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10,000 protest new government in Moldova as tensions rise

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/moldova-braces-more-protests

Chisinau (AFP) - Around 10,000 people staged a mass protest in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on Thursday as tensions in the pro-Western nation flared following the secret midnight swearing-in of a new government.

People attend a rally in front of the Parliament building in Chisinau, Moldova on January 21, 2016 (AFP Photo/Dorin Goian)

Lawmakers of the impoverished former Soviet republic on Wednesday approved a new government amid political turmoil, with protesters storming the parliament building and opposition legislators attempting to block the vote.

The swearing-in of the new cabinet has exacerbated tensions over alleged high-level corruption in the country of 3.5 million wedged between Ukraine and Romania.

Opposition protesters marched along the capital's main avenues in sub-zero temperatures and rallied in front of the parliament building, which was blocked off by a police cordon six rows deep.

Read more: AFP

MLK Jr.: One of the Nation's Great Democratic Socialists

Martin Luther King Jr.: One of the Nation's Great Democratic Socialists
by Peter Dreier


Martin Luther King Jr Memorial at night in Washington, DC. (Photo: Scott Abelman/flickr/cc)

As we celebrate his birthday, it is easy to forget that Rev. Martin Luther King was a democratic socialist.

In 1964, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, he observed that the United States could learn much from Scandinavian "democratic socialism." He often talked about the need to confront "class issues," which he described as "the gulf between the haves and the have-nots."

In 1966 King confided to his staff:

"You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism."

In holding these views, King followed in the footsteps of many prominent, influential Americans whose views and activism changed the country for the better. In the 1890s, a socialist Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy, wrote "The Pledge of Allegiance" and a socialist poet, Katherine Lee Bates, penned "America the Beautiful." King was part of a proud tradition that includes such important 20th century figures as Jane Addams, Eugene Debs, Florence Kelley, John Dewey, Upton Sinclair, Helen Keller, W.E.B. DuBois, Albert Einstein, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and Walter Reuther.

Today, America's most prominent democratic socialist is Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Like King, Sanders says that the U.S. should learn from Sweden, Norway and Denmark -- countries with greater equality, a higher standard of living for working families, better schools, free universities, less poverty, a cleaner environment, higher voter turnout, stronger unions, universal health insurance, and a much wider safety net. Sounds anti-business? Forbes magazine ranked Denmark as the #1 country for business. The United States ranked #18.


 Uncle Sam Got a Shiny New Propaganda Bullhorn for Christmas

[font size=3]Uncle Sam Got a Shiny New Propaganda Bullhorn for Christmas
The Nation Magazine

[center] A new partnership is turning Radio Free Europe into an
anti-Russia propaganda machine.

As we begin 2016, with the American mainstream media’s anti-Russia bias as deeply entrenched as never before, comes the news that the US government–funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has partnered up with the online magazine the Interpreter.

Previously, the Interpreter had been a “special project” of the Manhattan-based Institute for Modern Russia (IMR), a think tank funded by the exiled Russian oligarch Mikhail Khordorkovsky. In announcing the change, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, the journalist and CNN fixture Michael Weiss, said his organization was “excited to serve as an outpost of such a venerable news organization.”

An RFE/RL official told The Nation that the deal stipulates that RFE/RL will have exclusive rights to publish and translate articles from the Interpreter for RFE/RL’s audience abroad, while The Interpreter will be, in turn, obligated to publish each installment of ITS intractably Russo-phobic “The Power Vertical” blog.

According to Weiss, given his “magazine’s trajectory, a partnership with RFE/RL makes perfect sense.” That is only too true, given the marked decline in RFE/RL’s standards since the heyday of the Cold War.

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty were founded in 1950 by the State Department’s first Director of Policy Planning, George F. Kennan, in coordination with the postwar Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). In founding RFE and RL (the two entities merged in 1976), Kennan and the OPC, according to Kennan biographer John Lewis Gaddis sought “to provide financial support and employment opportunities for Eastern European émigrés, as well as anti-Soviet broadcasts to their homelands.”


Nuclear weapons risk greater than in cold war, says ex-Pentagon chief

Source: The Guardian

William Perry lists a series of factors that he says mean the chance of a ‘calamity’ is higher today than in the 1970s and 80s

The risks of a nuclear catastrophe – in a regional war, terrorist attack, by accident or miscalculation – is greater than it was during the cold war and rising, a former US defence secretary has said.

William Perry, who served at the Pentagon from 1994 to 1997, made his comments a few hours before North Korea’s nuclear test on Wednesday, and listed Pyongyang’s aggressive atomic weapons programme as one of the global risk factors.

He also said progress made after the fall of the Soviet Union to reduce the chance of a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia was now unravelling.

“The probability of a nuclear calamity is higher today, I believe, that it was during the cold war,” Perry said. “A new danger has been rising in the past three years and that is the possibility there might be a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia … brought about by a substantial miscalculation, a false alarm.”

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/07/nuclear-weapons-risk-greater-than-in-cold-war-says-ex-pentagon-chief

Crimea faces months without power rather than be defined as part of Ukraine

Source: The Telegraph

Vladimir Putin asked Crimeans to choose between months of blackouts and signing an electricity contract that says the region is still part of Ukraine.

People play chess holding a torch near Nakhimov's Square in Sevastopol, Crimea Photo: AP

Residents of Crimea are facing several more months of blackouts after being asked to choose between energy shortages or signing an electricity supply contract that defines the peninsula as part of Ukraine.

The peninsular, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, has been in a state of emergency since an “energy blockade” by Ukrainian activists left nearly two million people without power in November.

The survey consisted of two questions: “Do you or do you not support signing a commercial contract with Ukraine for delivery of electricity to Crimea and Sevastopol, if it says that Crimea and Sevastopol is part of Ukraine?”

The second question was: “are you prepared to endure temporary difficulties connected with minor interruptions in the energy supply over the next three to four months?”

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/12077725/Crimea-faces-months-without-power-rather-than-be-defined-as-part-of-Ukraine.html

Crimeans vote to give up electricity contract with Ukraine even if it means more power cut-offs


Headlights exposing residents of Simferopol crossing a motor road. © Maks Vetrov / Sputnik

About 2,500 people in Crimea and 500 in Sevastopol participated in the poll, meaning the statistical margin for error doesn’t exceed 4.5 percent, according to Fyodorov.

If Ukraine doesn’t change the wording in question, Russia is most likely to abandon the contract, Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president’s press secretary, said, upon learning of the outcome of the poll. Putin has already been informed of the results of the survey, he added.

The vote was ordered by President Putin, who wanted to know if locals approved of the renewal of the contract with the Ukrainian Ukrenergo company.

The order followed yet another power line disruption that occurred on December 30 when an electricity pylon was blown up. Ukrainian ultranationalists from the Right Sector group had already damaged a pylon in November, and then prevented rescue teams from repairing it. Since that act of sabotage, Crimea has been suffering from constant blackouts, prompting Russia to boost its own power supplies.


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