Russian President Vladimir Putin announced far-reaching changes to the Russian constitution on Jan. 15, leaving one big question: What happens to Putin when his current term ends in 2024?
Under the Russian constitution, presidents cannot serve more than two terms “in a row.” That poses serious problems for Russian presidents and their supporters as they approach the end of their second terms in office, as is the case for Putin.
In Russia’s winner-take-all system of power, outgoing presidents cannot guarantee that their successors will protect their interests. In democratic systems, of course, presidents lose elections and stand down. But in the context of Russia and other former Soviet states, those demitting office and their entourage have good reason to fear arrest by their successors for financial and other malpractices.… Seguir leyendo »
Viral outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases are not unique to China — the MERS coronavirus came out of the Middle East, and Ebola emerged in West Africa. But unique factors facilitate the mixing of animal and human viruses in China, and that leaves China more prone than other countries to incubating infections such as avian and swine flus, along with two of the three novel coronaviruses that can infect humans: SARS and the new Wuhan virus.
Though China’s authoritarian system can make effective identification and isolation easier, it may also be inhibiting the broader public response. Here’s what you need to know.… Seguir leyendo »
In September, London’s most senior police officer, Cressida Dick, warned that Britain could be sleep-walking into “some kind of ghastly, Orwellian, omniscient police state” if it didn’t address the ethical dilemmas posed by facial recognition and artificial intelligence. Now, her prophecy is coming to pass.
Last week, the London Metropolitan Police announced that it will start using live facial recognition technology to identify criminal suspects in real time, in one of the largest experiments of its type outside of China. The entire world should be paying attention.
Since 2010, British police have been operating under severe strain as successive governments cut more than 20,000 police jobs.… Seguir leyendo »
On this date 17 years ago, I was covering the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus for several months as it spread across Asia, eventually reaching 37 countries, sickening 8,098 people and killing 774 of them.
So, as I read the first reports of a cluster of animal-market related illnesses, with the first patient exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia as early as December 12, 2019, I had a chilling sense of déjà vu. By New Year’s Eve, it was obvious something akin to SARS — as it turns out, the Wuhan coronavirus is in the same family of viruses as SARS and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) — was unfolding in China.… Seguir leyendo »
Living in Dallas for the past six years, I have ached to see my only sibling, Niloufar. There were days we missed each other so much that I almost wanted to give up my life in Dallas just to go and see her, but I knew if I left, I might not be able to come back to be here with my husband. I had to wait for my immigration case to process before I could visit them, and Niloufar couldn’t come see me because of the recent US travel restrictions for Iranians.
I remember the day when I realized I couldn’t go to Niloufar’s civil marriage ceremony to my brother-in-law Saeed in London, where they lived; I cried.… Seguir leyendo »
In 2013 my college team, the California Golden Bears, made it to the final four of the national championship. One day in the locker room our coach, Lindsey Gottlieb, told us there was a surprise. She projected a grainy cellphone video of a personal message from Kobe Bryant wishing us luck. We lost to Louisville in the semifinal, but Kobe’s belief in us stuck.
I grew up watching him play for the Los Angeles Lakers, and I learned to mimic his moves on the court. He perfected the jab step, pump fake, Euro step, up and unders and pivots. His game was technical — he was an athletic freak of nature, sure, but he was a thinker of the game, and so cerebral.… Seguir leyendo »
During the jury selection process for Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial this month, dozens of women gathered outside a Manhattan courthouse to perform a version of the dance/chant known as “Un Violador en tu Camino,” or “A Rapist in Your Path.” First in Spanish, then in English, they sang: “Patriarchy is our judge that imprisons us at birth/And our punishment is the violence you don’t see.”
This performance, which quickly went viral, was created last year by the Valparaíso, Chile-based feminist collective Lastesis, and is based on the work of the Argentine-Brazilian anthropologist Rita Segato. The lyrics describe how the state upholds systematic violations of women’s rights, through institutions such as the judiciary and the police.… Seguir leyendo »
What if they held an election and nobody won?
It sounds like a joke, but Peruvians woke up to it splashed across their headlines this week. In a country where voting is compulsory by law, people dissatisfied with their options risk a fine if they stay home. So instead they turned out this Sunday … and cast more than twice as many spoiled and blank ballots as they did ballots for the most popular party.
While Peruvians were certain they didn’t like the parties in their last Congress, the country did not coalesce around an alternative. The result is that as many as 10 parties will have seats in Congress even though no party received more than 10 percent of the total vote once blank and null ballots are included.… Seguir leyendo »
As the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread around the world, the World Health Organization’s decision to hold off on declaring the outbreak «a public health emergency of international concern» is baffling.
The virus, which is similar to the fatal severe respiratory syndrome (SARS), first emerged in Wuhan, China, which has a population greater than New York City. More than 1,900 people have already been infected, and more than 55 people have died. To contain the virus during the Lunar New Year, which marks the largest annual human migration in the world, the Chinese government placed a lockdown on 12 cities, affecting about 35 million people.… Seguir leyendo »
Seventy-five years ago, the Soviet army reached Auschwitz-Birkenau, threw open the extermination camp’s hateful gates and liberated those who had survived the Nazis’ horrors. The complex’s industry of death killed about 1 million Jews. This is an incontrovertible fact.
And yet, as eyewitness survivors age and pass away, we must focus on combating the passage of time’s impact on remembering historical events. It’s our collective responsibility to counter the dissemination of outright lies that threaten to dim the reality of the Holocaust’s undeniable hatred.
According to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, a shocking 41% of US adults, and 66% of those between the ages of 18-34 do not recognize the name Auschwitz.… Seguir leyendo »
On Jan. 15, it became clear to the people of Russia that they would never again have the opportunity to vote for Vladimir Putin. It also became clear that they would live with him for the foreseeable future.
In his annual State of the Nation address, Mr. Putin promised that he would step aside in 2024 when his current term expires. At the same time he outlined a series of sweeping constitutional reforms that would likely go into force this year: Russia will remain a presidential republic but future presidents will be limited to two terms in office. Parliament will have the right to appoint government ministers, including the prime minister.… Seguir leyendo »
When Rosalía, a Spanish singer and songwriter, released her debut album, “Los Ángeles,” in 2017, she was largely unknown outside of Spain. In the years since, she has won two MTV Video Music Awards and five Latin Grammys, garnered nine million Instagram followers and made a cameo in Pedro Almodóvar’s film, “Pain and Glory.” Her 2018 genre-bending sophomore release, “El Mal Querer,” also earned a Grammy nomination for best new artist: The 26-year-old musician from Sant Esteve Sesrovires, a small town north of Barcelona, is the first Spanish-language recording artist to break into the category. (The award ceremony takes place tonight.)… Seguir leyendo »
China is once again facing a health scare that has the potential to turn into a major global pandemic — could this become SARS 2.0? This time though, the Chinese government is being more transparent and moving into action much faster.
This is a stark contrast to a long history of covering up infectious disease outbreaks. China waited several months to alert the international community about SARS when it broke out in 2002-2003. The SARS virus eventually infected over 8,000 people and killed approximately 800 throughout the world.
Some public health experts are worried the current outbreak could turn into an epidemiologic nightmare, given the millions of travelers and large crowds during the Lunar New Year holiday.… Seguir leyendo »
Cuba under Fidel and Raúl Castro saw its share of No. 3 men. Occupying the country’s most visible position of power after the Castros meant that getting the boot was always a possibility, and perhaps even an inevitability.
Humberto Pérez, who assumed this role as planning minister in the mid-1970s, was removed from his post a decade later, without official notice, when the government decided to introduce new economic reforms. Carlos Aldana, the Communist Party’s head of ideology and foreign policy during the post-Soviet depression known as Cuba’s “special period,” was dismissed, seemingly overnight, for committing “serious personal errors.” Roberto Robaina, a former foreign minister, was swiftly removed from the Communist Party for discussing with foreigners what a post-Castro Cuba would be like.… Seguir leyendo »
Mention concerns about the rule of law in certain EU countries, and people, even EU officials, automatically assume you are referring to Hungary and Poland. Without doubt, the state of democracy in both countries is worrying. Buoyed by strong electoral mandates, their populist governing parties are interfering with the independence of the judiciary and increasing state control of other institutions, including the media. But an equally worrying trend is less talked about. The decline in respect for the rule of law is happening elsewhere in the EU – indeed, it is an EU-wide issue and it has the potential to undermine the functioning of the entire bloc.… Seguir leyendo »