UNESCO Campaign Tackles Racism 

The Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on Thursday launched a campaign to fight prejudice. The move coincided with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Begun with the French city of Bordeaux, the UNESCO billboard campaign features a variety of faces — old and young, men and women, and of many ethnic backgrounds. The tagline, “us different?” aims to make us think about who we are, and our prejudices.

 

“You would walk by it and hopefully react. … [Is that] person on the screen different?” said Magnus Magnusson, partnerships and outreach director at UNESCO’s social and human science division.

Mindful of stereotypes

“Ultimately, it’s about our own awareness of our own stereotypes, and we need to work, each one of us, on those stereotypes that could illustrate or be reflections on racism,” he said.

The campaign rollout comes at a time when experts say brazen forms of racism are resurging — in sports, on social media and in politics.

The initiative follows last week’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which a self-proclaimed white nationalist opened fire on worshippers at two mosques. Fifty people were killed. The suspect has been charged with murder.  

 

Migration is one factor behind the increase in racist incidents, experts say, but so is the power of social media in spreading and enforcing stereotypes.

 

Activists are fighting back. A round-table hosted by UNESCO featured imaginative ways to counter prejudice, including through chess. 

 

Cameroonian artist Gaspard Njock fights it with his pen. He’s the author of comic books and graphic novels sold in bookstores across France. 

Versatile medium

 

Njock said comics can be a powerful tool to fight racism, because it’s a medium that reaches all types of people and can tackle important themes. 

 

One of Njock’s graphic novels, Un voyage sans retour, is about the dangerous migration of sub-Saharan migrants to Europe. Njock arrived in Europe several years ago, making his way to France after a few years in Italy. 

Njock said he never considered himself a victim of racism — not because he never encountered it, but because he developed ways to fight it.

Magnusson of UNESCO said education is key to wiping out racism. So is being more aware of how we think and feel.

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Miami Open: Цуренко дізналася ім’я суперниці у другому колі

Визначилась суперниця другої ракетки України Лесі Цуренко у другому колі турніру Miami Open серії WTA Premier Mandatory.

Нею стала 112 ракетка світу, представниця Японії Місакі Доі, яка в першому раунді обіграла китаянку Ван Сіньюй.

Сьогодні вночі свій матч другого кола проведе Даяна Ястремська. Її суперниця – австралійка Ешлі Барті.

Перша ракетка України Еліна Світоліна у другому раунді зустрінеться з переможницею матчу між Ван Яфань (Китай) і Христиною Младеновіч (Франція).

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Аварія порома в Іраку: кількість загиблих перевищила 80

Щонайменше 83 людини загинули внаслідок аварії порома на півночі Іраку. Про це повідомляє місцева влада.

Голова цивільної оборони провінції, де сталася трагедія, наголосив, що пошукові заходи ще продовжуються.

За словами представника Міністерства внутрішніх справ, врятувати вдалося 55 людей.

Трагедія сталася 21 березня біля міста Мосул під час святкування Наврузу, свята початку перського нового року.

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Київський апеляційний суд залишив чинним відсторонення Мангера з посади голови Херсонської облради

Київський апеляційний суд залишив без змін ухвалу Шевченківського районного суду про відсторонення Владислава Мангера з посади голови Херсонської облради. Про це повідомила прес-секретар генерального прокурора України Лариса Сарган.

«Апеляційну скаргу його захисника про скасування ухвали слідчого судді без задоволення.

Процесуальними керівниками Мангеру і його захиснику вручено копії клопотання до суду про зміну запобіжного заходу із застави під варту. Також клопотання буде скероване до суду для розгляду по суті», – мовиться у повідомленні.

15 лютого Шевченківський районний суд Києва обрав Владиславу Мангеру запобіжний захід у вигляді взяття під варту до 3 березня з альтернативою внесення 2 мільйонів 497 тисяч гривень застави. Його підозрюють в організації вбивства активістки Катерини Гандзюк.

Того ж дня після внесення застави Мангер вийшов із СІЗО. 18 лютого Мангер повернувся до роботи головою обласної ради в Херсоні.

Дія застави є безстроковою, наразі вона залишається в Держказначействі. Водночас від 3 березня Мангер може вільно пересуватися як у межах України, так і за кордон.

Апеляційні скарги на рішення Шевченківського районного суду подали і адвокати Мангера, які просять скасувати запобіжний захід, і прокурори, які наполягають на триманні Мангера під вартою без альтернативи застави.

Чиновниця Херсонської міської ради, активістка Катерина Гандзюк померла 4 листопада 2018 року. Це сталося через три місяці після того, як її облили концентрованою сірчаною кислотою у Херсоні.

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Malaysian Leader in Pakistan to Sign $900M in Investment Deals 

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrived Thursday in Pakistan on an official three-day visit, where his high-powered delegation is expected to finalize investment deals worth nearly $900 million, officials said. 

 

The Malaysian leader will also be the chief guest at the Pakistan Day military parade Saturday, the Foreign Ministry announced. 

 

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on commerce told reporters that business leaders accompanying Mahathir would sign three memorandums of understanding on Friday covering up to $900 million worth of investments in information technology and telecom sectors.  

The adviser, Razak Dawood, said the deals with Malaysia would also provide Pakistan a new opening toward membership in the Association of South East Asian Nations. He said Malaysian businessmen had also indicated they would like to invest in other sectors, including energy and textiles, to help Pakistan improve its exports. 

 

Officials said that Malaysia’s Proton carmaker signed an agreement late last year with a Pakistani partner to set up an assembly plant in the southern city of Karachi that would be its first facility in South Asia. Khan and his Malaysian counterpart are expected to officiate at a symbolic groundbreaking of the Proton plant Friday.

Looking for investors

Since taking office last August, Khan has approached nations that have warm relations with Pakistan, including China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Malaysia, to bring investment and financial deposits to help reduce a widening current account deficit and shore up foreign reserves.  

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have deposited or are in the process of depositing $6 billion in loans in recent months. The two countries have also agreed to allow Islamabad to import oil on deferred payments. China is expected to deposit more than $2 billion in the next few days. 

 

Beijing has invested more than $19 billion over the past six years in energy and infrastructure projects under what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as part of its global Belt and Road Initiative. 

 

Last month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited Islamabad and signed investment agreements worth $20 billion, including a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in the southwestern port city of Gwadar. 

 

Pakistani officials say they are also close to securing a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package reportedly of up to $12 billion.

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US Labor Market Solid; Manufacturing Sector Slowing

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to still strong labor market conditions, though the pace of job growth has slowed after last year’s robust gains.

Other data on Thursday showed a measure of factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region rebounding sharply this month after falling into negative territory in February for the first time in more than 2-1/2 years. But manufacturers’ perceptions about the outlook were the least favorable in three years and their expectations for capital spending were also less upbeat.

These findings support the view that the manufacturing sector is slowing in line with softening economic growth.

The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday and its policymakers abandoned projections for further rate increases this year, noting that “growth of economic activity has slowed from its solid rate in the fourth quarter.”

“The U.S. economy has clearly slowed and will cause job growth to moderate, which isn’t alarming as long as it is orderly,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 221,000 for the week ended March 16, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 225,000 in the latest week. Claims have been drifting in the middle of their 200,000-253,000 range this year.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 1,000 to 225,000 last week.

The claims data covered the survey week for the nonfarm payrolls portion of March’s employment. The four-week average of claims fell 11,000 between the February and March survey periods, suggesting a pickup in job growth after hiring almost stalled last month.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by only 20,000 jobs in February, the fewest since September 2017. The slowdown followed big gains in December and January. Average job growth has moderated to about 165,500 per month from 223,250 per month in 2018.

Despite the slowdown in employment growth, the labor market remains solid. The unemployment rate is at 3.8 percent and annual wage growth in February was the strongest since 2009.

The step-down in hiring reflects a shortage of workers and softening economic growth as the stimulus from a $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades. A trade war between the United States and China, slowing global growth and uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union are also hurting domestic activity.

Ebbing momentum

The slow growth theme was also underscored by another report on Thursday from the Conference Board showing its leading economic index, which measures future U.S. economic activity, rose in February for the first time in five months.

February’s 0.2 percent increase in the leading indicator followed an unchanged reading in January.

The leading indicator’s growth rate has slowed in the past six months, which the Conference Board said suggested “that while the economy will continue to expand in the near-term, its pace of growth could decelerate by year end.”

Gross domestic product estimates for the first quarter are as low as a 0.4 percent annualized rate. The economy grew at a 2.6 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

The dollar firmed against a basket of currencies while stocks on Wall Street rose. U.S. Treasury prices were generally higher.

In a third report on Thursday, the Philadelphia Fed said its business conditions index jumped to 13.7 in March from -4.1 in February, which was the first negative reading since May 2016.

But the survey’s measure of new orders received by factories in the region, which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, rebounded moderately from negative territory in February and unsold goods piled up.

In addition, the survey’s six-month business conditions index dropped to a reading of 21.8 this month, the lowest since February 2016, from 31.3 in February. Its six-month capital expenditures index fell to a reading of 19.5 in March from 31.7 in the prior month. The index dropped below 20 for the first time since 2016.

“The details within the report were much more of a mixed bag, and more downbeat than one might think given the solid improvement in the headline reading,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.

These readings are in line with other surveys showing signs of slowing national factory activity. A report from the New York Fed last week showed a gauge of factory activity in New York state dropped to a two-year low in March.

The Philadelphia Fed survey also showed more factories experiencing difficulty finding workers, which could weigh on production in the future. Nearly 74 percent of the firms reported labor shortages, up from 63.8 percent last year.

Just over half of the companies also reported they had positions that have remained vacant for more than 90 days. That compared to 47.8 percent in 2018.

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Netherlands Shooting Suspect to Face Murder Charges With Terrorist Intent

Dutch prosecutors said Thursday they will charge the suspect in this week’s deadly tram shooting in the city of Utrecht with multiple murder charges with terrorist intent.

Prosecutors believe Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis acted alone Monday when he allegedly killed three people and seriously wounded three others.

Prosecutors and police said in a statement they are still investigating whether the 37-year-old suspect “acted out of a single terrorist motive or whether from personal problems in combination with radicalized ideas.”

The suspect was arrested after an eight-hour search that virtually closed the city. Police later arrested a fourth suspect and are trying to determine “whether this suspect played a supporting role in the shooting.”

Tanis is scheduled to attend a closed-door court hearing on Friday. Prosecutors also said Tanis will undergo a psychological examination.

 

 

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US Negotiators to Visit China Next Week for New Round of Trade Talks

China says a high-ranking U.S. delegation will travel to Beijing next week to resume negotiations aimed at resolving the ongoing trade war between the world’s two leading economies.

Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng announced Thursday that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will visit the Chinese capital next Thursday and Friday, March 28 & 29, followed by a trip to Washington in early April by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

The trade war between the United States and China began last year when President Donald Trump imposed punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to compel Beijing to change its trading practices.

China has retaliated with its own tariff increases on $110 billion of U.S. exports. The Trump administration is also pushing China to end its practice of forcing U.S. companies to transfer their technology advances to Chinese firms.

Trump had initially imposed a deadline of March 2 for both sides to reach a deal before imposing a hike in tariffs from 10 to 25 percent, but delayed the increase late last month citing “substantial progress” in the negotiations. But Chinese President Xi Jinping has reportedly cancelled tentative plans to visit Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida next month to sign a final deal, a sign that the talks have stalled.

Trump issued a warning Wednesday that U.S. tariffs could remain in place for a “substantial period” to ensure that Beijing lives up to any agreement.

 

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As Brexit Clock Ticks, May Appeals to EU for Delay

British Prime Minister Theresa May is trying Thursday to persuade European Union leaders in Brussels to approve a three-month extension, giving Britain more time to figure out how exactly it will leave the EU.

The other 27 EU members must approve any Brexit delay beyond the original March 29 deadline. A vote is not likely to take place until next week.

Before May traveled to make her case in person at Thursday’s EU meeting, she made her request in a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk.

But Tusk says such a short-term extension can only happen if Britain’s parliament votes in the next week to approve the divorce terms that British and EU negotiators reached after two years of talks.

British lawmakers have shown little enthusiasm for that deal, rejecting it by large margins in two votes. The speaker of the House of Commons has also said a third vote should not take place on procedural grounds.

May said in an address Wednesday night that lawmakers now have the choice to either support her deal or have Britain go forward with Brexit without any terms in place for its separation from the European Union.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also traveled to Brussels for his own talks with EU officials in an attempt to find support for allowing parliament, and not May, to figure out an alternative path forward.

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Crimea Marks 5 Years of Russian Annexation as Western Sanctions Bite

Residents and officials in Crimea have been staging events this week to mark the fifth anniversary of Russia’s forceful annexation of the region from Ukraine.

The United States and its allies imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Moscow following the invasion. Analysts say the economic impact is denting approval ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Thousands of heavily armed fighters, dubbed “little green men” for their anonymous uniforms, stormed Ukrainian military installations and government buildings in February 2014. The fighters were clearly backed by Russia, but Moscow denied involvement.

On March 16, 2014, the new de facto authorities staged a referendum in which they claimed more than 95 percent of voters chose to return Crimea to Russian control. Putin hailed the annexation.

“After a hard, long, tiring trip, Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their home port, to their native shore, homeward, to Russia,” Putin said in a ceremony in Moscow’s Red Square five years ago to mark the annexation, just weeks after the country hosted athletes from around the world at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

 

WATCH: Crimea Marks Anniversary of Russian Annexation

Putin returned to Crimea this week and praised the progress made.

New power stations have been built. A new bridge links Crimea to the Russian mainland, its limited height restricts shipping into Ukrainian ports. A rail service is to begin this year.

Crimea residents appear supportive.

“Well, it’s all good. Giant construction sites everywhere, you can see that,” one resident told VOA this month.

​Political cost

In the aftermath of the Crimean invasion, Putin’s approval ratings soared. They are now falling fast.

The U.S., Europe and several allies imposed economic sanctions in Moscow. Russian political analyst Maria Lipman said the economic noose has tightened.

“The Crimea syndrome, or Crimea consensus, is wearing out quite visibly,” Lipman said. “The announcement of the pension reform, and the raise of the retirement age, was a trigger when people began to realize — not that they hadn’t realized before — but they really began to feel that things were not right.”

Ukraine is about to hold presidential elections. The leading candidates have pledged to continue Kyiv’s path toward European Union and NATO membership. 

So, could Putin attempt further military action? Unlikely, said Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies.

“Russian politics is much exhausted with Ukraine. I definitely exclude any kind of military intervention, the closure of the Azov Sea, or military provocations in Donbas,” he said.

The U.S. and the European Union said this week that Crimea will always be considered part of Ukraine.

Critics say the West’s failure to confront Russia more robustly in 2014 led to Moscow’s intervention in other conflicts, including in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and in Syria.

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Harvard Sued for Profiting From Images of Enslaved Ancestors

An American woman has filed a lawsuit against Harvard University, accusing the prestigious institution of “shamelessly” profiting from photos of her ancestors who were slaves in the 19th century.

Tamara Lanier of Norwich, Connecticut, is suing the Ivy League school for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of images of her great-great-great grandfather, Renty, and his daughter, Delia.

She wants Harvard to hand the images over to her family and pay an unspecified amount in damages. 

Early type of photography used

The lawsuit says the 1850 daguerreotypes, an early type of photograph, were commissioned by Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz who was seeking racially “pure” slaves born in Africa.

The father and daughter were stripped and photographed from various angles in an effort to “prove” Agassiz’s theory that black people are inferior and to “justify their subjugation, exploitation and segregation.”

“To Agassiz, Renty and Delia were nothing more than research specimens,” the suit says. “The violence of compelling them to participate in a degrading exercise designed to prove their own subhuman status would not have occurred to him, let alone mattered.”

The suit says Harvard has over the years exploited the images, including using an image of Renty to promote a 2017 conference called “Universities and Slavery: Bound by History,” which explored the relationships between universities and slavery, and as a cover of a book that explores the use of photography in anthropology. 

History shared by mother

Lanier said as a child she heard stories about Renty from her mother who made sure to pass down family history.  She alleges that in 2011 she wrote to then-Harvard president Drew Faust, detailing her ties to Renty.

At the time, she wanted to learn more about the images and how they would be used. In another letter sent in 2017, she demanded that Harvard relinquish the photos. In both cases, she said, Harvard did not address her requests.

The suit charges that “by contesting Lanier’s claim of lineage, Harvard is shamelessly capitalizing on the intentional damage done to black Americans’ genealogy by a century’s worth of policies that forcibly separated families, erased slaves’ family names, withheld birth and death records, and criminalized literacy.”

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Командир «Нікополя» став 23-м моряком, якому призначили психіатричну експертизу – адвокат

Командир захопленого ФСБ біля берегів анексованого Росією Криму українського бронекатера «Нікополь» Богдан Небилиця став 23-м моряком, якому російське слідство призначило проведення психолого-психіатричної експертизи. Про це написав адвокат Микола Полозов у Facebook.

«Захист заперечував проти призначення експертизи з тих підстав, що норми міжнародного гуманітарного права, зокрема III Женевська конвенція від 12.08.1949 «Про поводження з військовополоненими», не передбачає проведення таких дій стосовно військовополонених. Разом із тим, слідство, незважаючи на заперечення захисту, має твердий намір провести цю експертизу. У зв’язку з цим захистом заявлено клопотання про присутність адвоката при проведенні експертизи щодо Богдана Небилиці», – написав адвокат.

Полозов додав, що останню постанову про проведення експертизи стосовно військовослужбовця Михайла Власюка російські слідчі представлять 21 березня.

25 листопада 2018 року російські прикордонники ФСБ поблизу Керченської протоки відкрили вогонь по українських кораблях і захопили три судна з 24 моряками. Українська влада визнає цих моряків військовополоненими. Країни Заходу закликають Росію звільнити моряків і забезпечити свободу судноплавства в Керченській протоці.

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