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From Tanks to Subsidies: The Main Topics at Davos

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos wrapped up Friday after a week that featured feverish discussion of the war in Ukraine, rifts over global trade, and Greta Thunberg crashing the party of the global elite.

Here’s a summary of the hottest topics and main events:


Ukraine sent a huge delegation to Davos to lobby hard for new weapons and financial support to help it push Russian forces out of occupied territories, with the German-made Leopard tanks high on the wish list.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who made an appearance on Wednesday, was pressured from all sides to greenlight the export of the tanks from Poland and Finland — to no avail.

When asked why he was hesitating by a Ukrainian in the audience for his speech, Scholz never mentioned the word tank, saying instead that “we are never doing something just by ourselves but together with others, especially the United States.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in the first of two appearances by video link in Davos, said pointedly that “the time the free world uses to think is used by the terrorist state to kill.”

Russian ministers and oligarchs, once welcomed with open arms, were absent again for the second year running.


International trade and globalization have been articles of faith for the Davos set since the WEF started 50 years ago, but worries that both are under threat were evident in this year’s official theme: “Cooperation in a fragmented world.”

One of the biggest concerns is that a race between the U.S., China and the European Union to subsidize “clean tech” — from renewable energy technology to electric cars and batteries — could put the international trading system under further strain.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen warned on Tuesday that she saw “aggressive attempts to attract our industrial capacities away to China and elsewhere.”

She also referred to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a $369 billion package to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is causing alarm in Europe over its potential impact on European companies.

“Do it too,” U.S. climate envoy John Kerry replied.

The IRA was a “valid concern” for Europeans, Julie Teigland, a managing partner at EY consultancy’s Europe, Middle East, India and Africa region, told Agence France-Presse.

“We have to be careful not to escalate into a trade war. I don’t think anybody wants that. Nobody wants a war on subsidies,” she added.

‘Big Oil’

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered one of the most noteworthy speeches this year, launching a frontal attack on oil and gas companies over their role in global warming.

Guterres drew a parallel between the actions of oil companies and those of tobacco companies that covered up the adverse effects of cigarettes.

“Some in Big Oil peddled the big lie. And like the tobacco industry, those responsible must be held to account,” he said.

He was referring to a study published in the journal Science that said ExxonMobil had dismissed the findings of its own scientists on the role of fossil fuels in climate change.

“We knew nothing — we read the papers (but) I do not have climate scientists at TotalEnergies,” the boss of the French firm Patrick Pouyanne shot back.

Greta Thunberg

Three years after attending as a teenager and facing off with then U.S. President Donald Trump, Greta Thunberg returned, but this time without a visitor’s badge.

Speaking at an event with other climate activists, she said it was “absurd” to think that people in Davos were part of the solution to global warming and defended her decision to shun political and business leaders.

“Without massive public pressure from the outside, these people are going to go as far as they possibly can … They will continue to throw people under the bus for their own gain,” the 20-year-old said.

She held a small protest in the snow and cold on Friday, this time without getting detained by police — unlike in Germany earlier in the week where she was protesting against an expanding coal mine.


There were a dozen public sessions devoted to artificial intelligence, and nothing was talked about more than ChatGPT, the chatbot capable of producing strikingly quick and cogent texts on almost any topic.

Made by OpenAI — the hottest startup in the Silicon Valley region of California — the chatbot is seen as proof of the power of artificial intelligence, but also a source of worry that a whole host of jobs will disappear.

“The applications are going to initially put some people out of jobs,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said, while expressing confidence that affected people would find new positions. “That adjustment period can be difficult, can be scary, etc. But I think the end state is going to be good.”

The boss of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, likened it to the “knowledge-worker equivalent of the Industrial Revolution. It’s going to help everybody.”

The computer giant announced on Wednesday it was laying off 10,000 employees in the coming months.

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Зросла кількість українців, які позитивно ставляться до розпаду СРСР – опитування

«Ще у 2020 році «тужили» за СРСР близько 32%, а позитивно оцінювали розпад цього історичного утворення 49%»

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US, NATO Balk on Battle Tanks for Ukraine

No Leopard tanks will be given to Ukraine by Germany at this time, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley said on Friday, at a briefing at Germany’s U.S. Ramstein Air Base following an international conference on Ukraine support.

The international meeting comes amid Kyiv’s frustration with the dissent over sending tanks to Ukraine as the full-scale invasion reaches the 11-month mark. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made direct pleas for tanks at the meeting.

Later Friday, in his evening address, Zelenskyy said Ukraine will have to fight to secure a supply of modern heavy armor.

“Every day we make it more obvious that there is no alternative to taking a decision about tanks,” he said.

At the Ramstein briefing, Austin and Milley discussed an extensive U.S. military assistance package to Ukraine, including 59 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers.

The new U.S. aid package, worth $2.5 billion, brings American military assistance to Ukraine to almost $27 billion since Russia’s invasion nearly a year ago.

Austin denied there is a link between Germany not sending its Leopard tanks and the U.S. not committing its Abrams tanks. Downplaying the immediate importance of tanks, he emphasized that Stryker combat vehicles and Bradley armored vehicles would give Ukraine new capabilities in the war.

“We’re really focused on making sure that Ukraine has a capability that it needs to be successful right now. So, we have a window of opportunity here — between now and in the spring … whenever they commence their operation, their counteroffensive,” he said.

The aid package includes three types of missiles, tens of thousands of artillery and mortar rounds, and additional HIMARS munitions, along with eight Avenger air defense systems. The U.S. already announced it would send a Patriot missile system, while the Netherlands will supply two launching pads for them as well as missiles, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

Austin reaffirmed the allies’ commitment to defending Ukraine.

“It is not only about Ukraine security, it is about European security and about global security,” he said. He expressed confidence the group will remain united and continue to build momentum.

Asked if Germany is a reliable ally, Austin responded, “They are a reliable ally, they’ve been that way for a very, very long time, and I truly believe that they’ll continue to be a reliable ally going forward.”

Milley echoed Austin’s comment and noted this is the most unified he has seen NATO in his 40 years in uniform. He said the U.S. assistance package, along with unified donations from other countries, signify their resolve to defend Ukraine.

“As much as it takes, as long as it takes in order to keep Ukraine free, independent and sovereign,” he said.

However, Milley pointed out that “synchronizing, sending all these armaments and training Ukrainian troops in a short window before spring is challenging; equipment getting married to the people and creating a coherent plan.”

He also said it would be very hard for Ukraine to drive Russia’s invading forces from the country this year, and he stressed the importance of solidifying Ukraine’s defensive front.

Defense ministers from about 50 countries, including all NATO members, met at Ramstein to discuss further support for Ukraine. This was the eighth Ramstein summit since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

On the subject of tanks, Germany’s new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, suggested the issue was inching forward. Speaking to reporters outside the Ramstein conference hall at midday, Pistorius said, “We will make our decisions as soon as possible.”

Earlier Friday, the head of NATO’s Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, said Germany and other countries supporting Ukraine will have to decide individually on whether to supply it with tanks.

“Giving away stuff now costs money but the cost for all of us will be much higher if Russia wins the war in Ukraine. … We need to seriously look at what Ukraine requires, and if possible, give them what they ask for,” he said.

Moscow said Friday any additional tanks supplied to Ukraine will have no effect on the course of the conflict.

“We have repeatedly said that such supplies will not fundamentally change anything but will add problems for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

He said the West will “regret its delusion” that Ukraine can win on the battlefield.

In Kyiv on Friday, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Lindsey Graham, and Sheldon Whitehouse met with Zelenskyy and Ukrainian military officials. VOA’s Kyiv correspondent Anna Chernikova reported that during a press conference, the senators asserted the U.S. should provide tanks and long-range weapons to Ukraine to stop Russia’s invasion.

They expressed their conviction that Ukraine needs this help now, because time is not on the side of Ukraine and its allies. They also said that if Russian President Vladimir Putin is not stopped now, NATO countries will be next.

The senators appealed to their voters, asserting that their money is necessary to restore the world order. The main message to Ukrainians was that the U.S. would stay with them for as long as it takes.

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

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КМДА попереджає, що в Києві вночі буде чути вибух – підриватимуть кригу на Десні

«Звук вибуху може бути гучний, особливо в Деснянському на Оболонському районах столиці»

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Резніков повідомив про «чесну розмову» з міністром оборони Німеччини щодо танків Leopard

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March for Life Descends on Washington

The annual March for Life descends on the National Mall in Washington Friday. 

This is the first time the annual anti-abortion event is being held following the Supreme Court’s overturning last year of Roe v. Wade, a case that recognized a constitutional right to abortion.

“This year will be a somber reminder of the millions of lives lost to abortion in the past 50 years, but also a celebration of how far we have come and where we as a movement need to focus our effort as we enter this new era in our quest to protect life,” Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said in a statement. 

Since U.S. women have lost their constitutional right to abortion, states have been making their own laws about the procedure, resulting in a hodgepodge assortment of laws.  Some states have enacted near total bans on abortion.  

Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. 

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У Мінську матір і дочку засудили до тривалих термінів у колонії за причетність до «Чорної книги Білорусі»

Інна та Валерія Глинські понад рік утримуються у СІЗО-1, більшість засідань у справі відбулися в закритому режимі

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У прокуратурі повідомили, скільки проваджень по держзраді розслідується на Херсонщині

У прокуратурі зазначили, що серед тих, кого підозрюють у співпраці з окупантами, є різні категорії місцевого населення

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Пісторіус: Німеччина «готова діяти швидко» в питанні постачання танків за умови консенсусу союзників

Міністр оборони заперечив тезу, нібито Німеччина «перешкоджає обʼєднаній коаліції» країн, які виступають за надання танків Україні

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Actor Julian Sands Missing In Southern California

British actor Julian Sands, best known for his appearance in the film A Room with a View, has been missing for several days after hiking in a Southern California mountain range.

Search and rescue teams have looked for him, but their efforts have been called off because a series of storms has created adverse trail conditions and avalanche risks.

The Associated Press reports that drones and helicopters are being employed in the search for the actor when weather conditions allow.

Sands has also appeared in Warlock, 1990’s Arachnophobia, 1991’s Naked Lunch, 1993’s Boxing Helena, and 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas.

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Українські сапери пройшли навчання з розмінування в Камбоджі

Неурядова організація Landmine Monitor у своєму звіті за 2022 рік назвала Камбоджу й Україну серед дев’яти країн із «масовим» мінним забрудненням

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Фінляндія обіцяє Україні ще 434 мільйони доларів військової допомоги, але поки без танків

Як повідомили 20 січня в Міністерстві оборони країни, це буде 12-ий пакет військової допомоги Україні, а загальна вартість усіх надісланих пакетів оборонних засобів наразі становить 590 мільйонів євро

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Російські війська за добу 90 разів обстріляли Херсонщину, є загиблі і поранені – ОВА

«Мирні населені пункти області атакували з артилерії, РСЗВ, мінометів, танків і БПЛА. Херсон російська армія обстріляла 19 разів – гатили по житлових кварталах міста»

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Dublin Doing ‘Everything’ to Free French-Irish Citizen Held in Iran

Ireland’s foreign minister said Thursday the government was doing all it could to secure the release of a French-Irish citizen held in Iran after his family urged Dublin to intensify talks because of concerns for his health following a hunger strike.

Micheal Martin told a news conference in Dublin that “we’re going to do everything we possibly can” to help release Bernard Phelan, a 64-year-old Paris-based travel consultant arrested in October while traveling through Iran in the wake of anti-regime protests.

“I think we have been very active in respect of Bernard’s situation,” Martin told reporters. “We’ve sought his release on humanitarian grounds from the Iranian government, and we’re waiting a response from the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Iran. We’ve been engaged with the ambassador here as well.”

Martin’s comments followed a plea from Phelan’s sister Caroline Masse-Phelan for Dublin to step up its negotiations with Tehran.

“Escalate negotiations with the Iranian authorities to get Bernard out of there. His health condition is extremely bad following his hunger and thirst strike,” Masse-Phelan said on RTE radio.

“His health is extremely at risk. And we still do fear for his life. So escalate, escalate, escalate,” she said, explaining that her brother suffers from a heart condition and chronic bone illness.

Innocent pawn

One of seven French nationals held by Iran, Phelan is being held in Mashhad, a city in the northeast, on a number of charges including disseminating propaganda critical of Iran’s clerical leadership. He has denied all the charges.

“He’s a person who loved Iran, and he was involved in travel and tourism, in terms of encouraging people to visit Iran from a tourism perspective,” Martin said.

At the start of the year, the dual national Phelan began a hunger strike and had refused water for the past three days.

Masse-Phelan said the family had managed to pass a message to her brother through diplomatic channels on Wednesday, getting him to end the hunger strike.

Previously, requests for direct communication with the family had been turned down by Iranian authorities.

She said they urged him “to stop, to eat, to drink and that it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth losing his life in this situation.”

Speaking to Agence France-Presse on Wednesday, Caroline Masse-Phelan said under the “dry” hunger strike, her brother would survive no more than a few days.

A diplomatic source said Iranian authorities had so far refused to release Phelan on medical grounds despite repeated requests from French and Irish authorities.

Phelan is one of two dozen foreigners held in Iran, according to activists, who describe the detainees as “hostages” seized to extract concessions from the West.

Fellow French national Benjamin Briere, who was sentenced last year to eight years in prison on spying charges, is being held in the same jail.

Masse-Phelan said her brother was “an innocent pawn in a bigger political game,” explaining he had “worked in tourism and for all his life and was promoting Iran as a destination.”

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Новий пакет допомоги від США на 2,5 млрд доларів: Пентагон повідомив, що в нього входить

У Міноборони США сподіваються, що додатковий пакет допоможе Україні протидіяти «спектру загроз на коротку й середню перспективу».

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Новий міністр оборони Німеччини «не знає» про умову надання танків Україні разом зі США – медіа

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Biden Visits California Storm Damage, Pledges Help

U.S. President Joe Biden repeated his warnings about climate change on Thursday during a visit to California as he toured the damage caused by recent storms.

The president promised more federal help and touted his plan to mitigate the effects of extreme weather, which Biden said are caused by climate change.

“We have to invest in stronger infrastructure to lessen the impact of these disasters because they become cumulative, in a sense,” he said. “We’ve already allocated funding from the infrastructure law that I signed a year ago.”

His top emergency official delivered a sobering assessment of the situation as Biden flew across the nation to witness the damage firsthand with California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“California has really experienced some unprecedented storms — nine atmospheric rivers that have gone through since right before the new year,” said Deanne Criswell, who heads the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “When I talk to people on the ground, what they told me is that, you know, these storms are coming with hurricane-strength winds, and they’re also making incredible storm surge-like conditions with the surf. And so, they felt like it was being hit by hurricane after hurricane.”

Biden said he’s made strides toward managing the effects of climate change through the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, which sends nearly $400 billion in federal funding to clean energy — a move aimed at meeting the U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

And he’s promoted U.S. innovation in clean energy through electric vehicles and more.

‘We’re not prepared’

Sherri Goodman, who served as the first deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security during the Clinton administration, told Voice of America that the U.S. government has long seen climate change as a threat.

“We have to understand it in terms of these compound and cascading risks, because one risk — wildfire-fueled storms — then has an impact on the next set of climate events, these extreme events, these atmospheric events. They all interact,” she said via Zoom. “So, that is very important. And we’re not prepared, unfortunately, as societies around the world.”

The burden, Goodman said, should be shared by the government and the private sector — a message also being heard by global power players at the World Economic Forum. Biden sent his top climate envoy to this week’s meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Goodman said change will take time.

“We can’t just go cold turkey on fossil fuels,” she said. “We’re going to be using oil and gas for some time still.”

Critics push for declaration of emergency

But Biden’s critics say leaders should be more aggressive, especially when it comes to confronting polluting industries.

“We cannot fix this problem without strong government action,” said Kassie Siegel, who leads the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. She spoke to VOA via Zoom. “And that needs to start by confronting the fossil fuel companies that are at the heart of the problem and have sought to distract, deny and delay for so long.”

Siegel and other environmental campaigners are urging Biden to declare a climate emergency.

“How many more lives must be lost?” asked Caroline Henderson, Greenpeace USA senior climate campaigner. “How many more decimated homes must President Biden and Governor Newsom visit? … Last year, President Biden said that he would deal with the climate emergency, but we have seen very little action. It’s time for him to make good on those words by declaring a climate emergency.”

Some of Biden’s political opponents, even fellow Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin, have blunted more sweeping legislation, arguing that those industries create valuable jobs.

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Киргизстан: парламент зробив киргизьку мову робочою для органів влади

З 1989 року в Киргизстані киргизька мова є державною мовою, а російська – офіційною

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Chad, Venezuela, Kashmir Activists Share Top Rights Prize

Campaigners from troubled Kashmir, Chad and Venezuela on Thursday won the Martin Ennals Award, one of the world’s most prestigious human rights prizes, with the jury hailing their “courage.”

The winners are Khurram Parvez, a prominent rights activist in restive Indian-administered Kashmir; Delphine Djiraibe, one of Chad’s first female lawyers; and Feliciano Reyna, a rights activist and advocate for access to health care for marginalized LGBTQ people in Venezuela.

“The common denominator between the 2023 laureates … is their courage, passion and determination to bring the voice of the voiceless to the international arena, despite the ongoing, sometimes life-threatening challenges they endure,” prize jury chairman Hans Thoolen said in a statement.

“We are particularly proud to honor these three exceptional laureates who have each dedicated over 30 years of their lives to building movements which brought about justice for victims or delivered medicines to the marginalized,” he said. “They have made human rights real for thousands of people in their communities.”

The award ceremony will take place in Geneva on February 16, the organizers said. The laureates will each receive 20,000 to 30,000 Swiss francs ($22,000-33,000).

The award is managed by the Geneva-based Martin Ennals Foundation. The prize honors individuals and organizations that have shown exceptional commitment to defending and promoting human rights, despite the risks involved. It raises their profile and gathers international support for their work.

‘An inspiration’

The annual Martin Ennals Award, named after the first secretary-general of Amnesty International, was first given in 1994. The jury comprises representatives from 10 leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.

Parvez, 45, the founder of the widely respected Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, likely will not be able to attend the ceremony, though. He has been detained by India since November 2021.

According to the prize organizers, Parvez was catapulted into nonviolent activism at age 13, when he witnessed the shooting of his grandfather during a demonstration in Kashmir.

Parvez, who is also the chair of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, has traveled to the most remote parts of Kashmir to collect and document stories of abuse.

“Despite continued attacks on his right to freedom of expression by the Indian government, being jailed in 2016 and losing a leg to land mines, Parvez relentlessly spoke the truth and was an inspiration,” the prize jury said, slamming his latest arrest on “politically motivated charges.”

Djiraibe, 62, meanwhile, pioneered the human rights movement in Chad, and was a key figure in bringing former dictator Hissene Habre, who brutally ruled from 1982 to 1990, to justice, the jury said.

As head of the Public Interest Law Center, she has accompanied people seeking justice for rights violations, with a growing focus on gender-based violence.

Reyna, 67, was an architect, who upon the death of his partner from AIDS in 1995 founded Accion Solidaria to provide medication and treatment to Venezuelans living with HIV and AIDS.

He later helped create the first national AIDS help line and has advocated more broadly for health care access for marginalized LGBTQ populations.