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Ліга чемпіонів: «Шахтар» втратив «перемогу престижу» на завершення виступів у євросезоні

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Міжнародні резерви України перевищили 30 мільярдів доларів

«У листопаді вони зросли на 3% насамперед завдяки надходженню другого траншу від Міжнародного валютного фонду за програмою stand-by обсягом 500 млн спеціальних прав запозичень (СПЗ)» – НБУ

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«Звичайне планування», а не «евакуація»: посольство США в Україні заперечує повідомлення CNN

Раніше телекомпанія CNN повідомила, що адміністрація президента США Джо Байдена розглядає можливість та способи евакуації американських громадян з України у разі, якщо Росія розпочне масштабне вторгнення в Україну

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US Judge Blocks COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors

A federal judge in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction that prevents the U.S. government from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on federal contractors, temporarily shutting down the last remaining vaccine requirement by the Biden administration.

U.S. District Judge Stan Baker in Savannah, Georgia, said Congress did not clearly authorize the president to use procurement to impose a vaccine requirement on contractors that will have “vast economic and political significance.”

The lawsuit was filed by the states of Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia as well as a trade group for contractors.

President Joe Biden in September said patience was wearing thin with the minority of American adults who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and took several steps including requiring contractors to have their employees get the shots.

The pandemic has killed more than 780,000 Americans and slowed economic growth and snarled supply chains.

Mandatory vaccination has become an increasingly popular tool for private businesses to try to reopen offices, and courts have upheld private mandates as within the right of a business to set terms of employment.

However, courts have blocked several Biden administration vaccine mandates for exceeding executive branch authority and usurping a power over health policy, which is generally left to the states.

A federal judge in Kentucky on Nov. 30 temporarily blocked the contractor rule in the states of Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Separate mandates for healthcare workers and for businesses that employ more than 100 people have also been blocked by courts.

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Communism Down and Out in the Czech Republic

The communist party in the Czech Republic lost all of its 15 seats in the country’s 200-member Chamber of Deputies following elections earlier this year, marking a new political low for the party that once ruled the former Soviet satellite state.  

The incoming government is composed of a five-party coalition that bears no resemblance to an era when a single political party, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, was labeled – by the constitution – as the sole leading force of the state and society.  

Czech voters, led by younger generations aged 18 to 30, “totally rejected the old post-communist parties and voted overwhelmingly for the five parties that promised to defend liberal democracy,” Jiri Pehe, a Prague-based political scientist, told VOA.  

Elections in October essentially marked the end of the search for a “post-communist” identity that began with the party’s loss of power in 1989 following the fall of the Berlin Wall and then continued over three decades, according to Pehe.   

The years immediately following the ousting of the communist party were marked by ardent support for democracy and freedom, but a questioning period followed.  

“Back in the 1990s when Vaclav Havel was prominent, there was a lot of enthusiasm for change, but with time, a lot of the people who supported the change initially during the Havel years started doubting the transformation process and the value of liberal democracy, especially when the financial crisis and later the migration crisis hit,” Pehe said.  

As recently as six years ago, leading figures of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, or KSCM, an offshoot of the former ruling party which disbanded after 1989, expressed confidence that history was still on their side and their political fortunes would improve. Although the KSCM has cast itself as a different entity and voiced criticism for the atrocities committed by the former ruling party, it still held on to notions of allying the country with China and Russia, calling into question the Czech Republic’s membership in both the European Union and NATO.   

As it turns out, Czech communists found that message did not rally people to the party.

The head of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia resigned after the election. As the organization regroups, there are signs that some of its old habits could be changing. A party official recently acknowledged that there are different factions within the party itself, “contrary to the statute,” he said, which, to this day, prohibits factions and prohibits letting the outside world know of the existence of factions. 

Milos Vystrcil takes pride in the fact that the Czech Senate, which he now leads, did away with remnants of the communist party quite a few years before the lower house of parliament. No candidate from the party has been elected to the 81-member Czech Senate since 2014.   

Vystrcil told VOA of the deep impression the party’s rule made on his life when it was in power.  

Now 61, Vystrcil recalled when the party weighed in on his application to grammar school.  

“I had to pass entry exams. But whether I got admitted to the school did not only have to do with whether I did well in calculus, in mathematics, but it also was dependent upon what the party committee thought about me. The committee took into account how much my parents and myself were devoted to the ideals of the communist party,” Vystrcil recalled. He was 15 at the time.

Vystrcil recalled how that treatment meant many people “hated the system” even though most went along with the norms established by the party.

The disenchantment the general population felt toward communism at the height of the party’s power was echoed by others, including Andrej Babis, the outgoing prime minister.  

“You all know that I was a communist party member, and I’m not proud of it,” Babis told the audience at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.   

He said he knew he wasn’t as brave as people like Havel, but offered his “gratitude and humility” to Havel and others who were persecuted at the time but held on to their belief that the country could do better. It was thanks to them that he had the opportunity to run in elections, he said.  

Political analyst Jiri Pehe, a former aid to Havel, said although he and others advocated for banning the communist party immediately after the Velvet Revolution, Havel favored letting the country’s emerging democratic process to determine its fate.   

In October, soon after election results came in and it became clear that the ruling coalition lacked the votes to stay in power, Prime Minister Babis took to Twitter to announce that he led his entire Cabinet to resign as soon as the newly-elected parliament held its first assembly, in keeping with his earlier promise and “in keeping with the Czech constitution.”

A week ago, Petr Fiala was sworn in as the new prime minister, leading a coalition government with both conservative and progressives, to tackle the continuing pandemic and other challenges.   

Meanwhile the newly installed leader of the communist party, Katerine Konecna, said her priority is trying to build support among young people.  

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End of An Era: Germany’s Merkel Bows Out after 16 Years

Angela Merkel was assured of a place in the history books as soon as she became Germany’s first female chancellor on Nov. 22, 2005.

Over the next 16 years, she was credited with raising Germany’s profile and influence, working to hold a fractious European Union together, managing a string of crises and being a role model for women.

Now that near-record tenure is ending with her leaving office at age 67 to praise from abroad and enduring popularity at home. Her designated successor, Olaf Scholz, is expected to take office Wednesday.

Merkel, a former scientist who grew up in communist East Germany, is bowing out about a week short of the record for longevity held by her one-time mentor, Helmut Kohl, who reunited Germany during his 1982-1998 tenure.

While Merkel perhaps lacks a spectacular signature achievement, the center-right Christian Democrat came to be viewed as an indispensable crisis manager and defender of Western values in turbulent times.

She served alongside four U.S. presidents, four French presidents, five British prime ministers and eight Italian premiers. Her chancellorship was marked by four major challenges: the global financial crisis, Europe’s debt crisis, the 2015-16 influx of refugees to Europe and the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s undeniable that she’s given Germany a lot of soft power,” said Sudha David-Wilp, the deputy director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Berlin office. “Undoubtedly she’s elevated Germany’s image in the world.”

“When she first came onto the scene in 2005, a lot of people underestimated her, but she grew in stature along with Germany’s role in the world,” David-Wilp added. Others in Europe and beyond “want more of an active Germany to play a role in the world — that may not have been the case before she was in office, necessarily.”

In a video message at Merkel’s final EU summit in October, former U.S. President Barack Obama thanked her for “taking the high ground for so many years.”

“Thanks to you, the center has held through many storms,” he said.

Merkel was a driving force behind EU sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea and backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine, and also spearheaded so-far-unfinished efforts to bring about a diplomatic solution there. She was regarded as being “able to have a dialogue with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin on behalf of the West,” David-Wilp said.

She was steadfast in pursuing multilateral solutions to the world’s problems, a principle she set out at a military parade in her honor last week.

The global financial crisis and the migrant influx “made clear how much we depend on cooperation beyond national borders and how indispensable international institutions and multilateral instruments are to be able to cope with the big challenges of our time,” Merkel said, identifying those as climate change, digitization and migration.

That stance was a strong counterpoint to former U.S. President Donald Trump, with whom she had a difficult relationship. At their first meeting in the White House in March 2017, when photographers shouted for them to shake hands, she quietly asked Trump “do you want to have a handshake?” but there was no response from the president, who looked ahead.

Merkel dismissed being labeled as “leader of the free world” during that period, saying leadership is never up to one person or country.

Still, she was viewed as a crucial leader in the unwieldy 27-nation EU, famed for her stamina in coaxing agreements in marathon negotiating sessions.

“Ms. Merkel was a compromise machine,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said recently. When negotiations were blocked, she “mostly found something that unites us to move things along.”

That was on display in July 2020, when EU leaders clinched a deal on an unprecedented 1.8 trillion-euro ($2 trillion) budget and coronavirus recovery fund after a quarrelsome four-day summit.

At her 107th and last EU summit, European Council President Charles Michel told Merkel: “You are a monument.” A summit without her would be like “Rome without the Vatican or Paris without the Eiffel Tower,” he added.

The appreciation from her counterparts was genuine, although there was plenty of friction over the years. Merkel always sought to keep the EU as tightly knit as possible but strongly defended Germany’s interests, clashing with Greece during the debt crisis and disagreeing with Hungary, Poland and others over their refusal — unlike Germany — to host migrants arriving in Europe.

Merkel said she was bowing out of the EU “in a situation that definitely gives me cause for concern as well.”

“We have been able to overcome many crises in a spirit of respect, in an effort always to find common solutions” she said. “But we also have a series of unresolved problems, and there are big unfinished tasks for my successor.”

That’s also true at home, where her record — dominated by the crises she addressed and including a pandemic that is flaring anew as she steps down — is a mixed bag. She leaves Germany with lower unemployment and healthier finances, but also with well-documented shortcomings in digitization — many health offices resorted to fax machines to transmit data in the pandemic — and what critics say was a lack of investment in infrastructure. 

She made progress in promoting renewable energy, but also drew criticism for moving too slowly on climate change. After announcing in 2018 that she wouldn’t seek a fifth term, she failed to secure a smooth transition of power in her own party, which slumped to defeat in Germany’s September election.

The incoming governing coalition under Scholz says it wants to “venture more progress” for Germany after years of stagnation.

But Germans’ overall verdict appears to remain favorable. During the election campaign, from which she largely was absent, Merkel’s popularity ratings outstripped those of her three would-be successors. Unlike her seven predecessors in postwar Germany, she is leaving office at a time of her choosing.

Merkel’s body language and facial expressions sometimes offered a glimpse of her reactions that went beyond words. She once lamented that she couldn’t put on a poker face: “I’ve given up. I can’t do it.”

She wasn’t intimidated by Putin’s style. The Russian president once brought his Labrador to a 2007 meeting with Merkel, who later said she had a “certain concern” about dogs after having once been bitten by one.

She was never the most glamorous of political operators, but that was part of her appeal – the chancellor continued to take unglamorous walking holidays, was occasionally seen shopping at the supermarket and lived in the same Berlin apartment as she did before taking the top job.

Named “The World’s Most Powerful Woman” by Forbes magazine for the past 10 years in a row, Merkel steps down with a legacy of breaking through the glass ceiling of male dominance in politics — although she also has faced criticism for not pushing harder for more gender equality.

Obama said that “so many people, girls and boys, men and women, have had a role model who they could look up to through challenging times.”

Former President George W. Bush, whose relationship with Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, soured over the latter’s opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, said that “Angela came in and changed that completely.”

“Angela Merkel brought class and dignity to a very important position and made very hard decisions … and did so based upon principle,” Bush told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in July. He described her as “a compassionate leader, a woman who was not afraid to lead.”

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Attorney Says Meadows Won’t Cooperate with Jan. 6 Panel

In an abrupt reversal, an attorney for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said his client will not cooperate with a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing a breakdown in negotiations with the panel.  

Attorney George Terwilliger said in a letter Tuesday that a deposition would be “untenable” because the Jan. 6 panel “has no intention of respecting boundaries” concerning questions that former President Donald Trump has claimed are off-limits because of executive privilege. Terwilliger also said that he learned over the weekend that the committee had issued a subpoena to a third-party communications provider that he said would include “intensely personal” information.  

Terwilliger said in a statement last week that he was continuing to work with the committee and its staff on a potential accommodation that would not require Meadows to waive the executive privileges claimed by Trump or “forfeit the long-standing position that senior White House aides cannot be compelled to testify” before Congress.  

“We appreciate the Select Committee’s openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics,” he said then.  

A spokesperson for the panel did not have immediate comment on Terwilliger’s letter. The committee’s chairman, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, said last week that Meadows had been engaging with the panel through his attorney, producing records and agreeing to appear for an initial deposition.  

Thompson said the committee would “continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.” He has said that any witnesses who don’t comply will be held in contempt of Congress.

In halting cooperation, Terwilliger also cited comments from Thompson that he said unfairly cast aspersions on witnesses who invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. A separate witness, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, has said he will invoke those Fifth Amendment rights.  

“As a result of careful and deliberate consideration of these factors, we now must decline the opportunity to appear voluntarily for a deposition,” Terwilliger wrote in the letter.

The reversal comes as Meadows has been receiving attention for a new book, released Tuesday, which revealed that Trump received a positive COVID-19 test before a presidential debate and was far sicker than the White House revealed at the time.

Trump — who told his supporters to “fight like hell” before hundreds of his supporters broke into the Capitol and stopped the presidential electoral count — has attempted to hinder much of the committee’s work, including in an ongoing court case, by arguing that Congress cannot obtain information about his private White House conversations.

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Vaccination Debate and How it Affects Our Feelings of Empathy

Living through a pandemic has been a stressful and difficult challenge. Divisions between the vaccinated and unvaccinated have made the past two years even more stressful. Karina Bafradzhian reports on both sides and efforts to change minds. Camera: Aleksandr Bergan, Sergii Dogotar

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Кошти від приватизації заводу «Більшовик» надійшли до бюджету – Сенниченко

Фонд державного майна України 27 жовтня продав «Перший київський машинобудівний завод» за 1,429 мільярда гривень

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НБУ посилив гривню на 5 копійок проти долара, на міжбанку валюта також слабшає

Торги на українському міжбанківському валютному ринку завершуються на рівні 27 гривень 28,5–30,5 копійки за долар

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Міжнародні ядерні переговори з Іраном поновляться 9 грудня – ЗМІ

Минулого тижня відбувся тяжкий старт переговорів, спрямованих на відновлення ядерної угоди 2015 року

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Biden and Putin to Discuss Ukraine in Rare Video Call

U.S. President Joe Biden will speak Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin via video call, amid what appears to be a Russian troop buildup along the Ukrainian border, raising fears of a Russian invasion. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from the White House.

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ООН на невизначений термін відклала рішення про визнання влади «Талібану» і хунти М’янми

Резолюція, схвалена консенсусом без голосування Генеральною асамблеєю 6 грудня, фактично затримала будь-яке рішення про визнання принаймні на наступні 10 місяців

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Понад 5 тисяч вантажівок чекають виїзду з Білорусі

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Під санкції ЄС може потрапити очільник ПВК «Вагнера» Уткін і ще двоє пов’язаних із групою людей

Йдеться про глобальний режим санкцій через порушення прав людини, який ЄС запровадив минулого року

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US, Russian Presidents to Hold Virtual Summit Tuesday Amid Rising Tensions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a high-stakes virtual summit with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Tuesday amid a massive buildup of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. 

President Biden is expected to make a series of diplomatic overtures to President Putin in an effort to de-escalate the situation, along with clear warnings of likely sanctions if Russian troops invade its smaller neighbor and former Soviet republic. 

WATCH: US and Russia leaders to meet 

Administration officials say Moscow has launched a massive cyberspace disinformation campaign against Ukraine’s government that echoes Russia’s 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea. The U.S. intelligence community released a document last week that concluded that Putin is planning to deploy as many 175,000 troops along the Ukrainian border as soon as January as part of a multifront invasion.

Putin is expected to issue an oft-repeated demand that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO, the seven decade-old military alliance between the United States and the nations of Western Europe, which Biden will likely reject. For his part, Biden is expected to threaten to cut Russia off from SWIFT, the international financial payments system. 

The U.S. has provided a vast array of military support to Ukraine, but administration officials say the U.S. will not deploy combat troops to Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion.

Biden hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the White House in September, and  assured him that the U.S. was “firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression.” 

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited troops in the eastern Donetsk region and said his forces were capable of fending off a Russian offensive.  

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US Remembers Pearl Harbor on 80th Anniversary of Attack

“December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy,” is how then-U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt described the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the American naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of the surprise strike on the U.S. Pacific Fleet that killed more than 2,400 service members and civilians, wounded about 1,000 people, and damaged or destroyed almost 20 ships and more than 300 aircraft in less than two hours.

The next day, Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan, and the lawmakers approved the move.

Just three days later, Germany and Italy, Japan’s allies, declared war on the U.S. The U.S. reciprocated, entering World War II, which had been raging in Europe for more than two years.

Approximately 150 World War II veterans, including about 40 survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, are attending a ceremony of remembrance Tuesday at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawaii. The 80th National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration will include a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the exact time the attack began. 

It will be held in person for the first time since 2019. Last year’s event was virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s event will also be livestreamed. 

Survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack are now in their late 90s or older. 

Many of the veterans arrived in Hawaii on Friday from Dallas, Texas, on a plane chartered for the occasion. The ABC News affiliate in Dallas, WFAA, spoke to the veterans at the airport in the city.

Navy veteran Lieutenant Commander Cass Phillips, a 101-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor, told the outlet, “I was 21 at that time.”

John Pildner said that he was in the Army before he could even vote, from 1944 to 1946. “If I could do it again, I would,” he added. 

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. military is reburying the remains of service personnel killed when the USS Oklahoma was attacked in Pearl Harbor, following a yearslong project to identify their remains. The burials will be in Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The Pentagon project identified nearly 400 service members from the ship with the help of DNA technology and dental records, leaving the remains of only 33 people from the ship not individually identified, according to a report in The Washington Post. 

The Oklahoma was sunk during the attack, which was carried out by a Japanese force that included 353 aircraft, 35 submarines, two battleships and 11 destroyers, according to a U.S. census report. 

“I encourage all Americans to reflect on the courage shown by our brave warriors that day and remember their sacrifices,” U.S. President Joe Biden said earlier this month in a National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day proclamation. “I ask us all to give sincere thanks and appreciation to the survivors of that unthinkable day.” 


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Nobel Prizes Awarded in Pandemic-Curtailed Local Ceremonies

Three 2021 Nobel Prize laureates said Monday that climate change is the biggest threat facing the world — yet they remain optimistic — as this year’s winners began receiving their awards at scaled-down local ceremonies adapted for pandemic times. 

For a second year, COVID-19 has scuttled the traditional formal banquet in Stockholm attended by winners of the prizes in chemistry, physics, medicine, literature and economics, which were announced in October. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded separately in Oslo, Norway. 

Literature laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah was first to get his prize in a lunchtime ceremony Monday at the Swedish ambassador’s grand Georgian residence in central London.

Ambassador Mikaela Kumlin Granit said the U.K.-based Tanzanian author had been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” 

“Customarily you would receive the prize from the hands of His Majesty, the king of Sweden,” she told Gurnah at the ceremony attended by friends, family and colleagues. “However, this year you will be celebrated with a distance forced upon us because of the pandemic.” 

Gurnah, who grew up on the island of Zanzibar and arrived in England as an 18-year-old refugee in the 1960s, has drawn on his experiences for 10 novels, including “Memory of Departure,” “Pilgrims Way,” “Afterlives” and “Paradise.” He has said migration is “not just my story — it’s a phenomenon of our times.” 

Italian physics laureate Giorgio Parisi was receiving his prize at a ceremony in Rome. U.S.-based physics laureate Syukuro Manabe, chemistry laureate David W.C. MacMillan and economic sciences laureate Joshua D. Angrist will be given their medals and diplomas in Washington. 

MacMillan, German physics prize winner Klaus Hasselmann and economics prize winner Guido Imbens, who is Dutch but lives in the United States, had a joint virtual news conference Monday where they were asked what they consider the biggest problem facing humanity and what they worry about most. All three answered climate change, with Imbens calling it the world’s “overarching problem.” 

“Climate change is something which is clearly going to have a large impact on society,” MacMillan said. “But at the same time given the science, given the call to arms amongst scientists, I really feel more optimism. And I feel there’s a real moment happening with scientists moving towards trying to solve this problem.” 

“I would bet on that fact that we would solve this problem,” MacMillan said. 

Hasselmann, whose work on climate change won him the prize, said he’s more hopeful because the world’s youth and movements like Fridays for the Future “have picked up the challenge and are getting across the message to the public that we have to act and respond to the problem.”

Hasselmann said he’s more optimistic now about climate change than 20 or 30 years ago. 

Imbens said he also is disturbed that misinformation, especially about COVID-19 and vaccines, is splitting society apart. He recalled growing up in the Netherlands and nearly everyone agreed on the need for the polio vaccine. 

“And yet, here we don’t seem to have found a way of making these decisions that we can all live with,” Imbens said. “And that’s clearly made it much harder to deal with the pandemic.” 

More ceremonies will be held throughout the week in Germany and the United States. On Friday — the anniversary of the death of prize founder Albert Nobel — there will be a celebratory ceremony at Stockholm City Hall for a local audience, including King Carl XVI Gustav and senior Swedish royals. 

A Nobel Prize comes with a diploma, a gold medal and a $1.5 million (10-million krona) cash award, which is shared if there are multiple winners. 

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo because Nobel wanted it that way, for reasons he kept to himself. A ceremony is due to be held there Friday for the winners — journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia. 

The Norwegian news agency NTB said the festivities would be scaled down, with fewer guests and participants required to wear face masks. Norway has seen an uptick in cases of the new omicron variant, and a spokesman for the Norwegian Nobel Committee told NTB it was “in constant contact with the health authorities in Oslo.” 


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In Biden-Putin Talks, Key Question Is Russia’s Intent in Ukraine 

When Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin meet virtually on Tuesday, the two presidents will have to negotiate a history of mutual suspicion as they take up the urgent issue of a major Russian military buildup on the Ukraine border.

The key question hanging over the talks — and the subject of keen debate among analysts and political leaders — is whether Putin might actually launch a cross-border offensive, or whether he is using the troops to pressure Biden for guarantees ex-Soviet Ukraine will never become a NATO launchpad.

The two have a daunting list of other differences to air, from Russia’s harsh treatment of dissidents to the presence of ransomware hackers on Russian soil to Moscow’s support for the repressive regime in Syria.

But the magnitude of the Russian buildup near Ukraine — the Kremlin may be planning an offensive early in 2022 involving up to 175,000 troops, according to U.S. intelligence obtained by The Washington Post and other outlets — has raised red flags in Washington and across Europe.

Many analysts doubt that Putin would carry through with an invasion — which would inevitably prompt international condemnation and probably new sanctions — but at least some take a darker view.

“Putin has sharply raised the stakes. He is no longer bluffing,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the political consultancy R.Politik Center and a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

“He’s ready to take a desperate step,” she told Agence France-Presse on Sunday.

The looming crisis could pose the sternest test yet of the foreign policy savvy and clout of the 78-year-old U.S. president.

Biden and Putin — who are expected to speak Tuesday around midday Washington time — have a history together.

They first met in person in the Kremlin in 2011. Then-Vice President Biden later said he told the Russian leader, “I don’t think you have a soul” to which, Biden says, Putin responded, “We understand one another.”

They met again in 2014 in Geneva to deal with the now familiar issue of Russian military pressure on Ukraine.

And they met in Geneva on June 16 of this year for the first time with Biden as president.

Contacts have continued since, as have tensions, with Putin seen as eager to pressure Biden into another in-person summit as a way to project parity on the world stage.

On Friday, Biden vowed to make it “very, very difficult” for Russia to launch an invasion but did not say how.

Putin has warned the West and Kyiv against crossing the Kremlin’s “red lines,” including building up weaponry in Ukraine.

Biden later responded, “I won’t accept anybody’s red line.”

Some analysts said Russia, deeply concerned with Ukraine’s warming ties to NATO, is applying pressure to cut that movement short.

Following Putin’s lead, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week called on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to provide “security guarantees” that NATO would not come closer to Russia’s border.

Stanovaya said this might be Putin’s bottom line: “Either NATO provides guarantees or Russia invades Ukraine,” she said.

Russia has continued to deny any bellicose intentions, instead accusing the West of provocations in the Black Sea.

NATO recognized Kyiv in June 2020 as one of a handful of so-called “enhanced opportunity partners,” potentially a step toward membership.

Heather Conley, a former assistant U.S. secretary of state for European affairs, said she believes Putin is willing to apply “enormous pressure” in the Ukraine standoff.

He is set on another in-person summit with Biden, said Conley, who is with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And he wants to loosen Western ties to Ukraine, which she said some see as “a sort of NATO aircraft carrier.”

Fyodor Lukyanov, a prominent political analyst close to the Kremlin, said he doubts Biden and Putin will agree on anything concrete on Tuesday, but he does not expect hostilities to break out if the talks fail.

“No, this is hysteria whipped up by the West,” he told AFP on Sunday. “Wars begin suddenly. If it begins, it will begin differently.”

Moscow seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has since backed the separatist forces fighting Kyiv. The conflict has left more than 13,000 dead.

What if the virtual meeting between the rival leaders goes poorly on Tuesday?

If Russia fails to obtain the accommodations it seeks, and all efforts at diplomacy fail, said Conley, her sense is that “Mr. Putin would then use military means to achieve his political objective.” 

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Emmett Till Investigation Closed by Feds; No New Charges

The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it is ending its investigation into the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, the Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. 

The announcement came after the head of the department’s civil rights division and other officials met with several of Till’s relatives. 

Till’s family members said they were disappointed there will continue to be no accountability for the infamous killing, with no charges being filed against Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman accused of lying about whether Till ever touched her. 

“Today is a day we will never forget,” Till’s cousin, the Rev. Wheeler Parker, said during a news conference in Chicago. “For 66 years we have suffered pain. … I suffered tremendously.” 

The killing galvanized the civil rights movement after Till’s mother insisted on an open casket, and Jet magazine published photos of his brutalized body. 

The Justice Department reopened the investigation after a 2017 book quoted Donham as saying she lied when she claimed that 14-year-old Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances while she was working in a store in the small community of Money. Relatives have publicly denied that Donham, who is in her 80s, recanted her allegations about Till. 

Donham told the FBI she had never recanted her accusations and there is “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she lied to the FBI,” the Justice Department said in a news release Monday. Officials also said that historian Timothy B. Tyson, the author of 2017’s “The Blood of Emmett Till,” was unable to produce any recordings or transcripts in which Donham allegedly admitted to lying about her encounter with the teen. 

“In closing this matter without prosecution, the government does not take the position that the state court testimony the woman gave in 1955 was truthful or accurate,” the Justice Department release said. “There remains considerable doubt as to the credibility of her version of events, which is contradicted by others who were with Till at the time, including the account of a living witness.” 

Tyson did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment Monday. 

Thelma Wright Edwards, one of Till’s cousins, said she was heartbroken but not surprised that no new charges are being brought. 

“I have no hate in my heart, but I had hoped that we could get an apology, but that didn’t happen,” Edwards said Monday in Chicago. “Nothing was settled. The case is closed, and we have to go on from here.” 

Days after Till was killed, his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, where it had been tossed after being weighted down with a cotton gin fan. 

Two white men, Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam, were tried on murder charges about a month after Till was killed, but an all-white Mississippi jury acquitted them. Months later, they confessed in a paid interview with Look magazine. Bryant was married to Donham in 1955.

The Justice Department in 2004 opened an investigation of Till’s killing after it received inquiries about whether charges could be brought against anyone still living. The department said the statute of limitations had run out on any potential federal crime, but the FBI worked with state investigators to determine if state charges could be brought. In February 2007, a Mississippi grand jury declined to indict anyone, and the Justice Department announced it wasclosing the case. 

Bryant and Milam were not brought to trial again, and they are now both dead. Donham has been living in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

The FBI in 2006 began a cold case initiative to investigate racially motivated killings from decades earlier. A federal law named after Till allows a review of killings that had not been solved or prosecuted to the point of a conviction. 

The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act requires the Justice Department to make an annual report to Congress. No report was filed in 2020, but a report filed in June of this year indicated that the department was still investigating the abduction and killing of Till.

The FBI investigation included a talk with Parker, who previously told the AP in an interview that he heard his cousin whistle at the woman in a store in Money, Mississippi, but that the teen did nothing to warrant being killed.