У Румунії кілька тисяч людей протестували проти пом’якшення антикорупційних законів

У Румунії тисячі людей протестували проти нового законодавства, яке, на їхню думку, сприятиме корупції на високому рівні, були сутички з поліцією, арешти.

Учасники акції протесту у Бухаресті 20 червня тримали прапори Румунії, США, Європейського Союзу та плакати, в яких правлячу соціал-демократичну партію країни називали «червоною чумою» та «злодіями».

Протести сталися після схвалення парламентарями 18 червня пом’якшення кримінального законодавства, що, як стверджують критики, призведе до ускладнення судового переслідування корупціонерів. Менші протести також відбулися в містах Брашов, Сібіу, Клуж, Тімішоара і Ясси.

20 вересня були затримання, у тому числі затримали німецького журналіста Пола Арне Вагнера.

Протестуючі також збиралися біля офісу Ліві Драгнеа, лідера соціал-демократів, який, як кажуть критики, отримає вигоду від цього закону. Драгнеа не може бути прем’єр-міністром через судимість (2016 рік) за фальсифікацію голосування.

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May Wins Passage of Brexit Withdrawal Bill

The British government saw its flagship Brexit legislation pass through Parliament on Wednesday, but remains locked in a tussle with lawmakers over the direction of the country’s departure from the European Union.

The EU Withdrawal Bill was approved after Prime Minister Theresa May’s government narrowly won a key vote. The House of Commons rejected by 319-303 a proposal to require Parliament’s approval before the government agrees to a final divorce deal with the EU, or before walking away from the bloc without an agreement.

Later in the day, the withdrawal bill, intended to replace thousands of EU rules and regulations with U.K. statute on the day Britain leaves the bloc, also passed in the unelected House of Lords, its last parliamentary hurdle. It will become law once it receives royal assent, a formality.

Lawmakers favor close ties to EU

A majority of lawmakers favor retaining close ties with the bloc, so if the amendment requiring parliamentary approval had been adopted, it would have reduced the chances of a “no deal” Brexit. That’s a scenario feared by U.K. businesses but favored by some euroskeptic members of May’s Conservative minority government, who want a clean break from the EU.

May faced rebellion last week from pro-EU Conservative legislators, but avoided defeat by promising that Parliament would get a “meaningful vote” on the U.K.-EU divorce agreement before Brexit occurs in March.

Pro-EU lawmakers later accused the government of going back on its word by offering only a symbolic “take it or leave it” vote on the final deal and not the ability to take control of the negotiations.

Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer accused May of telling Parliament: “Tough luck. If you don’t like my proposed deal, you can have something much worse.”

The rebels sought to amend the flagship bill so they could send the government back to the negotiating table if they don’t like the deal, or if talks with the EU break down.

The government claimed that would undermine its negotiating hand with the EU.

“You cannot enter a negotiation without the right to walk away,” Brexit Secretary David Davis told lawmakers. “If you do, it rapidly ceases to be a negotiation.”

But Davis also told lawmakers it would be for the Commons speaker to decide whether lawmakers could amend any motion on a Brexit deal that was put to the House of Commons.

Concession enough

The concession was enough to get Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve, a leader of the pro-EU rebel faction, to back down and say he would support the government.

Grieve said the government had acknowledged “the sovereignty of this place (Parliament) over the executive.”

While the withdrawal bill cleared a major hurdle, the government faces more tumult in Parliament in the months to come over other pieces of Brexit legislation.

It has been two years since Britain voted by 52-48 percent to exit the 28-nation EU after four decades of membership, and there are eight months until the U.K. is due to leave the bloc on March 29, 2019.

But Britain, and its government, remains divided over Brexit, and EU leaders are frustrated with what they see as a lack of firm proposals from the U.K about future relations.

May’s government is divided between Brexit-backing ministers such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who support a clean break with the EU, and those such as Treasury chief Philip Hammond who want to keep closely aligned to the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

EU: No deal is worst scenario

The European Parliament’s leader on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt, said Wednesday that he remains hopeful a U.K.-EU withdrawal agreement could be finalized by the fall so national parliaments have time to approve it before March.

“The worst scenario for both parties is no deal,” he told a committee of British lawmakers. “The disruption that would create to the economy, not only on the continent but certainly in Britain, would be huge and that we have to avoid.”

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У США не будуть розділяти сім’ї нелегальних мігрантів – указ

Президент США Дональд Трамп підписав розпорядження про припинення розділення дітей нелегальних мігрантів з батьками на кордоні. Згідно з документом, сім’ї з дітьми, які нелегально перейшли кордон зі США, після затримання будуть розміщувати разом.

Раніше влада США оголосила, що до нелегальних мігрантів буде застосовуватися політика так званої нульової толерантності. В результаті дітей мігрантів стали забирати у батьків на кордоні. Їх передавали до центрів тимчасового утримання або в прийомні сім’ї. Влада пояснила свої дії тим, що дітей не можна відправляти в місця позбавлення волі, де знаходяться їхні батьки в очікуванні рішення суду. За даними американських ЗМІ з початку травня до початку червня на кордоні з Мексикою були розлучені з батьками понад дві тисячі дітей.

Після підписання указу Трамп зазначив, що політика нульової толерантності по відношенню до нелегальних мігрантів буде продовжена. За даними CNN, на рішення президента могла вплинути його дружина Меланія Трамп. Дочка президента Іванка подякувала Трампу за підписання указу.

У квітні Трамп звинуватив Мексику в безконтрольній міграційній політиці і поклав всю відповідальність на демократів. На думку Трампа, вони саботують міграційну реформу.

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Марихуана в Канаді стане легальною в жовтні – Трюдо

Прем’єр-міністр Канади Джастін Трюдо заявив, що використання марихуани буде легалізовано по всій країні починаючи з 17 жовтня.

Коментар Трюдо прозвучав на національному телебаченні 20 червня після того, як Сенат ухвалив законопроект про легалізацію марихуани. Його підтримали 52 члени парламенту, 29 були проти.

Федеральний уряд заявив, що влада провінцій і територій потребуватимуть від восьми до 12 тижнів після проходження Сенату та королівської санкції для підготовки до роздрібних продажів.

«Нашим дітям було надто легко отримати марихуану, а злочинці – отримувати прибуток. Сьогодні ми змінюємо це. Наш план легалізації та регулювання марихуани щойно пройшов Сенат», – написав Трюдо у Twitter.

Канада стане найбільшою розвиненою країною, яка легалізує використання марихуани по всій країні.

У США дев’ять штатів та округ Колумбія легалізували марихуану.

Допустимий вік в Канаді для використання марихуани буде 18 або 19 років залежно від провінції.

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Britain Ends Royal ‘Boycott’ of Israel

In 1986, Margaret Thatcher arrived in Israel for the first official visit to the Jewish state by a serving British prime minister. Asked at a news conference why Britain’s queen had never visited, she snapped back, “I am here.”

The Iron Lady’s response got a chuckle, but it did not satisfy the Israelis.

For 70 years successive Israeli governments have tried to persuade Britain to send a Royal on an official visit — something both Buckingham Palace and Downing Street have been reluctant to do. They have feared an official visit would drag Buckingham Palace into a diplomatic quagmire and end up infuriating Britain’s Gulf Arab allies.

But next week Prince William, the heir to the British throne, will bring to an end the royal shunning of Israel, arriving Sunday in the Middle East for a visit to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories. While members of the royal family have visited Israel before on private trips or to attend funerals of Israeli leaders, they have never made what are termed formally as official visits.

‘Occupied city’ controversy

The trip has prompted controversy because of Buckingham Palace referring to Jerusalem in the published program for the Prince’s trip as an “occupied city,” outraging Israeli politicians. Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 and annexed it in a move that is not internationally recognized.

Israel’s Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Zeev Elkin, has lambasted the description, posting on his Facebook page, “It’s regrettable that Britain chose to politicize the Royal visit. Unified Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for over 3,000 years and no twisted wording of the official press release will change the reality. I’m expecting the prince’s staff to fix this distortion.”

There has been no response by Buckingham Palace to the complaint. Under international law East Jerusalem is considered “occupied” by the Israelis. But the spat over the wording of the prince’s itinerary illustrates the risks attached to the visit, say analysts.

Visit to Palestinian territories

Prince William will begin his trip to the Middle East in Jordan on June 24 and travel to Tel Aviv the following day, according to his office. He will spend three days in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ramallah in the West Bank. His visit will also mark the first time a senior member of Britain’s royal family will visit the Palestinian territories.

Visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories is testimony to the determination of the British government to show even-handedness. Prince William will also have courtesy meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his residence and later with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Royal spokesman Jason Knauf emphasized Buckingham Palace’s neutrality in remarks earlier this month, saying, “the non-political nature of his royal highness’s role — in common with all royal visits overseas — allows a spotlight to be brought to bear on the people of the region.” He noted, “The complex challenges in the region are of course well known.”

Landmark trip

But Knauf added, “Now is the appropriate time and the Duke of Cambridge is the right person to make this visit.” But he did not explain why the British government, which requested the prince take the trip, thinks this is the right time for the landmark trip.

Scores of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in recent protests at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel is being marked. Tensions are also high with clashes taking place between Israel and Iran, with Israeli forces striking at what they see as threatening Iranian military positions in neighboring war-torn Syria.

The political temperature has remained high since U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision, announced last December, to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, breaking with the United Nations and Western allies by recognizing the city as Israel’s legitimate capital.

Some analysts in Israel and London have linked Trump’s decision to the prince’s trip, saying Britain is dispatching the heir apparent as a way to curry favor with the U.S. president and to gain goodwill in the White House. Anshel Pfeffer, a commentator for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz argues British officials are “hopeful that Netanyahu can help them in the upcoming negotiations in Washington on Britain’s crucial trade deal.”

He adds that Britain has “diminished clout on the world stage” because of Brexit and, “it must utilize whatever assets it has. And the one unique thing Britain has is a young generation of royals who are instantly recognizable across the globe.”

Other analysts see the trip as part of a broader effort by London to raise Britain’s profile as it tries to scout out new trade opportunities to replace the likely loss of trade with European countries once exits the European Union. Two-way trade between Israel and Britain last year reached $7 billion, a 25 percent increase from 2016.

 

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European Business Lobby Presses China to Stop Dragging Feet on Reform

As the United States and China teeter on the brink of an all out trade war and tit-for-tat tariffs loom, a European businesses lobby is urging Beijing to stop dragging its feet on reforms and using unfair trade policies to pamper Chinese companies.

 

Each year, foreign trade groups in China roll out a laundry list of concerns about market access, regulatory hurdles and other policies that tilt the playing field in the world’s second largest economy.

 

This year, for the first time ever, the European Chamber of Commerce’s annual survey of the business climate found that 61 percent of its 532 company members saw their Chinese counterparts as equally or more innovative.

 

Increased spending on research and development, targeted acquisitions of foreign high-tech firms and growing demand for innovative products from consumers were helping driving that shift, the chamber said.

 

The high response is significant. Policies linked to innovation and competition are a key part of the intensifying US — China trade debate and concerns of foreign companies operating here.

 

European Chamber President Mats Harborn said that as Chinese companies become stronger and more competitive, it is time for Beijing to “remove the training wheels.”

 

“It’s time for China to lift or reduce the pampering of its own enterprises and expose them to even more open and fair competition for them to develop into the champions that China wants them to be,” Harborn said.

 

Currently, Chinese companies account for 115 of the Fortune 500 list of global enterprises. The Chinese government claims that of the world’s 260 “unicorns” — start up companies valued at more than a billion dollars — more than 160 are from China.

 

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an address at the World Economic Forum in Davos early last year, China has repeatedly pledged to further open up the country’s economy.

 

According to the group’s survey of its members 52 % said that the government’s promises of opening up had yet to be realized. And looking forward, 46 percent said they thought the number of regulatory obstacles would increase over the next five years.

 

Harborn said that time is running out for China and 2018 has to be the year that it delivers on its promises.

 

“Dragging the feet on delivering on promises that have been made in China will cause reactions around the world,” Harborn said.

 

The United States response to that has led to reactions such as the $50 billion, and more recently $200 billion, in possible tariffs that Washington could levy on Chinese goods.

 

“We don’t agree with that action but it is the result of what we have warned about earlier,” he said.

Washington and European companies alike have long voiced concern about trade policies in China that protect domestic companies and State Owned Enterprises through subsidies, regulatory barriers and unequal treatment.

 

The Trump administration has alleged that Beijing is stealing American intellectual property and forcing technology transfers. Beijing denies that is the case.

 

Still, the European chamber’s survey found that about one in five of its companies “felt compelled to hand over technology in exchange for market access,” despite Chinese government assurances to the contrary.

 

According to the survey, 19 percent said they felt compelled to transfer technology.

Harborn said that while the percentage may seem small, the value it represents is much larger. Numbers were even higher among companies in the aerospace and aviation sector (36 percent), civil engineering and construction (33 percent) and automakers (27 percent).

 

 “And no foreign company going to Europe has to even consider the issue of giving up technology for market access,” Harborn said.

 

Reciprocal treatment is a key concern from companies in China, regardless of whether they are from Europe and America. It is also a key aim of Washington’s trade dispute with Beijing and effort to make trade fairer.

 

But as the rhetoric in the U.S.-China trade dispute has heated up, some analysts argue that the focus has shifted too heavily to reciprocal and damaging tariffs. Actions that risk hurting not only the United States and China, but the global economy as well.

 

Harborn said confrontation through tariffs is not the most efficient way to get reforms and opening up that companies have been asking China to deliver.

 

“We are afraid that when you are exerting pressure this way [through threats of tariffs] that China keeps its aces up its sleeve and is presenting what is needed to defuse the tension at the time and is not is not addressing the fundamental and broader issues,” Harborn said.

 

Besides, he add, reforms are not only important for foreign companies but China’s own economic development as well.

 

 

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Turkey Getting F-35 Jets, Despite Congressional Objections

Despite opposition in Congress, Turkey will receive its first F-35 Joint Strike fighter jet this week, Pentagon and aviation industry officials tell VOA.

Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35, will hold a ceremony Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, for Turkey’s new jets, according to a company spokesperson.

Both House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contain restrictions on Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program.

U.S. lawmakers are concerned about Ankara’s imprisonment of an American pastor and its plans to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system, which they say would “degrade the general security” of the NATO alliance and be incompatible with systems used by Turkey’s NATO allies.

The NDAA, and any language therein, would not become law until the House and Senate pass a final, joint version of the bill.

“As always, Lockheed Martin will comply with any official guidance from the United States government,” the company said.

After the rollout ceremony on Thursday, Turkey’s two jets will travel to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona at a later date so that Turkish pilots can learn how to use them, Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, told VOA.

“Turkish F-35 pilots and maintainers have arrived at Luke Air Force Base, and will begin flight academics soon,” Andrews added.

A defense official noted the U.S. government could likely still be in custody of the aircraft when the newest NDAA is passed.

“After aircraft production of F-35 jets are complete, the U.S. government maintains custody of the aircraft until custody is transferred to the partner. This normally occurs after the lengthy process of foreign partner training is complete in about one to two years,” the official told VOA.

Turkey is a NATO ally and has been an international participant with the U.S.-made F-35 program since 2002.

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Українське посольство знову просить суд у Москві про зустріч із Сущенком – Денісова

Посольство України повторно звернулося до Московського міського суду з проханням надати дозвіл на зустріч із ув’язненим в Росії українським журналістом Романом Сущенком, повідомила Уповноважений з прав людини Верховної Ради Людмила Денісова.

За її даними, відповідь має надійти 21 червня о дев’ятій ранку.

18 червня у Москві відбулася зустріч омбудсманів України і Росії Людмили Денісової і Тетяни Москалькової. По її завершенню Тетяна Москалькова розповіла журналістам, що домовилася з Денісовою про взаємне відвідування режисера Олега Сенцова у російській колонії та журналіста Кирила Вишинського в Херсоні. А також про початок створення «дорожньої карти» відвідування громадян, які перебувають у місцях позбавлення волі в Росії та Україні. Попри це, Денісова не змогла відвідати в Росії жодного українського в’язня, звільнення якого вимагає Київ.

Романа Сущенка, зокрема, вона намагалася відвідати 18 червня.

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Winners & Losers in Family Separation Trauma

A game of political tug-of-war in Washington has amounted to trauma across the Rio Grande Valley, where droves of parents detained for crossing illegally are separated from their children. U.S. President Donald Trump describes his own choices as one of loopholes or “zero tolerance.”

“We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry. Those are the only two options: totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law breaking,” Trump said.

The Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy places anyone who crossed illegally at risk of detention, including asylum-seekers and parents of minors. Since children cannot be held in detention centers, they are separated from their parents, with no word on when or how they might be reunited. Still, migrant families continue to take their chances.

In speaking with migrant families here in McAllen, Texas, there is a common thread between their stories. No matter how dreadful the circumstances may be here, the alternative — they say — is worse.”

“This young man, he made me cry,” Luis Guerrero, a volunteer for Catholic Charities told VOA. “Tears came out my eyes, because he said ‘we came down here because they (gangs) wanted to make my daughter a prostitute.’ That they came knocking on his door.”

“A mother that has a kid that is suffering, nothing will stop her from saving her son,” Sister Norma Pimental, executive director of Catholic Charities in the Rio Grande Valley said. “It doesn’t matter what we do here, unfortunately, where children suffer in order to attempt mothers to stop coming. But if her son is suffering, it’s a huge risk, but they are going to save their children if they can.”

Caught, then what?

Parents charged with illegal entry are processed and sent to a detention center, while their children are separated and sent to federal foster care facilities.

((MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY AT LAW))

“Every mother that described having their child taken from them, stated that they had been lied to when the child was taken from them,” attorney Attorney Michael Avenatti said, describing his interactions with some of the mothers. “At no point in time did anyone with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) or anyone else tell the mother what was really going on; namely, that they were taking the children from them, and it would be days, weeks, and months before they saw them again.”

Sister Norma Pimentel calls families that entered the United States illegally but have not been separated the “lucky ones” — a discretionary decision among Border Patrol chiefs, sometimes out of the sheer volume at detention centers, to allow some families to prove credible fear and seek asylum.

But even among families who were not separated, fear has infiltrated through stories of others.

“I heard various women say that a girl had supposedly been brought to a court, and they brought her there for 36 hours, except they didn’t take her where they had said…but to a jail, and when she arrived, her son wasn’t there anymore, Lucia, a migrant from Guatemala told VOA.

 

 

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Росія: підозрювана в шпигунстві на користь Румунії відмовляється визнати провину

Заарештована в Москві за підозрою в шпигунстві на користь Румунії Каріна Цуркан не визнає свою провину, повідомляє російська служба Радіо Свобода. За даними російських спецслужб, топ-менеджер державної компанії «Інтер РАО» передавала секретні відомості румунській Службі зовнішньої розвідки.

Цуркан підозрюють у тому, що вона нібито передавала румунським спецслужбам інформацію про підготовку великих енергетичних проектів Росії за кордоном. За даними співрозмовника агентства, Служба зовнішньої розвідки Румунії активно співпрацює з Центральним розвідувальним управлінням США.

19 червня стало відомо, що топ-менеджер державної компанії «Інтер РАО» Каріна Цуркан заарештована до 13 серпня Лефортовським судом Москви. У відомстві відмовилися коментувати подробиці кримінальної справи зв’язку з тим, що вона є «секретною». У Міністерстві енергетики Росії заявили, що не мають інформації про кримінальну справу щодо заарештованої. Цуркан інкримінується «шпигунство», максимальний термін позбавлення волі, передбачений за цей злочин, становить 20 років.

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