Загиблим на Луганщині співробітником ОБСЄ є американець

Загиблим на Луганщині 23 квітня співробітником Спеціальної моніторингової місії ОБСЄ є громадянин США, однією з поранених – громадянка Німеччини. Про це повідомляє агенція Reuters із посиланням на міністерство закордонних справ Австрії, яка нині головує в ОБСЄ. Інформацію про загибель американця Радіо Свобода підвердили і в міністерстві закордонних справ України.

Зранку 23 квітня в районі села Пришиб на контрольованій угрупованням «ЛНР» частині Луганщини підірвався автомобіль Спеціальної моніторингової місії ОБСЄ. Згідно з повідомленням місії, загинув один, госпіталізовані двоє членів патруля місії.

В угрупованні «ЛНР» звинуватили в підриві автомобіля ОБСЄ «підготовлену українську диверсійно-розвідувальну групу». Бойовики раніше також заявили, що автомобіль Спеціальної моніторингової місії ОБСЄ, в якому загинули та поранені співробітники місії, «відхилився від основного маршруту і рухався другорядними дорогами».

Українська сторона Спільного центру контролю та координації (СЦКК) режиму припинення вогню на Донбасі повідомила, що близько 10:17 під час здійснення патрулювання «ймовірно на міні підірвався автомобіль Спеціальної моніторингової місії ОБСЄ».

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СММ ОБСЄ: під селом Пришиб загинув один, госпіталізовані двоє співробітників місії

«Патруль їхав у безпосередній близькості від населеного пункту Пришиб, у районі, неконтрольованому урядом у Луганській області»

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Parchment Copy of Declaration of Independence Found in Small British Town

Two Harvard researchers say they have found a rare parchment copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence — in England.

The only other known parchment copy is housed in the National Archives in Washington.

Researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen found the document in the archives of the small town of Chichester in Sussex, in southern England.

The Boston Globe reports the Duke of Richmond is believed to have been the original owner of the parchment which the researchers dated to the 1780s. The duke was also known as Radical Duke because of his support of Americans during the Revolutionary War.

Allen says the document “scrambles the names of the signers” and “they are no longer grouped by state.” She said “It is the only version of the declaration that does that, with the exception of an engraving from 1836 that derives from it. This is really a symbolic way of saying we are all one people…”

Allen and Sneff are working with British officials and the Library of Congress to run non-invasive tests on the document.

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Defense Secretary Mattis Arrives at Only US Base in Africa

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is in Djibouti, the tiny east African nation that’s home to the United States’ only military base on the continent.

Mattis arrived Sunday at Camp Lemonnier before visiting the Djiboutian president and minister of defense.

Officials say Camp Lemonnier is one of the most strategically important areas for the United States military due to its geographic location.

The base is critical for U.S. exercises and operations on the continent, and U.S. special forces use the facility to conduct counter-terror operations against al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia, according to officials.

Mattis’ visit to Djibouti comes less than a month after the White House approved a Pentagon proposal to allow the head of Africa Command to launch offensive attacks against al-Shabab militants in Somalia in support of partner forces.

The new directive clears the way for more U.S. presence on the ground and more leeway for U.S. strikes against the militant group. Before, the U.S. was targeting al-Shabab in what they called “self-defense” operations, which the military said protected U.S. advisers operating on the ground with Somali and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces.

Officials say the new mandate “hasn’t changed much” on the ground so far and is mainly representative of the president’s and the defense secretary’s desire to “empower” combatant commanders with “more flexibility.”

“It’s just that now Washington doesn’t have to approve every strike there,” one official said.

Camp Lemonnier is important for military operations in the Middle East as well, with the narrow Bab al-Mandeb strait the only separation between Djibouti and Yemen. Dozens of commercial and military ships travel through the strategic strip of water every day, and the deep Djiboutian port on the strait is used by the US Navy, the French navy and about 10 other navies, according to a U.S. official.

Chinese presence

The U.S. will soon see another military neighbor in Djibouti when China completes construction of its first overseas military base.

General Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command, recently said it will be the closest facility that a “peer competitor” has ever had to a U.S. base, which he said raises some “security concerns.”

Another U.S. official told reporters the U.S. concerns include the “standard counter-intelligence kind” that come anytime you have forces operating within close proximity.

The official said that, at this point, the U.S. sees no reason why its forces cannot “comfortably coexist” with the Chinese in the area, adding that many of the concerns about the Chinese are similar to French feelings when the U.S. arrived in Djibouti.

“Any time it gets a little more crowded, you start to have concerns about ‘how will this affect me,’ ‘how will it affect my operations (and) “how will this affect my relationship with the partner nation,” the official said.

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy DeLeon told VOA the Chinese base is a bid to increase Beijing’s “heavy presence” in the Horn of Africa.

“It’s not traditional Western soft power, where it is a humanitarian mission, because China’s got a clear interest in the resources that are there,” DeLeon said.

While many of the people in the region are poor, the lands and coastal sea floors are rich with minerals, petroleum, gold and natural gas.

DeLeon said Chinese interest in developing some of the poorest areas in the region could be “constructive,” especially as the areas are battling a destructive drought.

Mattis is the first U.S. secretary of defense to visit to the base in Djibouti since Leon Panetta in 2005.


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Beyond Yellowstone: Lawmakers Want Tourists to See Native America

The Blackfeet Indian Reservation rolls across the plains just east of Glacier National Park. There’s a hotel and casino. There are gas stations, a few eateries and a museum about the culture and history of the people that have occupied the territory long before the arrival of the U.S. Cavalry and the hordes of modern-day visitors who roll into the nearby mountains.

But despite its proximity to the national park, little of the money spent by tourists ends up in the business tills of reservation’s communities.

While Montana might be known internationally for recreational jewels such as Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, Native Americans say the state needs to do more to develop and promote its vast tribal lands as tourist destinations.


Some lawmakers want the state to invest more in drawing visitors to places of historical and cultural importance to the state’s Indian tribes, not only to spark entrepreneurship but also help outsiders better understand Native Americans.

“Folks want to come, and they want to see Native American people, and see our culture, and learn about our history. I think that’s going to create income when they come flying in,” said Democratic state Sen. Lea Whitford, who represents Browning and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. “It’s just going to increase the flow of dollars into the state.”

Tourism big business

Tourism is one of the Montana’s most important and lucrative industries, generating more than $4 billion annually from 12.3 million visitors and supporting nearly 55,000 jobs. Little of that money or jobs go to the state’s tribal members.

Whitford and other members of the Legislature’s Native American caucus want improved representation on the state’s tourism advisory council, which she said might not be aware of the potential for cultural tourism. They also want a sliver of money generated by lodging facility taxes to go toward tribal economic development.

To be sure, many of Montana’s Native American communities lack the infrastructure, like hotels, restaurants and well-developed attractions and amenities, to begin marketing themselves as tourist attractions. But tribes haven’t received much help to identify and develop opportunities, said Rep. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, a Democrat from the Crow Indian Reservation.

They say it would be a modest step toward incubating entrepreneurship on tribal and help combat the rampant joblessness on the state’s seven Indian reservations.

Native Americans need boost

“Everything seems to be about Yellowstone and Glacier. But there’s other places, Little Bighorn Battlefield and other historical places, which have stories to tell — and should be told — but can’t be fully appreciated because the spotlight isn’t there,” Stewart-Peregoy said. The battlefield marks the site of one the last clashes between the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians.

“It’s Main Street Native America that will bring forth the economic vitality to each of the tribes,” she said. “It’s not going to be the tribal government. It’s going to be the citizens of those tribes that, when they are empowered to become entrepreneurs and businesspeople, then Main Street Crow Agency, Main Street Browning and Main Street Rocky Boy will begin to flourish.”

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Toxin in Corn Adds to Woes of US Farmers, Ethanol Makers

A fungus that causes “vomitoxin” has been found in some U.S. corn harvested last year, forcing poultry and pork farmers to test their grain, and giving headaches to grain growers wrestling with massive supplies and low prices.

The plant toxin sickens livestock and can also make humans and pets ill.

The appearance of vomitoxin and other toxins produced by fungi is affecting ethanol markets and prompting grain processors to seek alternative sources of feed supplies.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture first isolated the toxin in 1973 after an unusually wet winter in the Midwest. The compound was given what researchers described as the trivial name vomitoxin because pigs refused to eat the infected corn or vomited after consuming it. The U.S. Corn Belt had earlier outbreaks of infection from the toxin in 1966 and 1928.

The spread of vomitoxin is concentrated in Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and parts of Iowa and Michigan, and its full impact is not yet known, according to state officials and data gathered by food testing firm Neogen Corp. 

In Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana, a considerable share of corn crops tested since last fall’s harvest have had vomitoxin levels high enough to be considered too toxic for humans, pets, hogs, chickens and dairy cattle, according to public and private data compiled by Neogen. The company did not state what percent of each state’s corn crop was tested.

Toxin levels

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows vomitoxin levels of up to 1 part per million (ppm) in human and pet foods and recommends levels under 5 ppm in grain for hogs, 10 ppm for chickens and dairy cattle. Beef cattle can withstand toxin levels up to 30 ppm.

Alltech Inc, a Kentucky-based feed supplement company, said 73 percent of feed samples it has tested this year have vomitoxin. The company analyzed samples sent by farmers whose animals have fallen ill.

“We know there is lots of bad corn out there, because corn byproducts keep getting worse,” said Max Hawkins, a nutritionist with Alltech.

Neogen, which sells grain testing supplies, reported a 29 percent jump in global sales for toxin tests, with strong demand for vomitoxin tests, in their fiscal third quarter, ending Feb. 28.

“We’re polling our customers and continually talking to them about the levels they’re seeing. Those levels are not going down,” said Pat Frasco, director of sales for Neogen’s milling, grain and pet food business.

The problem, stemming from heavy rain before and during the 2016 harvest, prompted farmers to store wet grain, said farmers, ethanol makers and grain inspectors.

The issue was compounded by farmers and grain elevators storing corn on the ground and other improvised spaces, sometimes covering the grain piles with plastic tarps. Grain buyers say they will have a clearer picture of the problem later this spring, as more farm-stored grain is moved to market.

Iowa State University grain quality expert Charles Hurburgh said the sheer size of the harvest in 2016 — the largest in U.S. history — complicates the job of managing toxins in grain, especially in the core Midwest.

“Mycotoxins are very hard to handle in high volume,” he said. “You can’t test every truckload, or if you do, you are only going to unload 20 trucks in a day.” By comparison, corn processors in Iowa unload 400 or more trucks a day.

Biofuel impact

Ethanol makers are feeling the impact. Turning corn into ethanol creates a byproduct called distillers dried grains (DDGs), which is sold as animal feed. With fuel prices low, the DDGs can boost profitability.

But the refining process triples the concentration of mycotoxins, making the feed byproduct less attractive. DDG prices in Indiana fell to $92.50 per ton in February, the lowest since 2009, and now are selling for $97.50 per ton, according to USDA.

Many ethanol plants are testing nearly every load of corn they receive for the presence of vomitoxin, said Indiana grain inspector Doug Titus, whose company has labs at The Andersons Inc., a grain handler, and energy company Valero Energy sites.

The Andersons in a February call with analysts said vomitoxin has hurt results at three of its refineries in the eastern U.S. 

“That will be with us for some time,” Andersons’ chief executive Pat Bowe said.

Mixing with clean grain

Missouri grain farmer Doug Roth, who put grain into storage after last year’s wet harvest, has seen a few loads of corn rejected by clients who make pet food after the grain tested positive for low levels of fumonisin, a type of mycotoxin.

Roth said he paid to reroute the grain to livestock producers in Arkansas, who planned to blend it with unaffected grain in order to mitigate the effect of the toxins.

U.S. farmers with clean corn are reaping a price bump. A Cardinal Ethanol plant in Union City, Indiana, is offering grain sellers a 10-cent per bushel premium for corn with less than one-part-per-million or less of vomitoxin in it, according to the company’s website.

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Російських спортсменів-борців планують готувати у Криму до Олімпійських ігор-2020

Збірну Росії зі спортивної боротьби планують готувати до Олімпійських ігор 2020 року, які відбудуться в Токіо, у Центрі підготовки збірних Росії «Кримському» в Алушті. Про це заявив президент Федерації спортивної боротьби Росії Михайло Маміашвілі під час візиту до Ялти в рамках економічного форуму, який проходить у цьому місті з 20 по 22 квітня.

Як повідомляє прес-служба форуму, Маміашвілі зазначив, що «борці розраховують використовувати цю базу вже в підготовці до Олімпіади-2020. У рамках реконструкції буде побудований відкритий 50-метровий басейн, новий готель, медичний центр і універсальний зал. Обсяг інвестицій із федерального бюджету Росії  сягне 2,2 мільярда рублів (приблизно 1 мільярд гривень – ред)».

Щороку навесні підконтрольна Кремлю влада анексованого Росією Криму проводить у Ялті економічний форум, який називають міжнародним, запрошуючи до участі представників різних країн світу. Через візити іноземців нинішня влада півострова прагне легалізувати «російський» статус півострова. 2017 року форум відбувається з 20 по 22 квітня.

У зв’язку зі запланованим на квітень проведенням економічного форуму в Ялті Прокуратура АРК закликала МЗС України проінформувати представників іноземних держав про правила в’їзду на територію анексованого Криму, а також про відповідальність за порушення українського законодавства.

МЗС України направило Росії ноту протесту через економічний форум у Ялті. Спікер МЗС України Мар’яна Беца повідомила, що Міністерство закордонних справ України перевіряє інформацію про участь у Ялтинському міжнародному економічному форумі» іноземних представників, щоб згодом притягнути їх до відповідальності.

Верховна Рада України офіційно оголосила 20 лютого 2014 року початком тимчасової окупації Криму й Севастополя Росією. 7 жовтня 2015 року президент України Петро Порошенко підписав відповідний закон. Міжнародні організації визнали окупацію й анексію Криму незаконними й засудили дії Росії. Країни Заходу запровадили низку економічних санкцій. Росія заперечує окупацію півострова й називає це «відновленням історичної справедливості».

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US Surgeon General Who Spoke Out Against Gun Violence Resigns

The U.S. Surgeon General under the Obama administration has resigned and been replaced, at least, temporarily, by his deputy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that Vivek Murthy was asked to resign after “assisting in a smooth transition” from the Obama administration to that of President Donald Trump.

Murthy’s replacement is his deputy, Sylvia Trent-Adams, who becomes one of the first nurses to serve in the position. Her photo replaced Murthy’s on the Surgeon General’s web page and Twitter account on Friday.

Richard Carmona, a nurse and a physician who served under President George W. Bush, referred to himself as the first nurse to serve as surgeon general.

The U.S. Surgeon General has little power, but often uses his or her position to draw attention to public health concerns.

Murthy’s confirmation in the Senate was opposed by the National Rifle Association because he has spoken out about gun violence in the past, calling it a public health issue.

Health and Human Services employees privately expressed surprise at the swift change of personnel, although it is not unusual for presidential appointees to be replaced in the early days of a new administration.


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