Do women we need a menstruation Bill to to protect their rights?
“In this period, the majority of women experience psychological and physical discomfort,” LDPR member and Moscow mayoral candidate Mikhail Degtyaryov, 32, said in a statement. “Often the pain for the fair sex is so intense that they are forced to call an ambulance.”
The disruption to working women caused by menstruation is so severe that it represents a problem for society, according to the draft bill submitted by Degtyaryov to the Duma.
“Strong pain induces heightened fatigue, reduces memory and work-competence and leads to colorful expressions of emotional discomfort,” reads a copy of the bill published on Degtyaryov’s website. “Therefore scientists and gynecologists look on difficult menstruation not only as a medical, but also a social problem.”
Obliging employers to provide a holiday for female employees will ensure “fair working conditions” for women and increase their “psychological health,” according to Degtyaryov.
It was not immediately clear, however whether the menstruation bill would have enough support to be passed by the Duma. Andrei Isayev, a member of the incumbent United Russia party and the head of the Duma’s Labor, Social Politics and Veteran Affairs Committee, said Monday that the legislation was “ill conceived.”
The nationalist LDPR party is known for its traditional, and sometimes outspoken approach to many gender
Degtyaryov is the LDPR’s candidate in Moscow mayoral elections scheduled for September 8. Less than 1 percent of Muscovites are planning to vote for him, according to a July 17 poll by the Levada Center.
I am sure the above idea would appeal to many women . Maybe females everywhere should be floating the idea with their elected representatives
Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has become the winner of this year’s Whistleblower Award established by German human rights organizations, the German branch of Transparency International said in a statement.
“This year’s winner of the Whistleblower Award is Edward Snowden,” the statement posted on TI Germany website on Monday said.
The award, established in 1999, is sponsored by the Association of German Scientists (VDW) and the German branch of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA).
A VDW spokesperson told RIA Novosti on Monday that the award money, amounting to 3,000 euros, would be passed to Snowden through his representatives – either a lawyer or a “friendly” organization.
Snowden, who faces prosecution in the United States for leaking highly sensitive classified data about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, submitted a request for temporary asylum in Russia last week, having been holed up in the transit zone of a Moscow airport since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.
He is still waiting for a decision by the Russian migration authorities.
Washington has repeatedly called on Moscow to reject Snowden’s request for asylum and send him back to the United States to stand trial on charges of espionage and theft.
Russia’s famously creaky legal system will be put to the test on July 17 with an asset recovery case – and according to A1, the specialist distressed asset firm that is part of Alfa Group, it will pass.
The case smacks of poacher turned gamekeeper: A1 is the M&A arm of Alfa Group (and as Alfa Ekho, was the first company the founders of the group, who include oligarch Mikhail Fridman, set up). Suffice to say, Alfa Group didn’t cover itself in corporate governance glory in the 1990s.
However, in April A1 went into a joint venture with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which has been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to recover 12 assets in Eastern Europe (mostly buildings and some companies) that used to belong to the bankrupt developer, Quinn Group.
Sean Quinn, the founder of the group, defaulted on loans worth €2.8bn from the Anglo Irish Bank, which went bust and its assets were taken over by IBRC, which has since been trying to convert them back into cash.
The trouble is that Quinn has not been playing ball. The ownership of most of the assets has been transferred to a number of shell companies and the IBRC has been struggling to make much headway through the Russian legal system. So earlier this year it turned to A1, which is run by one of the three original founders of Alfa Group, Alexei Kuzmichyov.
On July 17, the courts in the regional capital of Kazan will decide in a key case in A1’s campaign in a dispute involving the $60m state-of-the-art logistics park Q-Park, which the Quinn Group built in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia.
The problem is that the ownership of the park passed from a Quinn Group holding company called Demesne (held via a subsidiary called Logistika), which now belongs to IBRC, to several shell companies that A1 believes are still under the control of Sean Quinn, putting the park out of the reach of creditors.
A1 said in a statement: “It later turned out that on May 11, 2011 the shares of ZAO ‘Logistica’ have been sold to Sean Quinn, Jr.; on June 3, 2011 shares were resold to ZAO ‘Vneshkonsalt’ and in fall of 2011 sold to two Panama companies – Forvar Overseas S.A. and Lockerbie Investments S.A. These acts were allegedly committed in order to eliminate the [IBRC] from the corporate control of ZAO ‘Logistica’ and foreclosure on the assets of ZAO ‘Logistica’.”
Two shell companies – Vneshkonsalt and another creditor to many of the disputed assets, Stroitelnie Tekhnologii – are names that have come up again and again as the owners of almost all of the disputed assets, including Q-Park, according to A1.
A1 says that it doesn’t know who is behind them, but believes they are answering to Sean Quinn. Indeed, both Sean Quinn and his son were arrested last year in Ireland for attempts to receive rental payments for the disputed properties in Russia and Ukraine in violation of the bankruptcy proceedings. “The holdings and properties have been moving in mysterious ways,” says Andrei Polyakovsky, spokesperson for A1. “What we are certain of is that a misappropriation of funds by an unknown group is taking place”.
A1 is trying to prove that Q-Park still owes Demesne $60m from credits for construction and working capital loans, then it can take back control of the park, put its own administrator in and start preparing the company for sale.
All in all, IBRC and A1 are trying to recover 12 assets in Eastern Europe (11 in Russia and the Ukraina shopping mall in Kyiv) collectively worth some $500m. Q-Park is the second most valuable, but the most expensive is the Kutuzov Towers in central Moscow that is worth up to $200m by current estimates. Work on recovering that has already begun, but will take up some time to complete, says Polyakovsky.
And A1 is supremely confident that it will win, because it never loses a fight as a point of principle. This sounds boastful, but it is not an idle boast. Alfa Group was schooled in the ways of business during the chaos of the 1990s and emerged from that time as one of the most powerful conglomerates in the country with a reputation for playing hard and sometimes rough against its rivals. “A1 doesn’t lose in corporate standoffs,” says Polyakovsky. “It’s a principle in the company and part of our strength. Even if we end up losing money on the investment, we will fight within the legal field as long as we have to reach our goal. ”
This was why IBRC came to A1 for help in the first place. A1 contributed $18m to the joint venture as running-about money, plus it is spending about $1m a month on the work, according to Polyakovsky. IBRC contributed all the titles and deeds to all the assets. According to sources familiar with the deal, the proceeds from the recovery and sale of the initial property will be used to compensate A1 costs. After that, the proceeds will be shared with A1 one getting approximately 30% and IBRC getting the larger part.
“Putin said Monday that Snowden could stay in Russia on condition he stop leaking U.S. secrets. Putin’s spokesman later said Snowden had withdrawn his request for asylum after learning the terms”
MOSCOW — National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow on an Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong on June 23, according to the airline, but he has been out of the public eye and his circumstances and plans are murky. Snowden is believed to have remained in the airport’s transit zone, caught in legal limbo after his U.S. passport was annulled by Washington. Here is a look at some of the mysteries surrounding the case of the world’s most famous fugitive.
WHY DID SNOWDEN LEAVE HONG KONG?
The Hong Kong government was believed to be trying to persuade Snowden to leave in order to remove a major irritant in relations with the United States. And Snowden apparently feared that the government could hold him in custody if he stayed and fought a U.S. extradition request.
Albert Ho, a local legislator, said he inquired on behalf of Snowden whether he could remain free pending the outcome or leave Hong Kong if he chose to do so. Ho said officials never got back to him with an answer, but an intermediary who claimed to represent the government sent a message to Snowden saying he was free to leave — and should do so.
President Vladimir Putin relishes defying the United States, accusing Washington of trying to dominate global affairs. When Snowden was still in hiding in Hong Kong, Putin’s spokesman said Russia would consider granting him asylum if he asked for it.
Snowden could have seen Russia as a safe haven that would not send him to the U.S. under any circumstances. Putin so far has met his expectations, bluntly rejecting Washington’s expulsion request.
WHERE IS SNOWDEN NOW?
Putin says Snowden remains in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and hasn’t crossed the Russian border, a statement repeated by other Russian officials. Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa told the AP that the country’s ambassador had seen Snowden once in Moscow. Hordes of journalists have besieged the airport, including a nearby hotel that has a wing for transit passengers, but none has seen Snowden or talked to him since his arrival and there have been no photographs of him.
Some security experts have speculated that Snowden could be in the hands of Russian intelligence agencies eager to learn the secrets he possesses. Putin has flatly denied that Russia’s special services have debriefed Snowden.
WHAT IS SNOWDEN’S RELATIONSHIP WITH WIKILEAKS?
Snowden didn’t turn to the secret-spilling website to warn the world of the NSA’s massive surveillance program, saying he wanted to deal with journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be made public and what should be held back.
But it didn’t take long for WikiLeaks to adopt Snowden and his cause, jumping in to offer its assistance as a kind of renegade travel agency. WikiLeaks’ role as Snowden’s unofficial handler doesn’t sit well with some, including Snowden’s father, who has expressed frustration that the organization may not be giving his son the best advice.
WHO IS WITH HIM?
WikiLeaks says its legal adviser Sarah Harrison is with Snowden, “escorting him at all times.” Harrison has been equally elusive. WikiLeaks said that on Sunday she delivered Snowden’s request for asylum to 21 countries, including Russia, to the Russian consulate at the Moscow airport.
HOW DID HE GET STUCK?
WikiLeaks initially said Snowden was bound for Ecuador, where he has requested asylum. He booked an Aeroflot flight to Cuba — presumably as a transfer point — the day after his arrival in Moscow, but he didn’t show up and his seat remained empty. The U.S. annulment of Snowden’s passport, which has made it impossible for him to legally cross the Russian border or board a plane, could have been a reason behind the change in plans.
He also could have been concerned that the U.S. would force the plane to land while flying over U.S. airspace or felt uncertain about his final destination.
WHO MIGHT OFFER HIM SHELTER?
Putin said Monday that Snowden could stay in Russia on condition he stop leaking U.S. secrets. Putin’s spokesman later said Snowden had withdrawn his request for asylum after learning the terms.
Ecuador, which has sheltered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in its embassy in London for more than a year, has given mixed signals about offering him shelter.
Bolivia, whose president attended a summit of gas exporters in Moscow this week, has been seen as a possible safe haven. The plane carrying President Evo Morales home from Moscow was rerouted and delayed in Austria. Bolivia says it is because of suspicions Snowden was on board, though Bolivian and Austrian officials both say Snowden was not on the plane.
Another potential option is Venezuela, whose president attended the same energy summit in Moscow and made a stopover in neighboring Belarus on Wednesday.
ARE THERE MORE LEAKS COMING?
It’s quite possible. Snowden said his work as an NSA systems analyst allowed him to take in a huge range of material, and U.S. officials have given conflicting assessments of how much information he may have had access to. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she had been told Snowden had perhaps more than 200 sensitive documents.
Assange has promised more leaks, saying measures have been taken to prevent anyone from blocking publication of more NSA documents in Snowden’s possession.
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist whose work has been central to breaking the story, suggested media organizations involved already had all the material Snowden wanted to make public. Greenwald indicated it was up to the newspapers what to publish and when.
Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.
“The UK citizen Sarah Harrison passed on a request by Edward Snowden to be granted political asylum,” said Kim Shevchenko, of the airport’s consular department. He said he then called the foreign ministry, who sent a courier an hour later to pick up the request.
He declined to say where Ms Harrison or Mr Snowden, who have not been seen since landing in Sheremetyevo last week, were staying. “She didn’t say and I didn’t ask,” he said.
‘Our American partners’
In a move likely to enrage the US, Mr Putin said yesterday: “If he wants to go somewhere and someone will take him, go ahead. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth.”
Mr Snowden has been in the airport since June 23rd, after flying in from Hong Kong, from where he leaked secret documents detailing US National Security Agency surveillance programmes.
Stripped of his US passport, he has been stuck in limbo since.
His attempts to get political asylum in Ecuador, whose London embassy is sheltering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, appear to have dried up amid intense US lobbying and reported disagreements within the Ecuadorean government.
Snowden met Russian diplomats yesterday morning and handed them a list of 15 countries to which he would like to apply for political asylum, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing an unnamed source in the foreign ministry.
Mr Putin appeared to leave himself some latitude, noting Mr Snowden would be unlikely to meet his conditions for staying in Russia.
“Considering that he considers himself a human rights activist and a fighter for human rights, he probably doesn’t plan to stop this work, so he should choose a host country and head there,” Mr Putin said.
“When this will happen I, unfortunately, do not know.”
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of gas exporting countries, he reiterated that Russia would not extradite Mr Snowden to the US.
“Russia never gives anyone up and doesn’t plan to give anyone up. And no one has ever given us anyone.”
‘Snowden is not our agent’
For the second time Mr Putin, unprompted, insisted Mr Snowden was not working with Russia’s secret services. “Mr Snowden is not our agent, never was and isn’t today. Our special services have never worked with him and are not working with him.”
Russia maintains one of the world’s most developed intelligence mechanisms and is widely believed to engage in snooping on its own citizens.
Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan president, is in Moscow for the two-day gas conference and it was believed he and Mr Putin would discuss Mr Snowden’s fate.
Mr Putin’s foreign policy advisor, Yury Ushakov, said the two had not discussed Mr Snowden yet.
A campaign calling for Mr Snowden to stay in Russia has gathered momentum since he first arrived in Moscow. Yesterday morning, several MPs and influential Russians floated the idea during a meeting of the Public Chamber, a body that advises the Kremlin.
“It’s not right that Snowden is sitting in this terminal like in a prison,” said Sergei Markov, a former MP with close ties to the Kremlin.
“Unlike prison, he can’t even go out and breathe fresh air. On humanitarian grounds, I think he should be presented with a way to enter Russian territory.”
– (Guardian service)
PUTIN by Jedimentat44
It’s always eye catching when Russian leaders and now the Chinese Peoples Daily newspaper, the official organ of the Beijing regime, make straight forward comments about certain U.S. government actions and behavior that precisely hit the mark.
Presently those comments are all connected to Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs, the fallout over the U.S. extradition request to have him sent back to the U.S. to face espionage and theft charges and U.S. government officials making threats to both China and Russia for refusing to have Snowden extradited to the U.S.
Of course, neither China nor Russia have extradition agreements with the U.S., so on the face of it the U.S. is howling in the dark.
But with regard to the Chinese and Russian comments to the U.S. government about its behavior in the Snowden saga, from here they’ re considered priceless. Here are a few of those priceless gems:
From the Chinese Peoples Daily:
Regarding Snowden, “A young idealist who has exposed the sinister scandals of the U.S. government”.
“Instead of apologizing, Washington is showing off its muscle by attempting to control the whole situation”.
“The voices of a few American politicians and media outlets surrounding the Prism scandal have become truly shrill. Not only do some of them lack the least bit of self reflection but they arrogantly find fault with other countries for no reason at all”.
The United States has gone from a model of human rights to an eavesdropper on personal privacy, the manipulator of the centralized power over the international internet, and the mad invader of other countries networks”.
It was “Snowden’s fearlessness that tore off Washington’s sanctimonious mask” revealing them as “The biggest villain in our age”.
From Russian President Putin:
“Assange and Snowden consider themselves human rights activists and say they are fighting for the spread of information. Ask yourself this: should you hand these people over so they will be put in prison?”
Compare those comments (coming from the authoritarian Chinese and Russian regimes) with these comments from Secretary of State John Kerry who said, “Russia is a repressive country” and few hours later said, “The U.S. is not looking for confrontation”. Ah it sounds a little like “double speak” there John.
Now in no way is this writer so naÃ¯ve to believe Russia and China are not themselves authoritarian regimes that do act with repression regarding their internal affairs.
And there’s no doubt that given the opportunity these two countries will stick it to the U.S. with straight forward critical comments as the Snowden saga has afforded them.
But we’re supposed to be a representative democracy, with a Constitution, follow the rule of law and a government that professes to be “of, by and for the people”.
Well those canards belong aside the hokum of “Manifest Destiny” and Nixon stating “I’m not a crook”, (the former a deceit and fallacious lie we were indoctrinated with during my public school days long ago and the latter spoken from the Oval Office on national T.V. about the cover up in the Watergate scandal).
So regarding the Snowden saga the two “repressive governments” comments are pretty much forthcoming with the truth.
As for the U.S. it’s the same bluster and hubris but what else is new.
LOUGH ERNE, NORTHERN IRELAND (The Borowitz Report)—The G8 summit ended today on a constructive note, with President Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin reaching a broad agreement never to speak to each other again.
“It’s better this way,” said Mr. Obama, frostily standing in the general vicinity of Mr. Putin for the last time ever. “We truly despise each other.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Mr. Putin, looking as though he had just smelled something bad. “My hatred of this man knows no bounds.”
According to the agreement, economic coöperation, cyber security, human rights, the war in Syria, and the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s missing Super Bowl ring are among thirty-seven different topics that the two men will never again discuss.
Additionally, at all future summits, if either Mr. Obama or Mr. Putin enters a room the other man will be obligated to leave immediately.
The two men reached agreement on an unprecedented number of points, including never contacting each other via telephone or e-mail and keeping a minimum of five hundred feet away from each other’s residences.
After signing the agreement, the two men shook hands for the final time and scowled bitterly for photographers.
The shocking minutes relating to President Putin’s meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war.
According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.
At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the “undisputed evidence” that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our world’s ability to grow enough food to feed its population.
So grave has this situation become, the MNRE reports, the full European Commission (EC) this past week instituted a two-year precautionary ban (set to begin on 1 December 2013) on these “bee killing” pesticides following the lead of Switzerland, France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine, all of whom had previously banned these most dangerous of genetically altered organisms from being used on the continent.
Two of the most feared neonicotinoids being banned are Actara and Cruiser made by the Swiss global bio-tech seed and pesticide giant Syngenta AG which employs over 26,000 people in over 90 countries and ranks third in total global sales in the commercial agricultural seeds market.
Important to note, this report says, is that Syngenta, along with bio-tech giants Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and DuPont, now control nearly 100% of the global market for genetically modified pesticides, plants and seeds.
Also to note about Syngenta, this report continues, is that in 2012 it was criminally charged in Germany for concealing the fact that its genetically modified corn killed cattle, and settled a class-action lawsuit in the US for $105 million after it was discovered they had contaminated the drinking supply of some 52 million Americans in more than 2,000 water districts with its “gender-bending” herbicide Atrazine.
To how staggeringly frightful this situation is, the MNRE says, can be seen in the report issued this past March by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) wherein they warned our whole planet is in danger, and as we can, in part, read:
“As part of a study on impacts from the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, nicotine-like chemicals called neonicotinoids, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has called for a ban on their use as seed treatments and for the suspension of all applications pending an independent review of the products’ effects on birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.
“It is clear that these chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains. The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise significant environmental concerns,” said Cynthia Palmer, co-author of the report and Pesticides Program Manager for ABC, one of the nation’s leading bird conservation organizations.
ABC commissioned world renowned environmental toxicologist Dr. Pierre Mineau to conduct the research. The 100-page report, “The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds,” reviews 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act. The report evaluates the toxicological risk to birds and aquatic systems and includes extensive comparisons with the older pesticides that the neonicotinoids have replaced. The assessment concludes that the neonicotinoids are lethal to birds and to the aquatic systems on which they depend.
“A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird,” Palmer said. “Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid — called imidacloprid — can fatally poison a bird. And as little as 1/10th of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction.”
The new report concludes that neonicotinoid contamination levels in both surface- and ground water in the United States and around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates.”
Quickly following this damning report, the MRNE says, a large group of group of American beekeepers and environmentalists sued the Obama regime over the continued use of these neonicotinoids stating: “We are taking the EPA to court for its failure to protect bees from pesticides. Despite our best efforts to warn the agency about the problems posed by neonicotinoids, the EPA continued to ignore the clear warning signs of an agricultural system in trouble.”
And to how bad the world’s agricultural system has really become due to these genetically modified plants, pesticides and seeds, this report continues, can be seen by the EC’s proposal this past week, following their ban on neonicotinoids, in which they plan to criminalize nearly all seeds and plants not registered with the European Union, and as we can, in part, read:
“Europe is rushing towards the good ol days circa 1939, 40… A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” by a new EU bureaucracy named the “EU Plant Variety Agency.”
It’s called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.”
This MRNE report points out that even though this EC action may appear draconian, it is nevertheless necessary in order to purge the continent from continued contamination of these genetically bred “seed monstrosities.”
Most perplexing in all of this, the MRNE says, and which led to Putin’s anger at the US, has been the Obama regimes efforts to protect pesticide-producer profits over the catastrophic damaging being done to the environment, and as the Guardian News Service detailed in their 2 May article titled “US rejects EU claim of insecticide as prime reason for bee colony collapse” and which, in part, says:
“The European Union voted this week for a two-year ban on a class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, that has been associated with the bees’ collapse. The US government report, in contrast, found multiple causes for the collapse of the honeybees.”
To the “truer” reason for the Obama regimes protection of these bio-tech giants destroying our world, the MRNE says, can be viewed in the report titled “How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?” and which, in part, says:
“After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA: At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center. As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.”
Even worse, after Russia suspended the import and use of an Monsanto genetically modified corn following a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage this past September, the Russia Today News Service reported on the Obama regimes response:
“The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.
The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.
The provision, also decried as a “biotech rider,” should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.”
On 26 March, Obama quietly signed this “Monsanto Protection Act” into law thus ensuring the American people have no recourse against this bio-tech giant as they fall ill by the tens of millions, and many millions will surely end up dying in what this MRNE report calls the greatest agricultural apocalypse in human history as over 90% of feral (wild) bee population in the US has already died out, and up to 80% of domestic bees have died out too.
KIEV – Ukraine is being pulled in two directions — on the one hand, towards Russia and its so-called Customs Unions, on the other towards the European Union. Time is running out for Kiev to decide which path to take.
According to Christopher Weil, the German ambassador in Ukraine, freeing Yulia Tymoshenko would be extremely welcome to EU members, and would likely be a major step towards an agreement between Brussels and Kiev — a precursor to Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.
Weil said that if Tymoshenko is released, an agreement could be signed as soon as November, during a planned summit of the “Eastern Partnership,” an organization of former Soviet-block countries that are potential candidates for EU members.
This would only be the first step in a long process towards membership in the European Union. It’s not clear how many years, or decades, eventual membership might take for Ukraine. Right now, Europe is only offering initial observer status, rather than full participation in the elite club, and with uncertainty about the longterm conditions of joining. On the other hand, if Ukraine were to sign on to Russia’s trade pact, it would immediately have the same rights and standing as all of the other members.
It might seem natural to opt for the latter, but there are good arguments in favor of Europe, starting with the fact that the total market of the EU is nearly ten times as large as that of the Customs Union, which is made up of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Still, there is no existing market for Ukrainian goods in the European market, and the country’s large agricultural sector would likely come under strict control, while there are still economic connections that date back to Soviet times between Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Finally, Russia has made it very clear that entering its Customs Union is absolutely necessary if Ukraine wants lower gas prices.
While all this is going on, the country’s economic situation grows desperate. Although politicians strike an optimistic tone in public, in conversations with Kommersant, local and national leaders all admitted the dire situation.
“There is no money in the country. Pretty soon the government won’t have the resources to pay salaries or pensions,” said political scientist Konstantin Matvienko. “Neither the IMF or Russia is in a rush to provide a line of credit. The European Union also has its own problems to worry about. The situation is looking like a dead end.”
Viktor Yanukovich continues to negotiate between Moscow and Brussels, looking for the best conditions. But the problem is that nobody is that excited to be negotiating with Kiev. Both Russia and the EU are just dictating their conditions — the Kremlin wants Ukraine to enter the Customs Union, the EU wants political liberalization and freedom for Yulia Tymoshenko.
According to experts, mercy for his most important political competitor is not part of Yanukovich’s plans. Instead, he is already looking ahead to the next national elections, which aren’t until 2015. “In a situation where the standard of living is falling and discontent is rising, the only way to win the election is to shatter the opposition, weaken it, and bring the most odious of the opposition representatives to the second round of voting, so that next to him or her Yanukovich will seem like the lesser evil,” says Ukrainian political scientist Dmitrii Ponamarchuk.
Of all the opposition figures, the most “odious” is obviously Oleg Tyagnyibok, the head of the ultra-nationalist movement called “Freedom”, which got more than 10 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections last October. With his extreme anti-Russian sentiments, Tyagnyibok undoubtedly will repel most of the electorate in the Russian-speaking southeast, as well as a large part of the Ukrainian-speaking center.
Freeing Tymoshenko, as the EU insists, could spoil everything. The “Princess” of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution is still the most important symbol of opposition to Yankovich and his partners. If allowed to run, she has a decent chance of coming out ahead of Tyagnyibok, making it to the second round and winning over Yanukovich. That is why Ukrainian President is unlikely to play by the rules Berlin and Brussels are dictating. Alternative solutions include Yanukovich agreeing to let Tymoshenko off, but delaying her release until after the elections are over.
Either way, we can be sure that Europe will be watching — and Russia too.
Symbolic of the defense of Sevastopol, Crimea, is this Russian girl sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who, by the end of the war, had killed a confrimed 309 Germans — the most successful female sniper in history. (AP Photo)
Members of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) pose at Camp Shanks, New York, before leaving from New York Port of Embarkation on Feb. 2, 1945. The women are with the first contingent of Black American WACs to go overseas for the war effort From left to right are, kneeling: Pvt. Rose Stone; Pvt. Virginia Blake; and Pfc. Marie B. Gillisspie. Second row: Pvt. Genevieve Marshall; T/5 Fanny L. Talbert; and Cpl. Callie K. Smith. Third row: Pvt. Gladys Schuster Carter; T/4 Evelyn C. Martin; and Pfc. Theodora Palmer. (AP Photo)
Three Soviet guerrillas in action in Russia during World War II. (LOC)
Ack-Ack Girls, members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), run to action at an anti-aircraft gun emplacement in the London area on May 20, 1941 when the alarm is sounded. (AP Photo)
The German Aviatrix, Captain Hanna Reitsch, shakes hands with German chancellor Adolf Hitler after being awarded the Iron Cross second class at the Reich Chancellory in Berlin, Germany, in April 1941, for her service in the development of airplane armament instruments during World War II. In back, center is Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering. At the extreme right is Lt. Gen. Karl Bodenschatz of the German air ministry. (AP Photo)
A group of young Jewish resistance fighters are being held under arrest by German SS soldiers in April/May 1943, during the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto by German troops after an uprising in the Jewish quarter. (AP Photo)
The first “Women Guerrilla” corps has just been formed in the Philippines and Filipino women, trained in their local women’s auxiliary service, are seen here hard at work practicing on November 8, 1941, at a rifle range in Manila. (AP Photo)
Little known to the outside world, although they have been fighting fascist regimes since 1927, the Italian “Maquis” carry on their battle for freedom under the most hazardous conditions. Germans and fascist Italians are targets for their guns; and the icy, eternally snow-clad peaks of the French-Italian border are their battlefield. This school teacher of the Valley of Aosta fights side-by-side with her husband in the “White Patrol” above the pass of Little Saint Bernard in Italy, on January 4, 1945. (AP Photo)
A nurse wraps a bandage around the hand of a Chinese soldier as another wounded soldier limps up for first aid treatment during fighting on the Salween River front in Yunnan Province, China, on June 22, 1943. (AP Photo)
Two women of the German anti-aircraft gun auxiliary operating field telephones during World War II. (LOC)
Mrs. Paul Titus, 77-year-old air raid spotter of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, carries a gun as she patrols her beat, on December 20, 1941. Mrs. Titus signed-up the day after the Pearl Harbor attack. “I can carry a gun any time they want me to,” she declared. (AP Photo)
Nurses are seen clearing debris from one of the wards in St. Peter’s Hospital, Stepney, East London, on April 19, 1941. Four hospitals were among the buildings hit by German bombs during a full scale attack on the British capital. (AP Photo)
Polish women are led through woods to their executions by German soldiers sometime in 1941. (LOC)
The first contingent of U.S. Army nurses to be sent to an Allied advanced base in New Guinea carry their equipment as they march single file to their quarter on November 12, 1942. The first four in line from right are: Edith Whittaker, Pawtucket, Rhode Island,; Ruth Baucher, Wooster, O.; Helen Lawson, Athens, Tennessee,; and Juanita Hamilton, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, (AP Photo)
A French man and woman fight with captured German weapons as both civilians and members of the French Forces of the Interior took the fight to the Germans, in Paris in August of 1944, prior to the surrender of German forces and the Liberation of Paris on August 25. (AP Photo)
Elisabeth “Lilo” Gloeden stands before judges, on trial for being involved in the attempt on Adolf Hitler’s life in July 1944. Elisabeth, along with her husband and mother, was convicted of hiding a fugitive from the July 20 Plot to assassinate Hitler. The three were executed by beheading on November 30th, 1944, their executions much-publicized later as a warning to others who might plot against the German ruling party. (LOC)
Miss Jean Pitcaithy, a nurse with a New Zealand Hospital Unit stationed in Libya, wears goggles to protect her against whipping sands, on June 18, 1942. (AP Photo)
62nd Stalingrad Army on the streets of Odessa (The 8th Guard of the Army of General Chuikov on the streets of Odessa) in April of 1944. A large group of Soviet soldiers, including two women in front, march down a street. (LOC)
A girl of the resistance movement is a member of a patrol to rout out the Germans snipers still left in areas in Paris, France, on August 29, 1944. The girl had killed two Germans in the Paris Fighting two days previously. (AP Photo)
Women and children, some of over 40,000 concentration camp inmates liberated by the British, suffering from typhus, starvation and dysentery, huddle together in a barrack at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in April 1945. (AP Photo)
Some of the S.S. women whose brutality was equal to that of their male counterparts at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Bergen, Germany, on April 21, 1945. (AP Photo/British Official Photo)
In this June 19, 2009 photo Susie Bain poses in Austin, Texas, with a 1943 photo of herself when she was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II. Bain is one of 300 living WASP members that hoped at the time to be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed and on March 10, 2010, more than 200 WASP veterans attended a ceremony to be presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. (AP Photo/Austin American Statesman, Ralph Barrera)
Specially chosen airwomen are being trained for police duties in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). They have to be quick-witted, intelligent and observant woman of the world – They attend an intensive course at the highly sufficient RAF police school – where their training runs parallel with that of the men. Keeping a man “in his place” – A WAAF member demonstrates self-defense on January 15, 1942. (AP Photo)
The nine-year-old ranks 43rd on the list of Belarus’ top 100 most influential people, according to the local independent weekly magazine Nasza Niwa. He sits higher on the list than the head of the Orthodox Church, the vice-chief of president’s administration — and all the opposition politicians.
President Lukashenko rarely goes anywhere without his son, so Kolya – the diminutive of Nikolas – has already attended an audience with Pope Benedict XVI and meetings with Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, and the presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Armenia, among others.
A little prince
In April 2008, President Lukashenko appeared for the first time in public in the company of a young boy. They worked side-by-side on the construction of a huge sport hall, mixing and pouring concrete. The next day, a photo of them was on all the front pages, accompanied by the title “Who is the boy?” No one had the answer, and the presidential press office denied knowing anything.
The boy’s identity didn’t stay secret for long. A few days later, during a television documentary, the child was seen addressing the president as “dad.” That is how Belarus learned the existence of the Lukashenko’s third – and secret – son.
Kolya was born in 2004 to Iryna Abelskaja, Lukashenko’s former personal doctor. So why did Belarus only learn of the child in 2008? At that time, the president had just enlisted the services of Lord Timothy Bell, a famous British PR expert who was tasked with improving the perception of Belarus in the West.
Exposing the child to the public was one of Bell’s ideas to soften the image of Lukashenko – who has been called the “last European dictator.” Lukashenko has denied the speculations: “This is not a PR campaign. Am I the only president with children? Yes, Kolya belongs to politics. That is his destiny as a presidential child.”
Like father, like son
Since his first public appearance, Kolya has accompanied his father everywhere. Together they regularly visit workplaces, meet with World War II veterans and attend cultural events. During military parades, the child is saluted by soldiers and generals alike. “When he learns on the television that I have been somewhere without him, he makes a scene,” says Lukashenko.
Kolya’s strong personality manifested itself early. The president revealed that in kindergarten, his son would never want to take his mandatory afternoon nap. He would ask the director for authorization to play, which would be granted immediately. For the past two years he has been home-schooled – but it is unclear why. Kolya has his father’s difficult character, as the president himself once confessed.
The boy has never been seen with his mother. The Russian press speculates that Lukashenko doesn’t let her see her son, something that the president has never addressed publicly.
President Lukashenko, 59, who has been in power since 1994, has declared that he considers Kolya as his successor – a statement he later recanted, saying the whole idea of a political dynasty had been invented by the opposition to scare Belarusians.
Meanwhile the Belarusian’s contempt for their long-ruling president has now partially shifted to Kolya. There has been a lot of criticism of the fact that the boy was born out of wedlock and various rumors on the Internet have said that he was the son of a stewardess, or that he bit and spat at a police officer. The general belief is that Kolya is allowed to do whatever he wants.
“Society reacts negatively toward Kolya because his presence during official meetings is obviously inappropriate,” says AleÅ› Ancipienka, a media expert. The country’s antipathy toward his son worries President Lukashenko. If he loses power, he has said he hopes that no one will “victimize my children, especially the youngest ones. I hope they will be able to live and work peacefully, without being stigmatized about their father.”
Kolya’s future is difficult to predict. Lukashenko’s two other sons, who are older, are public officials. Wiktor is a presidential adviser for security and supervises all the related ministries. The second son, Dzmitryj, is the head of the presidential sport club.