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A short history of Paris Riots: Revolutionary Youths in Action December 9, 2018

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Paris is on fire again. 

Text by: Benjamin Dodman

The French government’s clumsy attempts to reform the labour market have revived the spectre of unwieldy student protests and prompted comparisons with past debacles.

n the early months of 2003, as Britain and the US lurched irresistibly towards their catastrophic invasion of Iraq, students in the UK played a prominent part in the biggest protest movement the country had seen in decades. Among those who took part in a million-strong march in London on February 15, there was a palpable feeling that history was in the making. Tony Blair, the UK’s leader at the time, thought otherwise.

If British students had wanted to know what else they might have done to try to stop the war, they need only have looked at what was going on across the Channel. Anti-war protests in French cities had been almost as big, and far more vociferous – despite the fact that France had never even contemplated joining the invasion.

Three years later, a much vaster protest movement against an obscure labour reform, known as the CPE, saw French students and teenage pupils block schools, universities, roads, railways and motorways. Clashes with riot police turned emblematic sites like the Sorbonne University into war zones, thick with tear gas. As the crisis worsened, the government eventually backed down. By the end of the tussle, Jacques Chirac had been reduced to a lame-duck president, while the career of his prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, never recovered.

With students back in the streets this month, again spurred into action by controversial reforms aimed at introducing greater flexibility in the labour market, France’s current Socialist government is desperate not to suffer a similar fate. This week it announced it was diluting the legislation. It also promised greater financial aid for youths, without detailing how it plans to fund the measure. One student union welcomed the changes, but the bigger ones called for more protests. On Thursday, they were back in the streets, though it was not clear whether the movement would run out of steam following the government’s partial climbdown.

Protesting for fun?

Ever since the May 1968 protests that paralysed France and precipitated the fall of President Charles de Gaulle, French governments have been terrified by the prospect of facing a united front of workers and student protests. “Far more than workers in the streets and students in the streets, it is the convergence of the two that haunts governments,” says Ludivine Bantigny, a historian of student movements at the University of Rouen.

Bantigny noted that it was much easier to discredit youth movements when they acted without the support of workers. “Politicians and the media are awash with clichés about youths who ‘understand nothing’, are ‘manipulated’, or simply ‘protest for fun’,” she said. “But one need only attend a student assembly to realise the quality of debates and awareness of what is at stake.”

Contrary to common assumptions, the historian argued, “students are very knowledgeable about the labour market”. She pointed out that a quarter of all French students are wage workers. A look at debates on social media also suggests that they are well-read about the subject of labour reforms – often more so than “grown-ups” in a country where few people read newspapers and where mainstream television offers mostly summary news coverage.

Not always left

Bantigny says it is important to qualify the notion of a uniformly politicised student body structured by unions. “There is a plurality of students, only a fraction of which – albeit a sizeable one – actually takes part in protests,” she said, noting that students from the humanities (though not law students) tend to provide the bulk of protesters, and that unions are no longer the sole medium of mobilisation.

She dismissed the assumption that all students are necessarily left-wing, though most still lean to the left. “In fact it is less and less the case,” she argued, pointing to the prominence of youths in the massive anti-gay-marriage movement that swept France in 2013, and the fact that the 18-24 age group now vote for the far-right National Front in larger percentages than other categories.

There are also exceptions to the rule of thumb according to which French students are more prone than others to protesting, Bantigny added. While the “Indignados” and “Occupy” movements drew large crowds on both sides of the Atlantic, they had little impact in France, despite a climate of hostility towards austerity policies and the banking institutions that caused the recent financial meltdown.

Well-drilled repertoire

Robi Morder, who heads the GERME centre for the study of student movements at Sciences-Po Paris, says the greater success of the CPE protests in 2006 and of the current mobilisation reflects the concrete issues at stake. “The proposed legislation touches on contracts, wages, work hours – all of which have a direct impact on youths,” he told FRANCE 24.

Morder also disputes the notion that students might be easy preys to manipulation. “There are plenty of movements that peter out; but if youths come out in droves, it is precisely because the issues are important to them,” he said. “If anything, the manipulation can work the other way, when politicians and unions are spurred into action by the sheer strength of the student mobilisation.”

Despite the rapid turnover of students, most of whom spend between four and seven years in the university system, the basic form of mobilisation tends to follow a similar pattern over the years, suggesting successive generations of students are familiar with a given repertoire. The three-step organisational process generally begins with assemblies of students, who elect representative committees, which in turn appoint delegates to coordinate their activities at the national level.

Bantigny described the students’ repertoire of action as both “highly creative and political”. She said the so-called “student coordination”, involving the election of delegates to coordinate actions nationwide, articulating local and national imperatives, constituted a form of direct democracy. While unionists take part in the process, it has a life of its own, independent of union structures.

The historian disputes the notion of a narrowing down of student aspirations. Some analysts have argued that today’s youths no longer dream of changing society as they did in May ’68. The CPE movement has been likened to a rearguard action aimed at clinging to a handful of symbolic labour rights, but devoid of greater vision. According to Bantigny, attempts to discredit today’s protesters as “conservative” and “out of touch with the global economy” follow a similar logic.

“Words have lost their meaning, reforms are no longer synonymous with social progress,” she said, arguing that France’s politicised youths had realised what is at stake: “They don’t want insecure jobs, longer hours and lower wages; they don’t want to be blackmailed by talk of ‘competitiveness’; they don’t want jobs to be the only criteria of social value”. In other words, Bantigny added, “they are still thinking society”.



Greg Sestero from “The Room” in Perth for Luna Cinemas Leederville Photos Bohdan Warchomij December 9, 2018

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Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Gregory Sestero is an American actor, and author. He is best known for his role as Mark in the 2003 cult film The Room and for his 2013 memoir The Disaster Artist about his life and experience making The Room. He is in Perth for viewings of his films at Luna Cinemas in Leederville.

Greg Sestero was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. With European parental influence, Greg speaks both French and English. He traveled extensively early on, and holds dual citizenship between France and the United States.

At 17 years old, Greg signed with a prominent San Francisco talent agency. The same year, he left for Milan and Paris to work for designers such as Giorgio Armani and Gian Franco Ferre. Greg returned focused on acting. He began studies at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. He landed his first role at age 18, on the CBS hit show Nash Bridges (1996). This followed with a role in the Golden Globe nominated film, Patch Adams (1998) starring fellow San Francisco native, Robin Williams. Soon thereafter, Greg was signed by well-known Hollywood agent, Iris Burton, which prompted his move to Los Angeles.

Sestero starred in the notorious The Room (2003), which gained an international cult following as the best worst movie ever made.

in 2013, Sestero wrote a book entitled The Disaster Artist, chronicling his experience making the film and working with its enigmatic director Tommy Wiseau. The book went on to become a critically acclaimed bestseller. In February 2014, the book was optioned to made into a feature film by Hollywood superstars James Franco and Seth Rogen. He comes to Perth on Australian tours regularly. His films play to packed houses.

Greg Sestero enjoying a vanilla choc bomb at Luna Leederville Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton kite race record smashed Photos Bohdan Warchomij December 9, 2018

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A new race record was broken at yesterday’s Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton by Frenchman Nico Parlier in perfect kiteboarding conditions with foil board riders owning the podium.

Nico completed the 19km crossing from Rottnest Island to Leighton Beach, Fremantle in just 19 minutes and three seconds, shaving more than three minutes off Englishman Olly Bridge’s previous record.

In clear 22 to 24kn wind conditions, 135 kiteboarders made the crossing – 50 of them competing in this now-iconic race for the first time.

It was the battle of the Florians for the next fastest places – Florian Gruber from Germany (2013 World Champion in Formula Kite Racing) placed second and 47 seconds behind Nico, and Florian Trittel from Spain placed third.

Florian Gruber, competing in his second Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton found the conditions perfect and said he had a great day.

“It was an epic race today. The weather was sunny and wind conditions perfect.

“It was a lot of fun – we had a nice battle for second and third place, and Nico was so far in the front, he did a good race and today he was unbeatable – everyone knows he’s a fast guy and we really enjoyed it.”

Winner and record breaker Nico felt he had an advantage just before the race started when Olly Bridge broke his foil board. He knew with Olly off his foil that the race could potentially be his.

“Right before the start, Olly broke his foil on a jump so he raced on the twin tip. I thought I then had a chance.

“It was a very good race, we had a really good wind and flat water. I was afraid there would be a lot of seaweed in the water but it was ok.

“I’ll be back next year to do it again.”

UK’s Steph Bridge held her fastest female title for the third year straight, finishing in 24:50. She finished in front of Russia’s Elena Kalinina (winner of the 2016 Hydrofoil Pro Tour) and local racer Theresa McKirdy in third place.

The five-time Kite Race World Champion said it was a tough but amazing race.

“There was so much competition this year – it was a really hard race – I felt how hard it was this year. I managed to stay in front of Elena for the whole race – it’s been a big achievement to win again.

Slovakian competitor Branky Bielený was pleased with his performance.

A notable entry this year was AFL Brownlow Medallist and Fremantle Dockers football player Nat Fyfe who is a keen recreational kiteboarder. Competing in his first Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton, he finished about half way through the pack in 69th in a time of 33 minutes.

This year saw the largest number of competitors in the history of the Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton with 135 male and female kiteboarders racing on twin tips, race boards, surfboards and foil boards.

The race was originally scheduled for Saturday (3 December) but wind conditions were not favourable and organisers elected to use the reserve day.

The Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton has equal prize money for the top three males and females (the first race to do so). Nearly A$9000 in total prize money and A$4050 worth of trophies were awarded today, plus the respected Marc Sprod Trophy for the fastest West Australian competitor which was presented to Alty Frisby from Samson.


Keith Haring: How to be an Artist by Abigail Cain for Artsy December 7, 2018

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Keith Haring’s ebullient figures—the babies, the dancers, the dogs—may have been born in New York City’s subway stations in the early 1980s, but they certainly didn’t stay there. Over the span of a single decade, the American painter rocketed into the international spotlight. His distinctive style, incorporating elements of “low-brow” culture such as comics and graffiti, infiltrated the worlds of fine art, advertising, and fashion all at once. For that, he was sometimes derided as a sellout—an artist whose work was too commercial to be taken seriously.
But his journals reveal a young man thinking deeply about his role as both an artist and a public figure. Haring was 18 years old when he penned his first entry, then a high school graduate preparing to hitchhike to Minnesota to see the Grateful Dead. He continued to keep records of his thoughts and his itineraries, often written during international plane flights—rare breaks in his increasingly frenetic schedule. His final entry, from Milan, is dated September 22, 1989, five months before he died of AIDS-related complications, at age 31. Below, we highlight some takeaways from Haring’s writings.
In 1978, while living in Pittsburgh, Haring attended a lecture given by the famed artist Christo, followed by a screening of a film about his 1976 installation in California, Running Fence. The experience affected the young artist deeply. In an interview years later, he recalled watching a group of California farmers—initially resistant to Christo’s project—rising early to watch the sunrise reflected in the fence. They were “saying it was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen!” Haring said. “And seeing them affected and challenged by and inspired by a work of art! No matter how contemporary it was, and no matter how alien it was to everything they knew—somehow, that forced intervention by an artist made them see things in a whole other way.”
The film, along with the writings of artist Jean Dubuffet, were two of Haring’s earliest influences. “The thing I responded to most was their belief that art could reach all kinds of people, as opposed to the traditional view, which has art as this elitist thing,” he told Rolling Stone in 1989.

Lesson #1: Make your work accessible to the public

Lesson #2: Create an artwork in a single sitting

According to Haring, the best art is made in just one sitting. “To paint differently every day makes it impossible to paint a consistent composition over the period of more than one session,” he wrote. “It is done, but not without pain, needless changes, de-evolution, false repetition (duplication), over-working, collage (piling ideas on top of each other and calling them a ‘whole’), etc. Pure art exists only on the level of instant response to pure life.” That’s not to dismiss the quality of historical paintings created over the course of several months or years, he noted. But in the midst of the computer age, art has evolved. “A modern artist has to produce images quickly and efficiently enough to keep up with our changing world,” he continued.
Drawing in snow, he noted later, was the perfect way to reflect these concepts. Because the images melt away almost immediately, it frees the artist to make more authentic, inventive, spontaneous work. “You draw fast and you are always aware that you are creating something very temporary, very auto-destructive, very instant. It goes quickly and there is not time to worry about it,” he explained. When you know that the work you’re creating is temporary, he continued, “then you realize you are reacting instead of acting. Responding instead of contriving. Art instead of imitation. Primal response.”
Yet, he cautioned, don’t become an automaton. “The elements of chance, and magic, and spirit cannot be sacrificed in this quest” for efficiency, he said.

Lesson #3: Leave the meaning of your art open-ended

The quickest way to kill your art, according to Haring, is to rigidly define it. “There is no need for definition,” he wrote. “Definition can be the most dangerous, destructive tool the artist can use when he is making art for a society of individuals.” That’s not to say an artist can’t have certain concepts or themes in mind when creating an artwork. But the “artist’s ideas are not essential to the art as seen by the viewer.…The viewer does not have to be considered during the conception of the art, but should not be told, then, what to think or how to conceive it or what it means.”
This idea went hand in hand with his belief that artists should consider more than just the art world. “The viewer should be able to look at art and respond to it without wondering whether he ‘understands’ it. It does not aim to be understood! Who ‘understands’ any art?.…Nobody knows what the ultimate meaning of my work is because there is none.…It exists to be understood only as an individual response.”
Haring believed strongly in the power of individuality—both for the viewer and for the artist. He thought that the time for art movements was past. “I believe we have reached a point where there can be no more group mentality, no more movements, no more shared ideals,” he declared. “It is a time for self-realization.”

Lesson #4: Lower the stakes

As an art student in New York, Haring found that using expensive materials like canvas actually inhibited his artmaking. “I’m paranoid about what it will look like ’cause I spent $12.00 on the painting, and I think it should be worth something,” he wrote. “However, when I paint on paper that I have found or purchased cheaply, and use ink that is watered down, I do a whole 4’ x 9’ painting for next to nothing. I love to paint. And you can see it in the work.”
Everything Haring made, he considered a work in progress. “The paintings are not final statements,” he wrote. “They can be changed, reshaped, combined, destroyed.” In November 1978, Haring created a “painted environment” for the School of Visual Arts’s student gallery that involved altering—even destroying—older works for the sake of a new one.
“If a piece is final, that implies that it is perfect, or the purest form attainable,” he explained. “I do not believe I am capable of imitating the perfection of nature.” That mindset, he believed, kept him moving forward in his practice. “Risks are what make the difference between new ideas and re-worked old ideas,” he wrote.

A Look into the Future: Students support Climate Change Action at Parliament House Perth Photos Bohdan Warchomij November 30, 2018

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Elsa Fuentes-Hare. a graduate of Melville Senior Hight School, provided us with a look into the future at Parliament House today.

She was inspired into activism by Swedish student Greta Thunberg who said that because politicians were ignoring climate change facts they were creating problems for the children of the present. This simple realisation prompted Greta  15, to protest in the most effective way she knew. She went on strike, refusing to go to school until Sweden’s general election on 9 September to draw attention to the climate crisis. She has inspired similar protests in Australia and beyond.

With a personal message to Prime Minister Scott Morrison Elsa clearly and logically has given him an understanding of the value of Australian education: “So when ScoMo tells us to scrap activism for learning, I think I have grounds to posit that he has perhaps misunderstood the purpose of learning. Maybe, instead, he could take pride in the fact that students in his country have attained the level and type of education that empowers them to think with autonomy, and, I dare say, in the face of his inaction, a little audacity.” For Elsa education has been a process and a gift which has enabled her to ask quintessential questions. She is now asking for answers from adults who have been frightened to ask the right questions and that includes Prime Ministers.

The Climate Action Network that Elsa is a part of, brings high school students together to support each other and learn new skills. This can help students run campaigns like Switched On Schools, to supercharge the transition to 100% renewables in their own schools as well as meeting a community of peers.

William A Ewing curator and writer on photography in Perth PCP Kings Street Arts Centre 30 November 2018 5.30pm November 29, 2018

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William A. Ewing is a well-known curator and writer on photography. From 1977 to 1984 he was Director of Exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York, and between 1996 and 2010 he was Director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne. His exhibitions have been shown at many museums in America and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Hayward Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery, London; the Kunsthaus Zürich; and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. His recent books include The BodyThe Century of the Body, and FaceThe New Photographic Portrait. He has also co-authored, with Brandow and Herschdorfer, two Edward Steichen publications: Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography and Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years 1923-1937. Mr Ewing is also Director of Curatorial Projects for the international publishing house, Thames & Hudson. His most recent publications are Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography (Thames and Hudson, 2014), Edward Burtynsky: Essential Elements (Thames and Hudson, 2016), and William Wegman: Being Human (Thames and Hudson, 2017).

Exhibitions co-curated

Fracking demonstration at Parliament House Photos Bohdan Warchomij November 28, 2018

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A big crowd at Perth’s Parliament House  demonstrating against the emotional issue of fracking failed to convince the State Government to change its mind on the issue.

The Government has approved gas fracking in parts of WA’s North but farmers  and Aboriginal groups will be given veto rights on fracking on their land.

Three unions attending the demonstration have generated friction within the government by demanding a state wide ban. They are supported by notable public figures such as

WA Scientist of the Year Peter Newman, 2003 Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley, former premier Carmen Lawrence, and artists such as Paul Kelly, Jimmy Barnes, John Butler,

Missy Higgins, Tim Winton and Janet Holmes a Court.

Four Kimberley Aboriginal groups are opposed to  fracking on traditional lands, including Nyul NYul, Niyikina Mangula, and Ngurrara.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy said the announcement was a missed opportunity to tap into WA’s potentially massive shale and gas assets and

provide the WA community with a greater domestic gas supply.

The Conservation Council of WA Piers Verstegen said the government had underestimated the real climate impacts by up to 90%.

The Wilderness Society WA State director Kit Sainsbury said the 2 % of WA where fracking would be allowed represented almost 5.2 million hectares of land.

The issue is alive and controversial despite the support of industry groups.


On becoming an Artist rather than a Photographer: Roger Ballen November 28, 2018

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Roger Ballen, renowned South African artist, addresses a question many photographers might find themselves asking internally at some point in their career: If you are a photographer, are you also an artist? Ballen answers this question with the seven points outlined below, as he methodically ponders the discipline in his thoughtful monotone.

#1 The Purpose of Art. ”Good pictures embed themselves deep inside your psyche. Why do some works stick, why are some works fleeting? If you ponder this, then you may be an artist”

#2 Redefine Your World. ”How do you define ugly? How do you define anything? If you redefine your understanding of words, then you may be an artist.”

#3 Visual Relationships. ”When you learn to see strong, complex, visual relationships beyond words, then you may be an artist.”

#4 A Vision is Unique. ”Thousands of pictures come together to make each one of my photographs. When you learn every moment is crucial, and that no picture can be repeated, then you may be an artist.”

#5 Search Within. ”Every time you push the button of the camera, you create a new reality. You need to travel deep inside of yourself to create a good picture.”

#6 Break Through Your Mind. ”If you can let go, and break through your mind, then you may be an artist.”

#7 Face Your Fears. If you confront your fears, this will certainly assist your artistic endeavors.”

Ballen’s pictures are notoriously dark, unsettling, and even difficult to confront, and his advice is fitting to such emotionally intense work. Though Ballen has an undeniably unique and recognizable aesthetic, his thoughts rings true for any photographer looking to make meaningful, worthwhile images…And maybe, if you are lucky, become an artist.



Battle to the death on the streets of Kyiv: the assassination of Denis Voronenko a former communist lawmaker in Russia’s lower house November 27, 2018

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The Kerch Straits Blockade

The Kerch Straits Conflict 26 November 2018. The assassination of Denis Voronenko in Kyiv this morning 27 November 2018. Boris Nemtsov politician assassinated Moscow 2015. Boris Berezovsky 2013. Anastasia Baburova and human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov shot in Sevastopol 2009. Sergei Magnitsky lawyer 2009 died in police custody Moscow. Natalia Estemirova 2009 shot point blank in the head and dumped in woods near Moscow. Anna Politovskaya journalist shot point blank in an elevator in her building Moscow 2006. Alexander Litvinenko 2006 death by radiation poisoning in London. Sergei Yushenkov 2003 shot outside his home in Moscow. Yuri Shchekochikhin, 2003 died 2003.  The list goes on and the trend becomes more than obvious.

Freedom House provides a more detailed list of contract killings.

Political prisoners

Last month, the Russian human rights organization Memorial published a list of 50 current political prisoners and 108 prisoners held for their religious beliefs. The latter figure is expected to grow as authorities crack down on banned minority groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Many more political and religious prisoners have been incarcerated over the course of Putin’s reign. Below are a few of the more high-profile cases.

  • Aleksey Pichugin (June 19, 2003 – present): Pichugin, a former security official at the Yukos oil company, was arrested in connection with the government’s campaign to jail and seize the assets of billionaire and opposition supporter Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He was sentenced to life in prison on murder charges after a deeply flawed trial. Khodorkovsky himself left the country in 2013 after serving 10 years behind bars for supposed fraud and tax evasion, and his business partner Platon Lebedev was released a year later.
  • Yaroslav Belousov (May 28, 2012 – September 8, 2014): Belousov, a political science student and member of a national democratic movement, was taken into custody after participating in a May 2012 protest against Putin’s inauguration for a third term as president. Having spent more than 20 months in pretrial detention, he was ultimately sentenced to 27 months in prison and released shortly thereafter. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in his favor in 2016, but the Russian Supreme Court rejected the decision. Belousov was just one of hundreds of people to face arrest for the protest, dozens of whom were charged and prosecuted. For example, well-known opposition activist Sergey Udaltsov spent more than three years in prison on charges of organizing “mass disorder.”
  • Pussy Riot (August 18, 2012 – December 23, 2013): Three members of the feminist protest band Pussy Riot—Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova—were sentenced to two years in prison for recording an anti-Putin video in an Orthodox Church. While Samutsevich was released on appeal shortly after her conviction, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were freed in December 2013 as part of a larger amnesty.
  • Zarema Bagavutdinova (July 4, 2013 – July 3, 2018): Bagavutdinova, a human rights activist in Dagestan, was recently released after serving five years in prison for supposedly aiding terrorist groups. Among other activities that angered authorities, she had made comments to the media that were critical of the security services.
  • Oleg Sentsov (May 10, 2014 – present): Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker, was detained along with activist Oleksandr Kolchenko in Russian-occupied Crimea and accused of plotting terrorist acts. They were sentenced in Russia to 20 and 10 years in prison, respectively, after a proceeding that included testimony allegedly extracted under torture. Since May 16, 2018, Sentsov has been on a hunger strike, demanding the release of all Ukrainians detained in Crimea and Russia.
  • Oleg Navalny (December 30, 2014 – June 29, 2018): Navalny was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on what were widely seen as spurious fraud charges designed to intimidate his brother, prominent opposition leader Aleksey Navalny, who was also convicted but received a suspended sentence. Aleksey Navalny has been arrested many times over the years and was disqualified from challenging Putin in this year’s presidential election, but he has never faced a lengthy prison term, presumably because such a move would invite greater domestic and international criticism.
  • Oyub Titiyev (January 9, 2018 – present): Titiyev, a leading human rights defender in Chechnya, was arrested on dubious charges of marijuana possession. He has remained in custody while awaiting trial and faces up to 10 years in prison. Since his arrest, his organization’s office in neighboring Ingushetia has been burned down, his colleagues have been assaulted or threatened, and his family was forced to leave the country.


The death of Denis Voroneneko in Kyiv

“A former Russian MP who fled to Ukraine and became a prominent Kremlin critic has been gunned down in Kiev. Denis Voronenkov, a former communist lawmaker in Russia’s lower house, was shot by an unknown assailant outside the Premier Palace hotel, a favoured haunt of local businessmen and foreign dignitaries. Voronenkov’s bodyguard was wounded in the attack, police said, while the assailant was fatally wounded and died in hospital. Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, and Yuriy Lutsenko, the general prosecutor, immediately accused Russia of orchestrating the mob-style hit. Voronenkov was a witness in treason proceedings in Kiev against Viktor Yanukovich, the former president, over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Voronenkov took up Ukrainian citizenship after he and his wife, fellow lawmaker Maria Maksakova, fled to Ukraine last year. Mr Poroshenko described Voronenkov’s murder as “an act of state terrorism by Russia, which he was forced to flee for political reasons”. The killing had “the clear fingerprints of the Russian secret services that have been [seen] many times in various European capitals”, said Mr Poroshenko. It was “not a coincidence” that an explosion at a Ukrainian munitions depot happened earlier on Thursday, but provided no evidence to support his claims. Ukraine suspects Voronenkov was killed either over the proceedings against Mr Yanukovich or because he had evidence of corruption in the Russian security services, said Mr Lutsenko. ” The Financial Times

Reuters turning Photo and Video News into a ‘Visual Journalist’ Team as Thomson Reuters rebrands into Refinitiv November 24, 2018

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Reuters is combining its photography and video news staff into a single team of visual journalists. The international news agency is also expected to cut jobs in the process of combining the operations.

The Baron reports that the changes come as Reuters News is being reorganized as a stand-alone business in Thomson Reuters.


“In Visuals we will accelerate the moves already underway to create a single unified team of visual journalists,” Reuters visual head John Pullman wrote in an internal memo. “Many of our photographers already shoot video – and videographers produce pictures. This mode of working is becoming normal throughout the industry as video and photo technologies grow closer.

“We will be taking a structured approach to merge our pictures and video teams. We will look at technology, training and workflow – and introduce single leadership where appropriate. We aim to align our teams with the needs of our customers by extending our footprint, improving our efficiency and increasing our flexibility.

“We remain fully committed to producing pictures and video of the highest standard.”

The reorganization of the teams and reporting bureaus around the world will be carried out over the coming months. While the decision sounds like a way to optimize and streamline visual journalism operations, it’s being interpreted as bad news among some Reuters photojournalists.

“This is essentially the end of Reuters Pictures, going down the tubes in a very sad way,” an unnamed Reuters photographer tells The Baron. “Pix has won a score of Pulitzers and other prestigious awards under Reuters but it seems that is not enough to save it from what appears to be the terrible end of what was a great run over more than 30 years which brought the world some of the best photojournalism it has ever seen.”