• Learning Environments

    VOA Connect Episode 99 – We look at different educational settings, from Native American studies to training veterans about beekeeping to kids learning how to code.  


  • Native American Arts School

    The Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico is a school designed for Native Americans.  We talk to students and professors about a learning environment that specifically addresses tribal cultures and values.  

    Reporter:  Julie Taboh, Camera: Adam Greenbaum, Adapted by: Zdenko Novacki


  • Veterans Beekeeping

    We go to an apiary in New Hampshire where US veterans have turned to beekeeping for post-traumatic stress relief.  Find out how taking care of bees is helping these former fighters use stay grounded and lessen their trauma.  

    Reporter/Camera: Deborah Block; Adapted by: Martin Secrest


  • Переважно без опадів і сильних морозів – синоптики розповіли про погоду на вихідні

    В Українському гідрометеорологічному центрі повідомили, що погода у найближчу добу в Україні не зазнає особливих змін у порівнянні з останніми днями.

    «7 грудня без опадів, лише у західних областях ввечері місцями невеликий дощ. Вітер південно-західний, 5-10 м/с, вдень в Карпатах місцями пориви 15-20 м/с. Температура вночі погода

    клімат1-6 морозу, вдень 0-5 тепла; у південних областях вночі близько нуля, вдень 4-9 тепла», – йдеться в повідомленні гідрометцентру.

    Крім того, синоптик Наталка Діденко на сторінці у Facebook також повідомляє, що на вихідні в Україні синоптична ситуація істотно не зміниться.

    «Опадів не буде, хіба що у неділю по заходу та півдню походить незначна хмарна вологість, місцями невеликі дощ та мокрий сніг. Вітер завіватиме з південного заходу, 5-12 м/с, тобто, трохи поривчастий… У Києві в суботу буде сухо, в неділю – ймовірність невеликих опадів. Вночі – 1-3 градуси, вдень +2+5 градусів. Сильних морозів у найближчій перспективі не видно», – написала синоптик на сторінці у Facebook.

    1-3 грудня в Україні випав помітний сніг, мокрий сніг, втім незабаром він розтанув, а температура повітря відтоді різко не опускалася.




  • Doctor’s Report Says Elizabeth Warren ‘In Excellent Health’

    Elizabeth Warren “is in excellent health,” according to a doctor’s report released by the Massachusetts senator on Friday, becoming the first in a trio of top Democratic presidential candidates over 70 to make their medical records public.
    Warren’s last physical was in January and was conducted by Dr. Beverly Woo, who said she has served as the candidate’s primary care physician since 1999. Woo, from Boston, wrote in a one-page letter dated this week that Warren’s “only medical condition” is an underactive thyroid gland, which is easily treated by medication, the only kind she takes.
    The senator , 70, is up to date on some important protective health steps: She had her annual flu shot in October, and a routine mammogram in January found no sign of trouble. At 5 feet, 8 inches, she weighs 129 pounds, exercises regularly and follows a healthy diet, the doctor wrote. She has never smoked, misused drugs or had a problem with alcohol.
    Woo said Warren’s January checkup found no red flags. In fact, her blood pressure was lower than is usual for someone her age 115 over 57, and her heart rate was 70, levels that are seen in people who exercise regularly.
    “If I were seeing a 70-year-old woman in my clinic with these vital signs, physical exam and lab values, I would tell her that she is quite healthy for her age,” said Dr. Brian Antono, a family medicine specialist at Georgetown University School of Medicine who reviewed the health information released by Warren’s campaign.
    Warren underwent a long list of blood tests at that physical, and none signaled any underlying diseases. Importantly, they indicate she’s at low risk of heart disease and stroke. Her blood sugar was normal. Her cholesterol was in the healthy zone, with a total cholesterol of 193 and level of the so-called “bad” subtype, or LDL, at 88. Her level of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, was an unusually high 95. In contrast to the other cholesterol types where a lower number is better, an HDL higher than 60 is considered protective, and Antono said the thyroid condition Warren has sometimes bumps up that number.
    “Her normal cholesterol levels combined with the rest of her `puzzle pieces’ – normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar and non-smoker status – are all positive contributors to an overall reassuring heart health,” Antono said.
    The senator frequently jogs onto stage at her rallies and says she keeps healthy by walking frequently while talking on the phone or listening to audiobooks, with the goal of doing 7 miles (11 kilometers) daily. “But I don’t always hit it,” she says.
    Warren is among her party’s primary front-runners along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78, and former Vice President Joe Biden, 77. Also in the top tier is Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who is 37.
    Sanders had a heart attack while campaigning in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 and has brushed off complaints his campaign wasn’t fully forthcoming about the extent of his health scare until he was subsequently released from the hospital. But he has promised to release full medical records by the end of the year. Biden says he’ll make his health records public before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3.
    A Pew Research Center poll from May found that about half of Democrats said it would be best for a president to be in their 50s. Another quarter said it would be best for a president to be in their 40s, and 16% preferred a president in their 60s. Just 3% said someone in their 70s would be best, and 6% said the same of a president in their 30s.
    Donald Trump, now 73, became the oldest newly inaugurated first-term president in January 2017. He has been criticized for releasing only cursory details on his health while running for the White House.
    His doctor, Harold Bornstein, wrote in December 2015 that Trump would “unequivocally” be the healthiest president in history and deemed the celebrity businessman’s condition “astonishingly excellent.’” Bornstein later said he wrote the note in five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate waited outside his office.
    Last month, on a Saturday, Trump visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a stop that wasn’t listed on the president’s schedule and came just nine months after his last physical. Trump later said he went through a “very routine physical” and blamed the media for sparking unfounded fears that the visit meant he was ill.
    Figuring out how fit the septuagenarians or any candidates really are can be tricky. No law requires them to disclose their medical records, though doctor’s notes and the records from a most-recent physical, like Warren released, do provide snippets and important clues.
    Biden had a brush with death in 1988, requiring surgery to repair two brain aneurysms, weak bulges in arteries, one of them leaking. Medical records released in 2008 during Biden’s vice presidential campaign showed he’d made a full recovery, with no trouble since.


  • ‘Dark Money’ Ties Raise Questions for GOP Sen. Ernst of Iowa

    An outside group founded by top political aides to Sen. Joni Ernst has worked closely with the Iowa Republican to raise money and boost her reelection prospects, a degree of overlap that potentially violates the law, documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

    Iowa Values, a political nonprofit that is supposed to be run independently, was co-founded in 2017 by Ernst’s longtime consultant, Jon Kohan. It shares a fundraiser, Claire Holloway Avella, with the Ernst campaign. And a condo owned by a former aide — who was recently hired to lead the group — was used as Iowa Values’ address at a time when he worked for her.

    Political nonprofits are often referred to as “dark money” groups because they can raise unlimited sums and are not required to reveal their donors. But they must take steps to keep their activities separate from the candidates they support. Additionally, while such tax-exempt groups can do political work, they can’t make it their primary purpose.

    The documents reviewed by the AP, including emails and a strategy memo, not only make clear that the group’s aim is securing an Ernst win in 2020, but they also show Ernst and her campaign worked in close concert with Iowa Values.

    Ernst is hardly the first politician to push campaign finance law boundaries. But the revelation could complicate her efforts to fend off a Democratic challenger in a closely watched race next year.

    “The truth is, our campaign is completely separate and independent from any outside organization,” Ernst senior adviser Brook Ramlet said in a statement. “Our campaign always has and always will act in full compliance with and in the spirit of the law. For the AP to suggest otherwise, is the definition of fake news.”

    Campaign finance law states that candidates and their “agents” can’t solicit, direct or spend contributions that exceed federal limits, even if the donations are made to an outside group. Those limits currently prevent donors from giving more than $2,800 to a candidate and $5,000 to a political action committee per election.

    In July, Holloway Avella requested “an investment of $50,000” from a donor after Ernst made an introduction. She made clear in an email, which was obtained by the AP, how much a contribution of that size could help.

    “As a follow up to our introduction by Senator Ernst, I am reaching out to you on behalf of Iowa Values,” she wrote.

    “As you may have seen, an outside group on the left … recently launched a six-figure ad buy in media markets across the state attacking Senator Ernst on her vote to repeal Obamacare,” she continued. “The purpose of our group, Iowa Values, is to push back against these type of negative attacks.”

    Separately, a strategy memo states the group will use door-knocking, as well as TV, radio and digital advertising, to build a “firewall” that could be the difference “between winning and losing in 2020 for Senator Ernst.” The group is targeting about 120,000 Iowans who “lean Republican on the issues” but abandon the party at times over “the tone of the GOP.”

    Taken together, some legal experts say the documents offer proof that the effort violates the spirit of campaign finance and tax law, if not the letter of it.

    “It seems like pretty strong evidence” that the $50,000 request was for an “illegal donation” while it’s “clear that the goal of Iowa Values is to reelect Joni Ernst, which may violate its tax-exempt status,” said Brendan Fischer, an attorney with the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington.

    He also said the documents pulled back the curtain on how dark money works.

    “This is a striking example of how secret campaign money operates,” Fischer said. “The big donors that bankroll a dark money group like Iowa Values remain hidden from the public, but the politician that benefits knows where the money is coming from.”

    Still, it’s far from certain that the Federal Election Commission, or the IRS, will find that they broke the law.

    The FEC often gridlocks along partisan lines. And after a recent resignation, the panel doesn’t have enough members to legally meet for conducting business. Similarly, the IRS has shown little appetite for cracking down on dark money groups that push the limits.

    “There’s a real disconnect between the principles behind the law and how they are enforced,” said Larry Noble, a former general counsel to the FEC who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Noble said he would need more details before assessing whether Ernst’s campaign broke the law. But, he added: “The bottom line is that this is really questionable.”

    Dan Petalas, a former FEC attorney, said that the “law is undecided” but that his personal view is the fundraising was permissible because Holloway Avella said she was requesting the $50,000 on behalf of Iowa Values, not the campaign.

    In a statement, Iowa Values executive director Derek Flowers said the organization has “systems and controls in place to make certain that it complies with all laws” and is “careful to follow all requirements that limit how much of its activities can be focused on supporting candidates.”

    What’s undeniable is the close connection between Ernst and the group.

    Kohan, a former Ernst deputy chief of staff who is now a general consultant to her campaign, was paid $120,000 to serve as executive director of Iowa Values for two years, according to the group’s tax filings. He left the group earlier this year. Jamestown Associates, where he is a named partner, also collected an additional $101,000 from Ernst’s campaign in the years he served as executive director.

    Holloway Avella raised about $520,000 for Iowa Values in 2017 and 2018, tax records show. The group lists her Arlington, Virginia, office as one of its business addresses and paid her about $60,000. Ernst paid her an additional $363,000 those years, record show.

    The group listed a Waukee, Iowa, condo owned by Flowers as another business address in 2017, records show. Flowers was campaign manager during Ernst’s 2014 Senate primary. A company called Midland Strategies, which has been paid $145,000 by Ernst since 2013, also listed Flowers’ condo as a business address. Flowers succeeded Kohan as the group’s executive director this year.

    After Ernst launched her reelection campaign, Holloway Avella was deeply involved with both operations.

    Holloway Avella’s website lets prospective donors request to host a fundraiser for the senator. And invitations for several recent Ernst events list her as an organizer, including two held in September at Bistro Bis, a French eatery a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

    Around the same time, Holloway Avella was seeking donations for Iowa Values from prominent Ernst supporters, like dieting entrepreneur Jenny Craig and San Francisco philanthropist Diane “Dede” Wilsey. Craig previously gave $30,000 to Ernst; Wilsey donated $46,000.

    A legal compliance letter Holloway Avella sent to donors underscored the delicate terrain.

    Iowa Values’ mission “is to educate the public about common-sense solutions to various public policy issues of national importance,” it stated. “It was not formed by any federal candidates or agents of candidates or at the direction or request of any candidates or an agent of a candidate.”


  • Democrats Say Trump Impeachment Charges Must Come Swiftly

    House Democrats moved aggressively to draw up formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Thursday, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he “leaves us no choice” but to act swiftly because he’s likely to corrupt the system again unless removed before next year’s election.

    A strictly partisan effort at this point, derided immediately by Trump and other leading Republicans as a sham and a hoax, it is a politically risky undertaking. Democrats say it is their duty, in the aftermath of the Ukraine probe, while Republicans say it will drive Pelosi’s majority from office.

    Congress must act, Pelosi said. “The democracy is what is at stake.”

    “The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said in a somber address at the Capitol. “He is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.”

    Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong. He tweeted that the Democrats “have gone crazy.”

    At the core of the impeachment probe is a July phone call with the president of Ukraine, in which Trump pressed the leader to investigate Democrats, including political rival Joe Biden. At the same time the White House was withholding military aid from Ukraine, an ally bordering an aggressive Russia.

    Drafting articles of impeachment is a milestone moment, only the fourth time in U.S. history Congress has tried to remove a president, and it intensifies the rigid and polarizing partisanship of the Trump era that is consuming Washington and dividing the nation.

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at her weekly news conference at the Capitol in Washington
    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at her weekly news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 5, 2019.

    The speaker delivered her historic announcement in solemn tones at the Capitol, drawing on the Constitution and the Founding Fathers in forcefully claiming Congress’ oversight of the president in the nation’s system of checks and balances. Democrats are already beginning to prepare the formal charges, pushing toward House votes, possibly before Christmas.

    “Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi said.

    Seemingly eager to fight, Trump tweeted that if Democrats “are going to impeach me, do it now, fast.” Though he has fought the House investigation, trying to bar current and former officials from testifying, he said he now wants to move on to a “fair trial” in the Senate.

    Approval of articles of impeachment is considered likely in the Democratic-majority House. Conviction in a following trial in the Republican-dominated Senate seems very unlikely.

    Once reluctant to pursue impeachment, warning it was too divisive for the country and needed to be bipartisan, Pelosi is now leading Congress into politically uncertain terrain for all sides just ahead of the election year.

    Republican are standing lockstep with Trump, unswayed by arguments that his actions amount to wrongdoing, let alone impeachable offenses. That is leaving Democrats to go it alone in a campaign to consider removing the 45th president from office.

    At a town hall late Thursday on CNN, Pelosi said she would have no regrets if impeachment ended up helping Trump’s reelection effort. “This isn’t about politics at all,” she said. “It’s about honoring our oath of office” – to defend the Constitution.

    Pelosi has  emphasized the Russia connection, from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into 2016 election interference to the president’s phone call this summer with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that set off alarms in Washington.

    Russia and President Vladimir Putin benefited most from Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, she said.

    “All roads lead to Putin. Understand that,” she declared at a morning news conference at the Capitol. “That was the a-ha moment.”

    She spoke solemnly and calmly, but that changed when she was asked as she was leaving if she hates Trump.

    Pelosi stiffened, returned to the podium and responded sharply that the president’s views and politics are for the voters to judge at elections but impeachment “is about the Constitution.” She said that as a Catholic, she does not hate the president but rather is praying for him daily.

    Trump quickly tweeted back that he didn’t believe her.

    Trump’s allies argue that voters, not lawmakers, should decide the president’s future. But Democrats say the nation cannot wait for the 2020 election, alleging Trump’s past efforts to have foreign countries intervene in the presidential campaign are forcing them to act to prevent him from doing it again. Pelosi said the still-anonymous whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s Ukraine call changed the dynamic, creating the urgency to act.

    The number of articles and the allegations they will include will be both a legal and political exercise for the House committee chairmen, who will be meeting privately. They must balance electoral dynamics while striving to hit the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    Pulling from the House’s 300-page investigation of the Ukraine matter, Democrats are focusing on at least three areas – abuse of power, bribery and obstruction – that could result in two to five articles, they say.

    They argue that Trump abused the power of his office by putting personal political gain over national security interests; engaging in bribery by holding out $400 million in military aid that  Congress had approved for Ukraine; and then obstructing Congress by stonewalling the investigation.

    Some liberal Democrats want to reach further into Trump’s actions, particularly regarding the findings from special counsel Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. That could produce an additional article of obstruction not only of Congress, but also of justice.

    But more centrist and moderate Democrats, those lawmakers who are most at risk of political fallout from the impeachment proceedings, prefer to stick with the Ukraine matter as a simpler narrative that Americans can more easily understand.

    The GOP Leader of the House, Kevin McCarthy, said Pelosi is more concerned about tearing the president down than building the country up. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., criticized Democrats for focusing on impeachment over other issues, though many House-passed bills are waiting for action in his chamber. “It’s all impeachment, all the time,” he said.

    At the White House, press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted that Pelosi and the Democrats “should be ashamed.”

    House members are preparing to vote on the articles of impeachment in the Judiciary Committee, possibly as soon as next week. The committee set a Monday hearing to receive the Intelligence Committee’s report outlining the findings against the president.

    The House is expecting a full vote by Christmas. That would send the issue to the Senate for a trial in the new year.      


  • На добудову «Охматдиту» виділять додатково 200 мільйонів гривень – Рада підтримала законопроєкт Зеленського

    Додаткові 200 мільйонів гривень будуть виділені на добудову лікувально-діагностичного комплексу Національної дитячої спеціалізованої лікарні «Охматдит» у Києві, заявив президент Володимир Зеленський.

    «Сьогодні Верховна Рада підтримала законопроект, який був внесений мною як невідкладний, про виділення з Фонду президента України 200 мільйонів на добудову лікарні «Охматдит». Дякую всім народним обранцям за це справді дуже важливе рішення. 200 мільйонів гривень – це та сума, яка дасть змогу вже зараз прискорити добудову «Охматдиту», і ми зможемо закінчити будівництво вже навесні», – сказав Зеленський.

    Він додав, що у бюджеті на наступний рік для «Охматдиту» передбачено 500 мільйонів гривень, які можуть бути використані для закупівлі обладнання.

    Верховна Рада 6 грудня ухвалила зміни до держбюджету на 2019 рік, які передбачають виділення додаткових 200 мільйонів гривень на будівництво нового комплексу «Охматдиту». Як йдеться в пояснювальній записці до документа, пропонується за рахунок зменшення видатків з президентського фонду підтримки освіти, науки і спорту перенаправити ці кошти на «Охматдит».

    Будівництво нового лікувально-діагностичного комплексу «Охматдит» відновили у 2016 році після замороження у 2013-му. Торік завершили будівництво комплексу з діагностичними відділеннями і почалося будівництво другого комплексу на 40 відділень. Першу частину нового корпусу «Охматдиту» відкрили у квітні цього року. У планах – будівництво Центру дитячої гематології, онкології і трансплантації кісткового мозку, розширення відділення трансплантації кісткового мозку та хіміотерапії і збільшення кількості операційних.


  • У фракції «Слуга народу» виправдовують нардепа Холодова, якого «Схеми» викрили на лобіюванні родинного бізнесу

    У фракції «Слуга народу» не вбачають нічого протизаконного у діях свого однопартійця, народного депутата Андрія Холодова, якого журналісти викрили на зв’язку з тютюновим бізнесом та лобіюванні у Верховній Раді законодавчого покращення умов його ведення. Керівництво президентської фракції, навпаки, виправдовує його. Про це повідомляють журналісти програми «Схеми: корупція в деталях» (спільних проєкт Радіо Свобода та телеканалу «UA:Перший»).

    Під час розслідування журналісти встановили, що народний депутат Холодов через низку підставних осіб та номінальних власників таки пов’язаний з тютюновим бізнесом, а саме з роздрібною торгівлею цигарками у кіосках, та оптовим постачанням тютюнових виробів у точки продажу. Таким чином, «Схеми» дійшли висновку, що лобіюючи у Верховній Раді правку, що збільшує заробітки для роздрібних торговців тютюном, він відстоював свої ж інтереси.

    Журналісти звернулись за коментарями до представників фракції «Слуга народу», щоб почути їхню реакцію на викриття та дізнатись, чи виноситимуть вони на розгляд фракції питання щодо відповідальності депутата Холодова. 

    Голова фракції Давид Арахамія, який обіцяв подивитись розслідування «Схем», але, зрештою, так і не додивився його, кілька разів уникав конкретної відповіді на питання журналістів: «Я не додивився до кінця, але лобіювання тютюнового бізнесу не виявилось. Я заходив в зал і спитав його – він спростовує. Те, що він ніколи не мав і не має… Я кажу: ну, ти сам фільм дивився? Бо я не додивився. І він каже, що в фільмі фігурують фейкові документи: якісь папери, де щось там написано. І цих документів не існує взагалі. Після того, як ми поговорили, я поставив таке неформальне застереження, щоб мені інформували, якщо будуть якісь рухи в тютюнових таких справах».

    Його перший заступник, Олександр Корнієнко, також обіцяв переглянути розслідування та дати оцінку наведеним у ньому фактам, та зрештою заявив, що обмежиться поясненнями, які почув від свого однопартійця: «Холодов приватно давав (пояснення – ред), я думаю. Я бачу, що він в принципі і до нас підходив, і казав, що є таке розслідування, що не все відповідає дійсності, але якусь конкретику він не казав… А я і не запитував».

    Очільник комітету з питань фінансів, податкової та митної політики Данило Гетманцев після особистої розмови з депутатом Холодовим також каже, що не бачить в його діях лобіювання ним своїх інтересів у Раді: «Так чи інакше ми з вами розуміємо, що в кожного з нас в минулому житті був якийсь бізнес. Ми чимось займалися. Головне, щоб ті практики, ті бізнеси, які колись в нас були, жодним чином не впливали на прийняття рішень, які ми приймаємо у комітеті».

    Також більшість опитаних «Схемами» депутатів зі «Слуги народу» порадили з’ясовувати питання відповідальності за можливе лобіювання власних бізнес-інтересів Холодовим у правоохоронних органів.

    Зокрема, таку позицію озвучив парламентар Андрій Жупанин: «Я не знаю наскільки це нормально з точки зору моральної складової чи це нормально. Це особиста справа депутата, і мені здається, що депутат не має права займатися по закону ніякою діяльністю, крім наукової, викладацької і творчої. І якщо йдеться про встановлені факти зайняття депутатом бізнесом, то мені здається, це повинно повідомлятися до правоохоронних органів».

    «Я вважаю, певно, що ні (не нормально депутату займатися законотворчістю у сфері, в якій той може мати бізнес-інтереси – прим. ред). Хоча, якщо він добре розбирається саме у цій справі, то це непогано», – заявив парламентар від «Слуги народу» Олексій Устенко. 

    На уточнення, чи не вважає він це явище лобіюванням, Устенко відповів: «Безумовно, це погано. Але, можливо, він не лобіює свої інтереси, а можливо, він просто робить правильно? Так, як воно повинно бути». 

    У свою чергу голова Верховної Ради Дмитро Разумков заявив: «Якщо це буде доведено, то це дійсно буде проблемою і для нього, і для Ради, якщо ні… він дуже впевнено відповідає на те, що це не є правдою».

    І додав: «Щодо правоохоронних органів, якщо є такий фактаж, я впевнений, що вони теж будуть реагувати. Якщо є конфлікт інтересів, то треба про нього заявляти».

    «Виходить, ніхто зі «слуг народу» не наважився сам порушити питання щодо відповідальності свого соратника, якого журналісти викрили у лобіюванні не державних, а родинних інтересів. Більшість опитаних нами депутатів лише радять з’ясовувати це все у контролюючих органів. А керівництву фракції було легше просто повірити на слово своєму соратнику, аніж зважити на розслідування журналістів із наведеними доказами та документами», – йдеться у розслідуванні «Схем».

    Раніше «Схеми» встановили, що родина депутата зі «Слуги народу» Холодова має стосунок до повного циклу дистрибуції цигарок – від гуртової закупівлі у виробників (через фірму «Сіті Трейдінг Компані») до розповсюдження цих партій в кіоски (власник кіосків – «Київ Маркет Солюшн») і роздрібного продажу у цих кіосках через дві фірми («Віктрум» та «Інтертабако»)».

    Фірма, на яку записані столичні кіоски, де торгують цигарками, належить кіпрській компанії, яка була заснована у маєтку родини Андрія Холодова на Кіпрі у місті Лімасол.

    Пізніше депутат зазначав, що кіпрська компанія, на яку заведений цей бізнес, була продана «іншому власнику» ще в 2018-му, втім, не зміг сказати, кому саме.

    «Цей бізнес ретельно замаскований за підставними власниками та неіснуючими адресами реєстрації цих фірм, і зрештою виведений на Кіпр», – мовиться в матеріалі.

    З 2018 року родина Холодова справді переоформила бізнес на іншого засновника, вочевидь, номінального. Засновником фірми Reineweg LTD, на яку записана мережа столичних кіосків, замість дружини Холодова став кіпріот Гіоргос Лантас – це юрист, який, крім цього бізнесу, фігурує також у майже сотні інших кіпрських компаній. При цьому і після реєстрації на номінального власника фірма залишалась прописаною у маєтку Холодова в Лімасолі аж до його обрання у Верховну Раду.

    Раніше Холодов також публічно заперечував, що має якісь інтереси у торгівлі цигарками. «Ніякого тютюнового бізнесу в мене ніколи не було», – писав він у фейсбуці.

    «І це не дивно – адже інакше депутатові від «Слуги народу» довелось би визнати наявність серйозного конфлікту інтересів при лобіюванні законодавства, яке покращує умови його власного бізнесу», – мовиться в розслідуванні.

    У жовтні Верховна Рада ухвалила законопроект №1049 з правкою №8, якою змінюється формула перерозподілу прибутків між різними учасниками ланцюжка з торгівлі цигарками. Зокрема, збільшується маржа заробітку для гуртових і роздрібних продавців тютюнових виробів. До винесення в зал на голосування ця правка пройшла через комітет із питань фінансів, податкової та митної політики, її підтримав голосуванням і лобіює публічно заступник голови комітету Андрій Холодов.

    На запитання, чи є він «бенефіціаром» правки, розглянутої його комітетом, депутат Холодов відповів: «За неї проголосували 215 «слуг народу» і 40 депутатів з інших фракцій. Якщо є така статистика, як ви вважаєте, це я є бенефіціаром цієї правки?»

    Також «Схеми» повідомили, що 4 грудня детективи НАБУ відкрили кримінальне провадження щодо Холодова. Офіційне розслідування розпочато після публікації журналістського розслідування «Слуга родинного бізнесу» – за статтями закінченого замаху на вчинення злочину у вигляді зловживання владою або службовим становищем. 



  • Saudi Aramco Plans $25.6B Share Sale in Biggest IPO Ever

    Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, on Thursday set a share price for its initial public stock offering — expected to be the biggest ever — that puts the value of the company at $1.7 trillion, more than Apple or Microsoft. 
    The company said it would sell its shares at 32 riyals ($8.53) each, putting the overall value of the stake being sold at $25.6 billion. 
    Aramco is floating a 1.5% stake in the company, or 3 billion shares. Trading is expected to happen on the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange as early as December 11. 
    The company is selling 0.5% to individuals who are Saudi citizens and residents  and 1% to institutional investors, which can be sovereign wealth funds, asset managers or government-run pension programs. 
    The pricing of the shares was at the top of the range Aramco had sought. The company had priced its shares ranging from 30 to 32 riyals each, or $8 to $8.53 a share. 
    In the announcement Thursday, Aramco said the offering drew heavy demand.

    Most orders from Saudis

    The company’s financial advisers had said earlier that most orders came from Saudi funds or companies, with foreign investors, including from neighboring Persian Gulf Arab states, accounting for 10.5% of the bids. It was not immediately known what the final figures released Thursday represented and how much of that was generated by foreign investment. 
    The highly anticipated sale of a sliver of the company had generated global buzz since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans for it more than two years ago. That’s in part because it would clock in as the world’s biggest IPO, surpassing record holder Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Chinese conglomerate and e-commerce company, which raised about $25 billion in 2014. 
    The kingdom’s plan to sell part of the company is part of a wider economic overhaul aimed at raising new streams of revenue for the oil-dependent country. It came as oil prices have struggled to reach the $75-$80-per-barrel range that analysts say is needed to balance Saudi Arabia’s budget. Brent crude is trading at just over $63 a barrel. 
    Prince Mohammed has said listing Aramco is one way for the kingdom to raise capital for the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which would then use that money to develop new cities and lucrative projects across Saudi Arabia. 
    Despite the mammoth figures involved in the IPO, they are not quite what the prince had envisioned based on his remarks over the past two years. He’d previously talked about a valuation for Aramco of $2 trillion and a flotation of 5% of the company involving a listing on a foreign stock exchange. There are no immediate plans for an international listing. 

    Another sale?
    Aramco said Thursday that it would retain the option of an even bigger offering of a 3.45 billion-share sale, representing $29.4 billion. 
    Despite Aramco’s profitability, the state’s control of the company carries risks for investors. Two key Aramco processing sites were targeted by drones and missiles in September, an attack that was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen but that the U.S. blamed on Iran. Iran denies the allegation. 
    The Saudi government also stipulates oil production levels, which directly affects Aramco’s output. 
    On Thursday, the countries that make up the OPEC oil-producing cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, were meeting in Vienna to decide whether to cut production and push up prices of fuel and energy around the world. 


  • Tiny Analyzer Promises Boost for Coffee Growers, Their Soil

    A piece of paper no bigger than a business card could enrich struggling coffee farmers and their soil, a growing challenge as temperatures rise and prices fluctuate. 
    Enveritas, a U.S. nonprofit, signed an agreement with International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) on Thursday to pilot the AgroPad, which analyzes soil samples remotely and quickly. 
    Powered by artificial intelligence, the AgroPad can perform a chemical analysis in 10 seconds, reading nitrate or chloride levels from a drop of water or small soil sample, said IBM. 
    Enveritas plans to provide the devices for free to farmers in coffee-growing regions of Latin America and Africa, and IBM said it aims to make them affordable for everyone. Its target production cost: less than 25 cents. 
    The nonprofit, which works with 100,000 farms, mills and estates in Latin America and Africa, did not say how many would be in the pilot but, if successful, “the plan is to scale it out,” CEO David Browning told Reuters. 
    Coffee farmers have been struggling with a slump in global prices while climate change is threatening vast swaths of land in Latin America, Asia and Africa. 
    Enveritas, which verifies the sustainability of coffee farmers, said most of its growers live on less than $2 a day. 
    Chemical analysis of soil is vital to improve yields but is complicated, expensive and time-consuming because it requires laboratory equipment, said Mathias Steiner from IBM Research-Brazil. 
    AgroPad costs less and could reduce the use of fertilizers, which would save money and help the environment, said Steiner, one of its inventors. 
    Last week, engineers from Britain’s Brunel University also unveiled an AI device for farming: small red pods, costing £92 ($118) each, that could be planted into the soil. The pods collect data hourly and would show farmers what the soil needs. 


  • Trump Threatens Trade Action to Spur NATO Contributions

    President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States may take action on trade with countries that are not contributing enough to NATO.

    Trump, fresh from a trip to London for a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has been pushing member countries to contribute more to the organization.

    The U.S. president said a lot of countries were getting close to the goal of 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product for NATO contributions.

    “A lot of countries are close and getting closer. And some are really not close, and we may do things having to do with trade. It’s not fair that they get U.S. protection and they’re not putting up their money,” he said.

    Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron clashed over the future of NATO on Tuesday before a summit intended to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Western military alliance.

    In sharp exchanges underlining discord in a transatlantic bloc hailed by many as the most successful military pact in history, Trump demanded that Europe pay more for its collective defense and make concessions to U.S. interests on trade.

    He also was upbeat about the alliance on Thursday, saying his meetings went well and that “NATO is in very, very good shape and the relationships with other countries are really extraordinary.”


  • One US Senator Blocks Resolution Recognizing Armenian Genocide

    Republican Senator Kevin Cramer prevented the U.S. Senate from voting Thursday on a resolution that would recognize as a genocide the mass killings of Armenians a century ago, saying it was not an appropriate time to pass legislation that would anger Turkey. 
    The Democrat-led House of Representatives passed the resolution  405-11 in late October. But there has not been a vote in the Senate, where President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a majority of seats. 
    Congressional aides said the White House did not want the legislation to move ahead while it was negotiating with Ankara on sensitive issues such as Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria and the NATO ally’s purchase of an S-400 missile defense system from Russia, which could provoke U.S. sanctions. 
    The resolution asserts that it is U.S. policy to commemorate as genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. The Ottoman Empire was centered in present-day Turkey. 
    Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War I, but it contests the figures and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide. 

    Threat to sovereignty

    Ankara views foreign involvement in the issue as a threat to its sovereignty. It immediately denounced the House vote. 
    Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas tried to force a Senate vote on the resolution Thursday. 
    Cramer, of North Dakota, blocked it, saying the time was not right, just after Trump held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a NATO summit in London. 
    “I don’t think there’s a single member of the Senate who doesn’t have serious concerns about Turkey’s behavior,” Cramer said, adding, “At the right time, we may pass it.” 
    Menendez disagreed, noting Erdogan recently visited Washington and nothing had changed. He promised to come to the Senate chamber once a week to raise the issue. 
    For decades, measures recognizing the Armenian genocide have stalled in Congress, stymied by concerns about relations with Turkey and intense lobbying by the Ankara government. 
    The House vote marked the first time in 35 years such legislation was considered in the full chamber, underscoring widespread frustration in Congress with the Turkish government, from members of both U.S. political parties. 


  • Joe Biden Wins Kerry Endorsement, Touts World Experience

    John Kerry, the former secretary of state and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, is endorsing Joe Biden for president, buoying the former vice president’s argument that his international experience should be a deciding factor for voters in 2020.

    The Biden campaign rolled out Kerry’s endorsement as it continues to hammer President Donald Trump as a dangerous and erratic commander in chief and head of state. The campaign hammered the argument Wednesday with an online ad featuring video of other world leaders mocking Trump at a Buckingham Palace reception held alongside a NATO summit.

    “I’ve never before seen the world more in need of someone who on day one can begin the incredibly hard work of putting back together the world Donald Trump has smashed apart,” Kerry said in a statement.

    That echoes applause lines Biden uses often as he campaigns.

    “The next president will inherit a world in disarray,” Biden said Thursday, touting his decades of foreign policy experience as a six-term Delaware senator and two-term vice president.


  • «Справа не в ціні»: рятувальники подякували чоловіку, який усю ніч пригощав кавою на пожежі в Одесі

    Рятувальники подякували чоловікові, який працює на кавомашині і всю ніч пригощав своїми напоями пожежників, що гасили загоряння в Одеському коледжі економіки, права та готельно-ресторанного бізнесу.

    «Деякі герої не носять плащі. Цей молодий чоловік всю ніч готував безкоштовно каву для рятувальників, які гасили пожежу в Одесі. Дякуємо Вам за велике серце! Бо справа ж не у ціні на чашку кави, справа у турботі про інших», – ідеться на фейсбук-сторінці МВС України.


    У коментарях користувачі соцмереж назвали ім’я чоловіка – це приватний підприємець Анатолій Парфьонов.

    Пошуково-рятувальні роботи на місці пожежі в Одеському коледжі економіки, права та готельно-ресторанного бізнесу триватимуть і всю наступну ніч, повідомив 5 грудня голова Одеської обласної державної адміністрації Максим Куций.

    За його словами, 14 людей вважаються зниклими безвісти.

    Пожежа в коледжі спалахнула вранці 4 грудня. Внаслідок інциденту студентка коледжу загинула. За даними мерії, ще 23 людини шпиталізували.

    5 і 6 грудня в Одесі оголошені днями жалоби.