HELSINKI: Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya expects mass protests against veteran President Alexander Lukashenko to start up again in the spring and to be more organised than last year. Speaking to Reuters on a visit to Finland, Tsikhanouskaya said a majority of Belarusians still thought Lukashenko should step down and they had spent the winter getting organised. "The chair under Lukashenko is shaking," she said. Belarusians took to the streets last year in large numbers after a presidential election in August that the opposition said was rigged. The authorities responded with a crackdown. The size of the protests dwindled over the winter and Lukashenko, who promised to make unspecified reforms to the constitution, appears to have weathered the storm. Tsikhanouskaya said the opposition is talking to people in the Belarusian elites, the state administration and riot police and was getting inside information about torture and violence. "People near him … [Read more...] about Belarusian opposition leader expects new wave of protests
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THE site of the world's worst nuclear disaster has seen a huge surge in visitors and is now being made into a tourist site. Here's the latest on the Chernobyl power plant, and what has happened since the disaster. Where is Chernobyl? Chernobyl is a ghost city in the restricted Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where a power plant explosion claimed the lives of dozens of people in April 1986. At least 31 people died following exposure to radiation, but the World Health Organisation has estimated that thousands of people could eventually be exposed to fatal radiation. Chernobyl is situated in northern Kieve Oblast in Ukraine , near the border with Belarus . The site and the nearby city of Pripyat were evacuated on April 23, 1986, 30 hours after the most disastrous nuclear accident in history. Pripyat, a city of 50,000 people and far closer to the power plant than Chernobyl itself, was built in the 1970s as a home for the power plant workers. The city and … [Read more...] about Where is Chernobyl and can I go there?
During 2020, freedom around the world declined for the 15th straight year, according to Freedom House in its annual country-by-country assessment of political rights and civil liberties. The group now says fewer than one fifth of the world lives in “fully free” countries, the lowest percentage since 1995. “This year’s findings make it abundantly clear that we have not yet stemmed the authoritarian tide,” said Sarah Repucci, vice president of research and analysis at Freedom House. “Democratic governments will have to work in solidarity with one another, and with democracy advocates and human rights defenders in more repressive settings, if we are to reverse 15 years of accumulated declines and build a more free and peaceful world.” The report says the coronavirus pandemic provided many regimes around the world an opportunity to “reduce transparency, promote false or misleading information, and crack down on the sharing of unfavorable data or critical views.” “Lockdowns were … [Read more...] about Democracy, Liberty Declining Worldwide, Freedom House Report Finds