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US Expanding Restrictions on Chinese Students

U.S. officials are considering broader restrictions against Chinese students attending American schools, as part of a deepening standoff between the two countries.Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hopes that China’s government-funded “Confucius Institutes,” which have branches on American university campuses, will all be shut down by the end of the year.“I think everyone’s coming to see the risk associated with them,” Pompeo said An undergraduate student, left, shows her watercolor painting at a traditional Chinese painting class at the Confucius Institute at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., on May 2, 2018.The crackdown may also target Chinese academics who have relied on state funding for their overseas studies. On August 26, the University of North Texas (UNT) terminated an exchange program for 15 visiting Chinese researchers sponsored by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), a group backed by China’s Ministry of Education.The action marked the first time a United States university cut ties with a Chinese national scholarship fund following the increased attention on academic espionage. In an article published in the university’s newspaper, administrators said they took the action following detailed briefings from federal and local law enforcement.Each of the 15 Chinese government sponsored students received an e-mail from the UNT office of the provost and vice president for academic affairs on August 26. The e-mail stated that the school “has come to a decision to end its relationship with visiting scholars who receive funding from the Chinese Scholarship Council (also known as the Chinese Scholarship Fund).”The scholars have been informed their J-1 visas have also been terminated, leaving them with one month before they have to return to China.Flurry of new restrictionsPompeo said at a news conference last week that the State Department recently wrote to the boards of several U.S. universities to alert them to the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party. He said that these threats may include illegal funding for research, intellectual property theft, intimidation of foreign students, and opaque recruitment.On the same day, the State Department announced that the entry of senior Chinese diplomats to U.S. campuses would require approval from the State Department. Gordon Chang, lawyer and author of The Coming Collapse of China, told VOA that American officials are responding to years of academic and intellectual property theft by China, which largely went overlooked.“They come to U.S. campuses not to learn but to download databases and take information to be used by Beijing,” he said. “So this is a fundamental problem for the United States.”What is the China Scholarship Council?Established in 1996 by the Ministry of Education of China, the CSC provides scholarships for foreign students studying in China and Chinese students studying abroad. These funds are mainly derived from the government.Its official purpose is to “strengthen friendship and understanding between China and the people of the world and promote China’s socialist modernization and world peace.” Experts told VOA that the CSC tends to offer scholarships to senior researchers and postdoctoral students, as well as students studying technologies in fields that are in line with China’s development strategy. These scholars are required to return to China after their studies. Experts warned that the U.S. needs to be vigilant about this strategy.According to a report from the Center for Security and Emerging Technologies at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Diplomacy in July, about 7% of Chinese students studying abroad, or roughly 65,000, received scholarships from the CSC each year.In addition, the report notes that the CSC prioritizes funding for “urgently needed talents serving major national strategies, important industries, key fields, major projects, cutting-edge technologies, and basic research.”The author of the report, Ryan Fedasiuk, research analyst at Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University, told VOA that the number of cooperation projects between the CSC and foreign universities has soared in the past two years.“We found that last year in 2019, the number of programs that the CSC has approved between Chinese universities and elite foreign universities had increased significantly, from about 19 in 2018 to some 120 in 2019,” Fedasiuk said.He also said that the CSC’s job is to try to persuade or in some cases, compel those students to return to China after completing their scholarship programs.“This is done through a variety of incentives,” he said. “In some cases, they simply ask them to return, and the CSC will in some cases award Chinese students who are overseas not otherwise receiving funding from the Chinese government with funds in the hopes that they will return afterward. But in some cases, they do require that applicants for scholarships list financial granters who will be held responsible for the full sum of the award that was paid plus penalties if they don’t return to China after completing their program.”Despite this pressure, however, more than 85% of Chinese doctoral students studying STEM at U.S. universities choose to stay in the U.S., according to the report.

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Олег Сенцов презентував у Львові двотомник про життя за ґратами

Ці книжки він написав упродовж 5 років перебування в ув’язненні в Росії

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Нове про COVID-19 за тиждень від 1 до 7 вересня – відео

Стероїди дають надію на майбутнє лікування важких випадків захворювання на COVID-19. Захисні щити для обличчя із пластику погано справляються із запобіганням поширення вірусу. Американські чиновники заявляють, що розподіл вакцин може розпочатися вже в листопаді. Про це дивіться у тижневому відеоогляді за період від 1 до 7 вересня. (Автор: Марґот Бафф, відео: Reuters, AFP)

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COVID-19: в Іспанії зареєстрували майже 9 тисяч нових випадків, у Франції – понад 6,5 тисячі

Міністерство охорони здоров’я Іспанії 8 вересня повідомило про 8,9 тисячі нових випадків зараження коронавірусною інфекцією в країні за кілька останніх днів, повідомляє агенція ЕFЕ. Згідно з оприлюдненими сьогодні даними, близько третини випадків припадає на Мадрид, за ним слідом – Країна басків і Андалусія.

За час пандемії в Іспанії зафіксовано понад 530 тисяч випадків COVID-19, близько 30 тисяч людей померли.

У Франції за минулу добу зареєстровано 6,5 тисячі випадків захворювання на COVID-19, повідомили 8 вересня в Міністерстві охорони здоров’я країни.

Цей показник зріс більш ніж на 2 тисячі, днем раніше у Франції виявили 4,2 тисячі хворих. З початку пандемії у Франції зафіксовано 335 тисяч випадків COVID-19, 30 тисяч із них мали летальні наслідки.

Раніше у вересні міністр охорони здоров’я Іспанії Сальвадор Ілія заявив, що нинішню ситуацію не слід порівнювати з піком пандемії в березні, і повертати загальнонаціональний режим ізоляції недоцільно.

В Україні кількість виявлених випадків COVID-19 сягнула 140 479, свідчать дані на сайті Ради національної безпеки та оборони. При цьому за минулу добу, 7 вересня, в Україні зареєстрували 2 411 нових хворих. За весь час пандемії від викликаних хворобою ускладнень померли 2 934 людини. Одужали – 63 546.

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Report: US Global War on Terror Has Displaced Up to 59 Million People

The U.S. war against global terrorism has displaced as many as 59 million people since 2001, according to a new report released Tuesday by Brown University.The study, published by the Rhode Island-based university’s “Costs of War Project,” says between 37 million and 59 million people in eight countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001,” when the al-Qaida terror group attacked the United States.The figures in the report, titled “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States Post-9/11 Wars,” show that displacements have risen sharply from 21 million in 2019. The majority of those displaced were from Iraq, with at least 9.2 million. Syria saw the second-highest number of displacements, with at least 7.1 million, and Afghanistan was third with at least 5.3 million people displaced.The study’s authors say the estimate was derived by counting refugees, asylum seekers pursuing protection as refugees, and internally displaced people or persons (IDPs) in the eight countries that the United States has most targeted in the post-9/11 wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria.The report said 37 million displaced people is “almost as large as the population of Canada” and “more than those displaced by any other war or disaster since at least the start of the 20th century with the sole exception of World War II.”“We are not suggesting the U.S. government or the United States as a country is solely responsible for the displacement. Causation is never so simple. Causation always involves a multiplicity of combatants and other powerful actors, centuries of history, and large-scale political, economic, and social forces,” the study’s authors noted. “Even in the simplest of cases, conditions of pre-existing poverty, environmental change, prior wars, and other forms of violence shape who is displaced and who is not.”The study does not include “the millions more who have been displaced by other post-9/11 conflicts where U.S. forces have been involved in ‘counterterror’ activities in more limited yet significant ways, including in: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.” 

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Theater, Brinkmanship Mark Brexit Talks

Negotiators on both sides of the English Channel say this week is the “moment of reckoning” for a post-Brexit trade deal between the European Union and Britain. But after six months of toxic wrangling the odds are mounting an agreement will not be struck, both British and European officials concede.That result that could poison relations between Britain and its near neighbors for years to come with far-reaching consequences, not only economic but impacted security and intelligence cooperation, too, say analysts.In the run-up to an eighth round of formal discussions that were to start Tuesday in London both sides were locked in an accelerating cycle of furious recriminations, accusing each other of negotiating in bad faith in talks about Britain’s future relationship with the bloc of 27 European countries.  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, said there needs to be “more realism” from Brussels about Britain’s “status as an independent country.”  Patience wears thinAides of the EU’s top negotiator, Michael Barnier, warned patience is wearing thin and that European officials are ready to abandon the meetings this week in the light of plans by Johnson to unveil new legislation that would override key parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, a framework treaty struck last year that set the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU.European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier speaks during a media conference after Brexit trade talks between the EU and the UK, in Brussels, Aug. 21, 2020.Johnson has said that unless there is an agreement by October 15, he will walk away from talks. “There is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point. If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on,” Johnson said in a statement last week. His threat worries many sectors of British business, whose bosses say Britain will be worse of without a trade deal.    Northern IrelandThe eve of the talks has been dominated by fallout from the proposed publication of the new legislation, which could result in aspects of the withdrawal deal being negated. They mainly concern Northern Ireland, which will remain within the EU’s internal market under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, avoiding the necessity of a so-called hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, but requiring customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain and for EU rules limiting state aid to businesses in the province to be observed.   Johnson’s plans to pick and choose about customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain and he is keen to water down state aid rules. The disclosure about the proposed legislation, which is due to be published Wednesday, have added a new source of friction to the talks.  FILE – People wave the British Union Jack and England flags as they celebrate in Parliament Square on Brexit day in London, Britain, Jan, 31, 2020.But mistrusts runs deep in the British parliament, too. Some uncompromising Brexiters in Johnson ruling Conservative party, who want a clean break from the EU, fear Johnson might be laying the ground to offer significant concessions to the EU to get a last-minute deal that he will trumpet as a great win. They worry he is engaging in a piece of highly staged theater that he can parade as diplomatic triumph.Brexiters point to what happened last year when he repudiated the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by his predecessor in Downing Street, Theresa May, only to sign an almost identical divorce deal after he was elected as her successor. Some observers, though, hazard that Johnson may not have made up his own mind about whether Britain should go it alone without a trade deal or compromise. “My guess is that the really big decision government Brexiteers must take — between scary clean break and safety-first compromise — remains entirely unresolved because the prime minister’s mind cannot be read,” wrote commentator Matthew Parris, a former Conservative lawmaker, last week.

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Senate Republican Leader to Hold Vote on COVID-19 Relief Bill

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Republican-led Senate will vote “as soon as this week” on COVID-19 relief legislation after negotiations with Democrats broke off last month. “It does not contain every idea our party likes. I am confident Democrats will feel the same. Yet Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation,” McConnell said in a statement.  The Senate returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a shortened pre-election session as hopes continue to diminish for passage of another relief bill to cope with the economic decline brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. After bipartisan unity led to the approval of a nearly $3 billion COVID-19 rescue package in the spring, the two sides have not been able to reach another agreement.  The House of Representatives doesn’t return to work until September 14. FILE – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Aug. 27, 2020.White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said earlier Tuesday he was optimistic another measure would be passed before the November 3 presidential election but gave no indication of progress in talks with congressional Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted Sunday that “McConnell may have declared a ‘pause’ to America’s coronavirus response, but it is clear the virus never did the same.” The U.S. leads the world in confirmed COVID-19 deaths, with nearly 190,000. The U.S. is also home to a world-leading 6.3 million coronavirus infections, nearly one-quarter of the more than 27.3 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. 
 

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House to Investigate Possible DeJoy Campaign Law Violations

House Democrats said Tuesday they will investigate whether Postmaster General Louis DeJoy encouraged employees at his former business to contribute to Republican candidates and then reimbursed them in the guise of bonuses, a violation of campaign finance laws.
Five people who worked for DeJoy’s former company, New Breed Logistics, say they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by DeJoy himself to write checks and attend fundraisers at his mansion in Greensboro, North Carolina, The Washington Post reported. Two former employees told the newspaper that DeJoy would later give bigger bonuses to reimburse for the contributions.  
It’s not illegal to encourage employees to contribute to candidates, but it is illegal to reimburse them as a way of avoiding federal campaign contribution limits.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement Tuesday that if the allegations are true, “DeJoy could face criminal exposure — not only for his actions in North Carolina, but also for lying to our Committee under oath.”  
She was referring to DeJoy’s testimony before her committee last month, when he forcefully denied that he had repaid executives for contributing to Trump’s campaign.
Maloney, a New York Democrat, urged the Postal Service Board of Governors to immediately suspend DeJoy, whom “they never should have selected in the first place.”
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., chairman of the oversight panel’s government operations subcommittee, said DeJoy has “repeatedly broken the trust of the American people and must resign or be fired.”
Monty Hagler, a spokesperson for DeJoy, told the Post that DeJoy was unaware that any workers felt pressure to make donations. Hagler also said DeJoy believes he has always complied with campaign fundraising laws and regulations.
President Donald Trump said Monday that DeJoy, a major donor to Trump and other Republicans, should lose his job if campaign finance irregularities are uncovered.
DeJoy already faces unrelated scrutiny from Congress for U.S. Postal Service changes that some fear will slow delivery of mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 elections.  
DeJoy was put in charge of the Postal Service in June after a career in logistics and set in motion a series of policy changes that have delayed mail and sparked concern over the agency’s ability to process a flood of mail-in ballots expected this fall due to coronavirus fears.
The oversight committee recently subpoenaed DeJoy for records about widespread mail delivery delays that have pushed the Postal Service into the political spotlight.