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Month: April 2023

Чехія шукатиме шляхи для збільшення постачання боєприпасів в Україну – Павел

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За його словами, Україна відчуває «гостру нестачу боєприпасів», які необхідні країні для початку контрнаступу проти Росії та відновлення контролю над своєю територією

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Categories: Новини, Світ

First Republic Auction Underway, with Deal Expected by Sunday

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U.S. regulators are trying to clinch a sale of First Republic Bank over the weekend, with roughly half a dozen banks bidding, sources said on Saturday, in what is likely to be the third major U.S. bank to fail in two months.

Citizens Financial Group Inc., PNC Financial Services Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are among bidders vying for First Republic in an auction process being run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, according to sources familiar with the matter. US Bancorp was also among banks the FDIC had asked to submit a bid, according to Bloomberg.

Guggenheim Securities is advising the FDIC, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The FDIC process kicked off this week, three of the sources said. The bidders were asked to give nonbinding offers by Friday and were studying First Republic’s books over the weekend, one of the sources said.

A deal is expected to be announced on Sunday night before Asian markets open, with the regulator likely to say at the same time that it had seized the lender, three of the sources said. Bids are due by Sunday noon, one of the sources said.

Currently, the interested banks are evaluating options to see what they would like to bid for, one of the sources said, adding that it is likely that lenders will bid for all of FRC’s deposits, a sizable chunk of its assets and some of its liabilities.

US Bancorp did not immediately respond to a request for comment. First Republic, the FDIC, Guggenheim and the other banks declined to comment.

Difficult deal

A deal for First Republic would come less than two months after Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failed amid a deposit flight from U.S. lenders, forcing the Federal Reserve to step in with emergency measures to stabilize markets.

While markets have since calmed, a deal for First Republic would be closely watched for the amount of support the government has to provide.

The FDIC officially insures deposits up to $250,000. But fearing further bank runs, regulators took the exceptional step of insuring all deposits at both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature.

It remains to be seen whether regulators would have to do so at First Republic as well. They would need approval by the Treasury secretary, the president and super-majorities of the boards of the Federal Reserve and the FDIC.

In trying to find a buyer before closing the bank, the FDIC is turning to some of the largest U.S. lenders. Large banks had been encouraged to bid for FRC’s assets, one of the sources said.

JPMorgan already holds more than 10% of the nation’s total bank deposits and would need a special government waiver to add more.

“For a large bank to buy all or most of the bank could be healthier for First Republic customers because it could put them on a broader and more stable platform,” said Eugene Flood, president of A Cappella Partners, who serves as an independent director at First Citizens BancShares and Janus Henderson and was speaking in a personal capacity. First Citizens agreed to buy failed Silicon Valley Bank last month.

Stunning fall

First Republic was founded in 1985 by James “Jim” Herbert, son of a community banker in Ohio. Merrill Lynch acquired the bank in 2007, but it was listed in the stock market again in 2010 after being sold by Merrill’s new owner, Bank of America Corp., following the 2008 financial crisis.

For years, First Republic lured high-net-worth customers with preferential rates on mortgages and loans. This strategy made it more vulnerable than regional lenders with less-affluent customers. The bank had a high level of uninsured deposits, amounting to 68% of deposits.

The San Francisco-based lender saw more than $100 billion in deposits fleeing in the first quarter, leaving it scrambling to raise money.

Despite an initial $30 billion lifeline from 11 Wall Street banks in March, the efforts proved futile, in part because buyers balked at the prospect of having to realize large losses on its loan book.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Friday, that the FDIC decided the lender’s position had deteriorated and there was no more time to pursue a rescue through the private sector.

By Friday, First Republic’s market value had hit a low of $557 million, down from its peak of $40 billion in November 2021.

Shares of some other regional banks also fell on Friday, as it became clear that First Republic was headed for an FDIC receivership, with PacWest Bancorp down 2% after the bell and Western Alliance down 0.7%.

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В ISW пояснили, що можуть означати погрози Пригожина вивести найманців «Вагнера» з Бахмута

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Напередодні Пригожин заявив про проблеми з постачанням боєприпасів і, що найманцям ПВК «Вагнер» потрібно буде «організовано відійти або залишитися і померти», якщо ситуація не покращиться

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Categories: Новини, Світ

Food Prices Fall on World Markets But Not on Kitchen Tables

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A restaurant on the outskirts of Nairobi skimps on the size of its chapatis — a flaky, chewy Kenyan flatbread — to save on cooking oil. Cash-strapped Pakistanis reluctantly go vegetarian, dropping beef and chicken from their diets because they can no longer afford meat. In Hungary, a cafe pulls burgers and fries off the menu, trying to dodge the high cost of oil and beef.

Around the world, food prices are persistently, painfully high. Puzzlingly, too. On global markets, the prices of grains, vegetable oil, dairy and other agricultural commodities have fallen steadily from record highs. But the relief hasn’t made it to the real world of shopkeepers, street vendors and families trying to make ends meet. 

“We cannot afford to eat lunch and dinner on most days because we still have rent and school fees to pay,” said Linnah Meuni, a Kenyan mother of four. 

She says a 2-kilogram (4.4-pound) packet of corn flour costs twice what she earns a day selling vegetables at a kiosk. 

Food prices were already running high when Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, disrupting trade in grain and fertilizer and sending prices up even more. But on a global scale, that price shock ended long ago. 

The United Nations says food prices have fallen for 12 straight months, helped by decent harvests in places like Brazil and Russia and a fragile wartime agreement to allow grain shipments out of the Black Sea. 

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index is lower than it was when Russian troops entered Ukraine. 

Yet somehow exorbitant food prices that people have little choice but to pay are still climbing, contributing disproportionately to painfully high inflation from the United States and Europe to the struggling countries of the developing world. 

Food markets are so interconnected that “wherever you are in the world, you feel the effect if global prices go up,” said Ian Mitchell, an economist and London-based co-director of the Europe program at the Center for Global Development. 

Why is food price inflation so intractable, if not in world commodity markets, then where it counts — in bazaars and grocery stores and kitchen tables around the world? 

Joseph Glauber, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, notes that the price of specific agricultural products — oranges, wheat, livestock — are just the beginning. 

In the United States, where food prices were up 8.5% last month from a year earlier, he says that “75% of the costs are coming after it leaves the farm. It’s energy costs. It’s all the processing costs. All the transportation costs. All the labor costs.”

And many of those costs are embedded in so-called core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices and has proven stubbornly hard to wring out of the world economy. Food prices soared 19.5% in the European Union last month from a year earlier and 19.2% in the U.K., the biggest increase in nearly 46 years. 

Food inflation, Glauber says, “will come down, but it’s going to come down slowly, largely because these other factors are still running pretty high.” 

Others, including U.S. President Joe Biden, see another culprit: a wave of mergers that have, over the years, reduced competition in the food industry. 

The White House last year complained that just four meatpacking companies control 85% of the U.S. beef market. Likewise, just four firms control 70% of the pork market and 54% of the poultry market. Those companies, critics say, can and do use their market power to raise prices. 

Glauber, now a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, isn’t convinced that consolidation in agribusiness is to blame for persistently high food prices. 

Sure, he says, big agribusinesses can rake in profits when prices rise. But things usually even out over time, and their profits diminish in lean times. 

“There’s a lot of market factors right now, fundamentals, that can explain why we have such inflation,” he says. “I couldn’t point my finger at the fact that we just have a handful of meat producers.” 

Outside the United States, he says, a strong dollar is to blame for keeping prices high. In other recent food-price crunches, like in 2007-2008, the dollar wasn’t especially strong. 

“This time around, we’ve had a strong dollar and an appreciating dollar,” Glauber said. “Prices for corn and wheat are quoted in dollars per ton. You put that in local currency terms, and because of the strong dollar, that means they haven’t seen” the price drops that show up in commodity markets and the U.N. food price index. 

In Kenya, drought added to food shortages and high prices arising from the impact of war in Ukraine, and costs have stayed stubbornly high ever since. 

Corn flour, a staple in Kenyan households that is used to make corn meal known as ugali, has doubled in price over the last year. After the 2022 elections, President William Ruto ended subsidies meant to cushion consumers from higher prices. Nonetheless, he has promised to bring down corn flour prices. 

Kenyan millers bought wheat when global prices were high last year; they also have been contending with high production costs arising from bigger fuel bills. 

In response, small Kenyan restaurants like Mark Kioko’s have had to raise prices and sometimes cut back on portions. 

“We had to reduce the size of our chapatis because even after we increased the price, we were suffering because cooking oil prices have also remained high,” Kioko says.

In Hungary, people are increasingly unable to cope with the biggest spike in food prices in the EU, reaching 45% in March. 

To keep up with rising ingredient costs, Cafe Csiga in central Budapest has raised prices by around 30%. 

“Our chef closely follows prices on a daily basis, so the procurement of kitchen ingredients is tightly controlled,” said the restaurant’s general manager, Andras Kelemen. The café even dropped burgers and French fries from the menu. 

Joszef Varga, a fruit and vegetable seller in Budapest’s historic Grand Market Hall, says his wholesale costs have risen by 20% to 30%. All his customers have noticed the price spikes — some more than others. 

“Those with more money in their wallets buy more, and those with less buy less,” he said. “You can feel it significantly in people, they complain that everything is more expensive.” 

In Pakistan, shop owner Mohammad Ali says some customers are going meatless, sticking to vegetables and beans instead. Even the price of vegetables, beans, rice and wheat are up as much as 50%. 

Sitting at her mud-brick home outside the capital of Islamabad, 45-year-old widow Zubaida Bibi says: “Our life was never easy, but now the price of everything has increased so much that it has become difficult to live.” 

This month, she stood in a long line to get free wheat from Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s government during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Bibi works as a maid, earning just 8,000 Pakistani rupees ($30) a month. 

“We need many other things, but we don’t have enough money to buy food for our children,” she said.

She gets money from her younger brother Sher Khan to stay afloat. But he’s vulnerable, too: Rising fuel costs may force him to close his roadside tea stall. 

“Increasing inflation has ruined my budget,” he said. “I earn less and spend more.” 

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Розвідка Британії заявила про «все більш драконівські» методи підтримання дисципліни в армії РФ

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«З осені 2022 року з’явилося чимало все більш драконівських ініціатив для покращення дисципліни у військах, особливо після того, як у січні 2023 року командування операцією взяв на себе начальник Генштабу РФ Валерій Герасимов»

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Categories: Новини, Світ

США евакуювали з Судану кілька сотень своїх громадян – Держдеп

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Кілька сотень громадян США залишили Судан під час тимчасового припинення вогню, зазначив представник Держдепартаменту США Ведант Патель, пише The Hill.

У відомстві повідомили, що щонайменше 5 тисяч осіб запросили в Держдепартаменту інформацію про конфлікт у Судані, однак, «лише малій частині» від цієї кількості знадобилась допомога в виїзді з країни.

Посольство США в Хартумі було евакуйовано минулими вихідними морськими піхотинцями, оскільки сутички в продовжують загострюватися. Раніше США та інші країни домовилися про 72-годинне припинення вогню в конфлікті, яке було продовжено ще на 72 години в п’ятницю, 28 квітня, уточнили в Держдепі.

Також в США наголосили, що попри припинення вогню, повідомлення про бойові дії в Судані тривають, включно з обстрілом турецького військового евакуаційного літака.

«Очевидно, що мали місце численні порушення режиму припинення вогню. Але здійснення припинення вогню часто буває важким на самому початку, проте порушення режиму припинення вогню не означають провалу припинення вогню. І ми працюємо з партнерами, щоб забезпечити кращий моніторинг активності та залучити обидві сторони до поліпшення дотримання режиму», – заявив представник Держдепу.

За інформацією влади, до початку конфлікту в країні перебувало близько 16 тисяч американців, багато з яких мали подвійне громадянство США та Судану.

15 квітня в столиці Судану та інших містах спалахнули сутички між регулярною армією та воєнізованим угрупованням «Сили швидкої підтримки». Дві військові фракції борються за контроль над Хартумом і прибутковим експортом мінеральних ресурсів країни, особливо золота.

За даними ООН, станом на 21 квітня через бойові дії в Судані загинули 413 людей, ще 3551 – поранені. Низка країн евакуювали своїх дипломатів із Судану.

Головне управління розвідки Міноборони також повідомило про евакуацію десятки українців та іноземців із Судану 25 квітня.

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Categories: Новини, Світ

Моравецький каже, що Польща посилить заходи безпеки на кордоні з Росією

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«Це називається периметрія. Ми розвиваємо цю периметрію. Ми посилимо присутність прикордонників і всіх служб. Тут будуть розміщені сучасні підрозділи, сучасна зброя»

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Categories: Новини, Світ

Disney Sues DeSantis, Claiming Unlawful Retaliation 

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ very public feud with the Walt Disney Co. entered a new phase this week, when the entertainment conglomerate filed a lawsuit claiming that the governor and his administration violated the company’s First Amendment rights.

Disney, which employs 75,000 people in a cluster of theme parks and hotels in central Florida, said that a series of new restrictions placed on the company were meant to retaliate against it for public criticism of one of DeSantis’ key legislative initiatives. The legislation, commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, restricts the ability of teachers in Florida schools to discuss issues of sexuality and gender identity.

In a series of moves beginning last year, the Florida legislature — at DeSantis’ bidding — stripped the company of the ability to self-govern the land on which its parks and hotels sit, changed the rules governing ride-safety inspections, and took other actions targeting the company. The changes appear to have applied only to Disney, and not to other self-governing districts and theme parks in the state.

The fight with Disney has helped keep DeSantis in the news ahead of what is expected to be an announcement of his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination later this spring. DeSantis is currently second in polls of likely GOP primary voters, trailing former President Donald Trump by a significant margin.

Final straw

This week, a new board appointed to oversee the district where Disney is located moved to void development agreements its predecessor had struck with the company. Those deals, agreed to shortly before the old board was replaced, would have significantly limited the new board’s power over the company.

Within minutes of the vote, Disney announced that it had filed a lawsuit claiming unlawful retaliation.

“A targeted campaign of government retaliation — orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech — now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights,” the suit charges.

For his part, DeSantis on Thursday claimed that the lawsuit lacks merit.

“Do you want one company to have their own fiefdom, or do you want everyone to live under the same laws?” he said to reporters in Israel while participating in an overseas trade mission. “The days of putting one company on a pedestal with no accountability are over in the state of Florida.”

Yearlong drama

The battle between the company and the state began last year, while the state legislature was debating the Parental Rights in Education Act which restricts the ability of teachers to discuss sexuality or gender identity with young children. The law has since been expanded to cover all children through high school.

The language in the bill made it unclear whether, for example, a gay teacher with a same-sex spouse could mention his or her marital status to students, earning it the “Don’t Say Gay” nickname from critics.

After taking an unclear stance on the legislation at the start, Disney’s then-CEO Bob Chapek responded to criticism from the company’s employee base by issuing a strong denunciation of the legislation, saying that it should never have been signed into law, and pledging that the company would work toward its repeal.

The move angered DeSantis and his allies in the legislature. The governor immediately began attacking the company in his public pronouncements as “woke” and pledged to “fight back.” In a fundraising email to supporters he wrote, “If Disney wants to pick a fight, they chose the wrong guy.”

Targeted legislation

Within days, Republican state legislator Stephen Roach made it clear that lawmakers were considering action that would eliminate an agreement struck in 1967 to allow Disney broad authority to govern the land on which its parks and hotels are located, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID).

Roach seemed to concede that the change was to punish the company for its complaints about the Parental Rights in Education law.

“If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County,” he said. (The RCID was carved out of land partly in Orange County and partly in Osceola County.)

Over the past few weeks, DeSantis has made other public comments suggesting that he is looking for additional ways to punish Disney.

In recent public comments, he suggested that he and his staff are considering new taxes on the company’s hotels, tolls on the roads that visitors use to travel to the park, and building other projects on nearby state-owned property.

At one news conference, DeSantis floated the idea of locating a new state prison on nearby land. “Who knows? I just think the possibilities are endless,” he said.

Strong claim

First Amendment experts contacted by VOA said that Disney appears to have powerful arguments behind its assertion that DeSantis and the legislature have engaged in unlawful retaliation against protected speech.

“Disney has a quite strong claim here,” RonNell Andersen Jones, a professor of law at the University of Utah, said in an email. “First Amendment doctrine makes clear that it offends the Constitution when [the] government takes actions to retaliate for speech or expressive positions.”

Gregory Magarian, a professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, agreed.

“It is clear — axiomatic, obvious — that if the government retaliates against a speaker for what they say, that is a violation of the First Amendment,” he told VOA.

Magarian said that in order to overcome Disney’s argument, the state would have to argue that the actions it took against Disney were the result of public policy preferences, and were not meant to punish the company.

“My sense is that the public record, and what DeSantis has said and what legislators have said, will make that a fairly uphill climb,” he said.

Republican doubts

DeSantis, broadly seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, has come under fire from some of his erstwhile political allies in recent days over his unrelenting assault on Disney.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the most powerful Republican politician in Washington, on Thursday criticized the governor’s approach.

“This is a big employer inside Florida,” he said. “I think the governor should sit down with them. I don’t think the idea of building a prison next to a place that you bring your family is the best idea. I think it’d be much better if you sat down and solved the problems.”

Former President Trump, writing on Truth Social, a social network owned by his company, also piled on.

“Disney’s next move will be the announcement that no more money will be invested in Florida because of the Governor — In fact, they could even announce a slow withdrawal or sale of certain properties, or the whole thing. Watch!” he wrote. “That would be a killer.”

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Fed Faults Silicon Valley Bank Execs, Itself in Bank Failure

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The Federal Reserve blamed last month’s collapse of Silicon Valley Bank on poor management, watered-down regulations and lax oversight by its own staffers, and it said the industry needs stricter policing on multiple fronts to prevent future bank failures. 

The Fed was highly critical of its own role in the bank’s failure in a report released Friday. The report, compiled by Michael Barr, the Fed’s top regulator, said bank supervisors were slow to recognize blossoming problems at Silicon Valley Bank as it quickly grew in size in the years leading up to its collapse. The report also pointed out underlying cultural issues at the Fed, where supervisors were unwilling to be hard on bank management when they saw growing problems. 

Those cultural issues stemmed from legislation passed in 2018 that sought to lighten regulation for banks with less than $250 billion in assets, the report concluded. The Fed also weakened its own rules the following year, which exempted banks below that threshold from stress tests and other regulations. Both Silicon Valley Bank and New York-based Signature Bank, which also failed last month, had assets below that level. 

The changes increased the burden on regulators to justify the need for supervisory action, the report said. “In some cases, the changes also led to slower action by supervisory staff and a reluctance to escalate issues.” 

Separate reports also released Friday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, also faulted the Fed and other regulators for a lack of urgency regarding Silicon Valley’s deficiencies. About 95% of the bank’s deposits exceeded the FDIC’s insurance cap and the deposits were concentrated in the technology industry, making the bank vulnerable to a panic. 

The Fed also said it planned to reexamine how it regulates larger regional banks such as Silicon Valley Bank, which had more than $200 billion in assets when it failed, although less than the $250 billion threshold for greater regulation. 

“While higher supervisory and regulatory requirements may not have prevented the firm’s failure, they would likely have bolstered the resilience of Silicon Valley Bank,” the report said. 

Tighter regulation seen

Banking policy analysts said the trio of critical reports made it more likely regulation would be tightened, though the Fed acknowledged it could take years for proposals to be implemented. 

The reports “provide a clear path for a tougher and more costly regulatory regime for banks with at least $100 billion of assets,” said Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at TD Cowen. “We would expect the Fed to advance proposals in the coming months.” 

Alexa Philo, a former bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, said the Fed could adopt stricter rules on its own, without relying on Congress. 

“It is long past time to roll back the dangerous deregulation under the last administration to the greatest extent possible and pay close attention to the largest banks so this crisis does not worsen,” she said. 

The Fed also criticized Silicon Valley Bank for tying executive compensation too closely to short-term profits and the company’s stock price. From 2018 to 2021, profit at SVB Financial, Silicon Valley Bank’s parent, doubled and the stock nearly tripled. 

The report also pointed out that there were no pay incentives at the bank tied to risk management. Silicon Valley Bank notably had no chief risk officer at the firm for roughly a year, during a time when the bank was growing quickly. 

The Fed’s report, which included the release of internal reports and Fed communications, is a rare look into how the central bank supervises individual banks as one of the nation’s bank regulators. Typically, such processes are rarely seen by the public, but the Fed chose to release these reports to show how the bank was managed up to its failure. 

Bartlett Collins Naylor, financial policy advocate at Congress Watch, a division of Public Citizen, was surprised at the degree to which the Fed blamed itself for the bank failure. 

“I don’t know that I expected the Fed to say ‘mea culpa’ — but I find that adds a lot of credibility” to Federal Reserve leadership, Naylor said. 

Silicon Valley Bank was the go-to bank for venture capital firms and technology startups for years, but failed spectacularly in March, setting off a crisis of confidence for the banking industry. Federal regulators seized Silicon Valley Bank on March 10 after customers withdrew tens of billions of dollars in deposits in a matter of hours. 

Two days later, they seized Signature Bank. Although regulators guaranteed all the banks’ deposits, customers at other midsize regional banks rushed to pull out their money — often with a few taps on a mobile device — and move it to the perceived safety of big money center banks such as JPMorgan Chase.

Although the withdrawals have abated at many banks, First Republic Bank in San Francisco appears to be in peril, even after receiving a $30 billion infusion of deposits from 11 major banks in March. The bank’s shares plunged 70% this week after it revealed the extent to which customers pulled their deposits in the days after Silicon Valley Bank failed.

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Зеленський привітав першу велику інвестицію в Україну з початку повномасштабного вторгнення РФ

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«Саме зараз, коли ми ще боремося з російським терором, великий світовий бізнес не лише вірить у нашу перемогу, але й підтверджує цю віру своїми багатомільйонними інвестиціями»

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128 митців світу звернулися до Путіна із закликом звільнити опозиціонера Навального

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Олексія Навального було затримано, заарештовано та відправлено до колонії на початку 2021 року після його повернення до Росії з лікування та реабілітації в Німеччині

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Categories: Новини, Світ

Єврокомісія заявила про компроміс щодо експорту чотирьох видів агропродукції з України

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Раніше цього місяця Болгарія, Польща, Угорщина і Словаччина тимчасово заборонили імпорт українського зерна, оскільки країни Центральної та Східної Європи зазнають внутрішнього тиску з вимогою захистити місцевих фермерів

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ЄСПЛ зобов’язав Росію виплатити близько 130 млн євро компенсації Грузії через війну 2008 року

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У січні 2021 року ЄСПЛ ухвалив рішення, в якому визнав, що Росія винна в порушенні прав людини у сепаратистських регіонах Грузії Південній Осетії й Абхазії, але не несе відповідальності за ці регіони під час російсько-грузинської війни в серпні 2008 року

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Categories: Новини, Світ