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Байден звинуватив хакерів, що «живуть у Росії», в атаці на американський трубопровід

«Ми не вважаємо, що російська влада була причетна до цієї атаки», – сказав президент США

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CDC: Fully Vaccinated People Can Largely Ditch Masks Indoors

In a move to send the country back toward pre-pandemic life, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places. The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated. FILE – Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 18, 2021.”We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC. The CDC will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot. Walensky announced the new guidance Thursday afternoon at a White House briefing, saying the long-awaited change is thanks to millions of people getting vaccinated — and based on the latest science about how well those shots are working. “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.” The easing guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those fully vaccinated and those who are not. President Joe Biden speaks on updated guidance on face mask mandates and COVID-19 response, in the Rose Garden of the White House, May 13, 2021.President Joe Biden highlighted the new guidance Thursday afternoon in a speech from the White House. The new guidance comes as the aggressive U.S. vaccination campaign begins to pay off. U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began. To date about 154 million Americans, more than 46% of the population, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and more than 117 million are fully vaccinated. The rate of new vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks, but with the authorization Wednesday of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, a new burst of doses is expected in the coming days. Motivation to vaccinateJust two weeks ago, the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds. During a virtual meeting Tuesday on vaccinations with a bipartisan group of governors, Biden appeared to acknowledge that his administration had to do more to model the benefits of vaccination. Thomas Lo, 15, receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the coronavirus disease at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, May 13, 2021.”I would like to say that we have fully vaccinated people; we should start acting like it,” Utah Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican, told Biden. “And that’s a big motivation: Get the unvaccinated to want to get vaccinated.” “Good point,” Biden responded. He added, “We’re going to be moving on that in the next little bit.” VariantsWalensky said the evidence from the U.S. and Israel shows the vaccines are as strongly protective in real-world use as they were in earlier studies, and that so far they continue to work even though some worrying mutated versions of the virus are spreading. The more people continue to get vaccinated, the faster infections will drop — and the harder it will be for the virus to mutate enough to escape vaccines, she stressed, urging everyone 12 and older who’s not yet vaccinated to sign up. And while some people still get COVID-19 despite vaccination, Walensky said that’s rare and cited evidence that those infections tend to be milder, shorter and harder to spread to others. If someone who’s vaccinated does develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should immediately put their mask back on and get tested, she said. There are some caveats. Walensky encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks. That’s because of continued uncertainty about whether the vaccines can rev up a weakened immune system as well as they do normal, healthy ones. 

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Обстріли між Ізраїлем і «Хамасом» тривають, попри спроби мирних переговорів

Близько 83 палестинців загинули протягом понад двох днів ізраїльських авіаударів по Смузі Гази, серед жертв є діти; семеро людей загинули в Ізраїлі

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Homeland Security Chief Cites Progress at US-Mexico Border

The Biden administration is promising a comprehensive response to youth migration now that the immediate crisis of unaccompanied minors overwhelming U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations appears to be under control.Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline.Download File360p | 9 MB480p | 12 MB540p | 15 MB720p | 31 MB1080p | 59 MBOriginal | 206 MB Embed” />Copy Download AudioHomeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told U.S. lawmakers Thursday that the Biden administration has reduced the number of unaccompanied minors held at border stations from the thousands to the hundreds, and cut the average holding time from more than five days to less than 24 hours.
“The challenge is not behind us, but the results are dramatic,” Mayorkas told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, adding that migrant children are being united more quickly with parents or legal guardians in the U.S.Chanel, 7, and her sister Adriana, 10, both unaccompanied minors traveling alone from Honduras, wait with other asylum-seeking children in La Joya, Texas, May 6, 2021.Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have crossed America’s southern border so far this year in what has become an early and thorny challenge for President Joe Biden, who since taking office on January 20 has reversed some of former President Donald Trump restrictive immigration policies.
While Mayorkas noted that the increase in migrant arrivals at America’s southern border began last year during the final months of the Trump administration, Republicans insisted the situation has grown far more dire on Biden’s watch.
“The crisis today is unprecedented, far worse than it was last year, and even substantially worse than 2019 when everyone considered it a crisis,” Republican Senator Rob Portman said.“I’d often say the first step in solving any problem is admitting you have one. And it just does seem like we’re in an utter state of denial,” Republican Senator Ron Johnson said.While touting improvements in processing times for migrant youths, Mayorkas said the administration is focused on longer-term solutions to the phenomenon of uncontrolled migration.Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., asks a question during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 27, 2021.“We are building legal pathways for children and others to come to the United States if they qualify under the laws that Congress passed many years ago, so that they do not think that they have to take the dangerous journey north,” he said.
The administration’s proposed spending plans for next year include $861 million in aid to Central America to fight corruption, violence and poverty — factors many migrants cite as compelling them to trek to the United States. Overall, the White House envisions a multibillion-dollar four-year effort to reduce the impetus of people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to migrate north.
Mayorkas said a sustained effort is needed because “surges arise periodically,” and “migration is a very dynamic and fluid challenge that we have faced for many, many years.”

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Johnson ‘Anxious’ Over Rise of Variant From India in UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced anxiety Thursday about a rise in the U.K. of the coronavirus variant first identified in India, after a closely monitored study of infections in England found it becoming more prevalent — just as the next big easing of lockdown restrictions is to begin. “It is a variant of concern. We are anxious about it,” Johnson said. “We want to make sure we take all the prudential, cautious steps now that we could take, so there are meetings going on today to consider exactly what we need to do. There is a range of things we could do. We are ruling nothing out.” Johnson’s comments have stoked speculation that the government will ramp up vaccinations alongside testing in areas that are seeing a rising incidence of the virus. FILE – A handout photograph released by the U.K. Parliament shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic at the House of Commons, in central London, May 12, 2021.Already, the local authority in the northwest England town of Blackburn is setting up additional coronavirus vaccine clinics following a spike in infections. For now, the jabs will be offered to those eligible under the rules governing the rollout, which is largely based on age — the rollout was extended Thursday, with vaccines now available to those ages 38 and older. Worries over the Indian variant were central in the latest assessment of the pandemic in England from Imperial College London. Though it said overall cases have fallen to their lowest level since August following a strict lockdown and a successful rollout of vaccines, it warned that the Indian variant should be closely monitored. The so-called REACT study said the Indian variant was found in 7.7% of the 127,000 cases tested between April 15 and May 3. Professor Steven Riley from Imperial College said it’s unclear whether the Indian variant is more transmissible but warned “this is a risk.” Though the British government and scientists have said new infections may start to go up in coming weeks, it’s unclear whether that will lead to a big increase in hospitalizations and deaths given that most of those people deemed vulnerable have been vaccinated. Over the past few weeks, as India has suffered a catastrophic resurgence of the virus, concerns have grown around the world about potential new variants bypassing the protections offered by vaccines. Across the U.K., lockdown restrictions are being lifted. The next easing in England is set to take place Monday when two households will be able to mix indoors and pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers inside, among other changes. The other nations of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — have also laid out similar plans for the coming weeks.  The government hopes to lift most of the remaining restrictions on social contact in June. “At the moment, I can see nothing that dissuades me from thinking we will be able to go ahead on Monday and indeed on June 21, everywhere, but there may be things we have to do locally, and we will not hesitate to do them if that is the advice we get,” Johnson said. The government’s scientific advisory committee, known as SAGE, will be making recommendations about the pandemic’s path.  Currently there are few signs the previous easing has led to an increase in new infections, which are averaging around 2,300 a day across the U.K., compared with nearly 70,000 recorded in January at the peak of the second wave.  The fall in infections has led to a sharp decline in daily coronavirus-related deaths, with 11 reported Thursday. Still, the U.K. has recorded Europe’s highest virus-related death toll, at more than 127,600. The successful rollout of vaccines has also helped to keep a lid on infections alongside the lockdown. Around 54% of the British population has had at least one dose of vaccine, with about a quarter having received two doses.  

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Військовий загинув на Донбасі від пострілу снайпера – ОТУ «Схід»

Внаслідок пострілу військовий зазнав кульового поранення, несумісного з життям, йдеться в повідомленні

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Judge Postpones Trial for 3 Ex-Cops Charged in George Floyd Death

The trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in the death of George Floyd  will be pushed back to March 2022, a judge ruled Thursday.
Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao were scheduled to face trial Aug. 23 on charges they aided and abetted both murder and manslaughter. The officers’ co-defendant, Derek Chauvin, has already been convicted of murder and manslaughter counts. All four officers also face federal charges that allege they violated Floyd’s civil rights during his May 25 arrest.
Judge Peter Cahill said he changed the date so the federal case can go forward first. He also said he felt the need to put some distance between the three officers’ trial and Chauvin’s due to all the publicity around the case.
The news that the trial was being pushed back came during a Thursday hearing on pretrial motions. Defense attorneys for all three former officers agreed to the postponement. The state, via Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, did not support the delay. It wasn’t made clear at Thursday’s motions hearing who originally sought the change.
Cahill also weighed Thursday a request that prosecutors be sanctioned after media reports that Chauvin had planned to plead guilty a year ago,  and allegations that they haven’t disclosed information about the alleged coercion of a witness.
Attorneys for Lane, Kueng and hao have said they want the court to require prosecuting attorneys to submit affidavits under oath that they aren’t responsible for the leak to the media. In a filing late Wednesday, Thao’s attorney also alleged that the Hennepin County medical examiner was coerced to include “neck compression” in his findings — and that prosecutors knew of it.
The former officers waived their right to appear at Thursday’s hearing.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting the officers, has said allegations that his office was involved in a leak are false. His office had no immediate comment on the allegations of coercion. A spokeswoman for Dr. Andrew Baker, the medical examiner, said they could not comment due to the pending case.
Chauvin, who was seen in widely viewed bystander video pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe, was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. He’s to be sentenced June 25.  
Lane, Kueng and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Their trial was separated from Chauvin’s to comply with COVID-19 courtroom spacing restrictions.
Bob Paule, Thao’s attorney, said in a court filing Wednesday that Baker initially said there was no physical evidence that Floyd died of asphyxiation. But after talking twice to Dr. Roger Mitchell – a former medical examiner in Washington, D.C. – he amended his findings to include neck compression as a factor, according to Paule.  
Paule said that in one of the conversations, Mitchell called Baker and told him he was going to submit an opinion piece critical of Baker’s findings to the Washington Post. When Baker released final autopsy findings June 1, they included neck compression, Paule wrote, and Mitchell never submitted his piece to the newspaper.
Mitchell, now chairman of the Department of Pathology at the Howard University College of Medicine, did not immediately respond to a phone message left at the department after hours.
Paule also took aim at Mitchell’s criticism of Dr. David Fowler, a key defense witness for Chauvin who testified that the former officer was not responsible for Floyd’s death. Mitchell sent a letter — signed by 431 doctors from around the country — to the Maryland attorney general, saying Fowler’s conclusions were so far outside the bounds of accepted forensic practice that all his previous work could be questioned.
Maryland officials then announced they would review all in-custody death reports during Fowler’s tenure. Paule said Mitchell’s accusations had a chilling effect on Thao’s ability to find medical experts unafraid to testify on his behalf.
He said prosecutors have yet to give the defense evidence about Mitchell’s actions. He’s asking that the case against Thao be dismissed.
Paule also said in a court filing in February that he wants an order sanctioning the state for “its role — directly or indirectly — in the leaking of highly prejudicial information related to potential plea agreements of co-defendants.”  
The New York Times reported Feb. 10 that Chauvin was ready to plead guilty to a third-degree murder charge last year but then-Attorney General William Barr rejected the agreement. The Associated Press published a similar report the next day, citing two law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the talks. Paule alleged that the leaks came from the state, and asked that anyone who did so be barred from participating in the trial. Tom Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney, echoed his statements.
Ellison earlier dismissed Paule’s motion as “completely false and an outlandish attempt to disparage the prosecution.”
Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, has a motion asking Judge Peter Cahill to compel the state to disclose all use-of-force reports over the past 50 years in which a Minneapolis police officer used force and another officer intervened verbally or physically. Gray said it’s necessary to show the jury that no such intervention has been made in the past 50 years, which would call into question the state’s expert testimony about the duty of officers to intervene.
Prosecutors have said that request should be denied. They’ve noted that department policy requires officers to intervene when excessive force is used, and say Gray hasn’t shown how the testimony of experts could be called into question by a lack of interventions.
All four officers have also been indicted on federal charges  alleging they violated Floyd’s civil rights. 

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Hungary’s Plan to Build First Chinese University in Europe, Prompts Security, Propaganda Fears 

Hungary has announced plans to open a branch of a Chinese University in Budapest. Critics fear the development — the first of its kind in Europe — will be used by Beijing to spread Chinese Communist Party propaganda and could pose a threat to national security.   The so-called “Student City” will be built on the site of a former wholesale market outside the nation’s capital, with its centerpiece a branch of the prestigious Shanghai-based Fudan University.   Hungary said it will raise the standard of higher education, offer courses to 6,000 students from Hungary, China and further afield, while bringing Chinese investment and research to the country.   FILE – A view of the site where the construction of a top Chinese university, the Fudan’s campus, is planned, in the 9th district of Budapest, Hungary, Apr. 23, 2021.For China, it’s a significant milestone, said Professor Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London. “Until relatively recently, China was importing foreign universities onto Chinese soil, having branches in China. Now, they are exporting a Chinese university branch on European soil, a member of the European Union. This is, I think, tremendously important from their perspective in how it shows that China has risen,” Tsang told VOA.   Two years ago, Hungary’s famous Central European University, which is backed by Hungarian-born, U.S.-based financier George Soros, was effectively forced out of the country through changes to education law and has since relocated to Vienna.FILE – A man sits front of the building of the Central European University, a school founded by U.S. financier George Soros, in Budapest, Hungary, Apr. 9, 2018.Hungary’s government accuses Soros of political interference in the country, which he denies.   Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony, a member of the opposition Dialogue for Hungary Party, said Hungarians are being betrayed.   “Let’s put the two [universities] next to each other,” he said. “There was something which has offered an open education, did not cost a penny for Hungarian taxpayers, was a well-established university in Hungary and was exiled. And now, the government brings in another one which represents the ideology of the [Chinese] Communist Party and costs the Hungarian taxpayers billions,” he told The Associated Press.   Leaked government documents published by the Hungarian investigative journalism organization Direkt36 estimate the cost at $1.8 billion, which is more than Hungary spent on its entire higher education system in 2019. The documents suggest most of the funding will come from a Chinese bank loan, and construction will be carried out using mostly Chinese materials and labor.   Fudan ranks among the top 100 universities in the world. Its expansion into Europe is part of Beijing’s efforts to control the narrative on China, Tsang said.   “When we are dealing with the humanities and social sciences side of the curriculum, it is clear that the Communist Party will keep control of it. It was only in the last two years that Fudan University changed clearly its instructions on its relationship with the [Chinese] party state, now clearly declaring that its first mission is not to uphold academic integrity but to follow the leadership of the party,” Tsang said.   Hungary’s government has pursued a strategy it calls “Eastern Opening,” seeking increased cooperation and trade with countries such as China and Russia. It has taken a $2 billion loan from China’s Exim Bank to build a railway line between Budapest and Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, as part of China’s global Belt and Road initiative.   Hungary is also the only country in the European Union to have approved the Chinese-made “Sinopharm” COVID-19 vaccine.   Karacsony is among many who fear the Fudan University development could pose a threat to national security through Chinese espionage.   “While the Hungarian government visibly enjoys the benefits of European Union membership — since, for example, it will receive an astronomical amount of EU support in the coming months — it is meanwhile a kind of advanced bastion of eastern great powers,” he said. In an email to VOA, a Hungarian government spokesperson said, “According to the prestigious QS World University Ranking, Fudan is the 34th best university in the world. … The Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Hungary and the Chinese Ministry of Education concluded an interministerial agreement finalized in February this year to support Fudan University in establishing a world-class, research-oriented, multidisciplinary university in Budapest. “From George Soros to President Obama, a lot of people have given lectures at Fudan University, and it is one of the best universities in the world that will not be engaged in ideological education but will provide economic courses,” the spokesperson said.   The EU has yet to officially respond to the university plans. Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticized Hungary Monday for what he called an “absolutely incomprehensible” decision to block an EU statement criticizing Beijing for the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.   “I think everybody can work out for themselves what the reasons are, because there are good relations between China and Hungary,” Maas told reporters, following a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council. In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Budapest expressed concerns over the plans to open a branch of Fudan University in Hungary, “given Beijing’s proven track record of using academic institutions to advance a malign influence agenda and stifle intellectual freedom.”  The Fudan University branch is expected to be completed by 2024.