• A Glimmer of Hope for Online News in Cambodia

    Minutes before a recent show, “VOD Roundtable” host Lim Thida readied notes and warmed up the day’s guests. Control room staffers prepped to go live with all the trappings of the kind of on-air radio broadcast that, until a few years ago, was typical for the longtime Voice of Democracy program.

    But this was 2019, and instead of radio, “VOD Roundtable” was being reborn online. Producer Srey Sopheak ran a final check with the engineers, then gave Lim a go-ahead via walkie-talkie.

    “Hi, this is me, Thida, welcoming all TV viewers who are watching this live ‘VOD Roundtable’ show, which is broadcast via the Facebook page of vodkhmer.news. Today, we will look at measures to eliminate corruption in Cambodia’s judicial system.”

    Lim Thida, VOD production chief and a co-host of VOD Roundtable, Phnom Penh, Sept. 11, 2019. (Tum Malis/VOA Khmer)

    Over the next hour, the panelists included a top government spokesperson, a prominent human rights activist, and a member of an advisory body representing a consortium minority parties – a mix underscoring the balance and independence that have been VOD’s hallmark.

    A glimmer of hope in an otherwise bruising environment for independent media in Cambodia, VOD is one of multiple outlets whose operations were threatened in the run-up to the 2018 elections, as the incumbent government of President Hun Sen sought to smother dissent.

    Some news outlets were hit with exorbitant tax bills, while others, including five VOD radio affiliates, saw their broadcast licenses revoked, costing them millions of listeners.

    This, said Daniel Bastard, Asia-Pacific chief for Reporters Without Borders, was part of a broader campaign that has “led to the quasi-total destruction of independent media” in Cambodia.

    Among the casualties: closure of the venerable Cambodia Daily and dozens of radio stations; silencing of foreign media outlets, including Radio Free Asia (a sister broadcaster to Voice of America); and sale of the Phnom Penh Post to a Malaysian investor whose public relations firm worked for Hun Sen.

    “Media like Cambodia Daily, Radio Free Asia or VOD helped Cambodians to access non-government-controlled information,” Bastard said. “Most Cambodian citizens are deprived of [access] now, and have to cope with official propaganda.”

    A studio engineer looks on as guest Chin Malin, spokesperson of Cambodia's Ministry of Justice, prepares for a VOD Roundtable program on judicial corruption, in Phnom Penh, Sept. 11, 2019. (Tum Malis/VOA Khmer)
    A studio engineer looks on as guest Chin Malin, spokesperson of Cambodia’s Ministry of Justice, prepares for a VOD Roundtable program on judicial corruption, in Phnom Penh, Sept. 11, 2019. (Tum Malis/VOA Khmer)

    ‘People’s voice’

    VOD aims to change that. Launched in 2003 by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM), a Phnom Penh non-governmental organization, VOD aimed to air “educational, informative and unbiased public service radio in Cambodia.”

    Human rights and democracy-themed programming became a staple as VOD worked to live up to the “People’s Radio” logo on its control room walls. The line-up includes “VOD Roundtable,” a call-in show where listeners engage with guest panelists on a range of news-related topics.

    Prior to Hun Sen’s 2017 crackdown, VOD boasted an extensive network of provincial radio stations across several provinces and a stable of pioneering citizen journalists. Audience reach was deep – an estimated 7 million of Cambodia’s 9 million registered voters.

    In part, VOD may have survived the crackdown because its parent entity, CCIM, is registered with the Cambodian government and is supported by a smorgasbord of international foundations and organizations. Among its founders are the U.S.-based Open Society Foundations, Bread for the World, Sweden’s Diakonia, and Denmark’s DanChurchAid.

    In suspending five FM radio frequencies across rural provinces, the government stripped VOD of its audience without shuttering VOD itself. Left with a staff of radio producers but no airwaves, VOD was forced to rethink its strategy, CCIM Media Director Nop Vy said.

    A map shows the 32 FM frequencies affected by the closure of relay stations that broadcast VOA, RFA, and VOD. (Courtesy: LICADHO)
    A map shows the 32 FM frequencies affected by the closure of relay stations that broadcast VOA, RFA, and VOD. (Courtesy: LICADHO)

    “We had to immediately organize a series of consecutive trainings in early 2018, and from that time on we quickly evolved into digital,” said Nop, adding that VOD focused on video broadcast production while repurposing traditional radio shows for online dissemination.

    For the flagship “VOA Roundtable,” the decision was to relaunch as a live-video broadcast on Facebook and YouTube in 2018.

    Fraught topics

    Operating out of a studio tucked away in Phnom Penh’s trendy Boeung Keng Kang neighborhood, the show continues to tackle topics considered politically taboo.

    Lim — one of a trio of hosts for the show — looked tired but pleased after wrapping up a recent one-hour panel discussion on judicial corruption, a fraught topic in a country where even high-level officials tasked with rooting out malfeasance in the courts are suspected of complicity.

    “We are proud when we’re able to broadcast news and people’s concerns that officials higher up have to find a solution for,” said Lim, savoring a small journalistic triumph of sorts.

    Only moments earlier, one of Lim’s guest panelists, Justice Ministry spokesperson Chin Malin, took the unusual step of acknowledging that Hun Sen’s government has a less-than-perfect record when it comes to disciplining its own officials.

    Facebook users comment during a VOD Roundtable show on judicial corruption in Cambodia with host Lim Thida, left, and one of her guests, Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin, VOD's studio, in Phnom Penh, Sept. 11, 2019. (Tum Malis/VOA Khmer)
    Facebook users comment during a VOD Roundtable show on judicial corruption in Cambodia with host Lim Thida, left, and one of her guests, Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin, VOD’s studio, in Phnom Penh, Sept. 11, 2019. (Tum Malis/VOA Khmer)

    “We have taken measures and solved many cases,” Chin said during the broadcast, explaining that nearly 20 judges and prosecutors alone received disciplinary action in 2018. “But we acknowledge that problems remain.”

    It was then that another of the show’s panelists, Pich Sros, called Chin out. Sros is the head of a minority party and member of the Supreme Consultative Council — a government-sanctioned advisory body consisting of minority parties that contested but failed to win any seats in the 2018 elections. Sros said the government’s disciplinary measures were insufficiently transparent.

    Lim then took a few callers and concluded the audience participation in the show by reciting comments from a Facebook viewer.

    “Corruption in the legal system is laughable,” she said, quoting the viewer. “Even the legal system that is responsible for enforcing the [anti-]corruption law [is itself corrupt], so we can only imagine how deeply corrupt other public administrative bodies are.”

    Common solutions

    So far, Lim’s roundtable discussion programs haven’t prompted run-ins with government officials, something she attributes to the show’s consistently balanced curation of views.

    Yi Soksan, senior investigator for local human rights group Adhoc, is seen speaking at VOD’s studio, in Phnom Penh, Sept. 11, 2019. (Tum Malis/VOA Khmer)

    Even Chin, who appeared to discuss judicial corruption alongside Yi Soksan, a senior investigator with the human rights group Adhoc credited “VOD Roundtable” with helping to get his government message out.

    “We had a good discussion,” Chin told VOA. “Like our guest [today] from civil society, we all work for the same social development goals, but the ways we work are different and our challenges are different. So it is good to sit down for a discussion, exchange concerns, and come to a common solution.”

    If “VOD Roundtable” represents a flicker of hope in Cambodia’s otherwise darkened media landscape, it has yet to prove that its online format can regain the millions of radio listeners lost in the crackdown.

    “As radio, we had a lot of fans and we could receive up to five or six callers during the one hour [show],” Lim said. “But after our transition, there are fewer callers.”

    Facebook recently surpassed television and radio as a primary news source for many Cambodians, but digital media remains a new beast. Advertising and hidden algorithms decide what gets visibility as controversies about censorship and disinformation swirl.

    Bastard, of Reporters Without Borders, is a skeptic about the potential for digital media to grow.

    “Things could have been much worse without the internet, of course, but radios were a great way to inform communities in remote areas and to reach people who are not literate enough to read written articles,” he told VOA.

    “Online information cannot replace this,” he said, “especially given the biases indicated by the platforms themselves.”

    Government officials routinely deny that there are any efforts to suppress media. Phos Sovann, director-general of the Ministry of Information’s department of information and broadcasting, told VOA that radio license revocations during the 2017 crackdown were justifiable “legal enforcement measures and nothing else.”

    Nop Vy, the media director of VOD’s parent, said he’s hopeful that ongoing digital innovation, including plans for an English website, can generate an audience that compensates for the millions of listeners lost in the crackdown.

    And if “VOD Roundtable” continues to foster public debate by involving citizens and the government alike, he said, it can survive by having an impact.

    “We will have to take it step by step,” he said.

    This story originated in VOA’s Khmer Service.



  • Watchdog Expected to Find Russia Probe Valid, Despite Flaws

    The Justice Department’s internal watchdog will release a highly anticipated report Monday that is expected to reject President Donald Trump’s claims that the Russia investigation was illegitimate and tainted by political bias from FBI leaders. But it is also expected to document errors during the investigation that may animate Trump supporters.

    The report, as described by people familiar with its findings, is expected to conclude there was an adequate basis for opening one of the most politically sensitive investigations in FBI history and one that Trump has denounced as a witch hunt. It began in secret during Trump’s 2016 presidential run and was ultimately taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller.

    The report comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress centered on his efforts to press Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden — a probe the president also claims is politically biased.

    Still, the release of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review is unlikely to quell the partisan battles that have surrounded the Russia investigation for years. It’s also not the last word: A separate internal investigation continues, overseen by Trump’s attorney general, William Barr and led by a U.S. attorney, John Durham. That investigation is criminal in nature, and Republicans may look to it to uncover wrongdoing that the inspector general wasn’t examining.

    Trump tweeted Sunday: “I.G. report out tomorrow. That will be the big story!”

    He previously has said that he was awaiting Horowitz’s report but that Durham’s report may be even more important.

    Horowitz’s report is expected to identify errors and misjudgments by some law enforcement officials, including by an FBI lawyer suspected of altering a document related to the surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide. Those findings probably will fuel arguments by Trump and his supporters that the investigation was flawed from the start.

    FILE – U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Sept. 18, 2019.

    But the report will not endorse some of the president’s theories on the investigation, including that it was a baseless “witch hunt” or that he was targeted by an Obama administration Justice Department desperate to see Republican Trump lose to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

    It also is not expected to undo Mueller’s findings or call into question his conclusion that Russia interfered in that election in order to benefit the Trump campaign and that Russians had repeated contacts with Trump associates.

    Some of the findings were described to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity by people who were not authorized to discuss a draft of the report before its release. The AP has not viewed a copy of the document.

    It is unclear how Barr, a strong defender of Trump, will respond to Horowitz’s findings. He has told Congress that he believed “spying”  on the Trump campaign did occur and has raised public questions about whether the counterintelligence investigation was done correctly.

    The FBI opened its investigation in July 2016 after receiving information from an Australian diplomat that a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, had been told before it was publicly known that Russia had dirt on the Clinton campaign in the form of thousands of stolen emails.

    By that point, the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, an act that a private security firm — and ultimately U.S. intelligence agencies — attributed to Russia. Prosecutors allege that Papadopoulos learned about the stolen emails from a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud. Papadopoulous pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about that interaction.

    FILE – Former special counsel Robert Mueller checks pages in the report as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, July 24, 2019.

    The investigation was taken over in May 2017 by Mueller, who charged six Trump associates with various crimes as well as 25 Russians accused of interfering in the election either through hacking or a social media disinformation campaign. Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to charge a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    He examined multiple episodes in which Trump sought to seize control of the investigation, including by firing James Comey as FBI director, but declined to decide on whether Trump had illegally obstructed justice.

    The inspector general’s investigation began in early 2018. It focuses in part on the FBI’s surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. The FBI applied in the fall of 2016 for a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page’s communications, with officials expressing concern that he may have been targeted for recruitment by the Russian government.

    Page was never charged and has denied any wrongdoing.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hear testimony from Horowitz on Wednesday, said he expected the report would be “damning” about the process of obtaining the warrant.

    “I’m looking for evidence of whether or not they manipulated the facts to get the warrant,” Graham, a Republican, said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

    The warrant was renewed several times, including during the Trump administration. Republicans have attacked the procedures because the application relied in part on information gathered by an ex-British intelligence operative, Christopher Steele, whose opposition research into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia was funded by Democrats and the Clinton campaign.

    In pursuing the warrant, the Justice Department referred to Steele as “reliable” from previous dealings with him. Though officials told the court that they suspected the research was aimed at discrediting the Trump campaign, they did not reveal that the work had been paid for by Democrats, according to documents released last year.

    Steele’s research was compiled into a dossier that was provided to the FBI after it had already opened its investigation.

    The report also examined the interactions that senior Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr had with Steele, whom he had met years earlier through a shared professional interest in countering Russian organized crime. Ohr passed along to the FBI information that he had received from Steele but did not alert his Justice Department bosses to those conversations.

    Ohr has since been a regular target of Trump’s ire, in part because his wife worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS, the political research firm that hired Steele for the investigation.

    This is the latest in a series of reports that Horowitz, a former federal prosecutor and an Obama appointee to the watchdog role, has released on FBI actions in politically charged investigations.

    Last year, he criticized Comey for a news conference announcing the conclusion of the Clinton email investigation, and for then alerting Congress months later that the probe had been effectively reopened. In that report, too, Horowitz did not find that Comey’s actions had been guided by partisan bias.


  • Democrats Move Toward Articles of Impeachment

    The House Judiciary Committee holds another hearing Monday in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.  Proceedings have been centering on allegations that the president abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation into political rival Joe Biden, the leading Democratic presidential contender. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi reports, the hyper partisanship in Washington promises to intensify.


  • Nadler: ‘Rock Solid Case’ for Trump’s Impeachment

    The leader of the House of Representatives committee weighing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump contended Sunday that there is a “rock solid case” against the U.S. leader.

    Congressman Jerrold Nadler declared on CNN that Trump would be found guilty in “three minutes flat” if he were facing charges before a criminal court jury that he abused his office by soliciting Ukraine to investigate one of his chief 2020 Democratic presidential challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden.

    Nadler said if Trump “had any exculpatory evidence,” he would be making it known rather than rejecting participation, as the White House has, before the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of impeachment allegations against the Republican president.

    Nadler said the Judiciary panel, after a hearing Monday on evidence already collected by the House Intelligence Committee on Trump and his aides’ interactions with Ukraine, could possibly vote on the articles of impeachment by the end of the week. The full House then could be on track to impeach Trump before it recesses for its annual Christmas holiday break in two weeks, setting the stage for a January trial in the Republican-majority Senate, although Trump’s conviction and removal from office remains unlikely.

    But Nadler declined to speculate on how many articles of impeachment will be brought against Trump and their content.

    There is a division among the majority House Democrats advancing the impeachment case against Trump on whether to limit the allegations to abuse of power (asking a foreign government for help in a U.S. election) and obstruction of Congress (for refusing to turn over key documents related to Ukraine and to allow key Trump aides to testify) or to also include allegations that Trump sought to obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks in Kyiv, Dec. 4, 2019.

    Some more moderate Democratic lawmakers who won seats in the current session of Congress by capturing districts that Trump won in the 2016 presidential election have sought to limit the articles of impeachment to Ukraine, centered on his July 25 telephone request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “to do us a favor,” to investigate Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and whether Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election Trump won, not Russia, as the U.S. intelligence community concluded.

    More vocal Trump opponents among House Democrats say they want to include allegations related to Trump’s actions during the Mueller investigation.

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told the CBS “Face the Nation” show on Sunday that he thinks it is best to focus the impeachment charges on Ukraine.

    “It’s always been my strategy … to charge those that there is the strongest and most overwhelming evidence and not try to charge everything, even if you could charge other things,” Schiff said.

    Trump’s request to Zelenskiy for the Biden investigations came at a time he was temporarily withholding $391 million in military assistance from Kyiv it wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country, although Trump in September released the aid without Zelenskiy announcing any investigations.

    Democrats Move Toward Articles of Impeachment video player.

    Watch related video by VOA’s Arash Arabasadi:

    Twenty years ago, when a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, was facing impeachment for lying about an affair he had with a White House intern, Nadler said the impeachment case against Clinton would lack legitimacy if it was almost entirely supported by Republicans and few Democrats, as was the case.

    No current Republicans have supported the impeachment effort against Trump. Asked whether he was comfortable with such a Democrats’-only impeachment vote against Trump, Nadler said of Republicans, “It’s up to them to decide whether they want to be patriots or partisans.”

    Trump has almost daily vented his wrath against the impeachment effort, even as his legal team has rejected Nadler’s invitation for it to participate in the Judiciary Committee’s hearings this week.

    Trump said Sunday on Twitter, “Less than 48 hours before start of the Impeachment Hearing Hoax, on Monday, the No Due Process, Do Nothing Democrats are, believe it or not, changing the Impeachment Guidelines because the facts are not on their side. When you can’t win the game, change the rules!” It was not immediately clear what rules Trump was referring to.

    Less than 48 hours before start of the Impeachment Hearing Hoax, on Monday, the No Due Process, Do Nothing Democrats are, believe it or not, changing the Impeachment Guidelines because the facts are not on their side. When you can’t win the game, change the rules!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019

    One of Trump’s most vocal Republican supporters in the House, Congressman Mark Meadows, noted in another CNN interview that Trump’s request to Zelenskiy for the Biden investigations made no mention of a reciprocal deal for the military assistance Kyiv wanted.

    “It’s appropriate to make sure nothing was done wrong in Ukraine,” Meadows said of Trump’s call for investigating Biden and his son. He said that “to give [Biden] a free pass, that’s just not appropriate.”

    Trump could be the third U.S. president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in the mid-19th century and Clinton two decades ago, although both were acquitted in Senate trials and remained in office. Former President Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974 in the face of certain impeachment in the Watergate political corruption scandal and cover-up.




  • In Florida, Trump Says He’s Israel’s Best Pal in White House

    President Donald Trump said Saturday that Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than him because, unlike his predecessors, “I kept my promises.”

    Trump energized an audience that numbered in the hundreds at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida by recounting his record on issues of importance to Jews, including an extensive riff on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

    Trump said his predecessors only paid lip service to the issue.

    “They never had any intention of doing it, in my opinion,” Trump said. “But unlike other presidents, I kept my promises.”

    Trump also highlighted his decision to reverse more than a half-century of U.S. policy in the Middle East by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the strategic highlands on the border with Syria.

    Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war but its sovereignty over the territory had not been recognized by the international community.

    In his speech, the president also claimed there are some Jewish people in America who don’t love Israel enough.

    “We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more,” Trump said, to some applause. “Because you have Jewish people that are great people – they don’t love Israel enough.”

    Aaron Keyak, the former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, denounced Trump’s remarks as anti-Semitic.

    “Trump’s insistence on using anti-Semitic tropes when addressing Jewish audiences is dangerous and should concern every member of the Jewish community – even Jewish Republicans,” Keyak said.

    Trump has been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic stereotypes before, including in August, when he said American Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” A number of Jewish groups noted at the time that accusations of disloyalty have long been made against Jews.

    The Israeli American Council is financially backed by one of Trump’s top supporters, the husband-and-wife duo of Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate.

    Both Adelsons appeared on stage to introduce Trump, with Miriam Adelson asserting that Trump “has already gone down in the annals of Jewish history, and that is before he’s even completed his first term in office.”

    The Adelsons donated $30 million to Trump’s campaign in the final months of the 2016 race. They followed up by donating $100 million to the Republican Party for the 2018 congressional elections.

    Trump’s entourage at the event included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, along with Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Michael Waltz, whom he described as “two warriors” defending him against “oppression” in the impeachment inquiry.

    Trump criticized Israel’s sworn enemy, Iran, saying he withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal with other world powers because Tehran must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.

    But Trump voiced support for Iranian citizens who have been protesting a decision by their government to withdraw fuel subsidies, which sent prices skyrocketing.

    Trump said he believes thousands of Iranians have been killed in the protests and that thousands more have been arrested.

    “America will always stand with the Iranian people in their righteous struggle for freedom,” he said.

    The president introduced his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has played a leading role in helping the administration craft its Mideast peace plan.

    A self-described deal-maker, Trump said he had long been told that achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be the hardest deal of all.

    But “if Jared Kushner can’t do it, it can’t be done,” Trump said.

    The White House has said its Mideast peace plan is complete and had promised to release it after Israeli elections in September. The long-delayed plan remains under wraps, and Israel appears headed for its third round of elections this year.

    The plan also is facing rejection by Palestinian officials, who object to the pro-Israel leanings of the Trump administration.

    During his speech, Trump also name-dropped Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., criticizing her for supporting the “BDS” movement against Israel: boycott, divest and sanction. In August, at Trump’s urging, Israel denied Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., entry to the country over their support for the BDS movement. Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and outspoken critics of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

    “My administration strongly opposes this despicable rhetoric,” Trump said. “As long as I am your president, it makes no difference. It’s not happening.”

    Before addressing the Israeli American Council summit, Trump spoke at the Florida Republican Party’s Statesman’s Dinner in nearby Aventura. The state GOP closed the event to media coverage.



  • «Халатність вбиває»: під згорілою будівлею в Одесі пройшла акція протесту 

    Під згорілою будівлею в Одесі відбулася акція протесту «Халатність вбиває» – активісти вимагали відсторонення керівника Головного управління ДСНС України в Одеській області Віктора Федорчака та перевірки усіх громадських міст в Одесі.

    Акцію організував студент Сергій Гнезділов.

    «Наші вимоги ми нещодавно ставили перед головою Одеської ОДА такі: відсторонення голови ДСНС Віктора Федорчака, перевірити разом із громадськістю усі громадські міста в Одесі та не затягувати терміни слідства», – заявив Гнезділов, відповідаючи на запитання Радіо Cвобода. 


    В самого Гнезділова, за його словами, на пожежі зникла подруга – зараз її шукають у згорілій будівлі. 

    Також в організації акції взяла участь одеська юристка Ната Ільїчова. 

    «Я не хочу, щоб в нашому місті і нашій державі продовжувалися випадки загибелі дітей. Я ставлю питання – хто буде наступним? Наша байдужість і стає причиною подібного відношення до нас нашої влади», – заявила Ільїчова. 

    Акція завершилася хвилиною мовчання – присутні запалили ліхтарики в пам’ять загиблих.

    7 грудня голова Одеської ОДА Максим Куций повідомив про смерть рятувальника, який отримав травми під час евакуації з будівлі коледжу економіки і права. Відтак кількість загиблих внаслідок пожежі зросла до восьми.


    Інформація про пожежу в будівлі коледжу економіки та права надійшла до Головного управління ДСНС України в Одеській області вранці 4 грудня.

    Як зазначається, рятувальникам вдалося оперативно вивести з будівлі 40 осіб по сходах, а також за допомогою драбин та автопідіймачів.

    Одеська влада оголосила жалобу 5 і 6 грудня.


  • Одеська пожежа: травмований рятувальник помер у лікарні – голова ОДА

    У лікарні помер рятувальник, який отримав травми під час евакуації з будівлі коледжу економіки і права в Одесі, повідомив 7 грудня голова Одеської обласної державної адміністрації Максим Куций.

    За його словами, чоловіка звали Сергій Шатохін.

    «Щойно у лікарні загинув рятувальник Сергій Шатохін, який перебував у комі. Під час евакуації учнів коледжу пожежник впав з великої висоти та отримав важкі травми. Лікарі впродовж трьох днів боролися за нього, але життя сміливого рятувальника обірвалося», – повідомив чиновник.


    Він додав, що рятувальники продовжують пошуки ще 10 людей під завалами, розбирають конструкції на цокольному поверсі будівлі на площі 530 квадратних метрів. Над цим працює 231 людина.

    Шатохін потрапив у лікарню з переломами кісток черепа, тяжкою черепно-мозковою травмою, забоями головного мозку.

    За словами заступниці директора комунального некомерційного підприємства «Міська клінічна лікарня №1» Інги Назімкіної, в загиблого пожежника лишилося троє дітей.

    Відтак кількість загиблих внаслідок пожежі зросла до восьми. Раніше 7 грудня кореспондент Радіо Свобода повідомляв, що під час розбору завалів знайшли ще два тіла. Їхні стать і особи наразі не встановлені.

    Інформація про пожежу в будівлі коледжу економіки та права надійшла до Головного управління ДСНС України в Одеській області вранці 4 грудня.

    Як зазначається, рятувальникам вдалося оперативно вивести з будівлі 40 осіб по сходах, а також за допомогою драбин та автопідіймачів.

    Одеська влада оголосила жалобу 5 і 6 грудня.


  • На одеській пожежі кількість підтверджених жертв зросла до 7


    На одеській пожежі кількість підтверджених жертв зросла до семи – під час пошукових робіт знайшли ще два тіла. Про це повідомив заступник начальника ГУ ДСНС в одеській області Олександр Крицький близько 18 години 7 грудня, передає кореспондент Радіо Свобода.

    «Додатково виявлено з внутрішньої частини двору на рівні другого поверху ще два тіла. Коментарі стосовно статі та осіб поки неможливі, тому що тривають оперативні слідчі дії», – сказав Крицький.

    Всього під завалами будівлі виявлено шістьох осіб з початку проведення пошукових робіт. Ще одна особа померла в лікарні в перший же день.

    Раніше 7 грудня одеська поліція повідомила про двох підозрюваних у зв’язку з пожежею.

    Один із рятувальників ДСНС, який постраждав під час ліквідації пожежі, досі перебуває у комі.


    Інформація про пожежу в будівлі коледжу економіки та права надійшла до Головного управління ДСНС України в Одеській області вранці 4 грудня.

    Як зазначається, рятувальникам вдалося оперативно вивести з будівлі 40 осіб по сходах, а також за допомогою драбин та автопідіймачів.

    Одеська влада оголосила жалобу 5 і 6 грудня.


  • Truckers Block Roads as French Strikes hit Weekend Travel

    Strikes disrupted weekend travel around France on Saturday as truckers blocked highways and most trains remained at a standstill because of worker anger at President Emmanuel Macron’s policies.

    Meanwhile, yellow vest protesters held their weekly demonstrations over economic injustice in Paris and other cities, under the close watch of police. The marchers appear to be emboldened by the biggest national protests in years Thursday that kicked off a mass movement against the government’s plan to redesign the national retirement system.

    As the strikes entered a third day Saturday, tourists and shoppers faced shuttered subway lines around Paris and near-empty train stations.

    Other groups are joining the fray, too.

    Nationwide Strike Paralyzes France video player.

    Nationwide Strike Paralyzes France

    Truckers striking over a fuel tax hike disrupted traffic on highways from Provence in the southeast to Normandy in the northwest. A similar fuel tax is what unleashed the yellow vest movement a year ago, and this convergence of grievances could pose a major new threat to Macron’s presidency.

    The travel chaos is not deterring the government so far, though. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe plainly told the French in a nationwide address Friday: “You’re going to have to work longer.”

    He will present details of the plan next week. The government says it won’t raise the official retirement age of 62 but the plan is expected to including financial conditions to encourage people to work longer. Philippe did offer one olive branch, saying the changes would be progressive so that they don’t become “brutal.”

    Macron says the reform, which will streamline a convoluted system of 42 special pension plans, will make the system more fair and financially sustainable.

    Unions, however, see the plan as a t hreat to hard-fought workers’ rights, and are digging in for what they hope is a protracted strike. They also plan new nationwide retirement protests Tuesday, despite the tear gas and rioting that marred the edges of the Paris march Thursday.

    In a society accustomed to strikes and workers rights, many people have supported the labor action, though that sentiment is likely to fade if the transport shutdown continues through next week.

    “I knew it was going to last … but I did not expect it to be that chaotic,” Ley Basaki, who lives in the Paris suburb of Villemomble and struggles to get to and from work in the capital, told The Associated Press on Saturday at the Gare de l’Est train station. “There is absolutely nothing here, nothing, nothing. There is no bus, nothing.”

    Many travelers are using technology and social networks to find ways around the strike — working from home, using ride-sharing apps and riding shared bikes or electric scooters.

    But some are using technology to support the strike: A group of activist gamers is raising money via a marathon session on game-streaming site Twitch. Their manifesto says: “In the face of powers-that-be who are hardening their line and economic insecurity that is intensifying in all layers of the population,” they are trying to “occupy other spaces for mobilization and invent other ways of joining the movement.”


  • Trump Calls for World Bank to Stop Loaning to China

    U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday called for the World Bank to stop loaning money to China, one day after the institution adopted a lending plan to Beijing over Washington’s objections.

    The World Bank on Thursday adopted a plan to aid China with $1 billion to $1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually through June 2025. The plan calls for lending to “gradually decline” from the previous five-year average of $1.8 billion.

    “Why is the World Bank loaning money to China? Can this be possible? China has plenty of money, and if they don’t, they create it. STOP!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

    “World Bank lending to China has fallen sharply and will continue to reduce as part of our agreement with all our shareholders including the United States,” the World Bank said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
    “We eliminate lending as countries get richer.”

    Spokespeople for the White House declined to comment on the record.

    The World Bank loaned China $1.3 billion in the fiscal 2019 year, which ended on June 30, a decrease from around $2.4 billion in fiscal 2017.

    But the fall in the World Bank’s loans to China is not swift enough for the Trump administration, which has argued that Beijing is too wealthy for international aid.



  • Пожежа в Одесі: поліція має двох підозрюваних

    Управління Нацполіції Одещини має намір повідомити про підозру двом особам у причетності до пожежі у будівлі Одеського коледжу економіки, права та готельно-ресторанного бізнесу, зазначається на сайті відомства. За цими даними, зараз триває узгодження із прокуратурою.

    «На даний час органами досудового розслідування допитано понад 150 осіб, призначено понад два десятки судових експертиз. Починаючи з 5-го грудня безперервно триває огляд місця події. Під час огляду безпосередньо місця пожежі було виявлено чотири тіла, два з яких родичі впізнали. Інші дві особи наразі не впізнані, тіла направлені на СМЕ. Поки що, за результатами вже проведених слідчих дій, готується повідомлення про підозри двом особам. У найкоротший термін вони будуть направлені до прокуратури Одеської області та після погодження повідомлені самим підозрюваним. Однак це тільки попередні результати. В ході подальшого розслідування підозрюваних може стати більше», – заявив начальник слідчого управління ГУНП Одеської області Сергій Шайхет. 

    Деталей щодо провадження і того, за якими статтями підозрюють згаданих осіб, не повідомляється. 

    Як повідомили у Державній службі з надзвичайних ситуацій, станом на ранок 7 грудня підтверджено загибель під час пожежі 5 людей, госпіталізовано 17 осіб, окрім того, за даними Нацполіції, доля ще 10 людей залишається невідомою.

    Один із рятувальників ДСНС, який постраждав під час ліквідації пожежі, досі перебуває у комі. 

    За даними ДСНС, аварійно-рятувальні роботи тривають, також ліквідовуються осередки тління, які досі виявляються у завалах.

    Інформація про пожежу в будівлі коледжу економіки та права надійшла до Головного управління ДСНС України в Одеській області вранці 4 грудня. 

    Як зазначається, рятувальникам вдалося оперативно вивести з будівлі 40 осіб по сходах, а також за допомогою драбин та автопідіймачів.

    Одеська влада оголосила жалобу 5 і 6 грудня.


  • Australian Firefighters Confront ‘Mega Blaze’ Near Sydney

    One hundred forty bushfires continue to burn across eastern Australia.  A huge blaze near Sydney is bigger in size than the city itself and could take weeks to put out.  Conditions have eased Saturday but the dangers persist.  

    Sydney is again shrouded in a toxic, smoky haze.  Health warnings have been issued and many weekend sporting activities have been cancelled.  Several blazes have combined to create a “mega fire” north of Australia’s biggest city. The fire’s front is 60 kilometers long and officials warn it is simply too big to put out.

    Lauren McGowan works in a bar in the nearby city of Cessnock.

    “Everyone is a bit on edge, getting a little bit too close to home for around here.  Like, even with people we have working here the fires are practically on their doors,” she said.

    There are 95 bushfires here in the drought-hit state of New South Wales.  Half are burning out of control.  More than 2,000 firefighters are on the ground.  Their task is unrelenting, but reinforcements have arrived from overseas, including Canada, New Zealand and the United States.  

    Morgan Kehr, a senior firefighter from Edmonton, has flown in to join his Australian counterparts, who have in previous years battled blazes in Canada.

    “First time away from Christmas, as it is with all of these guys.  Certainly a tough conversation but we’re happy,” said Kehr. “We’ve been assisted four times out of the last five years.”
    There are hazardous conditions in Queensland, to the north.  Parts of that state are blanketed in smoke, and dozens of blazes still rage.  The World Health Quality index, a nonprofit environmental project based in China that measures global pollution, has shown unhealthy levels of air quality in many areas.

    Authorities say that only heavy rain will put some of the fires out, but, ominously, the forecast is for more hot and dry conditions over the Australian summer.


  • У Мінську мітингують проти «поглиблення інтеграції» з Росією

    Близько тисячі людей долучилися до акції проти «поглиблення інтеграції» Білорусі з Росією, повідомляє білоруська служба Радіо Свобода.

    Спочатку вони сформували живий ланцюг на проспекті Незалежності, а тоді попрямували ходою від Жовтневої площі до площі Свободи, скандуючи «Жыве Беларусь!»

    Близько полудня за місцевим часом (це 11 за Києвом) на Жовтневій площі трапилася сутичка між протестувальниками і силовиками, які намагалися заблокувати ходу і не пустити активістів до сходів Палацу республіки. Як заявили в поліції, акція – несанкціонована. 

    7 грудня в Сочі має відбутися зустріч президента Білорусі Олександра Лукашенка з російським президентом Володимиром Путіним. ЗМІ писали, що в результаті зустрічі може бути підписана програма інтеграції між двома країнами. Проте, які саме документи можуть бути підписані й інші деталі переговорів, офіційно поки що невідомо.

    У кінці 2018 року російський прем’єр-міністр Дмитро Медведєв заявив про готовність Росії проводити єдину політику у сфері податків і ціноутворення з Білоруссю в рамках угоди про союзну державу від 1999 року. Документ передбачав створення спільної валюти, судів і митниці. Лукашенко тоді назвав висловлювання російського прем’єра «порожнім шантажем».

    Критики білоруського президента вважають, що нові угоди про інтеграцію з Росією загрожують незалежності країни.


  • Тіло загиблого на Донбасі полковника Каплунова повернули Україні – СБУ

    3 грудня президент України присвоїв полковникам Дмитру Каплунову і Денису Волочаєву звання Героя України з удостоєнням ордена «Золота Зірка»


  • Bloomberg: His News Reporters Need to Accept Restrictions

    Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg says employees at his news organization need to accept restrictions with their paycheck, including the ban on investigating their boss.

    Bloomberg, billionaire founder of Bloomberg News, was asked in a CBS News interview about rules put in place when he announced his candidacy: The organization’s reporters are not allowed to probe him and his finances, or any of his Democratic rivals.

    Bloomberg News says the restriction does not apply to President Donald Trump as the government’s leader. That prompted Trump’s campaign to say it would not allow Bloomberg reporters to cover its events.

    “We just have to learn to live with some things,” Bloomberg told CBS. His reporters “get a paycheck. But with your paycheck comes some restrictions and responsibilities.”

    He said that people have said to him, “‘how can you investigate yourself?’ And I said, Ï don’t think you can.”’ He noted that Bloomberg News subscribers also get access to campaign news from The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

    With his comments, the former New York mayor “puts the journalists who work for him in an extremely uncomfortable, tenuous position,” said Lynne Adrine, a Washington-based journalism professor for Syracuse University.

     As the owner of Bloomberg News, which started in 1990, Bloomberg has the right to do as he wants, she said.

    “Yet, I don’t think that’s the take-away journalism consumers need at this time,” Adrine said.

    Bloomberg reporter Mark Niquette is covering Bloomberg’s campaign. On Friday, he posted a story about remarks Bloomberg made in the CBS interview, including about the news organization’s policy.

    Earlier this week, he wrote about Bloomberg’s campaign stop in Mississippi, where the candidate talked about his apology for New York City’s stop-and-frisk policing tactics when he was mayor.

    The Bloomberg company had no comment Friday on what the candidate said.

    Kathleen Culver, a professor of journalism ethics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, said she’s concerned about the extent to which Bloomberg reporters feel intimidated about their boss’ remarks.

    Culver said she understands Bloomberg’s reluctance to step fully away from the company he created, but he might want to look at ways to completely disassociate himself with Bloomberg News at this time.