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Mass Cleanup of Italian Beaches Planned for Weekend

Every year, 8 million tons of waste suffocate beaches and sea beds, says Italy’s environment league, Legambiente. Its Beach Litter report issued this week revealed that more than 80 percent of the waste found on 93 beaches was plastic. 

 

A mass cleanup is planned next weekend, involving thousands of volunteers on 250 beaches and coastal sites. Legambiente, which organized the effort, also urged the government to approve the Salvamare (Save Our Seas) bill that would allow fishermen to bring to shore any plastic that ends up in their nets, without having to pay for disposal costs.

Greenpeace Italy sounded its alarm this week when a young sperm whale washed ashore on a Sicilian beach with plastic in its stomach. Giorgia Monti, campaign manager for Greenpeace, said five sperm whales had beached in the last five months in Italy. She could not confirm whether plastic was the cause of the death of the last whale found, but said it was very likely.

“The sea is sending us a cry of alarm, a desperate SOS,” Monti said.

Later this month, Greenpeace is launching an effort to monitor plastic pollution levels at sea, with a focus on the west coast of Italy. 

 

To stem the tide of plastic waste, initiatives have been spearheaded across Italy. Among new technology to combat pollution in many Italian ports are filters called sea-bins, which are active 24 hours and able to capture more than 1.5 kilograms of plastic daily. 

 

While campaigners say much more needs to be done, some tourist resorts have banned the use of non-recyclable plastic and fine violators. 

 

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Britain’s May Urged to Quit

Even by the highly colorful standards of Britain’s great big Brexit mess, what looks like Prime Minister Theresa May’s final days in office are turning into a psychodrama without much precedence in modern British political history.

With lawmakers in her ruling party in open revolt, ministers resigning, and more threatening to do so, joining a long list of dozens who’ve quit in the past two years, a teary-eyed May seemed determined Thursday to try to eke out some more time in Downing Street.

She was accused by a former Conservative party leader of having shut herself in with the “sofa against the door.”

May refused to meet a trio of top ministers Wednesday, who were going to tell her either to resign or at the very least to drop the contentious Brexit withdrawal agreement she negotiated with Brussels, and which she’s trying to get parliament to approve next month for a fourth time following three previous heavy defeats.

Earlier this week, she re-introduced the deal, but added the possibility of Britain holding a second Brexit referendum to confirm that a majority still wants to leave the European Union. That was too much for Brexit hardliners in her party.

Her refusal to contemplate a customs union with the EU has enraged those in her party, as well as opposition politicians, who want to remain either in the bloc or closely tied to it. She is caught in a vice, as has been the case since last November when she finalized negotiations with the EU.

The resignation Wednesday of a senior cabinet member, Andrea Leadsom, a keen Brexiter, has triggered what looks like the final chapter for May.

Clinging to power

Conservative lawmakers were lining up for TV interviews Thursday to tell her by way of the broadcasters to quit, and preferably before polling stations close in European parliamentary elections. The ruling Conservatives look destined to suffer a drubbing in the polls — and possibly their worst electoral performance in their storied history.

But the pleas fell on deaf ears.

Britain has seen other prime ministers desperately cling to power when the writing was on the wall. Margaret Thatcher in 1990 sought to see off a challenge to her leadership but eventually gave in when her cabinet made clear it was time for her to go. The denouement took two weeks.

In 2010, Labour’s Gordon Brown squatted in Downing Street after leading his party to its worst general election result in decades, but eventually gave up after several tortured days.

Theresa May has clung to power since December, when she saw off narrowly a confidence vote by her rebellious lawmakers. Now it would appear, say party insiders, she’s run out of road. Even loyalists were urging her to go — if for no other reason than personal dignity.

“Her deal is dead but she is stubbornly playing for time,” said Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative leader.

For weeks now May has said she would be going soon and has repeatedly promised to announce a timetable for her departure. But she has not done so, preferring instead try to bend an unenthusiastic parliament to her will. She is convinced, her critics said, that her brinkmanship would be rewarded.

In more normal times in Britain a prime minister in such a political hole would have quit much earlier. But these are anything but normal times.

Deep divisions

Brexit has rancorously divided the country and fractured political parties into quarrelsome unyielding factions. It also has upended a political rulebook better suited for more stable times. Long-established procedures and conventions have increasingly been cast aside as May, cabinet ministers and lawmakers, both Brexiters and those who are pro-EU, have battled desperately about how to part company with the bloc.

May’s tenure at Downing Street has witnessed a series of startling setbacks. She gambled in 2017 by calling a snap election, hoping to secure a larger majority for the Conservatives only to see Labour dash her hopes, leaving her heading a precariously positioned minority government.

She has drawn emphatic “red lines” with EU negotiators only to be forced to cave when confronted with firm resistance from Brussels or outrage from hardline Brexiters or Europhiles in her own party. And as the Brexit drama has unfolded, both she and the country have been drawn deeper into a political labyrinth.

Why has she persisted as prime minister? She certainly has stamina, despite battling diabetes 1. Grant Shapps, a former Conservative Party chairman who once tried to organize a coup against her, once noted she seems to thrive on danger and can operate when “it is fairly high on the scale.” He added: “she operates at the upper end of that scale almost every day of her life and, remarkably, walks out at the other end.”

Like Germany’s equally dogged leader Angela Merkel, May is the daughter of a clergyman, and she remains a devout church-goer. May has said that her Christian faith “is part of me. It is part of who I am and therefore how I approach things.” She has spoken glowingly of her father’s devotion and dutifulness to parishioners.

One of her favorite hymns is on the subject of Crucifixion, Isaac Watts’ “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” a canticle that embraces sacrifice and duty and rejects pride. Even her political foes have acknowledged her conscientiousness, but also say that has morphed into destructive stubbornness.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, commentator Sherelle Jacobs, argued May was determined to leave Downing Street with a legacy of success, saying that the clergyman’s daughter is “maddened by the scale of her failures.” She added: “The irony is that the more Mrs. May stubbornly fights for survival, the worse her record becomes.”

Few believe she can survive for much longer, and her foes are counting not the days but the hours.

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Dutch, UK First to Vote in 4 Days of European Elections

Dutch and U.K. polls opened Thursday in elections for the European Parliament, starting four days of voting across the 28-nation bloc that pits supporters of deeper integration against populist Euroskeptics who want more power for their national governments.

A half hour after voting started in the Netherlands, polls opened across the United Kingdom, the only other country voting Thursday, and a nation still wrestling with its plans to leave the European Union altogether and the leadership of embattled Prime Minister Theresa May.

The elections, which end Sunday night, come as support is surging for populists and nationalists who want to rein in the EU’s powers, while traditional powerhouses like France and Germany insist that unity is the best buffer against the shifting economic and security interests of an emerging new world order.

French President Emmanuel Macron says the challenge is “not to cede to a coalition of destruction and disintegration” that will seek to dismantle EU unity built up over the past six decades.

In a significant challenge to those centrist forces, populists appear largely united heading into the elections. On Saturday, Italy’s anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was joined at a rally by 10 other nationalist leaders, including include far-right leaders Marine Le Pen of France’s National Rally party and Joerg Meuthen of the Alternative for Germany party.

On Thursday morning, U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn released a message with a warning that “the far-right is on the rise” and added that “the actions we take now will have huge consequences for our future.”

Voters across Europe elect a total of 751 lawmakers, although that number is set to drop to 705 when the UK leaves the EU. The Dutch make up 26 currently and 29 after Brexit. The UK has 73 European lawmakers, who would lose their jobs when their country completes its messy divorce from the EU.

Results of the four days of voting will not be officially released until Sunday night, but Dutch national broadcaster NOS will publish an exit poll after ballot boxes close Thursday night. 

The Netherlands could provide a snapshot of what is to come. Polls show the right-wing populist Forum for Democracy led by charismatic intellectual Thierry Baudet running neck-and-neck with the center-right VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

While the country, an affluent trading nation, profits from the EU’s open borders and single market, it also is a major contributor to EU coffers. Skeptical Dutch voters in 2005 rejected a proposed EU constitution in a referendum. 

Baudet, whose party emerged as a surprise winner of provincial elections in March, identifies more with hard-line Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban than with the nationalist populist movement led by Salvini, although in a debate Wednesday night he called Salvini a “hero of Europe” for his crackdown on migration.

“The immigration we get here from Africa and the Mideast is completely contrary to our culture, our values, our way of life, tolerance, love of women and so on,” Baudet said. “That has to stop and it will not happen at the European level.”

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На каналі «Україна» відбудеться телепрем’єра фільму «Балух», знятого проектом Крим.Реалії

На телеканалі «Україна» 24 травня о 00:00 запланована прем’єра документального проекту, знятого проектом Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії про українського активіста з Криму Володимира Балуха, який відбуває покарання в російській колонії за звинуваченнями в бійці і зберіганні боєприпасів.

Прем’єра документального проекту про Балуха відбулася 27 березня в Києві на міжнародному фестивалі документального кіно про права людини Docudays UA.

Знімальна група телепроекту Крим.Реалії вирушила в анексований Крим, щоб, попри переслідування і погрози, розповісти життєву історію Володимира Балуха: яким він був сином, чоловіком і батьком, що про нього знають у його рідному кримському селі?

У фільмі є кадри, які раніше не публікувалися, а також інтерв’ю, які герої дали вперше в житті.

Володимир Балух – корінний кримчанин, фермер, український громадський активіст, член Конгресу українських націоналістів. Після анексії Криму Росією відмовився від російського громадянства. Ще взимку 2013 року він вивісив прапор України на своєму будинку, пізніше прикріпив на будинок табличку «Вулиця героїв Небесної Сотні». Підконтрольний Росії суд у Криму засудив його до 5 років позбавлення волі за двома кримінальними справами: за бійку і зберігання боєприпасів. На знак протесту Балух голодував понад 200 днів. Захист Балуха і правозахисники стверджують, що він став жертвою репресій за свою проукраїнську позицію.

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Поки Зеленський з Богданом допомагає Коломойському вкрасти у нас $2 млрд., у Дніпрі в лікарні Мечникова знову рятують тяжкопоранених українців

Війна продовжується

У Дніпрі, в обласній клінічній лікарні імені Мечникова, рятують двох тяжкопоранених бійців, доправлених санавіацією із зони бойових дій на Донбасі. Про це у середу розповів головний лікар лікарні Сергій Риженко.

Військові отримали поранення в районі села Водяного на Донеччині, обидва у тяжкому стані.

За словами Риженка, у 33-річного пораненого військового через вибух снаряда численні опіки та осколкові ураження обличчя й кінцівок. Є також загроза втрати зору. За словами медика, врятувало його те, що він був у бронежилеті.

24-річному бійцеві, якого також доправили до закладу, куля влучила в голову – зайшла через око, зачепивши головний мозок. Операція тривала кілька годин, кулю витягли. Зараз поранений все ще у вкрай важкому стані, він підключений до апарату штучного дихання.

З початку бойових дій на Донбасі Дніпропетровська обласна клінічна лікарня імені Мечникова прийняла на лікування понад 12 тисяч бійців.

Унаслідок російської гібридної агресії на сході України з квітня 2014 року, за оцінками ООН станом на 31 грудня 2018 року, загинули від 12 тисяч 800 до 13 тисяч людей.

Перемир’я, про які домовлялися на засіданнях Тристоронньої контактної групи в Мінську, порушувалися практично відразу. При цьому сторони заперечують свою вину в цих порушеннях і звинувачують противників у провокаціях.

Мережа Правди

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Лауреаткою Літературної премії ЄС вперше стала українська письменниця

Українська письменниця Гаська Шиян стала першою лауреаткою Літературної премії Європейського союзу від України, повідомляє Український ПЕН, який є організацією-партнером премії.

«Гаська Шиян здобула Літературну премію Європейського союзу за свій новий роман «За спиною», який вийшов навесні у видавництві «Фабула». У ньому йдеться про 27-річну успішну українку, життя якої різко змінилося, коли її хлопцеві прийшла повістка в армію. Війна підштовхне героїню до переоцінки власних цінностей та ухвалення непростих рішень», – йдеться в повідомленні.

«Цей роман не просто стилістично вправний і зрілий, але й важливий для сучасності, адже вписує війну в Україні в універсальний людський контекст, – йдеться у висновку членів Українського журі премії. – Авторка переводить цю війну з безпечної рубрики «десь там на дикому Сході» у тривожну рубрику «тут, у нашій спільній Європі». Бо цей конфлікт – справді тут, на нашому континенті, і він у той чи інший спосіб стосується всіх нас, європейців».

Крім того, серед лауреатів премії – письменники з Австрії, Фінляндії, Франції, Угорщини, Грузії, Греції, Ірландії, Італії, Литви, Польщі, Румунії, Словаччини і Великої Британії.

Премія фінансується Європейською комісією в рамках програми «Креативна Європа».

Автори-переможці премії отримують грошову винагороду в розмірі п’яти тисяч євро, а також підтримку з боку «Креативної Європи», спрямовану на переклад і міжнародну промоцію їхніх творів.

Урочиста церемонія нагородження переможців відбудеться у Брюсселі наприкінці вересня 2019 року. Цього року Україна вперше долучилася до Літературної премії Європейського союзу.

До короткого списку премії від України також увійшли Вікторія Амеліна з романом «Дім для Дома» і Маркіян Камиш з повістю «Чормет».

Літературна премія Європейського союзу – це щорічна нагорода, покликана сприяти популяризації та міжнародній промоції творчості молодих авторів художньої прози з різних європейських країн.

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Canada, Europe to Choose When 737 MAX Is Safe as Regulators Meet

In a potential challenge to U.S.-led efforts to build consensus on the Boeing Co 737 MAX flying again, Canada and Europe said on Wednesday they would bring back the grounded aircraft on their own terms if their specific concerns are not addressed.

Global regulators will meet in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday where the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration hopes to reach an international consensus on how to move forward with the MAX, U.S. officials told Reuters.

The plane was grounded worldwide in March following a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash just months after a similar Lion Air disaster in Indonesia which together killed 346 people.

Global airlines that had rushed to buy the fuel-efficient, longer-range aircraft have since canceled flights and scrambled to cover routes that were previously flown by the MAX.

“From our point of view, if we all work together and we all reach the same aim, fine. If we don’t, we’ll choose our own time to decide when the planes are safe to fly again,” Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau told Reuters in an interview.

“The number one focus for us is that we in Canada must be satisfied. It doesn’t matter what others do. So if we are not perfectly synchronized with certain other countries that’s how it going to be,” Garneau said.

Regulators are expected to discuss Boeing’s proposed software fix and new pilot training that are both key to re-starting flights. Boeing has not yet formally submitted its proposals to the FAA.

A spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency said on Wednesday that it would complete an additional independent design review of the plane once the FAA approves Boeing’s proposed changes and establishes “adequate training of Boeing MAX flight crews.”

Foreign regulators have already signaled disagreements over measures to end the grounding, with Garneau calling in April for pilots to receive simulator training for the MAX, rather than computer courses, going a step beyond FAA-backed proposals.

Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell told Congress last week the FAA is working closely with other civil aviation authorities “to address specific concerns related to the 737 MAX.”

United Airlines Chief Executive Oscar Munoz said on Wednesday that FAA approval is only the first step, with public and employee confidence key to deciding when to fly its 14 MAX jets again.

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Libya’s Haftar Reportedly Rules Out Cease-fire in Talks with France’s Macron

Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar told French President Emmanuel Macron that conditions for a cease-fire were not in place, although he would be ready to talk if those conditions were met, a French presidency official said.

Macron and French officials have for several weeks called for an unconditional cease-fire in the battle for Tripoli after Haftar last month launched an offensive on the Libyan capital.

“The distrust we see between the Libyan actors is stronger than ever today,” said a French presidential official after the meeting between Macron and Haftar in Paris.

“When the question of the cease-fire was put on the table, Haftar’s reaction to this was to ask, ‘Negotiate with whom for a cease-fire today?'” the official said.

“He considers that the GNA [U.N.-backed Government of National Unity led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj] is completely infested by militias and it is not for him to negotiate with representatives of these militias.”

The official said Macron had asked Haftar to make a public step toward a cease-fire and Haftar responded by saying that an inclusive political dialogue was necessary and he would be ready for it if the conditions for a cease-fire were in place.

Macron met Serraj earlier this month, but a day after meeting him, Serraj’s administration asked 40 foreign firms including French oil major Total to renew their licences or have their operations suspended.

Tripoli is home to the internationally-recognized administration, but some European countries such as France have also supported eastern military commander Haftar as a way to fight militants in a country in chaos since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Haftar also said neither him nor his army were benefiting from oil sales in the east of the country, the official said.

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Cyprus Editor Hails Acquittal over Turkey Insult Charge

The editor of a Turkish Cypriot newspaper said Wednesday his acquittal on charges he insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a triumph of Turkish Cypriot justice.

Sener Levent, editor of Afrika newspapers in the breakaway north of ethnically divided Cyprus, said he’s confident the supreme court will side with him should his acquittal be challenged.

Levent and colleague Ali Osman Tabak were acquitted last week over a 2017 front-page cartoon Afrika ran depicting a Greek statue urinating on Erdogan accompanied by the caption “as seen through Greek eyes.”

He called the ruling the “biggest legal achievement” by Turkish Cypriots since Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway Turkish Cypriot administration.

He said the ruling sent Turkey a message that “you shall not pass.”

“A brave judge has acquitted us,” Levent told the Associated Press. “If we win at the Supreme Court, it will be a very important ruling.”

Levent, an outspoken critic of Turkey’s outsized influence in the north where it maintains more than 35,000 troops, said he has several other cases pending against him. He has written an article that likened Turkey’s military presence in Syria to that in Cyprus, calling it an “occupation.”

His newspaper’s offices were attacked last year by group of Erdogan supporters.

Levent and five other Turkish Cypriots have formed the Jasmin Movement to vie for Cyprus’ six seats in Sunday’s European Parliament election, running under the mantra “one state, one people, one Cyprus.”

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Britain’s May Faces Calls to Resign After Revised Brexit Plan Unveiled

British lawmakers are denouncing Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest proposal to withdraw from the European Union (EU) amid growing demands from her own Conservative Party for her resignation.

May said on Tuesday a bill she plans to present to Parliament next month would include a provision to vote on whether to hold a second referendum to leave the EU, a key demand of many opposition lawmakers.

May also offered closer trading arrangements with the EU as another incentive in what she called a “last chance” opportunity to finalize a Brexit deal.

Speaking before the House of Commons on Wednesday, May implored lawmakers to support her bill, warning a rejection would lead to “division and deadlock.”

May said her withdrawal bill would be disclosed Friday so that lawmakers would have time to study it.

Legislators previously spurned May’s exit deal three times and her latest attempt to win support faces an uphill fight. She plans to ask lawmakers to vote on the bill again during the week of June 3.

Members of May’s own Conservative Party accused her of relenting to pro-EU demands while opposition Labour Party lawmakers rejected her latest plan as too little too late.

On Tuesday, May said after Parliament votes on the measure, she will establish a timetable for her departure as leader of the Conservative Party and as prime minister.

A growing number of Conservative Party members, however, are pressing her to cancel the vote and step down sooner.

May is likely to face even more pressure when the results of this week’s European Parliament elections are released, as the Conservative Party is expected to suffer heavy losses.

The election will be held in Britain on Thursday, but the results won’t be announced until all European countries have finished voting late Sunday.

British citizens voted in a referendum to leave the EU three years ago and the country was scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, but the 28-nation bloc extended the deadline until October 31.