свіжі новини:

Technology Helps People who are Visually Impaired to ‘See’ Art

Museums across the United States are striving to be more accessible to everyone. That includes touchable versions of photographs and paintings for people who may not be able to see them. At a recent expo by the American Alliance of Museums in New Orleans, new technology was used to help the visually impaired “see” art and pictures. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us more.

Kabul at Night: Daily Life Steeped in Security Risks

Concrete military walls and police security checkpoints are seen on every corner of Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul.  The robust security presence signals a major effort to protect civilians and government officials from terrorist attacks.  But the very real threat of violence, like a suicide attack, doesn’t stop Kabul residents from living and enjoying their daily lives.  VOA’s Ahmad Samir Rassoly gives us a unique view of a typical night in Kabul.

US Official Tells ASEAN Leaders to Choose Between China, US

A top U.S. Defense Department official told ambassadors and other leaders from Southeastern Asian countries that the Indo-Pacific region is “our priority theater” even as China makes inroads in an area it considers its backyard.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver, spoke at the US-ASEAN Business Council Wednesday.  

He emphasized the need for nations in the region to consider the options offered by the United State and China, which are jockeying for geopolitical and economic influence in the area, before devising their individual Indo-Pacific strategies.

“You don’t choose between countries or capitals but can you choose respect for sovereignty and independence of all nations large and small,” Schriver said. “Can you choose peaceful resolution of disputes? Can you choose free, fair, reciprocal trade and investment, which includes protections for intellectual property? Can you choose to support adherence to international rules and norms including freedom of navigation and overflight?”

Schriver said these were not “U.S. positions or principles or values but more universal.” He made his remarks as skepticism is growing over China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure investment program that comes with “debt risks, governance risks (corruption and procurement), stranded infrastructure, environmental risks and social risks,” according to the World Bank.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a 10-member regional bloc with a combined GDP of $2.4 trillion, a population of 630 million, and a landmass covering more than 4.4 million square kilometers (1.7 million square miles), according to the council’s website. Founded in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, ASEAN has since expanded to include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

“There are practical ways that we look forward to working with the member states of ASEAN to uphold the international ideals,” Schriver said. “We look for partners to invest sufficiently in their own defense to strengthen deterrence, to take actions that uphold the rules-based international order which keeps the playing field level.”
“We look for countries to … think carefully about defense sales as you’re not only buying equipment and capability, you’re investing in long-term relationships,” he added.
In May, the U.S. Navy angered China by sailing one of its warships near the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China claims almost all of the strategic waters, where there are competing claims by Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

This report originated with VOA’s Mandarin Service.

Iraq Boosts Security Measures at Base Where US Trainers Stay

Security measures were increased at one of Iraq’s largest air bases that houses American trainers following an attack last week, a top Iraqi air force commander said Saturday. The U.S. military said operations at the base were going on as usual and there were currently no plans to evacuate personnel.

The stepped-up Iraqi security measures at Balad air base, just north of the capital, Baghdad, come amid sharply rising tensions in the Middle East between the United States and Iran.

The current regional crisis is rooted in the U.S. withdrawal last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall and cutting deeply into its oil exports.

Gen. Falah Fares told The Associated Press by telephone that the measures include a night-time curfew, boosting security inside and near the base as well as surveillance of nearby areas. He said these measures are being carried out in coordination with the U.S.

“All unnecessary movements have been reduced,” Fares said, adding that the curfew now lasts from sunset until sunrise. He said the change was made after Balad air base, home to a squadron of Iraqi F-16 fighter jets, was hit with three mortar shells last week without inflicting casualties. The curfew had previously been from midnight to sunrise, he said.

Col. Kevin Walker, U.S. Air Forces Central Command Director of Force Protection, denied in a statement later Saturday reports that U.S. forces are evacuating contractors or any other personnel from Balad air base.

“Operations at Balad Air Base are continuing as normal. Claims that personnel are being evacuated are categorically false,” Walker said. “There are no plans at this time to evacuate any personnel from Balad.”

“The safety and security of all Air Force personnel and those that provide services to the U.S. Air Force are constantly evaluated, and should there be increased threats to our people, the U.S. Air Force will put measures in place to provide the protections required,” he said.

Like neighboring Iran, Iraq is a Shiite-majority country, and has been trying to maintain a fine line between allies Tehran and Washington. There have been concerns that Baghdad could once again get caught in the middle, just as it is on the path to recovery.

Iraq hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops, and is home to powerful Iranian-backed militias, some of whom want those U.S. forces to leave.

Наступного тижня спека послабшає – синоптик

В середині наступного тижня в Україні може стати трохи прохолодніше.
Як розповіла синоптик Наталка Діденко, «натяк на послаблення спеки» очікується у вівторок, 25 червня, а наступного дня температура почне спадати.

«Дощ з грозою у Києві можливий у неділю пізно ввечері і в понеділок», – зазначила синоптик.

У неділю, 23 червня, в Україні переважно без опадів. Дощі очікуються у західних областях, місцями можливі грози. Вночі 18-21 градус тепла, на заході прохолодніше – 14-17 градусів.

Вдень у західних областях також буде прохолодніше – 25-27 градусів тепла. В інших областях очікується 31-34 градуси.

В Києві завтра без опадів, вночі – 18-20 градусів, вдень – 31-33.

На Донбасі на контрольно-пропускному пункті помер чоловік

На Донбасі під час перетину КПВВ «Станиця Луганська» помер чоловік 1949 року народження. Про це повідомив представник омбудсмена в Донецькій та Луганській області Павло Лисянський.
«Він йшов з боку окупованої території Луганської області, при підході до української сторони КПВВ чоловікові стало погано, він був госпіталізований, але на жаль лікарі не змогли нічого зробити», – зазначив Лисянський.

Він додав, що за попередніми даними лікарі поставили діагноз обширний інсульт.

На лінії розмежування працюють 5 пунктів в’їзду-виїзду громадян – «Майорське», «Мар’їнка», «Новотроїцьке», «Гнутове», «Станиця Луганська». 8 квітня у місії ОБСЄ повідомили, що з грудня минулого року при перетині лінії розмежування померли 18 людей, здебільшого люди літнього віку. Причиною смерті в більшості випадків стали проблеми з серцем.

Iran Warns of Firm Response to any US Threat

VOA congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson and VOA Persian’s Katherine Ahn contributed to this report from Washington.

WASHINGTON — Iran warned Saturday that it would react sharply to any perceived aggression against it.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told the semi-official Tasnim  news agency that Iran would not allow any of its borders to be violated.  He said “Iran will firmly confront any aggression or threat by America.”

Britain’s Middle East minister travels to Tehran Sunday for talks with Iranian officials.  Britain’s Foreign Office said Andrew Murrison will call for “urgent de-escalation in the region.”  Murrison will also discuss Iran’s threat to cease complying with the nuclear deal that the United States pulled out of last year.  

Friday U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that the United States was “cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it,” Trump tweeted, saying the action would have been disproportionate.

“I am in no hurry,” Trump added.

The president also said that he authorized additional “biting” sanctions against Iran late Thursday night as part of his administration’s maximum pressure campaign to force Iran to restart negotiations over its nuclear program.

“Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!” Trump tweeted.

The move appears to pull Washington and Tehran back from the brink of armed conflict that could engulf the Middle East. President Trump spoke Friday with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The two leaders discussed Saudi Arabia’s critical role in ensuring stability in the Middle East and in the global oil market,” said White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley. “They also discussed the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s escalatory behavior.”
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday, “We are in an extremely dangerous and sensitive situation with Iran. We must calibrate a response that de-escalates and advances American interests, and we must be clear as to what those interests are.” She added that any hostilities against Iran must first be approved by Congress.
Concern about a potential armed confrontation between the U.S. and Iran has been growing since U.S. officials recently blamed Tehran for mine attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, allegations Tehran denies, and Iran’s downing of an unmanned U.S. drone this week.

James Phillips, a senior researcher at the conservative Washington-based Heritage Foundation, said he believes the immediate risk of a U.S.-Iran conflict has passed. “It’s probably over as far as the incident goes with the shoot down of the drone. But, I think if there are further provocations, the president will respond in a strong and effective manner,” he said.
Phillips also said he does not expect Tehran to accept U.S. calls for negotiations while Trump continues a “maximum pressure campaign” of sanctions on Iran. “I doubt that Tehran will be serious until it sees who wins the next presidential election,” he said.

The U.S. announced this week it was authorizing another 1,000 troops — including a Patriot missile battery and additional manned and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to bolster defenses at U.S. positions in Iraq and Syria.

Trump earlier said the unmanned surveillance drone that was shot down was flying over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz when it was hit by an Iranian missile, and said the incident was a “very bad mistake.”

Iran says the drone flew into its air space, a “blatant violation of International law.”

Mauritanians Vote for new President, but Status quo Likely to Prevail

For the first time since Mauritania’s independence, its citizens voted on Saturday for a successor to a democratically-elected president, though a government insider campaigning on a message of continuity is heavily tipped to win.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. (0700 GMT) in the election to replace President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, 62, who since seizing power in a 2008 coup has positioned himself as an ally of the West in the fight against Islamist militants.

Located on the northwest African coast and bordered to the east by the Sahara Desert, the country gained independence from colonial power France in 1960.

Abdel Aziz is stepping aside after serving the maximum two five-year elected terms and has thrown his support behind Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, 62, a former general and defense minister.

Abdel Aziz could however maintain significant influence behind the scenes. He said on Thursday that he had not ruled out running again in five years when his term limits would reset.

Gilles Yabi, the founder of West African think tank WATHI, said Ghazouani was favored to win the election and would likely continue to rule in Abdel Aziz’s mould, but that he could still surprise.

“Ghazouani is someone who is very discreet. It could well happen that the change is not merely cosmetic,” Yabi said.

Five other candidates are on the ballot. Former prime minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, who is backed by Mauritania’s biggest Islamist party, has drawn large crowds on the campaign trail and is considered Ghazouani’s main rival.

Ghazouani has campaigned on economic and security progress under Abdel Aziz. The economy is growing and will receive a boost when a large offshore gas field starts producing early next decade.

Tourists are also starting to return for desert tours after years of staying away following a series of kidnappings in 2009.

In recent years, Mauritania has been spared attacks by jihadist militants linked to al Qaida and Islamic State that have devastated other countries in West Africa’s Sahel region, including neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso.

Al Qaida documents seized from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout in 2011 indicated the group’s leaders had discussed a possible peace deal the previous year with Mauritania’s government that would involve prisoner releases and payments.

Mauritania’s government denied that any such deal existed and has credited its success preventing Islamist attacks to intelligence work and rehabilitation of imprisoned jihadists.

The opposition candidates, who include a prominent campaigner against slavery in the country, have tried to tap into dissatisfaction among young people over stagnating salaries and poor health care.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the election will go to a second round next month.



В Івано-Франківській області від удару блискавки загинули три людини

У Рогатинському районі Івано-Франківської області 21 червня внаслідок удару блискавки в зупинку загинули троє людей, ще двоє постраждали. Про це повідомили у поліції.
На зупинці в селищі Беньківці перебували п’ятеро людей. Загиблі – мешканці Львівської області 1954, 1963 та 1985 року народження. Вони відвідували родичів. Постраждали дві місцеві мешканки.

«Одна із потерпілих стояла трохи далі від інших осіб і пояснила, що від миттєвого удару її відкинуло на землю, а коли піднялася, то чоловіки ознак життя не подавали», – мовиться у повідомленні.

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