Замовником провокацій на заході України є лідер організації «Наждак» – СБУ

«Микола Дульський, який переховується на території Росії, – відомий агент впливу російських спецслужб, який за гроші веде активну антиукраїнську діяльність з 2015 року»

В опублікованому розкладі півфіналу Євробачення є Росія

Європейська мовна спілка (EBU) та Національна суспільна телекомпанія України оприлюднили порядок виступів учасників першого та другого півфіналів Євробачення-2017, у якому також є Росія. Відповідна інформація розміщена на сайті пісенного конкурсу.

Згідно з розкладом, представниця Росії виступатиме 11 травня під номером 3.

Півфінали відбудуться 9 та 11 травня.

Раніше 31 березня з’явилася інформація, що Україну можуть позбавити права у майбутньому приймати Євробачення через заборону СБУ на в’їзд у країну російській співачці Юлії Самойловій. Про це мовиться у листі голови EBU Інгрід Дельтенре прем’єр-міністру Володимиру Гройсману, розміщеному на сайті Oikotimes.

У Європейській мовній спілці 31 березня підтвердили Deutsche Welle справжність цього листа.

Українська сторона наразі не коментувала цієї інформації.

12 березня Росія визначила свого представника на «Євробаченні» – Юлію Самойлову, яка виступила в окупованому Криму 27 червня 2015 року, таким чином порушивши постанову Кабінету міністрів України № 367 від 4 червня 2015 року, за якою іноземці повинні мати спеціальний дозвіл для відвідин Криму і в’їжджати на територію півострова через встановлені пункти пропуску.

22 березня СБУ заборонила учасниці від Росії Юлії Самойловій в’їзд до України на три роки.

У Європейській мовній спілці, яка є співорганізатором щорічних конкурсів популярних пісень «Євробачення», заявили 23 березня , що росіянка Юлія Самойлова могла б виступити на конкурсі через супутниковий зв’язок із Росії у другому півфіналі, а в разі проходження до фіналу – і в фіналі.

У відповідь віце-прем’єр В’ячеслав Кириленко зазначив, що це суперечить українському законодавству, і звинуватив EBU у політизації конкурсу.

Кілька країн звернулися до EBU з критикою рішення української влади, заявивши, що розглядають можливість бойкотувати конкурс.

СБУ заборонила в’їзд до України автору логотипу анексованого Криму

СБУ заборонила в’їзд в Україну російському дизайнерові, авторові логотипу анексованого Криму Артемію Лебедєву. Про це повідомляє видання «Апостроф» з посиланням на відповідь СБУ.

У відомстві повідомили, що заборонили в’їзд «у зв’язку з вчиненням ним діяльності, спрямованої на заподіяння шкоди національним інтересам у сфері інформаційної безпеки».

Артемій Лебедєв на своїй сторінці у Facebook висловив обурення щодо цього рішення.

«Що стосується мого впливу на безпеку, то він як раніше був, так і зараз нікуди не подінеться. Я надалі говоритиму правду своїм улюбленим читачам», – написав він, додавши, що 10% читачів його блогу – з України.

Раніше ЗМІ припускали, що Лебедєву заборонили в’їзд до України через те, що він відвідував анексований Росією Крим і непідконтрольну українській владі територію Донбасу.

Top 5 Songs for Week Ending April 1

We’re lighting up the five most popular songs in the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles chart, for the week ending April 1, 2017.

As has been the case, we welcome one new song this week…and it’s a big jumper.

Number 5: The Weeknd & Daft Punk “I Feel It Coming”

The Weeknd and Daft Punk surge seven slots to fifth place with “I Feel It Coming.” 

Here’s an item to pique your curiosity: on March 14, mastering engineer Rob Small went on social media to publicize an upcoming Daft Punk release. It’s about nine weeks away. It will appear on a French label and it will be available on vinyl.

Number 4: Zayn & Taylor Swift “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”

Meanwhile, our next artist is dealing with a family tragedy.

Zayn and Taylor Swift tread water in fourth place with “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.” Please join me in sending condolences to Zayn and his family, following the death of his five-year-old cousin, Arshiya. She reportedly succumbed to a brain tumor on Tuesday. Zayn was said to be close to his cousin, and has yet to comment.

Number 3: Migos Featuring Lil Uzi Vert “Bad And Boujee”

Slipping a slot to third place go Migos and Lil Uzi Vert, with with their former Hot 100 champ “Bad And Boujee.”

Record Store Day happens on April 22 – it’s a day dedicated to independent music retailers. Lil Uzi Vert is offering his 2016 mix tape “Lil Uzi Vert Vs the World” in a deluxe purple vinyl edition limited to 2,700 copies.

Number 2: Bruno Mars “That’s What I Like”

Bruno Mars jumps into the runner-up slot with “That’s What I Like,” and as he eyes a possible championship, it’s time to ask: do you remember when he last hit the jackpot with a solo single? 

Mars last topped the Hot 100 in 2014 with “Uptown Funk,” but that was Mark Ronson’s release and Mars was a featured artist. When did Mars last hit the top as a solo artist? It happened back in early 2013, with “When I Was Your Man.”

Number 1: Ed Sheeran ” Shape of You”

Your man at the top continues to be Ed Sheeran, posting an eighth total week at number one with “Shape Of You.”

A woman in England has been jailed for eight weeks, after using “Shape Of You” in a campaign of noise harassment against her neighbors. Sonia Bryce, 36, reportedly played the song on repeat at high volume, but defended herself in court by saying she really doesn’t like Sheeran that much.

Tourists Drawn to California Desert ‘Super Bloom’

Rain-fed wildflowers have been sprouting from California’s desert sands after lying dormant for years — producing a spectacular display that has drawn record crowds and traffic jams to tiny towns like Borrego Springs.

 

An estimated 150,000 people in the past month have converged on this town of about 3,500, roughly 85 miles (135 kilometers) northeast of San Diego, for the so-called super bloom. 

 

Wildflowers are springing up in different landscapes across the state and the western United States thanks to a wet winter. In the Antelope Valley, an arid plateau northeast of Los Angeles, blazing orange poppies are lighting up the ground. 

What is a super bloom?

 

But a “super bloom” is a term for when a mass amount of desert plants bloom at one time. In California, that happens about once in a decade in a given area. It has been occurring less frequently with the drought. Last year, the right amount of rainfall and warm temperatures produced carpets of flowers in Death Valley. 

 

So far this year, the natural show has been concentrated in the 640,000-acre (1,000-square-mile) Anza Borrego State Park that abuts Borrego Springs. 

 

It is expected to roll along through May, with different species blooming at different elevations and in different areas of the park. Anza Borrego is California’s largest state park with hundreds of species of plants, including desert lilies, blazing stars and the flaming tall, spiny Ocotillo.

 

‘Flowergeddon’

Deputies were brought in to handle the traffic jams as Borrego Springs saw its population triple in a single day. 

 

On one particularly packed weekend in mid-March, motorists were stuck in traffic for five hours, restaurants ran out of food, and some visitors relieved themselves in the fields. Officials have since set up an army of Port-A-Pottys, and eateries have stocked up. The craze has been dubbed “Flowergeddon.” 

 

Locals call those who view the tiny wildflowers from their cars “flower peepers.” Thousands of others have left their vehicles to traipse across the desert and analyze the array of delicate yellow, orange, purple and magenta blooms up close in the park. Many carting cameras have taken care to step around the plants.

 

Tour groups from as far as Japan and Hong Kong have flown in to catch the display before it fades away with the rising temperatures. 

Rare sightings tracked

 

Wildflower enthusiasts worldwide track the blooms online and arrive for rare sightings like this year’s Bigelow’s Monkey flower, some of which have grown to 8 inches (203 millimeters) in height. The National Park Service has even pitched in with a 24-hour wildflower hotline to find the best spots at the state park.

 

“We’ve seen everything from people in normal hiking attire to people in designer flip-flops to women in sundresses and strappy heels hike out there to get their picture. When I saw that, I thought, ‘Oh no. Please don’t go out there with those shoes on,’” laughed Linda Haddock, head of the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce.

 

On a recent day, a young woman sat among knee-high desert sunflowers and shot selfies against the backdrop of yellow blooms that looked almost neon in contrast to the brown landscape. A mother jumped in the air as her daughter snapped her photo among yellow brittlebushes. 

Blooms draw insects, birds 

The blooms are attracting hungry sphinx moth caterpillars that munch through acres. The caterpillars in turn are attracting droves of Swainson hawks on their annual 6,000-mile (9,656-kilometer) migration from Argentina.

 

“It’s an amazing burst in the cycle of life in the desert that has come because of a freakish event like a super bloom,” Haddock said. “It’s exciting. This is going to be so huge for our economy.”

 

Desert super blooms always draw crowds, but lifetime residents said they’ve never seen the natural wonder attract tens of thousands like this time. The park is about a two-hour drive from San Diego and three hours from Los Angeles. 

A lot of rain, a lot of blooms

 

This year’s display has been especially stunning, experts say. The region received 6½ inches (165 millimeters) of rain from December to February, followed by almost two weeks of 90-degree temperatures, setting the conditions for the super bloom. Five years of drought made the seeds ready to pop. 

 

Humans also helped. Park staff, volunteers and female prisoners have been removing the Saharan Mustard plant, an invasive species believed brought to California in the 1920s with another plant, the date palm. Saharan Mustard stole the thunder of another super bloom six years ago, said Jim Dice, research manager at the Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center.

 

“It completely took over the usual wildflower fields and starved out the wildflowers so what we had were giant fields of ugly mustard plant,” Dice said. “That galvanized the community, which depends on tourism largely brought in during the good wildflower years.”

 

Lia Wathen, a 35-year-old investigator in San Diego, took a Monday off from work so she wouldn’t miss the desert flowers.

 

“Any single color that you can think of, you’re going to find it right here,” said Wathen, walking with her Maltese dogs, Romeo and Roxy, before stopping to examine a magenta bloom on a spikey Cholla cactus.

 

Sandra Reel and her husband drove hundreds of miles out of their way when they heard about the super bloom. 

 

“It is absolutely phenomenal to see this many blooming desert plants all at the same time,” she said. “I think it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” 

US Art Houses Program Protest as ‘1984’ Heads Back to Theaters

On Tuesday, it will be “1984” again in movie theaters across the country.

About 190 art-house theaters have banded together to show the 1984 big-screen adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece as a pointed comment on the presidency of Donald Trump, whose “alternative facts” administration has already sent “1984” back up the bestseller lists .

“It’s what’s in the air. People want to do something,” said Dylan Skolnick, an organizer of the event and co-director of the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, New York. “This started with a conversation about: We need to do something. Well, what do we do? We show movies. So the obvious answer was: We should show a movie.”

New resonance

Cinemas around the country are increasingly programming with political protest in mind, playing movies that have newfound resonance for those who disagree with the policies of the Republican president. In May, 60 theaters are planning to screen films from the predominantly Muslim nations targeted by Trump’s proposed travel ban. That initiative has been dubbed the Seventh Art Stand and billed as “an act of cinematic solidarity against Islamophobia.”

Cinemas, particularly independent ones, are places to gather and connect, and they are finding under Trump a renewed sense of mission that goes beyond the usual arguments for the big-screen experience over Netflix.

“To really genuinely connect with other people — which seems to be a consistent theme our country is struggling with — it’s all about being in a corporeal public sphere together, and doing that in and around art,” said Courtney Sheehan, executive director of Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum and an organizer of the Seventh Art Stand. “We’re not just an ancillary component of social change conversation. This is ground zero for action.”

 

A Trump effect has already been partially seen in the recent box-office success of Jordan Peele’s horror hit “Get Out” and Raoul Peck’s James Baldwin documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” — movies that offer a straight talk on racial issues that might be lacking in Washington. On the small screen, Turner Classic Movies more cheekily programmed Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd,” with Andy Griffith as a populist radio personality who rises to political demagogue, to air on Inauguration Day.

“1984,” the second movie version starring John Hurt and Richard Burton, will play in 175 cities and 44 states, as well as a few internationally in Canada, England and Sweden. The event has been organized under the name United States of Cinema; its website lists the participating theaters. April 4 was selected because that’s when Orwell’s Winston Smith begins his forbidden diary as a rebellion against his oppressive government.

“It’s just a work that has a lot of resonance with what’s going on. It hits a lot of crucial notes,” Skolnick said. “Orwell wrote about and the film talks about the essential thing of being able to say two plus two equals four, even if the government says, ‘No, two plus two equals five.’ ”

A similar motivation fueled Richard Abramowitz, founder and president of the indie film distributor Abramorama. He and Sheehan began discussing organizing something at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and their plan has attracted the support of Steve Buscemi, Jonathan Demme, Woody Harrelson and others. Other companies have joined, as well; the online video hub Vimeo will show shorts focused on refugee stories.

Since the Seventh Art Stand was announced two weeks ago, Sheehan said, participating theaters have doubled from 30 to about 60. The state with the largest number, she said, is Indiana. Theaters have a long list of films from which to choose from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. (The most recent version of the travel ban has thus far been blocked by the courts.) Most notable is Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning “The Salesman.” The celebrated filmmaker boycotted February’s Academy Awards, where he won his second Oscar, because of the travel ban.

Abramowitz calls the movie theater “a safe space now,” where people can experience other cultures “that are being more threatened now than before.”

“We recognize that there are far more people that are welcoming in this country than not. And we wanted to try to create spaces all over the country where people could recognize this,” he said. “We thought maybe this would be a good way to engage the community rather than sit around and fume.”

New York Report: Trump Tax Proposal Would Mostly Benefit Wealthy

Nearly all of New York City’s millionaires would receive big tax cuts under President Donald Trump’s proposed tax overhaul, while more than one-third of moderate- and middle-income families would face increases, according to a government report issued Thursday.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer said Trump’s overall plan, as proposed during the Republican president’s campaign, would give more than $5 billion of tax cuts to city dwellers. But almost two-thirds of that would go to those earning more than $500,000. That group bears just over one-half of the total tax burden.

“We already have astounding wealth gaps across the city and across the country,” Stringer said at a news conference. “The Trump tax code, if implemented, would only exacerbate it.”

The lower taxes for wealthier residents would be achieved through lower marginal tax rates on ordinary and capital gains income and the elimination of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) — a federal income tax that’s required in addition to baseline income tax for certain individuals or entities for which exemptions allow lower payments of standard income tax.

Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump’s objective was a tax cut for the middle class, not the top 1 percent. He said he was aiming for passage of a comprehensive tax overhaul by the time Congress takes its August recess.

Six-figure tax cut

Stringer’s office analyzed tax returns of 365,000 New York City households. It found that 92 percent of the city’s millionaires would receive, on average, a tax cut of at least $113,000.

Nearly half of single parents who make $25,000 to $50,000 would experience a tax increase, it said.

The tax cuts, which would reduce federal revenue by more than $2 trillion over 10 years, are driving proposed budget cuts that would leave the city, home to 60,000 homeless people, with a weakened social safety net, Stringer said.

“I find it incredible that this guy, who comes from New York City, who has major investments here, can’t see what his proposal will do to his hometown,” he said. “And then when you scratch the surface, you realize that part of his agenda and who benefits from it is Donald Trump himself.”

Based on the limited information available from Trump’s now-public 2005 federal tax return, his proposal to eliminate the AMT would have benefited him by $31 million that year. In contrast, under his tax plan, a single mother raising two children on less than $50,000 a year would face a tax increase of $464.

Royce: Limiting Access to Hard Currency Key to North Korea Sanctions

While the Trump administration explores options to curb North Korea’s nuclear development, efforts are under way in Congress to push for additional sanctions against the regime.

The move comes amid growing speculation that the isolated state may soon conduct another nuclear test. South Korea believes North Korea is ready to carry out a nuclear test anytime leader Kim Jong Un decides to do so. Recent commercial satellite imagery showed an increased level of activity at the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, according to the U.S. monitoring website 38 North.

Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called on the Trump administration to take additional steps to deny the North the hard currency that enables the country to advance its missile and nuclear programs.

“We are indicating to the administration that they already have important tools at their disposal,” the Republican lawmaker from California told VOA on Thursday, when asked what the Trump administration should do to counter the nuclear threat.

Targeting front companies

Royce introduced new legislation to tighten existing sanctions on Pyongyang. The legislation passed by the House panel Wednesday targets front companies and enablers that fund the Kim regime’s nuclear program and human rights abuses. It also requires the Trump administration to determine whether North Korea is a state sponsor of terrorism.

The call for the North to be relisted as a state sponsor of terrorism has gained renewed attention after the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The lawmaker said the measure would “vastly expand the administration’s authority to use sanctions to address this emerging North Korean threat.”

Royce stressed the need for increased sanctions on the North, saying the communist state is using “sophisticated tactics” to evade sanctions.

“Sanctions enforcement from other nations remains insufficient,” he added, citing a recent United Nations report.

Broken pledge?

The French news agency AFP reported the value of China’s coal imports from North Korea surged nearly 40 percent in February despite Beijing’s earlier pledge to ban such imports as part of the implementation of the latest U.N. sanctions. It is unclear if the purchases had been made before the suspension came into force or Beijing backed away from its previous pledge. In a report on the implementation of the sanctions, China said the imports were suspended from Feb. 19, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2017.

Recently, the Trump administration vowed that its North Korea policy will differ from its predecessor’s.

“The policy of strategic patience has ended,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in South Korea this month. “We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures.”

This report originated with the VOA Korean Service.

G7 Culture Ministers Discuss Threat of Cultural Trafficking

During their first-ever formal meeting, culture ministers representing Group of Seven industrialized nations on Thursday decried the looting and trafficking of cultural treasures by terror groups while experts acknowledged that objects believed looted by extremists are starting to surface in the marketplace.

The topic was on the table both during technical sessions by experts and law enforcement and during the afternoon meeting of G-7 cultural ministers and top officials. The gathering in Florence came a week after the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution co-authored by Italy and France warning that the destruction of cultural treasures may constitute war crimes.

 

Now, the discussion is turning not just to the destruction of cultural treasures, as seen in Syria and Afghanistan, but also to their trafficking as a source of funding to support the activities of extremist groups.

Heritage sites included

U.S. Ambassador Bruce Wharton, acting undersecretary for public diplomacy, told reporters that the ministers discussed the grave risk posed by “looting and trafficking at the hands of terrorist organizations and criminal networks.”

He cited the pillaging of heritage sites in Timbuktu in Mali, Palmyra in Syria  and the Mosul museum in Iraq, which experts are just beginning to assess after 2 years being under control of Islamic State group extremists.

“Looting, trafficking and the illicit sale of cultural heritage objects have helped ISIS-Daesh finance its operations, along with trafficking in drugs, weapons and people,” Wharton said.

 

German Minister of State Maria Boehmer said “terrorism feeds on illegal trafficking of cultural treasures” and applauded moves by the International Criminal Court to make “the targeted destruction of cultural property a war crime.”

“’The barbaric destruction by terrorist groups is targeting people’s identity,” she said.

Details are few

 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Director Ray Villanueva said developments in identifying artifacts looted by extremists “are very fresh … happening as we speak.” Villanueva said providing details, including of the countries of origin of looted objects, could compromise the ongoing investigations.

 

“However, I can tell you in general that [through the] internet [and] art dealers we are seeing artifacts coming up from different places,” Villanueva said, adding that the public, museums and art dealers were key to providing law enforcement with information.

 

Milan lawyer Manlio Frigo, who represents museums and art dealers, acknowledged that not all the trafficking in war zones was at the hands of extremists. Refugees crossing the border from Syria have been seen with plastic bags containing artifacts, Frigo said.

Looting for profit

Director-General Irina Bokova of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said there is plenty of evidence that extremists are looting for profit.

 

A group of partners that includes Interpol and the world customs organization are  creating a common database and sharing information in a bid to recover the treasures, Bokova said.

 

“Every single day something happens somewhere that testifies to the fact that it is a systematic, I would say, looting of sites to engage with the illicit trafficking,” she said.

Qatar Denies Violating Labor Law by Blocking Migrants From Leaving

Qatar on Thursday denied it was violating a new labor law by blocking migrants from leaving the country, saying it was committed to enforcing reforms to improve the rights of millions of foreign workers.

A new law making it easier for migrants to change jobs and leave the oil-rich Gulf state — where many of them have been recruited to build soccer stadiums ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup — came into effect in December.

But rights groups say the new law is not being enforced and that scores of migrant workers from countries such as India, Bangladesh and Nepal have been refused permission to leave the country since the law was passed.

The Qatari government said in a statement that any suggestion it was not committed to enforcing the reforms or that it was denying the freedom of movement of foreign workers was “false.”

Around 90 percent of Qatar’s 2.5 million population are migrants. Many work in low-paid construction jobs to build stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup competition.

But Doha’s “kafala” sponsorship system — under which migrants cannot change jobs or leave the country without their employer’s permission — has come under scrutiny in recent years, with allegations that the system amounts to forced labor.

Law on permits

Qatar passed a law December 13 that scrapped the need for migrants to get exit permits from employers and imposed fines on employers who confiscated workers’ passports and withheld their salaries.

But trade unionists say migrants still require an exit permit from the government — and that more than 200 migrants have been blocked from leaving Qatar since the law was passed.

The Qatari government confirmed that 213 out of 184,551 requests for exit permits had been denied, but said this was because the individuals were facing criminal charges.

“We have explicitly stated that expatriates would be prevented from leaving Qatar if there is strong evidence that the expatriate has committed fraud or is attempting to evade prosecution for a crime,” the government statement said.

The International Labor Organization has given Doha until November to implement the reforms or potentially face an investigation into the forced labor of migrants in the lead-up to hosting the World Cup.

Поліція Італії затримала підозрюваних у підготовці нападу у Венеції

Поліція Італії повідомляє про запобігання нападу у Венеції.

За повідомленнями, у ніч на четвер правоохоронні органи затримали вихідців з Косова, один з яких – неповнолітній. Їх підозрюють у підготовці вибуху мосту Ріальто – однієї з найвідоміших визначних пам’яток міста.

Запобігти нападу, повідомляє поліція, допомогли перехоплені телефонні розмови. Затримані були прихильниками угрупування «Ісламська держава».

Всі затримані мали право на постійне проживання в Італії.

У 2016 році у великих містах Європи відбулися напади, жертвами яких стали сотні людей. Минулого тижня стався напад у центрі Лондона, загинули чотири людини, десятки поранені. Відповідальність за атаки взяло на себе угруповання «Ісламська держава».

Панама відмовила Каськову у статусі політичного біженця – Єнін

Заступник генпрокурора України Євген Єнін повідомляє, що екс-керівнику Державного агентства з питань залучення інвестиції часів президентства Віктора Януковича Владиславу Каськову відмовили у статусі політичного біженця.

«Влада Панами відмовила Каськову у статусі політичного біженця.

Це ще не фінал, але значний крок вперед», – написав Єнін у Facebook.

8 вересня стало відомо про затримання Каськова в Панамі.

Владислав Каськів обіймав посаду голови Держагентства з інвестицій та управління національними проектами України у 2010–2014 роках.

Наприкінці березня 2016 року його оголосили в розшук. За даними ГПУ, Каськів розшукується за злочини, передбачені статтями Кримінального кодексу України «заволодіння чужим майном шляхом зловживання службовою особою своїм службовим становищем, вчинене за попередньою змовою групою осіб, в особливо великих розмірах» і «службове підроблення, що спричинило тяжкі наслідки».

Як заявляв міністр внутрішніх справ Арсен Аваков, Каськів вивів із України 255 мільйонів гривень.

У Києві побили заступника директора «Укрспирту» Ільчишина

Постраждалим від нападу невідомих чиновником, якого напередодні побили у Києві, є заступник директора державного підприємства «Укрспирт» Ігор Ільчишин, повідомляє прес-служба підприємства.

«Стосовно нападу невідомими на Ігоря Ільчишина, що стався ввечері 29 березня 2017 року, повідомляємо наступне: Ігор Ільчишин є заступником директора ДП «Укрспирт», а також головою комісії з ліквідації Державного концерну спиртової та лікеро-горілчаної промисловості (концерн «Укрспирт»)», – мовиться у повідомленні прес-служби «Укрспирту», оприлюдненому 30 березня.

«Наразі триває слідство. Усі питання стосовно мотиву нападників, можливих замовників, а також причин нападу перебувають у компетенції правоохоронних органів. Відомості про подію внесли до Єдиного реєстру досудових розслідувань за ч. 4 ст. 296 (хуліганство) Кримінального кодексу України», – додали у прес-службі.

Раніше повідомлялося, що ввечері 29 березня у Дніпровському районі Києва невідомі напали на заступника директора держпідприємства, побили його і вистрілили у нього гумовими кулями. Ім’я постраждалого не називали. 

Major Serbian Newspapers Feature Same Front Pages of Ruling Party Campaign Poster

Only days before Serbia’s presidential election, seven major newspapers have hit the stands with the same front pages: the ruling candidate’s campaign poster.

The propaganda coup on Thursday by populist Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s campaign team further stoked fears about the overall fairness of the Sunday vote.

The papers splash the red and blue AV logo and carry no headlines or news on the front pages.

Former Serbian President Boris Tadic said “today’s print media have revealed the real state of democracy under Vucic’s rule.”

Tadic said “we are looking at the North Korean scenario for Serbia if he wins the election.”

The mainstream media under Vucic’s control have been demonizing most of the 10 opposition challengers running in the election, without giving them the opportunity to respond.

Tight Armenian Election to Pave Way for Power Shift

Armenia’s ruling party goes into an election on Sunday neck-and-neck in the polls with a former coalition partner, making it hard to predict the winner

of a vote that will usher in a new parliamentary system of government.

Under constitutional changes critics say were designed to prolong the political life of President Serzh Sarksyan, parliament, not voters, will elect the president for the first time and the office of prime minister will become more powerful, with the presidency becoming a largely ceremonial role.

Sarksyan, the 62-year-old leader of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), has repeatedly denied that the changes, which were approved by the electorate in a December 2015 referendum, were made for his benefit.

He has been president since 2008, but his current presidential term, his second, expires next year, and critics say the new system gives him some attractive options: to keep wielding executive power by becoming prime minister; to do so by simply remaining leader of the RPA; or to quit but keep

exercising influence via a handpicked successor.

To be assured of having those options, Sarksyan will need his party to win Sunday’s vote, which comes as the ex-Soviet state of 3.2 million is in the grip of an economic slowdown that has sparked rising discontent.

“This election stands as a crossroads for Armenia, as either a decisive turning point or as a possibly divisive tipping point, with the country’s stability and security in the balance,” said Richard Giragosian, director of the Regional Studies Centre in the capital Yerevan.

The outcome is uncertain.

The ruling RPA is neck-and-neck in opinion polls with an opposition alliance led by a wealthy businessman, Gagik Tsarukyan. The alliance has ruled in coalition with the RPA before, but it’s unclear if it will agree to do so again if, as expected, it fails to win enough support to rule alone.

Another smaller party, which currently rules with the RPA, has said it will do a deal however, if it gets into parliament, offering the RPA a potential political lifeline.

Armenia depends heavily for aid and investment on Russia, which has been hard hit in the past three years by an economic downturn. Armenia has felt the impact, with growth falling to 0.2 percent last year from 3 percent in 2015.

Analysts say the election may be better organized than previous polls, which have been marred by irregularities, but that there is still a risk of post-election unrest.

First Afghan Women’s Orchestra Tries to Change Attitudes

Afghanistan’s first – and only – all-female symphony is trying to change attitudes in a deeply conservative country where many see music as immoral, especially for women.

 

The symphony’s two conductors show how difficult that can be, but also how satisfying success is.

 

One of them, Negin Khpolwak, was supported by her father when she joined the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and then became part of its girls’ orchestra, called Zohra. But the rest of her family was deeply against it. Her uncles cut off ties with her father.

 

“They told him he is not their brother anymore,” said Khpolwak, now 20. “Even my grand-mother disowned my father.”

 

Khwolpak had learned about the music institute at the orphanage in Kabul where she spent most of her life. Her father sent her to the orphanage because he was afraid for her safety in their home province of Kunar in eastern Afghanistan, an area where Taliban militants are active.

 

The institute is one of the only schools in Afghanistan where girls and boys share classrooms, and it draws its students from the ranks of orphanages and street children, giving them a chance at a new life. Khpolwak studied piano and drums before becoming the orchestra’s conductor.

 

First international tour

More than 30 girls aged 12 to 20 play in Zohra, which is named after a goddess of music in Persian literature. In January, the orchestra, which performs traditional Afghan and Western Classical music, had its first international tour, appearing at the World Economic Forum in Davos and four other cities in Switzerland and Germany.

 

“The formation of the orchestra is aimed at sending a positive message to the community, to send a positive message to the girls, to encourage families and girls to join the music scene of the country,” said Ahmad Naser Sarmast, the institute’s founder and director.

 

Sarmast has experienced firsthand the militants’ hatred of music. In 2014, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up at a concert Sarmast was attending. He was wounded and a German man in the audience died.

 

The Zohra orchestra was created in 2014 when one of the institute’s students, a girl named Meena, asked Sarmast if there could be a group where girls could play together. Sarmast leaped at the idea.

 

Since then, Meena has disappeared. Last year, the 7th grader told the school she had to attend her sister’s wedding in her family’s village in eastern Nangarhar province. She never returned, a sign of how tenuous people’s situation is in a country where war rages, communications are poor and poverty is rife. Sarmast said the school has not been in contact with her, but he’s hopeful she’ll return to the school and Zohra.

 

The orchestra’s other conductor, 18-year-old Zarifa Adiba, faced resistance from her family just as Khpolwak did.

 

Societal barriers

When she joined the school in 2014, she only told her mother and step-father, not her four brothers and her uncles, because she knew they would disapprove. Her mother and step-father tried to tell them about the importance of music – without mentioning Adiba – but they weren’t convinced.

 

“If my brothers and uncles had known about me learning or playing music, they 100 percent would have stopped me because they had a very negative view toward music,” Adiba said.

 

Her family’s opposition to music was so intense she hesitated to join the orchestra’s trip to Davos. But she ended up going, and as one of the conductors she was widely interviewed in the media there and appeared on TV.

 

When she returned, her uncles were the first to congratulate her. Two of her brothers are still not happy about her involvement with music but now she has the support of the rest of the family, she has more courage, and she said she is sure her brothers will eventually come around.

 

“I changed my family, now it is time for other girls to change their families because I am sure that slowly all Afghanistan will change,” she said.

Hacker Attack on German Parliament May Be Linked to Election

A top police official says a recent hacking attack on the German Parliament may have led to a “significant drain of data” which may be used to try influence the outcome of the country’s general election in September.

Holger Muench, the head of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, didn’t tell reporters Thursday who might have been behind the most recent hacking attack. The offices of at least 10 members of Parliament were attacked last month, the German news agency dpa reported.

In the summer of 2015, the Bundestag suffered another hacker attack, which meant several networks and servers had to be taken offline for days.

 

German authorities have repeatedly expressed fears that foreign countries could try to influence the outcome of the elections by releasing hacked information during the campaign.

Cruise Digs up a Monster in ‘The Mummy’

Universal Pictures is going back to its roots — monsters.

The studio Wednesday debuted footage from its upcoming adventure film The Mummy, which opens a monster universe drawing on Universal’s vault of classic properties like Bride of Frankenstein, Invisible Man and Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Tom Cruise stars in the Alex Kurtzman-directed The Mummy, which is equal parts action and horror as Cruise’s explorer Nick Morton attempts to combat an ancient evil that has been unlocked and threatens to destroy the world.

Sofia Boutella is the Mummy, once an Egyptian princess who turned to the dark side when denied the throne.

Kurtzman and the cast, including Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson, discussed Cruise’s famous commitment to eye-popping stunts.

“I think I was brought onto this movie to be afraid to do stunts with Tom Cruise,” Johnson said. “Tom does it all and he makes his co-stars do it, too. And I do mean ‘make.”’

Johnson laughed that when he would complain when he got hurt or bruised, Cruise would quip back: “Yeah, we jumped off a building dummy. It hurts!”

Cruise, who is on location for another filming, delivered a video message to the audience.

“My love for this began with universal classic films,” Cruise said. “To usher in a new age of gods and monsters is something that makes me very proud and excited.”

Audiences can meet “the original monster” June 9.