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Russia, Ukraine Move Ahead With EU Talks to Avert Supply Cut

This story originated in VOA’s Ukraine’s Minister of Energy and Environmental Protection Oleksiy Orzhel attends a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium Sept. 19, 2019.Earlier news reports had indicated that Ukrainian Energy Minister Oleksiy Orzhel had hoped to reach a deal with his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak, at Thursday’s meeting.The talks follow a Sept. 10 decision by the top European Union court in Luxembourg to reimpose limits on gas flows via the Opal pipeline, a spur that connects Germany with the Nord Stream pipeline system operated by Russia’s state-owned Gazprom.Gazprom is pushing to complete the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipeline projects in 2020, after which it no longer may need Ukraine’s pipelines for transit. Ukraine’s loss of roughly $3 billion gas-transit fees — about 3% of national GDP — would be a substantial blow to the Ukrainian economy.Moscow currently meets a third of Europe’s gas needs — 14 EU countries receive more than 50% of their gas from Russia — much of which flows through Ukraine’s Soviet-era pipelines.Gazprom had been seeking full access to the Opal pipeline and received 80% of its available capacity after a 2016 European Commission ruling.The Sept. 10 decision will reduce Gazprom’s Nord Stream flows by 12.4 billion cubic meters a year, said PGNiG, Poland’s state-run oil and gas company, the country’s largest. 

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Envoy Insists Brexit Must Produce No ‘Hard Border’ With Irish Republic 

As the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline approaches, Ireland’s ambassador to the United States is expressing a degree of optimism that a creative solution may be found, but he insists there has to be a legally binding agreement “that there can never be a hard border on the island of Ireland.”   
The so-called “backstop” negotiated between former British Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union “is a guarantee that there can never be a hard border on the island of Ireland,” Ambassador Daniel Mulhall said in an interview with VOA. 
“It is not enough for us to be told that ‘we promise you, there will not be a problem,'” he said. “There has to be a legally binding agreement, and that’s where I think we have to work hard over the next six weeks between the United Kingdom and the European Union to find a solution to this problem, because nobody wants to see Britain crash out of the European Union.” NAFTA example
Mulhall cited the process of the renegotiation of a trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico as an example of how things could work out. 
“When the U.S. wanted to replace NAFTA, they had negotiated a successor agreement. Until that agreement, the USMCA, comes into force, NAFTA remains in force, so as to provide for a framework for trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada — and the same should be done between the UK and the EU,” Mulhall said. 
What Ireland wants, Mulhall added, “is to maintain the open border on the island of Ireland and to preserve the precious peace process that has saved so many lives over the last 21 years.” He noted that peace process was achieved “with huge support” from both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government over a long period of time. 
Mulhall described the withdrawal agreement negotiated by May and the EU as meeting that objective. “If there is to be an alternative set of arrangements, those arrangements would have to achieve the same outcome; if they [Britain] have ideas that can achieve the same outcome, it would be good for us to hear them,” he said. Mulhall said, “There are those who think that maybe a solution could be to have a backstop for Northern Ireland only, but that’s something that doesn’t seem to be popular with the British government.” Such a plan was rejected early in the Brexit negotiations by May’s Northern Irish coalition partners, who feared it would threaten their role as part of Britain. ‘Unique place’
Mulhall pointed out that Northern Ireland “is a unique place, because it’s got a land border with the rest of Ireland, therefore a land border with the European Union.” 
The question of how to prevent that land border from becoming a hard border with customs and other controls that would threaten the peace on the island constitutes “the whole crux of this negotiation,” he said.  

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Trump Gets Victory in Bid to Block California Tax Return Law

A federal judge on Thursday handed President Donald Trump a victory in his effort to keep his financial information secret, siding with his campaign’s effort to block a California law aimed at forcing him to release his tax returns.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. comes as the president faces multiple Democratic-led efforts to force him to reveal his returns. Also Thursday, Trump sued to block New York prosecutors from their push obtain the returns as part of a criminal investigation.
Trump has bucked decades of precedent by refusing to release them, arguing they are under audit.
England, an appointee of former Republican President George W. Bush, plans to issue a written ruling by Oct. 1, and California is expected to appeal.
The law signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in July says candidates for president must release five years of tax returns by November to run in the California primary, which is scheduled for March 2020.
Attorneys for Trump and the Republican Party argued the law violates the U.S. Constitution by adding an additional requirement to run for president. England also seemed open to their argument that a federal law requiring presidents to disclose financial information supersedes state law.
“I don’t care how you skin the cat, it’s an unconstitutional law,” said Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer for the state and national Republican parties.
Democratic state lawmakers have argued that tax returns provide critical information for voters because they show a candidate’s financial dealings, business interests and charitable giving.Trump, California feudThe law is a part of a feud between California and the Trump administration. They have clashed over issues like immigration and environmental regulations, including the state’s auto mileage standards that Trump said he’s revoking because they are stricter than those issued by federal regulators.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, vetoed similar tax return legislation in 2017, arguing it would create a slippery slope of putting extra requirements on presidential candidates.All the major Democratic presidential contenders have released their tax returns.California’s law also applies to candidates for governor.

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Official: Political Donor Faces US Charge in Overdose Death

Political activist Ed Buck will face a federal charge connected to an overdose death at his Los Angeles-area home, a law enforcement official said Thursday. 
Buck, 65, will be charged with distributing methamphetamine resulting in the death of Gemmel Moore, according to the official with knowledge of the investigation. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity. 
Moore, 26, died in 2017 at a West Hollywood home belonging to Buck, a gay activist. Another man, Timothy Dean, died of an overdose there in January. 
Both men were black. Buck, who is white, was not charged immediately following the deaths, and critics later questioned if wealth, race or political ties influenced the investigation. 
Messages to Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, were not immediately returned. 
State prosecutors charged the wealthy and influential Democratic donor this week with causing the overdose of another man who escaped from his home this month. 
In court documents, authorities said Buck used his position of power to manipulate male victims into participating in sexual fetishes that involved injecting them with methamphetamine, adding that he has no regard for human life.'' 
Buck appeared in court on the state charges Thursday, and his arraignment was postponed until next month. He was held on $4 million bail. Two deaths at apartment
Buck came under investigation in January after Dean, 55, was found dead of an accidental methamphetamine overdose in his apartment. In July 2017, Moore also died from a methamphetamine overdose at Buck's home, prosecutors said. 
Moore's mother, LaTisha Nixon,
is relieved that Ed Buck is no longer on the streets and free to continue harming black men,” her lawyer, Hussain Turk, said Wednesday. 
Buck has donated tens of thousands of dollars to California candidates, including Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, and is well-known in LGBTQ political circles. 

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«Олександрія» програла «Вольфсбургу» в Лізі Європи

«Олександрія» з поразки розпочала участь у груповому турнірі Ліги Європи. У Німеччині українська команда поступилася «Вольфсбургу» – 1:3.

Господарі відкрили рахунок на 20-й хвилині після потужного удару Максиміліана Арнольда з-поза меж штрафного майданчика, а вже за чотири хвилини подвоїли перевагу – красиво пробив у верхній кут колишній київський динамівець Адмір Мехмеді.

На 67-й хвилині у підопічних Володимира Шарана з’явився шанс на порятунок – після подачі зі штрафного Євген Банада скоротив відставання, але вже за хвилину Йосіп Брекало відновив перевагу у два м’ячі.

В іншому матчі групи І зустрічалися бельгійський «Гент» і французький «Сент-Етьєн». Результат зустрічі – 3:2 на користь господарів.

3 жовтня «Олександрія» у Львові прийматиме «Гент».

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Бойовики здійснили на Донбасі 6 обстрілів 19 вересня – штаб ООС

На Донбасі підтримувані Росією бойовики з початку доби 19 вересня здійснили шість обстрілів позицій українських військових, повідомляє штаб операції Об’єднаних сил. У повідомленні немає даних про втрати серед українських військових або інші наслідки цих дій бойовиків.

Угруповання «ДНР» та «ЛНР» не подають зведених даних про бойові дії 19 вересня.


Обстріли в зоні конфлікту на Донбасі тривають, попри оголошене там від 21 липня перемир’я. Сторони звинувачують одна одну в порушеннях режиму тиші.

Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської окупації Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці бойовиків. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці».

За оцінками ООН, станом на 31 грудня 2018 року, унаслідок збройного конфлікту на Донбасі загинули від 12 тисяч 800 до 13 тисяч людей.

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У Росії суд відправив під арешт соратника Навального

Суд у столиці Росії Москві 19 вересня відправив під адміністративний арешт директора «Фонду боротьби з корупцією» Івана Жданова. Соратник опозиціонера Олексія Навального відбуватиме вісім діб, до яких його засудили в серпні.

Жданова затримали 19 вересня на виході з дому і доставили до відділу внутрішніх справ. Там на нього вже був складений протокол за порушення правил проведення масового заходу.

29 липня суд призначив Жданову 15 діб адміністративного арешту. 9 серпня він отримав ще 10 діб, але відбув з них тільки два дні. Опозиціонера тоді випустили з спецприймальника, і до кінця другий термін він не відбував. На засіданні 19 вересня суд вирішив, що директор ФБК має повернутися до місця несвободи.

Раніше управління Федеральної служби судових приставів Росії порушило проти Жданова кримінальну справу. Директора ФБК підозрюють у невиконанні рішення суду видалити з мережі фільм «Він вам не Дімон». У цій справі Жданову загрожує штраф до 200 тисяч рублів (це близько 80 тисяч гривень) або позбавлення волі на строк до двох років.

Розслідування ФБК «Він вам не Дімон», опубліковане в березні 2017 року, було присвячене прем’єр-міністру Росії Дмитру Медведєву, якого Навальний звинуватив у корупції. У травні 2017 року мільярдер Алішер Усманов виграв позов проти «Фонду боротьби з корупцією» з вимогою видалити з фільму частину розслідування, де згадується його ім’я.

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Sanders Still Wants a Revolution, But Now He’s Got Company

Bernie Sanders is still leading a revolution. But his ideas no longer feel quite so revolutionary.The Vermont senator acknowledges that many of his top proposals, which were dismissed as radical four years ago, have been adopted by much of the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field: “Medicare for All,” tuition-free college, spending trillions to combat climate change and a national $15 per hour minimum wage. But he’s out to prove that his second presidential campaign is still about fresh energy and ideas even if its refrains now sound familiar.“Not only can I lead it, I think I am the person to lead it,” Sanders said in an interview at a plumbers and pipefitters union hall in Las Vegas, when asked if he could helm a revolution when so many of his presidential rivals agree with him.“What we need to do is to look at somebody who four years ago had the courage to break new ground in this country,” he added. “We’re continuing to break new ground today.”But there are signs that may not be enough. The campaign is restructuring its staff in key early voting states as the 78-year-old Sanders faces crosscurrents that weren’t in play four years ago. No longer the sole progressive alternative to an overwhelming favorite in Hillary Clinton, Sanders is one of several candidates making explicit appeals to the party’s left wing. This time, his rivals have taken him seriously from the start, a sign of his name recognition but also a status that subjects Sanders to more scrutiny and criticism than at this stage of the 2016 campaign.And some of Sanders’ younger competitors are calling for generational change, an issue that could resonate because of questions raised about the readiness for the presidency of another senior candidate, 76-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden.FILE – Supporters wave signs in support of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, as he speaks during a campaign rally in Denver, Colorado, Sept. 9, 2019.Not all Democrats have embraced Sanders’ core principles. Kamala Harris is a co-sponsor of his Medicare for All legislation, but the California senator now says she doesn’t favor its call to scrap all private health insurance. Biden, the early front-runner in the primary, has repeatedly hammered Sanders over the plan’s costs.Few candidates line up more closely with Sanders than Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. While they don’t agree on everything, Warren is such a fan of Medicare for All that she’s repeatedly declared, “I’m with Bernie,” when it comes to health care.Because they agree on so much, Warren is becoming a growing threat to Sanders. She packed tens of thousands of supporters into New York’s Washington Square Park on Monday, harkening back to Sanders’ success in attracting massive 2016 crowds. On the same day, she picked up an endorsement from the progressive Working Families Party, which backed Sanders’ first campaign.A national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday found Warren leading Sanders among Democratic primary voters 25% to 14%. Biden still came out on top at 31%. Sanders is in second behind Biden in other national and early state surveys.Sanders is working to fortify his campaign, recently parting ways with his political director in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first caucus, and replacing his state director in New Hampshire, a state critical to Sanders’ efforts given his landslide primary victory there in 2016.“They have some challenges,” Brian Fallon, who was chief spokesman for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, said of Sanders’ team. “In a binary race, there were a lot of people who united around an alternative to Clinton. There continue to be true blue Bernie supporters and that probably gives him the most stubborn floor of support of any candidate, but those numbers are smaller. The non-establishment vote is spread around.”Sanders rejected the notion that the primary may eventually force liberal Democrats to choose between him and Warren, saying, “I think that Sen. Warren, who is a friend of mine, is running her campaign. We are running our campaign.”FILE – Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren participate in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN, at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, July 30, 2019.Warren has similarly praised her longtime friendship with Sanders rather than answer questions about whether a showdown is coming.Still, there are questions about how long the holding pattern can last. On Sunday, Sanders will travel to Oklahoma, where he’ll attend a Comanche Nation Fair Powwow. While he’s not expected to directly talk about Warren, the trip will take Sanders to her native state a month after she apologized to Native Americans over her past claim to tribal heritage. Sanders has also gotten more aggressive with Biden lately, ticking through a list of the former vice president’s unpopular votes while he was in the Senate — including supporting the Wall Street bank bailout.With just over four months before primary voting begins, Sanders said he doesn’t believe anyone in so crowded a field will carry states with 50% of the vote.“So the question is, who is going to get the 30, 35, 40% of the vote that you need to carry the states?” he said. “I think that because of our strong grassroots movement we are in a strong position to do that.”Sanders’ advisers, meanwhile, argue that his appeal now goes beyond political insurgency, noting that he campaigned hard for Clinton after the 2016 primary and that he has begun working more closely with state parties this cycle, trying to build support through traditional channels.Fallon also noted that Sanders has been ahead of many of his rivals on things like joining striking McDonald’s workers in Iowa — giving him revolutionary political cred that rises above policy overlap with other candidates.“With the Bernie crowd, that’s the space to say, `Don’t settle for imitators,”’ Fallon said.A lot of Sanders’ central message remains the same, though, and still appeals to voters.“I think I’ve heard a lot of what he’s said already,” said Alejandro Hernandez Jr., a 23-year-old federal employee who saw Sanders at a recent Latino issues forum in Las Vegas. “But just to see his actual energy and presence, the way he commands the room and really the elegance with which he speaks, it’s truly impressive.”