Сутички у Венесуелі: щонайменше 50 поранених

Як мінімум 50 людей отримали поранення в ході сутичок між силовиками та прихильникам опозиціонера Хуана Гуайдо у Венесуелі, за даними місцевого медичного центру.

Насильство спалахнуло у Венесуелі після того, як Гуайдо, який понад три місяці тому оголосив себе тимчасовим виконувачем обов’язків президента країни, закликав військових підтримати протести та допомогти усунути від влади Ніколаса Мадуро.

Тисячі венесуельців вийшли на вулиці в столиці Каракасі вранці 30 квітня, аби підтримати, за словами Гуайдо, «фінальну фазу» повалення режиму у Венесуелі.

Водночас уряд Мадуро називає протести «спробою перевороту» і запевняє, що зберіг підтримку армії.

Міністр оборони Владімір Падріно заявив у ефірі місцевого мовника, що військові продовжать «підтримувати легітимну владу».

Своєю чергою Гуайдо заявив журналістам, що кількість прихильників опозиції буде збільшуватися.

«Людей ставатиме більше, (військових – ред.) підрозділів, що стануть на бік конституції, ставатиме більше. Ми запрошуємо світ побачити те, що тут станеться – як завжди, у відповідності до вимог конституційності, демократії та ненасильства, як це й було досі. Ми завжди вимагали кінця узурпації», – сказав політик.

У своєму Twitter він закликав «всю Венесуелу виходити на вулиці».

У Вашингтоні радник президента з питань національної безпеки Джон Болтон повідомив, що троє старших помічників Мадуро висловили готовність допомогти Гуайдо мирно прийти до влади.

«Для трьох людей в режимі Мадуро, які вели перемови з опозицією протягом останніх трьох місяців, досі дуже важливо виконати свій намір досягнути мирної передачі влади від Мадуро. Всі погодилися з тим, що Мадуро мусить піти. Їм потрібна можливість діяти сьогодні вдень та ввечері, аби залучити інших військових (на бік Гуайдо – ред.)», – заявив Болтон, посилаючись на Падріно, головного суддю Верховного суду Майкеля Морено та командира президентської гвардії Івана Рафаеля Ернендеса Далу.

Президент США Дональд Трамп заявив, що «уважно стежить» за ситуацією у Венесуелі.

Гостра фаза протистояння триває у Венесуелі з січня, коли Гуайдо звинуватив Мадуро в узурпації влади і склав присягу як тимчасовий президент. Важелі керування країною і силовими структурами залишаються в руках Мадуро, якого підтримують Куба, Росія, Китай і Туреччина. США, більшість країн Латинської Америки і ЄС підтримують Гуайдо.

Понад 42 тисячі людей мусили тікати з домівок через ескалацію конфлікту в Лівії – ООН

У Лівії понад 42 тисячі людей змушені були тікати до передмість Тріполі, аби уникнути сутичок, що охоплюють місцевість на південь від міста, повідомляє 30 квітня Управління верховного комісара ООН у справах біженців. За даними організації, число людей, постраждалих від конфлікту, росте.

«Понад 42 тисячі людей мусили залишити свої домівки протягом цього місяця. За даними Всесвітньої організації охорони здоров’я, 345 людей загинули, серед них – 22 цивільних, ще 1 652 зазнали поранень. Необхідно докласти всіх зусиль, аби не допустити, щоб цивільні потрапляли під перехресний вогонь, і зберегти цивільну інфраструктуру», – повідомляє Управління.

Як стверджують в організації, Управління верховного комісара у справах біженців та Агентство у справах біженців ООН надають гуманітарну допомогу урядові і громадянам Лівії, що потерпають від браку води, харчів, та інших предметів першої необхідності.

«Тим не менш украй непостійна безпекова ситуація означає, що доступ Управління й інших гуманітарних організацій лишається дуже обмеженим», – мовиться в заяві.

ООН закликала сторони домовитися про тимчасове перемир’я, яке дозволило б роботу рятувальних служб та вільний і безпечний вихід цивільних із зони, враженої конфліктом.

16 квітня ООН повідомляла, що в боях за столицю Лівії загинули понад 170 людей.

5 квітня «Лівійська національна армія» під командуванням Халіфи Хафтара почала наступ на Тріполі, контрольований силами визнаного ООН уряду Лівії. Відтоді Хафтар ігнорує заклики міжнародної спільноти зупинити наступ.

Росія – ключовий союзник сил Хафтара разом із Єгиптом і Об’єднаними Арабськими Еміратами.

Лівія потерпає від насильства, політичної нестабільності і боротьби за владу відтоді, як в 2011 році був повалений і убитий багаторічний правитель Муаммар Каддафі.

Росія надсилає до Білорусі нового посла на заміну Бабичу

Президент Росії Володимир Путін підписав указ про призначення новим послом Росії в Білорусі Дмитра Мєзєнцева. Він також звільнив із посади голови російського дипломатичного представництва в Мінську Михайла Бабича.

Крім того, Бабич звільнений з посади спеціального представника президента Росії з розвиту торгово-економічної співпраці з Республікою Білорусь.

До призначення Мєзєнцев був членом Федеральних зборів Росії від Сахалінської області.

Михайло Бабич працював на посаді Надзвичайного та повноважного посла Росії в Мінську з серпня 2018 року. Таким чином, на цій посаді він провів менше року.

У березні 2019 року Бабич наразився на критику Міністерства закордонних справ Білорусі за «менторську» манеру коментувати відносини між Москвою та Мінськом.

Українці, не дамо злодію Коломойському знову вкрасти у нас гроші через повернення йому Приватбанку. Бєню в тюрму!

Міжнародний шахрай Коломойський, за яким полює ФБР, знову намагається обікрасти українців. Але ми, патріоти України, не дамо йому цього зробити. Зараз він сховав свій товстий і смердючий зад в Ізраїлі і шляхом підкупу маніпулює корумпованими українськими суддями. Пропонуємо надати йому можливість прилетіти в Україну, а тут закрити його в тюрмі назавжди і позбавити усього вкраденого! А акції Приватбанку розподілити між усіма громадянами України порівну, адже цей банк є державним, хай він стане дійсно НАРОДНИМ!

Екс-міністр економічного розвитку України в уряді Арсенія Яценюка, а нині член команди Володимира Зеленського Айварас Абромавичус каже, що західні партнери України «вкрай негативно» оцінюють ризик повернення націоналізованого «Приватбанку» колишнім власникам – Ігорю Коломойському й Геннадію Боголюбову – і якщо таке рішення буде ухвалене, воно може призвести до припинення фінансової допомоги України.

Айварас Абромавичус у штабі Зеленського розповів про загрози, пов’язані із «Приватбанком». Напередодні Окружний адмінсуд Києва ухвалив кілька рішень на користь Ігоря Коломойського, і одне з ключових – це визнання незаконною націоналізації «Приватбанку»:

«Коли є ризик повернення «Приватбанку»​ – і після цього, можливо, якихось інших банків – колишнім власникам, це означає, що президентство почнеться з доволі складної ситуації. Адже ні МВФ, ні Європейський союз, ні інші інститути й держави, які нам пропонують протягом останніх років фінансову допомогу, – ми на неї розраховуємо і в майбутньому, – вони, звісно, не будуть на це дивитися, склавши руки. Вони на це дивляться вкрай негативно».

Крім того, він застеріг, що рішення про повернення «Приватбанку» колишнім власникам – у разі, якщо воно буде ухвалене – може спричинити припинення фінансової допомоги України.

– Які можуть бути негативні наслідки?

– Наслідки – такі, що, через дії шахрая Коломойського, припиниться фінансова підтримка України.

У грудні 2016 року уряд України за пропозицією Нацбанку й акціонерів «Приватбанку», найбільшими з яких на той час були Ігор Коломойський і Геннадій Боголюбов, ухвалив рішення про націоналізацію цієї найбільшої на українському ринку фінустанови.

Банк перейшов у державну власність, на його докапіталізацію загалом держава витратила понад 155 мільярдів гривень. Як заявили в НБУ, до націоналізації «Приватбанку» завдали збитків щонайменше на 5,5 мільярдів доларів.

18 квітня цього року Окружний адміністративний суд Києва визнав незаконною націоналізацію «Приватбанку». Наступного дня цей суд скасував рішення НБУ від 13 грудня 2016 року, який визначив перелік пов’язаних з банком фізичних і юридичних осіб. 20 квітня Печерський суд Києва ухвалив рішення про розірвання договору особистої поруки бізнесмена Ігоря Коломойського по кредитах рефінансування «Приватбанку» на суму в 9,2 мільярда гривень, отриманих до його націоналізації. Згодом стало відомо, що Ігор Коломойський 19 квітня подав п’ять нових позовів до НБУ та «Приватбанку».

Правда України

US Treasury Secretary Hopes for ‘Substantial Progress’ in China Talks

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he hopes to makes “substantial progress” in trade talks with China, as the world’s two largest economies try to reach a resolution to their trade war.

Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are leading a U.S. delegation meeting with Chinese officials this week in Beijing.

Next week, Chinese officials will travel to Washington for another round of talks.

Washington and Beijing have held several rounds of talks this year to resolve a trade war that began in 2018 when President Donald Trump imposed punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. He has been trying to compel Beijing to change its trade practices. China retaliated with tariff increases on $110 billion of U.S. exports.

 

Tariffs Take Toll on Agricultural Equipment Manufacturers

Their iconic blue-colored planters and grain cars are recognizable on many farms across the United States. They are also easily spotted in large displays, some stacked one on top of the other, in front of Kinze’s manufacturing hub along Interstate 80, where, inside buildings sprawling across a campus situated among Iowa’s corn and soybeans fields, the company’s employees work with one key component. 

“Steel is the lifeblood of Kinze,” says Richard Dix, a company senior director. “We’re a factory that’s essentially a weld house. We cut, burn, form, shape, cut, paint steel.”

WATCH: Kane Farabaugh’s video report

Steel now costs more, the result of a 25 percent tariff on the material imported from most countries, including China.

“When there is a tariff on steel it cuts rights to the core of our fundamental product construction,” says Dix.

In March of 2018, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel, with the goal of boosting U.S. production and related employment. 

While there has been a modest benefit to the domestic steel industry, Dix says increased costs are negatively impacting smaller manufacturing companies like Kinze.

“We see the bills that come in from our suppliers are higher based on those tariffs,” Dix explains. “Not just in steel but also in a lot of the electronics, rubber commodities and other agricultural parts we buy from China as well. Those tariffs take their effect on our cost structure, on the profitability for the family, through our employees, and now to our dealers and on to our customers.”

Those customers are mostly U.S. farmers who use some of Kinze’s products to put soybean and corn seeds into the ground. Soybean exports in particular are now subject to retaliatory tariffs imposed by the Chinese, one of the biggest export markets for U.S. farmers, which has sunk commodity prices and contributed to another year of overall declining income for U.S. farmers. 

​That means many are less likely to purchase the products Kinze makes.

“The market is substantially down,” says Dix. “The farmers don’t have that level of security they need to go out into the dealerships and buy that equipment. We get a one-two punch. We pay more for the product that comes into us and therefore on to the customer, and then we have a reciprocal situation where we can’t export what was advantageous to us.”

These are some of the concerns Dix explained to Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, who participated in a roundtable discussion at Kinze along with farmers and others in Iowa impacted by tariffs. It was part of a “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” event hosted by Kinze, and organized by the group Americans for Free Trade along with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. 

Ernst says the personal stories she gathers from these meetings go a long way in helping President Donald Trump understand the impact on her constituents.

“He has a very different negotiating style,” she told VOA. “He wants to start with the worst possible scenario, and negotiate his way to a good and fair trade deal, but again sharing those stories is very important and yes it does have an impact. I think the president does listen.”

Ernst says she is encouraged by news from the Trump administration on developments in negotiations that lead her to believe the trade dispute with China, and the related tariffs, could end soon.

“When I last spoke to [U.S. Trade Representative] Robert Lighthizer, he had indicated that the deal with China is largely done, it’s just figuring out the enforcement mechanism, and that is what the United States and China are really bartering over right now.”

But Kinze’s Richard Dix says one year under tariffs has already taken a toll on the company’s operations.

“We’re not really that big, so we can say that this impact has been a seven-figure impact for us in the last year, and that’s a substantial amount of money.”

It’s an amount that Dix says, so far, hasn’t been passed on to Kinze’s customers, or the employees.

“We have not actually had any direct layoffs that are attributable to this tariff situation, but we’re all tightening our belts.”

At Amboise, Leonardo’s Last Years Paint a Picture of Franco-Italian Harmony

Commemorations for Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th anniversary begin this week in Amboise, in the Loire Valley, with France and Italy setting aside recent tensions to honor the memory of the Renaissance genius in the town where he spent his final years.

In 1516, aged 64, Leonardo da Vinci left Italy to enter the service of King Francis I of France. Many of his masterpieces — St. John the Baptist, the Mona Lisa — followed him and were sold to the French monarch, forming a legacy now exhibited at the Louvre museum in Paris.

Amid diplomatic tensions between Rome and Paris, his legacy has become contentious, with Italy’s Culture undersecretary Lucia Borgonzoni in November telling Italian media she wanted to renegotiate the planned lending of his works to the Louvre for an anniversary exhibition, because “the French cannot have it all.”

It is unclear, for example, whether the iconic drawing of the “Vitruvian Man” will eventually leave Venice to join the Louvre for the display.

But on Thursday, in Amboise, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella will seek to ease strains between the two normally close allies that have grown more acute since mid-2018, mostly over migration policy.

They will gather at Leonardo’s tomb, a modest grave in a chapel of Amboise castle containing his presumed remains, and will pay a visit to his house nearby, the Clos Luce, where he died on May 2nd, 1519.

“It’s an extremely solemn gesture, showing that the two countries have this shared memory, this figure, a culture that binds our two countries,” the director of Amboise castle Jean-Louis Sureau told Reuters in an interview.

Da Vinci ‘s arrival in France was no accident, because King Francis I wanted him to join the Court to participate in its international influence and refinement, Sureau said.

“Leonardo da Vinci was unquestionably born in Italy, he’s Florentine, but beyond that, he led a career at the service of several powerful men. This career, and his life, end here, in France,” Sureau added.

During his three years in France, da Vinci focused on perfecting unfinished masterpieces, drawing and scientific writing, but also took part in organizing lavish parties for the King of France.

“This universal man, who, to be clear, was first and foremost Italian, can also be seen as the symbol of a European culture, built beyond traditional divisions,” Catherine Simon Marion, delegate general of the Clos Luce, said.

Kudlow: Trump Administration Eyes More Aid to Farmers if Necessary

The Trump administration is ready to provide more federal aid to farmers if required, a White House adviser said on Monday, after rolling out up to $12 billion since last year to offset agricultural losses from the trade dispute with China.

“We have allocated $12 billion, some such, to farm assistance. And we stand ready to do more if necessary,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture had previously ruled out a new round of aid for 2019. As of March, more than $8 billion was paid out as part of last year’s program. On Monday, the department said it had extended the deadline to apply to May 17.

A constituency that helped carry Republican President Donald Trump to victory in 2016, U.S. farmers have been among the hardest hit from his trade policies that led to tariffs with key trading partners such as China, Canada and Mexico.

While farmers have largely remained supportive of Trump, many have called for an imminent end to the trade dispute, which propelled farm debt to the highest levels in decades and worsened the credit conditions for the rural economy.

Beijing imposed tariffs last year on imports of U.S. agricultural goods, including soybeans, grain sorghum and pork as retribution for U.S. levies. Soybean exports to China have plummeted over 90 percent and sales of U.S. soybeans elsewhere failed to make up for the loss.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were scheduled to travel to Beijing on Monday for the latest negotiations in what could be the trade talks’ endgame.

Both sides have cited progress on issues including intellectual property and forced technology transfer to help end a conflict marked by tit-for-tat tariffs that have cost the world’s two largest economies billions of dollars, disrupted supply chains and rattled financial markets.

Nationalist Party Enters Estonia’s Government

The father-and-son leaders of a divisive anti-immigrant party were sworn in Monday as Estonia’s interior and finance minister.

 

Prime Minister Juri Ratas presented his 15-member coalition Cabinet on Monday at the 101-seat Riigikogu assembly located in the picturesque Old Town of Estonia’s capital, Tallinn.

 

Earlier this month, Ratas, leader of the left-leaning Center Party, clinched a surprise deal with the nationalist and euroskeptic Estonian Conservative People’s Party, or EKRE, as well as with the conservative Fatherland, to create a majority coalition.

 

EKRE’s Mart Helme, 69, was appointed interior minister in the Cabinet, while his son Martin, 43, becomes finance minister.

EKRE’s strong rhetoric has divided Estonia ever since the party first entered parliament in 2015. The party has advocated abolishing the law recognizing same-sex civil unions, demanded changes to the country’s abortion law and fiercely opposed European Union quotas for taking in asylum-seekers.

 

It emerged from the election with 17.8% of votes, becoming Estonia’s third-largest party.

 

The three parties will have five ministerial posts each in the government. Fatherland’s Urmas Reinsalu became new foreign minister and Juri Luik from the same party continues as defense minister — a key post in this small Baltic nation that neighbors Russia.

 

The fact that EKRE is entering a governing coalition has caused fierce debates nationwide, with some Estonians blaming it for polarizing society.

 

In a curious detail, President Kersti Kaljulaid was following the new Cabinet’s inauguration ceremonies in the parliament sporting a sweater inscribed with the Estonian words “Sona on vaba,” or “Speech is free.”

 

That is seen as a statement on the importance of freedom of speech from the head of state following weeks of public controversy on EKRE, which has accused Estonian media of biased reporting on the party’s affairs.

 

In early April, Peeter Helme — nephew of Mart Helme — was appointed the new editor-in-chief of Estonia’s oldest and largest newspaper Postimees. Peeter Helme has worked with the paper earlier.

 

EKRE claims to defend the interests of ethnic Estonians in the former Soviet republic where some 25% of the 1.3 million inhabitants are ethnic Russians, who have traditionally opted to vote for the Center Party.

 

Mart Helme told an Estonian radio channel Sunday that it was “wishful thinking” that the party would tone down its strong rhetoric after assuming government power.

 

A total of five parties are represented in parliament, including the Reform Party that was the biggest party after the March 3 election. Its leader, Kaja Kallas, was first tasked to form a government, but she failed to get sufficient support.

Somali American Becomes Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 1st Hijab-Clad Model

Halima Aden is featured in the magazine’s 2019 swimsuit issue wearing swimwear that covers the entire body except the face, hands and feet.

“Young girls who wear a hijab should have women they look up to in any and every industry. We are now seeing politicians, business women, television reporters, and other successful hijabi women in visible roles and that is the message we need to be sending,” Aden told the BBC. “The response has been incredible and I’m so honored that Sports Illustrated has taken the step to showcase the beauty that modestly dressed women possess.”

Aden, who was born in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, moved to the U.S. when she was 7. She said the photoshoot, which took place in Kenya, was an extremely emotional experience for her. 

“I keep thinking (back) to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Aden told the Sports Illustrated. “So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya — I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.”

Aden also made history last year, becoming the first hijab-clad woman featured on the cover of British Vogue. Last month she and two other Muslim models were first black hijab-wearing models to appear on the cover of Vogue Arabia. 

“Growing up in the states, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab,” Aden says in the video shared by the magazine on Twitter.

The Burkini was created by Australian designer Aheda Zanetti, who said it was made to provide Muslim women an ability to participate in the Australia’s beach lifestyle. 

Zanetti says burkinis have also found fans among non-Muslims, including “Jews, Hindus, Christians, Mormons, women with various body issues.”

But it has also garnered controversy. Several towns in France have banned the wearing of burkinis, especially in community pools. The officials justified the ban by pointing to laws that forbids swimming in street clothes. Bans have also been imposed in a town in Germany and resorts in Morocco. 

Elle Fanning, ‘The Favourite’ Director Lanthimos Picked for Cannes Jury

U.S. actress Elle Fanning, French graphic novelist Enki Bilal and the Oscar-nominated director of “The Favourite,” Yorgos Lanthimos, will be among jury members at the Cannes Film Festival next month, organizers said on Monday.

The world’s biggest cinema showcase kicks off on the French Riviera on May 14th, with Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu presiding over the panel that decides on prizes, including the top Palme D’Or award.

Split between four men and four women, the jury for the festival’s 72nd edition will also include Pawel Pawlikowski, the Polish filmmaker and screenwriter named best director at Cannes last year for the impossible love story “Cold War.”

Maimouna N’Diaye, who has directed documentaries and acted in films such as Otar Iosseliani’s “Chasing Butterflies” will also sit on the panel, alongside two other female directors.

Kelly Reichardt of the United States, whose “Wendy and Lucy” starring Michelle Williams was a contender for Cannes’ Un Certain Regard award in 2008, directed 2016’s “Certain Women.”

Italy’s Alicia Rohrwacher won best screenplay at Cannes last year for her film “Happy as Lazzaro,” a satirical fable about a peasant family.

French filmmaker Robin Campillo, who took Cannes by storm in 2017 with “120 BPM – Beats Per Minute,” winning the Grand Prix for his movie about an AIDS activist, will complete the line-up.

Comic book creator Bilal, best known for his Nikopol trilogy of science fiction novels, has also directed feature films, including 2004’s “Immortal,” organizers said.

Fanning, who started working in movies as a child, has starred in several films in competition at Cannes in recent years, including “The Beguiled” by Sofia Coppola in 2017.

The May 14-25 festival will kick off with U.S. director Jim Jarmusch’s latest film, “The Dead Don’t Die.”

У Норвегії викликала занепокоєння білуха з обладнанням із Росії

У Норвегії посадовці висловили занепокоєння через те, що біля берегів країни в Північному морі виявили білуху з кріпленням для відеокамери, яка, як припускають, могла походити з російського військового об’єкта.

Як повідомили в Управлінні рибальства Норвегії, китоподібну тварину виявили місцеві рибалки минулого тижня. Білуха була свійською і підпустила до себе людей, і на ремені-гарнітурі з кріпленням, який був на її тілі і який зняли рибалки, був напис англійською мовою «Обладнання Санкт-Петербург».

За повідомленнями норвезьких засобів інформації, військові країни виявили велику зацікавленість цією гарнітурою і припускають, що тварину тренували для якихсь спеціальних завдань російські військові, ймовірно, в місті Мурманську недалеко від місця, де рибалки зустріли білуху.

Наскільки відомо, Росія не мала програми використання для військових потреб великих китоподібних, хоча в СРСР були військові програми навчання дельфінів. Після розпаду СРСР той заклад у Севастополі закрили, дельфінарій працював в Україні як цивільний до захоплення Криму Росією 2014 року.

Але, як кажуть російські вчені, військові в Росії, можливо, зараз уже працюють із білухами.

Як сказав російському агентству «Інтерфакс» Дмитро Глазов, заступник програми вивчення білух в Інституті проблем екології і еволюції Російської академії наук, військові використовували білух під час Олімпійських ігор у Сочі 2014 року. За його словами, в Санкт-Петербурзі є інститут, який співпрацює з військовими у вивченні тварин для застосовних цілей, і його підрозділи є в Козачій бухті в Севастополі і в Мурманську.

На думку вченого, напевно не відомо, чи придатні білухи для використання для розвідки, але є можливість, що тварина могла втекти з місця утримання в Мурманську.

Провідника «Ісламської держави» показали у відео вперше за п’ять років

Провідника екстремістського угруповання «Ісламська держава» Абу Бакра аль-Багдаді показали у відеозапису вперше за останні п’ять років, але коли був зроблений цей запис, невідомо, як і не підтверджена достеменно його автентичність.

Відеоролик, що його оприлюднив пов’язаний із «Ісламською державою» сайт «Аль-Фуркан», показує чоловіка, схожого на Абу Бакра аль-Багдаді, з довгою і нечесаною сиво-рудою бородою, який сидить на підлозі біля стіни в чорному халаті і легкій куртці на ньому, поруч із його правою рукою лежить кулемет. Його слухають троє чоловіків у масках.

Аль-Багдаді, говорячи повільно і роблячи часті паузи, протягом 18-хвилинного відеозапису говорить, що «Ісламська держава» ще помститься за смерті і ув’язнення її членів і що діяльність угруповання проти Заходу – «тривала боротьба».

47-річний нині аль-Багдаді востаннє з’являвся у відеозапису 2014 року під час служби Божої в мечеті Ан-Нурі в окупованому на той час силами угрупованні місті Мосулі в Іраці. Саме в тій промові він проголосив створення «ісламського халіфату».

У нинішньому запису, як повідомляє група спостереження за онлайн-діяльністю екстремістів SITE, Аль-Багдаді згадує про кінець боїв за Багуз – це був останній населений пункт, який іще утримувало угруповання, в Сирії, і він був визволений 20 березня.

Крім того, Аль-Багдаді згадує і про недавні вибухи, влаштовані у Шрі-Ланці 21 квітня, внаслідок яких загинули понад 250 людей і про свою відповідальність за які оголосила «Ісламська держава». Провідник угруповання каже, що ці напади були здійснені як помста за втрату Багуза. «Це лише частина помсти, яка чекає на хрестоносців (тобто християн – ред.)», – заявляє він.

Дата на відео вказує, що воно було записане у квітні, але встановити правдивість цього наразі неможливо.

Останніми роками про Абу Бакра аль-Багдаді вже кілька разів повідомляли, що він убитий чи важко поранений.

У відповідь на оприлюднення запису в Державному департаменті США заявили, що міжнародна коаліція під проводом Вашингтона, створена для боротьби з «Ісламською державою», продовжить боротьбу з цим угрупованням, а тим із його ватажків, які досі живі, не вдасться уникнути відплати.

Kosovo President Sees Washington as Key to Solve Conflict with Serbia

The United States is key to settling the ongoing conflict between Kosovo and Serbia, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on Monday, pointing to the inability of major European countries to reach a unified position on the issue.

The former Serb and predominantly ethnic Albanian republic of Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, almost a decade after a bloody war there.

It won recognition from the United States and most EU countries, but not from Serbia or its big power patron Russia, and relations between Belgrade and Kosovo remain tense.

“Without the U.S. we can never have any dialogue, negotiations or any agreement,” Thaci told Reuters TV in Berlin, adding: “The EU is not united in this process.”

Thaci was in Berlin to join a summit later on Monday on the Western Balkans, called by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Thaci played down the expectations for the Berlin meeting saying: “I will not expect any miracle.”

It is crucial for Serbia to recognize Kosovo as an independent state, Thaci said.

“We will ask today Chancellor Merkel and President Macron to convince (Serb) President (Aleksandar) Vucic to recognize Kosovo”, Thaci said, adding that if that does not happen, “I think the meeting in Berlin will not be useful.”

Thaci stressed that Serbia tended to orient itself towards Russia but Kosovo wanted to be part of NATO and the European Union as soon as possible.

Czechs Protest Justice Appointee, Fear Meddling in PM’s Case

Thousands protested around the Czech Republic on Monday against a justice minister nominee they fear might meddle with a criminal case involving the prime minister.

President Milos Zeman will appoint Marie Benesova on Tuesday after the resignation of her predecessor, bringing opposition accusations of pressure on courts as Andrej Babis faces a potential fraud trial over European Union subsidies more than a decade ago.

Babis, a billionaire media and chemicals businessman before entering politics, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has called the investigation a plot to force him out of politics.

Czech police said on April 17 that Babis and others should stand trial for the alleged fraud involving the handling of a 2 million euro EU subsidy — charges that could see the prime minister jailed for up to 10 years.

Justice Minister Jan Knezinek resigned the day after the police wrapped up their investigation. Babis said Knezinek’s position had only been intended to be temporary. His departure came amid a wider cabinet shuffle.

On Monday, protesters marched from the Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech president, through the capital’s medieval centre to the Old Town Square. Marchers chanted “We have had enough” and organizers carried banners saying “Justice.” The website of daily Mlada Fronta Dnes reported 10,000 demonstrated in the capital.

In the country’s second largest city, Brno, around 3,000 marched, according to estimates of news website SeznamZpravy.cz. Czech Television reported protesters turned out in 105 spots in the country of 10.6 million.

Benesova had previously served in a caretaker cabinet in 2013, appointed by President Zeman – who has backed Babis. She was the top state attorney, appointed by a Zeman-led government in 1999.

She supported Babis in 2017 when she abstained in a lower house vote on lifting his parliamentary immunity.

Despite the investigation, Babis’s ANO party maintains a firm poll lead after sweeping to power in a 2017 election when it won three times the votes of its nearest competitor with pledges to end politics as usual and bring a businessman’s touch to governance.

Babis, the country’s second richest person, has long fought accusations of conflicts of interest because of his vast business interests. He put his Agrofert business empire into trusts in 2017 to meet new Czech legislation.

Socialists Set to Reign in Spain, but not Without Support

Spain’s third parliamentary election in less than four years did little to dispel uncertainty over the political future of the eurozone’s fourth largest economy.

The center-left Socialist party won re-election in Sunday’s ballot, collecting nearly 29% of votes, and will try to form a government. It would be one of only a handful of socialist governments in the European Union.

But with only 123 seats in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies, Spain’s parliament, it needs to negotiate the support of smaller rival parties to pass legislation.

“Forming a government will be far from straightforward,” Antonio Barroso, an analyst with the London-based Teneo Intelligence consultancy firm, said in a commentary Monday.

Even an alliance with the far-left, anti-austerity party United We Can wouldn’t give the Socialists the key number of 176 seats.

That means incumbent prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will need to barter with smaller parties to enact his administration’s ambitions and stay in power for the four-year mandate.

Spain’s political landscape has fragmented in recent years, after decades in which the Socialist party and the conservative Popular Party took turns in power.

Forging cross-party alliances has proved difficult for political negotiators and has unsettled Spanish governments. In 2015, a splintered parliamentary outcome from a general election led to inconclusive negotiations and a repeat election the following year.

“The country has endured an excessive amount of instability,” La Vanguardia newspaper said in an editorial Monday. “That is never good. And it’s even worse when the European Union has the same problem, due to Brexit and the rise of populism.”

The Socialist party, which came to power last June in a minority government, gained a lot of political credit by increasing its number of seats from 84 to 123.

The center-right Citizens party, which has in many aspects been hostile to the Socialists’ political agenda, shot from 32 to 57 seats, while the Popular Party lost more than half of its parliamentary representation as it fell to 66 seats.

Adding to the parliamentary makeover, the far-right Vox party claimed 10% of the vote and 24 seats. It is the first time since the 1980s that a far-right party will sit in the national parliament.

In all, five parties got more than 20 seats.

Another unpredictable path that Sánchez could consider is to seek the support of secessionists in Catalonia.

The unflagging demands of separatists for that wealthy region’s independence brought in 2017 Spain’s worst constitutional crisis in decades, and the price of their support may be too high for Sánchez.

Amid all the party-political considerations, the new government faces the daunting task of cutting chronic unemployment and keeping the public pension system from collapse. The Spanish jobless rate in February was almost 14% — compared with an average of just under 8% for eurozone countries.

No immediate progress on forming a government is likely. Spain is due to elect regional and local governments, as well as its European Parliament deputies, in four weeks’ time in what will be another test of political strength.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Obliterates Records With $1.2B Opening

The universe belongs to Marvel. “Avengers: Endgame” shattered the record for biggest opening weekend with an estimated $350 million in ticket sales domestically and $1.2 billion globally, reaching a new pinnacle in the blockbuster era that the comic-book studio has come to dominate.

The “Avengers” finale far exceeded even its own gargantuan expectations, according to studio estimates Sunday. The movie had been forecast to open between $260 million and $300 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, but moviegoers turned out in such droves that “Endgame” blew past the previous record of $257.7 million, set last year by “Avengers: Infinity War” when it narrowly surpassed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($248 million or about $266 million in inflation adjusted dollars.)

“Endgame” was just as enormous overseas. Worldwide, it obliterated the previous record of $640.5 million, also set by “Infinity War.” (“Infinity War” didn’t open in China, the world’s second largest movie market, until two weeks after its debut.) “Endgame” set a new weekend record in China, too, where it made $330.5 million.

In one fell swoop, “Endgame” has already made more than movies like “Skyfall,” ″Aquaman” and “The Dark Knight Rises” grossed in their entire runs, not accounting for inflation.

Alan Horn, Disney chairman, credited Marvel Studios and its president, Kevin Feige, for challenging “notions of what is possible at the movie theater.”

“This weekend’s monumental success is a testament to the world they’ve envisioned, the talent involved, and their collective passion, matched by the irrepressible enthusiasm of fans around the world,” Horn said in a statement.

To accommodate demand, the Walt Disney Co. released “Endgame” in more theaters — 4,662 in the U.S. and Canada — than any opening before. Advance ticketing services set new records. Early ticket buyers crashed AMC’s website. And starting Thursday, some theaters even stayed open 72 hours straight.

“We’ve got some really tired staff,” said John Fithian, president and chief executive of the National Association of Theater Owners. “I talked to an exhibitor in Kansas who said, ‘I’ve never sold out a 7 a.m. show on Saturday morning before,’ and they were doing it all across their circuit.”

Not working in the film’s favor was its lengthy running time: 181 minutes. But theaters kept added thousands of showings for “Endgame” to get it on more screens than any movie before to satiate the frenzy around “Endgame.” Joe and Anthony Russo’s film ties together the “Avengers” storyline as well as the previous 21 releases of the Marvel “cinematic universe,” begun with 2008′s “Iron Man.”

For an industry dogged by uncertainty over the growing role of streaming, the weekend was a mammoth display of the movie theater’s lucrative potency. Fithian called it possibly “the most significant moment in the modern history of the movie business.”

“We’re looking at more than 30 million American and more than 100 million global guests that experienced ‘Endgame’ on the big screen in one weekend,” Fithian said. “The numbers are just staggering.”

Further boosting the results for “Endgame” were good reviews; it currently ranks as 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, the best rating for any Marvel movie aside from “Black Panther.” Audiences gave the film an A-plus CinemaScore.

Single-handedly, “Endgame” led the overall weekend at the domestic box office to a record $400 million in ticket sales, according to Comscore. “Endgame” accounted for a staggering 88% of those tickets. The film’s grosses were aided by 3-D screenings (a record $540 million in global ticket sales) and IMAX screenings (a company record $91.5 million).

“Our partners in exhibition have done a great job with us on this film. As they saw the need, they opened up screens,” said Cathleen Taft, distribution chief for Disney. “While there may have been a concern — Is there going to be enough seats available? — I think that exhibition met that demand and rose to the occasion.”

But if there was any shadow to the weekend for the theatrical business, it was in just how reliant theaters have grown on one studio: Disney.

Disney now holds all but one of the top 12 box-office openings of all time. (Universal’s “Jurassic World” is the lone exception.) The studio is poised for a record-breaking year, with releases including “Aladdin,” ″Toy Story 4,” ″The Lion King,” ″Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Frozen 2” on the horizon.

Following its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney is expected to account for at least 40% of domestic box-office revenue in 2019, a new record of market share. The company’s “Captain Marvel” — positioned as a kind of Marvel lead-in to “Endgame” — also rose to No. 2 on the weekend, eight weeks after it opened. (The 22 films of Marvel’s “cinematic universe” have collectively earned $19.9 billion at the box office.)

Yet theater owners regularly speak of a “halo effect” around a movie like “Endgame.” Such sensations draw in new moviegoers and expose millions to a barrage of movie trailers.

“This has got to be the biggest weekend in popcorn history,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “Think of the gallons of soda and the hot dogs sold. This is going to continue all week and beyond. This is going to have long-term playability for sure.”

An enormous hit was much needed for a box office that, coming into the weekend, was lagging 16% of the pace of last year’s ticket sales, according to Comscore. “Endgame” moved the needle to negative 13.3% but the boost was less significant since “Infinity War” opened on the same weekend in 2018.

No other new wide release dared to open against “Endgame.” Warner Bros.′ “The Curse of La Llorona,” last week’s top movie, slid to third with $7.5 million.

The guessing game will now shift to just how much higher “Endgame” can go. Given its start, it’s likely to rival the top three worldwide grossers: “The Force Awakens” ($2.068 billion in 2015), “Titanic ($2.187 billion in 1997) and “Avatar” ($2.788 in 2009).


Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

  1. “Avengers: Endgame,” $350 million ($859 million international).

  2. “Captain Marvel,” $8.1 million.

  3. “The Curse of La Llorona,” $7.5 million.

  4. “Breakthrough,” $6.3 million.

  5. “Shazam!” $5.5 million.

  6. “Little,” $3.4 million.

  7. “Dumbo,” $3.2 million.

  8. “Pet Sematary,” $1.3 million.

  9. “Us,” $1.1 million.

  10. “Penguins,” $1.1 million.

IMF: US Sanctions Cutting Iranian Growth, Boosting Inflation

The International Monetary Fund is forecasting Iran’s economy to shrink by 6% this year as it faces pressure from U.S. sanctions.

In a report released Monday, the IMF said its estimates for Iran, which include the potential for inflation to top 40%, predate a U.S. decision to end waivers that have allowed some Iranian oil buyers to continue making their purchases despite new sanctions that went into effect last year.

The Trump administration is due to formally end the waivers on Thursday for some of Iran’s top crude purchasers, including China, India, Japan, Turkey and South Korea.

The United States says it wants to deprive Iran of $50 billion in annual oil revenues to pressure it to end its nuclear and missile programs. The White House says it is working with top oil exporters Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure an adequate world oil supply.

Turkey and China have attacked the U.S. action, but it is not clear whether they will continue to buy Iranian oil.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said an interview broadcast on the U.S. cable show Fox News Sunday accused the United States of trying to “bring Iran to its knees” and overthrow its government by seeking to thwart its international oil trade.

​He said U.S. officials are “wrong in their analysis. They are wrong in their hope and illusions.”

Zarif said the fact that Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 international agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear program “would not put the U.S. in the good list of law-abiding nations.” Iran state media reported that Zarif told Iranian reporters in New York that Tehran’s withdrawal from the pact is one of “many options” it is considering in the wake of the U.S. end to the waivers on sanctions for countries buying oil from Iran.

Zarif said a team of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, and leaders in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is trying to push U.S. President Donald Trump “into a confrontation he doesn’t want.”

“They have tried to bring the U.S. into a war,” Zarif said, with the goal, “at least,” of Iranian regime change.

Bolton, appearing on the same Fox News program, said the U.S. goal is not regime change, but a change in behavior, specifically an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile testing.

“The Iranian people deserve a better government,” Bolton said.

He called Zarif’s accusations “completely ridiculous, an effort to sow disinformation.”