За даними розвідки, підозрювані за оплату надіслали іранцям фотографії дипломатичних представництв США, виборчої дільниці, офісу МВС
Розмова також стосувалася, зокрема, «подальшого розвитку співпраці в сферах безпеки та оборони», заявили в МЗС
Обмеження «роблять очевидним, що Сенат США не стоятиме без діла, поки Кремль погрожує Україні» – автор ініціативи Менендез
A civil lawsuit filed in a U.S. court by a woman who says she was sexually abused by Britain’s Prince Andrew when she was 17 will move forward, following a judge’s ruling Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said lawyers for Prince Andrew failed to challenge the constitutionality of the case brought by Virginia Giuffre in August. Andrew’s lawyers also had argued the allegations were vague.
Kaplan wrote “Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous.’ It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.”
Andrew’s lawyers had also tried to dismiss the suit, arguing it violated a confidential settlement Giuffre reached with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2009.
Earlier this month, the agreement was unsealed and it revealed Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000 in return for dropping the case without him having to admit fault. In the settlement, she also agreed to “remise, release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge” parties and “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant.”
Andrew was not specifically mentioned.
Giuffre asserts she was trafficked by Epstein and his longtime companion Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently convicted of sex trafficking.
Giuffre says the two forced her to perform sexual acts with Andrew.
Andrew denies the charges.
In 2019, Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail while he awaited another trial for sex trafficking. His death was ruled a suicide.
Neither lawyers for Andrew nor Buckingham Palace have commented on the Wednesday ruling.
Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted during a NATO summit he attended in June that Western leaders had confirmed his country “will become a member of the Alliance.”
The Ukrainian leader’s tweet, seen by some Western diplomats as ill-timed and intended to goad Russia, drew a predictably furious response from Kremlin officials. They have long warned that the accession of Ukraine to NATO is unacceptable to Moscow, the crossing of a red line which would be met by retaliatory measures.
Despite — or because of — Kremlin threats, and a Russian military buildup along the borders of Ukraine, President Zelenskiy has continued to press for Ukraine to be admitted into NATO as soon as possible, saying it is the only way to deter further Russia aggression. Others, including some Western leaders, fear it would do the reverse — invite more Russian aggression.
At the June summit, Zelenskiy did not get an admission date. And U.S. President Joe Biden, who has been a strong champion in the past for Ukraine to join the Atlantic alliance, scotched talk of an impending admission. “School’s out on that question. It remains to be seen,” he said when reporters asked him about Ukraine joining.
“In the meantime, we will do all we can to put Ukraine in a position to be able to continue to resist Russian physical aggression,” he said. Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a series of increasingly insistent demands for guarantees that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO.
Some observers question whether what they see as a tamping down by Biden, and senior U.S. and European officials, of Ukraine’s NATO ambitions, is evidence that Russia may already have achieved one of its key goals — namely, to prevent Ukraine from joining the Western alliance.
At best, the White House and European allies are sending mixed messages about NATO membership for Ukraine, they say. “The urgency of Moscow’s ultimatums would suggest that Ukraine is on the verge of NATO membership. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth,” according to Peter Dickinson, editor of UkraineAlert, a newsletter of the Atlantic Council, a U.S.-based research group.
“At this point, the closest Ukraine has ever come to joining NATO is a vague and largely symbolic commitment to future membership received at the alliance’s 2008 summit in Bucharest. While this pledge has been repeated on numerous subsequent occasions, it carries no real weight and is essentially a reaffirmation of the alliance’s standard open-door policy towards all potential new members,” added Dickinson, also an editor of Business Ukraine magazine.
In June, NATO did “upgrade” its relationship with Ukraine, designating the country an Enhanced Opportunities Partner. The EOP program, which was launched in 2014, aims “to support and deepen cooperation between allies and partners, which have made significant contributions to NATO-led operations and missions,” according to NATO. Sweden, Finland, Australia, and Jordan also enjoy the designation. But as NATO states on its website: “Ukraine’s status as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner does not prejudge any decisions on NATO membership.”
After Zelenskiy posted his June tweet, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also sought to downplay the significance of the designation, telling reporters, “Nothing new” had happened. And he referred them to the 2008 NATO conference in Bucharest, where the alliance welcomed the membership aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia. But NATO declined to offer either a membership action plan, or MAP, which would have set them on a definite path to admission.
Then-U.S. President George W. Bush had pushed for NATO to offer MAPs to both countries, but several European members, including Germany, were opposed, fearing to do so would further roil relations with Russia. A British diplomat told VOA opposition from some of America’s partners has not evaporated. “There is little appetite among some members to inherit an open conflict, which NATO would do, if Ukraine became a member,” he said.
With Putin loudly insisting NATO should never admit Ukraine, the Biden administration, and Western alliance partners, are caught in a dilemma, say some analysts and Western diplomats. Many NATO members are not ready to admit Ukraine for a range of reasons, including a worry that Ukraine is still not on top of corruption. But while they do not want to be hurried into making a decision, they are also fearful of being accused of appeasing Russia or Moscow interpreting that they are weak.
The dilemma facing the West has been seized on by Anatol Lieven of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a Washington research organization, to argue that the U.S. should negotiate with Russia a treaty that renders Ukraine a neutral country.
Lieven acknowledges the idea would be criticized by Western hardliners. “They need to ask themselves, however, whether they are really prepared to contemplate war with Russia; and if not, what they are proposing as a concrete alternative to these proposals,” he wrote for the Quincy Institute, which advocates for a non-interventionist American foreign policy.
But it is unlikely Ukraine would agree to the erosion of its rights as an independent nation. Zelenskiy has been pushing even harder than his pro-NATO predecessors for a timetable for Ukraine membership, but he has been rebuffed with the latest knock back coming last month when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sidestepped his request for a schedule for Ukrainian membership.
On his Facebook page, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the meeting between Zelenskiy and Stoltenberg to discuss the strengthening of Ukraine’s armed forces was “very good, positive,” but added, “The only drawback, to be honest, was that we weren’t told the year when Ukraine will become a NATO member, although we asked.”
All this week senior U.S. officials have emphasized that Russian demands for a halt to any further NATO enlargement — and specifically a guarantee that Ukraine never be admitted as a member — are “non-starters.”
Ambassador Julianne Smith, U.S. permanent representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, added her voice Tuesday, echoing previous dismissals of Russian demands by Blinken and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. “We will not allow anyone to slam NATO’s ‘Open Door’ policy shut,” Smith said.
Despite the strong words, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer questions whether the Kremlin has, in effect, already been allowed to exercise a veto on Ukrainian membership because of NATO fears of being bungled into war. He said in a newspaper commentary that Kyiv has had to wait for a long time to join NATO, but it is likely it will have to wait much longer.
“Allies appear unenthusiastic about a MAP now, particularly because there is no good answer to the question, ‘If Ukraine joins NATO tomorrow, does the alliance then find itself at war with Russia?’”
Pifer suggested Ukraine stop demanding a timetable for membership, saying in “the current circumstances, the answer will either be silence or no. Neither helps NATO-Ukraine relations.” He added, “There should be candor between NATO and Ukrainian officials about the state of play with MAP, as there should be on Washington’s part.”
A British diplomat who asked not to be identified for this article, told VOA, “Maybe clarity is best avoided at this stage — admitting Ukraine now would inflame tensions and ambiguity keeps Russia guessing, too.
За заявою ОДКБ, для виведення з Казахстану контингенту, що налічує біля 2 тисяч військових, знадобиться близько 10 днів
Міністр транспорту та зв’язку Литви Маріус Скуодіс повідомив, що угода буде анульована з 1 лютого
«Ми хочемо дати старт новим програмам співробітництва для економічного зростання України», заявив прем’єр-міністр
Як ідеться в статті, в серпні 2021 року державна нафтова компанія «Білорусьнафта» оголосила про придбання невеликої російської фірми «Пурнєфть», яка експлуатує 69 нафтових свердловин на південь від полярного кола
China’s expanding sphere of influence and economic reach in Europe is met with a mixture of praise and complaints in the Greek port of Piraeus. Athens reporter Laurent Laughlin has the details.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized Wednesday for attending a garden party during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown in 2020, saying there are things his government “did not get right.”
Johnson is facing a tide of anger from public and politicians over claims he and his staff flouted pandemic restrictions by socializing when it was banned. Some members of his Conservative Party say he should resign if he can’t quell the furor.
Johnson acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that he went to the May 2020 garden party at his Downing Street office, though he said that he had considered it a work event to thank staff for their efforts during the pandemic.
“I want to apologize. … With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside,” Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons.
Opponents and allies alike have been demanding Johnson come clean about the “bring your own booze” party, held when Britain was under a strict lockdown imposed by Johnson to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An invitation to the “socially distanced drinks” gathering was emailed to about 100 people by a senior prime ministerial aide. At the time, people in Britain were barred by law from meeting more than one person outside their household.
Johnson’s lunchtime appearance at the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons was his first public appearance since details of the party emerged.
The prime minister struck a tone of contrition, but urged people to await the conclusions of an investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray into several alleged parties by government staff.
Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said Johnson’s statement was “the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road.
“His defence … that he didn’t realize he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public,” Starmer said. “He’s finally been forced to admit what everyone knew, that when the whole country was locked down he was hosting boozing parties in Downing Street. Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?”
The party scandal adds to a mounting list of troubles for Johnson.
The scandal dubbed “partygate” has become the biggest crisis of Johnson’s two-and-a-half years in power. During the U.K.’s first lockdown, which began in March 2020 and lasted for more than two months, almost all gatherings were banned. Millions of people were cut off from friends and family, and even barred from visiting dying relatives in hospitals. Thousands were fined by police for breaking the ban on gatherings.
So there has been widespread anger at claims Johnson’s Conservative government flouted the rules it had imposed on the rest of the country by holding garden parties, Christmas get-togethers and office quiz nights in Downing Street, which is both the prime minister’s home and his office.
Opposition politicians are calling for Johnson’s resignation. More worryingly for the prime minister, many members of his own party are increasingly concerned about Johnson’s judgment and leadership.
The Conservatives picked Johnson as leader in 2019 for his upbeat manner and popular touch, and despite the serial allegations of rule-bending and dishonesty that have followed him through his twin careers as journalist and politician. The choice appeared vindicated when he led the party to a big election win in December that year.
But support inside the party is being eroded by discontent over continuing pandemic restrictions, which some Conservatives view as draconian. He is also facing disquiet about his judgment after a slew of financial and ethical misconduct allegations against him and his government.
The Conservatives have a history of ousting leaders if they become a liability — and a recent surprising loss in a by-election for a district the party held for more than a century has increased their jitters.
Conservative legislator Christian Wakeford urged Johnson not to “defend the indefensible.”
“It’s embarrassing and what’s worse is it further erodes trust in politics when it’s already low,” Wakeford wrote on Twitter. “We need openness, trust and honesty in our politics now more than ever and that starts from the top!”
Another Conservative lawmaker, Tobias Ellwood, said Johnson needed to apologize and “show some contrition” if he wanted to ride out the storm.
“We can’t allow things to drift, that is not an option,” he told Sky News.
ВООЗ напередодні заявила, що більше ніж половина населення Європи, ймовірно, заразиться COVID-19 на тлі нової хвилі штаму «омікрон»
Заступниця держсекретаря висловила сподівання, що Росія обере дипломатію і деескалацію, в іншому разі її чекають «серйозні наслідки»
Cyberthreats and the growing space race are emerging risks to the global economy, adding to existing challenges posed by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum said in a report Tuesday.
The Global Risks Report is usually released ahead of the annual elite winter gathering of CEOs and world leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, but the event has been postponed for a second year in a row because of COVID-19. The World Economic Forum still plans some virtual sessions next week.
Here’s a rundown of the report, which is based on a survey of about 1,000 experts and leaders:
As 2022 begins, the pandemic and its economic and societal impacts still pose a “critical threat” to the world, the report said. Big differences between rich and poor nations’ access to vaccines mean their economies are recovering at uneven rates, which could widen social divisions and heighten geopolitical tensions.
By 2024, the global economy is forecast to be 2.3% smaller than it would have been without the pandemic. But that masks the different rates of growth between developing nations, whose economies are forecast to be 5.5% smaller than before the pandemic, and rich countries, which are expected to expand 0.9%.
The pandemic forced a huge shift — requiring many people to work or attend class from home and giving rise to an exploding number of online platforms and devices to aid a transformation that has dramatically increased security risks, the report said.
“We’re at the point now where cyberthreats are growing faster than our ability to effectively prevent and manage them,” said Carolina Klint, a risk management leader at Marsh, whose parent company Marsh McLennan co-authored the report with Zurich Insurance Group and SK Group.
Cyberattacks are becoming more aggressive and widespread, as criminals use tougher tactics to go after more vulnerable targets, the report said. Malware and ransomware attacks have boomed, while the rise of cryptocurrencies makes it easy for online criminals to hide payments they have collected.
While those responding to the survey cited cybersecurity threats as a short- and medium-term risk, Klint said the report’s authors were concerned that the issue wasn’t ranked higher, suggesting it’s a “blind spot” for companies and governments.
Space is the final frontier — for risk.
Falling costs for launch technology has led to a new space race between companies and governments. Last year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space tourism venture Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson took off, while Elon Musk’s Space X business made big gains in launching astronauts and satellites.
Meanwhile, a host of countries are beefing up their space programs as they chase geopolitical and military power or scientific and commercial gains, the report said.
But all these programs raise the risk of friction in orbit.
“Increased exploitation of these orbits carries the risk of congestion, an increase in debris and the possibility of collisions in a realm with few governance structures to mitigate new threats,” the report said.
Space exploitation is one of the areas that respondents thought had among the least amount of international collaboration to deal with the challenges.
Experts and leaders responding to the survey “don’t believe that much is being done in the best possible way moving forward,” World Economic Forum’s managing director, Saadia Zahidi, said at a virtual press briefing from Geneva.
Other areas include artificial intelligence, cyberattacks and migration and refugees, she said.
The environment remains the biggest long-term worry.
The planet’s health over the next decade is the dominant concern, according to survey respondents, who cited failure to act on climate change, extreme weather, and loss of biodiversity as the top three risks.
The report noted that different countries are taking different approaches, with some moving faster to adopt a zero-carbon model than others. Both approaches come with downsides. While moving slowly could radicalize more people who think the government isn’t acting urgently, a faster shift away from carbon intense industries could spark economic turmoil and throw millions out of work.
“Adopting hasty environmental policies could also have unintended consequences for nature,” the report added. “There are still many unknown risks from deploying untested biotechnical and geoengineering technologies.”
Новини, про які варто знати
5 січня президент Токаєв відправив уряд Аскара Маміна у відставку на тлі протестів у країні
The Kremlin said Tuesday it has little optimism about a breakthrough on talks with the United States this week about its European security concerns, while Washington said Moscow’s massive troop buildup along the Ukraine border is at the root of current tensions.
After a day of talks with U.S. diplomats Monday in Geneva, Moscow said it would wait for the outcome of more meetings set for Wednesday in Brussels and Thursday in Vienna before deciding whether it’s worth it to continue negotiations with Washington officials.
But in the U.S., Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political affairs, told reporters, “We haven’t seen the slightest hint of de-escalation” on Russia’s part. “It is Russia that created this crisis out of whole cloth” by deploying 100,000 troops just across from Ukraine’s eastern border.
At the Geneva talks, Russia demanded guarantees, rejected by Washington, that the West’s 30-country NATO military alliance halt further eastward expansion toward Russia and curb military deployments in Eastern Europe.
“NATO poses no threat to Russia. It is a defensive alliance whose sole purpose is to protect its members,” Nuland said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the first day of talks in Geneva were “open, comprehensive and direct,” an assessment echoed by Washington. But Peskov said it was the result that ultimately matters.
“So far, let’s say we see no significant reason for optimism,” he said in a conference call with reporters.
NATO and Russia are holding talks in Brussels, while the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is meeting in Vienna.
“There are still several rounds [of talks] ahead of us, which will allow us to work out a clearer understanding, a clearer picture of where we stand with the Americans,” Peskov said.
He said Russia is not setting deadlines for the talks but also would not accept dragging them out.
Western allies fear that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine after annexing its Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Russia has denied it plans to invade its one-time Soviet satellite state but also has not acceded to U.S. demands that it withdraw troops from the border.
U.S. President Joe Biden has ruled out a military confrontation with Russia in the event it decides to attack Ukraine but says the U.S. and its allies would impose significant economic sanctions if it does invade.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who led the U.S. delegation in Geneva, said Tuesday on Twitter, “The United States is committed to working in lockstep with our allies and partners to urge de-escalation and respond to the security crisis caused by Russia.”
In Monday’s bilateral talks, the two parties discussed “reciprocal action that would be in our security interest and proved strategic stability,” Sherman said. That includes possible limits on both sides on the size and scope of future military exercises in the region.
European Council President Charles Michel reiterated that “we have clearly said that if there was to be a military offensive against Ukraine, there would be a massive reaction from the European Union in coordination with our partners and allies.”
Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet called the Russian demands to curb NATO expansion, if it wishes to do so, “completely unacceptable,” adding that he expects the alliance members at Wednesday’s meeting to “be very clear in saying that … NATO’s collective defense continues to be a value that is being defended by its members.”
In Geneva, Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov rejected U.S. demands that Moscow pull back its estimated 100,000 troops from the Ukrainian border, saying it had the right to deploy them wherever it wanted.
Some material in this report came from The Associated Press.
Turkey’s economy had a difficult year, with its currency depreciating and inflation skyrocketing. Experts warn that unless President Recep Tayyip Erdogan changes course and reverses his controversial monetary strategy, the situation could worsen.
Last week, the country’s official Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) reported inflation increased to 36% last month, the highest figure in Turkey for nearly two decades.
Opposition parties claim the real situation is worse than the official number shows.
Following a series of interest rate cuts by the Turkish Central Bank last year, Turkey’s currency lost over half its value before recovering slightly following a package of measures announced by the government in the last weeks of 2021.
Finance experts both inside and outside Turkey, as well as opposition parties, blame Erdogan’s insistence on continuing to cut interest rates.
Most economists believe to halt rising inflation, central banks should raise interest rates. But Erdogan has rejected that strategy, arguing that lower interest rates reduce inflation and encourage growth, despite mounting evidence his policy is not working.
Experts predict a higher level of inflation
In an effort to defend the collapsing lira, the government announced a plan to shield lira deposit holders from possible losses due to the currency’s depreciation. In December, it also boosted the minimum wage by over 50%.
Despite the government’s efforts, Turkey began the year with price increases on everything from electricity and natural gas to road and bridge tolls and taxi charges. Electricity costs increased by about 125% for commercial customers and 50% for residential customers. The cost of public transportation in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, has increased by more than 30%.
Erdogan recently stated that the worst had passed and that it is now time to reap the benefits of the government’s efforts. However, experts speaking to Voice of America predict that will not be the case.
Timothy Ash, an emerging markets sovereign strategist at BlueBay Asset Management in London, forecasts that inflation in Turkey would likely rise above 50% in coming months.
He claims that the relative stability in the local currency is due to state-backed foreign exchange intervention rather than confidence-building measures like the deposit guarantee plan. According to data from Turkey’s central bank for December, the government sold about $19 billion to back its currency.
Ash predicts the government will be unable to keep defending its currency with that strategy for too long.
“The central bank of Turkey doesn’t have an infinite pot of money of foreign exchange reserves. Turkey’s net reserves are minus 60 billion. They are spending money they don’t have,” he said.
Applied Economics Professor Steve Hanke from Johns Hopkins University, who says he measures Turkey’s annual inflation on a daily basis using high frequency data, tells VOA that while it is hard to use standard analysis to make an accurate forecast in cases like Turkey, where there is a big currency crisis, he predicts inflation will stay very elevated.
‘Turkey charting its own course’
Turkey’s central bank announced last week that it had asked exporters to sell 25% of their hard currency revenues to the bank for lira to support the plunging currency.
Hanke describes the move as the first aspect of foreign exchange control and says it’s a “bad sign” for Turkish businesses and investor confidence.
Turkey’s finance minister, Nureddin Nebati, said last week the government would prioritize the fight against inflation but added it had abandoned “orthodox policies and was charting its own course” as far as economic policies are concerned.
Early election talk amid economic pressure
Experts say the economy will continue to dominate the political agenda in Turkey in 2022, arguing that the economic situation might increase the prospects of an early election.
Elections in Turkey are scheduled to take place in 2023. But soaring prices have had a huge impact on the lives of Turks, from food prices to medicine and utilities. As Erdogan sees his opinion ratings slide amid the economic pressure, opposition parties see political opportunities in the economic policy struggles.
But economist Ash warns the country faces grave economic consequences if it does not change course.
“Unfortunately, Turkey is increasingly looking like an Argentina or Venezuela sort of devaluation-hyperinflation scenario,” he said.
“The currency policy is not sustainable. So, either Erdogan changes course or he loses the elections, and a new administration comes in and changes policy. But if these policies are continued, Turkey faces economic and financial crisis,” Ash said.
Erdogan said last month Turkey would never again submit its political and economic future to the prescriptions of global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, making Turkey’s economic future highly uncertain.
This story originated in VOA’s Turkish Service.your ad here