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Portland Police Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protesters

Police in the northwestern U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, used tear gas Wednesday night to disperse protesters at a building that houses a police precinct and jail.Authorities declared the latest in what have been several months of nightly protests a riot and said some demonstrators engaged in criminal activity that included setting fires and lighting fireworks outside a federal courthouse.The protests began after the death in police custody of George Floyd in the state of Minnesota, with those in Portland and many other places across the country calling for police reforms and steps to address racial inequality.Portland gained prominence when federal agents deployed there in July over the objections of local officials.They have since withdrawn. 

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New COVID-19 Outbreak in New Zealand Rises to 17 Confirmed Cases

A new coronavirus outbreak that prompted New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to put the city of Auckland under a new lockdown is growing.Authorities in the northern city Thursday reported 13 new community infections, all of them connected to a family of four who tested positive for the virus, becoming the country’s new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in 102 days. The new confirmed cases bring the total number of active new cases to 36, including one person who entered New Zealand from overseas.Prime Minister Ardern placed Auckland’s 1.6 million people under a three-day lockdown Tuesday, mandating that its 1.6 million citizens stay indoors except for essential trips.  Police checkpoints were established at the city’s borders to turn away anyone attempting to leave. Ardern has also ordered strict social distancing measures for the rest of the country.Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s health minister, said Wednesday that investigators are searching a cold storage facility where one of the infected people worked, on the chance the virus was imported, but other experts believe it was more likely it had been spreading in Auckland for weeks.The new outbreak has also prompted Ardern to delay the dissolution of parliament, a decision that could lead to the postponement of parliamentary elections scheduled for September 19.Medical workers dispose of trash bags containing hazardous biological waste into a pile outside the Hospital del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, which treats patients with COVID-19, in Veracruz, Mexico, Aug. 12, 2020.Among the world’s 20.6 million total confirmed infections, including nearly 750,000 deaths, New Zealand has one of the lowest numbers in either category, with just 1,589 cases and 22 deaths. Ardern imposed a strict nationwide lockdown in March in the outbreak’s earliest days and closed New Zealand’s borders to international travel, while introducing a widespread testing and tracing regime.In the United States, another collegiate athletic conference is postponing its fall sports schedule due to the pandemic. The Big East Conference announced Wednesday none of its 11 member schools will hold contests in men’s and women’s cross country track and soccer (football), and women’s volleyball and field hockey, after consulting with its internal COVID-19 task force.The decision by the Big East comes a day after the Big Ten and the Pac-12 announced they were calling off all of their fall sports competitions, including their lucrative schedule of American-style football games. The Big East does not participate in football.The Big Ten and Pac-12, along with the Atlantic Coast, Southeastern and Big 12, make up the so-called “Power Five” major college athletic conferences, whose gridiron football programs are not only among the best in the nation, but also bring in billions of dollars in revenue from ticket sales and national television contracts.The prospect of any U.S. college football being played during the traditional fall season amid the pandemic was thrown into doubt well before the Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed their seasons. Three other conferences, along with a handful of independent college programs, have either postponed or canceled their football seasons. But the ACC, SEC and Big 12 said Wednesday they plan to carry on with their football seasons, although with a limited number of games.Meanwhile, one of the world’s top golf tournaments – The Masters – will be played this year with no spectators.It’s the third major U.S. golf match to be fan-free this year. The PGA Championship was played last week with no one watching from the sidelines. The U.S. Open, which was moved from June to September, will also have no spectators.The Masters is usually held every April at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. The club has been closed because of the coronavirus, and this year’s tournament has been postponed until November.

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US, Slovenia to Sign 5G Joint Declaration

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting Thursday with leaders in Slovenia, where they are set to sign a joint declaration on 5G technology.Over the past year, European countries including Poland, Estonia and the Czech Republic have signed agreements with the United States pledging that 5G suppliers would not be subject to control by a foreign government without independent judicial review, which effectively excludes Chinese firms.Pompeo’s visit to Slovenia is the first by a U.S. secretary of state since 2011.His schedule Thursday includes meetings with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, Foreign Minister Anze Logar and President Borut Pahor.The State Department said some of the key topics in the talks would be nuclear energy, Western Balkan integration and energy issues.Pompeo was in the Czech Republic on Wednesday and said there that China’s economic power is in some ways a greater global threat than the Soviet Union was during the Cold War.“The challenge of resisting the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) threat is in some ways more difficult,” Pompeo said in a speech to the senate in the Czech Republic. “The CCP is already enmeshed in our economies, in our politics, in our societies in ways the Soviet Union never was.”Pompeo’s remarks came after China’s ambassador to London accused the United States last month of instigating conflict with Beijing before the November U.S. presidential election.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, arrives for a meeting of the senate in Prague, Czech Republic, Aug. 12, 2020.U.S.-China relations have deteriorated sharply this year over issues such as Beijing’s management of the coronavirus, its security clampdown in Hong Kong and activities in the disputed South China Sea.Pompeo held talks with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis in Prague earlier Wednesday on the second day of his weeklong visit to central Europe.The two leaders discussed nuclear energy cooperation and the Three Seas Initiative, a political platform to promote connectivity among nations in central and eastern Europe by supporting infrastructure, energy and digital interconnectivity projects.The initiative gets its name from the three seas that border the region: the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas.The chief U.S. diplomat began the day taking part in a roundtable discussion with a group of leaders from tech companies from the U.S. and the Czech Republic to highlight the benefits of U.S. investment, and according to the State Department, “underscore the attractiveness of the United States as an investment destination for Czech start-ups.”Pompeo’s trip this week will also include stops in Vienna, Austria; and Warsaw, Poland.The trip comes as the Pentagon prepares to move forward with a plan to pull almost 12,000 troops from Germany and redeploy part of the U.S. forces to Poland and other NATO nations, raising concerns at home and in Europe even as senior FILE – A view of a Verizon 5G promo poster during the coronavirus pandemic on May 13, 2020, in New York City.Austria hosts the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations in charge of monitoring Iran’s adherence to the 2015 nuclear deal from which the U.S. has withdrawn.Pompeo will also hold talks with IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, as Washington is calling on other members of the U.N. Security Council to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran that is set to expire on October 18.In Warsaw, the chief U.S. diplomat will meet with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz on deepening defense ties, recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, securing 5G networks, and improving regional energy and infrastructure through the Three Seas Initiative. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.Pompeo will also meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda, who visited the White House in late June.Poland sees Nord Stream 2, which would double Russia’s gas export capacity via the Baltic Sea, as a threat to Europe’s energy security.Last month, the State Department said people making investments or engaging in activities related to Nord Stream 2, including pipe-laying vessels and engineering service in the deployment of the pipelines, could face U.S. sanctions.”It’s a clear warning to companies: aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated,” said Pompeo during a July 15 news conference.”Let me be clear. These aren’t commercial projects. They are the Kremlin’s key tools to exploit and expand European dependence on Russian energy supplies,” Pompeo said. 

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2 US Men Charged with Selling Bogus COVID-19 Cure Arrested in Colombia

Two U.S men charged with selling a bleach-like chemical concoction billed as a cure for COVID-19 and other diseases are under arrest in Colombia.The Associated Press quoted authorities as saying Mark and Joseph Grennon were arrested Tuesday in the beach town of Santa Marta, where the father-and-son team shipped their “Miracle Mineral Solution” to the United States, Colombia and Africa.Prosecutors say seven Americans died from using their product.Mark Grenon, the archbishop of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing in Bradenton, Florida, promoted the substance as a sort of sacrament with healing powers.Grenon ignored a Miami federal judge’s order in April to stop selling the substance, which has been legalized in Bolivia despite opposition from medical experts.Grenon and his three adult sons, including Joseph, are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and criminal contempt.  

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Держсекретар США пояснив Радіо Свобода ставлення до російського закону про іноземних агентів

Державний секретар США Майк Помпео прокоментував Радіо Свобода ставлення Вашингтону до російського закону, відомого як закон про іноземних агентів, який влада Росії використовує для обмежень і утисків незалежних громадських об’єднань і засобів інформації, зокрема й таких, як Радіо Свобода чи «Голос Америки».

Помпео пояснив, які можливості розглядають США у зв’язку з тим, що Росія, попри різку критику й засудження цього закону, не відступає від своїх позицій щодо нього.

«Я ніколи не забігаю наперед із рішеннями, які ми ухвалюємо. Але ми уважно стежимо за ситуацією. Як ви сказали, ми засудили цей закон. Ми також наклали на Росію велетенські санкції через інші елементи її згубної діяльності. Ми продовжуємо стежити за ситуацією. Ми сподіваємося, що решта світу підтримає нас у цьому. Ми сподіваємося, що до нас приєднаються в цьому ті держави, в яких цінують свободу преси, а незалежні журналісти можуть ставити запитання, навіть якщо це часом не подобається лідерам цих країн. Ми вважаємо, що можемо вчинити реальний тиск і переконати (Росію), що дозволити свободу преси – правильна річ. Ми знаємо, що історично це було не так, але ми будемо домагатися цього, далі працювати заради цього і співпрацювати з нашими партнерами, наприклад, Радіо Вільна Європа / Радіо Свобода, щоб донести нашу позицію, щоб сказати, що ми просто просимо справедливості для народу Росії, як і для людей усього світу, щоб у них був надійний і вчасний доступ до правдивої інформації», – сказав Помпео під час перебування з візитом у столиці Чехії Празі, де розташована і штабквартира Радіо Свобода, 12 серпня.

Закон про «іноземних агентів» ухвалили в Росії в 2012 році. Згідно з документом, будь-яка некомерційна організація або громадський рух можуть бути внесені в список таких агентів, якщо вони отримують фінансову підтримку з-за кордону і ведуть політичну діяльність. При цьому критерії, за якими визначається саме «політична діяльність», у законі чітко не визначені. 2019 року в Росії були ухвалені закони, що дозволяють визнавати «іноземними агентами» також засоби інформації і окремих громадян.

Організації й особи, що потрапили в реєстр, мають, зокрема, періодично звітувати про свою фінансову діяльність, а також вказувати в своїх публікаціях, що вони є «іноземним агентом». Порушникам, які не вказують у своїх матеріалах, що вони є «іноземними агентами», загрожують великі штрафи, а фізичним особам і арешти терміном до 15 діб. Наприкінці 2019 року також був ухвалений закон, що передбачає посилення покарання за порушення для ЗМІ – «іноземних агентів».

Міністерство юстиції США внесло до переліку «іноземних агентів» і Радіо Свобода й низку його регіональних проєктів, які працюють на території Росії й окупованого нею українського Криму. Також «іноземними агентами» тепер можуть визнавати і їхніх журналістів і дописувачів.

У січні 2020 року Російська служба Радіо Свобода була змушена зареєструватися в Росії як «іноземний агент».

І первісний закон, і подальші зміни до нього викликали різку критику в міжнародній спільноті, зокрема і в США.

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В руках у Жанни д’Арк в Парижі з’явився біло-червоно-білий прапор

На статую Жанни д’Aрк в Парижі, на площі Помпіду, повісили біло-червоно-білий прапор – один з історичних національних символів білорусів, з яким в ці дні у самій Білорусі виходять на акції протесту.

Знімок опублікувала у твітері російська служба Бі-бі-сі. Хто повісив на пам’ятник прапор, ЗМІ не уточнює. На постаменті також з’явився напис: «Free Belarus».

 

У середу президент Франції Еммануель Макрон висловив «вкрай серйозне» занепокоєння ситуацією у Білорусі і насильством щодо учасників масових протестів.

У Білорусі 9 серпня, після оголошення попередніх офіційних результатів голосування на виборах президента, почалися протести, які тривають далі по всій країні вже четвертий день. Згідно з цими офіційними даними, опозиційний кандидат Світлана Тихановська набрала 10,09%, чинний президент Олександр Лукашенко, який балотувався на шостий термін поспіль, – 80,08%. Тихановська і її прихильники заявляють про численні фальсифікації і не визнають цих результатів. За деякими незалежними оцінками, насправді Тихановська могла якщо не перемогти, то принаймні вийти в другий тур. Вочевидь зазнавши тиску, Тихановська після виборів виїхала з Білорусі і нині перебуває в Литві.

 

За перші три доби протестів, за даними МВС країни, затримали понад шість тисяч людей. При розгоні протестів і затриманні силовики жорстоко б’ють і демонстрантів, і випадкових перехожих, у тому числі неповнолітніх, а також журналістів, застосовуючи кийки, гумові кулі, світло-шумові гранати, водомети й подразливий газ. За офіційними даними, в лікарні країни доправили з різними травмами понад 250 людей. Справжня кількість потерпілих невідома. Загинув під час розгону протестів принаймні один демонстрант, смерть якого визнана офіційно; також повідомляють про смерть принаймні ще однієї людини – вже в лікарні після побиття силовиками.

Країни Заходу, зокрема США, а також ЄС різко засуджують дії влади Білорусі і вимагають припинення насильства і початку конструктивного діалогу з суспільством, а в іншому разі погрожують санкціями проти офіційного Мінська.

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New Office in New Mexico to Focus on Indigenous Cold Cases

U.S. officials have opened an office in New Mexico dedicated to investigating cold cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous people.  The office in Albuquerque is part of an effort to address violence against Native Americans and Alaska Natives, particularly women and girls.  It’s the fourth of seven offices that are being established across the country as part of the Operation Lady Justice Task Force created via executive order by President Donald Trump in November.  The goal is to develop protocols for law enforcement to respond to missing and slain indigenous persons cases and to improve data collection. “We want to see victims and their families receive closure, and will direct our efforts towards that goal,” said Tara Katuk Sweeney, the U.S. Interior Department’s assistant secretary for Indian affairs. “The Albuquerque cold case office is joining those in Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana that are beginning the work of resolving their cold cases.”  Other offices will be established in Arizona, Alaska and Tennessee. They’ll be staffed with special agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and will coordinate efforts by local, federal and tribal law enforcement personnel to address what federal officials described as a staggering number of people from tribal communities who have gone missing or have been killed. Since 2019, officials with the Interior Department and Bureau of Indian Affairs say they have undertaken a number of efforts to address the crisis, from conducting more criminal investigations to battling illicit drug activity and sex trafficking.  A partnership also was formed with the U.S. Justice Department’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, which has led to the development of new tribal-affiliation data fields to help law enforcement capture information to track cases of missing and murdered persons in Indian Country. Officials say there has been a 60% increase in Indigenous-person entries into the system since last year. 

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Fourth Straight Night of Protests in Belarus

Thousands protested in Belarus for the fourth straight night Wednesday against what they said was the fraudulent election of President Alexander Lukashenko for a sixth term.Demonstrators in Minsk formed human chains to try to block police from approaching.Witnesses said on one street in the capital riot police fired rubber bullets at people who stood on their balconies to cheer the demonstrators.Earlier Wednesday, groups of women also formed human chains and carried bouquets of flowers as police stood by, making no effort to disperse them.Similar demonstrations were held in other Belarusian cities.As many as 6,000 people have been arrested and hundreds injured after police used tear gas, clubs and rubber bullets to break up the nightly marches.They include Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vital Tsyhankou, who was badly beaten by police, the Associated Press reported, along with two independent Belarusian television reporters.People flocked to the jails to look for missing relatives.Lukashenko has said he will not be intimidated.“The core of these so-called protesters are people with a criminal past and (those who are) currently unemployed,” he said Wednesday.European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called for a meeting of foreign ministers Friday to talk about Belarus. He is threatening sanctions against “those responsible for the observed violence, unjustified arrests and falsification of election results.”The Belarusian election commission declared Lukashenko the winner of Sunday’s presidential election with 80 percent of the vote and 10 percent for the only serious challenger, former teacher Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.She entered the race at the last minute after police arrested her husband, an opposition blogger who was planning to run for president.Tsikhanouskaya fled to Lithuania Tuesday for what she said was the safety of her children.Lukashenko has frequently been called Europe’s last dictator because of his suppression of free speech and human rights while showing little tolerance for dissent. He has ruled Belarus since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.Many of the protesters are also angry at his refusal to take any significant action to fight the coronavirus.Lukashenko has sought to lighten his image as a brutal dictator who cozies up to the Kremlin by seeking closer relations with the European Union and United States.