Президент США Джо Байден розпорядився випускати щоденно мільйон барелів нафти з національних стратегічних нафтових запасів у спробі контролювати ціни на енергоносії для споживачів США.
«Суть у тому, що якщо ми хочемо знизити ціни, нам потрібно мати більше поставок нафти прямо зараз», – сказав Байден.
У Білому домі заявили, що масштаби цього випуску є безпрецедентними.
«Цей рекорд забезпечить історичний обсяг поставок, який буде служити мостом до кінця року, коли збільшиться внутрішнє виробництво», – йдеться в повідомленні.
Використання нафтових запасів США має на меті знизити ціни на енергоносії. Вони зросли після того, як США та союзники запровадили жорсткі санкції проти Росії через її вторгнення в Україну.
Turkey is in the grip of nationwide protests by doctors over surging violence and worsening economic conditions. The country is witnessing an unprecedented increase in doctors quitting to take jobs overseas, which as Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul, threatens one of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s major achievements.
Moldova is watching the war in neighboring Ukraine with special concern. Like Ukraine, Moldova is not a member of NATO or the European Union, and it has a very large Russian-speaking population – factors that for some Moldovans have sown fears of becoming the next target of Russian ambitions. Jon Spier narrates this report from Ricardo Marquina in southern Moldova.
Переважно нові санкції пов’язані з інженерними розробками та діями Росії у кіберпросторі
«Договори, що існують, залишаються в силі… Оплата в рублях неприпустима, оскільки вони укладені в євро та доларах»
Georgia on Thursday denounced as “unacceptable” plans announced by pro-Moscow separatists in the breakaway South Ossetia region to hold a referendum on joining Russia.
South Ossetia was in the center of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 after which the Kremlin recognized the territory — along with another separatist region, Abkhazia — as an independent state and stationed military bases there.
On Wednesday, South Ossetian separatist leader Anatoly Bibilov said the statelet would hold a referendum on joining Russia shortly after the April 10 “presidential election” there.
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said Thursday “it is unacceptable to speak of any referendums while the territory is occupied by Russia.”
“Such a referendum will have no legal force,” he told journalists. “The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Georgian region is occupied by Russia.”
Also on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow hasn’t taken any “legal” steps on the matter.
“But at the same time, we are talking about people of South Osseita expressing their opinion and we treat it with respect,” Peskov told reporters.
Bibilov’s spokeswoman Dina Gassiyeva told Thursday Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency that the decision to hold the referendum was “linked with the window of opportunity that opened in the current situation”, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last week, Bibilov said that South Ossetia had sent troops to fight alongside the invading Russian troops in Ukraine, where thousands of people were killed and more than 10 million displaced.
In August 2008, Russia launched an assault against Georgia which was battling pro-Russian militia in South Ossetia, after they shelled Georgian villages.
The fighting ended after five days with a European Union-mediated ceasefire but claimed more than 700 lives and displaced tens of thousands of ethnic Georgians.
«Це надзвичайно важливо, тому що Україна бореться на війні за свободу, за демократію, за наші спільні цінності»
The beautiful medieval city of Lviv in western Ukraine has become a refuge for hundreds of thousands of refugees from all over Ukraine. One Local soccer stadium, built for the 2012 Euro Cup, has been turned into a refugee center. Anna Kosstutschenko reports for VOA in Lviv.
Videographer: Yuiry Dankevych
У комісії уточнили, що перевірки є «попереднім етапом розслідування можливих антиконкурентних дій»
Від початку війни з Україною надходять повідомлення про те, що в ній беруть участь солдати строкової служби
«Після 36 днів повномасштабної війни Росії проти України можна впевнено сказати, що у світу немає іншого шляху гарантувати глобальну безпеку, ніж примусити Росію до тиші, примусити до миру»
As millions of Ukrainians flee their homes, there has been an outpouring of support from people around the world. One Ukrainian woman in Guatemala has mobilized the online community to help Ukrainians. For VOA News Eugenia Sagastume has the story.
Camera: Eugenia Sagastume
The United Nations chief said Wednesday that one-quarter of humanity — 2 billion people — are living in conflict areas today and the world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945, when World War II ended.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cited conflicts from Yemen, Syria, Myanmar and Sudan to Haiti, Africa’s Sahel, “and now the war in Ukraine — a catastrophe shaking the foundations of the international order, spilling across borders and causing skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices that spell disaster for developing countries.”
He told the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission on Wednesday that last year 84 million people were forced to leave their homes because of conflict, violence and human rights violations. And that doesn’t include the Ukraine war which has already seen 4 million people flee the country and displaced another 6.5 million within the country, according to U.N. agencies.
Guterres said the U.N. estimates that this year “at least 274 million will need humanitarian assistance.” This represents a 17% increase from 2021 and will cost $41 billion for the 183 million people targeted for aid, according to the U.N. humanitarian office.
Guterres also cited the 2 billion figure of people living in conflict countries in a report to the commission in late January, which said there were a record number of 56 state-based conflicts in 2020. It doesn’t include the Ukraine war, which started with Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion and has affected almost all 40 million people in the country.
The secretary-general told the commission that conflicts are increasing “at a moment of multiplying risks that are pushing peace further out of reach — inequalities, COVID-19, climate change and cyber threats, to name just a few.”
He also pointed to an increase of military coups and seizures of power by force around the world, growing nuclear arsenals, human rights and international law under assault, and criminals and terrorist networks “fueling — and profiting from — divisions and conflicts.”
“The flames of conflict are fueled by inequality, deprivation and underfunded systems,” Guterres said, and these issues must be addressed urgently.
According to his report to the commission, the world is seeing the increasing internationalization of conflicts within countries, and this, together with “the fragmentation and multiplication” of armed groups linked to criminal and terrorist networks, “makes finding solutions arduous,” he said.
Consequently, Guterres said, “there are fewer political settlements to conflicts,” with Colombia a notable exception.
“Over the last decade, the world has spent $349 billion on peacekeeping, humanitarian relief and refugee support, he said. “And global military expenditures rose to nearly $2 trillion in 2020.”
The Peacebuilding Commission has worked to advance peace and prevent conflict in countries including Ivory Coast, Iraq, Africa’s Great Lakes region and Papua New Guinea, the secretary-general said, and the Peacebuilding Fund has grown, investing $195 million last year.
But it relies on voluntary contributions and peacebuilding needs are far outpacing resources, which is why Guterres said he is asking the U.N. General Assembly to assess the U.N.’s 193 member nations a total of $100 million annually for the fund.
“When we consider the costs of war — to the global economy but most of all to humanity’s very soul — peacebuilding is a bargain, and a prerequisite for development and a better future for all,” he said.
«Вночі надійшло повідомлення від Міжнародного комітету Червоного Хреста про те, що Росія підтверджує готовність відкрити доступ для гуманітарної колони у Маріуполь із транзитом через Бердянськ»
«Масова руйнація цивільних об’єктів і велика кількість жертв серед мирного населення вказують на те, що фундаментальні принципи розрізнення, пропорційності й обережності не дотримувалися»
«Ми перебуваємо в процесі постійних обговорень з Україною тих способів, за допомогою яких ми можемо допомогти їм гарантувати суверенітет і безпеку»
Події у закладах культури та мистецтв відбуватимуться з урахуванням вимог воєнного стану
Триває переміщення на територію України додаткових підрозділів ЗС РФ для участі у війні
China has connected a high-speed, multimillion-dollar, 15,000-kilometer undersea cable to Kenya, as Beijing advances what’s been dubbed its “digital silk road,” and Africa seeks the infrastructure it badly needs for better internet connectivity.
Chinese giant Huawei is a shareholder in the $425-million PEACE cable, which stands for “Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe.” It stretches from Asia to Africa and then into France, where it terminates.
It reached the coastal city of Mombasa on Tuesday, with the CEO of local partner company Telekom Kenya, Mugo Kibati, saying the cable would help meet the sharp rise in demand for internet services on a continent where internet adoption has trailed the rest of the world, but which is home to a growing, young and increasingly digital population.
“This ultra-high-capacity cable will assist Kenya and the region in meeting its current and future broadband capacity requirements, bolster redundancy, minimize transit time of our country’s connectivity to Asia and Europe, as well as assist carriers in providing affordable services to Kenyans,” said Kibati.
For his part, the PEACE Cable’s COO, Sun Xiaohua, said in a statement that the new infrastructure would “bring more business development to this region.” From Kenya, the cable will later be extended further down the continent’s east coast to South Africa.
It’s estimated that 95% of international data flows via submarine cables, and in terms of Africa, China dominates, with the most projects aimed at connecting the continent. Aside from the PEACE cable, China’s proposed 2Africa cable will become one of the biggest undersea projects in the world when it goes live in 2024.
But China’s massive digital infrastructure investments in Africa and elsewhere have not been without controversy, and Washington has expressed deep concerns that Beijing is attempting to monopolize networks and possibly use them for espionage.
Some analysts are concerned the technology could be misused by authoritarian leaders on the continent, but Cobus van Staden, a senior China-Africa researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, said most Africans simply want better internet.
“I think this PEACE Cable generally plays very positively in Africa. Obviously, the United States has raised … concerns around this, particularly in relation to security, but I think for lot of African countries, the security issue is actually balanced by the wider issue of a lack of connectivity,” van Staden told VOA.
Huawei was sanctioned by the U.S. under former president Donald Trump, but the company has built about 70% of Africa’s 4G networks, and van Staden said it seems China is winning the race for digital soft power on the continent.
“I think there’s a space there for competition, but Western actors will have to step up,” he said.
Two senior British judges resigned from Hong Kong’s highest court on Wednesday as part of a broader British rebuke of the territory’s claim that its courts are independent of political interference.
In a prepared statement released by Lord Robert Reed and his colleague Lord Patrick Hodge, the judges cited the territory’s Beijing-imposed National Security Law (NSL) as central to their decision, which followed discussions with Dominic Raab, the U.K. lord chancellor and justice secretary.
“I have concluded, in agreement with the government, that the judges of the Supreme Court cannot continue to sit in Hong Kong without appearing to endorse an administration which has departed from values of political freedom, and freedom of expression,” said the statement. “Lord Hodge and I have accordingly submitted our resignations as non-permanent judges of the HKCFA with immediate effect.”
Britain, which handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, has said the security law that punishes offenses like subversion with up to life imprisonment has been used to curb dissent and freedoms. London also says the law is a breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that paved the way for the handover.
British officials on Wednesday issued comments explaining their decision to withdraw the judges from Hong Kong’s highest court, calling their presence untenable.
“The situation has reached a tipping point, where it is no longer tenable for British judges to sit on Hong Kong’s leading court and would risk legitimizing oppression,” said British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in a statement. “I welcome and wholeheartedly support the decision to withdraw British judges from the court.”
Raab said, “I thank our judges for being a bastion of international rule of law in Hong Kong over the past 25 years.”
Brian Davidson, the British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macao, also echoed the announcement in a video posted on Twitter.
Hong Kong government officials, however, were quick to respond to the resignations, calling the national security law typical for any country seeking to defend itself. In a harshly worded statement, officials called the British decision “appalling.”
“We take strong exception to the absurd and misleading accusations against the NSL and our legal system,” the statement said. “Every country around the world would take threats to its national security extremely seriously.”
Some observers not surprised
Hong Kong legal and political experts have said the action was expected because rule of law in the city has deteriorated in recent years.
Democracy advocate and political scientist Joseph Cheng told VOA in an email that the decision of the two British judges shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“This is expected as the international community becomes aware of the deteriorations in the rule of law in Hong Kong,” he told VOA. “Western societies know very well that the rule of law can hardly be maintained effectively when freedom of media and civil society are suppressed.
“Within the judiciary, the implementation of the National Security Law has been quite damaging,” added Cheng, who was secretary general of the Civic Party, a pro-democracy liberal political party in Hong Kong, and a member of various pro-democracy groups.
“A special group of judges have been chosen to adjudicate national security law cases, no juries are provided for such cases, and those prosecuted normally cannot seek bail. … The situation is expected to further deteriorate in the near future.”
Eric Yan-Ho Lai, a law analyst and fellow at Georgetown University, wrote on Twitter that the judges’ decisions were “respectable.”
“The resignations of Lord Hodge and Lord Reed from Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal are respectable moves in light of the ongoing political suppressions in the city,” he tweeted. “Yet it’s uncertain whether the remaining (Non-Permanent Judges) NPJs, who are retired judges, will follow so.”
He added that the U.K. Supreme Court’s statement “appears to imply the resignations are votes of no confidence to the city’s administration that does not respect political freedom and free speech anymore, and the Court does not want to collaborate with the Hong Kong administration anymore.”
The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal website, which has yet to be updated, lists 12 overseas non-permanent judges including the departing Lord Hodge and Lord Reed. Judges from Britain, Australia and Canada make up the list.
Chan-Chak Ming, president of the Law Society of Hong Kong, issued a statement to regional media outlets calling the criticism of Hong Kong’s judiciary system “unfair and unfounded.”
Wednesday’s announcement is the latest development in an increasingly strained relationship between Britain’s legal professionals and officials in Beijing.
In December, Britain released a six-month report about Hong Kong that outlined the eroding freedoms that have taken place since the enactment of the security law. The report included the accusation that Hong Kong’s judicial independence was at risk.
But Hong Kong’s chief of justice, Andrew Cheung, hit back in January stating that Hong Kong’s judiciary independence is a “fact.” Hong Kong legal experts disputed that in interviews with VOA.
Former Democratic Party leader Emily Lau hopes the judiciary can remain uncompromised.
“The foreign judges sitting in the Court of Final Appeal as stipulated in the Basic Law has been regarded as a sign of international confidence in the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Hong Kong, which is vital to the city as an international financial center,” she told VOA.
“I hope the legal profession and the judiciary can remain independent and professional and can resist pressure from the powerful sectors, to ensure the rule of law, due process and to safeguard the Hong Kong people’s human rights and personal safety.”
Following Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations, Beijing implemented the national security law, arguing that it was required to bring stability to the city. Critics, however, point out that the law prohibits secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces, criminalizes dissent, and makes it easier to punish protesters and reduces the city’s autonomy.
Under the new law, authorities have waged a political crackdown on dozens of civil society groups and independent media outlets. At least 150 dissidents have been arrested since the law was implemented, including dozens of democratic lawmakers and political figures.
In landmark cases, some dissidents have faced trial without a jury and with specially enlisted national security judges.
British judges have long served among the foreign jurists appointed to Hong Kong’s highest court, an arrangement that London had long described as a way to maintain confidence in the city’s legal apparatus amid Beijing’s tightening political grip on the territory.
Fourteen non-permanent judges remain at the Hong Kong court, including 10 from other common law jurisdictions such as Australia and Canada.
The Hong Kong Bar Association called Britain’s decision “a matter of deep regret” and appealed to the Court of Final Appeal’s remaining overseas judges to stay and serve the city and help uphold its judicial independence.
Some information for this report came from from Reuters and The Associated Press.