VietnamAsia – Pacific April 7, 2021 Find out more RSF laureates support jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang Organisation News to go further News News April 22, 2021 Find out more October 29, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 15-month suspended jail term for blogger who campaigned for brother’s release Follow the news on Vietnam Vietnam sentences journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu to eight years in prison Receive email alerts News April 27, 2021 Find out more RSF_en Three more independent reporters arrested in Vietnam VietnamAsia – Pacific Many demonstrators gathered around the courthouse in a show of support for Uy. Members of his family, whose formal request to attend the trial had been refused, were detained while the hearing was taken place.The police also briefly detained about 30 activists who had gone to the court to support Uy. They included Le Ngoc Thanh, Hanh Nhan, Miu Manh Me, Phuong Uyen, Nguyen Thi Nhung, Peter Lam Bui, Hu Vo and Hoang Vi.Uy had been facing a possible seven-year jail sentence under article 258 for using his Facebook page to organize the campaign for the release of Kha, who was given a four-year jail sentence on appeal in August on a charge of anti-government propaganda.Vietnam is ranked 172nd out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and figures in the 2013 “Enemies of the Internet” special report on surveillance.Support independent news providers in Vietnam by signing the petition here.Read the latest report on Vietnam entitled “Programmed death of freedom of information” here. Help by sharing this information A court in the southern province of Long An passed a 15-month suspended prison sentence today on the blogger and activist Dinh Nhat Uy for criticizing the government on Facebook. He was convicted under article 258 of the criminal code, which penalizes “abusing democratic freedoms against the interests of the state and the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals.”“We condemn this conviction, which was a reprisal for Uy’s involvement in the online campaign for the release of his jailed younger brother, the blogger Dinh Nguyen Kha,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Although released, Uy will be under surveillance. The sentence is one more example of how the authorities harass the families of jailed cyber-dissidents.“Like the denial of defence rights during Kha’s appeal hearing, today’s presence of 400 plainclothes police in the courtroom to create the illusion of a public hearing and the harassment of Uy’s lawyers, which led one of them, Nguyen Thanh Luong, to withdraw from the case, highlight the bogus nature of these trials, whose outcome is decided in advance.”According to the indictment, Uy was prosecuted for four online posts. One was an article entitled “These party members who accept the truth,” in which he described a conversation in which two Communist Party members referred to the abilities of the party’s leaders in offensive terms.Another was about the activities of “Patriotic Youth,” an organization reportedly critical of the government. The other two were “insulting” about two national corporations – the military telecommunications group and the posts and telecommunications company.Although these posts dated back to December 2012, Uy was not arrested until June, when the campaign for his brother’s release got under way.Uy was released at 3 p.m. today but will be subject to a form of a home confinement during the 15 months of the suspended prison sentence and will continue to be subject to close monitoring for another 12 months thereafter.
Rallying against Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych, whose administration some critics call corrupt, anti-government protesters encamped in the city of Kiev’s Independence Square clashed fiercely with riot police this week, resulting in dozens of deaths of both protesters and police. According to international news reports, hundreds of people have been wounded amid gunfire and explosions on both sides, in the worst violence since the protests began three months ago. The Gazette spoke with Serhii Plokhii, the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and director of the Ukrainian Research Institute of Harvard University, about what’s behind the current wave of violence and any prospects for a peaceful resolution. GAZETTE: What’s driving the anti-government protests, and who is behind them?PLOKHII: It started in late November when the Ukrainian government unexpectedly refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union. They were preparing for signing that agreement for a very long time, so the expectations were really high. And then literally overnight they refused to do that. So that’s when mostly young people and students went to Kiev’s main square and camped there. Then a few days later, the government decided to disperse them, using force and violence, and that’s when much larger protests started. Basically it was in support of European integration, but also it was against the violence unleashed by the government. The protests were peaceful and sometimes even festive, and they were going for a long period of time during the height of Ukraine’s winter. It was on Jan. 22 that the first wave of violence happened. There were two or three people who were killed. After that, the government basically removed its riot police from Kiev’s main street, Khreshchatyk, and negotiations started. Negotiations were going along rather well until [Feb. 18]. What happened was that the opposition tried to register in the Parliament a bill that would allow the country to return to the constitution of 2004 that was changed by the current government. That would give more power to the Parliament [and] to the prime minister, and less power to the president. The current government apparently was afraid they didn’t have enough votes in the Parliament to defeat this bill, [so they] refused to register this bill — against existing regulations. …GAZETTE: After months of relative quiet, why have peaceful protests suddenly turned violent?PLOKHII: There are a number of explanations. The first one is that this return to the old constitution was viewed as a political compromise. But once the government refused to even register the bill, that meant that there was no prospect for political compromise, and the tensions grew. The second one was that Russia — which was from the very beginning part of this whole story of Ukraine not signing the agreement with the European Union — used the promise of economic assistance to influence the actions of the Ukrainian government. They offered the current government a badly needed loan of $15 billion. They released $5 billion in January and made the release of the rest of it conditional on the crackdown on the protesters. We know that because Mr. Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to Mr. [Vladimir] Putin, [the Russian president,] said that that’s what he believed should be done in Ukraine. On Monday [Feb. 17], we got the word that Russia was transferring an additional $2 billion. And then on Tuesday, they got this violence.GAZETTE: Was Yanukovych’s rejection of the agreement with the European Union last fall confirmation for people that his government is under Putin’s thumb?PLOKHII: Yes. Russia introduced sanctions in August. Ukraine’s position was that it wanted to be on good economic terms both with the European Union and with Russia. Russia’s position was that no, you have to choose. Then they used whatever economic and political power they had to help Ukraine to make the right choice, the so-called right choice.GAZETTE: What constitutional and political changes are the protesters demanding, and why?PLOKHII: The story begins with the protests, nine years ago in 2004, known as the Orange Revolution. At that time, a compromise was reached where a new round of presidential elections was announced. But also there was agreement on changing the existing constitution and giving more powers to the prime minister, taking them away from the president, making the presidency a weaker office. So when the current government came to power in 2010, they voted to go back to the constitution of 1996, giving enormous power to the president. The opposition recently decided that going back to the constitution of 2004 was the only way to reach a compromise. But [the government] refused even to register the bill in the Parliament. They refused to register it because apparently they are losing support in the Parliament. For example, for introduction of the state of emergency, you need a vote in the Parliament; they’re not doing that. And by executive order now, they are trying to introduce something called “anti-terrorist operation.” These are all signs that the government doesn’t have enough support in the Parliament. They certainly don’t have support on the streets of the capital, and they’re using force.GAZETTE: Does Ukraine have any democratic traditions? Is there hope of developing any?PLOKHII: The democratic processes began in Ukraine during [then-Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Glasnost, creating an independent Ukrainian state in 1991. The tradition that developed was a tradition of peaceful resolution of political issues and problems. In 1994, under political pressure, the first president of Ukraine agreed to have early elections, and he lost those elections, and there was a peaceful transfer of power. In 2004, again there was another flare-up, but they reached a constitutional compromise. Again, there was no violence. This time, what is happening is going actually against whatever little political and democratic tradition Ukraine has in the sense that the current government refuses to compromise in any meaningful way. And that led to the clashes. We still don’t know what will come out of it, but what is happening is highly abnormal. No one expected that. No one could imagine something like that could happen in Ukraine because the tradition that developed over the 20-plus years was the tradition that they would find some kind of compromise.GAZETTE: Why is Ukraine so important to both Russia and the European Union?PLOKHII: Ukraine is the largest former Soviet republic after Russia, so Ukraine is crucial for Russia’s vision of rebuilding itself as a superpower. The Russian foreign policy doctrine is creation of a sphere of influence in the former Soviet space. And Ukraine is the largest country in that space — physically, in terms of the population, in terms of the economic weight, so in every sense. When it comes to the European Union, now the borders of the European Union are on the western borders of Ukraine. (Ukraine’s western neighbors — Poland, Slovakia, Romania — are all members of the European Union and members of NATO.) So, for the European Union, Ukraine is an important player in its immediate neighborhood. Georgia is another important country in that region. Europe, despite the financial crisis and political crisis, is involved and tries to be a player in the East European neighborhood. But there’s no question that the importance of Ukraine for Russia, given the way Russia views its role in the region, is bigger than the importance of Ukraine for the European Union, with the exception maybe of its immediate neighbors, Romania and Poland. That’s why Russia introduces sanctions and comes up with this carrot of $15 billion, where Europe never did that. The EU is also unhappy with Russia throwing its weight around because Ukraine is not the first country that, at the last moment, refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union. Armenia, a few months before that, was bullied by Russia into not signing, as well. This geopolitical context is also a significant part of the Ukrainian story.GAZETTE: What role has the U.S. government been playing in the region? Are we likely to ramp up our involvement, either diplomatically or militarily, given the escalation of violence?PLOKHII: The United States was one step ahead of the European Union when it comes to the idea of introducing sanctions against people in the Ukrainian government who are responsible for the escalation of violence. The European Union couldn’t agree on that. And the U.S. already a few weeks ago introduced some limited sanctions, taking away U.S. visas from some members of the government. It looks like the latest violence on the streets of Kiev pushed the European Union politicians over the hill. So now it looks like the United States and the European Union are together and tomorrow there should be … sanctions. … Some people are saying this is too little too late; the sanctions had to be introduced a long time ago, and that might influence the situation. But it’s difficult to say when is the right time, when is the wrong time to do something like that. I would be surprised if the involvement [by the U.S.] at this point would go beyond sanctions. Sanctions can be done on different levels, include different numbers of people, can deal only with the right to visit the United States and maybe can eventually lead to the arrest of bank accounts in Europe and the U.S. My guess would be that the U.S. would be more resolute in that sense than the E.U.GAZETTE: With its close proximity to Europe and natural resources, why hasn’t Ukraine been able to thrive economically like other former Eastern bloc nations, such as Poland?PLOKHII: What these protests are very much about is the corruption of the current government. Apart from the recent refusal to sign the E.U. association agreement, that’s what mobilized people. They looked at the association agreement with the E.U. as basically not the right to join the E.U. per se, but as a chance to bring European standards of conducting business in a transparent manner, to make courts independent from the government, and enhance human rights norms in their country without necessarily joining the E.U. It was considered by many in Ukrainian society as a step in the right direction, away from the state of corruption. And once that didn’t happen, that took away the last hope that people had that the government could be reformed and the situation could be improved.GAZETTE: What’s likely to happen next? Is there any possibility that this conflict could be resolved in the near term to everyone’s satisfaction and without more bloodshed?PLOKHII: I’m hopeful that it can. I think the West has a role to play in that. Sanctions are a powerful instrument that the United States and the European Union have in all of that. So I’m hopeful. But, really, the window of opportunity is very small, maybe the next few days. It is an unpredictable situation. I’m hopeful that window of opportunity will be used, that violence will be stopped.This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
EIA estimates show U.S. coal production continuing to decline FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Total U.S. coal production for the week ended April 6 fell 10.6% year over year to 12.5 million tons from 14.0 million tons, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.For the 52 weeks ended April 6, production was 735.1 million tons, representing a year-over-year decline of 3.8%, while year-to-date coal output dropped 9.3% year over year to 181.2 million tons.The western region’s coal production for the week reached 6.8 million tons, posting a 7.8% reduction from the prior year’s 7.3 million tons. Data for the western region covers Powder River Basin mines.Coal production from Appalachian mines totaled 3.4 million tons, sliding 13.7% from the year-ago week’s 4.0 million tons.The interior region’s production shrank 13.5% to 2.3 million tons, compared to 2.7 million tons a year ago. Interior region data covers mines in the Illinois Basin.More ($): U.S. weekly coal production falls 10.6% YOY
A meeting of the mountains of Western North Carolina and the Malian desert of West Africa continues to evolve with the music of Toubab Krewe. The Asheville-based quintet just released a live recording of its cross-cultural fusion of traditional Afro groove and roots rock, backed by the energy of a hometown crowd at The Orange Peel. The percussive, dance-friendly sound floats melodically with Justin Perkins’ traditional string toys, the kora and kamelengoni. It also pulses with the gritty surf guitar of Drew Heller on the standout track “Moose,” which features some spoken word from Umar Bin Hassan. Add the fiddle of Uncle Earl’s Rayna Gellert on “51 ft. Ladder” and you get the full effect of a tribal Appalachian hoedown.toubabkrewe.com
Dominated by two high profile world title matches, Wrestlemania 24 had enough name value in those two matches to draw interest, but it was the attention afforded to performers down the card that ensured that this show remained relevant from the opening match until the finishing sequence. Despite matches pitting Edge against the Undertaker, and a triple threat contest starring John Cena, HHH, and Randy Orton, a vast amount of excitement surrounded the bout between Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair. Especially with the latter only one defeat away from being forced to retire. With the two icons occupying a spot in the middle of the card, the veterans went at it like they were the only two wrestlers in Florida who mattered.Although Michaels’ Mania catalog contains better products than what transpired on this night, the emotion and drama that dominated the finish brought a fitting conclusion to Flair’s time in WWE as an in-ring performer. At the mercy of “The Heartbreak Kid”, Flair pleaded with Michaels to finish the match and with anguish etched all over his face, the Texan veteran stared sadly at his wounded idol before mouthing “I’m sorry. I love you.” A sickening Sweet Chin Music followed before Michaels quickly left the ring to let the finished Flair bask in the adulation afforded to him from the capacity crowd. “Nature Boy” would resurface in other federations in the subsequent years, but as a WWE star, this was his last goodbye.Also impressing down the order were Big Show and Floyd Mayweather. The boxing legend was enjoying a short-lived retirement after spending 2007 disposing of Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, and the opportunity to bolster his bank balance the following year was too good an opportunity to turn down. Guided brilliantly by the experienced giant, Mayweather looked a natural as he desperately avoided countless attacks from his opponent. After nailing Show with multiple chair shots, Mayweather attached a set of brass knuckles to his already deadly fist and finished Big Show with a right hand. With numerous celebrity involvements watering down proceedings in recent times, Mayweather’s outing on WWE television was a job well done.Elsewhere on the card, John Bradshaw Layfield and Finlay left everything in the ring as they pelted each other with various weapons in a well-received Belfast Brawl that was won by the brash Texan. The birth of CM Punk’s first main event push took place as the former independent darling, and future UFC competitor, won a stunning Money in the Bank ladder match to earn a world title shot whenever he desired one. Enough quality was on display in the evening’s preliminaries so it was vital that the two matches with the ultimate honors on the line at least matched what had occurred before them. Unfortunately, only one of them could.Cena, Orton, and HHH, three wrestlers who know each other ridiculously well, could not find enough chemistry to grant themselves the Wrestlemania match that all three were more than capable of obtaining. Messy in parts, the three tried diligently to win the crowd over with allegiances being teased and a couple of near pinfalls, but the overall quality on offer throughout the show was absent in this anticipated matchup. Luckily for viewers, Edge and The Undertaker were about to surpass everyone’s efforts.A long-winding feud dating back to almost a year earlier when Edge had cashed in his MITB briefcase against The Undertaker, “The Rated R Superstar” always seemed to find a way to stay one step ahead of the man from Death Valley and that persuaded some that Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania, then standing at 15-0, was in severe jeopardy. After a slow start to the match, the pair came alive in the second half and what took place was a breathtaking ending that had fans on the edge of their seats. Undertaker, the master of the near fall, gave the impression on several instances that his run at Mania was up, but when it seemed like he had nothing to offer, he locked the shattered Edge into his Hell’s Gate submission to leave Wrestlemania as a champion for the second year running. Centered on a series of well-constructed storylines, Wrestlemania 24 was a monumental success that delivered from a creative standpoint and also performed well at the box office. Taking place at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, now the Camping World Stadium, the 24th installment of WWE’s marquee showpiece was a night when the company got almost everything right from a booking perspective.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a year Wrestlemania 24 provided enough action and satisfaction to rightfully earn its place as one of the finest Wrestlemania’s ever. A near-perfect main event between Edge and The Undertaker was the ideal finale to a night that had included Mayweather’s breathtaking cameo, the end of Ric Flair, and the final Wrestlemania win for Michaels who would himself hit the exit door two years later at Wrestlemania 26. Not the greatest Wrestlemania of all time, but a damn great effort from all involved.