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ПУБЛІЧНА ПРАВДА

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Суд у Києві визнав незаконною відмову в наданні притулку російському активісту Шехтману

Апеляційний адміністративний суд Києва 19 березня визнав незаконною відмову в політичному притулку російському активісту Павлу Шехтману.

Про це повідомляють користувачі соцмереж, які вітають активіста з перемогою. Сам Шехтман про це ще не писав, раніше цього тижня він нагадував про чергове засідання у своїй справі.

Раніше міграційна служба України відмовила Шехтману в наданні притулку. Відомство послалося на те, що в Росії активіст перебуває в розшуку за статтею про порушення ненависті або ворожнечі (стаття 282 Кримінального кодексу РФ).

Міграційну службу «мало хвилювало, що ст. 282 КК РФ… застосовується в Росії як інструмент розправи режиму над опозицією і інакомисленням, а Павло Шехтман відомий в Росії своєю громадянською позицією, спрямованою проти Кремля», написав у Facebook користувач Олександр Ретівов.

Згодом активіст виграв у міграційної служби суд першої інстанції. Однак відомство подало апеляцію.

Павло Шехтман – російський громадський активіст і історик. Брав участь в захисті Хімкінського лісу під Москвою, частина якого була знищена під час будівництва автотраси.

У вересні 2014 року Слідчий комітет порушив відносно Шехтмана кримінальну справу за статтею 282 КК РФ. Приводом став репост у Facebook повідомлення про розстріл українців у Донецьку. За версією слідства, Шехтман закликав до вбивств журналістів російських державних телеканалів. Активіста затримали в лютому 2015 року, незабаром суд відправив його під домашній арешт. Через кілька днів Шехтман втік в Україну.


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Токаєв склав присягу в.о. президента Казахстану

Спікер верхньої палати парламенту Казахстану, Сенату, Касим-Жомарт Токаєв склав присягу виконувача обов’язків президента країни 20 березня.

Він буде перебувати на цій посаді решту президентського терміну Нурсултана Назарбаєва, який 19 березня оголосив про відставку. Це передбачає конституція країни.

Чергові вибори президента в Казахстані мають відбутися 2020 року.

Президент Казахстану Нурсултан Назарбаєв заявив 19 березня, що подає у відставку. Про складення повноважень він оголосив у зверненні до народу.

Нурсултан Назарбаєв, який керував Казахстаном майже 30 років, довічно залишиться головою Ради безпеки центральноазійської держави. Такий закон був ухвалений парламентом у 2018 року.

Назарбаєв також залишається головою владної партії «Нур-Отан».

65-річний Токаєв є кар’єрним дипломатом, у минулому він був міністром закордонних справ і прем’єр-міністром. Він здобув освіту в Москві, вільно говорить казахською, російською, англійською і китайською мовами.

78-річний Нурсултан Назарбаєв беззмінно очолював Казахстан з квітня 1990 року. У квітні 2015 року він був переобраний на п’ятий президентський термін на дострокових виборах. На них він набрав 97,75% голосів виборців.

 


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У Гаазі оголосять рішення за апеляцією в справі Караджича

Судді ООН у Гаазі 20 березня оголосять рішення за апеляцією у справі колишнього лідера боснійських сербів Радована Караджича на вирок Міжнародного трибуналу щодо колишньої Югославії (МТКЮ).

Представники судового органу ООН – Механізму ООН для міжнародних кримінальних трибуналів (MICT) – вирішать, зокрема, чи слід підтримувати чи скасовувати вирок Караджичу від 2016 рік за звинуваченням у геноциді, злочинах проти людяності і воєнних злочинах.

Вони також вирішать, чи підтримувати 40-річне ув’язнення, визначене попереднім судом, Міжнародним трибуналом з питань колишньої Югославії (МТКЮ), який припинив роботу наприкінці 2017 року.

Міжнародний трибунал щодо колишньої Югославії виніс вирок Караджичу у березні 2016 року, визнавши його винним у геноциді, воєнних злочинах та злочинах про людяності та призначив покарання у 40 років ув’язнення.

Серед 11 пунктів обвинувачення, висунутих лідеру боснійських сербів, два стосувалися геноциду – різанини у Сребрениці, коли у липні 1995 року були убиті майже 8 тисяч хлопчиків і чоловіків – боснійських мусульман, а також облоги Сараєва, що тривала 44 місяці під час Боснійської війни 1992-1995 років.

Усього ж під час війни на Балканах у 1992-1995 роках загинуло понад 100 тисяч людей, а близько 2,2 мільйона змушені були залишити свої будинки.

Після цього юрисдикцію Міжнародного трибуналу щодо колишньої Югославії (МТКЮ) та Міжнародного кримінального трибуналу щодо Руанди (МКТР) продовжує Механізм міжнародних кримінальних трибуналів ООН.

Механізм уповноважений здійснювати судове переслідування осіб, яким винесли вироки Міжнародні трибунали щодо подій у Руанді й колишній Югославії.


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Ukraine’s Night Train to the Front Lines

Ukraine is gearing up for presidential elections at the end of this month, a vote that holds huge implications for a country still at war with Russian-backed separatists. There are other issues on the agenda too – not least getting around this vast country. The dilapidated infrastructure means long night trains are the only practical transport. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell jumped on board to chat with some of the passengers heading east.


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Trump Accuses Twitter, Facebook, Google of Siding with ‘Radical Left Democrats’

U.S. President Donald Trump has accused social media outlets, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, of being biased, and suggested that the situation needs scrutiny. In answer to a reporter at the White House Tuesday, Trump said digital platforms tend to suppress Republican and conservative views. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports.


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US Missile Defense Cuts Worry Analysts

The U.S. has proposed reducing its missile defense budget as adversaries Russia, China, Iran and North Korea continue to modernize and increase their missile capabilities. But as VOA’s Brian Padden reports, defense analysts argue more funding is needed to deal with the growing missile threat to the U.S. homeland.


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Trump Meets Brazil Counterpart Dubbed ‘Trump of the Tropics’

Brazil’s new right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics”, met President Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday. The leaders discussed a range of trade and military issues, including finding a resolution to the political crisis in Venezuela, with Trump suggesting an offer of preferential military cooperation status to Brazil. White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has this report.


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Indonesian President’s Lead Over Election Rival Cut in New Survey

A new Indonesian election survey shows President Joko Widodo’s big lead over his challenger, retired general Prabowo Subianto, is narrowing, just weeks ahead of next month’s vote in the world’s third-largest democracy.

The April 17 election will be a rerun of the 2014 race, in which Widodo beat out Prabowo by almost six percentage points.

A survey by pollster Litbang Kompas, which is part of Indonesia’s biggest newspaper Kompas, shows Widodo likely to win 49.2 percent of the vote, surpassing 37.4 percent for Prabowo.

Although still a double-digit lead, the electability gap in the survey between February 22 and March 5 was narrower than the Kompas survey in October that gave Widodo a 19.9-percentage point lead over his rival.

Opinion polls in January by other pollsters, including Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting and Australian-based Roy Morgan, put Widodo at an advantage of about 20 percentage points over Prabowo.

The president’s campaign team is confident he will still win by a big margin, spokeswoman Meutya Hafid said in a statement.

“There’s a number of indications why votes for Jokowi will be higher than in 2014,” she said, referring to the president by a popular nickname.

“Jokowi will be able to grab votes from places that are normally the stronghold of candidate number two (Prabowo), such as West Java,” Hafid said, referring to Indonesia’s most populous province.

The latest Kompas survey showed Widodo’s support may be shrinking among mature millennials aged between 31 and 40, as well as baby boomers.

After a slow beginning, the six-month campaign has picked up pace, with televised debates between the candidates and rallies held across the archipelago of more than 17,000 islands.

Some analysts say the debates were a missed opportunity for Prabowo, who has struggled to land any big blows against Widodo, while the president has appeared workman-like in projecting his achievements in areas such as infrastructure while in office.

But the challenger’s running mate, private equity tycoon Sandiaga Uno, has appeared to generate a buzz on the campaign trail while proving popular online, especially with women and young voters.

Uno attacked Widodo’s track record on education and healthcare last weekend, saying his government would be able to solve Indonesia’s problems in education and large deficits in health insurance.

Last week, the anti-graft agency named a prominent politician backing Widodo’s re-election campaign a suspect in a bribery case, which could further dent his campaign.


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Radovan Karadzic Faces Final Verdict in War Crimes Case

United Nations appeals judges on Wednesday hand down a final verdict in the case of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, a key figure in the Balkan wars who is serving a 40-year prison sentence for genocide.

The ruling will likely bring to a close one of the highest profile trials stemming from the series of wars in the 1990s that saw the bloody collapse of the former Yugoslavia and death of at least 100,000 Bosnians.

Karadzic, 73, was convicted in 2016 for the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces. He was also found guilty of leading a campaign of ethnic cleansing that drove Croats and Muslims out of Serb-claimed areas of Bosnia.

On appeal, prosecutors are seeking a life sentence and a second genocide conviction for his alleged role in that policy of targeting non-Serbs across several Bosnian towns in the early years of the war. Karadzic meanwhile is appealing against his conviction and wants a retrial.

The ruling, which is final and cannot be challenged on appeal, will have huge resonance in the former Yugoslavia, especially in Bosnia, where ethnic communities remain divided and Karadzic is still seen as a hero by many Bosnian Serbs.

The judgment will be read out at 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT) in The Hague at a U.N. court handling cases left over when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia closed its doors in 2017.

A delegation of the association of Mothers of Srebrenica will be in the Netherlands for the judgment.

In hiding for nearly a decade, Karadzic was arrested and handed over to the court in July 2008.


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Turkish President Stokes Anti-Western Rhetoric Over New Zealand Killings

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded Tuesday that New Zealand reinstate the death penalty and apply it in the case of the gunman who killed 50 people in two Christchurch mosques. The demand is the latest escalation in rhetoric by Erdogan in the face of Wellington’s call for moderation.

“You heinously killed 50 of our siblings. You will pay for this. If New Zealand doesn’t make you,” Erdogan told supporters during a campaign rally ahead of local elections. Erdogan also said, “The necessary action needs to be taken” by the New Zealand parliament.

Erdogan has made the mosque killings a central part of his local election campaign. A grainy video of the gunman attacking the mosques has been repeatedly played at his campaign meetings.

Lisel Hintz, an assistant professor of international relations at the Johns Hopkins University, says the broadcast of the video plays into Erdogan’s hands.

“Showing footage of the Christchurch massacre, recorded by the shooter himself, is intended to incite fears of Islamophobia and bolster Erdogan’s image as protector of Muslims in a world hostile to them,” she said. Other analysts say many Erdogan supporters are drawn from nationalist and Islamist backgrounds.

The New Zealand government has called on Ankara to stop airing the video and to turn down the rhetoric, which Wellington warns could provoke attacks on New Zealand citizens. Wellington also points out that the suspect is an Australian citizen.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said Tuesday he is traveling to Turkey “to set the record straight.”

Erdogan again used the video of the mosque attacks, however, at two televised campaign rallies attended by thousands of people.

‘Anti-Western sentiments’

The Turkish president is seeking to build support for his religious conservative AKP ahead of local elections March 31. Analysts suggest that with the economy in recession, soaring unemployment, and double-digit inflation, Erdogan wants to change the political narrative.

“This anti-Western rhetoric pays off every time — it’s a fundamental part of Turkish politics,” said political scientist Cengiz Aktar. “He is using it this time in the forthcoming elections to galvanize his supporters who are fundamentally anti-Western.”

Hintz offered a similar assessment.

“Erdogan’s close ties with media groups and influence over an estimated 90 percent of news production allowed him to shield many Turks from the country’s debt and lira crises, but long lines and rotting vegetables make Turkey’s economic turmoil starkly apparent,” Hintz said. “Absent a narrative of growth, Erdogan resorts to stoking anti-Western sentiments in the hopes that nationalist emotions rather than pocketbook concerns will prevail at the polls.”

During a televised meeting Monday, Erdogan accused the Western media and European leaders of an “insidious” silence over the mosque attacks, accusing the European Union of being an “enemy of Islam.”

“Erdogan still plays the foreign conspiracy angle at his election rallies,” said analyst Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners. Ankara has for decades been seeking to join the EU, blaming the delay on prejudice on the grounds that Turkey is a Muslim country. Brussels maintains the delay is due to Ankara’s failure to comply with membership requirements, in particular over human rights.

‘Reviving the battlefield memories’

Erdogan’s escalating rhetoric threatens to cast a shadow over commemorations marking the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I. The ill-fated British-led invasion of the then-Ottoman empire sought to create a bridgehead opening the way to capture Istanbul. The campaign ended in defeat with large numbers of Australians and New Zealanders, along with Turks, killed. The March remembrance ceremonies at the battle sites traditionally draw large numbers of Australians and New Zealanders.

At a Gallipoli memorial Monday, Erdogan highlighted a manifesto posted online by the gunman, in which the suspect called for Turks to be driven out of Istanbul.

“You will not turn Istanbul into Constantinople,” Erdogan said, referring to the city’s name under its Christian Byzantine rulers before Muslim Ottomans conquered it in 1453.

“Your grandparents came here … and they returned in caskets,” he said. “Have no doubt we will send you back like your grandfathers,” he added.

The Gallipoli commemorations are traditionally a symbol of goodwill among Turkey, New Zealand and Australia, with the World War I campaign widely seen as a defining moment in the formation of all three countries.

“Erdogan has managed to overturn this peaceful rhetoric of never again [a conflict],” Aktar said. “He is reviving the battlefield memories, for more antagonism against the Western world.”

Social media pushback

On social media, there is a strong pushback against the Turkish president’s rhetoric. Many Turks posted a well-known quote of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, speaking after the Gallipoli Campaign.

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives. … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies [a reference to enemy soldiers] and the Mehmets [Turkish soldiers] to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.”

Ataturk was at the forefront of leading the defense of Gallipoli, a success that propelled him to found the secular republic.

Analysts say Erdogan likely is calculating that the current controversy can only serve as a useful distraction from the country’s economic woes.

“Whatever the potential electoral benefit, we are seeing across the globe that the societal cost of drawing on fear and hatred continues to take its polarizing toll long after polls close,” Hintz said.

The reopening of the traditional deep political divide between Erdogan supporters and critics usually consolidates the president’s voting base, which opinion polls indicate is starting to weaken over dissatisfaction from rising prices and unemployment.

VOA’s Ezel Sahinkaya contributed to this report.


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Italy Set to Join China’s Belt & Road Initiative

Italy is expected to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, when Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives Thursday in Rome.

The United States has been critical of the trillion-dollar global infrastructure project and warned about the risks of “debt-trap diplomacy.” Members of the European Union are worried the plan could add to fissures in an already strained coalition.

When Xi visits this week, analysts say Italy is expected to sign a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China. That agreement will pave the way for construction projects and financing from the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

“The MoU is mostly perceived as a way to secure more exports to China and more chances to access financing from the AIIB,” said Alessia Amighini, co-head of Asia Center at ISPI, a Rome-based research group.

Rome expects to reduce its trade deficit with China and avoid some heavy expenses by attracting Chinese and AIIB investments in big infrastructure projects. The agreement also will give Chinese companies more access to the busy port of Trieste, and in turn, the Mediterranean.

Reports emanating from Italy suggest Rome also is looking at the possibility of inviting Chinese companies to expand or manage three other Italian seaports, which are Genoa, Palermo and Ravenna.

“Italy is eager to attract investments to improve its competitive position compared to northern European routes and ports,” Amighini said.

Clearly, China is exploiting business competition within the Eurozone and trying to wean away an important member by offering a set of attractive terms, analysts note.

The MoU signing will represent a major political achievement for China at a time of growing concerns and criticism of the plan. Italy is a founding member of the European Union and could help open up doors for Beijing to the Eurozone.

So far, the Belt and Road Initiative’s biggest projects and controversies have been tied to countries with serious financial difficulties, such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Greece.

With Italy’s decision to join, China is dealing with a country where there is less fear of slipping into a debt trap under the program.

But it is likely to challenge Europe’s connectivity strategy, a plan that was unveiled in September 2018 and aims to improve links within Europe and with Asia while promoting sustainability standards and rules-based practices.

Analysts are waiting to find out if Xi will offer a modified version of the program to Italy to meet European standards; but adopting those standards would take away China’s ability to cut costs and reduce its competitive edge.

“I don’t expect China to show more flexibility. In any case; I don’t see financing terms as a real issue in Europe,” Amighini said.

European disunity

Teresa Coratella, program manager at the Rome office of the European Council on Foreign Affairs, said the Italian move has the potential of creating disunity in the European Union at a time when the coalition is working out a common approach toward Chinese investments.

Both the U.S. and France have expressed discomfort about Rome’s move, while German officials reportedly have been lobbying against the MOU signing. Italy, a member of the Group of Seven most industrialized countries, is the only G7 nation to join the BRI.

“Italy is a major global economy and great investment destination. No need for Italian government to lend legitimacy to China’s infrastructure vanity project,” tweeted Garrett Marquis, spokesman for White House’s group of national security advisors.

French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed unease about Rome’s decision, and he has called for a “coordinated approach” covering all European Union members toward Chinese plans.

“It’s a good thing that China is taking part in the development of many countries, but I believe in the spirit of equality, reciprocity. The spirit of equality means respecting the sovereignty of nations,” Macron said.

Lucrezia Poggetti, a research associate with Merics, the Berlin-based research institution, said Italy is the third-largest economy in the eurozone, and an Italian signature on the BRI has wide implications.

“Italy’s decision in itself is bad news for the EU and its largest members, who are currently trying to pursue a more unified European China strategy to address challenges with the economic and political weight of the EU bloc,” she said.

Rome’s attraction toward the BRI is not new. Former Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni was the only head of government among G-7 countries to attend the first meeting of the Belt and Road Forum in May 2017.

The current government would “go much further by officially endorsing an initiative that has been criticized internationally for, among other things, creating debt traps, political dependencies and promoting exclusively the interests of Chinese companies through unfair practices that don’t meet international standards and rules,” said Poggetti.

Zhiqun Zhu, who chairs the Department of International Relations at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, said the United States is exaggerating the idea of a China threat in all issues, including the BRI plan.

“Italy and other countries should make their own decisions instead of being forced to choose sides between the U.S. and China,” Zhu said.

 


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Прихильники Гуайдо взяли під контроль 3 венесуельські дипоб’єкти у США

Прихильники лідера опозиції Венесуели Хуана Гуайдо взяли під контроль три дипломатичні об’єкти своєї країни у Сполучених Штатах, повідомив 18 березня призначений Гуайдо посол у США Карлос Веккіо. За його словами, йдеться про дві будівлі, що належать міністерству оборони Венесуели у Вашингтоні, і консульська установу в Нью-Йорку. Веккіо заявив, що опозиція планує «найближчими днями» взяти під контроль і посольство Венесуели у Вашингтоні.

«Ми повертаємо і захищаємо активи венесуельського народу, щоб не дати режиму узурпатора продовжити красти і нищити його, як це було останні 20 років», – сказав Веккіо.

Хорхе Арреаза, міністр закордонних справ Венесуели в уряді Ніколаса Мадуро, назвав події «насильницькою і незаконною окупацією». У Мадуро назвали цю акцію «надзвичайно серйозним порушенням міжнародних зобов’язань уряду США».

Представник Держдепартаменту США підтвердив, що адміністрація США підтримала цей крок.

Сполучені Штати і близько 50 інших країн визнають Гуайдо тимчасовим президентом Венесуели. Росія і Китай входять в числа країн, що підтримують Мадуро.

Держсекретар США Майк Помпео 14 березня заявив, що всі дипломати і співробітники США покинули Венесуелу. Гуайдо, який очолює контрольовані опозицією Національні збори, оголосив себе тимчасовим президентом Венесуели в січні.

Ніколас Мадуро, який вступив на посаду в 2013 році після смерті Уго Чавеса, був приведений до присяги на другий термін у січні після весняних виборів 2018 року. Опозиція бойкотувала голосування, заявила про фальсифікації, що і призвело до масових вуличних протестів.


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