Аваков: на 2 місяці заарештований перший учасник подій у Дніпрі 9 травня

Перший учасник подій 9 травня у Дніпрі щонайменше два наступних місяці проведе за ґратами. Про це повідомив міністр внутрішніх справ України Арсен Аваков.

«Перший дніпровський тітушка вже за гратами – рішенням суду заарештований на 2 місяці. І настрій різний на двох фотографіях з різницею в два дні. І вілкули не допомогли.Далі гарантовано буде», – написав Аваков у Facebook пізно ввечері 11 травня.

9 травня в Дніпрі стались заворушення під час масових заходів, 14 осіб постраждали в сутичках. Генпрокурор Юрій Луценко заявив про затримання 8 ідентифікованих молодиків, які напали на учасників АТО, та наголосив, що дії поліції в Дніпрі 9 травня вивчає слідство. 10 травня міністр внутрішніх справ Арсен Аваков звільнив керівника Нацполіції Дніпропетровщини Ігоря Репешка і призначив на його місце Віталія Глуховерю, який раніше обіймав посаду керівника Дніпровського інституту внутрішніх справ.

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FBI Acting Chief Contradicts Trump on Comey

Claims and counterclaims reverberated across Washington concerning President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and the status of an ongoing investigation of Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. election. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the FBI’s acting director contradicted White House claims that Comey had lost the agency’s confidence when the president dismissed him.

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Top US Intelligence Officials Warn of More Aggressive Russia, North Korea

The lingering threat from Russia following its attempts to meddle with the U.S. presidential election is unlikely to recede anytime soon, with the nation’s top intelligence officials warning that Moscow is likely to get both more aggressive and more unpredictable. VOA National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin.

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Trump Spokesman on Navy Reserve Duty at Key Time

If you’ve been missing your daily dose of White House press secretary Sean Spicer, it’s because President Donald Trump’s chief spokesman has been serving the country in another way: He’s been on Navy Reserve duty.

Spicer’s commitment for monthly service occasionally pulls him away from his high-profile job as the public face of the Trump administration.

The obligation also kept Spicer away Wednesday, one of the most important days of Trump’s presidency: the day after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director. Trump dismissed Comey Tuesday, which was the last day this week that Spicer briefed the White House press corps.

Sanders fills in

Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has filled in during Spicer’s absence, which renewed speculation that Trump was giving the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee a tryout with an eye toward possibly replacing Spicer with her.

A White House official denied that Spicer’s job was in jeopardy, saying that using Sanders, 34, to cover Spicer’s absence is part of a broader plan to give her some on-camera briefing experience because she is Spicer’s chief deputy. The official requested anonymity to discuss internal White House planning.

Spicer was also on reserve duty last Thursday and Friday.

“Sean is actually on Navy Reserve duty, so you guys are stuck with me — today and tomorrow,” Huckabee Sanders said as she opened Thursday’s less formal, off-camera briefing, which is known as a “gaggle.” “So brace yourselves for a fun 24 hours.”

Briefings must-see TV

Spicer’s often-combative question-and-answer sessions with the reporters who cover Trump have become must-see TV. Since taking over as press secretary, he has made a number of gaffes at the podium that ended up shining the media spotlight on him, instead of on Trump and his policies.

Spicer, 45, joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1999. He was expected back at the podium Friday.

Spicer, who holds the rank of commander, works out of the Pentagon as a public affairs specialist assigned to Capt. Greg Hicks, spokesman for Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Reservists commit to serving a minimum of one weekend a month plus two weeks a year, although flexible options permit service on weekdays, according to the Navy’s website.

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China to Get American Beef and Gas Under Trade Agreement

A sweeping trade agreement, ranging from banking to beef, has been reached between Washington and Beijing, the U.S. Commerce Department announced on Thursday.

“It was pretty much a Herculean accomplishment to get this done,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “This is more than has been done in the whole history of U.S.-China relations on trade.”

The breakthrough results from an agreement U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping made during their meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on April 6.

Trump “was briefed more or less every single day” as negotiations progressed since then, Ross said.

Beef imports

Following one more round of “technical consultations,” China has agreed to allow U.S. beef imports no later than July 16, consistent with international food and animal safety standards, Ross told reporters at the White House.

The United States Cattlemen’s Association applauded the agreement, saying market access to China is crucial for its members.

“Success in this arena will drive the U.S. cattle market and increase demand for U.S. beef” in China, association president Kenny Graner told VOA.

In exchange, Washington and Beijing are to resolve outstanding issues that would allow imports to the U.S. of cooked poultry from China “as soon as possible,” according to the Commerce Department.

Another significant breakthrough will see American liquefied natural gas (LNG) going to China. Under the agreement Chinese companies will be permitted “at any time to negotiate all types of contractual arrangement with U.S. LNG exporters, including long term contracts,” according to the Commerce Department.

This is “a very big change,” said Ross, noting China is trying to wean itself off coal at a time “it doesn’t produce enough natural gas to meet its needs.”

Financial, other business services

Among other action listed in the 100-Day Action Plan:

* China is to allow, by July 16, “wholly foreign-owned financial services firms” to provide credit ratings services and to begin licensing procedures for credit investigation.

* U.S.-owned suppliers of electronic payment services (EPS) will be able to apply for licensing in China under new guidelines.

* China is to issue bond underwriting and settlement licenses to two qualified U.S. financial institutions by July 16.

* China’s National Biosafety Committee is to meet by the end of this month to conduct science-based evaluations of all eight pending U.S. biotechnology product applications “to assess the safety of the products for their intended use.” Those that pass the tests are to get certificates within 20 working days.

The outcome of the joint dialogue will also see a United States delegation attending China’s Belt and Road Forum in Beijing next week.

A U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue will be held this summer, according to the Commerce Department, to deepen engagement on these and other issues.

“There are probably 500 items you could potentially discuss” in the wider one-year plan for bilateral trade, Ross added.

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Cash and Chemicals: For Laos, Chinese Banana Boom a Blessing and Curse

Kongkaew Vonusak smiles when he recalls the arrival of Chinese investors in his tranquil village in northern Laos in 2014. With them came easy money, he said.

The Chinese offered villagers up to $720 per hectare to rent their land, much of it fallow for years, said Kongkaew, 59, the village chief. They wanted to grow bananas on it.

In impoverished Laos, the offer was generous. “They told us the price and asked us if we were happy. We said okay.”

Elsewhere, riverside land with good access roads fetched at least double that sum.

Three years later, the Chinese-driven banana boom has left few locals untouched, but not everyone is smiling.

Experts say the Chinese have brought jobs and higher wages to northern Laos, but have also drenched plantations with pesticides and other chemicals.

Last year, the Lao government banned the opening of new banana plantations after a state-backed institute reported that the intensive use of chemicals had sickened workers and polluted water sources.

China has extolled the benefits of its vision of a modern-day “Silk Road” linking it to the rest of the world – it holds a major summit in Beijing on May 14-15 to promote it.

The banana boom pre-dated the concept, which was announced in 2013, although China now regards agricultural developments in Laos as among the initiative’s projects.

Under the “Belt and Road” plan, China has sought to persuade neighbors to open their markets to Chinese investors. For villagers like Kongkaew, that meant a trade-off.

“Chinese investment has given us a better quality of life. We eat better, we live better,” Kongkaew said.

But neither he nor his neighbors will work on the plantations, or venture near them during spraying. They have stopped fishing in the nearby river, fearing it is polluted by chemical run-off from the nearby banana plantation.

Chinese frustration

Several Chinese plantation owners and managers expressed frustration at the government ban, which forbids them from growing bananas after their leases expire.

They said the use of chemicals was necessary, and disagreed that workers were falling ill because of them.

“If you want to farm, you have to use fertilizers and pesticides,” said Wu Yaqiang, a site manager at a plantation owned by Jiangong Agriculture, one of the largest Chinese banana growers in Laos.

“If we don’t come here to develop, this place would just be bare mountains,” he added, as he watched workers carrying 30-kg bunches of bananas up steep hillsides to a rudimentary packing station.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was not aware of the specific issues surrounding Chinese banana growers in Laos, and did not believe they should be linked directly to the Belt and Road initiative.

“In principle we always require Chinese companies, when investing and operating abroad, to comply with local laws and regulations, fulfil their social responsibility and protect the local environment,” he told a regular briefing on Thursday.

Laos’ Ministry of Agriculture did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment for this article.

China is the biggest foreign investor in Laos, a landlocked country of 6.5 million people, with over 760 projects valued at about $6.7 billion, according to Chinese state-run media.

This influence is not only keenly felt in the capital Vientiane, where Chinese build shopping complexes and run some of the city’s fanciest hotels. It also extends deep into rural areas that have remained largely unchanged for decades.

Banana rush

Lao people say Chinese banana investors began streaming across the border around 2010, driven by land shortages at home.

Many headed to Bokeo, the country’s smallest and least populous province.

In the ensuing years, Lao banana exports jumped ten-fold to become the country’s largest export earner. Nearly all of the fruit is sent to China.

For ethnic Lao like Kongkaew, Chinese planters paid them more for the land than they could earn from farming it.

For impoverished, hill-dwelling minorities such as the Hmong or Khmu, the banana rush meant better wages.

At harvest time, they can earn the equivalent of at least $10 a day and sometimes double that, a princely sum in a country where the average annual income was $1,740 in 2015, according to the World Bank.

They are also most exposed to the chemicals.

Most Chinese planters grow the Cavendish variety of banana which is favoured by consumers but susceptible to disease.

Hmong and Khmu workers douse the growing plants with pesticides and kill weeds with herbicides such as paraquat. Paraquat is banned by the European Union and other countries including Laos, and it has been phased out in China.

The bananas are also dunked in fungicides to preserve them for their journey to China.

Switching crops

Some banana workers grow weak and thin or develop rashes, said Phonesai Manivongxai, director of the Community Association for Mobilizing Knowledge in Development (CAMKID), a non-profit group based in northern Laos.

Part of CAMKID’s work includes educating workers about the dangers of chemical use. “All we can do is make them more aware,” she said.

This is an uphill struggle. Most pesticides come from China or Thailand and bear instructions and warnings in those countries’ languages, Reuters learned. Even if the labeling was Lao, some Hmong and Khmu are illiterate and can’t understand it.

Another problem, said Phonesai, was that workers lived in close proximity to the chemicals, which contaminated the water they wash in or drink.

In a Lao market, Reuters found Thai-made paraquat openly on sale.

However, some workers Reuters spoke to said they accepted the trade-off. While they were concerned about chemicals, higher wages allowed them to send children to school or afford better food.

There is no guarantee the government’s crackdown on pesticide use in banana production will lead to potentially harmful chemicals being phased out altogether.

As banana prices fell following a surge in output, some Chinese investors began to plant other crops on the land, including chemically intensive ones like watermelon.

Zhang Jianjun, 46, co-owner of the Lei Lin banana plantation, estimated that as much as 20 percent of Bokeo’s banana plantations had been cleared, and said some of his competitors had decamped to Myanmar and Cambodia.

But he has no plans to leave. The environmental impact on Laos was a “road that every underdeveloped country must walk” and local people should thank the Chinese, he said.

“They don’t think, ‘Why have our lives improved?’ They think it’s something that heaven has given them, that life just naturally gets better.”

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Americans Rush to Trademark Catchy Phrases

Ideas were flying at a brainstorming session to create a slogan for a group of North Carolina Democrats when Catherine Cloud blurted out a phrase that made a colleague’s eyes light up: “Because this is America.”

The words were quickly scrawled on a notepad, and the New Hanover County Democratic Party in Wilmington began its scramble to own the phrase. It applied days later for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

From President Donald Trump’s dash to own “Keep America Great” for his 2020 re-election campaign — even before he took office — to a rush by a foundation for the victims of the September 11 attacks to claim “Let’s Roll” just days after New York’s Twin Towers were reduced to rubble, Americans are rushing to trademark catchy phrases.

There were 391,837 trademark applications filed last year, with the number growing an average of 5 percent annually, government reports show. The USPTO does not break out how many of those applications were for phrases.

‘That’s Hot’

The surge is the result of headline-grabbing cases like socialite Paris Hilton’s winning settlement of a lawsuit over her trademarked catchphrase “That’s Hot” from her former television reality show, said trademark attorney Howard Hogan of Washington.

“It can’t help but inspire others,” Hogan said. “It feels good to get recognition of something you feel you have created.”

Trademarks can mean cash from everything from bumper stickers to thongs printed with the protected phrase. More important for some, however, is claiming ownership of a powerful message.

” ‘Because this is America’ is a rallying cry that focuses on what we have in common, rather than what divides us,” Cloud said.

The phrase is the tagline in a commercial that was set for online release Thursday about the New Hanover Democrats’ key issues: “Clean water. Because this is America,” “Quality education for every child. Because this is America,” and “No matter your ethnicity, you are welcome here. Because this is America.”

Mindful that the slogan that could easily be employed by rival Republicans, the county Democratic committee filed to trademark it just 18 days after Cloud said it.

Trump looks ahead

Two days before Trump’s inauguration on January 20, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. applied to trademark the phrase he said he intends to use for his 2020 re-election campaign: “Keep America Great,” both with and without an exclamation point. The campaign committee already owns the trademark for Trump’s 2016 slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

Just 15 days after Todd Beamer inspired fellow airline passengers to overwhelm hijackers above a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001, the Todd M. Beamer Memorial Foundation applied to trademark his rallying cry, “Let’s Roll.”

Three days after “Nasty Woman” grabbed headlines when Trump used it to describe his opponent Hillary Clinton in an October 19, 2016, debate, entrepreneurs across America started filing trademark applications for the phrase. There are at least 11 applications pending to trademark “Nasty Woman” for the sale of products as wide-ranging as pillows, wine, firearms, scented body spray, mugs, backpacks and jewelry.

Typically it takes about 18 months for the Patent Office to grant a trademark.

But it can take much longer, as cartoonist Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker learned when he tried to trademark the caption to a 1993 cartoon. Two decades passed before he was allowed to register it on January 19, 2016.

Ironically, the phrase aptly describes Mankoff’s anticipated payday from the sale of merchandise, bearing the words that first appeared under his cartoon of a businessman trying to schedule a meeting: “How about never — is never good for you?”

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Прикордонники: підстав не впускати в Україну болгарського учасника «Євробачення» не було

Державна прикордонна служба України заявляє, що на момент в’їзду до країни учасника пісенного конкурсу «Євробачення» від Болгарії Крістіана Костова підстав забороняти йому в’їзд не було. Так речник ДПСУ Олег Слободян відреагував на повідомлення в ЗМІ, що влітку 2014 року Костов виступав в анексованому Росією Криму.

За його словами, прикордонслужба разом зі Службою безпеки України перевірить цю інформацію.

«Ми діємо у межах наданих повноважень. На момент, коли даний громадянин перетинав кордон, жодної інформації чи з нашої, чи від інших правоохоронних органів про те, що, можливо, даний громадянин порушував законодавство України, у нас не було. Всю інформацію, яка була у Державної прикордонної служби про перетин, чи, можливо, про підозри відносно якихось громадян в якихось протиправних заходах ми перевіряли. На даний момент, всі учасники і люди зі складу делегацій в’їхали на територію України на законних підставах», – сказав Слободян у коментарі Радіо Свобода.

У Службі безпеки України у зв’язку з цим нагадали, що рішення про заборону в’їзду до України ухвалює центральний орган виконавчої влади, що забезпечує реалізацію державної політики у сфері міграції, СБУ або органи держкордону.

«Служба безпеки України ухвалює рішення про заборону в’їзду до України іноземцям або особам без громадянства в інтересах гарантування національної безпеки України», – написала речниця СБУ Олена Гітлянська на сторінці у Facebook.

Вона нагадала, що рішення про заборону в’їзду до України особі ухвалюють у разі, якщо є наявність достатньої інформації, одержаної в установленому законом порядку, про факт вчинення нею суспільно небезпечного діяння, незалежно від території здійснення, що суперечить інтересам гарантування безпеки України, попередження, виявлення, припинення і розкриття якого зараховано до компетенції СБУ.

Раніше в ЗМІ з’явилося відео з виступом представника Болгарії на Євробаченні-2017 Крістіана Костова в анексованому Росією Криму 1 червня 2014 року, через кілька місяців після анексії. 17-річний музикант представить Болгарію у другому півфіналі Євробачення-2017, що відбудеться ввечері 11 травня.

Влада України раніше заборонила на три роки в’їзд обраній у Росії учасниці «Євробачення» Юлії Самойловій, бо вона 27 червня 2015 року виступала у Криму і, таким чином, порушила українське законодавство, оскільки потрапила на півострів зі сторони Росії, не через дозволені Україною пункти пропуску.

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