Ukraine, Poland Want Continued Sanctions on Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Saturday that he and Poland’s president had agreed that sanctions ought to continue against Russia until Ukraine regained the territory it lost in Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. 
 
Zelenskiy, accompanied by some members of his Cabinet, was on his first visit to Poland as president for political talks and to attend ceremonies planned for Sunday to mark the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II. 
 
He said he and Polish President Andrzej Duda had discussed the next steps needed to end the war in eastern Ukraine and to return the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine. 
 
We have agreed on our next steps to stop the war in eastern Ukraine and to bring back occupied Crimea,'' Zelenskiy said.Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 in a move that Ukraine and almost all the world views as illegal. The European Union and the U.S. imposed sanctions. 
 
In eastern Ukraine, a deadly conflict between government forces and Russia-backed separatists has gone on for five years.    A member of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service gives a sign to people to stop as they approach a checkpoint at the contact line between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops in Mayorsk, Ukraine July 3, 2019.Zelenskiy said his and Duda's
joint and principal position” is that the EU sanctions should be reviewed only to be increased — not otherwise,'' unless existing peace agreements are fully implemented andthe territorial unity of Ukraine according to its internationally agreed borders” is restored. 
 
Duda said he assured Zelenskiy of his support for continuing sanctions on Russia and protecting Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.''  
  
Duda said especially in the context of Sunday's World War II anniversary,
we must stress how very important it is that no one, in Europe or in the world, is allowed to change borders by force.” 
 
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of world leaders also will take part in the anniversary ceremonies in Warsaw.  The invasion of Poland by Nazi German troops on Sept. 1, 1939, marked the outbreak of World War II. 
 
Poland remained under Nazi German occupation for more than five years and lost some 6 million citizens. 

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Police Chief: 5 Dead, 21 Hurt in West Texas Shooting

Five people were killed and at least 21 others were injured Saturday in a West Texas shooting, the police chief of the city of Odessa said. Police in nearby Midland said at least one suspect was shot and killed near the Cinergy movie theater in Odessa.At a news conference, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said that at least three law enforcement officers were among those shot. Odessa, TexasHe spoke after a chaotic afternoon during which police reported that a suspect had hijacked a U.S. Postal Service vehicle and had begun firing at random in the Odessa-Midland area, hitting multiple people. Police initially reported that there could be more than one shooter, but Gerke said authorities came to believe it was just one shooter. Gerke said he thought the threat was over but authorities remained vigilant. The Texas Department of Public Safety urged residents to avoid major highways in the area, including Interstate 20.No other details were immediately available.Odessa is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Midland. Both are more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) west of Dallas. 

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Ginsburg on Way to Feeling ‘Very Well’ Following Cancer Treatment

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she’s on her way to being very well'' following radiation treatment for cancer. 
 
The 86-year-old justice spoke Saturday at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington. The event came a little over a week after Ginsburg disclosed that she had completed three weeks of outpatient radiation therapy for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas. 
 
It was the fourth time since 1999 that Ginsburg has been treated for cancer. In announcing the news, the Supreme Court said in a statement that after the treatment there was
no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body.” 
 
Ginsburg was treated for colorectal cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009, and she had lung cancer surgery in December.  
 

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This Time, Trump’s Tariffs Will Hit US Consumers

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, until now mainly an abstraction for American consumers, is about to hit home. 
 
Beginning Sunday, the U.S. government will begin collecting 15% tariffs on $112 billion in Chinese imports — items ranging from smartwatches and TVs to shoes, diapers, sporting goods, and meat and dairy products. For the first time since Trump launched his trade war, American households face price increases because many U.S. companies say they’ll be forced to pass on to customers the higher prices they’ll pay on Chinese imports. 
 
For more than a year, the world’s two largest economies have been locked in a high-stakes duel marked by Trump’s escalating import taxes on Chinese goods and Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs. 
 
The two sides have held periodic talks that seem to have made little progress despite glimmers of potential breakthroughs. All the while, they’ve imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s products in a rift over what analysts say is Beijing’s predatory tactics in its drive to become the supreme high-tech superpower. 
 
American consumers have so far been spared the worst of it: The Trump administration had left most everyday household items off its tariff list (valued at $250 billion in Chinese products so far) and instead targeted industrial goods. 
 FILE – President Donald Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. China will raise tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. products in retaliation for Trump’s Sept. 1 duty increase.That’s about to change. When Trump’s new tariffs kick in at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, 69% of the consumer goods Americans buy from China will face his import taxes, up from 29% now.  
 More in DecemberThat isn’t all. Higher tariffs are set to kick in for another batch of Chinese products — $160 billion worth — on Dec. 15. By then, roughly 99% of made-in-China consumer goods imported to the United States will be taxed, according to calculations by Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. 
 
Overall, Trump’s trade war will have raised the average tariff on Chinese imports from 3.1% in 2017, before the hostilities began, to 24.3%. 
 
“The bottom line is that, for the first time, Trump’s trade war is likely to directly raise prices for a lot of household budget items like clothing, shoes, toys and consumer electronics,” Bown wrote in an report. 
 
For months, Trump — who famously declared that trade wars are “easy to win” — falsely claimed that China itself paid the tariffs and that they left Americans unscathed. In fact, U.S. importers pay the tariffs. They must make a high-risk decision: whether to absorb the higher costs themselves and accept lower profits or pass on their higher costs to their customers and risk losing business. 
 
This has become an ever more difficult decision. After years of ultra-low inflation, consumers have grown more resistant to price hikes, especially when they can easily compare prices online for household products and choose the lowest-price options. For that reason, many retailers may choose not to impose the cost of Trump’s higher tariffs on their customers. 
 FILE – A man walks by an exchange shop decorated with Chinese yuan in Hong Kong, Aug. 6, 2019. China let the yuan sink to an 11-year low against the dollar after President Donald Trump threatened to block U.S. firms from doing business with China.And the higher costs U.S. importers face could be offset somewhat by the declining value of China’s currency, which has the effect of making its products somewhat less expensive in the United States. 
 
Still, certain goods will cost Americans more. Trump tacitly acknowledged this a few weeks ago by announcing a delay in his higher tariffs on $160 billion in imports until Dec. 15 — to keep them from squeezing holiday shoppers.  $1,000 per household
 
Even before the December tariffs, though, 52% of shoes and 87% of textiles and clothing imported from China were to be hit by Trump’s tariffs, according to Peterson’s Bown. And not even counting the increase — from 10% to 15% — that Trump announced for his new tariffs a week ago, J.P. Morgan had estimated that his import taxes would cost the average household roughly $1,000 a year. 
 
“The story that holiday goods [were] given a reprieve is fake news,” said Stephen Lamar of the American Apparel and Footwear Association. Overall, the 15% September and December tariffs will force Americans to pay an extra $4 billion a year for shoes and boots, according to a footwear trade group.  
 
Retailers, engaged for a battle for survival with Amazon and other e-commerce rivals, are bracing for the worst. Macy’s raised an alarm when it reported earnings in August: In May, Trump had raised separate tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. In response, Macy’s tried to raise prices of some items on the hit list — luggage, housewares, furniture. But according to CEO Jeff Gennette, customers just said no. 
 
Some retailers are trying to force their suppliers to eat the higher costs so they won’t have to raise prices for shoppers. Target confirmed to The Associated Press that it warned suppliers that it wouldn’t accept cost increases arising from the China tariffs. Some small retailers are even more vulnerable. 
 Jennifer Lee, whose family owns Footprint shoe store in San Francisco, stands by a wall of athletic shoes, Aug. 28, 2019. Many of the shoes are made in China and will be subject to new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods starting Sept. 1.”Any cost increase puts us in a tough place,” said Jennifer Lee, whose family owns the Footprint shoe store in San Francisco. “It makes it tough for business owners because we will have to take a hit on our margins, but it will also be difficult for us to pass it on to our shoppers.” 
 
Albert Chow, who owns Great Wall Hardware in San Francisco, said he’s already raised prices on some Chinese-made products because an earlier round of tariffs led his suppliers to raise prices 10% to 20%. 
 Albert Chow of Great Wall Hardware in San Francisco points to faucet parts, whose prices have increased because of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, Aug. 28, 2019. He had to raise the price from $5.49 to $5.99.”I will try to keep the prices down for as long as I can,” Chow said. “But at some point, when the tariffs are just too much, we have to eventually raise the prices, and then it goes down to the end user — the customer.” Otherwise upbeatWhat’s frustrating for retailers is that consumers might otherwise be in an exuberant mood this holiday season: For most Americans, their jobs are safe and their wages are rising. Unemployment is near a half-century low. 
 
Yet the economy itself looks increasingly fragile. Growth is slowing as the global economy weakens. And Trump’s mercurial approach to trade policy — imposing, delaying, reimposing import taxes via tweet — makes it nearly impossible for companies to decide on suppliers, factory sites and new markets. So they delay investments, further straining the economy. 
 
“We worry about the average family in this country paying $500, $600, even $1,000 more annually because of the impact of tariffs,” said Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We worry about what it means for business confidence, business certainty and investment.” 

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Italian Bodybuilder, Actor Columbu Dies at 78 

Italian bodybuilder, boxer and actor Franco Columbu, one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s closest friends, has died at age 78. 
 
Columbu died in a hospital in his native Sardinia on Friday afternoon after becoming ill while he was swimming in the sea. 
 
His longtime friend Schwarzenegger tweeted:I love you Franco. I will always remember the joy you brought to my life, the advices you gave me, and the twinkle in your eye that never disappeared. You were my best friend. https://t.co/X3GhZKlgAd— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) August 30, 2019 After starting his career as a boxer, Columbu progressed into Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and later bodybuilding, winning the prestigious title of Mr. Olympia in 1976 and 1981. 
 
Besides his athletic career, Columbu also acted in popular TV series and movies. He appeared in Schwarzenegger’s films The Terminator, The Running Man and Conan the Barbarian.  
  
Columbu was Schwarzenegger’s best man at his marriage to Maria Shriver in 1986. 

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Trump Tweets, Golfs Amid Hurricane Preparations

After canceling a trip to Poland to stay stateside to oversee the federal government’s response to an approaching hurricane, President Donald Trump took time out to golf and to send a thinly veiled warning to his ousted Oval Office gatekeeper.The president, on Saturday morning, was flown on Marine One from Camp David in Maryland to his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.
 
Camp David has a driving range and a single golf hole with multiple tees, but the president, keeping to his weekend routine when the weather is fair, chose to head to the nearest of his private 18-hole courses.Before departing the presidential retreat, which he rarely has used, Trump dispatched a blizzard of tweets – at a rate of nearly one per minute over an hour – on his personal @realDonaldTrump account.Some of his tweets referenced Hurricane Dorian, a Category 4 storm poised to damage the southeastern U.S. coast, with Trump noting it could pose more of a threat to South Carolina and Georgia than the original forecast of landfall in Florida.Looking like our great South Carolina could get hit MUCH harder than first thought. Georgia and North Carolina also. It’s moving around and very hard to predict, except that it is one of the biggest and strongest (and really wide) that we have seen in decades. Be safe!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) FILE – President Donald Trump’s personal secretary Madeleine Westerhout stands outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, April 2, 2018.A pair of Saturday tweets by Trump focused on the abrupt departure of Oval Office gatekeeper Madeleine Westerhout, who had dished gossip to a group of reporters during an off-the-record dinner and drinking session about the president’s eating habits. She also disparaged daughter Tiffany Trump, claiming the president does not like being photographed with her because he thinks she is overweight.Book publishers reportedly have been seeking to contact Westerhout after she was not permitted to return on Friday to her job as a personal assistant to the president.Trump, on Twitter, said Westerhout had signed a confidentially agreement, but “I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it. She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night. I fully understood and forgave her! I love Tiffany, doing great!”While Madeleine Westerhout has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it. She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night. I fully understood and forgave her! I love Tiffany, doing great!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2019In a subsequent tweet, the president claimed he is “currently suing several people for violating their confidentiality agreements,” including former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who was fired after one year as the communications director in the White House Office of Public Liaison….Yes, I am currently suing various people for violating their confidentiality agreements. Disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa is one. I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book. Numerous others also!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2019A number of former federal lawyers and private attorneys rebutted Trump on Twitter, asserting that the non-disclosure agreements are not legally enforceable unless classified information is revealed.Trump himself is facing some criticism about revealing sensitive U.S. government information after he tweeted on Friday a detailed photograph of a launchpad explosion of an Iranian rocket that was set to put a satellite into space.  Analysts say the public release of an image with such resolution is unprecedented and was probably taken by a KH-11 American spy satellite known as USA-224.”We had a photo and I released it, which I have the absolute right to do,” Trump told reporters on Friday.U.S. presidents are able to declassify information at their discretion – the most prominent example being John Kennedy’s decision in 1962 to make public pictures taken by a U-2 spy plane that revealed Soviets troops were placing missiles in Cuba aimed at the United States. 

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Thousands March in Moscow Protest Defying Authorities

Current Time TV is a Russian-language network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.
MOSCOW — Thousands of Russians defied authorities and marched in central Moscow, ignoring officials’ warnings and pressing demands to let independent candidates run in upcoming city council elections.Police did not interfere with the August 31 protest, which was markedly smaller than previous ones.However, camouflaged officers linked arms to keep marchers out of the road when demonstrators arrived at Pushkin Square — a symbolically important public park closer to the Kremlin. A heavy presence of detention buses and water-cannon trucks were visible on nearby side streets.Neither police nor independent watchdogs reported any arrests or detentions from the action — in contrast to other recent protests in which thousands were detained, sometimes violently.The August 31 action was the latest in a series of confrontations between liberal activists, and Moscow city authorities — and the Kremlin.Demonstrators clapped and chanted “Russia Will Be Free!” and “Down With The Tsar!” (in a reference to President Vladimir Putin, who has been in power in Russia for two decades), as they walked along a leafy boulevard just a few kilometers north of the Kremlin.A leading opposition figure and one of the organizers of the march, Lyubov Sobol, led people chanting “Freedom For Political Prisoners.””People of different ages have come out because everyone wants justice. They want Russia to be free and happy and to not drown in lawlessness and mayhem. We demand this and we will not back down,” she told reporters.At Pushkin Square, the ending point for the march, participants milled around, occasionally yelling political chants. One group entered the crowd carrying a large banner citing the clause in the constitution that gives Russians the right to gather peacefully, and yelled “We Need Another Russia!”Unofficial estimates put the crowd size in the low thousands.Protesters also yelled “Let Them Through!” as they marched — a reference to the City Duma elections scheduled for Sept. 8.The refusal by election officials to register some independent candidates has been the impetus for the protests that have been held weekly since mid-July.However, they’ve also turned into a major challenge for the Kremlin and a reflection of growing impatience among Russians with President Vladimir Putin.The weekly protests first erupted in July as election authorities blocked some independent candidates from registering to run on September 8.The initial rallies drew tens of thousands of people in some of the largest political demonstrations seen in the country since 2012. Some, though not all, were authorized by officials ahead of time.Police have violently dispersed several of the earlier demonstrations, some of which authorities described as “illegal mass gatherings.” More than 2,000 people have been detained, some preemptively, drawing international condemnation. 

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Georgian Deputy FM: Russia Exclusively to Blame Over Latest Tensions

This story originated in Russian military vehicles and personnel are reportedly seen from a birds-eye view near the village of Chorchana, Khashuri municipality, Georgia. (Social media)Georgian police had quickly erected the tower after observing the “mobilization of military equipment and personnel” by Russia near the village of Chorchana, in Georgian territory, about three kilometers south of territory controlled by the Russian-backed South Ossetian de facto authorities.Russia has been engaged in a process of “borderization” in the Gori region, where the Russia-Georgia War happened in 2008. The Russian occupation forces have been erecting fences and other barriers to separate land it occupies from the remainder of Georgian territory.VOA footage shot from the Georgian police observation post Friday morning shows a partially constructed barrier along the edge of Chorchana. The new Russian barrier is the first in the Khashuri region. Georgian police set up the observation tower overlooking the wall construction site to determine whether it crossed into Georgian-controlled land, which would physically expand the footprint of Russian-occupied territory.Pro-Russian separatists have objected to the police presence, saying the observation tower is right next to a village on South Ossetian territory called Uista, known as Tsnelisi in Georgia.
Georgian Checkpoint video player.
Embed” />CopyGeorgian Checkpoint”I hope Georgia … will do everything to resolve the instability they caused by their illegal actions,” the breakaway region’s leader, Anatoly Bibilov, was quoted as saying by Russian agencies. “Resolving this issue by force would be highly undesirable.”Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Lasha Darsalia says no law has been broken.”Our position is that this is central government-controlled territory, and the Georgian government is not considering any withdrawal of the police position from the area,” he told VOA’s Georgian Service in an exclusive interview Friday. “At the same time, we all have to work together toward the de-escalation process.”Russia in ‘full control’Darsalia also said that, despite the fact that it is de facto authorities of the breakaway region who are protesting the Georgian police presence, is only Moscow that is responsible for the situation on the ground.”I want to highlight that I really don’t distinguish de facto authorities from the only one [Russia], which has full responsibility for the situation and de-escalation processes there,” he said. “The Russian Federation is the one who exercises full control of these territories. This is important to highlight.”
Chorchana Border Buildup video player.
Embed” />CopyChorchana Border BuildupHe also said the situation on the ground, while still tense, was currently “more calm as compared to this morning.”The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Russia’s mobilization of military equipment in the conflict zone and in a tweet called the latest actions “yet another provocation.”Statement of @MFAgovge.The Ministry expresses concern about mobilisation of military equipment and personnel by t/occupation forces at t/occupation line, close to village Chorchana. such actions represent yet another provocation https://t.co/64naQNC4Xz— MFA of Georgia (@MFAgovge) August 29, 2019Earlier Friday, Kakha Kemoklidze, Georgia’s National Security Council chief of staff, told VOA “this is an average incident that requires a pragmatic, calm approach, and activation of all diplomatic means at our disposal.”The village of Chorchana — before and after the 2008 Russia-Georgia war — was in territory controlled by the government of Georgia,” he added. “On this territory, the EU monitoring mission, as well as Georgian police mobile patrol units, were conducting operations with varying intensity.” Kemoklidze said the statement by the Russian-backed South Ossetian authorities that “Georgian police have ‘started to appear’ is not newsworthy: Georgian police have always been present here, although there was no permanent observation point.”Kemoklidze also said he anticipates that “we can resolve this through a dialogue — at least, that is the great desire of the Georgian government.”On Thursday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had said in a statement that “recent developments along the administrative boundary line had negatively impacted the overall security situation.”Tensions in this region escalated in August 2008, when Russia invaded South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and penetrated deeper into Georgian territory, before agreeing to an EU-brokered cease-fire. Shortly after the invasion, Russia recognized these territories as independent states, as did Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru sometime later.No other countries recognize the independence of these territories, and instead consider Russia’s ongoing military presence as an “illegal occupation” of 20% of Georgia’s sovereign territory.The U.S. State Department has issued multiple statements over the preceding two weeks saying that it has been “monitoring reports of military buildup” in the area and calling on Russia to “prevent further escalation.”We are monitoring reports of military buildup near the administrative boundary line (ABL) of the Russian-occupied Georgian region of South Ossetia. We call on the Russian Federation to utilize all available channels to prevent further escalation of the situation along the ABL. pic.twitter.com/fLXUdX3TSZ— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) August 30, 2019

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