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Грузія: більшість заручників, утримуваних в зуґдідському банку, звільнені, нападник втік

Чоловік, який захопив заручників у грузинському місті Зуґдіді, вийшов з будівлі «Банку Грузії» в супроводі кількох людей, повідомляє грузинська служба Радіо Свобода «Ехо Кавказу».

Він залишив територію на поліцейській машині. Більшість заручників вже звільнені.

Телеканали в прямому ефірі показали, як людина в камуфляжі з піднятою рукою, в якій імовірно була граната, виходить з будівлі банку під прикриттям трьох зв’язаних мотузкою чоловіків. Позаду нього перебував ще один заручник. Цей чоловік ніс доволі великий рюкзак, ймовірно, з грошима. Яку саме суму отримав грабіжник, невідомо.

Всі п’ятеро чоловіків сіли в поліцейський автомобіль і сховалися в невідомому напрямку. Є ймовірність, що він прямує до регіону Абхазія, яка наразі не контролюється урядом Грузії.

Поліція зняла очеплення біля будівлі банку та відвела спецтехніку. В будівлі філії «Банку Грузії», де утримувалися заручники, працюють криміналісти.

Раніше з території біля будівлі банку вивели спеціальну бронетехніку Міністерства внутрішніх справ Грузії – це було однією з вимог нападника.

Вдень 21 жовтня в центрі грузинського міста Зуґдіді оголосили спецоперацію після того, як невідомий чоловік захопив заручників у відділенні «Банку Грузії».

Згодом один із заручників зв’язався з телекомпанією «Мтаварі» і в прямому ефірі озвучив вимоги нападника: 500 тисяч доларів, відведення правоохоронців з центру міста та можливість безперешкодно піти.

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Bullets Shatter Window of Journalist’s Car in Kosovo

About midnight Sunday, reporter Shkumbin Kajtazi heard gunshots ring out in Mitrovica, the Kosovan city where he lives.When he went outside, Kajtazi, who works for the news website Reporteri and runs his own outlet Jepi Zë (Give it Voice), found the window of his car shattered by bullets.Reporter Shkumbin Kajtazi said the attack on his car occurred about midnight Sunday, when it was parked in downtown Mitrovica, Kosovo. (Facebook/shkumbinkajtazi)Kajtazi told VOA on Wednesday that he couldn’t pinpoint any specific article that might have led to the attack, but as an investigative journalist and editor at Reporteri and owner of a local news site, “I think responsibility about any article we publish falls on me.”Kosovan Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), leaders of institutions and political parties, and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo all called for a swift investigation.Hoti called on law enforcement to make the investigation a priority and reiterated that press freedom is guaranteed by law and protected.“Attacks on journalists and media are direct attacks on democratic values. Therefore, they will be treated with priority by law enforcement agencies,” Hoti wrote on his Facebook account.His calls were welcomed by U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett. In a tweet Tuesday, Kosnett said journalists “deserve our respect and protection.”Attacks on journalists are assaults on our shared democratic values. By reporting the truth and holding officials accountable, journalists serve the public. They deserve our respect and protection. I welcome the Prime Minister’s call to swiftly investigate incidents.— Ambassador Philip S. Kosnett (@USAmbKosovo) “When I approached the place where I parked it, I saw that the car was seriously damaged,” reporter Shkumbin Kajtazi wrote on Facebook. He said there were “bullet holes and shells everywhere: in the driver’s seat, ceiling and back.” (Facebook/shkumbinkajtazi)The shooting came months after an attempted arson against Kajtazi. In June, someone tried to set fire to the journalist’s car, but neighbors called the police, according to the media group International Press Association.A suspect was arrested but has not been charged. Kajtazi said a prosecutor told him the suspect confessed and said it was because of the journalist’s work.“It is disturbing that within a period of four months, there have been two attacks against [Kajtazi],” a statement from the Association of Journalists of Kosovo said.  “Every attack on journalists is an attack on the public interest and democracy in the country.”The association described the latest attack as “extremely disturbing and aggravating not only the climate of journalism, but also endangering the lives of our colleagues.”The OSCE also condemned what it called an “act of intimidation.”Ramush Haradinaj, a former prime minister and chair of the ruling coalition partner, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, said “freedom is not complete without the right to speak.””Those who are trying to present Kosovo as an insecure country, where free speech is violated, through cowardly attacks, must be detected and their very harmful activity for the country must be stopped,” Haradinaj wrote on Facebook. At least one other journalist has been threatened in a separate case this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based nonprofit.In September, Ermal Panduri, who hosts a political talk show and is managing director of TV station RTV Dukagjini, received dozens of messages via Facebook users, including death threats.  The journalist said the threats started after he criticized the president over a land dispute with Serbia.“If journalists cannot criticize the country’s politics without receiving a torrent of threats to their lives, then the press cannot operate freely in Kosovo,” CPJ program director Carlos Martinez de la Serna said at the time.Physical and verbal threats were listed by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as concerns in Kosovo, alongside cyberattacks on news websites.“Many media in Kosovo are not financially stable, which makes them susceptible to political influence and often results in self-censorship,” RSF said in its 2020 press freedom index. This story originated in VOA’s Albanian Service.
 

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ОАСК: позивач із прізвищем Шарій вимагає в Мін’юсту домогтися заборони «партії Шарія»

Окружний адміністративний суд Києва отримав позов через «бездіяльність» Міністерства юстиції. Про це суд повідомляє 21 жовтня.

«До Окружного адміністративного суду міста Києва надійшов позов щодо визнання протиправною бездіяльність Міністерства юстиції України щодо не прийняття рішення про звернення до суду з адміністративним позовом про заборону діяльності політичної парті «Партія Шарія». Позивачем зазначений Віктор Шарій, відповідачем – Міністерство юстиції України», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Читайте також: У «БРСМ-Нафта» заявили, що не мають «жодного стосунку» до Шарія

Як уточнює ОАСК, поміж іншого позивач вимагає зобов’язати Мін’юст подати позов про заборону цієї партії.

«Позивач зазначив, що він не є членом партії, не працює в ній та не входить до складу керівних органів партії і вважає, що використання його прізвища в назві партії не повинно відбуватись без його згоди», – зазначають у суді.

Зараз суд вирішує питання про відкриття провадження в адміністративній справі за цим позовом.

Міністерство юстиції наразі публічно не коментувало цей позов.

Читайте також: Житель Івано-Франківщини через суд вимагає заборонити Зеленському проводити опитування

Анатолій Шарій – колишній журналіст, який втік з України у 2012 році та отримав політичний притулок у Литві. Веде політичний блог на відеосервісі YouTube, який має понад 2 мільйони підписників.

Улітку 2019 року блогер оголосив про створення політичної сили, «Партії Шарія». Вона взяла участь у парламентських виборах, але прохідного бар’єру не подолала. Реєстрацію самого Анатолія Шарія на чолі списку партії Центральна виборча комісія скасувала, оскільки Шарій не проживає в Україні з 2012 року. Нині його однопартійці беруть участь у місцевих виборах.

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Справа Шеремета: під Шевченківським судом сталися сутички – фоторепортаж

Щонайменше двоє людей постраждали під час сутичок між тими, хто прийшов підтримати обвинувачених Андрія Антоненка, Яну Дугарь та Юлію Кузьменко, і силовиками

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France Pays Homage to Slain Teacher Even as Some Question Secular Creed

French President Emmanuel Macron paid a soaring tribute to slain history teacher Samuel Paty during a national commemoration Wednesday at Paris’ Sorbonne University, describing him as incarnating values of tolerance and learning, and describing in bleak terms the threat of radical Islam.“We will not renounce cartoons,” said Macron, in reference to cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that Paty used in a class on secular values — and which authorities said led to his beheading by an Islamist terrorist.“Samuel Paty was killed because the Islamists want our future,” the president said, adding, “they will never have it.”The ceremony, marked by a moment of silence and the posthumous bestowal on Paty of France’s highest Legion of Honor award, capped an outpouring of grief and anger over Paty’s death near the Paris-area school where he worked.Paty’s death has shaken the nation partly for its sheer brutality, but also because it attacked what many French consider sacrosanct — the nation’s public schools as hubs of critical thinking and free expression, along with its staunch creed of laicité, or secularism.Yet, along with flowers, marches and tributes — including mass rallies in major cities that have gathered tens of thousands — the country is witnessing a fractured response to its latest terrorist attack, which mixes calls for war against Islamist extremism with fears the country may be taking its secular ethos too far.“There is a political culture that has problems with Islam, and that is laicité,” said sociologist Farhad Khosrokhavar, a specialist on radical Islam. “And laicité is a major problem.”Prophet Muhammad cartoonsPaty was killed going home from school last Friday in apparent retaliation for showing the controversial cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad to his students, during a class on free expression. Authorities said seven people, including two minors, would appear before an anti-terrorism judge.French anti-terrorist state prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard holds a press conference, Oct. 21, 2020, in Paris.At a press conference Wednesday, anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Ricard said Paty’s killer, Chechen immigrant Abdullakh Anzorov, 18, gave students at Paty’s school, in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, money in exchange for identifying the teacher.Two accepted, and Anzorov followed and killed Paty after class, posting his gruesome act on social media. Shortly after, police shot dead Anzorov, an ethnic Chechen who had received asylum and later resident status in France.The assailant apparently was motivated by a social media campaign against the teacher for showing the controversial cartoons. The campaign had been launched by a disgruntled parent, although the man’s daughter apparently never attended the free-expression class.Both the parent and an alleged Islamist militant, who helped spread the social media campaign against Paty, are among those appearing before an anti-terror judge.  Also appearing are the two students, aged 14 and 15, who told investigators Anzorov said he intended to humiliate and hit Paty, but not kill him.Government crackdownFrench authorities have riposted swiftly to the killing, announcing the expulsion of more than 250 alleged Islamist radicals of foreign origin. They also launched dozens of raids on suspect groups this week, shuttering one mosque and vowing to dissolve several organizations allegedly linked to extremism.Among them is the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, or CCIF, an NGO that receives state funding, but which critics say is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Earlier this week, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin denounced it as an “enemy of the republic,” accusing it of backing the disgruntled father’s fatwa or ruling against Paty — a claim CCIF head Jawad Bachare rejects.Residents applaud after observing a minute of silence for slain history teacher Samuel Paty, Oct.21, 2020, in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, southwestern France.“The government has not been able to protect its population and it needs someone to blame — and it’s us,” Bachare said in a phone interview, describing the CCIF as apolitical and nonreligious.The father had approached the CCIF for legal support, he added, but the group had advised him to immediately remove his social media postings while it investigated his complaints.Paty’s killing was the second terrorist incident here in less than a month. An earlier stabbing in Paris that severely wounded two people also was triggered by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Together with an ongoing trial over the 2015 attacks on the satirical newspaper, they are again putting in the spotlight France’s Muslim community, which is Western Europe’s largest.Prominent Muslim leaders have rushed to denounce the attacks, even as they worry Muslims may be unfairly stigmatized.”This is the moment, and we support our president and our government and the minister of the interior to really go and fight Islamism, to really go and look for them in their cellars, on their websites, where they hide,” said Paris-area Imam Hassen Chalghoumi during a ceremony commemorating Paty.Secularism at stakeMembers of France’s far right and several center-right leaders say the government has not gone far enough.”Since terrorism is an act of war, it needs wartime legislation” against radical Islam, said far-right National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen, demanding broader changes, including further curbs on immigration.Macron’s centrist government plans to unveil so-called anti-separatism legislation in early December, which is expected to largely focus on radical Islam.“Laicité is the cement of a united France,” Macron said, announcing the bill last month. But others suggest laicité — or at least the official interpretation of it — is part of the problem. From banning Muslim burkinis on beaches to religious symbols in schools, it is feeding divisions, they warn, and paradoxically risks pushing some conservative Muslims to extremism.Khosrokhavar describes conducting multiple interviews with middle-class French Muslim men, many of whom said they were not particularly religious.Pedestrians walk along Marseille’s Old Port as the town hall is lit up in the French Tricolor to honor slain teacher Samuel Paty, Oct. 21, 2020.“The majority are deeply alienated, because they are targeted by this laicité, which becomes a symbol of neocolonial rule and a denial of their dignity,” he said.Teachers on the linePaty’s death also has shaken the country’s educational establishment. In rallies and commemorations, teachers have turned out en masse, brandishing banners defending free expression. In interviews, they describe tensions teaching laicité  to an increasingly diverse student body, especially those of Muslim origin.“There is a penetration of a religiosity that increasingly structures students and feeds a radical vision,” Iannis Roder, a history teacher in the heavily immigrant Seine-Saint-Denis region outside Paris, told French radio. “It manifests itself in really basic things, like some students refusing to listen to music during Ramadan.”Another Seine-Saint-Denis high school teacher told VOA that teaching tolerance takes time.“Tackling free expression by showing images of the Prophet [Muhammad] — you have to weigh the consequences,” said the teacher, who declined to be identified as she had not received authorization from her school to speak to the media.Instead, she opts for a less confrontational approach, taking her mostly Muslim students on school outings to Holocaust memorials and other sites — and drawing links with their own backgrounds. Slowly, she said, the lessons sink in.“The old students return to coach the youngsters,” she said. “It makes a really big difference.”
 

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Pompeo Heads to South Asia as US-China Tensions Escalate

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo embarks on a week-long trip to South Asia on Sunday, as the United States looks to confront Chinese geopolitical and economic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
The top U.S. diplomat is traveling to New Delhi, India; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Male, Maldives; and Jakarta, Indonesia from October 25-30.
 
“On every stop I will discuss a broad range of bilateral topics, but also work to find out with each of those countries the best ways that we can make sure that we cooperate to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Pompeo told reporters Wednesday during a press briefing at the State Department.
 
He added his meetings will “also include discussions on how free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”
 
In India, Pompeo and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper will join their counterparts for the third annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. The State Department says the talks will be aimed at advancing the U.S.-India strategic partnership and expand security cooperation.
 
The two nations are also set to lay the groundwork for the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation or BECA, which is seen as the final strategic agreement leading to closer security ties.
 
BECA “can be viewed as the last piece for the puzzle of mutual strategic cooperation that New Delhi and Washington have worked on together for the past five years,” said Roger Liu, an associate professor of political science at FLAME University in Pune, India.
 
The talks between top U.S. and Indian officials come at a time of increased tensions between India and China. In addition to widespread anger related to the coronavirus, which originated in China, there are also increasing concerns about China’s more aggressive approach in the Himalayan border dispute. Recent clashes have killed at least 20 Indian soldiers along with an undisclosed number of Chinese.
 
“After BECA is signed in the third US-India 2+2 meeting at the end of October, the Indian armed forces will have access to the U.S. satellite image and sensory data—the signal intelligence, or SIGINT—during the time of conflict,” said Liu on Wednesday. “The interoperability between the U.S. and Indian armed forces thus is further enhanced.”
    
India has maintained a non-alignment stance for years. But senior U.S. officials have seen “a steady progression of cooperation” that reached “a new level in recent months and years.”
 
Tuesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun told reporters in during a phone briefing that U.S.-India relations have “never been better” since the early 1990s, when the two counties “really began opening up to each other.”
 
Also on Tuesday, Esper said meetings with senior Indian officials would reflect the need for “a lot more close collaboration” on challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, where China is building its presence.
 
“Together these efforts will strengthen what may become one of the most consequential partnerships of the 21st century,” said Esper in his remarks to the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.
 
Washington and New Delhi are also expanding their defense trade cooperation. India is increasing its defense equipment purchases from the U.S., from nearly zero in 2008 to a sharp growth of over $20 billion by the end of 2020.
 
In 2018, India was allowed to receive license-free access to a wide range of military and dual-use technologies regulated by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
 
During his South Asia trip next week, Pompeo travels to Sri Lanka, where he says he will underscore the U.S. commitment to a “strong” and “sovereign” Sri Lanka, a tiny island country that has seen an influx of Chinese investment in the last decade.
 
China has invested billions of dollars in Sri Lanka in a string of infrastructure projects, from oil refineries and highways to a strategic port that it now operates. Beijing sees the country, which lies close to key shipping lanes, as a key link in its Belt and Road initiative.
 
Pompeo’s travel to Malé comes after the U.S. and Maldives signed a defense agreement on September 10 to “deepen engagement and cooperation” in the peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
Regional maritime security and the fight against terrorism are high on the agenda, according to the State Department.
 
In Indonesia, Pompeo said Wednesday, he will discuss “commercial issues, security issues, and diplomatic issues” and affirm the two countries’ vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific in meetings with Indonesian leaders, including with President Joko Widodo.
 
The secretary of state told reporters that it is in the best interest of Southeast Asian nations to protect “their maritime rights” and the ability to conduct business, ensuring “that their sovereignty is protected against” the threats from the Chinese Communist Party.
 
Beijing has built strong economic and diplomatic ties with Jakarta. China was the second largest source of foreign direct investment in the first half of this year.
 
Southeast Asia is the region most impacted by China’s territorial claims and militarization of disputed land features in the South China Sea.
Six Asian governments—Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam—have territorial claims or maritime boundaries in the South China Sea that overlap with China’s.
 
While Indonesia is not seen as a party to the South China Sea disputes, it has on multiple occasions detected Chinese fishing or coast guard ships in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone off the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea.
 

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Artworks Vandalized at 3 Berlin Museums

German police and museum officials reported Wednesday that vandals have damaged more than 70 artworks and artifacts at some of Berlin’s most renowned museums.  The targeted attacks were kept quiet by authorities for more than two weeks.Christina Haak, deputy director of Berlin’s state museums, told reporters that at least 63 works at the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, and the Neues Museum were all sprayed with what she described as an oily liquid that left stains. She said there was no thematic link between the targeted works and “no pattern is discernible” to the perpetrator’s approach.The museums are all part of the Museum Island complex, a UNESCO world heritage site in the heart of Germany’s capital that is one of the city’s main tourist attractions.Police said they initially decided not to go public about the incident out of “tactical considerations related to the investigation.” Local media in Berlin broke the story late Tuesday. On Wednesday, police asked witnesses to come forward with any accounts of suspicious people or events they noticed October 3.German media have noted that the Pergamon Museum has in recent months been targeted by conspiracy theorists. Attila Hildmann, an activist who has railed against government measures to contain the coronavirus, has spread conspiracy theories about Museum Island.Through the internet, he claimed the Pergamon Museum held the “throne of Satan” and was the center of a “global satanist and corona criminal scene” where “they sacrifice humans at night and abuse children.”Haak told reporters that some of the museums had been vandalized over the summer with graffiti and torn banners on the outside of the buildings.  
 

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Pope Calls for Same-sex Civil Unions

Pope Francis has called for civil union laws for same-sex couples in what is a dramatic change from the Vatican’s position on the subject.”Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family,” the pontiff says in a new documentary, “Francesco,” according to the Catholic News Agency.The Pope’s statement came Wednesday during the premiere of the documentary at the Rome Film Festival.”What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said. “I stood up for that.”According to CNA, the Pope opposed same-sex marriage in 2010 while he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.In the 2013 book “On Heaven and Earth,” Pope Francis “did not reject the possibility of civil unions outright, but did say that laws ‘assimilating’ homosexual relationships to marriage are ‘an anthropological regression.'”In the book, CNA reported that Pope Francis said that if same-sex couples “are given adoption rights, there could be affected children. Every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity.”