Starbucks to Test Recyclable Cups, Redesign Stores

Starbucks says it plans to test both recyclable and compostable cups over the next year.


Customers in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, London and Vancouver, British Colombia, will help test the cups, which use fiber, paper and other materials in place of plastic liners.


Seattle-based Starbucks was expected to announcement the test program Wednesday at its annual shareholders meeting.

The company also said it plans to redesign its stores as it adapts to increasing mobile pick-up and delivery orders.


Changes will vary by location. For example, in a neighborhood with three Starbucks cafes, one might be changed to an express format while another offers delivery.


Starbucks’ U.S. mobile orders more than doubled between 2016 and 2018, to 12 percent of orders. But there have been complaints about congestion in stores.

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GM to Invest $2.7B in Sao Paulo, Brazil Factories Over 5 Years

General Motors said on Tuesday it would invest $2.7 billion in two Brazilian factories over the next five years, sparing them from a shakeup of the automaker’s operations, a decision hailed by the governor of Brazil’s largest state.

Sao Paolo state Governor Joao Doria told a joint news conference with GM executives that the plants in Sao Caetano do Sul and Sao Jose dos Campos had been slated for closure last December, and said he convinced GM to reverse the decision, saving jobs.

Last November, GM said it would slash thousands of jobs around the world and would close two unspecified plants outside of North America by the end of 2019.

The company declined to say whether its restructuring plans had referred to the two Brazilian factories, and declined to comment on whether the two plants had been slated for closure as Doria claimed.

Sitting next to Doria at the news conference, GM’s CEO for South America, Carlos Zarlenga, also did not directly address Doria’s recounting of the negotiations with GM.

Doria, a former businessman and reality TV show host, took office in January and became a vocal advocate for the state’s auto industry. Earlier this year, he said he would find a buyer for a Ford Motor Co. plant that is slated to close, after the U.S. automaker said it had tried and failed to find one.

At Tuesday’s news conference, Doria said GM told him in a call days before his inauguration that it planned to close the plants.

“I thought it was going to be good news,” Doria said. “But to my surprise I was told that the next day GM CEO Mary Barra would announce the closing of two factories in Sao Paulo. I fell off my chair.”

He said he dispatched his future state finance minister to fix the situation and landed a meeting in Miami with GM executives. He said 65,000 workers employed directly and indirectly by GM would have lost their jobs without his intervention.

Earlier this month, Doria announced an incentive plan granting automakers a 25 percent reduction in value added taxes if they created at least 400 jobs and invested at least 1 billion reais. At the news conference, GM announced it was creating 400 new jobs.

Zarlenga said the future of its Sao Paulo factories had presented GM “a really serious problem,” but did not confirm that the automaker had considered closing them down.

GM, the sales leader in Brazil, South America’s largest market, had warned local employees it was dealing with heavy losses and “sacrifices” would be necessary.

As announced, the plan pales in comparison to GM’s most recent investment plan in Brazil in 2014, which totaled $4 billion. However, the announcement does not include potential future investments in the automaker’s plants elsewhere in the country.

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Середній розмір монетизованої субсидії становить 1676 гривень – віце-прем’єр

Середній розмір монетизованої субсидії становить 1676 гривень, повідомив віце-прем’єр-міністр України Павло Розенко.

«Середній розмір коштів, які люди отримують на руки, становить 1676 гривень», – сказав Розенко.

За його словами, монетизація субсидії стосуватиметься 3,5 мільйонів домогосподарств.

12 березня в Україні стартували виплати субсидій грішми, так звана монетизація. Лише за перший день громадянам перерахували 19,4 мільйони гривень. Виплати монетизованих субсидій почалися через мережу державного банку «Ощадбанк».

Прем’єр-міністр України Володимир Гройсман повідомив, що українцям виплатили близько 350 мільйонів гривень у межах монетизації субсидій.

На 2019 рік у проекті бюджету заплановано 55 мільярдів гривень на субсидії з комунальних послуг.

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Суд у Сімферополі заарештував екс-президента Криму Мешкова – Акімов

Підконтрольний Кремлю Центральний районний суд Сімферополя заарештував на дві доби екс-президента Криму Юрія Мешкова за «опір співробітникам поліції», повідомив проекту Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії отаман «Кримського козацтва» Сергій Акімов.

«Мешкову дали дві доби арешту за неповагу до поліцейського, з них дві години йому зарахують, коли його затримали 18 числа», – сказав Акімов.

Російські силовики в Сімферополі 18 березня затримали екс-президента Криму Юрія Мешкова за заявою невідомої особи, що колишній кримський президент нібито перебуває в стані наркотичного сп’яніння. Пізніше його повезли на огляд, однак, за словами Мешкова, слідів алкогольного або наркотичного сп’яніння в нього не виявили.

У кінці лютого екс-президент Криму Юрій Мешков розкритикував нинішню російську владу півострова за «зраду» Росії під час анексії півострова.

Юрій Мешков (уродженець Дніпропетровської області в УРСР) – кримський політик і юрист, перший і єдиний президент Криму (1994-1995), формальний голова Ради Міністрів Криму (1994). Кадидат юридичних наук, викладач Московського державного юридичного університету імені Кутафіна.

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Saudi Arabia Invests $23 Billion to Improve Living in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it would spend 86 billion riyals ($23 billion) to boost the quality of life in the capital Riyadh, increasing green space and recreational areas and installing 1,000 works of art across the city.

The four projects unveiled are part of efforts to open up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles, encourage physical activity and make life more fun in the conservative kingdom, alongside reforms to diversify the economy away from oil.

They are the latest in a series of planned development investments that King Salman has launched at the side of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after a global outcry over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October tarnished the crown prince’s image.

Park, cycling track planned

State media showed the pair touring a diorama of the plans, which include a park four times the size of Central Park and 135 kilometers (84 miles) of cycling track. The king also ordered that one of the capital’s main roads be renamed after his son.

The murder of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul sparked international criticism of the crown prince, who had won Western plaudits for easing social strictures. The CIA and some Western countries suspect him of ordering the killing, which Saudi authorities vehemently deny.

The kingdom, and the crown prince, have also been criticized for a crackdown on dissent, including putting 10 prominent women’s rights activists on trial last week.

King stands by son

While some critics abroad have called for the crown prince’s removal, the king has stood by his favorite son and heir apparent as Riyadh tries to move on from the murder and refocus attention on reform plans that require huge foreign investment.

Work on the four new projects will start in the second half of the year and come on line gradually between 2023 and 2030. They will create 70,000 jobs and offer investment opportunities worth 50 billion riyals to local and foreign investors, state news agency SPA said.

One initiative aims to increase six-fold the percentage of green areas in Riyadh, notorious for its multi-lane highways and concrete block buildings, by planting 7.5 million trees. Seven museums, an open art fair, pedestrian bridges and community gardens are also called for.

Life in capital more relaxed

Such features were unimaginable in Riyadh just a few years ago when religious police patrolled the streets enforcing strict social codes like gender segregation and bans on public music.

But life in the capital has become more relaxed in recent years after the crown prince clipped the wings of the religious police, ended a ban on cinemas and began organizing public concerts. He has won the support of many young Saudis.

Saudi citizens have no vote and falling oil income could affect their living standards in coming years. As a result, improving quality of life is seen as important for ensuring political stability.

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Exclusive: US Vows to Pursue Ship Owners Who Violate Iran Oil Sanctions

A senior U.S. official says Washington is monitoring ships involved in clandestine transfers of Iranian oil and will hold anyone involved in such transfers responsible for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

“We are closely tracking ship-to-ship transfers of [Iranian] oil to evade our oil sanctions,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Counter Threat Finance and Sanctions David Peyman in an exclusive interview with VOA Persian recently at the State Department. “And we’re working closely with foreign governments to ensure they are monitoring ship-to-ship transfers off their coasts.”

One of the few companies monitoring global oil shipments,, reported last week that it identified in February two cases of clandestine ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil with the transponders of the vessels involved being disabled. In an email sent Friday to VOA Persian, co-founder Samir Madani said in both cases, a ship transferred Iranian oil to another ship before a third ship picked up the oil from the second ship and delivered it to a port.

“One transfer took around three months to complete, while the other happened during the span of a month or so,” Madani said. has said Iranian crude oil tankers have been trying to hide their activities since August by switching off the Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders that reveal their position and other information.

President Donald Trump re-imposed U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports, Tehran’s top revenue source, in November as part of his withdrawal from what he viewed as a flawed 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The sanctions unilaterally barred Iran from exporting oil to all but eight governments who were given six months to reduce their Iranian oil purchases to zero.

Peyman said U.S. authorities will act against ship owners, managers, insurance providers and mortgagees linked to vessels involved in the clandestine transfers of Iranian oil at sea. “If you are engaged in evasive action, which is really the worst kind of violation when it comes to U.S. sanctions, we will hold you accountable,” Peyman said.

Flying their flags

In another U.S. step aimed at cracking down on Iranian efforts to evade oil sanctions, Peyman said Washington has secured pledges from several nations to avoid putting their flags on Iranian oil tankers.

Last month, a State Department news site said Panama stripped 59 Iranian-linked ships of their right to fly the Panamanian flag, in a move aimed at supporting U.S. sanctions. It said Panama’s purge of the tankers from its ship registry, one of the world’s largest, will make it harder for Iran to deliver oil to ports around the world.

“Panama really led the way for other countries to follow suit by pulling their own flags and for other countries to commit to the U.S. that they will not reflag those ships that the Panamanians withdrew their flag from,” Peyman said.

The State Department declined to provide examples to VOA Persian of countries that committed not to reflag Iranian vessels that have been de-flagged by Panama.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has said Tehran will not comply with what it considers to be “illegal” U.S. sanctions. Speaking on a Jan. 10 visit to Baghdad, Zanganeh also said Iran will not discuss the volume or destination of its oil exports while it remained under U.S. sanctions.

Bypassing sanctions

Peyman said Washington also will take action against any company that uses a new European financial mechanism to engage Iran in transactions that violate U.S. sanctions. Britain, France and Germany launched the Institute in Support of Trade Exchanges, or INSTEX, in January to enable European companies to conduct business with Iran using barter techniques that bypass the U.S. financial system.

INSTEX’s EU sponsors initially intend for it to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran, but its scope could be expanded to other types of business. U.S. sanctions on Iran contain exemptions for the provision of humanitarian aid, food and medicine to the Iranian people.

Iran has called on EU leaders to ensure that it continues to receive international trade benefits promised under the 2015 nuclear deal that EU nations have sought to uphold following the U.S. pullout. But Iranian officials in recent weeks have expressed disappointment with what they view as the EU’s slow rollout of INSTEX.

Tehran has good reason to be disappointed, according to Peyman.

“I’ve been to several countries in Europe, I’ve spoken with very large industry groups and businesses in the private sector … and every indication that I’m receiving is that there is absolutely no interest to utilize a European financial mechanism to do business with Iran,” he said.

Peyman, who was born in Iran, said no “responsible” European businesses want to trade with an Iranian government they perceive as responsible for killing Americans and sponsoring terrorism on European soil. He said European companies also make an independent business decision, based on a cost-benefit analysis, to do business with the United States and use the U.S. financial system rather than to maintain a relationship with Iran.

Tehran sees itself as a victim, rather than a perpetrator, of terrorism.

“To the extent that there is any appetite by [companies] to use [INSTEX], we’ll be tracking it very, very closely,” Peyman said. “Those companies’ ties to the U.S. financial system will be looked at, their use of U.S. banks will be looked at, and their use of non-U.S. banks that have ties to U.S. banks will be looked at. And we will look at any potential violations, direct or indirect, knowing or unknowing, of U.S. sanctions laws and will vigorously enforce [them].”

This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service.

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Україна відзначила італійських волонтерів за гуманітарну допомогу на Донбасі

За гуманітарну допомогу на Донбасі двоє італійських волонтерів отримали відзнаку президента України. Церемонія вручення нагород відбулася 19 березня в посольстві України в Римі, інформує кореспондент Радіо Свобода.

У лютому 2016 року громадяни Італії Джованні Д’Урсо й Вінченцо Ґуерра у складі громадської асоціації Ucraini Irpini з південного міста Авелліно на чолі з активісткою Оксаною Библів здійснили гуманітарну поїздку на Донбас до міста Мар’їнки. Вони доставили машину «швидкої допомоги», ліки, продукти і подарунки для дітей-сиріт, пенсіонерів і військових.

«Це був унікальний і сильний досвід, ми поїхали на передову і передавали воєнним машину. Щойно закінчили оформлення документації – і чуємо недалеко вибух бомби. Мене дуже вразило, як молоді бійці українського війська наввипередки виявляли готовність потрапити у загін, щоб вирушити на місце події для протидії ворожій акції. На мене, колишнього військового, це справило сильне враження: як молодь, знаючи про небезпеку, рветься захищати рідний край», – розповів Джованні Д’Урсо.

За його словами, волонтери стали свідками, як машина «швидкої» відразу була використана за призначенням для порятунку українських армійців.

Інший учасник поїздки Вінченцо Ґуерра повідомив про бажання повернутися на Донбас і додав, що наразі асоціація займається пошуком нової машини «швидкої допомоги» та речей, необхідних для фронту. Він також має намір зробити нові світлини у зоні бойових дій з метою влаштувати в Італії фотовиставку «Війна в серці Європи» у рамках проектів місцевої асоціації Ucraini Irpini.

«Війна йде за кілька кроків від нас, і про це тут не говорять, я хочу, щоб люди дізналися і побачили, що відбувається у тій частині Європи», – сказав Вінченцо Ґуерра.

Протягом п’яти років воєнної агресії на Донбасі у зону бойових дій доставляють гуманітарні вантажі й інші італійські волонтери спільно з українськими активістами. Деякі з них невдовзі також отримають відзнаки від України, повідомили дипломати в Римі.

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Суд підтвердив законність заборони цирків з тваринами в Києві – активісти

Суд у Києві підтвердив законність рішення Київської міської держадміністрації про заборону цирків з тваринами в столиці, повідомив активіст руху UAnimals Олександр Тодорчук на своїй сторінці у Facebook.

«Циркові лоббі відмовилися від своїх спроб повернути в столицю знущання», – написав Тодорчук.

У грудні Міністерство екології України ініціювало заборону на використання диких тварин у цирках та запровадження адміністративної відповідальності за такі дії.

Упродовж останніх років у Верховній Раді зареєстрували низку законопроектів щодо захисту тварин. Зокрема, проект №5283 передбачає заборону використання тварин у пересувних цирках. Уже понад два роки комітет не надає висновки щодо цього документа.

На початку 2017 року в Україні розглядали законопроект, який повністю б заборонив виступи тварин у цирках через знущання над тваринами. Тоді дресирувальники і багато власників цирків були незадоволені ініціативою і заявили, що не скрізь із тваринами поводяться жорстоко.

Офіційно виступи диких тварин у цирках повністю заборонені в Австрії, Нідерландах, Бельгії, Великій Британії, кількох містах Німеччини.

У Болівії, Греції, Данії заборонені циркові виступи і диких, і свійських тварин.

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