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Category: Democracy (Page 1 of 3)

Women Peace Security Index for 2023

Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) seeks to promote a more stable, peaceful, and just world by focusing on the important role women play in preventing conflict and building peace, growing economies, and addressing global threats like climate change and violent extremism.

This fourth edition of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Index ranks and scores 177 countries on women’s status. The results show that countries where women are doing well are also more peaceful, democratic, prosperous, and better
prepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

This year, nine of the top ten best countries to be women are European, with Scandinavian countries leading the rankings. Denmark leads the 2023 rankings, scoring more than three times higher than Afghanistan.

1 Denmark
2 Switzerland
3 Sweden
4 Finland
4 Iceland
4 Luxembourg
7 Norway
8 Austria
9 Netherlands
10 New Zealand

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The intelligence chiefs of the ‘Five Eyes’ security alliance join Dr. Condoleezza Rice on stage to discuss current threats facing democratic nations

The Five Eyes is a coalition of five countries » Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It grew from the 1946 BRUSA agreement, shortly after the end of World War II, to share intelligence and coordinate security efforts. The five member countries have a long history of trust and cooperation, and they share a commitment to common values.

More » FBI | Toronto Star | The Guardian | Globe & Mail | CBC | ABC (Australia) | AFR

Poland shows that autocracy is not inevitable

Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic »

After democratic coalitions failed to defeat nationalist-conservative ruling parties in Hungary last year and in Turkey last May, and after elections in Israel brought a coalition of extremists to power, plenty of people feared that democratic change in Poland, too, was impossible. Against the odds, yesterday’s election has proved them wrong.

Even if you don’t live in Poland, don’t care about Poland, and can’t find Poland on a map, take note: The victory of the Polish opposition proves that autocratic populism can be defeated, even after an unfair election. Nothing is inevitable about the rise of autocracy or the decline of democracy. Invest your time in political and civic organization if you want to create change, because sometimes it works. »

The mayor of Pontevedra, Spain is placing pedestrians first

For decades, throngs of cars clogged the cobblestone streets of Pontevedra’s downtown, making this seaside city on Spain’s northwestern tip a hard place to live. Smog, loud noise and narrow walkways drove young families away from a region struggling with a shrinking and aging population.

Family physician turned mayor Miguel Fernandez Lores managed to halt the bleeding by closing many streets to car traffic. Now Pontevedra is a model of success in a growing global movement that’s trying to reclaim streets for pedestrians.

Bloomberg »

This Spanish Mayor Is Putting Pedestrians First

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Banned in Texas » The Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank, a young Jewish German teenager, journaled her experiences as she and her family hid for two years in an attic during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.

Anne and her family were apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Her diary, which was first published in 1947, has since been published in more than 70 languages, and used in schools around the world for decades to educate students on the the Holocaust.

History is repeating itself. This time the USA.

The Chron »

A Texas middle school teacher has been fired after assigning an unapproved illustrated version of Anne Frank’s Diary to her eighth grade reading class. Per a report from KFDM, a spokesperson for Hamshire-Fannett ISD, located south of Beaumont, released a statement confirming the teacher was sent home on Wednesday after reading a passage from Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation in which Frank wrote about male and female genitalia. An investigation into the incident has since ensued.

Meanwhile

The Guardian »

Ariana Grande, Guillermo del Toro, Mark Ruffalo and Amanda Gorman are among the over 175 actors, entertainers, authors, activists and others who have signed an open letter calling on Hollywood to use their influence to oppose book bans.

The letter, spearheaded by Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton and published via the political advocacy organization MoveOn Political Action, calls out books bans in US schools as “restrictive behavior” that is “antithetical to free speech and expression”. It also emphasizes the “chilling effect” the bans, often implemented at the local level, can have “on the broader creative field”.

US-China tensions and the war in Ukraine are already swinging investments to like-minded countries — a sign that companies are making geopolitical bets

Bloomberg »

It’s not just talk. Hard evidence is now emerging that all the discussions of strained international relations and more than a decade of warnings over the end of an era of globalization are finally spurring corporations to pick sides with their capital. Western multinationals that for years have avoided geopolitics in favor of pursuing profits in less mature markets are increasingly building the factories of the future in like-minded nations.

“This is a historic change,” said Yeo Han-koo, a former South Korean trade minister, who sees a world entering an era of upheaval. “A new economic order is being formulated and that will cause uncertainty and unpredictability.”

Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization, to be declared a terrorist organisation by UK

BBC »

Prigozhin, who founded the group in 2014, died in a suspicious plane crash along with other Wagner figures on 23 August and was buried in St Petersburg.

The group’s name will now be added alongside that of other proscribed organisations in the UK such as Hamas and Boko Haram.

The Terrorism Act 2000 gives the home secretary the power to proscribe an organisation if they believe it is concerned in terrorism.

The Guardian | RFi | VoA | Channel News Asia

Far-right violence a growing threat and law enforcement’s top domestic terrorism concern in the USA

The Proud Boys played a critical part in carrying out the Jan. 6 attack, but the group is just one part of a trend of increased white supremacist and far-right violence. Top U.S. law enforcement officials say those extremist movements are the biggest domestic terrorism threat facing the country. Laura Barrón-López discussed the rise of far-right extremism with Kathleen Belew and Seamus Hughes.

Far-right violence a growing threat and law enforcement's top domestic terrorism concern

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Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan remind their citizens that joining Russia’s war would be considered a criminal offense

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty »

Central Asian-born migrants with or without Russian citizenship have emerged as critical targets of Russia’s military recruitment drive. Authorities from countries such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have warned their citizens to avoid participating in military activities abroad as it violates the countries’ criminal codes.

African Union suspends Niger’s membership until ‘the effective restoration of constitutional order’

AP »

The suspension announcement was the council’s first public communication since it met earlier this month to discuss Niger’s crisis. The body made up of foreign ministers called on the African Union’s other member nations and the international community to reject the “unconstitutional change of government and to refrain from any action likely to grant legitimacy to the illegal regime in Niger.”

A suspension means Nigerien representatives, from the head of state down, no longer can vote on AU proposals or participate in the organization’s committees or working groups. The council’s action was part of a standard playbook the AU and regional bodies have taken in response to coups elsewhere in Africa, Nate Allen, an associate professor at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, said.

East African | Le Monde | DW | France 24 | BBC | VoA |

» Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  has rejected a plan by Niger’s coup leaders to relinquish power within three years (RFI)

Channel News Asia | France 24

Those disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory, sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them.

» Benjamin Franklin

Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis’ media conference after a grand jury delivered a 41-count indictment

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ media conference after a grand jury delivered a 41-count indictment alleging 19 defendants “unlawfully conspired and endeavored to conduct and participate in a criminal enterprise” after former President Trump lost the election

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks after Trump election case indictment is unsealed

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Taiwan’s TSMC to invest 3.5 billion euros on chip plant in Dresden, Germany [Updated]

  • TSMC commits €3.5 billion to plant
  • Germany to contribute up to €5 billion / EU approved
  • Operational in 2027

Reuters »

The plant, which will be TSMC’s third outside of traditional manufacturing bases Taiwan and China, is central to Berlin’s ambition to foster the domestic semiconductor industry its car industry will need to remain globally competitive.

Reuters »

Taiwan chip maker TSMC’s €3.5 billion (US$3.83 billion) investment in Germany will drive deeper engagement between the island and Europe, Taiwan’s economy minister said on Wednesday, pitching the political benefits of the deal.

Bloomberg »

Dresden is a continuation down that path of working with clients to jointly own facilities, largely to supply the growing demand for components used in automobiles. TSMC will invest up to €3.5 billion ($3.8 billion) for a 70% share of newly formed European Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Robert Bosch GmbH, Infineon Technologies AG and NXP Semiconductors NV each take 10%, and total capex is expected to be around $11 billion, with the money coming from equity, debt and German and EU funding.

Since its founding by Morris Chang more than three decades ago, TSMC eschewed equity partnerships in favor of maintaining full control over its operations, and thus its destiny. But the global winds have changed, and its new leaders, Chairman Mark Liu and Chief Executive Officer CC Wei, have had little choice but to adapt. TSMC’s balance sheet is solid, its cash flow is stable, and its credit rating is high. It doesn’t need clients nor governments to hand it money in order to pay for these new facilities.

The Register | NY Times | DigiTimes | Euronews | DW

Is Donald Trump a Fascist?

Robert Reich explains the difference between fascism and authoritarianism.

  • Rejecting democracy for a strongman
  • Stoking rage against cultural elites
  • Nationalism based on “superior” race
  • Glorifying strength and warriors
  • Disdain of women and LGBTQ+ people
Is Donald Trump a Fascist? | Robert Reich

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Did John Eastman confess to treason when he admitted their ultimate goal was to overthrow the government and seize power

Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo »

He invokes the Declaration of Independence and says quite clearly that yes, we were trying to overthrow the government and argues that they were justified because of the sheer existential threat America was under because of the election of Joe Biden.

Jan 6th conspirators have spent more than two years claiming either that nothing really happened at all in the weeks leading up to January 6th or that it was just a peaceful protest that got a bit out of hand or that they were just making a good faith effort to follow the legal process. Eastman cuts through all of this and makes clear they were trying to overthrow (“abolish”) the government; they were justified in doing so; and the warrant for their actions is none other than the Declaration of Independence itself.

And they haven’t stopped trying, have they?

Experts condemn Meta, the social media company previously known as Facebook, for banning news access in Canada [Updated]

The Guardian »

Social media giant Meta’s [Facebook/Instagram/Messenger/WhatsApp/Threads…] ban on news access on its platforms in Canada is an “epic miscalculation” that could damage journalism and promote the spread of misinformation and fake news, experts are warning.

The company announced the move on Tuesday, saying they had begun the process to end access to news on Facebook and Instagram for users in Canada.

The policy came in retaliation for a new law, the Online News Act, created in an effort to help shore up revenue at Canadian journalism outlets by forcing intermediaries such as Meta and Google’s parent company Alphabet to chip in.

NY Times »

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s public broadcaster, accused Meta of “an abuse of their market power” that would especially affect communities that rely on Facebook to access news articles, including those in northern Canada, rural areas and users from Francophone or multilingual backgrounds. Some of those communities have limited access to print publications.

“It’s another blow to democracy and to the opportunity for us to access fair and balanced, well-sourced journalism,” said Megan Boler, a professor of media and communication studies at the University of Toronto.

Watch Mike Pence say Trump and ‘gaggle of crackpot lawyers’ asked him to overturn election

In an interview broadcasted on the right-wing Fox network, Former Vice President Mike Pence said Donald Trump personally asked him to “reject votes” on January 6.

Said Pence » “Let’s be clear on this point. It wasn’t that they asked for a pause. The president specifically asked me and his gaggle of crackpot lawyers asked me to literally reject votes which would have resulted in the issue of being turned over to the house of representatives.”

He added: “They asked me to reject votes, return votes, essentially to overturn the election.”

Mike Pence says Trump and ‘gaggle of crackpot lawyers’ asked him to overturn election

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More at » Axios | UPI | NY Times

This is why Donald J. Trump is indicted for Conspiring to Defraud the United States.

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