A dark day in Europe Statement of Foreign Policy 2014, on Ukraine

#Kiev #Sochi2014 #Ukraine

It is a dark day in Europe. On the streets of one of our capitals, people are being killed. Their demands were simple and natural: democracy, reforms and European cooperation. Their desire was, for a long time, the desire expressed by the entire Ukrainian nation. And this was why we in the European Union, through the Eastern Partnership, opened the door to cooperation, trade, reforms and integration.

We did so because we too were convinced that this was in the interests not only of Ukraine, but of the whole of Europe. But let us be clear about what happened. Last summer, Russia launched a single-minded pressure offensive to make Ukraine deviate from its chosen course. Brutal trade barriers were combined with open threats. And a wavering leadership in Ukraine gave in.

But when they gave in, it was seen as a betrayal by all those people who had hoped for a better future. The European flag flew in Maidan Square as a symbol of the desire for a better future. People wanted to move forwards alongside the rest of Europe – not backwards towards the all too well-known. Without those threats from Moscow and the wavering in Kiev, Ukraine could today have been clearly on its way to a better future.

The International Monetary Fund, with support from us all, was prepared to offer an economic assistance and reform programme. And the door to European political cooperation, and the political solidarity that goes along with it, had been opened.

Not all of the problems had been resolved. But Ukraine was, with broad European and international support, clearly on a path to a better future. But this future of European cooperation was a future that powerful forces did not want to see. And that is where the responsibility for the killings on the streets of Kiev clearly and ultimately lies.

Today, President Yanukovych has blood on his hands. And I am afraid that the path he has now taken will lead to even more suffering and violence. He was the only one who could have prevented the killing – by extending a hand of genuine cooperation to the democratic opposition.

Instead they were shown a fist. People have been shot dead with live ammunition. Peaceful demonstrators. But police officers and others have also been harmed in the violence that broke out. I am afraid that Ukraine is now heading for dark times. The crisis in the country will become deeper and longer. I am deeply concerned.

But the outcome of the violence will be precarious and short-lived. It will die away like a storm on the steppes. What has happened, and is happening, in Ukraine also demonstrates the power of the European dream. A Europe of peace and freedom and cooperation.

And sooner or later, it will triumph in Ukraine too.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 19 February 2014
Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs Sweden

Erik Zsiga
Press Secretary to Carl Bildt
+46 72 573 91 30
email to Erik Zsiga

#Ukraine #euromaidan#Kiev,  #CookedNews

The prisoners of conscience of Sochi2014

Russian activist Yevgeny Vitishko

The re-arrest today of yet another environmental activist in Russia’s Krasnodar region where the Sochi Winter Olympic Games will open on 7 February, as well as his brief detention along with five colleagues last night, are more evidence of growing efforts to clamp down on civil society ahead of the Games, Amnesty International said.

 Igor Kharchenko of the Russian NGO Environmental Watch for North Caucasus (Ecologicheskaya Vakhta po Severnomu Kavkazu) is currently being held by police in Krasnodar, the regional capital, where they had arrived ahead of the Olympic torch relay. He was arrested today under the pretext that his car had been ‘involved in a crime’, shortly after three masked men had smashed in the front and back windows of the vehicle.

‘Just days away from the official opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Russian authorities are using every trick in the book to muzzle freedom of expression and silence dissenting voices,’ said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International’s Moscow Office.

Kharchenko is one of six activists from Environmental Watch who were also detained last night for several hours in Krasnodar before being released. They felt compelled to scrap plans for a Sochi launch of their report exposing environmental damage caused by the construction ahead of the Games.

Their detention came the same day that their fellow environmentalist Yevgeny Vitishko was arrested in the Krasnodar Region city of Tuapse and sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention, purportedly for swearing in public.

‘This spate of harassment of civil society activists bodes ill for the coming weeks, and raises fears that the Sochi Games will be a human rights-free zone. Even more troubling is what will happen to Russian activists after the Olympic medals are handed out and the international attention fades,’ said Sergei Nikitin.

‘Silencing civil society does nothing to increase security around the Sochi Games and instead broadcasts to the world how the Russian authorities are failing spectacularly to uphold and protect international human rights standards.

As the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics comes closer, harassment against civil society activists has intensified, Amnesty International said today after the arrest of an environmentalist for allegedly swearing in public.

Yevgeny Vitishko was arrested today in Tuapse, part of the Sochi area where the Games will take place. He has been reportedly charged with ‘petty hooliganism‘, allegedly for swearing previously at a bus stop. At a court hearing today he was sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention.

‘Vitishko’s name has now become synonymous with harassment of civil society activists in the run-up to Sochi Games. Vitishko and his friends have been trying to expose environmental violations during the preparation of the Sochi Olympics. For this they are being punished. By trying to lock him up as a ‘petty hooligan’ the authorities are trying to gag him,’ said Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.

‘The concern is what will happen to civil society after the closure of the Olympics after the international focus moves away.’

Yevgeny Vitishko and his fellow activists have been actively involved in protests regarding the deforestation and illegal construction and fencing in areas of protected forest around Sochi.

In 2012, he received a suspended sentence in connection with an environmental protest. Last December, a court in Tuapse ruled that he should serve three years in prison for violating a curfew associated with the suspended sentence. His appeal hearing was reportedly scheduled for 22 February 2014, but now all information regarding it has been conspicuously removed from the court’s website.

Amnesty International has already raised concern about his unfair trial which resulted in a court decision to send him to prison colony for three years. His arrest comes as he is awaiting his appeal hearing.

Vitishko’s supporters fear that he will be held in custody until the day of his appeal under administrative charges, and then be sent to a prison colony.

Rights groups have accused Russian officials of harassing activists and journalists in the Sochi area, detaining them on trumped-up charges.

The Olympics are projected to cost $51 billion, or more than every other Winter Olympics combined. The high price tag is being blamed on Sochi being extremely ill-suited to host an Olympics and rampant corruption.

On Wednesday, Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were set to make their first public appearance in the United States after being released from a Russian prison (23dec.). They were scheduled to speak at a Brooklyn concert organized by the human rights advocacy group and featuring stars such as Madonna.

Alekhina said she wants Americans to look beyond the grandeur of the projects and buildings of the games.

‘They are foreign objects in Russia,’ she said. ‘The only thing that connects Russia to these objects is taxpayers’ money, which has been stolen and has been used to build these Olympic objects.’

Alekhina called on President Barack Obama to increase pressure on Russia over alleged human rights abuses, and said she and Tolokonnikova are handing over a petition to Putin to help ‘end this bullshit.’

‘Aren’t you sick of it all, Putin?’ Tolokonnikova asked.

International response to prior calls to boycott the games has garnered some largely symbolic gestures. Obama included three openly gay athletes in the official U.S. delegation to the Sochi Winter Olympics in a rebuke of Putin’s anti-gay laws. And Norwegian Health Minister Bent Høie said he is taking his male spouse to the opening ceremony. But twelve peaceful protesters remain incarcerated after police arrested them at the anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow two years ago, the pair from Pussy Riot said.

Now that the band is an icon for the struggle against human rights abuses in Putin’s Russia, the two women said it will also act for the rights of prisoners in the United States.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina said they plan to visit prisons and meet with nonprofit organizations to learn about the issue of solitary confinement in the U.S. ‘We’re very interested in the fact of how NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) in the U.S. work and collaborate with penitentiary institutions,’ Alekhina said. ‘One of our main goals is to exchange experience.’

‘Pussy Riot inspired a new generation of activists around the world, Samir Goswami, managing director of the Amnesty International USA program Individuals and Communities at Risk said, adding that their supporters followed in the footsteps of those who helped Amnesty International obtain the release of some 44,000 prisoners since its international inception in 1961.

‘Pussy Riot were street performers,’ he said. At the subway, on the streets, they would call on people to take their rights seriously. ‘There are street performers in the U.S. whom we pass every day, but we don’t realize that they can help elevate human rights to the global conversation.’

‘They found a lot of support from folks in the U.S., especially from Russia’s diaspora community in Brooklyn, who called passionately for their release,’ Goswami said. ‘But they’re also learning about the prison conditions in the U.S. and plan on doing some research here.’

Kremlin Suspends Questioned Reform of Wildlife Reserves. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to amend recent environmental legislation that critics said could allow for real estate development in Russia’s protected territories. A law passed in December allows for the downgrading of any of the 102 Russian wildlife reserves to natural parks, where construction is permitted under certain conditions.

The law, which passed quickly through parliament, caused outcry from eco-activists, who said it could be exploited to build commercial real estate in wildlife reserves.

Krasnodar is a city located in the Southern Russia based on the Kuban River situated 80 kilometers away to the North East of the Black sea port. The prevailing political stability and the numerous administrative efforts taken by the regional administration has made the Krasnodar region one of the most favorable investment destinations in Russia.

More than 60 countries have investment cooperation in this region and 773 companies having foreign capital are already part of the regions economy. Majority of the FDI coming in this region is mainly concentrated on food industries, woodworking and fuel.

To finance venues and apartments in the Caucasus Mountains and along Sochi’s coast, state-owned Vnesheconombank, known as VEB, lent $7.4 billion to a who’s who of Russia’s elite. Among the biggest loan recipients are companies controlled byVladimir Potanin, chief executive of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel producer. Joining him are Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of United Co. Rusal, the No. 1 aluminum company; Alexey Miller, chief of state-controlled gas provider OAO Gazprom; and German Gref, chief of state-controlled OAO Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.



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Kristen Stewart confessa: ‘Ho tradito Rob, ma lo amo’

Dopo la scappatella con il regista Rupert Sanders, per Kristen Stewart è arrivato il momento delle scuse ufficiali al compagno Robert Pattinson.

‘Lo amo, lo amo, mi spiace un casino’. La confessione di Kristen Stewart, la Bella Swan della Saga dei Vampiri di Twilight, al cinema con ‘Biancaneve e il cacciatore’ arriva dopo tre intensi giorni di dubbi e supposizioni lanciati sulla stampa internazionale per mettere in crisi la coppia che agli ultimi Comic con di San Diego ha presentato la seconda parte di Breakind Dawn, chiedendosi anche se mai avranno dei bambini.

Il gossip killer dei giorni scorsi è stato sufficiente a costringere  Kristen Stewart alle scuse ufficiali e a guadagnare una vagonata di pubblicità gratuita, buono o cattivo tempo che sia. Il tradimento c’è stato e la Stewart, secondo Forbes più pagata di Charlize Theron e la più pagata in assoluto negli Stati Uniti ha dovuto ammettere. La giovane attrice (22 anni), protagonista di ‘Biancaneve e il cacciatore’, ha avuto un flirt con Rupert Sanders, il regista della pellicola ora nelle sale italiane.

La scappatella di un attimo è arrivata subito dopo le grandi dichiarazioni d’amore di Robert Pattinson, insieme al quale la Stewart vive una relazione da circa tre anni e le indiscrezioni su prospettive di matrimonio fra i due. A People, la Stewart ha dichiarato:Sono profondamente dispiaciuta per aver ferito e imbarazzato chi mi sta vicino’ e ammette che questa faccenda ‘compromette la cosa più importante della mia vita, la persona che amo e rispetto di più, Rob’.

Nessuna dichiarazione ufficiale da parte del partner e attore inglese, anche se si scommette sul perdono. Del resto, possono i vampiri del secolo rompere per il flirt di qualche minuto?

Direttamente da HollywoodLiberty Ross, la moglie del fedifrago Sanders, nel film su Biancaneve interpreta la madre di Kristen.




Glancee, la startup italiana che fa paura a Facebook

Manca poco e Facebook entra in borsa. E che ti fa uno dei più riusciti social media al mondo poco prima della grande impresa? Acquista  una start-up cresciuta nella Silicon Valley, perfettamente compatibile al proprio sistema Web 2.0. E italiana.  Un successo per i tre giovani inventori di Glancee, due italiani e un canadese, partiti da un’idea molto semplice: trovare persone con gusti analoghi ai propri e che si trovano nei paraggi, grazie ai dati disponibili su Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest e gli altri del giro social. Insomma un nuovo aggregatore ma con l’eccezionalità di essere italiano. O fatto da italiani.

Ha solo un anno e mezzo di vita, nessun dipendente o finanziamenti da venture capital – come riferiscono alcune fonti su Yahoo e a fatturato zero, ma il progetto degli startupper italiani sembra proprio destinato a contribuire e implementare nuove funzionalità e servizi all’interno del social network più grande al mondo. E i suoi creatori, tra cui il Ceo Andrea Vaccari, possono già iniziare a coccolare l’idea di aggiudicarsi un mazzetto di stock option Facebook a cui avranno diritto come effetto dell’operazione di acquisto.

Andrea Vaccari, 28 enne veronese, ha venduto la sua applicazione per mettere in contatto tra loro persone con interessi simili. ‘Mark Zuckerberg mi ha portato a passeggio per il campus. Le nostre idee sul social discovering erano molto allineate e mi ha convinto che Facebook fosse il posto giusto dove svilupparle’.

Il prezzo non è stato ancora comunicato, l’intero team del progetto italo – canadese diventerà parte integrante della squadra Facebook. Andrea Vaccari, co-fondatore e CEO Glancee e Alberto Tretti, co-fondatore e COO, sono tra gli italiani che si trasferiranno nella Silicon Valley. La loro idea ha trovato in Facebook una naturale destinazione e sublima lo sviluppo di un progetto partito dal basso in un chiaro successo. Che per una volta parla italiano.

La start up made in Italy, sviluppata nella Silicon Valley, è solo una piccola realtà che basa la socialità sulla geolocalizzazione. Ma evidentemente Facebook ci ha visto grandi potenzialità. Con questa operazione Zuckerberg porta valore aggiunto al proprio social network perché sarà in grado di esplicitarne con maggior forza le dinamiche, le connessioni e le opportunità di coinvolgimento.

A cosa serve Glancee? Il video dimostra come funziona il social network italiano, o quasi, e a cosa serve Glancee: tutto ciò sarà presto integrato profondamente in Facebook, rendendo ancor più evidenti e preziose le connessioni fra 900 milioni di persone.


E una breve intervista rilasciata da Andrea Vaccari a laRepubblica

Lavoro: Naomi Campell è in cerca di un assistente

I am looking forward to working in partnership with Oxygen and Shine America to discover the next beautiful face of the modeling world‘ – Naomi Campbell

A detta dell’annuncio riportato dai principali network di moda, quotidiani online blogs e magazines, ‘Deve avere la pelle molto dura’ la nuova o nuovo personal assistent della celeberrima pantera nera Naomi Campell.

Nota per il suo pessimo carattere, è stata anche denunciata per avere aggredita a pugni la donna delle pulizie, la top model apprezzata da Dolce&Gabbana e non solo, è in cerca di un’assistente personale a tempo pieno.

A dare per primo la notizia è stato il Daily News che non badando alla pericolosità della notizia stessa, lo ha definito ‘il più pericoloso lavoro al mondo’.

In pratica, chi non ha ‘la pelle molto dura’ scarti da subito la possibilità di presentarsi, recita l’annuncio pubblicato dal sito entertainmentcareers.net, il principale network sul quale le star hollywoodiane si riforniscono di personale specializzato.

Molti ex dipendenti della Venere nera, come è stata ribattezzata durante diverse sfilate per il corpo statuario, sono stati picchiati e vittime di abusi e hanno vinto risarcimenti milionari dopo averla portata in tribunale. La top model è stata condannata in passato per avere aggredito la donna delle pulizie con il suo telefonino.

Nel 2008 ha insultato un dipendente dell’aeroporto di Heathrow ed è stata condannata a 200 ore di lavori forzati. Nel 2010 ha invece picchiato l’autista che stava guidando la sua auto, per poi darsi alla fuga tra le vie di Manhattan. Denunciata dalla vittima dell’aggressione, è stata momentaneamente in custodia alla polizia di New York.

Nella Grande Mela trascorre la maggior parte del tempo – dicono gli insider che assicurano – l’annuncio è stato postato dalla Campell.

Naomi farà da coach ad aspiranti modelle in gara per diventare il nuovo volto di un importante brand. La 41enne prenderà sotto la propria egida le concorrenti, affiancandosi ad altre due star della moda, i cui nomi devono ancora essere resi noti.

Lo show verrà trasmesso sul canale satellitare Oxygen, lo stesso che ospita America’s Next Top Model, trasmesso in Italia da Sky. ‘Con The Face verrà offerta al pubblico una prospettiva dall’interno sul mondo della moda, un aspetto che mi piace molto’, ha detto la Campbell in un comunicato. ‘Una sola fortunata diventerà la testimonial di un marchio di primo piano’.

Nata a Londra,  a Streatham, il 22 maggio del 1970 dalla diciottenne Valerie Morris, una ballerina di origini giamaicane e soprannominata la Venere nera, Naomi Campbell è stata inserita dal magazine People tra le 50 donne più belle del mondo. Ha un patrimonio di 48 milioni di dollari.

Tra i suoi veri o presunti flirt si ricordano Mike TysonSylvester StalloneJoaquín Cortés,Puff DaddyMax BiaggiFlavio BriatoreMatteo MarzottoRobert De NiroLeonardo di CaprioAdam ClaytonEric ClaptonAlberto II di MonacoKevin SpaceyRobbie WilliamsLewis Hamilton e di recente il presidente venezuelano Hugo Chavez. Attualmente è legata al magnate russo Vladimir Doronin.



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