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Month: February 2019

US Craft Marketplace Makes Plans to Go Green by Offsetting Emissions

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Online crafts retailer Etsy Inc will go green by offsetting planet-warming carbon emissions from its shipping activities, the U.S. company said Wednesday, joining a host of companies making public moves to battle climate change.

Etsy will buy clean energy certificates supporting tree conservation in the United States, wind and solar power in India and clean automotive technology, it said.

The online marketplace for buying and selling handmade and vintage goods said its initiative is the first time a global e-commerce company has made such a move.

“Fast, free shipping ultimately comes at a cost to our planet,” wrote Josh Silverman, chief executive officer of the New York-based company in a blog on the company’s website.

The certificates are a way for companies to offset the amount of carbon dioxide they produce by paying for projects that support clean development.

The 13-year-old Etsy said its greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in 2018 totaled about 135,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, similar to those of 29,000 cars in a year.

About 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent are released each day from the delivery of all packages ordered from online retailers in the United States alone, it said.

Budweiser, Amazon.com

Last month, at the U.S. Super Bowl championship game, giant beer maker Budweiser helped purchase clean energy certificates to offset greenhouse gas emissions linked to fans’ travel and the host city of Atlanta.

More than 100 U.S. companies have committed to setting emission-reduction targets that seek to limit rising temperature to 2 degrees Celsius as part of a United Nations-backed initiative, said Sabrina Helm, who heads the Consumers, Environment & Sustainability Initiative, a research group at the University of Arizona.

Online retailers have largely been absent from those efforts, and Etsy’s move sends a “very important signal,” she said.

“A lot of online retailers are not particularly transparent in what they do in terms of sustainability,” she told Reuters.

Last week, online retail giant Amazon.com Inc said it planned to make its carbon footprint public for the first time this year.

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Categories: Економіка

Ізраїль: Нетаньягу загрожують звинувачення в корупції

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Генеральний прокурор Ізраїлю Авіхай Мандельбліт має намір висунути звинувачення в корупції прем’єр-міністрові Біньяміну Нетаньягу. Мандельбліт пояснив, що звинувачення будуть висунуті за трьома справами.

Прокурори стверджують, що Нетаньягу приймав подарунки від заможних бізнесменів, а також надавав послуги представникам медіа-бізнесу в обмін на більш позитивне висвітлення своєї діяльності в пресі.

Прем’єр-міністр звинувачення відкидає і каже, що є жертвою «полювання на відьом» із боку лівих партій.

Нетаньягу зможе виступити зі своїми запереченнями на адресу прокуратури на спеціальних слуханнях. За попередніми даними, вони відбулуться після парламентських виборів, які призначені на 9 квітня. Якщо аргументи Нетаньягу не будуть прийняті, то це буде перший випадок в історії Ізраїлю, коли звинувачення висунуть чинному прем’єр-міністру.

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Categories: Світ

Facebook слідом за Twitter загрожує штраф у Росії

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Російське наглядове відомство «Роскомнагляд» склало адміністративний протокол на соціальну мережу Facebook за порушення російського законодавства. Компанії загрожує штраф від трьох до п’яти тисяч рублів (це приблизно від 1200 до 2 тисяч гривень), вказує сайт відомства 28 лютого.

У заяві йдеться, що Facebook порушив російські закони, оскільки не надав інформації про локалізацію баз даних російських користувачів.

У грудні відомство надіслало компанії запит на надання цієї інформації. Компанія відповіла на цю вимогу. Однак у «Роскомнагляді» вважають, що відомство не отримало «юридично значущих» відповідей. 21 лютого штраф з тієї ж причини, що і Facebook, отримала соцмережа Twitter.

Інтернет-пошуковик Google був оштрафований у грудні 2018 року на 500 тисяч рублів (це близько 200 тисяч гривень). Адміністративне покарання компанія отримала за невиконання російського закону, який зобов’язує підключатися до реєстру заборонених сайтів і виключати їх з пошукової видачі.

Російський закон «про персональні дані» був ухвалений у 2015 році. Він зобов’язує як російські, так і закордонні компанії зберігати дані користувачів на серверах на території Росії.

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Categories: Світ

WTO Rules China Over-Subsidized Farmers

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The United States won a World Trade Organization ruling Thursday that China subsidized its wheat and rice producers too much in recent years.

The WTO in Geneva agreed with the U.S. position that Beijing paid its farmers excessive amounts for growing wheat, Indica rice and Japonica rice from 2012 to 2015, but said the dispute over a corn subsidy had already expired.

The ruling came in a U.S. complaint filed in 2016 during the final months of the last U.S. administration of former president Barack Obama.

The decision can be appealed, but current U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer praised the ruling.

“China’s excessive support limits opportunities for U.S. farmers to export their world-class products to China,” Lighthizer said in a statement. “We expect China to quickly come into compliance with its WTO obligations.”

The U.S. claimed that China paid its farmers nearly $100 billion more than WTO rules allow, creating an incentive to grow more wheat and rice, thus undercutting global prices for the grains.

The ruling could have ramifications for India, which has calculated its price supports in a similar way as China.

The WTO decision comes amid intense trade talks between Washington and Beijing, with President Donald Trump expressing optimism a deal can be reached.

During a news conference in Hanoi after the abrupt end of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said, “I think we have a very good chance. Their (economic growth) numbers are down, but I don’t want that.  I want (China) to do great. But we’ve been losing anywhere from $300 to $500 billion dollars a year with China for many, many years. And again, like other things, many presidents should have done this before me. And nobody did. So, we’re doing it.”

The most recent U.S. statistics show China last year had a $382 billion trade surplus in deals with the United States through November. Trump is trying to alter trade terms between the two countries to end what the United States, Japan and European countries contend are China’s unfair trade practices, including state intervention in markets, subsidies of some industries and theft of foreign technology.

But Lighthizer on Wednesday told a congressional panel in Washington, a new deal is not close to being completed.

“Much still needs to be done before an agreement can be reached,” he said. “If we can complete this effort, and again I say if, and if we can reach a resolution on the issue of enforceability, we might have an agreement that enables us to turn the corner in our relationship with China.”

The United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies, have been negotiating for months on a new agreement, even as they have imposed hefty new tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s exports.

Lighthizer said the countries’ negotiators, who have been meeting in Washington and Beijing, “are making real progress.”

Trump cited that progress on Sunday in postponing what would have been a sharp increase in U.S. duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports that would have taken effect Friday.

China has offered to increase its purchase of American farm products and energy as part of a new trade pact.

 

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Categories: Економіка

US Economy Grew at 2.6 Percent Rate in Fourth Quarter

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The U.S. economy slowed in the final three months of last year to an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent, the slowest pace since the beginning of 2018, as various factors including the government shutdown took a toll on growth. Economists believe growth has slowed even more in the current quarter.

The Commerce Department says growth in the gross domestic product in the October-December quarter was down from a 3.4 percent gain in the third quarter. The government says that slower consumer spending was the biggest factor in the slowdown. The 35-day government shutdown shaved an estimated 0.1 percentage point from growth in the fourth quarter.

GDP growth for all of 2018 came in at 2.9 percent, the best showing in three years.

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Categories: Економіка

Путін дав Жванецькому орден «за заслуги»

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Президент Росії Володимир Путін нагородив орденом «За внесок у розвиток культури» відомого сатирика-одесита, народного артиста України Михайла Жванецького. Відповідний указ опублікований на офіційному інтернет-порталі правової інформації Росії.

«За великий внесок у розвиток вітчизняної культури і мистецтва, багаторічну плідну діяльність нагородити Михайла Жванецького орденом «За заслуги перед Вітчизною» III ступеня», – йдеться в документі.

У соціальній мережі екс-керівник одеського «Правого сектору» Сергій Стерненко заявив, що таке рішення спровокує «протестну реакцію», зокрема через плановані у березні виступи сатирика у Києві та Одесі.

«Або організатори відмовляться від запланованих заходів та самостійно їх скасують, або вони зустрінуть протестну реакцію обурених українців. Є ще альтернатива – публічна відмова Жванецького від нагороди із поясненнями, що агресія Росії щодо України є неприйнятною. Поки такого немає», – написав Стерненко у Facebook.

6 березня цього року Михайлові Жванецькому виповниться 85 років.

Раніше Міністерство культури України внесло його в «білий список» виконавців, які підтримують територіальну цілісність країни. У березні 2014 року Жванецький, який також є народним артистом Росії, підписав звернення російських діячів культури проти окупації Криму.

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Categories: Світ

Walmart Is Eliminating Greeters, Worrying Disabled Workers

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As Walmart moves to phase out its familiar blue-vested “greeters” at 1,000 stores nationwide, disabled workers who fill many of those jobs say they’re being ill-treated by a chain that styles itself as community-minded and inclusive. 

 

Walmart told greeters around the country last week that their positions would be eliminated on April 26 in favor of an expanded, more physically demanding “customer host” role. To qualify, they will need to be able to lift 25-pound (11-kilogram) packages, climb ladders and stand for long periods. 

 

That came as a heavy blow to greeters with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other physical disabilities. For them, a job at Walmart has provided needed income, served as a source of pride and offered a connection to the community.  

Customer backlash

 

Now Walmart, America’s largest private employer, is facing a backlash as customers rally around some of the chain’s most highly visible employees. 

 

Walmart says it is striving to place greeters in other jobs at the company, but workers with disabilities are worried.  

 

Donny Fagnano, 56, who has worked at Walmart for more than 21 years, said he cried when a manager at the store in Lewisburg, Pa., called him into the office last week and told him his job was going away.  

 

“I like working,” he said. “It’s better than sitting at home.” 

 

Fagnano, who has spina bifida, said he was offered a severance package. He hopes to stay on at Walmart and clean bathrooms instead. 

 

Walmart greeters have been around for decades, allowing the retail giant to put a friendly face at the front of its stores. Then, in 2016, Walmart began replacing greeters with hosts, adding responsibilities that include helping with returns, checking receipts to deter shoplifters and keeping the front of the store clean. Walmart and other chains have been redefining roles at stores as they compete with Amazon.  

The effect of the greeter phase-out on disabled and elderly employees — who have traditionally gravitated toward the role as one they were well-suited to doing — largely escaped public notice until last week, when Walmart launched a second round of cuts. 

 

As word spread, first on social media and then in local and national news outlets, outraged customers began calling Walmart to complain. Tens of thousands of people signed petitions. Facebook groups sprang up with names like “Team Adam” and “Save Lesley.” A second-grade class in California wrote letters to Walmart’s CEO on behalf of Adam Catlin, a disabled greeter in Pennsylvania whose mother had written an impassioned Facebook post about his plight. Walmart said it has offered another job to Catlin. 

 

In Galena, Ill., hundreds of customers plan to attend an “appreciation parade” for Ashley Powell on her last day of work as a greeter. 

 

“I love it, and I think I’ve touched a lot of people,” said Powell, 34, who has an intellectual disability. 

‘What am I going to do?’

 

In Vancouver, Wash., John Combs, 42, who has cerebral palsy, was devastated and then angered by his impending job loss. It had taken his family five years to find him a job he could do, and he loved the work, coming up with nicknames for all his co-workers. 

“What am I going to do — just sit here on my butt all day in this house? That’s all I’m going to do?” Combs asked his sister and guardian, Rachel Wasser. “I do my job. I didn’t do anything wrong.” 

 

Wasser urged the retailer to “give these people a fair shake. … If you want to make your actions match your words, do it. Don’t be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” 

 

With the U.S. unemployment rate for disabled people more than twice that for workers without disabilities, Walmart has long been seen as a destination for people like Combs. Advocacy groups worry the company is backsliding.  

“It’s the messaging that concerns me,” said Gabrielle Sedor, chief operations officer at ANCOR, a trade group representing service providers. “Given that Walmart is such an international leader in the retail space, I’m concerned this decision might suggest to some people that the bottom line of the company is more important to the company than inclusive communities. We don’t think those two are mutually exclusive.” 

 

The greeter issue has already prompted at least three complaints to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as a federal lawsuit in Utah alleging discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the federal law, employers must provide “reasonable” accommodations to workers with disabilities. 

 

Walmart did not disclose how many disabled greeters could lose their jobs. The company said that after it made the change at more than 1,000 stores in 2016, 80 percent to 85 percent of all affected greeters found other roles at Walmart. It did not reveal how many of them were disabled. 

 

This time, Walmart initially told greeters they would have 60 days to land other jobs at the company. Amid the uproar, the company has extended the deadline indefinitely for greeters with disabilities. 

 

“We recognize that our associates with physical disabilities face a unique situation,” Walmart spokesman Justin Rushing said in a statement. The extra time, he said, will give Walmart a chance to explore how to accommodate such employees. 

Offers made

 

Walmart said it has already made offers to some greeters, including those with physical disabilities, and expects to continue doing so in the coming weeks.  

 

But some workers say they have been tacitly discouraged from applying for other jobs. 

 

Mitchell Hartzell, 31, a full-time Walmart greeter in Hazel Green, Ala., said his manager told him “they pretty much didn’t have anything in that store for me to do” after his job winds down in April. He said he persisted, approaching several assistant managers to ask about openings, and found out about a vacant position at self-checkout. But it had already been promised to a greeter who doesn’t use a wheelchair, he said. 

 

“It seems like they don’t want us anymore,” said Hartzell, who has cerebral palsy. 

 

Jay Melton, 40, who has worked as a greeter in Marion, N.C., for nearly 17 years, loves church, Tar Heels basketball and Walmart. His sister-in-law, Jamie Melton, said the job is what gets him out of bed. 

 

“He doesn’t have a lot of things he does himself that bring him joy,” she said. Addressing Walmart, Melton added: “When you cut a huge population of people out, and you have written a policy that declares they are no longer capable of doing what they have been doing, that is discrimination.”  

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Categories: Економіка

World Bank: Women Have Just 75 Percent of Men’s Legal Rights

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Women around the world are granted only three-quarters of the legal rights enjoyed by men, often preventing them from getting jobs or opening businesses, the World Bank said in study published Wednesday. 

 

“If women have equal opportunities to reach their full potential, the world would not only be fairer, it would be more prosperous as well,” Kristalina Georgieva, the bank’s interim president, said in a statement. 

 

While reforms in many countries are a step in the right direction, “2.7 billion women are still legally barred from having the same choice of jobs as men,” the statement said. 

 

The study included an index measuring gender disparities that was derived from data collected over a decade from 187 countries and using eight indicators to evaluate the balance of rights afforded to men and women. 

 

The report showed progress over the past 10 years, with the index rising to 75 from 70, out of a possible 100, as 131 countries have agreed to enact 274 reforms, adopting laws or regulations allowing greater inclusion of women. 

 

Among the improvements, 35 countries have proposed laws against sexual harassment in the workplace, granting protections to an additional 2 billion women, while 22 nations have abolished restrictions that kept women out of certain industrial sectors. 

 

Six perfect scores

Six nations — Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden — scored a 100, “meaning they give women and men equal legal rights in the measured areas,” the World Bank said. 

 

A decade ago, no economy had achieved a perfect score. 

 

On the other hand, too many women still face discriminatory laws or regulations at every stage of their professional lives: 56 nations made no improvement over the last decade. 

 

South Asia saw the greatest progress, although it still achieved a relatively low score of 58.36. It was followed by Southeast Asia and the Pacific, at 70.73 and 64.80, respectively.  

 

Latin America and the Caribbean recorded the second-highest scores among emerging and developing economies at 79.09. 

 

Conversely, the Middle East and North Africa posted the lowest score for gender equality at 47.37. The World Bank nevertheless pointed to encouraging changes, such as the introduction of laws against domestic violence, in particular in Algeria and Lebanon.

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Categories: Економіка

Десятки людей провели хвилину мовчання на місці вбивства Нємцова

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У столиці Росії Москві десятки людей прийшли пізно ввечері 27 лютого на Великий Москворецький міст, щоб вшанувати хвилиною мовчання пам’ять опозиційного політика Бориса Нємцова. Акція відбулася рівно о 23:31, саме в цей час чотири роки тому був убитий політик.

Удень 27 лютого до місця вбивства Нємцова поклали квіти дипломатичні представники США, Нової Зеландії, Австралії, Швеції, Литви та інших країн. А в Нижньому Новгороді на будинку, в якому жив Борис Нємцов, встановили меморіальну доку з барельєфом політика.

Борис Нємцов був убитий кількома пострілами пізно ввечері 27 лютого 2015 року. У справі про вбивство засуджено п’ятьох уродженців Чечні, які були визнані винними в скоєнні злочину. Замовник вбивства не встановлений.

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Categories: Світ

Нетаньягу та Путін обговорили роль Ірану в Сирії

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Прем’єр-міністр Ізраїлю Біньямін Нетаньягу прибув до Москви 27 лютого в спробі переконати президента Росії Володимира Путіна, що Ірану не можна дозволяти закріпити присутність у Сирії.

«Найбільша загроза стабільності та безпеці в регіоні походить від Ірану та його представників. Ми рішуче налаштовані продовжувати наші агресивні дії проти зусиль Ірану, який закликає до нашого знищення, а також проти його спроб закріпитися військом у Сирії», – сказав ізраїльський прем’єр перед початком переговорів із Путіним.

Російський лідер заявив перед зустріччю з Нетаньягу, що «дуже важливо обговорювати ситуацію в регіоні і питання безпеки».

Ця поїздка Нетаньягу до Москви є першою відтоді, як у вересні 20018 року 15 російських військовослужбовців загинули, коли сирійські війська випадково збили російський транспортний літак, реагуючи на ізраїльський повітряний удар.

Ізраїльський лідер з вересня 2015 року зустрічався з Путіним 11 разів і неодноразово висловлювався за «прямий, відкритий і вірний шлях, яким ми підтримуємо відносини між Росією та Ізраїлем».

Росія є головним міжнародним союзником сирійського президента Башара Асада, Москва також має тісні відносини з Іраном.

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Categories: Світ