«Ми з Мінфіном лобіювали це рішення разом з урядом Канади»
«Ми з Мінфіном лобіювали це рішення разом з урядом Канади»
The $4.5 billion scheme bankrolled lavish spending on jewels, art, a superyacht and luxury real estate
«Я доручив своїй адміністрації не шкодувати зусиль, аби визначити та надати українській армії прогресивне озброєння, яке їм потрібне»
«Сьогодні на рахунки уряду надійшла вже грантова допомога від ЄС у розмірі 120 мільйонів євро»
About 30 Sudanese citizens living in Europe demonstrated Friday outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, demanding that Sudanese officials surrender more individuals accused of committing atrocities in Darfur.
The ICC’s trial of suspected Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb got underway this week, with Kushayb pleading not guilty to 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape, torture, pillaging and murder.
Darfur human rights activist Amaat Sefeldin, who traveled from Germany to The Hague to attend the protest, told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus that she wanted Sudanese officials to turn over former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was in power during the campaign that killed more than 200,000 people in Darfur nearly 20 years ago.
“We are demanding the handover of all criminals, especially Bashir, the president, and Abel-Raheem Muhammad Hussein, and Ahmad Muhammad Harun and others,” she told VOA. “And we would also demand for the court to try the other criminals, because the genocide in Darfur and the crimes committed in Sudan are not done by those few people. It’s a long list of people who committed crimes. They have committed war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur since 2003.”
In 2012, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, former minister of defense and Bashir’s special representative in Darfur. In 2007, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Sudan minister of state for the interior.
The protesters praised the ICC for putting Kushayb on trial. It’s the first trial for anyone accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the Darfur conflict, which began in 2003 with a rebellion by armed groups against Bashir’s government.
Kushayb was a reputed leader of pro-government Janjaweed militia members who attacked and burned numerous villages in Darfur as part of attempts to crush the rebel groups.
Call for others’ trials
“Sudanese are in support of the trial and accountability for crimes committed in Darfur, but in general for crimes committed in Sudan,” said another protester, Neimat Ahmadi, president of the Darfur Women Action Group. “They also want to raise concern about the ongoing violence against protesters and the escalation of violence in areas like Darfur, South Kordofan, the Blue Nile.”
“Our message is also to the international community that it is important to try Kushayb, but it is more important to pursue others who have been indicted by the International Criminal Court and be brought to face the court,” Neimat told VOA.
Maisa Altayib, a member of the Sudanese diaspora who also attended the protest, said she wanted to see the “real criminals” brought to justice in The Hague.
“Not only Kushayb — he only executed orders given to him. The real criminals are in Khartoum and we will not be satisfied until they are brought here to the ICC. So Kushayb is only the beginning of achieving justice,” Altayib told VOA.
South Darfur-based human rights lawyer Abdulbasit Al Haj said the Kushayb trial should lead prosecutors to more evidence of crimes committed by former officials.
“This trial also should identify individuals who have been involved in funding and supplying the Janjaweed militia with the logistic process in Darfur,” Al Haj told South Sudan in Focus, adding “they are crimes that have touched the humanity around the world.”
However, another Sudanese human rights expert, who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals from security operatives, said she did not think the government was willing to hand over others accused of war crimes because they include current top officials who took power in last year’s military coup.
“I don’t think they will hand them [over],” the expert said. “I don’t think they will hand [over] anyone. Now, after the coup that took place, I don’t see it happening at all.”
Army ties seen protecting Bashir
Sudanese political analyst and researcher Jihad Mashamoun told South Sudan in Focus he believed military leaders running Sudan would never turn over Bashir.
“I doubt it,” he said. “Omar Bashir, he hails from the army, so handing him over to a foreign judiciary, that tarnishes the image or integrity of the armed forces.”
The ICC indicted Bashir in 2009 over alleged atrocities committed by his government. He remains imprisoned in Khartoum after being found guilty on corruption charges.
The U.S. State Department also praised the opening of Kushayb’s ICC trial, noting it was the first against “any senior leader for crimes committed by the Bashir regime and government-supported forces following the genocide and other atrocities in Darfur.” The statement added, “This trial is a signal to those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Darfur that impunity will not last in the face of the determination for justice to prevail.”
Carol Van Dam contributed to this report, which originated in VOA’s English to Africa Service.
Для того, щоб відбудувати зруйнований російськими військами Чернігів, потрібно щонайменше чотири роки. Про це повідомив міський голова Чернігова Владислав Атрошенко, повідомляє агенція «Укрінформ».
«На відновлення Чернігова знадобиться чотири роки, якщо працювати швидко і мати повний обсяг коштів. Будівництво – три роки, рік – проєкти», – сказав Атрошенко.
Він припускає, що реальність може бути іншою, бо, наприклад, в Україні наразі немає технологій демонтажу пошкоджених «потужних бетонних будинків», розташованих в оточенні інших багатоповерхівок.
Наразі міська влада систематизує дані про руйнування.
Чернігівщина звільнена від російських військ.
Російське масштабне військове вторгнення в Україну триває від ранку 24 лютого. Російські війська завдають авіаударів по ключових об’єктах військової та цивільної інфраструктури, руйнуючи аеродроми, військові частини, нафтобази, заправки, церкви, школи та лікарні.
Обстріли житлових районів ведуться з використанням артилерії, реактивних систем залпового вогню та балістичних ракет.
Росія заперечує, що веде проти України загарбницьку війну на її території та називає це «спеціальною операцію», яка має на меті «демілітаризацію і денацифікацію».
За даними міністра розвитку громад і територій Олексія Чернишова, станом на 2 квітня внаслідок повномасштабної російської агресії в Україні знищені чи пошкоджені вже майже 6,8 тисячі житлових будинків.
На Луганщині протягом дня внаслідок обстрілів зруйновано 11 об’єктів
Рада ЄС опублікувала п’ятий пакет санкцій, який, серед іншого, містить заборону на купівлю російського вугілля, це обмеження запрацює з серпня.
У пакет санкцій, серед іншого, входить:
Заборона закупівлі вугілля – з серпня 2022 року заборона на закупівлю, імпорт або перевезення вугілля та інших твердих викопних видів палива в ЄС, якщо вони походять з Росії або експортуються з Росії. Зараз імпорт вугілля в ЄС становить 8 мільярдів євро на рік.
Заборона на доступ до портів ЄС – заборона надавати доступ до портів ЄС суднам, зареєстрованим під прапором Росії. Проте є виключення для сільськогосподарської та харчової продукції, гуманітарної допомоги та енергетики.
Заборона для вантажних автоперевезень – заборона для будь-яких російських та білоруських автотранспортним підприємств, що не дозволить їм перевозити вантажі, у тому числі транзитом. Проте це не стосується фармацевтичної, медичної, сільськогосподарської та харчової продукції, зокрема пшениці.
Також у Євросоюзі застосували заходи для усунення лазівок зі вже запроваджених санкцій. Наприклад, заборона на участь російських компаній у державних закупівлях у країнах-членах ЄС, виключення будь-якої фінансової підтримки російським державним органам.
Речник Путіна Дмитро Пєсков заявив, що після запровадження цих санкцій російське вугілля продаватимуть на альтернативних ринках, проте не уточнив на яких.
Через широкомасштабне військове вторгнення Росії українська влада закликає Захід до застосувати ембарго щодо російських енергоносіїв. 5 квітня ЄС оголосив про запровадження п’ятого пакету санкцій проти Росії.
Заборону на імпорт російської нафти оголосили Сполучені Штати Америки і Велика Британія.
7 квітня Європарламент ухвалив резолюцію, в якій закликав до додаткових обмежень проти Росії, зокрема негайного повного ембарго на російський імпорт нафти, вугілля, ядерного палива та газу.
Russia has declared 45 Polish embassy and consulate staff “persona non grata” in retaliation for Warsaw’s expulsion of 45 Russian diplomats from Poland, Moscow’s foreign ministry said Friday.
Poland said in March that the 45 Russian diplomats were suspected of working for Russian intelligence.
The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR says it is beefing up its humanitarian aid operation for millions of Ukrainians forced to flee their homes in the face of intensified fighting and increased brutality by Russia’s military forces.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began February 24 has triggered one of the fastest-growing displacement and humanitarian crises in the world. UNHCR says the carpet bombing of Ukrainian cities and towns, and the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure have caused more than 4.2 million Ukrainians to flee as refugees to neighboring countries. An additional 7.1 million people are displaced inside Ukraine.
The UNHCR says it is increasing aid both inside and outside Ukraine to keep pace with the burgeoning needs of the displaced. Agency spokesman Matthew Saltmarsh said reception and collective centers are being expanded to receive more internally displaced people.
While the distribution of life-saving aid is being increased, he noted delivering aid remains challenging in places of active fighting. Nevertheless, he said aid workers continue to try to reach besieged areas, such as Mariupol and Kherson.
“The latest such convoy was on the sixth of April, where UNHCR was among those carrying aid to Sievierodonetsk in Luhansk (region), eastern Ukraine,” said Saltmarsh. “For weeks, people there have endured relentless shelling and shortages of basics like water, gas, and electricity. Our team was able to deliver solar lamps, blankets, hygiene kits, baby formula and tarpaulin sheets.”
Saltmarsh said most Ukrainians fleeing the country head for Poland, which has welcomed more than 2.5 million refugees since the start of the war.
“While the pace of arrivals is slowing, overall flows continue given the ongoing hostilities,” he said. “UNHCR staff have observed that newly arrived refugees are coming from various parts of the country, including the east, with some reporting having spent weeks hunkering down at home or in shelters in dire conditions.”
Saltmarsh said the UNHCR’s initial response to refugee needs has been eclipsed by the new, more horrifying realities in Ukraine. He said the agency’s appeal on March 1 for $550.6 million is now seen as insufficient to deal with the crisis. He said a new, more comprehensive response plan will be revealed later this month.
Ukrainian state railway officials say more than 30 people were killed and 100 were wounded Friday in a Russian rocket attack on a railway station in east Ukraine that was being used to evacuate civilians.
Two rockets are said to have struck the station in Kramatorsk. Reuters reports that the governor of the Donetsk region said thousands of people were at the station trying to leave for safer areas.
The European Union formally enacted more sanctions on Russia Friday, as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell traveled to Kyiv in a show of support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The new measures include bans on the importation of coal, wood and chemicals and a block on all transactions with four Russian banks.
Russian troops in Ukraine have fully withdrawn from northern Ukraine to Belarus and Russia, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Friday. The intelligence update said some of the forces likely will be deployed to east Ukraine to fight in the Donbas, a Ukrainian region bordering Russia.
Late Thursday Zelenskyy said the situation in the town of Borodianka is worse than that in Bucha. Borodianka is about 60 kilometers northwest of Kyiv. Zelenskyy said “it is significantly more dreadful there. Even more victims from the Russian occupiers.”
Stories of atrocities inflicted on northern Ukrainians by the Russians have emerged, prompting more countries to expand and further tighten sanctions on Russia.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Thursday that more credible reports of Russian atrocities against Ukrainian civilians are coming out of the war-ravaged country and vowed that “one day, somehow, there will be accountability” for Moscow.
The top U.S. diplomat, after meeting with an array of NATO and allied foreign ministers in Brussels, said, “The revulsion at what the Russian government is doing is palpable.”
Russia has denied killing civilians in Bucha.
Blinken said the U.S. and its NATO allies remain wholly committed to supplying Ukraine with more arms to defend itself against Russia.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed new Western sanctions against Russia but called for further measures, including a full embargo on Russian oil and gas sales, blocking all Russian banks from the SWIFT banking system and closing ports to Russian vessels and goods.
Japan is expelling eight Russian diplomats and trade officials. A Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman called Russia’s actions in Ukraine “categorically unacceptable” and said the action was taken “as a result of the country’s comprehensive judgement.”
There is a mounting death toll from the six-week-long war, including Ukrainian civilians and fighters from both sides.
“We have significant losses of troops, and it’s a huge tragedy for us,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the British channel Sky News in an interview.
VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara and Masood Farivar contributed to this report.
Some information for this report came from Reuters.
За даними влади, від початку повномасштабного вторгнення РФ у Києві загинули 89 мирних жителів
76% – підтримують ініціативу перейменування вулиць та інших об’єктів, назви яких пов’язані з Росією
Люди принесли побутову і комп’ютерну техніку, взуття, косметику, біжутерію, які облили червоною фарбою
Вокаліст і гітарист Pink Floyd Дейвід Гілмор заявив, що вся його група «відчуває лють і розчарування від підлого акту вторгнення в незалежну, мирну демократичну країну та вбивства її жителів»
Раніше голова правління «Укрзалізниці» Олександр Камишін поінформував, що російські війська завдали авіаудару по шляхопроводу біля станції Барвінкове Донецької залізниці
Зранку на колію чекає додаткове обстеження
A researcher was convicted Thursday of illegally concealing work he was doing for China while employed at the University of Kansas.
But U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson continues to weigh a defense motion to dismiss the case against Feng “Franklin” Tao of Lawrence, Kansas. Robinson on Monday asked the attorneys to submit their arguments in writing, with the trial to proceed while she weighs the issue.
Jurors found him guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of false statements for not disclosing on conflict-of-interest forms that he had been named to a Chinese talent program, the Changjiang Professorship, on grant applications. As part of that program, he traveled to China to set up a laboratory and recruit staff for Fuzhou University, telling the University of Kansas he was in Germany instead.
Prosecutor Adam Barry described it as “an elaborate lie” to defraud the university, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
But defense attorney Peter Zeidenberg argued that Tao was merely “moonlighting” and stressed throughout the trial that Tao remained such a prolific researcher that the University of Kansas honored him in April 2019 — just months before his arrest. He contended that Tao completed all the research he received grants to conduct and said his work in China wasn’t against the rules because he wasn’t paid for it.
Zeidenberg also noted that Tao listed his affiliation with both schools in some papers, suggesting he wasn’t hiding it.
The case against Tao was part of what the Justice Department called its China Initiative, an effort created in 2018 to crack down on trade secret theft and economic espionage. The department in February ended the initiative following public criticism and failed prosecutions, though officials say they still intend to pursue the threat from China.
Tao, who was born in China and moved to the U.S. in 2002, began working in August 2014 at the University of Kansas’ Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, which conducts research on sustainable technology to conserve natural resources and energy.
With Robinson still awaiting written arguments, no sentencing date has been set. Tao faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the wire fraud counts, the Department of Justice said in a news release.
“While we are deeply disappointed with the jury’s verdict, we believe it was so clearly against the weight of the evidence we are convinced that it will not stand,” Zeidenberg said, noting that all the agencies listed as victims “said they were fully satisfied with the work Dr. Tao did on their grants.”
More than a million customers in Puerto Rico remained without electricity on Thursday after a fire at a main power plant caused the biggest blackout so far this year across the U.S. territory, forcing it to cancel classes and shutter government offices.
The blackout also left nearly 170,000 customers without water, forced authorities to close some main roads and snarled traffic elsewhere across the island of 3.2 million people, where the roar of generators and smell of diesel filled the air.
“We urge you to stay home, if possible,” said Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli, who is serving as interim governor since Governor Pedro Pierluisi is on an official trip in Spain.
Those who could not afford generators and have medical conditions such as diabetes, which depends on refrigerated insulin, worried about how much longer they’d be without power. Owners of shuttered businesses also wondered when they could reopen.
Long lines formed at some gas stations as people sought fuel for generators. Others tried to charge their cellphones at businesses in scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck as a Category 4 storm in 2017.
Frustration and anger grew throughout the day as officials warned the outage could stretch into Friday.
“No one can say exactly when” power would be fully restored, said Kevin Acevedo, a vice president of Luma, the company that took over transmission and distribution from Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority last year. “We have to be realistic. The system is complex, delicate.”
As of late Thursday afternoon, crews had restored power to some 500,000 customers out of nearly 1.5 million.
Officials in at least one city distributed food to hundreds of elderly people as well as ice to those whose medication must be kept cool.
“This is horrible,” said Luisa Rosado, a mother of two who lives in the San Juan neighborhood of Río Piedras.
She said she and her husband had sacrificed their savings to install a solar electricity system at their home after Hurricane Maria, which left them with at least partial power following the blackout.
She said her neighbors had been outraged by recent increases in power bills, which were already higher than in most U.S. states.
“To increase bills when you don’t provide a perfect service … the level of impunity is absurd,” Rosado said.
Luma said the blackout could have been caused by a circuit breaker failure at the Costa Sur generation plant — one of four main plants on the island. But company officials said the exact cause of the interruption is unknown.
“It’s going to require an exhaustive investigation,” Acevedo said, adding that the equipment whose failure sparked the fire had been properly maintained.
Officials said at least three generation units were back online by Thursday, with crews working to restore more.
Luma CEO Wayne Stensby called it a “very unusual” outage that “clearly indicates the fragility of the system.”
The outage occurred two months before the Atlantic hurricane season starts, worrying many about the condition of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid.
“Yes, the system is fragile, no one is denying that, but we’re prepared,” Acevedo said.
Police officers were stationed at main intersections to help direct traffic on Thursday while health officials checked in at hospitals to ensure generators were still running.
The outage further enraged Puerto Ricans already frustrated with an electricity system razed by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Emergency repairs were made at the time, but reconstruction efforts have not yet started, and power company officials blame aging, ill-maintained infrastructure for the ongoing outages.
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency said late Thursday that it approved nearly $9.5 billion to Puerto Rico’s power company in September 2020 to rebuild the island’s electrical grid, but that it has yet to receive any transmission and distribution projects for evaluation and approval of construction funds.
A series of strong earthquakes that struck southern Puerto Rico where the Costa Sur plant is located also had damaged it.
The Electric Power Authority is also trying to restructure $9 billion worth of public debt to emerge from a lengthy bankruptcy. The company has struggled for decades with corruption, mismanagement and a lack of maintenance.
In June last year, a large fire at a substation in the capital of San Juan left hundreds of thousands without power. Another fire at a power plant in September 2016 sparked an island-wide blackout.
Stores in Istanbul, once filled with Russian and Ukrainian shoppers, are now experiencing hard times because of the war in Ukraine. The conflict is also causing prices for food and fuel in Turkey to rise. VOA’s Behzod Muhammadiy reports from Istanbul.