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Center in Poland Collects Ukrainian Accounts of Russian War Crimes

In response to reports of military actions against civilians during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Pilecki Institute in Warsaw, Poland, has established a center that collects and preserves evidence of potential war crimes and crimes against humanity. Lesia Bakalets has a story from Warsaw.

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Під час бойового завдання загинув льотчик Денис Кирилюк

У серпні 2022 року Денис Кирилюк був нагороджений нагороджений орденом «За мужність» ІІІ ступеня

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Глава Пентагону: на цьому етапі війни надання винищувачів Україні не допоможе

При цьому Ллойд Остін вірить, що українці можуть отримати винищувачі у майбутньому – це можуть бути або F16, або інші літаки четвертого покоління

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ЗСУ: ситуація в Бахмуті є стабільно важкою, але війська РФ стратегічної переваги не мають

Сергій Череватий зауважив, що противник іноді має якісь тактичні просування, але вони прогнозовані

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Clashes as French Protesters Rally Against Macron’s Pension Bill

Black-clad groups set fire to garbage cans and threw projectiles at police in Paris, who charged at them and threw tear gas in confrontations on the fringes of a march against President Emmanuel Macron and his deeply unpopular pension bill. 

Clashes also erupted on Tuesday at similar rallies in other cities including Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse, with a bank branch and cars set ablaze in Nantes.  

However, while public frustration has evolved into broader anti-Macron sentiment, there was less violence than last week and rallies were otherwise largely peaceful. 

Earlier in the day, the government rejected unions’ demand to suspend and rethink the pension bill, which raises retirement age by two years to 64, infuriating labor leaders who said the government must find a way out of the crisis. 

The government said it was more than willing to talk to unions, but on other topics, and repeated it would stand firm on pensions. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has offered to meet unions on Monday and Tuesday next week. 

Millions of people have been demonstrating and joining strike action since mid-January to show their opposition to the bill. Unions said the next nationwide day of protests would be on April 6. 

The protests have intensified since the government used special powers to push the bill through parliament without a vote.  

One protester in Paris captured the mood, brandishing a banner that read: “France is angry.” 

“The bill has acted as a catalyst for anger over Macron’s policies,” said Fanny Charier, 31, who works for the Pole Emploi office for job seekers. 

Macron, who promised pension reform in both of his presidential campaigns, says change is needed to keep the country’s finances in balance. Unions and opposition parties say there are other ways to do that. 

“We have proposed a way out … and it’s intolerable that we are being stonewalled again,” the head of the CFDT union, Laurent Berger, told reporters at the Paris rally. 

Car fires 

In the previous big day of protests on Thursday, “Black Bloc” anarchists smashed shop windows, demolished bus stops and ransacked a McDonald’s restaurant in Paris, with similar acts in other cities. 

That was some of the worst street violence in years in France, reminiscent of protests of the yellow-vest movement during Macron’s first term. 

On Tuesday, rallies were more peaceful, despite some clashes. 

In the western city of Nantes, the boarded-up front of a BNP Paribas bank branch was set on fire. A car was set on fire in the margins of the rally, while some shot fireworks at police. 

Also in western France, protesters blocked the Rennes ring road and set an abandoned car on fire. In Paris and in Marseille, protesters blocked train tracks for a while. 

Rolling strikes in the transport, aviation and energy sectors continued to disrupt travel. 

However, in a move bringing some relief for Parisians and tourists alike, city garbage collectors said they were suspending a weeks-long strike that has left the roads around famous landmarks strewn with piles of trash. 

There were also fewer teachers on strike than on previous days. Union leaders said high inflation made it harder for workers to sacrifice a day’s pay on the picket line. 

The Interior Ministry said 740,000 people had protested across the country on Tuesday, well below the record 1.09 million seen at the March 23 rally. The numbers in Paris were also below last week’s record but higher or equal to earlier demonstrations since January. 

Nonetheless, about 17% of all fuel stations in France were missing at least one product as of Monday night, France’s petroleum association UFIP said, citing energy ministry data. 

Charles de Courson, from the opposition Liot party, said French authorities should learn from the situation in Israel, where the government just hit pause on a controversial justice overhaul. 

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VP Harris Pledges New Era of US-Africa Partnership During Ghana Speech

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris pledged a new era of partnership between the U.S. and Africa, touting women’s empowerment, developing the digital economy and supporting democracy to 8,000 young Ghanaians who gathered under the punishing midday sun to hear her speak in Accra.

Harris, the first Black female U.S. vice president, took the stage under the arch of Black Star gate, a sweeping seaside monument to Ghana’s 1957 independence from British colonial rule.

“We are all in because there are longstanding ties between our people,” Harris said. “We have an intertwined history, some of which is painful and some of which is prideful and all of which we must acknowledge, teach and never forget.”

Her schedule Tuesday includes a visit to Cape Coast Castle, a place where enslaved Africans were once crowded onto overloaded, unsanitary ships headed on the long, dangerous ocean journey to the Americas.

But Harris stressed that her three-nation visit is forward-looking, and on Monday pledged $139 million in U.S. assistance to West Africa, most of which will support conflict prevention in the Sahel region, where Islamist extremists have expanded their footprint.

“I am more optimistic than I have ever been about the future and the future of the continent of Africa and, by extension, the world, not only because of the work we undertake in government, not only because of the investments in the private sector,” Harris said. “I am optimistic about the future of the world because of you, the woman who will shatter every glass ceiling.”

A young woman who identified herself as a student told VOA after the speech, “I thought she was great.” But, she added: “I hoped she would talk about LGBTQ” issues.

On Monday, Harris said she had raised human rights issues in her bilateral discussions with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. All three nations on her tour—which includes Tanzania and Zambia—have laws that criminalize homosexuality to some degree.

“Let me be clear about where we stand,” Harris said. ”First of all, for the American press who are here, you know that a great deal of work in my career has been to address human rights issues, equality issues across the board, including as it relates to the LGBT community.

“And I feel very strongly about the importance of supporting the freedom and supporting and fighting for equality among all people, and that all people should be treated equally,” she added. “I would also say that this is an issue that we consider and I consider to be a human rights issue, and that will not change.”

Beyond China competition


Speaking alongside Akufo-Addo on Monday at Jubilee House, the seat of Ghana’s presidency, Harris stressed that U.S. interests in African nations extend beyond competing with China.

“To help address the threats of violent extremism and instability, today I am pleased to announce $100 million in support of Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo,” she said. “Last week, President Joe Biden announced a strategic plan for coastal West Africa as part of the United States Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability. Today, funding and the announcement that I’ve just made will help implement that plan and will address security, governance and development issues in the region.”

Harris is the fifth top U.S. official to visit the continent this year, and she deflected criticism that the U.S. sees African nations through the lens of its own competition with China, which has built massive infrastructure projects and loaned billions of dollars to African nations in what many see as a fight for influence and access.

“The president and I had a conversation on this very topic, but the conversation was not about China as much as it is about the enduring and important direct relationship that the United States has with Ghana and with African nations,” she said. “I will tell you that we are very clear—and I will speak for myself and on behalf of the Biden-Harris administration—that the relationship between the United States and this continent and African leaders is an important one. There’s a historical basis for the relationship, not to mention as we look forward, as all governments should, and recognize the unachieved—as of yet—opportunities that exist going forward.”

Akufo-Addo agreed.

“There may be an obsession in America about the Chinese activities on the continent, but there’s no such obsession here,” he said. “China is one of the many countries with whom Ghana is engaged in the world. Your country is one of them. Virtually all the countries of the world are friends of Ghana, and we have relations in varying degrees of intensity with all of them. Our relationship with America is a relationship that has been forged over several decades, right from the time of independence up till now.”

Harris travels on from Ghana to Tanzania, and then to Zambia.

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У Росії анонсують зростання виробництва деяких боєприпасів усемеро до кінця року

Західні аналітики висловлюють скептицизм щодо того, що військово-промисловий потенціал Росії та ланцюги поставок можуть бути прискорені настільки швидко

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В епіцентрі бойових дій залишаються Білогорівка, Бахмут, Авдіївка, Мар’їнка та околиці – Генштаб

Триває триста дев’яносто восьма доба широкомасштабної збройної агресії РФ проти України

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Президент МОК знову підтримав участь росіян і білорусів у міжнародних змаганнях

У лютому 2022 року виконавчий комітет МОК рекомендував міжнародним спортивним федераціям та організаторам спортивних подій «не запрошувати та не дозволяти участь російських і білоруських спортсменів і офіційних осіб у міжнародних змаганнях»

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Polish, Romanian PMs Ask EU for Mechanism to Trace Ukraine Grain Exports

Romania and Poland are in talks with the European Commission over export tracing mechanisms for Ukrainian grains to ensure local farmers are not hurt by a flood of cheap imports, the Polish and Romanian prime ministers said on Tuesday. 

Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, has seen its Black Sea ports blocked since Russia invaded more than a year ago and has been forced to find alternative shipping routes through European Union states Poland and Romania. 

But logistical bottlenecks mean that large quantities of Ukrainian grains, which are cheaper than those produced in the European Union, have ended up in central European states, hurting prices and sales of local farmers. 

Romanian and Polish Prime Ministers Nicolae Ciuca and Mateusz Morawiecki told a business conference in Bucharest their governments were working on solutions with the EU. 

“Together we are engaged in a process to discuss with the European Commission about what the mechanisms should be to enforce the traceability of Ukrainian exports and final destinations,” Ciuca said. 

Morawiecki said they “are fighting together for this grain to leave our countries, for the European Union to effectively help us in the implementation of trade policy, which is in the best strategic interest of Ukraine and Central Europe, but also in the best economic interest of Poland and Romania.” 

Earlier this month, Romanian Agriculture Minister Petre Daea said the European Commission has estimated farmers from Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia have lost $451.15 million overall from the inflows of cheaper Ukrainian grains on their markets. 

Daea also said the Commission aimed to hand out compensation worth 56.3 million euros to Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian farmers, with a final decision expected on March 30. 

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Portugal: 2 Dead, Several Injured in Muslim Center Stabbing

Portuguese police shot and injured a man suspected of stabbing two women to death Tuesday at an Ismaili Muslim center in Lisbon, authorities said. 

The women were Portuguese staff members at the center, Ismaili community leader Narzim Ahmad told Portuguese TV channel S.I.C. 

Police were called to the center late Tuesday morning where they encountered a suspect “armed with a large knife,” a police statement said. 

Police ordered him to surrender but he advanced toward them and was “neutralized,” the statement said. The suspect was taken to a Lisbon hospital where he was in police custody. 

Several other people were wounded, according to the statement, but it provided no further details. 

Prime Minister António Costa said police shot the suspect and told reporters the attack was “a criminal act.” 

“Everything points to this being an isolated incident,” Costa said, without elaborating. 

There was no immediate word on the identity of those killed. 

Armed police from a special operations unit could be seen forming a perimeter outside the building. 

Costa said police were investigating the attack and it was too soon to speculate about a motive. 

The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, generally known as the Ismailis, belong to the Shia branch of Islam. The Ismaili Muslims are a culturally diverse community living in more than 25 countries around the world.

Portugal hasn’t recorded any significant terror attacks in recent decades, and religious violence is virtually unheard of. 

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Russia Fires Supersonic Anti-Ship Missile at Mock Target in Sea of Japan

Russia’s navy fired supersonic anti-ship missiles at a mock target in the Sea of Japan, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday. 

“In the waters of the Sea of Japan, missile ships of the Pacific Fleet fired Moskit cruise missiles at a mock enemy sea target,” it said in a statement on its Telegram account. 

“The target, located at a distance of about 100 kilometers, was successfully hit by a direct hit from two Moskit cruise missiles.” 

The P-270 Moskit missile, which has the NATO reporting name or SS-N-22 Sunburn, is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile of Soviet origin, capable of destroying a ship within a range of up to 120 kilometers. 

Japan’s foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tokyo will stay vigilant against Moscow’s military operations, while adding that no damage had been reported after the missile launches. 

“As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Russian forces are also becoming more active in the Far East, including Japan’s vicinities,” Hayashi told a regular press conference. 

The firing of the missiles comes a week after two Russian strategic bomber planes, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, flew over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours in what Moscow said was a “planned flight.” 

Asked about Russia’s plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Hayashi said Japan condemned the move and demanded Russia and Belarus to stop “such an action that would further increase tensions.” 

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Активісти руху «Жовта стрічка» знову розмістили проукраїнські символи у Криму – фото

«Рух громадського опору «Жовта стрічка» постійно зростає. За останні чотири дні до нас приєдналися 80 активістів із Севастополя, Сімферополя, Ялти та Керчі, які пов’язали близько 300 стрічок і намалювали близько 100 графіті»

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US Concerned About Russia-Iran Partnership

The United States expressed concern Monday about the strengthening of ties between Russia and Iran. 

“It should be a concern for countries not just neighboring Russia and Iran, but the world broadly,” deputy State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters at a briefing. 

“We have seen the havoc caused by Iranian-made drones that Russia has unleashed on Kyiv, targeting energy and civilian infrastructure, so of course this relationship is one that we are paying close attention to,” Patel added. 

Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed drones to carry out widespread aerial attacks on Ukraine during its full-scale invasion. 

The tactic, which includes crashing the drones into targets, led Ukrainian officials to ask for anti-drone missiles to knock them out of the sky.  

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter, that at the same time as the expansion of military cooperation between Iran and Russia, the Russian government is helping Iran achieve advanced digital surveillance capabilities. 

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У Маріуполі підірвали авто відповідального за фільтрацію – міська рада

«Ціллю спротиву став – Михайло Москвін, начальник «поліції» в окупованому Маріуполі», заявила міськрада

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Британія і Польща побудують нові тимчасові села в Україні

Лондон пообіцяв виділити на це 10 мільйонів фунтів (12,3 мільйона доларів)

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Germany’s DW to Close Office in Turkey

Germany’s public broadcaster Deutsche Welle is set to close its Turkey office Tuesday after Ankara declined to extend its operating license, a move condemned by media rights groups.

The case shows the pressure that Ankara is putting on foreign media to make it harder for them to work in the country, some analysts say.

Authorities had already blocked access to the Turkish-language websites of DW and VOA last year when the broadcasters refused to comply with license requirements that they said amounted to censorship.

In the case of DW, the broadcaster says the Ministry of Industry and Technology informed it on March 7 that they would not extend the operating license of DW Turkish because it had failed to “choose its field of activity correctly.” There was no explanation of what this meant, the broadcaster said.

The broadcaster’s director was cited in reports as saying they had not been informed of errors in the application and that DW had not changed the way it operates in Turkey since the last time the paperwork was renewed.

DW has said it is considering legal steps over the decision, which will affect how the broadcaster can hire staff, with employees being cut off from retirement and other benefits.

Local reports say more than 10 journalists will now work on a freelance basis so that DW Turkish can keep reporting on events inside the country.

Media watchdogs have noted the timing of the decision comes just weeks before presidential and parliamentary elections.

Renan Akyavas, Turkey program coordinator for the Vienna-based International Press Institute, said the exit of DW represented the latest attempt by the government to muzzle foreign media.

“We expect that the crackdown [on foreign media] will only intensify before elections in May,” she told VOA.

“This stems from this government’s attempts to try to push out the foreign media. They can control the local media. The foreign media were being protected by their own [organizations],” Akyavas said.

VOA emailed the Turkish government’s directorate of communications for comment but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

Erkan Arikan, director of Turkish services for DW, was not available to speak with VOA before publication. Other journalists working for the broadcaster declined VOA’s interview requests.

Under pressure

DW and other foreign broadcasters have come under pressure from Turkish authorities for over a year.

In February 2022, Turkey’s media regulator, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), ordered DW, VOA and Euronews to obtain broadcast licenses.

DW and VOA refused, citing concerns that the new licensing regulation gave RTÜK broad powers over online content.

Because of their refusal to comply, RTÜK in late June blocked access to the Turkish editions of DW and VOA.

At the time, Peter Limbourg, DW general director, said his agency refused to apply for a Turkish license because it would harm independent broadcasting.

“For example, media licensed in Turkey are required to delete online content RTÜK interprets as inappropriate. This is simply unacceptable for an independent broadcaster,” he said in a statement published by DW in July last year.

Media commentators see the actions as an effort by Turkey to control domestic and foreign media outlets.

Turkey has a poor media freedom record, with Reporters Without Borders ranking it 149 out of 180 countries where 1 denotes the best environment for journalism.

In its country analysis, the media watchdog said that with around 90% of the country’s media now under government control, the public has come to rely on foreign media such as DW for insight into politics and the economy.

Özgür Ögret, the Turkey representative for New York’s Committee to Protect Journalists, said that move against DW meant Turkish people were prevented from seeing independent reporting of their own country.

“Denying DW’s license serves only to disrupt the broadcaster’s activities and deny Turkish citizens critical, independent reporting as elections approach,” he said in a statement.

An investigation by the news agency Reuters published last year said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had bent the country’s media to his will.

“The Turkish mainstream media, once a livelier clash of ideas, has become a tight chain of command of government-approved headlines, front pages, and topics of TV debate,” the report said.

The report, based on interviews with people in the media, government and regulatory bodies, said the media industry in Turkey “has fallen in line with other formerly independent institutions that Erdogan has bent to his will.”

Reuters cited the head of Turkey’s communications directorate as saying that while he “occasionally briefs editors and reporters,” he had never done so in a way that could be “viewed as infringing on the editorial independence of news organizations or violating the freedom of the press.”

Directives and regulations on foreign media are tactics used by several authoritarian countries to try to control or retaliate against foreign media.

China has been accused of delaying or refusing to renew journalist visas to retaliate against critical reporting.

Spanish daily newspaper ABC had its website blocked in China, along with other foreign media organizations, after it published a critical report of the Chinese government, claiming its reporters had been victims of state intimidation in March 2022.

In Cuba last year, reporters at the Spanish state news agency EFE waited for months for accreditation from Havana, which nearly resulted in EFE withdrawing from the country.

Some information for this article came from Reuters.

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У Німеччині обшукали будинок пари, яка збирала гроші для допомоги російським військам в Україні

Після обшуку активістка Олена Колбаснікова сказала: «Будемо боротися… На нашому боці Бог, а за спиною Москва. Тричі ура за перемогу!»

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Botswana, Belgian Diamond Trader Strike Deal

The government of Botswana said Monday it will buy a 24% stake in Belgian diamond company HB Antwerp. The deal comes amid uncertainty over Botswana’s long-standing sales agreement with industry giant De Beers.   

Officially opening HB Antwerp’s cutting and polishing plant in Gaborone, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said Botswana must gain more from its diamond resources, for the “simple reason that the returns that come with having control to sell our diamonds with value addition, are much, much, higher than the returns on the sales of rough diamond stones.” 

To that end, Masisi said that, “It is time for Botswana to participate not only in the process of extracting diamonds and selling them as rough stones without having processed them into value-added commodities across the diamond trade value chain.” 

Last month, Masisi indicated his unhappiness with a 54-year-old sales deal with De Beers, in which Botswana is allocated 25% of rough diamonds mined under a joint venture. That deal is due to expire June 30.  

Masisi said Monday that as part of Botswana’s bond with HB Antwerp, his government will make a significant investment in the three-year-old company. According to Masisi, both parties “have agreed to a strategic partnership whereby the government of Botswana will invest in HB by acquiring a 24% equity stake in HB Antwerp.”  

“In addition,” Masisi said, “The government of Botswana, through its rough diamond trading company, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), will supply rough diamonds to HB Botswana, which is HB Antwerp’s local subsidiary, for a period of five years, with all the value addition to take place in Botswana.”            

No dollar figure for the total revenue expected to be generated from the 24% stake was given. 

HB Antwerp co-founding director Rafael Papismedov, who was also at the ceremony, said the polishing and cutting factory opened in Gaborone is the world’s most advanced diamond facility.  

According to Papsimedov, HB Antwerp will ensure Botswana gets a fair value for its precious stones, which are the main pillar for the southern African country’s economy.        

“We are not here to nibble around the edges; we are all in,”  Papsimedov emphasized. “Our success has come and will continue to come from our fearless willingness to challenge every aspect of the way things have been done to date and to recognize value where others overlooked it.”    

Botswana’s Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi said that HB Antwerp will help the country extract more revenue from its stones through value addition.        

“Today we break ground on many frontiers, as we seek to expand and grow meaningful participation in the entire diamond value chain,” said Moagi. “This investment is a step in the right direction, to ensure we increase our stake. In addition, we are breaking ground in our participation in the downstream, which currently, has not much footprint in the country.”           

Botswana is the world’s second largest diamond producer by value, behind Russia.   

The country enjoyed a surge in gem sales last year as buyers shunned stones mined in Russia due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

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Війна Росії проти України: в ООН підтвердили загибель 8401 цивільного

В організації наголошують, що реальне число загиблих є значно вищим