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International Journalists Face Changing Regulations in China, US

China and the United States in the past year have unveiled new regulations that force some news media organizations that receive government funding to register as government entities. Amid the regulatory changes, China Wednesday ordered three foreign reporters to leave the country because of complaints over a headline that appeared in their newspaper. Here’s an overview of the changing media laws, and the fallout for journalists.Why did Beijing expel the American reporters?China’s foreign ministry said Wednesday that the Wall Street Journal’s decision to publish an opinion column with the headline “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia,” was “racially discriminatory” and tried to discredit China’s efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The editorial was written by an American academic in the newspaper’s opinion section, but the foreign ministry said: “Chinese people do not welcome media that speak racially discriminatory languages … as such, it is decided today, the press credentials of three WSJ journalists will be revoked.” Beijing said the decision to force the reporters to leave the country was not linked to the State Department’s ruling on restricting Chinese news organizations operating in the U.S. earlier this week.Why did the U.S. State Department designate five Chinese news agencies as foreign government entities?The State Department said Tuesday that Xinhua, China Radio, China Daily, CGTN and The People’s Daily will be officially treated as extensions of China’s government, subjecting employees to similar rules that foreign diplomats operate under. U.S. officials say the designation reflects the reality that these are not editorially independent newsrooms, but are controlled by the Chinese government. Chinese officials rejected the decision and said Chinese media covers news objectively.Why is the State Department making this change now?U.S. officials have been warning for years about China’s expanding operations targeting foreign countries, and in recent months have taken action. U.S. officials have announced prosecutions of academics who did not report receiving money from Chinese-government-linked institutions, named Chinese military hackers who allegedly stole personal records of millions of Americans, and accused Chinese technology companies of stealing intellectual property. The director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, said this month that China is threatening U.S. security by exploiting the openness of the American economy and society.Are VOA, BBC, DW and other state-funded broadcasters subject to the same State Department regulations on government funding?News organizations that receive government funding and also maintain editorially independent newsrooms are not subjected to the new State Department regulations because they have policies and structures to protect their editorial independence. For example, at the BBC, the organization’s charter commits it to pursuing “due impartiality” in all of its output. At VOA, the founding charter and editorial firewall keep its journalists independent and prevent government officials from interfering in news decisions.

Евакуйованих з Китаю українців відвезуть у Нові Санжари на Полтавщині – офіційно

У Держслужбі з надзвичайних ситуацій України повідомили, що евакуйованих з Китаю українців після дозаправки у «Борисполі» і прибуття в аеропорт Харкова відвезуть у медцентр на Полтавщині.

«Спеціальним транспортом ДСНС України у супроводі та під охороною поліції їх буде доправлено на територію медичного центру Національної гвардії України «Нові Санжари» у Полтавської області. Протягом 14 днів там вони перебуватимуть в обсервації із забезпеченням суворого режиму санітарного-епідеміологічного контролю та безпеки», – йдеться в повідомленні.

У ДСНС нагадали, що на борту літака 45 громадян України і 27 іноземців, а також екіпаж і супроводжуючі лікарі – «всі евакуйовані не мають жодних симптомів хвороби і є здоровими».

У смт. Нові Санжари пікетувальники перекрили дорогу, аби не допустити в селище евакуйованих з Китаю українців – на зустріч туди прибув голова Полтавської облдержадміністрації Олег Синєгубов, повідомила пресслужба адміністрації.

«Закликаю бути виваженими й стриманими, не панікувати. З Китаю до України повертаються наші співгромадяни. Будь-хто міг опинитися на місці тих людей, вони повертаються додому. Це чиїсь діти, батьки, рідні. Всіх перевірили китайські й вітчизняні медики. І в жодного немає симптомів гострої респіраторної інфекції», – зазначив Синєгубов.

Літак приземлився в аеропорту «Бориспіль» близько 9:40. Перед цим він майже дві години кружляв над територією Харківської області.​

Міністр охорони здоров’я України Зоряна Скалецька повідомила про підготовку кількох локацій у різних регіонах для 14-денного карантину евакуйованих українців та іноземців із китайського Уханя у зв’язку зі спалахом коронавірусу.

2019-nCov (COVID-19) належить до великої групи коронавірусів. У деяких випадках перебіг хвороби – легкий, в деяких – із симптомами застуди і грипу, зокрема з високою температурою і кашлем, у більш складних випадках спостерігається задишка. Це може перерости в пневмонію, яка може бути смертельною. Більшість хворих, однак, видужують.

На 20 лютого від коронавірусу померли 2118 людей, понад 74 тисячі інфіковані в Китаї і ще сотні в майже 30 країнах. В Україні жодного випадку захворювання не зафіксовано.


Зеленський з дружиною вшанували пам’ять Героїв Небесної сотні у центрі Києва

Президент України Володимир Зеленський разом з дружиною Оленою взяли участь у церемонії вшанування пам’яті Героїв Небесної сотні, повідомляє у четвер Офіс президента.

«Глава держави та перша леді встановили лампадки біля хреста на місці загибелі активістів у Києві. Пролунали поминальні дзвони», – йдеться в повідомленні.

В Україні 20 лютого у День Героїв Небесної сотні проходять заходи для вшанування загиблих учасників Революції гідності. Цього дня у Києві і в багатьох регіонах України відбуватимуться поминальні акції.

Останніми днями в Україні на публічному рівні згадують жертв розстрілів на Майдані. У період з 18 до 20 лютого 2014 року в центрі Києва загинули понад сто людей, найбільше – 20 лютого. Згодом загиблих учасників акцій протесту почали називати «Небесною сотнею». Серед загиблих були і більш ніж десяток силовиків.

 

Finally on Debate Stage, Bloomberg Has to Answer to Democratic Rivals

Michael Bloomberg waited until November to launch his campaign to be the Democratic Party’s nominee in the 2020 presidential election.His opponents in Wednesday night’s debate in the Western state of Nevada did not wait at all to attack his political record as the former mayor of New York City, allegations of sexism and sexual harassment, and his status as a multibillionaire.Before Wednesday, people across the United States were largely aware of Bloomberg’s campaign through television ads, which have saturated airwaves since November at a cost of nearly $400 million of his own money.But the debate put him on stage with the top contenders for the Democratic nomination for the first time, meaning he had to answer questions in real time about his past and why he should be the one to oppose President Donald Trump in November.From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas.The pushback began with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.“In order to beat Donald Trump, we’re going to need the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States. Mr. Bloomberg had policies in New York City of stop and frisk, which went after African American and Latino people in an outrageous way. That is not a way you’re going to grow voter turnout,” Sanders said.Bloomberg countered by casting doubt about the electability of Sanders, the front-runner in national polls.“If he goes and is the candidate, we will have Donald Trump for another four years, and we can’t stand that,” Bloomberg said.Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, left, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talk during a break at a Democratic presidential primary debate, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas.Whatever momentum Bloomberg may have felt from the first exchange of the debate was immediately challenged by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who said she will support whoever is the party’s eventual nominee but that the party would “take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse faced lesbians. And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg. Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop and frisk,” she said.While Bloomberg was the initial focus on the debate, as the night went on he was not as involved as the other candidates who each had taken part in eight debates dating back to June of last year.Warren, Sanders, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden all spoke more than Bloomberg. Tallies of speaking time showed the gap between the leader — Warren — and Bloomberg was about three minutes.From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC.Bloomberg and Warren sparred several times, including pointedly about the allegations against Bloomberg and his company of sexism and sexual harassment, and the number of non-disclosure agreements people involved in those accusations have signed, agreeing not to discuss them publicly.“None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told,” Bloomberg said. “These would be agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet. And that’s up to them. They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with it.”Warren countered that Bloomberg at that moment could announce he was releasing the signatories from those agreements in the name of transparency.Bloomberg declined to do so, saying the agreements were made consensually, “and they have every right to expect that they will stay private.”WATCH: Bloomberg Targeted in Debate DebutSorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline. Embed” />CopyHis campaign said the attacks against Bloomberg meant he was “a winner,” and that he “was the grownup in the room.”“He was just warming up tonight,” campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement. “We fully expect Mike will continue to build on tonight’s performance when he appears on the stage in South Carolina next Tuesday.”The same six candidates have qualified for that debate ahead of what will be the last contest Bloomberg decided to skip as he focused his first electoral efforts on the 14 states where voters will cast ballots on March 3.

В Україні сьогодні вшановують пам’ять Героїв Небесної сотні

В Україні 20 лютого у День Героїв Небесної сотні відбудуться заходи для вшанування загиблих учасників Революції гідності. Цього дня у Києві і в багатьох регіонах України проходитимуть поминальні акції.

Так, у столиці України вранці очікується хода гідності і поминальна панахида за жертвами розстрілів на Майдані, а ввечері акція під Офісом президента – в пам’ять про Героїв Небесної сотні і з нагадуванням, як кажуть організатори, що «Україна і досі бореться за ідеали Майдану на фронті».

«Революція 2013–2014 років відбулася ціною понад ста життів. Небесна сотня стала прикладом самопожертви в ім’я вищих ідеалів, одним із яких була гідність. Майдан перестав бути назвою місцевості. Він став символ Свободи. Саме тому Революцію Гідності, як і протестний рух 2004 року, і Революцію на граніті, можна вважати продовженням Української революції та визвольних змагань часів Другої світової війни», – йдеться в повідомленні Українського інституту національної пам’яті.

Останніми днями в Україні на публічному рівні згадують жертв розстрілів на Майдані. У період з 18 до 20 лютого 2014 року в центрі Києва загинули понад сто людей, найбільше – 20 лютого. Згодом загиблих учасників акцій протесту почали називати «Небесною сотнею». Серед загиблих були і більш ніж десяток силовиків.

Минулої і поточної доби бойовики 12 разів обстріляли позиції ЗСУ на Донбасі, поранений військовий – ООС

У штабі Операції об’єднаних сил повідомили, що минулої доби підтримувані Росією бойовики на Донбасі 11 разів відкривали вогонь в бік позицій Збройних сил України, від початку доби – один раз (біля Новомихайлівки).

Згідно з повідомленням, сепаратисти стріляли, зокрема, із забороненої із Мінськими угодами зброї.

Минулої доби через обстріли бойовиків зазнав поранення один український військовий, за поточну добу втрат немає, додали у штабі.

В угрупованні «ЛНР» звинуватили українських військових трьох обстрілах за минулу добу. Бойовики угруповання «ДНР» стверджують на своїх ресурсах, що військові ЗСУ обстріляли напередодні околиці окупованого Донецька.

Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської окупації Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці бойовиків. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці».

За даними ООН, від березня 2014-го до 31 жовтня 2019 року внаслідок збройного конфлікту на Донбасі загинули 13 000 – 13 200 людей.

Former Neo-Nazi Speaks on Ideology’s Dangers

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently called violent extremism motivated by race or ethnicity as a “top-level priority … on the same footing as ISIS.”  And these extremist groups are using Islamic State tactics to recruit new members, often young, impressionable, alienated teenagers, according to a former member of a hate group. Mil Arcega reports.

Trump Names US Ambassador to Germany, Robert Grenell, Acting Intelligence Chief

President Donald Trump has named ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a staunch Trump loyalist, as the acting director of national intelligence.”Rick has represented our country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him,” the president said in a brief tweet announcing his choice.The DNI oversees the entire U.S. intelligence community and also works closely with the director of Homeland Security.Grenell will keep his job as ambassador to Germany while serving as director of national intelligence, an administration official confirmed to VOA News. He is also the special envoy for peace negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo.Grenell would be the first openly gay Cabinet member in U.S. history.Because he would be acting Director of National Intelligence, Grenell does not need Senate confirmation, which is probably why Trump is putting him in the job in an acting capacity.Grenell has been a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, a newspaper columnist and television news commentator, and the founder of a media and public affairs operation.He has no direct experience in the intelligence community, but is regarded to be fiercely loyal to Trump and his policies.Grenell has been especially outspoken about what he says are the dangers of doing business with the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, urging Germany not to become a Huawei customer because of suspicions the company installs spyware in its products at the bidding of Beijing.Grenell will replace current acting DNI Joseph Macguire who took the job in a temporary capacity from Dan Coats who Trump fired last July.Trump has had a rocky relationship with his own intelligence community after it concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and also warned about the threat to national security by global warming. 

Proposal Would Overhaul Blocked Tennessee Voter Signup Law

Tennessee lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a new proposal to amend the state’s legally contentious voter-registration restrictions that are currently blocked from being enforced during the 2020 elections.Last year, Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed GOP-backed legislation that made Tennessee the first state in the country to fine registration groups for turning in too many incomplete signup forms. It also criminalized intentional infractions of other new rules with misdemeanor charges.FILE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State Address in the House Chamber in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 3, 2020.However, the law immediately prompted two lawsuits and sparked national criticism from those who argued that the law would suppress efforts to register minorities and other voters.A federal judge later blocked the implementation of the law as it awaits trial in February 2021, saying the law would have a “chilling effect” on organizations and individuals seeking to register voters.In the interim, Tennessee lawmakers on Wednesday decided to once again back new rules on how to sign up new voters.FILE – Tre Hargett, right, is sworn in as Tennessee secretary of state in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 15, 2009.The latest version would require the state to offer voluntary training on voter registration laws and require voter registration applications be submitted within 15 days of a voter registration drive. The measure would then prohibit the retention of voter information for non-political purposes, as well as require “cybersecurity to be considered” when certifying a voter registration system.”In the face of the federal injunction, these protections are better than no protection at all,” wrote Secretary of State Tre Hargett in a recent letter to lawmakers.Hargett, who had previously argued the original 2019 voter registration law would bolster election security, is submitting a separate bill this year that will criminalize “intentional dissemination of misinformation” surrounding the qualifications to vote, voter registration requirements, voter eligibility, and polling dates, times and locations.Under that proposal, it would also be a felony to tamper with voting systems, gain unauthorized access to voter registration databases, “willfully” substitute fake election results and “intentionally deface” an election website.’Encouraging’ changesThe proposals submitted Wednesday were both approved by the House Elections and Campaign Finance Subcommittee after almost no discussion or opposition. The bills must now pass the full House Local Committee before they can head to the House floor for consideration.FILE – Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, debates a proposal on the first day of the 2020 legislative session in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 14, 2020.If approved, the proposals would go into effect immediately — likely after Tennessee’s March 3 presidential primary, but ahead of the August state primary election.”Penalizing voter registration drives was a bad idea in the first place,” said Sen. Jeff Yarbro, a Democrat from Nashville. “It was predictably blocked in court because the legislature acted too rashly and thoughtlessly. We shouldn’t repeat the mistake by rushing through some fix without input from the civic groups affected.”However, at least one group who sued the state over the voter registration law described Wednesday’s changes as “encouraging.””It appears our litigation had an impact,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Preliminary review suggests the problem that led us to sue has been addressed.”2019 measureIn 2019, Tennessee lawmakers backed a measure allowing the state to fine groups if they submit 100 or more voter registration forms within a calendar year that lack a complete name, address, date of birth, declaration of eligibility and signature. Penalties can reach $10,000 per county where violations occur if more than 500 incomplete forms are submitted. The measure went on to outlaw out-of-state poll watchers.The misdemeanor penalties would kick in if groups intentionally turn in forms after new deadlines, pay people based on quotas, fail to fill out state registration, don’t undergo training, and more.Only paid groups could be penalized under the law, though the groups’ legal filings contend the distinction is murky due to their use of grant money and stipends for workers in certain cases.
 

Scientist Accused of Spying for Russia Is Mexican Hometown Hero 

A Mexican microbiologist accused of spying for Russia in Miami is considered a benefactor in his native Oaxaca state, the mayor of his hometown said Wednesday, and he holds positions with at least two prominent universities. Mayor Hazael Matus said scientist Hector Alejandro Cabrera has helped set up science projects in his hometown of El Espinal and had been considered a contender for a Nobel Prize in medicine; Cabrera was known for his work on cardiac treatments and was hoping to produce an ointment to help heal wounds in diabetics in his home state. It is very strange for this to happen because he is a very altruistic person with a lot of social conscience. He helped people and all this seems strange, Matus said. “We don’t know what happened, but I bet it is a confusion or an attack for scientific reasons. He may have discovered something that upset some people or some business interests.” U.S. authorities said Tuesday that Cabrera had been hired by a Russian government official to locate the vehicle of a U.S. government source in the Miami area and inform the Russian of its location. The U.S. government source, who might be better described as an informant, was not identified. It was also unclear why a Mexican scientist based in Singapore might have been chosen for such a mission. Two wivesBut U.S. authorities revealed in an indictment that Cabrera had a Mexican wife and simultaneously also had another Russian wife. The Russian wife had traveled back to her home country in March to arrange some documents, but was then prevented by Russian authorities from leaving the country, in what may have been part of an effort by the Russians to pressure Cabrera into working for them. Cabrera was arrested and charged with acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government — in this case, Russia — without notifying the U.S. attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same, according to the Justice Department. A pretrial detention hearing was set for Friday in U.S. Magistrate Court in Miami and arraignment for March 3 in the same court. Cabrera is listed as an associate professor at the medical school jointly run by Duke University and the National University of Singapore. He also was appointed director in 2018 of the FEMSA Biotechnology Center at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in northern Mexico, which said he earned doctorates in molecular microbiology in Russia and molecular cardiology in Germany. Matus, the mayor, described Cabrera as a hometown boy who made good, going abroad to study for his graduate degrees. But he said Cabrera never forgot his hometown of 9,500 and helped organize the scientific community to assist in rebuilding houses in El Espinal after a magnitude 8.1 quake hit on September 7, 2017, and a 6.1 temblor struck two weeks later. The town has a large Zapotec indigenous community. Development meetings setCabrera had been scheduled to attend meetings in Mexico on Monday about a series of research centers that he was helping to establish in El Espinal as part of the government’s huge Trans-Isthmus development project, which is meant to upgrade rail links between the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico through Mexico’s narrow Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The $430 million project is one of the infrastructure priorities of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Cabrera was a leading promoter of El Espinal’s role in the project, helping recruit Mexican universities and government agencies to set up research centers on medicine, seismology, logistics and other topics there. According to the Justice Department, a Russian government official recruited Cabrera in 2019. The Russian official later directed him to rent a specific property in Miami-Dade County, Florida, but not in his own name, the Justice Department said. Cabrera traveled twice to Moscow to meet with the official, the Justice Department said, and during the second meeting he received a physical description of the U.S. government source’s vehicle. The Russian official told Cabrera to locate the car, obtain the source’s vehicle license plate number, and note the physical location of the source’s vehicle with the goal of providing that information in April or May. The Justice Department said Cabrera, having traveled from Mexico City to Miami on February 13, attracted the attention of a security guard where the U.S. government source resided because his rental car entered the premises while tailgating another vehicle. According to the indictment, Cabrera asked his Mexican wife, who accompanied him, to take a photo of the source’s vehicle and license plate — a step taken for convenience even though the Russian official had told him not to take a photo — just to write the number down. U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped Cabrera and his wife when they appeared at Miami’s airport Sunday night to return to Mexico City. Cabrera admitted to law enforcement officers that he was directed by a Russian government official to conduct the operation, the Justice Department said.