«Посадіть його»: активісти зібралися під судом у справі Манафорта у США

Кількадесят активістів зібралися під федеральним судом в американському штаті Вірджинія, де 31 липня розпочинається процес у справі Пола Манафорта. Вони підтримують розслідування імовірного втручання Росії в американські вибори, яке здійснюють слідчі під керівництвом спецпрокурора Роберта Мюллера, та закликають засудити колишнього радника Дональда Трампа.

Манафорт є першим із колишніх помічників чинного президента США, який постане перед судом. Федеральні слідчі, які розслідують втручання у вибори в 2016 році, висунули Манафорту звинувачення в банківському і податковому шахрайстві.

Ідеться, зокрема, про роботу Манафорта як політичного консультанта та лобіста на користь колишнього українського президента Віктора Януковича. Законодавство США не забороняє таку роботу, але вона має бути офіційно задекларована, а з отриманих грошей мають сплачуватися податки.

Читайте також: Спецпрокурор США: Манафорт заробив понад 60 мільйонів доларів як консультант в Україні

Як очікується, сторона обвинувачення вкаже на ту обставину, що витрати Манафорта на купівлю нерухомості і предмети розкоші не відповідали сумам, оголошеним у його податкових деклараціях. Манафорт, на думку слідства, ввів в оману кредиторів, запозичуючи десятки мільйонів доларів.

Процес, який розпочинається у Вірджинії, буде першим зі щонайменше двох. Другий має розпочатися у вересні в столичному окрузі Колумбія, головна увага цього процесу буде прикута до політичних питань. У червні 2016 року Манафорт був присутній на зустрічі функціонерів з оточення Трампа з громадянами Росії, які нібито мали у своєму розпорядженні компрометуючі матеріали щодо кандидата в президенти США від Демократичної партії Хілларі Клінтон.

Спеціальний прокурор Роберт Мюллер та його команда вже 14 місяців проводять розслідування ймовірного втручання Кремля у вибори в США.

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US Military in Africa Says Changes Made to Protect Troops

The U.S. military in Africa has taken steps to increase the security of troops on the ground, adding armed drones and armored vehicles and taking a harder look at when American forces go out with local troops, the head of the U.S. Africa Command says.

Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser told reporters on Monday the U.S. also has cut the response time needed for medical evacuations — the result of a broad review in the wake of last year’s ambush in Niger that killed four U.S. soldiers and four of their Niger counterparts.

 

“Since that happened, there were significant things to change and learn,” Waldhauser said. “We’ve done a thorough scrub really on every level, whether it’s at a tactical level… or how we conduct business at AFRICOM.”

 

A report is due in mid-August on actions taken in response to the findings, Waldhauser said. He released a report in May on the ambush, which has been blamed on extremists linked to the Islamic State organization.

 

He said Africa’s challenges remain vast, from Islamic State and al-Qaida-linked groups in the west to al-Shabab in the east.

 

The U.S. takes a hard look at what is necessary when accompanying local forces on operations, “in terms of when it’s necessary; is the threat there going against something that’s significant to the U.S. homeland and our national interests,” he said.

 

Drones are part of the strategy to provide intelligence-gathering for partner nations so they can “consider various operations and take on these threats,” Waldhauser said.

 

The U.S. has authority to carry out drone strikes in Libya and Somalia, according to AFRICOM, but Waldhauser confirmed that “we have been arming out of Niger, and we’ll use that as appropriate.” The U.S. says it started arming drones in Niger earlier this year; they are currently deployed to an air base in the capital, Niamey.

 

He stopped in Senegal while in the region for an annual senior leader and communications symposium in Cape Verde, according to the U.S. Africa Command.

 

The U.S. maintains a small site at Camp Cisse in Dakar’s old airport that allows for U.S. military aircraft to land and refuel. It also allows for storage and use during crisis situations in West Africa such as the response to the deadly Ebola outbreak a few years ago or to any threats against embassies.

 

America’s role on the continent is to build the capacity of local partner forces, Waldhauser said.

 

“The majority, if not all of the combat operations, will be conducted by the partner force, not by the United States. So our whole goal is to get them up to a level that they can deal with the challenges that they face,” he said.

 

“In no case are we trying to take the lead. In no case do we want to own the problem, really in all cases and various methods, whether it be kinetic strikes in places like Somalia or working bilaterally with G-5 countries in the west,” he said, referring to the new five-nation G5 Sahel counterterror force in West Africa.

 

When the U.S. does step in with strikes, “we go out of our way to reach levels of certainty with whom we know we are up against,” he said. Officials and residents in Somalia, however, more than once in recent months have accused the U.S. of killing civilians in drone strikes.

 

Waldhauser also warned that partnership with the U.S. comes with responsibility and mentioned as an example recent reports of extrajudicial killings in Cameroon. The United Nations human rights chief last week said he was “utterly appalled” at a recent video appearing to show Cameroonian soldiers shooting to death women with small children strapped to their backs as suspected Boko Haram extremists.

 

“We want to have a strong military relationship with Cameroon. But their actions will go a long way toward how that will play out in the future with regards to the transparency on some of these latest allegations.” Waldhauser said.

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Трамп: США обговорюють з ЄС будівництво портів для прийому газу

Євросоюз обговорює зі США будівництво портів для прийому американського скрапленого природного газу. Про це 30 липня у Вашингтоні під час спільної прес-конференції з прем’єр-міністром Італії повідомив президент США Дональд Трамп.

За його словами, йдеться про 9-11 портів. За їх будівництво ЄС має заплатити самостійно.

Американський президент й інші представники його адміністрації критикували проект «Північний потік-2». Частина країн ЄС і Україна прямо закликали заблокувати його спорудження, стверджуючи, що він поставить під загрозу енергетичну безпеку України та Євросоюзу.

Читайте також: «Північний потік-2»: чи дійсно Німеччина грає на боці Росії

У будівництві газопроводу, який має пройти з Росії до Німеччини дном Балтійського моря, беруть участь, зокрема, компанії з Німеччини і Австрії. Влада в цих країнах стверджує, що йдеться про суто економічний проект. Канцлер Німеччини Анґела Меркель, однак, заявила, що робота газопроводу можлива лише в разі, якщо Росія не припинить транзит газу через Україну.

 

 

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Речниця Лукашенка заперечила чутки про його інсульт

Речниця президента Білорусі Наталія Ейсмонт заперечила повідомлення про те, що Олександр Лукашенко шпиталізований з інсультом.

Про хворобу білоруського лідера 30 липня першим повідомив російський анонімний Telegram-канал «Незыгарь», який спеціалізується на політичних «зливах», а потім український сайт Dsnews.ua. У публікації останнього зазначалося, що Олександр Лукашенко від 28 липня не з’являвся на публічних заходах. А 26 липня він повинен був приїхати в Гомель, однак візит не відбувся.

Наталія Ейсмонт сказала кореспондентові Радіо Свобода, що бачила цю інформацію, але вона не відповідає дійсності.

«Я можу прокоментувати тільки так, що це повна нісенітниця. Це ж першоджерело українське. Я навіть не розумію, звідки вони це все взяли. В суботу у Олександра Григоровича була велика зустріч із керівництвом китайської корпорації CITIC Group. Це була публічна зустріч. Одне слово – нісенітниця – і більше нічого коментувати не буду. Олександр Григорович перебуває абсолютно в робочому режимі», – сказала прес-секретар президента Білорусі.

Лукашенко є президентом Білорусі від 1994 року. Правозахисники кажуть, що Лукашенко утримує владу шляхом придушення інакомислення і потенційних опонентів.

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Nearly a Year Later, Many Struggle to Recover From Hurricane Harvey

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season has begun, but many families in Houston are still struggling to recover from the devastating floods brought last year by Hurricane Harvey. 

 

For Samantha and Justin Scott, trying to get their life back to normal has been a living nightmare.

 

“It’s emotionally exhausting.I think when my kids think back to the past year of our life, especially our oldest, I think he’s just going to remember that I cried a lot,” said Samantha, who lives in the Bear Creek Village neighborhood just west of Houston with her husband and three children who range in age from one to five.

 

They are still rebuilding their home after last year’s flood caused by Hurricane Harvey, one of the wettest storm systems in U.S. history.

Hurricane Harvey smashed into Texas a Category 4 hurricane, the first since 2005 to make landfall in the United States. But its impact was just beginning.

For the past year,Samantha and the kids temporarily moved away, while Justin stayed behind to work on the house. Their youngest child was only a few months old when floodwaters entered their home last August. 

 

“I pretty much missed out on the better half of the first year of his life,” Scott said of his youngest child, Kyle.  “Missing things like watching him walk for the first time. Watching him do a lot of the stuff that kids do for the first time, I missed.”

 

A few more door frames, doors and baseboards need to be installed.A shower still has no promise of being built. 

The Scotts are not alone. Storm damage is also still visible in the neighborhood.

 

“It just hits you. It’s like a slap in the face every single time.It’s like it doesn’t end, like the hurricane is just continuing,” Samantha said.

 

Throughout Bear Creek, “for sale” signs are posted in front yards, and construction debris is on the curbs. On one street, a neighbor said only three families decided to stay.The others wanted to sell their homes. 

 

For the families who stayed, rebuilding has been a slow process.  Many people do not have flood insurance.

 

The Scotts’ neighbor, Joe Franz, moved to Bear Creek in 1994 and canceled his flood insurance in 2013 to save a few dollars. Hurricane Harvey was the first time floodwaters entered his home.

 

“We ended up gutting the whole house.I’ve been married over 40 years, and my wife and I pretty much had everything out here at the curb as the other neighbors did too,” said Franz.

 

Bear Creek flooded because it is next to a reservoir. Other homes in the Houston area flooded because they sit on floodplains.

 

“Floodplains are like little valleys, and they can hold just about anything nature can throw at us, including Harvey,” said John Jacob, a watershed management expert and an extension specialist at Texas A&M University System through its AgriLife Extension Service. “But over time, we’ve encroached in those floodplains, and we’ve actually put people right in the floodplain.” 

 

He said preventing catastrophic floods will take time.

 

“Fifty years from now, we need to be able to reclaim all these floodplains.So, part of this can be through buyout with federal money. But the other part is just going to be awareness,” said Jacob.

 

He said there will be other storms and floods in Houston, so when residents look for a home, they should study elevation maps and look for houses built on high ground. Another solution is to elevate houses, Jacob said. He lives in a house with a one-meter crawl space underneath the home.

 

The advice may be helpful for some, but the Scotts are stuck in their existing home for now.

“This has kind of put us in a situation where we can’t really afford just to pick up and leave,” Justin said.

 

They are counting the small blessings. On the day VOA visited them, their new bedroom furniture was delivered.It was the first night the family was together in their home since the flood.

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Nearly a Year Later, Many in Houston Struggle to Recover From Hurricane

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season has already begun, but many families in Houston are still struggling to recover from the devastating floods brought by Hurricane Harvey last year. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee travels to Houston to see how flood victims are recovering almost a year later, and what can be done to prevent future flooding in hurricane prone cities.

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Yugolsav Architects ‘Concrete Utopia’ on Display in New York

After the devastation of World War Two, architects in Yugoslavia got to work helping to rebuild the country which straddled the Cold War divide between the East and West. The architecture reflects styles from both sides and the architects’ vision of the future. The Museum of Modern Art in New York examines their work in an exhibit called “Toward a Concrete Utopia.” Ardita Dunellari has the story.

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Crime or Right? Some Danish Muslims to Defy Face Veil Ban

On August 1, when face veils are banned in Denmark, Sabina will not be leaving her niqab at home. Instead, she will be defying the law and taking to the street in protest.

In May, the Danish parliament banned the wearing of face veils in public, joining France and some other European countries to uphold what some politicians say are secular and democratic values.

But Sabina, 21, who is studying to be a teacher, has joined forces with other Muslim women who wear the veil to form Kvinder I Dialog (Women in Dialogue) to protest and raise awareness about why women should be allowed to express their identity in that way.

“I won’t take my niqab off. If I must take it off, I want to do it because it is a reflection of my own choice,” she said.

Like the other women interviewed for this article, Sabina did not wish to have her surname published for fear of harassment.

The niqab wearers who plan to protest on August 1 will be joined by non-niqab-wearing Muslim women and also non-Muslim Danes, most of whom plan to wear face coverings at the rally.

“Everybody wants to define what Danish values are,” said Meryem, 20, who was born in Denmark to Turkish parents and has been wearing the niqab since before meeting her husband, who supports her right to wear it but feels life could be easier without.

“I believe that you have to integrate yourself in society, that you should get an education and so forth. But I don’t think wearing a niqab means you can’t engage yourself in Danish values,” said Meryem, who has a place to study molecular medicine at Aarhus University.

Like Sabina, Meryem plans to defy the law, keep her niqab on and protest the ban.

Under the law, police will be able to instruct women to remove their veils or order them to leave public areas. Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen said officers would fine them and tell them to go home.

Fines will range from 1,000 Danish crowns ($160) for a first offense to 10,000 crowns for a fourth violation.

“I feel this law legitimizes acts of hatred but, on the other hand, I feel people have become more aware of what is going on. I get more smiles on the street and people are asking me more questions,” said Ayah, 37.

Mathias Vidas Olsen, who makes reproductions of Viking-age jewelry, is supporting the campaign by making special bracelets and giving the proceeds to Kvinder I Dialog.

“I’m not for or against the niqab,” the 29-year-old Copenhagen man said. “I’m for the right of the people to wear whatever they want whether they be a Muslim or a punk.

“I see this as the government reaching in to places they don’t belong and as a cheap hit on an already stigmatized group to score cheap political points,” he said.

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