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Керівник «Євробачення»: в Києві ми не мали ніяких проблем

«Євробачення» в Києві пройшло бездоганно. З українського боку все було організовано на найвищому рівні» – Йон Ула Санн

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Gingerly, Deals Start Taking Shape Between Rivals China and Vietnam

Historic rivals China and Vietnam are working on substantive agreements that could cover trade, investment and maritime resource sharing despite a bitter sovereignty dispute that had snarled relations less than a year ago.

The Communist neighbors are inching toward new trade and investment ties that analysts say would help shore up overall relations. Some believe the two might later approach stickier topics such as joint use of disputed waters or humane treatment of each other’s fishermen. The two countries still contest sovereignty over tracts of the vast, resource-rich South China Sea east of Vietnam and southwest of Hong Kong.

Prospects of some kind of agreement came into focus during Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang’s visit to China, which ends Monday. He suggested the two sides work on complementing each other’s trade and investment advantages with a view toward improving overall relations, state media from Hanoi said.

“President Quang is in China, and China promised a lot,” said Yun Sun, senior associate with the East Asia Program under Washington-based think tank the Stimson Center. “From an economic point of view, it is certainly practical and beneficial for Vietnam to have some sort of deal, but then again I think this still relatively early to tell.”

In a meeting with Quang Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for more cross-border economic cooperation zones and joint infrastructure building, according to  China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported. China pledged to “mitigate” its trade deficit with Vietnam and increase direct investment, Sun said.

“Talking probably does help lower tensions and improve the odds of things happening,” said Alaistair Chan, an economist covering China for Moody’s Analytics.

The Vietnamese president suggested China finalize rules on opening the Chinese market for farm products, dairy and seafood, media outlet vietnamnet.vn said. He also called on China to make more “preferential loans” and urged a working group to develop renewable energy investment projects that play on China’s strengths and demand in Vietnam, the Vietnamese news report said.

On Friday companies from both countries signed agreements on milk distribution, tourism and rice processing.

China is the largest trade partner of Vietnam, with imports and exports worth about $72 billion last year. Vietnam also calls China one of the top 10 investors in the country.

But both countries are likely to hedge on letting outsiders invest in infrastructure, a possible source of direct investment, Chan said. “If they can get there purely on trade and stay away from investment, a touchy subject in both countries, I think that’s probably where they can get their quickest gain,” he said.

China and Vietnam stepped up dialogue after July 2016, when a world arbitration court ruled that Beijing lacked a legal basis to claim more than 90 percent of the sea, a boon to rival claimants in Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. China responded to the ruling by seeking one-on-one dialogue with each country. Vietnam was one of the most hostile toward China before the court ruling.

Beijing and Hanoi dispute sovereignty over much of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea, including two chains of tiny islets. Beijing’s go-ahead for a Chinese oil rig in contested waters set off a clash in 2014. The two countries also still face distrust fanned by centuries of political rivalry as well as a border war in 1979.

Both countries stake their fast-growing economies on export manufacturing. Vietnamese companies resent China for using their larger production scales to sell goods in bulk at relatively low prices.

Relations got a lift in September when the Chinese premier and Vietnamese prime minister agreed to manage maritime differences. Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visited China in January to help smooth relations.

Another boost came as China emerged last year as the top single-country source of tourism for Vietnam. About 2.2 million Chinese visited Vietnam from January to October. Chinese tourists have reshaped the economies of Hong Kong and Taiwan over the past decade.

Agreements on managing disputed tracts of the South China Sea may come later if the two sides keep getting along, experts say.

Vietnam and China have agreed to an “informal” median line in the tract of sea where their claims overlap, said Carl Thayer, Southeast Asia-specialized emeritus professor of politics at The University of New South Wales in Australia. They might eventually work on expanding joint exploration for oil under the seabed and a way to ensure “humane” treatment of fishermen, he said.

“It’s to stop the ramming, boarding, seizing fish catches and radio equipment and in the old days taking them hostages for money,” Thayer said. Under a human treatment agreement, he said, “If you find them, you report them to the other side and return them rather than bash them up and take everything.”

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Помер в’язень ГУЛАГу, один із лідерів норильського повстання 1953 року Євген Грицяк

14 травня помер багаторічний політв’язень таборів ГУЛАГу, один із лідерів норильського повстання 1953 року Євген Грицяк. Про це повідомив керівник Українського інституту національної пам’яті Владимир В’ятрович.

«Відійшов у вічність один із лідерів норильського «Повстання духу» 1953 року Євген Грицяк», – написав В’ятрович у Facebook.

«Українці боролися та повставали – завжди і всюди, де було порушення базових прав людини. Одним із таких епізодів у світовій історії залишиться Норильське повстання 1953 року проти нелюдського творіння Сталіна – концтаборів ГУЛАГу», – йдеться у повідомленні президента України Петра Порошенка у Facebook. «З глибоким сумом сприймаємо цю звістку, але і з глибокою вдячністю збережемо його приклад як незламність духу та волю до боротьби за свободу у найгірших обставинах», – наголосив Порошенко.

Євген Грицяк у серпні 2016 року відзначив 90-річчя. До смерті він жив у селі Устя Снятинського району Івано-Франківської області. Видавництво «Смолоскип» опублікувало «Короткий запис спогадів» його авторства, Михайло Ткачук на основі, зокрема, свідчень Грицяка зняв фільм «Загадка Норильського повстання».

У 1953 році повстали майже 20 тисяч політв’язнів. Упродовж 70 днів вони страйкували й голодували. Політв’язні вимагали скорочення робочого дня, дозволів на листування і побачення, припинення тортур. Вони висунули політичні вимоги, включно з переглядом особових справ.

Події в Норильську, а згодом схожі протести у Воркуті й Кінгірі, за словами одного з керівників Норильського повстання, «сполошили большевицьке командування» і змусили до змін.

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US Support for Syrian Kurds in Fight Against IS Likely to Dominate US-Turkey Summit

U.S. support for Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State in Syria is expected to dominate the first official meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey is fiercely opposed to that alliance, saying Kurds in Syria are linked to the Kurdish terrorist group PKK in Turkey, which is fighting for an independent Kurdish state. VOA’a Zlatica Hoke has more.

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Austrian Party Picks New Leader, Early Elections Likely

Austria’s junior government coalition partner chose a new leader Sunday and gave him the unprecedented authority he demanded as a condition for leading his party into expected early elections this fall.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told reporters that senior officials of his People’s Party agreed to let him choose all ministers of any government he would head, as well as to nominate candidates for parliament that would include party outsiders.

Speaking after a closed meeting, Kurz said that the gathering also agreed to contest at least the next elections under a name change. Instead of the People’s Party, Kurz and other candidates would now run under the “List Sebastian Kurz – the new People’s Party.”

“We have decided to start a movement,” Kurz told reporters.  “We’re going to rely on proven forces from within the People’s Party, but at the same time we’re going to bring new people on board.”

The power grab is significant in a party where provincial governors have historically had an outsize say in running federal affairs, including pushing through ministerial appointments and overriding major policy decisions by the federal leader.

With few exceptions, that has led party heads to resign in frustration in recent decades. The latest, Reinhold Mitterlehner, threw in the towel Wednesday after less than three years as party leader and vice chancellor.

The center-right People’s Party is now a distant third among voters. But Kurz, a telegenic 30-year old, regularly tops political popularity polls.

That is due in part for his embrace of a harder line on immigrants and other positions of the right-wing Freedom Party, which leads in voter support. But he avoids that party’s xenophobic polemics, as he walks the line between keeping People’s Party supporters and attracting Freedom Party backers.

Acceptance of Kurz’s demands reflects recognition by the party’s power-brokers that refusal would mean an almost certain slide in voter support.

The often cantankerous People’s Party-Social Democratic coalition has shown increased signs of fraying over the past months. Still, Social Democratic Chancellor Christian Kern had resisted People’s Party calls to move up elections from next year.

But as People’s Party officials gathered Sunday he told state broadcaster ORF: “I assume that there will certainly be an election this fall.”

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With Macron, Paris 2024 Olympic Bid Is ‘Ready Right Now’

Paris bid leaders want to capitalize on the sense of optimism surrounding new President Emmanuel Macron to beat Los Angeles and secure the Olympic Games in 2024 — not 2028.

With the IOC currently assessing a proposal to award the next two Olympics — one to each city — Paris officials insist the French capital city is the right choice for 2024.

The 39-year-old Macron, France’s youngest-ever president, officially took office on Sunday as the IOC evaluation commission started a three-day visit to Paris.

“Our team has a new member, the new President of France, Emmanuel Macron,” bid leader Tony Estanguet said on Sunday. “He’s been a fantastic supporter of our bid from the beginning. He will be with us all the way to Lima and hopefully beyond.”

Los Angeles and Paris are the only two bidders left for the 2024 Games, which will be awarded in September at a meeting of Olympic leaders in Peru. The race began with five cities, but Rome, Hamburg, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary, all pulled out.

The IOC has four vice presidents looking into the prospect of awarding the 2024 and 2028 Games at the same time in September.

“We have one goal during these few days: to convince you that Paris is the right city, with the right vision, at the right moment,” Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said. “The right city with world-class venues and accommodation, and the best public transport in the world, ready right now.”

International Olympic Committee members were in Los Angeles earlier this week to meet with the U.S. bid leaders and inspect their planned venues. While Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appeared at least willing to consider hosting the 2028 Olympics if the city isn’t awarded its first choice of 2024, Hidalgo said Paris is set for the earlier edition.

“With financial and political stability and support, we are ready right now,” Hidalgo said. “At the right moment, as the no risk option.”

Patrick Baumann, the chair of the IOC evaluation commission, said Sunday’s discussions with Paris leaders focused solely on their project for 2024.

“Right now we are still in a process where we assess a potential candidacy for 2024,” Baumann told a press conference. “2024-2028 was not a matter of discussion.” 

The French government has pledged one billion euros ($1.1 billion) of support for the Paris bid and Macron is expected to confirm that amount. If Paris is awarded the 2024 Games, the infrastructure budget is expected to total 3 billion euros, with operational costs of 3.2 billion euros.

Paris is also betting on the compactness of its plans to make the difference. According to the bid dossier, 84 percent of the athletes will be able to reach their competition venues in less than 25 minutes, and more than 70 percent of the proposed venues are existing facilities, with a further 25 percent relying on temporary structures.

Paris, which last staged the Olympics in 1924, failed in bids for the 1992, 2008, and 2012 Games.

With the pro-business and pro-EU Macron, Paris bid leaders have a strong supporter. The new president has already thrown his weight behind Paris’ bid, telling IOC President Thomas Bach over the phone of its “expected benefits for all French people.”    

Macron did not attend Sunday’s night gala dinner with IOC members in Paris but invited the evaluation commission on Tuesday to the Elysee Palace before they leave.

Meanwhile, the Paris team added another high-profile figure to their list of backers on Sunday as it unveiled France soccer great Zinedine Zidane as their latest ambassador.

“I was involved in several bids, but this one is really close to our hearts,” said Zidane, who also supported the Qatar bid to host soccer’s 2022 World Cup and was involved in Paris’s 2008 and 2012 failed bids.  

IOC members started their visit with a full day of discussions on Paris’ proposals that will be followed by venue visits on Monday and further meetings on the final day.

“Our friends of Paris 2024 presented us with an exceptional and well detailed bid presentation,” Baumann said. “We have two cities with a wonderful Olympic spirit. It’s difficult to give them less than 10 out of 10.”

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Україна провела один з найкращих конкурсів за всю історію «Євробачення» – Кличко

Міський голова Києва Віталій Кличко високо оцінив організацію пісенного конкурсу «Євробачення-2017», фінал якого напередодні відбувся в українській столиці. Слова мера цитує в неділю сайт Київміськадміністрації.

«Я чув дуже гарні відгуки від гостей «Євробачення», адже вони відчували, що про них турбуються. Як іноземці, так і шанувальники конкурсу з України, відчували себе комфортно у Києві, і у них залишилися тільки позитивні емоції від нашого міста. І це означає, що нам вдалося провести один з найкращих конкурсів за всю історію «Євробачення», – сказав Кличко.

Він висловив окрему подяку волонтерам, які працювали в рамках усіх заходів, пов’язаних з конкурсом.

 «Я вчора також був у МВЦ і бачив вашу роботу. І переконався, що ви впоралися на відмінно. Завдання було не простим, однак нам вдалося, об’єднавши зусилля, провести конкурс на найвищому рівні. Завдяки, зокрема, і вам шанувальники конкурсу змогли побачити справді європейський і гостинний Київ. Тому я вдячний кожному з вас за роботу, за ваш час та сили і бажаю вам успіхів», – звернувся Кличко до волонтерів, які зібралися сьогодні відзначити завершення «Євробачення» у Київській фортеці.

Сьогодні на прес-конференції у Києві президент Петро Порошенко також відзначив організаторів «Євробачення» в Україні за проведення конкурсу на дуже високому рівні. Він висловив жаль, що не зміг відвідати конкурс особисто.

Із 7-го до 13 травня в Києві проходив міжнародний пісенний конкурс «Євробачення-2017», переможцем якого став виконавець із Португалії Салвадор Собрал.




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У Дніпрі відбувся перший в Україні парад ролерів

У Дніпрі 14 травня вперше в Україні відбувся парад ролерів, який організатори присвятили 257-річчю існування роликових ковзанів.

Як передає кореспондент Радіо Свобода, спортивний захід відбувся в рамках фестивалю екстриму, який триває у місті. Стартували учасники, серед яких були дорослі і діти, з центру міста, а фінішували усі в центральному парку імені Глоби.

Загалом в забігу взяли участь близько сотні дніпрян: бігли цілими родинами.

Марафон, що відбувався під егідою Дніпровської асоціації екстремальних видів спорту, як зазначали організатори, був спрямований на популяризацію катання на роликах як одного з найбільш доступних і масових видів спорту, а також здорового способу життя.

За словами керівника Дніпровської асоціації екстремальних видів спорту Максима Семенова, перша згадка про людину, яка виїхала у взутті «на коліщатах» датована 1760-м роком, який і вважають роком появи прототипу роликів.

На фініші на учасників параду ролерів чекали показові виступи спортсменів-екстремалів, розваги та конкурси.

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Macron Says France on Brink of ‘A Great Renaissance’

France’s youngest head of state since Napoleon Bonaparte presented himself as president of all the French Sunday as he was sworn into office in Paris, following in the Fifth Republic footsteps of political giants Gen. Charles De Gaulle and Jacques Chirac.

Much is riding on the 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron, who two years ago set out on what many dismissed as a Quixotic quest — to get himself elected to the French presidency as a centrist, pro-European Union candidate on his first ever political campaign and without the support of the country’s established parties.

Macron was greeted midmorning at the Élysée Palace by outgoing President Francois Hollande, who for many of the French exemplifies more than most of his predecessors the old saying that all political careers end in failure.

Macron has the reputation, reinforced by his election, as a man who always succeeds. Now he has the greatest of all challenges — to fulfill objectives even grander than those outlined by Hollande at his inauguration five years ago.

Just before Macron’s arrival, Hollande stood on his office balcony taking one last sweeping glance from it of the palace grounds.

Amid the pomp and circumstance Sunday, future challenges were half-forgotten by the crowds lining the Champs-Élysées, where at the Arc de Triomph, Macron lay flowers at the memorial to the unknown solider. Inside the Élysée’s ballroom earlier, Macron was presented with the grand collier de la Légion d’honneur once owned by Napoleon I. One of his supporters, Axelle Tessandier, a marketing consultant, tweeted “Émotion immense.”

But the task ahead wasn’t forgotten long. At his swearing-in ceremony, Macron, a former investment banker who served a mere two years as an appointed minister in Hollande’s government, told France his goal is to renew the Fifth Republic and to unify the French.

“The world needs what the French have always taught. For decades France has doubted herself,” he said. The world, and Europe, need France more than ever, he added.

“My mandate will give the French back the confidence to believe in themselves.” He said he would convince the people that “the power of France is not declining – that we are on the brink of a great renaissance.”

Unifying France will be a tall order. Twenty-one million people voted for Macron in the second round of the elections, but 12 million backed far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, despite her lackluster campaign. Millions more didn’t turn up at the polling stations. And four million destroyed their ballot papers as a sign of disapproval of both candidates, the largest number ever to do so in a French election.

Having set himself the monumental tasks of trying to expand the center, and of convincing half the country which disapproves of EU membership that the European bloc is something to be valued, Macron has the immediate challenge of securing a parliamentary majority to back him.

He can do that either by leading his one-year-old En Marche! Movement — renamed last week République en marche — to victory in parliamentary elections next month, or by cobbling together a center coalition. Polls suggest he might be able to pull off a parliamentary victory, one as unthinkable as his presidential win, and secure, a majority in the 577-seat lower house. Much will depend on who he names Monday as his initial prime minister.

If his party fails to win the majority of seats, the alternative would be La Cohabitation with a prime minister from an opposing political party, something the Fifth Republic has seen three times since 1958. La Cohabitation, analysts agree, would likely spell major trouble for Macron’s highly ambitious policy program. Macron wants to cut public spending and reorder a rigid labor market to allow businesses to hire and fire more easily, all in a bid to revive a stagnant economy.

At the same he says he wants to ameliorate the downsides of globalization for those left behind.

One of Macron’s rivals for the presidency, the conservative Republican Francois Fillon warned during the first round of presidential voting that Macron in office would be forced to “cook up parliamentary dishes of impotence and compromises.” Grubby legislative deal-making risks fueling public disillusionment with government — paving the way, some fear, for a Le Pen victory in five years time and a defeat of Macron’s aim to turn the French away from the extremes of left or right.

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Rescuers Save Nearly 500 Migrants in One Day From Sea 

Rescuers saved 484 migrants from boats in the Mediterranean Sea Saturday and found the bodies of seven men who had died in the attempt to get to Europe, Italy’s coast guard said.

More than 45,000 people have reached Italy by boat from North Africa this year, a more than 40 percent increase from the same period in 2016, and 1,222 people are known to have died on the route, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The migrants were rescued from four separate rubber boats by the Italian coast guard and navy, an aid group and two private vessels, the coast guard said in a statement.

The coast guard gave no further details. Most sea-borne migrants to Italy are originally from Sub-Saharan Africa or Bangladesh, and pay Libya-based smugglers to organize their passage.