The United States has slapped sanctions on a Russian financial entity for helping North Korea evade international sanctions.
The Treasury Department on Wednesday targeted the Russian Financial Society and blocked all its assets in the United States. U.S. citizens are also barred from doing business with the firm.
“Treasury continues to enforce existing U.S. and U.N. sanctions against individuals and entities in Russia and elsewhere who facilitate illicit trade with North Korea,” Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker said.
Treasury officials accused the Russian Financial Society of opening bank accounts for a North Korean company owned by the North Korean Foreign Trade Bank, and also for a representative of a second company, the Korea Zinc Industrial Group.
The bank, its Moscow representative, Han Jang Su, and Korea Zinc are already under U.S. sanctions.
Treasury said the Russian Financial Society allowed North Korea to evade sanctions to gain access to the global financial system so the country could earn revenue for the North’s nuclear program.
Former top White House adviser Hope Hicks was refusing to answer questions related to her time in the White House in an interview Wednesday with the House Judiciary Committee, dimming Democrats’ chances of obtaining new or substantive information about President Donald Trump as part of their investigation into obstruction of justice.
Less than an hour into the interview, frustrated Democrats taking breaks from the meeting said Hicks and her lawyer were following White House orders to stay quiet about her time there working for Trump. She was answering some questions about her time on Trump’s campaign, the lawmakers said.
“She’s objecting to stuff that’s already in the public record,” said California Rep. Karen Bass. “It’s pretty ridiculous.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., called her answers “a farce.” California Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted about the interview, writing that Hicks refused to answer even innocuous questions such as whether she had previously testified before Congress.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., declined to comment on the substance of the interview so far, saying “all I’ll say is Ms. Hicks is answering questions put to her and the interview continues.”
Republicans had a different perspective, saying she was cooperative and that the interview was a waste of time. The top Republican on the panel, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, said they were “simply talking about things that are already out there in public or getting the same answers over and over.”
It was so far unclear whether Democrats would take Hicks or the administration to court to challenge the claim of immunity. In a letter Tuesday to Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote that Trump had directed Hicks not to answer questions “relating to the time of her service as a senior adviser to the president.”
Cipollone said Hicks, as one of Trump’s former senior advisers, is “absolutely immune” from compelled testimony with respect to her service to the president because of the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. The White House has similarly cited broad executive privilege with respect to many of the Democrats’ investigative demands, using the president’s power to withhold information to protect the confidentiality of the Oval Office decision-making process.
Democrats say they disagree that Hicks’ answers are covered by such immunity or privilege, especially since she has already cooperated with Mueller.
Jayapal said that at one point Hicks started to answer a question, and the lawyers jumped in and said, “We’re starting executive.”
“Basically, she can say her name,” Jayapal said.
As Hicks spoke to the lawmakers, Trump tweeted that the investigation is “extreme Presidential Harassment.” He wrote that Democrats “are very unhappy with the Mueller Report, so after almost 3 years, they want a Redo, or Do Over.”
The interview marks the first time lawmakers are hearing from a person linked to Trump’s inner circle since the release of Mueller’s report. Obtaining the testimony Wednesday from Hicks, a former White House communications director and a trusted former Trump aide, was a victory for the committee, given that Trump has broadly stonewalled their investigations and said he will fight “all of the subpoenas.”
The Judiciary panel wanted a higher-profile interview with Hicks, subpoenaing her for public testimony. But they agreed to the private interview after negotiations. A transcript of the session will be released in the days afterward.
The committee has also subpoenaed Hicks for documents, but she has only partially complied. She agreed to provide some information from her work on Trump’s campaign, but none from her time at the White House because of the administration’s objections.
Hicks was a key witness for Mueller, delivering important information to the special counsel’s office about multiple episodes involving the president. Mueller wrote in his 448-page report released in April that there was not enough evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, but he said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice. The report examined several situations in which Trump attempted to influence or curtail Mueller’s investigation.
Democratic aides said they planned on asking Hicks about several of those episodes, including efforts to remove Mueller from the investigation, pressure on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the firing of FBI Director James Comey. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity.
The aides said that lawmakers also planned to ask about Hicks’ knowledge of hush-money payments orchestrated by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to two women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Trump — porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal. Trump has denied the allegations. Cohen is now serving three years in prison partly for campaign violations related to the payments.
Testimony from witnesses such as Hicks is one step in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s methodical approach to investigating Trump. More than 60 lawmakers in her caucus — including around a dozen on the Judiciary Committee — have called for opening an impeachment inquiry, but she has said she wants committees to investigate first and decide on impeachment later.
Сполучені Штати Америки ввели фінансові санкції проти російської небанківської кредитної організації «Русское финансовое общество». Про це повідомляється на сайті Міністерства фінансів США.
Зазначається, що «Русское финансовое общество» потрапило під санкції через порушення режиму санкції щодо Північної Кореї.
Російська організація відкрила кілька рахунків для компанії, що належить Банку зовнішньої торгівлі Північної Кореї. Цей банк і глава його представництва в Москві раніше були включені до списку санкцій, мовиться у повідомленні.
На сайті «Русское финансовое общество» зазначається, що воно здійснює розрахунково-касове обслуговування клієнтів та валютний контроль. Про співпрацю з КНДР нічого не вказано.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is canceling a visit to Sri Lanka during his upcoming visit to the Indo-Pacific region that includes accompanying President Donald Trump to the G20 Summit in Japan.
U.S. Embassy to Colombo cited “unavoidable scheduling conflicts,” for not being able to make the trip, which would have come nearly two months after the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks that killed more than 250 people at hotels and churches.
“Secretary Pompeo “regrets that he is no longer able to visit Colombo at this time,” the embassy said in a statement. “He hopes to travel to Sri Lanka at a later date to underscore our strong partnership with Sri Lanka, which is rooted in a commitment to democracy, economic growth and a free, open Indo-Pacific region.”
The top U.S. diplomat is traveling to India, Japan, and South Korea from June 24-30 to broaden Washington’s partnerships with allies in the Indo-Pacific region. Trade and North Korea are high on the agenda.
The secretary of state’s visit to New Delhi comes after a decision by Trump to end preferential trade treatment for India amid a deepening dispute over protectionism.
“We remain open to dialog, and we hope that our friends in India will drop their trade barriers,” said Pompeo during a recent event at the U.S.-India Business Council.
In New Delhi, Pompeo will discuss the U.S.-India strategic partnership with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won re-election last month.
The top U.S. diplomat joins President Trump for the G20 Leaders’ Summit where Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the gathering, amid escalating trade disputes between the world’s leading economies.
The highly-anticipated Trump-Xi meeting also comes after Xi’s scheduled visit to North Korea later this week, which makes Xi the first Chinese leader to visit Pyongyang in 14 years.
Pompeo will join Trump in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of G20 Summit. Following the G-20, the secretary will also accompany Trump to Seoul to meet with President Moon Jae-in, according to the State Department.
Officials say U.S., South Korean and Japanese leaders will strengthen trilateral cooperation on a unified approach to achieve “the final, fully verified denuclearization” of North Korea.
President Donald Trump has asserted executive privilege over documents that were subpoenaed by Congress related to the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
The claim comes as the House Oversight Committee considers whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over the subpoenaed documents. A contempt vote by the committee would be an escalation of Democratic efforts to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of the Trump administration.
In a letter to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the Justice Department asserted that the administration has “engaged in good-faith efforts” to satisfy the committee’s oversight needs and said the planned contempt vote was premature.
Democrats fear the question will reduce census participation in immigrant-heavy communities. They say they want specific documents to determine why Ross added the citizenship question to the 2020 census and contend the Trump administration has declined to provide them despite repeated requests.
The administration has turned over more than 17,000 of pages of documents and Ross testified for nearly seven hours. The Justice Department has said two senior officials also sat for interviews with committee staff members and it was working to produce tens of thousands of additional pages of relevant documents.
Cummings disputed the Justice Department’s account and said most of the documents turned over to the committee had already been made public.
“We must protect the integrity of the census and we must stand up for Congress’ authority under the Constitution to conduct meaningful oversight,” Cummings said.
‘Fight all the subpoenas’
The administration’s refusal to turn over requested documents “does not appear to be an effort to engage in good-faith negotiations or accommodations,” he added. “Instead, it appears to be another example of the administration’s blanket defiance of Congress’ constitutionally mandated responsibilities.”
Trump has vowed to “fight all the subpoenas” issued by Congress and says he won’t work on legislative priorities, such as infrastructure, until Congress halts investigations of his administration.
Cummings postponed a planned vote Wednesday morning to allow lawmakers time to read the Justice Department letters.
Ross told the committee the decision in March 2018 to add the question was based on a Justice Department request to help it enforce the Voting Rights Act.
Cummings disputed that, citing documents unearthed last week suggesting that the real reason the administration sought to add the citizenship question was to help officials gerrymander legislative districts in overtly partisan and racist ways.
The Supreme Court is considering the citizenship question in a ruling expected by the end of the month.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Democrats were trying to use the committee’s oversight power to “pre-empt” the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Why don’t they want to know how many citizens — and non-citizens — are in the U.S.?” he asked.
Some of the documents the committee is seeking are protected by attorney-client privileges and other confidential processes, Boyd said, adding that the president has made a “protective assertion” of executive privilege so the administration can fully review all of the documents.
“The president, the Department of Justice, has every right to do that,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC. Democrats are “asking for documents that are privileged, and I would hope that they can continue to negotiate and speak about what is appropriate and what is not, but the world is watching. This country sees that they’d rather continue to investigate than legislate.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said the Trump administration has repeatedly thwarted congressional efforts to obtain key documents and exercise legitimate oversight. “All we get from the administration is a middle finger” of defiance, Raskin said. “And that’s not appropriate for the power of Congress.”
Число біженців і внутрішніх переселенців у 2018 році досягло 70,8 мільйонів осіб. Як зазначив Верховний комісар ООН у справах біженців Філіппо Гранді, це – новий рекорд.
Він додав, що люди біжать від насильства, війни і переслідувань, а міжнародне співтовариство не може досягти миру.
За словами Гранді, у нову доповідь включені лише офіційні дані, реальні цифри можуть бути набагато більшими. Так, наприклад, з 4 мільйонів жителів Венесуели, які залишили свою країну, лише півмільйона звернулися за притулком.
«Згідно з новою доповіддю, число переміщень сьогодні в два рази перевищує показники двадцятирічної давності. Це ще раз підтверджує довгострокову тенденцію: людей, які потребують міжнародного захисту, стає все більше», – мовиться у повідомленні.
Гранді закликав збільшити фінансування для країн, яким доводиться справлятися з потоком біженців, що постійно зростає, і зміцнювати регіональне і міжнародне співробітництво в цій галузі. Він додав, що відсутність консенсусу у Раді безпеки ООН не дозволяє ефективно долати кризові ситуації.
Спеціальний доповідач ООН Аньєс Каламар опублікувала результати розслідування вбивства саудівського журналіста Джамала Хашокджі. Про це повідомляє агентство Reuters.
За словами Каламар, турецькі спецслужби передали групі експертів ООН частину звукозаписів, зроблених у день вбивства в консульстві Саудівської Аравії в Стамбулі. Ці записи та інші докази свідчать про те, що Хашокджі став жертвою «жорстокого і умисного вбивства, спланованого і здійсненого посадовими особами Саудівської Аравії», заявила Каламар.
Спецпредставник ООН у справах позасудових страт також засудила Ер-Ріяд за непрозоре розслідування вбивства Хашокджі, яке зараз триває щодо 11 осіб. Каламар вважає, що винною потрібно вважати владу Саудівської Аравії, яку вона закликала вибачитися перед родиною Хашокджі за вбивство, а також відпустити людей, оголошених підозрюваними.
Після публікації доповіді кілька країн можуть запровадити персональні санкції щодо посадових осіб Саудівської Аравії, в тому числі кронпринца Мохаммеда бін Салмана.
Джамал Хашокджі загинув на початку жовтня 2018 року, але його тіло так і не було знайдене. Опозиційний саудівський журналіст пішов на прийом до консульства Саудівської Аравії в Стамбулі, після чого ніхто його не бачив. Через кілька тижнів влада в Ер-Ріяді визнала, що Хашокджі помер на території дипломатичного представництва. За версією влади, журналіст помер випадково, в результаті бійки з працівниками консульства. Звинувачення в організації його смерті Ер-Ріяд категорично відкидає.
Голова комітету Палати представників Конгресу США з питань фінансових послуг Максін Уотерс закликала Facebook зачекати з запуском власної криптовалюти за кілька годин після оголошення соцмережею планів. Про це повідомляє ВВС.
Воутерс зазначила, що «зважаючи на минуле компанії» Facebook слід погодитися заблокувати проект до завершення перевірки. Вона нагадала про історію з неправомірним використанням даних користувачів соцмережі, що призвело до допитів керівництва Facebook у Конгресі.
У Facebook заявили, що очікують нагоди відповісти на питання конгресменів.
Соціальна мережа Facebook 18 червня повідомила про запуск криптовалюти під назвою Libra, яка є «дітищем» Facebook та ще 27 компаній по всьому світу.
In the midst of a historic global refugee crisis, with nearly 69 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, Wendy Chan wanted to tell the human stories behind the mass exodus.
Chan, who came to the United States as a child with her family from China, notes, “Many organizations are trying to tell the refugee stories through numbers, but not a lot of them are reaching hearts and minds using a really positive and celebratory tone.” As the number of refugees allowed into the United States is reduced by the Trump Administration, Chan co-founded One Journey, because “I think it’s really important for us to showcase the incredible story of resilience and hope that refugees exhibited.”
“One Journey is to help shift the narrative about refugees and to showcase refugees’ contribution and talents to our society,” says Chan, “One Journey is really meant to connect people to the refugee crisis.”
The group’s inaugural festival took place last June on the grounds of the National Cathedral in Washington.
Chan and her co-founder, Vanda Berninger, brought refugee dancers, musicians and poets from all over the country. More than 4,000 people attended last year’s festival. This year, collaborating with 200 nonprofit organizations, local artists and businesses and big global corporations, Chan expects more than 8,000 attendees.
Reaching the world digitally
An important part of the festival is innovative digital technology, such as Shared Studio.
“We would set up this digital portal where participants of the festival can connect and learn about refugee stories directly from refugees who are sitting on the other side of the portal who are still living at camps around the world,” Chan explained.
The set-up impressed Sean Burk, who came to the festival with his three young children. “It’s absolutely important and meaningful to my kids as they sat there and listened to what the men in there were experiencing,” he told VOA. “You can tell that they really wanted to understand their challenges they lived through and wanted to know how they might be able to help.”
Born in a family that has many refugee stories, Chan learned firsthand the importance of supporting refugees.
“My great-grandfather was a political prisoner who died in a political prison at the age of 78. And my grandfather fled China during the civil war as a refugee.” It is very important to Chan that people realize that “refugees have no choice. They simply were born in the wrong place and wrong time of History.”
Chan’s enthusiasm has not gone unnoticed. Recently she received the Washington, DC mayor’s volunteer service award.
Although Chan is “deeply honored to receive that award,” she wants to make sure people know, “One Journey is truly a grass-roots movement. We engaged more than 300 volunteers who probably gave over five to six thousand hours in a year.”
Chan, an executive at a global consulting firm, feels she has “won life’s lottery” that she was able to come to the United States and live an enriched life. “A life that allows me to fulfill my full potential. As someone who is so blessed in life, I just feel I am obligated to give [refugees] a hand.”