Monthly: September 2018

У Македонії закрилися дільниці для референдуму, явка надто низька

Референдум має статус консультативного і не тягне прямих юридичних наслідків. На нього винесли питання: «Ви підтримуєте членство в ЄС і НАТО, приймаючи Договір між Республікою Македонією і Грецькою Республікою?»

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Російські війська вбили в Сирії майже 8 тисяч цивільних – правозахисники

Втрати Росія в Сирії щодо військової техніки, зокрема, 8 літаків, 7 вертольотів – Бондарєв

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Nobel Prizes Still Struggle with Wide Gender Disparity

Nobel Prizes are the most prestigious awards on the planet but the aura of this year’s announcements has been dulled by questions over why so few women have entered the pantheon, particularly in the sciences.

The march of Nobel announcements begins Monday with the physiology/medicine prize.

Since the first prizes were awarded in 1901, 892 individuals have received one, but just 48 of them have been women. Thirty of those women won either the literature or peace prize, highlighting the wide gender gap in the laureates for physics, chemistry and physiology/medicine. In addition, only one woman has won for the economics prize, which is not technically a Nobel but is associated with the prizes.

Some of the disparity likely can be attributed to underlying structural reasons, such as the low representation of women in high-level science. The American Institute of Physics, for example, says in 2014, only 10 percent of full physics professorships were held by women.

But critics suggest that gender bias pervades the process of nominations, which come largely from tenured professors.

“The problem is the whole nomination process, you have these tenured professors who feel like they are untouchable. They can get away with everything from sexual harassment to micro-aggressions like assuming the woman in the room will take the notes, or be leaving soon to have babies,” said Anne-Marie Imafidon, the head of Stemettes, a British group that encourages girls and young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“It’s little wonder that these people aren’t putting women forward for nominations. We need to be better at telling the stories of the women in science who are doing good things and actually getting recognition,” she said.

Powerful men taking credit for the ideas and elbow grease of their female colleagues was turned on its head in 1903 when Pierre Curie made it clear he would not accept the physics prize unless his wife and fellow researcher Marie Curie was jointly honored. She was the first female winner of any Nobel prize, but only one other woman has won the physics prize since then.

More than 70 years later, Jocelyn Bell, a post-graduate student at Cambridge, was overlooked for the physics prize despite her crucial contribution to the discovery of pulsars. Her supervisor, Antony Hewish, took all of the Nobel credit.

Brian Keating, a physics professor at the University of California San Diego and author of the book “Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor,” says the Nobel Foundation should lift its restrictions on re-awarding for a breakthrough if an individual has been overlooked. He also says posthumous awards also should be considered and there should be no restriction on the number of individuals who can share a prize. Today the limit is three people for one prize.

“These measures would go a long way to addressing the injustice that so few of the brilliant women who have contributed so much to science through the years have been overlooked,” he said.

Keating fears that simply accepting the disparity as structural will seriously harm the prestige of all the Nobel prizes.

“I think with the Hollywood (hash)MeToo movement, it has already happened in the film prizes. It has happened with the literature prize. There is no fundamental law of nature that the Nobel science prizes will continue to be seen as the highest accolade,” he said.

This year’s absence of a Nobel Literature prize, which has been won by 14 women, puts an even sharper focus on the gender gap in science prizes.

The Swedish Academy, which awards the literature prize, said it would not pick a winner this year after sex abuse allegations and financial crimes scandals rocked the secretive panel, sharply dividing its 18 members, who are appointed for life. Seven members quit or distanced themselves from academy. Its permanent secretary, Anders Olsson, said the academy wanted “to commit time to recovering public confidence.”

The academy plans to award both the 2018 prize and the 2019 prize next year _ but even that is not guaranteed. The head of the Nobel Foundation, Lars Heikensten, was quoted Friday as warning that if the Swedish Academy does not resolve its tarnished image another group could be chosen to select the literature prize every year.

Stung by criticism about the diversity gap between former prize winners, the Nobel Foundation has asked that the science awarding panels for 2019 ask nominators to consider their own biases in the thousands of letters they send to solicit Nobel nominations.

“I am eager to see more nominations for women so they can be considered,” said Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and vice chairman of the Nobel Foundation. “We have written to nominators asking them to make sure they do not miss women or people of other ethnicities or nationalities in their nominations. We hope this will make a difference for 2019.”

It’s not the first time that Nobel officials have sought diversity. In his 1895 will, prize founder Alfred Nobel wrote: “It is my express wish that in the awarding of the prizes no consideration shall be given to national affiliations of any kind, so that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.”

Even so, the prizes remained overwhelmingly white and male for most of their existence.

For the first 70 years, the peace prize skewed heavily toward Western white men, with just two of the 59 prizes awarded to individuals or institutions based outside Europe or North America. Only three of the winners in that period were female.

The 1973 peace prize shared by North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho and American Henry Kissinger widened the horizons _ since then more than half the Nobel Peace prizes have gone to African or Asian individuals or institutions.

Since 2000, six women have won the peace prize.

After the medicine prize on Monday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will announce the Nobel in physics on Tuesday and in chemistry on Wednesday, while the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded Friday by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. On Oct. 8, Sweden’s Central Bank announces the winner of the economics prize, given in honor of Alfred Nobel.

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Невідомі напали на громадську приймальню Білецького в Києві – заява

Громадська приймальня народного депутата та голови партії «Національний корпус» Андрія Білецького у Києві зазнала нападу – про це йдеться в заяві прес-служби організації.

Згідно з нею, напад стався в ніч на 30 вересня в Оболонському районі столиці.

«Невідомі близько другої години ночі залили фарбою вікно офісу та закинули всередину приміщення молоток, який розбив вікно. Окрім цього, біля місця злочину було знайдено піротехніку, яку, ймовірно, молодики намагались використовувати для підпалу приміщення», – повідомляють у приймальні народного депутата.

Представники громадської приймальні Білецького вважають інцидент «помстою за активну діяльність Національного корпусу».

В поліції Києва Радіо Свобода підтвердили, що зареєстрували повідомлення про цей випадок і проводять оперативно-розшукові дії у справі за статтею «хуліганство».

Андрій Білецький, колишній командир добровольчого батальйону «Азов» і позафракційний депутат Верховної Ради, заснував партію «Національний корпус» у жовтні 2016 року.

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Macedonians Vote in Name-Change Referendum

Macedonians voted Sunday whether to change the name of their country – a move that could pave the way for it to join NATO and the European Union.

Following a deal with neighboring Greece after decades of dispute, Macedonians voted on whether to change the country’s name to North Macedonia.

Nationalists, including Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, urged a boycott of the vote Sunday, resulting in low voter turnout.  Macedonia’s electoral commission said two days ago the referendum results would be declared invalid if less than 50 percent of the eligible voting population went to the polls.

Even if the referendum vote passed and turnout exceeded 50 percent, Macedonia’s Parliament would have to pass the name change with a two thirds majority to amend the constitution. 

Athens has argued that the name “Macedonia”  belongs exclusively to its northern province of Macedonia and using the name implies Skopje’s intentions to claim the Greek province.

Greece has for years pressured Skopje into renouncing the country’s name, forcing it to use the more formal moniker Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the United Nations.   Greece has consistently blocked its smaller neighbor from gaining membership in NATO and the EU as long it retains its name.

President Ivanov said giving into Athens’ demand would be a “flagrant violation of sovereignty.”  

He steadfastly refused to back the deal reached between Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras that puts the name change to a vote.

“This referendum could lead us to become a subordinate state, dependent on another country,” Ivanov said.  “We will become a state in name only, not in substance.”

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Українські ВМС провели навчання на Чорному та Азовському морях

Азовське море стало останнім часом місцем численних провокацій із боку російських силовиків

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‘Terrorism’ Ad by Indicted Republican Roils California Election

When a Democrat with Palestinian-Mexican ancestry who had never before run for office was elected to challenge a Republican incumbent in a staunchly conservative southern California congressional district, few gave him much of a chance.

But five-term U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, who has been criminally charged with misusing campaign funds, is concerned enough about Ammar Campa-Najjar to issue a YouTube ad accusing his Democratic rival of trying “to hide his family’s ties to terrorism.”

It was a reference to his Palestinian grandfather, who was involved in a 1972 plot to kill Israeli athletes at the Olympics and was killed the following year by Israeli commandos.

The ad, released Wednesday, shows Hunter, a former U.S. Marine who followed his father into Congress, dressed in camouflage and saying he approved the message.

​Democrat responds

Campa-Najjar told Reuters on Saturday Hunter’s ad was “racist, xenophobic and rooted in lies.”

He noted he had security clearances to work in the White House and the Labor Department under former President Barack Obama.

“If Hunter applied for that clearance under indictment, he would be denied, which is why (House of Representatives Speaker) Paul Ryan stripped him of his seat on the Armed Services Committee, because he would have access to confidential materials. That’s the irony of this,” Campa-Najjar said.

“I think he’s trying to tap into dark emotions and I don’t think people will rise to that,” Campa-Najjar said.

Hunter’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Hunter’s once-safe seat

Democrats need to pick up 23 House of Representatives seats in the Nov. 6 congressional elections if they wish to take a majority and serve as a more effective counter to U.S. President Donald Trump. Republicans can ill afford to lose normally safe seats like Hunter’s, in a district including San Diego, as they look to keep control of that chamber.

Polls show Hunter maintaining a comfortable lead over Campa-Najjar, though not as wide as his 27 percentage point margin of victory in 2016.

A Monmouth University Poll of 401 voters conducted between Sept. 22 and 26, found 53 percent of likely voters supported Hunter versus 38 percent for Campa-Najjar. The poll had a 5.3 percentage point margin of error.

Campa-Najjar’s campaign says its polling shows a much closer race.

Family blame game

The 29-year-old Democratic challenger is the son of a Mexican-American mother and a Palestinian father who immigrated from the Middle East. He stresses his Christian faith on the campaign trail and has tried repeatedly to distance himself from his Palestinian grandfather.

He responded to Hunter’s ad by pointing to the Republican’s own family troubles: “He knows I’m not responsible for my family’s actions, just like his wife isn’t responsible for his.”

Hunter, 41, and his wife pleaded not guilty Aug. 23 to charges of misusing $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for their children’s private school tuition, lavish travel including a trip to Italy and restaurant meals that cost hundreds of dollars. He has said the charges were politically motivated.

Criminal charges

Hunter is not the only Republican congressman running for re-election while fighting criminal charges. U.S. Representative Chris Collins is also campaigning in a normally solidly Republican western New York state district while awaiting trial on insider trading charges that he has denied.

Both Hunter and Collins were early supporters of Trump, who early this month criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for allowing federal prosecutors to charge Republican candidates in an election year.

Campa-Najjar’s fundraising has outpaced Hunter’s, according to Federal Election Commission data through June 2018. Hunter’s campaign had reported contributions of $854,787, while Campa-Najjar had reported nearly $1.1 million

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Tesla, Musk Settle Fraud Suit for $40M

Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have agreed to pay a total of $40 million and make a series of concessions to settle a government lawsuit alleging Musk duped investors with misleading statements about a proposed buyout of the company.

The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission allows Musk to remain CEO of the electric car company but requires him to relinquish his role as chairman for at least three years.

Tesla must hire an independent chairman to oversee the company, something that should please a number of shareholders who have criticized Tesla’s board for being too beholden to Musk. 

The deal was announced Saturday, just two days after SEC filed its case seeking to oust Musk as CEO.

‘Reckless tweet’

Musk, who has an estimated $20 billion fortune, and Tesla, a company that ended June with $2.2 billion in cash, each are paying $20 million to resolve the case, which stemmed from a tweet Musk sent Aug. 7 indicating he had the financing in place to take Tesla private at a price of $420 per share.

“A reckless tweet cost a lot of money — the $20-million tweet,” said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader.

The deal could remove one cloud that hangs over Tesla. Investors fretted about the company’s ability to cope without Musk, a charismatic entrepreneur whose penchant for coming up with revolutionary ideas has drawn comparisons to one of Silicon Valley’s most revered visionaries, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Tesla’s stock plummeted 14 percent Friday after the SEC filed its lawsuit, erasing more than $7 billion in shareholder wealth. Many analysts predicted the shares were bound to fall even further if Musk had been forced to step down. Tesla’s stock has dropped 30 percent since Aug. 7, closing Friday at $264.77.

The steep downturn in Tesla’s market value may have influenced Musk to have an apparent change of heart and negotiate a settlement. Musk had rejected a similar settlement offer before the SEC sued Thursday, maintaining he had done nothing wrong when he posted a tweet declaring that he had secured the financing to lead a buyout of Tesla.

New board members

The SEC alleged Musk wasn’t close to locking up the estimated $25 billion to $50 billion needed to pull off the buyout.

Musk and Tesla reached their settlement without admitting to or denying the SEC’s allegations.

Besides paying a fine and stripping Musk of his chairman’s title, Tesla also must appoint two more directors who have no ties to the company or its management. Musk will be allowed to remain on the board.

The company also must clamp down on Musk’s communications with investors, a requirement that might make its colorful CEO’s Twitter posts slightly less interesting.

Erratic behavior

Besides tweeting about a deal that the SEC alleged he didn’t have money to pay for, Musk had been engaging in other erratic behavior that had been raising questions about whether he should remain CEO.

Musk had raised hackles by ridiculing stock market analysts for posing fairly standard questions about Tesla’s shaky finances, and calling a diver who helped rescue 12 boys on a Thai soccer team from a flooded cave a pedophile, triggering a defamation lawsuit. He was also recently caught on a widely circulated video apparently smoking marijuana , a legal drug in Tesla’s home state of California.

The erratic behavior has convinced more analysts that Tesla needs to find a replacement for Musk, but the SEC settlement will allow the company to do so on its own timetable, if it decides to hire a new leader.

Tesla is also under mounting pressure to overcome its past manufacturing problems and produce enough vehicles to become consistently profitable after years of huge losses. 

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Canada FM Postpones UN Speech as Trade Talks Intensify

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland postponed her U.N. speech Saturday as free-trade talks between the U.S. and Canada intensified.

Freeland had been scheduled to deliver Canada’s address to the General Assembly in New York, but Canada exchanged the slot with another country. Freeland may or may not give the speech on Monday.

A senior Canadian government official said they were making progress in the talks but that it wasn’t certain that they would reach a deal soon. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Canada would sign only a good deal.

Canada, the United States’ No. 2 trading partner, was left out when the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement last month to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S. and Canada are under pressure to reach a deal by the end of the day Sunday, when the U.S. must make public the full text of the agreement with Mexico.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he wants to go ahead with a revamped NAFTA, with or without Canada. It is unclear, however, whether Trump has authority from Congress to pursue a revamped NAFTA with only Mexico, and some lawmakers say they won’t go along with a deal that leaves out Canada. 

Dairy tariffs

Among other things, the negotiators are battling over Canada’s high dairy tariffs. Canada also wants to keep a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wants to jettison.

U.S.-Canada talks bogged down earlier this month, and most trade analysts expected the Sept. 30 deadline to come and go without Canada’s reinstatement. They suspected that Canada, which had said it wasn’t bound by U.S. deadlines, was delaying the talks until after provincial elections Monday in Quebec, where support for Canadian dairy tariffs runs high.

But trade attorney Daniel Ujczo of the Dickinson Wright law firm, who follows the NAFTA talks closely, said the United States put pressure on Canada, contending there would “consequences” if it didn’t reach an agreement by the end of the day Sunday. Trump has repeatedly threatened to start taxing Canadian auto imports. Ujczo put the odds of a deal this weekend at 75 percent. 

Relations between the two neighbors have been strained since Trump assailed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Group of Seven meeting in June, calling him “weak” and “dishonest.” Canadian leaders have objected to Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on Canadian steel, citing national security.

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Tension Flares in Kosovo Over Possible Land Swap With Serbia

Tension flared in a familiar section of the Balkans as thousands of people marched Saturday in Kosovo’s capital against a possible territory swap with former war foe Serbia, while the Serbian government put its troops on alert after special police were deployed to Kosovo’s Serb-dominated north.

Serbia reacted after Kosovo’s special police moved into an area around the Kosovo side of the strategic Gazivode Lake, said Marko Djuric, director of Serbia’s Office for Kosovo and Metohija.

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci visited the area near Serbia’s border Saturday, a move that temporarily redirected attention away from the large opposition protest in Pristina. A security unit was dispatched to the area for the president’s stop, Kosovo police said.

Serbia’s Djuric said special troops must not be deployed unannounced to northern Kosovo, where the country’s ethnic Serbian minority population is concentrated. Serbian media said Belgrade had complained to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

President Aleksandar Vucic, an ally of Russia in the Balkans, warned at a news conference later on Saturday that Serbia would not allow any violence against the Serb minority in Kosovo.

No ‘great global conflicts’

Asked if he would seek Russia’s help as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did, Vucic responded he would seek advice but not military help from President Vladimir Putin during an upcoming visit to Moscow.

“I would not like to see great global conflicts take part on our territory,” said Vucic.

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence, but their governments have been in European Union-mediated negotiations for seven years. The two sides have been told they must normalize relations as a precondition to EU membership.

Thaci has said a “border correction” could be part of the discussions. Some Serbian officials have suggested an exchange of territories could help end the dispute.

One idea that has been floated by politicians in both countries involves exchanging predominantly ethnic Albanian Presevo Valley in southern Serbia with Kosovo’s Serb-populated north.

However, the idea has faced opposition from Germany and other EU nations, which have said they fear a Kosovo-Serbia trade could trigger demands for territory revisions in other parts of the volatile Balkans.

Thousands of supporters of Kosovo’s opposition Self-Determination Party marched peacefully through the capital, Pristina, on Saturday to protest any potential change of borders. The protesters held national Albanian flags.

‘Grandiose protest’

Opposition leader Albin Kurti said he considered Thaci a collaborator with Serbia and called for fresh elections.

“Such a grandiose protest is our response to the deals from Thaci and Vucic,” Kurti said.

Thaci has rejected both border revisions based on ethnicity and a possible land trade. But he has not clarified how Serbia could be persuaded to give away the Presevo Valley without something in exchange.

Three weeks ago, Serbian leader Vucic visited the lake in northern Kosovo that Thaci traveled to Saturday.

NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo, a force known as KFOR, called for calm and restraint. They said they would continue monitoring the situation along the Serbia-Kosovo border with ground patrols and helicopters.

Thaci’s office issued a statement acknowledging his visit to a border crossing and the lake.

“During the weekends the head of state usually goes to Kosovo’s beauties,” the statement said.

The governments in both Pristina and Belgrade have said they hope the EU-mediated talks will result in a legally binding agreement.

“Talks [with Serbia] that continue will be on peace and stability,” Thaci said Saturday.

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Catalan Separatists, Police Clash as Tension Rises

Catalan separatists clashed with police Saturday in downtown Barcelona, with two arrests being made, as tensions increased before the anniversary of the Spanish region’s illegal referendum on secession that ended in violent raids by security forces.

Separatists tossed and sprayed colored powder at the local police, filling the air in a thick rainbow cloud and covering anti-riot shields, police vans and the pavement on a downtown boulevard in a panoply of bright colors. Some protesters also threw eggs and other projectiles and engaged with the police line, which used baton strikes to keep them back.

The clashes erupted after local Catalan police intervened to form a barrier when a separatist threw purple paint on a man who was part of another march of people in support of Spanish police demanding a pay raise. Officers used batons to push back the oncoming separatists and keep apart the opposing groups.

The Catalan police told The Associated Press that both people were arrested on charges of aggressions against police officers.

There were more confrontations between separatists and local police as the separatists tried to invade Barcelona’s main city square where 3,000 people supporting Spanish police had ended their march.

Furious shouts

Separatists shouted “Get out of here, fascists!” and cried for `”Independence!” at the Spanish police supporters, who responded by shouting “We will be victorious!” and “Our cause is just!”

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau issued a plea for peace when the first scuffles broke out.

“I make a call for calm,” Colau told Catalunya Radio. “This city has always defended that everyone can exercise their rights to free speech.”

The pro-police march had originally planned to end in another square that’s home to the regional and municipal government seats, but 6,000 separatists, according to local police, gathered in the square to force regional authorities to alter the march’s route.

The police march was organized by the police association JUSAPOL, which wants Spain’s two nationwide police forces, the national police and Civil Guard, to be paid as much as Catalonia’s regional police.

JUSAPOL holds marches in cities across Spain, but Saturday’s march in Barcelona came two days before Catalonia’s separatists plan to remember last year’s referendum on secession that the regional government held despite its prohibition by the nation’s top court.

That Oct. 1 referendum was marred when national police and Civil Guard officers clashed with voters, injuring hundreds.

JUSAPOL spokesman Antonio Vazquez told Catalan television TV3 that while the march’s goal was to demand better salaries, they also wanted to support the national police and Civil Guard officers who had been ordered to dismantle last year’s referendum.

“The national police and Civil Guard agents who acted last year were doing their duty and now they are under pressure and we have to support them,” Vazquez said.

Rallying call

Last year’s police operation that failed to stop the referendum has become a rallying call for Catalonia’s separatists, who argue that it was evidence of Spain’s mistreatment of the wealthy region that enjoys an ample degree of self-rule.

Pro-secession lawmaker Vidal Aragones of the extreme left CUP party called the police march an “insult to the Catalan people.”

“It is not acceptable,” Aragones said. “They have come here to remember the violence that they employed.”

Two weeks ago, police had to intervene to keep apart two separate rallies by Catalan separatists and Spanish unionists in Barcelona, the region’s capital.

Catalonia’s separatist-led government is asking Spain’s central authorities to authorize a binding vote on secession.

Polls and recent elections show that the region’s 7.5 million residents are roughly equally divided by the secession question.

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Trump Optimistic About New Kavanaugh Inquiry

Amid a new investigation of his Supreme Court nominee, U.S. President Donald Trump maintained his support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, saying that “hopefully, at the conclusion, everything will be fine.” 

Trump, speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn prior to his departure for a political rally in nearby West Virginia, noted that the FBI “is all over, talking to everybody,” including women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, and “I would expect it’s going to turn out very well for the judge.” 

The president also accused opposition Democrats of acting terribly and dishonestly during the Kavanaugh confirmation process. He expressed anger about the leak of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Kavanaugh, which she sent to a congresswoman but had previously requested remain confidential. 

Despite what Trump told reporters, news reports indicated the White House might be limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation — such as not permitting scrutiny of the claims of another woman, Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at parties while he was a prep school student. 

Trump administration officials also denied they were restricting areas of inquiry.

“The scope and duration has been set by the Senate,” according to a statement by White House spokesman Raj Shah. “The White House is letting FBI agents do what they are trained to do.”

News reports said the FBI had contacted Deborah Ramirez, the second of Kavanaugh’s accusers. The Associated Press reported that Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, said she had agreed to cooperate with agents. 

Ramirez alleged in a report published Sept. 23 by The New Yorker magazine that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party and shoved his penis in her face, forcing her to touch it while pushing him away. She said the the assault occurred during the 1983-84 school year at Yale University, where they both were students.

The FBI was also following up on accusations by Ford, the first woman who accused Kavanaugh. Her story dated to 1982, when they were teenagers. She said he sexually assaulted her at a gathering at a home in suburban Washington. Kavanaugh has angrily denied the allegation.

Both told their stories to the Senate Judiciary Committee separately Thursday in lengthy hearings.

Trump ordered the new investigation Friday at the request of the Judiciary Committee. The consent for a fresh probe was a concession by the Trump administration and Republicans, who had strongly contended that Kavanaugh was thoroughly vetted numerous times. 

WATCH: Kavanaugh Moves Step Closer to Confirmation, But With a Hitch 

The Judiciary Committee voted Friday to send Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court to the full Senate after securing a party-line vote in favor of the nod, but Arizona Republican Jeff Flake requested a delay in the floor vote and the additional investigation.

“This country is being ripped apart here, and we’ve got to make sure that we do due diligence,” Flake said.

Another Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said Friday that she agreed with Flake’s call for additional FBI investigation.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 margin in the Senate. Kavanaugh needs at least 50 votes to have his nomination confirmed. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote if the Senate was evenly split. If all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh, two Republicans would have to do the same to block his confirmation.

Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House that he would continue to cooperate with the FBI and the Senate.

“Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the senators and their counsel asked me. I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate,” he said.

In another development Friday, a high school friend of Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, said he was willing to cooperate with any FBI investigation. Judge is likely to figure prominently in any inquiry by the FBI, because Ford contends he was present when Kavanaugh assaulted her at the suburban Washington party. Judge has denied being at any party with Ford when an attack took place.

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У Косові відбуваються масові протести через можливий обмін територіями із Сербією

Десятки тисяч людей 29 вересня вийшли на вулиці столиці Косова Приштини на знак протесту проти можливого обміну територіями з Сербією. Прибічники косовської партії «Самовизначення», відомої своїми «газовими атаками» в парламенті Косова, тримали плакати та національні прапори сусідньої Албанії на центральній столичній площі Скандербеґ, скандуючи «Жодних торгів територіями країни!».

Президент Косова Хашим Тачі заявляв про «корегування кордону», яке мало б призвести до включення до складу Косова сербської долини Прешево, де переважає албанське за національністю населення.

Косовські та сербські чиновники обговорювали угоду, що має на меті визначити майбутнє територій, де зосереджені етнічні меншини, таких, як долина Прешево, з одного боку, та північ Косова, де живе багато сербів, із іншого.

Частина чиновників у ЄС та США заявляли, що підтримують обмін територіями. Натомість Німеччина та багато аналітиків вказують на вади цієї ідеї як такої, що може відновити старі прикордонні й міжетнічні суперечності на Балканах.

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Геращенко: Олег Сенцов – в’язень концтабору

«Жахом» назвала поширену російськими тюремниками фотографію українського в’язня Олега Сенцова перший заступник голови Верховної Ради Ірина Геращенко.

«Це в’язень концтабору», – написала Геращенко у Facebook 29 вересня.

«Російська генеральша на посаді омбудсвумен (Геращенко вказує на уповноважену президента Росії з прав людини Тетяну Москалькову – ред.) продовжує талдичити про «задовільний стан здоров’я». Попри тиск і вимоги України, президента Порошенка, всього світу Путін продовжує знущатися з Олега та інших українців – Балуха, Сущенка, кримських татар, заручників в окупованих Донецьку і Луганську. Жодна наша ініціатива і пропозиція – по передачі росіян і бойовиків в обмін на звільнення українців з тюрем РФ і окупованих територій, не буда почута, підтримана», – вказала Геращенко.

Управління федеральної служби виконання покарань Росії у Ямало-Ненецькому автономному окрузі 29 вересня оприлюднило фото засудженого в Росії українського режисера Олега Сенцова, який 139 днів голодує в російській колонії.

Як випливає з повідомлення тюремників, фото зроблене під час «планового обстеження», на яке Сенцова вивозили з колонії в міську лікарню Лабитнангі 28 вересня.

Олег Сенцов засуджений у Росії на 20 років ув’язнення за звинуваченням у підготовці терактів в анексованому Криму. Режисер відкидає звинувачення. Від 14 травня він голодує в російській колонії з вимогою звільнити всіх українських політв’язнів, утримуваних у Росії.

З вимогою негайно звільнити Сенцова до Росії неодноразово зверталися міжнародні організації, західні уряди, митці й активісти в усьому світі.

Олега Сенцова висунули на премію імені Сахарова «За свободу думки». Крім того, є ініціативи з висування його кандидатури на Нобелівську премію миру.

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КНДР: довіра до США є умовою ядерного роззброєння

Північна Корея розпочне ядерне роззброєння лише після того, як зможе «довіряти» Сполученим Штатам і переконається, що вони не загрожують її національній безпеці. З такою заявою виступив 29 вересня на сесії Генеральної асамблеї ООН міністр закордонних справ КНДР Лі Йон Хо.

За словами керівника зовнішньополітичного відомства Північної Кореї, санкції, накладені на Пхеньян з ініціативи США, не сприяють довірі.

Водночас Лі Йон Хо назвав «проривом» домовленості, яких досягли лідери США і КНДР на переговорах у Сінгапурі, і підтвердив, що Пхеньян готовий відмовитися від ядерної зброї.

Президент США Дональд Трамп називає зустріч із північнокорейським лідером Кім Чен Ином успішною, проте Сполучені Штати наполягають, що запроваджені проти КНДР санкції мають залишатися чинними, поки Північна Корея не доведе своє прагнення до відмови від ядерної зброї.

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Петиція про припинення діяльності «112 Україна» та NewsOne набрала 25 тисяч підписів

Петиція з вимогою «припинити антиукраїнську діяльність телеканалів «112 Україна» та NewsOne» набрала на сайті парламенту необхідні для розгляду підписів

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New FBI Investigation Begins Into Kavanaugh

The FBI has launched a new investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

President Donald Trump ordered the investigation at the request of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump posted on Twitter Friday night:

Trump said in a statement the updated investigation, which follows sexual misconduct allegations, “must be limited in scope” and “completed in less than one week.”

The decision is a reversal for the administration, which had argued that Kavanaugh had been vetted.

WATCH: Kavanaugh Moves Step Closer to Confirmation, But With a Hitch

​Due diligence

Earlier Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court to the full Senate after securing a vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s nomination from Republican Jeff Flake, who requested a delay and investigation.

The committee of 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted along party lines to move the nomination forward.

“This country is being ripped apart here, and we’ve got to make sure that we do due diligence,” Flake said.

Another Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, said Friday she agrees with Flake in wanting an FBI investigation. Because Republicans hold a slim 51-49 margin in the Senate, they have little choice now but to slow down the process to confirm Kavanaugh.

Republican leaders said Friday they still plan to move ahead with a procedural vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Saturday.

​Kavanaugh to cooperate

Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House that he will continue to cooperate with the FBI and the Senate. 

“Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the senators and their counsel asked me. I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate,” he said.

The developments come one day after dramatic testimony by Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who has accused him of sexual assault when they were teenagers in 1982. Both told their stories to the Senate Judiciary Committee separately in lengthy hearings.

Kavanaugh has angrily denied the allegation that he sexually assaulted Ford at a gathering at a home in suburban Washington.

Kavanaugh needs at least 50 votes to be confirmed by the 100 member Senate. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote if the Senate is evenly split. If all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh, two Republicans would also have to do the same to block his confirmation.

In another development Friday, a high school friend of Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, says he is willing to cooperate with any FBI investigation. Judge is likely to figure prominently in any inquiry by the FBI as Ford claims he was present when Kavanaugh allegedly attacked her at a party. Judge has denied being at any party with Ford when an attack took place.


WATCH: Personal and Political Debates Collide in Emotional US Supreme Court Fight

How key senators will vote

Also Friday, several Democrats from states that Trump won announced they would vote against Kavanaugh.

Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly from Indiana said he would vote against the appellate court judge. Donnelly said Ford’s sexual assault accusation against Kavanaugh was “disturbing and credible” and repeated a Democratic call for the FBI investigation.

Senator Doug Jones, a first-term Democrat from Alabama, a state in which President Donald Trump won by a wide margin, said Thursday he is voting ‘no’ on Kavanaugh’s bid for the Supreme Court. 

“The Kavanaugh nomination process has been flawed from the beginning,” he said, adding that Ford was credible and courageous.

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of swing state Florida also said Thursday he would vote against Kavanaugh. Republicans are trying to gain the vote of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a state that Trump won comfortably, along with Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, also said she needs time to decide how she will vote. She is running for re-election in a state that voted heavily for Trump.

​Bar association request

The American Bar Association late Thursday called on the Judiciary committee and the full Senate to delay the vote until the FBI has time to do a full background check on the claims made by Ford and other women.

“We make this request because of the ABA’s respect for the rule of law and due process under law,’’ the ABA letter to committee leadership said. “Each appointment to our nation’s highest court [as with all others] is simply too important to rush to a vote.”

Earlier Friday, committee Chairman Charles Grassley flatly dismissed the ABA’s request, saying, “I’ve explained many times an FBI investigation is not necessary. The ABA is an outside organization like any other that can send us letters and share their advice, but we’re not going to let them dictate our committee’s business.”

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Manafort Trial Puts Spotlight on Lobbyists

The trial of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, is sending shockwaves across the multibillion dollar lobbying industry in Washington. Many lobbyists in Washington fear his guilty verdict on bank and fraud charges and his guilty plea on obstruction charges will make lobbying a much more risky business. Daria Dieguts has the story.

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US Consumers Spend More; Inflation Flattens

U.S. consumer spending increased steadily in August, supporting expectations of solid economic growth in the third quarter, while a measure of underlying inflation remained at the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target for a fourth straight month.

Economists said Friday’s report from the Commerce Department should allay fears of the economy overheating and likely keeps the U.S. central bank on a gradual path of interest rate increases. The Fed raised rates Wednesday for the third time this year and removed the reference to monetary policy remaining “accommodative.”

“Growth is solid and inflation pressures modest,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “This is exactly the environment the Fed needs to move interest rates up at a gradual pace as further rate hikes start to look like tightening.”

Consumer spending

The Commerce Department said consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.3 percent last month after an unrevised 0.4 percent gain in July. Spending last month was driven by outlays on health care, which offset a drop in motor vehicle purchases.

August’s increase in consumer spending was in line with economists’ expectations. When adjusted for inflation, consumer spending rose 0.2 percent after climbing 0.3 percent in July.

The report came on the heels of data Thursday showing a decline in orders for key capital goods in August and a further widening of the goods trade deficit, which prompted economists to downgrade their gross domestic product growth estimates for the third quarter to as low as a 2.8 percent annualized rate.

Third-quarter GDP growth forecasts were previously as high as a 4.4 percent pace.

Economic growth

The economy grew at a 4.2 percent rate in the second quarter, powered by robust consumer spending. Economists said data in hand suggested that consumer spending was on track to grow around 3.6 percent in the third quarter, close to the 3.8 percent pace set in the April-June period.

Consumer spending is being driven by a tightening labor market, which is starting to boost wage growth, as well as higher savings. It is also being supported by robust consumer confidence.

A separate report Friday showed the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index at a six-month high in September. A survey earlier this week from the Conference Board showed consumer confidence hitting an 18-year high in September.

The Conference Board places more weight on the labor market.

The dollar was trading higher against a basket of currencies, while U.S. Treasury yields fell. Stocks on Wall Street were little changed in late afternoon trade.

Eyes on tariffs

In August, spending on goods increased 0.3 percent, likely lifted by higher gasoline prices. Spending on goods rose 0.5 percent in July. Outlays on services advanced 0.4 percent, with spending on health care accounting for much of the increase.

There was a moderation in monthly price gains in August. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding the volatile food and energy components was unchanged. That was the weakest reading since March 2017 and followed a 0.2 percent gain in July.

August’s flat reading left the year-on-year increase in the so-called core PCE price index at 2.0 percent. The core PCE index is the Fed’s preferred inflation measure. It hit the U.S. central bank’s 2 percent inflation target in March for the first time since April 2012.

Economists say inflation could slightly overshoot its target amid concerns an escalating trade war between the United States and China could lead to price increase for a range of consumer goods.

Washington on Monday slapped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with duties on $60 billion worth of U.S. products. The United States and China had already imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other’s goods.

Walmart Inc, the largest U.S. retailer, said last week it might hike prices because of the duties on Chinese imports.

“With this $200 billion increase, you are effectively tripling the amount of goods subject to a tariff and that has potential to influence prices,” said Tim Quinlan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

JPMorgan estimates that the tariffs could add 0.2 to 0.3 percentage point to core inflation.

In August, personal income rose 0.3 percent after increasing by the same margin in July. Wages jumped 0.5 percent, the biggest gain in seven months, after rising 0.3 percent in July.

The saving rate was unchanged at 6.6 percent last month.

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Trump Dossier Research Chief Declines U.S. Congress Interview Request

The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Friday subpoenaed a U.S. research firm founder to give a deposition on his hiring of a former British spy to compile a dossier on alleged links between U.S. President Donald Trump’s associates and Russia.

Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, announced the move on Twitter a day after receiving a letter in which lawyers for Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, said that their client “will not agree to an interview” requested earlier this week.

“As part of our joint investigation into decisions made by DOJ in 2016, today I subpoenaed Glenn Simpson to appear for a deposition,” Goodlatte posted on Twitter.

Goodlatte said in a separate Twitter post that former FBI Director James Comey, former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other former Justice Department officials have been invited “as witnesses. Will subpoena them if necessary.”

Simpson’s lawyers also sent their letter to House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, who is conducting with Goodlatte a probe into the Justice Department’s decision to investigate possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

The top Democrats on the committees, Elijah Cummings and Jerrold Nadler, in a statement accused the Republicans, who control Congress, of continuing “to abet the president as the walls close in around him.”

Fusion GPS was hired by lawyers for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign to conduct research on Trump, her opponent.

The firm in turn hired Christopher Steele, a former officer of MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency, to produce a dossier that outlined alleged Russian financial dealings with Trump, a longtime real estate developer, and included salacious personal details that remain unconfirmed.

The dossier was sent to the FBI, which already had launched an investigation into whether Russia interfered with the election and whether Trump campaign officials worked with Moscow to try to sway the outcome.

The Kremlin denies meddling in the election. Trump, who denies his campaign colluded with Russia, has called Steele’s work an “unverified and Fake Dirty Dossier” and has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia.

In their letter, seen by Reuters, Simpson’s lawyers said Simpson already had been interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee, of which Gowdy is a member, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which like all committees are led by Trump’s fellow Republicans.

“Part and parcel of this concerted effort by the president’s congressional allies has been a campaign of retaliation against the government’s whistleblowers, including our client Mr. Simpson, for their willingness to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement and for their exercise of their constitutional rights to free speech and political activity as American citizens,” the lawyers wrote.


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