White House: ‘We Won’t Forget’ How Turkey is Treating US Pastor

The U.S. continued to press Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release detained American Pastor Andrew Brunson, after a Turkish court Wednesday rejected a second legal appeal to release him from house arrest. And Turkey is pushing back hard, sharply raising tariffs on a range of American goods in retaliation to the tariffs imposed last week by President Trump. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from the State Department on deteriorating relations with a U.S. NATO ally.

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US F-22 Stealth Jets Take on Norway’s F-35 in Simulated Dogfights

Two U.S. F-22 stealth fighter jets squared off in simulated dogfights with two of Norway’s expanding fleet of F-35 aircraft Wednesday as part of an exercise aimed at strengthening the NATO alliance and increasing its deterrent power.

The two U.S. F-22s are among 13 in Europe for a series of short-term deployments in places such as Greece and Poland, with further training missions planned in undisclosed locations in coming days.

The Norwegian deployment lasted one day but will lay the groundwork for NATO allies as they work to integrate their stealth warfare capabilities, Colonel Leslie Hauck, chief of the fifth generation integration division at the U.S. Air Force’s headquarters in Europe, told reporters in Norway.

The deployment is part of U.S. efforts to reassure European allies after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

F-35s arriving in Europe

Growing numbers of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35s are arriving in Europe as the world’s most advanced warplane and most expensive weapons program matures following a raft of cost increases and technical challenges in its early years.

“Every training opportunity that we have betters our readiness for any potential adversary of the future,” Hauck said at the Orland air base, home to six of Norway’s expected 52 F-35s.

Hauck leads a new office at Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany, that is working to ensure a smooth transition for about 40 F-35s scheduled to be in Europe by year’s end. The first of which are set to arrive in 2021.

Next month, a group of senior officials from the United States and seven other F-35 operator countries — Norway, Denmark, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Britain and the Netherlands — will meet to compare notes on the new warplane, which was first used in combat by Israel in May.

Better battlefield overview

The United States has more than 150 of the aircraft, whose sensors pilots say give them the most extensive overview of a battlefield of any combat jet available.

Norwegian Air Force Major Morten Hanche, who piloted one of the Norwegian F-35s, said the mock fight with the F-22s was great practice, especially since the F-35s generally surprise and overpower other nonstealth aircraft.

He declined to name the winning aircraft, saying only: “The F-22 is a very formidable opponent.”

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US: Serb Vote on Srebrenica Massacre Report ‘Wrong Direction’

The United States said Wednesday that Bosnia’s autonomous Serb-dominated region was attempting to deny history by revoking a report that concluded that Bosnian Serb forces killed about 8,000 Muslims in and around Srebrenica during the country’s 1992-95 war.

The U.S. State Department said adoption by the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic) government of the 2004 report on the Srebrenica genocide had been an important reconciliation step.

Reconciliation step reversed

“The August 14 session of the Republika Srpska National Assembly is a step in the wrong direction,” a State Department statement said.

“Attempts to reject or amend the report on Srebrenica are part of wider efforts to revise the facts of the past war, to deny history, and to politicize tragedy. It is in the interest of the citizens of Republika Srpska to reverse the trend of revering convicted war criminals as heroes, and to ensure their crimes continue to be publicly rejected.”

A vote Tuesday by lawmakers in Bosnia’s Serb Republic to revoke the 2004 report was initiated by the region’s nationalist President Milorad Dodik, and some analysts say it is the latest issue used by Serb ruling parties to mobilize voters around the nationalist agenda ahead of elections in October.

Dodik, an advocate of the Serb region’s secession from Bosnia, has always rejected rulings by two war crimes courts, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and The International Court of Justice, that the Srebrenica atrocity qualified as genocide.

Official says scope overblown

Though acknowledging a crime occurred, Dodik says the numbers of those killed had been exaggerated in the 2004 report and it should have included Serb victims.

The parliament concluded that a new independent international commission should be formed to determine the damages suffered by all peoples in the Srebrenica region.

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‘Simpsons’ Creator Brings Animated Fantasy Show to Netflix

The creator of the long-running animated TV series The Simpsons brings his first new show in 20 years to Netflix this week, a story that centers around a drunken princess, an elf and a demon.

Set in a medieval world called Dreamland, Disenchantment is creator Matt Groening’s take on shows like HBO’s blockbuster fantasy series Game of Thrones.

Speaking at the show’s Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday, Groening said the program is “more emotional” than The Simpsons or his other animated hit, Futurama. He said Netflix gave him “free rein” to create whatever he wanted.

Netflix will release all 10 episodes of Disenchantment on Friday.

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Diamond Won’t Let Parkinson’s Slow Him Down

Neil Diamond may have retired from the road because of Parkinson’s disease, but he said he’s working hard to get back onstage.

“Well, I’m doing pretty well. I’m active. I take my meds. I do my workouts. I’m in pretty good shape. I’m feeling good. I want to stay productive. I still have my voice. I just can’t do the traveling that I once did, but I have my wife there supporting me [and] friends,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“It does have its challenges, but I’m feeling good and I feel very positive. … I’m feeling better every day,” he added. “Just dealing with it as best I can, and just keep the music coming.”

The 77-year-old canceled planned concerts when he announced he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in January. Still, fans will be able to see the icon perform with Hot August Night Ill, a live concert CD/DVD chronicling his return to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in August 2012. It’s out on Friday.

1972 album

The two-hour-plus performance featuring 33 songs celebrated the 40th anniversary of his original Hot August Night live album, also recorded at the Greek in August 1972. He performed 10 shows at the venue that month.

“It brings back memories — very deep, loving and warm memories,” he said of his performance. “Playing there and doing music relating to the audience, it was special. It’s a special experience for me.”

He said he watched the 2012 footage recently as it was edited for the new release, and he called it “one of the best live performances that I’ve done and I’m proud of it.”

“I love the chemistry with the audience and myself. That’s part of the thrill of the whole thing. There’s a little magic involved in it,” he said. “I’m just going to keep on keeping on, and that’s about it.”

“The thing I love most about live performing is that it’s very much in the moment. It’s just something that you really can’t describe,” he continued. “You just have to be there and let the moment happen. Let yourself connect with the audience. Let that relationship with the audience express itself. It’s a powerful tool.”

Diamond is one of music’s best-selling singers with a number of hit songs, including Sweet Caroline, America and Love on the Rocks.

One-song shows

He’s given one-song performances since his Parkinson’s diagnosis, including at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June and last month for firefighters battling a blaze near his Colorado home.

He said he’s not sure he can perform more than one song at the moment, but added: “The only way I could find out is to actually do it.”

“But I think I can, and I will give it a try at some point,” he added. “I’m glad to still be around. The fact that I’m still singing well is a bonus and I hope to continue doing it, but in a format that I can handle.”

Could a residency be a possibility?

“Well, I feel I can do it. I want to do it,” he said. “It’s just a matter of resting up, finding the time, preparing, and then just doing the show.”

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From Reese Witherspoon to Sarah Jessica Parker, the Rise of Celeb Book Clubs

Jimmy Fallon remembers a summer a few years back when it seemed everybody was reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

“Everyone had that book. If we had people over, or went on vacation poolside, people had that book wrinkled and curled up. I read it with my wife and we read every chapter together and we’d be like, ‘[Gasps] This is great!’ It was the world’s smallest book club,” he laughed.

This summer, Fallon decided to expand his book club of two to include his late-night audience. In June, he launched “Tonight Show Summer Reads.” Fallon presented five book options on his show and instructed viewers to go online and vote for their favorite. The results exceeded his expectations with 140,000 votes. The winner was Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

“Any way to engage the audience and to do stuff with them is always more fun,” said Fallon.

He also enthusiastically tracked how the books performed on Amazon after a mention on his show. The company confirms he had an impact.

“When a celebrity decides to get behind a book, we generally see a lift in sales,” said Chris Schluep, an editor at Amazon. “For instance, Children of Blood and Bone has been selling well this year. But the week after Jimmy Fallon selected it as the first Tonight Show book club selection, it sold nearly three times the number of print, Kindle and Audible books that it had sold in the previous week at Amazon.”

Reese Witherspoon

Fallon isn’t the only celebrity to follow in Oprah Winfrey’s footsteps with a book club. Reese Witherspoon has made such a success of her monthly literary picks that publishers are now putting Reese stickers on her selections.

“It’s fantastic and we have a great experience,” said Witherspoon, who has bought the rights to many of her picks to adapt for film or television. One of her selections, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Cg will be a limited series on Hulu starring Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

The Oscar winner has also partnered with the audio producer-distributor Audible on audio recordings of her selections.

Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts has turned her lifelong love of reading into a pet project she calls Belletrist. A website and social media for Belletrist celebrate all things books. Each month they feature a new book to read and even an independent bookstore to check out.

“Belletrist is my baby,” said Roberts, who runs the site with her partner, Karah Preiss.

She says there is “no criteria” for books she features because her personal taste is so varied, but she does tend to lean toward highlighting female authors.

She wants to create a community for Belletrist followers to share thoughts and ideas about what they read.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker is so committed to reading that she’s partnered with the American Library Association to share her own suggestions. The goal, she says, is to not only get people to read but to also support their own local libraries.

When Parker was approached by publishing house Hogarth to start her own imprint, her respect for writing initially made her think it wasn’t a good idea.

“I didn’t think I had the experience and had too much respect for people who’ve been in publishing for a long time,” she said. But Parker then thought it could be a way to help champion works in the literary fiction space which isn’t always as commercial. The first novel printed by SJP for Hogarth, A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, is a New York Times best-seller.

Parker said she also enjoys posting about books on social media because it’s a safe topic.

Books are the “one thing I can talk about on Instagram that’s not controversial,” she said. “Everybody wants to talk about their favorite books or their feelings about books and share title recommendations. I mean, it’s a huge exchange of information and enthusiasm and it’s really the easiest part of my relationship with social media certainly.”

Like Witherspoon, Roberts and Parker are open to the idea of giving a book they recommend the Hollywood treatment.

“One of the most exciting things about reading is thinking about how to bring it to life. I’m always imagining the show or the movie. We’re in an exciting time,” said Roberts.

Parker stresses her goal first and foremost is to help the author.

“I’m in it really for the genuinely purest of intentions — to introduce new authors to readers. And if the opportunity exists for there to be a discussion about any television or film rights, I would certainly enter in to those conversations. But that isn’t in any way my incentive.”

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Paris Installs Controversial ‘Solution’ to Public Urination

In Paris, there is an experiment under way to find an environmental solution to the unsightly urban problem of men urinating in the street. However, the project has prompted strong reactions from some residents and visitors.

The city has turned to open-air street urinals, called “uritrottoirs” and “pavement urinals,” which are similar to planters with an opening in the front and a floral display on top. The receptacles contain straw, which transforms into compost for later use in parks and gardens.

Some see the pavement urinals as an innovation that might help rid the French capital of unpleasant sights and smells, while others complain that the bright red boxes are a blight on the city’s picturesque streets.

“It is definitely a desirable and historic neighborhood, but seeing people urinating right in front of your door is not the nicest thing,” said a 28-year-old resident.

However, at least one visitor sees advantages.

“It’s a little bit open … in the open space,” said Jonathan, who is from the U.S. “So some people might feel uncomfortable. But, again, if you need to go, it’s better than going on the street.”

The Reuters news agency reports that reaction to the urinals has been mixed, prompting the local government to reconsider the project in September.

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Регіони отримають 400 тисяч доз вакцини від поліомієліту – МОЗ

Міністерство охорони здоров’я планує найближчим часом розіслати планову партію інактивованої вакцини для профілактики поліомієліту. Найбільше доз препарату «Імовакс Поліо» поїде до Одеської області – 34,3 тисячі. Найменше – в підконтрольні уряду райони Луганської області – 1 600.

В МОЗ нагадують: ліків від поліомієліту не існує, а для того, щоб запобігти захворюванню, дитина має отримати чотири щеплення до 18 місяців, а також пройти ревакцинацію у віці 6 та 14 років.

Навесні в міністерстві повідомляли, що вакцини закуповують із буферним запасом в 25%. За даними відомства, станом на початок серпня в Україні було доступно понад 474 тисячі доз «Імовакс Поліо».

Загалом, за інформацією МОЗ, Україна закуповує вакцини для профілактики 10-ти захворювань: гепатиту В, туберкульозу, дифтерії, кашлюку, правця, поліомієліту, хіб-інфекції (гемофільної інфекції), кору, краснухи, паротиту (свинки).

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