Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: At Fenway, a prank and a warning – The Boston Globe http://dlvr.it/R35qG4   http://dlvr.it/R360nC  http://dlvr.it/R361QB

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: At Fenway, a prank and a warning – The Boston Globe http://dlvr.it/R35qG4   http://dlvr.it/R360nC  http://dlvr.it/R361QB 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: US Court Upholds Most of California’s ‘Sanctuary’ Migrant Laws http://dlvr.it/R35pzs   http://dlvr.it/R360n6  http://dlvr.it/R361Q6

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: US Court Upholds Most of California’s ‘Sanctuary’ Migrant Laws http://dlvr.it/R35pzs   http://dlvr.it/R360n6  http://dlvr.it/R361Q6 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search… http://dlvr.it/R361Q2

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search… http://dlvr.it/R361Q2 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search… http://dlvr.it/R361Q1

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search… http://dlvr.it/R361Q1 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Russia News: Главные новости – Google Новости: ГИБДД планирует отменить право на ошибку на теоретическом экзамене – РИА Новости

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

  1. ГИБДД планирует отменить право на ошибку на теоретическом экзамене  РИА Новости
  2. Правила получения водительских прав в России снова захотели ужесточить  Lenta.ru
  3. Право на ошибку на экзамене в ГИБДД планируют отменить  Газета.Ru
  4. Без права на ошибку. ГИБДД меняет условия сдачи экзаменов — URA.RU  URA.Ru
  5. ГИБДД планирует усложнить сдачу экзамена на водительские права  Федеральное агентство новостей No.1
  6. Взгляд с разных сторон в приложении “Google Новости”

Главные новости – Google Новости

Russia News


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Russia News: АМИ Trend – Все новости: Японские компании намерены инвестировать в развитие беспилотных автомобилей

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Ряд крупных японских компаний намеревается инвестировать порядка $1 млрд в Uber Advanced Technologies в целях развития технологий беспилотных автомобилей

АМИ Trend – Все новости

Russia News


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: At Fenway, a prank and a warning – The Boston Globe http://dlvr.it/R35qG4  http://dlvr.it/R360nC

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: At Fenway, a prank and a warning – The Boston Globe http://dlvr.it/R35qG4  http://dlvr.it/R360nC 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: US Court Upholds Most of California’s ‘Sanctuary’ Migrant Laws http://dlvr.it/R35pzs  http://dlvr.it/R360n6

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: US Court Upholds Most of California’s ‘Sanctuary’ Migrant Laws http://dlvr.it/R35pzs  http://dlvr.it/R360n6 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: The Facebook and… http://dlvr.it/R360mv

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: The Facebook and… http://dlvr.it/R360mv 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: The FBI News… http://dlvr.it/R360mb

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: The FBI News… http://dlvr.it/R360mb 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: MichaelNovakhov on Twitter: Fuck little miserable slimy FBI cocksuckers! Their informants’ sperm is streaming down their stupid dull doggy faces. Go clean yourself up, you… http://dlvr.it/R360m8

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Michael Novakhov – Posts on Twitter: Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: MichaelNovakhov on Twitter: Fuck little miserable slimy FBI cocksuckers! Their informants’ sperm is streaming down their stupid dull doggy faces. Go clean yourself up, you… http://dlvr.it/R360m8 

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: Bernie Tells America: Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps – OpEd

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

By Ryan McMaken*

On Monday, Bernie Sanders released
ten years of tax returns, and it turns out he’s a millionaire. Thanks
especially to revenues from book royalties, Sanders is now, as CNN put it, “in the category of the super-rich.” Or, as some might say, he’s part of “the 1%.”

After years of denouncing “millionaires and billionaires” and a
supposed source of America’s economic problems, this information is a
little awkward for Sanders.

Some critics of Sanders have claimed this makes him a hypocrite. Here’s a man who trashes millionaires, and yet is one himself.

“Hypocrite,” however, isn’t really the right term here. So long as
Sanders pays the taxes he says millionaires should pay, his income alone
doesn’t make him a hypocrite. Moreover, Sanders can (plausibly) claim
that when he denounced millionaires, he didn’t mean all of them. He just meant 90 percent of them. And he can then include himself in the “good” ten percent.

Nevertheless, Sanders appears not entirely comfortable with his status as a rich man.

When confronted as being among those he has long villainized, Sanders became defensive:

“I wrote a best-selling book,” he declared. “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”

Translation: “I made my money fair and square, so quit hassling me about it.”

It is at this point that we start to see Bernie Sanders undermine his own claims about millionaires, wealth, and capitalism.

Bernie Sanders, Capitalist

For a normal person, Sanders’s defense of his riches would be no big
deal. There’s little doubt that a great many wealthy people, when asked
how they earned their money, would respond with “I worked for it. I
earned it.”

But, when Bernie Sanders says this, it’s quite remarkable.

After all, one of the central myths of the Bernie Sanders wing of the
American left is that people who become rich do so on the backs of the
poor. As is the case with orthodox Marxists, there is a persistent and
widespread belief on the left that wealth is gained by exploiting
workers. Moreover, it is believed that market-based economies
systematically favor the wealthy while closing off economic success to
those who are not already well off. In this narrative, those who haven’t
exploited workers directly have likely inherited their money from
others have who have exploited others.

To hear Bernie Sanders on the matter, however, it sure sounds like he
does believe that wealth can be had through a little hard work: “I
wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can be a
millionaire, too.”

Translation: “You can make a lot of money if you work at it. It’s just that easy!”

This sounds suspiciously like the “bootstraps” argument which the
left so often and so vehemently rejects. And it’s pretty odd to hear it
from Bernie Sanders.

It shouldn’t surprise us, though, that when called upon to justify
his riches, Sanders ended up resorting to a capitalist cliché.

He did this, of course, because the argument makes sense to a lot of
people. Sanders needed to make the case that his wealth was obtained
morally. So he pointed out the most common-sense argument in favor of
letting people keep their wealth: he earned it.

Assuming we’re only talking about income received from book sales,
Sanders is right. No one forced anyone to buy his books, and he made
money when people voluntarily handed over money in exchange for the
books. By this measure, Sanders did indeed “earn” the money.

But Sanders’s observations about the origins of his wealth don’t stop
there. By noting that this was a “best-selling book” Sanders is also
admitting that delivering a product or service to a large number of
people is a key factor in getting rich.

In other words, had Sanders merely written a book, he would not have made millions. But since he wrote a best-selling
book, that brought in a lot of money. But if the key to getting rich is
to sell something a lot of people want, doesn’t that show that
“millionaires and billionaires” are providing a benefit to society?
Sanders is recognizing that the extent of one’s riches are tied to how
many consumers an entrepreneur serves in the marketplace. Sanders
apparently thinks at least one millionaire — himself — got rich
by giving people what they want. And if this is the case, is it fair to
assume that rich people aren’t paying their “fair share?”

We might go on to extrapolate even more from this.

As to the matter of inequality, Sanders hints at its origins. What if not everyone
writes a best-selling book? Wouldn’t that mean some people have
millions of dollars and other people have much smaller amounts of money?
Wouldn’t that create inequality?

The answer, of course, is “yes.” And we can see from Sanders’s own
success in selling books that inequality is not necessarily a result of
the wealthy exploiting the poor. It can simply be a result of some
people selling more books than others.

We can also conclude that Sanders apparently believes it is possible
to produce a good or service without exploiting the workers. After all,
his books did not appear by magic out of thin air. Human beings worked to print the books, assemble them, and distribute them. Sanders made money from their labors. In fact, he made a lot more money
than any truck driver who delivered his books to stores. He made a lot
more than any factory worker who assembled the books. Does Sanders
believe he took advantage of these workers? Apparently not. Sanders
justifies his wealth as a matter of writing books. He doesn’t mention
anything about the workers at all.

So, in this one short interview, we’ve learned a few things from Sanders:

1. He believes that providing an in-demand product or service justifies high incomes for those who produced it.

2. There is a connection between income earned and the total number of customers served.

3. If you do the same, you can be a millionaire, too.

That’s quite a little capitalist manifesto from Sanders.

Unfortunately, he’s unlikely to take any of these newfound
revelations and translate them into decent public policy going forward.
Instead, he’s likely to keep telling his supporters what they want to
hear. Why stop now? It’s made him a rich man.

*About the author: Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado, and was the economist for the Colorado Division of Housing from 2009 to 2014. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

Source: This article was published by the MISES Institute

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: Russia In Venezuela – Analysis

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

By Paulo Botta*

Russia’s interests and presence in Latin America is not new. We should remember Russian activities in Cuba during the Cold War, which almost generated a nuclear war between Moscow and Washington. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it was quite clear that Central and South America were not among the top priorities of the Russian Federation.

Anyway, at the beginning of the 21st century Russia returned
to that region and Venezuela and other Chavist anti-imperialist (mainly
understood as anti-American) populist governments were eager to deep their
diplomatic, economic and military relations with Moscow.

From the Russian side we can identify a general objective, which is to
gain influence in Latin America at the expense of the United States and a
particular one: to secure lucrative economic opportunities in the oil and gas
sectors.

A marriage of convenience between Venezuela and Russia was born at that
time. Moreover, it lasts until today.

In the case of Venezuela, after the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, his
successor, Nicolás Maduro, the reduction of the international oil prizes and
the mismanagement of the national economy generated a crisis that began as
economic, then social and finally political.

In this situation of institutional weakness, foreign powers as Russia,
China, and the United States intended to gain influence and to get benefits for
their companies. However, since Maduro continued its anti-American rhetoric
were mainly Russian and Chinese companies those that obtained the lion´s share.
It is important to note that according to international studies Venezuela has
larger oil proven resources than Saudi Arabia, which helps to understand the
interest of those extra regional powers in that south American country.

The regional and international pressure on Maduro’s government and the growing domestic opposition lead to a political and economic isolation of Venezuela. As a consequence of that the government increased its dependence on Russia and China.

Russian oil and gas companies are very active in Venezuela and the main interest of Putin’s administration is to secure their interests and protect their investments. More than investments, Venezuela is highly indebted to Moscow and Beijing since during the last five years those two countries were the only external creditors to Maduro’s government.

Behind the so-called strategic partnership, there is pure economic and
geopolitical interest.

The main problem that face Russia (and China) is how to convince to the
Venezuelan opposition, headed by Juan Guaidó, to recognize their position in
the case of changes on the government. Due to the determined support received
from Washington it is not clear that Moscow and Beijing will get what they
want. Washington want a new beginning, to begin from scratch and not any kind
of compensation or share with Russia and China. From our perspective, those are
extreme positions (Russia and China from one side and United States on the
other side) and diplomatic channels could open the ground for negotiations and
compensations.

Russia’s deployment of troops has to do with media more than with a military need. We can argue that those forces are there to protect Russian interests (Russian infrastructure and investments) not Maduro’s government.

Any military clash would be hard to sustain for Russia due to the
impossibility to maintain a logistic chain and the financial costs involved. It
is more rational to consider the deployment of troops as an insurance for its
interests and a leverage for any potential negotiation.

At that moment, nor the United States nor any other South American country (mainly Colombia and Brazil) is eager to a violent regime change in Venezuela and a military intervention. If Washington (and Guaidó) recognize the interests of Russia and China, Maduro’s government will lose its main political and economic supporters and will be open to a transition. In the meantime, the Venezuelan people is trying to survive. Venezuela has generated more refugees than Syria. Just to note it.

Russia’s deployment of troops in Venezuela has caused a new standoff between the U.S. and Russia with the U.S. accusing Russia of intervening in Venezuela’s internal affairs. But is the U.S. really in the “moral high ground” of such accusation given its history of intervening?

Source: This article was published by Modern Diplomacy

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: South Africa’s Energy Conundrum – Analysis

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

By Klaus Kotzé

South Africa is facing an energy crisis. The once distinguished
national public energy provider, Eskom, has been driven to the point of
collapse by “years of corruption, incompetence and political meddling.”  Under
the Presidency of Jacob Zuma, Eskom went from making over
one-billion-rand profit in 2008 to a 2.3-billion-rand loss in the last
financial year. The Eskom crisis has only depressed an already strained
economy.

This critical situation has left Cyril Ramaphosa, the presidential
incumbent, in a tough position. To address South Africa’s myriad
problems, Ramaphosa must act to clean up and streamline his government.
He has to claim power and reform a party filled with discredited Zuma loyalists.
To do so, he has surrounded himself with a prudent group of advisers
and ministers who have established expertise on national energy issues.
Ramaphosa, an assertive trade unionist turned billionaire businessman,
is now well-placed to lead South Africa towards a new energy regime. The
crisis also presents an opportunity to expand into the alternative energy sector.

Transitioning from coal to clean energy

South Africa remains largely dependent on coal for energy production.
Eskom generates 90% of its electricity from an increasingly ‘dirty’
stockpile that is sourced from mines further and further away from
ageing power plants. In recent weeks, the country has experienced power
outages, locally referred to as ‘load shedding.’ Despite the 2016
statement from Zuma that “we will never have load shedding again,”, the problems have worsened. Load shedding has even occurred over weekends and in the summer, periods when demand is low.

Minister for Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan recently conceded that “Eskom is currently facing massive problems of a structural nature, operational nature and financial nature.”
In order to address these concerns, President Ramaphosa has announced a
strategic change to Eskom’s business model. The utility will be
reconfigured into three separate entities: generation, transmission and distribution.

Eskom’s reconfiguration forms part of the government’s new Integrated Resource Plan.
According to the draft plan, the government will pursue “a diversified
energy mix” and source 42% of energy needs from renewables by 2030. The
proposal to massively scale down coal dependency is being actively
opposed by powerful labor unions. Though the government has pledged a
“just transition,” unions are unsettled by the prospect of massive job
loss in a country already struggling with unemployment.

While those job concerns are certainly legitimate, South Africa has a
significant need – and potential gains – from new renewable energy
investments. Furthermore, its renewable procurement programs have achieved significant success.
The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme,
introduced in 2011, has been hailed as one of the world’s most
successful renewable power producer schemes. The appeal of renewables is
clear: not only do they provide the prospect of a cleaner future, but
they are also expected to become cheaper over time, especially as
storage capabilities improve.

A need for leadership

The Integrated Resource Plan and the renewable programs alone are not
sufficient; determined leadership and execution is also needed.
Messages from the political administration have been mixed on this
front. They appear to be appeasing all sides. Mineral Resources Minister
Gwede Mantashe pledged that
a transition from coal will take place while warning the coal industry
to “wake up; you are under attack.” While broad posturing and little
action are to be expected from campaigning parties in the weeks leading
up to the May 8 general election, the governing party must work now to
ensure the new government hits the ground running.

With Ramaphosa’s African National Congress likely to maintain its
majority after the election, the president is showing clear leadership
by taking direction from the National Development Plan – the strategic
document that mostly gathered dust under Zuma. In a recent statement,
the presidency has committed to pursue the significant renewable energy
targets set out in the Development Plan. It has strategically pointed
to energy as “a key enabler in South Africa’s trajectory towards
socio-economic growth and development.”

South Africa is undoubtedly facing an energy crisis, but it’s one
that also presents clear opportunities for the future. The president is
showing signs that he will indeed do the work to achieve this end, and
execute the strategic programs as detailed in the Development Plan.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Geopoliticalmonitor.com or any institutions with which the authors are associated.

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: How To Shape A Welfarist Agenda That Ensures Long-Term, Inclusive Growth? – Analysis

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Competitive welfarism is a consequence of India’s failure to deliver inclusive growth. Can it be shaped so future growth is assured?

By Mihir Swarup Sharma

It is common now to decry the competitive
welfarism that is a feature of recent Indian elections. The state
elections conducted towards the end of last year were won by the
Congress party after it promised to waive outstanding agricultural
loans. In this year’s general elections, the ruling Bharatiya Janata
Party hopes its direct transfer to farmers announced — against all
precedent — in the interim Budget would help sway some rural voters. The
Congress, meanwhile, has announced a minimum income guarantee scheme
that is considerably more expansive — but also appears far more
difficult to implement, since it is not directly linked to land title.
State parties have been even more munificent, to the degree that they
seem able to afford to. It has escaped no politician’s attention that
the party currently sitting prettiest in its home territory is the
Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which also runs the most welfarist state
government in India.

The arguments
against competitive welfarism are well known. It is difficult to find
the resources for it, and in the end it will have to be paid for either
out of taxes or through borrowing and thus, eventually, inflation.
Because of a relatively poor direct tax base, increasing taxes is
difficult — and if done without major changes to the overall tax system
will lead to greater incentives to evade, to relocate, and also
contribute in the case of corporate income tax to retaining India’s
uncompetitive status as a producer. This latter fact hurts workers in
the long run as fewer companies will be set up. While India’s public
debt remains relatively moderate on paper, contingent liabilities are
growing, which lays the foundation for a future crisis. Higher borrowing
would further crowd out private investment, once again reducing growth
and job creation. And higher inflation is of course politically
unpalatable as well as another disincentive to investment. Competitive
welfarism at the state level also strains the federal structure of India
as states begin to question how much money they are paying into the
central kitty, how much they receive in return, the restrictions on
their overall borrowing, and why there are constraints on them tapping
the markets directly.

However,
democratic politics has its own momentum, and it is one born of the
lived experience of the population. And it is important to understand
that India has not entered another welfarist age for no reason
whatsoever. It is the Indian state’s recent failure to deliver inclusive
growth to which democratic and electoral politics is responding.

The
experience of inclusive growth creates support for responsible economic
stewardship. It is not necessarily expressed in that manner — it is
more often presented as support for a status quo, or for an existing
policy architecture to which in India, more often than not, all
political parties implicitly subscribe. In the absence of inclusive
growth, that support erodes.

The
experience of jobless growth — a form of non-inclusive growth — is
particularly problematic. This is because the large army of job-seekers
become the most politically sought-after constituency. The temptation to
build up the government salary bill in order to partially satisfy them
will be great. In the absence of confidence that incomes will be secure
and increasing, the sort of confidence provided by the experience of
job-creating inclusive growth, voters will demand that the state step in
to protect and increase their incomes. There is considerable
cross-country empirical work that shows voter assumptions about the link
between individual action and future incomes play into their political
preferences in terms of economic policy. If in India voters have been
led to believe that there is no link between building up human capital
or ambition and their future income prospects, then they will hardly
vote to support an economic consensus that assumes such a link. No
politician will say in 2019 that responsible economic policy will
provide income security. This is because both “sides” have had a chance
to implement responsible economic policy over the past decade, and India
has endured jobless growth for at least that same period of time. Is
India therefore stuck in a downward spiral? The lack of inclusive growth
leads to pressure towards welfarism, which reduces the chances for
inclusive growth further, and so on? There is a good chance of this
coming to pass.

However, there is also a
way out. This depends upon accepting the failure of inclusive growth in
the recent past, and on the political necessity of welfarism today. It
also however requires the form of welfarism to be intelligently and
rationally designed to increase the chances of re-creating an observed
link, for voters, between building up their human capital and future
income security. It would also require, at the macro level, ensuring
that welfarism is structured to increase the Indian workforce’s
potential productivity. This might go some way towards ameliorating the
negative macro-economic effects of greater spending. In the best case
scenario, it will more than pay for itself in the long run.

It
is not certain whether income support is the best way to go about this.
But it will at least have the effect of improving the ability to spend
time away from active work in order to build up human capital, reduce
the costs of search and matching in the job market, and increase
risk-taking.

More
effective will be increasing government spending on health and basic
education, as well as on the administrative machinery required to
properly implement these policy priorities. Universal health care will
enhance productivity. It cannot be done on the cheap, however, as it
will require the government to closely monitor private providers (if
any) or to pay for more of its own healthcare employees. Education,
meanwhile, especially primary education, requires a more direct focus on
improving outcomes — the RTE was a “cheap” solution that will not work
in the long run. Financing for adult training, including online
education, also needs to be bountiful in order to incentivise the choice
to build up human capital.

If there is
no sign of a political consensus for reformist or responsible economic
policy-making, then we have to realise this is a consequence of the
failure to deliver for the past decade or more on disposable income
growth and security. Instead of bemoaning the entirely predictable
consequence of this failure, it is time to ask how to shape the
welfarist agenda in a manner that long-term Indian growth is assured.


This article originally appeared in Business Standard.

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: Climate Change Will Reach Point Of No Return For Many Species And Habitats – OpEd

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Evolution is again being thrown off its usual course, not by collision with an asteroid as suspected long ago but by change in global temperature and the insatiable demands of many species and destruction of their habits.

The result is rates of extinction several thousand times beyond normal levels. Biological diversity—the varieties, not just the species– of genes and ecosystems is diminishing at precipitous rates throughout the world. Species are vanishing most rapidly and most notably from dwindling tropical forests.

Mass extinction is everywhere: amphibians are declining worldwide; three quarters of the world’s species of birds are vanishing and, genetic varieties of crops, fish and livestock are rapidly disappearing near and far from the equator.

The number of the earth’s lifeforms threatened with extinction has increased, the world’s global watchdog of flora and fauna International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said in its September 2018 report.

IUCN bared in its latest Red List that an additional 26,000 species are threatened with extinction today, out of the 27% of all assessed species worldwide.

Of the number, 41 percent are amphibians, 5 percent mammals, 34 percent conifers, 13 percent birds, 31 percent sharks and manta rays, 33 percent corals, and 27 percent selected crustaceans.

Yet, the worst still lies ahead. If human-generated global warming comes to pass as rapidly as climatologists predict, another wave of extinctions—even more massive than the one already in progress– is in store. While the problem of declining biodiversity and global warming have each attracted extensive attention, the relationship between them has not.

With a rapidly changing climate, it is not an understatement to say that practically all habitats on the planet is at risk. More species will face the risk of either adapting or relocating; many will fail to make the transition.

Many regions, instead of simply having their native ecosystems replaced with warmth-oriented ones, may be impoverished biologically—their native species gone but replacements unable to move in fast enough or unable to cross man-made barriers.

Extinction Will Reach Point of No Return

What exactly will happen to the coastal wetland of the Philippines or the fish stocks of Indonesia or the grizzly bears of the Rocky Mountains of USA as the earth warms up? For most species and habitats which have dealt with changing conditions for eons, the warming itself is less a concern than the rate at which it is likely to occur. That in turn depends on how fast humans add heat-trapping gasses to the atmosphere.

A study, published Aug. 30, 2018 in the journal Earth System Dynamics. led by scientists in the United Kingdom and Netherlands, claims that by 2035, we will cross a point of no return — after which it will be extremely unlikely we can stop Earth’s temperature from rising by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and kicking off a dangerous medley of global disasters especially mass extinctions of species.

“The ‘point of no return’ concept has the advantage of containing time information, which we consider very useful to inform the debate on the urgency of taking climate action,” Matthias Aengenheyster, a doctoral researcher at Oxford University and the study’s lead author, said..
The 2 degrees Celsius mark is critical for Earth’s well-being. Once the planet warms an additional 2 degrees Celsius, scientists predict a range of catastrophic effects, from widespread flooding in coastal areas to searing heat waves and extreme storms.

One important area that could slow the movement toward a point of no return in 2035 is the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. But even this will require marked progress. Scientists have calculated that the share of renewable worldwide must grow by at least 2 percent each year in order to slow the march toward climate change. Two percent a year may not sound like much, but in the 20 years leading up to 2017, the percentage of energy from renewables grew by a paltry total of 3.6 percent.

There is hope, though. If the use of renewable energy were to outpace the scientists’ model, say by 5 percent per annum, the climate change deadline could move back by at least a decade, the researchers note. Likewise, developing technology to remove carbon dioxide and other gases from the atmosphere could help slow climate change. These gases alter Earth’s atmosphere and allow it to trap more heat from the sun and cause temperatures to rise.

“We hope that ‘having a deadline’ may stimulate the sense of urgency to act for politicians and policy makers,” Henk Dijkstra, a professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and one of the study authors, said “Very little time is left.”

Natural Communities Will be Forced to Migrate Away

As oceanic temperatures rise, seas will expand and many marine biologists say its impact on biological diversity becomes less predictable but surely, many species will migrate away from the equator or up from sea level if they are to keep with the shifting climate conditions.

While scientists have developed sophisticated computer models of the global atmosphere, no such models exist to describe the intricate workings of natural ecosystems. Scientists cannot state how many species exist on the planet, let alone describe their interrelationships or predict their reactions to abrupt climate change.

But by studying past changes in climate, pollen and fossil rocks, geography specialists Joanna Ellison and David Stoddart of the University of California have been able to piece information on human-caused climate change assault impacts.

A rapidly warming world will be hostile, vegetation zones will be displaced in the world’ middle latitudes, 200 miles away from the equator or in the mountainous regions 1,800 ft higher in altitude. Tree species in North America will move away, while large-scale die-back of forests will occur for beech, oak and deciduous trees,

To the north, boreal forests will be killed off, coastal habitats will migrate along rising tides, mangrove ecosystems will be stressed, the future of swamps, coastlines and fisheries will not be good the scientists said.

Habitats hemmed by barriers such as mountain ranges and steep coastlines will be unable to move, island species will be unable to escape across the surrounding ocean and lake and river species unable to disperse across the land. These species are especially at risk since they will have to survive climate change in place.

Habitats atop mountains and toward the edges of the continents will also feel the squeeze as conditions favoring lowland or temperate zone species spread, upland and sub Arctic habitats whose plants are already threatened.

Given the overwhelming effects of global warming on already tattered ecosystems, long term biological conservation will be impossible without rapid reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, Only by making diversity a concern of all landscapes, from the wild to the urban, can the inevitable migration of species and communities be accommodated and the options to deal with unpredictable change, be retained.

By helping nature maintain its ability to adapt we also give ourselves a better shot at weathering the overheated decades ahead.

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

“FBI and Counterintelligence Reform” – Google News: US intelligence agencies show ‘unprecedented’ leftward slant & anti-Trump bias – former CIA analyst – RT

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

US intelligence agencies show ‘unprecedented’ leftward slant & anti-Trump bias – former CIA analyst  RT

The political Left increasingly dominates US intelligence agencies and that “bias may have crept into CIA analyses,” a former analyst in the agency claims, …

“FBI and Counterintelligence Reform” – Google News


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: Why Armenia’s Prime Minister Is A Threat To Rule Of Law – OpEd

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

By Robert Kocharyan

Robert Kocharyan, one of Armenia’s former presidents, sent this op-ed from prison, accusing the current prime minister of abuse of power, at a time when in his words Nikol Pashinyan is on “a photo-op tour of European capitals pledging his commitment to strengthening the rule of law”.

Robert Kocharyan served as the second President of Armenia
between 1998 and 2008. He was previously president of the
internationally unrecognised territory of Nagorno-Karabakh from 1994 to
1997 and prime minister of Armenia from 1997 to 1998. He was arrested on
7 December 2018 and charged with “overthrowing constitutional order of
Armenia” during the final weeks of his rule.

Arrested for the second time just two days before December’s
parliamentary elections, I continue to be unlawfully held in prison
awaiting the start of a trial. I am banned from travelling; stripped of
my Presidential immunity guaranteed by the Constitution; deprived of my
fundamental rights; prevented from exercising my civil and political
rights, and denigrated in public statements by the Prime Minister of my
country.

I note that concurrently, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is on a
photo-op tour of European capitals pledging his commitment to
strengthening the rule of law, ensuring an independent judiciary,
protecting human rights and restoring democracy to Armenia.

I am being held in prison unlawfully because I am an opposition
politician, critical of Nikol Pashinyan’s unrestrained populism. I am a
challenger capable of holding him accountable on the real problems
Armenians care about – state governance, national security, and the
economy.

Who is Nikol Pashinyan anyway?  He is the protest ringleader of the
March 2008 post-Presidential election demonstrations, who fomented mass
riots which turned violent in the streets of Yerevan.  Eight private
citizens and two police officers lost their lives, 187 police officrs
and 32 protesters were injured.

Can I expect that an individual who was hellbent then on violently
overthrowing the government will now respect and uphold the Rule of Law?

I am charged with allegedly “overthrowing the Constitutional order”,
though the meaning of this charge is not clear to me, my lawyers or the
wider public.  We surmise that I am charged for  deploying police and
the military to quell the March 2008 riots and restore order and
security to the capital Yerevan.

Yet there was no direct engagement between the army and the
protesters. The army’s role in Yerevan was to protect government and
other important buildings, not large scale law enforcement operations as
such.

And remember that the uprising determined to bring down the State by
violent means, was led by Nikol Pashinyan and his associates.

Can I hope that an individual, sentenced to seven years prison on
charges of mass disturbance leading to a fatality, who absconded from
justice to avoid arrest, will now respect due legal process towards
others?

Can I have confidence that an individual who shamelessly intimidates
and threatens judges against neutrality in public statements will now
disengage from interfering from a fabricated trial of his political
nemesis?

No, I cannot, and the international community of leaders, judges and
defenders of human rights would be mindful to judge Nikol Pashinyan by
his actions at home, not his speeches abroad. If he is serious about
implementing reforms in exchange for EU support and partnership,
Armenia’s Prime Minister is under obligation to adhere to established
international rules safeguarding human rights and freedoms, and judicial
independence.

The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights
has already sounded the alarm following her visit to the country late
2018. Commissioner Dunja Mijatović has welcomed an investigation into
the March 2008 violence yet stressed that the process must be conducted “in
strict adherence to the principles of rule of law, judicial
independence, transparency and guarantees of fair trial, in order to
dispel any accusations of alleged revenge politics or selective justice.
She also called on the Armenian authorities to protect the presumption
of innocence of any person charged with criminal misconduct and to avoid
using polarising, stigmatising or inflammatory language in their public
discourse.”

My legal team have written a letter to Commissioner Dunja Mijatović
to inform her of my detention pre-trial, highlighting the innumerable
violations of internationally-recognised legal principles by the Prime
Minister, the head of Armenia’s Intelligence Service, and the
investigative body for the case, the Special Investigation Service.

Make no mistake – this is a politically motivated prosecution,
instigated and stirred up by the rabble-rouser protestor of the events
of March 2008, determined to radicalise the population. And after me,
who will be next?

Which is why I call on the leaders of the Council of Europe and of
the European Union to stand by my side, and demand the full and strict
compliance by Armenian authorities to International Human Rights
standards, including a fair trial and protection from discrimination.

I am ready to hold this government to account before the people of
Armenia,  and this is why this government is politically prosecuting and
persecuting me.  The people of Armenia must have the option to choose
between a zealous populist who disregards national and international law
at home, and an authentic leader who cautiously acts within its
boundaries.

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: US And EU On Collision Course Over Cuba – OpEd

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Brussels is ready to stand by its companies and launch a WTO case
should Washington enact a law allowing US citizens to sue foreign firms
doing business in Cuba.

Top EU officials have slammed the expected suspension of a
section of the Helms-Burton Act that gives US citizens the right to file
lawsuits against foreign companies profiting from properties that Cuba
confiscated or nationalized after the 1959 revolution.

In a letter seen by Reuters, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, reminded Washington that
the EU could relaunch a WTO case over the issue. Brussels suspended the
case under a 1998 agreement with the US, as Washington granted EU
companies waivers.

“Failing this, the EU will be obliged to use all means at its disposal,
including in cooperation with other international partners, to protect
its interests,” the two officials wrote to US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo.

“The EU is considering a possible launch of the WTO case,” the letter dated April 10 added.

Mogherini and Malmstrom also warned that such a move by Washington would
only hamper the business climate and trigger a “circle of claims,” but
would fail to “bring justice” to claimants. Thus, EU courts could allow
European firms to claim any losses caused by the lawsuits over Cuba, as
the 50 largest potential claimants, representing more than 70 percent of
the value of claims, have assets on the EU territory.

Meanwhile, Havana and Brussels held the first bilateral dialogue on the
United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, during which the EU
announced that it will launch development projects in Cuba worth $62
million. The projects will cover such areas as food security,
sustainable energy, economic development and culture, Director General
for International Cooperation and Development Stefano Manservisi
announced as he met Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Tuesday.

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: Deal Of The Century To Be Unveiled After Ramadan – Report

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

The United States’ much-anticipated plan for Middle East peace will be unveiled after the holy fasting month of Ramadan, revealed White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, according to a source familiar with his remarks.

Kushner urged a group of ambassadors on Wednesday to keep an “open
mind” about President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” and
said it will require compromises from both sides.

The unveiling of the deal will also take place after Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin forms a new government. Ramadan ends in June.

“We will all have to look for reasonable compromises that will make
peace achievable,” Kushner said, according to the source, who asked to
remain anonymous.

Kushner, one of the main architects of the peace proposal and who is
married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, spoke to about 100 ambassadors from
around the world at Blair House, the presidential guest home across the
street from the White House. He spoke as part of a State Department
series of speeches.

The proposal has two major components: A political piece that
addresses core political issues such as the status of Jerusalem, and an
economic part that aims to help the Palestinians strengthen their
economy.

Unclear is whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians’ core demand.

During his remarks, Kushner pushed back on the idea that the Trump
peace plan was mostly centered around the economic package, saying the
political component is “very detailed,” the source said, according to
Reuters.

The White House had no comment.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said on Wednesday that Netanyahu
is unlikely to follow through on an election pledge to annex Israeli
settlements in the occupied West Bank until after the United States has
unveiled its plan.

“I think we will respect the efforts of the administration. I don’t
think we will see any major action done by our government before the
peace plan will be presented,” Danon told reporters in New York.

The Palestinians and many countries consider the settlements illegal
under the Geneva conventions that bar settling on land captured in war. 

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): The FBI News Review: “peter strzok is removed” – Google News: Trump lawyer: ‘I agree with Peter Strzok’ – Washington Examiner

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Feedly Logo
April 18, 2019
“peter strzok is removed” – Google News: Trump lawyer: ‘I agree with Peter Strzok’ – Washington Examiner
“fbi” – Google News: Former Idaho prison guard sentenced for crime stemming from FBI sting – KTVB.com
“fbi” – Google News: New LRPD chief addresses protests and alleged FBI investigation – THV11.com KTHV
“Comey aides replacement” – Google News: A beleaguered Trump feared ‘the end of my presidency’ – Spectrum News
Column: Praying for Easter joy while something ugly is loose in the land – Valley News

“peter strzok is removed” – Google News: Trump lawyer: ‘I agree with Peter Strzok’ – Washington Examiner

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
President Trump’s lawyer admitted Thursday there was at least one point he and former FBI agent Peter Strzok agreed on. “I never thought I would say this. I agree with Peter Strzok, the agent that was — had the text mails regarding the president back and forth with Lisa Page,” Jay Sekulow told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Read More

“fbi” – Google News: Former Idaho prison guard sentenced for crime stemming from FBI sting – KTVB.com

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
BOISE, Idaho — Former Idaho Department of Correction officer Erik Thompson was sentenced on Wednesday to 97 months in prison for possession of a firearm connected to a drug trafficking crime.
Read More

“fbi” – Google News: New LRPD chief addresses protests and alleged FBI investigation – THV11.com KTHV

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Just four days into his time as chief of the Little Rock Police Department, Keith Humphrey sped up plans to gradually meet the local media and held a news conference to address three pressing issues.
Read More

“Comey aides replacement” – Google News: A beleaguered Trump feared ‘the end of my presidency’ – Spectrum News

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
WASHINGTON (AP) — At the moment two years ago when Donald Trump learned a special counsel had been appointed to investigate his campaign and Russia, the president responded with profane fury — and something resembling panic.
Read More

Column: Praying for Easter joy while something ugly is loose in the land – Valley News

Valley News
In my faith’s tradition, this is the season when I am to look into myself, searching for things to give up that might distract me on my pilgrimage to Easter. I am presented with selections from Scripture as part of my Lenten meditations — “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” But my journey is sidetracked by a feeling that something ugly is loose in the land — an ugliness that challenges the teachings to love enemies, pray for persecutors and live in unity.
Read More
Feeling mobile? Get the Feedly app and read on the go
GooglePlay Store App

The FBI News Review

Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites)


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: Libya: Heavy Shelling And Civilian Deaths ‘Blatant Violation’ Of International Law – UN Envoy

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Heavy shelling overnight on Tuesday which hit a densely-populated neighbourhood of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, was condemned “in the strongest terms” by the head of the UN Mission there, after “scores” of civilians were reportedly killed and injured.

“Horrible night of random shelling of residential areas”, tweeted UN
Special Representative Ghassan Salame on Wednesday, after the Abu Salim
district was hit. “For the sake of 3 million civilians living in
Greater Tripoli, these attacks should stop. NOW!” 

Khalifa Haftar, leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA),
which controls much of eastern and southern Libya, has waged a two-week
military campaign to take Tripoli from fighters loyal to the
UN-recognized Government.  

According to initial medical reports, civilian casualties from the
overnight attack, include women and children injured, and one family
where the mother, daughter and grand-daughter were all killed. 

“The use of indiscriminate, explosive weapons in civilian areas
constitutes a war crime,” Mr. Salame, who also heads the UN Support
Mission (UNSMIL), said in
a statement. He extended “with great sadness”, his “deepest
condolences” to the victim’s families and wished the injured a speedy
recovery.  

His statement pointed out that as of yesterday, there have been 54
confirmed civilian casualties, including 14 dead and 40 wounded, four of
whom were health workers.  

 “Liability for such actions lies not only with the individuals who
committed the indiscriminate attacks, but also potentially with
those who ordered them”, stressed the Special Representative. 

International humanitarian and human rights laws must be fully
respected and all possible measures to protect civilians and civilian
infrastructure must be taken, he added.  

Grave statistics 

As sustained fighting continues in and around Tripoli, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that displacement is currently at its highest level since the current crisis started. 

With more than 4,500 people newly on the move, the total of number of internally displaced people (IDPs) stands at 25,000.  

According to OCHA,
many civilians trapped in conflict areas face the dilemma of not
knowing whether to remain in their homes or leave and face the
uncertainty of clashes and shelling. This is further exacerbated as food
and other essential items in some neighborhoods are running low. 

The UN’s humanitarian wing sets the current conflict against a
backdrop of years of conflict that have driven a socio-economic crisis
in Libya and left public services deficient and people vulnerable.  

At least 820,000 people, including some 250,000 children, are currently in dire need of humanitarian assistance. 

Meanwhile, OCHA has transferred defenseless migrants and refugees
from Abusliem detention centre in the conflict area and says that the
humanitarian community is maintaining efforts to ensure safe passage for
civilians and medical supplies and services. 

As of 16 April, OCHA reported apart from the 25,000 people internally
displaced by ongoing hostilities, 6,000 have received some form of
humanitarian assistance since the crisis began; and the 2019
Humanitarian Response Programme is facing a $190 million funding gap. 

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Eurasia Review: Film Festival Opens Door To Isolated Abkhazia

Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

By Neil Hauer*

Paula Pena, a filmmaker from Andorra, admits that when she submitted her film to the Sukhum International Film Festival, she didn’t know where it was. “I had no clue,” she said.

But her short film, The Blizzard, was
accepted, and along with artists from 20 other countries she made her
way to Abkhazia for the event earlier this month. “The hardest part has
been explaining to friends and family where exactly I was going. It’s
kind of a country, kind of not,” Pena told Eurasianet.

The second iteration of the festival, which organizers
say will be an annual event, attracted more than 3,000 entries; those
accepted were mostly from Europe but also included films from around the
former Soviet Union, Iran, and China.

The festival was partially financed by the de facto
government: the chair of Abkhazia’s State Committee for Youth Policy,
Timur Kvekveskiri, headed the event, and the committee covered travel
expenses for foreign participants.

“I had this dream five years ago, but we didn’t
have the resources,” Zanda Kakalia, one of the chief organizers, told
Eurasianet. “Then I met Timur in Moscow, where we were both studying. We
got some government support, and it started coming together.”

Promoting Abkhazia – which few of the filmmakers
other than those from the former Soviet Union had ever heard of – was
high on the agenda. Participants were treated to numerous excursions
over the course of the festival, including visits to the Orthodox
monastery at New Athos and a high-altitude mountain lake, Ritsa, the
site of one of Joseph Stalin’s dachas.

Another top priority was to nourish an indigenous
film industry. “In the Soviet period, Abkhaz directors mostly could not
make films,” Kakalia said. One of the few exceptions was Vyacheslav Ablotia, who shot some of the Soviet Union’s first Abkhaz-language films in the 1980s. He was in attendance at the festival.

Kakalia herself was not only an organizer, but also the screenwriter for the festival’s sole domestic entry, The Guest.
Based on a short story by the 20th-century Abkhaz writer Mikhail
Lakrba, the film – entirely in the Abkhaz language – explores apsuara, a traditional honor code.

The festival also represented a way to improve ties between Abkhazia and the rest of the world. Since breaking away from Georgia in a bloody civil war as the Soviet Union collapsed, Abkhazia’s
contact with the outside world has been limited. Financially and
militarily it is backed by Moscow. Only Russia and a handful of allies recognize Abkhazia as independent; the rest of the world still views it as part of Georgia. Tbilisi insists
that any international agreements or aid to the territory be organized
through Georgian government channels, sharply limiting Abkhazia’s
options. (Tbilisi also uses the Georgian-language spelling of the de
facto capital: Sukhumi.)

And other than the Russian tourists who stream in
every summer to Abkhazia’s Black Sea beaches, few outsiders visit,
daunted by the logistical difficulties.

The Georgian authorities officially require all visitors to enter via the bridge across the Inguri river that forms the de facto border. That is an arduous process involving Georgian, Abkhazian, and Russian checkpoints.

Entering via Russia, as most visitors from the
former Soviet Union do, carries the danger of incurring charges of
“entering the Republic of Georgia illegally” from Georgian authorities,
and a fine or possible arrest if a traveler then attempts to visit
Georgia proper.

“I would say the number of [non-Russian] foreigners
visiting Abkhazia in recent years probably decreased,” said Liana
Kvarchelia of the Sukhum-based Center for Humanitarian Programmes, an
NGO. “Georgia creates problems at their border post, and our authorities
create problems at ours, even if you have all your documents.” She
laments the state of affairs. “If we want the world to recognize us, we
shouldn’t shut the door to them.”

Abkhaz authorities have tried new tactics to
establish links in recent years. In 2016, Abkhazia hosted the
“Alternative World Cup,” officially known as the Confederation of
Independent Football Organizations World Cup, a tournament of 12 teams
representing unrecognized states, isolated territories, and ethnic
minority communities.

Tbilisi was not pleased: It called the event illegal
and was wholly uninvolved. Georgia has likewise been absent from the
film festival. “We had some submissions from Georgia the first year, but
not this one,” Kakalia said.

But the festival was a reminder that Abkhazia also
was not always this disconnected. “As a Greek, I understood the myths,
that this was where Jason [and the Argonauts] came to search for the
Golden Fleece,” said Kyriakos Chatzimichailidis, a producer of the Greek
entry, Umbrella. (The ancient Greek myth describes the voyage
of Jason and his crew to Colchis, a classical kingdom lying along the
Georgian and Abkhaz coast.) “Now I realize that this is the place where
Medea [Jason’s wife] came from.”

This year’s festival included only short films, but the organizers hope to keep growing. “We
want to expand next year, have different categories for documentaries,
art films, others,” Kakalia said. “We already had so much success in
just two years.”

It’s clear the local Caucasian hospitality had an
impact on the guests as well. As one of the Dutch judges, Mike Naafs,
put it at the closing ceremony: “I know I will be back, because Abkhazia
stole a piece of my heart, and I have to come reclaim it.”

*Neil Hauer is a Tbilisi-based writer.

Eurasia Review


Spread the Knowledge
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •