sides have been separately ruled since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, when the losing Nationalists fled to Taiwan and rebased their government.

Voters link China, economy

Elections of mayors and county magistrates in Taiwan November 24 had little to do with China policy, Tsai said last week. But some voters equate today’s China-Taiwan stalemate with dips in local tourism and trouble exporting agricultural products. A China-Taiwan dialogue could produce agreements that open Taiwan further to the $12 trillion-plus Chinese economy.

Election results handed 15 of Taiwan’s 22 top local seats to candidates from the opposition Nationalist Party, which today advocates closer China relations including a resumption of the dialogue that its government carried out before 2016.

Tsai will stick to her overall China stance, despite elections, because she has sunk so much time already into straddling the line between keeping distance from Beijing without declaring formal independence, scholars believe. Independence would be a red line for China. Tsai is eligible for reelection in 2020, likely against an opposition candidate who openly backs stronger China ties.

“If Tsai makes a change, then her most basic currency is gone,” said Huang Kwei-bo, vice dean of the international affairs college at National Chengchi University in Taipei. 

Economic cooperation

Ruling party mayors and magistrates have expressed willingness to work with the new Nationalist mayor of the southern city Kaohsiung on developing local tourism for people from China. On Tuesday, the domestic China Times website quoted Taiwan’s chief China policymaker stressing local economic development and “a bit less discussion of politics.”

Those moves may herald a “softened tone” toward Beijing’s dialogue condition, said Lin Chong-pin, a retired strategic studies professor in Taiwan. Kinder language may follow, he said.

“(It’s) probably a softened tone toward the one-China policy or Taiwanese sovereignty, whatever,” Lin said. “There are many ways of going around. She could express openness toward a one future China or a one historic cultural China.”

Resisting Beijing via Washington

Decisions in Washington and Beijing will inevitably affect China policy in Taipei, Chang said. China, for example, rolled out a list of relaxed rules earlier this year to lure Taiwanese over for work and study. The U.S. government periodically offers arms sales and sends high-level officials to Taipei.

Taiwanese generally prefer a “pro-U.S.” policy over a “pro-China” one, Chang said, and that view will establish direction for Tsai. Taiwan-U.S. relations have leapt ahead this year with supportive legislation in Washington and occasional passage of U.S. navy ships near the island. China disapproves but has taken little counter-action as it struggles with Washington over trade.

Leaders in Taipei will reference public opinion to chart any new China policy, said Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister with the government’s Mainland Affairs Council.

“The government will respect the ideas and suggestions from all circles and do reviews on a rolling basis to enforce related Taiwan-mainland China ties, together maintaining the status quo of peace in the Taiwan Strait,” Chiu said. 

China may give Taiwan a break from the diplomatic and military pressure of the past two years as it waits for Tsai to take stock of the November elections, Huang said.

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Thailand Considers Same-Sex Partnership Bill

Thailand’s government is considering a proposed Life Partnership Bill, which would guarantee same-sex couples rights similar to couples in traditional marriages, including the use of one’s spouse’s surname, property rights and the right to end the partnership.

The move is seen as a milestone in efforts to improve legal rights for those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, community, which comprises an estimated 8 percent of the population, or about 6 million people.

For hotel receptionist Patipant Chuthapun, who lives with his partner in the northern city of Chiang Mai, the proposed partnership law is a welcome one.

In the lobby of the boutique Isty hotel in the city’s urban core, the 23-year-old worker feels most at ease with his sexual identity, while he can openly greet foreign tourists, including gay and lesbian travelers.

“At first, when I worked at the hotel, I felt like I had to hide my identity because I wasn’t sure if the guests would look down at me. But they seem to be more open and accepting to the way I am,” he said.

What was more challenging to Chuthapun was telling his parents about his sexuality when he was a teenager going to school in the conservative farming community, where more than 90 percent of Thais practice the conservative Theravada Buddhism.

“We have problems with the family, and they don’t accept who we are because Thailand is not as open as Western countries,” said Chuthapun.

“Now, we have the law, and our families have heard about it and they are starting to open their hearts for us.”

Current marriage laws reflect a traditional interpretation of gender and family arrangement with reference specifically to men and women.

LGBT groups have been holding public hearings and rallies at major centers across the country, ahead of a government decision on whether to have the new civil partnership bill go before a legislative assembly this year.

WATCH: LGBT rights

The bill was first drafted in February 2013, but proceedings were sidelined a year later, after a May 2014 coup and subsequent government reshuffle.

Now, the renewed hearings have caught the attention of many in the LGBT community, including Patawee Triwijan, a resort worker and Chuthapun’s live-in boyfriend.

“In the past when we first lived together, we had to pretend to be like others and say that we were just friends. So, when we went out in public, we didn’t dare to hold our hands to show our affection,” said Triwijan, as he monitored a popular LGBT website for updates on the proposed law. 

“Things are changing now because we have more support. and we aren’t afraid to hold our hands in public,” Triwijan added with a smile.

At the Chiang Mai Rights and Liberties Protection Department, the staff is busy compiling recommendations gathered from hearings in the northern regions of Thailand.

“We opened the public hearing stage for every group, for LGBTs and for the government that has to implement this law if it is passed,” said Director General Phuchit Jaruwat.

“We discussed the challenges and limitations that this will have — if passed — and open up to opinions of what we need to make the law work best in our society.”

“Thailand wants to have the same standard of rights for the LGBT community so that all members of society have the same status.” 

Gay rights groups say the bill is a positive step but that they will continue to push, hoping that the measure is a sign of more rights to follow.

“Thailand looks a lot like a paradise for the LGBT community but in reality, we don’t have any written laws or regulations to support our community. So, we are faced with many problems in Thai society that we need to fix,” said Ratthawit Apiputthiphan, director of Mplus, an aid group for the LGBT community.

Aside from the stated benefits, the act raises the age of legal consent from 17 to 20 and does not include joint adoption or parental rights.

“For the latest same-sex marriage law, they need more adjustments and changes to make it more complete for the LGBT group,”Apiputthiphan adds.

“For example, when a partner gets sick, we can sign the documents for his treatment and for adoption, to allow us to adopt children.”

“We want to have all equal rights, the same treatment as ordinary men and women. It seems like they have this law just to label us.”

A 2014 country report that was reviewed by USAID and the United Nations Development Program, or UNDP, noted that in Thailand’s southern provinces, where followers of Islam largely congregated, attitudes toward the LGBT community were more conservative and unfavorable. The document, Being LGBT in Asia: Thailand Country Report, also said, “Legal and policy reform is seen as difficult both because lawmakers tend to be conservative and, because the constitution and country’s laws are seen as sacred.” (It noted the opinions did not reflect the official policy positions of USAID or UNDP).

Although the date for the vote is still unconfirmed, Gen. Phuchit Jaruwat, the rights and liberties protection director, said, “We hope to have the bill finalized and for a vote before the end of the year.” If the law passes by then, Thailand will be the first country in Asia to fully legalize country-wide same-sex unions.