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Month: September 2020

Reaction to the Death of US Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1993, died on Friday at age 87, giving President Donald Trump a chance to expand its conservative majority with a third appointment at a time of deep divisions in America and a presidential election looming.Following are reactions to Ginsburg’s death:U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP”She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman,” the Republican president told reporters after learning of Ginsburg’s death after a campaign rally in Minnesota. “I’m sad to hear that.””Today, our Nation mourns the loss of a titan of the law,” Trump said later in a statement. “Justice Ginsburg demonstrated that one can with disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view.”U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOE BIDEN”She was fierce and unflinching in her pursuit of … civil rights for everyone. Her opinions and her dissents are going to continue to shape the basis for law for a generation … There is no doubt — let me be clear — that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider.”U.S. CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS”Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her – a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL”Justice Ginsburg was thoroughly dedicated to the legal profession and to her 27 years of service on the Supreme Court,” the top Senate Republican said in a statement.”Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”U.S. SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN, TOP DEMOCRAT ON JUDICIARY COMMITTEE”Under no circumstances should the Senate consider a replacement for Justice Ginsburg until after the presidential inauguration.”U.S. SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER”The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” Schumer said on Twitter. “She would want us all to fight as hard as we can to preserve her legacy.”WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS”Joining the whole nation tonight in mourning the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—a trailblazer, a dedicated public servant, and an inspiration to so many. My prayers are with her family and friends,” he said on Twitter.JERROLD NADLER, DEMOCRATIC CHAIR OF HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE”Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left an indelible mark on this country, and her loss will be deeply felt. She will be remembered for her brilliant mind, her razor-sharp wit, and her tenacious and lifelong fight to protect the rights of women in this country. In a year of incalculable loss, may we pause for a moment to honor this remarkable woman who never backed down from a fight and was never afraid to stand up for what she believed.”SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN LINDSEY GRAHAM”It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Justice Ginsburg,” the Republican senator said on Twitter. “Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer who possessed tremendous passion for her causes.”REPUBLICAN SENATOR MITT ROMNEY”The beautiful friendship she shared with the late Justice Scalia serves as a reminder for all Americans to treat each other with kindness and respect, despite our differences.”FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HILLARY CLINTON”Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me,” the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee tweeted. “There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG.”ERIC TRUMP, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S SON”Justice Ginsburg was a remarkable woman with an astonishing work ethic. She was a warrior with true conviction and she has my absolute respect! #RIP,” he wrote on Twitter.FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA”Over a long career on both sides of the bench – as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist – Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It’s about who we are – and who we can be.”FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH”She dedicated many of her 87 remarkable years to the pursuit of justice and equality, and she inspired more than one generation of women and girls.”FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER”A powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality, she has been a beacon of justice during her long and remarkable career. I was proud to have appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980.”SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS”The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a tremendous loss to our country,” the former 2020 Democratic presidential contender tweeted. “She was an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights, and will be remembered as one of the great justices in modern American history.DANIEL EPPS, PROFESSOR, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW”I would be surprised if the president and Senate Republicans don’t try to fill the seat. They probably have the votes.”DEMOCRATIC SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND“She fought to ensure equal protection in our laws, fearlessly dissented and defended, and was a powerful role model for us all. I’m devastated to hear of her passing. Thank you, Justice Ginsburg. Rest in power.”NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA FOUNDATION”Rest in peace, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” the abortion rights group tweeted. “Her many years of service on the Supreme Court were an inspiration for so many, and we’ll forever be grateful for her fierce defense of reproductive freedom. May her memory be both a blessing and call to action.”TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT OF JUDICIAL WATCH”President Trump now has a historic opportunity to nominate yet another constitutional conservative who will honor the Constitution and the rule of law across the full spectrum of constitutional issues,” said the head of the conservative legal advocacy group.”SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY, REPUBLICAN EX-CHAIRMAN OF JUDICIARY COMMITTEE”For more than a quarter century on the highest court in the land, Justice Ginsburg fought tirelessly for greater justice, equality and opportunity for all people. She was a trailblazer in so many ways and for so many people.”SHANA KNIZHNIK, LAWYER”Gutted,” tweeted Knizhnik, who as a law student coined the nickname “Notorious R.B.G.” in reference to the late rapper The Notorious B.I.G.CHRISTOPHER SCALIA, SON OF LATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA”I’m very sad to hear about the passing of my parents’ good friend, and my father’s wonderful colleague, Justice Ginsburg,” he tweeted. “May her memory be a blessing.”   

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: An Appreciation

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, entered the legal profession at a time when there were few women lawyers. She spent her career working to expand women’s equality and came to have near-rock-star status in progressive circles. She was born on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, and died at the age of 87 in Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh has this appreciation.

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Taiwan Bids Farewell to ‘Mr. Democracy’

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Taiwan bid farewell on Saturday to late president Lee Teng-hui, dubbed “Mr. Democracy” for ending autocratic rule in favor of free elections and championing Taiwan’s separate identity from China.Lee’s memorial service took place in the shadow of Chinese war games, as did his election as Taiwan’s first democratic leader in 1996. China claims the island as its own territory.Lee was president from 1988 to 2000.Lee’s greatest act of defiance was becoming Taiwan’s first democratically elected president in March 1996, achieved with a landslide following eight months of intimidating war games and missile tests by China in waters around the island.Those events brought China and Taiwan to the verge of conflict, prompting the United States to send a carrier task force to the area in a warning to the Beijing government.On Friday, China carried out drills in the Taiwan Strait, including sending 18 fighter jets to buzz the island, as Beijing expressed anger at the visit of a senior U.S. official to Taipei, there for Lee’s memorial.Speaking at the memorial service in a chapel at a Taipei university, President Tsai Ing-wen said he had shaped the Taiwan of today.”Confronted with daunting international challenges, he skillfully led the people of Taiwan by promoting pragmatic diplomacy. Taiwan became synonymous with democracy and was catapulted onto the world stage. Because of this, President Lee came to be lauded as Mr. Democracy,” Tsai said.”Thanks to his efforts, Taiwan now shines as a beacon of democracy.”Lee, a committed Christian, died in July aged 97.U.S. Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach and former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori also attended his memorial.Lee’s remains will be interred at a military cemetery next month. 

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UK Ambassador to China Stirs Uproar With Photo Seen as Promoting Xi Jinping

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Britain’s newest ambassador to China has gotten off to a rocky start after posting a photo on social media that some viewers interpreted as an endorsement of the hard-line policies of Chinese President Xi Jinping.Caroline Wilson, appointed in June to lead Britain’s diplomatic mission in Beijing as of this month, posted the photo on Twitter after a meeting with Liu Xiaoming, China’s envoy to Britain.In the photo, Liu beams with apparent delight as the two hold what appears to be a gifted book, the latest in a series of tomes laying out Xi’s thoughts on governance.Wilson described the occasion on Twitter as a “valuable meeting with @AmbLiuXiaoMing before heading to Beijing.” Her new subordinates at the British Embassy in Beijing subsequently retweeted the posting.As of Friday morning, Wilson’s tweet had generated more than 1,000 comments, and while a handful praised her as “the perfect person for this absolutely pivotal role,” the vast majority considered the posting highly problematic.“Even Liu XiaoMing didn’t choose to upload this photo,” one commentator wrote, though the Chinese envoy did post several other photos from the meeting. Many others shared the views of a writer who commented, “How could she uphold UK values while holding ‘Xi Jinping Thought’?”Among the most scathing comments was one from a writer who uploaded a 1938 photo of then-British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain shaking hands with Adolf Hitler. Another writer said Wilson’s gesture was “no different than holding Mao’s little red book.”A tweet that had generated almost 500 likes by Friday lodged a more serious charge, that Wilson is too eager to please Xi.Foreign ministry responseA spokesperson from the British foreign ministry defended Wilson’s tweet, telling VOA their country has “a policy of engagement with China and our approach will remain consistent even if difficulties emerge.”“We must have a calibrated approach and use engagement to raise matters on which the U.K. cannot agree or compromise with China, including on human rights and Hong Kong,” the spokesperson said.That argument is not persuasive to Roger Garside, a former British diplomat whose latest book, Coming Alive: China After Mao, focuses on contemporary China.“As a former British diplomat myself, who served twice in Beijing, I am appalled by this behavior by our Ambassador-designate to the PRC,” Garside wrote from London in response to VOA’s request for comment. “It goes beyond anything I have witnessed from a British diplomat.”Garside summed up the reaction to Wilson’s tweet as a “stream of well-deserved outrage.”’Hard looks’Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics in Australia, also responded to a request for comment from his home in Canberra:“I think the foreign policy establishment is lagging [behind] the political shift that has taken place in Britain this year. It has yet to wake up to the [Communist Party of China]’s ambitions and ruthless modus operandi.”Hamilton added: “The danger is that instead of advocating Britain’s policies in Beijing, she will end up advocating China’s policies in London.”Wilson has already attracted “hard looks” from critics of China’s ruling Communist Party within her own party, said Hamilton, the author of Hidden Hand, which warns that the Chinese Communist Party is determined to mold the world in its own image.He said there has been no public criticism “as far as I know, but I’ve heard indirectly that some have expressed dismay in private.”

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Посли держав ЄС у Мінську підтримали політв’язнів

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Європейські дипломати висловили солідарність з політичними в’язнями у Білорусі і попередили, що на знак солідарності будуть приносити на зустрічі з представниками білоруської влади список активістів, які перебувають під вартою.

Посли європейських держав також закликали чинний уряд Білорусі почати діалог з опозицією, та поважати права і свободи білоруських громадян. Дипломати вважають за необхідне, щоб влада дотримувалася демократичні процедури, на яких наполягають мешканці Білорусі, повідомило Міжнародне французьке радіо.

Раніше 18 вересня кандидат у президенти Білорусі Світлана Тихановська по відеозв’язку взяла участь у засіданні Ради з прав людини ООН. Вона заявила, що те, що відбувається у Білорусі є порушенням Загальної декларації прав людини, і закликала міжнародну спільноту негайно втрутитися.

 

Експерт ООН з прав людини в Білорусі Анаіс Марен назвала ситуацію в країні «катастрофічною». Як повідомило агентство AFP, експерту ООН відомо про півтисячі заяв про катування та про тисячі випадків побиття.

17 вересня Європарламент ухвалив резолюцію про ситуацію в Білорусі. Депутати відкинули оголошені офіційним Мінськом результати «так званих президентських виборів».

Європейські законодавці засуджують залякування, переслідування та непропорційне застосування сили проти учасників страйків у низці білоруських підприємств, а також щодо членів створеної опозицією після виборів Координаційної ради з передачі влади. Європарламент вітає цю раду в якості тимчасового представника інтересів білоруського народу, який виступає за свободу і демократичні зміни.

 

У резолюції Європарламенту наголошується, що законодавчий орган ЄС не буде визнавати Олександра Лукашенка легітимним президентом Білорусі після закінчення його нинішнього терміну 5 листопада 2020 року.

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Categories: Новини, Світ

Graft Alleged as Kenya’s Fight Against COVID-19 Struggles

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Organizations have contributed aid worth more than $2 billion to help Kenya’s in its fight against COVID-19.  But much of the aid has gone missing, prompting President Uhuru Kenyatta to order an investigation into who might have taken it.Money and medical supplies were donated by such groups as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Jack Ma Foundation.The Network Action Against Corruption (NAAC), an organization sanctioned by the Kenyan government to promote fiscal accountability, accuses KEMSA, a government agency that supplies medicine and medical equipment to the Ministry of Health, of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars meant for the COVID-19 battle.Several schemes allegedThe network said officials in KEMSA ran multiple schemes. In one, NAAC said, the organization paid for personal protective equipment (PPE) that actually had been donated by the Jack Ma Foundation. The money then went to phony companies controlled by the KEMSA officials.In another, NAAC said, KEMSA officials contracted with fictitious shell companies to supply protective equipment.  No equipment was supplied, but the companies got paid anyway.Dr. Gordwins Agutu, chief executive officer of NAAC, said those who ran the alleged schemes also planned to resell PPE on the black market.“The PPE kits consist of a number of items, but … the PPE kits, which they stole from Jack Ma’s donation, they would break it down,” he said. “So, they have the overalls separately, they have the boots supplied separately.  So you can imagine how much were they intending to make out of that.”FILE – Patients rest on their beds at the Kenyatta stadium where screening booths and an isolation field hospital are installed to aid with COVID-19 treatment in Machakos, Kenya, July 28, 2020.Kenyatta has ordered a forensic audit into the use of both state and donor funds meant to be used to combat COVID-19.“All persons found to be prima facie culpable as a result of those ongoing investigations should be brought to book,” he said.Caroline Gaita, executive director at Mzalendo Trust, a parliamentary monitoring organization, said mismanagement of the money and protective gear has affected Kenya’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.“We’ve seen even as we speak now, the level of preparedness for COVID is not there yet,” she said. “The isolation units that were meant to be put up are not ready. We’ve seen doctors complaining about lack of PPE, so it would seem we got these resources but we have not utilized them for the right reason and yet we will continue paying for them.”Far-reaching effectsDr. Samuel Oroko, national chairman of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, said the shortage of protective supplies coupled with the low quality of those made available is having far-reaching effects.“The doctors and workers working in the outpatient department should be given N95 [masks] each and every day they see patients,” he said, adding that the limited supply and low quality of the PPE “has led to more than 1,000 health workers being infected with the coronavirus.”Kenya’s Senate and investigative agencies have been tasked with unraveling the allegations of financial misappropriation.Meanwhile, the country’s Health Ministry has recorded more than 36,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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Electric Wire Explodes as Storm Lashes Western Greece

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A storm caused an electric wire to explode in Kefalonia, Greece, as seen in social media video posted Friday, September 18, by an eyewitness.A Mediterranean hurricane, or a Medicane, hit western Greece on Friday, flooding streets, uprooting trees and cutting power around the region.Kefalonia’s Mayor Theofilos Michalatos said no one was hurt but there was significant damage to homes, transport infrastructure and water facilities. (REUTERS) 

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