Гройсман: заборони на імпорт енергетичного вугілля з Росії ще немає

Прем’єр-міністр України Володимир Гройсман заявляє, що Кабінет міністрів поки що не встановив заборону на імпорт енергетичного вугілля з Росії.

За його словами, Україна має в умовах припинення постачання антрациту з неконтрольованих територій на Донбасі скоротити споживання цього енергетичного вугілля і покрити його дефіцит диверсифікованими імпортними поставками, відмовившись від такого завезення вугілля з Росії.

«Безумовно, нам необхідно вугілля, якого бракує, закуповувати в різних країнах. Хочу наголосити, що я прибічник того, щоб закуповувати в США, Австралії… – тобто, в інших країнах, а не в агресора… Поки ще постанови (про заборону імпорту антрациту з Росії – ред.) немає, але я вважаю, що для нас дуже важливо диверсифікувати і жодним чином не постачати з Російської Федерації», – сказав Гройсман 11 квітня в Києві.

Прем’єр нагадав, що Україні вдалося повністю відмовитися від російського газу. «501 день жодної краплі російського газу українська держава не отримує», – сказав він.

У березні міністр енергетики і вугільної промисловості України Ігор Насалик повідомив, що уряд планує заборонити імпорт енергетичного вугілля з Росії.

Україна наразі змушена імпортувати енергетичне вугілля антрацитної групи, яке в ній видобувається тільки на окупованій частині Донбасу, через блокаду переміщення товарів через лінію розмежування на Донбасі: спершу з боку активістів і низки депутатів, а потім і з боку уряду – після захоплення сепаратистами шахт та інших підприємств на окупованих територіях, що діяли у правовому полі України. Таке вугілля видобувають, зокрема в сусідній Росії, яка є для України державою-агресором. Інші варіанти – купувати й доставляти його з Південної Африки чи США.

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Гройсман вкотре заявляє, що не піде в президенти в 2019 році

Прем’єр-міністр України Володимир Гройсман заявляє, що у нього немає амбіцій брати участь в майбутніх президентських виборах.

«У мене є сенсаційне повідомлення: в 2019 році я буду брати участь в президентських виборах, як всі громадяни України – прийду і проголосую за кандидата в президенти. Інших намірів у мене немає. Я про це вже говорив», – сказав Гройсман 11 квітня в Києві, підсумовуючи рік діяльності уряду.

Раніше прем’єр вже заявляв, що не має президентських амбіцій.

Чергові вибори президента України мають відбутися в березні 2019 року.

 

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Getting Up to Speed on Wells Fargo Sales Scandal

The fraudulent account scandal at Wells Fargo has been making U.S. national headlines for months, with no end in sight. If you haven’t kept up with the story since the beginning, it’s worth backing up to get a fuller context for what has happened, and what is still to come.

 

How did this all start?

For years, Wells Fargo has been known in banking circles as a having an extremely aggressive sales culture. For years, the bank’s management would say it doesn’t have branches; it has “stores.” And up until this year, Wells Fargo management highlighted its so-called “cross-sell ratio,” which is the number of accounts or other services a Wells Fargo customer typically had at the bank. Wells was aiming for as many as eight financial “products” per household. In context, most big banks aim to have two to three per customer.

Early problems with Wells Fargo’s sales-focused culture date back to at least 2002, according to the board of directors’ report released Monday, much earlier than had been previously reported. The board found a branch in Colorado was issuing debit cards to customers without their consent, and branch management encouraged the behavior.

 

While the investigation found that Wells fired several employees at that branch, the sales problems did not stop, largely due to the intense sales pressure upper management placed on branch managers and employees to make their numbers each day.

How bad was it?

Since at least 2011, according to authorities, Wells Fargo employees opened as many as 2 million unauthorized checking and credit card accounts in nearly every state it does business. But most of the bad behavior happened in Sunbelt states like California, Arizona and Florida.  Employees also created fake email addresses for customers to sign them up for online banking, even if they did not want nor need it.

 

How did management react?

For a lack of a better description, management appeared to not care that employees were opening duplicate accounts or issuing products to customers that they did not want, as long as employees were making their numbers. Pam Conboy, who was the regional president for Wells Fargo’s Arizona business, actually encouraged duplicate accounts and that Carrie Tolstedt, the head of Wells Fargo’s entire consumer banking business, held Conboy as a model of success in the company.

 

As the problems with Wells’ sales culture ballooned, management still remained callous to the problems or even actively worked to hide it. The board did not know Wells had fired 5,300 employees for unethical sales practices until it came out in news reports.

 

In a statement, Tolstedt lawyers said they disagreed with the board’s conclusions that she was heavily responsible for the sales culture problems at Wells.

When did this story become national news?

An investigation by The Los Angeles Times in 2013 found that employees had been opening up multiple accounts for customers in order to make their sales goals. That investigation eventually led to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office to file a lawsuit against Wells for its sales practices, which in turn caught the attention of federal authorities, most notably the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The CFPB and OCC, as well as the LA Attorney’s Office, fined Wells Fargo $185 million and found the problems reported by the LA Times were actually a nationwide issue for Wells Fargo.

 

The news became an unmitigated crisis for Wells in the next few weeks. Then-CEO John Stumpf was dragged in front of both the Senate and House of Representatives to testify, where politicians on both sides of the aisle called for criminal charges to be brought against the bank and its executives. Stumpf stepped down in late October.

What has Wells done since the scandal broke?

Wells has gotten rid of sales goals and redid how it pays its employees to focus less on opening checking accounts and more on how those bank accounts are actually used. The board of directors has clawed back more than $180 million in pay and bonuses to former CEO John Stumpf, Tolstedt, current CEO Tim Sloan and others.

 

The bank has also been calling its tens of millions of customers to ask whether they authorized the creation of those accounts. It has been refunding fees that would have been paid on those accounts and, lastly, it is working to fix the credit scores of any customers who may have had a credit card opened in their name without authorization.

 

Oh, and the bank stopped referring to its branches as “stores.”

What comes next?

Wells Fargo has several outstanding investigations pending, including Congressional investigations, lawsuits by states and consumer groups, as wells as possibly the Department of Justice. There is a chance that the Justice Department could bring federal charges against Wells, but that is still not clear.

 

The Comptroller of the Currency’s Office is currently investigating the sales cultures at each of the large banks, with that investigation expected to last at least through the summer. The OCC’s goal is to see whether the problems at Wells were isolated.

 

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Once Opposed to Intervention, Trump Says He Can Be Flexible

In the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s surprise strikes on Syria, his allies and adversaries have searched for some broader meaning in his decision.

Is Trump now a humanitarian interventionist, willing to wield American military power when foreign governments threaten their own citizens? Is he a commander in chief who once warned against intervention in Syria but is now prepared to plunge the United States deeper into the conflict? Is he turning on Russia, one of Syria’s most important patrons, after months of flirting with closer U.S. ties with Moscow?

Trump would say he’s simply flexible, an emerging foreign policy doctrine that leaves room for evolution and uncertainty.

“I don’t have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don’t change,” Trump said Wednesday, a day after the chemical weapons attack in Syria that compelled him to order airstrikes against a government air base. “Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I’m proud of that flexibility.”

Action in Syria

Allies in the Middle East and Europe who panned Trump’s efforts to ban Syrian refugees from the United States cheered his decision to strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military after viewing images of young children killed in the chemical attacks. Yet they did so without any clear guidance from Washington on the next steps in Syria.

Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said the United States was willing to take more action against Assad, while White House officials cautioned that the strikes did not signal a broader shift in U.S. policy.

Mark Feierstein, who served in the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, said it’s difficult to glean a direction for U.S. policy from Trump’s actions in Syria because Trump “is not moored to any coherent ideology or set of ideas.”

But for some of Trump’s supporters, ideological elasticity is a virtue for a president who took office with no practical foreign policy experience. They say it gives the former real estate mogul breathing room to learn on the job and accept advice from more seasoned advisers.

“I think as time goes on, every day that has passed, he more and more has understood the gravity of U.S. leadership,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Trump ran for office as a Republican but has few ties to the party’s traditionally conservative philosophy. He often has relied on his flexibility as a way to reassure Americans that some of his more unconventional and controversial proposals were merely suggestions.

Yet on some issues, he has shown a willingness to follow through. He has ordered construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and signed executive orders banning entry to the U.S. for people from some majority Muslim countries, including Syria. Those travel orders have so far been blocked by the courts.

The angry reaction to the Syria strikes from some of his strongest campaign supporters showed that they expected him to fulfill promises to stay out of Syria.

“Those who wanted us meddling in the Middle East voted for other candidates,” Ann Coulter, the conservative commentator, wrote on Twitter.

As a candidate and private citizen, Trump cast Syria’s civil war as a quagmire from which the United States should steer clear. Until the chemical weapons attack, Trump mainly saw Syria as a hotbed for terrorists seeking to attack the U.S. He rarely spoke of the hundreds of thousands killed and the millions displaced during the six years of clashes between the Assad government, backed by Russia and Iran, and opposition groups.

“He seems to put great score in unpredictability, and that’s not such a bad thing in foreign relations if it has some kind of framework around it,” said Peter Romero, a top State Department official in the Clinton administration. But Romero said that if Trump is “being erratic, then it’ll have very little impact.”

Trump not alone

Trump is hardly the first president to change his approach to America’s role in the world. In 2011, President Barack Obama justified intervention in Libya by citing specific criteria, including the imminent slaughter of civilians. When most of the same guidelines appeared applicable in Syria, particularly after a deadly 2013 chemical weapons attack, Obama backed away from planned military strikes.

“There’s always a transformation that takes place from a person who wins the presidency, and then once he assumes office he necessarily sees the world from a different perspective,” said Edward Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Israel who now directs Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. “Trump suddenly realizes he’s responsible for much of the world.”

Shift toward Russia

Another consequence of Trump’s shift on Syria has been a strikingly tougher tone from his administration on Russia. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose close ties to Russia raised questions during his confirmation hearings, slammed Moscow for either being “complicit” in the chemical weapons attack or “incompetent.”

Corker was among those who welcomed that shift. “The beginning thinking of the administration around Russia was somewhat unsettling, but you’ve seen that evolve,” he said.

But Trump’s flexibility means there are no guarantees that he’s prepared to fully abandon his efforts to forge a partnership with Russia on counterterrorism, nuclear proliferation and other issues.

Skeptics noted that a confrontation with Russia over Syria was well-timed for a president whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI and congressional committees for possible coordination with Moscow during the 2016 election. Also, Trump himself has yet to match the harsh criticism of Moscow that some of his advisers have levied.

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Man Forcibly Dragged From Overbooked United Flight

Video of a man being dragged out of a United Airlines flight in Chicago has gone viral and has given the airline a huge public relations headache.

The Sunday flight from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked so the flight crew asked passengers to voluntarily take another flight, according to the airline. Airlines often offer free tickets or some financial compensation to such volunteers.

“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” according to a statement from United to WHAS TV in Chicago. “We apologize for the overbook situation.”

No one volunteered, so the airline chose four people at random to leave the flight.

One passenger, Audra Bridges,who posted video of the incident, told the USA Today newspaper that the man in the video was “very upset” when he was chosen. He reportedly refused, saying he was a doctor who needed to get home that night so that he could see patients the next morning.

Bridges told the paper the man was warned that security would be called if he refused to leave. She said security then threw the man against the armrest and dragged him off the plane.He later came back on the plane and appeared bloody and disoriented, Bridges said.

As the man was dragged out, other passengers were noticeably upset.

“Everyone was shocked and appalled,” Bridges said. “There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset.”

The flight ended up being delayed by about two hours.

The CEO of United Airlines posted a statement on Twitter about the incident.

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” wrote CEO Oscar Munoz. “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”

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McCain: Russia Cooperated With Syria in Chemical Attack

U.S. Senator John McCain has accused Russia of having cooperated with Syria in a chemical weapons attack that has killed more than 80 people, including more than a dozen children.

The Republican senator said Monday at a press conference in Belgrade that he believes “the Russians knew about chemical weapons because they were operating exactly from the same base.”

He says “I hope that this behavior by Syria, in what clearly is cooperation with Russia and Syria together, will never happen again.”

McCain says the U.S. should take out Syria’s air force as part of stopping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from repeating such attacks in the future.

He says “the United States should first tell Russia that this kind of a war crime is unacceptable in the world today.”

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Посол Великої Британії шкодує через відставку Гонтаревої

Посол Великої Британії в Україні Джудіт Гоф заявляє, що шкодує через відставку голови Національного банку Валерії Гонтаревої.

«Сумно бачити відставку голови НБУ Гонтаревої – трансформаційного й мужнього лідера, яка здійснила справжню реформу в банківському секторі», – написала посол у Twitter.

Раніше в посольстві США заявили, що «бачення та справжня сила волі Гонтаревої змінили банківську систему України», а також наголосили, що тепер важливо призначити незалежного професіонала на посаду голови Нацбанку України.

Голова Національного банку України Валерія Гонтарева повідомила, що 10 квітня подала президентові України заяву про намір піти у відставку за власним бажанням з 10 травня.

 

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Батькам загиблого на Донбасі оперного співака Василя Сліпака вручили «Зірку Героя»

Президент Петро Порошенко вручив «Зірку Героя» батькам загиблого на Донбасі добровольця, оперного співака Василя Сліпака.

Цією нагородою його відзначили посмертно «за виняткову мужність і героїзм, виявлені у захисті державного суверенітету та територіальної цілісності України, самовіддане служіння українському народові».

Як повідомляє прес-служба президента України, зустріч відбулася 10 квітня.

У лютому цього року президент України присвоїв посмертно звання Героя України українському оперному співакові, волонтеру, учаснику Революції гідності та бойових дій на Донбасі Василю Сліпаку.

«Василь Сліпак був солістом у Паризькій національній опері. Він був активним учасником Помаранчевої революції, з початком Революції гідності очолив волонтерський рух і координував у Франції громадські акції, спрямовані на підтримку України», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Василь Сліпак, який з 2015 року брав участь у бойових діях на Донбасі, загинув 29 червня 2016 року від кулі снайпера поблизу Луганського на Донеччині.

 

 

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