POLSKA УКРАЇНА - My - Polacy, ale żyjemy w Ukrainie

Free Movement at Risk in Heart of Europe as Swiss Vote

The Swiss will vote Sunday on limiting immigration from the European Union, which, while not expected to pass, has sparked fears a shock “yes” could devastate relations with the bloc.The initiative backed by the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) — Switzerland’s largest party — has seen dwindling public support in recent polls.The most recent survey showed 65% of those questioned opposed the call to tear up an agreement permitting the free movement of people between Switzerland and the surrounding European Union.It seems unlikely the initiative will garner the double majority needed to pass, winning both the popular vote and most of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.But the SVP has eked out surprise victories in the past in its drawn-out war against tightening relations with the EU, fueling concern that Switzerland’s relationship with its biggest trading partner could be in jeopardy.The initiative, put to a vote as part of the direct democracy system, calls for Switzerland to revise its constitution to ensure it can autonomously handle immigration policy.The SVP, which has built its brand by condemning immigration and EU influence, warns that the wealthy Alpine country is facing “uncontrolled and excessive immigration.”‘Betrayal’While not an EU member, Switzerland is bound to the bloc through an array of intricately connected bilateral agreements.If the SVP initiative passes, authorities would have one year to negotiate an end to the 1999 agreement on the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the bloc.The proposal goes even further than a similar measure, also backed by the SVP, that narrowly passed in February 2014, demanding that Bern impose quotas on the number of work permits issued to EU citizens.That vote threw Swiss-EU relations into disarray, with Brussels warning any curbs on immigration by EU citizens would put a whole range of bilateral agreements at risk.Bern struggled for years to find a way to respect the vote without permanently alienating EU neighbors.After lengthy talks, the agreement reached in late 2016 stopped far short of an initial quotas plan, which Brussels had fiercely rejected.Instead Bern opted merely to require Swiss employers to jump through a few bureaucratic hoops before hiring from the bloc, and to prioritize Swiss job seekers, at least ostensibly.The SVP condemned that compromise as a “betrayal” and launched its new initiative.Votes on the SVP’s initiative and several other issues had been scheduled to take place in May but were postponed since the coronavirus lockdown measures prevented campaigning.’Enough!’As soon as those measures began lifting a few months ago, the SVP rolled out its campaign posters, including one showing a jeans-clad behind with an EU-starred belt sitting heavily on a map of Switzerland, under the words: “Enough is enough!”While the 2014 vote still looms large in Switzerland’s collective memory, opinion polls hint that anxiety over immigration has lessened.The SVP also finds itself more isolated than ever, with the government, parliament, unions, employer organizations and all other political parties urging voters to reject the initiative.Opponents stress the importance of the EU relationship for the country’s economy.And the government has cautioned that if Switzerland unilaterally voids the free movement accord, a “guillotine” clause will come into force to freeze the entire package of Swiss-EU deals, including on trade.Sunday will also see Swiss voters cast ballots on a range of other issues, including whether to dish out 6 billion Swiss francs (5.6 billion euros) for new fighter jets, and whether to grant two weeks’ paternity leave to new fathers.Most Swiss vote in advance in the popular polls and referenda held in the country every few months, and ballot boxes generally open for just a few hours on voting day for those wishing to cast their vote in person.Polls open at different times in different cantons but will all close by midday (1000 GMT), with initial results expected by early afternoon.

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Breonna Taylor Protesters March Anew: ‘No Justice, No Peace’

A diverse crowd of hundreds marched through the streets of Louisville chanting “Black Lives Matter” on Saturday night, the fourth night of protests after a grand jury declined to charge officers with homicide in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.People in the crowd also chanted “No Justice, No Peace” as cars honked along a busy downtown artery in this Kentucky city that has seen more than 120 days of demonstrations over the death of the 26-year-old Black woman in a police raid gone wrong.A few police cars followed behind, with officers telling protesters to stay on the sidewalk and out of the street.Police have maintained barricades and planned another nighttime curfew starting at 9 p.m. in the city.The protests Friday night were peaceful, but police arrested 22 people for curfew violations. A police spokesperson said some also were charged with failure to disperse.Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had urged continued peaceful protests in an appearance at a news conference Saturday evening.”I’m mindful that many in our community are hurting and angry about the decisions announced this week,” Fischer said. The mayor said he supports protesters’ First Amendment rights to protest though “we just ask you to do that peacefully please.”Taylor was shot multiple times March 13 after her boyfriend fired at officers who had entered her home during a narcotics raid by white officers, authorities said. Taylor’s boyfriend said he didn’t know who was coming in and fired in self-defense, wounding one officer.On Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a grand jury indicted one officer on wanton endangerment charges, saying he fired gunshots into a neighboring home during the raid that didn’t strike anyone. That officer has been fired.Cameron said the other officers were not charged with Taylor’s killing because they acted to protect themselves.Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, visited a downtown park on Friday with family and her lawyers and called on Kentucky officials to release all body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings. Palmer said in a statement read by a family member that she felt the criminal justice system had failed her. Palmer marched at the head of Friday’s protest march.The grand jury’s ruling weighed heavily on protesters like Amber Brown. A central figure in the downtown demonstrations, Brown said she was angry.”It feels like we went backward,” she said Friday night. “I think people are still in shock and we’re not sure how to move forward.”

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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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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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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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US Imposes Curbs on Exports by China’s Top Chipmaker SMIC

SHANGHAI/WASHINGTON — The United States government has imposed restrictions on exports to China’s biggest silicon chip maker after concluding there is an “unacceptable risk” that equipment supplied to it could be used for military purposes.
 
Suppliers of certain equipment to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) will now have to apply for individual export licenses, according to a letter from the Commerce Department dated Friday and seen by Reuters.
 
SMIC becomes the second leading Chinese technology company to face U.S. trade curbs after telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, whose access to high-end chips has been curtailed by its addition to a so-called entity list.
 
The Pentagon said earlier this month that it was weighing blacklisting SMIC, which the U.S. authorities have identified as a threat due to an alleged “fusion” of civilian and military technologies.
 
Asked for comment, SMIC said it had not received any official notice of the restrictions and said it has no ties with the Chinese military.
 
“SMIC reiterates that it manufactures semiconductors and provides services solely for civilian and commercial end-users and end-uses,” SMIC said.
 
“The Company has no relationship with the Chinese military and does not manufacture for any military end-users or end-uses.”
 
The Commerce Department declined on Saturday to comment specifically on SMIC, but said its Bureau of Industry and security was “constantly monitoring and assessing any potential threats to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”
 

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Paris Stabbing Attack Termed Act of Islamist Terrorism

French police said on Saturday they had detained a person believed to be a former roommate of the man who attacked two people in Paris near the former offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.Late Friday police released a 33-year-old Algerian man who was a witness and had “chased the assailant,” after the investigators corroborated the man’s account.
 
As of Saturday morning, a total of seven people remained in custody in connection with the Friday’s attack, including the suspected perpetrator.
 
The attacker was identified as an 18-year-old Pakistani man, who arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor.
 
French authorities launched an anti-terrorism investigation after the attack on Friday.In an interview with France 2 television station, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the attack was “clearly an act of Islamist terrorism.””Manifestly, the method was one of an Islamist terrorist. There is little doubt this is a new bloody attack against our country, against journalists, against our society, which you already mentioned in your report… a great amount of difficulties and emotions over the past few years and I would like the extend my support to them as well,” Darmanin said.France’s counterterrorism prosecutor, Jean-Francois Ricard, said the young man was arrested with another person not far from where the attack took place.Ricard said the attacker did not know the victims – a woman and a man from a documentary production company on a smoke break.The motivation for the attack and whether it had any connection to Charlie Hebdo is unclear.Islamist militants attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in 2015, killing 12 people.A terrorism trial for 14 people accused of being accomplices in that attack is currently going on in Paris.Charlie Hebdo angered many Muslims by publishing cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad, and ahead of the trial it recently reprinted some of the same cartoons.Last week, police moved the magazine’s head of human resources from her home after she was the target of death threats around the start of the trial.
 
  

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Breonna Taylor’s Attorney: Grand Jury Decision Is Example of Systemic Racism

Demonstrators took the streets for another night Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, to protest the killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker who was killed by white police officers last March as they carried out a drug raid.About 15 protesters were arrested Friday, police said, for breaking the 9 p.m. curfew.Earlier Friday, Taylor’s family and their lawyer, Benjamin Crump, called on Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron to release body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings that did not bring homicide charges against the officers who killed Taylor.Crump said the grand jury’s decision is an example of systemic racism that persists in America. “It underscores what we’ve been saying all along,” he said.Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said, “The police and law were not made to protect us Black and brown women.” Palmer said the grand jury’s decision confirms the fact that she has “no faith in the legal system.”Palmer said she “knew” Cameron “would never do his job” and added, “The system as a whole has failed Breonna.”Cameron is Kentucky’s first Black attorney general.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, defended the investigation in a speech Thursday on the Senate floor, saying Cameron “conducted exactly the kind of thorough, impartial investigation that justice demands.” He called protests in Louisville in which two police officers were shot “more evidence of the lawlessness, riots, and violence that has plagued American cities too often this year.”Crump posted on Twitter he is hopeful a federal investigation into Taylor’s killing would produce charges against the officers. “We hope the FBI investigation finally gets justice for Bre and her family.”Taylor was killed when police on a drug raid entered her apartment on a “no-knock” warrant, authorized to allow police to enter a dwelling without warning to keep evidence from being destroyed. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.However, Cameron said Wednesday that a neighbor of Taylor’s heard police announce their presence before entering Taylor’s apartment and that their entry was not deemed a “no-knock” raid.Cameron said the officers “were justified in their use of force” after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who says he heard no announcement by the police, opened fire at them first when they entered the apartment, thinking they were intruders.Attention is being focused on Taylor’s shooting and other cases following the death earlier this year of George Floyd, a Black man, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd’s death sparked protests around the world about social injustice.

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