В Одесі попрощалися із загиблим через пожежу в коледжі рятувальником Шатохіним

В Одесі 9 грудня відбулося прощання із рятувальником Сергієм Шатохіним, який загинув внаслідок травм під час гасіння пожежі в місцевому коледжі, повідомила Держслужба з надзвичайних ситуацій.

«Сергію було 43 роки, в нього залишилась дружина та троє дітей. Сьогодні попрощатись з ним прийшли колеги та небайдужі одесити, чиїх сердець торкнулася ця трагедія», – йдеться в повідомленні.

У ДСНС зазначили, що поховають Сергія Шатохіна завтра у селі Градениці під Одесою, де він проживав із родиною.

Пожежа в Одеському коледжі економіки почалася вранці 4 грудня і, за останніми даними, забрала життя 12-ти людей. Загалом постраждали 30 людей (в лікарнях залишається дев’ятеро). Аварійно-рятувальні роботи тривають досі.

З 10 грудня почне працювати урядова комісія для встановлення відповідальних за трагедію. Поліція заявила про двох підозрюваних, їх імена поки не вказують.

India Tables Controversial Citizenship Bill That Critics Slam as Anti-Muslim

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party introduced a controversial bill in parliament Monday seeking to grant citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring countries, introducing religion as a criterion for nationality for the first time.

Opponents have slammed the proposed legislation as anti-Muslim and divisive and called it a ploy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party to weaken the secular foundations of India’s democracy.
 

FILE – Activists shout slogans during a protest in front of Assam House against the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state of Assam, in New Delhi, Aug. 4, 2018.

The bill will make six religious groups — Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists  — who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 31st, 2014, eligible for Indian citizenship. The government says it is intended to give sanctuary to minorities who fled religious persecution in these countries.  
 
Critics however have questioned why the proposed legislation has excluded Muslim minorities such as the Rohingyas in Myanmar, if it was meant to protect those facing religious persecution.
 
Home Minister Amit Shah strongly denied charges that the Citizenship Amendment Bill has an anti-Muslim bias. “This bill is not even point zero zero one percent against the minorities in this country,” he told lawmakers in the lower house of parliament.
 
The BJP has defended the proposed law saying it is confined to three Islamic countries where minorities such as Hindus and Sikhs often face harassment.
 
But many in the opposition benches slammed the bill as “regressive.”  “It is nothing but a targeted legislation against the minority people of our country,” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a lawmaker of the opposition Congress Party told parliament. Muslims are India’s largest minority and fear deepening religious polarization during Modi’s rule.
 
Another Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor, said the Bill violates the fundamental right to equality — India’s constitution prohibits religious discrimination and guarantees all persons equality before the law. 
 
The BJP, which returned to power with a resounding majority in lower house six months ago, is confident of passing the bill, which was shelved during its previous term because it lacked a majority in the upper house of parliament.
 
It still lacks the numbers in the upper house, but hopes to pass the legislation with the help of friendly parties. Any bill needs to be ratified by both houses of Parliament to become law.
 

People stand in line to check for their names on the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), in an office in Pavakati village of Morigoan district, in India's northeastern state of Assam, Aug. 31, 2019.
FILE – People stand in line to check for their names on the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), in an office in Pavakati village of Morigoan district, in India’s northeastern state of Assam, Aug. 31, 2019.

The bill has triggered fierce protests in recent days in the country’s northeastern state of Assam, where many fear that it will protect tens of thousands of Bengali Hindus who are among two million residents recently identified as illegal residents in the state.
 
The Assamese have long demanded the expulsion of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion — the state bordering Bangladesh has faced a huge influx of refugees. That led to a massive exercise to root out illegal immigrants by publishing an updated citizens registry recently. 
 
The government has said it plans to carry out a similar exercise throughout the country to identify all illegal immigrants by 2024.
 
That has raised unease among many political observers, who fear it will only target Muslims while safeguarding other religious groups. “It is unfortunate that our citizenship is getting linked to religious identity,” said political writer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay. “We don’t know what all this will lead to. This is another significant step in keeping the majoritarian agenda of the BJP alive.” (( end it))
 
 

 

4 Rockets Hit Military Base Near Baghdad Airport

Four Katyusha rockets hit a military base near Baghdad International Airport early on Monday, wounding at least six soldiers, Iraqi security officials said. It was the latest incident in a series of rocket attacks in recent weeks.
                   
Iraqi security forces discovered a rocket launcher and some defused rockets nearby after searching the area following the the attack, a statement from Iraqi security forces said.
                   
According to the security officials, the area targeted by the rockets is frequented by military advisers from the U.S.-led coalition. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
                   
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
                   
Last Tuesday, five rockets landed inside the Ain al-Asad airbase, a sprawling complex in the western Anbar desert that hosts U.S. forces, without causing any casualties and little damage.
                   
On at least two occasions last month in Baghdad, rockets landed in areas around the heavily fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government, causing no casualties or damages.
                   
And near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, a barrage of Katyusha rockets targeted an Iraqi air base that houses American troops in early November. No members of the U.S.-led coalition were hurt.
                   
Some hard-line Iraqi militias loyal to Iran have recently threatened to carry out attacks against Americans in the country. The U.S. maintains about 5,000 troops in Iraq.
                   
American forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011 but returned in 2014 at the invitation of the government to help battle the Islamic State group after it seized vast areas in the north and west of the country, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The U.S.-led coalition provided crucial air support as Iraqi forces regrouped and drove IS out in a costly three-year campaign.

 

Amid Trump Impeachment Fury, US and Russia Expected to Talk Arms Control

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov heads to Washington for hastily scheduled meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and, possibly, President Donald Trump, on Tuesday.

While a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said the mission’s purpose would be to discuss “important issues” in U.S.-Russian relations, White House officials are signaling arms control will top the agenda, along with discussions aimed at bridging differences between Washington and Moscow over Syria and Ukraine.   

The idea for the talks appears to have been jumpstarted by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, when the Russian leader said Moscow was eager to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty by the end of this year “without any preconditions.”

“Russia is not interested in starting an arms race and deploying missiles where they are not present now,” said Putin in an addressing the nuclear treaty — which expires in 2021 — during a meeting with officials in Moscow.  

Washington seems to have gotten the message.

President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (not pictured) during the NATO summit at The Grove, in Watford, England. Dec. 4, 2019.

At the recent NATO summit in London, President Donald Trump noted his awareness of Moscow’s desire to “do a deal” on arms control without providing details. Mr. Trump also suggested that U.S. and Russia negotiations eventually include China, a rising nuclear power not party to Cold War nuclear agreements.  

“We’ll also certainly bring in … China. We may bring them in later, or we may bring them in now,” said the President.

Indeed, White House officials said Lavrov’s visit could include a meeting with the President — to reciprocate a courtesy extended by President Putin to Secretary Pompeo during his last visit to Moscow, says White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

“When [Secretary Mike] Pompeo has gone to Russia, [Vladimir] Putin’s seen him. And one of the things that we’ve said with the- with the Chinese and the Russians is- and others, is we want reciprocity,” said O’Brien in comments to CBS News’ “Face the Nation” television program.

 

“And so Putin’s met with … Pompeo. I think as a matter of reciprocity, that’s something we’re looking at. But we’re also looking at some other things. And we’ll see if we can get there,” O’Brien added.

For now, the State Department is confirming a “working lunch” between the two top diplomats, as well as press conference to follow.

Eye of impeachment storm

Mr. Lavrov goes to a Washington rifled by bitter partisan infighting over the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Trump — set to pick up again this week as Democrats draft proposed articles of impeachment.

FILE – President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 25, 2019, in New York.

Impeachment hearings have thus far focused on Ukraine, where President Trump is accused of holding up hundreds of millions of dollars in congressionally approved aid to Kyiv in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into launching an investigation into Trump’s potential Democratic rival in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.

Yet Democratic lawmakers and former White House staffers argue Republicans’ defense of the President parrots conspiracy theories pushed by Russian intelligence services: that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind a foreign interference campaign in the 2016 presidential elections.   

Meanwhile, some congressional Democrats have also argued that the scope of the impeachment trial should include allegations of obstruction of justice by President Trump as detailed in a two-year Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

The result of that investigation —  the so-called Mueller Report — was released earlier this year and did not find evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the elections.
 

Yet the report also left it to Congress to determine whether President Trump had obstructed justice during the course of an investigation that saw several members of his campaign staff sentenced to jail.  

The report also agreed with U.S. security agencies that Russia unequivocally sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 race  — charges both the Kremlin and President Trump deny.

Further muddying the picture is the release of a highly anticipated report by the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, reexamining aspects of Mueller’s Russia investigation. The report is expected to address the thus far unsubstantiated claims by Trump that the FBI illegally targeted his campaign in the Russia probe.

Thousands Form Human Chain in Brussels in Climate Change Demo

Thousands of people holding hands formed a human chain in central Brussels on Sunday to draw public attention to the need for urgent, joint action against climate change.

Some 2,400 people took part in the peaceful demonstration, police said, which encircled the Belgian federal parliament and the Royal Palace.

The two-hour demonstration took place as policy-makers from around the world gather in Madrid for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“The main purpose is to ask for more climate ambition and for the federal government to tackle the climate crisis,” said Julie Van Houtryve, spokeswoman for one of the organizers, Climate Coalition in Belgium. “We need solidarity and cooperation between governments and politicians in Belgium.”

Climate activists form a human chain in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 8, 2019.
Climate activists form a human chain in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 8, 2019.

 

Finland’s Social Democrats Name Marin to Be Youngest Ever Prime Minister

Finland’s Social Democrats, who lead the five-party coalition government, picked 34-year-old transportation minister Sanna Marin to become the country’s youngest ever prime minister next week, taking over after the resignation of Antti Rinne.

Rinne resigned earlier this week after coalition member the Center Party said it had lost confidence in him following his handling of a postal strike.

“We have a lot of work ahead to rebuild trust,” Marin told reporters after winning a narrow vote among the party leadership. Antti Lindtman, head of the party’s parliamentary group, was runner up.

“We have a joint government program which glues the coalition together,” Marin said.

The coalition, which took office just six months ago, has agreed to continue with its program after Rinne announced he was stepping down at the demand of the Center Party.

The timing of the change in leadership is awkward for Finland, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until the end of the year, playing a central role in efforts to hammer out a new budget for the bloc.