12th-18th December 2022

Translated by: José Chaiça

Russia and Ukraine: Putin’s new measures

As for news regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Russian defence ministry has announced a somewhat daring project – sending musicians and artists to the frontline, as the “front-line creative brigade”. It´s aim? To boost the troops’ morale. According to BBC News, this information comes from British intelligence services at a time when Kiev is showing serious concerns about possible new and stronger attacks, in early 2023.

Meanwhile, the Russian defence minister has reportedly visited Russian troops on Ukrainian territory. This news comes after the publication of a video showing the minister, in a plane, allegedly flying over Ukraine. However, no coordinates or images of the territory can be seen.

Finally, and according to BBC News, President Putin will have a trip scheduled for the next few days, to Belarus. This trip will be primarily aimed at pressing Ukraine’s strategic neighbour to join Russia’s war effort or even send troops into Ukraine. The BBC quotes Zelensky as saying that they are preparing for every possible defence scenario and whoever influences Minsk for any action, will not help them in anything more than any sick idea, in this war against the Ukrainians. For now, Lukashenko has not yielded to any Russian pressure.

Vice-President of the European Parliament

Eva Kaili, Vice-President of the European Parliament (EP) was caught red-handed by the Belgian police and arrested. As a result, she has also been removed from her role as Vice-President of the EP. Investigations are ongoing, but are probably related with her possible involvement in a scam related to the Qatar World Cup.

In the wake of the “Qatargate” investigation, “access clearance for representatives of Qatari interests” was suspended. In response, Qatar reacted with a “warning”, saying that this discrimination and impediment could jeopardise natural gas supply negotiations. The decision now rests with the President of the EP, Roberta Metsola.

The World Cup is over

The World Cup in Qatar, which brought us back to the discussion about the compliance with Human Rights and the toleration of those states that violate them, ended this Sunday. Messi’s Argentina was the winner and, at the end, we were left with the image of one of the best players ever wearing a “bisht” – an Arabic outfit worn by important figures in festive situations or celebrations. After months of protests, the West put its concern for human rights behind its back and celebrated the sport that unites us all. After the strict adherence to FIFA regulations regarding political or religious demonstrations and the use of objects advocating a cause relating to the most basic human rights, the World Cup comes to an end with the image of Infantino allowing the Emir of Qatar to put the mantle of an Arabic celebration on Messi, in a clear violation of FIFA regulations on players’ dress from the start of the match, right to the celebration of a possible victory.

In other news

  • The Harry and Meghan documentary that has called the British royal family into question is now out.
  • A study published by the New York Times, shows that the biggest cause of infant mortality in the United States is fireguns and related violence.
  • In a memorable event, the two American parties, Democrat and Republican, approved by a bipartisan alliance, a legislation that protects marriage. From now on, and by federal imposition, the States are obliged to recognise and protect marriages between people of the same sex. This law repeals the old one, which recognised as Marriage, the union between a Man and a Woman, only.
  • A group of ultra-nationalist Serbian individuals protested at the border with Kosovo and tried unsuccessfully to cross it. The Serbian authorities, as well as NATO, were responsible for stopping them.
  • The COP15 concluded, yesterday, an agreement for the creation of an International Fund for Biodiversity.
  • FIFA refused to broadcast a video of Zelensky at the World Cup final. Among other things, this video urged for a Peace Summit to be held.
  • In Ireland, the head of government has changed. A deal has been struck between the two coalition parties that won the election: A five-year term split in half between Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin. Now it is the former’s turn to head the government.
  • Salah Hamourim, a human rights lawyer with dual Franco-Palestinian nationality, was deported from Jerusalem in a move by the State of Israel that, according to France, is a breach of public international law. According to “The Guardian“, the lawyer had been detained since March without a formal charge, for links to a military group already banned from Israel. The deportation follows the withdrawal of his residence visa for the territory in question. Salah was received in Paris by NGOs, political representatives and his family.
  • Despite the (alleged) ending of the Iranian morality police, another report was released this week, by the portal Iran Wire, that nobody ever wants to read. It lists 28 people which were sentenced to death, for standing up to women’s rights. A 23-year-old has already been hanged this week, adding to the 320 deaths estimated by Iran Human Rights. This time, this list was even more controversial because among the various names, was that of a footballer, Amir Nasr-Azadani.

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