UN Chief Warns Paris Climate Goals Still Not Enough

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took his global message urging immediate climate action to officials gathered in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, where production of hydrocarbons remains a key driver of the economy.
Guterres is calling on governments to stop building new coal plants by 2020, cut greenhouse emissions by 45% over the next decade and overhauling fossil fuel-driven economies with new technologies like solar and wind. The world, he said, is facing a grave climate emergency.''<br />
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In remarks at a summit in Abu Dhabi, he painted a grim picture of how rapidly climate change is advancing, saying it is outpacing efforts to address it.<br />
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 He lauded the Paris climate accord, but said even if its promises are fully met, the world still faces what he described as a catastrophic three-degree temperature rise by the end of the century.<br />
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Arctic permafrost is melting decades earlier than even worst-case scenarios, he said, threatening to unlock vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.<br />
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It is plain to me that we have no time to lose,” Guterres said. Sadly, it is not yet plain to all the decision makers that run our world.''<br />
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 He spoke at the opulent Emirates Palace, where Abu Dhabi was hosting a preparatory meeting for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in September. Guterres was expected to later take a helicopter ride to view Abu Dhabi's Noor solar power plant.<br />
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When asked, U.N. representatives said the lavish Abu Dhabi summit and his planned helicopter ride would be carbon neutral, meaning their effects would be balanced by efforts like planting trees and sequestering emissions. The U.N. says carbon dioxide emissions account for around 80% of global warming.<br />
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Guterres was in Abu Dhabi fresh off meetings with The Group of 20 leaders in Osaka, Japan. There, he appealed directly to heads of state of the world's main emitters to step up their efforts. The countries of the G-20 represent 80% of world emissions of greenhouse gases, he said.<br />
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At the G-20 meeting, 19 countries expressed their commitment to the Paris agreement, with the only the United States dissenting.<br />
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In 2017, President Donald Trump pledged to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement as soon as 2020, arguing it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers. Trump has also moved steadily to dismantle Obama administration efforts to rein in coal, oil and gas emissions. His position has been that these efforts also hurt the U.S. economy.<br />
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The secretary-general's special envoy for the climate summit, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, told The Associated Press it was disappointing that the U.S. has pulled out from the accord. However, he said there are many examples of efforts at the local and state level in the United States to combat climate change.<br />
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I think it is very important to have all countries committing to this cause… even more when we are talking about the country of the importance and the size – not only in terms of the economy but also the emissions – of the United States,” he said.
Guterres is urging business leaders and politicians to come to the Climate Action Summit later this year with their plans ready to nearly halve greenhouse emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
He suggested taxing major carbon-emitting industries and polluters, ending the subsidization of oil and gas, and halting the building of all new coal plants by next year.
We are in a battle for our lives,'' he said.But it is a battle we can win.”



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Thousands of Protesters Demand Civilian Rule in Sudan

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied across Sudan on Sunday against the ruling generals, calling for a civilian government nearly three months after the army forced out the long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

The mass protests, centered in the capital, Khartoum, were the first since a June 3 crackdown when security forces violently broke up a protest camp. In that confrontation, dozens were killed, with protest organizers saying the death toll was at least 128, while authorities claim it was 61, including three security personnel.

Sunday’s demonstrators gathered at several points across Khartoum and in the sister city of Omdurman, then marching to the homes of those killed in previous protests.

The protesters, some of them waving Sudanese flags, chanted “Civilian rule! Civilian rule!” and “Burhan’s council, just fall,” targeting Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the military council. Security forces fired tear gas at the demonstrators.

Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the military council, said the generals want to reach an “urgent and comprehensive agreement with no exclusion. We in the military council are totally neutral. We are the guardians of the revolution. We do not want to be part of the dispute.”

The European Union and several Western countries have called on the generals to avoid bloodshed.

The June 3 raid followed the collapse of talks on a new government, whether it should be led by a civilian or soldier.

Ethiopia and the African Union have offered a plan for a civilian-majority body, which the generals say could be the basis for new negotiations.










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Ancient Peruvian Water-Harvesting System Could Lessen Modern Water Shortages

Sometimes, modern problems require ancient solutions.  
A 1,400-year-old Peruvian water-diverting method could supply up to 40,000 Olympic-size swimming pools’ worth of water to present-day Lima each year, according to new research published in Nature Sustainability.
It’s one example of how indigenous methods could supplement existing modern infrastructure in water-scarce countries worldwide. 
More than a billion people across the world face water scarcity. Artificial reservoirs store rainwater and runoff for use during drier times, but reservoirs are costly, require years to plan and can still fail to meet water needs. Just last week, the reservoirs in Chennai, India, ran nearly dry, forcing its 4 million residents to rely on government water tankers.  

Animation showing monthly rainfall in the tropical Andes. Humid air transports water vapor from the Amazon and is blocked by the Andean mountain barrier, producing extreme differences between the eastern and western slopes. (B. Ochoa-Tocachi, 2019)

Peru’s capital, Lima, depends on water from rivers high in the Andes. It takes only a few days for water to flow down to Lima, so when the dry season begins in the mountains, the water supply rapidly vanishes. The city suffers water deficit of 43 million cubic meters during the dry season, which it alleviates with modern infrastructure such as artificial reservoirs. 

Panoramic view of the Andean highlands in the Chillon river basin where Huamantanga is located. The city of Lima would be located downstream in the horizon background. (S. Grainger, Imperial College London, 2015)

Artificial reservoirs aren’t the only solution, however. Over a thousand years ago, indigenous people developed another way of dealing with water shortages. Boris Ochoa-Tocachi, a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London and lead author of the study, saw firsthand one of the last remaining pre-Inca water-harvesting systems in the small highland community of Huamantanga, Peru. 

Water diverted, delayed
The 1,400-year-old system is designed to increase the water supply during the dry season by diverting and delaying water as it travels down from the mountains. This nature-based “green” infrastructure consists of stone canals that guide water from its source to a network of earthen canals, ponds, springs and rocky hillsides, which encourage water to seep into the ground. It then slowly trickles downhill through the soil and resurfaces in streams near the community.  
Ideally, the system should be able to increase the water’s travel time from days to months in order to provide water throughout the dry season, “but there was no evidence at all to quantify what is the water volume that they can harvest from these practices, or really if the practices were actually increasing the yields of these springs that they used during the dry season,” said Ochoa-Tocachi. 

A diversion canal as part of the pre-Inca infiltration system during the wet season. Canals like this divert water during the wet season to zones of high permeability. (M. Briceño, CONDESAN, 2012)

To assess the system’s capabilities, the researchers measured how much it slowed the flow of water by injecting a dye tracer high upstream and noting when it resurfaced downstream. The water started to emerge two weeks later and continued flowing for eight months — a huge improvement over the hours or days it would normally take. 
“I think probably the most exciting result is that we actually confirmed that this system works,” Ochoa-Tocachi added. “It’s not only trusting that, yeah, we know that there are traditional practices, we know that indigenous knowledge is very useful. I think that we proved that it is still relevant today. It is still a tool that we can use and we can replicate to solve modern problems.” 

Considerable increase in supply
The researchers next considered how implementing a scaled-up version of the system could benefit Lima. Combining what they learned from the existing setup in Huamantanga with the physical characteristics of Lima’s surroundings, they estimated that the system could increase Lima’s dry-season water supply by 7.5% on average, and up to 33% at the beginning of the dry season. This amounts to nearly 100 million cubic meters of water per year — the equivalent of 40,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. 
Todd Gartner, director of the World Resources Institute Natural Infrastructure for Water project, noted that this study “takes what we often just talk about — that ‘green [infrastructure] is as good as grey’ — and it puts this into practice and does a lot of evaluation and monitoring and puts real numbers behind it.” 
Another benefit of the system is the cost. Ochoa-Tocachi estimated that building a series of canals similar to what exists in Huamantanga would cost 10 times less than building a reservoir of the same volume. He also noted that many highland societies elsewhere in the world have developed ways of diverting and delaying water in the past and could implement them today to supplement their more expensive modern counterparts. 
“I think there is a lot of potential in revaluing these water-harvesting practices that have a very long history,” Ochoa-Tocachi said. “There are a lot of these practices that still now could be rescued and could be replicated, even though probably the actual mechanics or the actual process is different than the one that we studied. But the concept of using indigenous knowledge for solving modern engineering problems, I think that is probably very valuable today.” 

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Макрон заявив, що приїде на День перемоги в Росію – ЗМІ

Президент Франції Емманюель Макрон заявив в ефірі російського «Першого каналу», що приїде на День перемоги в Росію у 2020 році, пишуть російські агентства ТАСС та «Інтерфакс».

«Так, я буду там. Пан [президент Росії Володимир] Путін мене запросив, і я приїду», – сказав Макрон в ефірі програми «Толстой. Воскресенье».

Він заявив, що відзначення цієї дати важливе для Франції.

«Тому що ми знаємо, що багато чим зобов’язані Росії й тим, хто чинив спротив», – заявив Макрон.

Випуск програми «Толстой. Воскресенье» за 30 червня наразі не опублікований на сайті «Першого каналу».

9 травня 2020 року в Росії відзначатимуть 75-річницю перемоги у Другій світовій війні.

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У Росії в постраждалий від повені регіон направили військових

Для боротьби з повінню в Іркутській області Росії, через яку затоплені тисячі будинків в п’яти районах і загинули щонайменше п’ять людей, перекидають армійські підрозділи.

Як повідомив 30 червня речник Центрального військового округу Сергій Шорін, у місто Нижньоудинськ Іркутської області висувається зведений загін округу.

За його словами, військовослужбовці здійснюють марш із технікою з Кемеровської області, вони мають подолати більше ніж 1,1 тисячу кілометрів.

Йдеться про приблизно 50 військових, а також більше ніж 20 одиниць важкої техніки для доставки вантажів і продовольства й евакуації населення.

Президент Росії Володимир Путін раніше доручив міністрові оборони країни при необхідності залучити армію до боротьби зі стихією.

З берегів в Іркутській області вийшли відразу кілька великих приток Ангари. Загинули, за офіційними даними, п’ять людей, ще двоє вважаються зниклими. Понад 130 постраждалих шпиталізували, евакуйовано понад тисячу людей. Затоплено більше ніж чотири тисяч житлових будинків.


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Учасники мітингів у Казахстані вимагали демократизації

У найбільшому місті Казахстану Алмати і в столиці країни Нур-Султані 30 червня відбулися узгоджені з владою мітинги опозиції.

Раніше міська влада Алмати більше ніж 30 разів відмовлялася погоджувати мітинг з організаторами заходу. Там на мітинг вийшли кілька сотень людей.

Учасники акції вимагали змінити порядок проведення мітингів, для яких потрібно отримувати дозволи, а також провести конституційну реформу і демократизацію країни.

Як повідомляють кореспонденти казахської служби Радіо Свобода, навколо місця проведення мітингу від ранку чергували десятки поліцейських, неподалік були припарковані їхні службові мікроавтобуси. Затримань після акції не було.

У Нур-Султані на мітинг зібралися близько 100 людей. На цьому мітингу вимагали переглянути систему обрання губернаторів і суддів, вирішити проблеми в галузі пайового будівництва, допомогти багатодітним сім’ям отримати обіцяне владою житло і повернути столиці Казахстану назву Астана.

На початку червня в Казахстані відбулися позачергові вибори президента – на них переміг наступник першого президента країни Нурсултана Назарбаєва Касим-Жомарт Токаєв. Тоді протягом кількох днів люди виходили на неузгоджені з владою акції, на яких вимагали бойкотувати вибори, провести чесне і голосування і переглянути результати.

За даними МВС, з 9 по 12 червня в Алмати і Нур-Султані затримали близько чотирьох тисяч людей, більше ніж тисячу – притягли до адміністративної відповідальності, понад 600 були заарештовані.


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Tens of Thousands Join Gay Pride Parades Around the World 

Tens of thousands of people turned out for gay pride celebrations around the world on Saturday, including a boisterous party in Mexico and the first pride march in North Macedonia’s capital. 
Rainbow flags and umbrellas swayed and music pounded as the march along Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma avenue got underway, with couples, families and activists seeking to raise visibility for sexual diversity in the country.   
Same-sex civil unions have been legal in Mexico City since 2007, and gay marriage since 2009. A handful of Mexican states have also legalized same-sex unions, which are supposed to be recognized nationwide. But pride participants said Mexico has a long way to go in becoming a more tolerant and accepting place for LGBTQ individuals.  

Revelers attend the gay pride parade in Quito, Ecuador, June 29, 2019.

“There’s a lot of machismo, a lot of ignorance still,” said Monica Nochebuena, who identifies as bisexual.  
Nochebuena, 28, attended the Mexico City march for the first time with her mother and sister on Saturday, wearing a shirt that said: “My mama already knows.” Her mother’s shirt read: “My daughter already told me.” 
Human rights activist Jose Luis Gutierrez, 43, said the march is about visibility, and rights, especially for Mexico’s vulnerable transgender population. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says that poverty, exclusion and violence reduce life expectancy for trans women in the Americas to 35 years. 
In New York City, Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan led to a riot and days of demonstrations that morphed into a sustained LGBTQ liberation movement. The city’s huge Pride parade on Sunday will swing past the bar. 
Other LGBTQ celebrations took place from India to Europe, with more events planned for Sunday. 

People take part in the first gay pride parade in Skopje, North Macedonia, June 29, 2019.

In the North Macedonian capital of Skopje, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm attended the first pride march there in a festive and incident-free atmosphere despite a countermarch organized by religious and “pro-family” organizations. 
People from across Macedonia took part, along with marchers from neighboring Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia and other countries.  
“This year Skopje joined more than 70 Pride [marches] and the USA are very proud to be part of this,” Schweitzer-Bluhm told reporters. “There is a lot of progress here in North Macedonia but still a lot has to be done.” 

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Thousands March in Madrid to Save Anti-Pollution Plan

Thousands marched through Madrid on Saturday to ask the Spanish capital’s new mayor not to ditch ambitious traffic restrictions in the center only recently set up to improve air quality. 
“Madrid Central,” as it is called, was one of the measures that persuaded the European Commission not to take Spain to court last year over its bad air pollution in the capital and Barcelona, as it did with France, Germany and the United Kingdom. 
“Fewer cars, better air” and “The new city hall seriously harms your health” were the messages on banners as protesters walked through the city’s center in 40-degree-Celsius heat. 
The capital’s new conservative mayor, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, made ditching “Madrid Central” a priority during his campaign, saying it had done nothing to ease pollution and only caused a nuisance for locals. 
But since he has taken power as part of a coalition with center-right party Ciudadanos, city officials have toned this down, saying the government is merely seeking to reform a system that does not work properly, having mistakingly handed out some fines. 
When the system was launched in November, Madrid followed in the steps of other European cities such as London, Stockholm and Milan that have restricted traffic in their centers. 

A woman takes part in a protest against Madrid’s new conservative People’s Party municipal government plans to suspend some anti-car emissions policies in the city center, June 29, 2019.

But while in these cases drivers can pay to enter such zones, Madrid went a step further, banning many vehicles from accessing the center altogether and fining them if they did. 
These fines will be suspended from July 1 to the end of September as the new city hall team audits the system. 
For Beatriz Navarro, 44, a university biochemistry professor who took part in the march, the system is working fine. 
“It’s a small seed … among everything that has to be done to slow down climate change,” she said. 
In a statement, environmental group Ecologistas en Accion said “the levels of pollution from nitrogen dioxide (NO2) registered during May this year were lower than those of 2018 in all the [measuring] stations in the system.” 
“In 14 of the 24 stations [in Madrid], the value registered in May 2019 was the lowest in the last 10 years.” 

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Trump’s Korea Visit to Include ‘Long-Planned’ Visit to DMZ

U.S. President Donald Trump said early Sunday that his schedule while in South Korea would include a visit with U.S. troops and a trip to the Demilitarized Zone. 
It did not mention, however, the invitation Trump had sent through social media on Saturday, in which he tweeted an invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet him at the border “to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”

After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2019

Sunday morning, Trump plans to address South Korean business leaders. He will then travel to the presidential residence to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. 
He will travel to the DMZ Sunday afternoon, and then address U.S. troops at Osan Air Base in South Korea, before departing for the U.S.

Speaking to reporters at the Group of 20 summit in Japan, Trump said he decided Saturday morning to “put out a feeler” to meet Kim, adding such a meeting would last only two minutes.

“We’ll see each other for two minutes,” Trump said. “That’s all we can. But that will be fine.”

Trump later said he would feel “very comfortable” stepping across the border into North Korea. If that happened, it would be the first time a sitting U.S. president visited North Korea.

Kim has not responded to Trump’s offer. But North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, called the invitation an “interesting suggestion.”

FILE – Choe Son Hui, deputy director general of the Department of US Affairs of North Korea Foreign Ministry, briefs journalists outside the North Korean embassy in Beijing, China, June 23, 2016.

“We see it as a very interesting suggestion, but we have not received an official proposal in this regard,” Choe said in a statement published in the official Korean Central News Agency.

“It would serve as another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations,” Choe added.

Another meeting between Trump and Kim could help reset stalled nuclear talks. But a meeting without substance risks becoming theatrics and would appear to further legitimize the North Korean leader, many analysts warn.

“The DMZ is too consequential a venue to be used simply as backdrop for a photo op,” said Daniel Russel, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific.

FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un sign documents that acknowledge the progress of talks and pledge to keep momentum going, after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018.

Talks stalled

Trump and Kim met in Singapore last June and in Vietnam in February. Since Vietnam, working-level negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have broken down because of disagreement over how to pace sanctions relief with the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

In recent weeks, Trump and Kim have exchanged personal letters, raising hopes the talks may get back on track. But it isn’t clear how additional top-level diplomacy can advance the talks, as neither side appears to have softened their negotiating position.

A key indicator of progress is whether North Korean counterparts meet with U.S. Special Representative Stephen Biegun, said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

“Progress on inter-Korean relations and denuclearization requires that the Kim regime agree to working-level talks to negotiate next steps,” Easley said. Absent substantive talks, further summits with Kim “run the risk of appearing to accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” he added.

FILE – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, April 27, 2018.

Meeting at JSA?

U.S. officials haven’t said where along the 250-kilometer Demilitarized Zone Trump intended to visit.

The Joint Security Area (JSA) has long been mentioned as a possible venue for a Trump-Kim meeting. The JSA, also known as the Panmunjom border village, is the only spot along the DMZ where North and South Korean soldiers can stand face to face.

Past U.S. presidents have used visits to the DMZ to deliver messages on strengthening the U.S.-South Korea alliance, to pay respect to the troops, and to demonstrate a symbolic show of resolve against North Korea.

“It is absolutely not the place to praise his ‘friend’ Kim, to complain about ‘freeloading’ allies, or to muse about withdrawing U.S. troops,” said Russel, the former State Department official who is now a vice president at the Asia Society.

While Trump’s language may differ from that of past presidents, some analysts welcomed a more conciliatory approach.

“While no major agreements will be signed, both sides can reaffirm their commitment to dialogue and diplomacy, essentially resetting the table for a future deal in the weeks and months to come,” said Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest.

DMZ visit planned ahead of time?

In 2017 during his first visit to South Korea as president, Trump canceled a surprise stop at the DMZ after heavy fog grounded the helicopters that were to take him there.

Bad weather is again a possibility, with the onset of the rainy season in South Korea. However, because of the possibility of a summit with Kim, Trump could choose to take a motorcade to the DMZ, if the weather becomes an issue.

Trump’s visit to the DMZ is less spontaneous than the president suggests. In an interview Monday with the Washington-based newspaper and website The Hill, Trump acknowledged a likely visit to the DMZ, adding he “might” want to meet Kim there.

In Monday interview, Trump acknowledged likely visit to the DMZ and said he “might” want to meet KJU there. WH asked we delay publication, citing security concerns. We agreed. Then he just tweeted it out https://t.co/WHMqJ0ABHz

— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) June 28, 2019

However, White House officials asked the website to delay the publication of those remarks, citing security concerns.

Before leaving Washington, Trump said he would “not quite” meet with Kim, though he said he may talk with him in a “different form.”

Earlier this week, a North Korean state media article said Kim was “seriously contemplating” the “interesting” contents of a recent letter from Trump.

In a statement, South Korea’s presidential Blue House said “nothing has been finalized,” adding it continues to call for more dialogue with North Korea.

The Financial Times reported late Saturday that White House officials were drafting an “official invitation” for Kim to meet Trump at the DMZ.

It isn’t clear whether South Korea’s Moon  would also attend any meeting at the DMZ.

Wide gaps

There appear to be wide gaps between North and South Korea on how to proceed with nuclear talks.

Although Trump and Kim agreed in Singapore to work “toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” U.S. officials have acknowledged that Washington and Pyongyang do not agree on what “denuclearization” means.

North Korean officials have made clear they do not see “denuclearization” as Pyongyang unilaterally giving up its nuclear weapons.

Instead, the North wants to see the United States take reciprocal steps, including ending U.S. and U.N. sanctions and providing various security guarantees.

In Hanoi, Kim offered to dismantle a key nuclear complex in exchange for the lifting of most U.N. sanctions. Trump rejected that offer, insisting that Kim agree to give up his entire nuclear weapons program before receiving sanctions relief.

Kim has given the United States until the end of the year to offer what it sees as an adequate counterproposal.

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Повені на півдні Сибіру призвели до жертв і сотень потерпілих

За різними даними, від 3 до 5 людей загинули в результаті потужних повеней на півдні російського регіону Сибір. За інформацією Міністерства з надзвичайних ситуацій, близько 350 людей постраждали, а майже сотні з цього числа знадобилась госпіталізація. Влада змушена була евакуйовувати людей із затоплених територій.

Через рясні дощі вийшли з берегів річки в Іркутській області. Повідомляється про сотні підтоплених будинків, а також пошкодження окремих доріг та мостів в регіоні на захід від озера Байкал.

Президент Росії Володимир Путін після повернення з саміту G20 у Японії прилетів 29 червня у місто Братськ, що постраждало від повені.

У МНС Росії не виключили, що в найближчі дні ситуація з повенями може загостритися.

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На 10-й день вуличних протестів у Грузії вимагають відставки голови МВС

У центрі грузинської столиці Тбілісі десятий день триває акція протесту. За словами учасників акції (представників опозиції та активістів з різних регіонів), їхня головна вимога залишається незмінною – відставка глави МВС Гіоргі Гахарії. Під час ходи центром столиці опозиціонери та їх прихильники вигукували «Іди» та «Сакартвело».

Протестувальники переконують, що очільник МВС має піти у відставку через застосування сили до протестувальників в ніч на 21 червня, внаслідок чого постраждали 240 людей.

На проспекті Руставелі перекрили автомобільний рух.

Антиросійські протести тривають у Тбілісі від 20 червня. Демонстрації почалися після того, як депутат Державної думи Росії, комуніст Сергій Гаврилов вів засідання Міжпарламентської асамблеї православ’я, сидячи у кріслі спікера грузинського парламенту.

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У Північній Македонії пройшов перший гей-парад

Сотні людей пройшли 29 червня вулицями столиці Північної Македонії Скоп’є під час першого в країні гей-параду. За оцінками поліції, в заході взяли участь близько 1 тисячі людей. Учасники несли великий банер із кольорами веселки і танцювали під музику з вантажівки, на якій були встановлені потужні динаміки.

На параді виступила відома в країні естрадна співачка Тамара Тодевська, яка виконала свій хіт Proud, представлений цьогоріч на пісенному конкурсі «Євробачення».

Інформації про правопорушення чи акти агресії щодо учасників немає.

Поряд із гей-парадом, за кілька кварталів, відбулася акція за сімейні цінності, в якій взяли участь кількасот людей, що перед тим побували у церкві.

Північна Македонія – доволі консервативна країна, однак останніми роками помітне більш лояльне ставлення до геїв, лесбіянок, бісексуалів і трансгендерів. Країна нещодавно зробила важливий крок на шляху членства в ЄС і НАТО, дійшовши компромісу з сусідньою Грецією щодо назви країни.

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US, China Leaders Meet Amid Trade War

Both the U.S. and Chinese presidents, as they began a tense meeting Saturday, expressed hope about improving relations amid their escalating trade war.

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, sitting across the table from each other on the sidelines of the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Osaka, made brief statements but did not answer any questions from a group of reporters.

“China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in a confrontation,” Xi stated. “Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation.”

Xi added that he wanted to exchange views with Trump “on the fundamental issues concerning the growth of China-U.S. relations so as to set the direction of our relationship.”

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G-20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019.

Trump: ‘We want to do something’

Trump, noting his “excellent relationship” with Xi, said “we want to do something that will even it up with respect to trade. I think it’s something that’s very easy to do.”

The U.S. president said that the two countries had been very close to achieving a historic trade agreement and then “something happened where it slipped a little bit.”

Trump added that regarding a fair trade deal, “we’re totally open to it. I know you’re totally open to it,” explaining that negotiations for both countries have been working hard to achieve that.

“I think we can go on to do something that truly will be monumental and great for both countries. And that’s what I look forward to doing.”

Lower expectations

Top U.S. officials, in the days leading up to the meeting, have been skeptical about any immediate breakthrough and played down expectations of that.

Replying to a question from VOA Friday, Trump had said he was not certain that Xi would put a new proposal on the table. He also said he had not committed to avoiding placing additional tariffs on China.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said this week that Trump did not agree to any preconditions for the high-stakes meeting with Xi and is maintaining his threat to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods.

Trump has threatened another $325 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, which would cover just about everything China exports to the United States that is not already covered by the current 25% tariff on $250 billion in Chinese imports.

China has slapped its own tariffs on U.S. products, including those produced by already financially strapped American farmers.

March Short, the chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, said Friday the “best-case scenario” for Saturday’s talks would be a resumption of trade negotiations between the United States and China.

China Shipping Company containers are stacked at the Virginia International’s terminal in Portsmouth, Va., May 10, 2019.

Eleven rounds of talks

Eleven rounds of previous talks have failed to ease U.S. concerns over China’s massive trade surplus and China’s acquisition of U.S. technology.

The latest round of talks broke down in May, when Washington accused Beijing of going back on its pledge to change Chinese laws to enact economic reforms.

Neither the United Sates nor China have indicated they will back down from their previous positions that led to the current stalemate.

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Mexico Bolsters Borders as US Talks with Northern Triangle Continue

VOA associate producer Jesusemen Oni contributed to this report from Washington.  
As U.S. lawmakers agreed this week to provide billions of dollars in funding to federal law enforcement agencies at the Southwestern border, Mexico ramped up its own border efforts, deploying thousands of newly commissioned National Guard troops to its southern and northern frontiers. 

The country’s immigration agency also announced it would hire new agents for the third time this year, though on a decidedly smaller scale than the troop deployment. The original posting was for 66 officers, but authorities said they might approve funds for more. 
Meanwhile, Kevin McAleenan, acting head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said Friday that he would be meeting again with Northern Triangle officials in the coming week, as Washington attempts to lock down an asylum deal with Guatemala to divert asylum seekers away from Mexico and the U.S. 

FILE – Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington, May 23, 2019.

Expectations on migration 
Despite a dizzying number of moving parts to the multicountry brokering, McAleenan told reporters he expected to see results of the attempts to mitigate unauthorized migration across the southwestern U.S. border by next month. An increasing number of families and unaccompanied children entered in the first half of the year.
“In terms of when we’re going to know if these efforts in Mexico are making an impact … basically by the end of July if these efforts are sustained and having significant impact,” McAleenan told reporters at a news conference that had been set for Thursday but was postponed after the U.S. House agreed to allocate additional funds to DHS operations at the border. 
In Mexico, Defense Secretary Luis Sandoval ordered 15,000 members of the country’s newly formed National Guard and other military units to the northern border.  
Thousands were previously dispatched to Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala and Belize. 
But their role with respect to limiting border access into and out of Mexico remains unclear, said researcher Daniella Burgi-Palomino, a senior associate at the Latin America Working Group, an activist organization that promotes just U.S. policies toward Latin America and the Caribbean.

“All of that lack of clarity around their role is extremely concerning. It seems to be that Mexico already agreed to certain things with the U.S. and … is going out of its way, really wanting to show that they really want to show results within these 45 days,” she said, referring to Mexico’s response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat of tariffs. Under the deal, Mexico must reduce the number of unauthorized border-crossers into the U.S. from its territory to avoid the punitive financial measures Trump ordered. 

Migrants wait for donated food at the Puerta Mexico international bridge, Matamoros, Mexico, June 27, 2019. Hundreds of migrants have been waiting for their numbers to be called to have a chance to request asylum in the U.S.

Immigration agent initiative 
In announcing its hiring initiative, the Mexican immigration agency said the new agents were necessary to ensure that foreigners “are treated with dignity, and with unrestricted respect for their human rights.” The agency is under new leadership this month after its previous commissioner resigned in the middle of Mexico’s response to Trump’s tariff threat.  
Burgi-Palomino said that in theory, only Mexico’s National Institute of Migration could handle immigration-related cases and detentions. Mexico also is documenting an increased number of migrants to and through its territory.

But just how that squares with the mandate given Mexico’s National Guard at the borders in blocking migrants — largely from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — from entering Mexico from the south and entering the U.S. at the north has not been resolved.  
“They’re a new force, which I think leads into the question of how much training have they received,” said Rachel Schmidtke, program associate for migration at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “I think if there’s not proper training, and sensitization to how to deal with populations that have less access to power, bad things can happen. And I think that’s … what could happen at the Mexico border.” 

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Eastern Libyan Forces Will Impose Flight Ban from Libya to Turkey

Eastern Libyan forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar will ban any commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and Turkish ships from docking in the country, its spokesman Ahmed Mismari said Friday.

Turkey supports Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli which on Wednesday dealt a blow to eastern forces trying to seize the capital in a three-month campaign.

Turkey aircraft considered hostile

Any aircraft arriving from Turkey attempting to land in the capital Tripoli would be treated as hostile, said Mismari. The same would apply to Turkish ships docking at Libyan ports.

He also said his Libyan National Army (LNA) force would attack any Turkish military presence, without elaborating.

Turkey has supplied drones and trucks to forces allied to Tripoli Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, while the LNA has received support from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, according to diplomats.

The LNA, which is allied to a parallel government in the east, has failed to take Tripoli but it commands air superiority. It has several times attacked Tripoli’s functioning airport.

Mismari also said his forces had lost 43 soldiers in the battle over the town of Gharyan which the Tripoli forces took on Wednesday.

LNA still holds Tarhouna

Gharyan was the main forward base for the LNA where troops, weapons and ammunition arrived. The LNA began its Tripoli campaign there.

The LNA still holds the town of Tarhouna southeast of Tripoli, its second main position in the campaign.

Haftar and his backers say they are trying to free the capital from militias which they blame for destabilizing Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Haftar’s offensive derails U.N. plans

Haftar’s critics accuse him of trying to seize power through force and deepening a conflict between factions based in the east and west of the sprawling North African country.

Haftar’s offensive has upended United Nations-led plans to stabilize Libya after years of conflict that have left the oil-rich nation divided and caused living standards to plummet.

The conflict risks disrupting oil production, creating a vacuum to be exploited by militants and prompting more migrants to leave for Italy by boat.

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