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Pompeo to Visit 4 Latin American Nations in Security, Migration Push

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit four Latin American countries this week, with a focus on Venezuela’s crisis, the surge of migrants at the U.S.southern border, and more security cooperation, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.Pompeo will travel to Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico and El Salvador from Thursday to Sunday, the State Department said.In Argentina, he will attend the second Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial where he will also hold bilateral meetings with regional counterparts, including from Chile and the Bahamas, a senior State Department official told reporters.”We see this week’s ministerial as an important step in bolstering our collective efforts to address these threats and protect our hemisphere from the scourge of terrorism,” the official said.In Ecuador, Pompeo, making the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state in nine years, will discuss increased economic and trade ties, fighting drug trafficking and the surge of migrants from Venezuela fleeing that country’s economic crisis.Ecuador estimates that some 600,000 Venezuelan citizens entered the country in 2018 via the Colombian border, most of whom continue on toward Peru.”They have been taking a heavy pressure of inbound migration from the people expelled by Mr. Maduro’s chaos in Venezuela, and they have been doing great work,” the official said.Most Western countries, including the United States, back opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s head of state.Guaido, denounced by President Nicolas Maduro as a U.S. puppet, says Maduro’s re-election last year was not legitimate.In Mexico, Pompeo’s discussions with his Mexican counterpart, Marcelo Ebrard, will “cover a broad agenda,” including migration from Central America to the United States, the official said.The flow of Central American migrants passing through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States has led to both friction and cooperation between the United States and Mexico, which share a 2,000-mile (3,000-km) border and are leading trade partners.U.S. officials say asylum seekers, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, have inundated the U.S. side of the border. The three countries suffer from gang violence and political turmoil.President Donald Trump’s administration has responded by restricting the ability of migrants to seek asylum and cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the three impoverished countries, punishing them for the northward migration.It will be the topic of conversations in Pompeo’s stop in El Salvador, where he will also discuss tackling nacro-trafficking, another State Department official said.Pompeo will extend a lease for the U.S. use of facilities at the Comalapa Airport, which are used in support of counter-narcotics operations, the official added.

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Moving US Land Agency West Brings Praise, Prompts Questions

The Trump administration’s plan to move the government’s largest land management office from Washington to Colorado evoked a mix of praise, criticism and questions Tuesday.The Bureau of Land Management scheduled a formal announcement of its plans Tuesday afternoon. A day earlier, delighted Republican lawmakers said the bureau’s headquarters would move to Grand Junction, Colorado, and about 300 jobs would be relocated to Colorado, Nevada, Utah and other Western states.The bureau, part of the Interior Department, oversees nearly 388,000 square miles (1 billion square kilometers) of public land, and 99% is in 12 Western states. Those lands produce oil, gas and coal, and ranchers graze livestock on them as well.”This is a victory for local communities, advocates for public lands and proponents for a more responsible and accountable federal government,” said Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican.Gardner released a letter from the Interior Department Tuesday confirming the move to Grand Junction, a city of about 63,000 people 250 miles (400 kilometers) west of Denver.FILE – Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., arrives at the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 31, 2018.Bill Stringer, a Uintah County, Utah, commissioner and retired Bureau of Land Management employee, said it’s a good idea to put more agency employees “closer to where the action is” and in the same time zone as many of the ranchers who seek permits on public land.But Stringer said he wants to hear the details.”Theoretically, it sounds like you might have better access,” said Stringer, who retired in 2014 from the BLM. “But I’m interested in seeing what it really looks like.”He noted that flying in and out of Grand Junction could be logistically difficult for people coming from Washington. 
 
Steve Ellis, another retired bureau official who served as deputy director of the agency, questioned how effective senior leaders could be if they are in western Colorado while budget negotiations and briefings for Congress take place in Washington. 
 
“Those functions are critical, and they’re time-sensitive,” he said. “My concern is, they’re not going to operate well with key people west of the Rockies.”Ellis dismissed the argument that Bureau of Land Management staff will make better decisions if the headquarters is in the West, saying 95% of the agency’s staff is already in field offices.The bureau has 9,000 employees, most of them scattered among 140 state, district or field offices.”This move will further remove BLM career leadership from policy decisions that will still be made in Washington by the [Interior] department,” Ellis said.’PR stunt’The Center for Western Priorities, an environmental group, also scoffed at the argument that moving the headquarters west would lead to better decisions.”This announcement is nothing but a PR stunt,” the group’s executive director, Jennifer Rokala, said in a written statement. “Moving senior BLM leadership would only turn the agency into an afterthought, rather than a core piece of the Interior Department.”Interior Department officials have said they also considered Denver; Salt Lake City; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Boise, Idaho, for the new headquarters.The move is part of a broader plan to reorganize the Interior Department, launched by then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke stepped down in January amid ethics allegations, and his successor, David Bernhardt, continued the planning but with less fanfare.

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Austria: Firtash Extradition to US Blocked by ‘Extensive’ Bid to Reopen Case

This story originated in VOA’s Ukrainian Service.  Some information is from AP.WASHINGTON — The Austrian justice minister’s Tuesday announcement that he will extradite Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash to face bribery charges in the United States has been upended by an application to reopen the case in Vienna.Last month, Austria’s Supreme Court upheld a decision granting a U.S. request to extradite the gas tycoon — who prosecutors say had business ties to President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign manager, Paul Manafort — paving the way for him to face trial in a Chicago courtroom.Firtash, who denies any wrongdoing, is facing a U.S. indictment that accuses him of a conspiracy to pay bribes in India to mine titanium, which is used in jet engines.A longtime supporter of Ukraine’s ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, Firtash is alleged to have made billions of dollars selling Russian-subsidized gas to the Kyiv government. He later launched profitable ventures in television and chemicals production, and has long-established connections with businessmen from the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, attracting the interests of U.S. law enforcement agencies.On Tuesday, the Austria Press Agency reported that Justice Minister Clemens Jabloner had approved Firtash’s extradition, but a Vienna state court judge ruled it could only take place after that court has decided on the defense motion to reconsider the matter.’Extremely extensive material’Court spokeswoman Christina Salzborn said the defense provided “extremely extensive material.””At the moment, there is no date set for the extradition,” Salzborn told VOA’s Ukrainian Service. “The accused applied for a reopening of the case and submitted numerous documents. … Due to the load of data and newly submitted evidence, it will take some time to assess the reopening request.”The court decision can once more be subject of an appeal, so even after the court’s decision regarding the reopening request, I don’t think the case will be finished,” Salzborn added.Asked if the reopened case could carry into fall, Salzborn said, “Yes, I guess even longer, as the decision regarding the reopening can be appealed, too. Everything is pending for the time of the reopening procedure.”A U.S. grand jury indicted Firtash in 2013, along with a member of India’s parliament and four others, on suspicion of bribing Indian government officials to gain access to minerals used in titanium-based products.Arrested in 2014Firtash was arrested in Austria in 2014 and then freed on 125 million euros ($141 million) bail. In a protracted legal battle, a Vienna court initially ruled against extradition on the grounds  the indictment was politically motivated.A higher Vienna court in February 2017 rejected that reasoning as “insufficiently substantiated,” ruling that Firtash could be extradited.Austria’s Supreme Court of Justice upheld that ruling last month. Firtash’s defense team is led by former Austrian Justice Minister Dieter Boehmdorfer, who on Tuesday told Austrian national radio station O1 that reopening the case will prove “the U.S. does have a far-reaching political motivation” to secure Firtash.The U.S. investigation of Firtash was first reported in 2008, when he was named principal shareholder in an obscure company that was involved in lucrative gas deals between Russia and Ukraine. The U.S. extradition request led to Firtash’s 2014 arrest in Vienna.Bid to dismiss indictmentIn June, a Chicago federal judge rejected a motion to dismiss the indictment against Firtash, who has argued that the U.S. has no jurisdiction over crimes in India. However, federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled that it does, because any scheme would have affected a Chicago-based company.Chicago-based U.S. aviation giant Boeing said it considered business with Firtash but never followed through. It is not accused of any wrongdoing.Before becoming Trump’s campaign manager, Manafort pursued a business deal with Firtash to redevelop a Manhattan hotel. Manafort isn’t accused of wrongdoing in the Chicago case.

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На Миколаївщині знайшли тіло кандидата в народні депутати з вогнепальним пораненням – поліція

У місті Первомайськ на Миколаївщині знайшли тіло кандидата в народні депутати з вогнепальним пораненням, повідомила поліція регіону. Тіло 56-річного чоловіка було в боксі його підприємства. За даними місцевих ЗМІ, мова йде про кандидата в народні депутати Василя Мосякіна, який балотувався у 132 виборчому окрузі від партії «Опозиційний блок».

Головна версія правоохоронців – самогубство. Поряд із тілом загиблого була мисливська рушниця. За попередніми даними, кандидат у народні депутати вистрелив собі в груди.

Поліція відкрила кримінальне провадження за статтею 115 (умисне вбивство), «як того вимагає процедура в подібних випадках». 

Дострокові вибори народних депутатів відбудуться 21 липня.

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Генеральна прокуратура викликає Портнова на допит

Генеральна прокуратура України викликає Андрія Портнова, колишнього заступника голови Адміністрації президента Віктора Януковича, на допит у справі про розстріли під час подій Євромайдану.

Допит має відбутися об 11:00 19 липня. Портнов у цьому кримінальному провадженні має статус свідка.

Справа відкрита «за фактами злочинного перешкоджання проведенню зборів та мітингів у період листопада 2013 року – лютого 2014 року на майдані Незалежності в Києві, перевищення службових повноважень працівниками правоохоронних органів при застосуванні фізичної сили та спеціальних засобів до громадян, які реалізовували своє конституційне право на мирні зібрання та мітинги на вулицях центральної частини Києва, що спричинило тяжкі наслідки, організації умисних убивств протестувальників та інших фактів злочинної протидії протестним акціям».

19 травня Портнов повідомив, що повернувся в Україну після більш ніж 5 років життя за кордоном. У період з 2010 до 2014 року він був заступником голови Адміністрації президента Віктора Януковича.

5 березня 2014 року Євросоюз заморозив на один рік активи 18 колишніх українських високопосадовців, яких підозрюють у незаконному заволодінні державною власністю. Під санкції потрапив також Портнов. Через рік Європейський союз виключив із санкційного списку чотирьох колишніх українських високопосадовців, зокрема і Портнова.

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Lotus Showcases First Pure Electric Sports Car

British sports car maker Lotus revealed its pure electric “hypercar” on Tuesday, the first completely new vehicle to be launched under the stewardship of Chinese firm Geely which acquired a majority stake in 2017.The Evija, to be produced at the firm’s factory in Hethel, eastern England, will have a limited production run of just 130 cars and will be built from 2020.The model, which will cost from 1.7 million pounds ($2.1 million), will have a driving range target of 250 miles (400 kilometres) as manufacturers race to improve low and zero-emissions technology to meet stricter emissions rules and win over more environmentally-conscious buyers.”It will re-establish our brand in the hearts and minds of sports car fans and on the global automotive stage,” said Lotus Chief Executive Phil Popham.”It will also pave the way for further visionary models,” he said.($1 = 0.8033 pounds) 

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Акція «Мова об’єднує». Харків’яни вийшли на майдан Свободи – відео

Українські вірші та пісні на головній площі: харків’яни вийшли на акцію «Мова об’єднує». На підтримку мовного закону в Харкові на майдан Свободи вийшло близько 150 містян. 16 липня закон набув чинності. Учасники акції кажуть: в Україні є суттєва загроза реваншу, отже, українська мова потребує захисту.

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Ukrainian Hacker Sought by US Arrested

Ukraine has arrested an alleged major computer hacker who has been sought by the United States for years.The head of Ukraine’s national security service Ivan Bakanov said Tuesday that Mykhailo Rytikov was arrested in the city of Odessa, in an operation conducted in coordination with Britain and the U.S.
 
Bakanov said the operation found a data center with about 150 servers and that study of the equipment indicated some were operated under “control and cover of the Russian special services.” Moscow hasn’t commented on the accusation.
 
Rytikov, a Ukrainian national, was indicted in the U.S. in 2013 with running a sophisticated hacking organization that stole at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers. But Washington and Ukraine don’t have an extradition treaty.