Прокуратура АРК перевіряє блокування українського храму у Сімферополі

Прокуратура АРК перевіряє блокування російськими силовиками 31 серпня церкви рівноапостольних князів Ольги і Володимира Української Православної Церкви Київського Патріархату у Сімферополі.

«Сьогоднішні дії окупаційної влади у жодному разі не залишаться без відповідного реагування прокуратури Автономної Республіки Крим», – йдеться в повідомленні прокуратури.

У прокуратурі обіцяють покарати причетних до переслідування УПЦ Київського патріархату та порушення прав людей на свободу віросповідання в Криму.

Також у прокуратурі повідомили, що на даний момент вже здійснюється процесуальне керівництво у кримінальному провадженні за фактами незаконного присвоєння приміщень УПЦ Київського патріархату на території півострова і перешкоджання здійсненню релігійних обрядів її прихожанами. 

Раніше директор українського державного підприємства «Національне газетно-журнальне видавництво» Андрій Щекун звернувся до прокуратури АРК з вимогою відкрити кримінальні справи через блокування української церкви в Сімферополі.

Вранці 31 серпня російські спецслужби заблокували храм Святих рівноапостольних князів Ольги та Володимира. Підконтрольне Кремлю управління російської служби судових приставів у анексованому Криму пояснило блокування храму рішенням російського Арбітражного суду Криму.

Після анексії у Криму підконтрольна Кремлю влада захопила частину будівель Кримської єпархії УПЦ КП і провела конкурс на оренду частини приміщень церкви. Архієпископ Сімферопольський і Кримський Української православної церкви Київського патріархату Климент закликав світову спільноту до захисту національних, культурних і релігійних прав громадян України в Криму.

Більша частина православних храмів і громад Криму і Севастополя підпорядковуються УПЦ Московського патріархату.

Через стрілянину у Княжичах будуть вручені ще 8 підозр – Луценко

Генеральний прокурор України Юрій Луценко повідомляє про вручення підозри трьом посадовцям Національної поліції за фактом загибелі 5 працівників МВС у Княжичах. За його словами, очікується вручення ще 8 підозр.

«За фактом вбивства 5 працівників МВС у селі Княжичі, перевищення влади і недбалості працівників Національної поліції оголошено підозри колишньому начальнику управління карного розшуку Києва Куряті, колишньому заступнику начальнику відділу карного розшуку райвідділу Мариновському, старшому інспектору КОРДУ Курті.

За версією поліції, уночі 4 грудня минулого року в селі Княжичі Київської області столичні оперативники за підтримки бійців спецпідрозділу КОРД готувалися до затримання групи підозрюваних у серії пограбувань, у цей час наряд поліції охорони виїхав у той же район до одного з будинків через автоматичне спрацювання охоронної сигналізації. Близько 4-ї години між правоохоронцями виникла перестрілка, внаслідок якої загинули п’ятеро працівників поліції.

Пізніше в МВС повідомили, що затримали чотирьох осіб на в’їзді до Києва зі зброєю і спецобладнанням. Радник голови МВС Антон Геращенко повідомив, що йдеться про осіб, які могли готувати розбій у Княжичах, але втекли, почувши перестрілку.

Одразу після інциденту тодішній в. о. керівника Нацполіції Вадим Троян не виключив, що до складу злочинної групи, яка займалася розбійними нападами в Києві та області, входили кілька осіб, серед яких і ті, хто працював у правоохоронних органах або був з ними пов’язаний.

ГПУ розслідує обставини перестрілки. Крім того, поліція проводила службове розслідування, за результатами якого звільнили 7 офіцерів, які обіймали керівні й оперативні посади. Як повідомляли у поліції, звільнили керівника карного розшуку Києва, який «безпосередньо відповідав за підготовку й проведення операції, керівників оперативної служби, які не забезпечили належної комунікації та обміну інформацією між підрозділами, що перебували на місці події». У Нацполіції також заявили, що ці посадовці, не оцінивши обстановку на місці події, доповіли керівництву недостовірну інформацію.

Прокуратура підозрює мера Ірпеня у недбалості, через що загинула людина

Прокурора Київської області повідомила про підозру меру Ірпеня Володимиру Карплюку у порушенні правил безпеки під час виконання робіт з підвищеною небезпекою, внаслідок чого загинула людина, ще одна отримала травми.

«Карплюк у 2011 році, перебуваючи на посаді директора ТОВ «Сарафан» і будучи особою, яка зобов’язана дотримуватися правил безпеки під час виконання робіт з підвищеною небезпекою, достовірно знаючи, що вказане товариство не має ліцензії на будівельну діяльність та дозволів на виконання робіт з підвищеною небезпекою при виконанні будівельно-монтажних робіт, умисно порушив вимоги правил будови і безпечної експлуатації вантажопідіймальних кранів, затверджених наказом Держгірпромнагляду», – мовиться у повідомленні прокуратури Київщини.

«Завдяки своїм корупційним зв’язкам і користуючись безпорадним станом потерпілих заробітчан з Рівненщини, тривалий час Карплюку вдавалося уникнути кримінальної відповідальності», – зазначили у прокуратурі.

Санкція статті, за якою обвинувачують Карплюка, передбачає покарання у вигляді обмеження волі до 8 років. 

UN Committee: Britain ‘Going Backwards’ on Rights of Disabled

The U.N. Committee on the rights of disabled people said on Thursday it had more concerns about Britain – due to funding cuts, restricted rights and an uncertain post-Brexit future — than any other country in its 10-year history.

The committee, which reviews states’ compliance with the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, published a 17-page report with recommendations about how Britain could do better.

“The UK is at the moment going backwards in accordance to the information that we have received,” committee member Stig Langvad told a news conference in Geneva.

Britain said it was disappointed by the report. It said it did not reflect the evidence it had provided to the committee, nor did it recognize progress that had been made.

The U.N. committee’s chairwoman Theresia Degener has described the situation in Britain as a “human catastrophe.”

“The austerity measures that they have taken – they are affecting half a million people, each disabled person is losing between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds per year, people are pushed into work situations without being recognized as vulnerable, and the evidence that we had in front of us was just overwhelming,” she said.

The most acute concern was the limitations on independent living.

“Persons with disabilities are in our view not able to choose where to live, with whom to live, and how to live,” Langvad said.

Britain was also not fulfilling its commitment to allow inclusive education, and there was a high incidence of bullying at schools. A growing number of disabled people were living in poverty.

Budgets for local authorities had not only been slashed, but they were no longer ear-marked for disabled people, another committee member, Damjan Tatic, said.

Langvad said people with disabilities should be involved in preparations for Britain’s Brexit talks with the European Union, to avoid losing protections that historically came from the EU.

“Persons with disabilities are afraid of the future since they do not know what is happening and since they do not feel that they are involved in the discussions on how to secure the rights of people with disabilities afterwards,” he said.

Britain’s government said it was a recognized world leader in disability rights, and almost 600,000 disabled people had moved into work in the last four years.

“We spend over 50 billion pounds a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions — more than ever before, and the second highest in the G7,” a government spokesperson said.

Debbie Abrahams, the opposition Labour party’s spokeswoman for Work and Pensions, said the “damning” report was a vindication of Labour’s criticism of the government’s policies.

“This confirms what Labour has been saying all along, that the lack of progress on all convention articles, including cruel changes to social security and the punitive sanctions regime, are causing real misery for sick and disabled people.”

A Labour government would incorporate the convention fully into British law, she said in a statement.

Reporting by Tom Miles, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Richard Balmforth

Huge WWII Bomb to Be Defused Close to German Gold Reserves

Frankfurt’s city center, an area including police headquarters, two hospitals, transport systems and Germany’s central bank storing $70 billion in gold reserves, will be evacuated on Sunday to allow the defusing of a 1.8-metric ton World War II bomb.

A spokesman for the German Bundesbank said, however, that “the usual security arrangements” would remain in place while experts worked to disarm the bomb, which was dropped by the British air force and was uncovered during excavation of a building site.

The Bundesbank headquarters, less than 600 meters (650 yards) from the location of the bomb, stores 1,710 metric tons of gold underground, around half the country’s reserves.

“We have never defused a bomb of this size,” bomb disposal expert Rene Bennert told Reuters, adding that it had been damaged on impact when it was dropped between 1943 and 1945. Airspace for 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile) around the bomb site will also be closed.

Frankfurt city officials said more than 60,000 residents would be evacuated for at least 12 hours. The evacuation area will also include 20 retirement homes, the city’s opera house and the diplomatic quarter.

Bomb disposal experts will use a wrench to try to unscrew the fuses attached to the bomb. If that fails, a water jet will be used to cut the fuses away, Bennert told Reuters.

The most dangerous part of the exercise will be applying the wrench, Bennert said.

Roads and transport systems, including the underground, will be closed during the work and for at least two hours after the bomb is defused, to allow patients to be transported back to hospitals without traffic.

It is not unusual for unexploded bombs from World War II air raids to be found in German cities, but rarely are they so large and in such a sensitive position.

Del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ Makes Waves in Venice

Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is an aquatic Beauty and the Beast, a transgressive fairy tale about a young woman’s love for a scaly creature from the Amazonian depths.

Like the best fables, it’s also rooted in the real world: the story of a migrant from the south facing a hostile reception in a security-obsessed United States.

“I think that fantasy is a very political genre,” del Toro said Thursday at the Venice Film Festival, where The Shape of Water had its red-carpet world premiere. It’s one of 21 films competing for the coveted Golden Lion, the festival’s top prize.

“Fairy tales were born in times of great trouble. They were born in times of famine, pestilence and war,” he added.

Part monster movie, part noir thriller, part Hollywood musical, the film defies categorization, though Del Toro took a stab, suggesting it’s “like Douglas Sirk rewriting Pasolini’s Theorem with a fish.”

Some critics are calling it del Toro’s best film since Pan’s Labyrinth in 2006. The Daily Telegraph summed it up as “an honest-to-God B-movie blood-curdler that’s also, somehow, a shimmeringly earnest and boundlessly beautiful melodrama.” Screen International called it “exquisite … del Toro at his most poignant and sweet.”

Set in early-1960s Baltimore, the film stars Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a mute orphan who works as a cleaner at a high-security lab. She forges a bond with a captured creature who is at the center of a Cold War tug-of-war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

“It’s a movie set in 1962, but it’s a movie about today,” del Toro told reporters at a Venice news conference. “It’s about the issues we have today. When America talks about America being great again, I think they are dreaming of an America that was in gestation in `62 — an America that was futuristic, full of promise … but at the same time there was racism, sexism, classism.”

Del Toro said the creature — played with fittingly fluid movements by Doug Jones — is the only character in the film without a name, because he represents “many things to many people.”

For lonely Elisa, “it’s the first time somebody, something is looking at her, looking back the way you look back at the person you love.” For Michael Shannon’s ruthless U.S. government agent Strickland, the creature is “a dark, dirty thing that comes from the south” and must be eliminated.

“I am Mexican, and I know what it is to be looked at as `the other’ no matter what circumstances you’re in,” the director said — and the character of the creature embodied that otherness.

The film features warm performances from Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins as Elisa’s friends — and a mesmerizing turn from Hawkins, who creates a character of depth, passion and compassion without saying a word.

Hawkins said that when del Toro first told her about the movie, she was working on her own project about “a woman who doesn’t know she’s a mermaid.” Some of those ideas fed into the character of Elisa.

“It was just synchronistic,” she said. “It was very odd. Those things rarely happen and when they do you know it’s something special.”

The Shape of Water features del Toro’s usual rich mix of ingredients: everything from Russian spies to musical interludes. Its overriding message, the director says, is “to choose love over fear.”

“We live in times where fear and cynicism are used in a way that is very pervasive and persuasive,” del Toro said. “Our first duty when we wake up is to believe in love.

“It’s the strongest force in the universe,” he said. “The Beatles and Jesus can’t be wrong — not both of them at the same time.”

US Orders Russian Consulate in San Francisco to Close

U.S. officials have ordered Russia to close three diplomatic buildings in the United States, part of the ongoing quarrel between the two countries over U.S. sanctions.

The action follows Russia’s demand earlier this month that the U.S. reduce the number of personnel at its diplomatic missions in the country.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to tell him that the United States has fully implemented the decision by the Russian government to reduce the size of the U.S. mission in the country.  

In a statement, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert called the Russian decision “unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries.”  

Nauert continued, “In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians, we are requiring the Russian government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C. and consular annex in New York City.”

She said the closures would need to be completed by September 2.

Nauert stressed that the U.S. “has chosen to allow the Russian government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship.” A senior administration official stressed that Tillerson and Lavrov both still want to improve U.S.-Russian relations, and described their phone call as professional.

Russia Today reported that Lavrov responded to the closures by “expressing regret” over the escalation of tensions.  He said that Moscow would study the new measures carefully and inform Washington of its reaction.

The diplomatic retaliations stem from U.S. sanctions of Russia over its annexation of Crimea, as well as Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Last month, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill preventing President Donald Trump from easing sanctions on Russia without congressional approval. After Trump signed the bill, Russian authorities denounced it as “trade war.”

A senior U.S. administration official told reporters the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco is the oldest Russian consulate in the United States.  She said the two annexes ordered closed in Washington and New York were primarily trade missions.  She said no Russian diplomats are being expelled – the diplomats in those three building may be reassigned  to other Russian consulates in the U.S.

The senior official said the U.S. has complied with the Russian order to reduce its presence in Russia down to 455 staff members.  The official stressed that with this new U.S. order to close three buildings, the Russian would still have more consulates and annexes in the United States than the U.S. has in Russia.

The U.S. president’s response to the tensions has also sparked controversy.  When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the U.S. diplomats were being expelled, Trump responded by saying,  “I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down the payroll.”

White House officials later told reporters the president was being sarcastic.

Change in US Policy Makes It Harder to Rebuild for Future Floods

Two weeks before Harvey’s floodwaters engulfed much of Houston, President Donald Trump quietly rolled back an order by his predecessor that would have made it easier for storm-ravaged communities to use federal emergency aid to rebuild bridges, roads and other structures so they can better withstand future disasters.

Now, with much of the nation’s fourth-largest city under water, Trump’s move has new resonance. Critics note the president’s order could force Houston and other cities to rebuild hospitals and highways in the same way and in the same flood-prone areas.

“Rebuilding while ignoring future flood events is like treating someone for lung cancer and then giving him a carton of cigarettes on the way out the door,” said Michael Gerrard, a professor of environmental and climate change law at Columbia University. “If you’re going to rebuild after a bad event, you don’t want to expose yourself to the same thing all over again.”

Trump’s action is one of several ways the president, who has called climate change a hoax, has tried to wipe away former President Barack Obama’s efforts to make the United States more resilient to threats posed by the changing climate.

Consideration of climate predictions

The order Trump revoked would have permitted the rebuilding to take into account climate scientists’ predictions of stronger storms and more frequent flooding.

Bridges and highways, for example, could be rebuilt higher, or with better drainage. The foundation of a new fire station or hospital might be elevated an extra 3 feet (1 meter).

While scientists caution against blaming specific weather events like Harvey on climate change, warmer air and warmer water linked to global warming have long been projected to make such storms wetter and more intense. Houston, for example, has experienced three floods in three years that statistically were once considered 1-in-500-year events.

The government was still in the process of implementing Obama’s 2015 order when it was rescinded. That means the old standard — rebuilding storm-ravaged facilities in the same way they had been built before — is still in place.

Trump revoked Obama’s order as part of an executive order of his own that he touted at an August 15 news conference at Trump Tower. That news conference was supposed to focus on infrastructure, but it was dominated by Trump’s comments on the previous weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump didn’t specifically mention the revocation, but he said he was making the federal permitting process for the construction of transportation and other infrastructure projects faster and more cost-efficient without harming the environment.

“It’s going to be quick, it’s going to be a very streamlined process,” Trump said.

Asked about the revocation, the White House said in a statement that Obama’s order didn’t consider potential impacts on the economy and was “applied broadly to the whole country, leaving little room or flexibility for designers to exercise professional judgment or incorporate the particular context” of a project’s location.

Construction curbs

Obama’s now-defunct order also revamped Federal Flood Risk Management Standards, calling for tighter restrictions on new construction in flood-prone areas. Republicans, including Senator John Cornyn of Texas, opposed the measure, saying it would impede land development and economic growth.

Revoking that order was only the latest step by Trump to undo Obama’s actions on climate change.

In March, Trump rescinded a 2013 order that directed federal agencies to encourage states and local communities to build new infrastructure and facilities “smarter and stronger” in anticipation of more frequent extreme weather.

Trump revoked a 2015 Obama memo directing agencies developing national security policies to consider the potential impact of climate change.

The president also disbanded two advisory groups created by Obama: the interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

Obama’s 2015 order was prompted in part by concerns raised by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper after severe flooding in his state two years earlier. Hickenlooper was dismayed to learn that federal disaster aid rules were preventing state officials from rebuilding “better and smarter than what we had built before.”

The “requirements essentially said you had to build it back exactly the way it was, that you couldn’t take into consideration improvements in resiliency,” Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said Tuesday. “We want to be more prepared for the next event, not less prepared.”

Bud Wright, the Federal Highway Administration’s executive director during George W. Bush’s administration, said this has long been a concern of federal officials.

He recalled a South Dakota road that was “almost perpetually flooded” but was repeatedly rebuilt to the same standard using federal aid because the state didn’t have the extra money to pay for enhancements.

“It seemed a little ridiculous that we kept doing that,” said Wright, now the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ executive director.

Big federal ‘checkbook’

But Kirk Steudle, director of Michigan’s Department of Transportation, said states can build more resilient infrastructure than what they had before a disaster by using state or nonemergency federal funds to make up the cost difference.

“That makes sense, otherwise FEMA would be the big checkbook,” he said, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Everybody would be hoping for some disaster so FEMA could come in and build them a brand-new road to the 2020 standard instead of the 1970 standard.”

Even though Obama’s order has been revoked, federal officials have some wiggle room that might allow them to rebuild to higher standards, said Jessica Grannis, who manages the adaptation program at the Georgetown Climate Center.

If local building codes in place before the storm call for new construction to be more resilient to flooding, then federal money can still be used to pay the additional costs.

For example, in Houston regulations require structures to be rebuilt 1 foot (30 centimeters) above the level designated for a 1-in-100-year storm. And in the wake of prior disasters, FEMA has moved to remap floodplains, setting the line for the 1-in-100-year flood higher than it was before.

Turkey Protests US Indictment Charging Erdogan’s Security

Turkey’s foreign ministry says the country protests “in the harshest way” a U.S. court decision to indict 19 people, including 15 Turkish security officials.

The statement published late Wednesday follows Tuesday’s grand jury decision in Washington to charge the defendants with attacking peaceful demonstrators during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 16.

Turkey has repeatedly told U.S. officials that security outside the ambassador’s home was negligent and didn’t ensure the safety of Erdogan’s entourage amid sympathizers of an outlawed Kurdish militant group, according to the statement.

The ministry called the indictment “biased” and “regretful,” claiming it also accused people who had never been to the U.S.

It announced Turkey would follow legal paths to fight the decision.

New Russian Ambassador to US Calls for Resumed Military Contacts

Moscow and Washington should re-establish direct contacts between their military and foreign policy chiefs, Russia’s new ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said Wednesday.

“The time has come to resume joint meetings of Russia’s and the United States’ foreign and defense ministers in a ‘two plus two’ format,” Antonov said in an interview published on the Kommersant business daily’s website.

Military contacts between Moscow and Washington were frozen in 2014 due to the Ukraine crisis.

Antonov also called for meetings between the heads of Russia’s Federal Security Service and Foreign Intelligence Service and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency.

A “working cooperation” between Russia’s Security Council and the U.S. National Security Council could also help fight terrorism and cyberthreats and help strategic stability, he said.

Antonov, a former deputy foreign minister, is subject to European sanctions over his role in the conflict in Ukraine.

IMF Says Transport, Food Costs Are Up in Qatar After Rift

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that transportation and food costs in Qatar had “edged up” because of a diplomatic rift that led four Arab countries to cut ties with the small Gulf state.

An IMF team visited the capital, Doha, this week, saying in a statement that Qatar’s government was able to soften the immediate impact of trade disruptions, but that some costs had gone up as a result of delays caused by rerouting trade. Non-oil growth is projected to shrink to 4.6 percent this year, down 1 percentage point.

In June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar. Saudi Arabia also sealed Qatar’s only land border, a major conduit for imports.

Qatar turned to other exporters like Turkey, Iran and Morocco to fill gaps in its food imports and the construction material needed to build infrastructure for soccer’s World Cup in 2022, set to take place there. Qatar also rerouted its shipments through ports in Oman after the UAE blocked Qatar-bound shipments from using its national waters.

The IMF said Qatar’s banking sector remained sound and that the impact of the severed ties was mitigated by liquidity injections by the Qatar Central Bank and increased public sector deposits. The international lender said Qatar was prepared for any withdrawal of nonresident deposits.

The four countries accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism and backing extremist groups. Qatar denied the accusations and said the moves were aimed at pressuring the country to fall in lockstep with policies formulated in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

The IMF warned the rift could have a wider impact across the Gulf Cooperation Council, which consists of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

“Over the longer term, the diplomatic rift could weaken confidence and reduce investment and growth, both in Qatar and possibly in other GCC countries as well,” the statement said.

Matt Damon Goes Mini in Venice Opener ‘Downsizing’

Downsizing has generated jumbo-sized buzz at the Venice Film Festival — not least as viewers debate how to describe it.

Is it a science fiction film, a romantic comedy, a political parable, an apocalyptic thriller? Alexander Payne’s movie mixes all those elements in its story of a man, played by Matt Damon, who tries to solve his problems by shrinking himself.

Damon and co-stars Kristen Wiig and Hong Chau joined Payne on the red carpet for the film’s Venice premiere Wednesday — the first of 11 days of galas that will bring stars including George Clooney and Jennifer Lawrence to the canal-crossed Italian city.

The Venice opening-night slot has become coveted by filmmakers hoping to make a splash come awards season. Several recent Venice openers, including Gravity and La La Land, have gone on to win multiple Academy Awards.

Downsizing has ingredients that could help it strike a similar chord with audiences and awards voters: a likable, bankable star in Damon; a strong supporting cast that includes Wiig and Christophe Waltz; and an imaginative story laced with compassion and humor.

Payne says despite its sci-fi premise and international canvas, Downsizing is not so different to the films he’s best known for — funny-sad stories of middle-aged or Midwestern strugglers such as About Schmidt, Sideways and Nebraska.

 “It has the same sense of humor and basically the same tone,” Payne told reporters in Venice on Wednesday.

The movie applies Payne’s wry eye for human foibles to a plot that explores the power and limits of science and the threat of environmental catastrophe.

The script by Payne and Jim Taylor opens with a Norwegian scientist making a breakthrough he thinks will save humanity: a technique that can shrink people to 5 inches (12 centimeters) tall. That means they use a tiny fraction of the resources they once did — and need to pay less, allowing people of modest means to grow instantly rich by becoming small.

The movie has fun imagining what the miniaturized world would be like, as Damon goes to live in a luxury micro-city, a sort of retirement community for the tiny.

Then it takes a serious turn to ask whether science could be humanity’s salvation, or whether stubbornly fallible human nature is likely to be our species’ undoing.

Along the way, a movie that started in the familiar Payne territory of Omaha, Nebraska, takes viewers all the way to an underground bunker in a Norwegian fjord.

Many will find the journey unexpected, but reviewers in Venice were mostly happy to be swept along for the ride. The Guardian called the film a “spry, nuanced, winningly digressive movie,” while the Hollywood Reporter said it was “captivating, funny” and “deeply humane.”

Ultimately, the film rests on Payne’s knack for depicting human relationships. Damon’s Paul becomes friends with a louche European neighbor, played by Waltz, and develops feelings for Ngoc Lan, a former Vietnamese political prisoner working as a house cleaner.

Actress Hong Chau (Treme, Inherent Vice) is already being talked of as a potential awards nominee for her performance as the spirited, complex character.

“This is a character that is normally in the background, that is low-status character in the culture, and not one that you typically see in the forefront of a story,” she said.

Downsizing is the latest ordinary-Joe role for Damon, who exudes a likable everyman-under-duress quality whether he’s action hero Jason Bourne or a stranded astronaut in The Martian.

Damon said he thinks movies “are the greatest tool for empathy that we have.”

“What I love about this — what I love about a lot of these stories that I get to help tell — is it shows a relatable character whose life is different from our own but who we find common cause with,” he said. “This is a beautiful and optimistic movie. A journalist said to me, which I thought was really great: `This is Alexander’s most optimistic movie and it has the apocalypse in it.”‘

The film has been in the works for a decade, but in an AP interview, Damon said its environmental theme felt “torn from the headlines.”

“Though the [U.S.] administration wouldn’t say that,” he added. “They’re not acknowledging climate change as a reality.”

Угорщина: науковці і студенти закликали університет відкликати титул почесного доктора від Путіна

Інтернет-портали Угорщини HVG та 24.hu оприлюднили заяву кафедри конституційного права Дебреценського університету про те, що науковці кафедри відмежовуються від рішення сенату (вченої ради) цього університету від 28 серпня про присвоєння президентові Росії Володимирові Путіну звання почесного доктора «honoris causa» цього навчального закладу.

Викладачі також висловили свою позицію у фейсбуці: «Вихваляння автократів для нас неприйнятне, воно суперечить всьому, що ми представляємо в нашій академічній роботі».

Науковці кафедри конституційного права обурені тим, що сенат їхнього університету знехтував заслугами тих почесних докторів, які своєю самовідданою працею на теренах науки й освіти створювали престиж вишу.

У понеділок вчена рада пояснила своє рішення тим, що «уряд Угорщини і Росія завдяки Путіну відводять значну роль Дебреценському університетові в інвестиційному проекті побудови другої черги АЕС Пакш-2».

З вимогою кафедри конституційного права Дебреценського університету погодився Інститут Кароля Етвеша (Ekint). У відкритому листі ця установа просить Дебреценський університет скасувати постанову про присвоєння Путіну почесного докторського звання, наполягаючи на тому, що вона незаконна і безпрецедентна в посткомуністичній історії вищої освіти Угорщини.

Лист від імені Ekint підписали колишній кандидат на посаду президента Угорщини Лаcло Майтені, чинний голова Інституту Кароля Етвеша, та Бернадет Шомоді, виконавчий директор установи.

На негайному відкликанні постанови сенату Дебреценського університету наполягає також громадська організація молоді з Дебрецена Natív. Петицію Natív підписали вже понад 900 осіб.

«Ми говоримо про особу, про яку Рада Європи однозначно заявила, що він (Путін – ред.) підтримує війну на сході України, в якій втратили життя понад 10 тисяч людей і через яку мільйони громадян стали вимушеними переселенцями», – пояснили мотиви написання петиції організатори акції протесту з Natív.

У вівторок угорський часопис HVG надрукував статтю посла України в Угорщині Любові Непоп «Україна шокована врученням дебреценської нагороди Путіну – відкритий лист».

Посол пояснила причину такої реакції на присвоєння нагороди: «…Після 2014 року ім’я Володимира Путіна є синонімом порушення міжнародного права, в тому числі Будапештського меморандуму, незаконної тимчасової окупації Криму і ведення проти сусідньої дружньої держави, України, гібридної війни, яка на сьогодні позбавила життя понад 10 тисяч наших співвітчизників».

Вона нагадала, що угорцям завжди було притаманне прагнення до свободи, яке сильніше за тимчасовий економічний інтерес. Посол висловила сподівання, що титул буде відкликано, а підтримка порушення міжнародного права отримає гідну оцінку.

За інформацією часопису Népszava, Володимир Путін може знову приїхати до Угорщини на початку 2018-го або навесні того ж року, щоб особисто отримати почесне звання доктора «honoris causa» Дебреценського університету. Конкретний термін приїзду не називається, бо в Дебрецені цю дату тільки узгоджують, пише угорське видання.

Крим: на суді у справі Умерова свідки не підтвердили в його виступі закликів до будь-чого

В окупованому Криму на процесі в підконтрольному Москві Сімферопольському районному суді у справі заступника голови Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу Ільмі Умерова чотири свідки заявили, що в його виступі, через який його судять за «заклики до порушення територіальної цілісності Росії», взагалі ніяких закликів не було.

Як заявили свідки Шевкет Меметов, журналіст і викладач Бекір Мамутов, активіст кримськотатарського руху Заїр Смедляєв і викладач кримськотатарської мови Ленуре Яґ’яєва, виступаючи в суді кримськотатарською через перекладача, замовлений російськими силовиками переклад виступу Ільмі Умерова, який він теж виголошував кримськотатарською, неточний. За їхніми словами, звинувачення ґрунтується на словах перекладача, а не самого Умерова, повідомила у фейсбуці дочка підсудного Айше.

Його адвокат Едем Семедляєв, зі свого боку, додав в інтерв’ю проектові Радіо Свобода, сайтові Крим.Реалії, що свідки також спростували один із аргументів слідства, ніби Ільмі Умеров «звертався до невизначеного кола осіб із закликом до відокремлення Криму від Росії». За словами свідків, коло адресатів виступу чітко визначене – це люди, що володіють кримськотатарською мовою, бо ті, хто її не знає, не зрозуміє виступу.

Крім того, додав адвокат, свідки заявили, що у виступі Умерова вони не виявили ніяких закликів, тим більше до «порушення територіальної цілісності Росії».

Сам Умеров, коментуючи засідання суду, теж звернув увагу, що всі свідки підтвердили найголовніше: «у словах, які як промовив, закликів до порушення територіальної цілісності Росії немає».

При цьому Умеров наголосив: «Я дійсно не робив ніяких закликів, але я щоразу зазначаю, що не визнаю юрисдикції Росії у Криму, не визнаю «референдуму» і його наслідків».

Іще один захисник Ільмі Умерова, російський правозахисник Олександр Подрабінек, підтвердив головну тезу слів свідків: у виступі, про який ідеться, «не лунали заклики до відокремлення Криму від Росії чи заклики до посилення санкційної політики з боку Заходу щодо Криму».

Наступне засідання суду призначене на наступну середу.

Сам Ільмі Умеров вважає цей суд над ним замовним, а його результат вирішеним заздалегідь. Він наголошує, що слідство здійснило підміну понять, коли подало лінгвістичну експертизу не самого його виступу, а його перекладу російською, який у документах суду назвали «стенограмою». При цьому перекладач додавав слова, яких Умеров не вимовляв, – навіть назви міст і прізвища, яких не було в первісному тексті його виступу на кримськотатарському телеканалі ATR 19 березня 2016 року, через який його судять. Такий неточний переклад, зокрема, дав можливість звинуваченню трактувати промову Умерова як заклик, а не як висловлення його думки.

2016 року в окупованому Криму слідчі ФСБ Росії порушили проти Ільмі Умерова кримінальну справу за статтею про екстремізм. Йому загрожує покарання у виді позбавлення волі на строк від 12 до 15 років. Затримання, обшук і порушення кримінальної справи, тримання у психіатричній лікарні для проведення примусової судово-психіатричної експертизи відомого учасника національно-визвольного руху кримських татар, заступника голови Меджлісу Ільмі Умерова викликало громадський і міжнародний резонанс.

Сам Умеров не приховує, що не визнає заявленого Москвою «російського статусу» окупованого Криму, який, попри окупацію, є частиною України. Ця позиція, каже він, не є «закликом до порушення територіальної цілісності Росії», бо до російської території Крим не належить, і так само не йдеться ні про яке «відокремлення» від Росії півострова, що й так не є її частиною.

Waiting, Watching: Business Owners Worry About Harvey Damage

With the animals sent to safety before Harvey hit, the owners of CityVet in Houston kept watch on their empty practice by security camera, hoping not to see floodwaters rush in.

But they lost the video stream Monday morning, apparently when power to the building near Houston’s Galleria failed. So, it was impossible to assess if any damage was occurring, said Paul Kline, a veterinarian based in and watching from Dallas. To his relief, the video came back Tuesday and “we could see cars going by on the street outside — a good sign,” Kline said. By Wednesday, with the rains gone, he could see the practice had escaped the flooding in the area.

Plenty of small-business owners spent a long five days, waiting to see if the rainfall that totaled more than 50 inches in some places would flood their businesses. Harvey’s winds and rains damaged or destroyed many small businesses in the storm’s path along the Gulf Coast.

It was a tornado spawned by Harvey that destroyed the office of Kenneth Bryant’s used-car dealership in Katy, Texas, just west of Houston. The winds Saturday morning picked up the office and slammed it into the building next door.

“I lost everything in there: titles to vehicles, keys, paperwork, computers,” said Bryant, whose business was not insured. Two of the 10 cars in his inventory were destroyed.

There was more bad news Wednesday: The remaining cars had been flooded. Bryant won’t know how severely they were damaged until he is able to unlock them.

“Where do we go from here? I don’t know. It’s going to be such a long road ahead,” Bryant said.

Lost sales, revenue, profits

For many companies, damage to their premises was just the start. Some lost inventory that would cost them future sales. Workers were stranded or dealing with the devastation of their homes. Companies that couldn’t operate were losing revenue and profits every day.

Fiyyaz Pirani estimates that his Houston-based company, Medology, lost $100,000 in new business. It’s been operating with six staffers instead of its usual 60 since the storm began, and accommodating only existing customers.

“We had a couple of employees who sustained a lot of damage to their homes, and some people are in shelters,” he said.

The company, which helps patients get low-cost lab tests and other services, moved back to its regular location Tuesday from temporary quarters, with generator power but no air conditioning. Staffers were working around some puddles of water at their top-floor office.

Eleanor Rem had several inches of water in her Houston home, which also houses her business. Rem, who helps children with dyslexia learn to read, opted not to try what might have been a difficult evacuation with an 88-year-old relative.

The rains that flooded her street, backyard and driveway on Monday began creeping into her home. She and her husband got their first-floor furniture upstairs, but the carpet was soaked. Rem said she was constantly checking to see how bad the damage was.

“We’re pretty exhausted. You’re kind of nervous to go to sleep,” she said Wednesday. She expects she won’t be able to work for several weeks, in part because her students may not be able to get to her home.

‘Cross your fingers and hope for the best’

Other business owners who tried to keep an eye on their companies by watching the video from surveillance cameras ran into the same problems as the veterinary practice.

With all three of Clint Hall’s Beef Jerky Outlet stores near Houston in danger of flooding, he watched from his home in Cypress. The Galveston Island store got a foot of water as the rains continued Monday and Tuesday, but he could see the Tomball location was safe. The League City shop lost power and its cameras Saturday, so Hall had to rely on the owner of a nearby pizzeria for periodic updates. When the rains finally stopped, it had suffered one minor leak.

It was a hard five days. As Hall watched his cameras, he said, “we’re doing as well as we can.” He planned to open at least two of the stores Wednesday.

Lindsey Rose King spent five days not knowing whether the inventory for Mostess, her home decor gift box company, was safe. The warehouse where it’s all stored — cloth napkins and tablecloths, bottles of spices and cocktail mixes and other items — is in the Galleria section. The warehouse owners had to evacuate their home and couldn’t monitor the situation.

“It’s nerve-wracking. If that inventory gets wet, that’s my whole business,” King said. But Wednesday morning, the email came: Although the building did get some water, King’s merchandise was safe and dry.

Merin Guthrie worried about the possibility that water had seeped into the old loft building near downtown Houston that houses Kit, her clothing design business. Her studio is on the second floor, but friends in similar buildings said they had water coming in through their windows. Even if her fabric, samples and sewing equipment were dry, there was a threat of mold.

She got into the building Wednesday morning, found that water had indeed gotten in, but that her supplies and equipment were OK.

“You have to cross your fingers and hope for the best,” Guthrie said.

В ОБСЄ висловили стурбованість видворенням із України іноземних журналістів

В Організації з безпеки і співпраці в Європі висловили стурбованість практикою затримання і видворення з України іноземних журналістів. Представник ОБСЄ з питань свободи засобів інформації Арлем Дезір написав про це в листі до міністра закордонних справ України Павла Клімкіна.

«Видворення журналістів чи заборони їм на в’їзд до України викликають занепокоєння як надмірні заходи, особливо коли таким діям бракує відкритості і належного механізму апеляції», – заявив він.

Представник ОБСЄ нагадав, що країни-члени організації зобов’язалися поліпшувати умови роботи журналістів однієї з країн-членів в іншій.

У прес-службі ОБСЄ, згадавши про затримання і видворення з України раніше в середу журналістки російського телевізійного «Першого каналу» Анни Курбатової за «діяльність, яка шкодила національним інтересам України», нагадали, що представник організації з питань свободи засобів інформації вже звертався раніше до влади України з приводу попередніх схожих випадків із журналістами Всеросійської державної телерадіокомпанії: 14 серпня Служба безпеки України затримала і депортувала з таким самим формулюванням Тамару Нерсесьян, якій заборонили в’їзд до України на три роки, перед тим, 26 липня так само депортували з забороною на в’їзд Марію Князєву на підставі тенденційного висвітлення подій в Україні.

Крім того, Арлем Дезір нагадав і про недопуск до України і заборону в’їзду на три роки, яку СБУ застосувала 25 серпня до двох іспанських журналістів Антоніо Памплієги і Мануеля Анхеля Састре, теж за «діяльність, яка шкодила національним інтересам України».

Він закликав органи влади України утримуватися від необґрунтованих обмежень на роботу іноземних журналістів, що, за його словами, впливає на вільний плин інформації і порушує зобов’язання щодо свободи засобів інформації в рамках ОБСЄ.

Останнім часом СБУ видворила з України вже цілу низку журналістів, головно з Росії, але й із інших країн, за «діяльність, що суперечить інтересам України». Це викликало критику деяких правозахисних і журналістських організацій – там вважають, що фактична гібридна війна проти України, ведена Росією, не є виправданням для таких методів захисту інтересів держави від дій, що фактично йдуть на користь агресорові.

German and Don’t Know Who to Vote For? Ask the Vote-O-Meter

Three weeks before Germany’s election and with at least one poll suggesting nearly half of all voters don’t know what they will do, the government has unveiled an updated online tool to help them decide.

Around two dozen young people from around Germany helped launch the “Wahl-O-Mat” (roughly Vote-O-Meter) on Wednesday – a website that matches people with a party after they answer a series of policy questions.

One of the first to try was Hubertus Heil, general secretary of the Social Democrats (SPD), junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition.

“I got 100 percent,” he beamed after completing the 10-minute process.

Participants choose whether they agree, disagree or are neutral about 38 issues identified in recent months by 26 young people chosen from 500 volunteers. The issues center on key topics such as increased video surveillance, raising taxes on diesel cars, and setting limits on migration.

Merkel is widely expected to win a record-tying fourth term, with her CDU/CSU conservatives maintaining a two-digit lead over the SPD despite continuing concerns over her 2015 decision to allow in over a million migrants.

But it remains unclear which parties will be involved in the next coalition government.

A poll by the Allensbach Institute last week showed that 46 percent of voters had not made up their minds on how to vote – the highest rate since in two decades so close to an election, which is being held on September 24.

The voter tool is available online at www.wahl-o-mat.de or via apps on mobile phones. A pared-down analogue version will also tour Germany over the next three weeks for those not online.

The tool has been around before, and less official versions have been available in other countries. But Thomas Krueger, head of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, which created it, expects many millions of hits.

It was used over 13.2 million times in the last national election in 2013 and even more people are expected to participate this time, he said.

“We’ve seen that about six percent of those who were not planning to participate in the election changed their minds after using the tool,” he said.

Markus Blume, general secretary of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s CDU, said voter participation had been higher in recent state elections and he hoped the trend would continue for the national election.

“Germany is experiencing a re-politicization because people realize we are living in uncertain times, that a great deal is at stake in this parliamentary election, and that it’s not irrelevant who’s elected.”

Richard Hilmer, director of the Berlin think tank Policy Matters, said the tool was critical, especially for younger voters who had not been involved in politics before.

“Interest is definitely higher in this election, but so is uncertainty. It remains to see how that will affect participation. It could well be that if people remain uncertain that they simply stay home.”

US Hosts World Cup Qualifier in New York Area for 1st Time

The U.S. is playing a World Cup qualifier in the New York metropolitan area for the first time, a critical match against Costa Rica on Friday night at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

The Americans have played plenty of matches in and near the Big Apple, mostly in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and exhibition games. Until now, the closest to New York a qualifier has been played was in 1989, a 2-1 win over Guatemala at Veterans Stadium in New Britain, Connecticut.

“This was a pipe dream, this stadium in Harrison,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard, who played for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars when the team was based at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford. “For it to be there and to actually be playing games, you know, there’s no crowd like playing in front of your home crowd for me.”

Howard spoke Tuesday during a news conference in Manhattan, joined by coach Bruce Arena, captain Michael Bradley and teenage star midfielder Christian Pulisic.

After the U.S. opened the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region with losses to Mexico and Costa Rica, the U.S. Soccer Federation brought back Arena to replace coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The U.S. has recovered and is in third place with eight points, trailing Mexico (14) and Costa Rica (11). Panama (seven), Honduras (five) and Trinidad and Tobago (three) follow.

The top three nations qualify, and the fourth-place team advances to a playoff against Asia’s No. 5 nation.

Perhaps no one understands the role fan support can play in an outcome more than Arena, a member of the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. The U.S. had a 16-year home unbeaten streak in qualifying going into a match against Honduras at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 1, 2001. The majority of the sellout crowd of 54,282 backed Honduras, which won 3-2.

“Only in America, I guess, we’re fighting for a home-field advantage,” Arena, who was born in Brooklyn and raised in Long Island, said at the time.

Costa Rica played a Gold Cup match at Harrison in July, but Arena expects a different crowd.

“We’re playing at home and I don’t care what anyone says. We have a home-field advantage,” Arena said. “My experiences in the short time that I’ve been here back with the U.S. team is that we have great support and I really believe that we’ll have great support on Friday, and hopefully the fact that Costa Rica played here in the Gold Cup is not going be a factor.”

At a venue with a 25,000 capacity that was built for Major League Soccer, the USSF and Red Bulls can control ticket allocation with pre-sales to Red Bulls season-ticket holders and national team regulars.

“We understand the challenges of playing at home versus going on the road in CONCACAF and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that in five or six weeks’ time we’ve punched our ticket to Russia,” Bradley said. “It’s on us to make sure that we can finish the job and allow ourselves the chance to look forward to playing at a World Cup next summer.”

The U.S. plays Honduras at San Pedro Sula on Sept. 5, and then closes the hexagonal against Panama on Oct. 6 at Orlando, Florida, and at Trinidad four days later.

“All the work that we’ve put in this year was for these next four games, to make sure that we can find the right ways in the biggest moments when the lights come on brightest to make sure that we get the job done,” Bradley said.

Reality check

U.S. players also have their minds on teammates and their families affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“I’ve heard DaMarcus (Beasley) speak of it. I haven’t yet had the chance yet to talk with Clint (Dempsey),” Arena said. “Hopefully his family’s safe. I know they’re in east Texas. I know it’s a tough week for them. I know for DaMarcus in particular it’s been very challenging. For him personally, for his friends and family ties to the Houston area. It’s difficult but all we can do is hope that the conditions improve in the Houston area and that everyone is safe.”

Added Bradley: “Some of the images and videos that have come out of Texas have been heartbreaking, and for all of us now as human beings, as fellow Americans, to find the right ways to show support and help that part of the country as they find the right ways to move on from this. That’s very important and obviously in our own very little way playing and representing the country in a really strong and proud way on Friday night is a little part of that.”