Oxfam: French Border Police Cut Off Soles of Migrant Children’s Shoes

Oxfam says French border police are mistreating migrant children who are seeking to enter France from Italy, sending them back to Italy in violation of French and European Union law.

“Some children even had the soles of their shoes cut off, before being sent back to Italy,” an Oxfam staff member says in a newly released report entitled “Nowhere But Out.”

“Police yell at them, laugh at them, push them and tell them, ‘You will never cross here,’” said one aid worker. “Some children have their mobile phone seized and the SIM card removed. They lose all their data and phonebook. They cannot even call their parents afterwards.”

Macron, Conte to meet

French President Emmanuel Macron and new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte are meeting Friday amid tensions between the two countries about migrants.

Earlier this week, the French leader was critical of Italy after it turned away hundreds of migrants aboard a rescue ship, calling Italy’s behavior “irresponsible.” Italy’s new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini countered, saying France should be taking in more migrants and that Macron should move from “words to action.”

Macron said Thursday, “It’s time for collective action” and he never “meant to offend” Italy.

Oxfam report

According to the “Nowhere But Out” report, an estimated 16,500 refugees and other migrants have been staying in and around the small Italian town of Ventimiglia, seven kilometers from the French border. One in four of the migrants is an unaccompanied child.

The report says there are “no arrangements” in Ventimiglia to take care of the returned children. “Once off the train, they are left to fend for themselves.”

Adults and children are often forced to walk back to Italy.

“Along that road, we met people walking back under the rain or the burning sun,” Oxfam said in the report. “The last person we met was a very young Eritrean girl holding her 40-day-old baby in her arms.”

The report says the French police frequently change the paperwork of the unaccompanied children to make them seem older than they are and that they want to return to Italy. Many are attempting to reach family and friends in France and other European countries, the charity says.

The charity has urged Italy, France and all European Union members “to share responsibility for hosting asylum seekers more equally … so that the rights and needs of asylum seekers are addressed and links with family and relatives are given priority.”

At UN, World Cup Reminder of Role of Sport in Peace

World Cup fever hit the United Nations Thursday as ambassadors and staffers gathered to watch the opening match and celebrate the link between peace and sport. Our U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer was there.

Росія та Саудівська Аравія домовилися разом «балансувати ринок» нафти

Росія та Саудівська Аравія повідомили про домовленість про розширення співпраці на ринках нафти та газу. Це сталося після того, як ці країни об’єдналися в межах угоди між членами і нечленами ОПЕК (Організації країн-експортерів нафти), яка допомогла збільшити ціни на нафту.

За офіційними даними, президент Росії Володимир Путін та саудівський принц-мусульманин Мухаммад бін Салман, а також міністри енергетики обох країн провели переговори в Москві 14 червня, перед початком першого матчу чемпіонату світу з футболу.

Міністр енергетики Саудівської Аравії Халід аль-Фаліх та його російський колега Олександр Новак вказали у спільній заяві, що два найбільші виробники нафти в світі продовжуть свої зусилля з управління ринком, прагнучи «до збалансованого ринку, який підтримується надійною та достатньою пропозицією».

Угода 2016 року про заморожування видобутку нафти була укладена в умовах різкого падіння цін на нафту, що спричинило економічний спад у нафтовидобувних країнах. На початку 2016 року котирування нафти впали нижче 30 доларів за барель. Але після відновлення і стабілізації в 2017 році на рівні близько 50 доларів за барель у цьому році вони підскочили до майже 80 доларів.

Очікується, що наступна зустріч ОПЕК відбудеться 22 червня у Відні, а Росія, Казахстан та іншими партнери, які не є членами ОПЕК, приєднаються до переговорів наступного дня.

Білий дім відреагував на повідомлення в ЗМІ про заяву Трампа, який нібито назвав Крим «російським»

Речниця Білого дому Сара Сандерс заявила, що не знає про слова президента США Дональда Трампа, який нібито назвав український півострів Крим «російським». 

«Мені не відомо про жоден подібний коментар. Я знаю, що про це повідомляли, тому я не збираюся коментувати приватну розмову, у якій я не брала участь. Я не маю інформації про це», – сказала Сандерс під час брифінгу 14 червня. 

Читайте також: Заява Трампа і Крим. Чому Росія не повернеться до нинішньої «Групи семи»

Перед цим американське видання BuzzFeed з посиланням на свої джерела написало, що 8 червня Трамп під час зустрічі лідерів «Групи семи» в Канаді заявив, що Крим є російським, «оскільки усі тамтешні жителі розмовляють російською». Крім того, за даними ЗМІ, він назвав Україну «однією з найбільш корумпованих країн у світі». 

У березні 2014 року Росія анексувала український півострів Крим. Міжнародні організації визнали анексію Криму незаконною і засудили дії Росії, країни Заходу запровадили проти неї економічні санкції. Кремль заперечує анексію півострова і називає це «відновленням історичної справедливості».

IG Report Criticizes Former FBI Director But Finds No Evidence of Political Bias

A U.S. government report says that former FBI Director James Comey failed to follow the agency’s standard procedures in his handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Democrats believe that publicizing a reopening of the probe just days before the 2016 presidential election helped the Republican candidate Donald Trump win the presidency. But the Inspector General’s report released Thursday says there was no bias in the FBI’s actions under Comey’s leadership. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke has more.

Удар із безпілотника США поцілив у ватажка талібів Пакистану – Пентагон

Чиновники Пентагона стверджують, що удар з американського безпілотника поцілив у лідера пакистанських талібів, який перебував в афганській провінції біля кордону з Пакистаном. За непідтвердженими повідомленнями місцевих жителів, цей чоловік, мулла Маулана Фазлулла, був убитий. 

Американські військові представники 14 червня заявили в засобах інформації, що подія сталася 13 червня в провінції Кунар, але про успішність операції не говорили.

На думку пакистанських чиновників, Фазлулла, якому понад 40 років, сховався в Афганістані після того, як визнана «терористичною» організація «Техрік-е-Талібан» був вигнана з Пакистану внаслідок військової операції.

Влада Пакистану вважає цю організацію причетною до нападу на армійську школу в Пешаварі в грудні 2014 року, тоді загинули 150 людей. Пакистанських талібів звинувачують також у замаху в жовтні 2012 року на Малалу Юсафзай, яка згодом отримала Нобелівську премію і стала глобальним символом боротьби за освіту дівчат.

Trump OKs Plan to Impose Tariffs on Billions in Chinese Goods

President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China’s support in his negotiations with North Korea.

Trump met Thursday with several Cabinet members and trade advisers and was expected to impose tariffs on at least $35 billion to $40 billion of Chinese imports, according to an industry official and an administration official familiar with the plans. The amount of goods could reach $55 billion, said the industry official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter ahead of a formal announcement.

Stage set for retaliation

If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing. Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies, and his proposed tariffs against China risk starting a trade war involving the world’s two biggest economies.

The decision on the Chinese tariffs comes in the aftermath of Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president has coordinated closely with China on efforts to get Pyongyang to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. But he signaled that whatever the implications, “I have to do what I have to do” to address the trade imbalance.

Trump, in his press conference in Singapore on Tuesday, said the U.S. has a “tremendous deficit in trade with China and we have to do something about it. We can’t continue to let that happen.” The U.S. trade deficit with China was $336 billion in 2017.

Administration officials have signaled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans. China has targeted $50 billion in U.S. products for potential retaliation.

​Pompeo in China

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the trade issue directly with China Thursday, when he met in Beijing with President Xi Jinping and other officials, the State Department said. Officials would not say whether Pompeo explicitly informed the Chinese that the tariffs would be coming imminently.

“I stressed how important it is for President Trump to rectify that situation so that trade becomes more balanced, more reciprocal and more fair, with the opportunity to have American workers be treated fairly,” Pompeo said Thursday during a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful that they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump’s watch and undermine the benefits of the tax cuts he signed into law last year.

“If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt. Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown,” Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, said at an event sponsored by The Washington Post.

Bannon: Trump economic message

But Steve Bannon, Trump’s former White House and campaign adviser, said the crackdown on China’s trade practices was “the central part of Trump’s economic nationalist message. His fundamental commitment to the ‘deplorables’ on the campaign trail was that he was going to bring manufacturing jobs back, particularly from Asia.”

In the trade fight, Bannon said, Trump has converted three major tools that “the American elites considered off the table” — namely, the use of tariffs, the technology investigation of China and penalties on Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

“That’s what has gotten us to the situation today where the Chinese are actually at the table,” Bannon said. “It’s really not just tariffs, it’s tariffs on a scale never before considered.”

Chinese counterpunch

The Chinese have threatened to counterpunch if the president goes ahead with the plan. Chinese officials have said they would drop agreements reached last month to buy more U.S. soybeans, natural gas and other products.

“We made clear that if the U.S. rolls out trade sanctions, including the imposition of tariffs, all outcomes reached by the two sides in terms of trade and economy will not come into effect,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Thursday.

Beijing has also drawn up a list of $50 billion in U.S. products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans, a shot at Trump’s supporters in rural America.

Scott Kennedy, a specialist on the Chinese economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Chinese threat was real and helped along by recent strains exhibited among the U.S. and allies.

“I don’t think they would cower or immediately run to the negotiating table to throw themselves at the mercy of Donald Trump,” Kennedy said. “They see the U.S. is isolated and the president as easily distracted.”

Ron Moore, who farms 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans in Roseville, Illinois, said soybean prices have started dropping ahead of what looks like a trade war between the two economic powerhouses. 

“We have to plan for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best,” said Moore, who is chairman of the American Soybean Association. “If you look back at President Trump’s history, he’s been wildly successful negotiating as a businessman. But it’s different when you’re dealing with other governments.”

The U.S. and China have been holding ongoing negotiations over the trade dispute. The United States has criticized China for the aggressive tactics it uses to develop advanced technologies, including robots and electric cars, under its “Made in China 2025” program. The U.S. tariffs are designed specifically to punish China for forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

The administration is also working on proposed Chinese investment restrictions by June 30. So far, Trump has yet to signal any interest in backing away. 

Thousands Flee Colorado Wildfire 

The threat of hot, windy weather and thunderstorms Thursday posed more problems for firefighters battling a Colorado wildfire that has forced residents of more than 1,000 homes to evacuate and led to warnings for others to get ready to leave.

The fire 13 miles (43 kilometers) north of Durango is in the Four Corners Region where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah meet, the epicenter of a large U.S. Southwest swath of exceptional drought, the worst category of drought.

Moderate to extreme drought conditions affect larger areas of those four states plus parts of Nevada, California, Oregon, Oklahoma and Texas, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. This week, authorities in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico closed recreational areas and enacted fire restrictions because of the high fire danger.

​Nearly 2,000 fighting fires

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported there were 1,746 people responding to fight six active wildfires in the region. Firefighting costs have reached $12 million since June 1 for the Durango-area wildfire alone, according to the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center in suburban Denver.

In southwest Colorado, officials told residents of nearly 350 homes to be prepared to leave if dry thunderstorms, high heat and gusty winds spread a wildfire that has blackened more than 50 square miles (130 square kilometers) and is seen as extremely dangerous for firefighters.

“With the storms comes the lighting and those gusty winds. We’re definitely asking the firefighters to keep their eyes open and their heads up and pay attention to any changes in the weather,” fire team spokesman Jamie Knight told The Durango Herald.

About 1,900 homes have been evacuated since the fire began June 1, though 560 homes were declared safe late Wednesday, allowing some residents to return.

“We were just happy to get back. We were tired of living out of suitcases. You can imagine four people and two large Labs in small hotel rooms,” Joe Hardman told the Herald after going home with his wife, two daughters and two Labrador retrievers.

Fires elsewhere

The fire forced Colorado’s San Juan National Forest tourist destination to close but hasn’t destroyed any homes. More than 1,050 firefighters backed by air tankers and water-dropping helicopters had contained 15 percent of the blaze, said Cameron Eck, spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Incident firefighting team.

Just west of the Continental Divide, Summit County officials said they stopped a 90-acre (35-hectare) fire from reaching 1,300 homes in the Colorado town of Silverthorne, a popular jumping-off point for ski resorts. That fire was human caused, and an investigation was ongoing, Summit Fire Chief Jeff Berino said.

Those forced from their homes were allowed back Thursday as firefighters continued to snuff out hot spots.

In southern Wyoming, firefighters battled a 17-square-mile (44 square kilometer) fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest that forced the evacuation of nearly 400 homes in 10 small communities. That blaze has destroyed one home and two outbuildings.

On Wednesday, a fast-moving brush fire destroyed eight homes in the southern Utah tourist town of Moab. Several firefighters and residents were treated for smoke inhalation or heat exhaustion.

Rain, a mixed blessing, on the way

Natalie Sullivan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder, said the parched region could get rain starting Saturday as remnants of Tropical Storm Bud arrive from the south.

That’s a mixed blessing for firefighters, meteorologist Mike Charnick told the Herald. Storms could produce flash flooding and landslides in burn scar area, “and it doesn’t take a whole lot of rainfall to do that,” Charnick said.