Чорногорія: тисячі людей мітингують з вимогою відставки президента та уряду

Тисячі людей вийшли на вулиці у Чорногорії, щоб вимагати відставки уряду та президента Міло Джукановича через звинувачення в корупції.

Хода 16 березня пройшла через цетр Подгориці, столиці країни, скандуючи «Міло злодій» і несучи прапори з написом «Ні – злочину» або «Бунтуй»

Протест був організований після того, як колишній ключовий союзник Джукановича Душко Кнежевич звинуватив президента і його правлячу «Демократичну партію соціалістів» у неправомірних фінансових відносинах і корупції. Джуканович усе заперечує.

Напередодні влада звинуватила колишнього банкіра Душко Кнежевича у відмиванні грошей і шахрайстві, і той утік з країни.

На президентських виборах 15 березня минулого року 56-річний Джуканович набрав майже 54 відсотки голосів виборців, ставши таким чином удруге президентом країни. Колишній комуніст, він став наймолодшим прем’єр-міністром у Європі 1991 року, коли йому було 29 років. Опозиція закидає Джукановичу заохочення кумівства у владі та корупцію.

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За останні два роки низка іноземних компаній відкрили в Україні свої підприємства – Маркарова

Міністр фінансів України Оксана Маркарова в ефірі Радіо Свобода розповіла, що за останні два роки низка іноземних компаній відкрили в Україні свої підприємства.

Найбільше – на західній Україні, зокрема, у Львівській, Тернопільській та Івано-Франківській областях, наголосила вона.

«Два роки тому ми активно намагалися залучити інвестиції, і нам вдалося у тому ж західному регіоні (утворити – ред.) цілі конгломерати, скажімо, ланцюжки доданої вартості німецької автомобільної промисловості, японська Fujikura, дуже багато менших німецьких компаній, які відкрили свої підприємства. І у них зараз проблема – вони шукають робочу силу. Це нові робочі місця», – зазначила Маркарова.

Посилаючись на дані офісу UkraineInvest, міністр фінансів наголосила, що провідні німецькі автомобілі – Volkswagen чи BMW – містять українські запчастини.

«Зараз практично немає керма німецьких автомобілів, у таких авто як Volkswagen чи BMW, без запчастин, які зроблені в Україні. Тому це дуже… Фактично ці підприємства на західній Україні вже вбудовуються у європейські ланцюжки промисловості», – розповіла Маркарова.

Читайте також: Уже три роки поспіль економіка України зростає – міністр фінансів Маркарова

Раніше стало відомо, що дочірнє підприємство французької нафтогазової компанії Total – Total Eren – разом із норвезькою компанією NBT інвестуватимуть у будівництво вітрового парку в Україні. Total Eren планує протягом 18 місяців вкласти в будівництво парку потужністю в 250 мегаватів понад 350 мільйонів євро.

 

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100 порожніх стільців: у Мюнхені мітингували на підтримку «в’язнів Кремля»

У центрі німецького Мюнхена, де нині триває міжнародна конференція з безпеки, провели акцію на підтримку українців, затриманих або ув’язнених в Росії з політичних мотивів. Про це повідомляє проект Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії з посиланням на українське консульство у Німеччині.

Учасники принесли на площу 100 стільців, до кожного з яких прикріпили табличку з іменем одного з «в’язнів Кремля» у Росії або акнексованому нею Криму, і стали навколо із плакатами з вимогою їхнього звільнення.

На акцію також прийшов міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін.

Із 15 лютого і впродовж вихідних у Мюнхені проходитиме Мюнхенська безпекова конференція. Лідери держав і організацій обговорюватимуть питання, як зміцнити світову безпеку в умовах збройних конфліктів, в тому числі – в Україні.

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Gone in a New York Minute: How the Amazon Deal Fell Apart

In early November, word began to leak that Amazon was serious about choosing New York to build a giant new campus. The city was eager to lure the company and its thousands of high-paying tech jobs, offering billions in tax incentives and lighting the Empire State Building in Amazon orange.

Even Governor Andrew Cuomo got in on the action: “I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s what it takes,” he joked at the time.

Then Amazon made it official: It chose the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens to build a $2.5 billion campus that could house 25,000 workers, in addition to new offices planned for northern Virginia. Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Democrats who have been political adversaries for years, trumpeted the decision as a major coup after edging out more than 230 other proposals.

But what they didn’t expect was the protests, the hostile public hearings and the disparaging tweets that would come in the next three months, eventually leading to Amazon’s dramatic Valentine’s Day breakup with New York.

Immediately after Amazon’s Nov. 12 announcement, criticism started to pour in. The deal included $1.5 billion in special tax breaks and grants for the company, but a closer look at the total package revealed it to be worth at least $2.8 billion. Some of the same politicians who had signed a letter to woo Amazon were now balking at the tax incentives.

“Offering massive corporate welfare from scarce public resources to one of the wealthiest corporations in the world at a time of great need in our state is just wrong,” said New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris and New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Democrats who represent the Long Island City area, in a joint statement.

The next day, CEO Jeff Bezos was on the cover of The New York Post in a cartoon-like illustration, hanging out of a helicopter, holding money bags in each hand, with cash billowing above the skyline. “QUEENS RANSOM,” the headline screamed. The New York Times editorial board, meanwhile, called the deal a “bad bargain” for the city: “We won’t know for 10 years whether the promised 25,000 jobs will materialize,” it said.

Anti-Amazon rallies were planned for the next week. Protesters stormed a New York Amazon bookstore on the day after Thanksgiving and then went to a rally on the steps of a courthouse near the site of the new headquarters in the pouring rain. Some held cardboard boxes with Amazon’s smile logo turned upside down.

In this Nov. 14, 2018 file photo, protesters hold up anti-Amazon signs during a coalition rally and press conference of elected officials, community organizations and unions opposing Amazon headquarters getting subsidies to locate in New York.

They had a long list of grievances: the deal was done secretively; Amazon, one of the world’s most valuable companies, didn’t need nearly $3 billion in tax incentives; rising rents could push people out of the neighborhood; and the company was opposed to unionization.

The helipad kept coming up, too: Amazon, in its deal with the city, was promised it could build a spot to land a helicopter on or near the new offices.

At the first public hearing in December, which turned into a hostile, three-hour interrogation of two Amazon executives by city lawmakers, the helipad was mentioned more than a dozen times. The image of high-paid executives buzzing by a nearby low-income housing project became a symbol of corporate greed.

Queens residents soon found postcards from Amazon in their mailboxes, trumpeting the benefits of the project. Gianaris sent his own version, calling the company “Scamazon” and urging people to call Bezos and tell him to stay in Seattle.

At a second city council hearing in January, Amazon’s vice president for public policy, Brian Huseman, subtly suggested that perhaps the company’s decision to come to New York could be reversed.

“We want to invest in a community that wants us,” he said.

Then came a sign that Amazon’s opponents might actually succeed in derailing the deal: In early February, Gianaris was tapped for a seat on a little-known state panel that often has to approve state funding for big economic development projects. That meant if Amazon’s deal went before the board, Gianaris could kill it.

“I’m not looking to negotiate a better deal,” Gianaris said at the time. “I am against the deal that has been proposed.”

Cuomo had the power to block Gianaris’ appointment, but he didn’t indicate whether he would take that step.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s own doubts about the project started to show. On Feb. 8, The Washington Post reported that the company was having second thoughts about the Queens location.

On Wednesday, Cuomo brokered a meeting with four top Amazon executives and the leaders of three unions critical of the deal. The union leaders walked away with the impression that the parties had an agreed upon framework for further negotiations, said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union.

“We had a good conversation. We talked about next steps. We shook hands,” Appelbaum said.

An Amazon representative did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The final blow landed Thursday, when Amazon announced on a blog post that it was backing out, surprising the mayor, who had spoken to an Amazon executive Monday night and received “no indication” that the company would bail.

Amazon still expected the deal to be approved, according to a source familiar with Amazon’s thinking, but that the constant criticism from politicians didn’t make sense for the company to grow there.

“I was flabbergasted,” De Blasio said. “Why on earth after all of the effort we all put in would you simply walk away?”

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Pence Rebukes Europe Over Iran, Venezuela, Russia Links

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence strongly criticized European allies Saturday for their stance on Iran and Venezuela, in a speech at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

“The time has come for our European partners to stop undermining U.S. sanctions against this murderous, revolutionary regime. The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Pence told delegates.

He also called on allies to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. More than 20 European states have done so, but the European Union has stopped short of fully recognizing Guaido as president. Disputed president Nicholas Maduro is widely accused of vote-rigging to win last years’ election, while the country is mired in poverty and hyperinflation.

“Once more the Old World can take a strong stand in support of freedom in the New World. Today we call on the European Union to step forward for freedom and recognize Juan Guaido as the only legitimate president of Venezuela,” Pence said.

China repeatedly was singled out by the vice president as a threat to the United States and its allies.

“The United States has also been very clear with our security partners on the threat posed by Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies, as Chinese law requires them to provide Beijing’s vast security apparatus with access to any data that touches their network or equipment.”

Pence repeated Washington’s calls for European NATO allies to do more to meet their military spending targets — and cautioned against developing economic links with Moscow, such as the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline currently under construction between Russia and Germany.

“We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East,” Pence said.

Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took the stage later Saturday, and said Europe was losing out because of its stance on Russia.

“At a time when the Europeans allowed to draw themselves into a senseless standoff with Russia and incurred multi-billion-dollar losses from the sanctions pushed for from overseas, the world is rapidly changing. Actually, the EU has lost its monopoly on the regional integration agenda,” Lavrov said.

China’s senior delegate did not respond directly to the accusations made by Vice President Pence, but instead he offered a defense of multilateralism.

“Our world stands at a crossroads and faces a consequential choice between unilateralism and multilateralism, conflict and dialogue, isolation and openness,” Yang Jiechi, a senior member of the politburo and a former Chinese ambassador to the U.S., told delegates.

Those sentiments were earlier echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who strongly criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that Europe was taking advantage of America on trade.

The Munich Security Conference is seen as a key annual forum for world leaders to discuss global security concerns and conflicts — both in public and in private — in dozens of closed-door meetings taking place inside the venue.

The atmosphere this year is one of apprehension, according to analyst Florence Gaub of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

“There is still a lot of grief over the old order being gone where everything was much more predictable, or at least appeared to be more predictable. So that’s slowly setting in,” said Gaub.

The tone of the conference speeches suggests that even among allies, tensions over a changing world order are no closer to being solved.

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Vatican Expels Former US Cardinal McCarrick

The Vatican said Saturday that Pope Francis has defrocked disgraced former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

In July of last year, Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals following allegations he had sexually abused minor and adult seminarians over a period of decades.

The Vatican said in a statement that in January 2019 it had found McCarrick guilty of “. . . solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.” (The Sixth Commandment says ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’ and is one of the Ten Commandments the Bible says were given by God.  The Commandments are fundamental to Judaism and Christianity.)

McCarrick appealed the decision expelling him from the priesthood, but it was upheld and McCarrick was notified of the decision Friday. .

The Vatican statement said its decision “is definitive and admits of no further recourse or appeal.”

McCarrick had been a highly respected and longtime ambassador of the Catholic Church was was a confident of popes and U.S. presidents.

The 88-year-old McCarrick was ordained a priest in 1958.  His appointments included:  auxiliary bishop of New York, bishop of Metuchen, archbishop of Newark, and archbishop of Washington.  

In 2001, McCarrick became a cardinal.

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Moscow Court Extends Arrest of US Investor Accused of Fraud

A Russian court has decided to prolong the detention of American investor Michael Calvey, founder of Baring Vostok Capital Partners, a Moscow-based private equity group.

Late Friday the court moved to extend Calvey’s arrest for at least 72 hours and called for a second hearing Saturday.

Four other defendants in the case have been ordered to remain in pretrial custody for two months.

A spokeswoman for the Moscow district court Friday announced that Calvey had been detained along with other members of the firm Thursday on suspicion of stealing $37.5 million (2.5 billion rubles), a charge that carries of a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Private equity group partner

Calvey, 51, is a senior partner who founded Baring Vostok in 1994. According to the firm’s website, the private equity group holds more than $3.5 billion in committed capital and is a controlling shareholder in Russia’s Vostochny Bank, which focuses on Siberian and Far Eastern markets.

A statement on the Baring Vostok website said the company “believes that the detention of its employees and the charges that have been brought are a result of a conflict with shareholders of Vostochniy [sic] Bank. We have full confidence in the legality of our employees’ actions and will vigorously defend their rights. Baring Vostok’s activities in the Russian Federation are fully compliant with all applicable laws.”

Before launching Baring Vostok, Calvey worked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and for Salomon Brothers. Since arriving in Moscow in the mid-1990s, he’s become a prominent and highly visible member of Moscow investment community. He is a board member of the Washington-based Atlantic Council.

​Pleas from investment community 

The announcement of Calvey’s detention sent shockwaves through the international investment community, prompting numerous pleas for his immediate release.

Herman Gref, head of Sberbank, Russia’s biggest state bank, issued a statement calling Calvey a “decent, honest man,” while Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s $10 billion sovereign wealth fund and a close contact of Russian President Vladimir Putin, described Calvey as “committed to the highest ethical standards accepted in the investment community.”

Kremlin officials Friday said Putin wasn’t aware of the charges being brought against Calvey.

“We are aware that a U.S. citizen was arrested on February 14, 2019, in Russia, a State Department spokesperson said Friday. “We have no higher priority than the protection of U.S. citizens abroad. Due to privacy considerations, we do not have any additional information at this time.”

Calvey is the third Westerner to face prosecution in Russia since Dec. 31, when American citizen Paul Whelan, a former Marine, was jailed on accusations of spying. Last week a Russian court sentenced Dennis Christensen, a Danish adherent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion, to six years in prison for “organizing the activity of an extremist organization.”

Although Russia has jailed foreign investors who were vocal opponents of the Kremlin, Calvey has no such record of public political opinions.

Russia is “a do-it-yourself market,” Calvey told The Washington Post in 2011. “You can’t rely on outside service providers.”

In that interview, Calvey said his group operates with 20 investors, four full-time lawyers and three government relations managers, along with a host of accountants and administrative support. At that time, all 10 of his partners were Russian nationals.

“International firms aren’t equipped for Russia,” he told the Post. “And they usually have a low tolerance threshold for uncertainty and no sense of humor for Russian surprises,” which he described as surprise audits, seizure of assets for back taxes, and sudden, sometimes seemingly arbitrary, business license reviews.

‘The final straw’

Vocal Kremlin critic and Hermitage Capital co-founder Bill Browder was denied entry into Russian in 2005 after his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, began investigating governmental misconduct and corruption in response to suspicious tax evasion charges brought against Hermitage by Russia’s Interior Ministry.

Magnitsky died under suspicious circumstances in Russian custody in 2009.

“The arrest of Mike Calvey in Moscow should be the final straw that Russia is an entirely corrupt and [uninvestable] country,” Browder said in a tweet Friday. “Of all the people I knew in Moscow, Mike played by their rules, kept his head down and never criticized the government.”

Pete Cobus is VOA’s acting Moscow correspondent. State Department correspondent Nike Ching contributed reporting from Washington. Some information is from Reuters.

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Минулої доби бойовики 9 разів обстріляли позиції ЗСУ, один військовий загинув – штаб

Упродовж минулої доби, 15 лютого, бойовики дев’ять разів порушили режим припинення вогню, шість разів застосувавши заборонене Мінськими домовленостями озброєння. Про це повідомили у штабі операції Об’єднаних сил.

«Загалом противник випустив по позиціях наших військ 48 мін калібрів 120 та 82 мм», – мовиться у повідомленні.

Зазначається, що внаслідок обстрілів один військовий загинув, двоє отримали поранення.

«Підрозділи, що обороняються, подавляли ворожий вогонь застосуванням чергових вогневих засобів. За даними розвідки, 15 лютого сім окупантів знищено та шість поранено Від початку поточної доби ворог вогонь не відкривав», – повідомили у штабі.

У збройному угрупованні «ЛНР» заявили про нібито дев’ять обстрілів з боку українських військових.

Тристороння контактна група щодо врегулювання ситуації на Донбасі оголосила про чергове «безстрокове і стале» припинення вогню, починаючи з півночі 29 грудня 2018 року, цього разу з нагоди новорічних і різдвяних свят. Воно було порушене майже відразу після заявленого початку і відтоді, як і всі попередні перемир’я, порушується постійно.

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, станом на кінець грудня 2018 року, за час конфлікту загинули близько 13 тисяч людей, майже 30 тисяч – поранені.

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Payless ShoeSource to Close All Remaining US Stores 

Payless ShoeSource is shuttering all of its 2,100 remaining stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, joining a list of iconic names like Toys R Us and Bon-Ton that have closed down in the last year. 

 

The Topeka, Kan.-based chain said Friday that it will hold liquidation sales starting Sunday and wind down its e-commerce operations. All of the stores will remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May. 

 

The debt-burdened chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017, closing hundreds of stores as part of its reorganization. 

 

At the time, it had over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. It remerged from restructuring four months later with about 3,500 stores and eliminated more than $435 million in debt. 

 

The company said in an email that the liquidation did not affect its franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual. It lists 18,000 employees worldwide. 

 

Shoppers are increasingly shifting their buying online or heading to discount stores like T.J. Maxx to grab deals on name-brand shoes. That shift has hurt traditional retailers, even low-price outlets like Payless. Heavy debt loads have also handcuffed retailers, leaving them less flexible to invest in their businesses. 

 

But bankruptcies and store closures will continue through 2019, so there’s “no light at the end of the tunnel,” according to a report by Coresight Research. 

 

Before this announcement, there had been 2,187 U.S. store closing announcements this year, with Gymboree and Ascena Retail, the parent of Lane Bryant and other brands, accounting for more than half the total, according to the research firm. This year’s total is up 23 percent from the 1,776 announcements a year ago. Year-to-date, retailers have announced 1,411 store openings, offsetting 65 percent of store closures, it said. 

 

Payless was founded in 1956 by two cousins, Louis and Shaol Lee Pozez, to offer self-service stores selling affordable footwear. 

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У Росії затримали американського інвестора

У російській столиці Москві за підозрою в шахрайстві затриманий засновник інвестиційної компанії Baring Vostok, громадянин США Майкл Калві. 15 лютого суд продовжив тримання цього чоловіка під вартою на 72 години, очікується, що питання про арешт Калві суд розгляне 16 лютого.

Слідчі просять про арешт шести осіб, серед них, окрім Калві, четверо росіян та француз Філіп Дельпаль.

Інвестиційний фонд підтвердив затримання своїх співробітників і зазначив, що «дії правоохоронних органів не пов’язані безпосередньо з діяльністю компанії Baring Vostok і інших портфельних компаній», а стосуються комерційного спору, пов’язаного з банком «Східний».

За даними російських інформагенцій, слідчий у суді заявив, що Калві підозрюють у розкраданні у банку «Східний» 2,5 мільярда рублів (це близько одного мільярда гривень – ред.) за допомогою схеми за участю Першого колекторського бюро.

Докладніше про цю справу читайте на сайті російської служби Радіо Свобода: Суд продлил срок задержания Майкла Калви на 72 часа

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Bombshell Book Alleges Vatican Gay Subculture, Hypocrisy

A gay French writer has lifted the lid on what he calls one of the world’s largest gay communities — the Vatican, estimating that most of its prelates are homosexually inclined and attributing much of the current crisis in the Catholic Church to an internecine war among them.

In the explosive book, In the Closet of the Vatican, author Frederic Martel describes a gay subculture at the Vatican and calls out the hypocrisy of Catholic bishops and cardinals who in public denounce homosexuality but in private lead double lives.

Aside from the subject matter, the book is astonishing for the access Martel had to the inner sanctum of the Holy See. Martel writes that he spent four years researching it in 30 countries, including weeks at a time living inside the Vatican walls. He says the doors were opened by a key Vatican gatekeeper and friend of Pope Francis who was the subject of the pontiff’s famous remark about gay priests, “Who am I to judge?”

Martel says he conducted nearly 1,500 in-person interviews with 41 cardinals, 52 bishops or monsignors, and 45 Vatican and foreign ambassadors, many of whom are quoted at length and in on-the-record interviews that he says were recorded. Martel said he was assisted by 80 researchers, translators, fixers and local journalists, as well as a team of 15 lawyers. The 555-page book is being published simultaneously in eight languages in 20 countries, many bearing the title Sodom.

The Vatican didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Culture of secrecy

Martel appears to want to bolster Francis’ efforts at reforming the Vatican by discrediting his biggest critics and removing the secrecy and scandal that surrounds homosexuality in the church. Church doctrine holds that gays are to be treated with respect and dignity, but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

“Francis knows that he has to move on the church’s stance, and that he will only be able to do this at the cost of a ruthless battle against all those who use sexual morality and homophobia to conceal their own hypocrisies and double lives,” Martel writes.

But the book’s Feb. 21 publication date coincides with the start of Francis’ summit of church leaders on preventing the sexual abuse of minors, a crisis that is undermining his papacy. The book isn’t about abuse, but the timing of its release could fuel the narrative, embraced by conservatives and rejected by the gay community, that the abuse scandal has been caused by homosexuals in the priesthood.

Martel is quick to separate the two issues. But he echoes the analysis of the late abuse researcher and psychotherapist A.W. Richard Sipe that the hidden sex lives of priests has created a culture of secrecy that allowed the abuse of minors to flourish. According to that argument, since many prelates in positions of authority have their own hidden sexual skeletons, they have no interest in denouncing the criminal pedophiles in their midst lest their own secrets be revealed.

‘Gossip and innuendo’

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of Building a Bridge about how the Catholic Church should reach out more to the LGBT community, said that based on the excerpts he had read, Martel’s book “makes a convincing case that in the Vatican many priests bishops and even cardinals are gay, and that some of them are sexually active.”

But Martin added that the book’s sarcastic tone belies its fatal flaw. “His extensive research is buried under so much gossip and innuendo that it makes it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.”

“There are many gay priests, bishops and cardinals in ministry today in the church,” Martin said. “But most of them are, like their straight counterparts, remaining faithful to a life of chastity and celibacy.”

In the course of his research, Martel said he came to several conclusions about the reality of the Holy See that he calls the “rules,” chief among them that the more obviously gay the priest, bishop or cardinal, the more vehement his anti-gay rhetoric.

Martel says his aim is not to “out” living prelates, though he makes some strong insinuations about those who are “in the parish,” a euphemism he learns is code for gay clergy.

Martin said Martel “traffics in some of the worst gay stereotypes” by using sarcastic and derogatory terms, such as when he writes of Francis’ plight: “Francis is said to be ‘among the wolves.’ It’s not quite true: he’s among the queens.”

Martel moves from one scandal to another — from the current one over ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington to the priest-friendly gay migrant prostitute scene near Rome’s train station. He traces the reasons behind Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation and the cover-up of the Mexican founder of the Legion of Christ, the pedophile Rev. Marcial Maciel. In each, Martel parses the scandal through the lens of the gay-friendly or homophobic prelates he says were involved.

Gay rights advocate

Equal parts investigative journalism and salacious gossip, Martel paints a picture of an institution almost at war with itself, rife with rumor and with leaders struggling to rationalize their own sexual appetites and orientations with official church teachings that require chastity and its unofficial tradition of hostility toward gays.

“Never, perhaps, have the appearances of an institution been so deceptive,” Martel writes. “Equally deceptive are the pronouncements about celibacy and the vows of chastity that conceal a completely different reality.”

Martel is not a household name in France, but is known in the French LGBT community as an advocate for gay rights. Those familiar with his work view it as rigorous, notably his 90-minute weekly show on public radio station France Culture called Soft Power. Recent episodes include investigations into global digital investment and the U.S.-China trade war.

As a French government adviser in the 1990s, he played a prominent role in legislation allowing civil unions, which not only allowed gay couples to formalize their relationships and share assets, but also proved hugely popular among heterosexual French couples increasingly skeptical of marriage.

His nonfiction books include a treatise on homosexuality in France over the past 50 years called The Pink and the Black (a sendup of Stendhal’s classic The Red and the Black), as well as an investigation of the internet industry and a study of culture in the United States.

Martel attributes the high percentage of gays in the clergy to the fact that up until the homosexual liberation of the 1970s, gay Catholic men had few options. “So these pariahs became initiates and made a strength of a weakness,” he writes. That analysis helps explain the dramatic fall in vocations in recent decades, as gay Catholic men now have other options, not least to live their lives openly, even in marriage.

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Владна партія Франції відмовила в акредитації RT та Sputnik

Французька партія президентської більшості «Вперед, Республіко!» не надасть акредитації співробітникам російських державних засобів інформації RT і Sputnik для висвітлення виборів до Європарламенту. Таку заяву зробив 15 лютого директор партійної виборчої кампанії Стефан Сежурне, повідомило Міжнародне французьке радіо.

«Це не органи преси, а органи пропаганди на службі Кремля», – заявив Стефан Сежурне в інтерв’ю газеті Le Monde.

Французьке видання Sputnik прокоментувало це повідомлення в тексті під заголовком «Партія Емманюеля Макрона знову нападає на Sputnik напередодні європейських виборів».

Протягом року журналісти Sputnik і RT у Франції не отримують акредитацій, щоб висвітлювати події, організовані Єлисейським палацом або французькими міністерствами, заявила головний редактор Sputnik France Наталія Новікова.

У травні 2017 року французький президент Емманюель Макрон під час першої зустрічі з російським президентом Володимиром Путіним публічно назвав RT і Sputnik «органами брехливої пропаганди». Заява була зроблена на спільній прес-конференції, російський президент на це не відповів.

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