Home /
Archive for: March 2021 - DIGEST UKRAINE

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Italy says it expelled two Russian diplomats and arrested an Italian navy captain Tuesday for their alleged involvement in espionage. The diplomats were expelled Wednesday, according to news reports. Italian police say the captain and a Russian Embassy official were arrested in a parking lot in Rome and were accused of “serious crimes tied to spying and state security.” Reuters reported that an Italian police official told them the captain was named Walter Biot and that he was accused of passing information in exchange for $5,900.  Italian news agency Ansa reported that some of the documents seized were NATO documents. Italian police said the arrests were the result of a lengthy investigation by national security and military officials. The Russian Embassy in Rome, March 31, 2021.After the arrests, Italy summoned the Russian ambassador, and two Russian officials allegedly involved in the incident were expelled.  Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio characterized the incident as “extremely grave,” Reuters reported. “During the convocation of the Russian ambassador to Italy at the Foreign Ministry, we let him know about the strong protest of the Italian government and notified the immediate expulsion of the two Russian officials involved in this extremely grave affair,” the minister’s Facebook post said, according to CNN. Biot, 54, was reportedly working at the defense ministry in a department charged with developing national security policy and maintaining relations with Italy’s allies, Reuters reported. According to Reuters, Russian news agencies said the two expelled officials worked in the embassy’s military attaché office. They did not say if the person arrested in the parking lot was one of those expelled. Russian news agency Interfax reported that a Russian politician said it would reciprocate for the expulsions. But a Kremlin spokesman downplayed the incident. “At the moment, we do not have information about the reasons and circumstances of this detention,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to CNN. “But in any case, we hope that the very positive and constructive character of Russian-Italian relations will be preserved.” Both Bulgaria and the Netherlands have expelled Russian officials over spying allegations in recent months.  
 


your ad here

Coronavirus infections are ravaging Hungary’s 700,000-strong Roma community, according to personal accounts that suggest multiple deaths in single families are common in an unchecked outbreak fueled by deep distrust of authorities.Data on infections in the community is unavailable but interviews with about a dozen Roma, who often live in cramped and unsanitary conditions, reveal harrowing stories of suffering and death and of huge health care challenges.”Our people are falling like flies,” said Aladar Horvath, a Roma rights advocate who travels widely among the community.When asked by phone to describe the overall situation, he broke down sobbing and said he had learned an hour before that his 35-year-old nephew had died of COVID.Another Roma, Zsanett Bito-Balogh, likened the outbreak in her town of Nagykallo in eastern Hungary to an explosion.”It’s like a bomb went off,” she said.”Just about every family got it. …People you see riding their bikes one week are in hospital the next and you order flowers for their funerals the third.”Bito-Balogh, who herself recovered twice from COVID-19, said that at one point she had 12 family members in hospital. She said she had lost two uncles and her grandmother to the virus in the past month, and a neighbor lost both parents, a cousin and a uncle within weeks.She says she is now rushing to organize in-person registration points for vaccines and plans to have the network up and running in a few weeks.Despite the challenges in persuading many Roma to turn to health authorities for medical care and vaccinations, Roma leaders are urging the government to do more to intervene and tackle what Horvath describes as a humanitarian crisis.Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, said vaccinations would be rolled out to Roma but that the community needed to volunteer for their shots.”Once we get to that point, the younger Roma should get in line,” Gulyas said in answer to Reuters questions. The Roma community is predominantly young, which means their vaccinations are scheduled later than for older Hungarians.The government’s chief epidemiologist did not respond to requests for comment.Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline.Download File360p | 11 MB480p | 16 MB540p | 22 MB720p | 46 MB1080p | 89 MBOriginal | 102 MB Embed” />Copy Download AudioIn northern Hungary, one of the European Union’s poorest regions, many Roma who live with hardship in the best of times are facing hunger as the coronavirus brings the economy to a halt.Decades of mistrustBarely 9% of Roma want to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a survey carried out at Hungary’s University of Pecs in January but published here for the first time. It was conducted by Zsuzsanna Kiss, a Roma biologist and professor at Hungary’s University of Pecs.Kiss said the Roma have mistrusted doctors and governments for decades because of perceived discrimination.However, gaining Roma trust is not the only challenge.Hungary’s 6,500 general practitioners are leading the vaccine rollout, but 10% of small GP clinics are shut because there is no doctor to operate them, mostly in areas with high Roma populations, government data shows.Although the government has deployed five “vaccination buses” that tour remote areas, people must first register for inoculations.”The rise in cases (among the Roma) is clearly proportionate to vaccine rejection,” said former Surgeon General Ferenc Falus.”This more infectious virus reaches a population whose immune system has weakened greatly during the winter months. If they go without vaccines for long, it will definitely show in extra infections and fatalities among the Roma.”Hungary currently has the world’s highest weekly per capita death toll, driven by the more contagious variant first detected in Britain, despite a rapid vaccination rollout, data from Johns Hopkins University and the European Union indicates.”We never trusted vaccines much,” said Zoltan Varga, a young Roma also from Nagykallo.


your ad here

«Віртуальний номер» – послуга, за допомогою якої можна користуватися українським номером телефону без наявності фізичної SIM-картки


your ad here

Italian authorities said Wednesday they have arrested an Italian Navy captain on spying charges after he was allegedly caught giving classified documents to a Russian embassy official in exchange for money. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador, Sergey Razov, after the sting operation late Tuesday caught the two in what police said was a “clandestine operation” to exchange the goods. Italy’s Carabinieri paramilitary police said in a statement that the Italian official, who is a frigate captain, had been arrested. The Russian, a member of the Russian armed forces stationed at Moscow’s embassy to Italy, has been detained but his status is “under consideration” given his diplomatic position, the statement said. Italy’s special operations forces in Rome staged the operation “during a clandestine operation between the two, surprising them red-handed immediately after the handing over of classified documents by the Italian official in exchange for a sum of money,” the statement said. The Carabinieri said both were accused of “serious crimes concerning espionage and state security.” The Russian Embassy in Rome confirmed the detention of a diplomat who was part of the military attache’s office but wouldn’t comment on the incident. “In any case, we hope that it wouldn’t affect bilateral ties,” it said in a statement. 


your ad here

Germany has limited the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people 60 years of age and older due to concerns that it may be causing blood clots.   Federal and state health authorities cited nearly three-dozen cases of blood clots known as cerebral sinus vein thrombosis in its decision Tuesday, including nine deaths.  The country’s medical regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, says all but two of the cases involved women between the ages of 20 and 63.    The nationwide order was made after several local governments, including Berlin, Munich and the states of Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia, had already decided to limit the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to older residents.   Health authorities say younger people who belong to a high-risk category for serious illness from COVID-19 can still get the vaccine, while people 60 and younger who have received the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot can still receive the second shot as planned. About 2.7 million Germans have been inoculated with the vaccine. The decision is likely to further slow down Germany’s already sluggish vaccination campaign, and marks another setback for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has had a troubled rollout across the world. Several European countries had briefly stopped use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine because of similar reports of blood clots, until the  European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Union’s drug approval body, declared the vaccine as safe.German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Health Minister Jens Spahn brief the media after a virtual meeting with federal state governors at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 30, 2021.Germany’s decision came a day after Canada said it would stop offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to people under age 55 because of concerns of serious blood clots, especially among younger women.   Also on Tuesday, the United States and 13 other nations issued a statement raising “shared concerns” about the newly released World Health Organization report on the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19. The statement, released on the U.S. State Department website, as well as the other signatories, said it was essential to express concerns that the international expert study on the source of the virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples. The WHO formally released its report earlier Tuesday, saying while the report presents a comprehensive review of available data, “we have not yet found the source of the virus.”  The team reported difficulties in accessing raw data, among other issues, during its visit to the city of Wuhan, China earlier this year. The researchers also had been forced to wait days before receiving final permission by the Chinese government to enter Wuhan. The joint statement by the United States and others went on to say, “scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings.”  The nations expressed their concerns in the hope of laying “a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crisis.” Along with the United States, the statement was signed by the governments of Australia, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, and Slovenia. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday further study and more data are needed to confirm if the virus was spread to humans through the food chain or through wild or farmed animals.   Tedros said that while the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, the matter requires further investigation. WHO team leader Peter Ben Embarek told reporters Tuesday that it is “perfectly possible” COVID-19 cases were circulating as far back as November or October 2019 around Wuhan, earlier than has been documented regarding the spread of the virus. 


your ad here

За даними ДПСУ, загалом з початку року військовослужбовці Херсонського прикордонного загону виявили 295 осіб, які порушили порядок в’їзду до окупованого Криму


your ad here

Turkey’s announcement of new restrictions in the face of surging COVID-19 infections is putting the spotlight on Ankara’s decision to rely almost solely on Chinese vaccines. With those deliveries repeatedly delayed, there is growing suspicion Beijing could be using the vaccines as leverage — as Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.Producer: Jon Spier


your ad here

The United States and 13 other nations issued a statement Tuesday raising “shared concerns” about the newly released World Health Organization report on the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The statement, released on the U.S. State Department website, as well as the other signatories, said it was essential to express concerns that the international expert study on the source of the virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples.
The WHO formally released its report earlier Tuesday, saying while the report presents a comprehensive review of available data, “we have not yet found the source of the virus.”  The team reported difficulties in accessing raw data, among other issues, during its visit to the city of Wuhan, China, earlier this year.
The researchers also had been forced to wait days before receiving final permission by the Chinese government to enter Wuhan.
The joint statement by the U.S. and others went on to say, “scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings.”  The nations expressed their concerns in the hope of laying “a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crises.”
Along with the U.S., the statement was signed by the governments of Australia, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, and Slovenia.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday further study and more data are needed to confirm if the virus was spread to humans through the food chain or through wild or farmed animals.  
Tedros said that while the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, the matter requires further investigation.
WHO team leader Peter Ben Embarek told reporters Tuesday that it is “perfectly possible” COVID-19 cases were circulating as far back as November or October 2019 around Wuhan, earlier than has been documented regarding the spread of the virus.
 


your ad here

29 березня близько 14:35 у районі селища Славгород Синельниківського району під час руху зійшли з рейок шість останніх вагонів швидкісного потягу «Інтерсіті» № 732 сполучення «Київ – Запоріжжя»


your ad here

European leaders are handling rising public frustration, economic distress and mounting coronavirus case numbers in different ways, with most showing the strain of dealing with a yearlong pandemic, say analysts and commentators, who add that the leaders seem to be rattled by a third wave of infections sweeping the continent.A defiant French President Emmanuel Macron defended his decision to avoid a lockdown as the infection rate climbed in January, telling reporters last week he had “no remorse” and would not acknowledge any failure for the deepening coronavirus crisis engulfing France.“There won’t be a mea culpa from me,” said Macron.In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel last week apologized to Germans for her initial decision — now rescinded — to lock the country down tight for Easter. She called the idea a mistake and apologized after a hastily arranged videoconference with the country’s 16 state governors.German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from lawmakers at German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, March 24, 2021.But she urged fellow Germans to be more optimistic and stop complaining about restrictions and vaccine delays.“You can’t get anywhere if there’s always a negative,” she said. “It is crucial whether the glass is half full or half empty.”Merkel has likened the third wave of rising coronavirus infections to “living in a new pandemic” and encouraged Germans to test themselves once a week with rapid tests provided by authorities.In France, medical directors from the Paris public health system warned in a statement to Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that soaring infections are overwhelming the capital’s hospitals. As in Bergamo, Italy, a year ago, they say medical staff will soon have to choose which patients to treat.“We’re going straight into the wall,” said Catherine Hill, an epidemiologist in France. “We’re already saturated, and it’s become totally untenable. We can no longer take in non-COVID patients. It is completely mad,” she told French radio.France’s Health Ministry reported 37,014 new coronavirus cases Sunday, bringing the country’s total number of infections to over 4.5 million. Over 94,000 people in the country have died from the virus.Medical staff work in the intensive care unit where COVID-19 patients are treated at Cambrai hospital, France, March 25, 2021.Across Europe, 20,000 people are dying per week, more than a year ago, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO has urged governments to get back to basics in their handling of the pandemic. Central Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic states are also being hit hard with cases, hospitalizations and deaths — among the highest in the world.Political repercussionsThe pandemic has claimed two political positions, as well. The coalition government in Italy headed by Giuseppe Conte collapsed last month amid a dispute about how to spend European Union recovery funds.On Sunday, embattled Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič announced his resignation to end a monthlong political crisis sparked by his decision to buy the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine to make up for a shortfall in vaccines distributed by the EU.Prime Minister Igor Matovic, front, announces the resignation of Health Minister Marek Krajci, left, in Bratislava, March 11, 2021.Matovič will switch places with current Finance Minister Eduard Heger, who will become the new prime minister of the fractious four-party coalition government.Under public pressure to get a grip on the crisis, some leaders appear to be increasingly nervous about the possible electoral repercussions from more lockdowns, deaths and likely more months of reduced economic activity, which means more bankruptcies.According to a pan-Europe opinion poll conducted for the International Republican Institute, a U.S.-based NGO in partnership with European parliamentary groups, Europeans, especially in the East and center of the continent, are becoming increasingly gloomy about their economic prospects. Pessimism is especially pronounced among low-income Europeans.More than 40% of respondents from Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Poland and Spain told pollsters they feel their financial situation will get worse. With the gloom mounting, governments appear to be lashing out, according to some commentators, with efforts being made to find scapegoats for the worsening crisis.A vendor waits outside her stall at a deserted market in Budapest, Hungary, March 25, 2021.British officials argue that the ongoing dispute between Britain and the EU over supplies to Europe of the AstraZeneca vaccine are part of an effort to shift blame. The EU claims it is not getting a fair share of doses, thanks to behind-the-scenes British shenanigans — an accusation London vehemently denies.The British media have also lambasted European leaders for what they say are false accusations, with Macron being seen as largely behind the distraction. “There is now a systematic attempt by his (Macron’s) entourage to blame the unfolding debacle on the British, trying to create a sense that everything would be on track were it not for the U.K.’s refusal to hand over AstraZeneca vaccines,” said British columnist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.Policy U-turns are coming thick and fast — another sign of political disarray, analysts say.Merkel on Sunday — just days after relenting on a tight Easter lockdown — blamed regional governments for failing to take the crisis seriously enough and for easing restrictions despite rapidly rising infection rates.She threatened to centralize Germany’s pandemic response and override regional powers, a move that would be legally and politically risky and would undermine traditional German federalism. 


your ad here

Точний час запізнення може коригуватись і залежатиме від ходу відновлювальних робіт, які досі тривають, додали в УЗ


your ad here

The Vatican banished the former archbishop of Gdansk in Poland on Monday following an investigation into negligence over sex abuse allegations. The announcement came from the Vatican’s embassy in Warsaw. The investigation into Archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz, who retired last August, began in November of last year. “Acting on the basis of the provisions of the Code of Canon Law … the Holy See, as a result of formal notifications, conducted proceedings concerning the reported negligence of Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz in cases of sexual abuse committed by some clergy towards minors and other issues related to the management of the archdiocese,” said the apostolic nunciature. A statement from the apostolic nunciature said Glodz may not live in the territory of the archdiocese of Gdansk, nor may he attend religious celebrations or secular meetings there. In addition, Glodz will be paying a “suitable sum” to the Saint Joseph Foundation, an organization that provides assistance to victims of abuse. In 2019, priests in Gdansk accused Glodz of covering up cases of sexual abuse. At the time, Glodz denied any wrongdoing. Glodz was included in a report by people who said they were survivors of abuse. The report identified two dozen current and retired Polish bishops who have been accused of protecting predator priests. The report was delivered to Pope Francis on the evening of his 2019 global abuse prevention summit at the Vatican. Glodz could not be contacted for comment as his whereabouts were not known. The Gdansk archdiocese told Reuters it had received the decision but did not provide any further comment. 


your ad here

A trial opened in Paris Monday over the 2004 bombing of a French military base in then war-torn Ivory Coast that killed an American soil scientist and nine French soldiers. The defendants are being tried in absentia. Nearly two decades later, the attack—and the French government’s response—raises many questions.Two Ivorian soldiers and a mercenary from Belarus stand accused of the 2004 bombing of the French army base near Bouake—Ivory Coast’s second largest city held by rebels at a time, when the country was in the middle of a civil war. The whereabouts of the three men are unknown—one of the many mysteries surrounding this trial. Relations between Ivory Coast and its former colonial power France were at a low point when the bombing took place. Anti-French sentiment — especially against its Licorne peacekeeping operation there — was high.Paris was accused of aiding rebels fighting then-president, Laurent Gbagbo. France responded to the Bouake attack by destroying Ivory Coast’s tiny air force. Some believe the attack was a blunder by Ivorian authorities. Former French ambassador to Ivory Coast, Jean-Marc Simon, told Radio France International he believed even former President Gbagbo had not been informed of it in advance – but suggested high-level members of Gbagbo’s government must have given the orders. FILE – Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo talks to his members of his legal team at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Feb. 6, 2020.Lawyer Lionel Bethune de Moro, representing some of the civil parties in the case, told Agence France-Presse news service he believes the attack was deliberate by Ivorian authorities — as a way to get France to leave Ivory Coast.Still, others suggest the bombing was a plot by France to trigger Gbagbo’s departure. It’s a hypothesis raised by another lawyer of the victims, but dismissed by ambassador Simon as a conspiracy theory. There are also questions about why the three defendants were never caught, and international arrest warrants against them not carried out. France’s former ministers of defense, interior and foreign affairs have been called as witnesses in this trial.Bernadette Delon, sister of one of the victims, told AFP she doesn’t expect this trial to resolve anything. It comes as the International Criminal Court in The Hague rules Wednesday on whether to uphold its earlier acquittal of Gbagbo on charges related to post-electoral violence in Ivory Coast, in 2010. If that happens, reports say, the former president plans to go home. In Abidjan, Willy Neth, coordinator for the International Federation for Human Rights in Ivory Coast, says many Ivorians have turned the page on the traumatic events of 2004.  He expects few will closely follow this Paris trial. Still, Neth says, political opinions remain sharply divided on France. They’re mostly negative when it comes to opposition figures supporting former president Gbagbo, while the current government of President Alassane Ouattara and his supporters consider France a key international partner. 


your ad here

Adebi works in the shadows on La Rambla, Barcelona’s famous boulevard. In normal times, she tries to attract tourists or locals who are out for a night out on the city. The 36-year-old has lived in Spain for 10 years but when she arrived in her adopted home from Nigeria, prostitution was hardly what she had in mind. “I wanted to come here and do domestic work, you know, send money back home. It has not been like that,” she told VOA. Adebi, who did not want to use her real name, is like many other women who have been tricked into prostitution by well-organized sex trafficking gangs, who demand that the women pay off a debt by selling themselves for sex. Prostitution has boomed in Spain since decriminalizing the practice in 1995. The country became known as the brothel of Europe after a 2011 United Nations report said it was the third biggest capital of the sex trade after Thailand and Puerto Rico. The sex trade is worth $25 billion per year and about 500,000 people work in unlicensed brothels, according to data from Eurostat, the European Union Statistics agency.  About 80% of these women are victims of sex traffickers, say Spanish National Police officials. New legislation Now, Spain’s leftist coalition government wants to ban prostitution by bringing in a new law that would attempt to penalize anyone profiting from the sex trade. “We are on the right path, which has to end in national legislation against prostitution and trafficking, which says that our sexuality is available to men that we are a commodity which is bought and sold,” said Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo last week. “There is trafficking because there is prostitution; if there is no prostitution there is no trafficking. We are abolitionists.” Prostitution occupies something of a legal limbo in Spain; selling yourself for sex is not illegal but profiting from it is. According to Spanish law, sex trafficking is when one person moves, detains or transports someone else for the purpose of profiting from their prostitution using fraud, force or coercion. Previous attempts to bring in a national law have floundered because political parties could not agree. Calvo has the support of the far-left Unidas Podemos party, the junior partner in the coalition government, but seeks to win over the opposition conservative People’s Party and regional parties. More harm than good? Nacho Pardo, a spokesman for the Committee to Support Sex Workers, CATS, believes banning prostitution will harm the very people it is designed to help. 
“This will not eradicate prostitution. It will not offer people working in prostitution and it will help the mafias in the same way as happened in the US when prohibited alcohol,” he told VOA in a telephone interview.  “I think it will be catastrophic.” CATS helps about 2,000 prostitutes in southeastern Spain each year, of which about 10% were victims of sex trafficking, says Pardo. He said many women, men and transsexuals from Africa and South America, became involved in the sex trade in Spain because sex traffickers insisted they pay off debts.  The traffickers demand payment for the cost of smuggling the sex workers and finding them work, but advocates say the alleged debts in reality amount to swindling and extortion.  Nigerian women form the largest group of Africans who operate in Spain, Pardo said. Romanians form the largest group of foreign prostitutes in Spain, followed by women from the Dominican Republic and Colombia. “Most feel deep shame about being involved in the sex trade,” he said. FILE – Women hold a giant banner reading ‘Abolition of prostitution’ during a demonstration to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Madrid on Nov. 25, 2019.Rocío Mora, who has been campaigning against sex trafficking for three decades, is the director of Apramp, which helps protect, help and reintegration women who are in prostitution. She says her team sees almost 300 women per day who are victims of sex trafficking. “Since 1985 we have been calling for abolition of prostitution. In a country which believes in the state of law, no person should be sold for their body,” she told VOA. “There is now a need for a comprehensive law that criminalizes those who profit from what is a form of violence against women.” Back on the streets of Barcelona, Adebi says all women were forced to have sex with clients, often under threat. She says some Nigerian women were told they had run up debts of up to $60,000 but despite plying their trade for years, they never worked it off. “Women are fined for being late, not looking good, buying cigarettes from a place which is not the sex club they are working in, anything,” she says. “That whole film with Richard Gere was a myth. There is no such thing as Pretty Woman.”  


your ad here