Євросоюз закидає Google, Facebook і Twitter невиконання обіцянок

Пошуковий сервіс Google, соціальні мережі Facebook і Twitter не виконують свої обіцянки щодо боротьби з недостовірними новинами. Про це йдеться в оприлюдненій 28 лютого заяві Єврокомісії.

Відомство зазначає, зокрема, що Facebook, усупереч домовленостям, у січні не надав результати розслідування щодо реклами, яка вводить в оману. Google не роз’яснив, що було зроблено для усунення дезінформації. Twitter не надіслав результатів щодо поліпшення контролю за розміщенням реклами.

У заяві Єврокомісії також наголошується, що напередодні виборів до Європарламенту компанії не продемонстрували прогресу.

Восени 2018 року Євросоюз узгодив із Facebook, Twitter і Google добровільний регламент для боротьби з недостовірними новинами. Документ передбачає маркування політичної реклами, а також змушує корпорації боротися з інтернет-ботами, що поширюють недостовірну інформацію.

У Росії колишнього українського військового і кримчанку засудили за «шпигунство»

У Росії Північно-Кавказький окружний військовий суд визнав винним у державній зраді майора Чорноморського флоту Росії, колишнього українського військового Дмитра Долгополова і жительку Криму Анну Сухоносову, якого ФСБ Росії назвала його співмешканкою. Про це повідомляють російські засоби інформації з посиланням на ФСБ Росії.

За версією слідства, Сухоносова була завербована співробітником Головного управління розвідки Міністерства оборони України полковником Ігорем Клименком і долучила Долгополова до конфіденційного співробітництва з українською спецслужбою за грошову винагороду.

ФСБ Росії стверджує, що Долгополов і Сухоносова цілеспрямовано збирали і передавали Україні секретні дані про діяльність частин і з’єднань Чорноморського флоту Росії.

За даними ФСБ Росії, на суді Долгополов і Сухоносова «свою провину визнали повністю і покаялися в скоєному».

29 вересня 2017 року ФСБ Росії повідомила про затримання двох російських громадян за підозрою в шпигунстві на користь України. Ними виявилися Анна Сухоносова і російський військовий Дмитро Долгополов.

На сторінці у Facebook зазначено, що Сухоносова має середню технічну освіту за фахом бухгалтер і працювала фітнес-інструктором у студії танців.

Долгополов, за даними речника Генштабу Збройних сил України Владислава Селезньова, до анексії півострова служив в українській армії, а в лютому-березні 2014 роки перейшов на службу до росіян.

Колишні товариші по службі затриманого в Криму Дмитра Долгополова не вірять у версію російської ФСБ про те, що він «працював українським шпигуном».

У 2016 році по відношенню до Дмитра Долгополова на півострові проводилися слідчі дії, «пов’язані з претензіями фінансового управління».

US Craft Marketplace Makes Plans to Go Green by Offsetting Emissions

Online crafts retailer Etsy Inc will go green by offsetting planet-warming carbon emissions from its shipping activities, the U.S. company said Wednesday, joining a host of companies making public moves to battle climate change.

Etsy will buy clean energy certificates supporting tree conservation in the United States, wind and solar power in India and clean automotive technology, it said.

The online marketplace for buying and selling handmade and vintage goods said its initiative is the first time a global e-commerce company has made such a move.

“Fast, free shipping ultimately comes at a cost to our planet,” wrote Josh Silverman, chief executive officer of the New York-based company in a blog on the company’s website.

The certificates are a way for companies to offset the amount of carbon dioxide they produce by paying for projects that support clean development.

The 13-year-old Etsy said its greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in 2018 totaled about 135,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, similar to those of 29,000 cars in a year.

About 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent are released each day from the delivery of all packages ordered from online retailers in the United States alone, it said.

Budweiser, Amazon.com

Last month, at the U.S. Super Bowl championship game, giant beer maker Budweiser helped purchase clean energy certificates to offset greenhouse gas emissions linked to fans’ travel and the host city of Atlanta.

More than 100 U.S. companies have committed to setting emission-reduction targets that seek to limit rising temperature to 2 degrees Celsius as part of a United Nations-backed initiative, said Sabrina Helm, who heads the Consumers, Environment & Sustainability Initiative, a research group at the University of Arizona.

Online retailers have largely been absent from those efforts, and Etsy’s move sends a “very important signal,” she said.

“A lot of online retailers are not particularly transparent in what they do in terms of sustainability,” she told Reuters.

Last week, online retail giant Amazon.com Inc said it planned to make its carbon footprint public for the first time this year.

After Saudi Pressure, EU States Move to Block Dirty-Money List

The adoption of a European Union money-laundering blacklist, which includes Saudi Arabia as well as Puerto Rico and three other U.S. territories, could be blocked by EU governments under a procedure launched on Thursday, two EU diplomats told Reuters.

At a meeting on Thursday, some national envoys opposed adopting the list, triggering a process that could lead to it being delayed or withdrawn, the diplomats said.

The move came after Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent letters to all 28 EU leaders urging them to reconsider the inclusion of Riyadh on the list, one of the letters seen by Reuters showed.

The listing of the Saudi Kingdom “will damage its reputation on the one hand and it will create difficulties in trade and investment flows between the Kingdom and the European Union on the other,” the King wrote.

One diplomat said Washington has also pressured EU countries to scrap the list.

The U.S. Treasury said when the list was approved by the European Commission that the listing process was “flawed” and it rejected the inclusion of the four U.S. territories.

The diplomat said the Saudi lobby had intensified at the summit of EU and Arab League leaders earlier this week in Sharm el-Sheikh.

At that meeting, British Prime Minister Theresa May discussed the issue with the Saudi King, the diplomat said, adding that Britain and France are leading the group of EU countries opposed to the kingdom’s inclusion on the list, confirming a Reuters report earlier in February.

For the list to be blocked, a majority of 21 states is necessary. EU officials said that around 15 countries have already declared their opposition to the listing.

The list was first adopted by the European Commission on Feb 13 and lists 23 jurisdictions including Nigeria, Panama, Libya, the Bahamas and the four U.S. territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.

For the first time, the EU listing used different criteria from those used by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is the global standard-setter for anti-money laundering.

The FATF list is much smaller and does not include Saudi Arabia and U.S. territories.

 

Ізраїль: Нетаньягу загрожують звинувачення в корупції

Генеральний прокурор Ізраїлю Авіхай Мандельбліт має намір висунути звинувачення в корупції прем’єр-міністрові Біньяміну Нетаньягу. Мандельбліт пояснив, що звинувачення будуть висунуті за трьома справами.

Прокурори стверджують, що Нетаньягу приймав подарунки від заможних бізнесменів, а також надавав послуги представникам медіа-бізнесу в обмін на більш позитивне висвітлення своєї діяльності в пресі.

Прем’єр-міністр звинувачення відкидає і каже, що є жертвою «полювання на відьом» із боку лівих партій.

Нетаньягу зможе виступити зі своїми запереченнями на адресу прокуратури на спеціальних слуханнях. За попередніми даними, вони відбулуться після парламентських виборів, які призначені на 9 квітня. Якщо аргументи Нетаньягу не будуть прийняті, то це буде перший випадок в історії Ізраїлю, коли звинувачення висунуть чинному прем’єр-міністру.

How Much Does Your Government Spy on You?

A U.N. human rights expert has published a draft list of questions to measure countries’ privacy safeguards, a first step towards ranking the governments that are potentially doing the most snooping on their own citizens.

Joseph Cannataci, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to privacy, submitted the draft questionnaire – touching on everything from chatrooms to systematic surveillance – to the U.N. Human Rights Council, and invited comments by June 30.

Cannataci’s role investigating digital privacy was created by the council in 2015 after Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. surveillance, and he has strongly criticized surveillance activities by the United States and other countries.

As the first person in the job, Cannataci set out an action plan for tackling the task and said he planned to take a methodical approach to monitoring surveillance and privacy laws to help him to decide which countries to investigate.

The council’s 47 member states are not be obliged to agree with his findings, but special rapporteurs’ reports are generally influential in a forum where governments are keen to appear to have an unblemished human rights record.

The 28 draft questions, each with a suggested score attached, begins with a potential five points if a country’s constitution had a provision to protect privacy or has been interpreted to encompass such a protection.

Under the first version of Cannataci’s scoring system, systematic monitoring of private communications could subtract 55 points, as could intensive policing of the internet and monitoring of chatrooms.

Other questions focus on subjects ranging from parliamentary and judicial oversight of surveillance and intelligence activities, profiling of civilians, and the use of “bulk powers” — such as downloading an entire set of phone records rather than getting a judge’s permission to listen into one call.

The last question asks: “Does your country have a police and/or intelligence service which systematically profiles and maintains surveillance on large segments of the population in a manner comparable to that of the STASI in the 1955-1990 GDR (East Germany)?”

Any country answering “yes” to that would forfeit 1,000 points and should abolish its system and start again, he wrote.

Cannataci stressed that the questionnaire was incomplete and “very much a work in progress”, and more questions might be added on open data, health data and privacy and gender.

“The intention would be to use such metrics as a standard investigation tool during country visits, both official and non-official,” Cannataci wrote in his report. He will report to the Council on Friday.

WTO Rules China Over-Subsidized Farmers

The United States won a World Trade Organization ruling Thursday that China subsidized its wheat and rice producers too much in recent years.

The WTO in Geneva agreed with the U.S. position that Beijing paid its farmers excessive amounts for growing wheat, Indica rice and Japonica rice from 2012 to 2015, but said the dispute over a corn subsidy had already expired.

The ruling came in a U.S. complaint filed in 2016 during the final months of the last U.S. administration of former president Barack Obama.

The decision can be appealed, but current U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer praised the ruling.

“China’s excessive support limits opportunities for U.S. farmers to export their world-class products to China,” Lighthizer said in a statement. “We expect China to quickly come into compliance with its WTO obligations.”

The U.S. claimed that China paid its farmers nearly $100 billion more than WTO rules allow, creating an incentive to grow more wheat and rice, thus undercutting global prices for the grains.

The ruling could have ramifications for India, which has calculated its price supports in a similar way as China.

The WTO decision comes amid intense trade talks between Washington and Beijing, with President Donald Trump expressing optimism a deal can be reached.

During a news conference in Hanoi after the abrupt end of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said, “I think we have a very good chance. Their (economic growth) numbers are down, but I don’t want that.  I want (China) to do great. But we’ve been losing anywhere from $300 to $500 billion dollars a year with China for many, many years. And again, like other things, many presidents should have done this before me. And nobody did. So, we’re doing it.”

The most recent U.S. statistics show China last year had a $382 billion trade surplus in deals with the United States through November. Trump is trying to alter trade terms between the two countries to end what the United States, Japan and European countries contend are China’s unfair trade practices, including state intervention in markets, subsidies of some industries and theft of foreign technology.

But Lighthizer on Wednesday told a congressional panel in Washington, a new deal is not close to being completed.

“Much still needs to be done before an agreement can be reached,” he said. “If we can complete this effort, and again I say if, and if we can reach a resolution on the issue of enforceability, we might have an agreement that enables us to turn the corner in our relationship with China.”

The United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies, have been negotiating for months on a new agreement, even as they have imposed hefty new tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s exports.

Lighthizer said the countries’ negotiators, who have been meeting in Washington and Beijing, “are making real progress.”

Trump cited that progress on Sunday in postponing what would have been a sharp increase in U.S. duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports that would have taken effect Friday.

China has offered to increase its purchase of American farm products and energy as part of a new trade pact.

 

На Донбасі 28 лютого бойовики стріляли 10 разів, втрат немає – штаб ООС

У зоні бойових дій на Донбасі 28 лютого немає втрат серед українських військових, повідомляє штаб операції Об’єднаних сил. За цими даними, підтримувані Росією бойовики здійснили 10 обстрілів позицій ЗСУ, випустивши понад 100 снарядів та мін калібрів 122, 120 та 82 міліметри.

«Підрозділи, які обстрілював противник, дали відповідь адекватним вогнем зі штатного озброєння. Втрати противника уточнюються», – ідеться у вечірньому зведенні.

В угрупованнях «ДНР» та «ЛНР» ще не інформували про бойові дії 28 лютого.

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.

US Economy Grew at 2.6 Percent Rate in Fourth Quarter

The U.S. economy slowed in the final three months of last year to an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent, the slowest pace since the beginning of 2018, as various factors including the government shutdown took a toll on growth. Economists believe growth has slowed even more in the current quarter.

The Commerce Department says growth in the gross domestic product in the October-December quarter was down from a 3.4 percent gain in the third quarter. The government says that slower consumer spending was the biggest factor in the slowdown. The 35-day government shutdown shaved an estimated 0.1 percentage point from growth in the fourth quarter.

GDP growth for all of 2018 came in at 2.9 percent, the best showing in three years.

Ukraine’s Law Enforcement System Broken, Lawmaker Warns

Ukrainian lawmaker and presidential hopeful Vitaliy Kupriy survived two violent attacks in the past — and he is taking no chances now. One attack involved an assailant coming at him with a hammer.

As campaigning heats up in the country’s presidential race, he is shadowed by two mountainous bodyguards.

It is hardly surprising that he is alert to danger — he has been a thorn in the side of the rich and powerful for years. He has used an NGO he founded to try to kick-start a string of high-profile corruption cases, including one against businesses owned by incumbent President Petro Poroshenko for profiting from currency speculation using, Kupriy alleges, insider information.

The rights lawyer and deputy chairman of a parliamentary panel overseeing Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies does not have any illusions about his chances of emerging as a frontrunner from the pack of also-rans in an election featuring an unwieldy field of 44 candidates. That is not the point of his candidacy, he tells VOA.

Broken system

His objective is to highlight how broken the judicial and law enforcement system is in Ukraine and how political corruption is as bad now, he says, as it was when pro-Moscow authoritarian president Viktor Yanukovych was ruling the country and plundering Ukraine. Yanukovych was driven from office in 2014 by the Euro-Maidan uprising.

“Our agencies have collapsed. We don’t have the rule of law,” he says. “I go to different cities and hold town-hall meetings and last year I traveled to 130 cities. Aside from poverty, the major complaints are about the courts and law enforcement and how when people complain to the police about crimes against them nothing happens and the criminals just pay off the police.”

From petty bribery to high-level graft, corruption is one of the key issues in a presidential race that many say is one of the dirtiest they can recall. The current surprise front-runner popular TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy has built his political outsider campaign around the issue. With a month to go before the first round of polling, Zelenskiy’s nearest rivals Poroshenko and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko have been slinging mud at each other, trading corruption accusations.

Tymoshenko made a fortune in the natural-gas business, earning her the nickname “the gas princess” for her role in shadowy dealings back in the 1990s.

On Tuesday, an investigation by an independent news outlet, BIHUS.info, rocked the election with allegations linking the son of one of Poroshenko’s closest associates and former business partner, Oleg Gladkovsky, the first deputy secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, to a money-laundering and smuggling scandal.

The scheme, the outlet alleged, led to the embezzling of millions of dollars from state defense enterprises and involved the smuggling of used parts from Russia and selling them to Ukrainian defense companies at inflated prices. According to the National Security and Defense Council, Gladkovsky was suspended from his post after the allegations were aired pending an investigation into the claims. Later it was reported he had resigned, but both he and his son deny the allegations.

‘Ugly and dirty campaign’

Poroshenko has not been directly implicated in the accusations of wrong-doing. Even so, Tymoshenko has demanded Poroshenko’s impeachment, and some analysts suggested the expose could upend the incumbent president’s bid for re-election.  

“Just wonder if this will be a terminal blow for Poroshenko’s campaign,” Tim Ash, senior sovereign strategist at BlueBay Asset Management, a major European investment house, said in a note to clients. “All sides have a lot to lose in this campaign, I guess it is going to be an ugly and dirty campaign. The gloves just came off,” he added.

Corruption involving the armed forces is a highly emotive issue in Ukraine. The conflict in the east with Russia has cost an estimated 13,000 lives since 2014.

The embezzlement allegations come as no surprise to Kupriy, a native of the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk), where he headed a department combating racketeering.

He was briefly a member of Poroshenko’s parliamentary bloc but broke with the president in March 2015 after clashing with him over stalled reforms. Last year, he was involved in an ugly verbal spat with Poroshenko in the parliament over the war in the east, which he believes the president has not pursued with enough vigor.

Breaking with Poroshenko has had consequences, he says. Friends and allies of his have been targeted for prosecution and he is under investigation himself by the country’s chief military prosecutor, Anatoliy Matios.

“His wife is a multi-millionaire,” he says of the prosecutor’s spouse. “How is this possible? He has spent his whole career in government agencies. He says it is his wife’s business, but we know what’s going on,” he adds. A request for comment by VOA from the military prosecutor’s office went unanswered.

Inaction

Kupriy’s tactic has been to follow high-profile graft cases and when there’s no action by prosecutors and the anti-corruption agencies to go to the courts to get them to order probes are advanced. “I have 60 current cases. My style is to be like a bulldozer and push hard,” he says. But once he has secured a court order there is little he can do to get the investigations to be handled seriously.

His biggest focus has been on corruption involving former Yanukovych aides and friends. Most of the cases have just stalled but meanwhile the assets are stripped off the accused and transferred into offshore companies, whose ownership is unclear.

“The property should be seized for the people, and not just confiscated and transferred into the hands of others. This is a question of due process. We lose the opportunity of the property being sold and the proceeds put into the national treasury,” says Kupriy, a father of three who spent four years studying and working in Australia.

The West is frustrated

His outrage has been echoed by Western governments and independent observers, who have urged Ukrainian authorities to enact root-and-branch reform.

Since Yanukovych’s ouster of 2014, several anti-corruption agencies have been set up in close cooperation with the assistance of Ukraine’s Western allies, including the U.S.. Among them the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, the State Bureau of Investigation, and an anti-corruption court.

But there has been open warfare between the agencies. Forty-eight out of 180 major investigations into top officials and oligarchs have been completed, but no one has been sentenced to jail terms and hearing dates keep being postponed. Analysts say there’s been progress in reducing corruption in the gas and banking sectors, but otherwise graft has returned to pre-Maidan levels.

“What went wrong? The short answer is that the new institutions don’t work, or in the case of NABU, they’re being blocked from doing their job,” wrote Mykola Vorobiov, a Ukrainian journalist, in a study for the Atlantic Council, a U.S. think tank.

To the frustration of Western allies, Ukraine’s highest court struck down Wednesday a provision forcing officials suspected of corruption to prove that their assets are legitimate. The court ruled the requirement unconstitutional on the grounds it violates the principle of the presumption of innocence. The provision was introduced in 2015, a quid pro quo demanded by the International Monetary Fund for loans need to shore up Ukraine’s economy.

NABU officials say the ruling will force them to shut down more than 60 corruption cases.