Author: Roland Mcconnell

As Congress continues to delay aid and Volodymyr Zelensky replaces his top commander, military experts debate the possible outcomes. Long before it was reported, at the end of January, that Volodymyr Zelensky had decided to replace his popular Army chief, Valery Zaluzhny, the Ukrainian counter-offensive of 2023 had devolved from attempted maneuvers to mutual recriminations. The arrows pointed in multiple directions: Zelensky seemed to think that his commander-in-chief was being defeatist; Zaluzhny, that his President was refusing to face facts. And there were arguments, too, between Ukraine and its allies. In a two-part investigation in the Washington Post, in early December, U.S. officials…

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Infighting over the succession and growing frustration in the regions could shatter the stability that the Tajik president has been building for so many years. Next year will mark thirty years of Emomali Rahmon’s presidency in Tajikistan, now the only country in Central Asia that has not seen a change of leadership since the early 1990s. Unsurprisingly, there have been rumors of an imminent transition of power for a decade. The name of the successor is no secret: it’s Rahmon’s son, thirty-six-year-old Rustam Emomali. But there is no consensus within the president’s large family over the succession. Some of the…

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PA President’s son Tareq Abbas also holds positions in other ventures incorporated by offshore company. Leaked documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca reveal Tareq Abbas, son of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, holds shares worth nearly $1 million in an offshore company with ties to the Palestinian Authority. The documents, leaked as part of the massive ‘Panama Papers’ scandal, show that a company called the Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC) was registered in September 1994 in the British Virgin Islands. Since then, the company’s economic portfolio has grown substantially, and is active in virtually every Palestinian economic sphere, including…

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A year ago Germany deported to Tajikistan an activist from that country’s exiled opposition movement who had been living in Dortmund since 2009. What happened next is a shocking example of what can occur when Germany fails to uphold safeguards in its increased efforts to deport unsuccessful asylum seekers. The Bundestag this month gave police greater powers to carry out deportations. The activist, Abdullohi Shamsiddin, 33, was deported to Tajikistan on January 18 2023. He was detained on arrival by the security services. Two months later he was convicted of trying to overthrow the constitution and jailed for seven years. No credible…

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President Kassym-Joomart Tokayev approved the new government of Kazakhstan under the leadership of Olzhas Bektenov. The names of the ministers were published on primeminister.kz. Most of the ministers remained from the old government. Four ministers were replaced: Nurlan Baibazarov was appointed Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of National Economy instead of Alibek Kuantyrov, Madi Takiyev became Minister of Finance instead of Erulan Zhamaubaev, Akmaral Alnazarova was appointed Minister of Healthcare instead of Azhar Giniyat, and Chingis Arinov became the new Minister for Emergency Situations instead of Syrym Shariphanov. Members of the government who remained in their positions included First Deputy…

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Microsoft-backed OpenAI has banned the developer of a bot mimicking Democratic presidential hopeful Congressman Dean Phillips, the first action the ChatGPT maker has taken in response to what it sees as a misuse of its artificial intelligence (AI) tools in a political campaign, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. “We recently removed a developer account that was knowingly violating our API usage policies which disallow political campaigning, or impersonating an individual without consent,” a spokesperson for OpenAI said in a statement to Reuters. Dean.Bot, powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT was created by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Matt Krisiloff and Jed Somers, who…

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Brussel, Frankfurt (16/11 – 23) A levying of embargoes and export bans, the imposition of sanctions, erection of fearsome “license” (= restriction) protocol: there’s nothing new about this back-and-forth in world trade, in the eternal jousting for advantage among markets and nations. The clever Chinese imagined they had the world tea market all locked up until an earnest Scottish botanist carrying the telling name of “Robert Fortune” snuck into the Middle Kingdom to observe their agriculture, steal tea plants, and pick up tricks of tea processing. The Chinese global tea monopoly was busted wide open. The fortunate Mr. Fortune was…

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The street-corner wire bin is on its way out, and its replacement is better in almost every functional way. It stacks for transport as its predecessor did not, and it’s sleek and crisp-looking (for a garbage can). The old one weighs 34 pounds empty and a lot more when full, making it a fine means of sending sanitation workers into midlife rotator-cuff surgery; the new one has a lightweight plastic liner that is a far easier lift. But let us offer a little aesthetic appreciation, at least, for the visual toughness and purity of the departing steel-mesh basket, a version of…

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The Connecticut NAACP celebrated on Sunday to recognize the organization’s work helping people who were formerly incarcerated find jobs. “When people pay their debt to society, they need to have the opportunity to get back into the mainstream,” said Scot Esdaile, the president of the Connecticut NAACP. “If you block them out, all they can do is stay in the type of behavior that wherein got them into jail. So, we’re striving to create opportunities so that revolving door is shut down.” The Million Jobs Campaign was recognized at the Connecticut NAACP’s annual holiday brunch. The program, which was launched…

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A new round of plans for energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire is set to take effect after two years of controversy. The state’s Public Utilities Commission approved small changes to the $250 million program that helps Granite Staters with things like putting insulation in their home, or buying energy efficient appliances. Energy efficiency is widely accepted as a way to reduce energy bills and fight climate change. But two of the three commissioners, Daniel Goldner and Pradip Chattopadhyay, said in a majority opinion they were not ruling on the plan as a whole based on their interpretation of a…

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