Daily: 08/01/2022

Чи отримає Україна переносні ракетні комплекси «Стінгер»? У Держдепі США відповіли на питання про «Стінгери»

Ракетний комплес «Стінгер» вважають таким, що переломив хід радянської військової операції в Афганістані 1979-1989 років на користь афганських моджахедів

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Від отруєння сурогатним алкоголем у Росії померли 9 людей

За версією слідства, причиною отруєння став метиловий спирт, який містився в пляшках горілки під етикетками «Криниці Сибіру».

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Розслідувачі Bellingcat запускають базу даних для відстеження польотів із Казахстану та до нього

5 січня президент Касим-Жомарт Токаєв звернувся по військову допомогу до блоку ОДКБ. Запит був схвалений, і перші військові, російські десантники, прибули до країни вже 6 січня

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Роковини збиття рейсу МАУ в Ірані: під Тегераном відкрили Алею пам‘яті жертв

Було висаджено 176 дерев у пам‘ять про всіх загиблих у трагедії

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Зовнішньополітичні радники лідерів Німеччини і Франції наступного тижня відвідають Україну – Єрмак

Раніше Плетнер і Бонн відвідали Москву, де вони зустрічалися із заступником голови адміністрації Путіна Дмитром Козаком

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Djokovic Challenged Officials on Visa Cancellation, Court Filing Says

Novak Djokovic’s legal challenge to the Australian government’s decision to cancel his visa on arrival this week says a certified COVID-19 infection in December meant he qualified for a medical exemption to the county’s vaccination requirements.

A 35-page document lodged in the Federal Circuit and Family Court by his legal team Saturday outlines the Serbian’s case for challenging the visa cancellation which would prevent him from playing in the Australian Open. The challenge will be heard in court on Monday morning.

The tennis world No. 1 has been held in immigration detention in a hotel in Melbourne since Thursday morning after border officials rejected his claim for a medical exemption.

The filing shows Djokovic said he had received a letter from Tennis Australia’s Chief Medical Officer on Dec. 30 stating he had a medical exemption from vaccination on the basis that he had recently recovered from a COVID infection.

The documents show he had tested positive for COVID on Dec. 16, and by Dec. 30 had been free of symptoms or fever in the previous 72 hours.

The application said he had a valid visa to travel and also received an assessment from the Department of Home Affairs stating, “responses indicate(d) that (he met) the requirements for a quarantine-free arrival into Australia where permitted by the jurisdiction of your arrival,” with Victoria the nominated jurisdiction.

The legal documents state that early Thursday morning, after being informed at Melbourne Airport his visa would be rescinded, a confused Djokovic pleaded to be given time to be able to contact Tennis Australia and his agent.

But he said he was “pressured” by authorities to agree to an interview shortly after 6 a.m., despite accepting an earlier offer than he could rest until 8:30 a.m. and saying he “wanted some help and legal support and advice from representatives,” who were still sleeping at the early hour.

 

Challenged cancellation

The application says Djokovic challenged an official at the airport when told a recent COVID-19 infection was not considered a substitute for a vaccination in Australia.

“That’s not true, and I told him what the Independent State Government medical panel had said and I explained why. I then referred to the two medical panels and the Travel Declaration,” the legal filing quotes the Serbian as saying.

“I explained that I had been recently infected with COVID in December 2021 and, on this basis, I was entitled to a medical exemption in accordance with Australian Government rules and guidance.”

He said he had provided his medical evidence to Tennis Australia for its two-stage independent assessment process, had made his travel declarations correctly and satisfied all requirements to legally enter Australia on his approved visa.

Among the arguments lawyers for the Serbian superstar raised was a section from the Australian Immunization Register which states a person can apply for a temporary vaccine exemption due to a recent “acute major medical illness.”

Djokovic’s legal team said that, among a series of what it says are jurisdictional errors, a delegate for the minister for home affairs did not have “a skerrick of evidence,” using an Australian term for a tiny amount, to suggest the 20-time major champion’s recent infection did not constitute a contraindication.

Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer, Dr. Carolyn Broderick, was one of three medical practitioners on a panel that approved an exemption consistent with guidelines outlined by Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, the filing says.

The document says the first decision was then assessed by a second independent medical panel set up by the Victorian state government, consistent with the process that has been outlined publicly by Tennis Australia. 

 

 

 

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На тлі протестів у Казахстані затримано колишнього голову спецслужби, в країні оголошена жалоба за загиблими

Карім Масімов, один із найвпливовіших політиків часів президентства Нурсултана Назарбаєва, взятий під варту за підозрою у державній зраді

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Назарбаєв не виїжджав із Казахстану – речник

Назарбаєв, за словами його речника, закликає всіх згуртуватися навколо президента Казахстану «для подолання поточних викликів та забезпечення цілісності нашої країни»

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VOA Exclusive: Ukraine Accuses Iran of Premediated Terrorist Act in 2020 Plane Shootdown

Ukraine is sharpening its accusation that Iran played a sinister role in the 2020 shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane over Tehran as the world marks the second anniversary of the tragedy.

“What happened on January 8th, 2020, was a terrorist act committed against a civilian aircraft,” Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council secretary, said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with VOA Persian.

Danilov also expressed frustration with what he said was Iran’s refusal to cooperate in investigating and providing compensation for the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752.

Iran has acknowledged firing missiles that struck the plane and killed all 176 people on board, but it called the incident an accident and blamed it on a misaligned air defense system and human error by the missile operators. The plane had taken off from Tehran minutes earlier, carrying mostly Iranians and Iranian Canadians who were flying to Kyiv en route to Canada.

The Iranian forces who shot down the Ukrainian plane had been on alert for a U.S. response to a missile strike that Iran launched on American troops in Iraq several hours earlier. Iran had attacked the U.S. troops, wounding dozens, in retaliation for a U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad five days previously.

Danilov noted that before and after Iran’s pre-dawn missile strikes on Flight PS752, Iranian authorities had allowed other civilian jets to take off from Tehran airport. “We have the impression that they [the Iranians] had been waiting specifically for our plane. We can assume this,” he said.

Danilov said those who allegedly were waiting to strike the UIA jet were senior Iranian officials. “It must have been an order from senior management. No [air defense] operators can make such a decision on their own.”

The Ukrainian security official’s accusations regarding Iran’s role in the incident were tougher and more detailed than his previous ones.

‘Conscious attack’

In an April 2021 interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, Danilov said he believed the Iranian downing of Flight PS752 was “intentional” and a “conscious attack.”

Ukrainian news site Ukrinform later quoted Danilov as saying in May 2021 that Kyiv was “more and more inclined” to call the Iranian missile strikes a “terrorist act.” Danilov was responding to a Canadian judge’s ruling that month that the “missile attacks were intentional” and “the shooting down of the civilian aircraft constituted terrorist activity under applicable federal law.”

The Ontario court’s ruling came as part of a civil lawsuit brought by relatives of six Flight PS752 victims against Iranian officials, whom they blamed for the tragedy. In a further decision announced Monday, the court awarded the plaintiffs $84 million in damages “for loss of life caused by terrorism.”

Iran’s U.N. mission in New York did not respond to a VOA request for comment on Danilov’s latest statements that the downing of Flight PS752 was a premeditated, terrorist act. VOA made the request in a voicemail on the Iranian U.N. mission’s phone line and in messages sent to the mission by email and on Twitter.

In a separate email exchange with VOA on Friday, Ukraine’s former deputy prosecutor general, Gyunduz Mamedov, used even sharper language to describe Iran’s role in the shootdown.

Mamedov, who was involved in Ukraine’s ongoing criminal investigation of the incident while serving as deputy prosecutor general from 2019 to 2021, said the investigation remains in a pretrial stage in which the classification of the alleged crime is being determined.

“The pre-trial investigation is considering various categories of crime, including an act of terrorism,” Mamedov wrote. “It also is likely that the downing of an aircraft will be classified as a war crime.”

Ukraine has not disclosed evidence that Iran’s shooting down of Flight PS752 was part of a premeditated, intentional act.

‘Full reparations’

Canada, which lost 55 citizens and 30 permanent residents in the shootdown, has not publicly shared Ukraine’s assessments of a sinister Iranian role in the incident.

But Canada joined Ukraine and two other nations whose citizens were among the victims, Britain and Sweden, in issuing a statement Thursday vowing to “hold Iran accountable for the actions and omissions of its civil and military officials that led to the illegal downing of Flight PS752 by ensuring that Iran makes full reparations for its breaches of international law.”

The four nations, which joined together as an International Coordination and Response Group for the victims of Flight PS752, also said that after a first round of talks in July 2020, Iran rejected their January 5 deadline to resume negotiations on their collective demand for reparations. They said they would “now focus on subsequent actions … to resolve this matter in accordance with international law.”

 

Danilov told VOA that not only has Iran paid no compensation to the Ukrainian victims’ families, but its cooperation with Ukraine’s criminal investigation was nonexistent.

In a statement issued Friday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Tehran has sent letters to embassies of relevant governments declaring a readiness to pay the families of 30 foreign victims.

The Iranian statement said Tehran was ready for “bilateral” talks with the countries whose citizens were killed in the shootdown. But it accused some of those nations, without naming them, of committing “illegal actions” and “trying to exploit this painful incident and the plight of the survivors for their own political purposes.”

Britain, Canada, Sweden and Ukraine have insisted on multilateral negotiations.

Trial questioned

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also noted that the Iranian judiciary has held several court sessions since opening a trial in November of 10 military personnel charged in connection with the shootdown.

In his VOA interview, Danilov questioned the credibility of that trial. “We don’t know whether these people are really responsible, because the processes that took place in Iran were held behind closed doors and foreign representatives were not allowed inside to confirm that this was a transparent, democratic procedure,” he said.

In explaining his belief that the downing of the Ukrainian plane was intentional, Danilov told the Globe and Mail in his April 2021 interview that Iran might have used it as a pre-dawn distraction to calm an escalating confrontation with the more powerful U.S. military.

He also cited Iran’s use of a Russian-made missile system to strike the jetliner. Ukrainian military experts have said such a system is unlikely to mistakenly shoot down a passenger plane.

This story was a collaboration between VOA’s Persian and Ukrainian services and English News Center. Kateryna Lisunova of VOA Ukrainian and Arash Sigarchi of VOA Persian contributed.

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Djokovic Spends Holiday in Detention, Sends Thanks to Supporters

The top men’s tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, spent Orthodox Christmas in an immigration detention hotel in Australia on Friday as he sought to fend off deportation over the country’s COVID-19 rules and compete in the Australian Open.

Djokovic received calls from his native Serbia, including from his parents and the president, who hoped to boost his spirits on the holiday.

On Instagram, he posted: “Thank you to the people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated.”

The 34-year-old athlete and vaccine skeptic was barred from entering the country late Wednesday when federal border authorities at the Melbourne airport rejected his medical exemption to Australia’s strict COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

He has been confined to the detention hotel in Melbourne pending a court hearing on Monday, a week before the start of the tournament, where he is seeking to win his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam singles title.

During the day, Djokovic’s supporters, waving banners, gathered outside the Park Hotel, used to house refugees and asylum-seekers.

A priest from the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne asked to visit the nine-time Australian Open champion to celebrate Orthodox Christmas but was turned down by immigration officials because the hotel is under lockdown.

“Our Christmas is rich in many customs, and it is so important that a priest visits him,” the church’s dean, Milorad Locard, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “The whole thing around this event is appalling. That he has to spend Christmas in detention … it is unthinkable.”

The Australian Border Force said Friday that after further investigations into two other people connected to the Australian Open, one voluntarily left the country, and another was taken into detention pending deportation.

The Czech Embassy identified one of them as 38-year-old doubles player Renata Voráčová and said she won’t play in the tournament.

 

Australia’s COVID-19 rules say incoming travelers must have had two shots of an approved vaccine or must have an exemption with a genuine medical reason, such as an acute condition, to avoid quarantine. All players, staff, officials and fans need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the tournament venue.

Djokovic flew to Australia after obtaining a medical exemption backed by the country’s tennis federation and approved by the Victoria state government. The grounds for the exemption have not been disclosed. But the Australian government pronounced it invalid when he arrived.

The dispute has become a touchy topic in a city where residents spent 256 days in 2020-21 under severe restrictions on their movement. Djokovic’s exemption stirred allegations that the star athlete got special treatment.

While some players have sympathized with his situation, others have said getting vaccinated would have prevented any drama.

But amid the latest turn in the dispute, even some who have been critical of Djokovic in the past are now seemingly in his corner.

“Look, I definitely believe in taking action, I got vaccinated because of others and for my mum’s health, but how we are handling Novak’s situation is bad, really bad,” Nick Kyrgios, an Australian player and outspoken critic of some of Djokovic’s opinions on vaccinations, posted on Twitter. “This is one of our great champions but at the end of the day, he is human. Do better.”

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said earlier this week that 26 people connected with the tournament applied for medical exemptions and only a “handful” were granted. Three of those have since been challenged. 

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Indian Muslim Women ‘Auction’ App Shows Tech Weaponized for Abuse

Six months ago, pilot Hana Khan saw her picture on an app that appeared to be auctioning scores of Muslim women in India. The app was quickly taken down, no one was charged, and the issue shelved – until a similar app popped up on New Year’s Day.

Khan was not on the new app called Bulli Bai – a slur for Muslim women – that was hawking activists, journalists, an actor, politicians and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai as maids.

Amid growing outrage, the app was taken down, and four suspects arrested this week.

 

The fake auctions that were shared widely on social media are just the latest examples of how technology is being used – often with ease, speed and little expense – to put women at risk through online abuse, theft of privacy or sexual exploitation.

For Muslim women in India who are often abused online, it is an everyday risk, even as they use social media to call out hatred and discrimination against their minority community.

“When I saw my picture on the app, my world shook. I was upset and angry that someone could do this to me, and I became angrier as I realized this nameless person was getting away with it,” said Khan, who filed a police complaint against the first app, Sulli Deals, another pejorative term for Muslim women.

“This time, I felt so much dread and despair that it was happening again to my friends, to Muslim women like me. I don’t know how to make it stop,” Khan, a commercial pilot in her 30s, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Mumbai police said they were investigating whether the Bulli Bai app was “part of a larger conspiracy”.

A spokesperson for GitHub, which hosted both apps, said it had “longstanding policies against content and conduct involving harassment, discrimination, and inciting violence.

“We suspended a user account following the investigation of reports of such activity, all of which violate our policies.”

 

Misconception

Advances in technology have heightened risks for women across the world, be it trolling or doxxing with their personal details revealed, surveillance cameras, location tracking, or deepfake pornographic videos featuring doctored images.

Deepfakes – or artificial, intelligence-generated, synthetic media – are used to create porn, with apps that let users strip clothes off women or swap their faces into explicit videos.

Digital abuse of women is pervasive because “everybody has a device and a digital presence,” said Adam Dodge, chief executive of EndTAB, a U.S.-based nonprofit tackling tech-enabled abuse.

“The violence has become easier to perpetrate, as you can get at somebody anywhere in the world. The order of magnitude of harm is also greater because you can upload something and show it to the world in a matter of seconds,” he said.

“And there is a permanency to it because that photo or video exists forever online,” he added.

The emotional and psychological impact of such abuse is “just as excruciating” as physical abuse, with the effects compounded by the virality, public nature, and permanence of the content online, said Noelle Martin, an Australian activist.

At 17, Martin discovered her image had been photoshopped into pornographic images and distributed. Her campaign against image-based abuse helped change the law in Australia.

But victims struggle to be heard, she said.

“There is a dangerous misconception that the harms of technology-facilitated abuse are not as real, serious, or potentially lethal as abuse with a physical element,” she said.

“For victims, this misconception makes speaking out, seeking support, and accessing justice much more difficult.”

 

Persecution

Tracking lone creators and rogue coders is hard, and technology platforms tend to shield anonymous users who can easily create a fake email or social media profile.

Even lawmakers are not spared: in November, the U.S. House of Representatives censured Republican Paul Gosar over a photoshopped anime video that showed him killing Democrat Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. He then retweeted the video.

 

“With any new technology we should immediately be thinking about how and when it will be misused and weaponized to harm girls and women online,” said Dodge.

“Technology platforms have created a very imbalanced atmosphere for victims of online abuse, and the traditional ways of seeking help when we are harmed in the physical world are not as available when the abuse occurs online,” he said .

Some technology firms are taking action.

Following reports that its AirTags – locator devices that can be attached to keys and wallets – were being used to track women, Apple launched an app to help users shield their privacy.

In India, the women on the auction apps are still shaken.

Ismat Ara, a journalist showcased on Bulli Bai, called it “nothing short of online harassment.”

It was “violent, threatening and intending to create a feeling of fear and shame in my mind, as well as in the minds of women in general and the Muslim community,” Ara said in a police complaint that she posted on social media.

Arfa Khanum Sherwani, also featured for sale, wrote on Twitter: “The auction may be fake but the persecution is real.”

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US, NATO Warn Russia Against More ‘Gaslighting’ on Ukraine

The United States is accusing Russia of trying to “gaslight” the world regarding tensions with Ukraine, continually seeking to portray Kyiv as the aggressor even as Moscow plans to mobilize as many as 300,000 troops for a potential invasion.

The accusation came Friday from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, following a virtual meeting of NATO foreign affairs ministers, and ahead of a series of talks involving the U.S., NATO and Russia set for the coming week. 

“We’ve seen this gaslighting before,” Blinken told reporters, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its illegal seizure of Crimea in 2014. Gaslighting is defined by one online dictionary as causing people to doubt their sanity through psychological manipulation. 

“No one should be surprised if Russia instigates a provocation or incident, then tries to use it to justify military intervention,” the top U.S. diplomat added, warning that Russia’s military buildup involves “nearly 100,000 troops today with plans to mobilize twice that number on very short order.” 

“This is a test for Russia,” Blinken added, cautioning progress can be made only “in the context of de-escalation.” 

“If it is serious about resolving the situation in eastern Ukraine and to resolve it diplomatically and peacefully, the Minsk [Agreement] is the way to do it,” he said, adding that a failure to do so would result in “massive consequences.” 

Speaking separately in Brussels earlier on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Moscow’s willingness to engage in talks this coming week. But he warned that while NATO would listen to Russia’s concerns in “good faith,” the Kremlin must be willing to do likewise on a range of issues, including arms control. 

“For dialogue to be meaningful, it must also address allies’ long-standing concerns about Russia’s actions,” Stoltenberg told reporters. “That has to be reciprocal.” 

Stoltenberg further warned that NATO would not give in to Russian demands. 

“We will not compromise on core principles, including the right for every nation to determine its own path,” he said. “We cannot end up in a situation where we have second class NATO members where NATO as an alliance is not allowed to protect them.” 

Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of carrying out a military buildup of its own and has demanded that NATO agree to a series of security guarantees, including a rollback of the alliance’s military presence in Eastern Europe and that it put an end to any expansion, including possible membership for countries like Ukraine and Georgia. 

In an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said President Vladimir Putin wanted to see immediate results following the upcoming talks. 

“That’s not a figure of speech,” Ryabkov said, adding that the success or failure of the upcoming talks will depend on “the extent to which our American colleagues are receptive to our demands.” 

On Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu about “risk reduction near Ukraine’s borders.” 

Still, Russia’s tough talk has touched off a flurry of diplomatic activity among Western allies, including calls between NATO officials and the leaders of Finland and Sweden. 

And Blinken spoke by phone Friday with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, reassuring Kyiv of U.S. support. 

However, speaking to reporters, Blinken said, “It will be very difficult to make actual progress if Russia continues to escalate its military buildup and its inflammatory rhetoric.” 

And in Brussels, NATO’s Stoltenberg added that the Western alliance is clear-eyed about the upcoming discussions. 

“We need to be prepared for the talks breaking down and that diplomacy will fail,” he said. “That is exactly why we are sending a very clear message to Russia that if they once again decide to use military force against a neighbor, then there will be severe consequences, a high price to pay — economic sanctions financial sanctions, political sanctions.” 

 

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Russia Lays Out ‘Nonstarter’ Demands Ahead of Talks with US

Talks between U.S. and Russian diplomats will begin Monday in Geneva after a weekslong standoff over Russian troop deployments near its border with Ukraine. White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara has this preview.

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«Щойно росіяни у вас вдома, буває важко змусити їх піти» – Блінкен про війська ОДКБ у Казахстані

«Мені здається, що казахська влада мала потужності, аби дати раду з протестом. Неясно, чому в них виникла потреба у зовнішній допомозі»

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Суд у Болгарії оштрафував двох журналістів на майже 35 тисяч доларів за дифамацію

Міський суд Софії визнав журналіста Радіо Свобода і ексредакторку Mediapool винними в завданні фізичних та моральних страждань колишньому голові суду

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«Те, що відбувається в Україні – це не тільки про Україну» – Блінкен після зустрічі міністрів НАТО

Держсекретар США назвав агресію проти України «частиною ширшого патерну дестабілізації, небезпечної і часто нелегальної поведінки Росії»

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Правозахисники заявили про побиття співробітниками СБУ казахського опозиціонера – у відомстві це заперечують

За словами Тлеулієва, йому та його прибічникам погрожували депортацією до Казахстану

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Bulgarians Drive to Neighboring Turkey to Shop Amid Lira Crisis

The Turkish lira had a very bad year in 2021 and lost a significant amount of its value against the U.S. dollar. That’s led to a cross-border shopping spree from neighboring Bulgaria. VOA’s Umut Colak filed this report from Edirne, Turkey, narrated by Ezel Sahinkaya.

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