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На Алеї Героїв Небесної сотні відбувся молебень

18 лютого 2014 року розпочався триденний період, упродовж якого загинуло найбільше учасників Революції гідності

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Big Rigs Almost Driving Themselves on the Highway

Four automakers in Japan, including Mitsubishi and Isuzu, have road-tested a form of driverless technology. The big rigs are all equipped with a type of adaptive cruise-control system as a step toward removing the one feature you’d expect to see in the cab: a driver. Arash Arabasadi reports.

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Russia Dismisses US Election-Meddling Indictments as ‘Blather’

Moscow is claiming the charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election are “blather.”

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, where dozens of world leaders are gathered this weekend, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday questioned the evidence presented by the U.S. Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller.

“You know I have no reaction at all, because one can publish whatever one wants,” he said. “We see how accusations, statements, allegations multiply. Until we see the facts, everything else is just blather. I beg your pardon for a not really diplomatic wording.”

Mueller’s investigation has shed further light on Russia’s efforts to influence U.S. politics in cyberspace. The indictments suggest that a Russian propaganda arm oversaw a criminal and espionage conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential campaign, by supporting Donald Trump and disparaging his rival, Hillary Clinton.

The indictments have created added tension at the three-day gathering of global political and military leaders in Munich.

Lavrov’s appearance at the podium Saturday was followed immediately by that of White House national security adviser H. R. McMaster, whose response also was blunt.

“The United States will expose and act against those who use cyberspace, social media and other means to advance campaigns of disinformation, subversion and espionage,” he told delegates.

McMaster said the United States would support Russia’s proposition of a cybersecurity dialogue, but only when Moscow is sincere about curtailing its interference in Western democracies.

Effort seen backfiring

“What’s happened is in this effort to polarize our societies — to support rightist groups, even the most extreme forms of fascist groups, and then groups on the left, in an attempt to pit Western societies against each other — all that has done is appeal to those big fringes while uniting all of our polities actually against Russia,” McMaster said.

WATCH: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster’s speech in Munich

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, also in Munich, said the West must counter Russian interference. “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin has to know the cost of this behavior in the long run will certainly outweigh the benefit” now perceived, he said.

Russian representatives in Munich have sought to present the claims of interference in Western democracies as part of a coordinated campaign of “Russophobia.”

In Russia, news of the indictments was met with more scorn.

“There are no official claims, there are no proofs for this. That’s why they are just children’s statements,” Andrei Kutskikh, the presidential envoy for international information security, told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

One of the 13 people indicted said that the U.S. justice system was unfair.

Mikhail Burchik was quoted Saturday by the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda as saying that “I am very surprised that, in the opinion of the Washington court, several Russian people interfered in the elections in the United States. I do not know how the Americans came to this decision.”

Burchik was identified in the indictment as executive director of an organization that allegedly sowed propaganda on social media to try to interfere with the 2016 election.

He was quoted as saying that “they have one-sided justice, and it turns out that you can hang the blame on anyone.”

But Moscow is struggling to defend itself in the face of overwhelming evidence, according to Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, a specialist in cyber- and hybrid warfare.

‘Absolutely damning’

“The fact is that now we have independent Russian media that have named the troll factory accounts; Facebook and Twitter have confirmed the troll factory accounts on Facebook and Twitter. That is absolutely damning,” Nimmo said. “There is no possible way you can say that that didn’t happen. You now have the Department of Justice further confirming it.”

U.S. officials say Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling is not finished. The White House maintains the indictments show there was no collusion between the Donald Trump presidential campaign team and Russian intelligence.

Some information for this report came from Associated Press.

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Переможці другого півфіналу відбору на «Євробачення» від України – Melovin, Tayanna та Kadnay

А у першому півфіналі українського національного відбору перемогли виконавці Laud, The Erised та Vil’na. Фінал відбору відбудеться 24 лютого

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Head of Britain’s Far-Right Party Ousted

Henry Bolton, ousted Saturday as leader of Britain’s far-right United Kingdom Independence Party over a racism scandal involving his former girlfriend, said it would be “very difficult” for the party to survive its current leadership crisis.

UKIP, the party credited with the strongest support for Brexit in the 2016 vote on Britain’s departure from the European Union, must now elect its fifth leader in less than two years. 

While waiting for the decision by his party Saturday at a UKIP meeting in Birmingham, Bolton told reporters, “It’s not whether I go, specifically. It’s about whether or not the party goes through another leadership contest and an interim leadership beforehand.”

With 1,378 UKIP members voting, 63 percent cast ballots to oust Bolton.

In a speech earlier in the day, Bolton made a case for staying in the party’s top position and criticized those within the party who wanted him to leave.

The speech was not open to media, but the British newspaper Daily Mail reported that Bolton was booed when he threatened to sue the party.

Gerard Batten will serve as interim UKIP head. Bolton has not ruled out another run for party leadership.

Bolton’s personal life made headlines in December after news broke that the 54-year-old had left his wife and young children and had begun a relationship with Jo Marney, 25, a fashion model. 

In January, phone texts Marney had sent to a friend were made public, showing Marney had made racist comments about the fiancee of Britain’s Prince Harry.

Marney said biracial American actress Meghan Markle, who is engaged to marry Harry later this year, would “taint our Royal Family.”

“This is Britain, not Africa,” she wrote.

Marney publicly apologized after news media published her words. Bolton later said he had ended their relationship.

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Даних щодо провокацій немає, але охорону посилять – МВС про заходи до 4-ї річниці подій на Майдані

У Міністерстві внутрішніх справ України заявляють про відсутність даних про заплановані провокації у Києві під час заходів до 4-ї річниці подій на Майдані, втім охорону порядку посилять.

«Усі акції пов’язані із річницею подій 2014 року. За порядком загалом стежитиме близько 3 тисяч правоохоронців: як поліція, так і військовослужбовці Національної гвардії. Окрім того, будуть створені резерви на випадок ускладнення оперативної обстановки», – повідомив начальник столичного управління Нацполіції Андрій Крищенко.

За його словами, наразі до КМДА надійшло кілька заявок щодо проведення заходів у центральній частині міста.

У центрі Києва через проведення заходів до 4-ї річниці Революції гідності та вшанування пам’яті загиблих Героїв Небесної сотні до 22 лютого буде тимчасово обмежено рух транспорту в центрі Києва. Як повідомили в КМДА, з 18 до 20 лютого буде заборонено паркувати автомобілі на Алеї Героїв Небесної сотні та прилеглих територіях.

У період з 18 до 22 лютого в усіх регіонах заплановані заходи з нагоди відзначення Дня Героїв Небесної сотні.

У період з 21 листопада 2013 року по 21 лютого 2014 року під час сутичок протестувальників із силовиками в центрі Києва загинули понад сто людей, найбільше з яких – 20 лютого. Більшість людей загинули від куль снайперів, які влучали протестувальникам у голову, серце і шию. Згодом загиблих учасників акцій протесту почали називати «Небесною сотнею». Крім того, сотні учасників протесту в Києві отримали поранення.

За даними Генпрокуратури, всього під час Євромайдану постраждали 2,5 тисячі осіб, 104 з них загинули.

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Український фристайліст 18 лютого боротиметься у фіналі на Олімпіаді-2018

18 лютого збірна Україна змагатиметься усього в двох дисциплінах: гірськолижному спорті та фристайлі. Так, з 3:00 гірськолижник Іван Ковбаснюк змагатиметься у гігантському слаломі. До цього українець вже виступав у чотирьох дисциплінах гірськолижного спорту, проте в жодній не зміг піднятися вище від 30-го місця.

О 13:00 український фристайліст Олександр Абраменко боротиметься у фіналі акробатики. Українець до головного етапу потрапив з другої спроби. Перший стрибок українця оцінили в 123,01. Абраменко став дев’ятим і не пройшов одразу до фіналу, потрібно було виконати другий стрибок. Його судді оцінили в 123,08 – і це четверте місце в цій кваліфікації.

За прогнозами, саме Олександр Абраменко може здобути для України бронзову нагороду.

Збірну Україну на XXІІІ Олімпійських іграх представляє 33 спортсмени. Жоден поки що не здобув нагороду.

У командному заліку серед країн перше місце посідає збірна Німеччина. В її активі 17 нагород: 9 золотих та по 4 срібних і бронзових.

За всіма перемогами, спортивними цікавинками та несподіванками читайте в Щоденнику Олімпіади на Радіо Свобода.

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US Man Pleads Guilty in Fraud Case Connected to Russia Election Probe

A California man has pleaded guilty to inadvertently selling bank accounts to Russians who were indicted Friday by a federal grand jury for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Richard Pinedo pleaded guilty to using stolen identities to set up bank accounts that were then used by the Russians, according to a February 12 court filing.  

The special counsel investigating Russian meddling on Friday announced charges against 13 Russian citizens and three Russian entities for interfering in the election.  

The indictment alleges that the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based social media company with Kremlin ties, 12 of its employees, and its financial backer orchestrated an effort to influence the 2016 election campaign in favor of President Donald Trump. 

 

Prosecutors charged Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, with funding the operation through companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, Concord Catering and a number of subsidiaries.  

 

Prigozhin and his businesses allegedly provided “significant funds” for the Internet Research Agency’s operations to disrupt the U.S. election, according to the indictment. 

 

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the Russian conspirators sought to “promote social discord in the United State and undermine public confidence in democracy.”

 

“We must not allow them to succeed,” Rosenstein said at a news conference in Washington. 

 

The conspiracy was part of a larger operation code-named Project Lakhta, Rosenstein said. 

 

“Project Lakhta included multiple components – some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in multiple countries,” Rosenstein said. 

 

Mueller, who has made no public statements about the Russia investigation since his appointment last May, did not speak at the news conference. 

 

Charges against Russian nationals

 

The indictment charges all the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and five individuals with aggravated identity theft.

 

None of the defendants charged in the indictment are in custody, according to a spokesman for the Special Counsel’s office. 

 

The U.S. and Russia don’t have an extradition treaty and it’s unlikely that any of the defendants will stand trial in the U.S.

 

The 37-page charging document alleges that the Russian conspirators sought to coordinate their effort with Trump campaign associates, but it does not accuse anyone on the Trump campaign of colluding with the Russians.

 

Trump took to Twitter after the indictment was announced to again deny his campaign worked with the Russians.

 

“Russia started their anti-U.S. campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for president,” Trump tweeted. “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

 

The indictment marks the first time Mueller’s office has brought charges against Russians and Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 election.  

 

Mueller’s sprawling investigation has led to the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates.Former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russian officials.

 

Details of indictment

 

The indictment says the Russian campaign to “interfere in the U.S. political system” started as early as 2014 and accelerated as the 2016 election campaign got underway. 

 

During the 2016 campaign, the Russian operatives posted “derogatory information” about a number of presidential candidates.  But by early to mid-2016, the operation included “supporting” Trump’s presidential campaign and “disparaging” Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

                          

Taking on fake American identities, the Russian operatives communicated with “unwitting” Trump campaign associates and with other political activists “to seek to coordinate political activities,” the indictment says.

 

The indictment describes how Russian operatives used subterfuge, stolen identities and other methods to stage political rallies, buy ads on social media platforms, and pay gullible Americans to “promote or disparage candidates.”

 

To avoid detection by U.S. law enforcement agencies, the Russian operatives used computer networks based in the United States, according to the indictment.

“These groups and pages, which addressed the divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by defendants,” the indictment reads.

 

A number of the operatives are alleged to have traveled to the United States under “false pretenses to collect intelligence to inform the influence operations.”

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US Commerce Department Urges Curbs on Steel, Aluminum Imports

The Commerce Department is urging President Donald Trump to impose tariffs or quotas on aluminum and steel imports from China and other countries.

Unveiling the recommendations Friday, Secretary Wilbur Ross said in the case of both industries “the imports threaten to impair our national security.”

As an example, Ross said only one U.S. company now produces a high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aircraft.

Raise US capacity

The measures are intended to raise U.S. production of aluminum and steel to 80 percent of industrial capacity. Currently U.S. steel plants are running at 73 percent of capacity and aluminum plants at 48 percent.

Ross emphasized that the president would have the final say, including on whether to exclude certain countries, such as NATO allies, from any actions.

China’s Commerce Ministry said Saturday that the report was baseless and did not accord with the facts, and that China would take necessary steps to protect its interests if affected by the final decision.

Last year, Trump authorized the probe into whether aluminum and steel imports posed a threat to national defense under a 1962 trade law that has not been invoked since 2001. He has to make a decision by mid-April.

Three options

Ross is offering the president three options:

To impose tariffs of 24 percent on all steel and 7.7 percent on aluminum imports from all countries.

To impose tariffs of 53 percent on steel imports from 12 countries, including Brazil, China and Russia, and tariffs of 23.6 percent on aluminum imports from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. Under this option, the U.S. would also impose a quota limiting all other countries to the amount of aluminum and steel they exported to U.S. last year.

To impose a quota on steel and aluminum imports from all sources, limiting each country 63 percent of the steel and 86.7 percent of the aluminum they shipped to the U.S. last year.

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Robot Drives Itself to Deliver Packages

Delivery robots could one day be part of the landscape of cities around the world. Among the latest to be developed is an Italian-made model that drives itself around town to drop off packages. Since the machine runs on electricity, its developers say it is an environmentally friendly alternative to fuel powered delivery vehicles that cause pollution. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.