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Turkey’s Economic Turmoil Threatens to Stoke Refugee Tensions

Last week’s 10% drop in the value of the Turkish currency plunged it to historic lows, threatening an economic crisis. The Turkish lira has dropped 45 percent this year, prompting concerns that economic turmoil could further raise tensions over the presence of millions of refugees. For VOA, Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.

Posted by Ukrap on

У засудженого у справі «українських диверсантів» Дудки суттєво погіршився стан здоров’я – омбудсмен

За словами Людмили Денісової, рідні можуть передавати Володимиру Дудці життєво необхідні ліки лише раз на кілька місяців

Posted by Ukrap on

Байден: штам «омікрон» – це привід для занепокоєння, а не паніки

Байден у зверненні заявив, що новий варіант неминуче потрапить до США, але, за його словами, країна має засоби, необхідні для захисту американців – особливо вакцинацію

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Belarus Migrant Crisis Divides Polish Society

Thousands of migrants continue to wait in Belarus to enter the European Union through Poland, a crisis in the central European country that has sharply divided its society between those who want to assist migrants and those who refuse to open their borders. Elizabeth Cherneff narrates this report from Ricardo Marquina in Warsaw.

Camera: Ricardo Marquina

Posted by Ukrap on

Вітренко: Росія не веде переговорів про продовження транзиту газу після 2024 року

«Немає нічого, навіть натяку, ніяких офіційних чи неофіційних переговорів (із Росією)», – сказав очільник «Нафтогазу»

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Russia Says Latest Zircon Hypersonic Missile Test Successful

Russia said Monday it had carried out another successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, as world powers race to develop the advanced weaponry.

Russia, the United States, France and China have all been experimenting with so-called hypersonic glide vehicles — defined as reaching speeds of at least Mach 5.

As part of “the completion of tests” of Russia’s hypersonic missile weapons, the Admiral Gorshkov warship launched a Zircon missile at a target in the Barents Sea at a range of 400 kilometers, the defense ministry said.

“The target was hit,” the ministry said, describing the test as successful.

The missile has undergone several recent tests, with Russia planning to equip both warships and submarines with the Zircon.

Putin revealed the development of the new weapon in a state of the nation address in February 2019, saying it could hit targets at sea and on land with a range of 1,000 kilometers and a speed of Mach 9.

Russia’s latest Zircon test came after Western reports that a Chinese hypersonic glider test flight in July culminated in the mid-flight firing of a missile at more than five times the speed of sound over the South China Sea.

Up until the test, none of the top powers had displayed comparable mastery of a mid-flight missile launch.

China denied the report, saying it was a routine test of a reusable space vehicle.

Russia has boasted of developing several weapons that circumvent existing defense systems, including the Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

Western experts have linked a deadly blast at a test site in northern Russia in 2019 — which caused a sharp spike in local radiation levels — to the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile.

Posted by Ukrap on

Український військовий поранений на Донбасі – пресцентр ООС

Від початку доби, за даними пресцентру ООС, бойовики шість разів порушили режим припинення вогню

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Twitter Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey Steps Down

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is stepping down as the company’s leader.  

In a news release, Twitter said Dorsey would be replaced by Parag Agrawal, who has been the company’s chief technology officer since 2017. The move is effective immediately.  

“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders. My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, and soul. It’s his time to lead,” Dorsey said in a statement.

Dorsey’s most recent tweet, posted Sunday, simply said, “I love twitter.”

Dorsey, 45, founded the microblogging platform in 2006 and was CEO until 2008 when he was pushed aside only to return to the top spot in 2015.  

Last year, Elliott Management, a major stakeholder in the company, wanted Dorsey to choose between being CEO of Twitter or CEO of Square, a digital payment company he founded.  

Twitter’s stock rose on the news, but trading of the shares was suspended.

Some information in this report came from Reuters.

Posted by Ukrap on

У Колонній залі Київської міської державної адміністрації пройшла церемонія прощання з ексмером Києва Олександром Омельченком – фоторепортаж

У Києві попрощалися з колишнім міським головою столиці, почесним громадянином Києва, депутатом Київради Олександром Омельченком.

Церемонія прощання відбулася в Колонній залі Київської міської державної адміністрації.

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Перша леді Туркменистану вперше з’явилася в ЗМІ

Туркменська служба Радіо Свобода вказує, що досі широкому загалу не відомі прості факти про Огулгерек Бердимухамедову, скільки їй років і чим вона займається

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Talks on Iran Nuclear Deal Resuming in Vienna

Talks about reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resume Monday in Vienna after a five-month break and for the first time since a new president took office in Iran.

Like six previous rounds of negotiations, which began in April, the United States is participating indirectly, similar to the 2015 deal, which was known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran will talk directly with the remaining signatories of the 2015 deal — Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany — with European diplomats shuttling back and forth to consult with the U.S. side. 

At stake is the resumption of the agreement that brought limits to Iran’s nuclear program lasting between 10 and 15 years in exchange for sanctions relief.

The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 during the administration of President Donald Trump, after which Iran began stepping away from its commitments.

To date, Iran has exceeded its agreed limits on the amount of uranium it stockpiles, enriched uranium to higher levels and utilized more advanced centrifuges in its nuclear facilities.

The original agreement came in response to fears that Iran was working to develop nuclear weapons, which Iran has denied, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes such as research and generating power.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Deadlines Loom for US Congress to Act on Budget, Defense Spending

U.S. lawmakers have a busy month ahead as they face deadlines for major budget and defense actions, and what Democrats are hoping will be the completion of a $2 trillion collection of health care, climate and family services programs.

The most pressing issue for Congress is funding the federal government. A previous stopgap agreement in late September allowed government agencies to continue operating through December 3, but that means by Friday there needs to be a new deal in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Shortly after, Congress will need to address the debt limit by either raising the current level or suspending the cap on how much debt the Treasury Department is allowed to issue. Without any action, the government would have to delay payments or even default on some of its debt obligations, with potential complications for financial markets and the global economy.

The exact date of a debt limit deadline is hard to pinpoint because it involves balancing government spending commitments with the flow of money into the Treasury. But Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the debt limit could be reached by December 15.

Lawmakers are also working toward approving the annual defense spending bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act before the end of the year. The measure, which authorizes appropriations for the Department of Defense and sets Pentagon policies, has a long history of bringing Democrats and Republicans together, having been approved every year since 1961. This year’s version has a price tag of about $768 billion.

Democrats are also hoping to get one of President Joe Biden’s major policy initiatives through Congress in the coming weeks by earning Senate approval for the $2 trillion program that includes items such as a child tax credit, housing aid, incentives to combat climate change and efforts to limit prescription drug costs.

The Democrat-led House of Representatives approved the package without the votes of any Republicans. The measure faces more uncertainty in the Senate, where Democrats hold an even slimmer majority.

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Merriam-Webster Chooses Vaccine as the 2021 Word of the Year

With an expanded definition to reflect the times, Merriam-Webster has declared an omnipresent truth as its 2021 word of the year: vaccine.

“This was a word that was extremely high in our data every single day in 2021,” Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, told The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s announcement. 

“It really represents two different stories. One is the science story, which is this remarkable speed with which the vaccines were developed. But there’s also the debates regarding policy, politics and political affiliation. It’s one word that carries these two huge stories,” he said.

The selection follows “vax” as word of the year from the folks who publish the Oxford English Dictionary. And it comes after Merriam-Webster chose “pandemic” as tops in lookups last year on its online site.

“The pandemic was the gun going off and now we have the aftereffects,” Sokolowski said.

At Merriam-Webster, lookups for “vaccine” increased 601% over 2020, when the first U.S. shot was administered in New York in December after quick development, and months of speculation and discussion over efficacy. The world’s first jab occurred earlier that month in the UK.

Compared to 2019, when there was little urgency or chatter about vaccines, Merriam-Webster logged an increase of 1,048% in lookups this year. Debates over inequitable distribution, vaccine mandates and boosters kept interest high, Sokolowski said. So did vaccine hesitancy and friction over vaccine passports.

The word “vaccine” wasn’t birthed in a day, or due to a single pandemic. The first known use stretches back to 1882 but references pop up earlier related to fluid from cowpox pustules used in inoculations, Sokolowski said. It was borrowed from the New Latin “vaccina,” which goes back to Latin’s feminine “vaccinus,” meaning “of or from a cow.”  

The Latin for cow is “vacca,” a word that might be akin to the Sanskrit “vasa,” according to Merriam-Webster. 

Inoculation, on the other hand, dates to 1714, in one sense referring to the act of injecting an “inoculum.”

Earlier this year, Merriam-Webster added to its online entry for “vaccine” to cover all the talk of mRNA vaccines, or messenger vaccines such as those for COVID-19 developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. 

While other dictionary companies choose words of the year by committee, Merriam-Webster bases its selection on lookup data, paying close attention to spikes and, more recently, year-over-year increases in searches after weeding out evergreens. The company has been declaring a word of the year since 2008. Among its runners-up in the word biography of 2021:

INSURRECTION: Interest was driven by the deadly Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol. Arrests continue, as do congressional hearings over the attack by supporters of President Donald Trump. Some of Trump’s allies have resisted subpoenas, including Steve Bannon. Searches for the word increased by 61,000% over 2020, Sokolowksi said.

INFRASTRUCTURE: President Joe Biden was able to deliver what Trump often spoke of but never achieved: A bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law. When Biden proposed help with broadband access, eldercare and preschool, conversation changed from not only roads and bridges but “figurative infrastructure,” Sokolowski said.

“Many people asked, what is infrastructure if it’s not made out of steel or concrete? Infrastructure, in Latin, means underneath the structure,” he said. 

PERSEVERANCE: It’s the name of NASA’s latest Mars rover. It landed Feb. 18, 2021. “Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet, with a name that embodies NASA’s passion, and our nation’s capability, to take on and overcome challenges,” the space agency said.  

The name was thought up by Alexander Mather, a 14-year-old seventh-grader at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. He participated in an essay contest organized by NASA. He was one of 28,000 K-12 students to submit entries. 

NOMAD: The word had its moment with the 2020 release of the film “Nomadland.” It went on to win three Oscars in April 2021, including best picture, director (Chloé Zhao) and actress (Frances McDormand). Zhao became the first woman of color to win best director.  

The AP’s film writer Jake Coyle called the indie success “a plain-spoken meditation on solitude, grief and grit. He wrote that it “struck a chord in a pandemic-ravaged year. It made for an unlikely Oscar champ: A film about people who gravitate to the margins took center stage.”

Other words in Merriam-Webster’s Top 10: Cicada (we had an invasion), guardian (the Cleveland Indians became the Cleveland Guardians), meta (the lofty new name of Facebook’s parent company), cisgender (a gender identity that corresponds to one’s sex assigned at birth), woke (charged with politics and political correctness) and murraya (a tropical tree and the word that won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee for 14-year-old Zaila Avant-garde).

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In French Pantheon, Josephine Baker Makes History Yet Again

France is inducting Josephine Baker — Missouri-born cabaret dancer, French World War II spy and civil rights activist — into its Pantheon, the first Black woman honored in the final resting place of France’s most revered luminaries.

On Tuesday, a coffin carrying soils from the U.S., France and Monaco — places where Baker made her mark — will be deposited inside the domed Pantheon monument overlooking the Left Bank of Paris. Her body will stay in Monaco, at the request of her family.

French President Emmanuel Macron decided on her entry into the Pantheon, responding to a petition. In addition to honoring an exceptional figure in French history, the move is meant to send a message against racism and celebrate U.S.-French connections.

“She embodies, before anything, women’s freedom,” Laurent Kupferman, the author of the petition for the move, told The Associated Press.

Baker was born in 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri. At 19, having already divorced twice, had relationships with men and women, and started a performing career, she moved to France following a job opportunity.

“She arrives in France in 1925, she’s an emancipated woman, taking her life in her hands, in a country of which she doesn’t even speak the language,” Kupferman said. 

She met immediate success on the Theatre des Champs-Elysees stage, where she appeared topless and wearing a famed banana belt. Her show, embodying the colonial time’s racist stereotypes about African women, caused both condemnation and celebration.

“She was that kind of fantasy: not the Black body of an American woman but of an African woman,” Theatre des Champs-Elysees spokesperson Ophélie Lachaux told the AP. “And that’s why they asked Josephine to dance something ‘tribal,’ ‘savage,’ ‘African’-like.” 

Baker’s career took a more serious turn after that, as she learned to speak five languages and toured internationally. She became a French citizen after her marriage in 1937 to industrialist Jean Lion, a Jewish man who later suffered from anti-Semitic laws of the collaborationist Vichy regime.

In September 1939, as France and Britain declared war against Nazi Germany, Baker got in touch with the head of the French counterintelligence services. She started working as an informant, traveling, getting close to officials and sharing information hidden on her music sheets, according to French military archives.

Researcher and historian Géraud Létang said Baker lived “a double life between, on the one side, the music hall artist, and on the other side, another secret life, later becoming completely illegal, of intelligence agent.” 

After France’s defeat in June 1940, she refused to play for the Nazis who occupied Paris and moved to southwestern France. She continued to work for the French Resistance, using her artistic performances as a cover for her spying activities.

That year, she notably brought into her troupe several spies working for the Allies, allowing them to travel to Spain and Portugal. “She risks the death penalty or, at least, the harsh repression of the Vichy regime or of the Nazi occupant,” Letang said.

The next year, seriously ill, Baker left France for North Africa, where she gathered intelligence for Gen. Charles De Gaulle, including spying on the British and the Americans — who didn’t fully trust him and didn’t share all information.

She also raised funds, including from her personal money. It is estimated she brought the equivalent of 10 million euros ($11.2 million) to support the French Resistance. 

In 1944, Baker joined a female group in the Air Force of the French Liberation Army as a second lieutenant. The group’s logbook notably mentions a 1944 incident off the coast of Corsica, when Senegalese soldiers from colonial troops fighting in the French Liberation Army helped Baker out of the sea. After her plane had to make an emergency landing, they brought “the shipwrecked to the shores, on their large shoulders, Josephine Baker in the front,” the logbook writes. 

Baker also organized concerts for soldiers and civilians near combat zones. After the defeat of the Nazis, she went to Germany to sing for former prisoners and deportees freed from the camps. 

“Baker’s involvement in politics was individual and atypical,” said Benetta Jules-Rosette, a leading scholar on Baker’s life and a sociology professor at the University of California, San Diego. 

After the war, Baker got involved in anti-racist politics. She fought against American segregation during a 1951 performance tour of the U.S., causing her to be targeted by the FBI, labeled a communist and banned from her homeland for a decade. The ban was lifted by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and she returned to be the only woman to speak at the March on Washington, before Martin Luther King’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech.

Back in France, she adopted 12 children from all over the world, creating a “rainbow tribe” to embody her ideal of “universal fraternity.” She purchased a castle and land in the southwestern French town of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, where she tried to build a city embodying her values.

“My mother saw the success of the rainbow tribe, because when we caused trouble as kids, she would never know who had done it because we never ratted on each other, risking collective punishment,” one of Baker’s sons, Brian Bouillon Baker, told the AP. “I heard her say to some friends ‘I’m mad to never know who causes trouble, but I’m happy and proud that my kids stand united.’”

Toward the end of her life, she ran into financial trouble, was evicted and lost her properties. She received support from Princess Grace of Monaco, who offered Baker a place for her and her children to live.

She rebuilt her career but in 1975, four days after the triumphant opening of a comeback tour, she fell into a coma and passed away from a brain hemorrhage. She was buried in Monaco.

While Baker is widely appreciated in France, some critics of Macron question why he chose an American-born figure as the first Black woman in the Pantheon, instead of someone who rose up against racism and colonialism in France itself. 

The Pantheon, built at the end of the 18th century, honors 72 men and five women, including Baker. She joins two other Black figures in the mausoleum: Gaullist resister Felix Eboué and famed writer Alexandre Dumas.

“These are people who have committed themselves, especially to others,” Pantheon administrator David Medec told the AP. “It is not only excellence in a field of competence, it is really the question of commitment, commitment to others.”

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Поліція повідомила про 145 проваджень за тиждень через фальшиві COVID-документи

За 27 та 28 листопада на території аеропорту «Бориспіль» 31 особа показала документи про вакцинацію з ознаками підробки

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Четверо людей шпиталізовані після вибуху на Бурштинській ТЕС

Станція працює в штатному режимі, на безпеку енергосистеми подія не вплинула, вказано в повідомленні

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У Киргизстані провладні партії перемагають на виборах

Кілька опозиційних партій вимагають скасувати підсумки голосування, вони заявляють про фальсифікації

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Former Pentagon Chief Sues to Publish Material in Memoir

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper claims in a lawsuit against the Defense Department that material is being improperly withheld from his use as he seeks to publish an “unvarnished and candid memoir” of his time in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

The lawsuit, which was filed Sunday in U.S. District Court in Washington, describes the memoir, “A Sacred Oath,” as an account of Esper’s tenure as Army secretary from 2017 to 2019 and his 18 months as defense secretary, which ended when Trump fired him in a tweet just days after the president lost his reelection bid.

The period in which Esper was Pentagon chief was “an unprecedented time of civil unrest, public health crises, growing threats abroad, Pentagon transformation, and a White House seemingly bent on circumventing the Constitution,” the lawsuit says.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the department was aware of Esper’s concerns.

“As with all such reviews, the Department takes seriously its obligation to balance national security with an author’s narrative desire. Given that this matter is now under litigation, we will refrain from commenting further,” he said in a statement.

Esper and Trump were sharply divided over the use of the military during civil unrest in June 2020 following the killing of George Floyd. Other issues led the president to believe Esper was not sufficiently loyal while Esper believed he was trying to keep the department apolitical. Firing a defense secretary after an election loss was unprecedented, but the opening allowed Trump to install loyalists in top Pentagon positions as he continued to dispute his election loss.

The lawsuit contends that “significant text” in the memoir, scheduled for publication by William Morrow in May, is being improperly held under the guise of classification and that Esper maintains it contains no classified information. The suit notes that Esper is restricted by his secrecy agreements from authorizing publication without Pentagon approval, or face possible civil and criminal liability.

The lawsuit quotes from a letter Esper sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin criticizing the review process. He wrote that he had been asked not to quote Trump and others in meetings, not to describe conversations he had with Trump, and not to use certain verbs or nouns when describing historical events.

The letter describes other problematic subjects and says some 60 pages of the manuscript contained redactions at one point. Agreeing to all of those redactions would result in “a serious injustice to important moments in history that the American people need to know and understand,” Esper wrote.

The suit itself says some stories Esper relates in the manuscript under consideration appeared to have been leaked to some mainstream media “possibly to undermine the impact” it would have had in his book.

Esper, 57, a West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran, said in a statement that he had waited for six months for the review process to play out but found “my unclassified manuscript arbitrarily redacted without clearly being told why.”

“I am more than disappointed the current Administration is infringing on my First Amendment constitutional rights. And it is with regret that legal recourse is the only path now available for me to tell my full story to the American people,” he said.

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Carrie Meek, Pioneering Black Former Congresswoman, Dies at 95

Carrie Meek, the grandchild of a slave and a sharecropper’s daughter who became one of the first Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction, died Sunday. She was 95.

Meek died at her home in Miami after a long illness, her family said in a statement. The family did not specify a cause of death.

Meek started her congressional career at an age when many people begin retirement. She was 66 when she easily won the 1992 Democratic congressional primary in her Miami-Dade County district. No Republican opposed her in the general election. 

Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown joined Meek in January 1993 as the first Black Floridians to serve in Congress since 1876 as the state’s districts had been redrawn by the federal courts in accordance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

On her first day in Congress, Meek reflected that while her grandmother, a slave on a Georgia farm, could never have dreamed of such an accomplishment, her parents told her that anything was possible. 

“They always said the day would come when we would be recognized for our character,” she told The Associated Press in an interview that day. 

In Congress, Meek championed affirmative action, economic opportunities for the poor and efforts to bolster democracy in and ease immigration restrictions on Haiti, the birthplace of many of her constituents. 

She also was known for her liberal opinions, folksy yet powerful oratory and colorful Republican bashing.

“The last Republican that did something for me was Abraham Lincoln,” she told the state delegation to the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago. 

Meek joined her son Kendrick, a former state trooper and state senator, in a 2000 sit-in at then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s office to protest an end to affirmative action policies. She had long argued in favor of such policies, since earning her master’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1948. At the time, Blacks were not admitted to graduate schools in Florida. 

Meek decided not to seek a sixth term in 2002. Her son Kendrick succeeded in winning her heavily Democratic district, a seat he held for four terms before an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010. 

After leaving Congress, Carrie Meek returned to Miami and created a foundation to work on education and housing issues. She was also criticized for some of her business dealings. 

She lobbied for a biotech park that was planned for Miami’s impoverished Liberty City neighborhood but never materialized. County authorities eventually started a criminal investigation, and the park’s developer was arrested in October 2009 on charges that he stole nearly $1 million from the project. 

Congressional records showed that Meek was paid while her son sought millions of federal dollars for the project. Meek said she was paid as a consultant, and both mother and son denied their efforts were linked. 

Before entering politics, Meek worked as a teacher and administrator at Miami-Dade College. 

She was elected to the Florida House in 1978, succeeding pioneer Black legislator Gwen Cherry, who had been killed in an auto accident. She became one of the first African Americans and the first Black woman to serve in the Florida Senate since the 1800s.

Carrie Pittman was born to Willie and Carrie Pittman in Tallahassee on April 29, 1926, and was the youngest of 12 children. Her father worked in nearby fields as a sharecropper and her mother took in laundry from white families. 

She graduated from Florida A&M University in 1946 with a degree in biology and physical education. The university named its building for Black history archives in her honor in 2007. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

She accepted a position at Bethune Cookman College as an instructor and became the institution’s first female basketball coach. In 1958, she returned to Florida A&M as an instructor in health and physical education. She held that position until 1961. 

Meek continued her teaching career at Miami Dade Community College as the first Black professor, associate dean, and assistant to the Vice President from 1961 to 1979. 

Then, she began her trailblazing political career, representing Florida’s 17th Congressional District as a Democratic Florida State House Representative.

In Congress, Meek was a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee and worked to secure $100 million in aid to rebuild Dade County as the area recovered from Hurricane Andrew. 

She retired in 2002 and shifted her focus to the Carrie Meek Foundation, which she founded in November 2001, to provide the Miami-Dade community with much-needed resources, opportunities, and jobs. Meek spearheaded the Foundation’s daily operations until 2015 when she stepped down due to declining health.

Meek is survived by her children Lucia Davis-Raiford, Sheila Davis Kinui and Kendrick B. Meek, seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and multiple nieces and nephews.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

In a statement, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called Meek a “true trailblazer.”

“She was never afraid to use her voice to speak out against inequality or to fight for the disenfranchised and the vulnerable — and her towering legacy will continue to shape our community and the nation for generations to come,” Levine Cava said.

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Phil Saviano, Key Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Whistleblower, Dies at 69

Phil Saviano, a clergy sex abuse survivor and whistleblower who played a pivotal role in exposing decades of predatory assaults by Roman Catholic priests in the United States, has died. He was 69. 

Saviano’s story figured prominently in the 2015 Oscar-winning film “Spotlight” about The Boston Globe’s investigation that revealed how scores of priests molested children and got away with it because Church leaders covered it up. He died on Sunday after a battle with gallbladder cancer, said his brother and caregiver, Jim Saviano.

In late October, Saviano announced on his Facebook page that he was starting hospice care at his brother’s home in Douglas, Massachusetts, where he died.

“Things have been dicey the last few weeks,” he wrote, asking followers to “give a listen to Judy Collins singing ‘Bird on a Wire’ and think of me.”

Saviano played a central role in illuminating the scandal, which led to the resignation of Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law and Church settlements with hundreds of victims. The Globe’s 2002 series earned it the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003, and “Spotlight” won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Actor Neal Huff played Saviano in the film.

“My gift to the world was not being afraid to speak out,” Saviano said in mid-November in a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Born June 23, 1952, Saviano recalled going to confession as a young boy at St. Denis Church in tiny East Douglas, Massachusetts, in the 1960s and whispering his transgressions through a screen to the Rev. David Holley. The priest, he said, violated that sacred trust and forced the 11-year-old to perform sex acts. Holley died in a New Mexico prison in 2008 while serving a 275-year sentence for molesting eight boys.

“When we were kids, the priests never did anything wrong. You didn’t question them, same as the police,” Phil Saviano’s brother Jim Saviano told the AP. “There were many barriers put in his way intentionally and otherwise by institutions and generational thinking. That didn’t stop him. That’s a certain kind of bravery that was unique.”

A self-described “recovering Catholic,” Saviano went on to establish the New England chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, an organization working to bring specific allegations of clergy sexual abuse to light.

His faith in the Church shattered, Saviano instead leaned on politicians and prosecutors to bring offenders to justice. 

“We’re putting our faith in legislators and prosecutors to solve this problem,” he told reporters in 2002.

“Phil was an essential source during the Spotlight Team’s reporting on the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, providing other critical sources, research materials and the names of several accused priests,” said Mike Rezendes, a member of the Globe team that brought the scandal to light and a current AP investigative reporter.

“He also shared his own heartbreaking story of abuse, imbuing us with the iron determination we needed to break this horrific story,” Rezendes said. “During our reporting, and over the last 20 years, I got to know Phil well and have never met anyone as brave, as compassionate or as savvy.”

Saviano earned degrees in zoology and communications from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Boston University and began working in hospital public relations. Later, he shifted to entertainment industry publicity and concert promotion, working closely with Collins, a lifelong friend and confidante, as well as Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme and other artists.

In 1991, he became seriously ill with AIDS and went public with his childhood abuse the following year, becoming one of the first survivors to come forward.

“Father Holley forced me and two of my friends to have repeated sexual contact with him,” Saviano said in an interview with the Globe — the first of many that would lead not only to criminal charges against the disgraced cleric but widespread prosecutions of others as the enormity of the scandal became evident.

By the early 2000s, Saviano was spending 10 hours a day on the phone with victims and journalists. He was an outspoken critic of the Vatican’s reluctance to deal decisively with the fallout from the scandal. In 2008, when Pope Benedict XVI hinted to U.S. bishops during a visit that they’d mishandled the Church’s response, Saviano questioned the pontiff’s decision to follow his remarks with Masses in New York and Washington. 

“If he was really serious about the issue, that Mass would not be held in New York. It would be held here in Boston,” he said.

In 2009, suffering kidney failure and unable to locate a match among family or friends, he found a donor after SNAP spread the word in a nationwide email to 8,000 clergy sex abuse survivors.

The abuse that came to light as a result of Saviano’s work prompted Cardinal Law, Boston’s highest-ranking churchman, to step down. The Globe’s reporting showed Law was aware of child molesters in the priesthood but covered up their crimes and failed to stop them, instead transferring them from parish to parish without alerting parents or police.

When the archbishop died in Rome in 2017, Saviano asked bluntly: “How is he going to explain this when he comes face to face with his maker?”

In 2019, at the Vatican for an abuse prevention summit convened by Pope Francis, Saviano said he told summit organizers to release the names of abusive priests around the world along with their case files.

“Do it to launch a new era of transparency. Do it to break the code of silence. Do it out of respect for the victims of these men, and do it to help prevent these creeps from abusing any more children,” he said.

Although there was a hard edge to much of his life, Saviano enjoyed traveling extensively and developed a soft spot for Indigenous art. In 1999, he launched an e-commerce website, Viva Oaxaca Folk Art, showcasing handmade decorative pieces he purchased on trips to southern Mexico and resold to collectors across the U.S.

He is survived by three brothers, Jim Saviano of Douglas; John Saviano of Douglas; and Victor Saviano of Boston; two nieces; and two nephews. Funeral arrangements were incomplete.