DC Bars to Open Early for Comey Viewing Parties

While it’s unclear how much the rest of the country is eagerly awaiting Thursday’s testimony from former FBI Director James Comey, for Washingtonians, the event is must-see TV, prompting some bars to open as early to host viewing parties.

And yes, one bar, Shaw’s Tavern, will be serving a special “covfefe” cocktail, named after President Donald Trump’s mysterious Twitter typo.

Rob Heim, general manager of Shaw’s Tavern, told People magazine that he got the idea after a friend invited him over to watch the testimony. Since he had to work, he thought why not host a viewing party at the bar.

“I remember I was visiting my mom at the time and she said, ‘Who would watch that?’ And I said, ‘In D.C., people would watch it.’ But I was shocked by how much interest we got in just a couple hours.”

The bar will also offer FBI-themed food such as the FBI sandwich (fried chicken, bacon and iceberg lettuce) and the FBI breakfast (French toast, bacon and ice cream).

Another bar, aptly called The Partisan, will open early and offer themed cocktails, including “The Last Word” and “Drop the Bomb.”

Duffy’s Irish Pub will have another version of the “Covfefe cocktail.”

The Capital Lounge, which normally opens at 4 p.m., will open at 9 a.m. so that Comey watchers can get an early start.

Comey’s hearing is set to start at 10 a.m. local time and is expected to cover conversations between Comey and President Trump about Russia’s meddling in the election and what, if any, role was played by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

If you don’t want to wait, Comey released his prepared remarks Wednesday.

Of course, not everyone is interested in the event, prompting one bar, The Pug, to host a party free of news about the testimony.

Peru, Indonesia to Make Fishing Boat Tracking Data Public

Peru joined Indonesia Wednesday as the only two countries worldwide to make their fishing boat tracking data available to the public.

Such access will give conservationists, along with those who buy, sell and eat seafood, a clearer picture where their favorite dishes come from.

Officials from both countries made their announcements Wednesday at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York.

Indonesia said its data is available now, while Peru promised to follow suit.

“This is another demonstration of the Peruvian government’s commitment to fight illegal activities at sea,” fisheries vice minister Hector Soldi said. “The Peruvian government intends to make the utmost effort to achieve sustainable management of our fisheries in order to increase its contribution to nutrition and global food security.”

The independent Global Fishing Watch uses satellites and terrestrial receivers to track the activities of 60,000 commercial and private fishing boats across the globe.

Global Fishing Watch is not an enforcement agency but a tool for environmentalists and conservationists, and not available to private citizens.

Jackie Savitz, senior vice president of the Oceana conservation group, tells VOA that once a fishing boat leaves port and disappears over the horizon, it’s hard to monitor the vessels. For example, she says, are they fishing in protected parts of the sea or encroaching into another country’s exclusive economic zone?

Savitz says she applauds the very strong leadership by Indonesia and Peru in allowing anyone to monitor their fishing boats at any time.

“With more eyes on the ocean, there are fewer places for illegal fishers to hide,” she said.

Savitz says she hopes other countries will follow Indonesia and Peru in helping to ensure the sustainability and health of one of the world’s most valuable resources.

US Sculptor Focuses London Exhibit on Iraq, Syria Conflicts

A replica of an Assyrian statue destroyed by Islamic State militants in Iraq in 2014 will soar over tourists in London’s Trafalgar Square beginning in March, courtesy of a vision from American artist Michael Rakowitz.


The 15-foot high statue of an lamassu — a human-headed winged bull — reflects the “mass migration that’s happened out of Iraq and Syria in the past few years,” and is a “kind of placeholder for those lives that can’t be reconstructed and for those people who have not yet found refuge,” Rakowitz said in an interview at his Evanston, Illinois, studio.


His sculpture is a continuation of “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist” series, a decade-long recreation of nearly 700 of the over 7,000 archaeological artifacts still missing after being looted, stolen or declared missing from the National Museum of Iraq. It’s a project Rakowitz predicts will outlive him and his studio, as thousands of artifacts are still missing and more are being lost every day in archaeological sites throughout Iraq and Syria.


Using databases from the University of Chicago and Interpol to get exact dimensions of missing works, he and his team work with recycled Middle Eastern food packaging and Arabic newspapers to create versions of the original pieces.


Rakowitz, one of two winners of the Fourth Plinth competition that grants winning artists the right to exhibit a contemporary art work in Trafalgar Square for about 18 months, says he hopes his lamassu sculpture will draw attention to some of the staggering human and cultural costs of ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria.


London’s Fourth Plinth was erected in Trafalgar Square 1841 in for a never-completed equestrian statue. Since 1999, it has been occupied by a series of modern artworks.


Rakowitz felt fate intervened as he was putting together his submission.


“When the City of London sent out its prompt inviting me to propose something, it said that the plinth itself measured 14 feet in length and I was simultaneously doing research on the lamassu that had been destroyed by ISIS in Nineveh and that was exactly 14 feet. So, it seemed as though that is what had to go there,” said Rakowitz, a professor of art at Northwestern University.


His latter-day lamassu will be created out of between 3,000 and 4,000 pressed empty Iraqi date syrup cans, highlighting the once-thriving Iraqi date industry that’s been decimated by decades of war.


Lost art works, along with the cultures they represent, are a life-long obsession for the 43-year-old grandson of Iraqi Jewish emigres. Generations of Rakowitz’s family embraced their cultural identity even after being forced to flee Baghdad in the 1940s. Being an Iraqi Jew was presented to Rakowitz as “something normal, but [also] something that had tragically disappeared.”


Rakowitz felt as if his “entire art history had collapsed,” after hearing that the Taliban destroyed Afghanistan’s Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001. That sense of loss was further compounded two years later when watching video of the looting of Baghdad’s Museum of Iraq.


“It didn’t matter if you were for the war or against the war,” he said. “This was something that everyone could agree upon was unacceptable and tragic and it was a problem for all humanity, not just for Iraq.”


Claire Davies, the Metropolitan Museum’s assistant curator for modern and contemporary art from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said Rakowitz’s work connects the destruction “to what is happening outside of that space and to the people around that work of art.”


Rakowitz’s replica pieces have been acquired by major museums from around the world, including the British Museum, Davies said. The Metropolitan Museum currently has nine pieces from “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist.” His work has also been widely exhibited in the Middle East.

Ryan Won’t Commit to Treasury Timetable for Debt Increase

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he won’t commit to holding a vote to increase the government’s borrowing authority this summer.

The Wisconsin Republican instead says the House will vote on such debt legislation before the government defaults — but not necessarily by an August deadline requested last month by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.


“We’re going to address the debt ceiling before we hit the debt ceiling,” Ryan told reporters.


Increasing the so-called debt limit is needed to avert a first-ever default on U.S. obligations such as interest payments and Social Security benefits.


Increasing the debt limit requires legislation by Congress and is invariably a headache. Conservative Republicans say they would like to condition lifting the government’s almost $20 trillion borrowing limit on passing cuts to other government programs.


Mnuchin wants an increase in the debt limit as quickly as possible and has said spending cuts can wait until later.


But White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has said he would like spending cuts to accompany a debt increase. Such a public difference of opinion is unusual, but it has now become clear the Mnuchin is taking the lead for the administration.


“The Treasury secretary is and should always be the person in charge of debt limit negotiations, debt limit legislation. That’s a natural thing. Every Treasury secretary is in charge of that,” Ryan said.


Ryan won’t commit to a debt measure that’s free of add-ons. He supported the most recent debt increase, negotiated with the Obama administration, which was paired with a two-year budget plan that lifted agency spending limits and imposed modest spending cuts.


“We’re going to work with them on this,” Ryan said. “We’re having long, ongoing conversations with our members about how to address this and we’ll address it before we hit the debt limit.”


The government has officially hit its borrowing capacity, but Mnuchin is using accounting maneuvers to maintain the government’s solvency for the time being.


Mnuchin hasn’t publicly said when Treasury will run out of options to avert a default, but outside experts have estimated that the government probably won’t run out of money until September or later.



Фірсов: «ДНР» не дає ніякої інформації про зниклого блогера Васіна

В угрупованні «ДНР» родичам блогера Станіслава Васіна не дають жодної інформації про його місце перебування, повідомив Радіо Донбас.Реалії колишній народний депутат Єгор Фірсов, який напередодні заявив про зникнення журналіста.

«Відомо, що мама востаннє спілкувалася з ним 2-го числа, 3-го вони мали зустрітися з мамою в Макіївці, але цього не сталося, Стас просто не вийшов на зв’язок. Мати була в усіх «органах», які там тільки можливі: заходила в «міліцію», в «держбезпеку», але всі стинають плечима. Кажуть, що це, найімовірніше, «служба безпеки». Але офіційної відповіді ніхто не дає», – повідомив він.

Блогер і автор Радіо Донбас.Реалії Станіслав Васін днями зник безвісти в Донецьку. Єгор Фірсов припускає, що журналіст був затриманий бойовиками угруповання «ДНР». Родичі не можуть зв’язатися зі Станіславом, за даними Фірсова, в квартирі Васіна – сліди злому і обшуку. Підтвердження цієї інформації з інших джерел немає.

Станіслав Васін готував репортажі про життя Донецька для Радіо Донбас Реалії й інших видань. Зв’язку з ним редакція Радіо Свобода не має з п’ятниці, 2 червня.

МЕРТ: кадровим рішенням в «Укрзалізниці» передуватиме звіт правління і ради компанії

Найближчими тижнями Кабінет міністрів України заслухає звіт правління і наглядової ради ПАТ «Укрзалізниця» для подальшого ухвалення кадрових рішень щодо керівництва компанії, повідомляє Міністерство економічного розвитку торгівлі України.

«Аналізуючи ситуацію, що склалася із закінченням строку контракту керівника компанії Войцеха Бальчуна, на думку Мінекономрозвитку, ухваленню рішення щодо дії контракту голови правління ПАТ «Укрзалізниця» має передувати заслуховування урядом України (який виконує функції загальних зборів – вищого органу товариства) звітів правління та наглядової ради ПАТ «Укрзалізниця» з метою проведення аналізу діяльності товариства за 2016 рік», – йдеться в повідомленні МЕРТ 7 червня.

Протягом декількох тижнів голова правління і наглядова рада мають підготувати і представити відповідний звіт.

«У результаті заслуховування інформації щодо результатів діяльності товариства буде ухвалене рішення щодо продовження чи припинення трудових відносин з головою правління ПАТ «Укрзалізниця» Войцехом Бальчуном», – додали в міністерстві.

Напередодні міністр інфраструктури України Володимир Омелян, який неодноразово критикував роботу Бальчуна на посаді керівника «Укрзалізниці», висловив сподівання, що Кабінет міністрів на засіданні 7 червня вирішить питання про подальше його перебування на посаді.

Контракт із Бальчуном, який відкидав критику на свою адресу, закінчився 5 червня.

У січні Кабмін ухвалив рішення про перепідпорядкування «Укрзалізниці» під безпосереднє управління уряду з-під керівництва Мінінфраструктури.

Кабінет міністрів України 20 квітня 2016 року підтримав пропозицію комітету з призначень керівників при Міністерстві економічного розвитку і торгівлі, який запропонував призначити головою ПАТ «Укрзалізниця» екс-голову залізничної компанії Польщі Войцеха Бальчуна.


Cosby’s Chief Accuser Denies Romance Before Alleged Assault

Bill Cosby’s chief accuser on Wednesday denied they had a romantic relationship before he allegedly drugged and assaulted her at his suburban Philadelphia home.

The defense resumed its cross-examination of Andrea Constand one day after she broke her long public silence about Cosby by testifying that the comedian gave her three blue pills and then violated her with his fingers in 2004 as she lay paralyzed, unable to tell him to stop.

Cosby lawyer Angela Agrusa suggested that Constand, a 44-year-old former employee of the basketball program at Temple University, once enjoyed a romantic dinner at Cosby’s home before the alleged assault.

“You were sitting by the fire. The room was dark. There was a nice mood …,”  Agrusa began, paraphrasing Constand’s 2005 statement to police.

“I don’t know what that means,” Constand said.

“The lights were dim and the fire was going,” the lawyer continued.

“I don’t really remember how dim the lights were, but I did have to eat my dinner,” Constand said.

Agrusa also spent a painstaking hour going over Constand’s phone records, hoping to show she changed her mind about the date she says Cosby assaulted her.

High-profile trustee

Cosby arrived at the courthouse Wednesday accompanied by actress Sheila Frazier, who starred with him in the 1978 comedy “California Suite.” Frazier was accompanied by her husband, John Atchison, a celebrity hairstylist whose clients include Cosby and his wife, Camille.

Cosby, 79, is charged with aggravated indecent assault. The comedian once dubbed America’s Dad could get 10 years in prison if convicted.


Constand managed the women’s basketball team at Temple, Cosby’s alma mater, while he was a high-profile trustee. She said on Tuesday that she felt her continued friendship with Cosby after the alleged assault was important to the school’s athletic department.

His lawyers have tried to poke holes in Constand’s story, citing differences between her courtroom testimony and the accounts she gave to police and in a lawsuit in 2005. The defense has argued the two had a romantic relationship, that Constand wasn’t incapacitated and that the sexual encounter was consensual.

Phone records


The defense has pointed out that phone records show Constand called Cosby 53 times after she says he assaulted her. Constand told the jury the calls mostly involved the women’s basketball team, especially around tournament time.


Before Tuesday, Constand had never spoken about Cosby in public, barred from doing so under the terms of a confidential settlement they reached in 2006. Her deposition from that lawsuit remains sealed.


Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, all but destroying his nice-guy image, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Constand’s case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged.


The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.


Суд в анексованому Криму дозволив Подрабінеку бути захисником у справі Умерова

Російського публіциста і правозахисника Олександра Подрабінека допустили як громадського захисника на процес у справі заступника голови Меджлісу Ільмі Умерова, якого влада анексованого Росією Криму звинувачує в сепаратизмі. Про це Радіо Свобода повідомила дочка Умерова Айше, яка перебуває на засіданні в Сімферопольському районному суді.

«Сторона захисту подала клопотання про введення в судовий процес як громадського захисника відомого дисидента і правозахисника з Москви Олександра Подрабінека. Суд, незважаючи на протест прокурора, допустив Подрабінека до участі в процесі», – повідомила вона.

7 червня Сімферопольський районний суд в анексованому Росією Криму почав розглядати по суті справу Ільмі Умерова.

Один із адвокатів Умерова Марк Фейгін у коментарі проекту Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії заявив, що суд у справі Умерова «не закінчиться декількома засіданнями». Адвокат також додав, що «результат справи щодо Умерова вирішений».

«У силу стану здоров’я Умерова скоріше йтиметься про умовне покарання. Але сам Умеров хоче публічного політичного процесу. Він хоче, щоб кримські татари, які зараз перебувають репресіями, змогли використати цей процес на свою користь», – заявив Фейгін.

7 червня прокурор повинен представити обвинувальний висновок у справі.

Влада анексованого Росією Криму звинувачую Умерова у закликах до порушення територіальної цілісності Росії. Звинувачення Ільмі Умерову оголосили навесні 2016 року.

Затримання, обшук і порушення кримінальної справи проти Умерова, а також утримання його в психіатричній лікарні для проведення примусової судово-психіатричної експертизи засудили в Україні і світі.

Голова Меджлісу Рефат Чубаров назвав переслідування Ільмі Умерова частиною кампанії гонінь і утисків кримськотатарського народу в анексованому Росією Криму.

про уродов и людей