Демократи пропонують план, який дозволить розблокувати уряд США

Демократи у Палаті представників Конгресу Сполучених Штатів планують протягом тижня представити план, який завершить часткове блокування уряду, повідомляють американські ЗМІ.

Очікується, що ухвалення цього плану надасть можливість забезпечити фінансування Міністерству національної безпеки до 8 лютого 2019 року, а решту урядових органів – до вересня.

При цьому демократи пропонують надати Міністерству національної безпеки 1,3 мільярди доларів на будівництво стіни на кордоні з Мексикою замість 5 мільярдів, які вимагав президента США Дональд Трамп.

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Як припускають оглядачі каналу CNBS, ця пропозиція демократів, коли її оголосять офіційно, скоріш за все, зустріне спротив з боку Трампа, який пообіцяв забезпечити стіну належним фінансуванням.

Щоб подолати вето президента, потрібні голоси 55 республіканців і кожного демократа у Палаті представників. Крім того, знадобляться голоси принаймні 67 сенаторів.

Тим часом Трамп закликає демократів погодити фінансування будівництва стіни.

«Демократи, поверніться з відпусток зараз і дайте нам голоси, необхідні для Прикордонного патруля, в тому числі для Стіни», – написав він у своєму Twitter.

Трамп заявив наприкінці листопада, що Вашингтон може «закрити назавжди» кордон з Мексикою у разі виникнення такої потреби. «Мексика мусить повернути до рідних країн мігрантів, серед яких повно холоднокровних злочинців. Літаком, автобусом, як завгодно – але вони не потраплять до США. Ми закриємо кордон назавжди, якщо буде необхідно», – написав голова Білого дому.

У ніч на 22 грудня в США виникла ситуація часткового закриття федерального уряду, так званий «шатдаун». Законодавцям не вдалося домовитися про фінансування будівництва стіни на кордоні з Мексикою, на чому наполягає президент США Дональд Трамп; через це бюджет виявився заблокованим.

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Elizabeth Warren Makes Big Move Toward 2020 US Presidential Run

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday took the first major step toward launching a widely anticipated campaign for the presidency, hoping her reputation as a populist fighter can help her navigate a Democratic field that could include nearly two dozen candidates.

“No matter what our differences, most of us want the same thing,” the 69-year-old Massachusetts Democrat said in a video that highlights her family’s history in Oklahoma. “To be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules and take care of the people we love. That’s what I’m fighting for and that’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president.”

Warren burst onto the national scene a decade ago during the financial crisis with calls for greater consumer protections. She quickly became one of the party’s more prominent liberals even as she sometimes fought with Obama administration officials over their response to the market turmoil.

Now, as a likely presidential contender, she is making an appeal to the party’s base. Her video notes the economic challenges facing people of color along with images of a women’s march and Warren’s participation at an LGBT event.

In an email to supporters, Warren said she’d more formally announce a campaign plan early in 2019.

Warren is the most prominent Democrat yet to make a move toward a presidential bid and has long been a favorite target of President Donald Trump.

In mid-December, former Obama housing chief Julian Castro also announced a presidential exploratory committee, which legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money. Outgoing Maryland Rep. John Delaney is the only Democrat so far to have formally announced a presidential campaign.

But that’s likely to change quickly in the new year as other leading Democrats take steps toward White House runs.

Warren enters a Democratic field that’s shaping up as the most crowded in decades, with many of her Senate colleagues openly weighing their own campaigns, as well as governors, mayors and other prominent citizens. One of her most significant competitors could be Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who is eyeing another presidential run harnessing the same populist rhetoric.

She must also move past a widely panned October release of a DNA test meant to bolster her claim to Native American heritage. The move was intended to rebut Trump’s taunts of Warren as “Pocahontas.” Instead, her use of a genetic test to prove ethnicity spurred controversy that seemed to blunt any argument she sought to make. There was no direct mention of it in the video released Monday.

Warren has the benefit of higher name recognition than many others in the Democratic mix for 2020, thanks to her years as a prominent critic of Wall Street who originally conceived of what became the government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

She now faces an arduous battle to raise money and capture Democratic primary voters’ attention before Iowa casts its first vote in more than a year. She has an advantage in the $12.5 million left over from her 2018 re-election campaign that she could use for a presidential run.

Warren’s campaign is likely to revolve around the same theme she’s woven into speeches and policy proposals in recent years: battling special interests, paying mind to the nexus between racial and economic inequities.

“America’s middle class is under attack,” Warren said in the video. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie. And they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice.”


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Campaigning Starts in Ukraine’s Hard-to-Predict Presidential Race

A 90-day political campaign period has opened in Ukraine, where the incumbent president’s future is uncertain.

President Petro Poroshenko hasn’t yet announced whether he plans to run in a March 31 election, although he is expected to seek re-election. Monday marked the official start of campaigning.

A poll of 2,017 eligible voters published last week put Poroshenko’s approval rating at just over 14 percent. Another likely candidate, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, had support from 16 percent of those surveyed.

Other presidential hopefuls trailed behind the two. The Razumkov Center poll had a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.

Ukraine has been hit hard by the tug-of-war with Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea and backed a separatist insurgency in the country’s industrial heartland in the east.


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Trump Defends His Planned Troop Withdrawal from Syria

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday defended his planned withdrawal of all 2,000 American troops from Syria, attacking critics of the action as chronic complainers.

In a string of Twitter remarks, Trump said, “If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS (Islamic State) loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero.”

He said the Islamic State terrorist group that once claimed Raqqa in northern Syria as the capital of its caliphate, “is mostly gone” from Syria and “we’re slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants.”

Trump stunned U.S. national security aides and lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, by announcing December 19 that he was withdrawing the U.S. troops who had been instrumental in removing most of the jihadist group from northeast Syria and aided Kurdish fighters in their fight against the insurgents.

Critics of the withdrawal said that removing U.S. troops could lead to a resurgence of Islamic State operations.

One critic of the move, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, normally a Trump loyalist, met with the U.S. leader Sunday and later said the president remains committed to defeating Islamic State. Graham suggested Trump may slow his planned 30-day withdrawal, but the White House has not commented on Graham’s interpretation of his talks with Trump.

“I think we’re in a pause situation where we are re-evaluating what’s the best way to achieve the president’s objective of having (other countries) pay more and do more” in the war on terrorism, Graham said.

In his Monday tweets, Trump said, “I campaigned on getting out of Syria and other places. Now when I start getting out the Fake News Media, or some failed Generals who were unable to do the job before I arrived, like to complain about me & my tactics, which are working. Just doing what I said I was going to do! Except the results are FAR BETTER than I ever said they were going to be! I campaigned against the NEVER ENDING WARS, remember!”

Trump contended, “I am the only person in America who could say that, “I’m bringing our great troops back home, with victory,” and get BAD press. It is Fake News and Pundits who have FAILED for years that are doing the complaining. If I stayed in Endless Wars forever, they would still be unhappy!”

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Трамп вирішив уповільнити виведення військ США з Сирії – ЗМІ

Президент Сполучених Штатів Дональд Трамп вирішив уповільнити процес виведення американських військ із Сирії. Про це після зустрічі з ним повідомив сенатор-республіканець Ліндсі Грем, повідомляє американський канал CNN.

При цьому Грем зазначив, що від планів вивести американський контингент з країни Трамп не відмовляється.

За словами Грема, Трамп змінив позицію щодо виведення військ після візиту до Іраку минулого тижня. Там американський президент зустрівся з воєначальниками, які розповіли йому, що терористичне угруповання «Ісламська держава» ще не зазнала остаточної поразки.

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«Після обговорення з президентом і (головою Об’єднаного комітету начальників штабів – ред.) Данфордом, я почуваюся як ніколи добре щодо того, куди ми прямуємо. Думаю, ми у розумний спосіб сповільнимо процес. Але мета лишається та сама: мати змогу залишити Сирію і бути впевненими, що «ІД» ніколи не повернеться», – заявив Грем журналістам після зустрічі з президентом.

19 грудня Дональд Трамп заявив, що Сполучені Штати перемогли «Ісламську державу» в Сирії, тож він вирішив вивести американські війська з цієї країни.

Командування американської армії не погодилося з президентом, вважаючи виведення військ передчасним і зрадницьким щодо місцевих курдів. Керівник Пентагону Джеймс Меттіс пішов у відставку. До того стало відомо про аналогічне рішення представника США у міжнародній коаліції по боротьбі з терористичною організацією «Ісламська держава» Бретта МакҐерка.

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(Im)migration News Recap, Dec. 23-29

Editor’s note: We want you to know what’s happening, why and how it could impact your life, family or business, so we created a weekly digest of the top original immigration, migration and refugee reporting from across VOA. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team: ImmigrationUnit@voanews.com.

Separated by the wall

A U.S. partial government shutdown started at the beginning of the week and showed no signs of ending by week’s end. At issue is President Trump’s insistence on $5 billion in funding for construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Democrats believe a wall would be ineffective and a waste of money. They refuse to provide any funding for the wall. 

By Thursday Congress had adjourned for the rest of the year. Friday, the president struck back by threatening to close the border entirely.

A case of the flu

A second migrant child has died in U.S. custody, prompting calls for investigations in both houses of Congress. Eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo became nauseous and started vomiting Monday night. He later died in a hospital on Christmas. A subsequent autopsy revealed he had had the flu.

A second child who died in U.S. custody, Jakelin Caal, was buried – also on Christmas. As a result of the two deaths, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has ordered medical screenings for all children in its custody.

Migrants, safe and… not

A migrant ship has docked in Spain after being refused in other countries. Three hundred and ten African migrants walked off the ship draped in red blankets provided by the Red Cross.

They are the lucky ones. The International Organization for Migration has found records that 6,600 Africans have died over the past five years, most of them crossing the Sahara Desert toward Europe. The study notes these numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg.”

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Зонд НАСА New Horizons наближається до мети місії – об’єкту Ultima Thule

Космічний зонд НАСА New Horizons наблизився до об’єкту Ultima Thule – найбільш віддаленої точки Всесвіту, який фотографував відправлений з Землі зонд. Про це повідомляється на сайті американського аерокосмічного агентства.

«У найближчу добу New Horizons увійде в історію! Космічний корабель НАСА наближається до найбільш віддаленого об’єкту, будь-коли дослідженого космічним кораблем – 4 мільярди миль від Сонця і ~ 1 мільярд миль від Плутона”, – ідеться у повідомленні.

Історичний момент, коли зонд фотографуватиме об’єкт під назвою Ultima Thule, НАСА транслюватиме у прямому ефірі 1 січня 2018 року. На початку трансляції представлять композицію New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix) легендарного гітариста Queen Брайаном Мейем, який також має вчений ступінь з астрофізики та нещодавно був прийнятий до команди, яка працює з зондом.

Ultima Thule виявили в 2014 році за допомогою космічного телескопа Hubble. Об’єкт назвали на честь міфічного далекого північного острова, який згадується у античній та середньовічній літературі й картографії. Вислів Ultima Thule також визначають як «край землі», «останню межу».

Місія New Horizons стартувала у 2006 році. У 2007 році апарат минув Юпітер, через вісім років, у 2015-му, зонд почав вивчати Плутон. На 2019 рік для New Horizons заплановане вивчення об’єктів поясу Койпера, де й знаходиться Ultima Thule. Загалом місія розрахована на 15-17 років.

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Vatican Spokesman, Deputy Resign Suddenly

The Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, and his deputy resigned suddenly Monday amid an overhaul of the Vatican’s communications operations that coincides with a troubled period in Pope Francis’ papacy.


In a tweet, Burke said he and his deputy, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, had resigned effective Jan. 1. Francis accepted the resignation Monday, the Vatican said in a statement.


“At this time of transition in Vatican communications, we think it’s best the Holy Father is completely free to assemble a new team,” Burke wrote.  


He and Garcia both thanked the pope. “A stage is ending. Thank you for these two and a half years,” Garcia tweeted.


Francis named a longtime member of the Vatican’s communications operations, Alessandro Gisotti, as an interim replacement.


The pope has recently overhauled the Vatican’s media operations for the second time by ousting the longtime editor of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and naming a new director of editorial content for all Vatican media, the Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli.


The resignations clearly took the new team by surprise.


The head of Vatican communications, Paolo Ruffini, said he had learned of the decision by Burke and Garcia and respected it. He praised their professionalism and said he had full confidence in Gisotti, who had been a longtime journalist with Vatican Radio and more recently had been head of social media for the Vatican.


“The year ahead is full of important appointments that will require maximum communications efforts,” Ruffini said in a statement.


It was perhaps a reference to Francis’ high-stakes summit on preventing clergy sex abuse in February, as well as his multiple foreign trips planned for 2019: Panama, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bulgaria and Macedonia in the first half of the year, and rumored trips to Madagascar and Japan in the second half.


Francis also has to deal with continued fallout from the clergy abuse scandal, in Chile, the U.S. and beyond. The next year will likely see the outcome of a canonical investigation into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, accused of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians, as well as the results of a Vatican investigation into McCarrick’s rise through church ranks.


Burke, then a Fox TV correspondent in Rome, was hired as a communications adviser for the Vatican’s secretariat of state in 2012. At the time, the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI had suffered a series of communications blunders, and it was thought that Burke could provide guidance.


In 2015, Burke was named deputy spokesman under the Rev. Federico Lombardi, an Italian Jesuit.


When Lombardi retired in 2016, Burke became main spokesman and was joined by Garcia, the first woman to ever hold the position of deputy. Garcia had been the Vatican correspondent for the Cadena Cope, the Spanish broadcaster.


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