Daily: 27/12/2021

Французький турист, що перебуває під вартою в Ірані з минулого року, оголосив голодування

Родина Брієра каже, що він простий турист, який у 2018 році вирушив на своєму автокемпінгу в подорож, що почалася зі Скандинавії, а потім продовжилася до Ірану

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Міноборони: місцеві державні адміністрації не створюють самостійно штаби тероборони

«Мова йде про найважливіше – захист нашої країни. Тут не місце піару і пересмикуванням», – заявив міністр оборони Олексій Резніков

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A Year After Booting Trump, Social Media Companies Face More Challenges Over Elections

For U.S. social media companies, the violent mob storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6 last year spurred action. They shut down then-President Donald Trump’s accounts. One year later, are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube any better prepared to face similar situations in the U.S. or in other countries? Michelle Quinn reports.

Camera: Deana Mitchell Produced by: Matt Dibble

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COVID Outbreaks Lead to Soccer Match Postponements in England 

The English Premier League (EPL) is postponing several football (soccer) games as a record number of players have tested positive for COVID-19. 

According to the league, more than 100 players and staff tested positive over the past week, leading to the postponement of 15 games. 

“The League can today confirm that between Monday 20 December and Sunday 26 December, 15,186 COVID-19 tests were administered on players and club staff. Of these, there were 103 new positive cases,” the league said in a statement.” 

One team, Watford, postponed three games due to COVID. For their next match Tuesday, they are reportedly bringing in players under 23. 

Some team managers would like to change the rules to allow for five substitutions per game. Currently three are allowed. 

Approximately 77% of EPL soccer players are fully vaccinated, according to reports. 

U.S. sports leagues like the National Basketball Association, National Football League and National Hockey League have all had to postpone or reschedule games due to COVID outbreaks, despite high vaccination rates. 

 

Some information in this report comes from Reuters and The Associated Press. 

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Афганістан: «Талібан» арештував власника приватної телемережі

Асоціація вільних журналістів процитувала представника уряду «Талібану», який сказав, що арешт не пов’язаний із діяльністю Нурі в ЗМІ

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У Білорусі опублікували поправки до конституції: вони передбачають недоторканність експрезидента

Поправки передбачають, що одна й та сама особа не зможе обіймати посаду президента країни більше ніж два терміни. Статтю про безстрокове президентство прибрали

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Петиція про скасування військового обліку для жінок набрала 25 тисяч голосів. Її має розглянути Зеленський

Як вказано на сайті голови держави, петиція під назвою «Знущання над жінками! Не повинні всі жінки, які мають спеціальність чи професію, бути військовозобов’язаними!» була подана 23 грудня

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У Києві створюють штаб територіальної оборони – КМДА

«Заяви і погрози Росії, скупчення військ агресора на кордонах нашої держави спонукають нас підготуватися до різних можливих сценаріїв подій. Зокрема й до найгіршого»

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Polish President Vetoes Media Bill that Targeted US Company 

Poland’s president on Monday said he has decided to veto a media bill that would have forced U.S. company Discovery to give up its controlling share in TVN, a Polish TV network. 

President Andrzej Duda noted that the bill was unpopular with many Poles and would have dealt a blow to Poland’s reputation as a place to do business. 

The bill, recently passed by the lower house of parliament, would have prevented any non-European entity from owning more than a 49% stake in television or radio broadcasters in Poland. 

Its practical effect would have targeted only one existing company, Discovery Inc., forcing the U.S. owner of Poland’s largest private television network, TVN, to sell the majority or even all of its Polish holdings. 

Many Poles saw the bill, pushed by the ruling Law and Justice party that Duda is aligned with, as an attempt to silence a broadcaster that broadcasts independent and often critical reporting of the authorities. 

Mass nationwide protests were recently held in support of the station and of freedom of speech more broadly. 

Discovery had threatened to sue Poland in an international arbitration court.

Duda said he agreed in principle that countries should limit foreign ownership in media companies, saying many other democratic countries — including the United States, France and Germany — have such legislation. 

But he also said that in this case, the law would have hurt a business already operating legally in Poland. 

He noted that signing the bill into law would have cost the nation billions of dollars, and said he shared the view of many of his countrypeople that this bill was not necessary right now. 

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З початку доби бойовики 1 раз відкрили вогонь на Донбасі, поранений військовий – штаб

Стан здоров’я військового – тяжкий, кажуть у штабі

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Британський міністр назвав Росію в числі найбільш ворожих країн

Раніше Росію серед небезпечних країн також називали голова МІ6 та міністр оборони Британії

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Суд у Росії збільшив до 15 років термін у колонії для історика Юрія Дмитрієва

Історик та голова карельського «Меморіалу» Юрій Дмитрієв разом із колегами у 1990-х відкрив урочище Сандармох, де за часів Великого терору розстрілювали людей

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Кадиров заявив про готовність «вирішити питання» з «приєднанням» України – ЗМІ

Заява Кадирова зроблена на тлі загострення ситуації на кордоні Росії та України

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NATO Chief Seeks NATO-Russia Council Meeting in January

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has sought a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council next month and contacted Moscow to secure its attendance, an alliance spokesman said Sunday.

Stoltenberg has on several occasions in recent months offered to resume dialogue with Moscow through this body, set up in 2002 but currently inactive because of the conflict in Ukraine.

But the Russian authorities have not responded favorably.

“We are in touch with Russia” about the January 12 meeting, said the NATO spokesman, who asked not to be identified.

NATO has consistently denounced Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and has called on Moscow to respect its neighbor’s territorial sovereignty.

The West has long accused the Kremlin of providing direct military support to pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, who seized two regions shortly after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.

Russia denies the claims and Putin has suggested that the conflict, which has claimed over 13,000 lives, is genocidal.

The Kremlin has grown increasingly insistent that the West and NATO are encroaching dangerously close to Russia’s borders.

Earlier this month, Moscow presented the West with sweeping security demands, saying NATO must not admit new members and seeking to bar the United States from establishing new bases in former Soviet republics.

The January 12 meeting is the first proposed by Stoltenberg since Moscow made its demands.

A two-day meeting of the military chiefs of NATO’s 30 member states is scheduled to start the same day in Brussels.

On Thursday, Stoltenberg reaffirmed his support for Ukraine against the military build-up across the border in Russia and the Kremlin’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric.

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Санкції проти Росії на випадок нового вторгнення в Україну готові – голова Єврокомісії

«Ми хочемо добрих відносин із Росією, але це залежить від її дій. Вона має припинити свої провокації» – президентка Єврокомісії

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Кремль: Путін може обговорити з Зеленським «двосторонні відносини», але не врегулювання на Донбасі

За словами Пєскова, конфлікт на Донбасі – питання не до Путіна

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Вагітні і жінки з малими дітьми також мають стати на військовий облік – Міноборони

«Як і у випадку чоловіків, у ТЦК та СП для жінок враховуватиметься стан здоров’я людини і її сімейні обставини»

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France Sees Over 100,000 Daily Virus Infections for 1st Time 

France has recorded more than 100,000 virus infections in a single day for the first time in the pandemic and COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled over the past month, as the fast-spreading omicron variant complicates the French government’s efforts to stave off a new lockdown. 

More than 1 in 100 people in the Paris region have tested positive in the past week, according to the regional health service. Most new infections are linked to the omicron variant, which government experts predict will be dominant in France in the coming days. Omicron is already dominant in Britain, right across the Channel. 

Meanwhile a surge in delta variant infections in recent months is pushing up hospital admissions in France, and put ICUs under strain again over the Christmas holidays. More than 1,000 people in France with the virus died over the past week, bringing the country’s overall death toll to more than 122,000. 

President Emmanuel Macron’s government is holding emergency meetings Monday to discuss the next steps in tackling the virus. Some scientists and educators have urged delaying the post-holiday return to school, or suggested re-imposing a curfew. 

But France’s education minister says schools should open as usual on Jan. 3, and other government officials are working to avoid measures that would hammer the country’s economic recovery. 

Instead the French government is hoping that stepped-up vaccinations will be enough. The government is pushing a draft law that would require vaccination to enter all restaurants and many public venues, instead of the current health pass system which allows people to produce a negative test or proof of recovery if they’re not vaccinated. 

In neighboring Belgium, the government imposed new measures starting Sunday that ordered cultural venues like movie theaters and concert halls to close. 

Some venues defied the ban, and thousands of performers, event organizers and others demonstrated Sunday in Brussels against the decision, carrying signs reading “The Show Must Go On” or “No Culture No Future.” They accuse the Belgian government of double standards because it allowed Christmas markets, with their boisterous crowds and mulled wine drinking, to stay open, along with restaurants and bars. 

Even the scientific committee advising the Belgian government had not asked for the culture industry closures, leaving virologist Marc Van Ranst to ponder that, in Belgium, “gluhwein beat culture.”

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the Dutch government has gone farther than most European countries and shut down all nonessential stores, restaurants and bars and extended the school holidays in a partial new lockdown. 

In Britain, where the omicron variant has been dominant for days, government requirements have been largely voluntary and milder than those on the continent, but the Conservative government said it could impose new restrictions after Christmas. The U.K. hit a new high of 122,186 daily infections on Friday, but did not report figures for Christmas. 

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland imposed new restrictions Sunday on socializing, mainly limiting the size of gatherings, moves that the restaurant, pub and nightclub industries have described as economically devastating.

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Putin to Mull Options if West Doesn’t Meet Security Demands 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would ponder various options if the West fails to meet Moscow’s demands for security guarantees, amid heightened tensions involving a massive deployment of Russian troops near Ukraine. 

Moscow earlier this month submitted draft security documents demanding an end to NATO’s eastward expansion and military cooperation with countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, among other things. 

Speaking at his annual news conference last week, Putin urged the West to meet the demands “immediately,” listing off a litany of grievances about Ukraine and NATO. 

He warned that Moscow would have to take adequate measures if the West continues its “aggressive” course “on the threshold of our home.” 

Asked to specify what Moscow’s response could be, he said in comments aired by Russian state TV on December 26 that “it could be diverse,” adding: “It will depend on what proposals our military experts submit to me.” 

He did not elaborate. 

U.S. officials have said publicly that they were willing to hold talks on the Russian demands. Privately, however, officials in Washington and elsewhere have said some of the demands are either unworkable, impossible, or fundamentally contrary to Western values. 

The United States and its allies have agreed, however, to launch security talks with Moscow next month to discuss its concerns. 

On December 25, a NATO official was quoted as saying Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had decided to convene a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on January 12 and that the alliance was in contact with Russia on the matter. 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the proposal was still under consideration, with the format and timing needing clarification. 

It would be the first meeting of the council in 2 1/2 years. 

Kyiv and its Western backers accuse Russia of having massed around 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders in a possible prelude to an invasion. The United States and the European Union have threatened Moscow with harsh consequences in the event of a military escalation. 

Russia has denied intending to launch an invasion. 

Moscow illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and shortly after threw its support behind separatists battling Ukrainian government forces in the country’s east in a conflict that has claimed more than 13,200 lives since April 2014. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on December 25 that more than 10,000 troops had finished monthlong drills near Ukraine, and that the soldiers involved were returning to their permanent bases. 

The ministry said in a statement that the exercises for Southern Military District forces had taken place in a host of southern Russian regions such as Rostov and Krasnodar, and further afield, including in Stavropol, Astrakhan, and the North Caucasus. 

Combat training sessions were also held in Russia’s ally Armenia, occupied Crimea, and the Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it said. 

Information from AP, AFP and Current Time were used in this report.

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