Monthly: April 2023

Ватикан бере участь у місії щодо досягнення миру між Україною та РФ – папа Римський

«Я готовий зробити все, що має бути зроблено. Зараз триває місія, але вона ще не оприлюднена. Коли вона стане публічною, я її оприлюдню»

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Zelenskyy: Spring Counteroffensive Coming, With or Without Western Warplanes

A widely anticipated spring counteroffensive in Ukraine will push on even without Western fighter jets in the skies. This, from Ukraine’s president, who said waiting to train on advanced aircraft could signal a timeline to Russian forces on the ground. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke as more deadly attacks hit Ukraine. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi has more.

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Чехія шукатиме шляхи для збільшення постачання боєприпасів в Україну – Павел

За його словами, Україна відчуває «гостру нестачу боєприпасів», які необхідні країні для початку контрнаступу проти Росії та відновлення контролю над своєю територією

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Буданов про контрнаступ: «найближчим часом усі побачать очікувані результати»

«Україна зможе покращити свої позиції вздовж лінії фронту для ураження військової логістики росіян на території окупованого Криму та в глибині Донбасу»

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Pope Francis Celebrates Mass on Final Day in Hungary

On his third and final day of his Hungary trip, Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday in Budapest before tens of thousands of people in the historic Kossuth Lajos Square. Hungarian President Kataline Novak and Prime Minister Viktor Orban were among the attendees.

Throughout his trip in Hungary, Francis has urged Hungarians to remember and take in refugees from Ukraine and also refugees from the Middle East and Africa who are arriving on Europe’s shores in record numbers.

While Europeans have not always been charitable or receptive to the migrants from Africa and the Middle East, they have been more accepting of the Ukrainians who fled their homes after the Russian invasion.

Orban has said that migration threatens to replace Europe’s Christian culture.

At Mass on Sunday, Francis called on the clergy and lay people to become “increasingly open doors … be open and inclusive … help Hungary to grow in fraternity, which is the path of peace.”

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«Посилить можливості контрнаступу»: Зеленський розповів, яку зброю отримала Україна цього тижня

«Хочу особливо подякувати нашим партнерам із Данії – за «Цезарі», зі Словенії – за бронетехніку, з Іспанії – за танки, з Німеччини – за додаткові оборонні наміри щодо бронетехніки і снарядів, за ППО»

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EU Tech Tsar Vestager Sees Political Agreement on AI Law This Year 

The European Union is likely to reach a political agreement this year that will pave the way for the world’s first major artificial intelligence (AI) law, the bloc’s tech regulation chief, Margrethe Vestager, said on Sunday.

This follows a preliminary deal reached on Thursday by members of the European Parliament to push through the draft of the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act to a vote on May 11. Parliament will then thrash out the bill’s final details with EU member states and the European Commission before it becomes law.

At a press conference after a Group of Seven digital ministers’ meeting in Takasaki, Japan, Vestager said the EU AI Act was “pro-innovation” since it seeks to mitigate the risks of societal damage from emerging technologies.

Regulators around the world have been trying to find a balance where governments could develop “guardrails” on emerging artificial intelligence technology without stifling innovation.

“The reason why we have these guardrails for high-risk use cases is that cleaning up … after a misuse by AI would be so much more expensive and damaging than the use case of AI in itself,” Vestager said.

While the EU AI Act is expected to be passed by this year, lawyers have said it will take a few years for it to be enforced. But Vestager said businesses could start considering the implication of the new legislation.

“There was no reason to hesitate and to wait for the legislation to be passed to accelerate the necessary discussions to provide the changes in all the systems where AI will have an enormous influence,” she told Reuters in an interview.

While research on AI has been going on for years, the sudden popularity of generative AI applications such as OpenAI’S ChatGPT and Midjourney have led to a scramble by lawmakers to find ways to regulate any uncontrolled growth.

An organization backed by Elon Musk and European lawmakers involved in drafting the EU AI Act are among those to have called for world leaders to collaborate to find ways to stop advanced AI from creating disruptions.

Digital ministers of the G-7 advanced nations on Sunday also agreed to adopt “risk-based” regulation on AI, among the first steps that could lead to global agreements on how to regulate AI.

“It is important that our democracy paved the way and put in place the rules to protect us from its abusive manipulation – AI should be useful but it shouldn’t be manipulating us,” said German Transport Minister Volker Wissing.

This year’s G-7 meeting was also attended by representatives from Indonesia, India and Ukraine.

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Germany’s Climate Activists Find Sanctuary in Churches

Copies of a climate change petition along with photos of the signatories lay at the foot of the altar. Meters away, a dozen activists were undergoing street protest training.

Other members of the Letzte Generation (Last Generation) group were having a vegan brunch buffet in the pews, minutes before they were to march out through the imposing doors of Berlin’s St. Thomas Church for their latest demonstration to press the government to do more for the climate.    

The Protestant church has become the unlikely staging point for the climate activists in their latest two-week campaign to bring Berlin’s traffic to a standstill by gluing themselves onto the asphalt.   

In northeastern Berlin, Gethsemane Church — a key site in the peaceful revolution that brought down the Berlin Wall — is hosting an open discussion on climate change every evening this week, before handing the baton to another church next week.    

Although politicians including leading members of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government have blasted Letzte Generation’s road blockade protests, the churches have thrown open their doors to the activists.    

“We want to contribute to allowing the participants to remain in peace,” said the St. Thomas Church’s council in a statement.    

“The radicalization of the climate movement is the expression of the despair that too little is being done for the protection of the climate and thereby for the preservation of Creation. We’re taking this despair seriously and confronting it,” they added.    

The churches’ action is not without controversy, as surveys suggest a majority of the public frown on Letzte Generation’s protests.    

In a recent poll by national broadcaster ZDF, 82 percent of respondents felt the street blockades went too far.  

Scholz’s government, including the Greens, have also spoken out against the protests. Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck of the Greens has said the street blockades were “not a helpful contribution to climate protection” because they don’t win consensus; rather they “irritate people.”    

“The supposed saviors of the world in a church — what hypocrisy,” charged Focus magazine in a column.    

‘Jesus would have approved’  

Amid the accusations flying at the protesters, pastor Aljona Hofmann at Gethsemane Church said it was all the more important for both sides to have a platform to communicate directly and peacefully.    

“The strength of the church is to bring together people with different opinions, in order to sound out what we have in common and where do we diverge,” said the pastor.    

At her church in 1989, dissidents including environmental activists held candlelight vigils against the East German regime, helping build the popular pressure that toppled the despised Wall.    

Hofmann warned against drawing parallels with the church’s actions under communism. “We’re not living now in a dictatorship,” she stressed.    

“Each period has its own challenges.”    

She acknowledged, too, that not everyone in the congregation supported Letzte Generation’s modus operandi, but argued that it was vital to get people to “step out of their bubbles” and speak with each other.   

“Letzte Generation’s method is to hold sit-ins. That is perhaps not the method of other people.    

“Each person must find his or her own format, but what’s important is to begin to think about what can I or what can we, as a society, do” on the issue of climate protection, she said.   

Activist Axel Hake, 54, said the churches’ contribution “show how strong the backing from society is.” 

“It was in the last autumn that relevant groups in the society, including churches, began showing solidarity with us…,” he said.  

“That is a real signal that we are anchored in society.”   

To those in the congregation who question the churches’ action, activist Cosima Santoro, 68, herself a Catholic, said: “I think Jesus Christ would have fitted well with Letzte Generation.    

“He also caused disruptions. He still disrupts today.”

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Папа закликав Угорщину бути відкритою для мігрантів й іноземців

Заява понтифіка під час меси просто неба 30 квітня виглядала як м’яка критика прем’єр-міністра Віктора Орбана, який підтримує антимігрантську політику

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Зведення Генштабу: «панічні чутки» в Криму, 58 відбитих атак сил РФ на сході

«Містом поширилися панічні чутки про нездатність російської протиповітряної оборони забезпечити безпеку власних стратегічних об’єктів»

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В Узбекистані голосують за зміни до конституції, спрямовані на збереження президента при владі до 2040 року

У новій редакції конституції президентський термін буде збільшено з 5 до 7 років

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Details Revealed About King Charles III’s Coronation Service

It will be a coronation of many faiths and many languages.

King Charles III, keen to show that he can be a unifying figure for everyone in the United Kingdom, will be crowned in a ceremony that will for the first time include the active participation of faiths other than the Church of England.

Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders will take part in various aspects of the coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office said Saturday, as it revealed details of a service it described as an act of Christian worship that will reflect contemporary society.

The ceremony also will include female bishops for the first time, as well as hymns and prayers sung in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic, as well as English.

“The service contains new elements that reflect the diversity of our contemporary society,” Archbishop Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Church of England, said in a statement. “It is my prayer that all who share in this service, whether they are of faith or no faith, will find ancient wisdom and new hope that brings inspiration and joy.”

The coronation ceremony reflects Charles’ efforts to show that the 1,000-year-old monarchy is still relevant in a country that is much more diverse than it was when his mother was crowned 70 years ago. While the king is the supreme governor of the Church of England, the latest census showed that less than half of the population now describe themselves as Christian.

Built around the theme “Called to Serve,” the coronation service will begin with one of the youngest members of the congregation — a Chapel Royal chorister — greeting the king. Charles will respond by saying, “In His name and after His example, I come not to be served but to serve.”

The moment is meant to underscore the importance of young people in the world today, according to Lambeth Palace, the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The service will also include many historic elements underscoring the ancient traditions through which power has been passed on to new kings and queens throughout the centuries.

In the most sacred part of the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury will anoint the king with oil, consecrating him and setting him apart from his subjects.

A screen will cover Charles at this moment, and the anointing won’t be visible on television or to most people in the abbey, except for a few senior members of the clergy.

“When the screen which will surround the coronation chair is removed, the king is revealed to us all as someone who has taken on the responsibility of serving God and serving the people,” a Lambeth Palace spokesperson said while speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

This will be followed by the presentation of the coronation regalia, sacred objects like the orb and scepter that symbolize the monarch’s power and responsibilities.

In another innovation that reflects the changed religious landscape in Britain, members of the House of Lords from the Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions will present the king with objects with no explicit Christian symbolism.

The new king will then be crowned and the refrain “God Save the King” will echo through the Abbey.

After Charles is crowned, the traditional homage of the peers will be replaced by an “homage of the people,” in which people in the Abbey and those watching on television will be invited to affirm their allegiance to the king.

Camilla will then be anointed, in a form similar to that of Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, in 1937. However, Camilla’s anointing won’t be hidden behind a screen.

The congregation will also be invited to say the Lord’s Prayer in the language of their choice.

Just before Charles sets off in the Gold State Coach for a procession on the streets of London, the leaders and representatives of faith communities will deliver a greeting in unison. The greeting won’t be amplified out of respect for those who are observing the Jewish sabbath and are barred from using electrical devices, Lambeth Palace said.

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Russia Vows Harsh Response After Polish ‘Seizure’ of Embassy School

Russia on Saturday promised it would respond harshly to what it said was Poland’s illegal seizure of its embassy school in Warsaw, an act it called a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Polish state-run news channel TVP Info earlier reported that police showed up outside the Russian embassy school in Warsaw on Saturday morning.

When asked about the incident, a Polish foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters the building housing the embassy school belonged to the Polish state.

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the Polish authorities had entered the embassy school’s grounds with the aim of seizing it.

“We regard this latest hostile act by the Polish authorities as a blatant violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and as an encroachment on Russian diplomatic property in Poland,” the ministry said.

“Such an insolent step by Warsaw, which goes beyond the framework of civilized inter-state relations, will not remain without a harsh reaction and consequences for the Polish authorities and Polish interests in Russia,” it said.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said late on Saturday on the Telegram messaging app that it will give “a legal assessment” of the “seizure,” but it did not provide any further details.

Lukasz Jasina, a Polish foreign ministry spokesperson, told Reuters that it was Russia’s right to protest but that Poland was acting within the law.

“Our opinion, which has been confirmed by the courts, is that this property belongs to the Polish state and was taken by Russia illegally,” he said.

Sergei Andreyev, Moscow’s ambassador to Poland, had earlier told Russian state news agencies that the building housing the embassy school was a diplomatic one which Polish authorities had no right to seize.

The two countries’ fraught relations have soured further over the war in Ukraine with Warsaw positioning itself as one of Kyiv’s staunchest allies, playing a leading role in persuading allies to provide it with heavy weaponry.

In March 2022, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Poland said it was expelling 45 Russian diplomats suspected of working for Moscow’s intelligence services.

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Erdogan, Back on Election Trail, Unveils Turkey’s First Astronaut

Turkey’s first astronaut will travel to the International Space Station by the end of the year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday.

Air force pilot Alper Gezeravci, 43, was selected to be the first Turkish citizen in space. His backup is Tuva Cihangir Atasever, 30, an aviation systems engineer at Turkish defense contractor Roketsan.

Erdogan made the announcement at the Teknofest aviation and space fair in Istanbul, the president’s first public appearance since falling ill during a TV interview on Tuesday. He appeared alongside Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, and Libya’s interim prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.

“Our friend, who will go on Turkey’s first manned space mission, will stay on the International Space Station for 14 days,” Erdogan said. “Our astronaut will perform 13 different experiments prepared by our country’s esteemed universities and research institutions during this mission.”

Erdogan described Gezeravci as a “heroic Turkish pilot who has achieved significant success in our Air Force Command.”

The Turkish Space Agency website describes Gezeravci as a 21-year air force veteran and F-16 pilot who attended the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology.

Wearing a red flight jacket, Erdogan appeared in robust health as he addressed crowds at the festival. Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 14, and opinion polls show Erdogan in potentially his toughest race since he came to power two decades ago.

Turkey is dealing with a prolonged economic downturn, and the government received criticism after a February earthquake killed more than 50,000 in the country. Experts blamed the high death toll in part on shoddy construction and law enforcement of building codes.

While campaigning for reelection, Erdogan has unveiled a number of prestigious projects, such as Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and the delivery of natural gas from Black Sea reserves.

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Трюдо щодо війни в Україні: «ми всі маємо про це хвилюватися»

«В усьому світі люди дивляться на рішення Росії вторгнутися в Україну і кажуть: якщо це спрацює, можливо, це спрацює і для нас»

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Рішення щодо підвищення тарифів все одно доведеться схвалити – Міненерго

У Міненерго наголосили, що для вразливих категорій населення буде надаватися допомога, щоб вони могли сплачувати за електроенергію

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Під час обстрілів Росія використовує ракети, виготовлені минулої осені та взимку – Ігнат

«Крилаті ракети – це фактично літак безпілотний, він коштує мільйони доларів, там десятки тисяч деталей високотехнологічних, Росія, безумовно, не може їх виготовляти»

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Life-size Sculpture of Euthanized Walrus Unveiled in Norway

A walrus that became a global celebrity last year after it was seen frolicking and basking in a Oslo fjord before it was euthanized by the authorities has been honored with a bronze sculpture in Norway. 

The life-size sculpture by Norwegian artist Astri Tonoian was unveiled Saturday at the Oslo marina not far from the place where the actual 600-kilogram (1,300-pound) mammal was seen resting and relaxing during the summer of 2022. 

The walrus, named Freya, quickly became a popular attraction among Oslo residents but Norwegian authorities later made a decision to euthanize it — causing public outrage — because they said people hadn’t followed recommendations to keep a safe distance away from the massive animal. 

Norwegian news agency NTB said a crowdfunding campaign was kicked off last fall to finance the sculpture. The private initiative managed to gather about 270,000 Norwegian kroner ($25,000) by October, NTB said. 

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США евакуювали з Судану кілька сотень своїх громадян – Держдеп

Кілька сотень громадян США залишили Судан під час тимчасового припинення вогню, зазначив представник Держдепартаменту США Ведант Патель, пише The Hill.

У відомстві повідомили, що щонайменше 5 тисяч осіб запросили в Держдепартаменту інформацію про конфлікт у Судані, однак, «лише малій частині» від цієї кількості знадобилась допомога в виїзді з країни.

Посольство США в Хартумі було евакуйовано минулими вихідними морськими піхотинцями, оскільки сутички в продовжують загострюватися. Раніше США та інші країни домовилися про 72-годинне припинення вогню в конфлікті, яке було продовжено ще на 72 години в п’ятницю, 28 квітня, уточнили в Держдепі.

Також в США наголосили, що попри припинення вогню, повідомлення про бойові дії в Судані тривають, включно з обстрілом турецького військового евакуаційного літака.

«Очевидно, що мали місце численні порушення режиму припинення вогню. Але здійснення припинення вогню часто буває важким на самому початку, проте порушення режиму припинення вогню не означають провалу припинення вогню. І ми працюємо з партнерами, щоб забезпечити кращий моніторинг активності та залучити обидві сторони до поліпшення дотримання режиму», – заявив представник Держдепу.

За інформацією влади, до початку конфлікту в країні перебувало близько 16 тисяч американців, багато з яких мали подвійне громадянство США та Судану.

15 квітня в столиці Судану та інших містах спалахнули сутички між регулярною армією та воєнізованим угрупованням «Сили швидкої підтримки». Дві військові фракції борються за контроль над Хартумом і прибутковим експортом мінеральних ресурсів країни, особливо золота.

За даними ООН, станом на 21 квітня через бойові дії в Судані загинули 413 людей, ще 3551 – поранені. Низка країн евакуювали своїх дипломатів із Судану.

Головне управління розвідки Міноборони також повідомило про евакуацію десятки українців та іноземців із Судану 25 квітня.

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Литва передала Україні позашляховики та сухпайки для військових

У Міноборони Литви зазначили, що ця допомога потрібна для підтримки мобільності

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