linguistic front

ICJ issues mixed ruling in Ukraine case against Russia

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Jan. 31 that Russia failed to investigate Ukrainian claims that Russian nationals finance terrorism in Ukraine, in violation of its obligations under Article 9 of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (ICSFT). The ruling's press release states that the ICJ otherwise rejected requests by Ukraine for a plethora of provisional measures. Ukraine had requested the ICJ declare Russia in violation of both the ICSFT and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), seeking a court order demanding Russia comply with its obligations under these conventions. Ukraine also requested that the ICJ order Russia to prosecute certain officials, such as the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, and further requested reparations for civilian shelling.

Russia prolongs detention of Tatar-language journalist

A district court in Kazan, capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, on Dec. 1 extended the detention of Alsu Kurmasheva, a journalist holding joint Russian and United States citizenship. Kurmasheva faces allegations of failing to comply with Russia's stringent "foreign agent" registration law. The decision, extending her pre-trial detention through early February, was made without actually setting a trial date.  

Argentina gets an anarchist president? Not!

English-language media accounts are calling Argentina's far-right president-elect Javier Milei a "self-described anarcho-capitalist," but this appears to be a translation error. In Episode 203 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg sets the record straight, exposing "anarcho-capitalism" as an oxymoron and the fascistic Milei as antithetical to everything that Argentina's proud anarchist tradition ever stood for. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Kenya-led intervention force approved for Haiti

The UN Security Council voted Oct. 2 to approve a multi-national armed force led by Kenya to combat the violent gangs that have made Haiti ungovernable—marking the first time in nearly 20 years that foreign forces are to be deployed to the Caribbean nation. The resolution authorizes the Multinational Security Support mission to deploy for one year, with a review after nine months. Drafted by the US and Ecuador, the resolution was approved with 13 votes in favor and two abstentions, from Russia and China. (AP, PRI, Jurist)

Hong Kong steps up crackdown on Cantopop stars

Hong Kong District Court judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung handed down a judgment Aug. 31 sentencing Tommy Yuen Man-on, a former Cantopop boy-band member, to 26 months imprisonment. Yuen was convicted of "acts with seditious intention" among other charges. Lin found that Yuen made seditious statements on Facebook and Instagram in 2021, including posts about the death of a marine police officer, injuries suffered by then Chief Executive Carrie Lam after a fall, and cases of officer misconduct. Lin asserted that Yuen had been insulting Hong Kong's government and implicitly advocating for Hong Kong independence.

PRC officials sanctioned over Tibet assimilation policy

The US Department of State has announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials linked to the systematic "forced assimilation" of over a million Tibetan children in state-operated boarding schools. This decision is part of a broader strategy by the Biden administration to address China's treatment of its ethnic minorities, with a particular focus on the Tibetan and Xinjiang Uighur regions.

Hong Kong pro-democracy radio station closed down

Hong Kong's pro-democracy Citizen Radio aired its final broadcast June 30, with the founder citing the "dangerous" political environment. Tsang Kin-shing, a veteran political activist, wrote in the station's closing Facebook post of difficulties faced since protest movements in the city in 2014 and 2019. Under the National Security Law imposed by the Chinese government in 2020, the station's bank account was "frozen," and consequently it could only afford rent for the studio through August. "We could do nothing but to stop the broadcasting," said Tsang at the end of the post.

Alphabet at issue in Great Game for Central Asia

Russia has suspended the import of dairy products from Kyrgyzstan, ostensibly citing concerns about quality control. But the report on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty suggests that the move is retaliation after the Kyrgyz National Commission on State Language & Language Policy announced that the country is to begin a transition from Cyrillic to a Latin-based alphabet. Barring of dairy imports hs apparently been used several times over past years as a "blunt foreign policy instrument against former Soviet states whose actions Moscow dislikes," including Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

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