San Juan y Martinez (Cuba), Sept.29 (AFP).– Western Cuba's tobacco-growing heartland has been devastated by Hurricane Ian with piles of wood and tiles where farms once stood.
A triangle of three municipalities in the Vuelta Abajo region of Pinar del Rio province, the Cuban region worst affected by the tropical storm, is where the best tobacco leaves grow and is a pillar of the island nation's ravaged economy.
Russian-appointed occupation officials in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia oblasts announced on September 20 that they will hold a “referendum” on acceding to Russia, with a vote taking place from September 23-27. The Kremlin will use the alleged results of these sham referenda to illegally annex all Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine and is likely to declare unoccupied parts of Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia oblasts to be Russian territory as well
Washington DC, Sept.21 (ISW).– The Kremlin’s annexation plans are primarily targeting a domestic audience; Putin likely hopes to improve Russian force generation capabilities by calling on the Russian people to volunteer for a war to “defend” newly claimed Russian territory.
Putin’s illegal annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory will broaden the domestic legal definition of “Russian” territory under Russian law, enabling the Russian military In blue the territory gained by the Ukrainian offensive of the last 10 daysto legally and openly deploy conscripts already in the Russian military to fight in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces likely continued offensive operations along the Lyman-Yampil-Bilohorivka line on September 20. An unnamed senior US defense official stated that Ukrainian and Russian forces are engaged in artillery duels near Lyman. Several Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops are attacking Lyman from the northwest (around the Sviatohirsk-Yarova area) and south (along the Shchurove-Dibrova line). A Russian mil blogger stated that Ukrainian troops attempted to attack Drobysheve, about 5km northwest of Lyman. Geolocated combat footage confirms Russian and Ukrainian claims that Ukrainian troops have taken control of Bilohorivka, Luhansk Oblast (about 30km southeast of Lyman). Russian sources also continue to indicate that Ukrainian troops are likely conducting offensive operations across the Oskil River with the intention of penetrating Russian rear areas in occupied Luhansk Oblast. (...)
Strasbourg, Sept.13.– The Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR will organise an International Round Table on “Civil Society: Empowerment and Accountability” in the framework of the Irish Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.
The participants will discuss the challenges of inclusive decision-making processes. A special attention will be devoted to the regulations concerning foreign-funded NGOs.
The speakers in the opening session will include the Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić; High-level Representative of the Irish Presidency, Minister for European Affairs of Ireland Thomas Byrne (pre-recorded); President of the Venice Commission Claire Bazy Malaurie; Director of the OSCE/ODIHR Matteo Mecacci; President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Tiny Kox; Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Dunja Mijatović; Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Michael O’Flaherty and Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (pre-recorded).
London, Sept. 8 (DP.net).– Elizabeth II, the British monarch, has completed her splendid reign. After Louis XIV, who ruled France for 72 years, her term on the throne is the second-longest in history. Following the passing of her father, King George VI, and five years after their Westminster Abbey wedding to Prince Philip, commonly known as the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952. Eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and four children were born to her and Prince Philip. She served as a monarch for 70 years.
With the assistance of her family, Queen Elizabeth served as the head of state in the United Kingdom and many other Commonwealth nations. She made historic travels to places like China, the Middle East, and the Vatican while fostering ties with longtime friends like the United States. She hosted some 120 state visits, including her renowned state banquets at Buckingham Palace.
The queen had delegated one of her most important public duties to Prince Charles in May, having him preside over the State Opening of Parliament and delivering the Queen’s Speech laying out the government’s legislative program. The event is a symbol of the monarch’s constitutional role as head of state and is accompanied by centuries of tradition designed to demonstrate the strength of Britain’s political institutions.
"I cannot lead you into battle," the Queen, summing up her role in a 1957 Christmas broadcast, once told her subjects. "I do not give you laws or administer justice, but I can do something else: I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations."
Moscow, Aug. 31 (DP.net).– Mikhail Gorbachev's death is being mourned by the West as the loss of a champion of freedom who helped end the Cold War. He passed away in Moscow on Tuesday at a time when his legacy of reconciliation with the West and domestic reform has been left in tatters in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. However, from Washington to Brussels, Gorbachev was widely acclaimed after the news of his death. His real strength was his charm and decency. He may have changed the world, but he was a real human being first and foremost according to those who knew him personally. Among many others, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher found in Gorbachev someone she could "do business with." Then, through her, U.S. President Ronald Reagan came around to the view that Gorbachev was indeed an authentic partner in the peace and rapprochement process.
Nevertheless, Mikhail Gorbachev was a contradictory figure; his legacy complex. Hailed in the West as a democrat and liberator of his people –which he genuinely was– he increasingly became despised by many within Russia for dismantling the Soviet Union as a Great Power.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, (born March 2, 1931, Privolnoye, Stavropol kray, Russia, U.S.S.R.), Soviet official, general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from 1985 to 1991, and president of the Soviet Union in 1990-91. Once he achieved the highest position in the party in 1985 he embarked on a pell-mell program of reform. It was centered on two ideas, that of "perestroika" –the restructuring of the political and economic system– and "glasnost" –the end of censorship and the introduction of freedom of speech and the press. Ultimately, his efforts to democratize his country's political system and decentralize its economy led to the downfall of the Soviet Union as an imperialist and expansionist power.