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Ліга чемпіонів: «Динамо» допомогло «Бенфіці» вийти в 1/8 фіналу замість «Барселони»

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Filipino, Russian Journalists to Receive Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo

Two journalists, one from the Philippines and the other from Russia, will receive the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo Friday. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it was honoring the pair for their efforts to safeguard press freedom.

The Nobel Peace Prize is the latest accolade for Filipino American journalist Maria Ressa, who has received numerous awards for her fight for press freedom in the Philippines.  “There’s a part of me that is happy (to accept the Nobel Peace Prize), yes, but also angry, and hoping for a better future,” Ressa told reporters at the Manila airport Tuesday on her way to the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Arrests

Ressa founded the news website Rappler, which has had its license suspended by Philippine authorities. She is an outspoken critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, and her scrutiny of the government’s often deadly war on drugs has seen her clash with authorities.   

She has been arrested several times, most recently in 2020 when she was convicted of “cyber-libel” and sentenced to six years in jail. She is currently out on bail.   

Further libel charges were filed against her and six other news organizations Wednesday by the Philippine government’s energy secretary, Alfonso Cusi. In total, Ressa is facing seven separate legal cases brought by the Philippine state.

Earlier this week, a Manila court gave Ressa permission to travel to Oslo, ruling she was not a flight risk. 

“It feels like it’s really a small price to pay to keep doing our jobs, but we shouldn’t have to worry about this,” Ressa said. “I shouldn’t have 10 arrest warrants. I shouldn’t be out on bail. There are so many ‘shouldn’ts,”… but, you know, what can you do? You deal with what it is. It’s like pollution in the environment, and you keep doing your job.”

Russia

Ressa is sharing the 2021 prize with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. He is a frequent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Since 2000, six Novaya Gazeta journalists have been killed in connection with their work, including top investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya. She wrote extensively on the wars in Chechnya, including abuses by Russian military forces. She was murdered in Moscow in 2006.

Novaya Gazeta was co-founded by former Soviet leader and fellow Nobel Peace laureate Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev called Muratov a “courageous” journalist. 

Muratov spoke to reporters in October after learning of his win. “For us, this prize means the recognition of the memory of our late colleagues,” he said.

Putin

Putin was asked about Muratov’s Nobel prize in October.

“If he tries hiding behind the Nobel Prize, using it as a shield to violate Russian law, then he will be doing it deliberately to attract attention to himself or some other reason,” Putin said.

It is the first time since 1935 that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to journalists. Press freedom campaigners have warmly welcomed the decision.

Free press

“If you care about being able to shape the society in which you live, if you care about being able to hold leaders accountable, if you care about solving problems like climate change or figuring our way out of this pandemic, then you need to be informed, and you can’t be informed if journalists can’t do their job,” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, in an October interview with the Reuters news agency.

Both the Philippine and Russian governments deny targeting journalists or stifling a free press.  

Arriving in Oslo Wednesday, Ressa told reporters the Nobel Prize would give encouragement to others. 

“It’s a lift not just for journalists and international journalists, as well as Filipino journalists who continue to hold the line. It’s also for our people. We have elections coming up, right? And when facts are under threat, when you don’t have integrity of facts, you cannot have integrity of elections. So, it begins with us. We must keep getting the facts and serving the people.”

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Filipino, Russian Journalists to Receive Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo

Two journalists from Russia and the Philippines will receive the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo Friday. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it was honoring the pair for their efforts to safeguard press freedom. Henry Ridgwell reports.

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CIT: у прикордонній із Україною області Росії помічений зенітний ракетний комплекс «Бук»

Проаналізувавши відео, аналітики CIT дійшли висновку, що на залізничній станції Маслівка може бути щонайменше один комплекс «Бук» у повному складі

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Київ накрив крижаний дощ – фоторепортаж

У столиці України 8 грудня йшов дощ та мокрий сніг, із налипанням мокрого снігу, що призвело до ожеледиці та льодяного дощу

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Britain’s Sandhurst Superseded by Chinese Military Academies, Warns Report

Since the 1950s, the British army’s prestigious Sandhurst has often been the first choice for developing countries to send their best military officers for further training, and in the past 70 years around 5,000 international students from 120 countries have completed courses at the academy southwest of London. 

Some Sandhurst graduates went on to command the armed forces of their own nations and to head governments. 

But China is stepping up its foreign military training programs and appears to be targeting especially military officers from Commonwealth nations, formerly governed by the United Kingdom, who in record numbers are enrolling in China’s foreign training programs, according to a British research organization.

And several African nations, including Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania, have opened “politico-military schools” sponsored by China, says Civitas, a London-based policy research group.

 

In a report, titled China’s military education and Commonwealth countries, analysts Radomir Tylecote and Henri Rossano say China’s military training programs “should be understood in the context of Beijing’s growing efforts to train foreign elites generally,” part of a broad effort to gain influence over developing countries.

Spreading influence

The authors warn, “China increasingly uses its military training for foreigners as a method of promoting its models of governance; military training typically includes ideological education.” They say during the training China promotes its “Party-Army model,” in which the army is subordinate to a ruling party. Such a system is antithetical to multiparty democratic systems, they note.

Foreign students can attend regional academies, where courses are designed for cadets and junior officers. Most foreign students attend command and staff colleges, including the Army Command College and Command and Staff Colleges of the service branches of the People’s Liberation Army, PLA. Top officers undergo training at the National Defense University and National University of Defense Technology. More than 20 Chinese military academies accept foreign cadets and officers.

According to Civitas, China has trained thousands of officers at middle and senior levels from over 100 countries in recent decades, and the numbers are rising, especially when it comes to African nations of Britain’s Commonwealth. Beijing’s China-Africa Action Plan for 2018-2021 earmarked 5,000 training places for African soldiers, against 2,000 in 2015-2018. Sandhurst trains 1,500 foreign officers annually.

Many of the countries participating in the foreign military training programs are also recipients of loans and infrastructure investment funds from China’s Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, which has been criticized by the U.S. and the European Union. They argue the BRI is used for economic coercion and that the loans can be leveraged by Beijing for political purposes, known as debt-trap diplomacy.

Beijing denies this.

Nearly all of the Commonwealth nations have signed up for BRI loans. Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the British parliament’s defense committee, told Britain’s The Times newspaper last week, “China has ensnared dozens of countries, now equating to a quarter of the world’s GDP, into long-term economic programs they can ill afford while progressively reshaping the international landscape. It is no surprise to learn China’s increasing influence now extends to military training academies, with Sandhurst and Shrivenham [the U.K. Defense Academy] being replaced by elite military institutes in China.”

 

The Global Times, a daily tabloid newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, has said the military training programs help to change foreign officers’ preconceived notions about China, fueled by Western media. 

But some Western politicians and analysts warn there is evidence that the relationship China is forging with some foreign military elites can have political ramifications and contribute to the shaping of the political systems of some developing countries. They cite Zimbabwe, once a member of the Commonwealth, whose late leader, Robert Mugabe, graduated from China’s International College of Defense Studies. He identified as a Marxist for much of his rule.

 

Also being cited is Barbados, which removed the British monarch as head of state last month. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, has accused China of playing a hand in Barbados’ ditching of the queen, saying that Beijing has actively sought to undermine Britain’s status as a key partner of Caribbean nations. Barbados has signed up to the BRI and its armed forces have received a $3 million donation from the PLA while some of its officers have attended Chinese military academies.

Other Commonwealth countries receiving Chinese military training include Cameroon, Rwanda, Guyana, Kenya and Uganda, where it is sponsoring the Oliver Tambo Leadership Academy, a politico-military school. Beijing is also sponsoring politico-military schools in Ghana and Tanzania. And China has also funded Namibia’s Command and Staff College as well as developing training programs for the Sri Lankan military.

“Given China’s military training programs and their potentially serious consequences for the governance of Commonwealth countries, the U.K. should consider how best to rejuvenate shared Commonwealth military aid and education programs and to reinforce the Commonwealth’s liberal and democratic structures of government in the coming decades,” say the authors of the Civitas report. 

Last year in testimony before the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an independent agency of the U.S. government, academic Paul Nantulya, compared U.S. training programs for foreign officers with China’s. “China approaches military training in fundamentally different ways from the U.S. where the concept of an apolitical military runs through the entire training experience,” he said.

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У Медведчука виявили незадекларованого майна на понад 73 мільйони гривень – НАЗК

«Це рекордна сума неправдивих відомостей, яку НАЗК виявило під час повної перевірки декларацій посадовців у цьому році», – відзначили у відомстві

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Вугілля з ОРДЛО: суд дозволив затримання ексміністра Демчишина

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98-Year-Old NYC Photographer Shows Life as Is – From WWII to Today

98-year-old photographer Tony Vaccaro was a simple infantryman, but he unofficially photographed World War II for 272 days. Anna Nelson met with Vaccaro to talk about his role in documenting the war. Anna Rice narrates her story.

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Britain Latest Nation to Announce Diplomatic Boycott of China Olympics

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain will join the United States and Australia in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic games in February.

Johnson made the announcement Wednesday, in response to questions from lawmakers.

“There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, no ministers are expected to attend, and no officials,” the prime minister said in parliament. He added athletes would still participate as he did not believe “sporting boycotts are sensible.”

Britain joins the United States, New Zealand, Lithuania and Australia in deciding not to send diplomats and other government officials to the Beijing games.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a similar boycott Wednesday in Canberra, citing a range of issues including accusations of human rights abuses against China and Beijing’s refusal to hold bilateral talks to resolve lingering trade and diplomatic disputes.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin dismissed Morrison’s announcement, telling reporters “nobody cares” whether or not Australian officials attend the Olympics.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration announced Monday it would be staging a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will run between February 4 to 20.

President Biden said last month he was considering a diplomatic boycott because of criticism of China’s human rights abuses, including the detention of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province and the crackdown on pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong.

Beijing has vowed to take “countermeasures” against Washington over the boycott.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.

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ООН: в Україні за два роки зафіксували майже 30 інцидентів щодо журналістів та близько 20 – проти правозахисників

Доповідь щодо громадянського простору та фундаментальних свобод охоплює період з 1 листопада 2019 року до 31 жовтня 2021 року

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Olaf Scholz Voted in to Replace Merkel as Germany’s Leader

Germany’s parliament has elected Olaf Scholz as the country’s ninth post-World War II chancellor, opening a new era for the European Union’s most populous nation after Angela Merkel’s 16-year tenure. 

Scholz’s government takes office with high hopes of modernizing Germany and combating climate change, but faces the immediate challenge of handling the country’s toughest phase yet of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Scholz won the support of 395 lawmakers on Wednesday. His three-party coalition holds 416 seats in the 736-seat lower house of parliament. 

Scholz was to be formally named as chancellor by Germany’s president and sworn in by the speaker of parliament later Wednesday.

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СБУ каже, що запобігла теракту в коледжі на Черкащині – двох студентів затримали зі зброєю

Відкрите кримінальне провадження за статтею «терористичний акт», тривають слідчі

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Бундестаг обрав Шольца канцлером Німеччини

Олаф Шольц замінить на посаді Анґелу Меркель, що керувала урядом Німеччини 16 років

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Австралія приєдналася до дипломатичного бойкоту США зимових Олімпійських ігор у Пекіні

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At Summit, Biden Warns Putin Against Ukraine Invasion

In a virtual summit on Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden laid out to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, the steps that the U.S. would take should Moscow decide to invade Ukraine. White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara has this report.

Produced by: Mary Cieslak   

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Washington Hopeful of Close Relations With Germany’s Scholz

U.S. officials are hopeful of developing a good working relationship with Germany’s incoming chancellor, Olaf Scholz, whose new coalition government featuring the Social Democrats, the Greens and the neoliberal Free Democrats, has already indicated it will observe a longstanding nuclear sharing arrangement allowing the U.S. to continue to deploy 20 atomic bombs at an airbase in western Germany.

Since early on in the Cold War, Germany has allowed American tactical nuclear weapons to be based in the country, but the arrangement has been opposed by luminaries on the left among Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD). In their election manifestos, both the SPD and the Greens election programs condemned the basing of nuclear weapons in Germany.

The incoming coalition government’s decision to continue with the nuclear arrangement has prompted a sigh of relief in Washington. Any abandonment of the arrangement would have complicated transatlantic security ties. And the coalition government’s acceptance of the deal is being seen as a promising sign of how the relationship may develop between the new government and the Biden administration. 

Scholz has gone out of his way to emphasize the significance of German-U.S. relations, calling the United States “Europe’s closest and most important partner.” As finance minister in the outgoing government of his predecessor, Angela Merkel, he forged close ties with Washington policymakers. There are likely to be bumps in the road, though, according to Western diplomats.

They note the 64,000-word agreement struck by the German coalition partners — the SPD, the Greens and the Free Democrats — makes no mention of Nord Stream 2, the recently completed undersea natural-gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany. The U.S. and some of Germany’s eastern European neighbors want Germany to abandon the pipeline — and so do Germany’s Greens — but SPD insiders tell VOA it is highly unlikely Scholz will do so. 

If he decides to continue with Merkel’s policy and not to abandon the pipeline, Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Congress are likely to redouble their pressure on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on businesses involved with the pipeline, say analysts.

President Joe Biden waived Nord Stream sanctions earlier this year, a few months before the $11 billion pipeline was finished, on the grounds its completion was a “fait accompli.” His decision drew criticism from Republicans and some Democrats, but U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sought to assuage congressional critics saying the Biden administration would respond, if the Kremlin seeks to leverage gas exports as a political weapon. 

Successive American administrations have opposed the building of Nord Stream 2, fearing it will deepen Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, as well as allow Russia to bypass Ukraine when it supplies energy to western European markets, depriving Kyiv of much needed transit fees.

The leaders of Germany’s three-party coalition formally signed a governing agreement Tuesday. The move came a day after the Greens voted to approve the deal, the last party to do so. Scholz is due to be sworn in later this week, marking the start of the post-Merkel era.

Coalition party leaders held a press conference in Berlin just hours before President Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin were set to hold a critical discussion amid rising tensions over a massive Russian military buildup along its border with Ukraine. Scholz was pressed to clarify his foreign policy aims and said his first overseas trip as chancellor will be to Paris and then Brussels — a signal of his government’s intentions to ensure “Europe is strong and sovereign,” he said. 

Scholz also emphasized the importance of transatlantic cooperation, saying he soon would be talking with President Biden. “It is now clear what binds us together,” Scholz said. On the Russian troop buildup, the incoming chancellor said it must be made “very, very clear” to Russia that threats to Ukraine would be unacceptable. But he did not detail how Germany would respond to any new Russian military action in Ukraine. 

Asked about what policy he intended to pursue toward China, he answered only by saying his immediate priorities would be working with the EU and the U.S. Some analysts predict Scholz is likely to continue with Merkel’s approach toward China. Merkel was the driving force behind the signing last December of an EU-China agreement on investment and trade that caused unease in Washington. 

Critics of the deal said it would give China preferential access to European markets while Beijing continued to tamp down Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and maintain detention centers in Xinjiang province, where China’s Communist government has interned more than a million Uighurs, according to rights groups. Though signed, the European Parliament has not voted on the agreement amid rising tensions between the EU and China.

Some diplomats don’t expect Scholz to significantly change course from Merkel when it comes to China, arguing the German business lobby is strong and the country’s export-driven economy needs to be exporting to China. But other European diplomats tell VOA that with China becoming increasingly assertive, they suspect Scholz will have little alternative but to adopt a more muscular policy regarding Beijing.

Scholz appeared to signal that last month, when, during a press conference in Berlin, he highlighted his eagerness to pursue a values-driven foreign policy. “That which makes us who we are, that we are democracies, that we stand for freedom and the rule of law, will of course play a role, because we are particularly connected with some countries, especially the United States, because these values have shaped us,” he said.

How Germany responds in coming days toward an increasingly bellicose Russia will be an early indicator of what kind of foreign policy leader Scholz will be, say analysts. Putin may have decided to time the Russian military buildup to coincide with Germany’s political transition, according to Benjamin Haddad, senior director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council, a research group in New York. “Putin may think this is the right moment to act, with Germany going through a political transition and with France heading toward an election,” he told VOA recently. 

But if the Russian leader thinks he can bank on Berlin being distracted, that might be a miscalculation, Haddad underscores. He says the new center-left German government led by Scholz will “want to show it can be a good transatlantic partner.”  

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US Imposes Sanctions on People in Iran, Syria and Uganda, Citing Rights Abuses

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on more than a dozen people and entities in Iran, Syria and Uganda, accusing them of being connected to serious human rights abuses and repressive acts. 

In an action marking the week of the U.S. Summit for Democracy, the Treasury Department said in a statement it was targeting repression and the undermining of democracy, designating individuals and entities tied to the violent suppression of peaceful protesters in Iran and deadly chemical weapons attacks against civilians in Syria, among others. 

“Treasury will continue to defend against authoritarianism, promoting accountability for violent repression of people seeking to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement. 

The action freezes any U.S. assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. 

Washington blacklisted two senior Syrian air Force officers it accused of being responsible for chemical weapon attacks on civilians and three senior officers in Syria’s security and intelligence apparatus, according to the statement. 

Uganda’s chief of military intelligence, Major General Abel Kandiho, was also hit with sanctions over alleged human rights abuses committed under his watch. The Ugandan military said earlier on Tuesday that it was disappointed by the decision, which it said had been made without due process. 

In Iran, the United States designated the Special Units of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces and Counter-Terror Special Forces, as well as several of their officials, and Gholamreza Soleimani, who commands Iran’s hardline Basij militia. Two prisons and a prison director were also blacklisted over events that reportedly took place in the prisons. 

Iran criticized the United States for imposing new sanctions days before talks are set to resume in Vienna on rescuing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 

“Even amid #ViennaTalks, US cannot stop imposing sanctions against Iran,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter. “Doubling down on sanctions won’t create leverage — and is anything but seriousness & goodwill.” 

The talks broke off on Friday as European officials voiced dismay at sweeping demands by Iran’s new hardline government. 

The seventh round of talks in Vienna is the first with delegates sent by Iran’s anti-Western President Ebrahim Raisi on how to resuscitate the agreement under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.