FEMEN: ‘COME, GET TOPLESS AND WIN’

THE FEMEN MOVEMENT PROTESTS. PHOTO: FEMEN WOMEN'S MOVEMENT. WIKIMEDIA

How does one imagine a feminist movement? Traditionally feminist movements have been about campaigning for reproductive rights, equal pay, women’s suffrage, protesting to increase awareness of sexual harassment, domestic violence and many other issues affecting women’s lives. Yet, in Ukraine this has taken on a new form – topless protest.

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Freedom on the Internet

SOPA/PIPA PROTEST IN NYC JANUARY 18, 2012. PHOTO: PHOTO GALLERY. FLICKRDissecting the SOPA and PIPA bills.

 
Except for fame, what do celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift have in common? Well, alongside with the Sony Corporation, all four have officially been made targets by a hacktivist group, Anonymous, a global and loosely linked network of hackers, for approving of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). However, the hackers linked to Anonymous are far from the only ones opposing these new pieces of legislation which, if enacted, will enable American enforcement agencies to prosecute and shut down so-called rogue web sites, which are sites containing pirated material. Most importantly, and what has caused the strongest reactions, are clauses giving the US government the power to make US internet providers block access to infringing domains. In addition, the government will also be able to sue US-based search engines and directories as well as blogs and forums, forcing them to remove links to such rogue websites. In other words, the sites themselves will be held accountable for what their users upload through the use of their service, creating a delicate situation where censorship might be the only option. 

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War Criminals and the “Hague Hilton”

PRISON GATES, SCHEVENINGEN, THE HAGUE. PHOTO: TED SWEDENBURG. FLICKR
Charles Taylor, Ratko Mladić and Ante Gotovina are just a few who are detained by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands. ICC has the authority to investigate and prosecute those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national authorities are unable or unwilling to do so. Important to mention is that the death penalty is excluded so the Court’s highest sentence can only be imprisonment.

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WELCOME TO AUSTRALIA

REFUGEE RIGHTS PROTEST IN MELBOURNE. PHOTO: TAKVER, FLICKR

Although Australia is a nation conceived and developed by immigrants, the contemporary political climate towards asylum-seekers is one of hostility—a hostility that has seeped into the Australian population. The recent failed attempt by the Australian Government to introduce a refugee swap deal with Malaysia highlights the core issue regarding Australia’s immigration policies and discussions—the debate has changed from being a humanitarian issue to a political strategy. In 2011, many asylum-seekers arrive by boat to Australia—a stable and wealthy democratic nation—full of hope, but this hope is short-lived. Their hope is replaced with despair as they are immediately, and in some cases indefinitely, placed in detention centres. Welcome to Australia. 

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TAIWAN’S INDEPENDENCE

LEE TENG-HUI IN 2004. PHOTO: A-GIÂU. WIKICOMMONS MEDIA

Mr. Democrazy and his way of approaching Taiwan’s independence

The question of Taiwan’s independence from mainland China still remains unsolved. For centuries throughout its history, Taiwan has been occupied and oppressed by various colonial powers. In the 20th century Japan annexed and ruled it from 1895 and until the end of the Second World War in 1945, when Taiwan officially became a part of China. In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek, the most prominent opponent of Mao Zedong, and his Kuomintang-National Party took over and transformed Taiwan into a self-governing state. The conflict regarding Taiwan’s independence from mainland China led to the Taiwan Strait crisis in 1995-1996. Still, China consistently claims that it has the right to use force to prevent Taiwan from becoming an independent country. Lee Teng-hui, the president of Taiwan from 1988-2000, sought to achieve Taiwan’s independence.

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South Sudan: Darkness After the Dawn

A NEW DAWN FOR A NEW NATION. A MAN CARRIES THE SOUTH SUDANESE FLAG DURING INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATIONS ON 9TH JULY OF THIS YEAR. PHOTO: BABASTEVE. FLCKERA new dawn for a new country. After fifty years of bitter struggle, South Sudan officially became an independent nation on 9th July 2011. It has been a tough five months for the South since its independence. The challenges facing the new country are as grave and problematic as ever. Internal conflicts, food shortages, as well as more serious oil and border disputes with the north, have all contributed to making it an extremely difficult period for the world’s newest country. 

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After the Egyptian Elections

"SCAF KEEP OUT", GRAFFITI IN CAIRO, EGYPT. PHOTO: GIGI IBRAHIM. FLCKR

- Winners and Losers

Many international and domestic political observers have watched the Egyptian parliamentary elections with hope. This round of parliamentary elections came to bridge a gap of trust between the national Egyptian institutions and the Egyptian people, who had been rendered voiceless by the previous regime. Whereas the SCAF (Supreme Council of Armed Forces) has stressed that, unlike in the past era where there was little judicial supervision of elections, this time elections would be carried out “under complete judicial supervision”.

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The Eastern Partnership and the Danish Presidency

The Eastern Partnership initiative, a cooperation involving six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), emerged from a Polish-Swedish idea in June 2008, and  developed into an official program one year later. The quest was to improve the relations between the EU and the partner countries in different ways, thus offering a prospect for them which can eventually lead to EU membership. (As Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said: “to the south, we have neighbours of Europe. To the east, we have European neighbours”.)The program is based on bilateral as well as multilateral relations including political and economic ties,  through meetings and conferences at different levels.

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“You Can Listen, You Can Talk”

CARSICK CARS PERFORM AT EMO'S ANNEX IN AUSTIN, TX. PHOTO: MEHAN. FLCKR

-  Music and Politics in China

A few years ago a sleazy, run down bar called D22 was one of the few places where Chinese underground bands in the capital could get a chance to try their wings. Its location  in the middle of Beijing’s northwestern district, in close proximity to several of China’s biggest and most prestigious universities, would prove perfect for attracting Chinese youth. The bar quickly became an outlet for the developing local underground music culture.

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Chinese Youth Culture

CHINESE BAND "THE MUSHROOMS" FROM SHANGHAI. PHOTO: SLASH85. FLCKR

In the West, it is commonly believed that a thriving music scene goes hand in hand with criticism of the established political system. One would think that this would be the same in China, where youth culture and music has exploded in the past decade. But is this really the case?

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