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November 18th, 2019 by Vbiz

 Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited President Donald Trump to testify in front of investigators in the House impeachment inquiry ahead of a week that will see several key witnesses appear publicly.

Pushing back against accusations from the president that the process has been stacked against him, Pelosi said Trump is welcome to appear or answer questions in writing, if he chooses.

“If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it,” she said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Trump “could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants,” she said.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer echoed that suggestion.

“If Donald Trump doesn’t agree with what he’s hearing, doesn’t like what he’s hearing, he shouldn’t tweet. He should come to the committee and testify under oath. And he should allow all those around him to come to the committee and testify under oath,” Schumer told reporters. He said the White House’s insistence on blocking witnesses from cooperating begs the question: “What is he hiding?”

The comments come as the House Intelligence Committee prepares for a second week of public hearings as part of its inquiry, including with the man who is arguably the most important witness. Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, is among the only people interviewed to date who had direct conversations with the Republican president about the situation because the White House has blocked others from cooperating with what it dismisses as a sham investigation. And testimony suggests he was intimately involved in discussions that are at the heart of the investigation into whether Trump held up U.S. military aid to Ukraine to try to pressure the country’s president to announce an investigation into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 candidate, and Biden’s son Hunter.

Multiple witnesses overheard a phone call in which Trump and Sondland reportedly discussed efforts to push for the investigations. In private testimony to impeachment investigators made public Saturday, Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide and longtime Republican defense hawk, said Sondland told him he was discussing Ukraine matters directly with Trump.

Morrison said Sondland and Trump had spoken approximately five times between July 15 and Sept. 11 – the weeks that $391 million in U.S. assistance was withheld from Ukraine before it was released.

And he recounted that Sondland told a top Ukrainian official in a meeting that the vital U.S. military assistance might be freed up if the country’s top prosecutor “would go to the mike and announce that he was opening the Burisma investigation.” Burisma is the gas company that hired Hunter Biden.

Morrison’s testimony contradicted much of what Sondland told congressional investigators during his own closed-door deposition, which the ambassador later amended.

Trump has said he has no recollection of the overheard call and has suggested he barely knew Sondland, a wealthy donor to his 2016 campaign. But Democrats are hoping he sheds new light on the discussions.

“I’m not going to try to prejudge his testimony,” Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said on “Fox News Sunday.” But he suggested, “it was not lost on Ambassador Sondland what happened to the president’s close associate Roger Stone for lying to Congress, to Michael Cohen for lying to Congress. My guess is that Ambassador Sondland is going to do his level best to tell the truth, because otherwise he may have a very unpleasant legal future in front of him.”

The committee also will be interviewing a long list of others. On Tuesday, it’ll hear from Morrison along with Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Alexander Vindman, the director for European affairs at the National Security Council, and Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine.

On Wednesday the committee will hear from Sondland in addition to Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, and David Hale, a State Department official. And on Thursday, Fiona Hill, a former top NSC staffer for Europe and Russia, will appear.

Trump, meanwhile, continued to tweet and retweet a steady stream of commentary from supporters as he bashed “The Crazed, Do Nothing Democrats” for “turning Impeachment into a routine partisan weapon.”

“That is very bad for our Country, and not what the Founders had in mind!!!!” he wrote.

He also tweeted a doctored video exchange between Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, in which Schiff said he did not know the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the inquiry. The clip has been altered to show Schiff wearing a referee’s uniform and loudly blowing a whistle.

In her CBS interview, Pelosi vowed to protect the whistleblower, whom Trump has said should be forced to come forward despite longstanding whistleblower protections.

“I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower,” Pelosi said.

Trump has been under fire for his treatment of one of the witnesses, the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump criticized by tweet as she was testifying last week.

That attack prompted accusations of witness intimidation from Democrats and even some criticism from Republicans, who have been largely united in their defense of Trump.

“I think, along with most people, I find the president’s tweet generally unfortunate,” said Ohio Republican Rep. Mike Turner on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Still, he insisted that tweets were “certainly not impeachable and it’s certainly not criminal. And it’s certainly not witness intimidation,” even if Yovanovitch said she felt intimidated by the attacks.

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said Trump “communicates in ways that sometimes I wouldn’t,” but dismissed the significance of the attacks.

“If your basis for impeachment is going to include a tweet, that shows how weak the evidence for that impeachment is,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

And the backlash didn’t stop Trump from lashing out at yet another witness, this time Pence aide Williams. He directed her in a Sunday tweet to “meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”


Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 18th, 2019 by Vbiz

An airstrike slammed into a biscuit factory in the capital, Tripoli, on Monday killing at least seven workers including five foreign nationals and two Libyans, health authorities said.

Tripoli has been the scene of fighting since April between the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, and an array of militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported but weak government which holds the capital.

The Tripoli-based health ministry said the airstrike took place in the capital’s Wadi el-Rabie neighborhood, the south of the city center where fighting has been raging for months.

Malek Merset, a spokesman with the ministry, told The Associated Press that the dead included five workers from Bangladesh, and two Libyan nationals.

The airstrike also wounded at least 15 foreign workers, mostly from Niger and Bangladesh, who were taken to nearby hospitals for urgent treatment.

Footage shared online showed wounded people with bandages and blood on their legs on stretchers before being taken by ambulances to hospitals.

Fighting for Tripoli has stalled in recent months, with both sides dug in and shelling one another along the city’s southern reaches. The months of combat have killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands.

The fighting threatens to plunge Libya into another bout of violence on the scale of the 2011 conflict that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Libya has been divided into rival governments, with Tripoli controlling parts of the country’s west, and a rival government in the east aligned with Hifter’s force. Each side is backed by an array of militias and armed groups fighting over resources and territory.




Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 18th, 2019 by Vbiz

Hundreds of students from a New Delhi university faced off Monday with police, who stopped their march toward Parliament to protest increased student housing fees.
The students from Jawaharlal Nehru University chanted slogans and attempted to cross police barricades. Police detained several students during the march.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union said in a statement that the students were attacked by the police during the protest.
“The police used brutal force to disrupt our peaceful march and several students have been injured,” the statement said.
The students wanted to appeal to lawmakers to intervene in their university’s decision to hike the fees, which they have been protesting for more than two weeks. Last week, hundreds of protesting students clashed with the police during the university’s graduation ceremony.
Rent for a single-bedroom was increased to the equivalent of more than $8 per month from less than $1 per month. The security deposit more than doubled to more than $160.
Many students said they fear the fee structure would make education inaccessible to underprivileged students.
“I am the first from my family to study at a university. By raising housing fees, the university administration is putting a price on affordable education,” said Jyoti Sharma, a student at the march.
Students held signs at the march reading “Save public education” and “Ensure affordable hostels for all.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury offered his support to the protesting students.
“A peaceful protest march to Parliament against the unprecedented fee hikes is being forcibly stopped by the police. Strongly condemn this denial of basic democratic right to protest,” he tweeted.
The students marched despite the university saying it would partially roll back the fees.
“The students will not pay the increased fee,” said Ashutosh Verma, a student.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 17th, 2019 by Vbiz

Over the past five months, millions have marched through Hong Kong, demanding democratic reform in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Next Sunday (November 24), Hong Kongers will finally get a chance to express their opinion, albeit in a limited way, by casting votes. If the vote goes ahead as planned, pro-democracy forces are hoping for a big win, as VOA’s William Gallo reports.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 17th, 2019 by Vbiz

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds a clear lead among Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa, the state that will hold the first nominating contest in February, a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom opinion poll showed on Saturday.

Buttigieg’s support climbed to 25%, a 16-point increase since the previous survey in September, CNN reported.

It said there was a close three-way battle for second with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 16%, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders each at 15%.

Since September, Warren dropped six percentage points and Biden slipped five points, while Sanders gained four points, CNN said.

Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, told the network the news was encouraging and his campaign felt growing momentum in the farm state, but there was “still a lot of work to do” in increasing his name recognition there.

Buttigieg also led Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa in a Monmouth University poll released on Tuesday.

A New York Times/Sienna poll released earlier this month also showed Buttigieg’s support surging in Iowa, but still behind Warren and Sanders. Nationally, he does not fare nearly as well, averaging around 8% in polls.

Buttigieg’s campaign is betting a strong finish in the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3 will help quell questions about whether he is ready for the big stage, and persuade reluctant black and Hispanic voters to give him a second look.

Buttigieg, 37, has invested heavily in Iowa from the start.

His campaign has more than 100 staffers and 20 offices in the state, among the most of any candidate.

Buttigieg finished the third quarter with $23.4 million in campaign cash on hand, ranking third behind Warren and Sanders at $25.7 million and $33.7 million, respectively. Biden had $8.9 million, forcing his campaign to abandon a promise to reject support from political action committees.


Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 17th, 2019 by Vbiz
Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia and who is a career Foreign Service officer, arrives for a closed-door interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 7, 2019.

Impeachment hearings targeting U.S. President Donald Trump are heading into a second week, with key witnesses set to testify about how he pushed Ukraine to investigate one of his chief 2020 Democratic challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden, while temporarily withholding military aid Kyiv wanted.

Eight more current and former government officials will appear before the House Intelligence Committee for nationally televised sessions, with a central figure, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, set to appear Wednesday.

In amended behind-closed-doors testimony, Sondland, a million-dollar Trump political donor before being tapped by Trump for the EU posting in Brussels, said that he had warned an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in early September that it would not get the U.S. military assistance it wanted unless the Kyiv leader publicly committed to opening the investigation of Biden.

FILE – President Donald Trump speaks to reporters outside the White House, in Washington, Nov. 9, 2019.

It was a reciprocal, quid pro quo deal that Trump has denied occurred but is central to the efforts of Democratic lawmakers to impeach the country’s 45th president. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and ridiculed the impeachment effort as a sham proceeding. Trump eventually released the $391 million in military aid on Sept. 11 without Ukraine launching a Biden investigation.

Other figures linked to the impeachment inquiry have corroborated Sondland’s testimony. In a transcript of private testimony released Saturday, Tim Morrison, a White House national security aide, said late last month that Sondland had spoken with Trump about a half dozen times in recent months and had talked with a top Ukraine official about winning release of the military assistance Kyiv wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country in exchange for investigations that benefited Trump politically.

“His mandate from the president was to go make deals,” Morrison said of Sondland. 

Morrison is set to testify publicly before the impeachment panel on Tuesday, alongside Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine who, as others have, testified that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer named by him to oversee Ukraine affairs, was the driving force to get Kyiv to open the politically tinged investigation to help the U.S. leader.

David Holmes, a career diplomat and the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ukaine leaves the Capitol Hill, Nov. 15, 2019, in Washington, after a deposition before congressional lawmakers.

Late last week, David Holmes, an aide to William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv, told impeachment investigations in private testimony that he overheard a July 26 cell phone conversation between Trump and Sondland at a Kyiv restaurant in which the president inquired whether Zelenskiy was going to pursue the investigations of Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and a debunked theory that Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 election that Trump won.  U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia was behind the election meddling. 

Holmes said Sondland in the cell phone call assured Trump that Zelenskiy “loves your ass.”

“So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Holmes quoted Trump as asking. Sondland, according to Holmes, replied, “He’s gonna do it,” while adding that Zelenskiy will do “anything you ask him to.”

Holmes said he later asked Sondland if Trump cared about Ukraine, with the envoy replying that Trump did not “give a s**t about Ukraine.”

“I asked why not, and Ambassador Sondland stated that the president only cares about ‘big stuff,’” Holmes testified, according to a transcript posted by CNN. “I noted that there was ‘big stuff’ going on in Ukraine, like a war with Russia, and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant ‘big stuff’ that benefits the president, like the ‘Biden investigation.”’

Before Sondland revised his testimony to say there had been a quid pro quo — the military aid for the Biden investigation — Trump had called Sondland a “great American.” But after Sondland changed his testimony, Trump said, “I hardly know the gentleman.”

On Tuesday, the House Intelligence panel is also set to hear from Jennifer Williams, a foreign affairs aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European affairs at the National Security Council. Both of them listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy asking the Ukrainian leader for “a favor,” the investigations of the Bidens.

Both Williams and Vindman have voiced concerns about Trump’s request. It is against U.S. campaign finance law to solicit foreign assistance for help in a U.S. election.

Aside from Sondland, the Intelligence panel is also hearing Wednesday from Laura Cooper, a Defense Department official, and David Hale, the undersecretary of State for political affairs. Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia, is testifying Thursday.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks with Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman (L) and other staffers during testimony from Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.

Political analysts in Washington say the Trump impeachment drama could last for several months. If Trump is impeached by a simple majority in the House, perhaps by the end of the year as appears possible, a trial would be held in January in the Republican-majority Senate, where a two-thirds vote would be needed for his conviction and removal from office.

The time frame could bump up against the first Democratic party presidential nominating contests starting in February, when voters will begin casting ballots on who they want to oppose Trump when he seeks a second four-year term in the November 2020 national election. Six Democratic senators are among those running for the party’s presidential nomination, but could be forced to stay in Washington to sit as jurors in the 100-member Senate as it decides Trump’s fate, rather than campaign full-time for the presidency. 

Trump’s removal from office remains unlikely, with at least 20 Republicans needed to turn against him and vote for his conviction. 

To date, while a small number of Republicans have criticized Trump for his actions on Ukraine, no Republican senator has called for his removal from office through impeachment, a drastic action that has never occurred in U.S. history.  

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 17th, 2019 by Vbiz

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says all Conservative Party candidates in the upcoming election have pledged to back his Brexit deal. 

“All 635 Conservative candidates standing at this election — every single one of them — has pledged to me that if elected they will vote in Parliament to pass my Brexit deal so we can end the uncertainty and finally leave the EU,” Johnson told London’s Telegraph newspaper in an interview published late on Saturday. 

“I am offering a pact with the people: If you vote Conservative you can be 100% sure a majority Conservative government will unblock Parliament and get Brexit done,” he said. 

The December 12 election was called to end three years of disagreement over Brexit that has sapped investors’ faith in the stability of the world’s fifth-largest economy and damaged Britain’s standing since it voted in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. 

Johnson, 55, hopes to win a majority to push through the last-minute Brexit deal he struck with the EU last month after the bloc granted a third delay to the divorce that was originally supposed to take place March 29. Voters in a 2016 referendum narrowly voted in favor of leaving the EU. 

Johnson’s Conservatives lead Labour by sizable margins, four polls published Saturday show. 

A YouGov poll showed support for the Conservatives at 45%, the highest level since 2017, compared with Labour at 28%, unchanged. The pro-European Union Liberal Democrats were at 15%, and the Brexit Party was at 4%, unchanged. 

A separate poll for SavantaComRes also said support for the Conservatives was the highest since 2017, at 41%. Labour’s support was at 33%. 

The Conservatives have a 16-point lead over Labour, according to an opinion poll published by Opinium Research, and a poll by the Mail on Sunday said Johnson’s party had a 15-point lead over Labour. 

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 17th, 2019 by Vbiz

A federal judge on Saturday ordered that a German citizen arrested on her return to the country on suspicion of being a member of Islamic State should remain in custody, prosecutors said. 
Authorities said the suspect, identified only as Nasim A., left Germany for Syria in 2014, married a fighter and moved with him to Iraq. There she was paid to maintain an IS-controlled house and carried a weapon. 
She and her husband later moved to Syria, where she also maintained a house, prosecutors said. Kurdish security forces arrested her in early 2019. 
The woman was arrested Friday evening in Frankfurt upon her return to Germany. 
The judge determined Saturday that she remain in detention because of “suspicion of being a member of a terrorist organization in a foreign country,” prosecutors said. 

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 17th, 2019 by Vbiz

A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court has upended a long-standing legal roadblock that has given the gun industry far-reaching immunity from lawsuits in the aftermath of mass killings. 
The court this week allowed families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre to sue the maker of the AR-15 used in the attack. The case against Remington will now proceed in the Connecticut courts. 
Remington is widely expected to win the case, but critics of the gun industry are eyeing what they see as a significant outcome even in the face of defeat: getting the gunmaker to open its books about how it markets firearms. 
Lawyers for the plaintiffs are certain to request that Remington turn over volumes of documents as part of the discovery phase. Those materials might include company emails, memos, business plans and corporate strategies, or anything that might suggest the company purposely marketed the firearm that may have compelled the shooter to use the weapon to carry out the slaughter. 

Message to gun companies
The plaintiffs also believe the ruling will put gun companies on notice about how they conduct business, knowing they could wind up in the courts in similar fashion. 
“If the industry wakes up and understands their conduct behind closed doors is not protected, then the industry itself … will take steps to try to help the massive problem we have instead of do nothing and sit by and cash the checks,” said Joshua Koskoff, the Connecticut attorney who represents a survivor and relatives of nine victims who died at the Newtown, Connecticut, school on December 14, 2012.  

FILE - In this March 1, 2018 file photo, a light advertising Remington products hangs from the ceiling at Duke's Sport Shop in…
FILE – In this March 1, 2018, photo, a light advertising Remington products hangs from the ceiling at Duke’s Sport Shop in New Castle, Pa.

The case hinges on Connecticut state consumer law that challenges how the firearm used by the Newtown shooter — a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle — was marketed, with plaintiffs alleging Remington purposely used advertisements that targeted younger, at-risk males. One of Remington’s ads features the rifle against a plain backdrop and the phrase: “Consider Your Man Card Reissued.” 
Remington did not respond to requests for comment after the U.S. Supreme Court denied its efforts to quash the lawsuit. 
Larry Keane, senior vice president and legal counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gunmakers, said he expected Remington to  ultimately prevail and that it was unfair to blame the gunmaker for Adam Lanza’s crime. 
“Adam Lanza alone is the responsible person. Not Remington,” he said. 
2005 law

Suing the firearms industry has never been easy, and it was made even harder after Congress enacted the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005. The law backed by the National Rifle Association gave broad immunity to the gun industry. 
The plaintiffs’ chances of succeeding in this case are slim — a sentiment shared by the Connecticut Supreme Court, which said they face a “Herculean task” to prevail. 

Judges and juries generally have a tough time blaming anyone but the shooter for the crime, said Timothy D. Lytton, professor at Georgia State University’s College of Law and author of “Suing the Gun Industry: A Battle at the Crossroads of Gun Control and Mass Torts.”  

FILE - A firearms training unit detective holds up a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the same make and model of gun used in the Sandy Hook School shooting, during a hearing on gun laws in Hartford, Conn., Jan. 28, 2013.
FILE – A firearms training unit detective holds up a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the same make and model of gun used in the Sandy Hook school shooting, during a hearing on gun laws in Hartford, Conn., Jan. 28, 2013.

Add into the mix that Lanza himself didn’t own the firearm; he stole it from his mother after killing her in the home they shared, then went to the elementary school in Newtown, where he killed 20 children and six adults. 
“It makes it harder for juries to connect the dots. It’s a significant hurdle in all of these cases. It’s very rare that you have a very close time frame between the marketing of a weapon and a mass shooting,” Lytton said. 
Lanza’s mother purchased the Bushmaster AR-platform rifle in 2010 from a Connecticut gun shop. It’s unclear if she or her son were influenced by or had seen Remington’s advertising. 

Tough times for industry
Still, it’s been a tough few years for the industry. Sales plummeted with the election of President Donald Trump, and gun-control advocates have outspent perhaps his most loyal supporter: the NRA. With slumping sales, some companies, including Remington, have faced bankruptcy. And in the wake of high-profile mass shootings, corporate America has begun pushing back against the industry. 
AR-platform long guns have been a particular bone of contention for gun-control advocates who believe the firearms — once banned for a decade in the U.S. — are especially attractive to mass shooters for their ease of use and their ability to carry large-capacity magazines. 
While handguns remain used more often in mass shootings, ARs have been involved in some of the deadliest shootings, including when a gunman fired on a crowd of concertgoers outside his hotel room in Las Vegas in 2017, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds. 
The AR-15, its design based on the military M-16, has become one of the most popular firearms in the U.S. in recent decades. It’s lightweight, easy to customize and able to carry extended magazines, and its sales took off once the ban expired in 2004. There are now an estimated 16 million AR-platform long guns in the U.S. 

‘Embarrassing’ information
Robert J. Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland and a longtime watcher of gun politics, said a case against Remington could cause “pretty embarrassing information” to come out. 

“And it is certainly possible [plaintiffs] will find memos or other documents that may significantly support their case that Remington was manifestly irresponsible in the way they marketed their guns,” he said. 

Even if embarrassing information isn’t uncovered, he said, it could have a long-lasting impact on the industry and, more specifically, Remington. Considered the oldest gunmaker in the United States, Remington — founded in New York in 1816 and now based in Madison, North Carolina — only emerged from bankruptcy in 2018. 
“They’re obviously in a precarious financial situation and this suit is certainly not helpful to them trying to restore their financial health,” Spitzer said. 

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November 16th, 2019 by Vbiz

Five supporters of former president Evo Morales were killed Friday in violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Bolivia, according to an AFP correspondent who saw the bodies at a hospital.

Authorities did not report any deaths in the riots outside Cochabamba, though it said 100 people were detained. Media reports said eight were wounded.

Clashes had broken out Friday in the suburbs of Cochabamba, where thousands of coca growers were trying to reach the city center 11 miles (18 kilometers) away to join a protest against interim leader Jeanine Anez.

But they were blocked by police, who stopped them from crossing a bridge.

Injured demonstrators are seen inside an ambulance in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, November 15, 2019…
Injured demonstrators inside an ambulance in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, Nov. 15, 2019.

The protesters carried “weapons, guns, Molotov cocktails, homemade bazookas and explosive devices,” Cochabamba police commander Colonel Jamie Zurita said.

“They used dynamite and deadly weapons like the Mauser 765 (rifle). Neither the armed forces nor the police are equipped with such a caliber, I am worried,” he said.

The crowd was dispersed after dark by riot police, who were supported by the army and a helicopter.

Morales resigned and fled to Mexico after losing the support of Bolivia’s security forces following weeks of protests over his disputed Oct. 20 reelection.

With the five protesters killed Friday, the death toll from the unrest rises to 15 with more than 400 wounded.

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November 16th, 2019 by Vbiz

The Hong Kong government is probably considering measures to strengthen its crackdown on anti-government protesters after Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a direct warning, urging the city to “end violence and restore order,” analysts say.

Stepping up the suppression, however, may backfire, fueling tensions in the city and further hurting its economy if protesters refuse to back down, they add.

Xi told a summit in Brazil Thursday that “persistent radical and violent crimes have seriously trampled on the basic principle of ‘one country, two systems’ scheme” in Hong Kong, the state news agency People’s Daily reported.

Xi’s warning

“Stopping the violence and restoring order is Hong Kong’s most urgent task at present,” he said.

Xi also expressed support for the city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong police, and its judiciary in punishing what he called “violent criminals.”

“The Chinese government is unwavering in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and developmental interests, implementing the ‘one country, two systems’ scheme and deterring any interference by foreign forces in Hong Kong affairs,” he added.

While a reiteration of Beijing’s long-held stance, Xi’s remarks are effectively a direct order for Lam to get tough and end the city’s five months of political unrest, said Sang Pu, a critic and Hong Kong commentator.

“This [stance] was reiterated by Xi Jinping in his statement in Brazil and this Brazil statement makes sure that suppression overrides and prevails everything else. And this suppression will not go away very easily,” Sang said.

On Friday, protesters continued to paralyze parts of Hong Kong for a fifth day, forcing schools to close and blocking some main roads, as university students barricaded campuses and authorities struggled to calm the violence.

Lam also condemned an “attack” in London on Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng during a confrontation with protesters, during which Cheng suffered “serious bodily harm,” according to Hong Kong government statement. Lam said the incident was barbaric and violated the principles of a civilized society, the Hong Kong government said.

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam addresses a news conference in Hong Kong, China November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam addresses a news conference in Hong Kong, Nov. 11, 2019.

More emergency measures?

Sang said he believes Lam is considering emergency measures such as curfews or cutting off the Internet, as Xi’s statement followed a short-lived tweet by China’s tightly censored Global Times, saying that the city government was expected to announce a curfew this weekend.

The tweet was quickly deleted as by editor-in-chief Hu Xijin because there wasn’t sufficient information to back it up.

Media speculation was rife in Hong Kong that a meeting of ministers chaired by Lam late Wednesday was devoted to discussing emergency measures including the curfew. That led the city government to issue a press statement Thursday to clarify what it calls “rumors … totally unfounded.”

Sang said he believes the deleted tweet was meant to test the level of tolerance or fear for curfews among Hong Kongers while Lam gauges pressure from the outside world in deciding her next move.

Were Lam to step up the suppression against protesters, the city’s political crisis would worsen, as protesters would not back down, Sang said.

“Even if they’re tired, even this battle will not be the winning battle, they will still stride on because actually they have no other choices,” he said.

The reason is, he said “that if they now step back and then forgo any resistance anymore, the real suppression will come.”

“Many people including me myself and many other Hong Kongers will be arrested at home and even disappear suddenly,” he said.

A man inspects a Bestmart store which was vandalised during Sunday's anti-government protest in Hong Kong, China, October 21,…
FILE – A man inspects a Bestmart store that was vandalized during anti-government protests in Hong Kong, Oct. 21, 2019.

Escalation to hurt economy

The city’s political crisis appears to be deteriorating as internal conflicts aren’t easy to resolve, but any further escalation of tensions will badly hurt the city’s economy, said Liao Qun, chief economist at China CITIC Bank International.

Hong Kong “has already slipped into a recession in the third quarter and I expect to see another negative growth in the fourth quarter,” he said.

The recession will continue if the unrest fails to cool, he said, “However, if things cool down, we may begin to see a mild rebound.”

The economist warned that the city’s economy would take another hit if legislation under consideration in the U.S. Congress to impose sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong were to become law, but that would not force China to change how it rules Hong Kong, said Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Beijing’s Renmin University.

The act, he said, “will definitely have a serious adverse impact on the China-U.S. relations, the Chinese economy and Hong Kong’s financial stability.”

“No matter how large an impact there is, the People’s Republic of China government’s determination to safeguard its sovereignty over Hong Kong and the city’s stability won’t waver,” he said.

Shi added that Beijing will firmly support the Hong Kong government’s decisions to solve its political crisis even if Lam decides to invoke her emergency powers.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 16th, 2019 by Vbiz

Student protesters are barricading themselves at universities across Hong Kong, stockpiling makeshift weapons and turning campuses into what look like war zones. It marks a dangerous new phase in Hong Kong’s 5-month-old anti-government protests.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University now looks something more like a fortress. Hundreds of students have hunkered down, laying bricks to obstruct police vehicles they are certain eventually will arrive, and setting up multiple levels of security checkpoints. Inside, students arm themselves with whatever they can, including arrows, bricks and molotov cocktails.

Hong Kong has seen 24 weeks of protests, but what is taking place here is new. Students barricading themselves in at universities, preparing for extended confrontations. It’s the start of what could be a dangerous new phase of anti-government protests.”

WATCH: Inside Campus Fortresses, Hong Kong Students Prep for Battle

Inside Campus Fortresses, Hong Kong Students Prep for Battle video player.

Students don’t want to give their names. But this protester is eager to defend the aggressive tactics.

“We have seen the police brutality in Hong Kong … how can we tolerate that?”

This is going on in at least five Hong Kong campuses. Many schools canceled class for the semester. At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, police moved in earlier this week, prompting a night of clashes that looked more like battles for territory. Police later accused the students of turning the campuses into “weapons factories.”

But this protester says that’s unfair.

“The violence between us and the police is imbalanced. You can see that. We just use the things we have, just only some bottles or some plastic. But the police have the gun, have the tear gas. So the violence between us and the police is totally unbalanced.”

In the downtime, the students test their weapons, which sometimes don’t work. A light moment that masks the gravity of what they’re doing.

“All the protesters are scared. Because maybe we will die. But we think if we don’t stand up this day, all the freedom in Hong Kong will lose. So there is no way to [go] back for us.”

These are student protesters who know they’ll probably lose, but who nonetheless are prepared to fight.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 15th, 2019 by Vbiz

Washington’s defense cost-sharing demand could hurt the U.S.-South Korean alliance, said a former military general, suggesting the demand seems to stem from “a new paradigm” the Trump administration has adopted.

Bernard Champoux, a retired three-star general who served as commander of the Eighth Army in South Korea during the Obama administration, said he is “concerned about the impact” the increased cost-sharing demand “will have on the alliance.”

The U.S. has been asking South Korea to pay more for keeping about 28,500 American troops in South Korea in the cost-sharing deal set to expire at the end of this year.

In the last round of negotiations for the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) held in October in Honolulu, Washington asked Seoul to pay about $5 billion for next year, an amount that is more than five times the $924 million Seoul agreed to shoulder for this year.

Incoming Commander General of the Eighth U.S. Army, Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, second from left, ROK-US Combined Forces Command…
Incoming Commander General of the Eighth U.S. Army, Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, second from left, ROK-US Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea Commander Curtis Scaparrotti, center, and outgoing Commander General of the Eighth U.S. Army, Lt. Gen. Bernard Champoux, second from right, during a change of command ceremony at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 2, 2016.

New cost-sharing paradigm

Champoux said the U.S. demand for the increased defense cost-sharing stems from a “new paradigm” adopted by the Trump administration.

Champoux said the increased cost-sharing demand “is not a negotiating tactic because this is the result of a new paradigm.” He continued, “It’s perhaps consistent with the way this administration has looked at the burden sharing of all our allies, to include Japan and the NATO allies.”

As a way of pushing his “American First” policy, a slogan Trump used in his presidential campaign, Trump has given a priority to U.S. national economic interests in broad-ranging foreign policy issues including trade and military alliances.

The approach had Trump declaring the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), America’s military alliance with North American and European countries, was “obsolete” and costing too much in January, only to roll back to say, “It’s no longer obsolete” in April.

For years before he entered the political arena, Trump had complained that U.S. allies did not pay the U.S. enough for bases and troops used in their defense and, earlier this year, pushed for the “Cost Plus 50” plan.

Under the plan, the U.S. could ask countries hosting American forces such as South Korea, Japan and Germany to pay five to six times as much as they currently pay or an additional 50 percent of current amounts.

“Wealthy, wealthy countries that we’re protecting are all under notice,” said Trump in January.

Trump has backed away from pushing the plan, and it is uncertain whether it will become official U.S. policy, but the idea is being played out in Washington’s defense cost-sharing negotiations with Seoul.

New chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley speaks during his welcome ceremony, Sept. 30, 2019, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.
FILE – New chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley speaks during his welcome ceremony, Sept. 30, 2019, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.

Mark Milley, chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the American public needs an explanation of how much it costs for U.S. forces to defend wealthy countries like South Korea and Japan. He made the remark while en route to Tokyo on Sunday. He arrived in Seoul on Wednesday and met with South Korean General Park Han-Ki for the Annual Military Committee Meeting.

“The average American looking at the forward deployed U.S. troops in South Korea and Japan asks some fundamental questions: Why are they needed there? How much does it cost? These are very rich and wealthy countries, why can’t they defend themselves?” Milley said.

He continued, “It is incumbent on us … to make sure we adequately explain how the U.S. military is a stabilizing force in Northeast Asia.”

Ahead of Milley’s trip, Randall Schriver, assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, said the U.S. allies “have to be willing to pick up a larger share of the burden, as the president has emphasized globally, not just related to South Korea.”

Champoux says Washington’s steep increase in Seoul’s burden of defense cost could impact the alliance in a way that could benefit its adversaries.

“Our adversaries would love there to be an issue or challenge that drives a wedge in the alliance,” Champoux said.

David Maxwell, a former U.S. Special Forces colonel and current fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, “Of course, Korean people are asking why should they pay more.” He continued, “We are heading for a train wreck.”

On Wednesday, North Korea, one of the adversaries considered by the U.S., expressed anger over the planned joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea scheduled for December saying they are “hostile” to North Korea. It vowed to respond with “force in kind,” through a statement carried by its official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo shake hands for the media prior to the…
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo shake hands for the media before the 51st Security Consultative Meeting at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 15, 2019.

North Korea’s statement came as U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday while traveling to Seoul that he is open to the possibility of adjusting the joint drills to provide space for diplomacy.

In Seoul, Esper will be attending the 51st U.S.-ROK Security Consultative Meeting on Friday where he is expected to discuss with South Korea a host of important alliance issues, including the defense cost-sharing deal and an intelligence-sharing pact set to expire this month, which Seoul announced in August that it will terminate with Tokyo against the U.S. urges.

After the 44th Military Committee Meeting in Seoul on Thursday, Milley said the U.S. remains ready to use “the full range of U.S. military capabilities” to respond to “any attacks on the Korean Peninsula” according to a joint statement.

VOA Korean reporter Christy Lee contributed to this report

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 15th, 2019 by Vbiz

The impeachment inquiry involving President Donald Trump moved into an important new phase this week — public hearings. Opposition Democrats believe Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. They hope the hearings will sway public opinion to support their case against the president, just as Republicans are counting on an aggressive defense to move the public to oppose impeachment. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more on the political stakes in the impeachment battle from Washington.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 14th, 2019 by Vbiz

Ten Democratic presidential candidates were expected to qualify for next Wednesday’s debate in Georgia, giving voters a smaller lineup on stage to consider even as the party’s overall field expands.

Those poised to meet the Democratic National Committee’s polling and grassroots fundraising thresholds were: former Vice President Joe Biden; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; California Sen. Kamala Harris; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; billionaire activist Tom Steyer of California; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang of New York.

DNC officials planned to finalize the lineup later Thursday after reviewing qualifying polls and grassroots donor lists submitted by the campaigns.

Former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro is the most high-profile remaining candidate seen as falling short of the benchmarks. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas ended his campaign last month. Those two created headlines with their earlier debate performances, including some spirited exchanges with each other.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and author Marianne Williamson already have missed debates as the party chairman, Tom Perez, continues to raise qualification requirements.

This month, candidates were required to have reached 3% in at least four qualifying national polls since Sept. 13 or 5% in two early nominating state polls since that date, while also having collected contributions from at least 165,000 unique donors, with at least 600 each in a minimum of 20 states.

Some candidates have criticized Perez for the requirements. Some argue that the donor emphasis has forced them to spend disproportionately for online fundraising efforts that drain resources they could be using to reach voters other ways. Perez counters that candidates have had ample time to demonstrate their supporter, both in polls and through small-dollar contributors, and that any Democrat falling short this far into the campaign almost certainly isn’t positioned to win the nomination or defeat President Donald Trump.

Perez already has announced even stiffer requirements for a Dec. 19 debate. The polling marks: 4% in four national polls or 6% in two early state polls taken after Oct. 16. The donor threshold: 200,000 unique donors with at least 800 each from 20 states.

Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg — the four who top most national and early state polls — are not threatened by those goals. Harris and Klobuchar already have met them, as well. But the higher targets put pressure on several other candidates to broaden their support or risk falling out of any reasonable contention with less than three months to go before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Two new candidates also could be vying for December spots.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick launched his campaign Thursday and filed to appear on New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary ballot, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a bid as well, while already having filed paperwork for some Super Tuesday primaries.

Patrick has strong ties to Wall Street and deep-pocketed Democratic donors. Bloomberg is among the world’s wealthiest men. Both may be able to afford television advertising and other campaign operations relatively quickly. But, just as Perez has said throughout the process, debate slots intended not as rewards for the amount a campaign raises or spends, but as a recognition of how much support a candidate has attracted.

Next week’s debate will be broadcast on MSNBC from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 14th, 2019 by Vbiz

A day of testimony in the impeachment inquiry targeting U.S. President Donald Trump changed no minds in Washington, with his critics convinced as ever that he abused his office by pushing Ukraine for political investigations of Democrats in the U.S. and his staunchest allies unwavering in their opinion that he did nothing wrong.

Trump declared on Twitter, “This Impeachment Hoax is such a bad precedent and sooo bad for our Country!”

….that the House Democrats have done since she’s become Speaker, other than chase Donald Trump.” This Impeachment Hoax is such a bad precedent and sooo bad for our Country!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2019

But Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, said that Trump’s actions amounted to bribery — temporarily withholding $391 million in military aid to Ukraine while pushing for an investigation of one of his chief 2020 Democratic challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, talks to reporters on the morning after the first public hearing in the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 14, 2019.

“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery,” Pelosi said at a news conference. “What the president has admitted to and says it’s perfect, I say it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery.”

Trump called Wednesday’s testimony from two career U.S. diplomats detailing his efforts to get Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open the investigation of Biden “a joke.” The U.S. leader delighted in retweeting comments from supporters, including Congressman Mark Meadows’s assessment that the hearing was “a MAJOR setback for the unfounded impeachment fantasy.”

But Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that could soon push for Trump’s impeachment, called the day’s testimony “pretty damning.” However, Nadler said he would remain open-minded “for the moment” on whether articles of impeachment should be written.  

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told CNN, “The president was very placid. I’ll tell you why. There was nothing new yesterday.”

FILE – White House adviser Kellyanne Conway talks with reporters outside the White House, in Washington, Nov. 7, 2019.

She dismissed the importance of the day’s major news from the first of several days of the public impeachment inquiry, only the fourth against a U.S. president in the country’s 243-year history.

William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified that an aide of his overheard a cell phone conversation at a Kyiv restaurant on July 26 in which Trump asked Gordon Sondland, a million-dollar Trump political donor and now the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, about whether Ukraine was opening “the investigations” he wanted about Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and a debunked theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election Trump won. The U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia was behind the election meddling.

The overheard conversation occurred a day after Trump from the White House asked Zelenskiy in a half-hour call for “a favor” — the investigations of the Bidens — at a time when he was blocking release of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine that it needed to help fight pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2019.
FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2019.

Taylor said his aide, David Holmes, told him that Sondland said he believed Trump was more concerned about the investigations of the Bidens, which Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was pursuing, than anything else in Ukraine.

Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee conducting the impeachment inquiry, called the previously undisclosed phone conversation “so explosive.”

But Trump adviser Conway said, “You’re calling that evidence, respectfully. In a real court of law we’d not be referring to something as evidence that is, oh, someone on my staff recalled overhearing a conversation between someone else and the president where they think they heard the president use the word investigations. This is not what due process and the rule of law in our great democracy allows.”

Trump said he knew “nothing” about the alleged Kyiv call from Sondland.

FILE – U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Oct. 17, 2019.

Impeachment investigators are interviewing Holmes, the Taylor aide, on Friday, while Sondland is set to testify before the impeachment inquiry next Wednesday. Sondland has already testified for hours in private behind closed doors, telling investigators that he told an aide to Zelenskiy that Ukraine would not get the military assistance unless the Ukrainian leader promised publicly that it would initiate the Biden investigations.

Trump at one point called Sondland a “‘great American,” but after he revised his testimony to say there were conditions on the Ukraine aid, Trump contended, “I hardly know the gentleman.”

Trump has denied a quid pro quo with Zelenskiy – release of the military aid in exchange for the Biden investigations – and described his July 25 call with Zelenskiy as “perfect.” After a 55-day delay, Trump released the military assistance on Sept. 11 without Ukraine undertaking the Biden investigations.

Trump’s Republican supporters say the fact that he released the aid without Ukraine investigating the Bidens is prime evidence there was no quid pro quo. They also pointed to the testimony from Taylor and George Kent, the State Department’s top Ukraine overseer, that they have had no personal interactions with Trump during the months that the Ukraine drama has played out.

Trump called the diplomats “NEVER TRUMPERS,” but both denied the characterization and cited their long service in the diplomatic corps under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

FILE – Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch (C) arrives on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Oct. 11, 2019.

The House Intelligence Committee is now turning its attention to Friday’s testimony from Marie Yovanovitch, a former U.S. ambassador to Kyiv who was ousted from her posting earlier this year by the Trump administration months before her tour of duty was set to end.

Her dismissal, according to career diplomats who watched helplessly as it unfolded, came after Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney he had assigned to oversee Ukraine affairs outside normal State Department channels, pushed for her removal, viewing her as an impediment to getting Ukraine to undertake the Biden investigations.

Trump called Yovanovitch “bad news” in his July call with Zelenskiy.

Next week, the impeachment panel is calling eight more witnesses, including two on Tuesday who listened in as Trump talked with Zelenskiy — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who serves as director for European affairs on the White House’s National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, a foreign affairs aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

Political analysts in Washington say the Trump impeachment drama could last for several months. If Trump is impeached by a simple majority in the House, perhaps by the end of the year as appears possible, a trial would be held in January in the Republican-majority Senate, where a two-thirds vote would be needed for his conviction and removal from office.

The time frame could bump up against the first Democratic party presidential nominating contests starting in February, when voters will begin voting on who they want to oppose Trump when he seeks a second four-year term in the November 2020 national election. Six Democratic senators are among those running for the party’s presidential nomination, but could be forced to stay in Washington to sit as jurors in the 100-member Senate as it decides Trump’s fate, rather than campaign full-time for the presidency.

Trump’s removal remains unlikely, with at least 20 Republicans needed to turn against him and vote for his conviction. To date, while a small number of Republicans have criticized Trump for his actions on Ukraine, no Republican senator has called for his removal from office via impeachment, a drastic action that has never occurred in U.S. history.


Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 14th, 2019 by Vbiz

A band of GOP senators rebuffed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s effort to depict anti-Islamic State Kurd forces as terrorists in a contentious Oval Office meeting, as the White House allies took a far harder line against Erdogan than did President Donald Trump.
Participants said Erdogan played a propaganda video for Republican senators attending Wednesday’s meeting, drawing a rebuke from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and others.
Graham said Thursday that he asked Erdogan, “do you want me to get the Kurds to play a video about what your forces have done?”
The lawmakers also told Erdogan that he is risking economic sanctions by going ahead with a new Russian anti-aircraft missile system.
The exchange behind the scenes was far more confrontational than the reception Trump gave Erdogan in public.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 14th, 2019 by Vbiz

The U.S. government recorded a $134 billion budget deficit in October, the first month of the new fiscal year, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

That compared to a budget deficit of $100 billion in the same month last year, according to the Treasury’s monthly budget statement.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a $133 billion deficit for the month.

Unadjusted receipts last month totaled $246 billion, down 3% from October 2018, while unadjusted outlays were $380 billion, a rise of 8% from the same month a year earlier.

The U.S. government’s fiscal year ends in September each year. Fiscal 2019 saw a widening in the deficit to $984 billion, the largest budget deficit in seven years, a result of the Trump administration’s decision to cut taxes and increase government spending.

Those figures reflected the second full budget year under U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, and a time when the country had an expanding tax base with moderate economic growth and an unemployment rate near a 50-year low.

When adjusted for calendar effects, the deficit for October remained at $134 billion compared with an adjusted deficit of $113 billion in October 2018.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 14th, 2019 by Vbiz

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have a healthy 10-point lead ahead of an election on Dec. 12, a poll by Savanta ComRes showed on Wednesday, extending their advantage over Labour after the Brexit Party stood down candidates.

The poll, carried out for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, showed the Conservative Party with 40%, up 3 points from a poll last week, ahead of Labour on 30%, up 1 point.

The poll was conducted after Nigel Farage said his Brexit Party would not put candidates up in Conservative-held seats, a major boost to Johnson. The Brexit Party will still stand candidates in Labour-held seats.

“The Brexit Party’s decision not to stand in Conservativeseats is likely to have an obvious positive impact on the overall Conservative vote share,” said Chris Hopkins, Head of Politics at ComRes.

 “But it’s those Labour-held seats that the Conservatives need to win for a majority, and the Brexit Party could still scupper those best-laid plans.”

The poll showed the Liberal Democrats on 16% and the Brexit Party on 7%. Voting analysis website Electoral Calculus said the vote shares implied a Conservative majority of 110 seats. The online poll of 2,022 adults was carried out on Nov. 11-12.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 14th, 2019 by Vbiz

Microsoft is bringing holograms to the office. The company recently started shipping its 2nd version of HoloLens, a headset that allows users to touch and interact with 3D holograms in everyday settings. Various industries have begun experimenting with the new computing device and VOA’s Tina Trinh had a chance to check it out.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 13th, 2019 by Vbiz

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is beefing up patrols by civilian militias across the nation as political rivals call for mass demonstrations against him.

Maduro in a national broadcast Tuesday ordered the nation’s 3.2 million militia members to patrol Venezuela’s streets. He gave the command seated between the nation’s top-ranking military leaders.

The heightened patrols overlap with a Saturday protest called by opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido, who has led a nearly year-long campaign to oust Maduro with backing from the U.S. and 50 other nations.

Guaido has not managed to rally large demonstrations in recent months.

However, a wave of political unrest has struck several Latin American nations, and Bolivian socialist leader Evo Morales abruptly resigned Sunday.

Maduro says the same “imperialist” forces that undermined Bolivia’s president seek to oust him.



Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 13th, 2019 by Vbiz

A Michigan teenager was the recipient of what could be the first double lung transplant on a person whose lungs were severely damaged from vaping, health officials said Tuesday.

Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit described to reporters Tuesday the procedure that saved the 17-year-old’s life and pleaded for the public to understand the dangers of vaping.

The teen was admitted in early September to a Detroit-area hospital with what appeared to be pneumonia. He was transferred to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and taken Oct. 3 to Henry Ford Hospital where the transplant was performed Oct. 15. The double lung transplant is believed to be the first performed on a patient due to vaping.

Doctors found an “enormous amount of inflammation and scarring” on the teen’s lungs, said Dr. Hassan Nemeh, surgical director of thoracic organ transplant at Henry Ford. “This is an evil I haven’t faced before. The damage that these vapes do to people’s lungs is irreversible. Please think of that — and tell your children to think of that.”

Health officials declined to release the teen’s name and said he is expected to recover. They also did not specify what the teen vaped or how long he vaped.

A photo of a patient being transported is displayed while medical staff at Henry Ford Hospital answer questions during a news conference in Detroit, Nov. 12, 2019.
A photo of a patient being transported is displayed while medical staff at Henry Ford Hospital answer questions during a news conference in Detroit, Nov. 12, 2019.

“We asked Henry Ford doctors to share that the horrific life-threatening effects of vaping are very real!” his family said in a statement released by the hospital. “Our family could never have imagined being at the center of the largest adolescent public health crisis to face our country in decades.”

“Within a very short period of time, our lives have been forever changed. He has gone from the typical life of a perfectly healthy 16-year old athlete — attending high school, hanging out with friends, sailing and playing video games — to waking up intubated and with two new lungs, facing a long and painful recovery process as he struggles to regain his strength and mobility, which has been severely impacted.”

The boy had his 17th birthday after initially being admitted to the hospital.

More than 2,000 Americans who vape have gotten sick since March, many of them teenagers and young adults, and at least 40 people have died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week announced a breakthrough into the cause of a vaping illness outbreak, identifying the chemical compound vitamin E acetate as a “very strong culprit” after finding it in fluid taken from the lungs of 29 patients. Vitamin E acetate previously was found in liquid from electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices used by many who got sick and only recently has been used as a vaping fluid thickener.

Many who got sick said they had vaped liquids that contain THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana, with many saying they received them from friends or bought them on the black market.

E-cigarettes and other vaping devices heat a liquid into an inhalable vapor. Most products contained nicotine, but THC vaping has been growing more common.

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2019 file photo, a man blows a puff of smoke as he vapes with an electronic cigarette. Months into an…
FILE – A man blows a puff of smoke as he vapes with an electronic cigarette, Oct. 18, 2019.

Henry Ford doctors did not say Tuesday what the lung transplant recipient vaped. They did say that he was critically ill when he arrived at Henry Ford where he was placed Oct. 8 on an organ transplant waiting list. His lung damage due to vaping was so severe and he was so close to death that the teen immediately was placed at the top of the transplant waiting list, they said.

“Vaping-related injuries are all too common these days. Our adolescents are faced with a crisis,” said Dr. Lisa Allenspach, pulmonologist and the medical director of Henry Ford’s Lung Transplant Program. “We are just beginning to see the enormous health consequence jeopardizing the youth in our country … these vaping products should not be used in any fashion.”

The 17-year-old’s case does not open any new ethical considerations about transplants for people how who irreparably damage their own lungs by vaping, Nemeh told The Associated Press.

“It won’t change what we do on a routine basis. We will still evaluate every patient as an individual patient,” he said. “We hope sharing this patient’s story prevents anyone else from experiencing a vaping injury that would require a transplant.”

Nemeh added that lung transplants have been considered for ex-smokers who have quit and demonstrated that they quit smoking, but transplants are not routinely done for people over the age of 70.
“Children do receive priority over an adult for a transplant from a pediatric donor,” he said. “The United Network for Organ Sharing creates the rules and then offers the organs to recipients who are a match. We don’t decide who gets an offer.”


Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 13th, 2019 by Vbiz

The fate of about 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children is in the hands of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices. The court will decide if the Trump administration has the right to end the program, called DACA, which protects the young immigrants, known as dreamers, from deportation. For most of them, the United States is the only home they have ever known, and they are protesting losing their protected status. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports the U.S. high court heard arguments for both sides on Tuesday.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 12th, 2019 by Vbiz

While Southern California draws film and television students from all over the world, people in New Mexico don’t have to set foot outside the state to learn the trade, as local colleges are grooming talent for a booming entertainment industry that has sprung up about 1,200 kilometers from Hollywood.

Recently, Albuquerque Studios signed a billion-dollar contract with entertainment giant Netflix and a $500 million deal with NBC Universal Studios. These agreements come on the heels of New Mexico’s enhanced tax incentives to production companies, who film there and hire local talent. One of the seedbeds for such talent is Central New Mexico (CNM) Community College.

Program tied to jobs
Students at Central New Mexico Community College can learn about wardrobe assembly, electrical work, set lighting and camera operation — to name a few of the courses offered. For New Mexico residents, CNM charges $56 per credit hour; for nonresidents, $296 per credit hour. Even that price is nowhere near the five-figure yearly tuition at other colleges around the country, such as New York’s renowned School of Visual Arts, whether tuition is upwards of $50,000 a year, for a similar program.
Both schools promise connections and training to get their students hired. But in Albuquerque, students have an edge: a blossoming film industry that provides tax incentives for TV and film productions with crews made up of at least 60% local hires.

Amber Dodson, film liaison for the city of Albuquerque, said entertainment giant Netflix alone has committed over the next decade to spending $1 billion in production and generate 1,000 jobs a year throughout the state. She said students in Albuquerque learning “below-the-line” crafts, which include jobs on a film crew like a grip, “are getting jobs often times before they even graduate.”
Jim Graebner, CNM’s senior film instructor, described the school’s program for below-the-line crafts.
“Our program is only a two-term program, that’s basically half a (calendar) year, where we get through the whole protocol of how to make a movie and workflow, and then we expose people to all the different tools they’ll need on a set and then try to get them specialized in a different craft,” Graebner, or “Grubb” as he is known, added.
Work ethic
Graebner likened CNM’s program to a “boot camp,” where the students are working hard to learn skills to meet the needs of production companies and studios.
“The biggest thing we have to teach them is stamina, because they are coming in(to) a world where everybody expects an eight-hour workday. We’ve got 14 hours. It’s the average,” he said.
In a trade dominated by men for decades, women are beginning to make inroads.
“I have women – especially Hollywood’s big on upping the percentage of women on all the below-the-line (non-cast member) crafts – I have women who are grips now and they don’t have to be huge or strong. So, if you’re a woman, want to become a grip, I can get you a job tomorrow,” Graebner said.
Apart from learning to be a grip – that is, to be part of a team that builds and develops a movie set – students receive mentoring and gain on-set experience.
Graebner said the school connects students with the local union, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) 480, where they train with a paid union member and get evaluated for their skills. If they show competency, they can get into the workforce pipeline for the industry, which the union has negotiated for safe working conditions and labor benefits.
Good prospects
CNM instructional technician Gabe Reyes works full time at CNM and also freelances for the film industry.

With the influx of Hollywood in Albuquerque, Reyes said CNM’s Applied Technologies and Film program has taken off since he started in the summer of 2018.

Karen Grandinetti, enrollment strategist of CNM School of Applied Technologies, said the program had 220 students enrolled in the summer of 2018. This fall, there are 657 students.

Prospects are also good for homegrown New Mexican directors and actors who want to build a career in their home state.

One of them is Riley Del Rey, a student actor in the film program at CNM, who recently completed a short film called “Doubt.”
“I think it’s important for people that are moving here to work on productions to take a look at our work and to start selecting their directors and their talent from this market because that’s what’s going to get people to stay and that’s it’s gonna uplift our state,” she says.
Del Rey also pointed to the importance not having to set foot outside the state where she grew up to learn the trade and seek job opportunities.
“What’s making me stay here is that this is the place I’m getting my chops, and it’s where I have family. I also know people in the industry and, with the film community growing so much, it’s just more places for me to find where I fit in here,” Del Rey said. “It’s also less daunting than traveling thousands of miles to go somewhere where I’m not familiar with and (where) it’s kind of a make-it-or-break-it situation.

“I still have to take risks, but I still have all the support from my network here at school but also the family ties that I have to New Mexico,” she added.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 12th, 2019 by Vbiz

An airstrike carried out by American forces in eastern Afghanistan has mistakenly killed at least four Afghan soldiers and injured six others.

A provincial police spokesman said the overnight incident occurred in the troubled Logar province during clashes between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents.

Shahpoor Ahamadzai told VOA the fighting erupted Monday night after insurgents assaulted a security outpost near the provincial capital of Pul-e-Alam.

The Taliban attack prompted the Afghan National Army (ANA) to call in U.S. air support, which resulted in the “friendly fire” incident, Ahmadzai explained.

A U.S. military spokesman told VOA it was aware of reports an American airstrike conducted in support of Afghan forces may have resulted in ANA casualties.

“U.S. and Afghan forces are working closely together to develop a shared understanding of this event. A joint investigation is ongoing,” the spokesman said.

Separately, the provincial police confirmed a U.S. convoy was struck by a suicide car bomber near a foreign military base just outside Pul-e-Alam.

A U.S. military spokesman confirmed the attack, saying it only killed the assailant driving the vehicle.

“No U.S. or Coalition service members were wounded or killed in the attack. We are investigating the incident,” the spokesman added.

There were no claims of responsible from the Taliban, which often claims attacks against U.S. and NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan.  


Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 12th, 2019 by Vbiz

Exiled Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Tuesday the European Union’s assessment of whether to suspend trade privileges for his country will add momentum to efforts to restore democracy despite a government crackdown.

The EU finalized a preliminary report Tuesday that Sam Rainsy said would be the basis for suspending trade privileges for Cambodia. The EU announced earlier this year that it would begin a monitoring process to decide on the ending of preferential duty-free and quota-free imports from the Southeast Asian nation. It said it acted on concerns that Cambodia was limiting human and labor rights.
The EU did not immediately make the report public but said it had been sent to the Cambodian authorities.
The report comes amid several developments that have shaken the Cambodian political scene.
Sam Rainsy made a well-publicized trip in which he vowed to return to his homeland to spark a popular movement to unseat long-serving authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Cambodia’s government had said he and other exiled colleagues were unwelcome, and managed to hinder them from entering on Saturday, their intended date.
However, as Sam Rainsy found himself stuck in Malaysia, a Cambodian court announced Sunday that it was releasing from house arrest Kem Sokha, his co-leader in the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, who had been detained without trial for more than two years on a treason charge widely seen as specious. It retained the charge against him and barred him from political activity.
The release of Kem Sokha suggested that Hun Sen, whose hard line included detaining scores of opposition supporters accused of supporting Sam Rainsy’s return plan, may be seeking to assuage his critics — especially the EU — by projecting an image of compromise.
The possibility of the EU junking Cambodia’s trade privileges is perhaps the greatest leverage the opposition holds over the situation, as an economic downturn could erode the support Hun Sen has earned with Cambodia’s economic growth.
“If they don’t want Cambodia to face an economic crisis, with hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs, they must restore democracy,” Sam Rainsy told a news conference outside Malaysia’s Parliament building after meeting a group of Malaysian lawmakers.
The EU initiated its move after Hun Sen’s ruling party won a sweeping victory in 2018 elections. The EU and others said the polls were not free and fair because the Cambodia National Rescue Party — the sole credible opposition force — was dissolved in 2017 by Cambodia’s Supreme Court, which is seen as being under the government’s influence.
Sam Rainsy insisted Tuesday that the timing was now right for peaceful resistance to topple Hun Sen’s government due to the “unique combination of internal pressure and external pressure.”
Phnom Penh’s release of Kem Sokha from house arrest was an indication of mounting pressure on the government, he said.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng said Sunday on his Facebook page that Sam Rainsy was now allowed to enter Cambodia but would have to face a raft of charges and standing convictions. Sam Rainsy did not say Tuesday when he might make the journey.
“I will stay in the region because the situation can change very quickly, and I will go back to Cambodia,” he said.



Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 11th, 2019 by Vbiz

Ugandan police said Monday that in an operation around Kampala’s city center, they arrested 120 people suspected to have been using narcotics. However, members of the LGBT community say it was a health meeting that police interrupted.

Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, tells VOA they received intelligence information that the site of the raid — The Ram Bar — is used as a massage parlor during day and for smoking opium and shisha during the night.

Both products are outlawed in the Tobacco Control Act 2015 and people found guilty of using them are liable for a fine of $130 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

“We are charging them under the Tobacco Control Act,” said Onyango. “We have started the process of screening and recording statements from them. There are those we shall give police bonds, students, and those who claim that they are innocent. They were just there for a dance and they were not participating in the smoking.”

At the Central Police Station in Kampala, friends and members of the local LGBT community move around, seemingly worried. Among them is Sean Mugisha a paralegal who is trying to secure bail for the arrested members.

Mugisha tells VOA that Ram Bar is the only safe place that the LGBT community has in Kampala.

“But most importantly it is a center for most outreaches.,” he said. “All these guys who give health care services, when they want to do outreaches for the community, it’s one of those venues that they have been accessing.  So, last night there was an arrest. I consistently got calls. I decided to come and follow up what is here.”

Frank Mugisha, the executive director Sexual Minorities Uganda, says the arrests Monday are based on trumped up charges by the police.

“We don’t know what will happen next. I think we are still looking at the worst. I think its totally aimed at intimidation of the LGBT Community,” he said. “The police is coming up with trumped up charges. I don’t think all 120 people were publicly smoking. So, we are waiting for court tomorrow and see what happens.”

This is the second time in less than a month that Ugandan police have raided a place frequented by members of the LGBT community. Last month 16 members of the LGBT Community were arrested but later released on police bond.





Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 11th, 2019 by Vbiz

U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his attacks Monday against the impeachment investigation, two days ahead of public hearings targeting him for allegedly abusing his office to help himself politically.

Before observing the annual Veterans Day tribute to the U.S. military at a New York ceremony, Trump claimed on Twitter, without offering any evidence, that Congressman Adam Schiff, the leader of the impeachment probe in the House of Representatives, had “doctored” transcripts of eight officials who have testified in recent weeks behind closed doors in a secure room at the U.S. Capitol.

According to the transcripts, the current and former diplomatic and national security officials have detailed how Trump and his aides pressed Ukraine to launch investigations of one of his chief 2020 Democratic presidential challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and a debunked theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, not Russia, as the U.S. intelligence community concluded.

“Republicans should put out their own transcripts!” Trump demanded.  

Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts. We haven’t even seen the documents and are restricted from (get this) having a lawyer. Republicans should put out their own transcripts! Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me, and read it to all!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019

Trump, in a late July call, asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for “a favor,” to carry out these investigations, at a time he was temporarily withholding $391 million in military aid Ukraine wanted for its fight against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country. Trump eventually released the assistance to Kyiv in September without Ukraine opening the investigations.

The impeachment inquiry was touched off by a complaint from an anonymous government whistleblower who said he was troubled by Trump’s request to Zelenskiy for the Biden investigations, since it seemed the president was seeking the help of a foreign government in next year’s election.

Trump, who has often described his call with Zelenskiy as “perfect,” tweeted that the impeachment investigation should be ended and that “the Whistleblower, his lawyer and Corrupt politician Schiff should be investigated (sic) for fraud!”

The lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam! It should be ended and the Whistleblower, his lawyer and Corrupt politician Schiff should be investigared for fraud!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019

In early 2017 as Trump assumed power, Washington attorney Mark Zaid, the whistleblower’s lawyer, tweeted that a “coup has started” and that “impeachment will follow ultimately,” later saying, “We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters.”

It is only the fourth time in U.S. history that impeachment hearings have been opened against a president. In the previous three times, two presidents (Andrew Johnson in the mid-19th century and Bill Clinton two decades ago) were impeached but acquitted in Senate trials, while a third president, Richard Nixon, resigned ahead of all-but-certain impeachment in the 1970s.

As the hearings start Wednesday before Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, two U.S. State Department officials, William Taylor and George Kent, are set to testify how Trump and his aides pressured Zelenskiy to open the investigations of the Bidens. Republicans are hoping to pinpoint any inconsistencies in their testimony and have temporarily named a staunch Trump supporter, Congressman Jim Jordan, to the panel to defend the president.

Trump on Monday and Sunday complained about the impeachment hearing rules adopted by the Democratic-controlled House, saying on Twitter that Schiff “will not allow a White House lawyer, nor will he allow ANY of our requested witnesses. This is a first in due process and Congressional history!”

Corrupt politician Adam Schiff wants people from the White House to testify in his and Pelosi’s disgraceful Witch Hunt, yet he will not allow a White House lawyer, nor will he allow ANY of our requested witnesses. This is a first in due process and Congressional history!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2019

Under the rules, Trump will be able to have a lawyer representing him when the House Judiciary Committee considers possible articles of impeachment against him in the coming weeks, and, if the full House impeaches him, at a trial in the Republican-majority Senate.

But the rules do not call for Trump legal representation at the House Intelligence panel’s hearings.

“The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT,” Trump tweeted. “Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong. Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable. No, it is much stronger than that. NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!”

The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT. Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong. Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable. No, it is much stronger than that. NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2019

Trump for weeks has denied his late July call with Zelenskiy amounted to a quid pro quo — the military aid in exchange for an investigation of the Bidens.

Schiff invited Republicans to submit a list of witnesses they want to question. But Schiff has rejected the two most prominent figures on the Republican wish list: Hunter Biden and the unnamed whistleblower.

Under U.S. law, the identity of inside-the-government whistleblowers alleging wrongdoing is protected from disclosure.

Trump, however, has urged that the whistleblower be named and says he should be able to confront his accuser. Democrats have voiced concerns about protecting the whistleblower’s safety and note that much of what he alleged has been corroborated by government officials who heard Trump’s call or were directed to push for the Ukraine investigations of the Bidens. In addition, a rough transcript of the Trump call with Zelenskiy released by the White House quoted Trump asking the Ukrainian leader for the Biden probes.

Calling in the whistleblower to testify would be “redundant and unnecessary,” said Schiff.

“The committee … will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm,” Schiff said in a letter to the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Congressman Devin Nunes. ” … The whistleblower has a right under laws championed by this committee to remain anonymous and to be protected from harm.”

Schiff said that after weeks of behind-closed-doors testimony, his inquiry “has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence – from witnesses and documents, including the president’s own words in his July 25 call record – that not only confirms but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint …. In light of the president’s threats, the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk.”

Schiff said the public impeachment hearings “will not serve as vehicles” for what he called “sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”


Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 11th, 2019 by Vbiz

Iraqi protesters took to the streets of at least half a dozen major towns and cities Monday, clashing with security forces in Baghdad, Nassiriya and Basra, while blocking roads in Karbala, Najaf, Hilla and Kut. United Nations envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, also met with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, urging reforms and an end to violence against protesters.

Hundreds of protesters chanted slogans against Iran and its Shi’ite proxy militias Monday in Nassiriya, while blocking three major bridges in the city. Large protests were also reported in the capitals of Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Hilla and Kut.

Iraqi military spokesman Gen. Abdel Karim Khalaf told a press conference that most Iraqi protesters are peaceful but that violent groups have infiltrated the protests, claiming that they had used live ammunition against security forces in Baghdad and set fire to at least three government buildings.

Anti-government protesters stand on barriers set up  by Iraqi security forces, Baghdad
FILE – Anti-government protesters stand on barriers set up by Iraqi security forces to close the Joumhouriya Bridge leading to the Green Zone government area, in Baghdad, Nov. 3, 2019.

He says that there is a difference between the peaceful protesters in (Baghdad’s) Tahrir Square and those who are blocking roads and bridges. Blocking roads and bridges, he insists, is a crime, even if the government is trying not to use force or inflict casualties.

Despite Khalaf’s claim, Arab media showed amateur video of a teenage protester being shot while filming demonstrations in Nassiriya. It was not clear if he survived.

Khalaf claimed the foreign press is being unfair in criticizing Iraq over its use of force, saying that countries “like France and the U.S. use force when facing security threats.” He also claimed that (outside parties) are “using the internet to try and overthrow the government.”

Iraqi media reported that the U.N.’s top envoy, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, met Shi’ite religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani Monday, urging Iraqi political leaders to carry out reforms that “meet the demands of protesters.”

Iraqi TV showed Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi meeting with journalists Monday, telling them that economic reforms are a priority, including increasing revenues from non-oil sources and creating jobs not funded by the government.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, tells VOA that “Iraqi Shiites are rediscovering that they are Arab,” as they protest “against Iran’s meddling in their country.”

Dr. Paul Sullivan, a professor at the U.S. National Defense University, argues that “some Shi’ites in Iraq “toe the Iranian line, [while] others do not. The lines between these groups,” he says, “seems to be hardening,” and “Iran and its proxies are making the situation much worse.”



Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 11th, 2019 by Vbiz

Hong Kong police opened fire on protesters early on Monday, Cable TV reported, as chaos erupted across the city, a day after officers fired tear gas to break up rallies as activists blocked roads and trashed shopping malls in the financial hub.

Police fired live rounds at protesters on the eastern side of Hong Kong island, local media reported.

Police declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 11th, 2019 by Vbiz

Chancellor Angela Merkel led a series of commemorations in the German capital over weekend to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which divided the city during the Cold War until 1989. The wall was built by Communist East Germany to prevent its citizens fleeing to the capitalist west. As Henry Ridgwell reports, the hope and optimism in the years following the wall’s destruction have been replaced with fears over the resurgent tensions between Russia and the West

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 11th, 2019 by Vbiz

Australian officials are warning of “catastrophic fire danger” as dozens of bushfires blazed in the state of New South Wales.

As of early Monday, 64 fires were burning the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said in a tweet. Of those, more than 40 were out of control. 

At 6am there’s 64 bush and grass fires across NSW, 40 not yet contained. Many of these fires won’t be contained ahead of tomorrow’s dangerous fire weather. Catastrophic fire danger has been declared for Tuesday in Sydney and Hunter areas. Use today to get ready. #nswrfspic.twitter.com/Qto5IF8PUH

— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 10, 2019

It warned residents in the area to expect conditions to get worse as high temperatures and gusting winds are forecast for Tuesday.

“Don’t wait for the last minute and ring for a firetruck because it may not get there,” said Jeremy Fewtrell, deputy commissioner of New South Wales Fire and Rescue. “We just don’t want to lose more people.”

Three people have been confirmed dead and more than 150 homes have been destroyed.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a state of emergency Monday. It will stay in place for at least a week.  


Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

November 10th, 2019 by Vbiz

A strong cyclone made landfall early Sunday in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of people have moved to shelters across the low-lying delta nation’s vast coastal region.

Packing winds of up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 130 kph (80 mph), Cyclone Bulbul weakened when it started crossing Bangladesh’s southwestern coastal region, dumping incessant rains across the country. No casualties were reported immediately.

The weather office said the cyclone slammed ashore at Sagar Island in the southern part of India’s West Bengal state. Its path included the southwestern Khulna region, which has the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, which straddles the Bangladesh-India border.

Up to 1.8 million people were expected to be evacuated by Saturday evening, said Enamur Rahman, Bangladesh’s junior disaster management minister. More than 5,000 shelters had been prepared.

The weather office said coastal districts were likely to be inundated by storm surges of 1{-2 meters (5-7 feet) above normal tide because of the impact of the cyclone.

Several ships from Bangladesh’s navy and coast guard were kept ready in parts of the region for an emergency response, the TV station Independent reported.

The storm is also expected to impact parts of northeastern India, where precautions were being taken.

Rahman said the government suspended weekend leave for government officials in 13 coastal districts.

On Saturday, volunteers used loudspeakers to ask people to move to shelters in Chittagong and other regions, according to the Disaster Management Ministry. In the Cox’s Bazar coastal district, tourists were alerted to stay in their hotels, while a few hundred visitors were stuck on Saint Martins Island.

Authorities suspended all activities in the country’s main seaports, including in Chittagong, which handles almost 80% of Bangladesh’s exports and imports. All vessels and fishing boats were told to stop operating.

Local authorities ordered school buildings and mosques to be used as shelters in addition to dedicated cyclone shelters — raised concrete buildings that have been built over the past decades.

Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million people, has a history of violent cyclones. But disaster preparedness programs in recent decades have upgraded the country’s capacity to deal with natural disasters, resulting in fewer casualties.

Posted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси