France Offers Conference on Sudan’s Debt if US Lifts Sanctions

France will host a conference with Sudan’s international creditors to help Khartoum address debt issues as soon as the United States removes the country from its state-sponsored terrorism list, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday. In efforts to stabilize the country and to repair an economy battered by years of U.S. sanctions and government mismanagement during Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule, Sudanese transition government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is holding talks with Washington to see Sudan withdrawn from the list. “As soon as the Americans make their decision, we will be able to restructure the debt together,” Macron said at a joint press conference with Hamdok in Paris. “I have decided that France will host an international conference with private and public international creditors,” he added. Macron provided no timeframe. “The precise timing of the conference will depend on the timing upon which sanctions are to be lifted,” Macron said. On the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly last week, Hamdok expressed hope Sudan would reach an agreement with the United States “very soon.” Sudan has been unable to tap the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for support because the United States still lists the country as a state sponsor of terrorism. A senior U.S. official said in August that Washington would test the commitment of Sudan’s new transitional government to human rights, freedom of speech and humanitarian access before it agrees to remove the country from a list of state sponsors of terrorism. Macron said France …

Amid Criticism, Colombia Defends Assertions That Venezuela’s Maduro Supports Rebels

Colombia on Monday publicly defended a dossier it says proves Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro supports guerrilla groups and drug traffickers, but removed the armed forces’ head of intelligence after widespread criticism of the report.Colombia has long accused Maduro of sheltering rebel fighters and crime gang members. The allegations reached a fever pitch last month when several former commanders from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said they were re-arming in a video Colombian officials say was filmed in Venezuela. President Ivan Duque announced in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week that he would give the organization a dossier of “conclusive proof,” including photographs, of Maduro’s support for terrorist groups. The dossier included years-old, uncredited photos from news agencies taken in Colombia — not in Venezuela — which led Maduro to dismiss the dossier’s contents and sparked widespread criticism of Duque from media outlets and nongovernmental organizations. The armed forces’ head of intelligence, General Oswaldo Pena, was removed from his post because of the photographs, high-level government and military sources told Reuters. A statement from the defense ministry made no mention of Pena being fired, but said in a statement that he had presented his resignation because of “the necessity of responding for my actions.” Colombian officials defended the report’s conclusions earlier on Monday. “It’s just an issue of design and of giving credit at the foot of the photos,” Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo told journalists. “In consequence, we are going to update using the …

Уряд очікує отримати 2-2,5 млрд гривень від легалізації грального бізнесу

Кабінет міністрів України очікує отримати 2-2,5 мільярда гривень від легалізації грального бізнесу, повідомив прем’єр-міністр Олексій Гончарук. «Ми розраховуємо, що близько 2-2,5 млрд гривень за рахунок легалізації бізнесу у бюджет отримаємо, але, звичайно, треба рахувати», – сказав Гончарук. 29 вересня Кабінет міністрів ухвалив проєкт закону про легалізацію грального бізнесу в Україні. Згідно з повідомленням пресслужби уряду, документ передбачає, що азартні ігри будуть проводитися винятково на території готелів і на гральному обладнанні з використанням програмного забезпечення, яке відповідає міжнародним стандартам. В Україні діяльність закладів із азартними іграми заборонена від 2009 року. …

На міжбанку зросли котирування долара

На українському міжбанківському валютному ринку 30 вересня дещо зросли котирування долара. За даними сайту «Мінфін», станом на 12:00 торги відбувалися на рівні 24 гривні 17,5–20,5 копійки за долар. Орієнтуючись на показники міжбанку, Національний банк України встановив довідкове значення курсу на рівні 24 гривні 16 копійок за долар, це на 8 копійок більше за офіційний курс на 30 вересня. Офіційний курс на понеділок є рекордним за понад 44 місяці – від січня 2016 року. На український валютний ринок нині прийшли значні ресурси, які іноземці вводять для купівлі облігацій внутрішньої державної позики. За підрахунками експертів, за 9 місяців нерезиденти викупили таких облігацій на суму понад 100 мільярдів гривень, тобто завели на український ринок близько 4 мільярдів доларів. На курс також впливає позитивна кон’юнктура щодо товарів українського експорту. …

Former President Jimmy Carter Marks 95th Birthday

Four years after battling life-threatening cancer in his liver and brain, and four months after falling and breaking his hip, requiring surgery and weeks of intense physical therapy, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter took the stage September 18, unassisted, here for the Annual Jimmy Carter Emory University Town Hall, which he’s participated in, uninterrupted, for 38 years. Standing without assistance for more than 30 minutes, addressing topics ranging from current polarized U.S. politics to his favorite animal, Carter, a distinguished professor at Emory, showed no signs of fatigue or pain as he enthusiastically answered question after question from those who gathered in the cavernous campus gymnasium by the thousands to hear him speak. “Before this I really didn’t know much about President Carter,”  freshman Stephanie Teng said. “I feel so fortunate to be here.  I know that many students won’t have this opportunity in their lifetime, and this is a uniquely Emory thing, and something I’ll remember the rest of my life.” “I think it’s a problem when we overly lionize political figures, but I do have a great deal of respect for Jimmy Carter,” another freshman, Gian-Luigi Zaninelli, said.  “I’ve heard a great many conservatives being credibly critical of Jimmy Carter and basically view him as an ineffectual president,”  he said. However, Zaninelli said that comes from Carter’s presidential term, from 1977 to 1981. “Because of the good works he’s been doing over the course of the last 30 or more years, we have a high opinion of him …

Students Turn to Sugar Daddies for Financial Aid

Liv first met Bill in 2016 when she was a college student and $5,000 in debt from student loans. Making rent was next to impossible, she said, but Bill helped her manage her expenses and finances better. They saw each other a few times a week, and soon Bill was paying Liv’s tuition and rent. He sent her on exotic trips to Europe and Thailand. They moved in together. “He taught me how to do my taxes. He taught me how to get my own car insurance. He helped me pay back student loans,” Liv said. “He just taught me so much and he didn’t have to do any of it. “I actually grew real feelings for him.” “Actually” because Liv was 24 and Bill was 70 when they connected on SeekingArrangement, an online sugar-dating site that promotes itself as offering “upfront and honest arrangements with someone who will cater to your needs.”  Typically, the arrangements are between young women (sugar babies) and older men (sugar daddies) with money. Sugar babies seek financial assistance in return for company. Most of the sources VOA Student Union interviewed said financial arrangements often, but not always, include sex in return. “Join the more than 2.7 million students in the United States who have turned to SeekingArrangement and Sugar Daddies to avoid student debt and secure a better future,” according to their website. VOA Student Union made several attempts for comment from SeekingArrangement.  Liv said she was seeking financial support for student debt and …

НБУ встановив новий рекордний курс гривні

Національний банк України встановив на 30 вересня курс 24 гривні 8 копійок за одиницю американської валюти, це на 11 копійок менше за поточний курс і є новим рекордом за понад 44 місяці – від січня 2016 року. Наступний орієнтир – 23 гривні 95 копійок, таким офіційний курс був 15 січня 2016 року. На торгах міжбанківського валютного ринку 27 вересня регулятор викупив близько 20 мільйонів доларів, цього вистачило, що не допустити зміцнення гривні до менш як 24 гривень за долар. На український валютний ринок нині прийшли значні ресурси, які іноземці вводять для купівлі облігацій внутрішньої державної позики. За підрахунками експертів, за 9 місяців нерезиденти викупили таких облігацій на суму понад 100 мільярдів гривень, тобто завели на український ринок близько 4 мільярдів доларів. На курс також впливає позитивна кон’юнктура щодо товарів українського експорту. …

China Spurns US Criticism of Economic Cooperation With Afghanistan

A regional Chinese diplomat has rebuked the United States for being “ignorant” about his country’s ongoing key economic contributions and cooperation with Afghanistan. Arrangements are being worked out to enhance the cooperation with Kabul even under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Yao Jing, the Chinese ambassador to neighboring Pakistan told VOA. He hailed Saturday’s successful Afghan presidential election, saying China hopes they will boost peace-building efforts in a country wrecked by years of conflicts. “We hope that with the election in Afghanistan, with the peace development moving forward in Afghanistan, Afghans will finally achieve a peaceful period, achieve the stability,” said the Chinese diplomat, who served in Kabul prior to his posting in Islamabad. China and US Clash Over ‘Belt and Road’ in Afghan Resolution China insisting on including a reference to Beijing’s $1 trillion global building program in resolution on the UN political mission in Afghanistan Earlier this month, U.S. officials and lawmakers during a congressional hearing in Washington sharply criticized China for its lack of economic assistance to Afghan rebuilding efforts. “I think it’s fair to say that China has not contributed to the economic development of Afghanistan. We have not seen any substantial assistance from China,” Alice Wells, U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, told lawmakers. Wells, however, acknowledged that Beijing has worked with Washington on a way forward on peace as have other countries, including Russia and immediate neighbors of Afghanistan. “She is a little ignorant about what China’s cooperation with Afghanistan …

Two Turkey-Backed Rebel Groups Clash in Syria’s Afrin

Clashes between two Turkish-backed rebel groups in the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin have left at least two fighters dead and about a dozen wounded, according to reports Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor group that has researchers across Syria, reported that fierce fighting between the al-Majd Legion and al-Sham Legion in Afrin erupted Saturday night following a disagreement over property. “Our sources have confirmed that the infighting erupted after a dispute over the ownership of a house just outside of Afrin,” Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory, told VOA. Local news said the disputed house belonged to a Kurdish civilian that armed groups reportedly had seized months ago. Frequent clashes Armed confrontations among Syrian rebel factions have reportedly increased since Turkish military and allied Syrian rebels took control of Afrin after a two-month-long military campaign that ousted the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) from the region in March 2018, rights groups said. “This is not the first time that such clashes take place over property and revenue-sharing among rebel groups,” the Syrian Observatory added. Infighting among rebel groups has become a common issue in the region.  “There is almost one occurrence like this one on a daily basis,” said Mohammed Billo, a journalist from Afrin. “Usually when fighting gets out of control, Turkish military interferes to stop it,” he told VOA. Some rights groups have also voiced concerns about growing violations against civilians in recent months in Afrin. FILE – Kurdish fighters from the …

Fact or Fiction, the Treasure is as Important as the Thrill of the Hunt

About 350,000 treasure hunters from all over the world, have been scouting out a large area in the Rocky Mountains stretching from Northern New Mexico to Montana, looking for a hidden treasure. As the story goes, all one needs to do to find the loot, is to decipher the nine clues in a poem written by wealthy art collector and entrepreneur Forrest Fenn, who says he collected and hid the treasure years ago. Its lore became wildly popular after he had written a book called “The Thrill of the Chase,” talking about his life and the treasure.  While many believe the treasure is real, others think it’s a hoax. VOA’s Penelope Poulou visited the area and spoke with Fenn about the meaning of it all …