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Шевченко: форма Роналду змушує нас хвилюватися

Головний тренер збірної України з футболу Андрій Шевченко назвав суттєвим підсиленням для команди Португалії повернення до її складу зіркового ветерана, 34-річного Кріштіану Роналду.

«Я дуже поважаю Кріштіану, це один із найкращих гравців в історії футболу. Та форма, яку він показав в останніх матчах, змушує нас хвилюватися. Та він не тільки чудовий гравець, але й лідер команди», – сказав Шевченко на передматчевій пре-конференції у Лісабоні.

Наставник «синьо-жовтих» відзначив, що його підопічні перебувають у добрій фізичній формі.

«Ми провели кілька занять, хлопці пристойно потренувалися. Був один навантажувальний день, і гравці чудово відреагували на ці випробування. Але найкращим тестом буде поєдинок. Ми розуміємо, що на гру з таким сильним суперником команда витратить чимало енергії й сил, буде багато рухатися. Але це вимоги сучасного футболу, які потрібно виконувати, якщо хочеш перебувати на високому рівні», – вказав Шевченко і додав, що його команда «розраховує взяти очки».

Увечері 22 березня збірна України з футболу зіграє з Португалією першу гру відбору на чемпіонат Європи 2020 року. Матч відбудеться на стадіоні «Ештадіу ду Бенфіка» в Лісабоні. Гра стартує о 21:45 за київським часом, у прямому ефірі її покажуть телеканали «Україна» та «Футбол 1». На думку букмекерів, фаворитом у цьому матчі є Португалія.

У відборі на Євро-2020 Україна змагається в групі з Португалією, Литвою, Люксембургом та Сербією. До фінальної стадії потраплять команди, які посядуть перші й другі місця у своїх групах. Наступний матч українці зіграють на виїзді з Люксембургом 25 березня.

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UNESCO Campaign Tackles Racism 

The Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on Thursday launched a campaign to fight prejudice. The move coincided with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Begun with the French city of Bordeaux, the UNESCO billboard campaign features a variety of faces — old and young, men and women, and of many ethnic backgrounds. The tagline, “us different?” aims to make us think about who we are, and our prejudices.


“You would walk by it and hopefully react. … [Is that] person on the screen different?” said Magnus Magnusson, partnerships and outreach director at UNESCO’s social and human science division.

Mindful of stereotypes

“Ultimately, it’s about our own awareness of our own stereotypes, and we need to work, each one of us, on those stereotypes that could illustrate or be reflections on racism,” he said.

The campaign rollout comes at a time when experts say brazen forms of racism are resurging — in sports, on social media and in politics.

The initiative follows last week’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which a self-proclaimed white nationalist opened fire on worshippers at two mosques. Fifty people were killed. The suspect has been charged with murder.  


Migration is one factor behind the increase in racist incidents, experts say, but so is the power of social media in spreading and enforcing stereotypes.


Activists are fighting back. A round-table hosted by UNESCO featured imaginative ways to counter prejudice, including through chess. 


Cameroonian artist Gaspard Njock fights it with his pen. He’s the author of comic books and graphic novels sold in bookstores across France. 

Versatile medium


Njock said comics can be a powerful tool to fight racism, because it’s a medium that reaches all types of people and can tackle important themes. 


One of Njock’s graphic novels, Un voyage sans retour, is about the dangerous migration of sub-Saharan migrants to Europe. Njock arrived in Europe several years ago, making his way to France after a few years in Italy. 

Njock said he never considered himself a victim of racism — not because he never encountered it, but because he developed ways to fight it.

Magnusson of UNESCO said education is key to wiping out racism. So is being more aware of how we think and feel.

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France Urges Iran to Free Human Rights Lawyer

France on Thursday called for Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to be released and warned Tehran that its adherence to a nuclear accord does not give it a blank cheque on human rights.

“We will do all we can to secure the release of Mrs. Sotoudeh,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the upper chamber Senate.

“She was condemned under astonishing conditions,” for “defending the rights of women, in particular those who contest the obligation to wear the Islamic veil,” he added.

Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, told AFP on Sunday that his wife had been sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison over a case with seven charges, but she is to only serve the longest sentence, 12 years imposed on Sunday for “encouraging corruption and debauchery”.

She has also been convicted of espionage.

Sotoudeh has also been sentenced to a total of 148 lashes for appearing in court without the hijab Islamic head covering and for another offense.

According to Khandan, Sotoudeh has refrained from choosing a lawyer as attorneys on her previous cases have faced prosecution for representing her.

“We have been making considerable efforts in recent months to preserve the (Iranian) nuclear accord, despite America’s withdrawal,” said Le Drian.

“We are doing so because we respect our signature, but Iran must also respect its obligations in particular those international agreements relating to civil and political rights,” he added.

Last month the UN atomic watchdog said that Iran has been adhering to its deal with world powers on limiting its nuclear program, as diplomatic wrangling continues over the future of the accord.

The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran was still complying with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with global powers under which Tehran drastically scaled back its nuclear programin return for sanctions relief.

Last week, European nations rejected a call from US Vice President Mike Pence to follow the US lead in withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal.

Le Drian said Thursday: “Our wish to preserve the Vienna accord does not grant carte-blanche to Iran and certainly not in the matter of human rights.”

Before her arrest, Sotoudeh, 55, had taken on the cases of several women arrested for appearing in public without headscarves in protest at the mandatory dress code in force in Iran.

Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offenses committed as minors.

She spent three years in prison after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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Brexit Day Delayed as EU Seizes Control of Exit Date

In the past two years, British Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted repeatedly that Britain will exit the European Union on schedule on March 29 — she has said so 108 times from the dispatch box in the House of Commons.

But on Thursday, the embattled leader, whose days in office appear to be numbered, was forced to appeal to her fellow EU national leaders for a three-month postponement, throwing into deeper confusion a Brexit process that has pushed Britain into a constitutional crisis, dividing the country.

May’s face-to-face request at a summit in Brussels clearly strained the patience of the EU’s other 27 national leaders, who are close to a breaking point. They fear Britain’s tangled exit will never get resolved. During the summit, the Luxembourg prime minister told reporters: “We are not in a souk and we are not going to bargain for the next five years.”

French President Emmanuel Macron was especially reluctant about granting an extension, questioning why Britain should have more time to get its house in order, and skeptical whether it ever would.

“We are heading towards no deal,” he said as the leaders gathered.

His foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, told the French National Assembly on the eve of a two-day EU summit in Brussels this week that France would oppose a lengthy Brexit postponement. He said Paris would only support a short extension, one giving the British parliament sufficient time to approve a contentious withdrawal agreement May and the EU agreed to in November — but one that British lawmakers have overwhelmingly rejected twice.

Without that approval, “the central scenario is a no-deal exit — we are ready for it,” the foreign minister said.

Charles Grant, director of the research group Center for European Reform, says Macron worries most about the possible “spoiling” impact Britain may have on European Parliament elections this May, if Britain participates as a result of any lengthy Brexit delay. He “fears the UK will ‘pollute’ EU politics if the Brits hang around for a prolonged period,” Grant tweeted.

After more than two years of haggling with Britain over a transition deal, and amid accusations of British cherry-picking, some of the bloc’s national governments weren’t that far behind the French in toying with the idea of saying enough is enough, EU officials told VOA.

Short reprieve possible

Led by Germany, prudence overcame exasperation, and French resistance, on Thursday.

No EU country wants to be blamed for Britain crashing out of the bloc without a deal. Such a chaotic departure would undermine EU principles of fraternity and would not only deeply harm Britain economically but also several near European neighbors, including France and Ireland, EU leaders fear.

Initially, the EU 27 planned to agree to a shorter delay than May requested and one conditional on British lawmakers approving the transition deal, which is deeply unpopular with both hardline Brexiters in May’s ruling Conservative party and pro-EU lawmakers across the British political spectrum.

But they pulled back, fearing they might push Britain into crashing out without a deal, as much by accident as design. They also concluded, EU sources say, that May would fail a third time to get backing for her deal next week from the British parliament. They wanted to avoid having to hold an emergency Brexit summit next week to consider what to do again, enduring yet more cliff-edge drama.

Instead, after running hours past the time allocated to consider the British request, leaving the world’s media kicking their heels waiting for a decision, the EU 27 came up with what has been dubbed a “flextension” in a bid to seize more control of the process.

Britain now has a short reprieve until May 22, if the British parliament ratifies May’s deal next week. If it doesn’t, then Britain has until April 12 to announce it will take part in European elections and would then be accorded an extension until the end of 2019.

If it has not agreed to participate in the elections, then there can be no long extension. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said the EU decided on the two options in a “positive spirit.”

Britain’s next move

What Britain does now remains unclear and the drama will shift from Brussels back to London and a deadlocked British House of Commons. There are few signs that parliament will change its mind and approve the negotiated transition deal, one which Brexiters’ fear could lock Britain into a semi-permanent customs union with the bloc. Pro-EU lawmakers worry it doesn’t tie Britain closely enough to the EU.

Prime Minister May hasn’t helped the prospect of the deal being endorsed, say critics, who accuse her of brinkmanship, daring British lawmakers to reject her agreement and court the dangers of a no-deal Brexit.

On Wednesday, she made a short, defiant statement from Downing Street, one that scorned British lawmakers and deflected blame for the crisis on parliament, in an apparent bid to turn voters’ anger on to MPs. “You are tired of the infighting; you’re tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows, tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit,” she told the British public in the televised address.

The statement angered many lawmakers, who dubbed it toxic and complained it was inflammatory at such a fevered time as this to describe the impasse as a matter of parliament versus the public.

“If you are trying to persuade MPs, you don’t help yourself by lambasting them,” said Conservative lawmaker Mark Francois, a hardline Brexiter. He says if May brings back her deal to parliament, she “will get the same answer.”

Phillip Lee, a pro-EU Conservative, accused May of stoking unrest by casting lawmakers as “enemies of the people.” Some lawmakers said they feel in physical danger, after receiving death threats following May’s statement.

“It is out of order. Lawmakers do their best for constituents and it is fundamentally wrong to undermine parliament,” he warned.

Some EU diplomats warned a no-deal British exit is still a possibility. Some are putting hope in the British parliament seizing control of the Brexit process from May and crafting a softer Brexit, even to revoke Britain’s application to leave the EU. That hope has been prompted by more than two million people signing a petition this week for Brexit to be abandoned.

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Miami Open: Цуренко дізналася ім’я суперниці у другому колі

Визначилась суперниця другої ракетки України Лесі Цуренко у другому колі турніру Miami Open серії WTA Premier Mandatory.

Нею стала 112 ракетка світу, представниця Японії Місакі Доі, яка в першому раунді обіграла китаянку Ван Сіньюй.

Сьогодні вночі свій матч другого кола проведе Даяна Ястремська. Її суперниця – австралійка Ешлі Барті.

Перша ракетка України Еліна Світоліна у другому раунді зустрінеться з переможницею матчу між Ван Яфань (Китай) і Христиною Младеновіч (Франція).

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Malaysian Leader in Pakistan to Sign $900M in Investment Deals 

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrived Thursday in Pakistan on an official three-day visit, where his high-powered delegation is expected to finalize investment deals worth nearly $900 million, officials said. 


The Malaysian leader will also be the chief guest at the Pakistan Day military parade Saturday, the Foreign Ministry announced. 


Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on commerce told reporters that business leaders accompanying Mahathir would sign three memorandums of understanding on Friday covering up to $900 million worth of investments in information technology and telecom sectors.  

The adviser, Razak Dawood, said the deals with Malaysia would also provide Pakistan a new opening toward membership in the Association of South East Asian Nations. He said Malaysian businessmen had also indicated they would like to invest in other sectors, including energy and textiles, to help Pakistan improve its exports. 


Officials said that Malaysia’s Proton carmaker signed an agreement late last year with a Pakistani partner to set up an assembly plant in the southern city of Karachi that would be its first facility in South Asia. Khan and his Malaysian counterpart are expected to officiate at a symbolic groundbreaking of the Proton plant Friday.

Looking for investors

Since taking office last August, Khan has approached nations that have warm relations with Pakistan, including China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Malaysia, to bring investment and financial deposits to help reduce a widening current account deficit and shore up foreign reserves.  

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have deposited or are in the process of depositing $6 billion in loans in recent months. The two countries have also agreed to allow Islamabad to import oil on deferred payments. China is expected to deposit more than $2 billion in the next few days. 


Beijing has invested more than $19 billion over the past six years in energy and infrastructure projects under what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as part of its global Belt and Road Initiative. 


Last month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited Islamabad and signed investment agreements worth $20 billion, including a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in the southwestern port city of Gwadar. 


Pakistani officials say they are also close to securing a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package reportedly of up to $12 billion.

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З 14 квітня для українців починає діяти туристичний «безвіз» до Таїланду

З 14 квітня 2019 року громадяни України зможуть подорожувати до Королівства Таїланд з туристичною метою без віз, повідомив Департамент консульської служби МЗС України.

«Для поїздки потрібно мати закордонний паспорт (біометричний або небіометричний), строк безвізового перебування – до 30 днів. Для перебування на території Таїланду строком більш ніж 30 днів, незалежно від мети подорожі, необхідно отримати візу у відповідному дипломатичному представництві або консульській установі», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Запровадження безвізового режиму між Україною і Таїландом президент Петро Порошенко анонсував у листопаді минулого року.

У січні поточного року в МЗС заявляли, що Україна веде переговори про спрощення візового режиму або запровадження «безвізу» з 22 країнами світу.

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US Labor Market Solid; Manufacturing Sector Slowing

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to still strong labor market conditions, though the pace of job growth has slowed after last year’s robust gains.

Other data on Thursday showed a measure of factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region rebounding sharply this month after falling into negative territory in February for the first time in more than 2-1/2 years. But manufacturers’ perceptions about the outlook were the least favorable in three years and their expectations for capital spending were also less upbeat.

These findings support the view that the manufacturing sector is slowing in line with softening economic growth.

The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday and its policymakers abandoned projections for further rate increases this year, noting that “growth of economic activity has slowed from its solid rate in the fourth quarter.”

“The U.S. economy has clearly slowed and will cause job growth to moderate, which isn’t alarming as long as it is orderly,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 221,000 for the week ended March 16, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 225,000 in the latest week. Claims have been drifting in the middle of their 200,000-253,000 range this year.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 1,000 to 225,000 last week.

The claims data covered the survey week for the nonfarm payrolls portion of March’s employment. The four-week average of claims fell 11,000 between the February and March survey periods, suggesting a pickup in job growth after hiring almost stalled last month.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by only 20,000 jobs in February, the fewest since September 2017. The slowdown followed big gains in December and January. Average job growth has moderated to about 165,500 per month from 223,250 per month in 2018.

Despite the slowdown in employment growth, the labor market remains solid. The unemployment rate is at 3.8 percent and annual wage growth in February was the strongest since 2009.

The step-down in hiring reflects a shortage of workers and softening economic growth as the stimulus from a $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades. A trade war between the United States and China, slowing global growth and uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union are also hurting domestic activity.

Ebbing momentum

The slow growth theme was also underscored by another report on Thursday from the Conference Board showing its leading economic index, which measures future U.S. economic activity, rose in February for the first time in five months.

February’s 0.2 percent increase in the leading indicator followed an unchanged reading in January.

The leading indicator’s growth rate has slowed in the past six months, which the Conference Board said suggested “that while the economy will continue to expand in the near-term, its pace of growth could decelerate by year end.”

Gross domestic product estimates for the first quarter are as low as a 0.4 percent annualized rate. The economy grew at a 2.6 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

The dollar firmed against a basket of currencies while stocks on Wall Street rose. U.S. Treasury prices were generally higher.

In a third report on Thursday, the Philadelphia Fed said its business conditions index jumped to 13.7 in March from -4.1 in February, which was the first negative reading since May 2016.

But the survey’s measure of new orders received by factories in the region, which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, rebounded moderately from negative territory in February and unsold goods piled up.

In addition, the survey’s six-month business conditions index dropped to a reading of 21.8 this month, the lowest since February 2016, from 31.3 in February. Its six-month capital expenditures index fell to a reading of 19.5 in March from 31.7 in the prior month. The index dropped below 20 for the first time since 2016.

“The details within the report were much more of a mixed bag, and more downbeat than one might think given the solid improvement in the headline reading,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.

These readings are in line with other surveys showing signs of slowing national factory activity. A report from the New York Fed last week showed a gauge of factory activity in New York state dropped to a two-year low in March.

The Philadelphia Fed survey also showed more factories experiencing difficulty finding workers, which could weigh on production in the future. Nearly 74 percent of the firms reported labor shortages, up from 63.8 percent last year.

Just over half of the companies also reported they had positions that have remained vacant for more than 90 days. That compared to 47.8 percent in 2018.

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Netherlands Shooting Suspect to Face Murder Charges With Terrorist Intent

Dutch prosecutors said Thursday they will charge the suspect in this week’s deadly tram shooting in the city of Utrecht with multiple murder charges with terrorist intent.

Prosecutors believe Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis acted alone Monday when he allegedly killed three people and seriously wounded three others.

Prosecutors and police said in a statement they are still investigating whether the 37-year-old suspect “acted out of a single terrorist motive or whether from personal problems in combination with radicalized ideas.”

The suspect was arrested after an eight-hour search that virtually closed the city. Police later arrested a fourth suspect and are trying to determine “whether this suspect played a supporting role in the shooting.”

Tanis is scheduled to attend a closed-door court hearing on Friday. Prosecutors also said Tanis will undergo a psychological examination.



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Netherlands Shooting Suspect to Face Murder Charges With Terrorist Intent

Dutch prosecutors said Thursday they will charge the suspect in this week’s deadly tram shooting in the city of Utrecht with multiple murder charges with terrorist intent.

Prosecutors believe Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis acted alone Monday when he allegedly killed three people and seriously wounded three others.

Prosecutors and police said in a statement they are still investigating whether the 37-year-old suspect “acted out of a single terrorist motive or whether from personal problems in combination with radicalized ideas.”

The suspect was arrested after an eight-hour search that virtually closed the city. Police later arrested a fourth suspect and are trying to determine “whether this suspect played a supporting role in the shooting.”

Tanis is scheduled to attend a closed-door court hearing on Friday. Prosecutors also said Tanis will undergo a psychological examination.