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11 тисяч школярів і студентів вийшли в Брюсселі на акцію захисту клімату – відео

У Брюсселі 14 лютого тисячі школярів та студентів вийшли на марш на захист клімату. Поліція нарахувала мінімум 11 тисяч учасників демонстрації. Незважаючи на заходи, спрямовані на те, щоб діти не пропускали школу, акції протесту є дуже популярними серед молодого покоління.

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Коаліція проти Ірану міцна – держсекретар США Помпео

Міжнародна коаліція, яка протистоїть створюваним Іраном небезпекам, є міцною, заявив 14 лютого в ексклюзивному коментарі Радіо Свобода держсекретар США Майк Помпео.

Відповідаючи на запитання на полях форуму у Варшаві, він наголосив, що коаліцію, яка чинить тиск на Іран, було створено для встановлення миру та стабільності на Близькому Сході.

«Коли ти говориш про «Хезболлу» (ліванське проіранське угруповання – ред.), ти маєш говорити про Іран, коли йдеться про бойовиків у Ємені, знову доводиться говорити про Іран, тож Іран звичайно був однією з тем (форуму у Варшаві – ред.). Та я запевняю, що коаліція міцна. Жодна людина, жодна країна не заперечила, що загроза з боку Ірану реальна. Ми працюємо над цим», – відзначив Майк Помпео.

Міністерська конференції з питань безпеки на Близькому Сході відбулася 13– 14 лютого у Варшаві.

Польща і США виступили співорганізаторами конференції, в якій взяли участь президент Польщі Анджей Дуда, віце-президент США Майкл Пенс, прем’єр-міністр Ізраїлю Біньямін Нетаньягу, керівники зовнішньополітичних відомств близько 30 держав світу, в тому числі і український міністр Павло Клімкін.

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Ліга Європи: «Динамо» програло перший тайм «Олімпіакосу»

Футболісти київського «Динамо» поступаються грецькому «Олімпіакосу» після першого тайму поєдинку 1/16 фіналу Ліги Європи, який відбувається в Піреї.

Вже на 9-й хвилині господарів вивів вперед Ахмед Хассан, але на 27-й хвилині першу ж слушну нагоду киян перетворив на гол Віталій Буяльський.

Піти на перерву з нічийним результатом динамівцям не дозволив Джиль Діаш, якому на 40-й хвилині вдався неймовірний удар з-поза меж штрафного майданчика – 2:1.

Поєдинок-відповідь у цій парі відбудеться в Києві 21 лютого.

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Myanmar Charter Change Bid Unlikely to Loosen Military Grip on Power

Aung San Suu Kyi is unlikely to win any big changes to Myanmar’s military-drafted constitution, despite launching her boldest challenge yet to the generals’ entrenched role in politics, analysts have said.

Her civilian National League for Democracy (NLD) party, which dominates parliament, last week comfortably won a vote to set up a committee to amend the charter — but observers say that’s about as easy as it’s going to get.

Amending the constitution

The roughly 200-page document guarantees soldiers a quarter of all seats in parliament, giving them the ability to veto any constitutional changes, which require 75 percent of the vote to pass.

That means the NLD’s super majority from a landslide 2015 election win is effectively useless when it comes to striking down clauses that bar Suu Kyi from becoming president and allow the military to control key ministries.

The constitution came into force following what is regarded as a sham referendum in 2008, held just a few days after a devastating cyclone killed around 140,000 people.

The death of Ko Ni

Hopes of reform dampened after the assassination in early 2017 of Ko Ni, a top constitutional lawyer and close advisor to Suu Kyi.

The NLD appeared to be signaling those hopes were still alive when it used the second anniversary of Ko Ni’s death to announce its plan to form the committee last month.

Power of the military

Making the charter more democratic was a key NLD election pledge, but the committee appears to be less about making good on that promise than trying to show voters that they tried, and were hamstrung by the generals.

“They already know very well that if they cannot get the military to agree, they cannot change the constitution,” said Ye Myo Hein, an analyst with the Tagaung Institute of Political Studies, a Yangon-based think-tank.

With the next election in 2020 looming ever larger, he added, “they want to send the message to the people that the NLD is always trying to fulfill its campaign promises.”

But using the military’s legal veto as an excuse for failure might ring hollow, said Soe Myint Aung, founder of the Yangon Centre for Independent Research.

Changing the charter would require an imaginative political solution to win concessions from the generals, he added; simply suggesting changes they are bound to vote down won’t be enough.

“I don’t think the NLD is really in a position to put the blame on the military if the amendments do not happen,” he said. “The constitutional amendment question is really about political will. It’s not really about the legal matter.”

The NLD has tried to harness popular support to amend the constitution before, but that was before they came to power.

Mandalay demonstrations

And while hundreds of demonstrators rallied this week in the city of Mandalay to support changes, drawing on the power of the public to pressure the generals may not be the best strategy for the NLD this time, said Ye Myo Hein.

“In the near future they will be very busy with the election. I think it is very risky and also they would have to invest a lot of time and energy to mobilize,” he said.

While key clauses that preserve the military’s power are off limits for now, there are some less significant changes that the NLD may be able to make ahead of the next general election to show it has made progress.

Some change possible

Scrapping section 261, which gives the president a key role in appointing regional chief ministers, is plausible because the military would not see that as a threat, says Ye Myo Hein.

“They will allow constitutional reform that cannot damage their role in politics,” he said.

Decentralizing some power to Myanmar’s conflict-torn borderlands in this way might even serve the military’s interests, he added, allowing them “to pressure ethnic armed groups to participate in politics rather than taking up arms.”

The question is whether or not the NLD itself would want such a change; the party has been accused of using the clause to get the upper hand while in power.

The committee could be seen as an opportunity for Aung San Suu Kyi to win back some of the trust she has lost amid criticism she is unwilling to negotiate with ethnic parties.

Rather than using it to try to push through the changes they already want, the government should open a wider dialogue, said Melissa Crouch, an expert on Myanmar constitutional law.

“I think there’s a lot the NLD could do around transparency and public participation in this process,” she said.

That will be a precarious path to tread, said Soe Myint Aung: “The worry is that the NLD will not be able to please anyone, and this will just be seen as a political ploy.”

 

 

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North Korea Looking for Home-Grown, Sanctions-Proof Energy

Power-strapped North Korea is exploring two ambitious alternative energy sources, tidal power and coal-based synthetic fuels, that could greatly improve living standards and reduce its reliance on oil imports and vulnerability to sanctions.

Finding a lasting energy source that isn’t vulnerable to sanctions has long been a priority for North Korean officials. Leader Kim Jong Un used his New Year’s address last month to call on the country to “radically increase the production of electricity” and singled out the coal-mining industry as a “primary front in developing the self-supporting economy.” For the longer-term, he stressed the importance of atomic, wind and tidal power.

Since further development of atomic energy is unlikely anytime soon, the power-scarce country is developing technology to “gasify” coal into substitute motor fuels. It also is looking into using huge sea barriers with electricity-generating turbines to harness the power of the ocean’s tides.

​Coal and hydropower

Coal and hydropower are North Korea’s main energy resources. The North imports nearly all of its oil and petroleum products from China. Solar panels are visible just about everywhere, from urban balconies to rural farm buildings and military installations. Wind remains a very minor energy source.

The North’s renewed focus on oil alternatives underscores what some foreign observers believe are two of its long-term best bets.

Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, tried to get international support for developing nuclear power in the 1990s before the North ultimately opted instead for nuclear weapons. That brought some of the most intense sanctions ever applied by the United Nations against the country, making its energy situation even more precarious.

But coal is something North Korea has in abundance.

It’s used to supply thermal power plants and factories, to heat homes and to make fertilizer and even a kind of cloth, called Vinylon. Slow-running, smoke-belching trucks that use a gasification process with firewood are common in the North Korean countryside. Coal isn’t generally seen as a good oil-product substitute because converting it to a liquid form is inefficient and expensive — coal gasification was last used on a large scale in Nazi Germany to keep its cars and trucks moving.

Efforts paying off

Given North Korea’s limited options, it’s a technology that appears to be paying off.

The output from one gasifier unit reportedly destined for the North Sunchon Chemical Plant, north of Pyongyang, could yield synthetic fuel amounting to about 10 percent of the North’s recent petroleum supply, according to a recent study for the Nautilus Institute by David von Hippel and Peter Hayes, two of the foremost experts on the issue. The study cited as one of its sources a Wall Street Journal report from December that tracked the unit to a Chinese exporter.

The facility is believed to be a center of “C-1” technology, which uses coal to make a kind of gas used to produce synthetic fuels, industrial chemicals and fertilizers.

Now that China has reduced its coal imports from the North in line with the sanctions, there’s more available for gasification.

“The project appears to provide a significant benefit to the DPRK, in terms of supplying fuels to compensate for petroleum product imports that run afoul of United Nations Security Council sanctions passed in the last two years, although the project will not completely replace all lost imports on its own,” they wrote in the report.

DPRK is short for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

​Power from the tides

The North’s interest in tidal energy also reflects a practical desire to exploit existing resources.

Glyn Ford, a former member of the European Parliament with extensive experience with the North, said he has had several discussions with North Korean officials regarding tidal power and even helped arrange a study tour to a facility in the UK a decade ago. He said they have tried to invite experts to the North.

The country is perfectly situated for tidal power.

“The bulk of the Korean Peninsula’s west coast is a rich tidal power resource,” Ford said in a telephone interview with The AP. “There are some detailed studies of the potential in South Korea and the same resources are there to be exploited north of the Demilitarized Zone.”

The world’s largest functioning tidal power plant is near the South Korean city of Ansan. It opened in 2011 and produces about enough power to support a city of 500,000.

Kim Jong Un has shown a strong penchant for mobilizing his million-man military on big projects. And the North has shown it can build something like a tidal power plant.

One of North Korea’s proudest accomplishments is the gigantic West Sea Barrage, which was completed in 1986 at a cost of $4 billion. The huge seawall near the city of Nampo, a port about an hour’s drive from the capital, crosses the mouth of the Taedong River and helps control flooding and reduce the amount of salt that seeps in from the ocean, increasing the amount and quality of arable land.

“The attraction is that, apart from the turbines, it is all a gigantic earth-moving project,” Ford said. “That’s ideal for the Korean People’s Army skillset.”

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US-China Trade Talks Set to Open in Beijing

U.S. and Chinese negotiators are set to kick off two days of official trade talks in Beijing on Thursday as the world’s top two economies try to patch up their festering economic dispute.

Pressure to seal an accord ahead of a March deadline lessened before the talks as U.S. President Donald Trump indicated Tuesday in Washington he was open to extending a trade truce, depending on progress in Beijing.

Trump in December put on hold sharp tariff hikes on $200 billion of Chinese imports to allow time for negotiators to work out a resolution to the thorny spat.

The two countries have already slapped tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, which has weighed on their manufacturing sectors and shaken global financial markets.

U.S. officials including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will meet with China’s top economic czar Liu He and central bank governor Yi Gang as the two sides aim to build on progress made in Washington last month.

Lower level officials arrived earlier for what the White House called preparatory meetings starting Monday.

Expectations for a trade deal have grown as China faces pressure from slowing economic growth, and swooning global markets rattle Trump and his economic advisers.

Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to meet with top U.S. officials in Beijing this week, a report in the South China Morning Post said Wednesday, bolstering hopes for the talks and markets in Asia.

Trump also said he expects to meet with Xi “at some point” to clinch a trade deal.

“Markets will continue to watch — and react — closely to the ups and downs of the negotiations,” said Trey McArver of Trivium Research.

“But Sino-U.S. relations are all about the two leaders, and it will ultimately be up to Xi and Trump to come to a deal — or not,” he wrote Wednesday in a newsletter.

Previous talks

The two sides said major progress was made in talks last month in Washington, but a wide gulf remains on some issues.

The U.S. is demanding far-reaching changes to Chinese practices that it says are unfair, including theft of U.S. technology and intellectual property, and myriad barriers that foreign companies face in the Chinese domestic market.

Beijing has offered to boost its purchases of U.S. goods, but is widely expected to resist calls for major changes to its industrial policies such as slashing government subsidies.

The International Monetary Fund warned on Sunday of a possible global economic “storm” as world growth forecasts dip, citing the U.S.-China trade row as a key pivot point.

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Ліга чемпіонів: «Реал» здобув перемогу в Амстердамі

Мадридський «Реал» здобув перемогу над голландським «Аяксом» в Амстердамі – 2:1 у першому для цих команд поєдинку 1/8 фіналу Ліги чемпіонів УЄФА.

Всі голи команди забили по перерві. У складі мадридців відзначилися Карім Бензема (на 60-й хвилині) та Марко Асенсіо (на 87-й), за господарів забив Хакім Зієш (на 75-й).

В іншому матчі середи англійський «Тоттенгем» розгромив німецьку «Боруссію» з Дортмунда – 3:0.

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Роботодавець Магнітського засудив Лондон за відсутність санкцій за «актом Магнітського»

На відміну від інших країн, які схвалили «акт Магнітського», лише Велика Британія не запровадила санкції стосовно порушників прав людини в Росії. Про це на слуханнях у Палаті громад британського парламенту заявив засновник фонду Hermitage Capital Вільям Браудер.

Велика Британія схвалила «поправки Магнітського» навесні 2018 року. За словами бізнесмена, Лондон пояснив відмову застосовувати санкції законодавством Євросоюзу. Однак такі країни-члени ЄС, як Латвія, Литва та Естонія запровадили обмеження для росіян, повідомив Браудер.

Бізнесмен також сказав, що деякі члени парламенту Великої Британії лобіюють інтереси росіян. Це є однією з причин, що вказують на небажання влади запроваджувати санкції. В ході засідання Браудер нагадав, що відомий британський політик Ґреґорі Баркер домігся скасування санкцій США відносно декількох компаній російського бізнесмена Олега Дерипаски.

Браудер також закликав Лондон координувати політику санкцій зі США і Канадою.

«Акт Магнітського» був розроблений у 2012 році в США. Документ визначав коло осіб, причетних до загибелі в слідчому ізоляторі юриста фонду Hermitage Capital Сергія Магнітського і запровадив заборону на в’їзд до США і фінансові санкції щодо ряду російських чиновників. Пізніше свої «акти Магнітського» схвалили Канада і країни Балтії.

Велика Британія схвалила першу частину «акту Магнітського» в 2017 році. Документ передбачає заморожування активвів тих, хто причетний до порушень прав людини. Британська «поправка Магнітського» була включена в законопроект із боротьби з відмиванням грошей після отруєння в березні 2018 року колишнього офіцера ГРУ Сергія Скрипаля та його дочки.