What Is a Kangaroo Court?

The White House has said that it will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry being conducted by House Democrats. President Donald Trump went one step further by calling the House committees investigating him a “kangaroo court.” What exactly is a kangaroo court? VOA explains.


US Pushing for Cease-fire After Turkey’s Push Into N. Syria

The United States says diplomatic efforts are on “high gear” to press for a cease-fire after Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, as Washington tries to get the situation under control, according to a senior State Department official.

“Goal number one is to carry out diplomacy to try to find a cease fire. Get the situation under control. It’s very, very confusing.  It’s dangerous for our troops. It’s placing the fight against ISIS at risk. It’s placing at risk the safe imprisonment of almost 10,000 detainees,” the official said, using an acronym for the Islamic State terror group.

The official noted that there has not been “any major successful breakout so far of detainees,” referring to imprisoned IS fighters and their families.  Syrian Kurdish officials have said hundreds of suspected IS prisoners have escaped.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House, Oct. 14, 2019, in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump has announced sanctions against Turkish officials over the military operation and he plans to send a delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence to Ankara for talks to resolve the situation.

“I can just tell you that it’s (Pence’s trip) going to be launched very quickly,” the State Department official told reporters Tuesday. “And again our first goal is to basically have a heart to heart talk with the Turks.”

President Donald Trump speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Oct. 12, 2019.

President Trump has faced harsh criticism in the week since the White House announced Turkey was going forward with its long-held plans to try to carve out a buffer zone along its border with Syria free from the U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters it accuses of being terrorists linked to separatist Kurds in Turkey. The U.S. military has long said its Kurdish allies have been instrumental in the fight against IS, and the elimination of IS’s caliphate.

“We’re very concerned about their [Turkey’s] actions and the threat that they presented to peace, security, stability, and territorial integrity of Syria, of our overall political plans, and the risk of humanitarian disaster, and human rights violations, some of which we’ve seen not by Turkish troops, but by what we call the TSO-Turkish supported Syrian opposition elements, armed opposition elements, who are responsible for those horrible pictures you saw,” the U.S. official said Tuesday.

Turkey’s incursion pushed the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces to reach an agreement with the Syrian government that has brought Syrian troops back into the northeastern part of the country for the first time in years, including on Monday reaching the town of Manbij.

A U.S. military spokesman said Tuesday American troops left the town of Manbij as part of their withdrawal from the area.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to his ruling party officials, in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 10, 2019.

Trump spoke Monday with both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and General Mazloum Kobani, the head of the mostly Kurdish SDF that the United States has relied on to battle Islamic State militants in Syria.

In addition to the call to halt the military operation, the United States raised steel tariffs and halted negotiations on a $100-billion trade deal with Turkey.

U.S. Democrats and Republicans have faulted the Trump administration for what is unfolding, saying the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the area cleared the way for the U.S. ally SDF to be put in danger as well as the potential for Islamic State militants under SDF detention to break free and stage a resurgence.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., reads a statement announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 24, 2019.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Trump’s “erratic decision-making is threatening lives, risking regional security and undermining America’s credibility in the world.”

She said both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate will proceed this week with “action to oppose this irresponsible decision.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that while Turkey does have legitimate security concerns linked to the Syrian conflict, the operation against the U.S.-backed Kurds jeopardizes the progress won against IS.

“Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria would re-create the very conditions that we have worked hard to destroy and invite the resurgence of ISIS,” McConnell said.  “And such a withdrawal would also create a broader power vacuum in Syria that will be exploited by Iran and Russia, a catastrophic outcome for the United States’ strategic interests.”

A senior administration official rejected criticisms against Trump in the call with reporters Monday, saying only Erdogan’s actions are to blame.

The official said Turkish President Erdogan “took a very, very rash, ill-calculated action that has had what, for him, were unintended consequences.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper addresses reporters during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Oct. 11, 2019.

Earlier Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Erdogan “bears full responsibility” for what happens.

He called the Turkish offensive “unnecessary and impulsive,” and said it has undermined what he called the successful multinational mission to defeat Islamic State in Syria.

Esper said he plans to go to Brussels next week to press other NATO allies to apply sanctions on Turkey.

Nike Ching contributed to this report.

Dutch Police Investigate Family Living in Isolation on Farm

Dutch authorities were Tuesday trying to piece together the story of a family found living isolated from the outside world in the rural east of the Netherlands.

Mayor Roger de Groot said that the six-member family is believed to have lived for nine years on a farm in Ruinerwold, 130 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of Amsterdam.

Drone images of the farm showed a cluster of buildings with a large vegetable garden on one side. The small property appeared to be ringed by a fence and largely obscured by trees.

Dutch media reported that the family was made up of five adult siblings and their father.

De Groot told reporters the siblings were aged from 18-25. He said their mother is believed to have died “a number of years ago.”

Local police said in a tweet that officers visited the farm after being alerted by somebody “concerned about the living conditions” of its residents.

Police said they arrested a 58-year-old man who rented the property, but it wasn’t immediately clear why or what his relationship was to the family. Police said he wasn’t the father.

Police investigating the farm found “a number of improvised rooms where a family lived a withdrawn life,” De Groot said in a statement.

Local bar owner Chris Westerbeek told broadcaster RTV Drenthe that he called police after a man “with a confused look in his eyes,” with unkempt hair, a long beard and old clothes walked in to his bar and ordered five beers for himself.

“He said where he came from, that he’d run away and that he needed help urgently,” Westerbeek said.

De Groot said the police investigation is looking into “all possible scenarios,” but didn’t elaborate.

He said the family was now “in a safe place receiving appropriate care and attention.”


Теніс: українка Ястремська на Кубку Кремля здолала росіянку Касаткіну

У першому колі Кубку Кремля, турніру WTA, українська тенісистка Даяна Ястремська здолала минулорічну переможницю цих змагань росіянку Дар’ю Касаткіну з рахунком 6:1, 6:4.

У другому колі Ястремська змагатиметься з представницею Бельгії Кірстен Фліпкенс.

Поєдинок, що тривав 1 годину 19 хвилин, став для тенісисток першим очним поєдинком.

На Кубку Кремля у Москві має виступити ще одна українка – Еліна Світоліна. Оскільки вона отримала перший номер посіву, то виступи почне з другого кола.

Еліна Світоліна востаннє приїжджала на турнір до Москви в 2016 році і стала півфіналісткою. Даяна Ястремська брала участь в Кубку Кремля у 2017 році і програла на старті відбору.

Призовий фонд Кубку Кремля складає 1 мільйон 32 тисяч доларів.

Від початку «бабиного літа» в Києві встановлено два температурні рекорди – метеорологи

Від початку 12 жовтня в українській столиці «бабиного літа» метеорологи зафіксували два температурні рекорди, повідомила Центральна геофізична обсерваторія імені Бориса Срезневського.

«Після полудня у неділю стовпчик максимального термометра піднявся до +23,8 градуса за Цельсієм, що на 0,4 градуса вище попереднього максимуму температури повітря, зафіксованого у 2014 році. Крім того, середньодобова температура повітря 13 жовтня вперше за 139 років склала +16,6, що на 0,4 градуса вище відповідного попереднього рекордного значення для цього дня, яке було відмічене у 1896 році», – йдеться в повідомленні.

В обсерваторії вказали, що це перші, але «напевно, не останні  рекорди цьогорічної осені».

За даними Укргідрометцентру, 15 жовтня в Україні пануватиме суха та тепла погода з температурою вночі 5-10 градусів тепла, вдень – 19-24. Вночі та вранці у південній частині, центральних, подекуди східних областях та в Карпатах туман. Вітер змінних напрямків, 3-8 м/с.

Global Hunger Index: Україна потрапила до переліку країн з найнижчим рівнем голоду

Україна потрапила до переліку із 17 країн із найнижчим рівнем голоду, свідчать дані дослідження Global Hunger Index. Водночас у цьому рейтингу не представлені, зокрема, США, Канада та низка країн Європейського союзу.

Індекс голоду в Україні становить менше п’яти. Такий же показник мають Білорусь, Боснія та Герцеговина, Болгарія, Чилі, Коста-Ріка, Хорватія, Куба, Естонія, Кувейт, Латвія, Литва, Чорногорія, Румунія, Словаччина, Туреччина та Уругвай.

Найгірші показники мають Центральноафриканська республіка (53,6 пунктів зі 100), Ємен (45,9), Чад (44,2), Мадагаскар (41,5) і Замбія (38,1).

Індекс розраховували на основі чотирьох показників: частки людей, які не мають достатнього харчування; частки дітей віком до п’яти років із низькою вагою, яка непропорційна зросту; частки дітей віком до п’яти років із нетрадиційно низьким зростом; частки дітей, які помирають у віці до п’яти років унаслідок недостатнього харчування та нездорового середовища.

Changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day Gains National Approval

Along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, tens of thousands of New Yorkers and tourists celebrated the world’s largest display of Italian-American pageantry on Columbus Day, while New Mexico and a growing list of states and municipalities ditched the holiday altogether for the first time.

The Italian navigator namesake who sailed to the modern-day Americas in 1492, Christopher Columbus has long been considered by some scholars  and Native Americans as an affront to those who had settled on the land thousands of years prior to his arrival. 

While the earliest  commemoration of Columbus Day dates back to 1866 in New York City,  as a celebration to honor the heritage and contributions of the now-17 million Italian-Americans living in the United States, the movement behind “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” began more than a century later, in 1977, by a delegation of Native nations.

The resolution, presented in Geneva at the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, paved the way for cities like Berkeley, California to officially replace the holiday 15 years later.

Yet to organizers of the 75th annual Columbus Day Parade, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus remains worth celebrating.

“Columbus discovered America. If it weren’t for Columbus, who knows where we’d be today,” said Aldo Verrelli, Parade Chairman with the Columbus Citizens Foundation.

“[With] any of those people in those days, we have to remember the good that they did,” Verrelli said. Let’s forget about all the other controversy.”

It’s a sentiment and a suggestion that has long divided Americans: honor tradition, or correct history and rectify the past.

“There were Native Americans that were here before, but [Columbus] basically discovered the New World, and that’s why we’re here today,” said Joe Sanfilippo, a participant at the New York Columbus Day Parade.

“The Europeans essentially tried to eradicate us,” U.S. Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) told VOA. “They brought disease. They banished us to reservations later on when the U.S. government became an active force.”

Red paint covers a statue of Christopher Columbus, Oct. 14, 2019, in Providence, R.I., after it was vandalized on the day named to honor him as one of the first Europeans to reach the New World.

Since Berkeley’s decision to rename the holiday in 1992, more than 130 cities have followed suit. Joining several states — including Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, Oregon and South Dakota — New Mexico became the latest state to legally replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2019, celebrated for the first time on Monday.

One of the first two Native American women elected to U.S. Congress and member of the Laguna Pueblo, Haaland describes her mission as one to “correct history” and honor the resilience of America’s Indigenous Peoples on the national stage. On October 11, she co-sponsored a national resolution to designate the second Monday in October as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

“There’s 573 distinct tribes right now in our country. And we’re all diverse. And I just I think that it’s an excellent way for us to celebrate the diversity and recognize that when other indigenous people come to this country, that there’s a place for them also,” Haaland said of the renamed holiday.

People taking part in a rally to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day in downtown Seattle sing as they march toward Seattle City Hall, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. The observance of the day was made official by the Seattle City Council in 2014.

America, she adds, was never “discoverable” in the first place, a “misnomer” that runs in direct contradiction to decades-old American history textbooks and the people who defend Christopher Columbus’s legacy.

“In their minds, accepting the truth, is somehow shifting the power — [in] that it contributes to the loss of power by minority over the majority,” said Regis Pecos, former governor of Cochiti Pueblo. “I think that these attitudes and behaviors are so deeply entrenched, that it is really based upon fear of losing a narrative, as false as that narrative is.”

Festival attendees in the state’s capitol, Santa Fe, say the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day marks progress.

“History is always written by the winners. And then now, we[ve] come to a generation [where] we start to think about what we used to think is right is wrong now,” said attendee Silvia Sian.

At the Columbus Day Parade in New York, others argue it shouldn’t be an either-or decision.

“Those who want to honor Columbus, then they keep that day,” said New York resident Heather Fitzroy. “But those who want to honor the ones who lived before us, like the indigenous people of America, if they want to honor them, then that’s OK too.”