West discusses Russia, Belarus and China
Last weekend, Russian courts upheld two sentences to opposition politician Alexei Navalny, and EU foreign ministers will gather on Monday to discuss the situation in Russia.
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, reacted to the verdicts by promising to discuss the EU’s response and accused Russian courts of ignoring the ECHR’s decision that the prosecution of Navalny was political.
The head of the US State Department Anthony Blinken will also join the video conference. The foreign ministers of European countries are expected to make a fundamental decision on the introduction of new sanctions against the Kremlin, AFP reported, citing senior diplomats – and adds that the measures may include a ban on entry into the EU and an asset freeze.
After that, the experts will decide on a list of persons falling under them. The sanctions have already been announced by the head of the Luxembourg foreign ministry in an interview with German publications that will be published on Monday, Deutsche Welle writes.
On Monday, Russia will also be discussed in the UN Human Rights Council.
British newspaper Daily Telegraph writes that British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab will speak at the meeting and accuse Moscow of human rights violations.
This information is confirmed by the newspaper Financial Times. “Handling [Навальным] and violence against peaceful protesters only increases the world’s concern about Russia’s failure to fulfill its international obligations, ”said the head of the British Foreign Ministry, according to FT.
According to the Telegraph, Raab will also support the investigation of human rights violations in Belarus, including allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees at the protests against Alexander Lukashenko.
But the main topic of Raab’s speech will be the fate of Muslim Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the newspaper writes. He is expected to accuse the Chinese Communist Party of atrocities “on an industrial scale” and call on official Beijing to urgently grant access to the UN Human Rights Commissioner or other independent expert to check the situation.
Raab will also demand that the military who took power in Myanmar release State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested after the coup.
Iran has limited UN access to nuclear facilities
On Sunday, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed to extend by three months the access of UN inspectors to nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic.
In this case, inspectors are deprived of the right to spontaneous inspections, and their access to facilities will be limited.
This is how Iran responds to the fact that the United States did not lift the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
Tehran wants a return to the US nuclear deal. Joe Biden’s administration is open to negotiations but refuses to take the first step.
European countries are trying to act as a mediator.
Putin will receive Lukashenko in Sochi
While Russia and Belarus are being discussed in the West, the presidents of the two countries will hold talks in Sochi. On the agenda is the development of strategic partnership and alliance, they say in the Kremlin, including integration within the framework of the Union State.
The press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov suggested that the meeting with Lukashenko would take “practically a whole day.”
Boris Johnson will present a plan to exit the lockdown
England has been in a tough lockdown since January: you can’t go on a visit, meet in groups on the street and travel around the country for no particular reason. Schools and universities are closed, as are all shops except grocery stores. Similar bans apply in other parts of the United Kingdom.
At the same time, Britain is among the world leaders in vaccination against Covid-19: more than 17.5 million people have already received the first vaccination. Together with the lockdown, this led to a decline in infections and deaths, scientists suggest.
Building on the positive momentum, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce on Monday the timetable for England’s exit from lockdown.
Classes are expected to resume on March 8 and the ban on meeting on the street – but only with one person – will be lifted. And only from March 29 will it be allowed to gather six – or two households – on the street or in private gardens. From this day, outdoor sports grounds will also be open.
Parliament of Georgia may approve new government
On Monday, the Georgian parliament will vote on the issue of expressing confidence in the program and the cabinet of the candidate for prime minister Irakli Garibashvili. The candidate will also meet with parliamentary factions. The political crisis in Georgia continues after the resignation of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.
He called the reason for leaving the disagreements with his team after the court decided to detain the leader of the opposition United National Movement, Nik Melia.
Holy prince instead of the knight of the revolution?
In February, pro-government public figures came forward with a proposal to return to Lubyanskaya Square in Moscow the monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Cheka, a key special service of Soviet Russia. The monument was demolished in 1991.
The chief architect of Moscow, Sergei Kuznetsov, supported the idea of returning the monument, but not necessarily to Dzerzhinsky. The Public Chamber of Moscow proposed to hold a vote in which there will be only two options – Felix Dzerzhinsky and Prince Alexander Nevsky.
This is no coincidence, BBC sources say: the Kremlin and the Moscow mayor’s office prefer to see a Novgorod prince on the Lubyanka, not a Bolshevik security officer.
The Rise of Russian Investigative Journalism: NYT
‘Probiv’ —searching online databases, often paid for — and a galaxy of new independent publications have made Russia “the most exciting destination for investigative journalism,” New York Times columnist Ben Smith said.
He analyzes the experience of the British edition of Bellingcat, which, together with the Russian website The Insider, disclosed information about the security officials who were following Alexei Navalny – and, according to the publication, who poisoned him with Novichok.
But it’s not just a breakthrough, but the growing demand for independent journalism in a country where television channels are somehow controlled by the authorities, Smith said – and this role is played by new publications such as Project and Important Stories. He also mentions Mediazona and The Bell, and cites investigations by Meduza, RBC and Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund (recognized by the Russian authorities as an organization acting as a foreign agent – the BBC).
But almost all of the Russian journalists with whom Smith spoke expect that sooner or later the authorities will put an end to the rapid development of this field of journalism in Russian.
Blame the door handles: Clarkson on the palace near Gelendzhik
British TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson, best known for his Top Gear car show, for his column in the Sunday Times watched reports about “Putin’s palace” near Gelendzhik through the eyes of a man who built his own house.
Clarkson says that he hired an architect, a foreman and workers – and thought that nothing more would be required of him. Imagine his surprise when he found that he needed to choose a door handle for every door, and that there are countless numbers of them.
“God knows what it’s like to do this if you still have to launch the Sputnik vaccine, deal with Chechnya and find out why none of the chemical agents you have developed for a lot of money really work,” writes Clarkson.
At the end of the column, he puts forward his own version of events around the poisoning of the Skripals in Britain – in fact, Russian agents are taking revenge not on people, but on door handles, which could not but annoy Putin during the construction of the palace.
Last year, the number of suicides in Japan increased for the first time in 11 years – while the rate for men decreased, and for women it increased by almost 15%.
How does a pandemic increase the risk of suicide, and what does Japan’s example say about the situation in other countries?
Australian animal rights defenders save nambats (marsupial anteaters) from extinction – small animals that feed on termites and in the past were widespread in the south of the continent.
Digest prepared Grigor Atanesyan and Marina Raboutмадова
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