German Train Car Arrives in New York for Auschwitz Exhibit

On a Sunday morning, a crane lowered a rusty remnant of the Holocaust onto tracks outside Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage — a vintage German train car like those used to transport men, women and children to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

The windowless boxcar is among 700 Holocaust artifacts, most never before seen in the United States, which are being prepared for one of the largest exhibits ever on Auschwitz — a once ordinary Polish town called Oswiecim that the Nazis occupied and transformed into a human monstrosity.

The New York exhibit opens May 8, the day in 1945 when Germany surrendered and the camps were liberated.

German-made freight wagons like the one in the exhibit were used to deport people from their homes all around Europe. About 1 million Jews and nearly 100,000 others were gassed, shot, hanged or starved in Auschwitz out of a total of 6 million who perished in the Holocaust.

That fate awaited them after a long ride on the kind of train car that’s the centerpiece of the New York exhibit.

“There were 80 people squeezed into one wooden car, with no facilities, just a pail to urinate,” remembers Ray Kaner, a 92-year-old woman who still works as a Manhattan dental office manager. “You couldn’t lie down, so you had to sleep sitting, and it smelled.”

She and her sister had been forced to board the train in August 1944 in occupied Poland, after their parents died in the Lodz ghetto where Jews were held captive.

The Germans promised the sisters a better new life.

“We believed them, and we schlepped everything we could carry,” she said. “We still had great hope.”

Once in Auschwitz, “they took away whatever we carried,” and prisoners were beaten, stripped naked and heads shaved bald.

Titled “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away,” the upcoming exhibit will transport visitors into the grisly faceoff between perpetrators and victims.

On display will be concrete posts from an Auschwitz fence covered in barbed and electrified wires; a gas mask used by the SS; a desk belonging to Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoss; and a dagger and helmet used by Heinrich Himmler, the chief architect of Hitler’s “final solution.”

The collection of prisoners’ personal items includes a comb improvised from scrap metal; a trumpet one survivor used to save his life by entertaining his captors; and tickets for passage on the St. Louis, a ship of refugees whom the United States refused to accept, sending them back to Europe where some were killed by the Nazis.

The materials are on loan from about 20 institutions worldwide, plus private collections, curated by Robert Jan van Pelt, a leading Auschwitz authority, and other experts in conjunction with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland and Musealia, a Spanish company that organizes traveling shows.

The New York one will run through Jan. 3.

The eight-decade-old box car brought to New York on a cargo ship came from a German auction, in terrible condition. Van Pelt’s team bought it and restored it.

“The dark, smelly car represents that moment of transition from the world of the living that people understood and trusted to the radically alien world of the camps where the doors opened and families were separated forever,” said van Pelt, whose relatives in Amsterdam lived down the street from Anne Frank’s family.

“The Nazis wanted to wipe out every last Jew in the world,” and at the end of a train trip, “this is where the last goodbyes were said.”

The exhibit items all belonged to somebody — most now gone, either because they were murdered in camps or survived and have since died. Some people who inherited artifacts came forward with stories attached to them.

Thousands of survivors live in New York City, among the last who can offer personal testimony.

And that’s why the exhibit is important, said real estate developer Bruce Ratner, the chairman of the museum’s board of trustees.

“While we had all hoped after the Holocaust that the international community would come together to stop genocide, mass murder and ethnic cleansing, these crimes continue and there are more refugees today than at any time since the Second World War,” said Ratner. “So my hope for this exhibit is that it motivates all of us to make the connections between the world of the past and the world of the present, and to take a firm stand against hate.”

After Migrant Appeal, Pope Ministers to Flock in Morocco

Pope Francis turned his attention Sunday to ministering to Morocco’s small Christian community after reaching out to the kingdom’s Muslim majority and calling for a greater welcome for its growing number of migrants.

 

On the second day of a 27-hour visit to Morocco, Francis visited a church-run social services center and met with Catholic priests and other Christian representatives in the cathedral of the capital, Rabat. He is scheduled to wrap up his trip with a Mass in the city’s sports stadium.

 

Francis thanked Morocco on Saturday for protecting migrants and warned that walls and fear-mongering would not stop people from leaving their home countries in search of opportunities and safety. Morocco has become the main departure point in Africa for migrants attempting to reach Europe after Italy essentially closed its borders to asylum-seekers leaving from Libya.

The pope’s comments had additional resonance in the region he was visiting since Spain has a border fence at its Northern African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to try to keep out migrants.

 

“The issue of migration will never be resolved by raising barriers, fomenting fear of others or denying assistance to those who legitimately aspire to a better life for themselves and their families,” Francis said.

 

Francis met with migrants from Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon and other countries, telling them they deserved to be welcomed. He called for expanded legal channels for migration and protections for the most vulnerable.

 

“You are not the marginalized. You are at the center of the church’s heart,” he assured them.   

 

Francis has made the plight of refugees a hallmark of his papacy and used many of his foreign visits to insist on the moral imperative for countries to protect and integrate them.

 

Upon his arrival Saturday, Francis also praised Morocco’s tradition of interfaith coexistence and its efforts to promote a moderate form of Islam.

 

Muslims, Christians and Jews have long lived peacefully in Morocco. Catholics are tiny minority of about 23,000.

 

Morocco, a Sunni Muslim kingdom of 36 million, reformed its religious policies and education to limit the spread of fundamentalism in 2004, following terrorist bombings in Casablanca in 2003 that killed 43 people.

 

 

North Korea Wants Madrid Embassy Attack Investigation

North Korea said Sunday it wants an investigation into a raid on its embassy in Spain last month, calling it a “grave terrorist attack” and an act of extortion that violates international law.

The incident occurred ahead of President Donald Trump’s second summit with leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28. A mysterious group calling for the overthrow of the North Korean regime has claimed responsibility. 

The North’s official media quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that an illegal intrusion into and occupation of a diplomatic mission and an act of extortion are a grave breach of the state sovereignty and a flagrant violation of international law, “and this kind of act should never be tolerated.”

He claimed an armed group tortured the staff and suggested they stole communications gear.

The 10 people who allegedly raided the embassy in Madrid belong to a mysterious dissident organization that styles itself as a government-in-exile dedicated to toppling the ruling Kim family dynasty. The leader of the alleged intruders appears to be a Yale-educated human rights activist who was once jailed in China while trying to rescue North Korean defectors living in hiding, according to activists and defectors.

Details have begun trickling out about the raid after a Spanish judge lifted a secrecy order last week and said an investigation of what happened Feb. 22 uncovered evidence that “a criminal organization” shackled and gagged embassy staff before escaping with computers, hard drives and documents. A U.S. official said the group is named Cheollima Civil Defense, a little-known organization that recently called for international solidarity in the fight against North Korea’s government.

Spain has issued at least two international arrest warrants for members of the group.

Erdogan Faces Toughest Challenge in Key Local Polls

Turks are going to the polls in Sunday’s nationwide local elections. The vote is expected to be the toughest Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has faced, with the control of the capital Ankara and Istanbul at risk.

With the economy in recession and soaring inflation, economic concerns are first and foremost on many voters’ minds.  

“Our economy is getting worse and worse because of their [government] bad management,” said Erdem, an engineer, speaking before voting in Istanbul, “most of my friends are now looking for a job and some my friends lose their job because of economic crisis.”

Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and the country’s financial capital. According to opinion polls the election there is too close to call. Erdogan’s AK Party has controlled the city for more than fifteen years.

“My expectation is there will be good things coming out of this election, we will win with a big difference,” said Sinan, an AKP supporter speaking after voting in Istanbul.

Even though Erdogan is not on the ballot, he took personal control of the local election campaign. In a sign of what analysts suggest are fears of losing Istanbul, Erdogan in the last few days held more than a dozen rallies across the city in a bid to consolidate his party’s support.

Refocus

Throughout the campaign Erdogan sought to move the agenda away from economic woes, instead focusing on security concerns, and the threat posed by Kurdish separatists, along with a religious agenda.

Erdogan repeatedly played videos of a massacre of Muslims praying in New Zealand mosques at his rallies. The Turkish president likes to present himself as as a protector of Muslims around the world; a stance analysts say plays well with his religious and nationalist base.

In another move aimed at his base, Erdogan, days before Sunday’s poll, promised to turn Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia museum, once one of Christendom most important churches, into a mosque.

However, analysts say Erdogan struggled to change the agenda away from the economy. With Turkey in the grip of soaring food prices, over 30 percent, “The key issue for the next local elections in Turkey is the economy,” said Professor Baris Doster of Istanbul’s Marmara University.

“I think that the most powerful and effective opposition parties are not the classical parties, like the Republican People’s Party or the Good party. However, the key issue for the elections is the increasing prices of vegetables. Let’s say the prices of cucumbers or tomatoes. These are the most effective oppositions of Turkey,” added Doster.

In a bid alleviate public anger over rising prices, in the run-up to the local elections state-subsidized food was sold in Ankara, Istanbul and other major cities. However, analysts say the images of people queuing up for food appears to have only underlined opposition claims the country is in crisis.

Erdogan appears to have also been wrong-footed by the surprise move of the pro-Kurdish HD Party’s decision not to contest the main cities outside of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast region.

 

“Our strategy is based on winning in the East and making them lose in the west,” said Gul Demir co-head of HDP in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district.

Demir says her party is calling on its supporters to vote for the main opposition CHP party. The HDP, Turkey’s second largest opposition party, accounts for nearly 10% of the electorate in cities like Istanbul and Ankara.

While courting Turkish nationalist voters Erdogan has targeted the HDP, calling the party terrorists partly linked to Kurdish insurgents the PKK. Thousands of its officials have been jailed in a crackdown, including elected mayors and parliamentary deputies.

Kurdish vote

The HDP is seeking to win in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish region, in towns and cities which its mayors have been removed from office and jailed by the state, accused of supporting Kurdish insurgents.

However, analysts say HDP voters could play a decisive role in Turkey’s western cities where polls indicate close contests, especially Istanbul where the HDP has a strong base. On Saturday dozens of HDP local officials were detained in police raids in Istanbul.

In Malatya province in Eastern Anatolia, a polling station volunteer and a party observer from the small Islamist Felicity Party (SP) were killed.  Turkey’s official Andolu news agency reported the incident in the otherwise largely peaceful vote.

Attention is focusing on the outcome of the election in Istanbul.  Erdogan’s home town remains his power base and has significant symbolic value, being the city where he launched his political career by winning the mayorship back in 1994.

Control of Istanbul and other major cities is one source power outside of Erdogan’s direct control since he turned Turkey into a presidential system. The old Turkish political adage “who controls Istanbul, control’s Turkey,” for many still holds true.

The loss of Ankara and Istanbul would also deal a mighty blow to Erdogan’s reputation of electoral invincibility.

 

 

New Exhibit Commemorates 50 Years of Gay Rights Movement

A groundbreaking new exhibit at the Newseum in Washington marks the 50th anniversary of a police raid on a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, and highlights key moments in the modern gay rights movement in America that many believe was born out of that historic event. For some members of the LGBTQ community, the exhibit is deeply personal. VOA’s Julie Taboh has more.

Україна перейшла на літній час

У ніч на 31 березня Україна перейшла на літній час. О 3:00 за київським часом стрілки годинників перевели на одну годину вперед.

Сьогодні в Україні відбудуться вибори президента. Дільниці розпочнуть роботу о 8:00 вже за літнім часом. Працюватимуть вони до 20:00.

Зміна часу в Україні відбувається разом з усім Європейським союзом і більшістю країн Європи двічі на рік: в останню неділю березня країна переходить на літній час, а кожної останньої неділі жовтня повертається на зимовий, тобто свій поясний час.

У 2011 році Верховна Рада України намагалася скасувати переведення годинників на зимовий час, щоб повторити схожий крок Росії, але ця постанова була скасована.

В Україні літній час уперше формально з’явився 1916 року – його запровадила Австро-Угорщина, до якої входила західна частина України. 1917 року його запровадив і Тимчасовий уряд Російської республіки, до якої тоді належала інша, більша частина України.

Після низки радянських експериментів із часом літній час стали знову регулярно застосовувати в Україні як на той час частині СРСР із 1981 року.

На початку 1990-х років Україна експериментувала з відмовою від сезонного переходу на літній час, але потім відновила його 1992 року «з урахуванням порядку обчислення часу, що діє в країнах Європи», і «згідно з рекомендаціями Європейської економічної комісії ООН».

Уперше перехід на літній час здійснили в кількох європейських країнах у 1916 році. Ідея полягає у кращому використанні світлого часу дня, а відтак в економії – в часи Першої світової війни йшлося про заощадження вугілля, в пізніші часи про електроенергію. Водночас такої економії практично немає в місцевостях, розташованих ближче до екватора, та у приполярних регіонах, де сезонний час не має економічного сенсу.

Практика щорічного переходу на літній час і повернення на поясний застосовується зараз приблизно в 60 країнах, на всій їхній площі чи частково. При цьому близько 140 країн або ніколи не користувалися сезонним часом, або відмовилися від такої практики.

World Turns Off Lights for Earth Hour 

The Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Brandenburg Gate, the Acropolis and many more iconic landmarks went dark at 8:30 p.m. local time, Saturday night, for Earth Hour, an annual call for local action on climate change.

Earth Hour is the brain child of the World Wildlife Fund.

“By going dark for Earth Hour, we can show steadfast commitment to protecting our families, our communities and our planet from the dangerous effects of a warming world,” said Lou Leonard, WWF senior vice president, climate and energy. “The rising demand for energy, food and water means this problem is only going to worsen, unless we act now.”

Individuals and companies around the world participated in the hour-long demonstration to show their support for the fight against climate change and the conservation of the natural world.

WWF said Earth’s “rich biodiversity, the vast web of life that connects the health of oceans, rivers and forests to the prosperity of communities and nations, is threatened.”

The fund also reports that wildlife populations monitored by WWF “have experienced an average decline of 60 percent in less than a single person’s lifetime, and many unique and precious species are at risk of vanishing forever.”

“We have to ask ourselves what we’re willing to do after the lights come back on,” Leonard said. “If we embrace bold solutions, we still have time to stabilize the climate and safeguard our communities and the diverse wildlife, ecosystems and natural resources that sustain us all.”

“We are the first generation to know we are destroying the world,” WWF said. “And we could be the last that can do anything about it.”

Теніс: Козлова з перемоги стартувала у кваліфікації турніру в Чарльстоні

Українська тенісистка Катерина Козлова з перемоги стартувала у кваліфікації турніру серії Premier в американському Чарльстоні.

У матчі проти представниці Німеччини Ясмін Єбави українка втратила лише два гейми, здобувши перемогу з рахунком 6:1, 6:1.

Ще одна українка Надія Кіченок у стартовому матчі кваліфікації перемогла росіянку Софію Жук 7:6, 6:3.

Матчі основної сітки турніру в Чарльстоні стартують 1 квітня. Призовий фонд змагань – 823 тисячі доларів.

Клімкін: помер голова української громади Угорщини

Помер голова української громади Угорщини Юрій Кравченко. Про це 30 березня повідомив міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін.

«Раптово пішов з життя голова української громади Угорщини Юрій Кравченко. Це велика втрата для всього українства. Сумуємо і молимося з родиною і усією громадою. Вічна пам’ять!» – мовиться у повідомленні.

Кравченко був президентом Державного самоврядування українців Угорщини, як зазначається на сайті організації.

Stones Postpone Tour as Jagger Seeks Medical Treatment

The Rolling Stones are postponing their latest tour so Mick Jagger can receive medical treatment.

 

The band announced Saturday that Jagger was told by doctors “he cannot go on tour at this time.” The band added that Jagger “is expected to make a complete recovery so that he can get back on stage as soon as possible.”

 

No more details about 75-year-old Jagger’s condition were provided.

 

The Stones’ No Filter Tour was expected to start April 20 in Miami.

 

Jagger says in the statement he hates letting the fans down but he’s “looking forward to getting back on stage as soon as I can.”

 

Tour promoters AEG Presents and Concerts West advise ticketholders to hold on to their existing tickets because will be valid for the rescheduled dates.

3 Migrants Charged in Malta in Hijacking of Ship at Sea

Three teenage migrants have been charged in Malta with seizing control of a merchant ship and using force and intimidation, a crime considered a terrorist activity under Maltese law.

 

One of the accused was identified by the court during the arraignment Saturday as Abdalla Bari, a 19-year-old from Guinea. The other two are 15 and 16, and as minors could not be named. One is also from Guinea and the other from Ivory Coast.

 

They are suspects in the hijacking in the Mediterranean this week of the El Hiblu 1, an oil tanker. The captain has said that migrants that his crew had rescued began rioting and took control of his ship when they saw it was returning to Libya, forcing it to turn north toward Europe.

 

Slovakia Votes in 2nd Round of Presidential Poll

Voters in Slovakia are heading to the polls Saturday in round two of the country’s presidential election.

Zuzana Caputova, a 45-year-old environmental lawyer who champions gay rights and opposes Slovakia’s ban on abortion, won over 40 percent of the ballots in the first round of the vote two weeks ago.

AFP, the French news agency, reports that recent polls indicate she may gain at least 60 percent of the vote in Saturday’s race.

Maros Sefcovic came in a distant second in the first round with 18.7 percent of the vote.  The 52-year-old European Commission vice president built his campaign on traditional family-oriented policies.  He is backed by the ruling Smer-SD party.

If Caputova wins, she would be the Central European country’s first ever female president.

Incumbent President Andrej Kiska is not standing for a second five-year term.

 

Jackson, Nicks Enter Rock Hall of Fame, Along With 5 British Bands

Stevie Nicks, who became the first woman inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Janet Jackson, the latest member of the Jackson clan to enter the hall, called for other women to join them in music immortality on a night they were honored with five all-male British bands.

Jackson issued her challenge just before leaving the stage of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she said, “in 2020, induct more women.”

Neither Jackson or Nicks were around at the end of the evening when another Brit, Ian Hunter, led an all-star jam at the end to “All the Young Dudes.” The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs was the only woman onstage.

Five British bands

During the five-hour ceremony, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music thanked multiple bass players and album cover designers, the Cure’s Robert Smith proudly wore his mascara and red lipstick a month shy of his 60th birthday and two of Radiohead’s five members showed up for trophies.

 

During Def Leppard’s induction, Rick Allen was moved to tears by the audience’s standing ovation when singer Joe Elliott recalled the drummer’s perseverance following a 1985 accident that cost him an arm. 

​Jackson wanted to be a lawyer

Jackson followed her brothers Michael and the Jackson 5 as inductees. She said she wanted to go to college and become a lawyer growing up, but her late father Joe had other ideas for her.

 

“As the youngest in my family, I was determined to make it on my own,” she said. “I was determined to stand on my own two feet. But never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps.”

 

She encouraged Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producers of her breakthrough “Control” album and most of her vast catalog, to stand in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for recognition, as well as booster Questlove. She thanked Dick Clark of “American Bandstand” and Don Cornelius of “Soul Train,” along with her choreographers including Paula Abdul.

Jackson was inducted by an enthusiastic Janelle Monae, whose black hat and black leather recalled some of her hero’s past stage looks. She said Jackson had been her phone’s screen-saver for years as a reminder to be focused and fearless in how she approached art.

 

Nicks blueprint for success

Nicks was the night’s first induction. She is already a member of the hall as a member of Fleetwood Mac, but only the first woman to join 22 men, including all four Beatles members, to have been honored twice by the rock hall for the different stages of their career.

 

Nicks offered women a blueprint for success, telling them her trepidation in first recording a solo album while a member of Fleetwood Mac and encouraging others to match her feat.

 

“I know there is somebody out there who will be able to do it,” she said, promising to talk often of how she built her solo career. “What I am doing is opening up the door for other women.”

Radiohead

David Byrne inducted Radiohead, noting he was flattered the band named itself after one of his songs. He said their album “Kid A” was the one that really hooked him, and he was impressed Radiohead could be experimental in both their music and how they conduct business.

 

“They’re creative and smart in both areas, which was kind of a rare combination for artists, not just now but anytime,” he said.

 

With only drummer Philip Selway and guitarist Ed O’Brien on hand, Radiohead didn’t perform; there was a question of whether any of them would show up given the group’s past ambivalence about the hall. But both men spoke highly of the honor.

 

“This is such a beautifully surreal evening for us,” said O’Brien. “It’s a big (expletive) deal and it feels like it. … I wish the others could be here because they would be feeling it.”

 

The Cure

The Cure’s Smith has been a constant in a band of shifting personnel, and he stood onstage for induction Friday with 11 past and current members. Despite their goth look, the Cure has a legacy of pop hits, and performed three of them at Barclays, “I Will Always Love You,” “Just Like Heaven” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”

 

Visibly nervous, Smith called his induction a “very nice surprise” and shyly acknowledged the crowd’s cheers. “It’s been a fantastic thing, it really has,” he said. “We love you, too.”

 

Def Leppard

 

Def Leppard sold tons of records, back when musicians used to do that, with a heavy metal sound sheened to pop perfection on songs like “Photograph” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” They performed them in a set that climaxed the annual ceremony.

 

Singer Joe Elliott stressed the band’s working-class roots, thanking his parents and recalling how his father gave them 150 pounds to make their first recording in 1978.

 

Besides Allen’s accident, the band survived the 1991 death of guitarist Steve Clark. Elliott said there always seemed to be a looming sense of tragedy around the corner for the band, but “we wouldn’t let it in.”

Roxy Music 

 

Roxy Music, led by the stylish Ferry, performed a five-song set that included hits “Love is the Drug,” “More Than This” and “Avalon.” (Brian Eno didn’t show for the event).

 

Simon LeBon and John Taylor of Duran Duran inducted them, with Taylor saying that hearing Roxy Music in concert at age 14 showed him what he wanted to do with his life.

 

“Without Roxy Music, there really would be no Duran Duran,” he said.

 

The soft-spoken Ferry thanked everyone from a succession of bass players to album cover designers. 

“We’d like to thank everyone for this unexpected honor,” he said.

The Zombies

 

The Zombies, from rock ’n’ roll’s original British invasion, were the veterans of the night. They made it despite being passed over in the past, but were gracious in their thanks of the rock hall. They performed hits “Time of the Season,” “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.”

 

Zombies lead singer Rod Argent noted that the group had been eligible for the hall for 30 years but the honor had eluded them.

 

“To have finally passed the winning post this time — fantastic!”

In Elections, Turkey’s Opposition Hopes to Capitalize on Erdogan’s Woes

On Sunday Turkey holds critical local elections, with control of the country’s main cities up for grabs. With inflation soaring and recession threatening, the election may pose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan biggest challenge.

A week ahead of Sunday’s polls Erdogan rallied hundreds of thousands in his hometown of Istanbul, in a bid to consolidate his voting base.

Even though Erdogan is not up for election, he is leading the campaign, aware his AK Party’s more than decade-long grip on most of Turkey’s main cities is under threat.

Since Erdogan won Istanbul’s mayorship in 1994, a victory that served as a springboard for him to dominate Turkish politics, the city has been his unassailable power base. However, the latest opinion polls indicate the outcome of Istanbul local elections is too close call.

‘All the poverty’

In Istanbul’s Gungoren district, people line up for state-subsidized food in a small local park, which is overshadowed by a vast, idle construction site.

“I see Gungoren as worse now, then how it once was. Is that right?” said CHP Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, addressing a crowd from the roof of his campaign bus.

“Yes,” shout the people, waving CHP flags.

“All the poverty that a person can experience exists here,” Imamoglu said, “there are no green areas, there is no social life, it is a district that is left deprived of all the richness of life. We will take care of that.”

Gungoren in the past strongly backed Erdogan’s AK Party, but people are angry.

“We are retired people, by the 15th of the month our pension is finished, after that we are hungry,” said Seniye, who wears a religious headscarf.

​Pensioners hurting

There is still strong support for Erdogan by people who believe AKP can still deliver. 

“We are very hopeful about the elections. We just came here to see who is this Imamoglu because our path and choice is solid: We say AK Party,” said one man, who did not want to give his name.

With the Istanbul local election the closest in decades, the outcome could be in the hands of the pro-Kurdish HD Party.

​HDP strategy

Erdogan accuses the HDP of being a terrorist party, claiming it’s linked to the outlawed Kurdish separatist group the PKK, a charge the party denies.

Since the 2015 collapse of peace talks with the PKK, thousands of HDP officials have been arrested, along with elected mayors, parliamentary deputies, and its leaders.

Ahead of the local elections, the HDP says the crackdown has intensified, particularly in western cities.

The growing pressure saw the party, in a surprise move, decide not to contest mayoral elections in Turkey’s main western cities, focusing its efforts in the predominantly Kurdish region.

“This pressure we are facing of arrests means we have to come up with new methods to resist,” said Ertugrul Kurkcu, honorary president of the HDP.

“That is why in the seven main western cities outside the Kurdish region, we are calling on our supporters to vote for the opposition to help voters defeat Tayyip Erdogan,” he said.

He said “our supporters are voting for the opposition not because they like them, but for the strategic reason of defeating Erdogan.”

 

WATCH: Turkey’s Opposition Hopes to Capitalize on Erdogan’s Woes

​Second largest opposition party

The HDP is Turkey’s second largest opposition party and accounts for as much as 10 percent of the vote in Turkey’s main cities. However, it is far from certain that all its party supporters will heed their leadership’s call to back the CHP opposition.

“The HDP’s supporters, there are secular people, liberals and of course in the party, there are conservative, religious, and rightist Kurds,” said professor Baris Doster of Marmara University.

“I think that the liberals, the seculars, the social democrat supporters of HDP, they will vote for the opposition CHP,” he said. “The conservatives, the rightist voters of the HDP, will vote for Erdogan’s party, or they will stay at home.”

The HDP is working hard to persuade its supporters to go to the polls Sunday and vote against Erdogan’s AKP.

“Some supporters were unhappy about the decision not to stand for office,” said Gul Demir HDP’s co-leader of Istanbul’s Kadikoy district.

“However, I believe in this election campaign period we could explain ourselves to our base. In Turkish we have a saying, ‘great minds think alike.’ What is obvious is that we have entered a very heavy fascist system. It feels like the last exit before the bridge.

“If we lose these elections, if we don’t strike a blow to Erdogan, I don’t believe there will be elections in Turkey again,” Demir said.

Радник Трампа застеріг інші країни від військової підтримки Мадуро

Радник президента США з національної безпеки Джон Болтон попередив 29 березня, що дії російської влади і режиму Мадуро можуть спричинити дестабілізацію обстановки в регіоні, де розташована Венесуела. Про це повідомляє «Голос Америки».

Болтон заявив, що адміністрація Білого дому засуджує використання Ніколасом Мадуро іноземної військової сили в спробі утриматися при владі. За словами радника президента США, йдеться про прибуття російських військовослужбовців і російських військових вантажів до Венесуели.

Використання режимом Мадуро військової допомоги призведе до подальших репресій проти народу Венесуели та сприятиме наростанню економічної кризи, наголосив Джон Болтон. Він закликав армію Венесуели виконувати конституційні обов’язки щодо захисту громадян своєї країни.

Радник Трампа вказав: «Ми рішуче застерігаємо сили, що знаходяться за межами Західної півкулі, від розгортання військових засобів у Венесуелі або в інших частинах регіону з метою… розширення військових операцій. Ми розглядаємо такі провокаційні дії як пряму загрозу… миру і безпеці в регіоні».

Москва заявляє, що прибуття російських військових у Венесуелу не є загрозою ні для кого. «Росія не змінює баланс сил у регіоні, Росія нікому не погрожує», – сказала 28 березня речниця МЗС Росії Марія Захарова.

У Вашингтоні раніше назвали появу російських військових у Венесуелі «небажаною провокацією». Президент США Дональд Трамп заявив, що Росія повинна «забратися» з Венесуели.

24 березня в столицю Венесуели Каракас прибули два літаки Міністерства оборони Росії. За інформацією ЗМІ, цими літаками до Венесуели були доставлені до сотні російських військових, у тому числі начальник генштабу Сухопутних сил, і близько 35 тонн вантажу. Тоді про цілі прибуття росіян не повідомляли.

26 березня агентство Reuters повідомило, що серед російських військових, перекинутих до Венесуели, є фахівці сил спеціального призначення, зокрема з кібербезпеки.

Захарова в той день заявила, що перебування російських фахівців у країні регулюється угодою про військово-технічне співробітництво, яке Москва і Каракас підписали в 2001 році.

У Венесуелі триває політична криза. США підтримують Хуана Гуайдо, а Росія вважає легітимним президентом Ніколаса Мадуро.

Під Києвом горить підприємство з виготовлення армійського обмундирування, жертв немає – ДСНС

У селищі Ворзель у Київській області 29 березня о 20:05 спалахнула пожежа в будівлі приватного підприємства з виготовлення армійського обмундирування, повідомляє Державна служба України з надзвичайних ситуацій.

«Жертв та постраждалих немає. До гасіння залучено 35 чоловік особового складу та 7 одиниць техніки ДСНС», – ідеться в повідомленні.

За даними рятувальників, площа загоряння становить 1500 квадратних метрів.