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Month: May 2017

Міноборони Росії: причиною катастрофи Ту-154 могла стати помилка пілота

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У Міністерстві оборони Росії назвали помилку пілота можливою причиною катастрофи літака Ту-154 цього відомства в Чорному морі. У Міноборони заявили, що до такого висновку прийшли члени комісії з розслідування катастрофи.

На їхню думку, причиною падіння літака «могло бути порушення просторового орієнтування» пілота. Порушень при заправці і завантаженні літака комісія не виявила. Розслідування трагедії завершене, заявили в Міноборони Росії.

Ту-154 Міноборони Росії зазнав катастрофи 25 грудня 2016 року під час набору висоти. На борту були 92 людини, зокрема учасники ансамблю пісні і танцю імені Александрова, голова фонду «Справедлива допомога» Єлизавета Глінка, журналісти і військовослужбовці. Літак летів із Сочі до російської військової бази вирії. ЗМІ раніше повідомляли, що причиною катастрофи Ту-154 могло стати перевантаження.

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Categories: Світ

Уряд погіршив прогноз зростання ВВП в 2017 році до 1,8% з 3%

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Кабінет міністрів України погіршив прогноз зростання ВВП України в 2017 році до 1,8% з раніше прогнозованих 3%, а прогноз інфляції – до 11,2% з 8,1%. Відповідну постанову було ухвалено сьогодні на засіданні уряду. 

Уряд переглянув прогноз номінального ВВП із 2 584,9 мільярда гривень до 2 845,8, а прогноз зростання з 3% до 1,8%.

При цьому прогноз середньомісячної заробітної плати становитиме 7 104 гривні замість 5 988 гривень.

Наприкінці березня Національний банк погіршив прогноз зростання валового внутрішнього продукту України в 2017 році з 2,8% до 1,9%. 

Світовий банк зберіг помірний прогноз зростання валового внутрішнього продукту України в 2017 році у розмірі 2%.

З нового року в Україні вдвічі зросла мінімальна зарплата. Тепер де-юре роботодавці не можуть платити своїм працівникам менш ніж 3200 гривень.

 

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Categories: Економіка

Через вибух у Кабулі щонайменше 40 загиблих і понад 300 поранених

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У результаті потужного вибуху в столиці Кабулі сьогодні вранці щонайменше 40 людей загинули і 320 були поранені, повідомляють афганські чиновники.

Вибух від підірваного автомобіля прогримів у годину-пік в районі, неподалік президентського палацу та іноземних посольств у Кабулі.

«Це була бомба поруч з посольством Німеччини, але неподалік є ще кілька важливих об’єктів та офісів», – повідомили в афганській поліції.

Поза тим, цей район Кабула вважається найбезпечнішим, бо тут ретельно охороняються іноземні посольства та інші урядові об’єкти, як поліцією, так і силами національної безпеки.

Повідомляється, що вибух був настільки сильним, що понад 30 автомобілів були або знищені, або пошкоджені.

Вибуховою хвилею також повибивало вікна і двері у будівлях за сотні метрів, а стовп густого чорного диму огорнув центр міста.

Відповідальності за атаку ніхто на себе не взяв. Атака сталася у час так званого щорічного «весняного наступу» талібів.

Угруповання «Ісламська держава» взяло на себе відповідальність за кілька недавніх вибухів в афганській столиці, зокрема за потужний вибух проти конвою НАТО, в результаті якого 3 травня загинули щонайменше 8 людей і були поранені 28.

За перші три місяці року в Кабулі фіксується найбільша кількість жертв через численні напади в місті, причому найбільше потерпають цивільні громадяни.

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Categories: Світ

Росія заявила про обстріл із Середземного моря позицій ісламістів у Сирії

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У Міністерстві оборони Росії повідомили, що російський підводний човен і фрегат здійснили пуски чотирьох крилатих ракет у Середземному морі по позиціях екстремістського угрупування «Ісламська держава» в Сирії.

Ціллю ударів були об’єкти ісламістів поблизу міста Пальміра, де, як повідомляється, була техніка і загони бойовиків.

У Міноборони Росії зазначили, що США, Туреччина та Ізраїль були завчасно поінформовані про ракетний удар.

Росія, як і США та Туреччина, бореться з угрупованням «Ісламська держава» у Сирії, але одночасно Москва підтримує сирійські сили президента Башара Асада, тоді як Вашингтон і Анкара підтримують різні повстанські угруповання.

Росія розпочала кампанію бомбардувань і ракетних ударів в Сирії у вересні 2015 року.

Західні офіційні особи раніше заявляли, що більшість російських ударів спрямовані головним чином проти супротивників Асада, аніж супроти ісламістів.

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Categories: Світ

Путін і Трамп звинувачують демократів у поширенні «фейкових новин» про втручання Росії у вибори в США

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Президент Росії Володимир Путін і президент США Дональд Трамп 30 травня спростували заяви про втручання Росії в торішню президентську кампанію в США як «фікцію» або «фейкові новини», створені демократами, щоб пояснити свою поразку на виборах.

В інтерв’ю французькій газеті Le Figaro Путін категорично спростував твердження про причетність Росії до злому електронних листів Національного комітету Демократичної партії США.

Такі повідомлення, на думку Путіна, виникли через «бажання тих, хто програв вибори в США, поліпшити своє становище».

«Вони хочуть пояснити собі і довести іншим, що не мають до цього ніякого відношення, їхня політика була правильною, вони все зробили добре, але хтось ззовні обдурив їх. Це не так, вони просто програли, і вони повинні визнати це», – сказав Путін.

Він також заявив, що демократи США створили цю «фантастику» про Росію, тому що «не хочуть визнати, що вони дійсно програли», тому що переможець був ближче до народу і краще розумів, чого хочуть люди».

Раніше того ж дня президент США Дональд Трамп висловив подібні думки, написавши в Twitter, що російські чиновники «напевне сміються над США і над тим, якими жалюгідними є виправдання того, чому демократи програли вибори, заполонивши себе фейковими новинами».

Росія неодноразово заперечувала будь-яке втручання у вибори в США. Президент США Дональд Трамп також називав скандали навколо контактів представників теперішньої американської влади з Кремлем «полюванням на відьом».

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Categories: Світ

Vietnam to Sign Deals for Up to $17B in US Goods, Services

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Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Tuesday that he would sign deals for U.S. goods and services worth $15 billion to $17 billion during his visit to Washington, mainly for high-technology products and for services.

“Vietnam will increase the import of high technologies and services from the United States, and on the occasion of this visit, many important deals will be made,” Phuc told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce dinner.

Phuc, who is due to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday at the end of a three-day visit to the United States, did not provide further details of the transactions.

GE Power Chief Executive Officer Steve Bolze told the dinner that General Electric Co. would sign deals worth about $6 billion with Vietnam, but also offered no details.

Phuc’s comments came after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressed concern about the rapid growth of the U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam, saying this was a new challenge for the two countries and that he was looking to Phuc to help address it.

“Over the last decade, our bilateral trade deficit has risen from about $7 billion to nearly $32 billion,” Lighthizer said. “This concerning growth in our trade deficit presents new challenges and shows us that there is considerable potential to improve further our important trade relationship.”

Reducing deficits

Lighthizer and other Trump administration trade officials have pledged to work to reduce U.S. bilateral deficits with major trading partners. The $32 billion deficit with Vietnam last year — the sixth-largest U.S. trade deficit — reflects growing imports of Vietnamese semiconductors and other electronics products in addition to more traditional sectors such as footwear, apparel and furniture.

The trade issue has become a potential irritant in a relationship where Washington and Hanoi have stepped up security cooperation in recent years, given shared concerns about China’s increasingly assertive behavior in East Asia.

Phuc’s meeting with Trump makes him the first Southeast Asian leader to visit the White House under the new administration.

It reflected calls, letters, diplomatic contacts and lower-level visits that started long before Trump took office in Washington, where Vietnam retains a lobbyist at $30,000 a month.

Vietnam was disappointed when Trump ditched the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, in which Hanoi was expected to be one of the main beneficiaries, and focused U.S. trade policy on reducing deficits.

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Categories: Економіка

Mexico to Review Rules of Origin to Help NAFTA Renegotiation

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Mexico’s foreign minister says the country is “inevitably” set to review rules of origin when renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving a boost to President Donald Trump’s manufacturing push.

Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray said Tuesday at an event in Miami that NAFTA has allowed Mexican industry to enter the U.S. market with lax rules of origin. The rules dictate how much U.S. content a product assembled in Mexico must have in order to escape tariffs when being imported into the United States. Currently set at 62.5 percent for the auto industry, that number could increase.

“One part that must inevitably be reviewed is the chapter on rules of origin,” Videgaray said at the University of Miami. “Over time, the free trade agreement has sometimes been used — not always, of course, but sometimes — as a way to access the U.S. market perhaps with laxity in some ways of rules of origin.”

The Trump administration told Congress this month there would be 90 days of consultations on the renegotiation of the 23-year-old pact before beginning talks with Canada and Mexico. Annual trade of goods between Mexico and the U.S. was worth $525 billion in 2016, with the U.S. running a trade deficit of more than $63 billion.

The foreign minister said Mexico won’t entertain any talks on building a wall along the border. Videgaray maintained it is seen as an unfriendly sign and questioned its efficiency. Trump’s budget seeks $2.6 billion for border security technology, including money to design and build a wall along the southern border. Trump repeatedly promised voters during the campaign that Mexico would pay for a wall.

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Categories: Економіка

Man Probing Ivanka Trump Brands in China Arrested; Two Others Missing

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A man investigating working conditions at a Chinese company that produces Ivanka Trump-brand shoes has been arrested and two others are missing, the arrested man’s wife and an advocacy group said Tuesday.

Hua Haifeng was accused of illegal surveillance, according to his wife, Deng Guilian, who said the police called her Tuesday afternoon. Deng said the caller told her she didn’t need to know the details, only that she would not be able to see, speak with or receive money from her husband, the family’s breadwinner.

China Labor Watch Executive Director Li Qiang said he lost contact with Hua Haifeng and the other two men, Li Zhao and Su Heng, over the weekend. By Tuesday, after dozens of unanswered calls, he had concluded: “They must be held either by the factory or the police to be unreachable.”

China Labor Watch, a New York-based nonprofit, was planning to publish a report next month alleging low pay, excessive overtime and the possible misuse of student interns. It is unclear whether the undercover investigative methods used by the advocacy group are legal in China.

For 17 years, China Labor Watch has investigated working conditions at suppliers to some of the world’s best-known companies, but Li said his work has never before attracted this level of scrutiny from China’s state security apparatus.

“Our plan was to investigate the factory to improve the labor situation,” Li said. “But now it has become more political.”

Disney decision

Walt Disney Co. stopped working with a toy maker in Shenzhen last year after the group exposed labor violations. China Labor Watch has also published reports on child labor at Samsung suppliers and spent years investigating Apple Inc.’s China factories. In the past, the worst thing Li feared was having investigators kicked out of a factory or face a short police detention.

That has changed.

The arrest and disappearances came amid a crackdown on perceived threats to the stability of China’s ruling Communist Party, particularly from sources with foreign ties such as China Labor Watch. Faced with rising labor unrest and a slowing economy, Beijing has also taken a stern approach to activism in southern China’s manufacturing belt and to human rights advocates generally, sparking a wave of critical reports about disappearances, public confessions, forced repatriation and torture in custody.

Another difference is the target of China Labor Watch’s investigation: a brand owned by the daughter of the president of the United States.

White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks referred questions to Ivanka Trump’s brand. The Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment for this story.

Abigail Klem, who took over day-to-day management when the first daughter took on a White House role as presidential adviser, has said that the brand requires licensees and their manufacturers to “comply with all applicable laws and to maintain acceptable working conditions.”

No reply from police

Li said China Labor Watch asked police about the three missing investigators on Monday but received no reply. Li added that a friend had tried to file a missing-person report on Li Zhao in Jiangxi, where the factory is located, but was told he had to do so in the man’s hometown.

AP was unable to reach the other investigators’ families. China’s Ministry of Public Security and police in Ganzhou city and Jiangxi province could not be reached for comment Tuesday, which was a national holiday in China.

All three men were investigating Ganzhou Huajian International Shoe City Co.’s factory in Jiangxi province, just north of Guangdong province. Su Heng had been working undercover at the factory since April, Li said. The parent company is known as Huajian Group.

In January, Liu Shiyuan, then spokesman for the Huajian Group, told AP the company makes 10,000 to 20,000 pairs of shoes a year for Ivanka Trump’s brand — a small fraction of the 20 million pairs the company produces a year. A current spokeswoman for the company, Long Shan, did not reply to questions Tuesday. “I told you I could not check until tomorrow,” she said. “If your official letter contains a stamp and signature, we can confirm whether the media is real or not.”

Li said investigators had seen Ivanka Trump-brand shoes in the factory, as well as production orders for Ivanka Trump, Marc Fisher, Nine West and Easy Spirit merchandise.

“We were unaware of the allegations and will look into them immediately,” a spokeswoman for Marc Fisher, which manufactures Ivanka Trump, Easy Spirit and its own branded shoes, said in an email. Nine West did not respond to requests for comment.

Li Zhao and Hua Haifeng were blocked from leaving mainland China for Hong Kong in April and May — something that had never happened to his colleagues before, Li said. Hua Haifeng was stopped at the border Thursday and later questioned by police, Li said. During their final phone conversation on Saturday, Hua told Li that police had asked him to stop investigating the Huajian factory — another turn of events that Li said was unprecedented.

Excessive overtime, low wages

Li said the men had documented excessive overtime, with working days sometimes stretching longer than 18 hours, and a base salary below minimum wage. They were working to confirm evidence suggesting that student interns, some of whom allegedly quit in protest, were putting in excessive hours on work unrelated to their field of study, in violation of Chinese law, Li said.

The use of student workers in China is legal, but meant to be strictly regulated. Rights groups and journalists have documented widespread abuse of the system over the years.

“It is the role of the police to prevent that kind of independent investigation,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia director for Amnesty International. “The threshold is much lower today than it was one year ago, two years ago, and if this is something that has a foreign diplomacy dimension, that would make national security personnel even more willing to stop it.”

Hua’s wife, Deng, meanwhile, has yet to tell the couple’s children, ages 3 and 7, about their father’s plight. But they seem to know anyway, she said.

“My son suddenly burst into tears. He said he missed Papa,” Deng said by phone from her home in central China’s Hubei province. “I said Papa would come home soon and buy you toys.”

She said the child looked at her and answered: “Papa was taken away by a monster.”

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Categories: Економіка

Thailand Economy Back on Track But in Slow Lane

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The Thai economy, under the military’s stewardship for the past three years, is again witnessing steady growth but lags behind regional competitors as uncertainties remain, keeping foreign investors at bay.

The World Bank and United Nations (UN) say the Thai economy is in a slow growth lane compared to regional rivals, with a projection of over 3.0 percent growth between 2017 to 2019.

The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) says the Thai growth outlook stands in contrast to Cambodia’s economy, which is set for 8 percent growth in 2018, Malaysia at 4.5 percent, the Philippines at 7.0 percent and Vietnam at 6.7 percent.

‘Slow’ economic growth in Thailand

A slow revival has been underway since 2016, in contrast to a sharp downturn in 2014 in the midst of political street demonstrations against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, which eventually triggered a coup.

Three years later recovery has returned, with first quarter 2017 growth at 3.3 percent, and business analysts saying the trend will be sustained.

Krystal Tan, Asia economist with analysts, Capital Economics, said the recovery will continue. “For a start the export sector will benefit from relatively string external demand,” Tan said in a market commentary.

Capital Economics said the “current state of relative political calm” since late 2016 was providing support in areas such as tourism. The UN Economic Commission (UNESCAP) in a recent annual survey said the Thai economy “after years of uneven output growth record” regained momentum in 2016.

UN economists said the key contributors were “robust tourism revenue” as well as government fiscal and budget measures through soft loans and tax breaks for farmers.

Military control, political uncertainty

But economists also say the unsettled political environment has undermined progress in economic reform and strengthening the competitiveness of Thai industries.

Pavida Pananond, an associate professor of international business at Thammasat University, said the economy has under-performed over the past three years.

“It’s not declining, but it’s not going anywhere. In three years the economy under the coup government has not improved much and now faces new risks that comes from the political situation of Thailand,” Pavida told VOA.

The Bank of Thailand, in its latest assessment for the March quarter, was upbeat. “Private consumption accelerated thanks to an increase in spending on durable goods, as supported by higher farmer income and greater overall consumer confidence,” the Bank said.

But the economy’s “main driver” was still government spending, while private investment contracted in the March quarter, marking a reversal of previous periods.

But Asian Development Bank (ADB) senior country economist Luxmon Attapich was positive recent gains would continue.

“A sustained recovery in major economies, robust domestic consumption, and the continued implementation of large public infrastructure projects are the key reasons for (the ADB’s) projection,” Luxmon told local media.

Thailand’s national assembly recently accepted a new constitution, setting the way for new elections in 2018.

But analysts say a 250 member military-appointed Senate, including representatives from the armed forces along with pro-military political parties in the House of Representatives, will continue to hold sway and are in a position to elect the next prime minister.

Cautious private investors

Thailand has been torn apart by political conflict over the past 16 years as populist parties, led by deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, have challenged an establishment centered on Bangkok’s urban middle class, military and bureaucracy.

Pavida Pananond said Thailand’s political conflicts have yet to be reconciled despite the military’s calls for reform, leaving the added risk of Thai political instability.

“Everyone knows that without the military, the conflicts and everything is still there. Without the guns all this conflict would rise up again. So foreign investors know that political instability is still there. The root causes have not really been addressed; reform or reconciliation have not really taken place where it should be,” she said.

The military, in a bid to resolve issues of wide gaps in income and also to raise its popularity, has been promoting “grass-roots” economic stimulus programs.

The government’s Pracha Rath project has looked to link local village communities with major regional department stores to offer products and boost local incomes.

But analysts say the government has fallen short in pressing ahead with business reforms as part of its promoted vision towards a digitally advanced economy.

The military is maintaining a tight grip over the media and social media, including a crackdown on the social media website Facebook, amid official concerns over commentary on the Thai Royal Family.

Pavida said the attempts to block Facebook or seek out and warn people who view prohibited social media content sends “alarming signals to investors,” especially those focused on progress in the Thai digital economy.

 

 

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Categories: Економіка

Zimbabwe Tobacco is Booming, but Farmers Growing it Are Not

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Farmer Simon Kahari recently sold tobacco worth more than $6,000 at an auction in Zimbabwe, a small fortune reflecting the golden leaf’s resurgence in this southern African country. Yet because of Zimbabwe’s dire economic problems he ended up sleeping in an auction house toilet that night, hungry and wondering if and when he would be able to access his earnings.

“I don’t have any money for food or anything,” Kahari said. “I came here expecting to be paid, so now I will have to borrow.”

 

Many of Zimbabwe’s tobacco farmers share the same plight during the ongoing selling season of the crop, Zimbabwe’s second biggest earner after gold. While exported tobacco rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars, small-time farmers feel left out of the lucrative cycle.

 

A cash shortage that underlines the country’s deepening economic woes has left farmers who travel long distances to auctions unpaid, stranded and desperate.

 

Farmers like Kahari are not paid in cash because of the currency shortage. But they need the money because much of Zimbabwe, especially rural areas where there is little infrastructure, is a cash-based society.

 

Instead, their earnings are deposited into accounts that they must open at bank branches at the auction houses. Then the farmers must stick around for weeks, hoping for the daily withdrawal limit of $100 but often getting no more than $50.

 

Meanwhile, tobacco sales have jumped 30 percent from last year, earning $300 million so far, according to the country’s Tobacco Industry Marketing Board.

 

President Robert Mugabe and many in his government point to rebounding tobacco production as justification for often violent land seizures years ago. Many tobacco farmers were resettled on farms forcibly taken from whites, 20 years after Zimbabwe became independent from white minority rule in 1980.

 

Mugabe’s deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said this month that tobacco sales mean “the cake is now spread to ordinary families in the countryside,” but many distressed people at a tobacco sales floor wore torn clothes. On May 4, police fired tear gas to disperse tobacco farmers protesting non-payment and hazardous living conditions at auction floors.

 

“Relax. It has been three weeks for me and I am still here,” Luckson Mutaya told fellow farmer Kahari, who appeared fidgety after waiting only several hours.

 

He advised Kahari on a few basics, especially the need to hold a place in one of the toilets to avoid enduring the cold night in the open.

 

“Oh, and you have to write down all the essential phone numbers. Very soon you won’t be having that phone,” Mutaya added, puffing a large cigarette of tobacco leaves rolled in an old newspaper. He cannot afford processed cigarettes selling for 10 cents each.

 

Mobile phones and national identity cards are the new currency as farmers taking food on credit surrender their phones and identity cards as security to vendors.

 

One food seller, Maria Mandebvu, complained that farmers leave without paying their bills and recalled happy years when farmers were paid cash on the spot. Then, the auction floors transformed into one huge bazaar, with traders hustling anything from cars to solar panels, beds, alcohol and sex.

 

Dozens of traders are still camped there this year. Music blares from makeshift wooden and plastic stalls. But no one is dancing. On the auction floor, business is hectic as buyers swiftly go through rows of tobacco bales, negotiating prices.

 

By 10 p.m. the male and female toilets are fully occupied by farmers deep in sleep.

 

Nearby, breastfeeding mothers and children squeeze next to male strangers in the open on parched grass and tarmac. Some sleep on top of steel storage shipping containers, others on stairs and conveyor belts.

 

“The country is making money from our tobacco, we deserve some dignity,” said Lloyd Muponda, who traveled 300 kilometers (186 miles) to sell his crop two weeks ago.

 

Joseph Made, the agriculture minister, said his office is negotiating with the finance ministry to ease the farmers’ plight. It may be too late for 78-year-old Agnes Hanja, who badly needs cash to pay off debts and laborers back home.

 

“I will not grow tobacco again,” Hanja said. “This is dehumanizing.”

 

 

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Categories: Економіка