Category Archives: News

Taiwan endorses same-sex marriage

Taiwan’s legislature passed a law allowing same-sex marriage, a first for Asia. The vote allows same-sex couples full legal marriage rights, including in areas such as taxes, insurance and child custody. Taiwan‘s Constitutional Court in May last year said that the constitution allows same-sex marriages and gave parliament two years to adjust laws accordingly. Taiwan’s acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships began in the 1990s when leaders in today’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party championed the cause to help Taiwan stand out in Asia as an open society.

Despite the spread of same-sex marriage in a few regions since 2001, gay and lesbian couples are permitted to marry in only about two dozen of the world’s nearly 200 countries.

The bill will be signed into law by President Tsai Ing-wen before the deadline of May 24 set by the Constitutional Court.

AMDENDED:

American States restrict abortion rights

Gov. Kay Ivey signed the controversial Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which outlaws almost all situations to perform abortions in the state, a day after the Republican-controlled Senate voted to send her the bill without adding exceptions for victims of rape and incest despite pleas from their Democratic colleagues.

As a result of the new Act, doctors in the state could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion unless a woman’s health is at “serious” risk.

To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God,”  Gov.Ivey said in a statement.

Ivey added that the bill, which will take effect in six months, “closely resembled an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 100 years.”

A number of states across the country have adopted restrictive abortion measures, with the Alabama voting to effectively ban the procedure entirely unless the mother’s life is at stake.

Sixteen (16) states have passed or are currently considering abortion bans once a fetal heartbeat is detected about six weeks into pregnancy. Four (4) states have approved so-called heartbeat abortion laws.

Proponents of the measures have said they hope to trigger a legal battle that could eventually lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

At present, experts insist some prosecutors must push against the states’ actions on abortion by refusing to enforce them.

Poroshenko signs law criminalizing multilingualism

The incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko has signed the law on provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian as the state language. The signing ceremony was broadcast by all central Ukrainian TV channels.

Poroshenko  said he had the “greatest honor and a unique opportunity to sign the law on provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language,” adding the signature “is one of the most important acts for the formation of Ukrainian statehood” since the language is the platform and foundation on which the state is being built.

I emphasize that this law does not affect the languages of national minorities living in Ukraine,” Poroshenko said. “…The only thought we did not intend to take into account was Moscow’s opinion. Let them do with Russian”  he added.

“Very few issues are as fundamental to a person’s identity as their native language. Challenging this may provoke a defensive response. History teaches us that any such attempts often end badlywarned Lamberto Zannier, High Commissioner on National Minorities of the OSCE.

Although Ukraine is officially aiming the European Union integration de facto Poroshehnko opposed the European values, namely the linguistic rights of the minorities. At present 23 official and 60 regional languages are practiced on the EU territory.

In Europe, linguistic diversity is a fact of life. Languages are an integral part of European identity and the most direct expression of culture. In an EU founded on the motto ‘United in diversity’, the ability to communicate in several languages is an important asset for individuals, organisations and companies. Languages not only play a key role in the everyday life of the European Union, but are also fundamental for respecting cultural and linguistic diversity in the EU” the European Commission explains.

In Ukraine the case of attempts to introduce bilingualism or multilingualism, or to grant official status to any other language in the whole country or in a separate region, this equates to overthrowing the constitutional order. You can get up to 10 years in prison for this in accordance with section 109 of the Penal Code.

Here is the list of ten top changes language law imposes on the citizens of Ukraine:

1. The only state and official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian. Public disrespect and ignoring the law is equated with the abuse of state symbols: from a fine of up to 6.800 hryvnia up to imprisonment up to 3 years.

2. All the representatives of the central executive bodies of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, deputies, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, notaries, medical workers, and teachers must have proficiency of the Ukrainian language. All meetings, events, working communication in government bodies, including Crimea, in state and municipal events should be held in Ukrainian. If the event organizers deems it necessary to apply another language, they must ensure it “provides a translation into the state language”.

3. Language requirements for members of the government, high-ranking officials, and people’s deputies will be determined by the National Commission for Standards of the State Language, and the Ukrainian Language Center will test them for compliance. In addition to these two new institutions, the Terminology Center of the Ukrainian language will be created. One of its tasks is the “development of the standards of the Ukrainian sign language.”

4. In public kindergartens, the language of instruction is Ukrainian, in private there may be other options, however Ukrainian language should be present. As for universities, the teaching should be conducted in Ukrainian, but lectures in one of the EU languages ​​are allowed. That is, Chinese and Yiddish, as follows from the text, are banned on a par with Russian.

5. In theaters, cinemas should sound the Ukrainian language. Performances and films in a foreign language must be accompanied by subtitles. “Cinemas can show foreign films in the original language, accompanying the subtitling in Ukrainian. The total number of showcases of such films cannot exceed 10% of the total number of showcases of films in a cinema a month,” the bill said.

6. Mass media is also switching to the Ukrainian language. If, say, your favorite newspapers or magazines were printed in Russian, then after the law came into force, they should have half the circulation of the Ukrainian version. The total duration of foreign language television and radio programs and broadcasts may not exceed 10% of the daily broadcasting time for national broadcasters, and 20% for regional and local broadcasters.

7. In bookstores should be on the shelves at least 50% of the products in the Ukrainian language.

8. A language ombudsman  is becoming  a leading authority for complaints. The language inspector will get rights akin to a police officer. He will be able to request documents or their copies and other information, including those with limited access, to freely visit state authorities, enterprises and institutions regardless of their form of ownership, attend their meetings, receive documents or their copies and other information from civil associations upon request, political parties, legal entities of private law.

9. The draft law also provides for the creation of an institution of language inspectors, who will observe the purity of speech in their region. It is assumed that there should be 27 language inspectors.

10. All who wish to obtain Ukrainian citizenship must pass the exam on the knowledge of the Ukrainian language.

 

Roskosmos official fled Russia

Roskosmos is shaken by a new scandal – one of the top managers of the Russian state corporation, Yuri Yaskin the general director of the Research Institute for Space Instrument Engineering (NII KP), which develops and manufactures radio equipment and electronics, resigned and fled Russia, leaving the enterprise amid audit.  According to Russian media, Yaskin wrote his resignation report from abroad, without returning from Europe. In April he received permission for a business trip to a European country, he used this opportunity to say farewell to the enterprise via a letter. (Image above: illustration).

Currently, the former director is presumably in Greece, Kommersant newspaper reports, citing unnamed top managers of defense industry enterprises.

The audit of the company and the subsequent departure of  Yaskin are associated with a warning that was sent out in early February to the management of the enterprises of the industry by Director General of Roscosmos Dmintry Rogozin, who reminded the directors of what happens when financial and economic irregularities are discovered. “I warn you about personal responsibility in the event of the discovery of such violations,” the letter said.

Cannes festival contaminated by politics

The Cannes festival 2019 demonstrates a further shift of the VII Art into politics, being used as a tool to shape political preferences of the spectators, abandoning even formal frame of neutrality, and preoccupation with artistic creations.

At the press conference introducing this year’s festival jury, its president Alejandro González Iñárritu, ceased an opportunity to criticize President Trump, and another jury member Alice Rohrwacher denounced film industry for failing to meet gender equality standards, and promote female film-makers.  Subsequently, the times of art uniting people are gone, contaminating the festival with toxic emanation of political struggle. From universal language of images, the film industry has openly transformed itself into a tool for political use, promoting agenda of specific groups of interest.

The first Mexican-born president of the Cannes jury,  Iñárritu, expressed concern at rise of populism, including Trump’s ascendance to power, and added that his presence at the festival served as a repudiation for the US president’s anti-immigration policies.

According to Alice Rohrwacher to be a woman-film director is similar to “survival a “shipwreck”. However, in spite of being plagued with so many political concerns, the 72nd Cannes film festival gets underway with movies presentations.

Every year, the Cannes Festival invites filmmakers from all over the world to give their own interpretation of the contemporary world, sketching a world map of cinema. In 2018, more than 120 countries were represented.

May attempts to get Brexit deal before summer break

In June British Prime Minister Theresa May will undertake one more effort to receive the endorsement for her Brexit deal from the Westminster before the summer break, setting a new deadline for her exit from the EU plan and a potential timetable for her own departure.

Brexit had been due to take place on March 29, but May government was unable to get her departure deal (WA) approved by the House of Commons, which rejected the so-called Withdrawal Agreement (WA) three times. As a crisis response the EU offered delay to 31 October, an absolute deadline before the start of a new institutional cycle: from November onward the procedure of the appointment of new European commissioners should start. According to the EU Treaty the UK will be obliged to appoint a Commissioner to Brussels if it is still a member of the European Union by November 2019.

Bulgaria minister resigns over EU funds misuse

Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture Rumen Porozhanov (pictured) resigned in an aftermath of scandals involving purchases of luxury properties and the building of guest houses with EU aid for private use.

Porozhanov did not quite immediately after the scandal eruption, but  two weeks after prosecutors launched a large-scale probe into possible fraud with EU rural development aid at over 700 guest houses.

Bulgarian media reported that Porozhanov bought a spacious apartment in 2004 at substantially below market price. Other reports said he had failed to properly declare real estate deals carried out by his spouse in 2017.

Porozhanov has denied any wrongdoing and told Prime Minister Boyko Borissov he resigned to avoid attacks against him to influence the functioning of the center-right government, its press office said in a statement.

Porozhanov was in charge of the multi-million State Agriculture Fund aimed to support agriculture.

A deputy economy minister had to quit his post last month and facing charges of crimes against the financial interest of the EU after media reports said he and his family were the only users of an expensive holiday estate built with EU aid.

Notorious for its corruption, Bulgaria is an absolute black-list leader among  the EU member states according to the 2018 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International. Despite numerous political pledges to reduce graft, the state has yet to sentence a high-level officials over corruption, and misuseB of public funds.

 

 

 

« Older Entries Recent Entries »