Кличко: Київ впорався з подоланням наслідків негоди

Міський голова Києва Віталій Кличко заявив, що столичні служби впоралися з подоланням наслідків негоди, про що свідчить безперебійна робота комунального транспорту.

«Зараз ми бачимо, що на переважній кількості вулиць транспорт рухається нормально. Але є місця, де люди безвідповідально кидають свої автівки на узбіччях і заважають прибирати сніг, спричиняють затори», – сказав Кличко під час оперативної наради.

Він доручив керівникам районів і комунальних служб бути готовими до більш потужних опадів.

Автомобілі, що заважатимуть розчищати дороги від снігу, як заявили у мерії, евакуйовуватимуть.

Крім того, ввечері 28 лютого та зранку (з 5:00 до 10:00) 1 березня буде обмежено в’їзд великовагового та великовантажного транспорту в столицю.

За даними Укргідрометцентру,  1 березня в Україні, крім заходу, внаслідок переміщення активного циклону очікуються складні погоді умови: в більшості областей сильний сніг, хуртовини, снігові замети, вночі на Миколаївщині, Кіровоградщині, Дніпропетровщині та Полтавщині дуже сильні снігопади; на  Приазов’ї подекуди налипання мокрого снігу та ожеледь; вночі та вранці пориви вітру 15-20 м/с, на дорогах країни ожеледиця. Денна температура повітря -10-12° на Заході, на решті території – в середньому -4-6 морозу. У Києві 1 березня снігопад і -5-7° морозу вдень.

З обмороженням до медиків на Одещині звернулись 3 людини – ОДА

За минулу добу на Одещині три людини звернулись до лікарів з обмороженнями кінцівок рук та ніг, йдеться в повідомленні на сайті Одеської облдержадміністрації. Повідомляється, що в Балтському районі області обмороження кінцівок ніг зазнав підліток.

«На території регіону розгорнуто вже 222 пункти обігріву. З них 217 –стаціонарні, де люди можуть погрітися, отримати першу допомогу, гарячий чай. Ще два мобільні пункти функціонують в Одесі та по одному в Ізмаїлі, Білгород-Дністровському та Подільську», – йдеться в повідомленні.

За даними Одеської ОДА, до пунктів обігріву звернулися понад 200 людей.

На 28 лютого в Одеській області оголосили штормове попередження. Найближчої ночі і завтра вдень у регіоні прогнозують снігопади й ожеледицю.

 

На виставці у Турині італійські фоторепортери розповідають про війну на Донбасі

15 фотознімків із зони бойових дій на Донбасі представлені в італійському Турині на виставці, присвяченій воєнним конфліктам. Експозиція, що відкрилася 28 лютого, демонструє 110 світлин італійських фоторепортерів Роберта Травана і Паоло Сіккарді, які працювали у різних «гарячих точках» світу.

«Ми зібрали ці роботи, щоб показати широкому загалу в Італії маловідомі конфлікти, і драматична війна в Україні – одна з таких тем, практично вилучених з місцевого інформаційного простору», – повідомив Радіо Свобода  ініціатор виставки Роберто Траван, журналіст La Stampa і незалежний фотограф. Він представив фотороботи, зроблені в Україні протягом 2015-2017 років.

На листівці-афіші заходу – фотографія українського бійця Сергія з автоматом на шиї і хрестом у кишені на тлі зруйнованої промислової зони поблизу міста Авдіївка Донецької області 2017 року. Через місяць після зйомки солдат загинув під час мінометного обстрілу.

«Ця світлина найкраще відображає зміст експозиції: релігійні символи часто поєднані із символами війни – хрест і автомат Калашникова. На війні і військові, і цивільні люди вірять, моляться, просять у Бога порятунку», – зауважив Роберто Траван.

За його словами, він з колегою намагається представити малообговорюваний аспект збройних конфліктів: віра у Бога і обов’язок боротися.

За плечима італійського репортера досвід роботи у Косові, Афганістані, Нагірному Карабасі, в Африці.

«На війні скрізь бачиш страждання. Перебуваючи у зоні бойових дій на Донбасі, мене дуже вразило почуття національної належності серед українських бійців і численних волонтерів, які їм невтомно допомагають протягом такого тривалого часу. Загальне відчуття солідарності між цими людьми і солдатами вражає», – розповів Радіо Свобода фоторепортер Роберто Траван.

Фотовиставка «Arma il prossimo tuo. Storie di uomini, conflitti, religioni» буде відкрита протягом двох місяців (з 1 березня до 1 травня 2018) у Національному музеї Рисорджименто, одному з найвідвідуваніших місць у Турині.

Artificial Intelligence Poses Big Threat to Society, Warn Leading Scientists

Artificial Intelligence is on the cusp of transforming our world in ways many of us can barely imagine. While there’s much excitement about emerging technologies, a new report by 26 of the world’s leading AI researchers warns of the potential dangers that could emerge over the coming decade, as AI systems begin to surpass levels of human performance.

Automated hacking is identified as one of the most imminent applications of AI, especially so-called “phishing” attacks.

“That part used to take a lot of human effort – you had to study your target, make a profile of them, craft a particular message – that’s known as phishing. We are now getting to the point where we can train computers to do the same thing. So you can model someone’s topics of interest or preferences, their writing style, the writing style of a close friend, and have a machine automatically create a message that looks a lot like something they would click on,” says report co-author Shahar Avin of the Center for the Study of Existential Risk at Britain’s University of Cambridge.

In an era of so-called “fake news,” the implications of AI for media and journalism are also profound.

Programmers from the University of Washington last year built an AI algorithm to create a video of Barack Obama, allowing them to program the “fake” former president to say anything they wished. It’s just the start, says Avin.

“You create videos and audio recordings that are pixel to pixel indistinguishable from real videos and real audio of people. We will need new technical measures. Maybe some kind of digital signatures, to be able to verify sources.”

There is much excitement over technology such as self-driving AI cars, with big tech companies alongside giant car makers vying to be the first to market. The systems, however, are only as secure as the environments in which they operate.

“You can have a car that is as good and better at navigating the world than your average driver. But you put some stickers on a ‘Stop’ sign and it thinks it’s ‘Go at 55 miles per hour.’ As long as we haven’t fixed that problem, we might have systems that are very safe, but are not secure. We could have a world filled with robotic systems that are very useful and very safe, but are also open to an attack by a malicious actor who knows what they are doing,” adds Avin.

The report warns that the proliferation of drones and other robotic systems could allow attackers “to deploy or re-purpose such systems for harmful ends, such as crashing fleets of autonomous vehicles, turning commercial drones into face-targeting missiles or holding critical infrastructure to ransom.”

He says AI use in warfare is widely seen as one of the most disturbing possibilities, with so-called ‘killer robots’ and decision-making taken out of the hands of humans.

“You want to have an edge over your opponent by deploying lots and lots of sensors, lots and lots of small robotic systems, all of them giving you terabytes of information about what’s happening on the battlefield. And no human would be in a position to aggregate that information, so you would start having decision recommendation systems. At this point, do you still have meaningful human control?”

There is also the danger of AI being used in mass surveillance, especially by oppressive regimes.

The researchers stress the many positive applications of AI; however, they note that it is a dual-use technology, and assert that AI researchers and engineers should be proactive about the potential for its misuse.

The authors say AI itself will likely provide many of the solutions to the problems they identify.

 

Report: Harper Lee Estate Transferred to Trust

The will of “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee is public following a lawsuit by The New York Times, but details on her estate remain a secret.

The Times reports the will unsealed Tuesday shows most of Lee’s assets were transferred into a trust days before her death two years ago in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

 

But the contents of her estate remain private because trust documents are private.

 

A probate court sealed the will of the famously private writer following her death, and the newspaper filed suit in 2016 to have the document made public. The suit argued that Lee’s desire for privacy wasn’t sufficient legal reason to keep her will hidden from public view.

 

Records show the estate recently dropped its opposition to unsealing the will.

IOC Reinstates Russia’s Membership

The International Olympic Committee has reinstated Russia’s membership after suspending it over state-sponsored doping allegations.

“The Russian Olympic Committee has had its rights fully restored,” said Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee.

The IOC had banned Russian athletes from competing under the country’s flag during the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea because of allegations Russia ran a state-sponsored doping program during the last Winter Olympics, in Sochi in 2014. However, the Olympic Committee allowed more than 160 Russians to compete individually at the 2018 Games.

Two of the Russian athletes failed drug tests at the Pyeongchang Games. However, the IOC said Wednesday that all remaining test results were negative.

“The IOC can confirm that all the remaining results are negative. Therefore, as stated in the Executive Board decision of 25th February, the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee is automatically lifted with immediate effect,” an IOC statement said.

Russia repeatedly has denied it carried out a doping operation.  

UN Sets Up ‘Helpline’ to Fight Sexual Harassment Among its Own

The United Nations has set up a 24-hour helpline to fight sexual harassment among its staff in the workplace as part of its Zero Tolerance policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse. 

The so-called “Speak Up” hotline is part of the U.N. Secretary-General’s wider initiative to fight sexual harassment and to support victims and witnesses.  U.N. spokeswoman in Geneva, Alessandra Vellucci, explains U.N. staff can call the helpline 24 hours a day to speak confidentially to a trained, impartial person about problems of sexual abuse and to provide information.

She says the United Nations also is creating a specialized team to investigate cases of sexual harassment.

“Particular attention of this would be on increasing the number of female investigators,” she said. “So, basically we are strengthening our tools to answer to this problem and put victims at the core of our action.”

While the United Nations can deal with internal problems of sexual harassment, Vellucci says the organization has no control over the behavior of U.N. peacekeepers.  She says it is ultimately the responsibility of the member state of the soldiers accused of sexual misconduct to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

Officials from U.N. agencies condemned the recent reports that local workers and private charities were trading food and other assistance for sexual favors from Syrian women.  U.N. refugee spokesman Andrej Mahecic calls the practice despicable and dehumanizing.

“But the mere suggestion that the U.N. can somehow control the situation in a war zone and the implied conclusion that we can somehow turn this on and off is rather simplistic,” said Mahecic. “It is disconnected from the reality of what an aid operation looks like in an open and fierce conflict.”

The UNHCR and other U.N. aid agencies say their partners must adhere to a strict code of conduct, which covers sexual exploitation and abuse.  They say any U.N. personnel found to be in breach of the code would be subject to disciplinary measures, including dismissal from service.

A DC Dig at Russia: Avenue in Front of Embassy Renamed for Activist

The Russian Embassy in Washington has a new address, at least symbolically.

A one-block section of Wisconsin Avenue directly in front of the embassy was officially renamed Boris Nemtsov Plaza on Tuesday, in what amounts to a D.C.-sponsored effort to troll the Russian government.

A former deputy prime minister, Nemtsov became an opposition activist and vocal public critic of President Vladimir Putin. He was shot dead while walking on a bridge near the Kremlin three years ago.

The move to rename the street started in the U.S. Congress at the urging of Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and others.

“This serves as an enduring reminder to Vladimir Putin and those who support him that they cannot use murder and intimidation to suppress dissent,” Rubio said.

Such politicized street-naming games are not new to Washington. In recent years, there have been moves to name the street on which China’s embassy is located after famed Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died in prison in 2017. Members of Congress have also supported a similar effort to rename a portion of the road that is home to Cuba’s embassy after Oswaldo Paya, a pro-democracy activist who died in a 2012 car accident that some believe may have been set up by the Cuban government.

Tribute to Sakharov

And this isn’t even the first time that Russia has been targeted by provocative street naming. Back in the Cold War days, when what was then the Soviet embassy was located on 16th Street, the city named a portion of the street after famed dissident Andrei Sakharov.

The United States is not alone in such trolling. There is a long history of both national and municipal governments trying to score political points by renaming streets to irritate other countries.

During the Vietnam War, India renamed the street where the U.S. consulate in Kolkata is located after North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh. Iran and Egypt had no diplomatic ties for decades, and restored them only after Iranian officials agreed in 2004 to change the name of a Tehran street that had been named after the man who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. 

More recently, some Russian politicians have suggested retaliating for the Nemtsov change by renaming a street outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow “North American Dead End.”

The decision to create Boris Nemtsov Plaza also represents a rare moment of harmony between Congress and Washington’s city government, which normally chafes under the federal government’s oversight power over all District of Columbia decisions.

Turned to D.C. Council

When the original street-renaming bill stalled in the Senate, Rubio turned to the D.C. Council for help. Councilwoman Mary Cheh agreed to sponsor the bill, which breezed through the council in January after public hearings that included testimony from Nemtsov’s daughter, Zhanna Nemtsova.

Cheh on Tuesday noted that Moscow police have prevented Nemtsov supporters from maintaining a shrine at the site of his killing, repeatedly clearing away candles and flowers from the bridge.

“This commemoration will not be removed,” Cheh said. “Let them steal the candles. Let them steal the flowers. They can never steal his memory.”

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the nonvoting representative of Washington in Congress, noted with satisfaction that the council was able to quickly accomplish what the Senate couldn’t.

“We might have been here in time for next year’s anniversary [of Nemtsov’s killing] if we were dependent on the Congress,” she said.

Several speakers, including Rubio, took the opportunity to criticize Putin, not only for his repression of dissent but also for Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Rubio condemned both Putin’s “aggressive policies inside Russia” and his “effort to interfere in the democratic process inside the United States.”

Deluge of Oscars Politics Began With Brando

Should any of this year’s winners at the Oscars use the occasion to promote a political cause, you can thank — or blame — Marlon Brando.

Brando’s role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather remains a signature performance in movie history. But his response to winning an Academy Award was truly groundbreaking.

Upending a decades-long tradition of tears, nervous humor, thank-yous and general goodwill, he sent actress Sacheen Littlefeather in his place to the 1973 ceremony to protest Hollywood’s treatment of American Indians.

In the years since, winners have brought up everything from climate change (Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant, 2016) to abortion (John Irving, screenplay winner in 2000) to equal pay for women (Patricia Arquette, best supporting actress winner in 2015 for Boyhood).

“Speeches for a long time were relatively quiet in part because of the control of the studio system,” said James Piazza, who with Gail Kinn wrote The Academy Awards: The Complete History of Oscar, published in 2002. “There had been some controversy, like when George C. Scott refused his Oscar for Patton [which came out in 1970]. But Brando’s speech really broke the mold.”

Producers for this year’s Oscars show have said they want to emphasize the movies themselves, but between the #MeToo movement and Hollywood’s general disdain for President Donald Trump, political or social statements appear likely at the March 4 ceremony.

Salutes for speaking out

Winners at January’s Golden Globes citing the treatment of women included Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon, who thanked “everyone who broke their silence this year.” Honorary Globe winner Oprah Winfrey, in a speech that had some encouraging her to run for president, noted that “women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.”

Before Brando, winners avoided making news even if the time was right and the audience never bigger. Gregory Peck, who won for best actor in 1963 as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, said nothing about the film’s racial theme even though he frequently spoke about it in interviews. When Sidney Poitier became the first black to win best actor, for Lilies of the Field in 1964, he spoke of the “long journey” that brought him to the stage, but otherwise made no comment on his milestone.

When Jane Fonda, the most politicized of actresses, won for Klute in 1972, her speech was brief and uneventful. “There’s a great deal to say, but I’m not going to say it tonight,” she stated. “I would just like to thank you very much.”

Political movements from anti-communism to civil rights were mostly ignored in their time. According to the movie academy’s database of Oscar speeches, the term “McCarthyism” was not used until 2014, when Harry Belafonte mentioned it upon receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. “Vietnam” was not spoken until the ceremony held April 8, 1975, just weeks before North Vietnamese troops overran Saigon.

No winner said the words “civil rights” until George Clooney in 2006, as he accepted a supporting actor Oscar for Syriana. Vanessa Redgrave’s fiery 1978 acceptance speech was the first time a winner said “fascism” or “anti-Semitism.”

​Comments linked to movies

Political or social comments were often safely connected to the movie. Celeste Holm, who won best supporting actress in 1948 for Gentleman’s Agreement, referred indirectly to the film’s message of religious tolerance. Rod Steiger won best actor in 1968 for the racial drama In the Heat of the Night and thanked his co-star, Poitier, for giving him the “knowledge and understanding of prejudice.” The ceremony was held just days after the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., whose name was never cited by Oscar winners in his lifetime, and Steiger ended by invoking a civil rights anthem: “And we shall overcome.”

Hollywood is liberal-land, but the academy often squirms at political speeches. Redgrave was greeted with boos when she assailed “Zionist hoodlums” while accepting the Oscar for Julia, a response to criticism from far-right Jews for narrating a documentary about the Palestinians. She was rebutted the same night: Paddy Chayevsky, giving the award for best screenplay, declared that he was “sick and tired of people exploiting the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own propaganda.”

Producer Bert Schneider and director Peter Davis, collaborators on the 1974 Oscar-winning Vietnam War documentary Hearts and Minds, both condemned the war by name (they were the first winners to do so), welcomed North Vietnam’s impending victory and even read a telegram from the Viet Cong. An enraged Bob Hope, an Oscar presenter and longtime Republican, prepared a statement and gave it to Frank Sinatra, who was to introduce the screenplay award: “The academy is saying, ‘We are not responsible for any political references made on the program, and we are sorry they had to take place this evening.’ ” 

​Moore draws boos

In 2003, Michael Moore received a mixed response after his documentary on guns, Bowling for Columbine, won for best documentary. The filmmaker ascended the stage to a standing ovation, but the mood soon shifted as he attacked George W. Bush as a “fictitious president” and charged him with sending soldiers to Iraq for “fictitious reasons.” The boos were loud enough for host Steve Martin to joke that “right now, the teamsters are helping Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo.”

Sometimes, the academy tries to head off any statements before they’re made. Whoopi Goldberg, host of the 1994 show, hurried out a list of causes during her opening monologue.

“Save the whales. Save the spotted owl. Gay rights. Men’s rights. Women’s rights. Human rights. Feed the homeless. More gun control. Free the Chinese dissidents. Peace in Bosnia. Health care reform. Choose choice. ACT UP. More AIDS research,” she said, before throwing in jokes about Sinatra, Lorena Bobbitt and earthquakes.

The audience laughed and cheered.

Turkish Parliament Strips Status of Two More Pro-Kurdish Lawmakers

Turkey’s parliament stripped two lawmakers from a pro-Kurdish party of their parliamentary status on Tuesday for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sharing a picture of a fighter who fought alongside a Kurdish militia in Syria.

The move further reduced the parliamentary strength of the Democratic People’s Party (HDP), the second-largest opposition party in the chamber. The party’s seats fell to 50 from 59 it won in the last election, and nine other HDP lawmakers are in detention and could also be stripped of their status.

Ahmet Yildirim, member of parliament for the eastern province of Mus, lost his seat after he was jailed for 14 months for insulting Erdogan.

Ibrahim Ayhan, a representative of the southeastern town of Sanliurfa, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for sharing online the photo of a Turkish citizen who died in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane while fighting Islamic State. He was convicted of sharing terrorist propaganda.

The court rulings to strip the two lawmakers of their status were read out in parliament following their conviction.

“Our people will not accept this!” the HDP said in a tweet.

The government says the HDP is an affiliate of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an armed insurgency in the largely Kurdish southeast for more than three decades. The HDP denies direct links to the PKK.

PM: Macedonia has Four Options to Resolve Name Dispute with Greece

Macedonia is looking at four options to settle a decades-long dispute with Greece over its name, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told Reuters in an interview Tuesday.

The small ex-Yugoslav republic and its southern neighbor Greece have agreed to step up negotiations this year to resolve the dispute, which has frustrated Skopje’s ambition to join NATO and the European Union.

Athens, which like all members of both organizations has a veto over admissions, objects to the use of the name Macedonia, arguing that it, along with articles in Skopje’s constitution, could imply territorial claims over a northern Greek region of the same name.

Macedonia hopes the issue can be resolved in time for an EU meeting in June and a NATO summit in July, and is proposing a geographical “qualifier” to ensure there is clear differentiation in the two names.

“The suggestions are Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of Vardar Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia (Skopje),” Zaev said in a television interview after attending a summit on the Western Balkans in London.

Asked whether Greece would be happy with one of these options he added: “Yes … they have more preferred options and some not so preferred options [in terms of the name].”

He said the question that remained was whether there was “a real need” to change Macedonia’s constitution, something Greece had also asked for in recent months.

Dignity

Greece’s demand for an amendment of references to the “Republic of Macedonia” in the national constitution could prove the toughest issue, although there seems to be some room for maneuver.

The foreign ministers of the two countries are due to hold further talks and Zaev also plans to meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in March.

“Of course, we hope we would find a solution [on the constitution]. But we must take care about the dignity and identity of both sides because friends take care of each other,” he said.

Several thousand people gathered in Skopje on Tuesday evening to protest negotiations with Greece. They waved Macedonian flags and held banners reading “Stop Greek racism” and “Stop negotiations.” A Greek flag was set on fire during the protest.

Asked what changes Greece wanted to the name in the constitution and what issues Skopje might have with that, Zaev used the examples of Germany and Greece which also have national variations in their own constitutions.

“We are prepared to do a change [of the constitution],” Zaev said, adding that it would not be by very much “because it is very difficult.”

“They [Greece] don’t have a region of the Republic of Macedonia, they are the Republic of Greece. And inside [our country] how we use it to communicate, from ministries to municipalities and other institutions, is really our right and doesn’t have implications for anybody.”

Referendum

The Macedonian government later said in a statement that Zaev had not stated there could potentially be a small change to the constitution but was referring instead to the broader name issue that had been discussed earlier.

If an agreement between the two countries can be found, Macedonia will hold a referendum to ask its population of around two million to back the change.

“I think if we save dignity — that is the important thing — of course the citizens will support it. Why? Because it is that [on which] depends our integration in NATO and the European Union.”

Cuban Artist Switches Havana’s Neon Lights Back On

After dusk in Havana, an ice-blue neon sign illuminates the faded facade of the Cine El Megano, one of many abandoned movie houses in the Cuban capital, lighting up a once vibrant corner at the heart of the Caribbean city that had gone pitch black in recent decades.

The glowing neon italic letters fill the building’s colonial facade with an art deco accent between the doors below and the wraparound balcony above. It is the work of Cuban artist Kadir Lopez Nieves, who is restoring the vintage signs of the cinemas, hotels and cabarets that lit up Havana’s nightlife in its 1950s heyday.

His project, dubbed “Habana Light Neon + Signs,” has so far restored around 50 signs, reflecting a broader revival in Havana. The city, one of the architectural jewels of Latin America, has been enjoying a tourism boom.

“They called it the Broadway or Paris of the Caribbean because it had so much light and brilliance,” said Lopez Nieves, during an interview in his workshop and gallery. “But when I started out the project … Havana was switched off in terms of light.”

After Fidel Castro’s 1959 leftist revolution, many of Havana’s ritzy entertainment venues, often run by American mobsters and frequented by the rich and famous, were shuttered or slowly became run-down.

Effects of weather

Over the decades, tropical weather wrought havoc on their neon signs. The communist-run island, laboring under a U.S. embargo, often lacked the funds and know-how to fix them.

As elsewhere, other forms of lighting, such as LEDs, proved cheaper and the ornate neon signs were abandoned. 

Lopez Nieves set about restoring the neon lights of a dozen cinemas as a project for the Havana Biennial arts festival in 2015. His work delighted locals.

“It’s lending more life to the city at night,” said Alberto Echavarria, 68, guarding a parking area down the road from the Cine Megano. He said the sign recalled the once “fabulous” ambiance of the neighborhood, which lies close to Havana’s neo-classical Capitol Building.

Shining incandescent from afar, the sign also helped to make the run-down area more salubrious by chasing away shady characters, he said.

“Obscure zones would go from being marginal to being photographed,” said Lopez Nieves, who then started restoring other neon signs, using historic documents such as old photographs for guidance. “A personal project turned into a social project.”

The initiative has become self-financing, thanks to the ale of new commercial signs to Cuba’s fledgling private sector, costing between $200 and $3,000.

Close to Havana’s seafront, the Bar Cabana sign flashes red, while around the corner the La Farmacia restaurant sign burns white.

​Tropicana lights

Lopez Nieves says he has a large contract to restore the lights at Havana’s famed Tropicana nightclub, which in its prime boasted famous patrons such as Hollywood stars Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart.

Amid a global neon revival, the initiative started attracting enthusiasts from all over the world, who offered their expertise, he said.

“I love [neon] because it’s an organic light that lives and breathes. And then to discover an entire city — it’s almost like finding a treasure box,” Jeff Friedman, who runs a New York neon sign manufacturing company, said during a trip to Havana.

Foreign expertise has come in handy, Lopez Nieves said. There are only a few craftsmen left in Cuba who know how to bend the neon tubes into letters and fill them with gas to create different colors.

Lopez Nieves hopes to safeguard that knowledge with his next project: the creation of a neon center in the abandoned art deco cinema Cine Rex. It would host a museum and workshops, as well as a store for new and classic designs. He plans to open it in December.

“Neon is having an important revival,” he said, “and I’m glad we’re part of that.”

У конкурсі на голову Національної служби здоров’я переміг Олег Петренко

Йдеться про заступника генерального директора з питань стратегічного розвитку акушерсько-гінекологічної клініки ISIDA в Києві

Громадські організації виступили із заявою проти встановлення засобів стеження в інтернет-провайдерів

Громадські організації виступили і заявою, в якій виступають проти встановлення спецслужбами будь-яких технічних засобів стеження в інтернет-провайдерів та просять відкликати проект постанови уряду, яка має врегулювати технічну перевірку блокувань сайтів з санкційного списку. Про це повідомляє громадська організація «Детектор медіа» і ще 13 організацій, які поширили на своїх ресурсах відповідне зверення.

«Технічні засоби, заявленою метою яких є контроль за виконанням інтернет-провайдерами обмеження доступу до сайтів з санкційного списку відповідно до указу президента №133/2017, можуть бути незаконно і безконтрольно використані для несанкціонованого стеження за діями громадян в інтернеті, маніпуляцій з доступом до інформації в інтернеті (обмеження, блокування чи внесення змін у змістовну частину) та інших порушень прав людини», – йдеться у заяві громадських організацій.

В заяві йдеться, що досі не оприлюднено жодного опису технічних характеристик обладнання, що обмежують доступ до сайтів.

«Стаття 34-ї Конституції України гарантує, що право на свободу думки і слова, на вільне вираження своїх поглядів і переконань, вільний збір і поширення інформації може бути обмеженим тільки у випадках, передбачених законом і з легітимною метою», – йдеться в документі.

20 лютого Нацкомісія з регулювання сфери зв’язку та інформатизації (НКРЗІ) погодила проект урядової постанови, що має врегулювати технічну перевірку блокувань сайтів з санкційного списку.

У травні минулого року президент України Петро Порошенко своїм указом ввів у дію рішення РНБО про застосування санкцій проти російських фізичних і юридичних осіб. Це рішення, зокрема, зачепило сервіс «Яндекс», соцмережі «ВКонтакте», «Однокласники», сайт Mail.Ru Group, антивірусні компанії «Лабораторія Касперського» і DrWeb. Згідно з указом, інтернет-провайдери зобов’язані заблокувати доступ до цих інтернет-ресурсів. В Інтернет-асоціації України заявляли, що для здійснення блокування російських сайтів, що потрапили під санкції, провайдерам може знадобитися час і значні кошти на переоснащення обладнання та зміни топології мережі.

New Study Finds Diverse Audiences Drive Media Blockbusters

Just as “Black Panther” is setting records at the box office, a new study finds that diverse audiences are driving most of the biggest blockbusters and many of the most-watched hits on television.

UCLA’s Bunche Center released its fifth annual study on diversity in the entertainment industry Tuesday, unveiling an analysis of the top 200 theatrical film releases of 2016 and 1,251 broadcast, cable and digital platform TV shows from the 2015-2016 season. Among its results: minorities accounted for the majority of ticket buyers for five of the top 10 films at the global box office, and half of ticket buyers for two more of the top 10.

“There has been some progress, undeniably. Things are not what they were five years ago,” said Darnell Hunt, director of the center, which focuses on African American studies, at the University of California, Los Angeles. “People are actually talking about diversity today as a bottom-line imperative as opposed to just the right thing to do. We’ve amassed enough evidence now that diversity does, in fact, sell.”

Minorities make up nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population, but Hispanic and African-American moviegoers over-index among moviegoers. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Latinos make up 18 percent of the U.S. population but account for 23 percent of frequent moviegoers. Though African Americans are 12 percent of the population, they make up 15 percent of frequent moviegoers.

UCLA found that films with casts that were 21 to 30 percent minority regularly performed better at the box office than films with the most racially and ethnically homogenous casts.

Hunt believes that the wealth of data, as well as box-office successes like “Black Panther,” have made obvious the financial benefits of films that better reflect the racial makeup of the American population.

“I think the industry has finally gotten the memo, at least on the screen in most cases, if not behind the camera,” said Hunt. “That’s where there are the most missed opportunities.”

The report, titled “Five Years of Progress and Missed Opportunities,” covers a period of some historic high points for Hollywood, including the release of the best picture-winning “Moonlight,” along with fellow Oscar nominees “Hidden Figures” and “Fences.”

But researchers found the overall statistical portrait of the industry didn’t support much improvement in diversity from 2015 to 2016.

“With each milestone achievement, we chip away at some of the myths about what’s possible and what’s not,” said Hunt. “Every time a film like this does really well, every time we see a TV show like ‘Empire,’ it makes it harder for them to make the argument that you can’t have a viable film with a lead of color. Or you can’t have a universally appealing show with a predominantly minority cast. It’s just not true anymore because the mainstream, itself, is diverse.”

Some of the largest disparities for minorities detailed by the UCLA report were in roles like film writers (8.1 percent of 2016’s top films) and creators of broadcast scripted shows (7.1 percent). Hunt blamed the lag behind the camera on, among other factors, executive ranks that are still overwhelmingly male.

“It’s a white-male controlled industry and it hasn’t yet figured out how to incorporate other decision-makers of color and women into the process. So you have these momentary exceptions to the rule,” said Hunt, pointing to “Black Panther,” which has grossed $700 million worldwide in two weeks of release.

Such films, he said, show the considerable economic sense of making movies and television series that don’t ignore nearly half of their potential audience.

“It’s business 101,” Hunt said.

Bill Cosby’s Daughter Ensa Dies at 44

Ensa Cosby, the daughter of comedian Bill Cosby, has died from renal disease. She was 44.

“Please keep the Cosby family in your prayers and give them peace at this time,” Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, said Monday. He did not reveal any other details of Ensa Cosby’s death Friday in Massachusetts.

Ensa Cosby was a fierce supporter of her father when he was accused of sexual assault in 2014.

“I believe that racism has played a big role in all aspects of this scandal,” she wrote in a statement released along with her sister Erinn.

“How my father is being punished by a society that still believes black men rape white women but passes off ‘boys will be boys’ when white men are accused, and how the politics of our country prove my disgust. My father has been publicly lynched in the media,” she said.

Bill Cosby has denied all sexual assault allegations against him. 

Ensa Cosby largely stayed out of the public spotlight during her life, though she did appear in 1989 in a single episode of her father’s popular sitcom, The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984-1992.

She is the second of Bill and Camille Cosby’s five children to die. Their son, Ennis, was murdered at the age of 27 in 1997 during a failed robbery attempt.

Stalinism Resurgent in Russia as Critics Warn Against Whitewashing Soviet History

Decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there is fierce debate over the legacy of one of its most brutal dictators.

Josef Stalin, who ruled from the 1930s until his death in 1953, is held responsible for the deaths of millions of his countrymen. Yet, an opinion poll last year crowned him as the country’s most outstanding historical figure.

Russia’s recent decision to ban the satirical British film “The Death of Stalin” appears to have fueled divisions over the legacy of the dictator.

The Gulag State Museum in Moscow attempts to convey the scale of the atrocities carried out under Stalin’s rule, alongside the individual tragedies. Anyone deemed “an enemy of the people” — from petty criminals to political prisoners — could be condemned to years of forced labor in concentration camps known as gulags, which were established across the Soviet Union.

“Twenty million people came through the concentration camps. Over a million were shot, and 6 million were deported or re-settled by force,” said museum director Roman Romanov.

Watch Henry Ridgwell’s report:

Stalin is lionized by many Russians for leading the Soviet Union to victory over Nazi Germany. His reign of terror led to the deaths of millions of his countrymen.”This was no natural disaster. This is a well-planned crime by the state against the people. And now, people do not want to accept such an idea, because people do not like thinking this way about their country, about their government, Nikita Petrov, vice chairman of the human rights group Memorial, told VOA in a recent interview. 

“Every year, resentment against studying this subject [of Stalin’s atrocities] increases, because it hinders the glorification of the Soviet period of history.”

From the dozens of monuments to memorial plaques that are springing up in towns and cities across Russia, critics say Stalin nostalgia is permeating everyday life.In St. Petersburg, young Russian political blogger Victor Loginov organized the funding for a privately run bus emblazoned with a portrait of a smiling Stalin. It has not been universally welcomed — the bus has been vandalized several times, and the portrait painted over.

Loginov denies he’s glorifying Soviet history.

 “While Stalinism was undoubtedly and endlessly cruel, without this repression, and this shocking number of victims, there would have been no transformation of this country’s civilization — its transformation from an agricultural to an industrial nation, from economically backward to developed,” he said.

Romanov said younger generations are not taught the reality of Stalin’s rule.

“There are people still alive who came through the concentration camps, and I felt there is such gap between us. With all the programs we pursue in the museum, we try to make a sort of ‘small bridge’ between the generations.”

Deep divisions remain. During a recent debate on Stalin’s legacy aired on Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda radio, two prominent journalists began brawling after one accused his opponent of “spitting on the graves” of Soviet World War II soldiers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has in the past called Stalin a “complex figure.” The president opened a monument last October to the victims of Stalin-era repression, warning that “this terrible past must not be erased from Russia’s national memory.”

Meanwhile, critics accuse him of cynicism and claim political freedom is once again under attack in modern Russia.

У Празі відкрилася виставка, присвячена українським борцям за свободу Чехословаччини від нацистів

У монастирі Діви Марії Сніжної в центрі Праги 26 лютого відкрився фотопроект «Шляхи до свободи», в рамках якого була представлена виставка «Громадяни Підкарпатської Русі в боротьбі за свободу Чехословаччини 1938 – 1945 років». Світлини знайомлять відвідувачів із Закарпатською Україною часів Другої світової війни та приєднанням цього регіону до СРСР у 1945 році.

Експозиція розповідає про боротьбу закарпатців проти нацизму, коли регіон входив до складу міжвоєнної Чехословаччини. Документи та фотографії свідчать, як закарпатські українці воювали в лавах чехословацької армії, а потім були піддані репресіям з боку радянської каральної системи.

«Чеське суспільство має якесь уявлення про Закарпатську Русь (Закарпаття), але воно не сильно ознайомлене з участю закарпатців в лавах чехословацьких збройних формувань, тому ця виставка може заповнити прогалини», – сказав Радіо Свобода чеський військовий історик Їржі Плахі.

Виставка також нагадує про переслідування чехословацьких військових у повоєнні роки, після встановлення в Чехословаччині комуністичного режиму. Йдеться і про першого президента міжвоєнної Чехословаччини Томаша Масарика, який симпатизував Україні та підтримував українську громаду у Чехословаччині.

Експозицію підготували історики Військового інституту Чехії доктор Їржі Плахі, Івл Пейчох і Прокоп Томек. Виставка «Шляхи до свободи» в монастирі Діви Марії Сніжної триватиме до 8 березня.