Cambodian Dissidents Sentenced as Crackdown Continues

In a move that signals a significant escalation in the Cambodian government’s crackdown on the outlawed opposition party and dissent, a court has sentenced seven of its former officials for “plotting” in a case linked to their support of the unsuccessful return of self-exiled opposition figure Sam Rainsy in November 2019.The Tbong Khmum Provincial Court sentenced five former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) officials to seven years in prison on Tuesday. Two of the dissidents were sentenced to five years. Family members of the defendants and the media were banned from the court proceedings, said Am Sam Ath, deputy director of FILE – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, left, talks with dissolved main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Kem Sokha at the mourning ceremony for Sen’s mother in-law, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 5, 2020.The result was Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won every seat in the 2018 National Assembly and a crackdown on opposition.Sam Sokong, the defense attorney, said more than 200 people have been arrested, charged and jailed for “plotting.”Soeng Senkaruna, a spokesman for the Cambodian human rights group FILE – European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.The European Union’s European External Action Service (EEAS) said last week that there had not been “any indication of substantive progress” in its call for Cambodia to open up the country’s political space for a “credible and democratic opposition to operate.”“The EU is seriously concerned about the continuous deterioration of democracy and human rights in the country,” EEAS spokesperson Nabila Massrali told VOA Khmer.Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, in an email to VOA Khmer, said, “Cambodian human rights and democracy advocates are facing [a] concerted onslaught of political persecution that seeks to transform Cambodia from what was supposed to be a multiparty democracy into a ruthless, one-party dictatorship.”“The country’s kangaroo courts are operating hand-in-hand with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to sling activists into prison, like we saw Tbong Khmum just the other day, as judges don’t even make a pretense of a fair and public trial. Even basic civil and political liberties, like expressing views on Facebook or holding a peaceful, public vigil outside a courthouse, are being threatened,” he said.Robertson added, “Hun Sen thinks the international community is so distracted by COVID-19 [the disease caused by the coronavirus] that they will not say anything.”’Very unfair’Speaking from an undisclosed location, Yem Vanneth, 27, a former commune councilor and CNRP member, told VOA Khmer she was the defendant sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison. She said the government wants to intimidate and silence Cambodians who support Sam Rainsy’s return to Cambodia.“It is very unfair and unacceptable for us,” she said. “It is to intimidate me and to threaten other people who want to welcome Sam Rainsy.”Vann Sophat, a former CNRP district councilor who was outside the court on Tuesday, told VOA Khmer that the six other convicted individuals were Kong Sam Ann, Chak Hour, Mean La, Vann Sophat, Sim Seakleng and Chim Vannak.Vann Sophat added that Chim Vannak, a former CNRP activist, has joined the ruling CPP and was given a suspended sentence.Muy Ly, whose father, Kong Sam Ann, was convicted Tuesday, said the former Memot district councilor had been arrested earlier this month and sentenced to seven years in prison on Tuesday.Muy Ly said she didn’t know where her father would be imprisoned because the charges were filed in Phnom Penh, but the trial was conducted outside the capital in Tbong Khmum province. VOA Khmer could not reach Hak Seaklim, a Tbong Khmum provincial spokesperson, for comment.Chin Malin, spokesperson for Cambodia’s Justice Ministry, said the court had “enough evidence” to prosecute and supported the convictions.“It is not related to the [CNRP] leaders,” Chin Malin said. “It is related to those people’s actual activities, which have criminal elements.”FILE – Kem Sokha, former leader of the now-banned Cambodia National Rescue Party, speaks to reporters as he departs his residence, Jan. 15, 2020.Growing nervousnessTuesday’s convictions have increased the anxiety among the family members of former CNRP members, as has Hun Sen’s suggestion that the prolonged and often delayed treason trial against opposition leader Kem Sokha could be delayed until 2024, according to the government-aligned newspaper Khmer Times. That is well beyond scheduled local and national elections in 2022 and 2023.Cindy Cao, who researches EU-Cambodian relations at the Brussels-based European Institute of Asian Studies, said in an email to VOA Khmer that the recent series of arrests and Hun Sen’s remarks on the Kem Sokha trial reflected Phnom Penh’s “consistent defiance” of the EU’s efforts encouraging democracy.She suggested the Cambodian government was likely balancing political concessions it was comfortable with and the economic cost of its continued crackdown, the latter likely resulting in domestic unrest.“Many studies suggest that authoritarian states would prefer to pay an economic cost, rather than imperil its regime survival,” Cao said.Cambodian government spokesperson Phay Siphan repeated the regime’s defense of its actions, which is to maintain the country’s sovereignty. He added that the current clampdown was unrelated to the EBA revocation.“Cambodia prioritizes peace and the absence of chaos in society because Cambodia is an underdeveloped country – not as [rich as] the EU – so the arrests and the crackdowns are to ensure harmonious living conditions,” he said.Aun Chhengpor contributed to this report.

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3 Arrests, Little Violence at Far-Right Group’s Portland Rally

Three people were arrested Saturday at a right-wing rally in Portland, Oregon, the city’s police said, adding that they also were investigating one assault.The rally attracted several hundred people, far short of the crowd of 10,000 that organizers had expected. The rally began at noon and was mostly over by 3 p.m. The Oregon Department of Transportation closed an interstate briefly.”The purpose of this closure was to clear some people out of the area who wanted to leave and to keep competing groups separate,” Chris Liedle, a spokesperson with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, said in updates posted on Twitter.The three arrests included a man suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and a woman with an outstanding arrest warrant, Liedle said.The rally, in support of President Donald Trump and his campaign for reelection, was organized by the Proud Boys, a self-described “Western chauvinist” group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group.The group described the rally as a free-speech event to support Trump and the police and to restore law and order. Trump’s campaign has featured criticism of sometimes-violent protests over a series of incidents involving police treatment of Black people, including this week’s decision not to charge white police officers in Kentucky who fatally shot a Black woman, Breonna Taylor.“We the PEOPLE are tired of incompetent city leadership who neuters police and allows violent gangs or rioting felons to run the streets, burn buildings … and assault people with impunity,” the group wrote in an application to the city for a permit to hold the rally. City officials denied the permit, citing coronavirus concerns.The White House has not commented on the rally in Portland, where nightly protests against racism and police brutality — now nearing a fifth month — have taken place in the wake of several recent police incidents. Trump has labeled the city, however, as an “anarchist jurisdiction” where leaders are incompetent, and lawlessness is unchecked.Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Friday and activated state troopers to assist Portland police and said about 50 crowd-control officers would be deputized as federal marshals in response to that rally and another rally planned by left-wing demonstrators at the same time.A Trump supporter was shot and killed in Portland last month after some vehicles in a pro-Trump caravan encountered left-wing activists. Law enforcement officers killed the suspect, a self-described anti-fascist, the following week as they tried to arrest him in Washington state. 

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Український дослідник і видавець Леонід Фінберг удостоєний премії Станіслава Вінценза

Премію імені польського письменника, перекладача Станіслава Вінценза «За гуманістичне служіння та внесок у розвиток регіонів» 2020 року отримав директор Центру досліджень історії та культури східноєвропейського єврейства, головний редактор видавництва «Дух і Літера» Леонід Фінберг. Церемонія відбулась у Львові 26 вересня у Домі Франка, повідомляє кореспондент Радіо Свобода.

Премію започаткували два роки тому для популяризації і відзначення тих осіб, які роблять великий внесок для культурного і соціального розвитку регіонів. Станіслава Вінценза вважають символом праці за гуманітарне служіння розвитку регіонів, любов до рідного краю, відтак премію на його честь запровадили під час першого форуму «Via Carpatia». Два роки поспіль форум відбувався у Верховинському районі Івано-Франківської області, через карантин цьогоріч його перенесли у Львів.

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Лауреата премії обирає рада, до якої входять українські та польські інтелектуали, зокрема Мирослав Маринович, Іван Малкович, Віталій Портников, Євген Захаров, Марина Сингаївська, Іза Хруслінська.

Під час вручення нагороди Леонід Фінберг говорив про культурні процеси в Україні, наголосив на важливості об’єднання однодумців.

«Що допоможе нам знайти сили длля перемоги над негативними тенденціями та викликами сучасності? Для мене важливе осмислення життя людей, які долали межі людських можливостей, Тараса Шевченка, Василя Стуса, Омеляна Ковча, Осипа Мандельштама, Євгена Сверстюка. Але є і наші сучасники, до текстів яких важливо дослухатись. Переможемо. Іншого шляху у нас немає», – сказав Фінберг.

Читайте таукож: Ахтем Сеітаблаєв про Стуса, спотворення сенсів і значення культури у протидії інформаційній війні

У попередні роки лауреатами премії були публіцист, правозахисник Мирослав Маринович і видавець Іван Малкович.

Станіслав Вінценз – польський філософ, письменник, перекладач. Він народився у 1888 році на Івано-Франківщині. Довший час проживав на Гуцульщині і захоплювався цим краєм.

У 1930 році почав працю над відомою чотиритомною книгою про Гуцульщину «На високій полонині». Перший встановив на своїй малій батьківщині у 1936 році пам’ятник Іванові Франку. У 1939 році НКВД арештувало Вінценза, але невдовзі його звільнили з тюрми. У 1940 році письменник із родиною емігрував за кордон. Помер 28 січня 1971 року у Швейцарії. У 1991 році він та його дружина перепоховані у Кракові.

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Катастрофа Ан-26: на запит пілота на посадку відповіли лише за хвилину – голова ХОДА

Кучер вважає ключовою версією причин катастрофи службову недбалість

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Consistent Conservative, Devout Catholic Could Serve on Court for Decades

Amy Coney Barrett is a 48-year-old devout Catholic and an apparent abortion-rights opponent who is popular among conservative evangelical Christians, arguably President Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters.Barrett has authored more than 100 opinions since her 2017 confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which covers the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.Her opinions have consistently reflected her conservative values.She was a front-runner for Trump’s third nomination to the Supreme Court, to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died September 18. He nominated Neil Gorsuch in 2017 to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. After the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018, Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat.Barrett, a New Orleans native, earned a degree in English literature from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and then entered Notre Dame Law School in Indiana in the fall of 1994.She began teaching at the law school in 2002 at age 30 and served as a judge for the first time when confirmed for the 7th Circuit.Seen as Scalia successorReligious conservatives and others salute Barrett as an ideological successor to the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she worked as a clerk. She is the ideological opposite of Ginsburg.Scalia was a leading advocate of originalism, in which justices attempt to interpret constitutional laws by what they meant at the time they were written. Barrett has for years expressed sympathy for originalism, which many liberals oppose on the grounds the approach is too rigid and does not allow the Constitution to evolve in contemporary times.As a law professor, Barrett expressed some criticism of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which protects a pregnant woman’s right to have an abortion.Barrett has been a member at times of the conservative Federalist Society. She has long been associated with People of Praise, a small spiritual Christian community in Indiana, although her current status with the group is not publicly known.If confirmed by the Senate, Barrett would become the youngest justice on the nation’s highest court, a position she could maintain for decades.

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Trump Nominates Barrett for Supreme Court Post

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, giving him an opportunity to make the court more conservative, 37 days before the November 3 presidential election.”Today it is my honor to nominate one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds to the Supreme Court … Judge Amy Coney Barrett,” Trump said to a gathering in the White House Rose Garden.“This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation,” he said, urging lawmakers and media to refrain from personal and partisan attacks on Barrett.The president also noted that should Barrett be confirmed, she would be the first mother of school-age children to serve on the nation’s highest court.In brief remarks, Barrett praised Ginsburg’s life of service, to women and the court.Trump had promised to nominate a woman to succeed Ginsburg, who died last week at age 87. Barrett, a conservative appeals court judge, had been a front-runner for the seat along with another appeals court judge, Barbara Lagoa, both of whom were appointed by Trump earlier in his administration to the federal bench.The president’s decision to make an appointment ahead of his heated reelection contest with former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden instantly sparked a fierce political battle in Washington, with Senate Republican leaders arguing the confirmation process should proceed as quickly as possible and Democrats contending the nomination should be delayed until the winner of November’s presidential election is known.At stake is the political leaning of the Supreme Court, to which justices are appointed for life. The court had a 5-4 conservative majority before Ginsburg’s death. If a conservative justice is confirmed to replace Ginsburg, the conservative majority could shift to 6-3.President Donald Trump walks along the Colonnade with Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a news conference to announce her as his nominee to the Supreme Court, at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020.Whoever fills Ginsburg’s vacant seat will play a role in making key Supreme Court decisions in the coming years on a range of important issues, likely including abortion rights, health care, gun laws, religious liberty, immigration and freedom of speech.Election Day loomingSenate Republican leaders are planning to move quickly to confirm Trump’s court nominee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to confirm the choice by Election Day on November 3.Trump has said that it is important to have a full court on Election Day in case there are legal challenges regarding the vote.“I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” Trump said Wednesday of the general election, adding, “and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices.”A flurry of election litigation has already begun in states across the country amid an expectation of large increases in mail-in ballots and early voting brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.Judge Amy Coney Barrett reacts as President Donald Trump announces her as his nominee to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat, at the White House in Washington, Sept. 26, 2020.Support for BarrettBarrett has drawn wide support from the conservative legal establishment in the United States.She is a 48-year-old devout Catholic who is very popular among conservative evangelical Christians, arguably Trump’s most loyal supporters.Barrett taught law at the University of Notre Dame, one of the most prominent U.S. Catholic universities, for 15 years before Trump named her in 2017 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which covers the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.Religious conservatives hope Barrett would vote to overturn the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion rights in the United States. While Barrett has in the past expressed criticism of the ruling, she also said during her 2017 confirmation hearing to the appeals court that she would view previous Supreme Court rulings as binding precedent.Democrats opposed her confirmation in 2017, voicing concerns about the role she places on religion in her life. They cited comments Barrett made at Notre Dame, saying a “legal career is but a means to an end … and that end is building the Kingdom of God.”Vice President Mike Pence told ABC News this week that Barrett faced “intolerance” about her faith in her last confirmation hearing.Political battleRepublicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, the legislative body that is responsible for confirming judicial appointments.Two Republicans have said they oppose filling Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat before November: Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. However, two more Republican senators would have to join them to give Democrats the ability to block a potential nominee, and it appears the remaining Republicans are united in their bid to see a confirmation hearing take place.Democratic leaders in the Senate charge Republicans with hypocrisy because they refused to allow consideration of former President Barack Obama’s final Supreme Court nominee in 2016. At that time, Republicans argued that high court vacancies should be left unfilled during an election year so the American people can weigh in on the choice.Now, Democrats are arguing Republicans should apply that same logic and hold off on filling the Supreme Court seat until after the presidential election.Republicans have defended their actions, arguing that the situation was different in 2016 because at that time there was divided government — one party held the presidency, and the other party held the Senate — whereas in 2020 Republicans control both bodies.Trump’s Supreme Court nominee would be his third, following Senate approval of two other conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of which came after contentious confirmation hearings.

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In Leaders’ UN Videos, Backgrounds Tell Stories, Too

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the world to “reject attempts to build blocks to keep others out” as an image of his country’s storied Great Wall hung behind him. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte used photos and videos to illustrate what he was talking about. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison shared his policy views — and his scenic view of Sydney Harbor.If the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting of national leaders is always a window on the world, this year the window is opening directly onto their desks, presidential palaces and homelands.Staying home because of the coronavirus pandemic, they are speaking by video, adding a new layer of imagemaking to the messages and personas they seek to project.”They have to be authentic, they have to be believable, and this is even more of a challenge virtually. But it need not be, if you’re able to think about how to use your background creatively,” said Steven D. Cohen, a Johns Hopkins University business communication professor who has coached politicians.”They can use what happens in the frame to complement those messages, to break through the glass of the computer and connect through stories, through visions,” he said.The General Assembly hall’s podium has provided decades of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs with a coveted portrait of statesmanship — and a setting conducive to it. While it’s no secret that many speeches are aimed largely at domestic audiences, sideline encounters and the prospect of live reactions from the international community can be “a factor for nudging people into what multilateral diplomacy is all about: finding common cause,” said Richard Ponzio, a former U.S. State Department and U.N. official and now a fellow at the Stimson Center, a foreign policy think tank.TV-style chyronsOthers enhanced their presentations with subtitles or even cable-news-style chyrons, like “HOW WE CAN BUILD A BETTER FUTURE FOR ALL” and “WE MUST LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND” to underscore key messages from eSwatini’s prime minister, Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini.Duterte overlaid parts of his speech with relevant photos and videos of coronavirus test centers, storms and more, going well beyond the maps and pictures that leaders occasionally hold up at the assembly podium.Without the hall, some speakers opted for a more approachable posture. Pope Francis, for example, eschewed a podium to stand close to the camera in a bookcase-lined room, as though speaking to a visitor.Many leaders sat at desks, sometimes giving the world a glimpse of personal photos, stacks of books and other presumably carefully curated workaday items, including a coffee cup for Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.Speaking from a desk connotes being “friendly, conversational, trying to connect with people,” said Jim Bennett, executive director of the Virtual Meetings and Events Association, an event planners’ clearinghouse. But desks — especially large ones — also can signal authority.Morrison chose an even more conversational setting: a sunny spot overlooking the city’s famous harbor and opera house, with boats passing in the background. Morrison, who has complained in the past about international institutions bossing countries around, called the virus a reminder of the importance of multinational cooperation, though he added that international institutions need to be “accountable to the sovereign states that form them.”Cheer from FijiFiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, had a crowd in the background of his speech for a special session on the U.N.’s 75th anniversary. After his remarks highlighting Fiji’s role in peacekeeping missions and ocean preservation efforts, he and the spectators gave the U.N. a birthday cheer.To be sure, many leaders spoke the traditional visual language of political speechmaking, flanked by flags with TV-friendly plain backdrops. Many others appeared in well-appointed offices and ceremonial rooms that could provide plenty of fodder for the decor-ranking  that took flight online this spring as the pandemic forced TV commentators and other public figures to work from home. Kausea Natano, the prime minister of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, gave the global audience a picture of its tropical shore.For heads of state, of course, a backdrop often speaks to more than individual taste.Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke against a panorama of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. The prime minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, seized on the chance to mark his country’s claim in a territorial dispute, appearing in front of a map that showed the British-controlled Chagos Islands as part of Mauritius while discussing the countries’ long-running disagreement over the archipelago.Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks virtually during the 75th annual U.N. General Assembly, from Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Sept. 23, 2020.Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro spoke  before a large portrait of 19th-century South American independence leader Simón Bolivar and invoked him while lashing out at the United States, which doesn’t recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s president.U.S. President Donald Trump, for his part, used the White House diplomatic reception room to film an uncommonly brief address  focused on criticizing China.Palau’s president, for one, used his video to send a more up-close-and-personal message. in his final U.N. speech after serving as the Pacific island nation’s leader for 16 of the last 20 years.With some points of pride in the background — a U.N. environmental award and baseball and basketball trophies from teams on which he played — and a bright pink polo shirt instead of the dark suits he wore to the assembly rostrum over the years, Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. reflected on what the group has and hasn’t tackled since he first addressed it in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.”My message then was one of unity,” he said, and “this call remains apt today.”

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Tornado Spins Along Beach in South Carolina

A tornado spun along the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, tossing up umbrellas and sand, Friday, September 25. Stefanie Settlemire who was with her family at the Grande Cayman Resort filmed the tornado. “It lifted up umbrellas and chairs from the beach and resorts and tossed them all over the beach. It was so crazy to watch!” Settlemire said in a message to Reuters. The National Weather Service for Wilmington, North Carolina, has since sent tornado warnings for Marietta, Boardman and Proctorville in North Carolina and Latta and Floydale in South Carolina on Friday evening. (Reuters)  

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У ЗСУ заперечують «масове відрахування» курсантів після авіакатастрофи на Харківщині

Жоден курсант Харківського національного університету Повітряних Сил імені Івана Кожедуба не виявив бажання забрати документи після авіакатастрофи літака Ан-26 в Харківській області, заявляє Міністерство оборони з посиланням на командування Повітряних сил Збройних сил України.

«За інформацією Харківського національного університету Повітряних Сил імені Івана Кожедуба, жоден курсант льотного факультету не виявив бажання відрахуватись з університету. У Командуванні наголосили, що інформація про так зване «масове написання рапортів на відрахування курсантами льотного факультету першого курсу» циркулює в мережі Інтернет та поширюється окремими особистостями», – заявляє пресслужба Міноборони.

Командування закликало громадськість «перевіряти інформацію перед її опублікуванням»  та отримувати інформацію з офіційних джерел.

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Міністерство внутрішніх справ повідомляло, що літак Повітряних сил ЗСУ «Ан-26» впав біля Чугуєва Харківської області близько 20:50 25 вересня у двох кілометрах від військового аеродрому. У Збройних силах заявляли, що літак заходив на посадку. Спочатку рятувальники повідомляли, що на борту літака перебували 28 людей. Пізніше Командування Повітряних сил ЗСУ уточнило, що їх було 27 – курсанта Олександра Харченка в останній момент не допустили до польоту, тому його на борту не було. Внаслідок катастрофи 26 осіб загинули, одна людина вижила, вона перебуває у лікарні.

ДБР повідомило, що попередньо перевіряє чотири версії авіакатастрофи Ан-26 на Харківщині.

26 вересня в Україні оголошене днем жалоби за жертвами авіакатастрофи на Харківщині.


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