A 16-year-old Bulgarian boy is aiming to become the youngest person to cross the Atlantic in a two-person rowboat. He's setting off with his father for a voyage from Portugal to Brazil. They'll be rowing across the ocean in a homemade boat to raise awareness about organ donations.
Effective June 9, Moscow has lifted the self-isolation regime imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Electronic passes will no longer be needed, and selected public services will be allowed. A general opening will be permitted as of June 23, however, masks and gloves will be required in public places. (Russian Service)
Bukovyna is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Ukraine. It is the country’s smallest region, located in the west, with the highest number of Covid-19 cases. Current Time TV spent a day with medical workers in the “red zone” -- the ICU unit in the region’s Chernivtsi hospital. (Current Time TV)
Portraits captured by an American photographer who witnessed Europe’s wild south in a deeply troubled time.
China has reiterated its refusal to participate in three-way disarmament talks with the United States and Russia ahead of a new round of arms-control talks between Washington and Moscow scheduled for June 22 in Vienna.
An Austrian court has sentenced a retired army colonel to three years in prison after convicting him of spying for Russia's military intelligence service (GRU) for more than 25 years. A jury in Salzburg on June 9 found the 71-year-old retired colonel guilty of operating a secret intelligence operation against Austria and betraying state secrets.
Russian authorities are proceeding with plans to hold a constitutional referendum on July 1st, despite the continuing health threat posed by the coronavirus and reports that independent observers and many voters will stay home.In addition, many election commission workers have reportedly announced their refusal to work for political and health reasons. Entrepreneur Sergei Lebedev, an initiator of the strike, told RFE/RL, "The voting procedure Itself is so opaque that nothing can be controlled. Plus the risk of Covid-19 infection. I have relatives at risk.” Other commission members have said they expect their colleagues to ignore the strike since they are paid for their jobs and many need money. (Russian Service)
Registry Of Russian NGOs To Receive Coronavirus-Related Assistance Includes 16 Banks And Federal Railway
Analysts of the Russian “Need Help” foundation have found numerous irregularities in the registry of Russian NGOs that have been promised government aid in response to the coronavirus. The errors include the listing of 150 organizations that do not qualify for aid, including 16 banks and the Russian State Railway company. The list omits at least 45 NGO’s that do satisfy requirements for financial assistance from the state. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
An investigation by Russian media into acquittal rates for an assortment of crimes has revealed the following rankings: data from the Supreme Court shows that the country’s courts have acquitted nearly 40% of defendants in defamation cases; 30 percent of suspects in organized crime cases; and 20% of suspects in cases involving money-laundering. (Russian Service)
The International Monetary Fund says its executive board has approved an 18-month, $5 billion standby arrangement for Ukraine aimed at helping the country cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount is $200 million more than originally planned, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Twitter.
Prosecutors from Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations have announced that former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is a suspect in an investigation into tax evasion involving the cross-border transfer of 43 paintings by world-famous artists. Poroshenko’s lawyers have objected to the announcement on procedural grounds. (Ukrainian Service)
Syarhey Tsikhanouski, a jailed Belarusian vlogger who is seeking to take part in the country’s August presidential election, may face up to 3 years in prison for undertaking "actions that severely violated public order," a reference to rallies held to collect signatures for potential independent presidential candidates.
Kazakh officials have forcibly placed a group of women from lower-income families who were picketing the Ministry of Labor and Social Support for increased government assistance into quarantine. The women, who have been protesting outside the ministry in the capital city Nur-Sultan since June 8, were taken to a nearby hotel.
An imam of the central mosque and his relatives in Tajikistan's southern region of Khatlon have been sentenced for being members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group. Muhammadsaid Akramov and three of his brothers received suspended prison terms, while 10 other defendants, including Akramov’s son, son-in-law, and nephews, were sentenced to prison terms of between five and seven years.
Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has visited the southern city of Osh to mark the 10th anniversary of the deadly ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and local Uzbeks that claimed hundreds of lives. Kimmo Kiljunen, who was the special representative for Central Asia from the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly reflects 10 years later.
RSVP: June 12: Lessons From The Covid-19 Crisis For Fighting Disinformation, The European Policy Centre And RFE/RL’s Jamie Fly