Democracy

How Putin became a problem for Russian oligarchs

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On December 21, Russian President Vladimir Putinmet with Russian oligarchs at the Kremlin. Roman Dobrokhotov AlJazeera Тhe men in attendance had a combined wealth of $213bn, almost as much as the Russian federal budget. So it was no wonder Putin wanted to meet them and assure their loyalty, especially before the presidential elections next year (even if they will be just a formality). Until recently, such meetings used to happen once a year, but this one was the third in 2017. So why all this enthusiasm ... Read More »

Cuba postpones historic replacement of Castro

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Communist-run Cuba extended the term of its current leadership to April on Dec. 21, signaling a two-month delay in the historic handover from Raul Castro to a new president, while announcing tighter regulations on the non-state sector. HAVANA – Reuters Hurriyet Castro, 86, was originally set to step down in February after two consecutive terms, ending nearly 60 years of Castro brothers’ rule and marking a transition from the leaders of the 1959 revolution to a new, younger generation. The ... Read More »

Turkey’s Looming Crisis

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Viewed one way, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks unassailable: He weathered last year’s coup attempt, jailed more than 50,000 opponents, fired more than 100,000 civil servants, beheaded the once powerful Turkish military, eviscerated much of his parliamentary opposition, dismissed almost half of the county’s elected officials, and rammed through a constitutional referendum that will make him an all-powerful executive following the… Conn Hallinan CounterPunch In the meantime, a seemingly never-ending state of emergency allows him to rule by… So ... Read More »

Zimbabwe’s “Military-assisted Transition” and Prospects for Recovery

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa has the chance to embark on a much-needed process of economic and governance reform in Zimbabwe ICG The military’s role in the political transition casts a shadow on the road to credible elections, which remain a priority if his government is to earn national and international legitimacy. What’s the issue? After Zimbabwe’s military intervened to bring an end to 37 years of rule by former President Robert Mugabe, their continued presence as key political players may complicate ... Read More »

The Catalonian Election Is The Future Of Democracy In All The Worst Ways Possible

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Nationalist trolls, fake news, police brutality, Russian bots — welcome to the Catalonian election. Ryan Broderick BuzzFeed  BARCELONA — On Tuesday night, a Google Hangout video feed on a large screen came to life above a crowd of several hundred people in Sant Vicenç dels Horts, Spain. The supporters of the left-wing Catalan political party, Esquerra Republicana (ERC), who decided to brave the dry December cold to attend the party’s last campaign rally, were greeted by ERC’s minister of health, ... Read More »

Socialism is still popular in U.S. despite the Venezuelan

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It’s a puzzle. Over the last decade, Venezuela has supplanted Cuba as the Shangri-La of the American left. Not long ago, self-declared socialist Sen. Jonah Goldberg Tribune Content Agency Chicago Tribune Bernie Sanders insisted that the American dream was more achievable in the Bolivarian Republic than in America. A string of Hollywood luminaries made the pilgrimage to visit the socialist mecca to say ponderous and stupid things. Today, the praise is more muted because events have illuminated that stupidity. The ... Read More »

ECHR orders Turkey to pay compensation to three citizens for violation of freedom of assembly

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Dec. 19 ordered Turkey to pay compensation to three citizens following their application over a violation of the right to freedom of assembly in suppressed protests in the southern province of Adana. STRASBOURG Hurriyet The court ordered Turkey to pay 240 euros in pecuniary damages to one applicant and 80 euros to the other two. The case related to fines imposed by Turkish courts against Adnan Öğrü, Veysel Kurtuluş Alabaş, and Beyhan ... Read More »

You’ve Heard of the Russian Revolution — Now Look What’s Happening in Zimbabwe!

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People all over the world are still fascinated by events in Russia in 1917 Seth Ferris Even a cursory glance at this period shows they were momentous times to live in, with history unfolding in front of people seemingly under its own power. ΝΕΟ It must have been quite something to directly experience the collapse of the old order, the two revolutions and all the hopes, dreams and despair of different sectors of the population. As they happened in an ... Read More »

Libya commander Khalifa Haftar signals start of race for power

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Head of Libyan National Army declares UN political solution a failure and says his forces will answer to no one but Libyan people Associated Press and Agence France-Presse The National Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar on Sunday declared that the mandate of the UN-backed unity government had expired and hinted at his willingness to stand for president as the country entered a “dangerous” period. A UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 established Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) ... Read More »

Pope Francis: fake and sensationalised news ‘a very serious sin’

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Pontiff calls on journalists to report precise, complete and correct information, not one-sided reports or ‘old news that has been dealt with’ Associated Press The Guardian Pope Francis has criticised journalists who dredge up old scandals and sensationalise the news, saying it’s a “very serious sin” that hurts all involved. Francis, who plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to “fake news”, told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic… ... Read More »

Don’t Just Thank Black Women. Follow Us.

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When I joined the 470,000 other women who walked down Constitution Avenue toward the National Mall on Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, I carried a sign saying, “Don’t Forget, White Women Voted for Trump.” Angela Peoples The New York Times My message stood in stark contrast to the theme of togetherness that dominated the Women’s March — the pink “pussy hats” and “girl power” placards, and chants about how women would lead the resistance. This was exactly ... Read More »

EDITORIAL: Liberals unethical pick for new ethics commissioner

Public sector integrity commissioner Mario Dion is shown in Ottawa on December 13, 2011. The Liberals are tapping a long-time public servant to be the ethics watchdog for the House of Commons. Government House leader Bardish Chagger says Dion is being nominated to become the next ethics and conflict of interest commissioner.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld ORG XMIT: cpt121

Talk about a bogus appointment process The Liberals have known for ages that ethics commissioner Mary Dawson was due to leave her post in early January Toronto Sun Postmedia News They were, after all, the ones who extended her appointment more than once by six month increments. So why then did they use such rushed, last-minute tactics to appoint Dawson’s successor? The whole process that unfolded this past week on Parliament Hill has opposition MPs and expert observers crying… On ... Read More »

After Dastyari’s downfall we must question the hold of big money on any political party

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Irrespective of a donor’s nationality, what are the effects of politicians hobnobbing with billionaires on the democratic process? Jeff Sparrow The Guardian We need to be very careful about the political narrative emerging to explain Sam Dastyari’s downfall. In Fairfax, Mark Kenny argues that, by resigning over his connections with billionaire Huang Xiangmo, Dastyari “reinforced to Beijing, and to its wealthy business and political surrogates here, that Australia will safeguard its sovereignty as jealously as does… That’s all very well. But surely ... Read More »

The Sultan and the Sultan

CBDRWN Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Ottoman Sultan of Turkey as Sick Man of Europe. Cover of French Satirical Magazine, 'Le Rire', May 1897

Faced with a vast, decaying empire, the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II ruled with an iron fist, curtailing press freedom, promoting Islam and severing ties with the West. William Armstrong Miscellanies History Today His similarities with Turkey’s current president have not gone unnoticed. Turkey’s relationship with the West is in the middle of a slow-motion car crash. After years of tension, the country’s rift with its western allies has widened since an attempted military coup against the government of the country’s ... Read More »

Most Australians support a federal anti-corruption commission: research

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Most Australians want the government to create a federal anti-corruption commission, make its national agencies more independent and set four-year parliamentary terms, according to a new report led by one of the nation’s most respected former public… Doug Dingwall The Canberra Times The findings come as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the first time suggested he was prepared to consider creating a federal anti-corruption watchdog, but said he was not yet persuaded the case had been made for such a… While the discussion paper released ... Read More »

Democracy in meltdown as East Timorese PM denounces ‘coup’

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The prime minister of East Timor is refusing to allow parliament to reconvene because he will face a vote of no confidence. What next? Professor Damien Kingsbury. Crikey international affairs commentator As East Timor went to elections this year, the country was the most peaceful and united it had been in its short history. The CNRT-Fretilin government of national inclusion had functioned well, it appeared that the ‘Generation of ‘75’ exemplified by Xanana Gusmao, was stepping back from politics and, with the ... Read More »