Category: Voting

Genetically engineered crops banned in Jackson County, Oregon in landslide victory against GMOs

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

(NaturalNews) A ban on the growing of all genetically engineered plants appears to be a landslide victory in Jackson County, Oregon. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting and a huge voter turnout of over 50 percent, nearly 66% of voters elected to ban all genetically engineered crops from being grown in the county.

The vote ran 39,489 to 20,432 in favor of the ban, and it sends a clear signal that the People of Jackson County, Oregon — a largely agricultural area of the country — absolutely do not want genetically engineered crops to be growing anywhere near them. (Click here to see county election results.)

This is on top of the recent victory in Vermont where lawmakers passed a mandatory GMO labeling law that requires foods to be honestly labeled with their GMO content. (The evil biotech industry and its Grocery Manufacturers of America front group plant to sue Vermont to keep consumers in the dark.)

“Destroy all genetically engineered plants”

This ordinance in Oregon requires everyone to “destroy” all genetically engineered plants except those grown under indoor laboratory conditions (i.e. those which are safely isolated from the wild). This will allow scientists to continue to study GMOs without risking the lives of everyone else in the process.

Click here to read the full text of the ordinance (PDF).


Oregon counties ban cultivation of GMO crops

Published time: May 21, 2014 16:37
Edited time: May 22, 2014 11:18

Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Despite the flood of corporate money poured into two small Oregon counties, local residents voted on Tuesday to ban genetically engineered crops from being planted within their borders.

Although Jackson County itself is home to less than 120,000 registered voters, the measure to ban genetically modified crops (GMOs) made headlines around the nation when it was revealed that large biotech companies like Monsanto were pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the area in order to affect the vote’s outcome.

As RT reported previously, Monsanto and five other corporations spent at least $455,000 in an attempt to defeat the initiative, and opponents of the GMO ban had gained an eight-to-one spending advantage as of April. According to the Associated Press, nearly $1 million of the $1.3 million spent during the campaign was used by opponents.

When the results were tallied, however, 66 percent of Jackson County residents voted in favor of the ban.

“We fought the most powerful and influential chemical companies in the world and we won,” local farmer and anti-GMO advocate Elise Higley told the Oregonian.

“It’s a great day for the people of Oregon who care about sustainability and healthy ecosystems,” added the group GMO Free Oregon on its Facebook page.

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Abdel Fatah al-Sisi favourite in Egyptian election as nominations close

Interim government paints election as important step towards democracy but opponents have concerns about integrity of vote

Sisi supporters

Abdel Fatah al-Sisi supporters in Cairo. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Abdel Fatah al-Sisi moved one step closer to Egypt‘s presidency on Sunday as nominations closed, leaving the retired army chief and the leftist Hamdeen Sabahi as the only two high-profile candidates in the race.

Sisi is widely expected to easily win the election, which will take place on 26-27 May. He has more support than any other candidate, as well as an explicit mandate from the army, and he receives favourable coverage from most state and private media.

Egypt’s interim government, installed by Sisi last July, has portrayed the presidential race as a sign that the country is back on the road to democracy. “It is a very important step,” Egypt’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, told the Guardian, calling the electoral process “extremely free and fair”.

“Once we get it done, we will then move into the parliamentary elections which will help us finish the roadmap [to democracy] – and we look forward to rebuilding our future,” Fahmy said.

But among rights activists and opposition politicians there are concerns about the integrity of the poll. By the most conservative estimate at least 16,000 mainly Islamist dissidents have been arrested in an ongoing crackdown on dissent. At least three high-profile candidates from the 2012 presidential campaign have boycotted the race, complaining about the absence of free expression in Egypt, while the ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood was banned by court order this week from taking part.

A late challenger – the flamboyant football-club chairman Mortada Mansour – dropped out on Saturday citing a divine vision, after a brief and bizarre campaign in which he promised to rip up the Camp David accords and to force non-believers to practise atheism in their bathrooms.

Khaled Ali, a labour lawyer, the Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, and Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, all dropped out in recent weeks – with Aboul Fotouh highlighting the impossibility of campaigning in an environment where opposition is portrayed as treason.

Dozens of activists campaigning against Egypt’s new constitution in January were arrested while putting up campaign posters, and colleagues complained they were ignored by most media networks. Withdrawn candidates said they feared a similar scenario in the presidential poll.

When Sisi announced his intention to run for office last month, state television gave him a prime-time television slot to make a speech directly to camera. It was a privilege not afforded to Sabahi, who was allowed only a short state-made documentary about his career – a taste of what may be to come, analysts said.

“If we are talking about these elections really being fair and free, all the candidates should have access to equal representation within the media,” said HA Hellyer, Egypt analyst at the Royal United Services Institute. “And I just don’t think that’s going to happen unless things drastically change in the next four or five weeks.”

On Saturday a privately-owned channel announced that it would not air any shows by Egypt’s best-known political satirist Bassem Youssef, a prominent Sisi critic, until after the election – in order “to avoid influencing Egyptian voters’ orientation”.


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Egyptian presidential candidate reportedly vows to put Sisi on trial

Mideast Egypt Presidential Election

Egyptian presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi’s campaign denied remarks attributed to him in an audio recording in which a person with a voice that sounds like his says he would put former army chief Abdel Fattah Sisi on trial for the deaths of hundreds of protesters. (Ahmed Gomaa / Associated Press / April 22, 2014)

CAIRO — The only candidate running for president against Egypt’s former military chief, Abdel Fattah Sisi, has reportedly said that if elected he would put Sisi on trial in connection with the deaths of hundreds of protesters.

“I don’t treat Sisi as a criminal, but I plan to bring him to court …. When I do this, I aim to heal wounds without opening up new confrontations,” candidate Hamdeen Sabahi was quoted as saying by the Egyptian news outlet Youm7 on Friday.

Sabahi’s campaign denied the comments were his. But Youm7 posted an audio recording of a voice that sounded much like the candidate. According to Youm7, Sabahi was responding to a question over transitional justice in case he wins the presidency. He also said anyone proven responsible for demonstrators’ deaths since the 2011 uprising against autocrat Hosni Mubarak should be held accountable.


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Al Jazeera America

Leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi to challenge Sisi in Egypt election

Lobna Tarek/El Shorouk/AP

Sabahi has received several political endorsements but his chances of beating the powerful Sisi are slight

Leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi officially submitted his bid Saturday to run for Egypt’s presidency, making him the second candidate for next month’s election alongside former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who is widely expected to win.

The election is due to take place on May 26-27.

Sabahi, who heads a political alliance called the Popular Current, created after the 2012 presidential elections, was a member of parliament during ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s years in office and came third in the election won by Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2012.

Sabahi submitted the required documents to the presidential election committee after gathering 31,100 signatures. The required number is 25,000.

A third candidate, controversial figure Mortada Mansour, announced Saturday that he would not run in the upcoming elections, after having declared his candidacy less than a week ago, Egyptian media reported.


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Egypt presidential candidate bows out, predicts Sisi victory

Egypt presidential candidate bows out, predicts Sisi victory

CAIRO — An Egyptian lawyer and TV personality who declared days ago that he was running for president pulled out of the race Saturday, and state media quoted him as saying he had received a sign from God that victory belonged to former army chief Abdel Fattah Sisi.

Mortada Mansour, known for his outspoken style and sometimes eccentric views, also took a parting swipe at the only Sisi opponent left in the race, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, the Ahram website reported.

Mansour, who had announced his candidacy last weekend, has called for the abrogation of the Camp David accords that led to peace between Egypt and Israel, has threatened to go to war with Ethiopia over water rights, and has urged a ban on Facebook and Twitter.

Sisi, leader of the popularly supported military coup that ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi nearly 10 months ago, is heavily favored to win the presidential poll, to be held May 26 and 27.


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Nearly 60 people killed in Iraq bomb attacks

Civilians and security forces gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Iraq. (file photo)

Civilians and security forces gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Iraq. (file photo)
Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:25PM GMT


The deadliest incident on Monday occurred in the Kurdish populated town of Khanaqin where 30 people were killed and 50 others injured after a bombing targeted a political gathering.

People had gathered to watch television footage of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani casting his ballot in Germany.

“Suddenly we heard a big explosion. I wanted to turn my car around to go back home, but I couldn’t because people were running towards me. Most of their clothes were covered in blood,” a witness said.

According to reports, 27 members of the Iraqi security forces were also killed in a series of bomb attacks across the country on the same day.





Ahead of Iraq polls, oil still fuelling economic hopes

by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) April 28, 2014

Iraqi forces cast ballots ahead of wider poll
Baghdad (AFP) April 27, 2014 – Iraqi soldiers and policemen vote Monday ahead of the country’s first national election since US troops left with worsening sectarian ties and fears the country is slipping into all-out conflict.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, lambasted by critics for allegedly consolidating power and targeting minority groups, is bidding for a third term in Wednesday’s polls with Iraqis frustrated over basic services, rampant corruption and high unemployment.The month-long campaign has seen Baghdad and other cities plastered with posters and decked out in bunting, as candidates have taken to the streets, staged loud rallies and challenged each other in angry debates.Attacks on candidates, election workers and political rallies have cast a shadow over the election, and parts of the country that have been out of government control for months will not see any ballots cast.Many shops in central Baghdad have been boarded up and authorities have announced a week’s public holidays to try to bolster security for the election.

Iraqis living outside of the country began voting at overseas polling centres on Sunday.

Along with members of the security forces, hospital and prison staff will also cast their ballots on Monday ahead of wider polling on April 30.

Although voters have a long list of grievances, from poor electricity and sewerage services to pervasive graft and difficulties securing jobs, to say nothing of near-daily violence, the election has centred around Maliki and his efforts to retain power.

His opponents, who span the communal spectrum, accuse him of shoring up his power base, while minority Sunnis in particular say the Shiite premier discriminates against them.

Maliki contends that foreign interference is behind deteriorating security and complains that he has been saddled with a unity government of groups that snipe at him in public and block his legislative efforts.

But according to analysts and diplomats, with a fractious and divided opposition and no clear replacement, he remains the frontrunner in the first national election since 2010, and the first since US troops withdrew in December 2011.

No single party is likely to win an absolute majority, however, and as in previous elections, coalition talks are likely to take months.


With a budget languishing in parliament, crucial reforms on the back burner and a hamstrung private sector, prospects for Iraq’s economy after Wednesday’s election hinge heavily on the oil factor.

Iraq has some of the world’s largest deposits of oil and gas and aims to boost energy production dramatically, but a slow-moving bureaucracy and poor infrastructure are holding it back.

Complicating things further is Baghdad’s long-running dispute with the energy-rich autonomous northern Kurdish region, which has sought to sign deals with foreign firms and export without the express permission of the central government.

Any new government formed after Wednesday’s parliamentary election will have its hands full with these and other challenges.

Crude oil accounts for more than 90 percent of exports and government revenues, and 70 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Despite calls for Iraq to do more to diversify its economy, oil still fuels the country’s attempts to rebuild after decades of conflict.

“What Iraq should be focusing on is actually developing something more diverse as an economy that’s less dependent on oil production,” said Ayham Kamel, Middle East and North Africa Director for Eurasia Group consultancy.

“The challenge here is, given the security environment, it’s very difficult to achieve that.”

Only one percent of Iraq’s workforce is employed in the oil sector but the industry indirectly supports countless others, with revenues in particular helping to pay salaries in the public sector.

Meanwhile private firms, outside the oil sector, often complain they are hamstrung by an ageing banking system, with few loans available and outdated laws that make it hard to set up or maintain a business.

Rampant corruption and soaring costs due to electricity shortages and deteriorating security also complicate running a business in Iraq, which is mired in its worst period of bloodshed in years.

“Iraq’s economy suffers from structural weaknesses,” said a World Bank report.

It noted that although the oil sector was delivering strong growth, overall economic expansion “has not been broad-based enough to make major inroads on poverty and exclusion.”


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Violence Kills Nearly 50 in Iraq Ahead of Key Vote


Militants on Monday targeted polling stations across much of Iraq and a crowd of Kurds jubilantly dancing on the street as soldiers and security forces cast ballots two days ahead of parliamentary elections, officials said. The attacks, including a suicide bombing northeast of Baghdad, left at least 46 people dead.

The wave of attacks was an apparent attempt to derail the balloting process and discourage the rest of the country’s 22 million registered voters from going to the polls on Wednesday in the first nationwide elections since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The early balloting for police and soldiers is meant to free up the 1 million-strong military and security forces so they can protect polling stations and voters on election day.

More than 9,000 candidates are vying for 328 seats in parliament, which is widely expected to be won by an alliance led by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is likely to seek a third four-year term in office.

The day’s worst attack took place in the Kurdish town of Khanaqin, 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Baghdad close to the Iranian border. A suicide bomber walked toward a crowd of Kurds performing a traditional dance and blew himself up, killing at least 25 and injuring 35, many of them in critical condition.

The Kurds were celebrating the appearance on TV of Iraq’s ailing President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who is being treated in Berlin since December 2012 following a stroke. The nearly 80-year-old Talabani was seen sitting in a wheelchair smiling and waving his index finger, stained purple, flanked by clapping relatives. Few details have been released about the severity of Talabani’s illness.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of Sunni Arab militants.

Khanaqin is in Diyala province, a region where Arabs and Kurds context territory and where Sunni militants target Shiites and Kurds.

Iraq is experiencing a surge in sectarian violence, with Sunni militants increasingly chiefly targeting security forces, army troops and members of the nation’s Shiite majority. The resurgence of the bloodletting, which nearly tore Iraq apart in 2006 and 2007, underscores the precarious politics of a democratic, but splintered nation.

It also mirrors the three-year-old conflict in neighboring Syria, where the civil war pits forces loyal to President Bashar Assad whose powerbase stems from followers of a Shiite offshoot sect, against mostly Sunni Arab rebels whose ranks are dominated by Islamists and militants from al-Qaida-inspired or linked groups. Iraqi Shiite militiamen fight on the side of Assad’s forces.

Voters in Wednesday’s polls are widely expected to cast ballots along sectarian and ethnic lines.

But balloting will not take place in parts of the vast and mostly Sunni Anbar province west of Baghdad, where al-Qaida spin-off militants control parts of two cities, including the provincial capital, Ramadi.

Beside army troops and police, also voting on Monday were hospital patients, medical staff and detainees.

Abroad, Iraqi expatriates in more than 20 countries will also be able to cast ballots for a second day.

Authorities, meanwhile, announced the closure of Iraq’s air space, saying it will not reopen until after the polls close on Wednesday evening. Already, the government has decreed a weeklong national holiday to coincide with the elections, extending a previously announced three-day break. Such moves were common in past elections, chiefly to empty the streets and allow security forces faster access to attack sites.



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Interim government signals that it will push for European integration as Russia recalls ambassador for ‘consultation’

Anti government protest in Ukraine

A portrait of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is seen during a rally on Independence Square in Kiev on Sunday. Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA

Western governments are scrambling to contain the fallout from Ukraine‘s weekend revolution, pledging money, support and possible EU membership, while anxiously eyeing the response of Russia‘s president, Vladimir Putin, whose protege has been ousted.

Seemingly the biggest loser in the three-month drama’s denouement, the Kremlin has the potential to create the most mischief because of Ukraine’s pro-Russian affinities in the east and south, and its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

Acting president Oleksander Turchinov said on Sunday night that Ukraine’s new leaders wanted relations with Russia on a “new, equal and good-neighbourly footing that recognises and takes into account Ukraine’s European choice”.

But the tension between the Kremlin and the interim government was underlined when Russia recalled its ambassador to Ukraine on Sunday for “consultations” and to “analyse the situation from all sides”, the foreign ministry said.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will travel to Ukraine on Monday, where she is expected to discuss measures to shore up the ailing economy.

A woman pays her respects at a memorial to anti-government protesters in Kiev, Ukraine

A woman pays her respects at a memorial to killed anti-government protesters in Kiev. Photograph: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

With the whereabouts of the former president Viktor Yanukovych still uncertain, the Ukrainian parliament legitimised his downfall, giving interim presidential powers to an ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former PM who was released from jail on Saturday. Oleksandr Turchinov said the parliament should work to elect a government of national unity by Tuesday, before preparations begin for elections planned for 25 May.

Yanukovych appeared on television from an undisclosed location on Saturday night, claiming he was still president and comparing the protesters to Nazis, but he continued to haemorrhage support on Sunday; even the leader of his parliamentary faction said he had betrayed Ukraine, and given “criminal orders”.

Western leaders, while welcoming the unexpected turn of events in Kiev, are worried about the country fracturing along pro-Russian and pro-western lines. They are certain to push for a new government that is as inclusive as possible to replace the collapsed and discredited administration of Yanukovych, who vanished within hours of signing an EU-mediated settlement with opposition leaders on Friday.

“France, together with its European partners, calls for the preservation of the country’s unity and integrity and for people to refrain from violence,” said Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister.

British chancellor George Osborne said early on Monday that the UK was standing ready to help the country through schemes set up by the IMF and European Union.

“It’s very, very early days, early hours, but the people of Ukraine seem to have demonstrated their wish to take their country into the future, to have stronger links with Europe, and I don’t think we should be repelling that, we should be embracing that,” he said speaking to journalists in Singapore.

“We should be there ready to provide financial assistance through organisations like the IMF, and of course a lot of this will take the form of loans and the like, but there will be good investments in the economy of Ukraine”.

Putin, preoccupied with the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics, has not yet commented publicly on the violence of the past week and Yanukovych’s flight from the capital. Angela Merkel phoned him on Sunday to press for assurances on Russia’s reaction. Susan Rice, the national security adviser to Barack Obama, warned that Moscow would be making a “grave mistake” if it sent military aid to Ukraine.

People and protesters roam the garden in front of the mansion of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency in Mezhygirya, near Kiev.

Protesters roam the garden in front of the mansion of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s home in Mezhygirya, near Kiev. Photograph: Etienne De Malglaive/Getty Images

“There are many dangers,” said William Hague, the foreign secretary. “We don’t know, of course, what Russia’s next reaction will be. Any external duress on Ukraine, any more than we’ve seen in recent weeks … it really would not be in the interests of Russia to do any such thing.”

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NBC News

Image: Yulia Tymoshenko freed, leaving hospital

SERGEY KOZLOV / EPA 14 minutes

Applause Erupts As Ukrainian Opposition Leader Freed From Prison

A chief political rival of embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was freed Saturday from prison as the defiant leader struggled to hold on to power as protesters seized control of the presidential palace and the parliament voted to remove him from office.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waved to supporters from a car as she was driven out of the hospital in the northeastern city if Kharkiv, where she has been treated for a bad back while serving a seven-year sentence since 2011.

“Our country can from this day on see the sun, because dictatorship fell,” Tymoshenko said.

Parliament members had voted to free her after Yanukovych fled the capital of Kiev a day after announcing a pact with opposition leaders. Yanukovych said he is traveling the country to seek advice and will “do everything to stop the bloodshed” that left at least 77 dead, hundreds injured and nearly collapsed the country into a civil war.

“I am not planning to leave the country,” he said in a video televised on local media. “I am not planning to resign. I am a legitimately elected president. I was given guarantees of safety by all the international mediators I worked with.”

Yanukovych claimed his car was shot at, but that he didn’t fear for his life, denouncing some of the opposition protesters as “bandits.”

“I will not sign anything with the bandits who are terrorizing the whole country and Ukrainian people. They are discrediting the country,” he said on UBR television.

Image: UKRAINE-UNREST-EU-RUSSIA-POLITICS-YANUKOVYCH Presidential Press Service / AFP – Getty Images
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych speaks to a local station in Kharkiv on Saturday.

In another strike against the president, the parliament Saturday freed Tymoshenko, who had been imprisoned on charges of abuse of office, which the West had questioned. They also endorsed Oleksandr Turchynov as the new speaker.

The apparent toppling of the pro-Russian looks likely to pull Ukraine away from Moscow’s orbit and closer to Europe.

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The New York Times

Ukraine’s Leader Flees the Capital; Elections Are Called

View slide show|13 Photos

Protesters Take Control of Presidential Palace

Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

KIEV, Ukraine — Abandoned by his own guards and reviled across the Ukrainian capital but still determined to recover his shredded authority, President Viktor F. Yanukovych fled Kiev on Saturday to denounce what he called a violent coup, as his official residence, his vast, colonnaded office complex and other once impregnable centers of power fell without a fight to throngs of joyous citizens stunned by their triumph.

While Mr. Yanukovych’s nemesis, former Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko, was released from a penitentiary hospital, Parliament found the president unable to fulfill his duties and exercised its constitutional powers to set an election for May 25 to select his replacement. But with both Mr. Yanukovych and his Russian patrons speaking of a “coup” carried out by “bandits” and “hooligans,” it was far from clear that the day’s lightning-quick events would be the last act in a struggle that has not just convulsed Ukraine but expanded into an East-West confrontation reminiscent of the Cold War.

President Viktor Yanukovych denounced a “coup” on TV. Presidential Press Service, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

At the presidential residence a short distance from the capital, protesters carrying clubs and some wearing masks were in control of the entryways Saturday morning and watched as thousands of citizens strolled through the grounds in wonder. “This commences a new life for Ukraine,” said Roman Dakus, a protester-turned-guard, who was wearing a ski helmet and carrying a length of pipe as he blocked a doorway at the compound. “This is only a start,” he added. “We need now to make a new structure and a new system, a foundation for our future, with rights for everybody, and we need to investigate who ordered the violence.”

With the riot police they battled for days having disappeared, the protesters claimed to be in charge of security for the city. There was no sign of looting, either in the city proper or in the presidential compound.

A pugnacious Mr. Yanukovych appeared on television Saturday afternoon, apparently from the eastern city of Kharkiv, near Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia, saying he had been forced to leave the capital because of a “coup,” and that he had not resigned, and had no plans to. He said indignantly that his car had been fired upon as he drove away.

“I don’t plan to leave the country. I don’t plan to resign,” he said, speaking in Russian rather than Ukrainian, the country’s official language. “I am a legitimately elected president.” He added: “What is happening today, mostly, it is vandalism, banditism and a coup d’état. This is my assessment and I am deeply convinced of this. I will remain on the territory of Ukraine.” He also complained of “traitors” among his own former supporters but he declined to name them.

Regional governors from eastern Ukraine met in Kharkiv and adopted a resolution resisting the authority of Parliament. They said that until matters were resolved, “we have decided to take responsibility for safeguarding the constitutional order, legality, citizens’ rights and their security on our territories.”

One of the few institutions still taking orders from the president was the official trilingual website of the Ukrainian presidency, which posted a transcript of his defiant television address. But, by evening, the text had appeared only in Ukrainian and Russian, suggesting that his English translator had perhaps jumped ship.

The former nerve center of Mr. Yanukovych’s power, the huge compound of the presidential administration, just a few hundred yards from Independence Square in Kiev, was empty Saturday aside from protesters who patrolled its courtyard and blocked off a nearby street to prevent residents swarming into the building. Ukrainian flags flying outside had all been lowered to half-mast, in honor of those killed by police officers and snipers on Thursday.

Mr. Yanukovych said in his television appearance that he would be traveling to the southeastern part of Ukraine to talk to his supporters — a plan that carried potentially ominous overtones, in that the southeast is the location of the Crimea, the historically Russian section of the country that is the site of a Russian naval base.

The president’s departure from Kiev, just a day after a peace deal with the opposition that he had hoped would keep him in office until at least December, capped three months of streets protests and a week of frenzied violence in the capital that left more than 75 protesters dead. It turned what began in November as a street protest driven by pro-Europe chants and nationalist songs into a momentous but still ill-defined revolution.

With nobody clearly in charge, other than the so far remarkably disciplined fighting squads, lieutenants of Ms. Tymoshenko moved to fill the power vacuum. With Oleksandr V. Turchynov, a former acting prime minister and close ally of Ms. Tymoshenko, presiding over the Parliament, her Fatherland party seemed to be in charge, at least temporarily.


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Washington Examiner

Poll: Only 79% of Obama voters would vote for him again

By Paul Bedard | FEBRUARY 18, 2014 AT 6:33 PM



AP photo


Given a chance to do it all over again, only 79 percent of those who voted for President Obama would vote for him again and 71 percent of Obama voters now inclined to vote for somebody else “regret” their vote to reelect the president, according to a new poll.


The Economist/ poll found that Obama would lose enough votes in a rematch with Mitt Romney that the Republican would win. “90 percent of people who voted for Romney would do it again, compared to only 79 percent of Obama voters who would,” said the poll.


“Clearly Romney fares better, although he had fewer voters to begin with. As a proportion of the voters each of them actually received in 2012 (66 million for Obama and 61 million for Romney), the GOP candidate ends up with 55 million votes retained to Obama’s 52 million. Not exactly a wipeout. It’s also unclear for any poll that hypothetically revisits 2012 how much it says about renewed hope for Mitt Romney – who has notably been liberated from the scrutiny of a presidential campaign ­– rather than about dissatisfaction with an incumbent president who has spent the last year defending his administration over leaks, scandals and Obamacare roll-outs,” added the poll.




It also found that among Obama voters interested in voting for somebody else, 71 percent regret their vote. After Secrets posted a story about that finding, noted that the sample for the question was small and recharacterized the sample as “those who reported voting for Barack Obama in 2012 but would vote for someone else if the election were held again” from “those who voted for Barack Obama in 2012.”


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New poll: 71% of Obama voters regret their choice, as do …

No, 71 percent of Obama voters don’t regret voting for him

No, 71 percent of Obama voters don’t regret voting for him


Poll finds 71 percent of Obama voters have regrets, but …



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By Suttinee Yuvejwattana and Anuchit Nguyen Feb 1, 2014 8:24 PM CT

Photographer: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Anti-government protesters take cover before the elections, February 1, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urged people to cast their vote in the nation’s general election today, as thousands of protesters seeking her ouster took to the streets in Bangkok to disrupt the poll.

“I want to persuade people to come out to vote to protect democracy,” Yingluck told reporters after voting near her home in Bueng Kum in Bangkok’s north-west. Polling stations nationwide are scheduled to close at 3 p.m.

Voting was abandoned in the northern Bangkok district of Laksi after seven people were injured in a gun-battle yesterday, the Election Commission said. As many as 62 of Thailand’s 77 provinces will be unaffected, including Yingluck’s strongholds in the north and northeast, according to the commission.

In the south, where the main opposition Democrat Party has its power base, “demonstrators are still blocking post offices in Chumporn, Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat,” Election Commission Secretary-General Puchong Nutrawong said. The Democrats are boycotting the election, and poll results may not be certified for months because by-elections must be held in districts where advance voting was disrupted last weekend, as well as areas blockaded by demonstrators today, Puchong said.

A disputed poll will leave Yingluck’s administration in caretaker mode, complicating its efforts to raise funds to pay rice farmers under a state subsidy program. Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat powerbroker who has led a three-month street campaign to oust Yingluck, said the election will be annulled because his group blocked candidates from registering in some provinces and shut down polling stations during advance voting.

Laksi Clash

A clash yesterday between pro- and anti-government groups at Laksi intersection involved explosive devices and gunfire, according to the Bangkok Emergency Medical Service’s website. Seven people were injured and taken to the hospital, it said.

The army sent personnel to assist the police in Laksi, Winthai Suvaree, the deputy army spokesman, told reporters yesterday, urging “all groups to respect the law.”

Protesters have also occupied several major intersections in the city since Jan. 13 in a bid to prevent Yingluck’s government from functioning. Suthep said protesters won’t block polling stations, while urging all voters to choose a side in the country’s political conflict.

“We will not vote, but we will not criticize anyone for casting their vote,” he told supporters late yesterday. “We will not block anybody who wants to cast their ballot. You can go to vote. We want to know who is on our side.”

Suthep says he speaks for a “silent majority” who don’t want elections until Yingluck is replaced with an appointed council that would erase what they call her family’s corrupting political influence. Yingluck says such a council would be undemocratic and an affront to the almost 16 million people who elected her in 2011.

Soldiers Deployed

Yingluck is deploying 10,000 police in Bangkok alone, having declared a state of emergency, as she seeks to avoid a repeat of the violence that obstructed advance voting on Jan. 26 in the south and most of the capital. Ten people have been killed and more than 500 injured since protests began Oct. 31.

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Six people injured as gunshots and explosions break out on the streets of Bangkok on the eve of the general election

  • Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is set to win re-election tomorrow
  • But protesters are trying to delay the poll by bringing violence to the streets
  • Masked gunmen fired weapons and explosion were heard at demonstrations

By Daily Mail Reporter


Multiple people were injured today as chaos broke out on the streets of Bangkok the day before a general election which has divided Thailand.

Gunshots rang out while at least two explosions were heard at anti-government protests, with six people wonded in front of a suburban shopping mall in the north of the city.

Sporadic gunfire continued into the evening, with masked men openly firing handguns as security forces used M-16 rifles to fire warning shots into the air.

Warning: graphic content

Gunman: A protester wielding a pistol on the streets of Bangkok ahead of the Thai general election

Gunman: A protester wielding a pistol on the streets of Bangkok ahead of the Thai general election

Masked: Many of the gunmen were wearing balaclavas to hide their identities as they sought to disrupt the election

Masked: Many of the gunmen were wearing balaclavas to hide their identities as they sought to disrupt the election

Hurt: A bloodied man and a woman look around a wall as a gun battle rages in the Bangkok suburbs

Hurt: A bloodied man and a woman look around a wall as a gun battle rages in the Bangkok suburbs

Tomorrow’s election is almost certain to return prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to power, despite efforts by some opposition supporters to disrupt the poll.

The violence came amid generally peaceful protests around Bangkok and revived chilling memories of political unrest in 2010, when supporters of former leader Thaksin Shinawatra – Ms Yingluck’s brother – paralysed Bangkok in protest against the Democrat Party.

Today’s attack took place in Bangkok’s Laksi district, close to the Don Muang airport, where Ms Yingluck’s fans gathered in support of the election.

Ten people have died and at least 577 have been wounded in politically related violence since late November.

On the run: An injured protester attempts to get away from the violence after being caught in the crossfire

On the run: An injured protester attempts to get away from the violence after being caught in the crossfire

Agony: The man tries to stanch his wounds as blood covers his face while violence rages

Agony: The man tries to stanch his wounds as blood covers his face while violence rages

Treatment: An injured protester who was shot by anti-government mobs is carried away by friends

Treatment: An injured protester who was shot by anti-government mobs is carried away by friends

The protests’ leader, opposition boss Suthep Thaugsuban, has called for a peaceful blockade of roads, but has vowed not to stop people voting.

‘The people will not close the polling booths, but will demonstrate on the roads,’ he said yesterday. ‘They will demonstrate calmly, peacefully, without violence. We won’t do anything that will hinder people from going to vote.’

Election Commission secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said the commission has instructed staff to halt voting if there is rioting or other violence.


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File:Nuclear Fuel Cycle.png

Nuclear Fuel Cycle  (Public Domain)

Image Source  :

Author  Tungsten.



Two Former Japanese Prime Ministers Try to Shake Up Japanese Politics to Kill Nuclear Energy

Japan may have enacted a fascist state secrecy law which outlaws independent reporting on Fukushima … but there might be some hope yet.

Specifically, two former Prime Ministers are speaking out on Fukushima and Japan’s energy future.

EneNews gave an excellent roundup last week:

Kyodo, Jan. 14, 2014: Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa said Tuesday he will run in the upcoming Tokyo gubernatorial election with an antinuclear agenda after securing the backing of popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi […] The move […] could have game-changing impact on the race for the helm of the Japanese capital […] “I have made my decision to run in the Tokyo governor election,” Hosokawa told reporters after meeting Koizumi. “I have a sense of crisis myself that the country’s various problems, especially nuclear power plants, are matters of survival for the country.” […] Koizumi indicated the main focus of the election will be whether to pursue nuclear power or not, calling the election “a war between the group that says Japan can grow with zero nuclear power plants” and the group that says it cannot. […]

Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 14, 2014: […] “I have a sense of crisis that various problems facing Japan today, especially the issue of nuclear power generation, will endanger the existence of our country,” Hosokawa said, explaining the reason for his candidacy. […] Koizumi said the Tokyo gubernatorial election will be a contest between pro- and anti-nuclear forces. “My belief is that Japan will be able to do without nuclear energy. Hosokawa also has the same belief. That is the biggest reason for my support of him,” he said. […] Koizumi told reporters, “I expressed my respects to Hosokawa from the heart. I will do my utmost so that Hosokawa wins the election.” Koizumi said the Tokyo gubernatorial election could have “the biggest influence ever on national politics.” “If the Tokyo metropolitan government shows that it can go without nuclear power generation, it will certainly be able to change Japan,” he said. Koizumi also said, “If Hosokawa becomes Tokyo governor, he will have a major influence that could shake national politics on the issues of energy and nuclear power generation.” […]

Wall St. Journal, Jan. 14, 2014: [Former Prime Ministers Hosokawa and Koizumi] are expected to stir up the gubernatorial race and bring the energy debate back into the national spotlight. That will likely dismay of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which would rather not have the divisive issue become an election focal point. […] Mr. Hosokawa said […] “I have a sense of crisis that our nation’s survival is at stake over nuclear power.”

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Protests Grow in Japan: “We Want to Bring Our Message to the World to Stop Nuclear Power Plants”

democracynow democracynow·

Published on Jan 17, 2014 – Recent moves by the Japanese government to restart the country’s nuclear power plant facilities have been met by growing protests “I think this is a problem of the world, not just of Japan,” Kato Kaiko told Democracy Now! at a protest outside the Prime Minister’s private residence in Tokyo. She describes how there is increasing expectation that voters will decide which candidate to choose in the upcoming election based on their position on nuclear power.

Watch our entire special broadcast from Japan at……

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In this image made from video broadcast on Egyptian State Television, Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour speaks at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014.
Elizabeth Arrott

The plan was unveiled one day after clashes between police and protesters left 49 people killed, hundreds wounded and more than 1,000 arrested.

Interim President Adly Mansour’s decision to hold the presidential election next was widely expected.

While last year’s road map placed parliamentary elections first, the newly approved constitution allows Mansour to decide which comes first.

Other candidates who have expressed interest in running have qualified their bids, saying they would not take part if General Sissi campaigns.

Posters, masks and signs heralding Sissi’s leadership were at the center of celebrations of the third anniversary of Egypt’s revolution Saturday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

But just off the square, as well as across Cairo and the country, opponents to the general and the military-backed interim government turned out for rallies and marches.

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An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt's Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2014.An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt’s Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2014.
A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.

Change to the post-Morsi political timetable could pave way for swift election of Sisi.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood protest in Egypt, December 27, 2013.

Egypt women Brotherhood protesting 370 Photo: REUTERS

CAIRO- Egypt will hold a presidential vote before parliamentary polls, President Adly Mansour said on Sunday, in a change to a political roadmap that could pave the way for the swift election of army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Parliamentary elections were supposed to be held first under the timetable drawn up after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July following mass protests against his rule.

The decision to revise the order of elections is likely to deepen tensions in Egypt, which is struggling to cope with waves of political violence. Forty-nine people were killed in anti-government marches on Saturday, the third anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

“I have taken my decision to amend the roadmap for the future in that we will start by holding presidential elections first followed by the parliamentary elections,” interim leader Mansour said in a televised speech.

Critics have campaigned for a change of the roadmap, saying the country needs an elected leader to direct government at a time of economic and political crisis and to forge a political alliance before potentially divisive parliamentary elections.

Sisi is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency within days and win by a landslide. His supporters see him as a strong, decisive figure able to stabilize Egypt.

The Brotherhood accuses him of masterminding a coup and holds him responsible for widespread human rights abuses in a crackdown against the movement which has killed up to 1,000 Islamists and put top leaders behind bars.

While tough measures against the Brotherhood have nearly crippled it, security forces have failed to contain an Islamist insurgency. Militant attacks have raised fears for the stability of Egypt, of great strategic importance because of its peace treaty with Israel and control over the Suez Canal.


A new constitution voted in earlier this month cleared the way for a change in the order of the elections by leaving open the question of which should come first.

“It was an expected move amid the growing signs that Sisi is being groomed to become the next president,” said Khaled Dawoud, a well-known liberal activist.

Mansour did not announce a date for the presidential vote. The constitution says steps towards holding the first of the elections should be begin no later than 90 days from the ratification of the document in mid-January.

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