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Undocumented Afghan Refugees in Turkey Struggle to Access COVID Treatments, Vaccines

Undocumented Afghan migrants who fled to Turkey to escape the Taliban say they are unable to get treatment and vaccines for the coronavirus.

While officially registered refugees qualify for health care in Turkey, it is believed that thousands of undocumented Afghan migrants are in the country.

The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in August 2021 following the withdrawal of Western forces prompted thousands to flee to neighboring countries. Hundreds of thousands of Afghan nationals had already left their home country for security reasons or to escape poverty. 

VOA spoke to several refugees in the central Turkish city of Erzurum, which lies on a major route for migrants heading west to Europe and is a stopover for many refugees. Some settle and find work in the region. 

According to the United Nations, Turkey is hosting around 183,000 Afghan asylum-seekers, while 300,000 Afghans are permanently settled there. However, unofficial estimates suggest thousands more Afghan migrants are undocumented, living and working in Turkey under the radar and unable to access basic services such as health care. 

“I am from Badakhshan province in Afghanistan. I came to Turkey two months ago. I am 18 years old. We have no ID cards, so the hospitals don’t treat us,” Afghan migrant Muhammed told VOA. 

Lack of ID card a concern

Muhammed works for a local dairy company in Erzurum along with several other Afghan migrants, including his friend Islam. They live in a small, run-down apartment in the city. 

“There are eight or nine people living in this room. Five people have ID cards, and the rest don’t have ID cards,” Islam said. “If any of those who don’t have an ID card catches coronavirus, the hospitals don’t treat them. Those who have no ID card cannot have a vaccine. If they catch coronavirus, we all will catch coronavirus.” 

Several Afghan migrants told VOA they chose not to register as official refugees, fearing arrest and deportation. Many said the status of Afghan refugees remains unclear, and they want clarification from the government. 

Ramped up border security

In recent months, Turkey has ramped up border security and detained hundreds of Afghan migrants in deportation centers. It’s not clear if Ankara intends to deport the migrants back to Afghanistan. Some migrants report being detained for several weeks before being issued with official refugee status and set free. 

The Turkish government did not respond to VOA questions on the number of undocumented Afghan migrants or on the lack of access to health care. Erzurum officials said any unregistered refugees would be arrested.

The United Nations said Turkey is hosting about 4 million refugees, 3.7 million of whom are Syrians fleeing conflict. 

Refugees are a shared problem

In an email to VOA, Selin Unal, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey, said that other countries must help share the burden of caring for Afghan refugees. 

“UNHCR is calling on neighboring countries to keep their borders open for those forced to flee and are now seeking protection. Since August, UNHCR has received increasing numbers of Afghans in neighboring countries who have approached our office and partners, indicating their intention to seek asylum. Others still in Afghanistan report hoping to reach neighboring countries to access international protection,” Unal said. 

“Turkey has been hosting the largest refugee population in the world since 2014 and its comprehensive legal framework provides the necessary tools to address the needs of the various categories of Afghan citizens currently living on its territory and seeking its protection. This is a challenging time, effective access to registration remains crucial by Afghan nationals seeking international protection in Turkey and UNHCR is working with national authorities to support effective, fair and fast asylum procedures,” the email said. 

The UNHCR did not provide an estimate for the number of undocumented Afghan refugees who are living in Turkey and unable to access health care. 

Memet Aksakal contributed to this report.


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COVID-19: на Херсонщині бустерною дозою вакцинували понад 900 людей  – головний санлікар області

«Херсонська область посідає по кількості бустерних доз займає третю позицію зверху»

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Undocumented Afghan Refugees in Turkey Struggle to Access COVID-19 Treatments, Vaccines

Undocumented Afghan migrants who have fled to Turkey to escape the Taliban say they are unable to access treatment and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. While officially registered refugees do quality for health care in Turkey, it’s believed there are thousands of unregistered Afghan migrants in the country. Henry Ridgwell reports.

Camera: Henry Ridgwell, Memet Aksakal

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Росія має два шляхи, але в Білому домі «сподіваються», що вона обере дипломатію – речниця

«Повернення військових до казарм, висловлення намірів це зробити було б легким шляхом продемонструвати наміри до деескалації»

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US Mint Launches Quarters Honoring American Women

The United States Mint on Monday launched its American Women Quarters Program, a four-year initiative to honor the work and accomplishments of various American women by placing their images on new quarters being launched from 2022 to 2025.

To mark the program’s start, the Mint released quarters bearing the likeness of writer, performer and activist Maya Angelou. Best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou is depicted on the coin with her arms outstretched in front of a rising sun and a bird in flight.

“Each time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country — what we value, and how we’ve progressed as a society. I’m very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

“Maya Angelou … used words to inspire and uplift,” Mint Deputy Director Ventris Gibson said.

U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Emily Damstra created the design, while the Mint’s Medallic artist Craig A. Campbell sculpted it. According to the press release, the artists were inspired by Angelou’s poetry and the way she led her life.

The quarter bearing Angelou’s likeness is one of five new coins being released this year, each featuring the image of a prominent woman who has contributed to a variety of professions and institutions.

Additional honorees include Sally Ride. The physicist and educator made history on June 18, 1983, when she entered space on the shuttle Challenger, following NASA’s policy change to allow women in space in the late 1970s.

When the Challenger exploded in 1986, she was one of the top investigators examining the incident.

The Mint originally announced Angelou and Ride as the program’s first honorees in April 2021. They later revealed three additional honorees last June: Wilma Mankiller, Adelina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong.

Mankiller was the first woman elected as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. She had dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of Indigenous people in the U.S. Her quarter depicts her dressed in traditional clothing alongside the Cherokee Nation seven-pointed star.

Otero-Warren was the first woman superintendent of Santa Fe public schools and a top leader of New Mexico’s suffrage movement, leading efforts to ratify the 19th Amendment in the state. The amendment gives American women the right to vote. Otero-Warren’s coin shows her image with the slogan, “Voto para la mujer,” meaning “Vote for Women.”

The first Chinese film star in Hollywood, Wong appeared in more than 60 movies. She was cast in her first leading role in 1922 in the film, The Toll of the Sea. Despite her talent and fame, Wong faced significant discrimination in the U.S., which led her to leave the U.S. after working in the industry for many years.

Wong was also known for her activism, as she raised money and advocated for Chinese refugees during World War II. She also became the first Asian American cast as the lead in a television show with her role in the 1951 program, The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong.

For each year of the program, five new quarters will be created. By 2025, 20 women will grace the faces of U.S. quarters.

The Mint’s Gibson said it was her honor to present the “nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” according to the press release.

“Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program,” Gibson said.

The quarters, manufactured at the Mint facilities in Philadelphia and Denver, will now be shipped across the country, according to the press release.

The American Women Quarters program is authorized by the Circulating Coin Redesign Act of 2020, which was initiated by California Democratic Representative Barbara Lee.

According to reporting by nonprofit newsroom The 19th, Lee had been working on this legislation since 2017 and was motivated to honor women through a medium that has traditionally recognized men.

“I wanted to make sure that women would be honored, and their images and names be lifted up on our coins. I mean, it’s outrageous that we haven’t,” Lee said. “Hopefully the public really delves into who these women were, because these women have made such a contribution to our country in so many ways.”

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Єрмак почав зустріч із радниками канцлера Німеччини та президента Франції – ОП

Раніше голова Офісу президента повідомив, що домовився з радниками «продовжувати координацію дій в контексті поточної ситуації»

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US Cyber Officials Bracing for ‘Log4j’ Vulnerability Fallout

U.S. cybersecurity officials are still sounding an alarm about the so-called Log4j software vulnerability more than a month after it was first discovered, warning some criminals and nation state adversaries may be waiting to make use of their newfound access to critical systems.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said Monday that the vulnerability, also known as Log4shell, has been subject to widespread exploitation by criminals over the past several weeks, but that more serious and damaging attacking could still be in the works.

“We do expect Log4Shell to be used in intrusions well into the future,” CISA Director Jen Easterly told reporters during a phone briefing, adding, “at this time we have not seen the use of Log4shell resulting in significant intrusions.”

“This may be the case because sophisticated adversaries have already used this vulnerability to exploit targets and are just waiting to leverage their new access until network defenders are on a lower alert,” she said.

The vulnerability in the open-source software produced by the U.S.-based Apache Software Foundation, was first discovered in late November by the Chinese tech giant Alibaba. The first warnings to the public went out in early December. 

Cybersecurity officials and experts initially described the flaw in the software as perhaps the worst vulnerability ever discovered, noting the software’s widespread use – in at least 2,800 products used by both private companies and governments around the world.

CISA on Monday said the vulnerability has impacted hundreds of millions of devices around the world, with many software vendors racing to issue security patches to their customers.

So far, U.S. agencies appear to be unscathed.

“We, at this point, are not seeing any confirmed compromises of federal agencies across the broader country, including critical infrastructure,” CISA Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity Eric Goldstein told reporters.

But he cautioned the danger has not yet passed despite the lack of destructive attacks by sophisticated hacking groups and foreign adversaries.

“It is certainly possible that that may change, that adversaries may be utilizing this vulnerability to gain persistent access that they could use in the future, which is why we are so focused on remediating the vulnerability across the country and ensuring that we are detecting any intrusions if and when they arise,” he said.

Yet there are reports that other countries have already been targeted by cyber actors seeking to exploit the software vulnerability.

Belgium’s Ministry of Defense said last month that some of its computer systems went down last month following an attack, in which the Log4j vulnerability was believed to be exploited.

And some security experts warn other countries, including China, Iran, North Korea and Turkey, have sought to exploit Log4j.

“This activity ranges from experimentation during development, integration of the vulnerabilities to in-the-wild payload deployment, and exploitation against targets to achieve the actor’s objectives,” Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center wrote in a blog post last week.

In particular, Microsoft said the Iran cyber threat actor known as Phosphorus, known for launching ransomware attacks, has already modified the Log4j vulnerability for use in attacks, while the Chinese group known as Hafnium has also used it for some targeting activities.

The private cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike separately assessed that a Chinese-based group called Aquatic Panda sought to use the Log4j vulnerability to target an unnamed academic institution.

CISA on Monday said it could not independently confirm such reports, and further said it had yet to discover any ransomware attacks in which the attackers used the Log4j vulnerability to penetrate the victim’s systems.

CISA’s director said one reason could be that “there may be a lag between when this vulnerability is being used and when it is being actively deployed.”

Easterly also warned about information that U.S. officials are unable to see due to the failure of Congress to pass legislation that would require private companies to report cyberattacks – something the White House and many lawmakers have been advocating for some time.

“We are concerned that threat actors are going to start taking advantage of this vulnerability and having impacts in particular on critical infrastructure, and because there is no legislation in place, we will likely not know about it,” she said. 

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Stay Home or Work Sick? Omicron Poses a Conundrum 

As the raging omicron variant of COVID-19 infects workers across the nation, millions of those whose jobs don’t provide paid sick days are having to choose between their health and their paycheck.

While many companies instituted more robust sick leave policies at the beginning of the pandemic, some of those have since been scaled back with the rollout of the vaccines, even though omicron has managed to evade the shots. Meanwhile, the current labor shortage is adding to the pressure of workers having to decide whether to show up to their job sick if they can’t afford to stay home. 

“It’s a vicious cycle,” said Daniel Schneider, professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “As staffing gets depleted because people are out sick, that means that those that are on the job have more to do and are even more reluctant to call in sick when they in turn get sick.” 

Low-income hourly workers are especially vulnerable. Nearly 80% of all private sector workers get at least one paid sick day, according to a national compensation survey of employee benefits conducted in March by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But only 33% of workers whose wages are at the bottom 10% get paid sick leave, compared with 95% in the top 10%. 


A survey this past fall of roughly 6,600 hourly low-wage workers conducted by Harvard’s Shift Project, which focuses on inequality, found that 65% of those workers who reported being sick in the last month said they went to work anyway. That’s lower than the 85% who showed up to work sick before the pandemic, but much higher than it should be in the middle of a public health crisis. Schneider says it could get worse because of omicron and the labor shortage. 

What’s more, Schneider noted that the share of workers with paid sick leave before the pandemic barely budged during the pandemic — 50% versus 51% respectively. He further noted many of the working poor surveyed don’t even have $400 in emergency funds, and families will now be even more financially strapped with the expiration of the child tax credit, which had put a few hundred dollars in families’ pockets every month. 

The Associated Press interviewed one worker who started a new job with the state of New Mexico last month and started experiencing COVID-like symptoms earlier in the week. The worker, who asked not to be named because it might jeopardize their employment, took a day off to get tested and two more days to wait for the results.

A supervisor called and told the worker they would qualify for paid sick days only if the COVID test turns out to be positive. If the test is negative, the worker will have to take the days without pay, since they haven’t accrued enough time for sick leave.

“I thought I was doing the right thing by protecting my co-workers,” said the worker, who is still awaiting the results and estimates it will cost $160 per day of work missed if they test negative. “Now I wish I just would’ve gone to work and not said anything.” 

A Trader Joe’s worker in California, who also asked not to be named because they didn’t want to risk their job, said the company lets workers accrue paid time off that they can use for vacations or sick days. But once that time is used up, employees often feel like they can’t afford to take unpaid days.


“I think many people now come to work sick or with what they call ‘allergies’ because they feel they have no other choice,” the worker said. 

Trader Joe’s offered hazard pay until last spring, and even paid time off if workers had COVID-related symptoms. But the worker said those benefits have ended. The company also no longer requires customers to wear masks in all of its stores. 

Other companies are similarly curtailing sick time that they offered earlier in the pandemic. Kroger, the country’s biggest traditional grocery chain, is ending some benefits for unvaccinated salaried workers in an attempt to compel more of them to get the jab as COVID-19 cases rise again. Unvaccinated workers enrolled in Kroger’s health care plan will no longer be eligible to receive up to two weeks paid emergency leave if they become infected — a policy that was put into place last year when vaccines were unavailable.

Meanwhile, Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, is slashing pandemic-related paid leave in half — from two weeks to one — after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced isolation requirements for people who don’t have symptoms after they test positive. 

Workers have received some relief from a growing number of states. In the last decade, 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws or ballot measures requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

On the federal front, however, the movement has stalled. Congress passed a law in the spring of 2020 requiring most employers to provide paid sick leave for employees with COVID-related illnesses. But the requirement expired on Dec. 31 of that same year. Congress later extended tax credits for employers who voluntarily provide paid sick leave, but the extension lapsed at the end of September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

In November, the U.S. House passed a version of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan that would require employers to provide 20 days of paid leave for employees who are sick or caring for a family member. But the fate of that bill is uncertain in the Senate. 

“We can’t do a patchwork sort of thing. It has to be holistic. It has to be meaningful,” said Josephine Kalipeni, executive director at Family Values @ Work, a national network of 27 state and local coalitions helping to advocate for such policies as paid sick days. 

The U.S. is one of only 11 countries worldwide without any federal mandate for paid sick leave, according to a 2020 study by the World Policy Analysis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

On the flipside are small business owners like Dawn Crawley, CEO of House Cleaning Heroes, who can’t afford to pay workers when they are out sick. But Crawley is trying to help in other ways. She recently drove one cleaner who didn’t have a car to a nearby testing site. She later bought the cleaner some medicine, orange juice and oranges.

“If they are out, I try to give them money but at the same time my company has got to survive,” Crawley said. ″If the company goes under, no one has work.” 

Even when paid sick leave is available, workers aren’t always made aware of it. 

Ingrid Vilorio, who works at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Castro Valley, California, started feeling sick last March and soon tested positive for COVID. Vilorio alerted a supervisor, who didn’t tell her she was eligible for paid sick leave — as well as supplemental COVID leave — under California law. 

Vilorio said her doctor told her to take 15 days off, but she decided to take just 10 because she had bills to pay. Months later, a co-worker told Vilorio she was owed sick pay for the time she was off. Working through Fight for $15, a group that works to unionize fast food workers, Vilorio and her colleagues reported the restaurant to the county health department. Shortly after that, she was given back pay. 

But Vilorio, who speaks Spanish, said through a translator that problems persist. Workers are still getting sick, she said, and are often afraid to speak up. 

“Without our health, we can’t work,” she said. “We’re told that we’re front line workers, but we’re not treated like it.” 

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День на Донбасі: двоє військових загинули через підрив на міні – штаб

У штабі ООС також зафіксували два обстріли бойовіків у напрямку Пісків

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What Will Russia’s Putin Settle For in Ukraine Talks?

Western policy makers remain as puzzled now as their counterparts were on the eve of the Cold War forty years ago about Russia’s geopolitical intentions. 

Is the Kremlin preparing to launch an invasion of its neighbor Ukraine, which increasingly sees itself as part of the West, if sweeping security guarantees Russia has demanded are rebuffed? Or is the ominous Russian military buildup along Ukraine’s borders an exercise in brinkmanship, a maneuver by President Vladimir Putin to try to wring more than he otherwise would from the United States and European allies at the negotiating table? 

Answers to those questions may start coming Monday when senior U.S. and Russian officials meet in Geneva to start discussing Kremlin demands for NATO to withdraw any military presence from the former Soviet satellite countries of Central Europe and to de-escalate the crisis over Ukraine.

Some eight decades ago, Western policymakers were also trying to decipher the intentions of then-Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, a Communist leader whose legacy Putin has done much to try to rehabilitate in Russia. Guy Liddell, a top British intelligence official, lamented in his diary in February 1948 how difficult it was to fathom whether Soviet Russia was planning military aggression.

While the Kremlin proclaimed peaceful intentions and said its maneuvers were “strategically defensive,” Liddell recorded in his diary that Russian actions — from military preparations to propaganda campaigns, from interventions to “attempts at disruption” — were the same that would accompany a “policy planned for aggression” and Western powers therefore had no option but to prepare for the worst and remain vigilant.

Just two weeks later Kremlin-directed communists seized final control over the government of Czechoslovakia. The loss of the last remaining democracy in Eastern Europe concluded the partition of Europe, freezing the two halves of the continent in a four-decade-long Cold War.

Policy makers are split now about what Putin has in mind by camping more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders, and whether the military buildup is driven by adventurism or a sense of insecurity, misplaced or not. 


Some Western diplomats fear Putin intends for talks to fail so he has pretext for pushing deeper into Ukraine, in a repeat of 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and seized a large part of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

They are also wrestling with the options available to them to try to deter Putin from making any dramatic military moves on Ukraine. And while all NATO members, and several of Europe’s non-members, have joined the United States in warning of dire consequences and punitive economic sanctions in the event of a Russian move on Ukraine, there are important nuances between the allies, with some Western leaders sounding tougher than others.

Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who wants a face-to-face meeting with Russian leader Putin later this month, has talked of resetting relations with Moscow and recently spoke of seeking “a new start,” although he also cautioned of severe consequences in the event of another Russian assault on Ukraine. Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, has been much harder and defiant in his public remarks, reiterating his country’s right to join NATO, if Finns decide to, and flatly rejecting Russian demands that NATO admits no new members. 

Sweden, which is not a NATO member but has been deepening military cooperation with the bloc, is also bristling at Moscow’s expansive demands of no further NATO enlargement, with its foreign minister, Ann Linde, underscoring that Moscow has no right to dictate which countries can join the trans-Atlantic military alliance.

“It should not be up to Russia if we could join or if we could not join NATO,” she said Friday.

Ahead of formal talks this week, NATO officials have dismissed Russia’s wide-ranging security demands as impossible and non-starters. The demands include a halt to further NATO enlargement and a roll-back of any alliance military presence in the seven of the eight former Soviet republics and satellite states of Central Europe which joined the Western alliance in waves since 1999. The Kremlin has also demanded the withdrawal of American tactical nuclear weapons from Europe but has not offered any reciprocal constraints on its arsenal of tactical missiles.

The bilateral American-Russian talks in Geneva, which are being led on the U.S. side by senior State department officials, are to be followed this week by Russia-NATO council negotiations in Brussels and a meeting in Vienna of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a body that includes Russia, Ukraine, and all NATO countries. They amount to a week of high-stakes diplomacy not been seen since the Cold War with Putin seemingly determined to make the dialogue about the whole future security architecture of Europe and Western powers trying to limit discussions. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned against “endless discussions, which is something the West knows how to do and is notorious for.” His boss, President Putin, has also said he is not prepared for talks to drag out for “blathering” that last decades. “They will indulge in endless talk about the necessity of negotiations,” he said on Russian television recently.

Some Western policymakers suspect Putin is trying to rush because the brinkmanship might weaken Western resolve and crack its unity. But U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Sunday told CNN that he worries Putin’s aim is “to re-exert a sphere of influence over countries that previously were part of the Soviet Union.” He added: “We can’t go back to a world of spheres of influence. That was a recipe for instability, a recipe for conflict, a recipe that led to world wars.”

Andrew Marshall of the Atlantic Council, a U.S. research group, says the geopolitical stakes are potentially era-changing. “The outcome of this dispute could decisively rewrite the terms of security on the European continent for an entire generation — just as the decisions of the 1990s did after the end of the Cold War,” he explained in a recent commentary.

Will Putin settle for anything less than a revanchist turning the clock back to when Moscow controlled half of Europe? The Western tactic appears to be to try to draw Putin into the weeds and to discuss some European security arrangements in which both sides have an interest in reaching agreements. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Linde points to arms controls and rules on the size and frequency of military exercises near borders. Linde told Foreign Policy magazine that Moscow’s intentions remain unclear, but “to give diplomacy and dialogue a chance to work is always better than military activities,” she said.

Other analysts believe Putin ultimately is focused on Ukraine and getting it to return to the Russian orbit and that the wider demands over European security architecture are a case of what former U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger once described as the Russian tendency of “kicking all the doors and seeing which fall off their hinges.” 

Russian commentator Vladimir Frolov believes Putin is set on ensuring that Ukraine has “to hammer out its relationship with Russia on Russia’s terms.” But he fears even that a more limited goal is unlikely.

“Escalation remains likely, due to unrealistic requirements being made under artificially short deadlines,” he says.

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СБУ заявляє про затримання російського агента за підготовку терактів в Одесі

Чоловікові повідомили про підозру за статтею про терористичний акт, суд взяв його під варту

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Теніс: Джокович провів перше тренування після дозволу суду на вʼїзд до Австралії

Перша ракетка світу, сербський тенісист Новак Джокович, якому загрожувала депортація з Австралії через відсутність вакцинації від коронавірусної інфекції, виграв справу в суді Мельбурна

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Pope Francis Calls COVID-19 Vaccination Moral Obligation

Pope Francis Monday said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a “moral obligation” as part of caring for the health of oneself and others and urged on international efforts to vaccinate the world’s population.

In a speech to diplomats assigned to the Vatican, the pope said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause social isolation and to take lives but noted effective vaccinations have effectively lowered the risks from the disease. He said it was important to vaccinate the general population as much as possible, calling for a broad commitment on the personal, political, and international levels.

The pope said everyone has a responsibility to care for their health and the health around us.

“This translates into respect for the health of those around us. Health care is a moral obligation,” he said Monday.

However, Francis said he recognized the “ideological divides” that exist in the world today, bolstered by “baseless information or poorly documented facts.”  He said such ideological statements severe “the bond of human reason with the objective reality of things.”

“Vaccines are not a magical means of healing, yet surely they represent, in addition to other treatments that need to be developed, the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease,” he said.

Pope Francis urged a comprehensive commitment by the international community to ensure the “entire world population can have equal access to essential medical care and vaccines,” and called for all states to work through the World Health Organization to support universal access to diagnostic tools, vaccines and drug treatments.

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

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США і Росія почали у Женеві «важкі» переговори щодо України, європейської безпеки

Переговори відбуваються на тлі протистояння через нарощування російських військ біля кордону з Україною

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«Справою займаються СБУ та ДБР» – поліція про імовірне побиття опозиціонера з Казахстану

Наприкінці минулого тижня прибічники казахстанського опозиціонера Мухтара Аблязова в Києві заявили, що зазнали погроз із боку людей, які представилися співробітниками Служби безпеки України

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US, Russia Begin Talks Amid Ukraine Tensions

Diplomats from the United States and Russia met Monday in Geneva, beginning a series of high-level talks this week regarding Moscow’s massive troop buildup along its Ukraine border, and Russian demands for Western security guarantees. 

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said the meeting began just before 9 a.m. local time, while stressing that the U.S. side has been working in consultation with not only Ukraine, but also with NATO and other allies across Europe. 

“The United States is committed to the principle of ‘nothing about you, without you’ when it comes to the security of our European allies and partners, including Ukraine,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We are lashed up at every level with our allies and partners, and we will continue to be in the days and weeks ahead.” 

After the Geneva talks, Russia is due to hold negotiations with NATO in Brussels on Wednesday and at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Thursday in Vienna.

Ahead of Monday’s U.S.-Russia session, top diplomats from both countries expressed little optimism that tensions between their countries would be eased this week.    

“It’s hard to see we’re going to make any progress with a gun to Ukraine’s head,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN’s “State of the Union” show.   

“We’re going to listen to Russia’s concerns” about NATO military exercises in central and eastern Europe, Blinken said, but added, “they’re going to have to listen to ours” about the 100,000 troops Russia has amassed along Ukraine’s eastern flank.    

Meanwhile, Russia’s state-owned RIA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as saying it was entirely possible that the U.S.-Russia talks could end abruptly after a single meeting.  

“I can’t rule out anything; this is an entirely possible scenario and the Americans… should have no illusions about this,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying. Officials from the two countries held a working dinner Sunday night ahead of the more formal talks on Monday in Geneva.  

“Naturally, we will not make any concessions under pressure and in the course of threats that are constantly being formed by the Western participants of the upcoming talks,” Ryabkov said.  

Blinken reiterated the U.S. threat to impose severe economic sanctions against Moscow in the event it invades Ukraine eight years after its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.    

“Our strong preference is a diplomatic solution, but that’s up to Russia,” Blinken told ABC’s “This Week” show.  

He said there is room for negotiations over military exercises in Europe and renewed arms limitations that he accused Russia of violating in the past.  

The top U.S. diplomat said Russia cannot violate other countries’ borders or dictate whether NATO might accede to Ukraine’s request for membership in the seven-decade-old Western military alliance. He said 60% of Ukrainians favor the country joining NATO.   

Russia has denied it plans to invade Ukraine and demanded an end to NATO expansion and a halt to the alliance’s military exercises in central and eastern European countries that joined it after 1997.  

The United States and NATO have said large parts of the Russian proposals are non-starters.    

Some material in this report came from Reuters. 

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На Радіо Свобода стартував новий проєкт – «Новини Приазов’я»

«Новини Приазов’я» виходять в ефір щодня о 15:00 на хвилях Радіо Крим.Реалії 105.9 ФМ і 648 АМ, а також в ефірі Громадського Радіо

Posted by Worldkrap on

At Least 27 People Rescued From Floating Ice Chunk in Wisconsin

Authorities rescued at least 27 people from a floating chunk of ice that broke away from shore in the bay of Green Bay in eastern Wisconsin, the sheriff’s office said Sunday.

No injuries were reported in the incident that happened Saturday morning north of Green Bay, in the arm that’s part of Lake Michigan, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office reported. Many of the people rescued were ice fishing at the time of the incident.

The chunk of ice floated about 1.2 kilometers (three-quarters of a mile) during the rescue and was about 1.6 kilometers (a mile) from the shoreline by the time everyone was brought to solid ground. Authorities said the stranded people were on the separated ice shove for about 90 minutes.

A barge traveling through the bay may have caused the ice chunk to break off the shoreline, the sheriff’s office said. Shane Nelson, who was making his first ice fishing excursion, said the noise sounded like somebody had fired a gun.

“We thought it was interesting, got out of our shanty, took a look and people were yelling on the ice, ‘We’re separating,'” Nelson told WLUK-TV.

Airboats from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard were able to rescue eight passengers at a time.


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Bob Saget, Beloved TV Dad of ‘Full House,’ Dead at 65

Bob Saget, a comedian and actor known for his role as a widower raising a trio of daughters in the sitcom “Full House,” has died, according to authorities in Florida. He was 65.

The Orange County, Florida, sheriff’s office was called Sunday about an “unresponsive man” in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, according to a sheriff’s statement on Twitter.

“The man was identified as Robert Saget” and death was pronounced at the scene, the statement said, adding that detectives found “no signs of foul play or drug use in this case. A “#BobSaget” concluded the tweet.

Saget was in Florida as part of his “I Don’t Do Negative Comedy Tour,” according to his Twitter feed.

His publicist didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Saget was also the longtime host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

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US, Russian Officials Meet to Discuss Ukraine, Regional Security

U.S. and Russian officials are meeting this week to address the tensions along the Russian-Ukrainian border. Michelle Quinn reports. Video editor – Mary Cieslak.