DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations on Friday accused the United State and the European Union of practicing “economic …
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“There were a total of 24 phone conversations, some of which lasted 15 minutes, 92 seconds, others which lasted a minute, and were made between February 7 and February 22 of 2019,” said Sen. Jean Renel Senatus, who leads the commission, during a Port-au-Prince press conference.
“Our commission is investigating, and we have decided to call upon the senator linked to this number to come meet with us,” he added. “The name of the senator in question is Gracia Delva.”
Delva represents the Artibonite department, located in Haiti’s southwest. He is also a well-liked actor and the lead singer of Mass Kompa, a popular local band. After responding to the committee’s request for information, he gave his own press conference about the phone calls with Arnel Joseph.
“I only have one position on this,” he told reporters. “If the commission finds that I, in my conversations with Arnel, ever agreed to associate myself with his [illegal] activities, then I agree and accept to pay the consequences. For once, this country needs justice.”
When journalists pressed him about why he was in contact with the gang leader, Delva responded that he “talks to everyone.”
“Everyone knows my number, so everyone calls me — anyone can call me. Anyway, I don’t think I’m the only one who converses with him,” Delva said.
How were calls tracked?
The senator refused to divulge what was discussed and alleged that prominent Haitian businessman and opposition leader Reginald Boulos recognized Arnel as a community leader in an interview with a local radio station.
How the phone conversations were tracked remains unclear.
Senatus told reporters the commission received information that led it to make a request for information to the National Telecommunications Council (CONATEL). But Jean David Rodney, the institution’s executive director, denied receiving such a request in an interview with the Haiti Libre newspaper. He said CONATEL has “no direct relationship with the Senate.”
Notorious gang leader
The alleged gang leader of Village de Dieu, Arnel is a young man in his 20s and is considered a dangerous fugitive by Haiti’s national police force, PNH. He is accused of terrorizing the residents of Port-au-Prince and, most recently, the Artibonite region. Despite a $27,000 reward for information leading to his arrest in November 2018, Arnel continues to evade capture. However, in a conversation with members of the community group Inisyativ Sitwayen Pou Latibonit (Artibonite Citizens’ Initiative) this week, he expressed a willingness to turn himself in to authorities if the government meets certain conditions.
His conditions are: establishing potable water projects, building roads and infrastructure, boosting agriculture and providing electricity to the population.
Not the only one
Former Senate leader Youri Latortue, who also represents the Artibonite region in the Senate, echoed his colleague Delva’s claims about other prominent politicians being linked to the gang leader.
“I think there are a lot of other names on the list of connections to Arnel,” Latortue told VOA Creole. “For example, there’s Vladimir Jean-Louis ‘Ti Vlad,’ who does security work for [former President Michel] Martelly. He’s on the list, too. We have to investigate the links between what they said exists [between] the president and the thugs, because some people say it was the president who brought Arnel to Port-au-Prince.”
Those allegations remain unsubstantiated.
Ire of the people
Delva’s statements about the gang leader drew mostly angry responses from Haitians on social media.
“A senator has no right to have a relationship with a thug under any circumstances — investigate so we can arrest these fake politicians,” @monvelinoo posted on VOA Creole’s Instagram page.
“Anel [Arnel] is more popular than the Pope,” @marvensmetellus commented.
“He [Delva] should stop justifying his actions in public and hire a spokesperson, a lawyer to tell him what to say,” advised @m_aud_ly_ca.
Reckoning is coming
Meanwhile, Government Commissioner Paul Erronce Villard said national security is everyone’s responsibility, but the onus is on government officials.
“Whatever position you hold in government, it is your duty today to disassociate yourself with criminals, arms traffickers, munitions dealers,” he said. “We’ve reached a level of moral and ethical decline that the country can no longer sustain.”
Villard said protecting the security of civilians is paramount.
“In any other country in the world, if an official is found to be colluding with someone who aims to harm society, that person would be forced to resign within 24 hours,” he said, adding that in the coming days, there would be an “appropriate response” to the “confounding” events of the week.
Voice of America
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the final victory over IS in March after weeks of clashes in the eastern Syrian town of Baghuz.
The operation brought many thousands of people to a makeshift refugee camp called al-Hol, consisting of fleeing civilians, arrested IS fighters and their family members.
The camp managers are holding 10,000 women and children with ties to IS foreign fighters in a separate area of the camp, with children under 12 accounting for about 65% of this group, according to the International Committee for the Red Cross.
Hannah Grigg, a researcher at the Syria Justice and Accountability Center, told VOA those in the group who are born to IS foreign fighters and Syrian mothers could end up stateless as it remains uncertain which parent’s nationality each can obtain.
“That is a huge challenge going forward for these children added to the social stigma because they are associated with IS,” Grigg said.
She noted that many of these children do not have strong claims to citizenship in their patriarchs’ home countries. Similarly, Syrian nationality laws do not allow citizenship claims based on mother’s nationality.
Even if the Syrian state amends its rules to grant them citizenship, Grigg argued, many of the children are carrying their fathers’ physical features, making them stand out as foreigners with little hope of making their way into the society.
Many activists in Syria are organizing initiatives to face this problem among many other issues left behind by IS.
One of the campaigns — “Who is Your Husband?” — is trying to help reintegrate the Syrian women and children born to IS foreign fighters to the society by helping educate communities.
The group, based in the northwestern governorate of Idlib, has documented more than 1,700 women married to foreign fighters, who joined IS or al-Qaida-aligned militants. It vows to continue its efforts, despite threats from the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group.
Naseeb Abdul Aziz, the manager of the campaign, told VOA his team also is investigating the reasons that pushed Syrian women to marry the foreign fighters — sometimes despite their families’ strong objections. They also work on raising women’s awareness about the perils of such marriages and the consequences for their children.
“Many of these foreign fighters either fled or were killed without knowing their real identities, leaving these women and children to deal with their families, societies and fate,” said Aziz.
“These children remain without any civil rights. They will be deprived from their rights of having an identity, going to school and finding a job,” he said, adding that will be just one dimension of the difficult challenges facing Syria in the future.
In addition, Aziz pointed to dealing with undocumented marriages and unregistered children, along with the deradicalization of women and children brainwashed by extremist ideology.
Pressure on camps
Officials in the Kurdish-controlled northeast region say an immediate solution for the detained IS relatives is necessary, particularly for the children who are facing diseases caused by poor living conditions.
WATCH: Thousands of Children Face Peril in Syrian Camps
Recent figures by the United Nations show that since December 2018, 211 children have died at the al-Hol camp or en route to it because of malnutrition or illness.
Samar Hussein, the co-chair of the Social Affairs and Labor Office of the Kurdish self-proclaimed administration in northeastern Syria, said many children and their mothers at the camp are sleeping in the open air without enough food or water. He pledged to seek international assistance to address the humanitarian needs of the refugees and their ultimate evacuation.
“We are in the process of discussing their fate with the Committee of Foreign Affairs in the self-autonomous region and also with the international coalition,” Hussein told VOA.
Both the U.N. and the U.S. government have repeatedly asked that other governments take responsibility for repatriating IS foreign fighters — estimated to be 1,000 jihadists from more than 40 countries, along with their relatives.
Many countries remain reluctant to take them back, however, citing the difficulty of prosecuting the suspected fighters because of the hurdles involved in gathering battlefield evidence.
Voice of America
Sky Views: Young firebrands may be inspirational but they’re not always right.
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Как отмечается, речь идет о периоде с 15 апреля до 31 октября этого года. …
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In a statement, the department also said it had ordered the departure of all school-age family members of U.S. government employees.
“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka,” it said.
Voice of America
By Friday afternoon, two days after Los Angeles County ordered the precautions, about 200 of those affected had been cleared to return after proving their immunity to the disease, through either medical records or tests, school officials said.
The action at the University of University of California, Los Angeles, and California State University, Los Angeles, which together have more than 65,000 students, reflected the seriousness with which public health officials are taking the nation’s outbreak.
Those under the quarantine were instructed to stay at home and avoid contact with others, though it wasn’t clear how those orders might be enforced or what penalties violators might face.
“Measles actually kills people. So we have to take that really seriously,” said Dr. Armand Dorian, chief medical officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.
Measles cases climb
The number of measles cases in the U.S. has climbed to nearly 700 this year, including five in Los Angeles County and 38 altogether in California. The surge is blamed largely on parents not getting their children vaccinated because of misinformation about the supposed dangers.
Cal State-LA reported 656 students and staff still under quarantine, while UCLA said it had fewer than 50.
Cal State-LA is primarily a commuter school, while many UCLA students live on campus. Some UCLA students were provided a quarantine area to stay in, university officials said, though they gave no details. Only one person remained there Friday.
Those covered by the quarantine were singled out based on their possible exposure to either an infected UCLA student who had attended classes in two buildings over three days earlier this month, or a person with measles who visited a Cal State-LA library on April 11, officials said.
Given the amount of time a person can remain contagious, officials said the quarantine would end at UCLA on Tuesday and at Cal State-LA on Thursday.
Lawmakers take action
Around the country, lawmakers in California, New York, Washington state and Oregon have responded to the outbreak by moving to crack down on exemptions to vaccinating children. On Friday, President Donald Trump urged everyone to get vaccinated.
Most of the cases are centered in two ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in New York, one in Brooklyn, the other in suburban Rockland County.
In Rockland County, officials declared a state of emergency and at one point tried to bar unvaccinated children from schools and other public places, but a judge overturned the order.
Authorities ordered mandatory vaccinations earlier their month in the affected Brooklyn neighborhoods and threatened fines of $1,000. City officials said earlier this week that 12 people had been issued summonses.
Measles usually causes fever and an all-over rash but in a small number of cases can lead to deadly complications such as pneumonia and swelling of the brain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for everyone older than 1 year, except for people who had the disease as children. Those who have had measles are immune.
Voice of America
MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia on Friday asked the United States to halt its “politics of blackmail” after Washington imposed sanctions on Venezuelan Foreign …
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Lenta.ru : Новости
Lenta.ru : Новости
Lenta.ru : Новости
Lenta.ru : Новости
Архиепархия опубликовала список священников, которых «правомерно обвинили» в указанных действиях, а также тех, против кого подали «претензии в Независимую программу примирения и компенсации». Эти священники либо лишены сана, либо отстранены от службы, либо скончались, передает РИА «Новости».
Подчеркивается, что включение в список еще не означает подтверждение вины в преступлении или ответственности за какой-либо гражданский иск.
При этом в список не вошли члены орденов или религиозных институтов – для них составляются собственные списки.
В марте в США был опубликован доклад, в котором назвали имена 400 священников штата Иллинойс, обвиненных в домогательствах к несовершеннолетним.
Напомним, громкий скандал о многочисленных случаях сексуальных надругательств над детьми и подростками со стороны католических священнослужителей в разных странах разгорелся еще во время понтификата предшественника нынешнего Папы римского Франциска – Бенедикта XVI.
The Pentagon said the additional troops would include about 100 military cooks who would hand out meals to migrants, as well as troops performing other support roles, including driving buses with detained migrants.
“We will have some of our troops handing out meals. Therefore, [they] would come in contact with migrants,” Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said.
He said acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had not yet signed the request for additional troops from the Department of Homeland Security, but that he was expected to do so. Summers said the proposal included an amendment to the current policy on avoiding contact with migrants.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump said he would seek to move more military members to the border with Mexico.
Trump sent U.S. troops to the border last year to assist border personnel in responding to several caravans of Central American migrants seeking to reach the United States.
There are about 5,000 active-duty and National Guard troops near the U.S.-Mexico border assisting Border Patrol agents who are trying to deal with a surge of migrants seeking asylum.
By law, the military is not allowed to be involved in civilian law enforcement on U.S. soil unless approved by Congress. However, the military can provide support services to law enforcement, including Border Patrol agents.
Trump has made reducing illegal immigration a priority in his administration, including declaring a national emergency earlier this year to allow military funding to help build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Voice of America
What is unfolding in Sudan has the potential to shape an epoch on the continent of Africa.
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Leaders of the country’s beleaguered, internationally recognized government are dismissing a behind-the-scenes effort by the U.N. special envoy, Ghassan Salame, for a cease-fire, suggesting they are more confident now of retaining their hold on the Libyan capital.
”It felt like thunder was going to split my house,” Libyan-American Holima El Haj, a mother of two, told VOA by phone. “I was crying, and I don’t normally do that.”
Muhanad Younis, the spokesman for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), told reporters there’s no question of a cease-fire. He said Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj was determined to thwart the assault on the capital led by Haftar, who’s allied with a rival government in the east of the North African country.
There will be “no negotiations or dialogue until after defeating the aggressors,” al-Serraj said.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, told reporters in New York that there’s “grave concern” about “the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Tripoli” and urged all parties to protect civilians. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 39,000 people have been displaced by the clashes.
Much of the fighting now, according to government military officials who discussed the flow and ebb of the battles, has been focusing on the suburb of Ain Zara in southern Tripoli. There have also been reports of fierce fighting around Wadi Rabea and Tripoli International Airport.
GNA officials say Tripoli forces have been gaining ground and threaten to cut off LNA supply lines running from Gharian, a town 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Tripoli, which is serving as the LNA’s forward headquarters for the assault on Tripoli.
“We won’t agree to a cease-fire,” Abdulraham El Mansouri, an adviser to the GNA, told VOA. “If we agree to one, Haftar will only use the time to regroup his forces, and we won’t allow that.”
He said the forces loyal to the GNA, which are made up mainly of an assortment of fighters drawn from the powerful and battle-hardened militias of Tripoli and Misrata, won’t stop fighting during the holy month of Ramadan, due to start on the evening May 5. “We won’t stop until we have driven Haftar all the way back to Benghazi and Tobruk, and we’ll finish him there.”
Some independent analysts agree that Tripoli now may be beyond Haftar. His forces are “dangerously stretched,” said Federica Saini Fasanotti, an analyst with the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank. She said LNA soldiers captured by forces loyal to the Tripoli government “are very young and clearly not up to the task.”
Many of the fighters the LNA is battling are veterans of the 2011 uprising against Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Haftar’s forces are also drawn from less cohesive groups, including mercenaries from Chad and Sudan. The edge Haftar does have, say analysts, is in the backing he’s receiving from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in terms of supplies, which appear to include armed drones.
“Haftar definitely overestimated his strength and underestimated his adversary,” said Karim Mezran, an analyst with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. His offensive prompted the country’s most powerful western militias from Tripoli, Misrata and Zintan — frequently at odds with each other in the past — to join forces in support of al-Serraj, he said.
But Mezran and other analysts say the GNA forces are probably incapable of capturing the LNA loyalist cities of Benghazi and Tobruk if Haftar is forced to withdraw from around Tripoli.
“The United States, so far, along with Italy and Britain, has had a very straightforward position: There is no military solution possible in Libya, only a U.N.-backed negotiations process,” said Mezran.
Last week, it emerged that U.S. President Donald Trump might be considering reversing Washington’s position. In a phone call with Haftar, the U.S. leader praised the general for his fight against the Islamic State and other jihadists. Bloomberg News reported Trump told Haftar he supported an attack on Tripoli.
But State Department officials told VOA that U.S. policy remains the same: Only a negotiated settlement can end conflict in Libya.
The U.N.’s special envoy to Libya, Salame, told reporters in Rome on Friday that he was exploring ways “to convince the parties to the conflict to stop fighting and resume the political process.”
He added: “The U.N. continues its role in Libya. We have been providing assistance to thousands of families affected by the fighting to be relocated to safer areas. … The mission continues efforts to bring together the various parties in hope that they can recognize, before Ramadan, that it is better to stick to the political process than further fighting where there is no winner while the country is losing.”
Voice of America