Долар повернувся в жовтень – НБУ

Долар за день подорожчав на 11 копійок, свідчать дані на сайті Національного банку України.

На 3 лютого офіційна вартість долара встановлена на рівні 25 гривень 3 копійок.

Востаннє курс перевищував позначку у 25 гривень за долар 31 жовтня 2019 року.

У січні долар зміцнився приблизно на 5%. На початку року його вартість становила 23 гривні 69 копійок.


DJ Khaled, Cardi B, Gaga to Perform During Super Bowl week

DJ Khaled will be celebrating his first-ever Grammy win in the city where the former radio host built his career: Miami.The hitmaker will perform at multiple pre-Super Bowl events this week, which will be jam-packed with other A-list celebrities, including Diddy, Shaquille O’Neal, Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Post Malone, Kevin Hart, Vin Diesel, Cardi B, Chris Brown, Guns N’ Roses and Maroon 5.“Oh yeah, we’re definitely celebrating (this) week. I remember Super Bowl came here 10 years ago and it was a special time. We want to make this special, too,” Khaled said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m excited it’s in Miami.”Khaled is fresh off winning a Grammy Award for best rap/sung performance for “Higher,” a collaboration with late rapper Nipsey Hussle and R&B star John Legend.Super Bowl week will mirror the Grammys, which took place Jan. 26, with the number of big music stars performing ahead of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s halftime show Sunday at the Hard Rock Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs.Khaled will perform at Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest’s EA Sports Bowl, the VEWTOPIA Music Festival and Rolling Stone’s party.Others, too, will perform several times throughout the week, including Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, the Chainsmokers, DaBaby, Marshmello, Megan Thee Stallion, Meek Mill and Tiesto.Cardi B will perform at a concert celebrating the trailer for the upcoming film “Fast & Furious 9”; Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena and Tyrese will also attend, while Ludacris, Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth and Ozuna will hit the stage. The Grammy-winning rapper will also hold a late-night performance at LIV and headline VEWTOPIA.Lizzo will also double up with performances: She will sing at SiriusXM & Pandora Opening Drive Super Concert Series and then at the Planet Pepsi Zero Sugar party, which will also feature Harry Styles and Mark Ronson at Meridian at Island Gardens.Gaga, who headlined the halftime show in 2017, will perform at the same venue for AT&T TV Super Saturday Night, held a day before Super Bowl 54.Post Malone will hit the stage for Bootsy On the Water, a Bootsy Bellows pop-up, which will be hosted by Kevin Hart. Swae Lee, who collaborated with Malone on the hit “Sunflower,” will host an event to launch his shoe collection with Giuseppe Zanotti.Budweiser will launch the Budx Hotel on South Beach with events featuring Dwyane Wade and Halsey; Karamo Brown of “Queer Eye” is part of an event for Stella Artois; and Guy Fieri will host 2020 The Players Tailgate.Shaq’s Fun House, the NBA legend’s carnival-themed music festival, is coming back to Miami and will feature performances by Diddy, Pitbull, Diplo and Shaq himself, a.k.a. DJ Diesel.“Big Game Weekend has never seen a lineup like this!,” O’Neal said in a statement. “Bigger venue, bigger state fair sized carnival, bigger line-up.”O’Neal made his statement before the death of Kobe Bryant on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also killed Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people.In an Instagram post on Wednesday, O’Neal, who has been distraught since the tragedy, said he was debating whether he should still go to Miami.“Part of me wanted to stay to myself as I reflect what my brother and his family mean to me and my family,” he wrote. “But in thinking what would Kobe want, what would he do? Kobe would want us to push through and celebrate life. So let’s just do that.”He added he would donate all his proceeds to “all the families who lost loved ones and to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation.”

New US Envoy Tells Russia to ‘End nightmare’ for Jailed Ex-Marine

The United States’ new ambassador to Russia urged Moscow on Thursday to release a former U.S. Marine accused of spying, and said Russian investigators had failed to present credible evidence to back up their case.Days after starting as U.S. ambassador, John Sullivan accused Russian authorities of “shameful treatment” of Paul Whelan, who was detained by security agents in a Moscow hotel room on Dec. 28, 2018 and accused of espionage.Whelan, 49, denies the charges against him and holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports. At court hearings over the past year, he has said he is being ill treated.The case, in which Whelan be jailed for 20 years if he is found guilty, has strained U.S.-Russian ties that are already under pressure from an array of issues including the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and election-meddling allegations.On Thursday, Sullivan visited Whelan in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison. It was one of the ambassador’s first public appearances since he presented his credentials at Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Jan. 21.”It’s time for this nightmare to end, and for Paul to go home,” Sullivan said in comments published by the U.S. embassy on social media.”The case has gone on far too long. Investigators have  shown no evidence – zero. Russian authorities show no credible justification for isolating Paul, and refuse to allow Paul to get proper medical attention. This is shameful treatment.”Russia’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed Whelan’s allegations of ill-treatment and accused him of trying to stir up noise around his case.Moscow says Whelan was caught red-handed with a computer flash drive containing classified information. Whelan says he was set up in a sting operation and had thought the drive, given to him by a Russian acquaintance, contained holiday photos.Previous efforts to secure Whelan’s release, including an appeal in December, have been ignored.

Українські експортери до кінця року не відчують змін у торгівлі з Британією через процес «брекзиту»

До кінця поточного року українські експортери не відчують жодних змін у торгівлі із Великою Британією через процес виходу цієї країни зі складу ЄС, повідомили у пресслужбі Міністерства розвитку економіки, торгівлі та сільського господарства України.

«Що потрібно запам’ятати нашим експортерам: зараз не змінюється нічого, далі з 1 січня наступного року у нас буде Угода про вільну торгівлю з Великою Британією. З огляду на те, що ми готувались до різних сценаріїв «брекзиту», минулого року ми майже повністю підготували угоду. Вона буде дуже подібна до Угоди про вільну торгівлю з Європейським союзом. Зараз в нас ще є достатньо часу, аби доопрацювати проєкт угоди», – заявив торговий представник України, заступник міністра економрозвитку Тарас Качка.

У відомстві додали, що до кінця 2020 року, поки триватиме перехідний період, українські експортери не відчують жодних змін у торгівлі із Британією «як напряму, так і при ввозі товарів на митну територію ЄС через інші держави-члени ЄС з метою транзиту у Велику Британію».

31 січня 2020 року Велика Британія почала процес виходу із Європейського союзу. До 31 грудня діятиме перехідний період, на час якого Британія залишатиметься учасником Митного союзу ЄС. У цей час країна продовжить дотримуватися правил Європейського союзу, але вже не матиме своїх представників у європейських інституціях. Паралельно сторони продовжать домовлятися про подальшу економічну й безпекову співпрацю.

Як пропагандистка “страни” Крюкова за свою брехню відповідала

Як пропагандистка “страни” Крюкова за свою брехню відповідала/

Про те, як я з проросійською пропагандисткою Крюковою розмовляв та як вона не змогла відповісти на питання щодо своєї ж брехні.

Блог про українську політику та актуальні події в нашій країні

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Зачем престарелому чекисту должность верховного правителя

Зачем престарелому чекисту должность верховного правителя

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Эрдоган недоволен Россией. Москва кинула турок

Эрдоган недоволен Россией. Москва кинула турок.

Президент Турции Реджеп Эрдоган столкнулся с суровой действительностью партнерства с Креплем. Турецкий лидер обвинил Москву в невыполнении соглашений

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Brexit Day Takes Britain Back to the Future

Nearly 60 years ago, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan launched Britain’s bid to join what was then called the European Community, now the European Union. He saw no alternative but to go in with the Europeans, fearing otherwise Britain would be diminished, its global influence weakened.Macmillan worried U.S. trade and investment inevitably would be drawn increasingly toward Europe and away from Britain, and that his country would lose major economic benefits by not being a member of the emerging bloc.It took more than a decade for Britain to join the EC and nearly a quarter of that time to exit the bloc.FILE – Britain’s new Prime Minister Harold MacMillan at his desk at 10 Downing Street, London, Jan. 11, 1957.The initial applications, encouraged by U.S. administrations, were blocked by France’s imperious Gen. Charles de Gaulle, who argued Britain wasn’t European enough. And he told Macmillan that Britain was too obsessed with America and its Commonwealth of former colonies. The French leader feared once inside the bloc, Britain would prove disruptive and paralyze an inevitable advance toward greater European political unity.Dubbed by the frustrated British establishment the “impossible ally,” de Gaulle, who was as disparaging of the British as he was sniffy of the Americans, dashed the hopes of an exhausted Macmillan. The British prime minister saw EC membership as a crucial part of his so-called “grand design” to revive Britain’s flagging economic and political fortunes and to avoid being squeezed by larger powers as it searched for a post-imperial role for itself.By the time Britain did join — in 1973, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson — Macmillan had long retired, denied what he had hoped would be the great prize of his premiership. And de Gaulle was three years in the grave.Echo from the pastBut the same set of economic and geopolitical challenges that persuaded Macmillan, and his successors in Downing Street, of the necessity of joining the bloc will face the country after it exits— a remarkable and daunting echo from the past.Macmillan feared the rise and assertiveness of China and Russia, the loss of the British colonies and how that would impact the floundering British economy and reduce its clout. He worried that the European bloc, then just six members but now 27 with a combined economic activity last year of $18.7 trillion, would easily dominate the offshore British Isles.”The economic consequences to Britain may be grave,” he wrote in a memorandum. “However bold a face it may suit us to put on the situation, exclusion from the strongest economic group in the civilized world must injure us,” he wrote. Added to his fears was the predictability of Britain’s relations with the United States, which had interests of its own, and “the uncertainty of American policies towards us — treated now as just another country, now as an ally in a special and unique category.”Fast forward to now, and despite the “bold” face being offered by Britain’s Boris Johnson, who predicts great Brexit benefits for a buccaneering “global Britain,” the country’s dilemmas aren’t dissimilar from those identified more than half a century ago by Macmillan, say historians.British MEPs, or Member of the European Parliament, celebrate as they march out of European Parliament with their luggage in Brussels to take the Eurostar train back to Britain, Jan. 31, 2020, the day the U.K. is due to leave the EU.Brexit poses the same questions Macmillan was asking himself in 1961 as he drafted his “grand design,” shrugging off as he did so, and later disguising from the British public, the cost that would be incurred in terms of the dilution of sovereignty, if Britain joined the bloc.How can post-imperial Britain remain a player on the world stage? How can it avoid being squeezed between the U.S. on the one hand and the Europeans on the other?How can it boost its economy when historically it suffers low productivity and a shortage of skills in its native workforce? How can it attract foreign investment, if shut out of Europe’s single market and denied tariff-free access?”Brexit may well leave Britain marooned in its long-feared predicament: subject to the whims of larger powers,” according to Luke Reader, a historian with Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University. Britain has placed itself in “a geopolitical pickle” in a period of rising protectionism, he maintains. “It is reasserting itself as a nation-state at precisely the moment in which the world is reorganizing itself into powerful multi-national alliances and trading blocs,” he wrote in a commentary for opinion-site The Conversation.FILE – Britain’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace is seen at Downing Street in London, Britain, Dec. 17, 2019.Earlier in January, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who is preparing what British officials say is the “deepest security review” ministers and officials have conducted since the end of the Cold War, raised a worry that wouldn’t have been unfamiliar to Macmillan either. Wallace warned about placing all of Britain’s security eggs in one basket, saying in an interview with The Times newspaper that Britain risked becoming too dependent on the U.S. militarily and that the interests of the two countries wouldn’t always converge.”We are very dependent on American air cover and American intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. We need to diversify our assets,” he said, adding Britain “must be prepared to fight wars without the United States as its key ally.”British officials hope, in spite of Brexit, Britain can maintain a strong defense and intelligence relationship with the EU, ensuring it has eggs in two baskets.Role of FranceLike the 1960s, all roads will lead through Paris as Britain negotiates its future relationship with the EU. Boris Johnson appears to hope that he can seal a deal which gives British exporters favorable access to the single market without having to comply with EU rules, regulations and product standards. Johnson has quipped in the past that Britain can “have its cake and eat it.” That is going to be difficult.Compliance with EU rules would defeat the purpose of Brexit, say Brexit hardliners in Johnson’s ruling Conservative party. It would force Britain to be a rule-taker rather than a rule-maker, they say. Close regulatory alignment with the EU will complicate Britain’s negotiations with the U.S. for a free trade deal — something U.S. President Donald Trump has made clear.FILE – Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes France’s President Emmanuel Macron at the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain, Dec. 4, 2019.French President Emmanuel Macron will likely prove as prickly with Johnson as de Gaulle was with Macmillan in the forthcoming negotiations. The French leader seems determined that it will be the French eating cake, and not Johnson. He warned Wednesday that France will “not bow to pressure or “haste” in the forthcoming negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.The British tactic devised by Johnson’s closest adviser, Dominic Cummings, to escape the “geopolitical pickle” is to try to play the larger powers against each other, using threats of high tariffs to pressure the EU, United States, China and other nations to strike trade deals with London which are favorable for Britain, British media reported.The danger of playing powers off against each other was exposed this week when Johnson decided to allow the Chinese telecom giant Huawei a role in building Britain’s 5G network, which the Trump administration urged Britain not to do on security grounds. U.S. officials warned the decision could well imperil the trade deal Johnson wants to seal with Washington.US Warns Information-Sharing at Risk as Britain Approves Huawei 5G RolloutUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls Chinese firm an ‘extension of China’s communist party’Speaking to British historian James Hennessy, whose recent book “The Winds of Change” explores the dilemmas of post-imperial Britain, former Cabinet Secretary Richard Wilson noted: “We Brits always go into our big decisions as if under anesthetic, only waking up many years later and wondering, ‘Did we really mean to do that?'”Only time will tell if Brexit was one of those big decisions.

Tight Security Promised for Super Bowl 54 in Miami

Florida and federal law enforcement agencies preparing for the Super Bowl this Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens say they are ready for anything, including a detonated bomb or massive food poisoning, but haven’t identified any threats.
Events for the 54th Super Bowl, between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, kicked off Monday around South Florida, with an interactive Super Bowl Experience in Miami Beach and Super Bowl Live at Miami’s Bayfront Park. It’s a lot of mileage to patrol, but officials say they are well prepared. They had been planning for months and running drills.
Maj. Ed Caneva, the Miami-Dade Police Department operations commander for the NFL title game, said they identify a raft of different scenarios.
“We have been training and addressing anything,” Caneva said.
The Super Bowl has long been considered a potential target for terrorists or other violent extremists, and this year the game will be played amid rising tensions with Iran. But none of the games has ever been attacked. Anthony Salisbury, chief of the Homeland Security Investigations office in Miami, said law enforcement agencies nonetheless must be prepared.
“It’s all hands on deck,” Salisbury said. “This is a high-profile event. It’s the same with every Super Bowl. Nothing is being taken for granted.”
Several thousand federal, state and local law enforcement officials are involved in the game and the events leading up to it. Brian Swain, chief of the Miami Secret Service office and lead federal coordinator for the event, said there’s no intelligence thus far indicating any kind of threat.
“There is no specific credible threat right now,” Swain said. “I’m confident in our security plan.”
Streets will be blocked off. There will be scores of uniformed police officers and others in plainclothes roaming the stadium to ensure safety. Bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol, and fans must go through metal detectors.
The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed flight restrictions over Hard Rock Stadium and around some of the other events. The FAA has even produced a video called “No Drone Zone,” intended to curb the devices around game activities.
‘Enjoy the Super Bowl. Leave your drone at home,” the video says.
Commercial flights at Miami International Airport are unaffected.
There has been one potential close call in a past Super Bowl: Five years ago, federal authorities said they encountered a plot in Phoenix by a man who wanted to attack the Super Bowl and an adjacent mall and entertainment district in Glendale, Arizona, with pipe bombs. They said the man, Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, was unable to obtain the explosives, and the game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks was not hit.
Kareem later was convicted of conspiring to provide the guns used in an attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas in which two heavily armed associates were killed by local police officers. He also was convicted of providing support to the Islamic State group. His lawyers asked a judge to grant him a new trial or throw out his convictions.
This year’s Super Bowl will be the Miami area’s 11th, the most ever. Hard Rock Stadium is home to the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami Hurricanes and hosts concerts for major acts including The Rolling Stones. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he’s confident the area is ready for this game as well.
“We know how to do it,” Gimenez said. “We’ve done this before, and we’re pretty good at it.” 

Russia Pardons US-Israeli National Jailed on Drug Charges

Russian authorities Thursday pardoned and released an American-Israeli citizen jailed on drug charges, in a gesture timed with a visit by embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Moscow intended to focus on a new U.S.-backed peace plan for the Middle East.Naama Issachar, 27, a native of New Jersey who had moved to Israel, was serving 7½ years in prison for drug possession after border guards found 9 grams of hash in her bag during a changeover at a Moscow airport on her way from India to Israel.While the case instantly became a cause celebre in Israel — widely seen as an overly harsh sentence for a minor crime — it was only recently that Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled her release was imminent.“Everything will be OK,” Putin told Issachar’s mother, Yaffa, during a sideline meeting in Israel last week to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of a key Nazi death camp in World War II.Yet the timing of Putin’s decision to grant a pardon was riven with political implications.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, walk with Naama Issachar and her mother, Yaffa, after Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Naama a pardon, at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Jan. 30, 2020.Netanyahu visitIssachar’s release comes as Netanyahu is locked in a bitter yearlong struggle to maintain his hold on power while facing charges of criminal corruption. The Israeli leader was formally charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust by prosecutors this week.It also follows the White House’s unveiling of a new peace plan for the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict that U.S. President Donald Trump has controversially billed as “the deal of the century.”Israel’s Netanyahu has enthusiastically endorsed the proposal. The Palestinian leadership has rejected the deal outright.While Putin has yet to personally weigh in on the American proposal, initial reactions in Moscow underscored how the Kremlin is eager to build on its recent rise as a key power broker in Mideast regional politics.“We confirm our readiness to further constructive work towards the collective strengthening of efforts towards a complete resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in underscoring Russia’ delicate balance of alliances throughout the region.Situational leverageFrom the beginning, Issachar was seen as a bargaining chip in a larger political game involving Washington, Moscow and Tel Aviv.Her initial arrest came as Russia was seeking extradition of Aleksei Burkov, an alleged Russian hacker accused of computer fraud by the U.S. government.Israel ultimately chose to turn over Burkov to U.S. authorities last November — a decision that seemed to have soured any chance of Issachar’s early release.Indeed, even among the celebrations of Issachar’s freedom Thursday, questions lingered: What might have prompted the exchange now? What changed? And what had Putin gained?For it was undoubtedly a boon to Netanyahu’s latest reelection bid, with Israelis headed to the polls again March 2 after three previous votes that ended in stalemate.Netanyahu thanked Putin for a “swift” decision to free Issachar. Further underlining the political timing of the pardon, Issachar joined Netanyahu on his government plane back to Israel.“We’re excited to see you. Now we go back home,” Netanyahu told the former prisoner, in a video posted to his official Twitter account.❤️🇮🇱 pic.twitter.com/58UZwWaje3— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 30, 2020Back in Israel, media pundits suggested Netanyahu had secured Issachar’s release by granting Russia ownership of a Jerusalem site of importance to the Russian Orthodox Church, a key base of support for the Russian president.Fueling curiosity, the Kremlin released a statement in which Putin suggested the lead Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem had played a role, passing along a letter from Issachar’s mother.Meanwhile, in Russia, attention focused on the Kremlin leader’s other justifications for Issachar’s release.“She hadn’t even crossed the Russian border,” said Putin, a reference to the fact the small amount of hashish had been discovered while she was in an International airport transit zone.Despite the Kremlin insisting Issachar admit her guilt to gain pardon, the Russian leader seemed to back her lawyers view that no crime had actually been committed.“And so, was it a violation of the law or no?” political commentator Arkady Dubnov asked in a post to Facebook. К вопросу о милосердии президента РФ


Пресс-служба Кремля опубликовала…Posted by Аркадий Дубнов on Thursday, January 30, 2020Meanwhile, there remained little clarity over Putin’s views on President Trump’s grand bargain aimed at settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the supposed reason for the trip.“In the end, who cares about this small stuff,” joked Matvei Ganapolsky, a commentator on the Echo of Moscow radio.He then stated the obvious.“Issachar needed to be freed, because she had become a drag on Russian-Israeli relations,” Ganapolsky said.

With a Shrug and Some Sorrow, Europeans Bid Farewell to EU Member Britain

An hour’s train ride from the European Union’s headquarters, where the bloc’s British lawmakers and staffers packed up to leave, businesswoman Meriela Masson pondered Brexit during a quick smoke outside her Paris office.Parisian businesswoman Meriela Masson says she hasn’t had time to think of Brexit. (Lisa Bryant/VOA)”Unfortunately, I don’t have time to think of it,” Masson said of Britain’s departure from the EU, which becomes reality at midnight Friday in Brussels. “I don’t follow the news regarding Brexit, so I have no clue what to think about it.”If Britain’s departure from the EU amounts to a political earthquake in Brussels, the aftershock is less intense in other European capitals.Europeans feel sadness, but they are also watching Brexit unfold with “a sort of fatigue,” said analyst Elvire Fabry of the Jacques Delores Institute, a Paris research group.”It was more perceived as a deep political crisis within the U.K., than a real negotiation between the U.K. and EU,” she said, as the protracted talks wound out.  Now, as Europe moves from saying goodbye to Britain to carving out a new and potentially rocky post-Brexit relationship, ordinary Europeans face many unknowns.   Student Adolphine Nsimba exits a Paris M&S food store, one of Britain’s many marks on Europe. (Lisa Bryant/VOA)Will fishermen and farmers lose out on a lucrative British market? Will drivers and passengers be stuck in unending customs lines?”I hope it won’t penalize France,” said student Adolphine Nsimba, 25, as she exited an M&S food market in Paris — another sign of Britain’s imprint on Europe, along with craft beer and afternoon tea. “I have friends and family in England, and I don’t want to apply for a visa to go there.”Outside the Gare du Nord station, where London-bound Eurostar trains depart every 30 minutes, truck driver Pierre Weillart voiced similar fears. He spends many workdays moving refrigerated goods by road through the Channel Tunnel to Britain.”We’re worried about customs,” he said. “It could lose a lot of time.”Soul-searchingBrexit is also sparking soul-searching among some Europeans about what is broken in a political and economic union born from the ashes of World War II.”We European decision-makers must realize that if an increasing number of our fellow citizens have turned their back on the European project, it’s for a reason,” said Philippe Lamberts, an EU Greens Party lawmaker from Belgium. “It’s because many believe that too often, policies adopted at the European level have served the few rather than the many.”A Paris kiosok bears a magazine cover bidding farewell to Britain. (Lisa Bryant/VOA)Lamberts’ remarks came as the European Parliament voted to formally approve Brexit on Wednesday. As many lamented Britain’s departure from the bloc, euroskeptic parties cheered it on. “Brexit is the victory of the common people against multinational corporations, special interests and other elites,” populist Finns Party lawmaker Laura Huhtasaari said. “The 2020s is the decade where the national state makes the ultimate comeback in Europe.”Euroskeptic parties gained ground during last year’s European Parliament elections. In France, the far-right National Rally party led the overall vote with 23%, ahead of the ruling Centrist Party of President Emmanuel Macron.  A comeback for Europe?Pro-EU parties still won the majority of votes, and overall turnout hit a record high of more than 50%. Promises of a French-style Frexit or Italexit in Italy have faded.Analyst Elvire Fabry of the Jacques Delors Institute, named after a former European Commission president whose photo is to her left, says there is a feeling of fatigue regarding Brexit. (Lisa Bryant/VOA)”All the parties that are really critical toward the EU have changed their strategy a little,” Fabry said. “Instead of calling for a similar move out of the EU, they now want to change the EU from the inside.”Recent polls also show an uptick in citizen support. A 2019 Eurobarometer survey found Europeans view the bloc in a more positive light than at any other point in the last decade.”Brexit is a failure of Britain, not the European Union,” former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.  Others see it as a failure of both.  Fabry, for one, disagrees. She believes Brexit has delivered a powerful and positive message that might prove useful for other tricky negotiations, including with China and the United States.”We happened to see a new kind of cohesion among the Europeans,” she said, describing the unity in Brexit negotiations that member states have not found on issues like immigration and defense. “We were expecting divisions and increasing criticism of the EU — but on the contrary.”

Man Convicted of Trying to Steal 1215 Magna Carta from UK Cathedral

A man who tried to steal an original copy of the 1215 Magna Carta, considered to be one of the most important documents in the history of democracy, from an English cathedral was found guilty Thursday of criminal damage and attempted theft.Mark Royden, 47, had denied smashing a glass box housing the priceless manuscript in Salisbury Cathedral in southern England in 2018.Salisbury Crown Court heard he had set off a fire alarm in the cathedral cloisters before stunning visitors by hitting the glass case with a hammer, causing three holes in it and damage estimated at 14,000 pounds ($18,400).Failing to break through the safety glass, he tried to run out of the cathedral but was grabbed by maintenance workers and visitors, including an American tourist.The parchment, one of only four original copies still surviving, was not damaged.A key manuscript in English history, the Magna Carta is a charter of citizens’ rights curbing the arbitrary power of medieval kings which among other things guaranteed the right to a fair trial.King John agreed to place his seal on the document in June 1215 at Runnymede near Windsor, west of London, as a means of ending an uprising by rebel barons.Prosecutors said when questioned by police Royden had appeared to question the authenticity of the document.”The historical importance of the Magna Carta in establishing the right to justice cannot be overstated – which is somewhat ironic given Mark Royden’s repeated denials of his crime in the face of overwhelming evidence,” said Rob Welling of the Crown Prosecution Service.”Had he succeeded in taking it, Royden would have deprived the nation of what is said to be the most beautiful surviving copy from 1215.”Royden was released on bail and will be sentenced at a later date. The charter is back on display in Salisbury cathedral.

Irish Border Residents Watch for Brexit Fallout

The border was drawn in 1921, splitting communities and sometimes property, as the British government sought to create a home for the majority Protestant population of Northern Ireland at a time when the largely Catholic Republic of Ireland won its independence.Today, that 310-mile (500-kilometer) frontier is largely invisible. The only way motorists know they have crossed into Northern Ireland is from the speed limit signs, which use miles per hour measurements, rather than the metric system used in the south. Keen observers might notice a slight change in the pavement as well.As Brexit takes effect Friday, residents on both sides of the border are concerned about protecting the relative peace and prosperity after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. That accord helped end three decades of sectarian violence between paramilitary groups that wanted to reunify Ireland and those who insisted the six counties of Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK.FILE – Lisa Partridge, 28, who grew up with the Protestant Loyal Orange Institution, is reflected in a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at the Orange Hall, in Portadown, Northern Ireland, Dec. 19, 2019.Lisa Partridge, a 28-year-old tour operator raised in a British military family, remembers how it was “completely normal to check under the family car for a bomb every morning before you went to school.””Nobody would want to go back to that life,” she said.Central to the deal was the fact that both the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland were EU members, which allowed authorities to tear down hated border posts that had slowed the passage of people and goods as police and soldiers tried to halt the flow of arms and militants. With the end of onerous border controls, trade flowed freely between north and south spurring economic development in both communities.The British and Irish governments have promised to preserve those gains, but people on both sides of the border are concerned that Brexit may re-ignite tensions.”Who’s to know what way it’s going to go?” said Gary Ferguson, 27, as he milked the cows on his father’s farm. “It’ll make us or break us.”Signs of the conflict, known here as “The Troubles,” are still evident, even if rust and moss have softened their hard edges.In the village of Belcoo in Northern Ireland, an old railway bridge blown up by the British army sits partially submerged in the river that separates Northern Ireland from the town of Blacklion in the Irish Republic. An old customs post splits the small village of Pettigo between north and south. In Belfast, “peace walls” still seek to prevent violence by separating Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods.FILE – An old railway bridge blown up by the British Army in the 1970s is partially submerged in the Belcoo River that separates Northern Ireland from the town of Blacklion, Republic of Ireland, Dec. 23, 2019.To ensure there would be no hard border between north and south, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to different rules for trade between Northern Ireland and the EU than those that apply to the rest of the UK.Unionists see this as weakening the ties between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K., raising concerns that the reunification of Ireland is now more likely.In Portadown, the Protestant Orange Order still holds weekly protests to assert its British identity.”This is Britain. (It) says so on the map,” said David Reid, 33, walking in Belfast with his 1-year-old son in the shadow of a peace wall that separates his Protestant community from a Catholic one. “Me personally, it just doesn’t feel like it. It feels like you’re down in Ireland.”On the other side of the border in Castlefinn, in Ireland’s County Donegal, Tom Murray runs three pharmacies and says his primary goal is to protect the economic gains of the last two decades.FILE – Pharmacist Tom Murray, 46, stocks shelves at his pharmacy in Castlefinn, Ireland, just over the border from Northern Ireland, Dec. 23, 2019.”I think Ireland should always be a united country and should be free of the shackles of Britain,” said Murray, 46. “But at the same time, we have to accept that there’s 1 million people living a mile away who identify as British. I think we have to protect their identity, their culture, their Britishness every bit as much as we have to protect my Irishness. Otherwise it just won’t work.”Gerry Storey, 83, of the Holy Family Boxing Club in Belfast has been working to bridge the divide by bringing Protestant and Catholic youths together in the boxing ring.”When you come in here, you don’t talk politics. You don’t swear. And there’s no football jerseys,” Storey said. “In here everybody is treated fairly and squarely. And it doesn’t care who or what you are.”Ferguson, a fifth-generation Protestant dairy farmer in Stewartstown, Northern Ireland, agrees: “Irish, British, it doesn’t matter.””As long as the farming stays OK, that’s all,” he said. “And no wars start.”

Egyptian Archaeologists Unveil Ancient Tombs, Artifacts

Archaeologists on Thursday unveiled 16 ancient Egyptian tombs filled with sarcophagi and other artifacts from a vast burial ground.Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry announced the discoveries in the village of Tuna al-Gabal, near the Nile Valley city of Minya in central Egypt. The site boasts an array of previously excavated finds, including funerary buildings and catacombs filled with thousands of mummified ibis and baboon birds.The long-abandoned tombs date back to three dynasties, from 664-399 BC, in the Pharaonic Late Period.Among the new treasures presented: 20 sarcophagi made from limestone and etched with hieroglyphic texts, five wooden coffins, hundreds of amulets and 10,000 blue funerary statues, known as ushabti figurines, which are fixtures in the ancient tombs of the area. The sarcophagus lids are molded into mummy-like figures of men.While such contents can be looted or decay over time, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, described the tombs as “in good condition” and the sarcophagi stone as “well-polished.”Waziri said the tombs likely belonged to the high priests of Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of writing and wisdom, among other senior officials.The Ministry of Antiquities invited journalists to tour the site, shepherding film crews down ladders into dark, narrow shafts full of skeletons and sarcophagi.The Egyptian government frequently promotes archaeological finds to boost its vital tourism sector. The industry was hard hit by political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak.

За місяць ціна на бензин знизилася в середньому на дві гривні – прем’єр

За місяць ціна на дизельне пальне та бензин знизилася в середньому на дві гривні, повідомив прем’єр-міністр Олексій Гончарук у Facebook.

«Що це дає людям? Просто в цифрах. Щоденні витрати українців на пальне зменшились на 16,5 млн грн, або на 511 млн грн на місяць. Більше того, офіційні продажі пального збільшились на 6% за місяць, а це означає, що збільшилась і кількість податків, які сплачують в бюджет», – написав Гончарук.

За його словами, правоохоронці та органи контролю «відпрацювали» майже чотири тисячі нелегальних автозаправних станцій по всій країні. Частину закрили, інша частина – отримала ліцензії на офіційну роботу.

«В окремих областях, наприклад, в Луганській та Миколаївській, обсяги продажі пального збільшились на 15%. Ще в трьох: Вінницькій, Дніпропетровській та Черкаській – на 14%», – додав прем’єр.

23 грудня президент України Володимир Зеленський зустрівся з представниками компаній – учасниць паливного ринку, нафто- та газовидобувної галузі й мереж автозаправних станцій. Він закликав «відреагувати на зміцнення курсу гривні» та знизити ціни на бензин.

У відповідь вони поскаржилися на роботу нелегальних автозаправних станцій, проте наступного дня все ж знизили ціни на пальне.

Kenyan Students Among Foreigners Stuck in Coronavirus-Hit Chinese City

In an effort to contain the coronavirus, Wuhan, the Chinese city of about 11 million people, has locked down thousands of foreigners, including African students, most on scholarships. They are now trapped in the city where the virus was first detected and continues to spread.Twenty-eight-year-old Michael Njomo arrived in Wuhan city last September.
He applied for a competitive scholarship to study administrative management and was awarded it after several attempts.
The new coronavirus emerged just when he was settling in at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. The WhatsApp group for Kenyan students in China stopped talking about academics, and started checking on each other and sharing information about the disease.
He says the death toll kept rising and before he knew it, the city was under lockdown.  He says he and his colleagues are afraid to circulate in the city.
“Some of them are very scared here in their rooms, like the whole day they remain indoors,” he said. “Those are the directions we have been given by the authorities here, to avoid much interaction.  If you pay much attention on that [the death toll], I don’t know what will happen to you because there is so much information from different people.  The more you listen to them, the more you pay attention, the more scared you become.”People wearing face masks walk down a deserted street in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Jan. 28, 2020.Njomo and his colleagues spoke to VOA via a WhatsApp call from a room they said they shared.
Some countries have started evacuating their many thousands of citizens stranded in Wuhan. Njomo and other Kenyans are still not sure of their fate but are hopeful.
“If a situation comes that we can be evacuated from Wuhan to a safer place, everybody will accept that. Maybe somewhere like the embassy, somewhere like Beijing is ok.  It’s not that far from Wuhan to Beijing, but I don’t know what plans our ambassador has for us,” he said.
John (not his real name), a final year student of engineering at Huazhong University, was meant to come home in the next couple of months.He questions Kenya’s capacity to deal with the virus if it made its way to the country and said he preferred they stay in China.”Of course everyone would love to go back home, but again you look at where your home is, and you are also not sure of your status regarding the disease,” he said. “To me, I think its better just to stay here and ensure that I am safe wherever I am because you might go back home and take it to everyone and as you know, at home, facilities are not that good to handle the situation.”Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says 85 Kenyans are stuck in Wuhan.
In a press statement, the ministry said the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing is in touch with the Kenyan citizens who have been affected by the lockdown in Wuhan.FILE – Kenya Airways planes are seen parked at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport near Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 6, 2019.The Foreign Ministry warned Kenyans not to travel to China unless it was absolutely necessary.  
As some airlines suspended flights to China, Kenya Airways, the national carrier, said it will not suspend its flights to China.  The announcement came just after Kenyan Ambassador to China Sarah Serem called on the airline to stop flights to the country until the virus is contained.
At a briefing for journalists this week, Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director John Nkengasong said that if the virus makes its way to African countries, it would be hard to contain.
“The surveillance system is as good as the health system in member states, and we all know that we are at very different levels of strength in the member states. Some countries have very strong surveillance systems, some have weak surveillance systems and some, we are working with them to strengthen their systems there,” he said.Kenya reported Tuesday the first suspected case of coronavirus infection in January. The Ministry of Health said Thursday it sent samples to South Africa for further tests.
Sudan, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast are the other African countries that reported suspected cases.