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Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Anti-Asian Hate Crime Bill

The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed new legislation aimed at bolstering efforts to combat rising anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.The bill would establish a new Justice Department position to expedite the review of COVID-19-related hate crimes and provide support for local law enforcement agencies to respond to anti-Asian hate violence. It also includes an amendment that improves hate crime reporting and establishes hate crime telephone hotlines. The amendment was initially introduced as the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act, named after two high-profile victims of hate crimes in recent years.The vote was 94 to 1. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri was the only senator to vote against the bill. Two Democratic senators and three Republicans did not vote.The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where it’s expected to pass with wide bipartisan support. President Joe Biden has expressed support for the bill and is expected to sign it into law when it reaches his desk.Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, speaks at a news conference after the Senate passes a COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on Capitol Hill, April 22, 2021, in Washington.Senator Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, praised its passage.The bill, known as the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, sends a “powerful message of solidarity to the [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community that the Senate will not be a bystander as anti-Asian violence surges in our country,” Hirono said on the Senate floor before the bill’s passage.The legislation comes as hate-motivated violence aimed at Asian Americans has spiked amid the coronavirus pandemic, fueled by what civil rights advocates describe as the baseless scapegoating of Asians for the virus that originated in China.Anti-Asian hate crimes surged by 150% in major American cities last year, according to police data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University. Meanwhile, Stop AAPI Hate, an advocacy coalition, has received more than 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate and discrimination since the start of the pandemic.“These statistics paint a disturbing picture of what’s happening in our country, but they only quantify part of the problem,” Hirono said.That is because hate crimes are notoriously undercounted, she said.In January, Biden issued an executive order condemning anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic.Last week, the White House announced the appointment of Erika L. Moritsugu as liaison to the Asian American community.

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Марчук не виключає «серйознішого розкриття» агентів Росії після шпигунського скандалу в Чехії

Після оголошення в Чехії підозри про причетність працівників російської військової розвідки до вибухів на складах озброєнь у 2014 році можливе оприлюднення нових даних про діяльність імовірних агентів Росії – екссекретар РНБО

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Diplomatic Row Between Moscow, Prague Intensifies

The Czech Republic on Thursday ordered Russia to remove more staff from its Prague embassy, in a growing spat between the two countries.Last week, Prague expelled 18 embassy staff members, saying they were intelligence officers.The dispute stems from Czech accusations that Russian spies were behind a deadly explosion at a Czech arms depot in 2014. They claim the spies were also part of a special unit that tried to assassinate a double agent in Britain.Russia denied the accusations and expelled 20 Czech diplomats last Sunday.Newly appointed Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek announced Thursday that Russia had to match the number of Czech staff in Moscow. This means that by the end of May, about 60 people will have left Prague under expulsion orders.”We will put a ceiling on the number of diplomats at the Russian Embassy in Prague at the current level of our embassy in Moscow,” Kulhanek said. A ministry spokeswoman said the decision included diplomats and other staff.Earlier in the week, Prague urged NATO and other European allies to take retaliatory action against Russia.The Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday it would retaliate for the expulsions.”At the moment, Prague is on the path to destroying relations,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at her weekly briefing. “We will respond shortly.”The explosion at the arms depot was initially thought to be an accident. Czech investigators, however, recently revealed they discovered an email that had been sent prior to the blast to “Imex Group,” the company that operated the depot. The message asked that two men be allowed to visit the site. The email was sent from an address purporting to be that of the National Guard of Tajikistan, but which was later shown to be fake.Prague said the two men used the aliases Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov and that they belonged to Unit 29155 of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed support Monday for the Czech Republic’s actions.“These diplomats have been identified by the Czech intelligence to be Russian military service agents, and the European Union stands united and in solidarity with the Czech Republic,” he said.Relations between Moscow and the West have been strained in recent weeks as Russia deployed military hardware and tens of thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border. The EU called for de-escalation, and on Thursday, Ukraine’s president said a Russian pullback was reducing tensions.

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China Eyes More Bases in Africa, US Military Official Says

U.S. forces in Africa are keeping a watchful eye on China, worried Beijing is getting closer to establishing a network of military and naval bases across the continent.”We know the Chinese desire a network of bases around the globe,” the head of U.S. Africa Command, General Stephen Townsend, told lawmakers Thursday, adding, “My concern is the greatest along the Atlantic coast of Africa.”China established its first military base in on Africa’s east coast, in Doraleh, Djibouti, in 2017, raising concern among U.S. military officials who described the Chinese facility as being “right outside our gates” of the U.S. base at Camp Lemonnier.Townsend said that since then, Beijing has worked on expanding its footprint in Djibouti as it eyes additional locations.”What they have done in the last two years is completed a very large and capable naval pier that adjoins their base,” Townsend said of Chinese expansion at Doraleh. “This pier has a capability to dock their largest ships, to include the Chinese aircraft carrier as well as nuclear submarines.”Now U.S. officials say China is looking to set up a presence farther south along the eastern Africa coast, in Tanzania, and has an even more ambitious plan for Africa’s Atlantic coastline.”This is the most significant threat from China,” Townsend told members of the Senate Armed Service Committee, saying Beijing wants “something more than a place where they can make port calls and get gas and groceries.””I’m talking about a port where they can rearm with munitions and repair naval vessels,” he said. “They’re working aggressively to get that.”Townsend’s testimony followed similar warnings about Chinese military ambitions from other defense officials.In March, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, warned of China’s attempt to reach farther into Central and South America.”I look at this hemisphere as the front line of competition,” Faller said.Top US Commander Warns ‘Front Line’ With China Now South of Border Head of US Southern Command tells lawmakers Central and South America are ‘sinking in Chinese influence’ Other U.S. military and intelligence officials have warned of China’s efforts to supplant the United States on the world stage.US Intelligence Warns China, Russia Determined to Erode Washington’s Influence Long-standing threats, pandemics and changing environment are expected to present greatest challenges to US security in coming year U.S. officials note Beijing has been investing heavily in Africa, pledging $60 billion in infrastructure and development funding over the past 10 years, while also expanding the number of embassies on the continent to 52, three more than the U.S. has.There are also growing concerns about Chinese arms sales.Despite those efforts, however, Africa Command’s Townsend said the U.S. is in a position to maintain its influence and relationships.”We don’t have to compete with China head-to-head, dollar for dollar,” he said. “We can target where our investments are best made.”

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Герасимов про незадекларований іспанський маєток: «повідомив НАЗК про неточності»

Співголова фракції «Європейська солідарність» Артур Герасимов, який не задекларував двоповерховий маєток в Іспанії, прокоментував цей факт після виходу розслідування «Схем»

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Росія: лікарі Навального просять його припинити голодування

«Наше головне завдання – зберегти нашому пацієнту життя і здоров’я», – йдеться в тексті

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Navalny Ally Urges Him to End Hunger Strike

An ally of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has urged Navalny to end his hunger strike, which is in its third week.”To continue [the strike] would be dangerous for his life and health,” Anastasia Vasilyeva, head of the Doctors Alliance union, told Reuters. “We very much hope Alexei will end the hunger strike tomorrow.”The news comes a day after more than 1,900 Navalny supporters were detained during protests in cities across the country.In a Thursday Instagram post, Navalny said he felt “pride and hope” after learning about the protests.“Here it is — the salvation of Russia. You. Those who came out. Those who didn’t come out but supported it. Those who didn’t support it publicly, but sympathized,” Navalny wrote.On Sunday, Navalny, whose health reportedly is deteriorating, was moved from a penal colony east of Moscow to the hospital at a prison in Vladimir, which is 180 kilometers east of Moscow.Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny stands inside a defendant dock during a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 20, 2021, in this still image taken from video. (Press Service of Babushkinsky District Court of Moscow/Handout)On Monday, Russia’s prison service said Navalny’s condition was “satisfactory,” but another one of his physicians, Dr. Yaroslav Ashikhmin, said Navalny was suffering from high levels of potassium, which could cause a heart attack, and increased creatinine levels, showing potentially weakened kidney function.Navalny, 44, began his hunger strike at the end of March to protest what he said was a lack of medical care for severe back and leg pain.Navalny survived a near-fatal poisoning last year and was arrested when he returned to Moscow in January following lifesaving treatment in Germany. The Kremlin denies any role in the poisoning.He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in February on an embezzlement charge and was being held at the Pokrov correctional colony, which he described as “a real concentration camp.”The United States and other countries have sanctioned Kremlin officials over the poisoning, and many are calling for Navalny’s release.As Navalny’s health deteriorates, Russian authorities have asked the Moscow prosecutor’s office to declare Navalny’s organization, the Foundation for Fighting Corruption, an extremist organization. 

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Зеленський відреагував на слова Шойгу про повернення військ Росії до місць постійної дислокації

Користувачі соціальних мереж, коментуючи твіт глави держави, нагадали президентові України, що вторгненню Росії до Грузії 8 серпня 2008 року також передували датовані 3 серпня повідомлення про завершення «антитерористичних навчань «Кавказ-2008»