У Міністерстві закордонних справ Росії вручили ноту протесту тимчасовому повіреному в справах України у зв’язку з арештом рибальського судна «Норд» з анексованого Криму. Про це 4 квітня в Москві заявила офіційний представник МЗС Росії Марія Захарова.
«3 квітня в МЗС Росії був запрошений тимчасовий повірений у справах України в Росії. Йому була вручена нота з рішучим протестом у зв’язку з неправомірним затриманням Держприкордонслужбою України 25 березня в Азовському морі російського риболовецького судна «Норд», конвоюванням його в порт Бердянська і незаконним утриманням під вартою екіпажу в складі 10 громадян Росії», – сказала Захарова.
МЗС України цю заяву наразі не коментувало.
Державна прикордонна служба України заявила, що затримала 25 березня в Азовському морі судно під прапором Росії, зареєстроване в анексованому Криму, з 10 людьми на борту, у всіх були паспорти громадян Росії, видані в Керчі (місті в анексованому Москвою Криму). У ДПСУ зазначили, що судно порушило порядок виїзду з окупованої території України. Його відконвоювали до Бердянська. Пізніше суд арештував судно.
Прокуратура Криму заявила, що порушила кримінальне провадження за фактом виходу рибальського судна «Норд» із закритого Києвом порту анексованого міста Керч.
Прокуратура Автономної Республіки Крим оголосила про підозру Володимирові Горбенку, капітанові кримського судна «Норд», який є громадянином України. Йому інкримінують «порушення порядку в’їзду на тимчасово окуповану територію України та виїзду з неї». У прокуратурі додали, що за вчинення цього злочину передбачене покарання у вигляді позбавлення волі на строк до п’яти років.
Міжнародні організації визнали окупацію і анексію Криму незаконними і засудили дії Росії. Країни Заходу запровадили низку економічних санкцій. Росія заперечує окупацію півострова і називає це «відновленням історичної справедливості». Верховна Рада України офіційно оголосила датою початку тимчасової окупації Криму і Севастополя Росією 20 лютого 2014 року.
З липня 2014 року уряд України офіційно припинив функціонування всіх портів анексованого Росією Криму, гавані півострова закриті для міжнародного судноплавства.
За період з 1 серпня 2017 року по 31 січня 2018 року в закриті порти Криму зайшло 591 судно-порушник.
Компанія Facebook заявляє, що в розпорядженні політичної консультативної фірми Cambridge Analytica виявилися дані не 50 мільйонів користувачів соцмережі, як вважали раніше, а 87 мільйонів людей, що в основному проживають у США.
Британську компанію Cambridge Analytica, що займається аналізом даних, звинуватили в тому, що вона використовувала особисті дані користувачів Facebook у ході передвиборної кампанії в США.
Голова компанії Facebook Марк Цукерберг відповість на питання комітету Палати представників США з приводу витоку даних 11 квітня.
З початку скандалу вартість соцмережі впала на 80 мільярдів доларів.
3 квітня Facebook також видалив більше ніж 270 акаунтів і сторінок, створених користувачами з Росії, пов’язаними з так званою «фабрикою тролів» – Агентством інтернет-досліджень.
В інтерв’ю Reuters Цукерберг пояснив, що це рішення торкнеться користувачів і організацій, контрольованих і керованих Агентством інтернет-досліджень, які були виявлені в результаті розслідування, проведеного фахівцями Facebook.
Велика частина вилучених акаунтів і матеріалів – російськомовні.
У МЗС Росії такий крок Facebook назвали «цензурою» і боротьбою з «альтернативною інформацією».
Стан здоров’я засудженого в анексованому Росією Криму українського активіста Володимира Балуха, який тримає голодування, погіршується, але він не має наміру зупиняти протест, заявила проекту Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії його адвокат Ольга Дінзе.
«Йому це (голодування – ред.) важко дається. Крім того, відбуваються постійні провокації з боку представників адміністрації установи, які приносять йому смачні продукти, спокушаючи його все ж почати приймати їжу. Це трохи дестабілізує його, але він тримається і тримає своє слово», – сказала адвокат.
Представники російських правоохоронних органів в анексованому Криму справу Балуха, умови утримання і стан його здоров’я публічно не коментують.
Засуджений український активіст Володимир Балух з 19 березня продовжує безстрокове голодування, оголошене на знак протесту проти вироку.
14 березня підконтрольний Кремлю Верховний суд Криму змінив вирок Балуху, скоротивши термін ув’язнення на два місяці. Суддя вилучив зі звинувачення пункт про придбання боєприпасів, активіста засудили до 3 років і 5 місяців позбавлення волі в колонії-поселенні, а також штрафу в розмірі 10 тисяч рублів (близько 4,6 тисячі гривень).
28 березня Міністерство закордонних справ України закликало негайно звільнити Балуха. Український омбудсмен Людмила Денісова звернулася до російської колеги з проханням допустити лікарів до активіста, який голодує.
2 квітня суд дозволив архієпископу УПЦ КП Клименту стати громадським захисником Балуха.
ФСБ Росії затримала Володимира Балуха 8 грудня 2016 року. Співробітники ФСБ стверджували, що знайшли на горищі будинку, де живе Володимир Балух, 90 патронів і кілька тротилових шашок.
Захист Балуха і правозахисники наполягають, що він став жертвою репресій за свою проукраїнську позицію – прапор України на подвір’ї його будинку.
Німеччина, Франція, Велика Британія і США в першу річницю хімічної атаки на сирійське місто Хан-Шейхун поклали відповідальність за застосування хімічної зброї на режим президента Сирії Башара Асада і Росію. Про це йдеться в спільній заяві міністрів закордонних справ і Держдепартаменту США.
Міністри звинувачують Росію в невиконанні зобов’язань, взятих на себе в 2013 році. Тоді Москва пообіцяла домогтися від Дамаска повного знищення хімічної зброї. Після цього експерти Ради безпеки ООН зібрали докази про чотири нових хімічних атаки в Сирії. «Замість того, щоб виконати свою обіцянку, Росія наклала вето на продовження розслідувань Ради безпеки», – наголошується в заяві.
4 квітня 2017 року внаслідок хімічної атаки з використанням газу зарину в місті Хан-Шейхун у сирійській провінції Ідліб загинули понад 80 людей, серед яких десятки дітей, постраждали – понад 550. Повстанці поклали провину за напад на сирійські урядові війська.
Росія, яка підтримує режим президента Сирії Башара Асада, заявила, що 4 квітня сирійська авіація завдала удару по східній околиці міста, по складу снарядів з отруйними речовинами.
Спільний механізм розслідування ООН і Організації за заборону хімічної зброї оприлюднив звіт, який, зокрема, склав вину за газову атаку в Хан-Шейхуні на владу Сирії. У звіті наведені численні докази того, що отруйний газ зарин, використаний для нападу, походив із сирійських урядових запасів, а не був саморобним продуктом повстанців, чи що кратер від вибуху боєприпасу могла спричинити тільки авіабомба, а не підрив якогось пристрою на землі.
Розслідування також виключило версію про влучення урядовою авіацією Сирії в хімічну зброю самих повстанців: будівля, яку Москва й Дамаск називали «складом» чи «заводом» такої зброї, була насправді медпунктом.
І влада Сирії, і її союзник Росія, попри всі докази, продовжують заперечувати ці висновки, як і попередні звинувачення режиму в Дамаску в застосуванні хімічної зброї.
Росія скористалася зі свого права вето і заблокувала в Раді безпеки ООН продовження мандату Спільного механізму.your ad here
The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday filed denaturalization papers against two Bosnian Muslims convicted of carrying out an execution-style massacre of Croatian villagers during the Balkan wars.
Edin Dzeko, 46, and Sammy Rasema Yetisen, 45, both alleged former members of an elite Bosnian military unit responsible for carrying out the 1993 attack that killed 22 civilians, are accused of hiding their crimes on their refugee, permanent resident and U.S. citizenship applications.
Yetisen, who also goes by Rasema Handanovic, came to the U.S. as a refugee three years after the massacre and became a citizen in 2002, according to court filings. Dzeko was admitted as a refugee in 2001 and naturalized in 2006.
The pair’s involvement in the “Trusina massacre” came to light in 2011 when the U.S. extradited them to Bosnia to stand trial for war crimes, the Justice Department said.
A court in Bosnia later found that Dzeko and Yetisen were part of a special forces unit that participated “in a well-prepared and planned attack” on the village of Trusina in central Bosnia, executing six unarmed prisoners of war and civilians, according to court documents. Yetisen later shot each of the six again to make sure they were dead.
“In addition to his participation in the firing squad, Dzeko also killed a crippled elderly man, and then shot the man’s wife in the back, killing her because she would not stop crying,” the Justice Department said.
Yetisen was convicted of war crimes in 2012 and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison. She returned to Oregon after her release from prison, the Justice Department said.
Dzeko was convicted and sentenced in 2014. He is still serving his sentence in Bosnia.
“War criminals will find no safe haven or shelter within the United States,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “We will be steadfast as we investigate and prosecute human rights violators, torturers, and war criminals. This is especially true for those who fraudulently obtain U.S. citizenship.”
The Justice Department has stepped up the pace of denaturalization lawsuits under the Trump administration.
In March, a Bosnian Serb living in North Carolina was sentenced to 18 months in prison for lying about his military service and involvement in war crimes on his permanent resident application.
Milan Trisic, 55, admitted that he’d served in the army of the Serb Republic between 1992 and 1996 as a member of a unit responsible for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and that he lied about his whereabouts during the war when he applied for refugee admission to the U.S.
In February, the Justice Department filed denaturalization lawsuits against five convicted child abusers in California, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas.
“We at [the Department of Homeland Security] are committed to working with our partners across the federal government to target those who seek to break our immigration laws to obtain U.S. citizenship. There will be consequences,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement.
A deadlocked Washington on immigration matters is not new. Congress’ inability to address the legal status of undocumented newcomers and reform America’s oft-criticized immigration system spans several decades and multiple U.S. administrations. Protracted gridlock helped spur the creation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, as an executive order that bypassed Congress. The current political impasse has blocked a permanent legislative solution benefiting immigrants — sometimes called Dreamers — who were brought to America as children.
Key dates in recent efforts to reform U.S. immigration laws:
June 23, 2007: Then-President George W. Bush renews a call for lawmakers to forge a comprehensive immigration reform package, declaring, “The status quo is unacceptable.” Neither house of Congress approves immigration reform during his two-term administration.
December 8, 2010: Majority Democrats in the House of Representatives pass the DREAM Act, which would grant permanent legal status to qualifying undocumented minors in America. The bill was derailed when it failed to get three-fifths backing in the Senate.
May 10, 2011: Then-President Barack Obama calls for an overhaul of America’s immigration laws in a speech delivered in El Paso, Texas. Obama rejects calls from immigrant rights advocates to bypass Congress and unilaterally implement changes, saying, “That’s not how a democracy works.”
June 5, 2012: Obama unveils DACA, which allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States before age 16 and have lived in the country for at least five years to obtain renewable two-year permits to work and study in America. Obama declares, “This is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure.” Some 800,000 immigrant youth eventually enroll in the program.
June 27, 2013: The U.S. Senate passes a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would give millions of undocumented immigrants a chance at U.S. citizenship, force employers to verify the legal status of their workers, adjust criteria for legal immigrants coming to America, and dramatically boost U.S. border security. The Republican-led House of Representatives does not vote on the bill, which supersedes many DACA provisions, and it never reaches Obama’s desk.
November 20, 2014: Obama expands on DACA with an executive order shielding many undocumented parents of U.S. citizens from deportation for renewable three-year periods.
November 25, 2014: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio sues Obama over DACA and other executive orders. A federal judge dismisses the lawsuit a month later, as does a federal appeals court in 2015, saying Arpaio lacks legal standing. The U.S. Supreme Court declines to review the case in January 2016.
September 5, 2017: The Trump administration rescinds Obama’s DACA executive order, effective March 5, 2018. President Donald Trump challenges Congress to enact a permanent legislative solution for young undocumented immigrants.
September 13, 2017: Trump discusses a DACA fix and enhanced border security measures with Democratic congressional leaders. A day later, Trump tweets: “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? … They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own.”
October 8, 2017: The White House issues its blueprint for immigration reform, demanding border wall construction, changes to legal immigration, and an end of so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with federal authorities in identifying and handing over undocumented immigrants. Most Democrats reject the blueprint but, in the weeks that follow, do not follow through on threats to hold up federal funding extensions that fail to address DACA.
January 9, 2018: A federal court freezes Trump’s order rescinding DACA, allowing existing beneficiaries to continue to renew work and study permits. On the same day, Trump holds an hourlong, televised bipartisan meeting with lawmakers on immigration. Trump expresses optimism a deal can pass Congress and pledges to sign it if one does.
January 11, 2018: Trump rejects an immigration compromise reached by six senators of both political parties. Some senators present at the meeting report the president used vulgar language to describe some impoverished nations.
January 19, 2018: On the eve of a federal funding deadline, Trump rejects a Democratic offer pairing a DACA fix with limited border wall funding. Hours later, most Democrats refuse to back a funding extension and the U.S. government partially shuts down at midnight. Federal operations resume three days later when a funding extension is approved after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promises floor debate and votes on immigration proposals.
February 15, 2018: The Senate rejects four immigration proposals, three of which contained a DACA solution. Trump’s immigration blueprint and DACA fix receives the fewest votes of all.
February 26, 2018: The U.S. Supreme Court declines to immediately intervene on DACA, effectively keeping Trump’s rescinding of the program on hold.
March 22, 2018: Congress passes yearlong funding with no DACA fix.
April 1-2, 2018: In multiple tweets, Trump repeatedly rails against illegal immigration and blames Democrats for Washington’s failure to enact immigration reform.
Amid criticism of his invitation by phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a meeting soon at the White House, President Donald Trump says no one is tougher on Russia than he is. Some experts say Russia is likely seeking such a high-profile summit to dispel the perception that it is isolated internationally after the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain caused the West to expel Russian diplomats. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more.
A jury has awarded nearly $17 million to a former Ford engineer who sued the automaker for discrimination because he says two supervisors repeatedly berated and criticized him for his Arab background and accent.
The Detroit Free Press reports that a federal jury in Michigan ruled March 28 that Faisal Khalaf was subjected to workplace discrimination and retaliation after he reported the abuse. Khalaf was born in Lebanon.
The jury awarded Khalaf $15 million in punitive damages, $1.7 million in retirement and pension losses, and $100,000 for emotional distress for the actions of Ford supervisors Bennie Fowler and Jay Zhou.
A Ford representative says the company disagrees with the verdict and is pursuing options to get it “corrected.”
Ford has been criticized for workplace discrimination before, including in a December New York Times investigation into sexual harassment at two Chicago plants.
The possible closure of a major coastal tourism magnet in the Philippines for environmental cleanup will hurt business, but for a cause that helps everyone longer term, experts say.
President Rodrigo Duterte said via the presidential website in March he would place Boracay Island under a “state of calamity.” The island may be shut down for two to 12 months, Philippine media reports say, citing other statements from Duterte and cabinet members.
The government is “addressing wastewater issues through an improved sewerage system,” the country’s environment minister Roy Cimatu said in a March 27 statement.
Boracay, a 10.3-square-kilometer feature in the central Philippines, has been compared to Bali and other Asian beach resort hot spots. Its main white sand beach runs four kilometers, paralleled by a strip of at least 100 hotels.
“The Philippines has been very aggressive in its campaign to attract tourists… and Boracay is actually the No. 1 selling point of the tourism business in the Philippines,” said Maria Ela Atienza, political science professor at University of the Philippines Diliman.
“So it will really be a big blow to the tourism industry and we don’t know what will happen to these industries depending on Boracay, if they will continue if they can return to operation,” Atienza said.
Fear of closure
Government agencies have not finalized any closure of Boracay Island but dropped enough hints to prompt flight and hotel cancellations, analysts and operators report. Domestic media say arrivals in March were normal but expected a fall for this month.
Tourists who read “negative news” about Boracay are cancelling mid-year reservations, said a manager with Boracay Pito Huts, a 10-year-old group of villas for tourist groups on the island. Villa staff people may be asked to “take a vacation” if bookings don’t pick up, she said.
“As a preparation, of course we have to tighten our belts,” said the manager, who did not want to be named. “We are in the toilet. For June bookings or June tourists it’s nothing. That’s how we got affected.”
The Boracay Foundation, a business association with an environmental focus, declined comment for this report. A Department of Tourism representative said her office could make no statements on the possible closure.
Suspension of business would hurt a network of common Filipinos who sell souvenirs, prepare meals or drive tourists around the island, Atienza added.
Boracay generated $1.076 billion in tourism receipts last year, the local provincial tourism office said, as cited by the Philippine Information Agency, an increase of about 15 percent over 2016. Tourism was 8.6 percent of the Philippine GDP in 2016.
People and waste
Boracay has an ideal capacity of about half a million tourists per year, compared to its 2017 total of 2 million, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in an online video. More than 300,000 tourists reached the island in January and February this year, it said.
Travelers often visit Boracay during the northern hemisphere winter to escape the cold in spots such as China, Russia and South Korea.
The island should review its “carrying capacity,” said Alicia Lustica, a coastal ecosystems cluster head with a department research Center. “We need also to assist also the volume of waste that has been generated and likewise how people are doing their activities on Boracay Island,” Lustica said in the video.
Sewage became an issue because some resorts treat their own inadequately or dump it into the sea, the domestic news website BusinessMirror.com said in January. It cites overbuilding and inadequate infrastructure as additional problems for Boracay.
The nongovernmental organization Global Coral Reef Alliance said more than 10 years ago sewage “from uncontrolled development” was hurting Boracay’s coral and fisheries.
The environment ministry also plans to do a “massive replanting” of trees on Boracay, the minister said in the March 27 statement.
A temporary closure would let Boracay clean itself up to become better for tourists, said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist with Banco de Oro UniBank in Metro Manila.
“It’s going to hurt us, but I think moving forward we will probably see a lot of pent-up demand for Boracay — just like in any business a temporary renovation — and I think that’s how you should probably see what’s happening in Boracay,” he said.
Travelers would rather see a cleaner island, he added. Today Boracay-bound tourists must pay an environmental impact fee at a boat pier before stepping onto the island.
A cleaner Boracay would motivate other Philippine beach resort areas to protect their environments before they too face shutdown, Ravelas said. “You need the one example, and everybody will follow,” he said.
Duterte called Boracay a “cesspool” and ordered his government to fix problems in six months, the presidential office website says. The state of calamity, Duterte said, would let the government offer aid to people facing business losses.
Президент США Дональд Трамп заявив, що прагне «дуже швидко» ухвалити рішення про виведення американських військ із Сирії, коли вони майже завершили свою головну місію – перемогли екстремістське угруповання «Ісламська держава».
«Щодо Сирії наша основна місія полягає в тому, щоб позбутися «Ісламської держави». Ми виконали це завдання й ухвалюватимемо рішення дуже швидко, в координації з іншими (союзниками – ред.) у цьому районі щодо того, що ми будемо робити», – сказав Трамп 3 квітня під час його розмови з колегами з Естонії, Латвії та Литви.
Рішення Трампа вийти з Сирії суперечить поглядам деяких його головних радників, які цього ж дня говорили про необхідність залишатися в Іраку та Сирії, щоб завершити боротьбу з екстремістським угрупованням, яке колись контролювало значні території обох країн.
Сполучені Штати розгорнули близько двох тисяч військовослужбовців у Сирії. Серед них є спецпідрозділи, які консультують та допомагають очолюваним курдами силам відвойовувати територію в «Ісламської держави».
МЗС України повторно звернулося до Росії з вимогою звільнити заарештованого кримськотатарського активіста Нарімана Мемедемінова. Про це написала в мережі Twitter речниця МЗС України Мар’яна Беца.
«Рішуче засуджуємо системне переслідування кримських активістів. Вкотре вимагаємо звільнення журналіста Мемедемінова», – написала Беца.
Раніше 3 квітня підконтрольний Кремлю Верховний суд анексованого Криму залишив Мемедемінова під вартою до 16 травня, повідомляє громадський об’єднання «Кримська солідарність». Як розповіли в громадському об’єднанні, суд проходив через відеозв’язок, у засіданні брав участь адвокат обвинуваченого Еміль Курбедінов.
23 березня підконтрольний Кремлю Київський райсуд Сімферополя заарештував кримськотатарського активіста Нарімана Мемедемінова до 16 травня. Перед цим в будинку Мемедемінова російські силовики провели обшук.
Правозахисники, журналісти, блогери вимагали від Росії і підконтрольної їй влади анексованого Криму негайного звільнити активіста. До звільнення Мемедемінова закликало також МЗС України.
У лютому 2016 року в будинку Мемедемінова вже проводили обшук, підконтрольний Росії Бахчисарайський районний суду 13 липня 2017 року розглядав адміністративну справу проти активіста, його притягували до відповідальності за нібито участь в несанкціонованому мітингу 13 квітня 2017 року поблизу будинку Сейдамета Мустафаєва, в якого в той момент проводився обшук. Тоді біля будинку зібралася велика кількість кримських татар, щоб підтримати співвітчизника, серед них був і Наріман Мемедемінов.
Після анексії в Криму підконтрольна Росії влада практикує масові обшуки у незалежних журналістів, громадських активістів, активістів кримськотатарського національного руху, членів Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу, а також кримських мусульман.
«Зранку прийшла смс від сина Юрія Солошенка, що сьогодні помер Юрій Данилович»
Європейський союз 3 квітня розкритикував депортацію з Косова шести турецьких громадян, які були політичними опонентами президента Туреччини Реджепа Тайїпа Ердогана. Речниця Євросоюзу Майя Коціянчич зазначила, що угода про асоціацію ЄС із Косовом вимагає від Приштини «повної поваги до верховенства права» та сприяння «повазі і дотриманню прав людини та основних свобод».
«Заборонені процедури щодо арешту, тримання під вартою або заслання суперечать цим принципам», – сказала речниця.
«Що ж до Туреччини, ми розуміємо необхідність притягнення винних до відповідальності за спробу державного перевороту, (але – ред.) будь-які ймовірні правопорушення або злочини мають підлягати належним процедурам і добре встановленим міжнародним нормам щодо видачі (потенційних підозрюваних – ред.). Право кожної людини на справедливий суд має бути повною мірою шанованим», – додала Коціянчич.
Депортацію, що сталася 29 березня, схвалили міністр внутрішніх справ та керівник розвідки Косова. Через день прем’єр-міністра Косова Рамуш Харадінай звільнив цих чиновників, заявивши, що вони діяли без його дозволу.
Депортовані турки мали зв’язки з рухом Фетхуллаха Ґюлена, який Ердоган звинувачує в невдалій спробі державного перевороту 2016 року. Ісламський клірик Ґюлен та його прихильники неодноразово заперечували ці твердження.
Косово та Туреччина раніше заявляли про намір у майбутньому стати членами ЄС.
Five years ago, Filipina farmer Marivic Dubria would buy Nescafe sachets to serve visitors because she was embarrassed by the quality of the coffee she grew next to her main vegetable crops.
Life was tough for her family in Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines, as they struggled to earn $1,000 a year from their produce, with their coffee beans fetching only 20 cents per kilo from local traders.
But Dubria is now one of hundreds of farmers nationwide who are brewing up a storm with training from Coffee For Peace (CfP) – a social enterprise striving to boost growers’ profits, protect the environment and foster peace between communities.
Having learned how to grow, harvest and process high-quality Arabica beans at a time when global demand for coffee is soaring – it is set to hit a record high this year – Dubria exports her crop to buyers as far away as Seattle for at least $5 per kilo.
“But it’s not all about the money – it’s about taking responsibility for the environment and other communities,” Dubria told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in her home on Mount Apo while brewing a pot of thick, aromatic, treacle-like coffee.
Beyond helping coffee growers get a better deal, CfP aims to encourage dialogue between communities, with tensions ranging from colonial-era conflict between native Muslims and Christian settlers to land and resource disputes between ethnic groups.
The Philippines is battling to restore order to troubled Mindanao, where militant groups have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, and five decades of communist insurgency and separatist bombings have displaced at least 2 million people.
By bringing people together through trade, businesses with a social mission can help build peace, industry experts say.
“Social enterprise presents an emerging pathway or approach to conflict resolution,” said Angel Flores, East Asia business head at the British Council, which backs companies seeking to help people, invest in the environment and tackle social ills. “Being inclusive, participatory and prioritizing community benefit over personal agendas enhances the social fabric from a place of distrust to … confidence and mutual understanding.”
CfP was set up in 2008 on the conflict-hit southern island of Mindanao, after its founders stopped Christian and Muslim neighbors going to war over the ownership of a rice field.
The men were invited to put down their guns and talk over coffee, a tradition which quickly spread across the region.
CfP offers a three-year scheme to train farmers to produce coffee while encouraging native and settler communities and various tribes to harvest and process the beans together.
While the social enterprise buys the farmers’ beans above market value — selling them on to local coffee shops and exporting as far as Canada — communities can sell to any buyer, but are encouraged to demand higher prices.
“We don’t treat them as suppliers or just part of the chain — they are farmerpreneurs,” said CfP senior vice president Twinkle Bautista.
“The aim is to unite the settlers and indigenous people to teach each other, share techniques and tools … and harmony,” she added. “Our product is peace — coffee is just the tool.”
For Kagawad Abe and his indigenous community, setting up a processing center through CfP has brought them closer to the Christian settlers — who work with them to process their beans.
“It has also brought women together, and given them a chance to work independently … to contribute to the tribe,” he said.
About 80 percent of CfP’s coffee-growing partners are women.
“Just five or so years ago, we didn’t really know each other – but now we are talking and working together,” Abe added.
CfP says business is booming, having tripled sales to at least $46,000 last year from $15,000 in 2012 and won United Nations and regional awards for promoting peace and development.
Although social enterprises in the Philippines have more than tripled in the last decade to 165,000, many are struggling due to limited state support and a lack of funding, said the British Council and the Philippines Social Enterprise Network.
CfP’s success is likely largely due to its unusual mission, said Gerry Higgins, chief executive of Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS), Britain’s largest agency to support the sector.
“Coffee for Peace is unusual … there aren’t many social enterprises that recognize that if a community is resilient and sustainable, (then) fewer conflicts will emerge,” Higgins said.
Conquerors of Coffee
By walking farmers through every step of the supply chain, CfP says they no longer see the coffee industry as “a mystery.”
Once dependent on traders and big brands such as Nestle, the world’s biggest coffee maker and producer of Nescafe, farmers can now demand higher prices for better quality beans, CfP said.
Yet winning communities over remains a major challenge.
Some are proud of their traditional methods and reluctant to embrace change, while others are wary of civil society groups and used to instant cash or aid, rather than long-term support.
“We had to convince and convince our people, many times, to move from the traditional to the technical way of doing things,” said Baby Jerlina Owok, chieftain of a native tribe which has seen their coffee beans almost double in value in recent years.
Yet for women such as Owok and Dubria and their coffee cooperatives, the ambitions are much bigger than making money.
Pointing at huge swathes of coffee trees covering the hills, painting once barren land vibrant shades of green, Dubria spoke about planting more to combat deforestation and soil erosion.
Lastly, she said they need to share their prosperity.
“We need to encourage and help other communities to produce quality coffee,” she said. “We want to pull them up — to improve their standard of living — so they can experience what we have.”
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller told attorneys for U.S. President Donald Trump last month that while he is a subject of investigation, Mueller did not consider him a criminal target at that time.
The Post based its report on information from several people familiar with private negotiations Mueller had with Trump’s lawyers in early March about potentially interviewing the president as part of the probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.
The U.S. intelligence community has assessed Russian President Vladimir Putin directed an influence campaign meant to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning in favor of Trump. Trump has repeatedly denied there was any collusion and has called the Mueller investigation a witch hunt.
The Post said Mueller told the Trump legal team he is preparing a report about the president’s actions and reiterated the need to speak with Trump. Trump’s lawyers declined to publicly comment for the article. The paper said Trump and some in his inner circle interpreted Mueller’s words as assurance the president’s risk of criminal jeopardy was low, while others warned Mueller could be baiting Trump into an interview that could put him in greater legal danger.
A person who is the subject of an investigation but not considered a target can later become a target if evidence emerges linking them to a crime.
Mueller began leading his investigation nearly a year ago. He has indicted 13 Russians on conspiracy charges for their roles in election interference. He also secured guilty pleas from Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former foreign affairs adviser George Papadopoulos for lying to federal investigators about their contacts with Russian officials.
On Tuesday, London-based Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in prison and a $20,000 fine for lying to investigators about his contacts with a business associate of Trump’s one-time campaign manager Paul Manafort and Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates.
Manafort has not been charged with any crimes related to the presidential contest, but faces multiple counts of criminal wrongdoing in connection with years of lobbying efforts in Ukraine for one-time Ukrainian strongman Viktor Yanukovych, who was toppled in a popular uprising in 2014 before fleeing to exile in Russia.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty.
The largest American business lobby group came to the defense of Amazon.com on Tuesday after a multi-day Twitter attack by U.S. President Donald Trump that included unsubstantiated criticism of the world’s biggest online retailer.
The value of Amazon shares held by Jeff Bezos, the online retailer’s chief executive and single largest shareholder, had taken a $10 billion hit in the week since Trump began attacking him and his company on Twitter.
Citing an unspecified report, Trump told reporters at the White House that the company was not paying the U.S. Postal Service a fair rate, and that it was costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars and forcing other retailers out of business, and he threatened to raise rates.
Late on Tuesday afternoon, a source familiar with proceedings at the White House said no specific actions addressing Trump’s concerns about Amazon were on the table at the White House at this time, but that could change given Trump’s dissatisfaction with the company.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business lobby group in the country, stepped in on Tuesday to defend Amazon, which is a member.
“It’s inappropriate for government officials to use their position to attack an American company,” Neil Bradley, chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement, citing the value of the free enterprise system and the rule of law. “The record is clear: deviating from those processes undermines economic growth and job creation.”
It is not the first time Trump, or another U.S. president, has been publicly critical of a company. Trump has previously criticized automakers, Carrier, which is owned by United Technologies and Boeing.
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama criticized office supply company Staples for not embracing the Affordable Care Act, drawing a quick rebuke from Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Trump has progressively escalated his criticism of Amazon and Bezos, who also privately owns The Washington Post, which has published stories that have angered the president.
Bezos, ranked by Forbes magazine as the world’s richest man with an estimated net worth of $115.6 billion, owns 78.89 million Amazon shares, worth about $110 billion at Tuesday’s market close.
Amazon shares closed up 1.5 percent at $1,392.05. The shares started the day higher but fell as low as $1,355.33 after Trump’s latest Amazon-related tweet.
Trump has accused Amazon of not paying enough tax, taking advantage of the U.S. postal system and putting small retailers out of business, but he has offered no evidence to back up his criticisms.
“The post office is losing billions of dollars … because it delivers packages for Amazon at a very low rate,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “If you look at the cost that we’re subsidizing, we’re giving a subsidy to Amazon.”
Trump offered no details about the report he cited or how he might charge the company more through USPS.
Amazon also ships packages through providers such as FedEx and United Parcel Service as well as its own experimental shipping service.
Representatives of Amazon and USPS had no comment on Trump’s tweet on Tuesday and could not be immediately reached regarding his latest comments to reporters.
Like most teenagers, Ranim has yet to decide on a career. But the 17-year-old is certain of one thing: She must keep studying to make up for the time she spent out of school, fleeing the war in Syria to reach Austria’s capital.
Each week she and about a thousand other refugees and asylum-seekers attend a free, council-run college set up by Vienna’s authorities to help young migrants learn German, get counseling, gain basic education, and integrate into society.
“As a refugee, we need to know the language. At the same time, we need to keep learning the basic subjects in school like mathematics and English,” said Ranim, who two years ago became one of Vienna’s nearly 1.9 million residents.
“They created this college to give us more chances,” said Ranim, who declined to give her full name for privacy reasons.
As more people move around the world — spurred by conflict, climate extremes and poverty — the cities and countries that host new arrivals are trying to figure out what kind of welcome to offer.
Investing in the new arrivals, to prepare them to integrate into a new country, can cut the need to support them long term — but can sometimes provoke resentment from local people who may not be offered similar services.
In Vienna, the left-leaning capital of the only western European country with a far-right-wing party in government, finding the correct balance can be particularly delicate.
In 2015, Austria took in asylum-seekers equivalent to more than 1 percent of its population, most of them escaping conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
With about 93,250 refugees already living in Austria and tens of thousands of asylum applications in the system, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), Vienna’s city councilors say helping migrants become part of their new country is crucial.
“We felt there was a political obligation to support refugees from day one so that they have better prospects and better chances for a job,” said Philipp Lindner, a spokesman for Vienna’s education and integration department.
But Vienna’s welcome for refugees is in some ways in direct opposition to the views of the national government.
In December, Austria’s anti-immigration Freedom Party and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives struck a coalition deal to share power.
Both of Austria’s ruling parties have pledged to cut benefits for refugees and have warned that Muslim “parallel societies” are emerging in cities like Vienna.
City spokesperson Lindner said the college for migrants is part of a wider council-led scheme to help them assimilate.
It includes sessions on how to access health care, education, housing and other services, as well as courses on sexual health, rights and cultural values.
Maria Steindl, who has managed the Youth College since its inception in 2016, said that without this free education, young migrants “would be on the streets. They would not have jobs.”
“We are building a base so they can make their next steps,” she said.
Today, some 60 percent of refugees worldwide live in cities, UNHCR says.
That trend constitutes a significant shift from the traditional response, adopted by the United Nations a half-century ago, of sheltering displaced people in camps.
But cities are sometimes struggling to adapt to the new responsibilities.
Mayors say city authorities are increasingly called on as first responders to meet migrants’ basic needs, and are also required to take long-term responsibility for their well-being.
“Big cities have more challenges with migration than the countryside [does],” Lindner told Reuters by phone. “It’s the cities that have the obligation to provide housing, education and … social welfare services.”
Last October, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said he believed cities should be given a bigger voice in deciding and implementing measures to deal with migration.
Planning ahead for migrants and implementing long-term integration programs is a cost-effective way for cities to deal with new arrivals, said Julien Simon of the Vienna-based International Center for Migration Policy Development.
“When you don’t deal with an issue and you keep on postponing it, you will pay the price at some point,” said Simon, who is head of the center’s Mediterranean branch in Malta.
Helping migrants participate in city life is a “win-win” as it helps them contribute positively to their new communities, he noted.
At Vienna’s Youth College, however, Steindl said it was challenging to keep asylum-seeking students motivated against Austria’s unfriendly political backdrop.
“Getting asylum status knocked back is a blow to their motivation. But that is the political framework in which we have to work,” she said. “The best thing we can do is to invest in the training and education of these young people.”
For Iraqi refugee Alaa Al-Dulaimi, the college has offered a chance to finish his interrupted high school education.
“I didn’t go to school for almost three years, so I have forgotten a lot of subjects,” said Al-Dulaimi, who arrived in Austria at the end of 2014, when he was 17.
With the help of social workers and teachers, the 20-year-old now hopes to pursue further studies, find a job and settle in Vienna for good.
“I feel very welcome. I have lots of friends from Austria. They are very kind people,” he said.
As Republicans run into a buzz saw of conservative criticism over a deficit-expanding new budget, GOP leaders and the White House are looking for ways to undo the damage by allowing President Donald Trump to rescind some of the spending he signed into law just 10 days ago.
Rolling back the funds would be a highly unusual move and could put some lawmakers in the potentially uncomfortable position of having to vote for specific spending opposed by a president from their party. But it would also offer Republicans a way to save face amid the backlash over the bill that conservatives, and Trump himself, complain gives too much money for Democratic priorities.
Trump has been talking with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, about the plan over the past couple of days, according to an aide to the House leader who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks. It is not clear how widely the idea has been embraced by other top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose offices declined to discuss it.
“There are conversations right now,” said Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy. “The administration and Congress and McCarthy are talking about it.”
The idea emerged as lawmakers get hammered back home for the $1.3 trillion spending package that, while beefing up funds for the military, also increases spending on transportation, child care and other domestic programs in a compromise with Democrats that Trump derided as a “waste” and “giveaways.”
Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law, after openly toying with a veto, has not quelled the unrest and may have helped fuel it.
“People are mad as hell about it and mad as hell that they put the president in that situation — that he sign the bill or shut the government down,” said Amy Kremer, a founder of the tea party and co-chairman of Women for Trump.
Kremer said Republicans in Congress have lost sight of the voters who propelled them to the majority on an agenda of fiscal restraint. “They are no better than the Democrats,” she said.
Lawmakers home on spring recess are feeling the brunt of the criticism. Representative Mark Amodei, a Republican from Nevada, said he encountered a finger-wagging voter back home almost as soon as he stepped off the airplane.
Fox News host Sean Hannity asked, “What happened to the Republican Party?” after Trump signed the bill. “Republicans should be ashamed of themselves,” he added.
In some ways, the rescission proposal is as close as Trump can get to the line-item veto, which he called on Congress to enact even though the Supreme Court decided in 1998 that it would violate the authority the Constitution gives Congress on legislation.
The idea centers on a rarely used provision of the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impound Control Act. It allows the White House to propose rescinding funds and sets a 45-day clock for the House and Senate to vote.
Congress could simply ignore the president’s request and keep the funds in place.
Sparks didn’t specify how much spending could be rescinded or in what categories. But Trump would likely seek to focus on domestic spending he has attacked in recent tweets.
Trump has been particularly upset the package did not include $25 billion he sought for the border wall with Mexico, even after the bill burst through previously set budget caps for military and domestic spending.
Ryan and Trump have not yet talked this week, an aide to the speaker said, but likely will by week’s end.
Voting, though, could be difficult, even for fiscally conservative Republicans, since Trump’s targets may be popular projects or programs back home, said Gordon Gray, the director of Fiscal Policy at the center-right American Action Forum, who notes the rescission tool is not as popular as it was when introduced in the Nixon era more than 40 years ago.
Passage would not be certain, especially in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority.
The Trump administration on Tuesday escalated its aggressive actions on trade by proposing 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports to protest Beijing’s alleged theft of American technology.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a list targeting 1,300 Chinese products, including industrial robots and telecommunications equipment. The suggested tariffs wouldn’t take effect right away: A public comment period will last until May 11, and a hearing on the tariffs is set for May 15. Companies and consumers will have the opportunity to lobby to have some products taken off the list or have others added.
The latest U.S. move risks heightening trade tensions with China, which on Monday had slapped taxes on $3 billion in U.S. products in response to earlier U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
“China’s going to be compelled to lash back,” warned Philip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and an economic adviser to President George W. Bush.
Indeed, China immediately threatened to retaliate against the new U.S. tariffs, which target the high-tech industries that Beijing has been nurturing, from advanced manufacturing and aerospace to information technology and robotics.
Early Wednesday in Beijing, China’s Commerce Ministry said it “strongly condemns and firmly opposes” the proposed U.S. tariffs and warned of retaliatory action.
“We will prepare equal measures for U.S. products with the same scale” according to regulations in Chinese trade law, a ministry spokesman said in comments carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.
The U.S. sanctions are intended to punish China for deploying strong-arm tactics in its drive to become a global technology power. These include pressuring American companies to share technology to gain access to the Chinese market, forcing U.S. firms to license their technology in China on unfavorable terms and even hacking into U.S. companies’ computers to steal trade secrets.
The administration sought to draw up the list of targeted Chinese goods in a way that might limit the impact of the tariffs — a tax on imports — on American consumers while hitting Chinese imports that benefit from Beijing’s sharp-elbowed tech policies. But some critics warned that Americans will end up being hurt.
“If you’re hitting $50 billion in trade, you’re inevitably going to hurt somebody, and somebody is going to complain,” said Rod Hunter, a former economic official at the National Security Council and now a partner at Baker & McKenzie LLP.
Kathy Bostjancic of Oxford Economics predicted that the tariffs “would have just a marginal impact on the U.S. economy” — unless they spark “a tit-for-tat retaliation that results in a broad-based global trade war.”
Representatives of American business, which have complained for years that China has pilfered U.S. technology and discriminated against U.S. companies, were nevertheless critical of the administration’s latest action.
“Unilateral tariffs may do more harm than good and do little to address the problems in China’s (intellectual property) and tech transfer policies,” said John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council.
Even some technology groups that are contending directly with Chinese competition expressed misgivings.
“The Trump administration is right to push back against China’s abuse of economic and trade policy,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation think tank. But he said the proposed U.S. tariffs “would hurt companies in the U.S. by raising the prices and reducing consumption of the capital equipment they rely on to produce their goods and services.”
“The focus should be on things that will create the most leverage over China without raising prices and dampening investment in the kinds of machinery, equipment, and other technology that drives innovation and productivity across the economy,” Atkinson added.
At the same time, the United States has become increasingly frustrated with China’s aggressive efforts to overtake American technological supremacy. And many have argued that Washington needed to respond aggressively.
“The Chinese are bad trading partners because they steal intellectual property,” said Derek Scissors, a China specialist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
In January, a federal court in Wisconsin convicted a Chinese manufacturer of wind turbines, Sinovel Wind Group, of stealing trade secrets from the American company AMSC and nearly putting it out of business.
And in 2014, a Pennsylvania grand jury indicted five officers in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on charges of hacking into the computers of Westinghouse, US Steel and other major American companies to steal information that would benefit their Chinese competitors.
To target China, Trump dusted off a Cold War weapon for trade disputes: Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, which lets the president unilaterally impose tariffs. It was meant for a world in which much of global commerce wasn’t covered by trade agreements. With the arrival in 1995 of the Geneva-based World Trade Organization, Section 301 largely faded from use.
Dean Pinkert of the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed, found it reassuring that the administration didn’t completely bypass the WTO: As part of its complaint, the U.S. is bringing a WTO case against Chinese licensing policies that put U.S. companies at a disadvantage.
China has been urging the United States to seek a negotiated solution and warning that it would retaliate against any trade sanctions. Beijing could counterpunch by targeting American businesses that depend on the Chinese market: Aircraft manufacturer Boeing, for instance, or American soybean farmers, who send nearly 60 percent of their exports to China.
Rural America has been especially worried about the risk of a trade war. Farmers are especially vulnerable targets in trade spats because they rely so much on foreign sales.
“Beijing right now is trying to motivate US stakeholders to press the Trump Administration to enter into direct negotiations with China and reach a settlement before tariffs are imposed,” the Eurasia Group consultancy said in a research note.
“The next couple of weeks will be very interesting,” says Kristin Duncanson, a soybean, corn and hog farmer in Mapleton, Minnesota.
Kosovo’s prime minister said Tuesday that he was confounded by the Turkish president’s angry reaction to Pristina’s domestic probe into last week’s arrest and deportation of six Turkish citizens with ties to schools linked to the Fethullah Gulen movement, which Ankara blames for a failed 2016 coup.
“One cannot just snatch people from Kosovo,” Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said in an interview with VOA’s Albanian service. “This was a sort of a theft of people from Kosovo.”
It was on Saturday when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Haradinaj would “pay” for dismissing Kosovo’s interior minister and intelligence chief for deporting the six people without his permission. On Sunday he again criticized the prime minister, calling it a “historic mistake to fire the intelligence agency head and interior minister who gave us members of the ‘[Gulen]’ terrorist organization, [as] they only carried out their duties.”
Haradinaj fired the two officials after launching a probe into the deportations that, he contended, violated Kosovo’s “decision-making hierarchy.”
“There is fogginess over the deportation,” Haradinaj told VOA on Tuesday. “The quick revoking of residence permits and the secrecy in deportation, along with the fact I was not informed about it, constituted the basis for my decision to dismiss the minister of interior and the director of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency.”
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci initially expressed “disappointment at how relevant institutions” had failed to protect foreign citizens working in Kosovo, but later said the “Turkish citizens had committed crimes in Kosovo” that may have threatened “our entire national security.”
Still, Haradinaj told VOA, the arrests, visa revocations and deportations —which all occurred in under three hours — failed to follow due process of law, and thereby constituted an extrajudicial act.
Although the KIA dossier indicated the six Turkish citizens had conducted “financial transactions and activities that … could have brought risks to Kosovo,” Haradinaj said, the rush to deport the subjects was a red flag for leaders in the tiny Balkan nation that is still eyeing EU accession protocol.
Because “this information was not internally processed in a serious manner” by the KIA or the interior ministry, Haradinaj said, he immediately triggered a probe.
The fate of Kosovo’s intelligence chief remains unclear, since his dismissal requires signature approval by Thaci, who has said further “investigation needs to be conducted on the matter” before the dismissal can be finalized.
Asked whether he was concerned about diplomatic fallout over his protest of the extradition to Turkey, which is a primary financial backer of Kosovo and among the first to recognize its 2008 secession from Serbia, Haradinaj suggested the question was beside the point.
“Look, I do not personally know President Erdogan, but we are interested in a strategic partnership with Turkey at the international level and in getting [EU] recognition, and I do not want to prejudge anything,” he said.
“Again, what is important is that in Kosovo, nobody can do our work on our behalf,” he added before reiterating a statement he issued Monday while addressing an event marking the 550th anniversary of the death of the Albanian national hero, George Kastrioti, who for 25 years fought against the Ottoman invasion. “We’ll do it ourselves. No one will have any power [over] decision-making in Kosovo’s internal affairs.”
EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic on Tuesday said “the arrest and subsequent deportation of six Turkish nationals legally residing in Kosovo raise questions about the respect of the due process of law.”
“All actions of the local Kosovo institutions are bound by the full respect for the rule of law and promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Kocijancic said.
“As for Turkey, while we understand the need to bring the culprits of the coup attempt of 15 July to justice, any alleged wrongdoing or crime should be subject to due process and well established international norms when seeking extradition,” she added. “As a European Union candidate country and a member of the Council of Europe, Turkey has subscribed to these principles.”
A U.S. State Department official, speaking on background, echoed calls for due process and rule of law, adding that that the U.S. was “encouraged that Kosovo’s state institutions have announced their determination to review this event and improve procedural safeguards to protect due process rights.”
The State Department referred further questions to the governments of Kosovo and Turkey, with whom the U.S. maintains extradition treaties.
Kosovo, along with other Balkan countries such as Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania and Serbia, has been under pressure from Turkey to take action against schools funded by the Gulen organization.
Turkish firms run Kosovo’s sole airport and electricity network and are building two highways worth around $2 billion.
Ankara accuses Gulen, a Muslim cleric based in the United States, of masterminding the July 15, 2016, coup attempt and has declared his movement a terrorist operation. Gulen denies any link to the attempted coup.
This story originated from VOA’s Albanian service.