Soccer Great Pele Cancels Appearance in England Because of Fatigue

Brazilian soccer great Pele has canceled a trip to England where he was to receive an award from the English Football Writers’ Association.

A spokesman for Pele said the former soccer (football) player was resting at his home in Guaruja, Brazil, and that reports that he had been taken to a hospital were “fake news.”

“He said he’s not going [to England] because it’s going to be very tiring, very stressful,” said spokesman Pepito Fornos.

Pele, 77, was supposed to attend a dinner in his honor Sunday at the Savoy Hotel in London, organized by the Football Writers’ Association. The group said Pele would not appear after having collapsed from what appeared to be severe exhaustion.

Pele has frequently been admitted to hospitals in the past few years for kidney and prostate problems, and has also undergone hip surgery.

Fornos said Pele had reduced his scheduled appearances recently so he could receive more therapy for his hip issues.

Pele appeared in a wheelchair in Moscow in December for the draw for this year’s World Cup. Fornos said Pele was planning to attend the World Cup in Russia.

Pele is the only player to win three World Cups, helping Brazil to win victories in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Bankers Association Warns of Uncertainty Tied to Government Shutdown

The largest banking trade group in the United States says shutting down the government could hurt investor and consumer confidence, but would hit the overall economy indirectly.

Speaking as the American Bankers Association unveiled its annual economic forecast in Washington, Ellen Zentner, chair of the ABA’s advisory committee, said “no one likes the uncertainty of a government shutdown.”

Citing the most recent shutdown in October 2013, which lasted 16 days, Zentner said that while the economic impact might have been minimal, the effect on the American psyche went deeper.

“If we look back at October 2013, it’s very difficult to see that there was an impact,” she said. “Workers that were nonessential government workers that were furloughed were eventually sent back to work, and they were provided back pay. Where we did see a lasting effect, though, was on business sentiment and consumer sentiment.”

The 2013 shutdown is believed to have cost the United States about $2 billion in lost productivity, and hurt American voters’ trust in lawmakers.

A similar shutdown Friday would force the closure of nonessential government offices and furlough thousands of government workers. Consumer and business confidence has been rising, but the banking group says a prolonged shutdown could dampen that optimism.

From a local business perspective, Zentner says, the impact of a government shutdown is very real.

“It matters for businesses who serve those federal workers that report to work every day and buy lunch while they’re at work,” she said. “If those workers are furloughed, they’re not buying lunch each day, and so as a restaurant, that’s business lost.”

Barring a lengthy and disruptive government shutdown, the ABA is forecasting economic growth to expand 2.4 percent this year and for already-low unemployment to drop further to 3.8 percent by the end of the year.

Workers who have seen little or no wage growth since the recovery could see their paychecks rise by about 3 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent in 2019, as employers compete for workers in a shrinking labor pool.

‘Game of Thrones’ Ice Hotel Opens in Finland

A “Game of Thrones”-themed ice hotel complete with a bar and a chapel for weddings has opened in northern Finland in a joint effort by a local hotel chain and the U.S. producers of the hit TV series.

Lapland Hotels said Friday they chose “Game of Thrones” to be the theme for this season’s Snow Village, an annual ice-and-snow construction project covering 20,000 square meters (24,000 sq. yards) in Kittila, 150 kilometers (93 miles) above the Arctic Circle.

Snow Village operations manager Janne Pasma told Finnish national broadcaster YLE that he was a huge fan of the series and it was “a dream come true” that HBO Nordic agreed to go along.

The hotel, which stays open until April, suggests that guests stay only one night due to below-zero temperatures.

Суд продовжив запобіжний захід Насірову на два місяці

Шевченківський районний суд Києва продовжив запобіжний захід відстороненому голові Державної фіскальної служби України Роману Насірову до 19 березня.

Суд залишив чинним зобов’язання носити електронний браслет і не залишати межі Київської області.

Запобіжний захід також пролонгували керівнику департаменту погашення боргу ДФС Володимиру Новікову.

19 січня прокурори продовжили зачитувати обвинувальний акт щодо Насірова, який загалом нараховує 774 сторінки.

За даними слідства, Насіров причетний до так званої «газової схеми Онищенка» і упродовж 2015 року ухвалив низку «безпідставних і незаконних рішень» про розстрочення сум платежів з рентної плати за користування надрами для задіяних у схемі компаній на загальну суму понад мільярд гривень. Слідство вважає, що такими рішеннями державі завдано збитків на суму майже 2 мільярди гривень.

Захист Насірова і він сам ці звинувачення заперечують.

На початку березня 2017 року суд арештував Насірова з можливістю застави в 100 мільйонів гривень, яку внесли його дружина і тесть. Після цього відсторонений голова ДФС вийшов із СІЗО. Пізніше запобіжний захід продовжували кілька разів.

IOC: More Initiatives Coming to Promote Korean Unity

Olympics organizers on Friday welcomed an agreement between North and South Korea to unite athletes at the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, and promised that “much more exciting initiatives” promoting Korean unity will emerge this weekend.

“Watch this space,” International Olympic Committee presidential spokesman Mark Adams told the Associated Press in an interview, a day before a crucial meeting of Korean delegations at Olympics headquarters in Lausanne. He declined to elaborate, saying the decisions would come Saturday.

Referring to a detailed peace-making agreement between the rival countries announced Thursday by South Korea’s Unification Ministry, including a joint team in the women’s hockey tournament, Adams said it was “great … but these are discussions.”

The announcement from South Korea, which hasn’t yet been finalized by the IOC, would mark the first time the two national Olympic committees would be competing together in a single team.

“I can tell you that there will also be some much more exciting initiatives coming through as well tomorrow,” Adams added.

Some have questioned the fine print of the agreement announced by the two Koreas, saying it gives the combined hockey squad a far larger roster than any other national team.

Asked how the IOC planned to maintain the integrity of the sport, Adams said: “People would say that these are exceptional circumstances, and we need exceptional measures.”

“This is about the Olympic spirit,” Adams added. “And the Olympic spirit is about nations competing, athletes competing, and we will do our best make sure that it sends a signal that sport can improve the world.”

Anti-smoking Plan May Kill Cigarettes — and Save Big Tobacco

Imagine if cigarettes were no longer addictive and smoking itself became almost obsolete; only a tiny segment of Americans still lit up. That’s the goal of an unprecedented anti-smoking plan being carefully fashioned by U.S. health officials.

But the proposal from the Food and Drug Administration could have another unexpected effect: opening the door for companies to sell a new generation of alternative tobacco products, allowing the industry to survive — even thrive — for generations to come.

The plan puts the FDA at the center of a long-standing debate over so-called “reduced-risk” products, such as e-cigarettes, and whether they should have a role in anti-smoking efforts, which have long focused exclusively on getting smokers to quit.

“This is the single most controversial — and frankly, divisive — issue I’ve seen in my 40 years studying tobacco control policy,” said Kenneth Warner, professor emeritus at University of Michigan’s school of public health.

The FDA plan is two-fold: drastically cut nicotine levels in cigarettes so that they are essentially non-addictive. For those who can’t or won’t quit, allow lower-risk products that deliver nicotine without the deadly effects of traditional cigarettes.

This month the government effort is poised to take off. The FDA is expected to soon begin what will likely be a years-long process to control nicotine in cigarettes. And next week, the agency will hold a public meeting on a closely watched cigarette alternative from Philip Morris International, which, if granted FDA clearance, could launch as early as February.

The product, called iQOS, is a pen-like device that heats Marlboro-branded tobacco but stops short of burning it, an approach that Philip Morris says reduces exposure to tar and other toxic byproducts of burning cigarettes. This is different from e-cigarettes, which don’t use tobacco at all but instead vaporize liquid usually containing nicotine.

For anti-smoking activists, these new products may mean surrendering hopes of a knockout blow to the industry. They say there is no safe tobacco product and the focus should be on getting people to quit. But others are more open to the idea of alternatives to get people away from cigarettes, the deadliest form of tobacco.

Tobacco companies have made claims about “safer” cigarettes since the 1950s, all later proven false. In some cases the introduction of these products, such as filtered and “low tar” cigarettes, propped up cigarette sales and kept millions of Americans smoking. Although the adult smoking rate has fallen to an all-time low of 15 percent, smoking remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and illness, responsible for about one in five U.S. deaths.

Anti-smoking groups also point to Big Tobacco’s history of manipulating public opinion and government efforts against smoking: In 2006, a federal judge ruled that Big Tobacco had lied and deceived the American public about the effects of smoking for more than 50 years. The industry defeated a 2010 proposal by the FDA to add graphic warning labels to cigarette packs. And FDA scrutiny of menthol-flavored cigarettes — used disproportionately by young people and minorities — has been bogged down since 2011, due to legal challenges.

“We’re not talking about an industry that is legitimately interested in saving lives here,” said Erika Sward of the American Lung Association.

But some industry observers say this time will be different.

“The environment has changed, the technology has changed, the companies have changed — that is the reality,” said Scott Ballin, a health policy consultant who previously worked for the American Heart Association.

Under a 2009 law, the FDA gained authority to regulate certain parts of the tobacco industry, including nicotine in cigarettes, though it cannot remove the ingredient completely. The same law allows the agency to scientifically review and permit sales of new tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Little has happened so far. Last year, the agency said it would delay the deadline for manufacturers to submit their vapor-emitting products for review until 2022.

The FDA says it wants to continue to help people quit by supporting a variety of approaches, including new quit-smoking aids and opening opportunities for a variety of companies, including drugmakers, to help attack the problem. As part of this, the FDA sees an important role for alternative products — but in a world where cigarettes contain such a small amount of nicotine that they become unappealing even to lifelong smokers.

“We still have to provide an opportunity for adults who want to get access to satisfying levels of nicotine,” but without the hazards of burning tobacco, said FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. He estimates the FDA plan could eventually prevent 8 million smoking-related deaths.

​’Smoke-free future’

Philip Morris International and its U.S. partner Altria will try to navigate the first steps of the new regulatory path next week.

At a two-day meeting before the FDA, company scientists will try and convince government experts that iQOS is less-harmful than cigarettes. If successful, iQOS could be advertised by Altria to U.S. consumers as a “reduced-risk” tobacco product, the first ever sanctioned by the FDA.

Because iQOS works with real tobacco, the company believes it will be more effective than e-cigarettes in getting smokers to switch.

Philip Morris already sells the product in about 30 countries, including Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom.

iQOS is part of an elaborate corporate makeover for Philip Morris, which last year rebranded its website with the slogan: “Designing a smoke-free future.” The cigarette giant says it has invested over $3 billion in iQOS and eventually plans to stop selling cigarettes worldwide — though it resists setting a deadline.

Philip Morris executives say they are offering millions of smokers a better, less-harmful product.

Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids still sees danger. He says FDA must strictly limit marketing of products like iQOS to adult smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit. Otherwise they may be used in combination with cigarettes or even picked up by nonsmokers or young people who might see the new devices as harmless enough to try.

“As a growing percentage of the world makes the decision that smoking is too dangerous and too risky, iQOS provides an alternative to quitting that keeps them in the market,” Myers says.

It’s unclear whether existing alternatives to cigarettes help smokers quit, a claim often made by e-cigarette supporters. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests about 60 percent of adult e-cigarette users also smoke regular cigarettes.

The case for lower nicotine

Experts who study nicotine addiction say the FDA plan is grounded in the latest science.

Several recent studies have shown that when smokers switch to very low-nicotine cigarettes they smoke less and are more likely to try quitting. But they also seek nicotine from other sources, underscoring the need for alternatives. Without new options, smokers would likely seek regular-strength cigarettes on the black market.

Crucial to the FDA proposal is a simple fact: Nicotine is highly addictive, but not deadly. It’s the burning tobacco and other substances inhaled through smoking that cause cancer, heart disease and bronchitis.

“It’s hard to imagine that using nicotine and tobacco in a way that isn’t burned, in a non-combustible form, isn’t going to be much safer,” said Eric Donny, an addiction researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

A study of 800 smokers by Donny and other researchers showed that when nicotine was limited to less than 1 milligram per gram of tobacco, users smoked fewer cigarettes. The study, funded by the FDA, was pivotal to showing that smokers won’t compensate by smoking more if nicotine intake is reduced enough. That was the case with “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes introduced in the 1960s and 1970s, when some smokers actually began smoking more cigarettes per day.

Still, many in the anti-smoking community say larger, longer studies are needed to predict how low-nicotine cigarettes would work in the real world.

Legal risks

Key to the FDA plan is the assumption that the two actions will happen at the same time: as regulators cut nicotine in conventional cigarettes, manufacturers will provide alternative products.

But that presumes that tobacco companies will willingly part with their flagship product, which remains enormously profitable.

Kenneth Warner, the public policy professor, said he would be “astonished” if industry cooperates on reducing nicotine levels.

“I don’t think they will. I think they will bring out all of their political guns against it and I’m quite certain they will sue to prevent it,” he said.

In that scenario, the FDA plan to make cigarettes less addictive could be stalled in court for years while companies begin launching FDA-sanctioned alternative products. Tobacco critics say that scenario would be the most profitable for industry.

“It’s like Coke, you can have regular Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, we’ll sell you any Coke you like,” said Robin Koval, president of the Truth Initiative, which runs educational anti-tobacco campaigns.

But the FDA’s Gottlieb says the two parts of the plan must go together. “I’m not going to advance this in a piecemeal fashion,” he said.

When pressed about whether the industry will sue FDA over mandatory nicotine reductions, tobacco executives for Altria and other companies instead emphasized the long, complicated nature of the regulatory process.

“I’m not going to speculate about what may happen at the end of a multiyear process,” said Jose Murillo, an Altria vice president. “It will be science and evidence-based and we will be engaged at every step of the way.”

Порошенко: антикорупційний суд треба створити згідно з рекомендаціями Венеціанської комісії

Президент України Петро Порошенко заявив, що антикорупційний суд має бути створений згідно з рекомендаціями Венеціанської комісії.

Згідно з повідомленням на сторонці президента у Facebook, Порошенко телефоном обговорив з президентом Європейської комісії Жан-Клодом Юнкером прогрес в українських реформах і питання створення антикорупційного суду зокрема.

«Антикорупційний суд має бути створений у відповідності до Конституції України та згідно з рекомендаціями Венеціанської комісії», – написав Порошенко.

Він додав, що домовився з Юнкером про продовження діалогу в Давосі під час Всесвітнього економічного форуму.

У грудні 2017 року президент вніс до Верховної Ради України законопроект про Вищий антикорупційний суд. Згідно з документом, на посаду судді Вищого антикорупційного суду претендент обирається на конкурсі, ним може бути призначений громадянин України у віці не менше ніж 35 років, зі стажем роботи на посаді судді не менш ніж 5 років, з науковим ступенем у сфері права чи пропрацювавши в науковій галузі щонайменше 7 років, з адвокатським досвідом.

Проте низка антикорупційних організацій закликали президента України Петра Порошенка відкликати цей законопроект і доопрацювати його, заявляючи, що окремі положення документа не відповідають рекомендаціям Венеціанської комісії.

Міжнародний валютний фонд висловив зауваження щодо законопроекту. На думку МВФ, проект закону порушує зобов’язання України перед міжнародними партнерами.

У Європейському союзі підкреслили, що законопроект про антикорупційний суд суперечить обіцянкам Києва та рекомендаціям Венеціанської комісії.

18 січня представник президента у Верховній Раді Ірина Луценко заявила, що у президентському законопроекті про антикорупційний суд врахують рекомендації Венеціанської комісії і Міжнародного валютного фонду.

North Korea Cancels Visit to South by Arts Delegation

North Korea on Friday abruptly canceled plans to send a delegation led by the head of a hugely popular girl band to South Korea over the weekend to check preparations for a trip by a North Korean art troupe she also leads during next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry said North Korea didn’t explain why it was “suspending” the two-day visit by the seven-member advance team that it proposed just hours earlier through a cross-border communication channel.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the visit, which was to begin on Saturday, was permanently canceled or postponed. The ministry said it will try to gather further information from the North regarding the decision.

The rival Koreas earlier this week agreed that the 140-member Samjiyon art troupe, which will include singers, dancers and orchestra members, will perform twice in South Korea during the games in a sign of warming ties between the countries. It will be part of a North Korean Olympic delegation that will also include athletes, officials, state media reporters, a cheering group and a taekwondo demonstration team.

South Korea has also proposed that it send a 12-member delegation to North Korea on Monday to inspect preparations for a joint cultural event at the North’s scenic Diamond Mountain and a training session between non-Olympic skiers at the North’s Masik ski resort ahead of the Olympics in the South, the ministry said.

The little-known Samjiyon art troupe is led by Hyun Song Wol, who also heads the popular female Moranbong Band hand-picked by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Hyon has been the focus of intense South Korean media interest since she attended inter-Korean talks at the border on Monday that reached agreement on the troupe’s visit. Hyon’s gestures during the talks as well as her makeup, looks, navy blue suit and green shoulder bag received widespread coverage.

The reconciliation mood between the Koreas began after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year’s speech that he was willing to send a delegation to the Olympics. While South Korea hopes to use the games to improve relations with its rival after a year of animosity involving North Korea’s rapidly expanding nuclear weapons program, some experts view Kim’s overture as an attempt to weaken U.S.-led international sanctions against the North and buy time to further advance his nuclear weapons program.

Hyon is also an alternate member of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee. Her visit would have made her the highest-profile North Korean to visit South Korea since its International Olympic Committee representative, Chang Ung, came last July.

Опубліковано свідчення людей, які пройшли через катівні проросійських бойовиків

Радіо Свобода публікує свідчення людей, які були захоплені бойовиками угруповань «ЛНР» і «ДНР», утримувалися у нелюдських умовах і зазнавали тортур. Свідчення записали правозахисники Центру громадянських свобод і Фундації «Відкритий діалог», за підтримки Фонду «Відродження».

Спільний проект правозахисників і Радіо Свобода – «Заручники війни. Вони пройшли крізь пекло» – складається з 10 свідчень.

Одна з цих історій – це розповідь чоловіка, який стверджує, що його незаконно утримували у харківському підрозділі СБУ.

Правозахисники також відзняли у форматі VR (віртуальної реальності) ті місця несвободи, які стали доступними після звільнення деяких територій Донбасу. Цей матеріал ліг в основу документального фільму, який зараз готується до прем’єри спільними зусиллями Центру громадянських свобод, Фундації «Відкритий діалог», Радіо Свобода та The Farm 51.

«Незаконні збройні формування і російські військові, щоб отримати контроль над Донбасом, застосовують терор проти населення. Учасники акцій за єдність України, журналісти, громадські активісти, представники релігійних спільнот, нелояльні до російської окупації чи проукраїнськи налаштовані громадяни зазнають переслідувань, катувань і навіть фізичного знищення», – зазначила голова Центру громадянських свобод Олександра Матвійчук.

Так, за даними Коаліції «Справедливість заради миру на Донбасі», 86% військовослужбовців і кожна друга цивільна людина зазнала тортур і жорстокого поводження; 33% військовослужбовців і 16% цивільних осіб стали свідками смерті в результаті тортур; 12% всіх цивільних осіб, які зазнали катувань і жорстокого поводження, були жінки.

Правозахисники опитали 700 колишніх заручників і нарахували 146 місць утримування заручників на непідконтрольній Україні території. За їхніми даними, незаконні збройні проросійські формування «ЛНР» і «ДНР» позбавляли свободи і кидали до підвалів десятки тисяч людей.

У поширеній 18 січня доповіді про стан із правами людини в світі міжнародна правозахисна організація Human Rights Watch наголосила, що «випадки свавільних затримань фіксуються по обидва боки лінії розмежування на Донбасі».

Правозахисники вказують на «відсутність верховенства права в районах, контрольованих сепаратистами». Окремо у звіті згадується ув’язнення в Донецьку за проукраїнські погляди вченого Ігоря Козловського та тримання під вартою постійного автора Радіо Свобода Станіслава Асєєва.

У Human Rights Watch наголосили, що наприкінці 2016 року Служба безпеки України звільнила всіх осіб, «незаконно утримуваних у своїй харківській філії». Про це раніше заявляли і представники верховного комісара ООН з прав людини та міжнародна правозахисна організація Amnesty International.

про уродов и людей