Розділ: Фінанси

July 3rd, 2020 by Vbiz

President Donald Trump Friday heads to Mount Rushmore, where he will headline U.S. Independence Day celebrations featuring fireworks for the first time in more than a decade at the national park in South Dakota.“It’s going to be a fireworks display like few people have seen. It’s going to be very exciting,” Trump said during a White House event Thursday.FILE – FILE- President Donald Trump and Governor Kristi Noem.Americans urged to stay homeAs the nation witnessed a spike in new coronavirus cases, with an 80 percent increase in the past two weeks, health officials urged Americans to stay home on July 4 – a holiday usually celebrated with big parties and town parades.“The safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home,” the Oregon Health AuthorityFireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, during the Fourth of July celebration, July 4, 2018.Presidential preferenceAmerican presidents typically have celebrated July 4 based on their personal preferences and many have done so in ways that are “very much connected to what’s happening at that moment”, said Matthew Costello, a historian with the White House Historical Association, in an interview with VOA.   James K. Polk, the nation’s 11th president and the one who pursued the expansion of the continental United States through wars in the mid-19th century, celebrated with military parades and other ways that were very much about patriotism, said Costello. “It was about the war effort, but it was also about continuing the fight for what he believed was in the best interest of the country.”Trump is not the first American president to commemorate Independence Day in a pandemic. During the Spanish Flu in 1918, Woodrow Wilson reviewed a parade that marched on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, said Costello.Wilson missed the 4th of July in 1919, as he was returning from the Paris Peace Conference. Many historians, including John M. Barry, professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, believe Wilson himself fell ill with the flu around that time. 

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July 3rd, 2020 by Vbiz

A Hong Kong man who carried a sign saying “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” as he drove a motorcycle into police during a protest this week has become the first person charged with inciting separatism and terrorism under a new security law. Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong late on Tuesday after weeks of uncertainty, pushing China’s freest city and one of the world’s most glittering financial hubs on to a more authoritarian path. The law punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison but critics say it is aimed at stamping out dissent and ending a long-running campaign for greater democracy in the city. The logo of Judiciary of Hong Kong is seen outside West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts, after a motorcyclist was charged under the newly passed national security law, in Hong Kong, China, July 3, 2020.Police said the 23-year-old man charged under the law rammed into several officers at the unauthorized protest on Wednesday injuring some. He was initially arrested for dangerous driving, media said. A video circulating online showed the driver knocking over several officers with his motorbike on a narrow street, before falling off and getting arrested. The charge against him, as shown in a court document on Friday, comes less than 24 hours after the city’s government said the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” connotes separatism or subversion under the new law. The rallying cry appears on placards at most rallies, is printed on T-shirts and accessories, and scribbled on sticky notes on walls across the Chinese-ruled city. The government’s ruling on the slogan will compound fears about the suppression of the global finance hub’s freedoms. China’s parliament adopted the security law in response to protests last year triggered by fears that Beijing was stifling the freedoms, guaranteed by a “one country, two systems” formula agreed when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Beijing denies the accusation. Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few “troublemakers” and will not affect the rights and freedoms that underpin the city’s role as a financial hub. But the United States, Britain and others have denounced the new legislation and the United Nations said it feared it would restrict space for civil society and lead to the prosecution of activists. Dozens of people gathered to protest outside another court where a man was charged with “wounding with intent” for stabbing a policeman in the arm with a sharp object during the Wednesday disturbances. Supporters raise white paper to avoid slogans banned under the national security law as they support arrested anti-law protester outside Eastern court in Hong Kong, China, July 3, 2020.They held up blank pieces of paper to highlight what they fear will be the new law’s impact on free speech. “I’m not scared. Come what may,” said one of the protesters, 25-year-old Wilson. He did not give his last name.  On Wednesday, the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, police said they arrested about 370 people during the protests, with 10 of those involving violations of the new law. National security office In what is sure to be seen as another ominous sign for Hong Kong’s freedoms, China’s official Xinhua news agency said a Communist Party cadre who became prominent during a 2011 clampdown on protesters in a south China village will head a national security office in Hong Kong to be set up under the new law. Zheng Yanxiong, 57, most recently served as the secretary general of the Communist Party committee of Guangdong province, an economic powerhouse bordering Hong Kong. He was seen calling the foreign media “rotten” in a leaked video of a government meeting at the time. Customers sit near blank notes on a “Lennon Wall” inside a pro-democracy restaurant in Hong Kong on July 3, 2020, in response to a new national security law introduced in the city.Under the new legislation, the agency can take enforcement action beyond existing laws in the most serious cases. It also allows agents to take suspects across the border for trials in Communist Party-controlled courts and specifies special privileges for the agents, including that Hong Kong authorities cannot inspect their vehicles. ‘Window for the world’ Some prominent activists have been keeping a low profile or leaving. Demosisto, a pro-democracy group led by Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, disbanded hours after the legislation was passed, while prominent group member Nathan Law left the city. “The protests in Hong Kong have been a window for the world to recognize that China is getting more and more authoritarian,” Law told Reuters in an online interview. While the government said late on Thursday the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” now indicated independence or separation of the city from China, altering its legal status or subversion, it was not unclear if independent courts would uphold that view. Some are taking no chances. Public broadcaster RTHK reproduced the slogan as “L*******#HongKong” in a comment on Twitter, to the scorn of some other social media users. 
 

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July 3rd, 2020 by Vbiz

President Donald Trump ventures to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday for an early Independence Day celebration that thousands of people are expected to attend.Although the U.S. leads the world in the number of COVID-19 cases, local officials say there are no plans for observing social distancing or mask wearing at the event  However, free masks will be available for those who want them.South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, said on Fox News earlier this week: “We’ve told folks that have concerns that they can stay home.”The Washington Post reports that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Arizona this week was delayed from Tuesday to Wednesday after Secret Service agents organizing the trip either fell sick with the virus or displayed symptoms.The U.S. on Thursday reported more than 50,000 new cases. Four states – Arizona, California, Florida, Texas – were responsible for half of the new cases.The jump in coronavirus numbers is blamed in part on what New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called “knucklehead behavior” – people not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.There are nearly 11 million global COVID-19 cases. The U.S is approaching 3 million cases.Australian officials say 10,000 people in Victoria have refused to take the coronavirus test this past week because they believe the outbreak is not real and is instead a “conspiracy theory.”The New York Times reports that Australia, which has been successful in keeping COVID cases to a minimum, is now locking down an area of 300,000 people in a largely immigrant community in the state of Victoria.India reported nearly 21,000 new daily cases of the coronavirus Friday.India said Thursday that it had it had recorded about 100,000 cases in four days. Johns Hopkins University said early Friday that the South Asian nation has more than 625,000 COVID-19 cases.South Africa reported a new record number of 8,100 new cases in 24 hours Thursday.Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told voters not to be afraid to come out and cast ballots in the second round of the presidential election July 12.Despite hundreds of new cases reported daily, Poland has been relatively successful in fending off COVID-19, with 1,500 deaths.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday he is easing the mandatory quarantines for travelers arriving in Britain. He said he would announce details Friday or Saturday.And in Mexico, a medical supply company has started using unmanned drones to deliver masks, gloves and other equipment to hospitals.Doctors, nurses and other medical workers have staged nationwide protests against what they say is a shortage of protective equipment. 

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July 3rd, 2020 by Vbiz

Two former presidents of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela, have been charged with money laundering in separate cases.After leaving the prosecutor’s office in Panama City on Thursday, Martinelli said he was angered by prosecutors continuing to link him to the so-called “New Business” case in which a publishing group was allegedly purchased with government money during his five-year term, ending in 2014.The French News Agency (AFP) said prosecutors accuse former President Juan Carlos Varela of taking illegal campaign donations from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht during his term ending in 2019.Varela has pledged to cooperate with prosecutors to clear his name.Both Martinelli and Varela share more than identical legal challenges.Martinelli won the 2009 election with Varela as his running mate, but their partnership collapsed when Varela was fired as foreign minister in 2011. 

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July 3rd, 2020 by Vbiz

Rights activists on Thursday accused Danish officials of being unable to recognize racism after authorities said the killing of a biracial man by two white men was not racially motivated.“In Denmark, white people are colorblind. They cannot see that racism exists. That is embarrassing,” said Jette Moeller, head of the Danish chapter of SOS-Racism, an international association.“Of course, racism exists (in Denmark). We know that. It has been documented for years,” said Mira Chandhok Skadegaard, an assistant professor at Aalborg University in northern Denmark.A biracial man was killed last month on a Danish Baltic Sea island. The Danish police, prosecutor, a defense lawyer and a white friend of the victim all say a personal relationship that went wrong between the victim and the perpetrators was the reason for the slaying, not racism.The 28-year-old victim, who had Danish and African roots, was found on the island of Bornholm on June 23. Two white brothers in their 20s whom the victim reportedly knew have been detained until July 22 on suspicion of murder. None have been named by authorities.’Racial murder’Speculation that the killing could be racially motivated began after it emerged that the victim’s death bore some similarities to that of George Floyd, a Black man who died May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes even as Floyd pleaded for air. Floyd’s death has sparked protests around the world demanding racial justice and condemning police brutality.The Danish chapter of Black Lives Matter wrote on Facebook that “two brothers committed a racial murder on Bornholm” and posted a photo of a swastika tattoo, claiming it was on one suspect’s leg.“Let a judge decide” whether the slaying was racially motivated, Moeller told The Associated Press in an interview. “But it should be investigated as a racially motivated crime. Knowing those who killed him doesn’t rule out it could include some racial elements.”Activists like Moeller see a pattern of denial in Denmark, which they attribute to rising anti-immigrant attitudes in the Nordic country. She also points out that Denmark’s freedom of expression should not be used to denigrate people, and the misuse of that right has previously brought the Scandinavian country of 10 million into the crosshairs of Muslims around the world.“Racism is about the effect it has on other people … One cannot use the liberty of expression as an excuse to taunt others, like Rasmus Paludan does by burning copies of the Quran,” she said.Burning the QuranFor months, Paludan, a far-right provocateur, has been touring the country and tossing copies of the Islamic holy book in the air before burning them before immigrants. This has sometimes led to brief confrontations between onlookers and police who have been protecting Paludan.Last month, Paludan was convicted of racism, among other things, with a court ruling that “his statements were derogatory and degrading toward a population group.” He was given a three-month prison sentence, of which two were suspended, and his license to practice law was suspended in part for three years. He has appealed the sentence.In September 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons showing the Prophet Muhammad. This caused wide outrage among Muslims, who generally hold that any depiction of Muhammad is blasphemous and prompted often-violent protests in Muslim countries. The newspaper — one of Denmark’s largest — said it had wanted to test whether cartoonists would apply self-censorship when asked to portray Muhammad. No Danish laws were violated with the cartoons’ publication.It was the same daily that in January published a cartoon with the Chinese flag with what resembles viruses instead of the normal stars, sparking China’s anger. In both cases, the Danish right to freedom of speech was invoked.Hate crimes quadrupleIn 2017, a 16-year-old Afghan boy was set on fire by four schoolmates, but race was ruled out as factor. The four teenagers were found guilty of gross violence, and the Afghan boy survived with burns on his legs and chest.A 2018 report by the European Union pointed out that hate crimes in Denmark had quadrupled over 11 years, from 35 reported cases in 2007 to 140 cases in 2016.In Europe, “Denmark belongs to the tough group,” Moeller told the AP. “I believe that we’re on the right track as we start to discuss it, address it.”She noted that a racial justice demonstration in Copenhagen on June 7 drew at least 15,000 people.Chandhok Skadegaard, who has been studying discrimination for decades, said Danes “are far behind when it comes to recognizing racism in our society. Sweden is several steps ahead of Denmark … as is Norway, and Finland and England.”“People tend to not report discrimination, because they find it is not acknowledged or taken seriously by the authorities,” she said.In 2016, Denmark made international headlines when a law was passed requiring asylum-seekers to hand over valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner ($1,500), to help cover housing and food costs while their cases were being processed. Although the center-right government behind the move said it was in line with rules for unemployed Danes seeking benefits, critics denounced the law as inhumane.Still, the law has not been changed under Denmark’s present Social Democratic government. 

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July 3rd, 2020 by Vbiz

Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is calling for an evaluation of justice and police officials in Guanajuato state, where gunmen killed 26 people and wounded five others at an unlicensed rehabilitation center.Authorities said gunmen attacked the rehab center in the city of Irapuato in Guanajuato state on Wednesday.A day after the attack, Lopez Obrador called on the opposition-led Guanajuato government to launch an investigation saying, “The problem (violence, murders and gang confrontations) grew a lot, they let it grow and we’ll have to see if there is no criminal association between criminals and the authority.”Pedro Cortes, secretary of public security in Irapuato, said street-level drug dealers are known to seek shelter from drug gangs in the rehabilitation centers.The attack occurred northwest of Mexico City in an area where the Jalisco cartel has been part of a violent turf battle.The La Jornada newspaper said there have been four attacks since December on annexes in Irapuato, where people were abducted, some killed, and a building was set on fire. 

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July 3rd, 2020 by Vbiz

Haitian Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe is asking Lucmane Delille, Haiti’s minister of justice and public security, to suspend the release of 415 prisoners who received a presidential pardon.Presidential press secretary Eddy Jackson Alexis announced the news on Twitter, saying the decision was made during a ministerial video conference on Wednesday.“In the interest of protecting the citizens and law and order in the Republic, prime minister @jouthejoseph is temporarily suspending prisoner pardons. An official document supporting this decision will be forthcoming,” the tweet said.Voulant protéger la société et sauvegarder l’ordre républicain, le premier ministre @JoutheJoseph appelle à la suspension provisoire de la libération des graciés. Un document officiel viendra soutenir la décision.
— Eddy Jackson Alexis (@Eddyjalexis) July 1, 2020President Jovenel Moise’s decree announcing the pardons to free up space in the country’s overcrowded prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic was signed by the president, the prime minister and the justice and public security minister.Critics say the prime minister does not have the authority to halt the prisoner releases and that only a presidential decree can reverse it. They also denounced the list for including rapists, notorious criminals and gang leaders.Former opposition Sen. Jean Renel Senatus rejected the pardon of criminals whom he said will be able to regain their civilian rights and even run for public office in the future.”They may be president, senator or deputy,” Senatus told VOA, “because the pardon clearly states that prisoners’ civilian rights are immediately reinstated. I view this as a (security) threat.”Renan Hedouville, who heads the Office for the Protection of Oppressed Citizens, told VOA he sent a letter of complaint to the justice minister.The National Association of Haitian Mayors and the National Bar Federation also criticized pardoning convicted criminals. The NBF also denied a claim made by the justice minister that he had discussed with them the early release as part of a plan to reduce prison overcrowding during the pandemic.The NBF issued its own statement saying the discussions held with the justice minister did not touch upon the prisoner pardon. The statement said the only matter discussed was the criteria that would be used to determine which prisoners should be considered for pardons.Jean Robert Phillipe contributed to this story.   

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July 3rd, 2020 by Vbiz

Ceiling and concrete walls are all that is left of a grocery store owned by a young Kurdish couple here in this riverside, tourist village in northern Iraq.The store was hit last week by a Turkish drone attack, wounding the owners and their two small children.“At the time of the incident, I immediately lost one of my legs,” said Peyman Talib, the 31-year-old wife, from her hospital bed, with one leg missing from the knee down.“My other leg is also broken. It requires further surgery,” she told VOA.Talib’s husband, Keywan Kawa, 30, and their two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, were also injured in the attack.“There are about 20 shrapnel pieces in my body,” Kawa told VOA at the hospital where his wife and children were receiving medical treatment. He wore a medical neck brace.“I have left my son in the hands of God. There is shrapnel stuck in his head and the doctors here say it too risky for them to take it out,” he said.Kurdish rebelsThe drone strike appeared to have chased a Toyota truck carrying several fighters allegedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was left badly damaged.The PKK is an armed group that has engaged in a three-decade-long insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey. The Kurdish group maintains bases inside the autonomous northern Kurdistan region of Iraq.Kawa said the truck stopped near his store, a man got off and entered the shop to purchase some goods. Then the Turkish strike hit, killing the man and injuring Kawa and his family.FILE – Recruits of the Kurdistan Free Life Party, a splinter group of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, take defensive positions near their training camp in the Qandil mountain range, northern Iraq.The Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), an armed offshoot of the PKK that fights for more political and cultural rights for the Kurds in Iran, said the man was a party member named Rebwar Gholizadeh, better known by his nom de guerre, Ariwan the Revolutionary.The group also said three additional fighters, who apparently stayed behind in the vehicle, were wounded, but it did not list their injuries.Both the PKK and PJAK are designated as terrorist groups by Washington, Ankara and Tehran.Iraqi condemnationA day after the strike, Iraqi President Barham Salih’s office issued a FILE – Members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, are seen in the Kandil mountain range, Iraq.US positionIn addition to airstrikes, Turkey’s operation includes ground troops who have crossed the border into Iraq.The United States called Wednesday for cooperation among Turkey, Iraq and the KRG against the PKK.“We regret any innocent loss of life and note the concerns expressed by the government of Iraq,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson told VOA.“The United States calls on Turkey and Iraq, including the KRG, to work together to defeat the PKK,” the spokesperson said, adding, “The United States is prepared to facilitate and support a coordinated approach on this issue.”Meanwhile, Kawa, the shop owner, is not certain whether life for him and his family will ever return to normal.“My wife’s leg has been chopped off. Nothing, not even the weight of this Earth in gold, can bring that back,” he said.VOA’s State Department correspondent Cindy Saine and VOA’s Ezel Sahinkaya contributed to this report from Washington.

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July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

Cameroon’s displaced Anglophones, who fled from the separatist war in western regions to the capital, are accusing authorities of harassment.  Last week, the government declared a security alert following two explosions in Yaounde and began raids on houses in English-speaking majority neighborhoods.Many English-speaking Cameroonians in the capital say they have stories of ordeals with the police, either in their houses or along the streets.Douala and Yaounde CameroonOne of them is a 31-year-old journalist whom we’ll call Rose to protect her safety.  She told VOA that since her national identity card expired a week ago, all her attempts to get a new one from the police identification office have failed.”When I approached the police officer, she asked my profession and I told her I was a journalist,” Rose said. “She shouted at me and drove me out of her office because I spoke in English. She told me that we are Anglophones and we are Ambazonians, and we ran from our places and we are hiding in Yaounde.”Rose, who fled fighting in the southwestern town of Mamfe two years ago, said she submitted a complaint to the police headquarters in Yaounde and was still waiting for a reply.Paid for his freedomBarber Genesis Ngumulah, 32, escaped fighting in the northwestern town of Bafut three years ago. He said he had been arrested twice this week, and both times he was accused of being a separatist fighter.Ngumulah said he was forced to pay an illegal fee of about $90 to regain his freedom.”They said that we were from Bamenda, that we are even the Amba boys [separatist fighters], that we came to hide at Mballa 2 [a neighborhood in Yaounde],” he said. “I was surprised that they locked me up there. Then the next day, they asked me to pay [the fee]. I was forced to borrow the money to pay before I go out of the place. We were more than 25 in one cell.”The harassment of English speakers has intensified within the past two weeks as Cameroon declared the security alert. Naseri Paul Bea, governor of the center region of Cameroon where Yaounde is located, said he had not sent out the police and military to harass anyone. He said the police were intent on making sure there was peace in the city.”A series of controls are taking place which have no objective to want to go to a particular quarter or particular area where people of particular regions live,” he said. “It is intended for the security of each and every one of us and when the police or the gendarmes come, we should be able to cooperate.”Bea promised to punish any police officer who abused the rights of civilians.Warning of radicalizationActivist Hamad Abdouramann of the Cameroon Rights Center said it was unfortunate that English-speakers who have escaped from crisis-prone regions for safety were being treated badly. He said that if care was not taken, the English-speakers might be radicalized.Abdouramann said Cameroonians should respect others’ language, origin and culture if they want to live in peace. He said the government should work together with rights groups to encourage all Cameroonians to cultivate tolerance.The United Nations says more than 500,000 English-speaking Cameroonians have fled the North West and South West regions since 2016, when separatist groups began fighting for an independent country.A majority of the displaced now live in the French-speaking regions of the central African state.
 

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July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

The U.S. Senate approved a bill Thursday that would penalize individuals or companies for conducting business with Chinese officials responsible for implementing Beijing’s new national security law on Hong Kong.The Republican-led Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act one day after the Democratic majority House approved the measure without opposition.  The approvals were a rare display of bipartisan support in the face of an erosion of autonomy in Hong Kong, a former British colony that prospered as China’s most democratic city and a global financial hub.The measure, which now goes to President Donald Trump to be signed into law, would impose mandatory sanctions on people or entities that materially contribute to China’s failure to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy. The bill would also sanction financial institutions that do business with those individuals or entities.Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline.Download File360p | 11 MB480p | 16 MB540p | 20 MB720p | 45 MB1080p | 84 MBOriginal | 103 MB Embed” />Copy Download AudioUS Condemns New Chinese Security Law in Hong KongU.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that China’s newly enacted Hong Kong national security law was “an affront to all nations” and that Washington was taking steps to end special permissions for the Chinese region.“The United States is deeply concerned about the law’s sweeping provisions and the safety of everyone living in the territory, including Americans,” Pompeo said.The Chinese legislature, the National People’s Congress, adopted the national security law for Hong Kong on Tuesday, a day before the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule.The law recommends harsh penalties for vaguely defined crimes such as “collusion with foreign countries.” Crimes such as damaging public transportation could be considered terrorist activity punishable by life in prison. Legal analysts say it effectively ends political freedoms that long allowed Hong Kong residents to publicly express their political views and helped transform the territory into an international business hub.“Article 38 of the new law also purports to apply to offenses committed outside of Hong Kong by nonresidents of Hong Kong, and this likely includes Americans. This is outrageous and an affront to all nations,” Pompeo said.Nike Ching contributed to this report.

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July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who was accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday in New Hampshire, the FBI said. Maxwell, who lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent travel companion on trips around the world, was taken into custody around 8:30 a.m., said FBI spokesman Marty Feely. An indictment made public Thursday said Maxwell “assisted, facilitated and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse ” girls under age 18. FILE – This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein.Epstein killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell was accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges. The indictment included counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury. Messages were sent Thursday to several of Maxwell’s attorneys seeking comment. She has previously repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called some of the claims against her “absolute rubbish.” FILE – Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein, leaves after the hearing in the criminal case against Epstein, at Federal Court in New York, Aug. 27, 2019.Among the most sensational accusations was a claim by one Epstein victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew at her London townhouse. Giuffre bolstered her allegations with a picture of her, Andrew and Giuffre that she said was taken at the time. Andrew denied her story. Maxwell was described in a lawsuit by another Epstein victim, Sarah Ransome, as the “highest-ranking employee” of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking enterprise. She oversaw and trained recruiters, developed recruiting plans and helped conceal the activity from law enforcement, the lawsuit alleged.  

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July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

Russia overwhelmingly embraced changes to the country’s constitution in a weeklong national vote that ended Wednesday and was held during the coronavirus pandemic, scoring a controversial victory for President Vladimir Putin amid complaints of vote rigging and a constitutional coup by Kremlin critics.
 
Buried among nearly 200 amendments focusing on conservative and patriotic values was a little advertised measure to reset president term limits for Putin — in effect opening the door for the longtime Russian leader to remain in power beyond his current term and until the year 2036.
 
With nearly all votes counted, Russia’s Central Election Commission said 65% of registered voters had participated, with 78% endorsing the changes in an up or down vote. 21% voted against the packet of amendments, according to official results.FILE – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov listens during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 19, 2019.“De facto, this was a triumphant referendum of trust in President Putin,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in assessing the outcome of the vote during a call with journalists on Thursday.
 
On the eve of the final day of voting, Putin urged all Russians to let their voices be heard.
 
“We’re voting for the country in which we want to live,” said Putin in a video address released on the eve of the vote.
 
“Each of our votes is the most important,” added Putin.
 
The Russian leader made no mention of the term limit extension, or that the both houses of parliament had already ratified the agreement, making the vote largely a question of optics.
 An unusual voteThe vote was part of a carefully choreographed event initially scheduled for April — but was pushed back by Putin amid concerns over rapid spread of the coronavirus in Russia.
 
Russia on Thursday sat third in the global count for coronavirus infections, with just over 650,000 documented cases.Ella Pamfilova, head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, wearing a protective mask, is seen at a news conference on the preliminary results of a vote on constitutional reforms, at the commission’s headquarters in Moscow, Russia, July 2, 2020.To assure voters to participate amid the outbreak, Russia’s Central Election Commissioner, Ella Pamfilova, unveiled what she termed “exclusive procedures” aimed at securing public safety while avoiding rules associated with a formal referendum.
 
The vote was extended for a full week, electronic voting was introduced in Moscow, and government vote monitors were put in place of independent observers, under new rules adopted.
 
“Our job is to control the vote, and it was absolutely impossible to control,” says Roman Udot of the independent election monitoring organization Golos in an interview with VOA.
 
“We’ve never had an experience like voting over a week. People were voting in streets, lawns, parks…everywhere.”
 
Voters were also screened for temperature checks and given masks and gloves and individual pens to mark ballots. The urns were disinfected every few hours.
 
“It’s perfectly safe,” said Nina Pavlovna, the head of a voting precinct central Moscow in an interview with VOA. “You can see we’re all wearing protective equipment.”
 
In an attempt to pump up turnout, prizes were also advertised — everything from free pizzas and soccer balls to raffles for smartphones, automobiles and government-gifted apartments.A woman wearing a protective mask stands by the door of her apartment as she prepares to cast her ballot in a mobile ballot box during a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms in Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2020.Opposition leader Alexey Navalny compared the whole experience to a theater performance desperate for an audience.
 
“The only thing he needed was people to turn out, because you can’t perform a play without an audience,” said Navalny in a video released just before the vote ended.
 
“We will never recognize the result,” added Navalny.
 Reality redefined
 
Despite appearances of an overwhelming victory, observers wondered the Kremlin had in effect achieved a result too glaringly at odds with the sour mood of the country.
 
Russia is just coming out of a three-month lockdown in the face of the pandemic that saw unemployment soar and Putin’s poll numbers go into a downward trend.
 
Voting stations were often empty and yet official turnout was high.
 
State-run polling that predicted support for the amendments also clashed with independent studies that showed society was highly split over the vote, and Putin’s extension on term limits in particular.A woman holds a placard reading “No to an eternal Putin” as she protests amendments to Russia’s Constitution, on Pushkin Square in downtown Moscow, July 1, 2020.Greg Yudin, a professor and polling specialist at Russia’s Higher School of Economics, suggests that Russia’s mayors and governors may have “over-performed” in their zeal to please the Kremlin.
 
“No one had any doubt about their ability to achieve the numbers that they want. The issue is whether people will believe the results. And this is still up for grabs,” said Yudin in an interview with VOA.
 
“It might be too much. Too much to be credible,” added Yudin.
 The dissenters
 
In central Moscow, several hundred demonstrators gathered on Pushkin Square to express outrage over the prospect of President Putin remaining in office for the next 16 years.
 
Although scores of police vans lined adjoining streets, no arrests were made.
 
“I don’t know anyone who voted for the amendment,” said Valentina Meshkova, a brand manager in her 20’s, in an interview with VOA.
 
“Russians think they can’t change anything, although people are tired of Putin and want a better future,” she added, noting disappointment in the small turnout.Law enforcement officers block protesters during an opposition rally against amendments to Russia’s Constitution on the last day of a weeklong nationwide vote on constitutional reforms, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, July 1, 2020.“It’s a constitutional coup,” said Alexey, 20, a student who wore a surgical face mask with the word “Nyet” – “No” in Russian – written on it.
 
“I decided not to participate in this circus,” he added. “But if they’d let me vote for specific amendments instead of all of them at once, I would have.”
 
In addition to the term limit extension, other high profile conservative amendments included a ban on gay marriage, a measure protecting “historical truth” of Soviet actions in World War II, and outlawing calls to “expropriate” Russian territory.
 
Other measures were targeted at working families — such as promise to re-index the pension fund and increases in funding for healthcare and education.
 
Even with the vote now secure, Putin has not indicated his intentions other than to say he is “not ruling out“ a run for the presidency following the end of his current term in 2024.
 
But observers have long argued Putin’s authority depends on the impression of a mandate — something lost in the rush to push through constitutional changes amid a global pandemic.
 
“It’s obvious that Putin doesn’t have the support of the majority — that which has protected him over many years and gave him the basis to do what he wants,” opined Boris Vishnevsky, a liberal political with the Yabloko party in Saint Petersburg in his telegram channel.
 
“And practice shows that when people don’t believe in the authorities, in the end, they stop following them, too,” Vishnevsky said.   

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July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

At least 113 workers at a jade mine in northern Myanmar were killed Thursday in a landslide.The disaster was announced on the Facebook page of Myanmar’s fire service. The miners were collecting the precious stones in Hpakant township in Kachin state when they were smothered by “a wave of mud” following heavy rains.Fatal landslides and other accidents are a common occurrence in the area in recent years.  Many of the victims are from impoverished ethnic communities who scour the jade mines searching for any of the precious stones missed by large mining firms. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

Global markets were on the rise Thursday on news of a potential effective vaccine for the novel coronavirus.Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index finished Thursday’s trading session 0.1 percent higher, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was up over 2 percent in late afternoon trading. The Shanghai Composite was also up over 2 percent.Elsewhere in Asia, Australia’s S&P/ASX index was 1.6 percent higher, the KOSPI index in South Korea closed up 1.3 percent, and Taiwan’s TSEC index rose 0.8 percent. The Sensex in Mumbai was up 1.3 percent in late afternoon trading.European markets were also making gains in early morning trading: the FTSE in London was up 0.9 percent, Paris’s CAC-40 index was up 1.5 percent, and the DAX index in Frankfurt was 1.8 percent higher.Investors were optimistic after U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNtech said preliminary data from early-stage human trials of a new vaccine showed promise.Meanwhile, oil markets were also on the rise Thursday. U.S. crude was selling at $40.24 per barrel, up 1 percent, while Brent crude, the global benchmark, was selling at $42.46 per barrel, also up 1 percent.All three U.S. indexes were trending positively in futures trading.    

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

Mexican officials are trying to identify the gunmen who attacked a drug rehabilitation center in central Mexico on Wednesday, killing at least 24 people and wounding seven others in the town of Irapuato.Pedro Cortes, secretary of public security in Irapuato, told the French News Agency (AFP), the suspects forced the victims to the ground and opened fire before fleeing in a red vehicle.Cortes said the victims were in an unregistered annex of the rehabilitation center, where street level drug dealers are known to seek shelter from drug gangs.In response to the attack, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government would not allow the country “to fall into anarchy and disorder.”The attack occurred northwest of Mexico City, in Guanajuato state, where the Jalisco cartel has been part of a violent turf battle. But it is unclear if Wednesday’s attack is linked to an organized crime group.The La Jornada newspaper said there have been four attacks since December on annexes in Irapuato, where people were abducted, some killed, and a building was set on fire. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

A showdown that could determine if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will solidify his grip on power is set for early December. The opposition is already rejecting the December 6 poll as a sham, which favors Maduro’s ruling Socialist Party.  Opposition leaders say Maduro is maneuvering to end rival opposition politician Juan Guaido’s leadership of the legislative body.  Guaido is considered Venezuela’s leader by several countries, including the United States, following Maduro’s disputed 2018 re-election. Guaido has also led unsuccessful efforts supported by the  United States to remove Maudro from office. During a televised address Wednesday,  Maduro seemed to reference Guaido, without mentioning his name.  He said,  “Venezuela needs a new National Assembly, legit and constitutional. Maduro then expressed confidence in the outcome of the upcoming vote, saying, he is already   imagining, January 5, 2021, Federal Legislative Palace, the lawmakers elected by the people arrive and a new National Assembly is born.” Maduro also urged voters to turn out in large numbers, and he said election officials assured him they will take measures to ensure a safe voting process amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the business landscape around the world, and Nigeria is no exception. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi brings us a story of a produce delivery business in Lagos that helps women avoid public markets and exposure to the virus, but is also generating backlash in a country where women battle for equality.

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 2nd, 2020 by Vbiz

The U.S. government on Wednesday said it blocked an $800,000 shipment of hair extensions and accessories from China on suspicions that the products were made with forced labor.The goods were held under a June order against a Xinjiang-based company suspected of using prison labor and forced labor with excessive overtime, withheld wages and restrictions on workers’ movements, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.The United States bans the import of goods made entirely or in part by forced labor, whether prison work or bonded or forced child labor.The CBP order dated June 17 called for the detention of goods made by Xinjiang’s Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co.The importers of the detained shipments must prove the merchandise was not produced with forced labor or export it elsewhere, the agency said.Human rights, unfair competition”The use of forced labor is not just a serious human rights issue, but also brings about unfair competition in our global supply chains,” said Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner of the CBP’s Office of Trade, in a statement accompanying the June order.The autonomous Xinjiang region in northwest China is home to a large population of Muslim Uighur people, an ethnic minority who speak a Turkic language and face repression from the Chinese government.The United Nations has said it has credible reports that 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in the region.China denies mistreatment of the Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centers needed to fight extremism.A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the United States said in an email that the suspicions of forced labor were an effort to bring down Chinese business.Xinjiang, China”The lawful labor rights and interests of the Chinese citizens of all ethnic groups, including those in Xinjiang, are protected by law,” the spokesperson said. “The accusation of ‘forced labor’ in Xinjiang is both false and malicious.”The CBP has been criticized for not sufficiently enforcing U.S. law against forced labor imports. Critics say the agency’s forced labor division is understaffed and underfunded.A CBP spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the agency has been working to develop and expand the division, and that the number of forced labor investigations was rising.In October, the CBP said it had blocked imports suspected to have been produced with forced labor from five countries, including clothing from China and diamonds from Zimbabwe.The number of forced labor prosecutions is low, so the CBP’s orders to halt imports are a powerful tool, said Martina Vandenberg, head of the Washington-based Human Trafficking Legal Center.”Criminal justice remedies have failed,” she said. “Advocates are looking for more innovative and creative tools to combat forced labor in supply chains.”Fewer than 1,000 prosecutionsThere were just 939 labor trafficking prosecutions around the world in 2019, according to the U.S. State Department’s most recent Trafficking in Persons Report.The CBP can issue a “withhold release order” when it believes goods were made by forced labor, and it has issued 16 of them since March 2016.The CBP said the blocked imports from Xinjiang, which included long hair extensions, weighed 13 tons and were held at a port in Newark, New Jersey.Lop County Meixin could not be reached for comment.Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump signed legislation calling for sanctions on China over its treatment of Uighurs.The State Department separately on Wednesday issued an advisory to caution businesses about supply chain links to Xinjiang.In Britain, lawyers and campaigners are trying to halt imports of cotton goods originating from Xinjiang.

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

A group of former George W. Bush administration and campaign officials have launched a new super PAC supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the latest in a growing number of Republican groups to come out in support of Biden over President Donald Trump.The group, 43 Alumni for Biden, has recruited at least 200 former White House officials, campaign aides and Cabinet secretaries who worked under Bush to join the push against the Republican incumbent. They’re planning to roll out supportive testimonial videos featuring high-profile Republicans and launch a voter turnout effort in key states, aimed at turning out disaffected Republican voters. News of the group was first reported by Reuters.Kristopher Purcell, who worked in the Office of Communications in the White House and in the State Department during the Bush administration, said many of the members of the group still consider themselves Republicans but see the need to defeat Trump as beyond their personal politics.”You don’t have to agree with a president on all of his policy decisions or agenda. We ask them to go to the White House and do what they think is in the best interest of the country. That’s what we as alumni of George W. Bush did, and we think Joe Biden will deliver that as well,” he said.The group has been in touch with the Biden campaign and other Republican groups opposed to Trump to coordinate some of its activities going forward, and it’s alerted Bush’s office of their activities, though it remains unaffiliated with the former president directly.In a statement, Erin Perrine, the Trump campaign’s director of press communications, said “this is the swamp — yet again — trying to take down the duly elected president.””President Trump is the leader of a united Republican Party where he has earned 94% of Republican votes during the primaries – something any former president of any party could only dream of,” she said.Still, this is just the latest group of Republicans supporting Biden to come out publicly amid criticism of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and race relations in the country.Two groups, Republican Voters Against Trump and the Lincoln Project, have already been airing ads in key states boosting Biden and attacking Trump. And last month, a group of Republican operatives opposed to Trump launched Right Side PAC, which is aimed at turning out disenchanted Republican voters. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

Fake news about the coronavirus can do real harm. Polygraph.info is spotlighting fact-checks from other reliable sources here​.Daily Debunk”COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, By the Numbers,” FactCheck.org, June 30​  Social Media DisinfoScreenshotClaim: The acronym COVID-19 is made up of a series of ancient symbols that when compiled together mean “see a sheep surrender.”Verdict: FalseRead the full story at: Reuters Factual Reads on CoronavirusCoronavirus’ spread in GOP territory, explained in 6 charts
An Associated Press analysis of coronavirus case data shows the virus has moved — and is spreading quickly — into Republican areas, a new path with broad potential political ramifications.
— Associated Press, July 1

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

Turkey claims to have one of the lowest COVID mortality rates in Europe, surpassing many more wealthy countries. But doctors warn complacency could spoil that record.   Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.Camera: Berke Bas, Turkish Ministry of Health Produced by:  Rod James   

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

Spain has had the world’s highest nursing home death rate during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Madrid city government documents show officials set rules preventing nursing homes from transferring some residents to hospitals at the time the infection rate peaked.  Now, some people are demanding answers.  Jonathan Spier narrates this report by Alfonso Beato in Barcelona. Camera: Alfonso Beato, Produced by: Jon Spier 
 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

Parts of Australia’s second biggest city, Melbourne, are to go back into COVID-19 lockdown Wednesday following a surge in cases. Authorities have said 36 suburbs have had an “unacceptably high” number of new infections detected in the past few days.Australia has had 7,834 confirmed coronavirus cases.  104 people have died. With 73 infections, Victoria has accounted for almost all of the national tally of new COVID-19 cases in the past 24-hours.   Failures in the hotel quarantine program are being blamed.   Travelers returning to Australia from overseas face a mandatory 14-days in isolation. The state government has said that breaches in security have been linked to the spread of the disease in parts of Melbourne.  Health officials have said the surge in infections was ‘heart breaking.’More than 300,000 people will face legally-enforceable restrictions on their movement as dozens of suburbs are once again placed into lockdown.    The Victoria premier Daniel Andrews is warning that the pandemic “will not be over for a long time” and says strict lockdown measures are needed. “The chief health officer has advised me to reimpose restrictions, so they will be stay at home orders and they will run for four weeks.  There will only be four reasons that you are permitted to leave your house and only if you really have to; for work or school,  for care or care-giving, for daily exercise, for food and other essentials,” Andrews said.Fines of about $1,000 could be imposed if residents leave their homes without good reason.  They are also banned from traveling to neighboring New South Wales.  Anyone from a virus hotspot in Melbourne who tries to cross the border in defiance of public health orders could face a fine of almost US $7,500 or up to six months’ in prison.      Disease control measures in New South Wales are being eased.  Museums, libraries and some cinemas can now reopen, while more passengers are allowed on public transport.  Queensland is also planning to reopen its borders to other Australian jurisdictions in 10 days’ time, although travellers from Victoria will face restrictions. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

U.S. President Donald Trump says he will veto an annual bill appropriating money for the Defense Department if the measure includes a requirement for renaming U.S. military installations that honor the Confederate States of America. His latest rejection of the move came in a late Tuesday tweet in which he repeated his frequent slur against Senator Elizabeth Warren. “I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!”People gather around the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., June 20, 2020. The global civil unrest ignited by Floyd’s death has left many Americans questioning their country’s racist past.The Senate Armed Services Committee gave bipartisan approval in a 25-2 vote on Warren’s amendment last month. It calls for the Pentagon to act within three years to identify and rename any base, street, aircraft, weapon or other “asset” commemorating the Confederacy, a group of states that wanted to preserve slavery and seceded from the country before losing the 1860s Civil War. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have all signaled they are open to renaming the bases. Among the installations named after Confederate military figures are Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, Fort Hood and Fort Pickett. The issue re-emerged amid nationwide protests following the death in police custody of African-American George Floyd.  Protests in multiple cities have targeted monuments to Confederate figures and led to some being removed, including one of Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy, in Richmond, Virginia, and one honoring top general Robert E. Lee in Montgomery, Alabama. The popular NASCAR racing series also banned the display of the Confederate flag at its events. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

An Iranian Christian convert sent into internal exile by Iran’s government after it jailed him for six years for his peaceful evangelism has criticized his banishment as a form of harassment.  Iranian authorities had ordered 33-year-old Ebrahim Firoozi into exile in the southeastern town of Rask in Sistan and Baluchistan province last November, leaving him about 1,600 kilometers from his home in the Tehran suburb of Robat Karim. He had been released from Rajaei-Shahr prison near Tehran in October at the conclusion of a six-year prison term for Christian evangelical activities designated as national security offenses in the Islamist-ruled nation.  Before his detention and trial in 2013, Firoozi had served a half-year in prison for proselytizing in 2011.   Firoozi’s 2013 sentence included two years of internal exile at the conclusion of his prison term. An Iranian court extended his period of banishment by 11 months in March as punishment for making a brief departure from Rask in December 2019 to deal with family affairs in Hamedan, where he was born a Muslim in 1987. The court accused Firoozi of violating the terms of his internal exile by taking an unauthorized leave of absence that lasted several days. He later told overseas Christian organizations that he had sought permission for the trip and proceeded after receiving no response from authorities.  Firoozi made the trip to Hamedan to resolve issues related to the death of his mother in December 2018 while he was in prison, he told the groups.  In a Thursday phone interview with VOA Persian, Firoozi criticized Iran’s government for sending activists such as himself into internal exile, saying it does so in order to legally harass citizens who reject its agenda once they have left prison.  The former prisoner of conscience described the conditions of his internal exile in Rask, a town of about 1,000, as tough. “Rask has no hospital and only one pharmacy that lacks essential drugs. If you get sick, there is no place to go,” he said.  Firoozi said he is barred from leaving Rask’s boundaries and must report to a local police station every 24 hours. He said five other former prisoners also have been exiled to the town.  In his March interview with California-based Iranian Christian group Hovsepian Ministries, Firoozi said he decided to convert to Christianity after discovering online videos about the faith and studying a bible when he was living in Tehran in his early 20s. He said he knew he could get into trouble with Iran’s Islamist authorities for sharing his knowledge and love of the faith with other Iranians, but was determined to continue doing so because he believed he was doing nothing wrong.  Firoozi said that during his years of detention, Iranian judges offered him freedom or reduced prison time in return for renouncing Christianity, but he refused to contemplate such a step.  Speaking to London-based Iranian Christian rights group Article 18 in April, Firoozi said he had been treated well and even offered housing by Rask’s predominantly Sunni Muslim community.  “As soon as it became known that I was only there because of my beliefs, these dear people accepted me as a guest on the first night,” he said.  Iran prohibits its Muslim citizens from converting to another religion. Muslims make up 99.4% of Iran’s 84 million people, according to U.S. government estimates. Iran’s refusal to recognize the Christianity of converts means it only recognizes two main categories of Christians. One category is Armenian and Assyrian Christians whose presence in Iran predates Islam, and the other is citizens who can prove they or their families were Christian before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.  Iran’s post-1979 constitution recognizes Christians as one of only three authorized religious minorities, along with Jews and Zoroastrians. It requires members of these minorities to register as such but bars converts from doing so. As a result, Iranian converts long have been denied the same rights as recognized members of Christian communities. The U.S. State Department’s latest annual report on religious freedom in Iran, published earlier this month, cited human rights activists as saying Tehran continued to target Christian converts last year with arbitrary arrests, physical abuse and other forms of harsh treatment. This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. Mehdi Jedinia of VOA’s Extremism Watch Desk contributed. Click here for the original Persian version of the story.  

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July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

Haiti reopened its two international airports in Port-au-Prince and Cape Haitian, as well as four official border crossings in Anse-a-Pitres, Malpasse, Belladere and Ouanaminthe on Tuesday. President Jovenel Moïse announced the news in a national address.  The airports closed to all nonlocal flights on March 16 to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but exceptions were made for some nonlocal flights, including to fly people who were stuck in Haiti back to their home countries.JetBlue Flies American Citizens, Residents Stuck in Haiti Home Passengers boarding flight to Fort Lauderdale told VOA they are not afraid and look forward to returning to Haiti Safety measures  
 
Officials told VOA that safety measures are in place to limit vehicular traffic in and around the airport, with special attention paid to passenger pick-up and drop-off zones. Agents will limit the number of passengers around airline check-in counters and security check points. Face masks are mandatory.  “Security agents will accompany passengers going through immigration, where we placed signs indicating where they should stand in adherence with social distancing measures,” Joseph Frantz Sedras, director of equipment for Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, told VOA Creole.   Protective glass barriers are in place at all agent counters, and procedures are in place to keep passenger lines moving forward.  Sedras told VOA that social distancing will be mandated at every step of the departure and arrival process and that security agents will search passengers and their luggage before they reach the immigration area. In addition, counters and equipment will be disinfected often, he said.    “When the passenger reaches the departure lounge, he/she will be allowed to occupy every other seat in accordance with social distancing guidelines,” Sedras said. “These measures will be mandated throughout the departure lounge.”   Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout the airport for passenger and employee use.     COVID-19 infections  Haiti currently has 5,933 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data published by the published health ministry on June 29. That number is an increase of more 1,000 cases since June 20 when the confirmed infection toll stood at 4,916. The current death toll is 105.  Health officials say the hardest-hit regions are the northeast, west and Artibonite departments, but there is speculation that the toll could be higher nationwide, where fear of stigmatization keeps people from seeking medical treatment.Workers with the Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population walk outside of International Airport Toussaint Louverture, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 15, 2020.Diaspora travelTravelers from the Haitian diaspora are essential to the country’s economy, according to Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe. During a visit to the Port-au-Prince airport before its reopening, he told VOA Creole he recognizes their desire to tend to property, as well as attending annual religious festivals.    “I can’t keep them from coming to dance at the festivals. And if the airport in Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic) is open and we are not, Haitians will find a way to get here somehow,” he said.  With regards to the pandemic and its spread, the prime minister said he consulted the country’s top health experts on a timeline but was not given an answer.     “Community transmission is an issue. There are many people who say they have a fever or a cold, they insist it’s not corona(virus). But we know how Haitians are. I guess if I had it, I would say I didn’t, too. So, all we can do is reinforce the security measures and preventative measures already in place,” he said.  Jouthe said hand washing and wearing masks are a necessity, even though they are not always comfortable.  Criticism  
Opposition Sen. Jean Renel Senatus told VOA that he, too, understands there are people who need to travel to Haiti to deal with important matters, but he doubts the government’s information about the current COVID-19 situation.  He also expressed concern about the surge in U.S. cases.   “We’ve heard that cases are spiking in Miami. And most of the planes arriving in Haiti are coming from Miami, Florida,” the senator said. Scheduled flights   Eleven flights are scheduled to arrive in Haiti on July 1, according to FlightRadar24, a website that tracks air traffic worldwide in real time. Among those, five flights from U.S. carriers American Airlines, Spirit and JetBlue departing from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida and New York City, are due to arrive between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time.     

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July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

Don’t panic, but there is another virus out there that could cause a pandemic.  This one is an influenza strain circulating in pigs and their caretakers in China.  It is not currently causing widespread illness, and it may never do so. But it has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” according to the authors of a new study in the FILE – A patient receives a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas, January 23, 2020.‘Good news, bad news’ “There’s good news and bad here,” Pavia said. “I think the bad news is that once again, it looks as if we’re identifying strains of flu that are emerging in populations with the potential to jump to humans.”However, only a handful of serious cases have been reported.”The severity remains low. That’s good news,” Pavia said, adding, “there’s no guarantee that it’s going to stay that way.”Other factors also must change before alarm bells really go off, experts note.”What is really important for influenza pandemic emergence, as well as for any viral pandemic emergence, is sustained airborne transmission,” said University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine microbiologist and molecular geneticist Seema Lakdawala, who was not part of the research team.While a few people are getting infected, she said there is no sign now of sustained transmission.Food animals are a common source of new flu viruses. Birds, pigs and humans can all exchange flu strains. Pigs are especially welcoming environments for influenza viruses to reinvent themselves. Multiple strains can infect one animal, swap genes and emerge as a novel strain.Unpredictable There is no telling when the right combination of genes will fall into place and produce a virulent, transmissible virus.A lethal strain called H5N1 first appeared in poultry in Hong Kong in 1997 and resurfaced in 2003. It kills more than half the people it infects. But for reasons scientists do not understand, it has not gone pandemic.”It’s still a concern. It has caused hundreds of deaths,” said senior scholar Gigi Gronvall at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who was not involved with the research. “But for whatever reason, even though all eyes were on that, it was this other virus that took off in 2009.” FILE – Researchers of the Veterinary Institute under the Academy of Agricultural Research check on African Swine Flu at Ryongsong District in Pyongyang, North Korea, June 10, 2019.That year, H1N1 emerged from pigs and sparked a pandemic. Researchers estimate that nearly 300,000 people died from it in the first year. Since then, health officials have increased efforts to monitor livestock farms and markets for new viruses.”There’s been a big improvement, but it’s far from complete,” Pavia said. “The challenge is enormous. Influenza circulates among ducks, turkeys, swine – not to mention there are strains that infect everything from horses to dogs. And tracking all of these is an enormous task.”The effort is understaffed and underfunded, “like so many things in public health,” he said.And that’s dangerous. “We’ve seen the consequences of inadequate public health surveillance in the emergence and failure to control COVID-19,” Pavia noted. Flu tools Unlike COVID-19, health experts have tools against influenza that might help if the new strain were to launch a new pandemic.  “We know how to test for influenza viruses,” Lakdawala said. Flu antivirals are only partly effective, “but we do at least have antivirals that can limit the severity of disease. We have a number of them. We also have a vaccine platform that is already approved and safe.”  A vaccine could be available in a matter of months.  But there is no way to know whether the newly identified strain will spark a pandemic.”The more you study flu, the more you realize we just don’t know how to predict that,” Pavia said.  

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

July 1st, 2020 by Vbiz

Amid continuing concern among members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force he leads, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is emphasizing the positives.  “Fatalities are at the lowest level since March,” Pence told reporters Tuesday during a visit to U.S. Public Health Service headquarters. “We’re in a much better place than four months ago, even two months ago.”  Pence noted there are 12 states “with rising cases and percent positive cases” and another 28 states with either of those situations.  Pence is visiting two of the current worst-hit states this week — Arizona and Texas.  A team of 62 disaster medical assistance personnel deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration are now on the ground in Arizona, Pence announced.  Social distancing signs are posted at one of the bars closed for the next 30 days due to the surge in coronavirus cases, June 30, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz.The number of coronavirus cases in Texas on Tuesday rose by 6,975 — the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic, according to the state’s health department.  All 50 states are reopening their economies, according to Pence, however 16 states have scaled back on permitting some activities — a move the vice president emphasized he fully supports. “We’re going to slow the spread. We’re going to flatten the curve. We’re going to save lives,” he predicted.  The top U.S. infectious disease specialist told lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill he is “quite concerned” about surges of coronavirus cases in the country.   “We are now having 40,000 new cases a day,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so, I am very concerned.”  Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 30, 2020.As schools prepare to reopen in August and September, Fauci said a vaccine probably will not be available by then.  “Working with the companies and the investments made by this Congress, hopefully there will be doses available by the beginning of next year, said Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force.  Committee chairman, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, stressed the importance of reopening schools and called on President Donald Trump and the public to wear masks to help prevent further increases in the spread of COVID-19.  Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., asks questions during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 30, 2020.“Unfortunately, this simple lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask. If you’re against Trump, you do,” Alexander said in opening remarks. “That is why I have suggested the president should occasionally wear a mask, even though there are not many occasions when it is necessary for him to do so.”  Alexander added that Trump “has millions of admirers,” who “would follow his lead.”   White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked about that during a Tuesday briefing.  “The president is the most tested man in America” for COVID-19, and thus does not need to wear a mask, she replied.  Pence noted that both he and Trump have worn a mask in public.  “We’re going to respect the right of Americans” and encourage them to listen to the guidance of local health authorities, added Pence. More than 125,000 COVID-19 deaths, about one-quarter of all fatalities worldwide, have been reported in the U.S., although many experts believe the U.S. death toll is much higher.  In addition to leading the world in COVID-19 fatalities, the U.S. is also the world leader in infections, with more than 2.6 million of the over 10.3 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.   Many of the first U.S. states to reopen, mostly southern and western states, are experiencing sharp increases in coronavirus cases.  Pence characterized this as partly due to the U.S. now being able to test 500,000 to 600,000 people every day. “Something changed about two weeks ago,” the vice president noted.   The new surges in the U.S. has triggered renewed criticism of Trump’s handling of the crisis just months before the November presidential election.   Reporters sit socially-distanced as Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., June 30, 2020.Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden strongly criticized what he called Trump’s “historic mismanagement” of the pandemic during remarks Tuesday in Delaware.  “I’m not going to be holding rallies,” Biden said, contrasting his campaign with that of the president, who has been criticized for recent indoor events in Oklahoma and Arizona.     

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

June 30th, 2020 by Vbiz

Something data crunchers have noticed during the coronavirus pandemic: countries with recent outbreaks of measles have fewer deaths and serious illnesses from the coronavirus. Is this a coincidence? Or is there something about the measles mumps and rubella vaccine that protects against the worst outcomes of the coronavirus? We learn more from VOA’s Carol Pearson.Produced by: Barry Unger

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

June 30th, 2020 by Vbiz

Fake news about the coronavirus can do real harm. Polygraph.info is spotlighting fact-checks from other reliable sources here​. Daily DebunkClaim: The novel coronavirus was intentionally engineered by the U.S. government in research overseen by Dr. Anthony Fauci.Verdict: FalseRead the full story at: USA TodaySocial Media DisinfoFlourishClaim: COVID-19 became a leading cause of death globally by the end of May 2020.Verdict: Mostly AccurateRead the full story at: Health Feedback

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

June 30th, 2020 by Vbiz

In the last few months, the coronavirus pandemic has been an unprecedented complication for U.S. presidential campaigns. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s campaigns have had to pivot their strategies and rely on technology to raise money and connect with potential voters. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has more on the digital strategies used by the campaigns, how they’re using them and the kinds of information they are gathering with the goal of winning the race for the White House.
Videographer: Elizabeth Lee

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

June 30th, 2020 by Vbiz

Better-than-expected economic numbers from China Tuesday helped Asian markets rebound from Monday’s staggering losses.  Tokyo’s Nikkei index gained 1.3% Tuesday, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.5% and the Shanghai’s Composite index finished 0.7% higher.   The S&P/ASX index in Sydney earned 1.4%, with Seoul’s KOSPI index up 0.7% and the TSEC in Taiwan up 0.6%.  Mumbai’s Sensex was trading 0.5% in late afternoon trading.   China’s monthly survey of factory managers, the purchasing managers index, was 50.9 for June, just above the mark that separates expansion and contraction.  Investors also reacted positively to Monday’s report of a stronger-than-expected U.S. housing market in the face of a rising number of COVID-19 cases across the United States, which led to a strong closing for Wall Street. But the situation is much different in Europe, with the FTSE index in London down one percent, the CAC-40 in Paris down 0.5%, and the DAX index in Frankfurt is trading 0.3% lower.   In oil markets, U.S. crude is selling at $39.32 per barrel, down 0.9% per barrel, while the international standard, Brent crude, is selling at $41.52 per barrel, down 0.4%.   And the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all trending negatively, indicating a slow opening on Wall Street Tuesday. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси