Italy, Malta in Fresh Standoff Over Boat Carrying 59 Migrants

A rescue boat saved 59 migrants at sea off Libya on Saturday and Italy immediately said it would not welcome them, setting up a fresh standoff with Malta and adding to tensions among European governments over immigration.

The migrants on board Open Arms, a boat run by the Spanish Proactiva Open Arms charity, include five women and four children, said Riccardo Gatti, head of the organization’s Italian mission.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League Party, said there would be no exception to his policy of refusing to let humanitarian boats dock in Italy and added that Malta was the nearest port of call.

“They can forget about arriving in an Italian port,” he tweeted.

Maltese Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia, shot back on Twitter that the rescue had taken place closer to the Italian island of Lampedusa than to Malta. He told Salvini to “stop giving false information and involving Malta without any reason.”

Gatti told Italian radio broadcaster Radio Radicale that the migrants on board included Palestinians, Syrians and Guineans and were all in good condition.

He later told Reuters that Open Arms had received no authorization from any country to dock and did not know where it would take the migrants.

German ship docked

On Wednesday, Malta let the German charity ship Lifeline dock in Valletta with 230 migrants on board, after it was stuck at sea for almost a week following Italy’s decision to close its ports to rescue vessels run by nongovernmental organizations.

However, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the gesture was a one-time solution, and the following day Malta announced it would not allow any more charity boats to dock.

European Union leaders on Friday came to a hard-fought agreement on migration that Salvini and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said was positive for Italy.

However, the agreement does not oblige other EU states to share the burden of sea rescues.

More than 650,000 migrants have come ashore in Italy since 2014, mostly after being rescued at sea off the Libyan coast by private and public groups. Italy is sheltering about 170,000, but the number of arrivals has plummeted this year.

Despite the decline in arrivals, there are still daily stories of disasters as migrants make the perilous crossing from Africa to Europe. The Libyan coast guard said around 100 were thought to have drowned off Tripoli on Friday.

That tragedy raised the political temperature in Italy, where the government dismissed opposition accusations that it was responsible because of its crackdown on NGOs and said the best way to save lives was by preventing departures from Libya.

“The fewer people set sail, the fewer die,” Salvini said.

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Народного депутата Пономарьова шпиталізували з ймовірним інфарктом – ЗМІ

Народного депутата, члена депутатської групи «Воля народу» Олександра Пономарьова шпиталіталізували 29 червня, пишуть запорізькі ЗМІ.

За їхньою інформацією, попередньо, у нього обширний інфракт.

Підтвердження цих даних наразі немає.

Згідно з даними на сайті парламенту, 56-річний Пономарьов є головою підкомітету з питань автомобільних доріг та дорожнього господарства комітету Верховної Ради з питань транспорту. Його обрали за 78-м округом у Запорізькій області.

18 травня генеральний прокурор України Юрій Луценко вніс подання на притягнення Пономарьова до кримінальної відповідальності, звинувативши його в перешкоджанні роботі журналістів інтернет-видань «Цензор.нет» і «Каменярі-інфо».

Як повідомляли ЗМІ, 7 лютого Пономарьов відібрав телефони у журналістів, які намагалися зняти на відео його розмову з колегою з «Батьківщини» Сергієм Соболєвим.

7 червня регламентний комітет Ради відхилив подання Луценка.

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Затриманий в Ірані український моряк оголосив голодування

Затриманий в Ірані український моряк Андрій Новічков оголосив голодування, повідомив перший секретар посольства України в Ірані Сурен Бальянц у коментарі «Громадському».

«Так, я підтверджую цю інформацію. Ми цією справою займаємося. Усю інформацію стосовно Новічкова я передав Міністерству закордонних справ», – сказав дипломат.

Він зазначив, що співробітники посольства України зможуть побачити Новічкова лише після надання на це відповідного дозволу.

Одеський моряк Андрій Новічков виїхав з України в листопаді 2016 року. Він підписав контракт на роботу старшим помічником капітана іранського судна Arezoo.

Під час плавання в Південно-Китайському морі в Новічкова стався конфлікт із одним із матросів. За словами українця, спочатку той зайшов до робочого офісу, хоча у цей час мав фарбувати труби на вантажній палубі. Новічков каже, що матрос накинувся на нього після зауваження та спробував вдарити.

Українець стверджує, що коли матрос вийшов з офісу, він пішов зачинити двері і побачив, як матрос вистрибнув за борт.

У лютому 2017 року Новічкова силою вивели на берег та доставили до поліції. Восени 2017-го моряк оголосив голодування, після чого його звільнили з-під варти під особисте зобов’язання консула, заборонивши залишати Іран до кінця розслідування. Українцю загрожує страта.

Судовий розгляд справи досі не розпочався.

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Рекордсмен Маскерано оголосив про завершення кар’єри в збірній Аргентини

Півзахисник Хав’єр Маскерано оголосив про завершення кар’єри в збірній Аргентини з футболу після поразки його команди в 1/8 фіналу чемпіонату світу.

«Настав час сказати «до побачення», зараз я просто інший вболівальник Аргентини», – заявив 34-річний футболіст.

Маскерано зіграв рекордну кількість матчів у футболці національної збірної Аргентини – із 2003 року він взяв участь у 147-х іграх. 30 червня його команда програла в 1/8 фіналу чемпіонату світу з футболу Франції з рахунком 4:3.

Аргентинець у минулому грав за англійський «Ліверпуль» та іспанську «Барселону». Зараз Маскерано виступає за китайський «Хейбей Чайна Форчун».

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У США тисячі людей протестують проти імміграційної політики Трампа

Тисячі людей протестують у США проти політики «нульової толерантності» президента Дональда Трампа щодо нелегальної міграції, включно з тими її положеннями, через які дітей розлучають з батьками

Коаліція лівих активістів, включно з групами, які організовували масові жіночі марші протягом останніх двох років, розраховують провести понад 600 демонстрацій у всій країні, у яких візьмуть участь сотні тисяч людей.

До скверу навпроти Білого дому протестувальники принесли написи на кшталт «Де діти?» або «Зупинить жорстокість».

Відповідно до політики «нульової толерантності», яку адміністрація Дональда Трампа почала проводити останнім часом, дорослих мігрантів затримували і, як правило, залишали під вартою до суду, а дітей забирали від батьків. Ця практика викликала різку критику правозахисників, преси та опонентів президента. З критикою дискримінаційної політики, але не свого чоловіка, виступила також перша леді США, дружина Трампа, Меланія Трамп.

20 червня Дональд Трамп підписав указ, згідно з яким дітей забиратимуть у дорослих мігрантів, тільки якщо не буде підтверджений їх родинний зв’язок, або дорослі будуть становити загрозу їхній безпеці. У всіх інших випадках сім’ї повинні бути разом.

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«Укрзалізниця» розповіла, як курсують поїзди в негоду

Поїзди продовжують курсувати, попри погіршення погодних умов в Україні, повідомила прес-служба «Укрзалізниці».

У компанії заявляють, що незважаючи на сильний вітер, грозу й подекуди град минулої ночі, рух пасажирських і вантажних поїздів здійснювався. Затримки потягів наразі немає.

Через погіршення погодних умов були знеструмлені сотні будинків у 10 областях. Через негоду були підтоплені будинки в Івано-Франківській області та Чернігові.

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В Іраку розповіли, коли почнуть перерахунок голосів на виборах

Влада Іраку заявляє, що перерахунок голосів на парламентських виборах розпочнуть 3 липня, його здійснюватимуть вручну.

Згідно з першими результатами виборів, які відбулися у травні, найбільше голосів отримав блок шиїтського клерика Муктада аль-Садра.

Вибори були затьмарені звинуваченнями в шахрайстві під час підрахунку голосів за допомогою електронних машин.

Речник Незалежної вищої виборчої комісії Іраку заявив 30 червня, що за перерахунком голосів спостерігатиме ООН, представники місцевих партій і дипломати.

Вибори у травні були першими після того, як Багдад у грудні оголосив перемогу над екстремістським угрупованням «Ісламська держава».

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Merkel Secures Asylum Seeker Return Deals With 14 EU Countries

Fourteen European Union countries have said they are prepared to sign deals with Germany to take back asylum seekers who had previously registered elsewhere, part of an effort to placate Chancellor Angela Merkel’s restive Bavarian allies.

 

In a document sent to leaders of her coalition partners, seen by Reuters, Merkel listed 14 countries, including some of those most outspoken in their opposition to her open-door refugee policy, which had agreed to take back migrants.

Under the EU’s Dublin convention, largely honored in the breach since Merkel’s 2015 decision to open Germany’s borders, asylum seekers must lodge their requests in the first EU country they set foot in.

Merkel needs breathing space in her standoff with Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, whose leader, interior minister Horst Seehofer threatened ahead of this week’s Brussels summit to defy Merkel by closing Germany’s borders to some refugees and migrants, a move that would likely bring down her government.

EU leaders agreed at the summit to share out refugees on a voluntary basis and create “controlled centers” inside the European Union to process asylum requests.

According to the document seen by Reuters, the bilateral agreements will make the deportation process for refugees who have earlier registered elsewhere far more effective.

“At the moment, Dublin repatriations from Germany succeed in only 15 percent of cases,” the document says. “We will sign administrative agreements with various member states… to speed the repatriation process and remove obstacles.”

Among the countries that have said they are open to signing such agreements are Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, countries which have opposed any scheme to share out asylum seekers across the continent.

The other countries named are Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. Austria, where new Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is an immigration hard-liner who governs in coalition with the far right, is absent from the list.

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US Ambassador to Estonia Resigns Over Trump Comments

The U.S. ambassador to Estonia says he has resigned over frustrations with President Donald Trump’s comments about the European Union and the treatment of Washington’s European allies.

In a private Facebook message posted Friday, James D. Melville wrote: “For the President to say EU was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,’ or that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go.”

Melville is a senior U.S. career diplomat who has served as the American ambassador in the Baltic nation and NATO member of Estonia since 2015. He has served the State Department for 33 years.

The U.S. Embassy in Tallinn did not immediately comment.

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Trump Claims Saudi Arabia Will Boost Oil Production

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he had received assurances from King Salman of Saudi Arabia that the kingdom will increase oil production, “maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels” in response to turmoil in Iran and Venezuela. Saudi Arabia acknowledged the call took place, but mentioned no production targets.

Trump wrote on Twitter that he had asked the king in a phone call to boost oil production “to make up the difference…Prices to (sic) high! He has agreed!”

A little over an hour later, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported on the call, but offered few details.

“During the call, the two leaders stressed the need to make efforts to maintain the stability of oil markets and the growth of the global economy,” the statement said.

It added that there also was an understanding that oil-producing countries would need “to compensate for any potential shortage of supplies.” It did not elaborate.

Oil prices have edged higher as the Trump administration has pushed allies to end all purchases of oil from Iran following the U.S. pulling out of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Prices also have risen with ongoing unrest in Venezuela and fighting in Libya over control of that country’s oil infrastructure.

Last week, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel led by Saudi Arabia and non-cartel members agreed to pump 1 million barrels more crude oil per day, a move that should help contain the recent rise in global energy prices. However, summer months in the U.S. usually lead to increased demand for oil, pushing up the price of gasoline in a midterm election year. A gallon of regular gasoline sold on average in the U.S. for $2.85, up from $2.23 a gallon last year, according to AAA.

If Trump’s comments are accurate, oil analyst Phil Flynn said it could immediately knock $2 or $3 off a barrel of oil. But he said it’s unlikely that decrease could sustain itself as demand spikes, leading prices to rise by wintertime.

“We’ll need more oil down the road and there’ll be nowhere to get it,” said Flynn, of the Price Futures Group. “This leaves the world in kind of a vulnerable state.”

Trump is trying to exert maximum pressure on Iran while at the same time not upsetting potential U.S. midterm voters with higher gas prices, said Antoine Halff, a Columbia University researcher and former chief oil analyst for the International Energy Agency.

“The Trump support base is probably the part of the U.S. electorate that will be the most sensitive to an increase in U.S. gasoline prices,” Halff said.

Trump’s comments came Saturday as global financial markets were closed. Brent crude stood at $79.42 a barrel, while U.S. benchmark crude was at $74.15.

Saudi Arabia currently produces some 10 million barrels of crude oil a day. Its record is 10.72 million barrels a day. Trump’s tweet offered no timeframe for the additional 2 million barrels — whether that meant per day or per month.

However, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told journalists in India on Monday that the state oil company has spare capacity of 2 million barrels of oil a day. That was after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom would honor the OPEC decision to stick to a 1-million-barrel increase.

“Saudi Arabia obviously can deliver as much as the market would need, but we’re going to be respectful of the 1-million-barrel cap — and at the same time be respectful of allocating some of that to countries that deliver it,” al-Falih said then.

The Trump administration has been counting on Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members to supply enough oil to offset the lost Iranian exports and prevent oil prices from rising sharply. But broadcasting its requests on Twitter with a number that stretches credibility opens a new chapter in U.S.-Saudi relations, Halff said.

“Saudis are used to U.S. requests for oil,” Halff said. “They’re not used to this kind of public messaging. I think the difficulty for them is to distinguish what is a real ask from what is public posturing.”

The administration has threatened close allies such as South Korea with sanctions if they don’t cut off Iranian imports by early November. South Korea accounted for 14 percent of Iran’s oil exports last year, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

China is the largest importer of Iranian oil with 24 percent, followed by India with 18 percent. Turkey stood at 9 percent and Italy at 7 percent.

The State Department has said it expects the “vast majority” of countries will comply with the U.S. request.

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AP Fact Check: Were Tax Cuts an ‘Economic Miracle?’

Editor’s note: A look at the veracity of claims by political figures

President Donald Trump has elevated his tax cuts to an act of biblical proportions, misleadingly claiming at a White House speech Friday that they triggered an “economic miracle.”

Not quite.

Also Friday, the president’s top economics aide, Larry Kudlow, appeared on the Fox Business Network to address one of the major problems with the tax cuts — that they’ll heap more than $1 trillion onto the national debt. Kudlow falsely countered that the budget deficit was falling because of growth generated by the tax cuts. The deficit is actually rising.

A look at the statements and the fact:

TRUMP: “Six months ago, we unleashed an economic miracle by signing the biggest tax cuts and reforms … the biggest tax cuts in American history.”

THE FACTS: The president is exaggerating, if not being outright deceptive.

Rather than achieving a miracle, his tax cuts have helped stoke additional growth in an economic expansion that was already approaching its 10th year. The additional growth is largely fueled by government borrowing, as the federal deficit rises because of the tax cut. The pace of growth is expected to taper off after next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Federal Reserve and outside analysts.

And while the $1.5 trillion worth of tax reductions over the next decade are substantial, they’re far from the largest in U.S. history as a share of the overall economy. The Trump tax cut ranks behind Ronald Reagan’s in the early 1980s, post-World War II tax cuts and at least several more, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocates for deficit reduction.

Trump proudly went through a list of economic achievements that build on the progress begun under former President Barack Obama. The 3.8 percent unemployment rate and the historically low level of requests for jobless aid are both the result of a steady and gradual recovery from the worst economic meltdown since 1929.

Several hundred companies responded to the tax cuts by paying workers bonuses or hiking hourly wages, but any significant income growth has yet to surface in the overall economy.

The tax cuts have added on average $17 a month to people’s incomes, according to an analysis by Ernie Tedeschi, head of fiscal policy analysis at the investment firm Evercore ISI and a former Treasury Department economist. The analysis is based off consumer spending, income and inflation data released Friday.

That $17 monthly gain is helpful, but it’s far from miraculous.

​KUDLOW: “As the economy gears up, more people working, better jobs and careers, those revenues come rolling in, and the deficit, which is one of the other criticisms, is coming down, and it’s coming down rapidly.”

THE FACTS: Nope.

Since the fiscal year started in October, Treasury Department reports show the federal government has recorded a $385.4 billion deficit, a 12 percent jump from the same period in the previous year.

The Congressional Budget Office was even more blunt in a long-term assessment released Tuesday.

It estimates that the national debt — the sum of yearly deficits — will be $2.2 trillion higher in 2027 than it had previously forecast, largely a consequence of Trump’s 10 year, $1.5 trillion tax cut. The size of the debt could be even higher if provisions of the tax cut that are set to expire are, instead, renewed.

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GM: US Import Tariffs Could Mean Fewer Jobs

General Motors Co warned on Friday that higher tariffs on imported vehicles under consideration by the Trump administration could cost jobs and lead to a “a smaller GM” while isolating U.S. businesses from the global market.

The administration in May launched an investigation into whether imported vehicles pose a national security threat, and U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose a 20 percent vehicle import tariff.

The largest U.S. automaker said in comments filed with the U.S. Commerce Department that overly broad tariffs could “lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and abroad for this iconic American company, and risk less — not more — U.S. jobs.”

Higher tariffs could also hike vehicle prices and reduce sales, GM said.

​Less investment, fewer workers

Its comments echoed those from two major U.S. auto trade groups Wednesday, when they warned that tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported vehicles would cost hundreds of thousands of auto jobs, dramatically raise prices on vehicles and threaten industry spending on self-driving cars.

Even if automakers opted not to pass on higher costs “this could still lead to less investment, fewer jobs, and lower wages for our employees. The carry-on effect of less investment and a smaller workforce could delay breakthrough technologies,” GM said.

GM operates 47 U.S. manufacturing facilities and employs about 110,000 people in the United States. It buys tens of billions of dollars worth of parts from U.S. suppliers every year, and has invested more than $22 billion in U.S. manufacturing operations since 2009.

Still, 30 percent of the vehicles GM sold on the U.S. market in 2017 were manufactured abroad, according to the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research. Eighty-six percent of those vehicles came from Canada and Mexico, while others came from Europe and China.

Detroit automakers Ford Motor Co and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles NV also import many of the vehicles they sell in the United States.

“The overbroad and steep application of import tariffs on our trading partners risks isolating U.S. businesses like GM from the global market that helps to preserve and grow our strength here at home,” GM said.

GM shares closed down about 2.8 percent on Friday at $39.40. 

National security probe

Some aides have said that Trump is pursuing the national security probe to put pressure on Canada and Mexico to agree to concessions in talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Toyota Motor Corp filed separate comments opposing the tariffs on Friday saying they would “threaten U.S. manufacturing, jobs, exports, and economic prosperity.”

The company noted that Trump has repeatedly praised the Japanese automaker for investing in the United States, including a new $1.3 billion joint venture assembly plant in Alabama with Mazda.

“These investments reflect our confidence in the U.S. economy and in the power of the administration’s tax cuts,” Toyota said.

Toyota noted that international automakers assembling vehicles in the United States are based in countries including Japan, German and South Korea “that are America’s closest allies.”

The Commerce Department plans two days of public hearings next month, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week he aimed to wrap up the probe into whether imported vehicles represent a national security threat by late July or August.

“We have received approximately 2,500 comments already,” Ross said in a statement Friday, adding that he expected more before a midnight deadline.

“The purpose of the comment period and of the public hearing scheduled for July 19th and 20th is to make sure that all stakeholders’ views are heard, both pro and con. That will enable us to make our best informed recommendation to the president,” the statement said.

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