US Revokes Visa of Chief Prosecutor of International Court

Cindy Saine at the State Department and Margaret Besheer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

The United States has revoked the visa of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, over a possible investigation of U.S. soldiers’ actions in Afghanistan.

Bensouda’s office said Friday that U.S. authorities revoked the prosecutor’s visa for entry into the United States, and a U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed the action.

The spokesperson said Friday, “The United States will take the necessary steps to protect its sovereignty and to protect our people from unjust investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court [ICC].”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that the United States would revoke or deny visas to ICC staff investigating possible war crimes by U.S. forces.

The United States in not a member of the ICC, along with Russia and China.

Bensouda’s office said that Bensouda, a Gambian national, would exercise her duties as ICC prosecutor “without fear or favor.”

It said the U.S. decision was not expected to impact Bensouda’s travels to the United Nations in New York where she gives regular briefings to the U.N. Security Council.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “We very much hope [the United States] will honor the agreement” for ICC staff members to travel to the United Nations. 

Bensouda is expected to brief the U.N. Security Council next month about her investigations in Libya. 

ICC judges have been reviewing materials on possible war crimes committed by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, but have yet to make a decision on whether to open a formal investigation into the matter.

The ICC, located in The Hague, prosecutes crimes only when other nations are unwilling or unable to bring suspects to justice.

Feelings Mixed in Texas City on Trump Border Shutdown Threat

Iacopo Luzi and Laura Sepulveda from VOA’s LATAM service and White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara contributed to this report.

WASHINGTON — This week U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexico or close its border with the United States entirely “if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop.”

The Trump administration has made strengthening border security a centerpiece of its domestic policy, even though public opinion polls show Americans are roughly split over substantially expanding a wall along the border. 

In El Paso, Texas, a border town across the U.S.-Mexico border from Ciudad Juárez, many residents also express mixed feelings about a border closure that would directly impact their lives more than those of most Americans. 

Last year, 7 million pedestrians crossed the U.S. border at the El Paso international bridges to either work or study, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Vehicles with passengers reached the 22 million mark. 

Cars, classes and tourists

For graphic design student Paula Lopez, who goes to school in El Paso but lives in Ciudad Juarez, shutting down the pedestrian crossing could affect her education.

“If they close the border, I will have to miss my classes and I am allowed a maximum of five absences,” Lopez said. 

Oscar Lira, an intensive care nurse at a medical center in El Paso, says a potential closure would affect people’s health and job security.

“In fact, the treatments would be worse for everyone,” Lira said, adding that a lot of health workers in El Paso live in Ciudad Juarez, which means if they can’t come to work, the extra services would fall to those on the U.S. side. 

Even local Republican supporters of the president have expressed concerns. Adolpho Telles, El Paso County Republican Party chairman, was “very concerned” that even a partial closure of the border could hurt the Texas border town.

“People keep joking that we’re going to run out of avocados here in a couple weeks … but that’s not the important part. They [people living across the border] make wire harnesses, component parts for vehicles. They come over here. They ship them east, and then on the East Coast to use, to finish the manufacturing cycle,” Telles said. 

For years, American businesses have restructured their manufacturing  so that many products are made on both sides of the border. Border closures could have far-reaching impacts on a wide range of businesses. 

Roger Noriega of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington-based policy research group, said the president’s closure threat sows doubt among regional partners and businesses. And he says it remains unclear how it would work.  

“If it were absolutely dire emergencies, conceivably, you could say that people can enter … [but] “you need people moving across that border for commercial reasons for tourism, really, in both directions,” Noriega said.

Telles, however, still agrees “there’s going to have to be some closures in certain areas.”  

He notes U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are “stretched thin,” and that closures in certain areas could mean reassigning some officers “so they can get better control of the areas and control [of] the people that are trying to come across the border.”

ВООЗ: тривалість життя людей збільшується у всьому світі

Тривалість життя у всьому світі продовжує збільшуватися, однак тенденція, що жінки живуть довше, зберігається. Про це мовиться у доповіді Всесвітньої організації охорони здоров’я (ВООЗ) від 4 квітня.

Зазначається, що в період між 2000-м та 2016-м роками глобальна тривалість життя збільшилася на 5,5 років – з 66,5 до 72,0 років.

Різницю між тривалістю життя чоловіків та жінок у ВООЗ пояснюють зокрема тим, що перші рідше звертаються до лікарів. Окрім того, чоловіки у чотири рази частіше стають жертвами вбивств та у два рази частіше гинуть внаслідок аварій на дорогах.

У ВООЗ додали, що чоловіки також частіше вдаються до самогубств і більшою мірою страждають унаслідок серцево-судинних захворювань

«Глобальні показники смертності від самогубств у 2016 році були на 75% вищі у чоловіків, ніж у жінок», – зазначили експерти.

При цьому різниця у тривалості життя жінок і чоловіків менша в країнах, де обмежений доступ до медичної допомоги.

Бокс: Усик проведе перший бій у суперважкій вазі 25 травня

Український боксер, чемпіон світу за версіями WBC, WBO, IBF у важкій вазі Олександр Усик проведе свій дебютний поєдинок у суперважкій вазі проти камерунця Карлоса Такама 25 травня. Про це повідомляє промоутерська компанія Matchroom Boxing.

Поєдинок відбудеться в американському місті Оксон-Гілл в штаті Меріленд на арені MGM National Harbor. Бой транслюватиме стрімінгова платформа DAZN.

Як зазначив у коментарі виданню Tribuna.com промоутер Усика Олександр Красюк, в Україні поєдинки Усика й надалі транслюватиме «Інтер».

У 2018 році українець переміг у всіх своїх трьох поєдинках: у січні він об’єднав чемпіонські пояси WBO і WBC в бою з латвійцем Майрісом Брієдесом, у липні Усик став абсолютним чемпіоном світу у ваговій категорії до 90,7 кілограма та переможцем Всесвітньої боксерської суперсерії в поєдинку з росіянином Муратом Гассієвим, а в листопаді захистив свої титули, коли нокаутував британця Тоні Белью.

Після цього він вирішив перейти у надважку вагу та офіційно позбувся звання абсолютного чемпіона світу в першій важкій вазі.

US Acknowledges 2 Civilians Killed in 2018 Somalia Airstrike

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) says new information reveals a woman and child were killed last year in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia, the first civilian casualties acknowledged in the U.S. military’s war against Islamist militants there.

The AFRICOM director of operations, Marine Major General Gregg Olson, said Friday that an ongoing review uncovered the civilian deaths, which went unreported for nearly a year.

“We follow the law of armed conflict and regret that this incident resulted in the loss of two innocent lives,” Olson told reporters in a teleconference. “AFRICOM is committed to transparency, and we have a solemn obligation to … the Somali people we’re trying to protect.”

Olson said AFRICOM is working with the U.S. embassy in Somalia on a way forward to potentially provide restitution for the family of the woman and child.

Targeting al-Shabab

On April 1, 2018, a U.S. drone strike near the town of El Burr in central Somalia killed what U.S. officials initially said were five al-Shabab militants in a vehicle.

The command received an allegation of civilian casualties at the time, but determined that it was not credible.

About a week later, an “AFRICOM subordinate unit conducting counterterrorism operation in Somalia” received new information, Olson said, which prompted the team to open up its investigation.

That investigation concluded that the strike 12 months ago had actually killed the woman and child along with four al-Shabab militants.

AFRICOM said it was only informed of the new information, investigation, and discovery of civilian casualties last week, after the commander of AFRICOM, Marine General Thomas Waldhauser, launched an audit of all U.S. airstrikes in Somalia since 2017.

Officials say the audit was prompted by a report by Amnesty International, which alleged that five U.S. strikes in Somalia killed at least 14 civilians, along with questions from Congress.

The command strongly rejected the rights group’s conclusions in the report.

U.S. Africa Command at the time said it looked at the five Amnesty allegations and concluded there were no civilian casualties in four of them. AFRICOM said it did not even conduct a strike at the time and place of one of the locations referenced in the report.

The strike that killed the woman and child was not one of those detailed by Amnesty International.

The United States has conducted airstrikes against al-Shabab since 2011 in support of Somalia’s government.

Daphne Eviatar, the director of the Security with Human Rights program at Amnesty International USA, Friday said, “AFRICOM’s acknowledgement of civilian casualties is an important step forward from their previous denials of any civilian deaths or injuries from U.S. airstrikes in Somalia.”

US Envoy Discusses Afghan Peace With Pakistani Leaders

The U.S. envoy assigned to promote a negotiated resolution to the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan has held talks with top officials in neighboring Pakistan and briefed them on his recent meetings with Afghan and Taliban leaders.

Afghan-born diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad landed Friday in Islamabad after spending five days in Kabul. During his stay in the Afghan capital, he interacted with government officials, opposition politicians and civil society representatives to encourage them to form a representative team of negotiators for a possible intra-Afghan peace dialogue with the Taliban.

Pakistani officials said Khalilzad held delegation-level talks with top foreign ministry officials and that Islamabad reiterated its commitment to his peace mission. According to officials, Khalilzad said an intra-Afghan dialogue “was a vital component” of the reconciliation process. The U.S. envoy later met with the Pakistani military chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, said an army statement.

Khalilzad’s team has held five meetings with Taliban representatives, mostly in Qatar, since late last year to discuss a possible U.S. troop drawdown from Afghanistan – in return for assurances that areas under the insurgent group’s control would not be allowed to become a haven again for international terrorist groups.

Pakistan takes credit for arranging ongoing U.S.-Taliban talks. Afghan and U.S. officials have long accused the neighboring country of sheltering Taliban leaders and covertly supporting the insurgents, charges Pakistani officials reject.

Khalilzad and Taliban delegates early last month reached a preliminary draft agreement on troop withdrawal and counterterrorism guarantees after 16 days of marathon talks in Qatar. They are expected to resume talks later this month to try to finalize the deal.

Observers remain skeptical on whether Khalilzad’s engagements with the insurgents will lead to an intra-Afghan dialogue to bring an end to Washington’s longest ever overseas military intervention. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday described the war as “unfortunate” and “ridiculous.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani maintains that his elected government must lead peace talks with the Taliban. Theinsurgent group refuses to talk because it rejects the Afghan government as an illegal entity and a product of

Pakistan’s alleged links with the Taliban also have been at the center of tension with the Ghani government.

US Sounds Warning as SE Asia Countries Choose Huawei for 5G

Xu Ning from VOA Mandarin and reporter Rob Garver contributed to this report.

STATE DEPARTMENT — The United States is acknowledging that many countries are not heeding warnings about the possible security risks in allowing Chinese tech giant Huawei to build the next generation of high-speech wireless networks known as 5G.

The trend is particularly clear in Southeast Asia, where even U.S. allies are racing ahead to partner with Huawei and launch 5G networks in the coming years.

In February, Thailand launched a Huawei 5G test network in Chonburi. Thai authorities indicated that the affordability of Huawei’s 5G services offset potential concerns over cybersecurity.

In the Philippines, its Globe Telecom is rolling out the nation’s 5G network in partnership with Huawei.

In Malaysia, the country’s leading communications and digital services company Maxis signed a memorandum of understanding with Huawei to cooperate and accelerate 5G development.

This week, six former top U.S. military officials, including two who were commanders for the U.S. Pacific Command, issued a blunt warning of a future where a Chinese-developed 5G network could be widely adopted among American allies.

“There is reason for concern that in the future the U.S. will not be able to use networks that rely on Chinese technology for military operations in the territories of traditional U.S. allies or emerging partners in Europe, Asia and beyond,” said the former military leaders in a statement.

“The immense bandwidth and access potential inherent in commercial 5G systems means effective military operations in the future could benefit from military data being pushed over these networks,” they added.

And U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned some European countries could soon find themselves cut off from U.S. intelligence and other critical information if they continue to cultivate relationships with Chinese technology firms.

“We’ve done our risk analysis,” Pompeo said, following a NATO ministerial meeting in Washington.  “We have now shared that with our NATO partners, with countries all around the world. We’ve made clear that if the risk exceeds the threshold for the United States, we simply won’t be able to share that information any longer.”

For U.S. officials, the threat posed by a Chinese-built communication network could not be clearer.

“Huawei is not a state-owned enterprise. But Huawei is a Chinese company and what we do know is several things. One, broadly speaking, Chinese companies will respond to requests for demands from the Chinese government. Telecommunications is a vital part of national backbones. It has military security implications. It has financial and economic implications,” said Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow of Washington-based Heritage Foundation.

​Cheap. Fast. Secure?

Huawei insists that it would not turn information over to Chinese authorities if they demanded it, but few outside analysts believe any Chinese company would stand up the country’s authoritarian government. U.S. officials are even more direct. 

“What we do is in our national interests, we see with companies like Huawei that are supported, if not directed, by central authorities in China. We see challenges and potential threats to the sanctity, the security of our systems in our networks, and the best we can do with our friends and partners and allies, is to share our information, share our experience,” Patrick Murphy, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told VOA at a recent seminar at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

That message clearly has had a mixed reception, especially after years when the United States’ vast electronic eavesdropping capabilities have drawn criticism.

Richard Kramer, founder of Arete, a technology research firm based in London, said leaks from U.S. security agencies in recent years have revealed close cooperation between the federal government and U.S. telecoms and tech firms around intelligence gathering.

The U.S. position, he said, seems to be: “We don’t want China to spy on us, but we want to be able to spy on them.”

Will pressure backfire?

Even in countries where there are open political concerns over the growing power of Chinese influence, too much U.S. pressure could backfire, said Anthony Nelson, Director of the East Asia and Pacific practice at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global business strategy firm.

“Southeast Asian countries that are looking to balance their military relationships with the U.S. and China are not motivated by Washington’s security concerns, with the notable exception of Vietnam,” Nelson said.

Vietnam has had tensions with China in recent years over disputed territory and trade issues.  Vietnamese Ambassador to the U.S., Ha Kim Ngoc, told VOA that all companies operating in the country need to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty.

“We have one principle: They need to respect our sovereignty, national sovereignty,” said the ambassador at the recent USIP event.

«Меморіал» вимагає звільнити заарештованих після масових обшуків кримських татар

Російський правозахисний центр «Меморіал» опублікував заяву з вимогою до російської влади звільнити затриманих під час масових обшуків у Криму 27 березня кримськотатарських активістів.

«Правозахисний центр «Меморіал» вимагає негайного звільнення 24-ох жителів Криму, закликає російське громадянське суспільство і світову спільноту посилювати тиск на російську владу з вимогою їх звільнення», – йдеться в заяві.

Правозахисники вважають безпідставним визнання «Хізб ут-Тахрір» терористичною організацією в Росії та звертають увагу на те, що вона не заборонена в Україні.

«І саме кримінальне переслідування, і вивезення позбавлених волі жителів з Криму порушують норми міжнародного гуманітарного права і з цієї причини особливо неприйнятні. У цьому випадку ці норми порушені особливо кричуще: більшість затриманих, якщо не всі, вже вивезені за межі Криму», – зазначили в «Меморіалі».

У правозахисному центрі звертають увагу на те, що багато хто із затриманих пов’язані з громадською ініціативою «Кримська солідарність», яка займається висвітленням переслідувань у Криму і допомогою заарештованим та їхнім сім’ям.

«Люди, які здійснювали інформаційну підтримку жертв репресій, які організовували передачі в’язням, допомогу їхнім родинам, регулярно відвідували суди у політичних справах, тепер самі опинилися за ґратами. Ми не знаємо, чи мали затримані якесь відношення до «Хізб ут-Тахрір», але в цій ситуації досить імовірним видається, що це зручне і вже звичне обвинувачення стало інструментом для придушення громадської солідарності і громадянської активності жителів Криму, в першу чергу, кримських татар», – йдеться у заяві.

Контрольований Росією суд в столиці Криму Сімферополі 29 березня взяв під арешт до 15 травня 23 кримських татар за звинуваченням у належності до забороненої в Росії, а після окупації Криму і на його території, організації «Хізб ут-Тахрір». Цього ж дня заарештованих кримських татар вивезли до Росії.

Крім того, досі не встановлене місце перебування Едема Яячикова, 24-го активіста, до будівлі якого 27 березня приходили російські силовики.

США і ЄС засудили арешти кримськотатарських активістів і закликали Росію негайно їх звільнити.

Відтоді, як Росія захопила український півострів Крим у 2014 році, російська влада переслідує кримських татар за ймовірну причетність до руху «Хізб ут-Тахрір». Це глобальна організація, що базується в Лондоні і прагне об’єднати всі мусульманські країни в ісламський «халіфат». В Україні, якій належить окупований Росією Крим, вона є легальною.

«Укрзалізниця» призначила ще 13 поїздів на Великодні й травневі свята

Про додаткові 13 поїздів на Великодні й травневі свята повідомили 5 квітня в «Укрзалізниці». За даними перевізника, загалом на сьогодні призначені 54 додаткових рейси.

За даними «Укрзалізниці», найбільше поїздів додали в західному та південному напрямках.

«Також призначені додаткові рейси для поїздів № 670 Кременчук – Бахмач, № 774 Київ – Шостка, № 782/781 Київ – Черкаси, № 779/780 Суми – Київ – Вінниця та № 111/112 Харків – Львів», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Завдяки Великодню 28 квітня та Дню праці 1 травня в українців буде 5 вихідних поспіль.