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Britain must speak up for democrats in Hong Kong


Originally posted on Cut to the Chase - Noah Sin's Blog:

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Published on Independent Voices on 1st July 2014. An edited version was published in print in the iPaper on 2nd July 2014. Also published in The Gulf Today on 3rd July 2014.

Tens of thousands of protesters have braved blistering heat and then pouring rain this week to take to the streets of Hong Kong. Their mission: to secure democracy for a city of seven million people.

This is a city left behind. Ever since the former colony’s return to China, Hong Kong has been characterised as the last page of an era that belongs to the history books – the era of empire. Most Britons are ignorant of the fact that Britain – the signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration – remains legally liable to the implementation of the handover, including the protection of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

This is a people let down. When Margaret Thatcher bowed to…

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Ukraine: Democratic Alliance denies membership to LGBT activist


The political party Democratic Alliance has denied membership to Bohdan Globa, an LGBT activist based in Kyiv, who could not be immediately reached for comment.The political party Democratic Alliance has denied membership to Bohdan Globa, an LGBT activist based in Kyiv, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

The political party Democratic Alliance has denied membership to Bohdan Globa, an LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) activist based in Kyiv.

Speaking to journalists at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center on June 4, Democratic Alliance leader Vasyl Gatsko underscored that Globa’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with the decision.

“Nobody in Democratic Alliance asks when, how, or with whom one sleeps, or about their sexual orientation. This decision was not related to his sexual preference, it is related to his views…His views differ from ours, for example, on the issue of family,” said Gatsko.

Still, when the Kyiv Post pressed Gatsko about the meaning of family values, he responded that “Democratic Alliance is a Christian Democratic party. Our position is that family is made up of a man and a woman.”

Tochka Opori, an advocacy group that works with people with HIV and members of the LGBT community, condemned Democratic Alliance’s decision, citing Ukraine’s anti-discrimination laws.

The group argued that Democratic Alliance had violated article 24 of Ukraine’s constitution, which states: “There shall be no privileges or restrictions based on race, color, political, religious or other beliefs, sex, ethnic or social origin, property status, place of residence, linguistic or other characteristics.

“We maintain that the political party Democratic Alliance which gained its popularity in the wake of the revolution of dignity and pro-European ideas turned out to be totally unprepared for liberal values, norms and rules,” read a statement on Tochka Opori’s website.

Gatsko said that the Democratic Alliance “represents the views of our society,” and that Ukrainians with different views are free to join other political parties.

Globa could not be reached immediately for comment.

Democratic Alliance began as a youth movement, registering as a political party in 2011, when it began to running on an anti-corruption platform. The party is popular among young voters and played an active role in the EuroMaidan Protests that toppled former President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

Because the party largely caters to young, typically more liberal voters, the decision to deny membership to Globa is somewhat surprising. Democratic Alliance’s platform calls for democracy and social justice, and for a society “based on human values, upholding the priority of human rights and freedoms.”

Democratic Alliance secured two seats in the Kyiv Rada in the May 25 municipal elections, winning just over 3 percent of the vote, the threshold necessary for representation in the local parliament.

The party’s leaders noted at least 10 instances of falsification in the election, suggesting that other parties had tried to marginalize Democratic Alliance, thereby securing greater representation in the Kyiv Rada.

Kyiv Post

Editors Note: UnitedForUkraine should stand for everybody not just the select few, I stand behind the Ukrainian people in their fight for peace and for the right of all people to be treated as equals!!!

Dobkin poised to lead Party of Regions to defeat in May 25 presidential election


Mykhailo DobkinFormer governor of Kharkiv Mykhailo Dobkin delivers a speech during a convention of former ruling Party of Regions in Kiev on March 29, 2014. Dobkin The pro-Russian camp’s main candidate for Ukrainian presidential elections emerged from a tumultuous Regions Party congress that first purged Yanukovych and several other ousted ministers from its ranks. It decided on Saturday to back the candidacy of former eastern Kharkiv region governor Mykhailo Dobkin — a colourful figure of limited mass appeal who is currently under investigation for urging Russian speakers to resist Kiev’s rule. The 44-year-old Dobkin will have to limit his campaigning to daylight hours because he has been placed under partial house arrest and is forbidden from being outdoors in the evenings. AFP PHOTO/YURIY KIRNICHNY

Three months ago, the only thing that most Ukrainians living outside Kharkiv Oblast knew about its governor Mykhailo Dobkin was that he had “a boring face.”

“Misha, you have a boring face, nobody will give you money,” Hennadiy Kernes, currently Kharkiv city mayor, shouted at Dobkin when the two were struggling to record Dobkin’s address to electorate in Kharkiv eight years ago and instead ended up in one of Ukraine’s most watched funny YouTube videos.

The unfortunate video, leaked to the Internet, became Dobkin’s unwanted trademark. The politician became the subject of many jokes and earned a slighting nickname “Dopa.”

That’s why it came as a surprise for many when Dobkin – as no joke – was nominated as the presidential candidate by Ukraine’s biggest party, Party of Regions, and his “boring face” appeared on thousands of billboards.

Dobkin has ruled Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city, since 2006 until March, first as elected mayor, than as an appointed governor of the region. In 2013, he made Hr 21 million.

After the ruling Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych was toppled by the EuroMaidan Revolution, the remnants of the now-opposition party proved incapable of nominating a candidate who could return the party’s lost status.

Four polls, all conducted by non-governmental institutions, give Dobkin two to four percent support. In 2010 elections, Yanukovych gained 35 percent in the first round.

Dobkin didn’t have time to be interviewed by Kyiv Post and did not answer the questions sent to his press office.  (more…)

Akhmetov calls for peaceful rally today at noon against Kremlin-backed separatists


Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, who owns the Shakhtar football club, greets fans in Donetsk.Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, who owns the Shakhtar football club, greets fans in Donetsk on April 28, 2013. Akhmetov — a longtime ally of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych — is coming out more forcefully against the Kremlin-backed separatists who have proclaimed a breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic in Ukraine’s most populous oblast, home to 10 percent of Ukraine’s 45 million people.

Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, after treading cautiously between Kremlin-backed separatists and the government in Kyiv that came to power when the EuroMaidan Revolution overthrew his ally ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, came out on May 19 more forcefully against the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic.

Akhmetov called for workers at all businesses in the Donbas region, where he own coal mines, steel mills and other businesses, to stage a peace rally at noon on May 20. He called on all people in Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk, where a separatist republic has also been formed, to join the action.

Nearly 15 percent of Ukraine’s 45 million people live in the two oblasts. It remains to be seen if Akhmetov’s more forceful backing of a unified Ukraine, if followed by strong actions, can help defeat the Russian-backed separatists who are now officially considered to be terrorists by Ukraine’s central government. His call for condemnation of the separatists comes days ahead of Ukraine’s decisive May 25 presidential election, expected to be one by fellow billionaire Petro Poroshenko.

“Just tell me please, does anyone in Donbas know at least one representative of this Donetsk People’s Republic? What have they done for our region, what jobs have they created? Does walking around Donbas towns with guns in hands defend the rights of Donetsk residents in front of the central government? Is looting in cities and taking peaceful citizens hostages a fight for the happiness of our region? No, it is not! It is a fight against the citizens of our region. It is a fight against Donbas. It is genocide of Donbas!” Akhmetov said in “an emergency statement” released late on May 19 addressed to “dear fellow countrymen.”

Akhmetov said that he “will not let Donbas be destroyed. I was born and am living here. That is why I am calling on everyone to unite in our fight: for Donbas without weapons! for Donbas without masks! for Donbas with a peaceful sky above!”

Akhmetov’s call for action, according to the statement, was prompted by reports that Kremlin-backed separatists in Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast’s second-largest city, planned to shoot participants of a peaceful rally of some 50,000 of the city’s residents. Akhmetov said he called on the demonstrators to suspend the march planned on May 19 to avoid bloodshed.  (more…)

Ukip goofs again over call for pro-Europe politicians to be hanged


Gordon Ferguson - UKIP
A Ukip candidate who sent a letter to his constituents calling for pro-Europe leaders to be hanged has apologised, saying he has not had media training.

Gordon Ferguson, who is standing in the Cambridge ward in Southport, said in an email to the Guardian: “In retrospect I can see the language I used and ideas I alluded to may be perceived as rather strong. However, it’s a reflection of how strongly I feel about the growing undemocratic power and influence of the EU over UK affairs. I am by no means media trained but an ordinary chap who wants the best for Britain.”

He said the media were looking for any way to embarrass the party by going after “ordinary men and women who wish to stand proudly for Ukip at local level”. He said he “regretted any embarrassment he had caused the party at this crucial time”.

In the letter to constituents, Ferguson wrote: “The Lib-Lab-Cons have conspired with a foreign power the EU and all are thereby guilty of treason. They have sold Britain with the world’s fifth largest economy illegally into increasing slavery inside the EU dictatorship. Those responsible should be brought to trial and those found guilty of treason should be hung by the neck until dead (Blair illegally changed the penalty to save his neck).”

He went on to claim it was unlikely that treasonable acts by politicians would be brought to trial because most police officers, judges and the Crown Prosecution Service were “almost all exclusively freemason”, adding: “Britain’s courts have been corrupt for many years. They are all almost in the pocket of the EU.”

Ferguson has appeared in a YouTube video denouncing opponents of Ukip for pulling down posters and throwing paint over a Ukip van.

Editors Note: “ordinary men and women” think before they put their thoughts down on paper, politicians especially need to think  before writing to their constituents. Unfortunately UKIP politicians barely have enough brain cells to organise a piss-up in a brewery, let alone write a decent letter to anyone.

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