For the last five years, Michael J. Sharp lived in one of the most dangerous countries in Africa, trying to broker peace between armed groups.

“He was following his passion and mission to make peace in the world — a very broken and violent world,” his father, John Sharp, told VOA in an interview late Thursday.

That mission ended when Sharp, Swedish colleague Zahida Catalan and their interpreter, Betu Tshintela, were killed after being abducted in Kasai Central province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo earlier this month. Their bodies were found March 28 in a shallow grave next to the Moyo River.

The fate of a Congolese driver, Isaac Kabuayi, and two motorcycle drivers who were also kidnapped remains unknown.

Sharp, also known as MJ, and Catalan were working as experts for the United Nations, investigating funding and weapons sources for militia groups in the DRC. Their goal was to determine whether U.N. Security Council sanctions against the groups are effective, and if they stop militias and members of the Congolese military from running illegal mines for profit.

Now, John Sharp said, “We are waiting for the Congolese government to give their permission to ship the body back to the U.S.” Michael Sharp’s body was found intact; Catalan’s was decapitated.

The father believes his son’s work to promote lasting stability in the troubled province should continue. “Let’s let Zahida’s and MJ’s work continue in other hands. There’s much more work to be done. Peace has not yet been negotiated,” he said.

Passionate pacifist

A devout member of the Mennonite church — a branch of Christianity that emphasizes pacifism — Michael Sharp first went to the DRC as a volunteer with the Mennonite Central Committee, doing humanitarian work.

He spoke Spanish, German and French, and was learning Swahili. “He developed his passion for peacebuilding and peacemaking in a violent world from his family, his theology, his church because Mennonites have a theology of peacebuilding and nonviolence and he seemed to take that on,” his father said.

Sharp collaborated with the Congolese Protestant Council of Churches, which was working to persuade rebel fighters to abandon violence and give up arms. His efforts were bearing fruit, with about 1,600 fighters in January 2015 laying down arms.

His father said Michael Sharp was willing to expose himself to risks in order to understand the causes of conflict, and he strived to build relationships with those involved.

“He was most passionate about something he initiated, I believe, and that is working to build relationships with militia group leaders, so he would travel unarmed through the forest and sit down and talk with them,” his father said.

Sharp also earned the admiration of prominent DRC expert Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Research Group and senior fellow at New York University.

The DRC is home to dozens of small militia and rebel groups who hide out in its jungles and make a living mining the country’s abundant natural resources, including copper, gold and diamonds.

One of the most prominent is the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), led by Rwandan Hutus fighting against what they say is a Tutsi influence in the region. 

In a blog post this week, Stearns said the FDLR is “one of the most brutal and reclusive armed groups in the region.” However, that didn’t deter Sharp from entering into their territory unarmed, learning about their families, listening to their pleas and “trying to gain their trust and to project empathy. Not an easy feat for a committed pacifist,” Stearns wrote.

Stearns said he has always been skeptical of foreigners coming in the country, but Sharp showed him that it is possible to do genuine work on behalf of the Congolese people.

“I am always wary of researchers and activists who come to the Congo for adventure and self-legitimation rather than out of solidarity with the local population,” he wrote. “But Michael was no such thing — he was self-effacing, devoted, and empathetic.”

Last mission

Sharp and his colleagues went to Kasai Central in early March to investigate widespread human rights abuses near the remote village of Bunkonde, south of the provincial capital, Kananga. Violence driven by political and tribal rivalries has killed hundreds in the province since last August, and several mass graves have been found.

The U.N. team disappeared March 12. The next day, the DRC government said that Sharp and Catalan had “fallen into the hands of unidentified negative forces.”

Quickly, the U.N. mission in Congo, MONUSCO, began a search-and-rescue effort that ended Wednesday with the discovery of the bodies.

The eastern DRC has been plagued with violence since the mid-1990s, with millions killed and more than 2 million displaced in what is sometimes called Africa’s World War. Much of the country remains beyond the reach of the central government and is controlled by militia groups.

Sharp’s father wants to see Congo’s perpetual conflict brought to an end, and thinks the loss of his son could trigger more attention to the cause of the conflict.

He urged the U.N. not to give up on its mission, and said more experts are needed to monitor sanctions and bring justice to the area. 

“As my son said, nothing is acceptable until there is true peace and complete peace,” John Sharp said. “Congolese people deserve peace, they deserve to live in harmony with their neighbors and we should make all efforts possible to make that happen and to stop believing in the myth of redemptive violence.”


More than two dozen photos of the Pentagon taken after a plane crashed into it on September 11, 2001, have reappeared in recent days on the FBI’s website six years after they were first made public. The posting misled some to believe the photos from 9/11 had never before been seen.

FBI spokeswoman Jillian Stickels told The Associated Press on Friday that the 27 photos were first posted online in 2011, but disappeared from the site because of a technical glitch. They were restored to public view once the FBI was alerted they were missing. Stickels didn’t know how long they weren’t visible.

Several media outlets reported Thursday and Friday that the photos were previously unseen.

The photos show plane debris, damage to the building and FBI teams on the site.


The Trump administration is appealing the stay placed on President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to people from six majority-Muslim countries and halting refugee admissions.

A U.S. federal judge extended a suspension of the travel order Wednesday, placing a preliminary injunction against Trump’s order at the request of the state of Hawaii. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson had temporarily prohibited the government from enforcing the order in a March 15 decision.

Both orders apply nationwide.

Watson wrote that the circumstances that led to his initial decision have not changed, including Hawaii’s argument that remarks by Trump and his associates have singled out Muslims.

The judge said the state has sufficiently established a likelihood it would succeed in challenging the ban on the grounds it violates a constitutional clause that requires government actions to have a primarily secular purpose.

The government appeal was filed in the ninth circuit court of appeals Thursday. The ninth circuit has already played a role in the travel ban saga, upholding a temporary stay placed on the earlier executive order limiting travel signed by the president.

Muslim ban to extreme vetting

Trump’s campaign for president once included a call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, a policy that was later changed to advocating “extreme vetting” for people from countries with a link to terrorism.

The Trump administration has insisted the current executive order is not a Muslim ban, and the president has argued it is necessary to protect national security. It includes barring the issuance of new visas to people from Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan for 90 days, and suspending the refugee program for 120 days. During those periods, reviews of vetting procedures and how to strengthen the screenings are supposed to take place.

Watson said the government has argued the courts should ignore the context surrounding the order. “The court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has,” he wrote.

The government argued that any injunction should apply only to the visa ban and not affect suspending refugee admissions, but the judge said “it makes little sense to do so.”

President vows to fight back

Trump has vowed to continue fighting legal challenges to his order, taking them up to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Hawaii’s Department of the Attorney General expressed confidence that higher courts will continue to side with its position. “We believe the court’s well-reasoned decision will be affirmed,” it said on Twitter.

 

The travel ban is also being challenged in a federal case originating from the state of Maryland. That case is only limited to the suspension of visas to the six countries, and a District Court judge issued a similar prohibition against the government enforcing it.

But the Justice Department has appealed that decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has scheduled arguments for May 8.

A group of attorneys general from 12 states have filed briefs with the 4th Circuit in support of Trump’s executive order, arguing it does not amount to a Muslim ban. The states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.


Palmer Luckey, the co-founder of Facebook’s Oculus virtual-reality business, is leaving the company.

Facebook didn’t give a reason for Luckey’s departure. His last day is Friday.

Luckey, who is 24, is leaving Facebook in the heels of controversies. Earlier this year, a federal jury found that Oculus, Luckey and co-founder Brendan Iribe violating the intellectual property rights of video-game maker ZeniMax Media. The jury awarded $500 million in damages, including $50 million from Luckey.

Luckey was also criticized for a donation of $10,000 to a pro-Donald Trump group called Nimble America, which created offensive memes online during the 2016 election season.

Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. Oculus makes the stand-alone Rift virtual-reality headset along with the Gear VR headset for Samsung.


Генеральний прокурор України Юрій Луценко заявляє, що не збирається залишати посаду через «серйозні справи», які ще має завершити.

«Я точно не збираюсь залишати цю посаду, але, безумовно, не буду триматися за неї…У мене багато планів. Я зараз не маю ніяких інших політичних амбіцій… уявити себе кандидатом на політичну посаду без завершення серйозних справ у прокуратурі я не можу», – заявив генпрокурор 31 березня в Києві, відповідаючи на запитання про його ставлення до подання екс-генпрокурором Віктором Шокіним позову до суду про відновлення його на посаді.

Луценко зазначив, що має намір завершити, зокрема, справу колишнього президента Віктора Януковича, а також справи про притягнення до відповідальності за корупцію низки представників нинішньої влади.

Щодо намірів Шокіна Луценко заявив: «Ми живемо у вільній країні. Тому кожна людина, особливо та, яка має багато часу на пенсії, може звертатися до суду».

Раніше сього місяця стало відомо, що звільнений минулого року з посади генпрокурора Віктор Шокін просить Вищий адміністративний суд визнати незаконними й скасувати рішення щодо його звільнення.

Згідно з розкладом на сайті ВАСУ, відповідна справа буде розглядатися о 15:30 10 квітня. Крім того, Шокін вимагає поновлення на посаді генпрокурора.

Після цього деякі політики допустили можливість призначення Юрія Луценка на посаду голови уряду.

52-річний Луценко обіймає посаду генерального прокурора із травня 2016 року.

 


Генеральний прокурор України Юрій Луценко заявляє про серйозний прогрес слідства у справі про вбивство у Києві екс-депутата Державної думи Росії Дениса Вороненкова.

«Заслухав звіт слідчого. Досить серйозно просунулись щодо встановлення співучасників, але більше нічого не можу повідомити», – сказав генпрокурор, пославшись на таємницю слідства.

Вороненкова вбили 23 березня в центрі Києва. За даними поліції, у результаті стрілянини також був поранений його охоронець і нападник, який пізніше помер від поранень.

Президент Петро Порошенко назвав убивство Вороненкова «актом державного тероризму з боку Росії».

Денис Вороненков, який у грудні 2016 року разом зі своєю дружиною, також колишнім депутатом російської Держдуми Марією Максаковою, переїхав до України, 14 лютого повідомив про отримання українського громадянства. В Україні колишній російський депутат раніше дав свідчення у справі про державну зраду щодо екс-президента Віктора Януковича.


Компанія «Тедіс Україна», в офісі якої в Одесі 31 березня відбуваються обшуки, відкидає звинувачення, висунуті на її адресу, і називає їх безпідставними.

«Тедіс Україна» – одна з найбільших українських дистрибуційних компаній, що здійснює свою діяльність на території України, згідно з українським законодавством. Компанія входить до числа найбільших платників податків країни і є бюджетоутворюючим підприємством у низці областей. Компанія забезпечує офіційне працевлаштування понад 2,5 тисяч українців», – йдеться в повідомленні компанії.

У «Тедіс Україна» додали, що серед її прямих чи опосередкованих власників «немає ані російських компаній, ані громадян Росії». «Власниками TEDIS Ukraine є фізичні особи – громадяни України, Ірландії та Великої Британії», – йдеться в заяві.

Вранці 31 березня генеральний прокурор України Юрій Луценко повідомив про обшуки, які «понад тисяча правоохоронців» проводять у компанії «Тедіс Україна», що є дистриб’ютором тютюнових виробів і, за його даними, належить громадянину Росії Ігорю Кесаєву.

Як заявив Луценко, компанію підозрюють в «особливо великому ухилянні від сплати податків та незаконному виведенні мільярдів гривень за кордон, у тому числі – для фінансування тероризму».

Також Генеральна прокуратура України зранку 31 березня в Києві здійснює обшук у Антимонопольному комітеті України (АМКУ), пов’язаний із обшуком у справі компанії «Тедіс Україна», повідомила державний уповноважений АМКУ Світлана Панаіотіді.

 


У 2014-2016 роках комунальна корпорація «Київавтодор» витратила 120 мільйонів гривень на проведення ямкового ремонту. Про це йдеться в сюжеті програми «Схеми», спільного проекту Радіо Свобода та каналу «UA:Перший».

Згідно з даними КК «Київавтодор», у 2014 році на дрібний, або так званий ямковий ремонт 126,1 тисячі квадратних метрів дороги корпорація витратила 25,1 мільйона гривень. У 2015 році в Києві відремонтували 121,9 тисячі квадратних метрів дороги за 29,66 мільйона гривень. У 2016 році в Києві відремонтували 285,6 тисячі квадратних метрів за 65,723 мільйона гривень. Таким чином, в цілому за три роки на ямковий ремонт у Києві було витрачено близько 120 мільйонів гривень.ФОТО

Під час дрібного, або так званого ямкового ремонту, лише асфальтують ями, не покращуючи якість дороги в цілому. «Те, на що нарікають постійно, ямковий ремонт – це не є ремонтом в класичному інженерному розумінні, це просто відновлення»,– зазначає інженер-консультант ініціативи COST Україна Олег Островерхий.

«Ремонти доріг можна поділити на три види: капітальний, поточний середній та дрібний (так званий ямковий). Найбільш якісний із них, але при цьому й найбільш витратний, – капітальний ремонт. Для його проведення найчастіше наймають стороннього підрядника», – йдеться у розслідуванні.

У майбутньому «Київавтодор» планує відійти від ямкових ремонтів. Для цього кожного року має збільшуватись кількість вулиць, які ремонтуються капітальним та поточним (середнім) ремонтом, йдеться в матеріалі. 

Також для боротьби з тріщинами в асфальтобетонному покритті, щоб подовжити термін експлуатації існуючих доріг, комунальною корпорацією «Київавтодор» у 2015 році було закуплено 11 швозаливників. У 2016 році комунальні підприємства, що входять до складу комунальної корпорації «Київавтодор», обробили та залили герметизуючою мастикою 105 кілометрів вулично-шляхової мережі столиці. 


Researchers in a pilot clinical trial have made it possible for a paralyzed man to move his arm. As Bronwyn Benito reports, it is a critical step toward restoring mobility to people with paralysis.


The White House on Thursday defended a bill recently passed by Congress to repeal Obama-era internet privacy protections, saying the move was meant to create a fair playing field for telecommunication companies.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer, during a Thursday news briefing, reiterated President Donald Trump’s support for the plan to repeal a rule forbidding internet service providers from collecting personal data on users.

Spicer said the Obama administration’s rules reclassified internet service providers as common carriers, similar to hotels and other retail stores, treating them unfairly compared with edge providers, like Google and Facebook.

Repealing the rules, he said, will “allow service providers to be treated fairly and consumer protection and privacy concerns to be reviewed on a level playing field.”

Critics of the repeal bill say it could put the internet browsing histories of private citizens up for sale to the highest bidder.

“Apparently [House Republicans] see no problem with cable and phone companies snooping on your private medical and financial information, your religious activities or your sex life,” said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of net neutrality group Free Press Action Fund. “They voted to take away the privacy rights of hundreds of millions of Americans just so a few giant companies could pad their already considerable profits.”

Win for telecoms

Repealing the rules, which were instituted just prior to last year’s presidential election by the Federal Communications Commission but hadn’t yet taken effect, could be seen as a win for major telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T, which can use the consumer data to target digital ads more effectively.

The companies have said the privacy rules put them at a disadvantage compared with websites like Facebook and Google, which aren’t normally regulated by the FCC and weren’t affected by the rules.

Spicer called the rules “federal overreach” instituted by “bureaucrats in Washington to take the interests of one group of companies over the interests of others, picking winners and losers.”

“[Trump] will continue to fight Washington red tape that stifles American innovation, job creation and economic growth,” Spicer said.


Меджліс кримськотатарського народу 29 березня подав скаргу до Європейського суду з прав людини (ЄСПЛ). Про це 30 березня повідомили на сайті правозахисного центру «Мемориал», який представляє інтереси Меджлісу у ЄСПЛ.

Скарга пов’язана із забороною російськими властями діяльності Меджлісу і включенням його до списку екстремістських організацій.

Представники Меджлісу зазначили, що дії російської влади порушують статтю 11 про свободу зібрань і об’єднань Європейської конвенції про захист прав людини і основних свобод. Також заявники зазначили, що членів Меджлісу переслідують у зв’язку з їхньою політичною позицією. Всього у скарзі вказується на порушення п’яти статей конвенції.

Представляти позицію Меджлісу у ЄСПЛ також будуть Європейський центр захисту прав людини та Українська Гельсінська група.

9 лютого 2017 року стало відомо, що Міністерство юстиції України подасть позов до Європейського суду з прав людини щодо заборони Росією Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу.

У квітні 2016 року підконтрольний Росії Верховний суд Криму заборонив діяльність Меджлісу на території анексованого півострова. Світове співтовариство висловило протест у зв’язку з такими діями російської влади. Захист Меджлісу відправив апеляцію у Верховний суд Росії, однак апеляційна інстанція підтвердила заборону на діяльність Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу.

16 січня Україна подала позов до Міжнародного суду, вищого судового органу у структурі ООН, про порушення Росією міжнародних конвенцій з протидії фінансуванню тероризму та расової дискримінації.


Hundreds of Iranian students already accepted into U.S. graduate programs may not be able to come next fall because of the uncertainty around President Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban, potentially derailing research projects and leaving some science programs scrambling to find new students.

With admission season still in full swing, 25 of America’s largest research universities have already sent more than 500 acceptance letters to students from the six affected countries, according to data provided by schools in response to Associated Press requests. The vast majority of those students are from Iran, where undergraduate programs are known for their strength in engineering and computer sciences.

The ban, which would suspend immigration from Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen, has been blocked by federal judges. But if the court ruling is overturned or if Trump issues a new immigration ban, students would be locked out for next fall, legal experts say.

“For us to not have access to that talent pool is a major, major blow. It is unimaginable in schools of engineering across the country to lose that talent,” said Kazem Kazerounian, dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut, which has accepted 15 Iranian students so far.

The new uncertainty has steered some students to other nations that compete with the U.S. for top students, including Canada, Australia and Japan, officials at some schools say.

Students from Iran have helped fill graduate programs at American colleges for years, especially in engineering schools. Out of 12,000 Iranian students who attended U.S. universities last year, 77 percent were graduate students and more than half studied engineering, according to data from the State Department and the Institute of International Education, a nonprofit in Washington.

At the University of Central Florida, a third of the 115 students who have been accepted to graduate programs in civil and electrical engineering for next fall are from Iran.

Iranian student Amir Soleimani, 26, has been accepted to two universities in the U.S., where he wants to pursue a doctorate in electrical engineering and continue his research on artificial intelligence. If he is kept out, he says, he’ll likely have to begin his two years of mandatory service in Iran’s military.

“My future is very dependent on this ban,” said Soleimani, who lives in the city of Mashhad and has a master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Tehran. “We have spent lots of our time and our energy to apply to top universities, and now that we have been admitted to these universities, it is very disastrous to see we may be banned.”

Once implemented, the ban would last 90 days, but even afterward it would likely be too late for students to complete the months-long process to obtain visas.

Many U.S. universities rely on international students to work as research and teaching assistants, particularly in engineering. Americans who study engineering as undergraduates often opt for the job market instead of graduate school, experts say, leaving them to rely heavily on international students. Some schools also rely on tuition money from foreign students, who are typically charged full costs.

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has offered acceptance to 42 Iranian students in graduate programs, and their absence would interfere with the progress of research, said John McCarthy, dean of the university’s graduate school.

“It’s not something where we can just suddenly go out in the street and grab somebody who’s qualified to be a PhD student in electrical engineering,” McCarthy said.

At the University of Central Florida, 30 percent of the students working at the school’s Center for Research in Computer Vision are from Iran, and all of them play key roles in research, said Mubarak Shah, director of the center. Some, for example, are working on a $1.3 million project funded by a federal grant to develop computer technology that can quickly analyze thousands of hours of surveillance footage in an effort to help speed up criminal investigations.

“We are concerned that this may hurt us long-term in research,” Shah said.

So far, Central Florida has offered admission to 87 graduate students from Iran for next fall. The university may be able to find replacements this year, but the quality of programs would likely suffer, said Dale Whittaker, the university’s provost.

“These numbers are pretty high,” he said. “I doubt that we would be able to fill 20 spots with high-quality students in one cohort.”

Even if the White House does not restore the ban, many schools fear students overseas will think twice about coming to the U.S. At Ohio State University, total graduate applications from abroad are down 8 percent this year, including countries not affected by the ban. Numbers at Indiana University are down 11 percent.

“It’s a big concern within the field, and not just at Indiana,” said John Wilkerson, Indiana University’s director of international affairs.

Indiana and some other universities have promised to refund application fees for students if they’re banned, and some schools are offering to defer admission for a year. Many Iranian students have contacted the nonprofit American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee asking for advice, but for now, experts say, there’s little to give.

“It’s all up in limbo, even with the court orders,” said Abed Ayoub, the group’s legal and policy director. “If an opportunity does present itself in another country, they just may have to take that.”

 

 


The Vietnamese blogger known as Mẹ Nam, or Mother Mushroom, missed meeting Melania Trump when the first lady awarded the International Women of Courage Award to 13 women in Washington on Wednesday.

Social activist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh spent the day in a Khanh Hoa Province prison, where she has been held since she was detained on October 10 after posting about people dying in police custody.

Mother Mushroom, who started blogging under that name in 2006, is a founding member of the Vietnamese Bloggers Network. It is one of the few independent blogging groups in a nation where the ruling Communist Party tightly controls the media and writers.

She was charged under the Article 88 of the 1999 penal code for “spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” The government has not set a trial date, and Mother Mushroom faces a maximum prison term of 12 years. The vaguely worded law has drawn international denunciation for the power it gives the government to suppress dissent.

The United States recognized Mother Mushroom for “her bravery for raising civil society issues, inspiring peaceful change, calling for greater government transparency and access to fundamental human rights, and for being voice of freedom of expression,” said Grace Choi, a spokeswoman for the State Department’s East Asia-Pacific Office.

U.S. diplomats in Hanoi and Saigon posted news of Mother Mushroom’s recognition to Facebook, attracting thousands of “likes” before the official ceremony.

“Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’s dedication to exposing corruption, raising awareness about environmental protection, and reporting on human rights violations in Vietnam is an inspiration for activists everywhere and has made her one of Vietnam’s best known online activists,” said Choi, adding that since its inception in 2007, the award often has gone to women in prison for their activism.

‘Timely’ recognition

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said bestowing an award on someone being investigated for breaking Vietnam’s law was “not suitable and beneficial to the development of the two countries’ relationship.”

Bui Thi Minh Hang, an activist in Saigon, told VOA that the recognition of Mother Mushroom “is very timely” because other bloggers, such as Tran Thi Thuy Nga, also are imprisoned. “All the people who dare to stand up to fight, who dare to speak the truth in an evil regime like this, these are brave people.”

Mother Mushroom’s blogging led to many arrests, but her life changed in 2009 after the government detained her for writing about a bauxite mining project that counted a state-owned Chinese company among its investors. Although Chinese influence in Vietnam’s economy is a politically charged topic, she was released without being charged after a week.

After that “landmark,” Mother Mushroom’s travel business and family life fell apart, according to her mother, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan, who, like her daughter, lives in Nha Trang. Since her daughter’s arrest, the blogger’s 90-year-old grandmother has become fearful, and her children, nicknamed Mushroom and Bear, have changed.

“Our lives are really difficult and threatened without Quynh,” Nguyen told VOA on Wednesday.

“I used to feel upset sometimes, because my family is under constant surveillance and harassment,” Nguyen said. “I told my daughter ‘let it go’ but she said, ‘I cannot live irresponsibly. I might die, but at least I can do something for others and do what I want to do.”‘

Ha Tinh spill

Among her recent campaigns, Mother Mushroom has blogged about the government’s handling of a chemical spill at a Taiwanese-owned steel plant in the central Vietnam city of Ha Tinh. The spill that killed 80 tons of fish both embarrassed and worried the government. Images of piles of dead fish went viral worldwide, fishing communities lost income, and thousands of protesters demonstrated at the plant and in cities throughout Vietnam.  

The April 2016 Ha Tinh fish kill is widely seen as having raised environmental awareness and activism among Vietnamese. The movement saw an early success when the Taiwanese-owned steel company accepted full responsibility for the fish kill and pledged to pay $500 million in damages for dumping toxic wastewater into the South China Sea.

“Although the government is denouncing her and detaining her, deep inside, they know she is doing the right thing,” said Nguyen. “I am very proud of my daughter because she has overcome the common fear [of speaking up against the government]. She has overcome her fear to stand up and speak in the common voice.”

This report originated with VOA Vietnam.


In the U.S., people often measure “success” as fifteen minutes of fame, or a blockbuster financial quarter. This focus on short term results doesn’t always build the skills needed to solve long-term problems, such as reducing disease outbreaks or maintaining species diversity. Concerns about the nation’s short attention span have prompted some visionaries to create a playfully serious way to think ahead. From San Francisco, Shelley Schlender reports about the Long Now Foundation.


Президент України Петро Порошенко дав доручення Генеральному штабу Збройних сил України і Міністерству оборони припинити вогонь на Донбасі з 1 квітня, повідомляє речник голови держави Святослав Цеголко.

Раніше в Міністерстві оборони України заявили про готовність виконати домовленості про припинення вогню у зоні бойових дій на Донбасі з 1 квітня, досягнуті у Мінську на засіданні тристоронньої контактної групи.

29 березня тристороння контактна група з врегулювання ситуації на Донбасі, в засіданні якої брали участь представники України, Росії, ОБСЄ, а також представники сепаратистських угруповань «ДНР» і «ЛНР», домовилася про припинення вогню і продовження годин роботи пунктів пропуску з 1 квітня.

В угрупованні «ЛНР» 30 березня також заявили, що готові забезпечити дотримання «режиму тиші». В угрупованні «ДНР» заяв із цього приводу не робили.

Водночас сторони конфлікту повідомляють про продовження обстрілів і звинувачують одна одну в цьому.