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  • Agency Watchdog Slams Former HHS Chief Price on Costly Travel

    The government wasted at least $341,000 on travel by ousted Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, including booking charter flights without considering cheaper scheduled airlines, an agency watchdog said Friday.

    The HHS inspector general’s long-awaited report chastised the department for flouting federal travel rules, which require officials to book trips in the most cost-efficient way for taxpayers.

    The inspector general estimated that the government spent nearly $1.2 million on Price’s travel during his seven months in office. That included more than $700,000 in military flights on two foreign and two domestic trips, as well as more than $480,000 for various domestic trips by private chartered aircraft.

    HHS “improperly used federal funds related to Sec. Price’s government travel,” the report said. Of 21 trips reviewed by the inspector general’s investigators, only one complied with all federal travel requirements. The report said none of the charter flights complied.

    Price, who built a reputation as a budget hawk during earlier congressional service, has apologized and repaid the government nearly $60,000. The report said authorities should seek full recovery of the $341,000 deemed wasteful spending.

    Price spokesman Nicholas Peters said in a statement, “there is no indication in the [inspector general’s] report that the paperwork and regulatory issues of department staff were anything other than good faith mistakes.”

    Peters would not comment on any additional repayments by Price. He said investigators did not attempt to interview Price.

    In its formal response to the report, HHS agreed with most of the inspector general’s recommendations for tightening up official travel and requested detail on the $341,000 that investigators said the government should recoup. The inspector general said HHS should determine how best to recover the money.

    On Friday, HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan said in a separate statement that the department has since instituted new travel procedures for all political appointees, calling them “the most rigorous controls on travel in the organization’s history.” Such travel is now reviewed by the ethics office.

    But Hargan also seemed to quibble, saying “the work of an audit is to review compliance with procedures, not make legal conclusions. As a matter of law, none of the travel at issue was unauthorized.”

    The inspector general’s report raised questions about how Price’s travel was authorized. For example, investigators found that on five of 12 charter flights, legal approval came only during or after the trip.

    Extravagant spending on travel and office remodeling by top officials became a running story as the Trump administration took power in Washington on a presidential promise to “drain the swamp.” The latest Cabinet casualty was Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, who resigned this month amid ethics investigations.

    Price was forced out in the fall of 2017 after his travel drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who was also upset over the GOP failure to repeal “Obamacare.”

    A successful orthopedic surgeon before winning a congressional seat from the Atlanta suburbs, Price rose to become one of the top GOP experts on budget and health care issues. But as secretary of HHS, he never produced a health care plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

    Among other findings from the report:


    • Investigators questioned Price’s assertion that his official schedule prevented him from flying commercial. In one case a White House event cited as justification was canceled, and Price’s office chose to continue with a charter flight at a cost of nearly $18,000.

    • Even among charter flight options, Price’s office did not always book the lowest-cost trip. In one case the difference between quoted options amounted to nearly $46,000.

    • For six trips, Price either started or ended his travel in his home state of Georgia, his most frequent charter travel destination outside of his official duty station in Washington, D.C.

    • HHS paid more than $11,500 on commercial flights for a Price trip to China, Vietnam and Japan. But Price ultimately flew on military transport at a cost of more than $430,000.


    HHS lost track of what it spent for the commercial airline ticket until the inspector general’s investigators identified the expense. The government ultimately got a refund for the commercial ticket.


    HHS said current Secretary Alex Azar flies commercial on official business, with a few exceptions that have involved requests from the White House. Azar pays for his personal travel back home to Indiana on weekends.

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  • Report: Failure to Educate Girls Could Cost World $30 Trillion

    Failing to let girls finish their education could cost the world as much as $30 trillion in lost earnings and productivity, yet more than 130 million girls are out of school globally, the World Bank said Wednesday.

    Women who have completed secondary education are more likely to work and earn on average nearly twice as much as those with no schooling, according to a report by the World Bank.

    About 132 million girls worldwide aged 6 to 17 do not attend school, while fewer than two-thirds of those in low-income nations finish primary school, and only a third finish lower secondary school, the World Bank said.

    If every girl in the world finished 12 years of quality education, lifetime earnings for women could increase by $15 trillion to $30 trillion, according to the report.

    “Overall, the message is clear: Educating girls is not only the right thing to do,” the World Bank said in the report, “it also makes economic and strategic sense for countries to fulfill their development potential.”

    Other positive impacts of completing secondary school education for girls include a reduction in child marriage, lower fertility rates in countries with high population growth, and reduced child mortality and malnutrition, the World Bank said.

    “We cannot keep letting gender inequality get in the way of global progress,” Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank chief executive, said in a statement.

    The benefits of educating girls are considerably higher at secondary school level in comparison to primary education, said Quentin Wodon, World Bank lead economist and main report author.

    “While we do need to ensure that, of course, all girls complete primary school, that is not enough,” Wodon told Reuters.

    Women who have completed secondary education are at lesser risk of suffering violence at the hands of their partners, and have children who are less likely to be malnourished and themselves are more likely to go to school, the report said.

    “When 130 million girls are unable to become engineers or journalists or CEOs because education is out of their reach, our world misses out on trillions of dollars,” Malala Yousafzai, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in a statement.

    “This report is more proof that we cannot afford to delay investing in girls,” said Yousafzai, an education activist who was shot in the head at the age of 15 by a Taliban gunman in 2012.

    The report was published ahead of U.N. Malala Day on Thursday, which marks the birthday of the Pakistani activist.

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  • Kenya Uber to Keep Fares Unchanged for Now, Following Drivers’ Strike

    Uber’s business in Kenya said on Friday it will keep its fares unchanged for now, after associations representing taxi drivers in the country signed a deal giving guidelines for better fares and working conditions.

    “As of today, we will not be adjusting our fares as we are busy completing a deeper study of driver economics in light of the concerns and feedback that we have received from drivers to ensure that fares are correctly priced,” a spokesperson for Uber Technologies said in an email to Reuters.

    The Digital Taxi Association of Kenya, representing more than 2,000 ride-hailing taxi drivers, signed a deal on Wednesday meant to give drivers higher pay and better conditions.

    The drivers told Reuters they thought the deal would cushion them in the event of falling fares arising from discounts companies offers to passengers. They had staged a nine-day strike seeking higher fares and better working conditions.

    As in other markets, these ride-hailing services in Kenya initially faced opposition and sometimes hostility from other taxi drivers.

    Kenya is Uber’s second-largest market in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa. It competes mostly against its local rival Taxify, which has gained popularity in Nairobi in the past year and a half, but does not disclose numbers of active riders and users.

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  • Мама Кольченка привітала Олега Сенцова одиночним пікетом в анексованому Криму

    Мати ув’язненого у Росії українця Олександра Кольченка Лариса провела одиночний пікет у Сімферополі. Таким чином вона привітала з днем народження іншого засудженого кримчанина – Олега Сенцова, який голодує у російській колонії за Полярним колом.

    Фотографії пікету оприлюднили у соцмережах, зокрема, мати ще одного фігуранта справи про «групу Сенцова» Ольга Афанасьєва та координаторка «Медійної ініціативи за права людини» Марія Томак.

    13 липня у Сенцова – день народження, йому виповнюється 42 роки. 14 травня режисер оголосив безстрокове голодування з вимогою звільнити всіх українських політв’язнів, які перебувають в російських в’язницях. Акції на його підтримку відбуваються по всьому світу під гаслами #FreeOlegSentsov і #SaveOlegSentsov.

    Останні новини про Олега Сенцова читайте тут

    Певний час у тюрмі голодував також Олександр Кольченко, однак був змушений припинити протест за станом здоров’я. 

    Європейський парламент закликав Росію негайно звільнити всіх українських політичних бранців, які були незаконно затримані, заарештовані і ув’язнені. За даними «Медійної ініціативи за права людини», таких у Росії – понад 70.

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  • US Charges 12 Russians With Conspiracy to Interfere in ’16 Election

    A federal grand jury has indicted 12 Russian military officers with conspiracy to hack into Democratic campaign computers during the 2016 presidential election, the latest charges brought by the special counsel investigating Russian interference.

    The 29-page indictment charges the Russian operatives with carrying out one of two kinds of the Russian meddling the 2016 election: hacking the email accounts of volunteers and employees of the Clinton presidential campaign, including its chairman, and releasing them to the public.

    The other aspect of the Russian interference involved a massive influence operation on social media orchestrated by a St. Petersburg-based troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency. In February, a grand jury indicted 12 of the company’s employees and its financial backer.

    Special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the latest charges Friday.

    The operatives worked for two special units of Russia’s military intelligence agency known as GRU, according to the indictment.

    “The units engaged in active cyberoperations to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Rosenstein said at a press conference. “One GRU unit worked to steal information, while another unit worked to disseminate stolen information.”

    The charges came ahead of the highly anticipated summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday. Trump said at a news conference on Friday that he would “absolutely ask” Putin about the Russian interference in the U.S. election.

    Rosenstein said he briefed Trump on the allegations earlier this week.

    “The president is fully aware of today’s actions by the department,” Rosenstein told reporters.

    The indictment names all 12 GRU officers engaged in the conspiracy. Eleven are charged with conspiring to hack computers, steal documents and release them in an effort to influence the election.

    The 12th was charged with “conspiring to infiltrate computers of organizations responsible for administering elections, including state boards of election, secretaries of state, and companies that supply software and other technology used to administer elections,” Rosenstein said.

    The Russians used two techniques to hack into computers: “spearphishing,” to trick users into disclosing their passwords and security information, and installing malicious software on computers to spy on their users, the indictment alleges.

    Rosenstein said that while the Russian aim was to interfere in the elections, “there is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.”

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  • В Одесі 13 липня стартує міжнародний кінофестиваль

    13 липня стартує 9-й Одеський міжнародний кінофестиваль. Як повідомляється на офіційній сторінці заходу, цього разу глядачам запропонують два комплекти конкурсів: національний і міжнародний повний метр, українські й міжнародні короткометражки.

    Окрема програма «Фестиваль фестивалів» покаже переможців основних світових кіноконкурсів цього і минулого року. Зокрема, стрічку японського режисера Хироказу Корееда «Сімейна справа», що отримала цього року «Золоту пальмову гілку» в Каннах.

    Фільмом відкриття обрано спільну україно-ісландсько-французьку стрічка «Жінка на війні». Закриватиме Одеський кінофестиваль стрічка французького режисера П’єра Сальвадорі «Звільнені!» із Одрі Тоту в одній із головних ролей, повідомляється на сайті ОМКФ.

    Одеський кінофестиваль триватиме до 21 липня у своїх традиційних локаціях – Театрі музичної комедії, кінотеатрі «Родина», на Потьомкінських сходах, у Зеленому театрі й Одеській кіностудії.

    Всього на участь у міжнародній програмі подали 752 заявки з 95 країн.


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  • Мінінфраструктури: 20 українців щодня пересідають на електромобілі

    У середньому 20 українців щодня пересідають на електромобілі – такі дані наводить міністр інфраструктури Володимир Омелян у Facebook.

    Загалом, за його словами, за перше півріччя українці придбали майже 3,6 тисячі електрокарів. Для порівняння – за весь минулий рік було придбано 2,5 тисячі.

    Раніше у відомстві анонсували появу в Україні мережі потужних заправок для електрокарів.

    За даними Міністерства екології та природних ресурсів, в країні зареєстровано майже 7,5 тисяч електромобілів.

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  • US Farmers Brace for Long-Term Impact of Escalating Trade War

    As farmer Brian Duncan gently brushes his hands over the rolling amber waves of grain in the fields behind his rural Illinois home, this picturesque and idyllic American scene belies the dramatic hardship he currently faces.

    “We’re in trouble,” he told VOA.

    Wheat is just one product that grows on Duncan’s diverse farm, also home to about 70,000 hogs annually, which Duncan said “were projected to be profitable this year.”

    Were, but not anymore.

    Pork is now subject to a 62 percent Chinese tariff, and demand is drying up in one of the world’s largest pork markets.

    “Once that tariff went on, the pork stopped going into China. Not going to Taiwan, either. Not finding other routes. That market just disappeared,” said Duncan, who expected to see a $4 to $5 profit on each pig, then watched it become a $7 to $8 loss per head.

    “The difference between making and losing money in the hog industry is exports,” said Duncan, acknowledging that for most hog farmers, exports are key to profits. A lack of competitive access to international markets could spell long-term financial hardship, particularly for independent pork producers like Duncan.

    “The reality is 95 percent of the world population is outside these borders. We need them … as markets and trading partners,” Duncan said.

    Tariffs begin to bite

    U.S. farmers like Duncan are beginning to feel the effects of such tariffs imposed by China in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum.

    As the trade dispute continues, Duncan, who also serves as vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, is losing money on virtually everything growing on his farm because of imposed or impending tariffs.

    “Soybeans were a buck and a half higher than they are now,” he told VOA. “Corn was 50 to 70 cents higher than it is now. So, certainly the attitude has changed here in the last two to three weeks.”

    So has Duncan’s mood.

    “Frustrated. This was preventable. This was predictable — the outcome. There was a better way to go about this,” he said.

    ​Long-term loss of market

    “Tariffs are kind of a last resort for a really specific instance or really serious breach of a contract and not something that you would lob out there to try to make progress in a trade agreement, and I think that’s what surprised farmers a bit,” said Tamara Nelsen, senior director of commodities with the Illinois Farm Bureau.

    Nelsen said history shows the long-term impact of tariffs and trade embargoes is a loss of market access and competitiveness for U.S. products.

    “In every event, we lost market share, or we encouraged production somewhere else of that same product. And it took U.S. agriculture 20, 30 years to get some of those markets back. And in some cases, we haven’t gotten those markets back.”

    For Duncan, the long-term impact on the reputation of U.S. agricultural products is his biggest concern.

    “How are we going to be seen? Is a country going to look at us and say, ‘Why would I sign an agreement with them, anyhow? If they don’t like something we do, are they just going to put a bunch of tariffs up and blow things up?’ How are we seen going forward in the next five, 10, 15, 20 years? For me, that is the biggest issue more than the here and now.”

    Farm income at risk

    But in the here and now is the difficult reality that farmers are also experiencing their fifth year of declining income.

    “We’ve seen farm income cut in half in the last four years for various reasons. We could easily see it cut in half again if we lost all our export markets,” which Duncan said could increase dependence on government aid at a time when lawmakers in Washington debate new Farm Bill legislation that the agriculture industry needs to provide security.

    All of the uncertainty has him evaluating his options the next time he heads to the ballot box.

    “It’s the economy, stupid. My vote will depend an awful lot on the farm economy,” he said. That’s just the world I live in.”

    A world that is now more connected — and dependent on international trade — than ever before.

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  • Супутникові знімки підтверджують зникнення рослинності в Криму – МінТОТ

    Дані космічної зйомки свідчать про значне погіршення стану рослинності на території Криму, повідомляє проект Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії з посиланням на заяву від 13 липня Міністерство з питань тимчасово окупованих територій і внутрішньо переміщених осіб України.

    На сайті українського міністерства оприлюднили дані, отримані за допомогою супутникових знімків, зроблені в 2016 і 2018 році, що підтверджують значне зменшення рослинності на півострові.

    За даними дистанційного зондування землі встановлено, що протягом двох років індекс NDVI (показник кількості активної біомаси), який використовується для кількісної оцінки рослинного покриву, у деяких частинах Криму знизився до найнижчої позначки 0,3. Загалом у червні 2018 року, в порівнянні з аналогічним періодом 2016 року, зниження значення загального індексу NDVI по території півострова, склало 23%. Загальне зниження кількості опадів у 2018 році, у порівнянні з попередніми роками, також негативно вплинуло на стан рослинності в Криму, повідомили в українському міністерстві.

    У прес-службі зазначають, що «недбале ставлення окупаційної влади Росії до унікального природного середовища в північній, центральній та східній частинах Криму може призвести до масового вимирання рослинного і тваринного світу, ерозії ґрунту, пожеж в екосистемах та екологічної катастрофи на півострові».

    «Нехтування цими негативними явищами окупаційною владою Росії може призвести до знищення унікальних екосистем Кримського півострова, в тому числі, до руйнування заповідних ландшафтів, ерозії ґрунтів, запобігання веденню традиційного сільського господарства», – йдеться в повідомленні.

    На думку українського міністерства, дії Росії «свідчать про те, що держава-окупант не зацікавлена в розвитку Криму з його природним потенціалом, а її безвідповідальність призводить до невідворотної шкоди навколишньому середовищу і збитків для цивільного населення, яке живе на цій території».

    У червні в Криму оголосили режим надзвичайної ситуації через посуху в Красногвардійському, Нижньогірському, Первомайському і Совєтському районах.

    10 липня стало відомо, що через посуху також постраждали Джанкойський і Ленінський райони.

    Україна забезпечувала до 85% потреб Криму в прісній воді через Північно-Кримський канал, що з’єднує головне русло Дніпра з півостровом. Після анексії Криму Росією в 2014 році, постачання води на півострів припинили.

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  • A Look at Euro-Russian Energy Deal Opposed by Trump

    President Donald Trump’s criticism of Germany’s involvement in a natural gas pipeline deal with Russia launched a tense two days of NATO meetings in Brussels — but it also may have set the tone for the U.S. leader’s highly anticipated summit with his Russian counterpart Monday in Helsinki.

    In a taut exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, Trump said Nord Stream 2 — an offshore pipeline that would deliver gas to Germany directly from Russia via the Baltic Sea — leaves the Western military alliance’s largest and wealthiest European member “totally controlled” by and “captive to” Russia.

    “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but [Germany is] paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate,” Trump told Stoltenberg.

    According to the U.S. leader, Germany “got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it’s something NATO has to look at.”

    As Europe’s biggest natural gas consumer, Germany relies on Russia for roughly half of its gas imports, which account for 20 percent of its current energy mix, according to London-based Marex Spectron group. The International Energy Association projects German natural gas demand to increase by 1 percent in the next five years, as Berlin continues phasing out its nuclear power plants by 2022.

    Expanding upon the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which has been transporting gas from Russia to Germany along the same Baltic Sea route since 2011, Nord Stream 2, currently slated for completion by 2019, would roughly double Russia’s export volume.

    Trump says the $11 billion, 800-mile pipeline expansion linking Russia and Germany would give Moscow greater geopolitical leverage over Europe at a time of heightened international tensions, an opinion in keeping with that of his his immediate predecessor, former President Barack Obama, and former President George W. Bush, who opposed Nord Stream 1.

    The administrations have long pushed for Germany, Europe’s largest energy consumer, to buy American liquefied natural gas (LNG) in an attempt to overtake a sector of the market long dominated by Russian distribution routes that run through Ukraine.

    Poland and Lithuania, who are among Nord Stream 2’s most vociferous European critics, have built LNG terminals that would stand to profit from an American takeover of the market. But other former Soviet satellite nations — such as Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia — have long warned that a growing reliance on Russian energy not only compromises European security, but rewards Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and other campaigns to destabilize the European Union.

    There have been numerous price disputes between Moscow and Kyiv over natural gas deliveries to Ukraine, whose pipelines serve other European nations. In 2009, a disagreement between the two nations cut natural gas supplies to Western Europe in the middle of winter, leaving many without heat.

    Nord Stream 2, they argue, will not only deprive land-transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine of billions in annual transit fees, it will also give Russia a way to penalize Eastern European foes without sacrificing lucrative deals further to the west.

    According to Atlantic Council energy expert Agnia Grigas, Nord Stream 2 contradicts the EU’s official energy security strategy, which calls on EU nations to diversify energy sources, distributors and routes.

    “If Nord Stream 2 is built, Germany would be the EU country most exposed to dubious Russian influence,” Grigas recently reported. “Moscow already has a track record of relying on German businesses and lawmakers to advance its own strategic goals. For instance, following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, large German companies with considerable business ties with Russia were among the harshest critics of Western sanctions against Moscow.”

    As a private project backed by energy giants such as Shell — a British-Dutch multinational — Germany’s Wintershall and Uniper, along with Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, Nord Stream 2 is also being financed by private firms from Austria, France and Britain, but not by German tax funds.

    In responding to Trump’s Wednesday tirade against Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she knew all too well from her childhood in the East what it is like to live under Soviet control. But she said energy deals with Russia do not make 21st-century Berlin beholden to Moscow.

    “I am very happy that today we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that, we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions,” she said.

    Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, a longtime friend of Putin, has championed the Nord Stream enterprise since just before being voted out of office in 2005. He soon went on to lead the shareholder committee of Nord Stream AG, a consortium for construction and operation of the submarine pipeline, eventually going on to become chairman of the Kremlin-controlled Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company.

    In March, European politicians increased calls for sanctions against the ex-chancellor for representing Russian interests, though his name has yet to appear on any lists of individuals targeted for sanctions.

    Despite repeated U.S. warnings that companies involved in the deal also risk being slapped with sanctions, Nord Stream 2 is scheduled for completion next year.

    This story originated in VOA’s Russian service. 

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  • US to Appeal Approval of AT&T Acquisition of Time Warner

    The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that it would appeal a federal judge’s approval of AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

    The Justice Department opted in June not to seek an immediate stay of the court’s approval of the merger, allowing the merger to close on June 14. The department still had 60 days to appeal the decision.

    The government’s court filing did not disclose on what ground it intended to challenge the approval.

    AT&T and the Justice Department did not immediately comment.

    AT&T shares fell 1 percent after the bell.

    The merger, announced in October 2016, was opposed by President Donald Trump. AT&T was sued by the Justice Department but won approval from a judge to move forward with the deal in June following a six-week trial.

    Judge Richard Leon of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the tie-up between AT&T’s wireless and satellite businesses and Time Warner’s movies and television shows was legal under antitrust law.

    The Justice Department had argued the deal would harm consumers.

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  • Saudi Prince Alwaleed Pledges Support for Crown Prince’s Reforms

    Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was detained for three months in an anti-corruption campaign under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pledged support on Thursday for the young leader’s program of sweeping reforms.

    “I was honored to meet with my brother HRH the Crown Prince and to discuss economic matters and the private sector’s future &; role in #Vision2030 success,” he tweeted with a photograph of the royal cousins embracing in front of a desk.

    It is the first publicly disclosed meeting between the two men since the anti-corruption crackdown was launched in November.

    “I shall be one of the biggest supporters of the Vision through @Kingdom_KHC &; all its affiliates,” Prince Alwaleed added, referring to his international investment company.

    Vision 2030 is Prince Mohammed’s scheme to wean the world’s top crude exporter off oil revenues and open up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles. The corruption sweep alarmed the Saudi business community as well as international investors the kingdom is courting to support the reforms.

    Prince Alwaleed, the kingdom’s most recognised business figure, was freed in January after being held at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel along with scores of royals, senior officials and businessmen, most of whom reached financial settlements with the authorities.

    He said in March he had cut a deal but declined to disclose the details. He said he was in discussions with the Public Fund, the sovereign wealth fund chaired by the crown prince, about making joint investments inside the kingdom. He previously told Reuters that he was innocent and expected to keep full control of his firm.

    In the absence of more information, speculation has run rampant about whether Prince Alwaleed secured his freedom by forfeiting part of his fortune — once estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion — or stood up to authorities and won.

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  • US Lawmakers Blast Trump on Tariffs

    U.S. senators on Thursday continued a bipartisan rebuke of President Donald Trump’s punitive trade strategy on the heels of an overwhelming vote asserting a role for Congress when tariffs are imposed for national security reasons.

    “I believe the president is abusing his authorities,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican. “It seems to be a wake up, ready, fire, [then] aim strategy.”

    Another committee member, Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, blasted the administration’s trade actions as “a wildly swung bat that is hitting our closest allies in a way that harms our national security, harms our chances at better trade deals, and harms folks in my home state.”

    Lawmakers expressed particular ire over tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that have been welcomed by domestic producers of the materials but that prompted retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-made goods. In imposing the tariffs, the administration cited a federal statute that allows action to be taken to protect industries deemed vital to national security.

    “The viability of these industries does constitute a national security issue for us,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Manisha Singh said in testimony before the committee.

    Many senators were not convinced.

    “I’ve heard the administration say, ‘Some short-term pain for long-term gain,’ ” Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said. “Are we really taking into account the permanent damage that’s being done right now?”

    “I happen to believe there absolutely is no plan, and in the mornings people [in the administration] wake up and make this up as they go along,” Corker said.

    “President Trump is acting within his statutory authority. There is a strategy,” Singh countered.

    Support for tariffs

    While opposition to steel and aluminum tariffs is strong and bipartisan, it is not universal on Capitol Hill. Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown applauded them when they were first announced earlier this year.

    “This welcome action is long overdue for shuttered steel plants across Ohio and steelworkers who live in fear that their jobs will be the next victims of Chinese cheating,” Brown said in a statement. “If we fail to stand up for steel jobs today, China will come after other jobs up and down the supply chain tomorrow.”

    Thursday’s hearing came days after the administration imposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products. Some lawmakers applauded the move, noting that Beijing is heavily dependent on exports and has much to lose in a trade war.

    “The Chinese economy will be hurt more,” Republican Representative Tom Garrett of Virginia said. “What we would like to do is to have free and fair trade globally, with all of our trading partners. China has never allowed that.”

    Singh said the administration wants Beijing to halt predatory trade practices and respect intellectual property.

    “Our endgame is for China to change its behavior,” the assistant secretary of state said.

    Congressional review vote

    Senators of both parties said achieving that goal would be easier if the United States and its allies were united on trade, rather than fighting each other.

    “Sadly, the administration has begun a reckless campaign against our allies, driving them into the arms of our adversaries instead of leading a joint effort to address the serious challenges of China’s economic policies,” said the committee’s top Democrat, Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

    In an 88-11 vote, the Senate on Wednesday approved a nonbinding resolution to make national security tariffs subject to congressional review.

    “Congress has to approve trade deals. I think Congress should have to approve trade wars,” Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said, predicting that Congress would take stronger action if the president stuck to punitive trade policies.

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  • У Києві затвердили подорожчання проїзду до 8 гривень

    Разовий проїзд у столичному метро, фунікулері, автобусах, тролейбусах, трамваях та міських електричках подорожчає до 8 гривень з 14 липня. Київська міська адміністрація оприлюднила відповідну постанову на своєму сайті.

    Водночас, згідно з документом, пасажири, які регулярно їздять громадським транспортом і користуються системою поповнення безконтактних карток, матимуть можливість сплачувати за 1 поїздку в метрополітені від 6,50 гривень (у випадку придбання 50 поїздок). 

    Вартість проїзного квитка на один місяць у наземному транспорті (без обмеження кількості поїздок) коштуватиме 390 гривень, а у метрополітені – 610 гривень; на 2 види транспорту (наземний + метро на 46 поїздок) – 570 гривень; на 2 види транспорту (наземний + метро на 62 поїздки) – 670 гривень, інформує КМДА.

    Окрім того, як зазначається, КП «Київський метрополітен» запроваджує нові проїзні квитки, що використовуватимуться з моменту активації: 10 поїздок на 5 календарних днів (за 75 гривень), 14 поїздок на 7 днів (за 104 гривень) та 30 поїздок на 15 календарних днів (за 210 гривень).

    Водночас, як повідомили в адміністрації, до кінця липня пасажири зможуть їздити за раніше придбаними за попередньою вартістю жетонами та разовими квитками старого зразка без доплати.

    Читайте також: Підвищення вартості проїзду в громадському транспорті Києва. Яке ж економічне обґрунтування?

    12 липня під стінами КМДА відбувалися одночасно дві акції: за і проти подорожчання проїзду.

    Міський голова Києва Віталій Кличко раніше пояснював, що підвищення ціни пов’язане з тим, що нинішня собівартість проїзду набагато вища.


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  • Українські школярі здобули шість медалей на Міжнародній математичній олімпіаді

    Українська команда стала четвертою на Міжнародній математичній олімпіаді, яка завершується в Румунії, а всі шестеро її учасників вибороли медалі – чотири золотих і дві срібних. Найкращий в історії виступів України на цій олімпіаді результат здобули Нгок Тхай Схон Нго, Ілля Коваль, Федір Юдін, Роман Сарапін, Арсеній Ніколаєв та Аліна Гарбузова, колектив очолював професор Київського національного університету імені Тараса Шевченка Богдан Рубльов.

    Першу призову трійку команд склали представники США, Росії та Китаю. Ці країни вважаються незмінними лідерами у математичних змаганнях.

    Досі найкращим результатом України на Міжнародній математичній олімпіаді було шосте місце, здобуте в 2014, 2007 і 1997 роках.

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