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Greta Thunberg Becomes Time’s Youngest Person of the Year

Environmentalists and climate change activists worldwide are hailing Time magazine’s decision to make Greta Thunberg its 2019 Person of the Year. The teenage activist has attracted the world’s attention with her eloquent calls on political and industrial leaders to make courageous decisions on climate change. Her actions have inspired young people worldwide to fight for the protection of the planet. But as VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports, there are critics who say Thunberg’s mission and her celebrity status are all wrong

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Рада ще на один рік продовжила дію закону про «особливий статус Донбасу»

Верховна Рада України 12 грудня на позачерговому засіданні внесла зміни до статті 1 закону «Про особливий порядок місцевого самоврядування в окремих районах Донецької та Луганської областей» щодо продовження терміну його дії на один рік – до 31 грудня 2020 року включно. Рішення підтримали 320 народних депутатів. Не голосували у повному складі фракції «Голос»та «Батьківщина».

Закон про особливий порядок самоврядування на Донбасі авторства тодішнього президента Петра Порошенка Верховна Рада ухвалила у вересні 2014 року терміном на три роки. Він передбачає, що особливий порядок на окремих територіях буде введений «після виконання всіх умов, викладених у статті 10 закону, зокрема в частині, що стосується виведення всіх незаконних збройних формувань, їхньої військової техніки, а також бойовиків і найманців з території України».

У жовтні 2017 року парламент продовжив дію закону на рік, а у жовтні 2018-го – ще на рік – до 31 грудня 2019 року включно. Нинішні зміни до закону в частині його пролонгації запропонував голова фракції «Слуги народу» у Верховній Раді Давид Арахамія.

9 грудня у столиці Франції Парижі відбулася зустріч лідерів країн «нормандського формату». Вони «висловили зацікавленість» у досягненні домовленостей «щодо всіх правових аспектів» закону про «особливий статус Донбасу» з метою забезпечення його функціонування на постійній основі.

Після зустрічі президент України Володимир Зеленський заявив, що закон може бути продовжений ще на рік.

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Росія здійснила оформлення «гумконвою» в односторонньому порядку – ДПСУ

Українські прикордонники заявляють, що не отримали можливості належно оглянути колони автомобілів, які Росія називає «гуманітарним конвоєм» для непідконтрольних українському урядові районів Донецької та Луганської областей.

«Його переміщення, як і попередніх, відбувалося з грубим порушенням норм міжнародного та вітчизняного законодавства і погоджених з Міжнародним Комітетом Червоного Хреста модальностей. Українська міжвідомча група здійснювала лише візуальне спостереження без виконання контрольних функцій. У вантажівках нібито перевозили дитяче харчування, медобладнання та медикаменти. Однак, враховуючи те, що вантаж переміщувався у закритих упаковках, зведеній українській групі з прикордонників та митників не вдалось отримати достеменну інформацію про його вміст, характер та номенклатуру», – вказано в повідомленні.

У непідконтрольні урядові України райони Донецької та Луганської областей 12 грудня в’їхав 95-й так званий «гуманітарний конвой» із Росії.

Міністерство з питань надзвичайних ситуацій Росії повідомило, що «колони доставлять жителям Донбасу понад 435 тонн гуманітарних вантажів, у складі яких медикаменти і дитячі продуктові набори».

Міністерство закордонних справ України після кожного такого порушення державного кордону висловлює протест. Офіційний Київ вимагає припинити вчинення міжнародно-протиправних діянь проти суверенітету української держави.

 

Росія з серпня 2014 року направляє в зону бойових дій на Донбас так звані «гуманітарні конвої». Митну та прикордонну служби України до огляду цих вантажівок не допускають.

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На єдиному в Росії авіаносці сталася пожежа, є дані про зниклих безвісти

На єдиному в Росії авіаносці «Адмирал Кузнецов» сталася пожежа, в результаті якої зниклими безвісти вважають від одного до трьох людей, що перебували в трюмі під час загоряння. Про це пишуть у четвер російські інформагенції.

Корабель стоїть на ремонті в доці у Мурманську. Повідомлення про загорання на нижній палубі надійшло вранці. Вогнем охопило щонайменше 120 квадратних метрів авіаносця.

За попередніми даними, причиною загорання могло стати нехтування правилами техніки безпеки.

Важкий авіаносний крейсер «Адмирал Кузнецов» – єдиний авіаносець в складі російського флоту.

Він введений в експлуатацію в 1991 році, брав участь у військовій операції Росії в Сирії. У 2017 році його почали ремонтувати, торік плавучий док, в якому він ремонтувався, затонув.

На момент пожежі на кораблі перебувало понад 400 людей. Його ремонт планували завершити до кінця 2022 року.

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Future of Brexit at Stake in Britain Election

Voters in Britain are casting ballots Thursday in an early general election that may bring a long-awaited resolution to the departure from the European Union they approved in a 2016 referendum.Prime Minister Boris Johnson focused his campaigning efforts on a slogan to “Get Brexit Done.” He says a parliamentary majority for his Conservative Party would allow him to push through a previously rejected divorce deal with the EU and carry out Brexit by January 31.His challenger, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, said if he wins Britain will hold a new referendum to ask if people still want to leave the European Union, or would rather stay in the 28-member bloc.Johnson took office in July after his predecessor, Theresa May, failed in her repeated attempts to get parliament to approve the deal she reached with the EU. May also tried during her tenure to strengthen her Brexit negotiating position by calling an early election, but the move backfired with the Conservatives losing seats.Opinion polls ahead of Thursday’s voting suggested Johnson’s party was favored to win, but that the race appeared to tighten in the final days of campaigning.Official results are expected early Friday. 

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Judiciary Panel Takes First Steps Toward Trump Impeachment Vote

The House Judiciary Committee took the first steps Wednesday evening toward voting on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, beginning a marathon two-day session to consider the historic charges.Democrats and Republicans on the panel used the prime-time hearing to make final arguments for and against impeachment. Both sides appealed to Americans’ sense of history — Democrats describing a strong sense of duty to hold the president in check, and Republicans decrying the process and what it means for the future of the country.On Thursday, the committee will consider amendments and likely hold a final vote to send the articles to the House floor. The two articles of impeachment that Democrats introduced Tuesday charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his dealings with Ukraine.The articles aren’t expected to be changed, though, as Democrats are unlikely to accept any amendments proposed by Republicans unified against Trump’s impeachment.Democrats have already agreed to the language, which span only nine pages and say that Trump acted “corruptly” and “betrayed the nation” when he asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and the 2016 U.S. election. Hamstrung in the minority, Republicans wouldn’t have the votes to make changes without support from at least some Democrats.The Wednesday evening session of the 41-member panel is expected to last several hours, with opening statements from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler opened hearing to make a final argument for impeachment and to urge his Republican colleagues to reconsider. He said the committee should consider whether the evidence shows that Trump committed these acts, if they rise to the level of impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors and what the consequences are if they fail to act.“When his time has passed, when his grip on our politics is gone, when our country returns, as surely it will, to calmer times and stronger leadership, history will look back on our actions here today,” Nadler said. “How would you be remembered?”Republicans are also messaging to the American people — and to Trump himself — as they argue that the articles show Democrats are out to get the president. Most Republicans contend, as Trump does, that he has done nothing wrong, and all of them are expected to vote against the articles.The top Republican on the panel, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, argued that Democrats are impeaching the president because they think they can’t beat him in the 2020 election.Democrats think the only thing they need is a “32-second commercial saying we impeached him,” Collins said.“That’s the wrong reason to impeach somebody, and the American people are seeing through this,” Collins said. “But at the end of the day, my heart breaks for a committee that has trashed this institution.”Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said Democrats are impeaching because “they don’t like us,” and he read out a long list of Trump’s accomplishments.“It’s not just because they don’t like the president, they don’t like us,” Jordan added. “They don’t like the 63 million people who voted for this president, all of us in flyover country, all of us common folk in Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Texas.”Republicans are expected to offer an array of amendments and make procedural motions, even if they know none of them will pass. The Judiciary panel is made up of some of the most partisan members on both sides, and Republicans will launch animated arguments in Trump’s defense.Earlier Wednesday, Collins said the GOP would offer amendments but said they’d mainly be about allowing more time to debate.“Remember, you can’t fix bad,” Collins said. “These are bad, you’re not going to fix it.”In the formal articles announced Tuesday, the Democrats said Trump enlisted a foreign power in “corrupting” the U.S. election process and endangered national security by asking Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including Biden, while withholding U.S. military aid as leverage. That benefited Russia over the U.S. as America’s ally fought Russian aggression, the Democrats said.Trump then obstructed Congress by ordering current and former officials to defy House subpoenas for testimony and by blocking access to documents, the charges say.Trump tweeted that to impeach a president “who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness.”The House is expected to vote on the articles next week, in the days before Christmas. That would send them to the Senate for a 2020 trial.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he would be “totally surprised″ if there were the necessary 67 votes in the chamber to convict Trump, and signaled options for a swift trial. He said no decision had been made about whether to call witnesses.

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Reports: High-Stakes White House Meeting Expected Thursday to Debate US-China Tariffs

 U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to meet with top trade advisers on Thursday to discuss planned Dec. 15 tariffs on some $160 billion in Chinese goods, three sources familiar with the plans said, as markets braced for potential negative impacts.Officials circulated talking points downplaying the repercussions such a tariff hike would have on the U.S. economy ahead of Trump’s meeting with Trade Representative RobertLighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and White House advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro.The senior trade advisers are expected to present divergent views during the high-stakes meeting, but the final decision will be up to Trump, the sources said.A decision to move ahead with the December tariffs could roil financial markets and scuttle U.S.-China talks to end the 17-month-long trade war between the world’s two largest economies for the remainder of Trump’s term.Negotiations have failed to produce deals on agricultural purchases by China and tariff rollbacks by the United States since the two countries agreed in October to conclude a preliminary trade agreement.Many had expected the two sides to reach a deal ahead of the Dec. 15 tariffs, but that prospect now appeared unlikely, according to multiple U.S. and Chinese sources. The question now is whether Washington will delay the tariffs or let them take effect.”I’m expecting them to raise the tariffs on Sunday,” one source said. “The administration is preparing its talking points about how that’s the right thing to do. The message is that it will not be painful.”Emails had been circulated among a small group of senior officials in recent days, arguing that previous tariffs had had a muted impact on the U.S. economy, a separate source familiar with the administration’s thinking said.Navarro, a China hawk, this week circulated a separate memo in favor of continued tariffs, arguing that China had increased its purchases of U.S. pork and soybeans solely because of its domestic swine fever outbreak, and that tariffs were not having a negative effect on U.S. growth or the stock market.The Navarro-penned document and separate memos said tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on China over the past year-and-a-half had not been as devastating as critics had argued, a view not shared by many economists.”The message is that it will not be painful,” said the one source familiar with the administration’s thinking. “People have been proclaiming for a year and half that the sky is falling, and the sky isn’t falling yet.”Trump’s advisers are divided about whether to proceed with the Dec. 15 tariffs and what impact such a move would have on U.S. financial markets, one source familiar with White House trade deal negotiating procedures said.”When they get in the room, Peter’s going to say: ‘Hit ’em.’ Larry and Mnuchin are going to say: ‘Don’t do it.’ And I think Bob … is hoping he has enough to go on to justify not doing it,” the source said.Derek Scissors, a China scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who consults with some White House officials, said he believed the likeliest scenario is a delay in the Dec. 15 tariff deadline for up to 90 days.

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EU Leaders Offer Money to Reluctant East to Push 2050 Climate Neutrality

European Union leaders on Thursday will push to agree to make their bloc climate neutral by 2050, luring reluctant eastern member states with promises of extra money for their heavily-polluting economies.The bloc’s 27 national leaders will meet in Brussels from 1400 GMT, a day after the bloc’s executive proposed a Green Deal to mobilize 100 billion euros worth of investment to help the bloc’s economies move away from fossil fuels.With floods, fires and droughts wrecking millions of lives around the world, the EU’s new executive cast the plan as the bloc’s “man on the moon moment,” kindling hopes among campaigners that other big emitters may follow suit.But coal-reliant Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were not on board, saying a draft decision must spell out in more detail the scale and scope of financing available, and pushing to include nuclear in the EU’s fresh push to cut emissions.”There will certainly be an amount of arm-wrestling,” said a senior EU diplomat from a country more enthusiastic about the 2050 goal. “There will have to be new money … but some member states will be less than enthusiastic about the target of raising 100 billion euros.”Underlining divisions in the bloc on climate, EU national diplomats in Brussels on Wednesday blocked a set of new rules governing which financial products can be called “green” and “sustainable.””It’s going to be very difficult,” said a second senior EU diplomat, from a country more reluctant to do more to fight climate change, about chances for agreement at the summit.The climate discussion feeds into another difficult one the leaders will have, namely on their next long-term budget.No agreement is expected on that after a proposal by the bloc’s current president Finland to cap joint spending at 1.087 trillion euros for 2021-27 was rejected by both the frugal camp and those seeking heavier outlay. The leaders might agree, however, to hold a summit next February to seal a deal.”We’re getting near the time when we have to sit in the sauna and sweat it out,” said another senior EU diplomat.Russia Brexit and Euro ZoneOver dinner on Thursday, the leaders are also expected to support extending for six months from February the bloc’s economic sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and support for rebels in the east of the country.The summit will be notable for the absence of British prime minister Boris Johnson, staying at home for a national election he is fighting on a promise to get Brexit done.After partial results come in through the night, the 27 other leaders will meet again on Friday to discuss Brexit.Should Johnson’s Conservatives win a parliamentary majority, the 27 will reaffirm their support for a divorce deal that would take Britain out of the bloc at the end of January.They will state their aim for “as close as possible” future ties with Britain and embark on preparations for trade talks “based on a balance of rights and obligations” to “ensure a level playing field,” according to their latest draft decision.Eyes will be on two more leaders at the Brussels talks: Finland’s new Prime Minister Sanna Marin — the world’s youngest at 34 — and Malta’s Joseph Muscat, who will be stepping down amid a crisis over the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.