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Italy’s Salvini to Stand Trial for 2019 Migrant Standoff 

A judge on Saturday ordered former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to stand trial on kidnapping charges for having refused to let a Spanish migrant rescue ship dock in an Italian port in 2019, keeping the people onboard at sea for days.Judge Lorenzo Iannelli set September 15 as the trial date during a hearing in the Palermo bunker courtroom in Sicily.Salvini, who attended the hearing, insisted that he was only doing his job and his duty by refusing entry to the Open Arms rescue ship and the 147 people it had saved in the Mediterranean Sea.”I’m going on trial for this, for having defended my country?” he tweeted after the decision. “I’ll go with my head held high, also in your name.”FILE – Former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini leaves the Senate prior to a vote on lifting his immunity for a trial on the August 2019 Open Arms case, in Rome, July 30, 2020.Palermo prosecutors have accused Salvini of dereliction of duty and kidnapping for having kept the migrants at sea off the Italian island of Lampedusa for days in August 2019. During the standoff, some migrants threw themselves overboard in desperation as the captain pleaded for a safe, close port. Eventually after a 19-day ordeal, the remaining 83 migrants still on board were allowed to disembark in Lampedusa.Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, had maintained a hard line on migration as interior minister during the first government of Premier Giuseppe Conte, in 2018-19. While demanding that European Union nations do more to take in migrants arriving in Italy, Salvini argued that humanitarian rescue ships were only encouraging Libyan-based human traffickers. He claimed that his policy of refusing them port actually saved lives by discouraging the risky trips across the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe.His lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, said she was serene despite the decision, saying she was certain the court would eventually determine that there was no kidnapping.”There was no limitation on their freedom,” she told reporters after the indictment was handed down. “The ship had the possibility of going anywhere. There was just a prohibition of going into port. But it had 100,000 options.”‘Historic’ decisionOpen Arms, for its part, hailed the decision to put Salvini on trial and confirmed it has registered as a civil party in the case, along with some survivors of the rescue, the city of Barcelona where Open Arms is based, and other humanitarian aid groups.The group’s founder, Oscar Camps, said the decision to prosecute Salvini for actions taken when he was interior minister was “historic,” showing that European political leaders can be held accountable for failing to respect the human rights of migrants.”This trial is a reminder to Europe and the world that there are principles of individual responsibility in politics,” Camps told a press conference Saturday. The decision to prosecute shows “it’s possible to identify the responsibility of the protagonists of this tragedy at sea.”Salvini is also under investigation for another, similar migrant standoff involving the Italian coast guard ship Gregoretti that he refused to let dock in the summer of 2019.The prosecutor in that case in Catania, Sicily, Andrea Bonomo, recommended last week that Salvini not be put on trial, arguing that he was only carrying out government policy when he kept the 116 migrants at sea for five days.Italy and other southern EU nations like Spain and Greece have long argued that other members of the 27-nation bloc must do more to help them cope with an influx of migrants.

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Russia Arrests Two Alleged Belarus Coup Plotters 

Russia’s main security agency says it has arrested two Belarusians who it said were preparing a plot to overthrow Belarus’ government and kill authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.One of the men arrested, Aleksandr Feduta, is a former Lukahsenko spokesman who later joined the opposition. The other, lawyer Yuras Zyankovich, has dual Belarusian-U.S. citizenship.The Federal Security Service said Saturday that the two had been handed over to Belarus. Russian authorities were alerted to information about the men’s plans by the Belarusian security service, the KGB.The Russian agency said the two suspects came to Moscow to meet with opposition-minded Belarusian generals, whom they told that “for the successful implementation of their plan, it was necessary to physically eliminate practically the entire top leadership of the republic.”Alleged details”They detailed the plan for a military coup, in particular, including the seizure of radio and television centers to broadcast their appeal to the people, blocking the internal troops and riot police units loyal to the current government,” the Russian agency said.Lukashenko told Belarusian television Saturday that investigators found evidence of foreign involvement in the alleged plot, “most likely the FBI, the CIA.”When nationwide protests against Lukashenko broke out last year after his disputed election win, he repeatedly alleged that Western countries were  plotting his downfall or even preparing for a military intervention.The protests, some of which attracted as many as 200,000 people, started in August after an election that official results say gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office. Opposition members and even some poll workers said the results were fraudulent.Security forces then cracked down hard on the demonstrations, arresting more than 34,000 people, many of whom were beaten. Most prominent opposition figures have fled Belarus or have since been jailed.

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Posted by Ukrap on

Єлисейський палац анонсував розмову Макрона з Путіним

Про намір поговорити з Путіним йдеться у пресрелізі, присвяченому вчорашнім переговорам Макрона з президентом України Володимиром Зеленським

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US Deports Woman Who Lied About Role in Rwandan Genocide 

A woman who served a 10-year sentence in U.S. prison for lying about her role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide to obtain American citizenship and lost her bid for a new trial has been deported to Rwanda, her lawyer said Saturday.Beatrice Munyenyezi was convicted and sentenced in 2013 in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. She served a 10-year sentence in the state of Alabama and had faced deportation.She lost her latest court battle in March, when the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district judge’s rejection of her petition challenging how the jury was instructed during her trial in federal court in New Hampshire.”Yes, that did happen,” her lawyer, Richard Guerriero, wrote in an email Saturday when asked whether Munyenyezi had been deported to Rwanda. He said he believed she arrived in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, on Friday.Munyenyezi was convicted of lying about her role as a commander of one of the notorious roadblocks where Tutsis were singled out for slaughter. She denied affiliation with any political party, despite her husband’s leadership role in the extremist Hutu militia party.She requested a new trial based on a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the government’s ability to strip citizenship from immigrants who lied during the naturalization process.Munyenyezi alleged that the jury was given inaccurate instructions on her criminal liability. A judge denied her request, saying that even if the instruction fell short, the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.As part of her appeal, Munyenyezi’s trial lawyers, who are now New Hampshire superior court judges, said in court documents that they would have presented Munyenyezi’s case differently if the U.S. Supreme Court decision had been law during her trial.They added that they believe if the jury had instructed based on the court decision, “the verdict may have been different.”At the time, her lawyers portrayed her as the victim of lies by Rwandan witnesses who had never before implicated her through nearly two decades of investigations and trials, even when testifying against her husband and his mother before the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda.U.S. prosecutors said that Munyenyezi wasn’t entitled to a new trial and could have raised a similar legal argument at the time because it had come up in other cases. But her defense lawyers said they were not aware that other lawyers had raised the issue.In the 2017 U.S. Supreme Court case, a Serb who emigrated from Bosnia to the United States lied about the reasons she feared persecution, her husband’s service in the Bosnian Army, and his role in the slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Muslim civilians.She asked that the jury be instructed that her citizenship could be stripped if the government proved that her lies had influenced the decision to grant her citizenship. A court declined to do that, but the Supreme Court reversed that decision.

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Posted by Ukrap on

Чехія: російські спецслужби причетні до вибухів на артскладах 2014 року, в розшук оголошені «Петров і Боширов»

Існує обґрунтована підозра про причетність до тих вибухів працівників ГРУ. Через це з Чехії видворяють 18 працівників посольства Росії

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ДСНС попереджає про заморозки 18 квітня

У Закарпатській, Івано-Франківській, Чернівецькій, Житомирській, Київській та Чернігівській областях завтра вдень дощитиме

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High Court Takes Up Case on Virus Relief Funding for Tribes 

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will determine who is eligible to receive more than $530 million in federal virus relief funding set aside for tribes more than a year ago.More than a dozen Native American tribes sued the U.S. Treasury Department to keep the money out of the hands of Alaska Native corporations, which provide services to Alaska Natives but do not have a government-to-government relationship with the United States.The question raised in the case set for oral arguments Monday is whether the corporations are tribes for purposes of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which defines tribes'' under a 1975 law meant to strengthen their abilities to govern themselves.The case has practical impacts. Native Americans have been disproportionately sickened and killed by the pandemic — despite extreme precautions that included curfews, roadblocks, universal testing and business closures — and historically have had limited financial resources. About $530 million of the $8 billion set aside for tribes hasn't been distributed."But it also seems to me there have been bigger conceptual questions posed about who or what is an Indian tribe that have come out of this particular case and conflict,'' said Monte Mills, director of the Indian Law Clinic at the University of Montana.I think that’s really been the source of a lot of concern or divisiveness.”Different conclusionsLower courts have parsed language in the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act, other federal laws and congressional intent, and arrived at different conclusions. A U.S. district court found Alaska Native corporations can be treated as tribes for limited purposes, while a federal appeals court said they’re not eligible for the CARES Act funding.The corporations, formed under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, own most of the Native land in the state and serve as economic engines for Alaska Natives who are shareholders by birthright. The corporations also have non-Native shareholders.FILE – A vehicle drives on a pier to be loaded onto an Alaska state ferry while people fish underneath in Homer, Alaska, May 24, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments April 19, 2021, in a case involving federal virus relief for tribes.They’ve argued that a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court could have broad impacts for services they provide to Alaska Natives. The Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act is incorporated into dozens of statutes that cover language preservation, education, workforce development, economic development, housing and health care.It allows tribal governments or other entities on behalf of tribal governments to provide those types of services under contract with the federal government to Native Americans and Alaska Natives.The corporations argue they are interconnected with Alaska Native villages that aren’t able to reach everyone, particularly in more urban areas of Alaska.”It feels a little bit like standing at the edge of a cliff and we may fall off, the fact that our services that we have relied upon for more than 40 years will potentially be gone based on a decision of this court,” said Jaeleen Kookesh, an enrolled member of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska who works for Sealaska Corp. It just feels like we may fall and have nothing left to catch us.'''Unprecedented shift'Tribes argue the corporations, known as ANCs, simply aren't eligible for financial assistance meant for tribal governments that have direct responsibility for their citizens regardless of where they live.ANCs do not stand in the shoes of Alaska’s federally recognized tribes, and allowing them to compete with tribal governments for scarce funding exclusively set aside for governments would represent a monumental and unprecedented shift in the legal status of ANCs,” attorneys for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota wrote in court documents.Three tribes in a related case are vying for a portion of the $530 million, alleging in lawsuits that they were shortchanged by millions of dollars when the Treasury Department used federal data that showed they had zero citizens or numbers that were lower than their own enrollment figures. A hearing in that case, led by the Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, is scheduled next week.The latest federal virus relief package that President Joe Biden signed last month includes $31 billion for Indian Country, including $20 billion that will go directly to tribal governments and will not include Alaska Native corporations. The federal government is consulting with tribes on how to disburse the funding, which must be used by the end of 2024.Mills said the Supreme Court case is being watched around Indian Country and by those who study and practice federal law pertaining to Native Americans and Alaska Natives. More than one-third of the 574 federally recognized tribes are in Alaska.”It just highlighted the continuing problems and burdens posed by a legacy of federal Indian law on tribal communities,” he said. “That’s a reason for folks outside of Indian Country to recognize this. It speaks to the broader issues of racial and social justice that are front and center right now.”

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Protests Continue in US Cities Over Latest Police Shootings

Protesters in several U.S. cities took to the streets Friday calling for change and accountability over the latest reports of police shootings. Protests are reported in and around cities including, Minnesota, Chicago and Portland.  
 
In Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, demonstrations continued at the local police station after Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old African American man from Minnesota who was shot and killed by police on Sunday. Kim Potter, the officer responsible for shooting Wright made her first court appearance Thursday on a charge of second-degree manslaughter for the shooting death of Wright during a traffic stop.Minnesota Police Officer Faces Manslaughter in Brooklyn Center Shooting Charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters that Potter shot Wright when she meant to use her Taser. After the shooting, both Potter and Gannon resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
 
Brooklyn Center is a short distance from Minneapolis, a place where 46-year-old George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody last year. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on or close to Floyd’s neck for what prosecutors say was as much as 9½ minutes as he lay on the pavement, according to the AP. Chauvin’s trial is currently underway in Minnesota.
 
Elsewhere, protests have continued since the Sunday shooting.
 
On Friday, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside a park in northwest side of Chicago protesting the police shooting of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Hispanic boy. The seventh grader was shot last month, but police only released Officer Eric Stillman’s body camera footage Thursday, showing that Toledo was shot while his hands were up and empty. The video shows Toledo throwing something down before raising his hands, but it is difficult to determine what the teenager held. Police say it was a gun. A gun was discovered on the scene, according to police reports.
 
Revelations from the body camera footage add to an already heightened tension over policing in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S., particularly in Black and Latino neighborhoods.