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Россия пытается просочиться на Восток сквозь санкции


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Однако выходит это у Москвы с переменным успехом, а политические связи со странами Азии оставляют желать лучшего.


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The U.S. investigates allegations of human rights abuses by Israel


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said that the United States is looking into allegations of human rights abuses by Israel in its operations against Hamas in Gaza. Two people were seen being taken into custody during a pro-Palestinian demonstration at Columbia University on Monday. A prosecutor told jurors that Donald Trump tried to illegally influence the 2016 presidential election by preventing damaging stories about his personal life from becoming public. The statement came Monday at the start of the former president’s historic hush money trial. And on Earth Day a ship which emits no pollution as it sails the seas.

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VOA Newscasts


Give us 5 minutes, and we’ll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

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Blinken returns to China amid ongoing tensions, with no breakthrough expected


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to China this week for talks with senior officials in Shanghai and Beijing to discuss a range of issues, including Russia’s war against Ukraine, the Middle East crisis, the South China Sea, and human rights. State Department Bureau Chief Nike Ching has more.

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Columbia’s ongoing protests cause canceled classes and increased tensions


NEW YORK — Columbia University held virtual classes Monday on the sixth continuous day of student protests over the Israel-Hamas conflict. 

University president Nemat “Minouche” Shafik sent an email to the Columbia community announcing that classes would be held virtually. 

“The decibel of our disagreements has only increased in recent days,” Shafik wrote. “These tensions have been exploited and amplified by individuals who are not affiliated with Columbia who have come to campus to pursue their own agendas. We need a reset.”

More than 100 students were arrested at the school April 18, after the university’s president authorized police to clear away protesters. Some of the students also received suspension notices from the school. 

Columbia’s action prompted an onslaught of pro-Palestinian demonstrations at other universities and responses from faculty and politicians.

The arrests occurred after students calling themselves Columbia University Apartheid Divest erected dozens of tents on a lawn at the center of the campus, establishing it as the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

Following the arrests and the demolition of the original encampment, another pro-Palestine encampment sprung on an adjacent lawn.

Students aren’t the only demonstrators experiencing tensions on campus and with the university administration.

Monday morning, Business School assistant professor Shai Davidai was denied entry to the university for an attempted pro-Israel counter-protest on the occupied lawn after he refused to comply with the university’s counter-protest policies. 

“I am a professor here; I have every right to be everywhere on campus. You cannot let people who support Hamas on campus, and me, a professor, not on campus. Let me in now,” he said after Columbia COO Cass Halloway stopped him and other pro-Israel protesters at the entrance gates.

He has repeatedly called student protesters “violent maniacs” and “pro-Hamas terrorists.” A petition calling for Davidai’s dismissal has amassed nearly 9,000 signatures as of last Thursday night; additional grievances have been shared on social media and with the university.

Some Jewish students at Columbia say that many criticisms of Israel are antisemitic and make them feel unsafe.

Since the arrests, many student groups and Columbia affiliate groups have released statements condemning the university’s decision to arrest students, citing discriminatory enforcement of rules that limit students’ freedom of speech. 

Monday, hundreds of faculty members from across Columbia and Barnard staged a rally and walkout to urge the university to reverse the students’ suspensions. Some faculty members wore their graduation regalia and sashes reading “We support students.”

The backlash from the protests has even reached the ear of U.S. President Joe Biden. When asked about the recent events at the university by reporters Monday, Biden said, “I condemn the antisemitic protests. That’s why I have set up a program to deal with that. I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians.”

Other campuses, such as Yale, Stanford, and New York University have also rallied around the Palestinian cause, calling for their universities to divest from companies with ties to Israel and for a ceasefire in Gaza. Many have put up tent encampments on their campuses. About 50 students were arrested at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, Monday after they refused to leave their encampment.

Student protesters at Columbia have urged organizers of rallies outside the campus to “remember what we are protesting for” and focus on the war in Gaza, rather than just expressing solidarity with protesters. 

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and the Associated Press.

 


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‘Yes,’ Ukraine to Receive Long-Range ATACMS, Says Senator Mark Warner – War Update for April 23


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US Senator affirms Ukraine to receive long-range projectiles; Poetry of Soviet-era poet Vasyl Stus to feature at Harvard University lecture; Zelensky hosts US bi-partisan Congressional delegation


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Ukraine war briefing: Long-range Atacms missiles on the way, says Zelenskiy


Russian attack shears Kharkiv TV tower in half; EU ministers urge no complacency after US steps up with aid. What we know on day 790

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, said legislation passed by the US House of Representatives and awaiting Senate approval had clarified that Ukraine would be receiving the longer-range version of Atacms (Army Tactical Missile Systems) that it has long sought. Atacms is highly prized by the Ukrainian army for its firepower, speed of deployment and accuracy, but Ukraine has so far been restricted to a version that can only fire 165km (102 miles). Newer versions can fire about 300km. Atacms can be launched from the similarly prized Himars system already supplied by the US to Ukraine.

A White House statement confirmed that Biden told Zelenskiy “that his administration will quickly provide significant new security assistance packages to meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield and air defence needs as soon as the Senate passes the national security supplemental and he signs it into law”. Zelenskiy said he thanked his US counterpart, Joe Biden, for support and leadership in a phone conversation on Monday.

Rishi Sunak has promised the UK’s largest ever military support package for Ukraine as he warned that Vladimir Putin would “not stop at the Polish border” if Russia won the war. The UK plans to give vital equipment to Kyiv including 400 vehicles, 1,600 weapons and 4m rounds of ammunition, as well as an additional £500m in military funding, taking the total to £3bn this financial year.

European ministers said they were looking urgently at how to provide more air defence to Ukraine but stopped short of concrete pledges to supply the Patriot systems that Kyiv values most. Meeting in Luxembourg, foreign and defence ministers from the EU said the US House of Representatives’ vote to approve a Ukraine aid package at the weekend should not lead to any complacency on their part. Since Kyiv began a push for more Patriots in recent weeks, Germany has been the only EU country to pledge an extra battery. Officials have said it is hard for countries to part with Patriots as they are an integral part of national defences.

A Russian missile strike that broke in half a 240-metre high television tower in Kharkiv on Monday is part of a deliberate effort by Moscow to make Ukraine’s second largest city uninhabitable, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said. The north-eastern city of 1.3 million people lies 30km (18 miles) from the Russian border. Communications officials said they were working to restore the television signal, urging residents of the city and region without digital television signal to use cable or online television or the radio.

Ukraine’s military said it was still in control of the village of Novomykhailivka, 40km (25 miles) south-west of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which Russian forces earlier claimed to have captured. Russia said on Sunday that its forces gained territory near the key battleground of Chasiv Yar in east Ukraine, taking control of Bogdanivka, a small village less than 3km north-east of the town.

Poland is ready to host nuclear arms if Nato decides to deploy them in the face of Russia reinforcing its armaments in Belarus and Kaliningrad, the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, said in an interview published on Monday. “If our allies decide to deploy nuclear arms on our territory as part of nuclear sharing, to reinforce Nato’s eastern flank, we are ready to do so,” Duda said in an interview published by the Fakt daily.

Continue reading…


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Judge calls mistrial in Arizona rancher’s murder trial


(NewsNation) — The jury in the trial of 75-year-old Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly was unable to reach a verdict Friday, prompting the judge to call a mistrial after the state requested it.

Kelly is on trial in connection to the fatal shooting of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, an unarmed migrant, on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border. Kelly is facing second-degree murder and aggravated assault charges for the Jan. 30, 2023, killing.

The state argued that pushing the jury to continue deliberating after expressing an impasse could be coercive, but the defense countered that jurors had only briefly considered the new instructions before indicating they were deadlocked and should be given more time.

The jury said it was at an impasse and could not reach a unanimous decision on either count. A status hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 29.

Cuen-Buitimea, 48, lived just south of the border in Nogales, Mexico. Court records show Cuen-Buitimea had previously entered the U.S. illegally several times and was deported, most recently in 2016.

Cuen-Buitimea was in a group of men that Kelly encountered on his property. Prosecutor Mike Jette said Kelly recklessly fired an AK-47 rifle toward the group that was about 100 yards away.

Kelly said he fired warning shots in the air, but he didn’t shoot directly at anyone, explaining that he feared for his safety and that of his wife and property.

“He says he shot 100 yards over their heads. But he never told law enforcement that he was in fear of his life,” Jette said in closing arguments.

Kelly fired nine shots toward the group, according to Jette, who said Cuen-Buitimea suffered three broken ribs and a severed aorta.

Kelly discovered the body after detectives scoured the area, but no bullet was ever recovered.

The other migrants on Kelly’s ranch in 2023 weren’t injured and managed to escape back to Mexico.

The trial that started March 22 included jurors visiting Kelly’s nearly 170-acre cattle ranch in Nogales, Arizona.

Earlier in proceedings, Kelly rejected an agreement with prosecutors that would have reduced the charge to one count of negligent homicide if he pleaded guilty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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New ethical guidelines for tax professionals announced following global scandals


Following years of global tax scandals, including ICIJ’s Paradise Papers and Pandora Papers investigations, a global accountants’ ethics board has released a new set of standards for tax professionals, aimed at rebuilding public and institutional trust in the tax planning industry.

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, or IESBA, published an update to its ethics guidelines last week, incorporating for the first time advice that urged accountants and other tax professionals to take public interest into account when working on tax planning for clients.

The new standards come in response to multiple public scandals involving tax avoidance schemes perceived as “aggressive” and harmful to the public interest, IESBA said in its announcement materials, citing ICIJ’s global investigations.

“The standards establish a clear framework of expected behaviors and ethics provisions for use by all professional accountants, and respond to public interest concerns about tax avoidance and the role played by consultants in light of revelations in recent years such as the Paradise and Pandora Papers,” the IESBA said.

In 2017, the Paradise Papers investigation revealed how over 100 multinational corporations, such as Nike and Apple, dodged taxes by shifting money offshore. Four years later, the Pandora Papers investigation pulled back the curtain further, revealing a seedy underworld of global tax evasion and money laundering.

Guidelines intend to encourage tax professionals to look beyond the letter of the law by using IESBA’s “principles-based framework and a global ethical benchmark,” according to the report.

“As scandals in recent years have shown, though some behaviors may be legal under the letter of the law in certain jurisdictions, the ‘grey area’ of tax is not always the ethical way forward,” Gabriela Figueiredo Dias, IESBA Chair, said in the release.

IESBA guidelines are used in over 130 jurisdictions and have been adopted by more than 30 of the largest accounting firm networks. IESBA conducted public outreach and held global roundtables with senior-level stakeholder representatives from 2021 to 2023.

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Though getting the ethical guidelines on paper is an important step, Sean Bray, the director of European policy for U.S.-based think tank Tax Foundation, told ICIJ, “public pressure and corporate incentive to do the right thing” may ultimately play a bigger role in curbing tax avoidance.

“It is not only up to the tax planner or the company’s board to take good care of the tax system. It is also up to policymakers to understand how their tax laws are designed and what grey areas they are creating,” he said.

Bray told ICIJ that tax systems that adhere to the principles of simplicity, transparency, neutrality and stability “naturally limit” tax avoidance and lessen the ethically ambiguous decisions that tax planners and accountants must back.

“The more principled the system, the less grey area there will be. When there is grey area, hopefully these new standards will guide tax accountants in the right direction,” Bray said.

The new IESBA guidelines will take effect July 1, 2025.


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Pro-Palestinian Encampments Take Over American College Campuses


Columbia University encampment

As the death toll from Israeli strikes on Gaza rises, encampments led by pro-Palestinian students on American college campuses are spreading. Despite disciplinary measures and police involvement, the demonstrations show no signs of stopping. Encampments have started on at least a dozen campuses, as student protesters demand for their universities to divest from companies that benefit from the Israeli occupation. 

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On Monday morning, police arrested at least 45 students at Yale University on trespassing charges. A similar scene at Columbia University unfolded last week, when school officials invited cops to arrest more than 100 protesters. Columbia University and Barnard College subsequently suspended dozens of students, citing safety concerns. The NYPD maintained that protesters were peaceful upon arresting them. Barnard College students, including Ilhan Omar’s daughter—Isra Hirsi—lost access to campus housing and meal plans.

“I really am in limbo. We don’t know when we’ll be let back in,” Hirsi says. She has been feeling overwhelmed and sad that she is “stuck on the outside” but notes that she was aware of the risks. “I felt like I had to take a stand,” she says. Hirsi is also feeling inspired by the many universities starting encampments. “It’s not a Columbia moment. It’s a moment for everybody,” she says. “It’s important for all of us as students at prestigious universities to really shed light on what is going on.”

The White House condemned antisemitism on college campuses in a statement about Passover on Sunday but did not not elaborate on particular institutions or incidents. “Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews,” said President Joe Biden. “This blatant antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous–and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country.”

Columbia University Apartheid Divest, a coalition of student organizations leading protests, pushed back against antisemitism allegations. “We are frustrated by media distractions focusing on inflammatory individuals who do not represent us,” they said. “We firmly reject any form of hate or bigotry and stand vigilant against non-students attempting to disrupt the solidarity being forged among students—Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, Black, and pro-Palestinian classmates and colleagues who represent the full diversity of our country.”

The encampments are the latest in a wave of disruptive pro-Palestinian protests calling attention to what they see as a genocide. Previous demonstrations have temporarily shut down bridges, train stations and airports in protest of Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. (Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry; over the weekend, officials said that airstrikes on Rafah killed 22 people, including 18 children. Gaza’s Civil Defense workers also recently reported a mass grave with nearly 300 bodies at a hospital in Southern Gaza. The Hamas attack killed about 1,200 people and took 240 people hostage—of which more than 100 have been released.)

Columbia University

On Monday, dozens of Columbia University faculty walked out to protest the arrest and suspension of students. “While we as a faculty disagree about the relevant political issues and express no opinion on the merits of the protest, we are writing to urge respect for basic rule-of-law values that ought to govern our University,” they said in a letter. 

Inside Columbia’s campus gates, the encampment has been relatively calm. On Friday, Jewish students led a Shabbat service. Later on, protesters surrounded their Muslim peers with blankets while they prayed to give them privacy. They held teach-ins, including one on antisemitism. Students chanted protest slogans, danced and watched movies. Some brought their pets. 

Ilhan Omar’s daughter, Isra Hirsi, stressed that organizers have “made it pretty clear” that their focus is on “the genocide and actions of the Israeli government.” Generalizing protests as antisemitic is also “disrespectful” to the many Jewish activists who are part of the movement, she says. “There are folks who will intertwine their identity with the government and there’s not much we can do about that,” she says. “All I have seen from that camp is beautiful acts of solidarity.”

Tensions have occasionally flared outside the university’s gates. Videos on social media showed individuals making antisemitic statements but their identity and relation to student protesters remains unclear. 

Jewish institutions on campus are split on their messaging to students. The Orthodox Rabbi at Columbia/Barnard, Rabbi Elie Buechler, recommended that students go home until campus calms down. “It is not our job as Jews to ensure our own safety on campus,” he wrote on a Whatsapp group chat including many Jewish students. The Columbia and Barnard chapter of Hillel, the largest Jewish organization at the university, issued a statement Sunday, stating that they will remain open. “This is a time of genuine discomfort and even fear for many of us on campus,” said Brian Cohen, the Jewish group’s executive director. “Columbia University and the City of New York must do more to protect students.”

Columbia University’s President Nemat Shafik said in a note to the school early Monday that classes would temporarily be held virtually. “To de-escalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday,” Shafik said in a note to students.

Yale University

At Yale University, police arrested about 45 students just before 7 a.m. Protest organizers say that on Sunday night more than 600 people came to protect more than 40 tents. They say law enforcement only gave one arrest warning to protestors, despite telling them they would receive three warnings.

Craig Birckhead-Morton, a pro-Palestinian Yale undergraduate student who was arrested, says that Columbia’s encampment motivated them to escalate their activism. “We had the idea (for an encampment) before Friday…but I think Columbia was the event that encouraged people,” he says. They set up tents later that evening.

Birckhead-Morton, a Black Muslim, says protesters sang chants and songs as they were arrested. “We don’t know what the school discipline is but we anticipate it,” he says.

At about 8 a.m. protests resumed, according to New Haven police. Law enforcement says they have “no current plans to make any arrests of non-violent protesters.”

The Yale Daily News campus newspaper reported that students performed a traditional Filipino dance amid counter-protests and hecklers.

Yale University’s President, Peter Salovey, said in a statement on Sunday that many students had protested peacefully but that he was “aware of reports of egregious behavior, such as intimidation and harassment, pushing those in crowds, removal of the plaza flag, and other harmful acts.”

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University’s encampment has been the longest-running. It began more than three weeks ago, alongside a sit-in by the entrance of the chancellor’s office in one of the main administrative buildings. 

Twenty-seven students took part in the sit-in, which lasted for almost 24 hours—and ended in the expulsion of three students. The university accused students of forcibly entering the building and allegedly injuring a community service officer. Jack Petocz—one of the expelled students—says he had nothing to do with the altercation and that Vanderbilt “crafted an entirely inaccurate representation of a one-minute interaction (he) had with a chancellor staff member upstairs.”

“You can arrest students on false pretenses, you can suspend them from campus, you can try to silence the movements but you will never be successful because we have had a thriving encampment outside of Kirkland Hall for more than 500 hours,” says Petocz, who is known for his organizing on LGBTQ issues. “We’re on day 26 of continuous protest.”

Vanderbilt University did not respond to a request to comment but has previously said in a statement that “the gravity of this situation and these outcomes weighs heavily on those of us charged with carrying out our responsibility as leaders; we fully understand that student choices and decisions can lead to serious and costly consequences.”

Protesters have pushed back on chancellor Diermeier’s assertions in the New York Times that they are “not interested in dialogue”; they say he has avoided speaking with them.

New York University

Pro-Palestinian students at New York University started an encampment on Monday morning. “Standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing 75+ years of occupation and 198 days of the ongoing genocide, we at NYU refuse to remain complicit,” they wrote in a statement posted to Instagram. Protesters are demanding that NYU end its relationship with Tel Aviv University and shut down its Tel Aviv campus, in addition to divestment. 

Protest organizers say that on Monday afternoon, NYU administration told students and faculty that if they do not clear from Gould Plaza by 2:45 p.m., students will face “severe consequences” and “anything is on the table.”

NYU did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other colleges

Encampments have also spread at the following colleges: UNC Chapel Hill, Washington University in Saint Louis, University of Michigan, The New School, MIT, Emerson College, Tufts University and the University of Maryland. 

Harvard University has closed its yard in anticipation of pro-Palestinian protests, according to the Harvard Crimson