TalkAboutSexxx.com

Sex and sexuality news and information forum

 forum - business directory - image gallery

It is currently Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:46 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 971 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 61, 62, 63, 64, 65
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:50 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Venezuela teeters on brink of default
by Maria Isabel SANCHEZ
8 November 2017

CARACAS (AFP) - Longstanding fears of a Venezuela debt default crystallized Wednesday, as the political crisis engulfing the sinking OPEC state deepened with a meeting set at the UN Security Council and the EU eyeing an arms embargo.

Investors were bracing for what looked to be an inevitable "credit event" that analysts said could arrive within days -- before a "refinancing and restructuring" of the debt called for by President Nicolas Maduro.

While the country's isolation means the risk of contagion to international financial markets is limited, a default could trigger a global rush to seize assets owned by the Venezuelan government and its state oil company PDVSA, and plunge the struggling nation into a full-blown humanitarian emergency. Already, its 32 million citizens are suffering shortages of food, medicine and other essentials as their money, the bolivar, is decimated by hyperinflation and recession reigns. Hundreds of thousands have left the country to survive, and many, many more could follow.

The United States, which has slapped successive sanctions on Venezuela and its ability to issue new debt on US markets, called for a UN Security Council meeting next Monday to discuss the crisis, particularly its political aspect. "What we have today in Venezuela is a state of non-democracy with many violations of human rights and political rights," Argentine President Mauricio Macri said in New York after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He told the Financial Times the US should impose "a full oil embargo" on Venezuela. Such a move would have "broad support" across Latin America, he said.

The US and several Latin American nations, including Argentina, call Maduro a "dictator" for his quashing of dissent, especially sidelining the opposition-held parliament and seeking to arrest opposition figures. National Assembly number two Freddy Guevara has taken refuge in the Chilean ambassador's residence in Caracas to avoid arrest after the Supreme Court, loyal to Maduro, stripped him of his parliamentary immunity.

Recent regional elections that declared a victory for Maduro's Socialist Party have done nothing to reverse international condemnation of the president's perceived autocracy. European Union countries backed an arms embargo on Venezuela as part of a sanctions package also set to include a blacklist of Venezuelan individuals, diplomatic sources said. "The political aim remains to force the government to get round the negotiating table with the opposition and contribute to getting out of the current political crisis," one diplomatic source said. "It's a gradual, flexible and reversible tool."

The only bright spot for Venezuela was Russia saying Caracas had agreed to its terms for restructuring the part of the debt it holds, with an accord to be signed within a week. "Venezuela has confirmed the conditions that were agreed and so the process will move to a final phase," minister Anton Siluanov told the Interfax news agency.

Venezuela's official debt to Moscow stood at $2.8 billion as of 2016, with another $6 billion owed to oil giant Rosneft, which is closely allied with the Kremlin. That, however, is just a fraction of Venezuela's total debt mountain, estimated at $150 billion. Around $45 billion is sovereign debt, another $45 billion is owed by PDVSA, and $23 billion is owed to China, according to estimates by private consultancies.

For a country with the world's largest proven oil reserves -- nearly 300 billion barrels, worth more than $15 trillion -- such debt normally should be bearable. But decades of mismanagement, destruction of Venezuela's private sector, big spending on social programs, lack of infrastructure investment, rigid currency controls and the fact that oil exports are now essentially debt repayments rather than income all conspire to shove Venezuela to the edge of the precipice.

The country has just $9.7 billion in hard currency reserves, yet debt payments due in 2018 total $8 billion. Major credit rating agencies Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's have all downgraded Venezuela's standing and say default is all but certain.

One market analysis firm, Capital Economics, says default could happen as early as this weekend. Other analysts say Venezuela will try to stave that off beyond Monday, when foreign creditors have been invited to Caracas to hear the restructuring proposal. Some suggest a default would allow Maduro to spend money currently diverted to creditors to allow more imports of food and medicine ahead of a possible re-election bid in 2018. "A default would free up resources to pay for imports, giving Maduro in the short-term political boost for re-election," said Risa Grais-Targow, Venezuela analyst for the Eurasia Group. Such spending could "lower the risk of protests," agreed Diego Moya-Ocampos, of IHS Markit.

Yet a default would likely see investors suing to get hands on Venezuelan and PDVSA assets -- oil shipments, tankers, bank accounts, and the US refinery subsidiary Citgo. That would rob Venezuela of much of its capacity to sell its all-important oil.

Source: AFP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:51 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Mugabe to get $10m payoff and immunity for his family
By Jason Burke in Harare
25 November 2017

Robert Mugabe and his wife will receive a “golden handshake” worth many millions of dollars as part of a deal negotiated before the resignation of the ageing autocrat last week.

The exact sums to be paid to the former president and his wife Grace are still unclear, though one senior ruling party official with direct knowledge of the agreement said the total would not be less than $10 million. The official said that Mugabe, who has been granted immunity from prosecution and a guarantee that no action will be taken against his family’s extensive business interests, would receive a “cash payment of $5 million” immediately, with more paid in coming months.

The 93-year-old’s $150,000 salary will also be paid until his death. The 52-year-old first lady, reviled for her extravagance and greed, will then receive half that amount for the rest of her life.

Mugabe’s 37-year rule left Zimbabwe with a worthless currency, massive debts, an impoverished population and an estimated unemployment rate of more than 80%. Roads are rutted, many rural communities have no electricity, education is basic and healthcare almost non-existent. A life expectancy of 60 is one of the lowest in the world.

The first couple will be able to remain in their sprawling mansion known as the Blue Roof, in Harare. The state will pay for their medical care, domestic staff, security and foreign travel.

A second official defended the agreement, made early last week after protracted negotiations between senior politicians close to the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and representatives of Mugabe. Mnangagwa was sworn in on Friday in a colourful ceremony before tens of thousands of people in Harare’s main stadium. The 75-year-old stalwart of the ruling Zanu-PF party promised a new era for his country, and said that he would govern for “all Zimbabweans”.

Opposition politicians have criticised the agreement with the former president. “We are not privy to any deal reached with Mugabe, and if there is any deal on money or anything else it is unconstitutional,” said Douglas Mwonzora, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party. “In terms of the constitution Mugabe is a retired president and does not have immunity to criminal or civil wrongdoing committed while in office. In Zanu-PF, they can grant each other immunity, but the law does not authorise that.”

Themba Mliswa, an independent MP, said “there was no country which would like to see a former president in a state of poverty”, but that leaders must understand they were accountable. “There must be a good precedent. You can’t see a president come in looking to loot and plunder and thinking he will be allowed to keep it,” Mliswa said.

Grace Mugabe was called “Gucci Grace” in Zimbabwe for her lavish spending. The former secretary, who married the president in 1996, recently bought millions of dollars worth of property and luxury cars in South Africa. Her eldest son, 25-year-old Bellarmine Chatunga, recently enraged Zimbabweans by posting a clip on social media taken in a well-known Johannesburg nightclub showing him pouring a £200 bottle of champagne over a £45,000 watch on a night out in South Africa, boasting that “daddy runs the whole country”.

The deal also extends to the Mugabes’ wide business interests, which include a series of dairy farms, and those of his extended family. “None of this will be [seized] or in any way molested,” said the official involved in the negotiations. The difficulties of drawing up a list of the many assets to be covered by the agreement contributed to the delay in Mugabe’s resignation, which had been widely expected as early as last Sunday, he said.

Grace Mugabe’s oldest son, Russell Goreraza, 33, from her first marriage, is reported to have a substantial stake in Zimbabwe’s lucrative mining industry. He imported two Rolls-Royce limousines in September. One relative of Mugabe confirmed on Saturday that he was “covered” by the deal and that he would not be leaving Zimbabwe. “I was worried about what the changes would mean for me personally … but I am now reassured that I can live on in my country,” said the relative, who lives in Harare and has a large farm in western Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa, who was a loyal aide of Robert Mugabe for decades, has urged the country’s citizens not to undertake any form of “vengeful retribution” and in his inaugural speech praised the “immense contribution” made by the former president.

Though there is still much residual respect for Mugabe, based on his record as a leader in Zimbabwe’s wars of liberation in the 1960s and 1970s, there is little affection for his wife. It was her bid to succeed her husband that triggered the events leading to his overthrow. The first lady and prominent members of her G40 faction engineered the firing of Mnangagwa as vice-president. The army then took over to allow the former spy chief to return to Zimbabwe to take power.

Those not covered by the deal with the Mugabes may face harsh punishment for picking the wrong side. The former finance minister Ignatius Chombo who was among those detained by the military when it seized power, appeared in court on Saturday to face corruption charges. Chombo’s lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, had said that his client was admitted to hospital on Friday with injuries sustained from beatings he received while in military custody. Chombo is accused of having stolen $3.6 million.

An early indication of Mnangagwa’s style of government will come with his selection of a new cabinet, possibly as early as Sunday. There are widespread hopes – not least among western diplomats – that officials from the MDC and other opposition parties will be included in the new government. Mnangagwa has also pledged to respect the constitution and hold elections by next August. “The people’s voice will be heard,” he told the jubilant crowd of tens of thousands who packed the Harare stadium.

Source: The Observer UK

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:56 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Thousands rally over vote count ‘fraud’ in Honduras
4 December 2017

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Electoral authorities in Honduras seemed poised to hand the president a second term on Monday even after tens of thousands took to the streets in the biggest protests yet over suspected vote count fraud since last week's disputed election.

U.S.-backed President Juan Orlando Hernandez called for his supporters to wait for a final count as protesters from the opposition flooded streets across the country to decry what they called a dictatorship. As night fell Sunday, the sound of plastic horns, honking cars, fireworks and beaten saucepans echoed over the capital Tegucigalpa, challenging a military curfew imposed to clamp down on protests that have spread since last week.

TV star turned opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla, addressing a giant rally in the capital earlier in the day, called on the armed forces to rebel against orders to enforce the curfew, and encouraged supporters to walk out on a national strike starting Monday. "I call on all members of the armed forces to rebel against your bosses," Nasralla told a cheering throng of supporters who booed nearby troops. "You all over there, you shouldn't be there, you should be part of the people." Nasralla accuses the government of trying to steal last week's election. TV images showed similar protests in other major cities.

While there were no reports of violence during Sunday's demonstrations, hundreds have been arrested and at least three people killed in recent days. The government imposed a military-enforced curfew on Friday that expanded powers for the army and police to detain people and break up blockades of roads, bridges and public buildings.

Early last week, Nasralla, a former sportscaster and game show host, appeared to have pulled off an upset victory over Hernandez, gaining a five point lead with nearly two-thirds of the vote tallied. After an unexplained pause of more than a day, the sporadic vote count started leaning in favor of the incumbent. "It was a gigantic change," said Mark Weisbrot from the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research. "The chances of this occurring, had the first 57 percent been drawn as a random sample of tally sheets, is next to impossible."

The electoral tribunal, which is led by a member of Hernandez's party, began a partial recount, which was projected to stretch into the early hours. Early Monday, Hernandez had nearly 43 percent of the vote while Nasralla had just under 41.4 percent, with more than 97 percent of votes tallied, according to the tribunal's website. Earlier, authorities said they would announce a winner soon. Nasralla demanded the recount be widened to include thousands more polling stations, but electoral officials have not agreed to expand the review. The Organization of American States on Sunday said Nasralla's demands were doable.

Pope Francis prayed for a peaceful resolution to the political crisis, while the U.N.'s human rights office urged authorities to respect citizen's right to protest. Venezuela's president accused the United States of backing vote fraud in the country, while the top official at the U.S. embassy praised Sunday's peaceful protests and the "orderly" final count under way.

The Central American country struggles with violent drug gangs, one of world's highest murder rates and endemic poverty, driving a tide of Hondurans to migrate to the United States. "We cannot continue with this president. We are afraid to leave our houses. We want to study and have a future that is not just going to the United States or being killed by gangs," said Marilyn Cruz, a 27-year old law student, who joined the protests on Sunday.

Hernandez, 49, implemented a military-led crackdown on gang violence after taking office in 2014. He has been supported by U.S. President Donald Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, since Kelly was a top general in the previous administration. The 64-year-old Nasralla is one of Honduras' best-known faces and is backed by former President Manuel Zelaya, a leftist ousted in a coup in 2009.

Since late last week, three people have been killed as soldiers broke up protesters' blockades of rubble and burning tires. There were also reports that between four and five more had been shot dead in the north of the country on Friday.

Source: Reuters

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:41 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Ukraine under pressure from West over corruption
by Dmitry ZAKS
7 December 2017

KIEV (AFP) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is facing mounting pressure from the West for his failure to fight high-level corruption that helped drive pro-EU protests and topple a Russian-backed government in 2014.

The fear in Brussels and Washington is that Kiev will follow the failed course of a similar revolution in 2004-2005 and dissolve into political infighting between vested interests tied to powerful ministries and tycoons. That era ended with the election in 2010 of a Kremlin-backed leadership that quickly realigned the former Soviet republic with Russia.

Scrutiny of Poroshenko is also growing because of the security service's attempt on Tuesday to arrest former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili -- an anti-corruption campaigner who is leading protests against the president.

The ruling party's desire to defang the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) by giving parliament the right to remove its leaders appeared to be the final straw for Kiev's chief Western backers. IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Wednesday said she was "deeply concerned by recent events in Ukraine that could roll back progress that has been made in setting up independent institutions to tackle high-level corruption".

The US State Department and European Union issued similarly blunt statements this week. The World Bank and British Foreign Office have also rallied to NABU's defence. The new agency has won numerous enemies by targeting people who seemed untouchable to law enforcement in the past. These have included the powerful interior minister's son and three senior defence officials.

Poroshenko's party bowed to Western pressure by withdrawing the NABU bill from a debate planned for Thursday and agreeing to rewrite the legislation. But analysts said they expected the attacks to continue. "We have won this battle but the war goes on," Vitaliy Shabunin of Kiev's non-profit Anti-Corruption Action Centre told AFP.

The International Monetary Fund believes that corruption is a $1.8-billion (1.5-billion-euro) problem that accounts for two percent of Ukraine's gross domestic product. But its true extent may be far greater because the handful of billionaires who control most of Ukraine's prized assets prefer to conduct their business through shell companies.

The extent of Western disenchantment with Poroshenko was encapsulated by Michael Carpenter -- a former US deputy assistant secretary of defense who is also a senior director of the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. "If (parliament) votes to dismiss the head of the Anticorruption Committee (Yegor Sobolyev) and the head of the NABU, I will recommend cutting all US government assistance to #Ukraine, including security assistance," Carpenter tweeted. "This is a disgrace."

Lawmakers agreed to remove Sobolyev hours after Carpenter posted his comments. Sobolyev said after his ousting: "The former and present corrupt elite have colluded. Their plan is to break the independence of anti-corruption bodies and replace them with fake ones."

Conflict-riven Ukraine has relied on various sources of Western support to climb out of a dire 2014-2015 recession that nearly emptied the central bank. Now those funds are drying up. The European Commission last week decided against sending a 600-million-euro tranche payment of a 1.8-billion-euro assistance programme because of Ukraine's foot-dragging on institutional changes.

Poroshenko appeared to try Thursday to reassert his reformist credentials by vowing to introduce legislation supporting NABU's work with special anti-corruption courts. But many remain unconvinced. "The attacks against the anti-corruption agency will continue," Transparency International Ukraine chief Yaroslav Yurchyshyn told AFP. "The question is whether the remaining clean members of the ruling elite can withstand pressure from the corrupt ones."

Source: AFP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:15 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Burundi's president launches campaign to extend his rule
By ELOGE WILLY KANEZA
12 December 2017

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) -- Burundi's president launched a campaign Tuesday to support constitutional amendments that could extend his rule despite warnings by his opponents of more violence ahead.

President Pierre Nkurunziza told supporters in Gitega province to vote in favor of the changes in an upcoming national referendum. The proposed changes include extending a presidential term from five years to seven. A date for the referendum has not been set but it is expected next year.

The opposition has warned that attempts to change the constitution could lead to more bloodshed in the East African country still reeling from deadly violence following Nkurunziza's contentious decision to seek a third term in 2015. Hundreds of people have been killed, and the International Criminal Court has begun looking into alleged crimes.

The constitutional changes were proposed by a government-appointed commission and have been ratified by Nkurunziza's cabinet. Many Burundians believe that after the amendments become law Nkurunziza will attempt to serve two more terms totaling 14 years.

Burundi's most prominent opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa, told the Associated Press that "it's clear that Nkurunziza is aiming at remaining in office for life." Nkurunziza "wants to tailor the constitution to his desire" to rule for several more years, said iBurundi, a group of online activists. "The regime is using this campaign to deflect the pressure following its refusal to engage in inclusive peace talks."

Nkurunziza rose to power in 2005 following the signing of the Arusha accords to end Burundi's 13-year civil war that killed about 300,000 people. He was re-elected unopposed in 2010 after the opposition boycotted the vote. Nkurunziza said he was eligible for a third term in 2015 because lawmakers, not the people, had chosen him for his first term, but critics called the move unconstitutional. His current term expires in 2020.

Associated Press writer Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda, contributed.
Source: AP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:24 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Russia moves to block Khodorkovsky's news website
13 December 2017

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian communications watchdog has moved to block a news website financed by top Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The Russian Communications Oversight Agency said in a statement on Tuesday that it has put Khodorkovsky's Open Russia website on the black list after it received a request from the Prosecutor General's Office to block it. The prosecutors' plea came after Khodorkovsky's NGO was listed as an "undesirable" organization, a label stemming from a new law intended to tighten the Kremlin's tight control over the political landscape.

Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, spent 10 years in prison on two sets of charges largely regarded as political retribution before he was pardoned in December 2013. He has been living in exile since, supporting human rights initiatives and independent media.

Source: AP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:48 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
What new president? Rural Zimbabweans missed Mugabe drama
By Farai Mutsaka
15 December 2017

LUPANE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Good luck convincing some of Zimbabwe's far-flung residents that they have a new president despite last month's dramatic ouster of Robert Mugabe after 37 years in power.

"Don't be silly, no one has that kind of power to remove Mugabe. He will die in office, that one," said Sokuluhle Dube, selling cooked goat meat at a cattle auction far from the capital, Harare. "I don't think you are a journalist, maybe you are a spy," the 76-year-old told the Associated Press as her friends nodded in agreement.

As new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa tries to revive a shattered economy, the changes his government hopes to hurry along are bumping up against a rural lifestyle where news travels by word of mouth — and clearly not all news has arrived.

In this district disconnected from phone lines, many people are only remotely aware of the momentous events leading to Mugabe's resignation, including the military's takeover, the hundreds of thousands marching in the capital and the impeachment proceedings that finally led the 93-year-old president to step down. Instead, the local buzz was about the cattle auction in Lupane's Gomoza village, where hundreds gathered to buy and sell. In the fair-like atmosphere, others bargained over items ranging from bicycles to sorghum beer as music blared from loudspeakers.

Mugabe, gone? Many have known no other president. "It's true. I heard someone talk about it the other day," one younger villager said, amid the skeptics. But he showed little concern. "How does it help us? They always do their things in Harare. Look around us, does it seem like they ever cared about us?"

The work of recovering from years of mismanagement, a severe cash shortage and unemployment so severe that millions have left the country is an even more towering challenge in Zimbabwe's agricultural regions, where infrastructure is often shaky or absent. In Gomoza, one store advertises mobile phone money transactions that are impossible because there is no mobile phone coverage. Fixed telephone lines are down, and signals for local television and radio are nonexistent. The dusty road to the village is dominated by donkeys drawing carts, the main mode of transport.

The scene resembles many parts of Zimbabwe that have been left behind by years of underdevelopment and often rely on international aid organizations to get by. "People here make a living from livestock. They sell cattle, goats and chickens. Business is improving because of support from the Food and Agricultural Organization, which initiated training for villagers," said Nyovane Ndlovu, chairman of the auction floor. One bull at the auction fetched $610, which had to be paid in cash. There is no infrastructure to pay any other way, said Lucia Mwanyisa, a community manager for the livestock project.

Still, the place hummed with small-scale activity, with little interest in the country's recent turn in the international spotlight. "What change? Maybe for you in the cities," said Ishmael Mguni, who danced to music pouring from battery-operated speakers. No other power was available.

Source: AP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:27 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Navalny: Putin seeks to be 'emperor for life'
by Ekaterina ANISIMOVA, Marina LAPENKOVA, Germain MOYON
17 January 2018

MOSCOW (AFP) - The Kremlin's top critic Alexei Navalny has slammed Russia's March presidential election, in which he is barred from running, as a sham meant to "re-appoint" Vladimir Putin on his way to becoming "emperor for life".

With two months to go before Russians vote in polls that are all but guaranteed to hand Putin a historic fourth term, the 41-year-old opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigner spoke to AFP Tuesday in his campaign headquarters. "This is not an election and my role will consist of explaining to people that this procedure, which they call an election, in fact is only held to re-appoint Putin," he said. "We will prove this and convince people that it's impossible to recognise either these polls or this regime."

Navalny last year mounted a national campaign, meeting thousands of people in cities across Russia, but in December the Central Election Commission said he could not take part due to a controversial embezzlement conviction which the opposition leader says is fabricated. He is now ready to channel the force of his campaign team into persuading Russians to boycott the polls, calling his first major protest of this year on January 28. "Putin wants to be emperor for life. His entourage, people who became billionaires and the world's richest individuals, they want the same thing," he said, vouching to continue his "political fight."

Navalny's rise to the top of Russia's opposition in recent years has seen him tone down his previous nationalist rhetoric. Focussing on corruption, he mounted two major protests last year which drew tens of thousands of participants across Russia and resulted in hundreds of arrests. Ignored by most media, notably government-controlled television, Navalny has been highly visible online. A video he posted about Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's alleged secret wealth has received 25 million views since March.

Despite constant pressure from the authorities, Navalny has built a considerable support base, and many of his campaigners are young people. In 2017 he had three stints in jail and his supporters are also frequently arrested and attacked.

Putin "fears me and he fears the people I represent," Navalny said. "I created the biggest political movement in Russia's recent history with over 200,000 volunteers." These volunteers, spread through offices in most Russian regions, will now be organised to support a "voters' strike", he said. "We are not going to vote, we are seeking to convince everyone that they should not vote, and we will monitor the election to prevent the authorities from falsifying turnout," including in the Caucasus region, known for publishing dubious figures of over 90 percent.

Putin's popularity has hovered above 80 percent since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, according to several pollsters. Among his rivals on the ballot are Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin, the longtime leader of the Liberal-Democratic party Vladimir Zhirinovsky and liberal candidates Ksenia Sobchak and Grigory Yavlinsky. None of them are currently polling at more than eight percent.

A successful election will see the 65-year-old Putin return to the Kremlin for another six-year term. That would extend his rule until 2024, making him the country's longest serving leader since dictator Joseph Stalin.

Navalny said Putin's popularity was artificially high in a non-competitive atmosphere. "These ratings only exist in conditions where (authorities) don't let certain candidates participate and only allow people they have personally picked," he said. He accused Putin of having "turned Russia into an authoritarian state" with instability manifesting itself in acts of terror and falling quality of life while he "made corruption the core of his rule." "Corruption made our country -- a country very rich with oil -- poor!" he said. "We are fighting for our country, our future," he said.

A father of two, he added that he understands the risks to him and his family but does not let that stop him. "I know what actions the Kremlin is capable of," he said, mentioning the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in 2015. "Of course I am, as a normal person, worried about the safety of my family."

Source: AFP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:52 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Office of rights group in Russia's North Caucasus torched
By NATALIYA VASILYEVA
17 January 2018

MOSCOW (AP) -- Masked attackers on Wednesday torched the office of the prominent Russian rights group Memorial in the region of Ingushetia, the latest escalation of tensions between the activists and officials in the North Caucasus.

The arson attack that Memorial said happened in the early hours came a week after the chief of the group's branch in neighboring Chechnya was detained on suspicion of drug possession. The man's arrest has been widely regarded as a payoff by Chechen authorities for Memorial's work exposing rampant rights abuses in the region that saw two separatist wars in the 1990s.

Oleg Orlov, chief of Memorial's North Caucasus research, told the Associated Press he believes the attack is linked to the crackdown on the activists' work in Chechnya. "I have no other theories: the only place we have tense relations with in the region is Chechnya," Orlov said by the phone from the Ingush capital, Nazran. Orlov said Memorial, which also investigates rights abuse in Ingushetia, does not encounter hostility from authorities there like it does in Chechnya. Ingushetia's leader, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, earlier on Wednesday met with Orlov and other activists and assured them of his support in conducting a fair probe, Orlov said.

Repression against government critics and rights advocates has often spilled over from Chechnya to neighboring Ingushetia, where Chechen operatives have been known to have a free hand. A long-time Memorial activist in Chechnya, Natalya Estemirova, was kidnapped in 2010, and her body was found in Ingushetia. In 2016, a group of journalists traveling to Chechnya was attacked near the border between the two regions. Neither incident has been solved.

The attack on Memorial's office in Nazran came a week after Oyub Titiyev, chief of the group's branch in Chechnya, was arrested for drug possession. Police said marijuana was found in the car of the 60-year old activist after he was stopped by police. Memorial has described Titiyev's arrest as an attempt to muffle a rare critic of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday denied suggestions of a possible link between the crackdown on Memorial in Chechnya and Wednesday's arson attack in Ingushetia, saying the two incidents happened in two different regions.

Memorial has been a source for reports of enforced disappearances, torture and collective punishment perpetrated in Chechnya under Kadyrov. Local authorities have dismissed Memorial as an enemy, paid for by the West to smear the local government. Orlov said he and some other Moscow-based activists have been staying in Ingushetia since late last week, traveling to Chechnya every day to work on the Titiyev case. Orlov said Memorial's car had been consistently followed and stopped by the police in Chechnya.

Source: AP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:56 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Russia pollster stops publishing opinion poll results ahead of election
16 January 2018

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's main independent polling agency has stopped publishing results of opinion polls on the upcoming presidential election, fearing legal repercussions.

Levada Center was listed as a foreign agent in 2016 under a new law aimed at curbing alleged foreign influence on public life in Russia. Authorities insist that the law does not aim to target critics of the Kremlin. Levada is not a foreign company, but Russian authorities are able to list it as a foreign agent because it has received foreign funding.

Levada's director, Lev Gudkov, told the Russian daily Vedomosti on Tuesday that the agency is carrying out election polling but will not publish results during the campaign because it fears that this could be viewed as election meddling and could lead to a motion to close down the pollster. Russians go to polls on March 18 to vote for their president. Incumbent Vladimir Putin is expected to win by a landslide.

Results of Levada's polls have not differed dramatically from those by the two main state-owned polling agencies in terms of support for Putin and the ruling party. But recent polls did show a difference regarding the turnout for the upcoming vote. With his key rival, Alexei Navalny, barred from running, Putin is facing candidates who only nominally oppose him. That raised fears of a lower turnout at the election, which would be a major embarrassment for the Kremlin.

Commenting on the pollster's announcement, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday it was "unfortunate" that Levada will not be able to publish its polls but said it was a matter of following the law.

Source: AP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:53 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8369
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Venezuelan professor's worn out shoes bring wave of solidarity
24 July 2018

CARACAS (AFP) - Jose Ibarra is 41, has a masters degree, is studying for a PhD and works as a university professor, but thanks to Venezuela's economic crisis, he cannot even afford to have his shoes repaired.

Ibarra has become something of a social media hit after a tweet he posted in late June went viral. His tweet was a photo of a pair of black shoes with broken soles, accompanied by the message: "I'm not ashamed to say this: I go to the UCV with these shoes. My salary as a university professor is not enough to pay for new soles." The post has been re-tweeted almost 10,000 times, liked 5,400 times, and provoked nearly 1,000 comments plus a whole lot of goodwill.

Ibarra works at the Venezuelan Central University (UCV), the most important in the South American country, and earns 5.9 million bolivars ($1.70 on the black market) a month. In a country gripped by hyperinflation -- the International Monetary Fund projects will hit a mind-blowing one million percent by the end of this year -- that's barely enough to buy a kilo of meat but nowhere near sufficient to pay the 20 million bolivars necessary to get his shoes repaired.

Ibarra's story is a sorry reflection of the catastrophic effects Venezuela's collapsed economy has had on its people. Since he posted his tweet, Ibarra has received donations of shoes, clothes, money and hundreds of messages of support that led him to launch his "Shoes of Dignity" campaign to help other colleagues. "The tweet was an explosion of frustration. As hardly anyone was following me, I thought no one would see it," Ibarra told AFP. "But already I've received 12 pairs of shoes -- of which I've given away nine -- clothes and money. I created the movement because I kept receiving donations."

Messages and offers of help have come from far afield: Argentina, Colombia and even Spain. "We have a shoe shop in Colombia, we repair and make them. How can we send them?" said one Twitter message Ibarra received.

He has kept two pairs of used shoes and one new pair of trainers. He also gained 2,900 followers, more than 10 times the number he had before the tweet. Ibarra plans to give away some of the money he received to "the professors who need it the most so they can buy food," some of whom have "lost weight because they don't eat well." Some public university lecturers have intermittently gone on strike over the last three weeks, demanding improved wages.

Venezuela's economic crisis has had wide-reaching consequences on the country, which is dependent on its vast oil reserves, exports of which provide 96 percent of its hard currency revenue. Food and medicine shortages have hit the population hard but so, too, has a breakdown in public transport. Privately owned bus companies cannot afford to run their vehicles because passenger fares cannot cover maintenance costs such as replacing tires. A shortage of buses led President Nicolas Maduro's government to put on free transport in pick-up trucks known locally as "kennels", but that's been widely criticized due to safety concerns. It all means that people like Ibarra have been forced to walk where once they would have taken public transport, with his soles obviously bearing the added workload. "It's impossible to buy shoes. The money I have doesn't allow me to buy personal effects, not even food," said Ibarra. Lluvia Habibi, in charge of the store in which Ibarra tried to get his shoes repaired, told AFP that prices were high because raw material providers kept pushing up theirs.

Ibarra insists he's lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds) during the crisis and has had to rely on help from family and friends. After his infamous tweet, a friend in Mexico sent him money so he could "eat an ice-cream or pizza." Other members of his family have also lost weight and don't have the money to buy new clothes. It means an old sewing machine in his home gets used regularly to take in baggy clothing.

A study by leading universities, UCV included, found that poverty levels had risen to 87 percent of the population in 2017, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the country's crisis in recent years. Despite his travails, Ibarra won't be joining them, though. "Venezuela can be saved," he insisted.

Source: AFP

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 971 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 61, 62, 63, 64, 65

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group