#Sochi : ” Two Ex `Pussy Riot Members’ held by `Security Forces’ over Accusations of Theft”

#AceBreakingNews says reports of “Two Ex-Members of `Pussy Riot Group’ arrested over accusations of having committed a theft in a hotel

Two Ex-Pussy-Riot-Mrembers-ArrestedTwo ex-members of the Pussy Riot group, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were held by security forces on Tuesday over accusations of having committed theft in a hotel, police said.

They are being questioned concerning a theft that at a hotel they are staying at. Along with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Mariya Alyokhina, all the hotel’s guests are being questioned,” local police said, as quoted by Interfax news agency.

The activist, who first posted the news on Twitter, Semyon Simonov, says he was with the two at the time of their detention. At least five other activists were also seized.

Внутри автозака pic.twitter.com/rjukMd1PW4

Мария Алехина (@MashaAlekhina) February 18, 2014

The two were detained in central Sochi, some 30 km north of the main Olympic venues, according to their Twitter blogs.

 

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#acebreakingnews, #interfax, #maria-alyokhina, #moscow, #nadezhda-tolokonnikova, #olympic-games, #police, #pussy-riot, #sochi, #twitter

#AceNewsDesk : “World News – Headlines – Good Morning – 22 January 2014”

Ace News Group Hong Kong – Vatican – Pakistan – Israel – Thailand – Gulf Spill – Gaza Strip – Pussy Riot – Russia – United States – Joe Biden – Liberation of Palestine   

09:27

Hong Kong charges woman in Indonesian maid abuse case

Hong Kong police have charged a woman accused of torturing her Indonesian maid as well two other former domestic helpers. Police filed a holding charge on Wednesday consisting of two counts of wounding, one of common assault and three of criminal intimidation against 44-year-old Law Wan-tung, AP said. An in-depth investigation was conducted after injuries suffered by the victim, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, sparked outrage. Sulistyaningsih, who worked in Hong Kong for only eight months, went home to Indonesia.

08:16

Vatican bank asks Italy to resume normal relations

The Vatican bank asked Italy on Wednesday to resume normal banking relations, which have been effectively frozen since 2010, Reuters said. The bank said it had made great progress with new anti-money laundering provisions. Italian banks stopped dealing with the Vatican bank after the central bank told them they had to enforce strict anti-money laundering criteria if they wanted to continue transacting with it.

07:09

​At least 7 killed as bomb hits Pakistan police patrol

At least seven people, including one child, have been killed and 11 others injured after a bomb exploded near a police van which was used to provide security for a polio vaccination drive, officials have said. The explosion occurred in Charsadda district in the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The 4-5kg bomb was planted on a bicycle, said senior police official. The blast came hours after a car bomb, detonated near a convoy of buses in western Pakistan, killed at least 18 Shiite pilgrims.

06:37

Israel airstrike kills 2 Gaza gunmen

Israel killed two Gaza gunmen in an airstrike on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The dead men belonged to armed faction Palestinian Islamic Jihad, residents said. The group claimed one man, Ahmed Al-Za’anin, as its own, and did not immediately comment on the other’s affiliation. Israel’s military confirmed the airstrike in Beit Hanoun. Za’anin had carried out numerous attacks, the military said, including the launch of rockets into southern Israel as late former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was being buried there last week.

05:12

Senior Thai pro-government leader shot, injured – police

Kwanchai Praipana, a leader of Thailand’s pro-government “red shirt” movement sustained bullet-wounds to the arm and leg in a drive-by shooting in the northeastern town of Udon Thani, police said adding that it appeared to be “a politically-motivated crime.” “From what we saw on CCTV, a bronze pickup truck drove by and several rounds were fired at the house,” Police Colonel Kowit Tharoenwattanasuk told Reuters. This incident could raise even more tension in Thailand after PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s government declared a state of emergency in the capital, Bangkok, suggesting a more aggressive policy toward protesters who have sought to overthrow the government over the past two months.

05:06

​Ex-Halliburton manager gets probation for destruction of evidence in Gulf spill case

Anthony Badalamenti, a former Halliburton cementing technology director, has been sentenced to one year of probation for instructing two other employees to delete data during a review of the cement job on the BP-run well, which saw an explosion in 2010 that killed 11 people. The court ruled that he also has to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine. Badalamenti, 62, faced a maximum of one year in prison when US District Judge sentenced him Tuesday. Halliburton was the cement contractor for BP on the Deepwater Horizon rig. The blow out resulted in the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the industry.

03:08

​Israel kills Gaza man blamed for shooting rockets during Sharon funeral

Israel killed two Gaza men in an airstrike on Wednesday, claiming one of them shot a rocket over the border during former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral last week. The men were initially believed to be members of Islamic Jihad, an armed group resistant to the Gaza Strip’s Hamas government for nurturing the ceasefire with Israel. The Israeli military said the target, Ahmed Al-Az’anin, was actually a former Islamic Jihad member now part of the more secular Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine. The military said Za’anin launched rockets – resulting in no casualties – into southern Israel on Jan. 15 during Sharon’s funeral ceremony, which was attended by US Vice President Joe Biden. The second man was Za’anin’s relative. They were in a parked car when the missile struck in Beit Hanoun, locals told Reuters.

01:22

Pussy Riot to perform in Amnesty Intl concert in New York City

Pussy Riot will appear at an Amnesty International concert in Brooklyn, New York on February 5, the organization announced on Tuesday. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, two members of the activist musical group, were released from Russian prisons last month after being sentenced to two years in a penal colony for “inciting religious hatred” at a performance in country’s main Orthodox cathedral in 2012. Other artists appearing at the concert – which will benefit international prisoners locked up for their beliefs, race, gender, or sexual orientation – include Cake, the Flaming Lips, Lauryn Hill, and others.

00:34

Bomb defused in Russia’s Dagestan

Local authorities successfully defused a bomb found near the administrative building in Ashaga Stal village in the Suleiman Stalsky district of Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan, RIA Novosti quoted local law enforcement as saying. “A homemade explosive device was successfully defused with the hydrodynamic defuser. The bomb’s capacity was 5-7 kg of TNT,” the source said. Everyone in the building was safely evacuated beforehand.

00:21

​US condemns report of ‘systematic’ killings by Syrian regime

Photographic evidence of the torture and killing of thousands of prisoners in Syria implicates international crimes by President Bashar Assad’s government, the US State Department said on Tuesday. The photos, allegedly taken by a Syrian military police photographer who defected, show “clear evidence” of the widespread torture and killing of 11,000 detainees, three former international prosecutors said in a report based on some 55,000 digital images commissioned by Syrian opposition supporter Qatar. “As we said before, the Syrian regime is responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. “These most recent images…are extremely disturbing. They’re horrible to look at. And they illustrate apparent actions that would be serious international crimes,” she added. Rupert Colville, spokesman for UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, told AFP that “This report is extremely alarming, and the alleged scale of the deaths in detention, if verified, is truly horrifying,” adding that the investigation of such serious allegations is necessary.

00:08

Militant leader killed in Russia’s Dagestan

Russian police killed a suspected Islamist militant leader in a shootout on Tuesday in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, RIA Novosti quoted the country’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee as saying. The suspect was identified as Eldar Magatov, the leader of a militant group in the Babayurt district of Dagestan. The militant was discovered hiding in a house with two women and children. Police negotiated the release of civilians from the house. Magatov refused to surrender and opened fire. None of the police officers were injured during the operation. Magatov was wanted for committing crimes such as extortion, bombings and attempted assassinations of police officers and officials in Dagestan and neighboring Chechnya.

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#acenewsdesk, #ariel-sharon, #beit-hanoun, #deepwater-horizon, #gaza, #gaza-strip, #hong-kong, #islamic-jihad-movement-in-palestine, #israel, #joe-biden, #khyber-pakhtunkhwa, #popular-front-for-the-liberation-of-palestine, #pussy-riot, #reuters, #wednesday

Russia: “Presidential Human Rights Council Suggest Code of Behaviour and Ethics for Activist’s”

AceWorldNews says according to latest Russian News Media a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council has suggested a code of behaviour and ethics for activists. The official says the move would sift out attention seekers with political ambitions, such as the members of the band Pussy Riot.

Vladimir Osechkin, who also heads the State Duma work-group for public control over prisons and the protection of inmates’ rights told reporters that he had suggested the official bodies hold a joint session in February and discuss the adoption of what he called “a rights activist ethics code.”

In an interview with the Izvestia daily Osechkin said that lately a lot of people started to ‘parasitize’ on human rights. These people use the status of rights campaigners for self-promotion and do not protect anyone’s interests but their own, he noted. Such behaviour leads to a situation where law enforcers and other agencies become prejudiced against the human rights community as a whole, and all rights campaigners face difficulties in their work.

“We should not be afraid to openly talk about problems, including the violations committed by representatives of policing agencies, but we should not politicize the process,” Osechkin told the newspaper. There must be a single choice option – people should work either in the political arena or in the area of Human Rights, he emphasized.

Andrey Yurov of the presidential council said that it would be helpful to introduce some rules, but they could only be recommendations. “The UN declaration on protection of human rights campaigners reads that any person has the right to protect his own or others’ rights. Therefore we cannot impose any bans here,” he stated.

At the same time, the head of the council, Mikhail Fedotov, harshly opposed the initiative saying that he considered both the ethics code and its discussion senseless. “Ethics cannot be born from orders or directives, from someone’s decision or initiative. Professional ethics is born from experience and develops by self-regulation,” the official stated.

#aceworldnews, #ethics, #behaviour, #code, #duma, #presidential-human-rights-council, #pussy-riot, #russian, #self-regulation

Russia:” Prohibit’s Adoption of Children by Foreigner’s by Changing `Herod’s or Scoundrel’s Law`

#AceWorldNews says according to the latest post of OD that many young Russians brought up in institutional care have ended up homeless because regional authorities are ignoring their responsibility to house them. Georgy Borodyansky reports from Omsk.

At the end of November the Russian parliament ‘accepted for consideration’ amendments to the law prohibiting the adoption of Russian children by foreigners, christened ‘Herod’s Law‘ or the ‘Scoundrels’ Law’ by the independent and liberal media.  Members of the ruling ‘United Russia‘ party are intent on extending the law to ban adoption not only by Americans, as at present, but by people from any country with which Russia does not have an adoption agreement (currently, agreements of this kind are in place only with France and Italy). The proposed amendments do not apply to former Soviet states, but if they are passed by the Russian MPs, the adoption of children in care will be closed to the rest of the world.

A year ago, when the law was passed, the Russian intelligentsia called it ‘barbaric’, and the Novaya Gazeta newspaper alone collected more than one hundred thousand signatures in protest.  The MPs and the Kremlin justified it, however, by claiming that the government was at the same time taking steps to improve conditions for young people leaving care, so that they could have a good life without leaving Russia. So on 1 January 2013, three days after the passing of ‘Herod’s Law’, a ruling came into force providing for ‘an entitlement to public housing provision for young people without parents’.


Maria Antonchenko lives with her son Maksim in a room measuring 18 square metres. When Maria works her 12 hour shifts sixteen-year-old Ksyusha steps in to look after Maxim. Photo: Georgy Borodyansky

Having scuppered the chance of adoption for thousands of Russian ‘orphans’, (in Russia the term applies not only to children who have lost their parents, but children who for whatever reason are not being brought up by their natural parents), the Russian government apparently was at least improving their life chances in adulthood.

It was a false hope: courts and officials in the regions are refusing to recognise the new ruling.

The Outcasts’ Union

Maria Antonchenko is forty years old. Seven months ago the most important event in her life took place– her son Maksim was born. Mother and son live in a room measuring eighteen square metres in a hostel belonging to the training college where she works. The college administration had no obligation to house her or get her a residence permit; they did it out of the goodness of their hearts and also because she was a valued worker – it’s not easy to get a good washer-up, working two twelve-hour days on, two off, for 5000 roubles (100GBP) a month. Maria worked this shift pattern for about six years, but obviously can’t go on doing it now. She now lives on state benefits – 2700 roubles a month in child benefit, and another 700 as a single parent – and earns some extra money doing cleaning work in a nearby building. Then Maksim gets looked after by Ksyusha, the daughter of her friend Natalya: they grew up together in a children’s home and then in a home for people with physical and learning disabilities. Natalya and Ksyusha live in a room in a shared flat, and don’t have an easy life either: Natalya has two jobs, as a cleaner and a nanny, and has no free time to help Maria out, but Ksyusha, who is sixteen and still at school, can sometimes find an hour or two.

Under Russian law, all ‘orphans’ leaving care have priority for housing, but only a few even know about this right.

Compared to many people who grew up in boarding schools for children with disabilities in Kirov, Maria Antonchenko and Natalya Istomina have been lucky. After leaving these schools, most young people are given places in similar establishments for adults, either a long-term hospital for people with learning disabilities, or a mental hospital. Those who managed to run away from such schools and became homeless, as Maria did in her time, had no better luck: the boys usually took to drink and ended up in prison; the girls got involved in prostitution and some just disappeared without trace. Two were found murdered.

Under Russian law, all ‘orphans’ leaving care have priority for housing, but in the Kirov boarding school only a few even know about this right. Maria and Natalya also didn’t know until someone told them to go to the ‘Outcasts’ Union’ – the popular name for the Orphans’ Aid Committee of the Siberian Labour Federation (SLF). The committee has taken on their cases and Maria’s papers will be sent to the district court any day now. But whatever the court decides, Maria has already won: she’s living independently and, now she is a mother, her life finally has meaning.

Boarding school, or child labour

Maria never knew her own mother, who rejected her at birth. She started life in a children’s home and from there moved to a boarding school for children with special educational needs and physical disabilities (official figures show that almost 70% of children in care go to schools like this). For three years Maria was an excellent pupil, always getting high marks, and it’s unclear why she was sent to a special school in the first place: either it was a mistake or there was a quota. After three years, there were no more lessons, just work – from 9 to 12 and from 4 to 5, with lunch and some free time in between. They worked all day assembling shoe boxes. When Maria was twelve she was moved to the school’s sewing workshop (‘we made overalls and chefs’ whites’). Those who refused to work there had to wash the dormitory floors. Punishments included going without lunch or supper, and for more serious offences you could be stripped in front of everyone and beaten – this happened to Maria.


Despite being officially uninhabitable, this hostel on Omsk’s Krugovaya Street houses 100 people, including many ex residents of children’s homes. Photo: Georgy Borodyansky

After three years were no more lessons – just work all day, assembling shoe boxes.

Maria told me how nearly every year the school received donations of pretty and fashionable children’s clothes – ‘humanitarian aid’  – from Germany, but the residents never had the chance to wear them: ’the admin staff and teachers took the lot’. Who would give such goodies to the children in care, when they had their own to clothe?

She has practically no happy memories from her childhood, and remembers just one special moment when she was eleven: some people came to check whether there were children who could be transferred to a mainstream ‘orphan’ boarding school (they must have had places to fill), and a dozen or so boys and girls were chosen, Maria among them. ‘We were overjoyed – we were going to school. We’d have uniforms, satchels. Then the deputy head said, “You can’t have those four – I need them here to work.” And the people didn’t even try to argue. So the four of us stayed where we were: me, Tanya Semyonova, Natasha Kargopolova and Olga Gorenvald.’

They all dreamed, of course, of good people, with almost magic powers, who would come for them and carry them off home with them. One boy with cerebral palsy was lucky: he was adopted by a German family. ‘Everybody was green with envy, even though he couldn’t walk or anything.’

When she was fifteen, Maria tried to run away – just anywhere; Russia was a big country. She got on a train at random, but there were two members of the school staff on it. As punishment they subjected her to a ‘course of treatment’: ten days of injections of the anti-psychotic Chlorpromazine, the same type of drug used to ‘treat’ Soviet dissidents in KGB ‘psychiatric’ clinics. It can cause permanent brain damage, though luckily this didn’t happen to Maria.

Treated like people at last

After the boarding school, Maria was transferred to a long-stay hospital for people with physical and learning disabilities on the outskirts of Omsk, where she worked day in, day out in the dining hall, without pay, and with no hope of anything better. Most of the residents were over 50, and she wasn’t 18 yet. She wanted a life for herself, and after six months she ran away. In Omsk she met up with a group of homeless people: in summer they slept on park benches, in winter in cellars. Then she met a sympathetic woman who registered her as living with her in her small flat, so Maria could get on a waiting list for a place of her own. But to get on the list she needed a whole sheaf of documents, including evidence of a bank account – and how could a homeless person have a bank account?

Maria’s name was put on the general waiting list for housing, and she received a letter telling her she was number 18457. Like thousands of other young people who had grown up in institutions, she had no idea about the existence of a priority housing list. She only found out about it when the ‘Outcasts’ Union’ opened a branch in Omsk. Yelena and Vasily Starostin, the couple who ran it, started helping young people in this situation to take their cases to court to demand the housing they were entitled to. The first cases were won in 2006, and during the hearings it emerged that the Omsk regional authorities had ignored the law for over a decade.

To get on the housing list Maria needed a whole sheaf of documents, including evidence of a bank account –how could a homeless person have a bank account?

At best, they managed to get a place in a hostel’, Vasily told me, ‘otherwise it was cellars or heating pipelines, and a lot found “shelter” in prison, took to the bottle or committed suicide. Everyone who came to us knew people who’d ended up like that – some of them had just disappeared without trace. And nobody, of course, was counting.’  The Siberian Labour Federation received EU funding to publish a 100 page book for young people coming out of care institutions, explaining how to exercise their rights. It was distributed it in all the hostels and, to the Starostins’ delight, many of the young people they reached were smart enough to take their own cases to court. 700 of them have won their right to decent housing.

What new law?

Some former children’s home residents have not been so fortunate. These are the slightly older ones, unaware of their rights (although by law the children’s services were obliged to inform them) and ignored by the authorities for ten years. I met some of them at a hostel on Omsk’s Krugovaya Street. The building, which is officially uninhabitable, houses about 100 people, among them the Autinov family – Aliya, her husband and their four children – who all live in one room measuring just 17 square metres.

Aliya, who left her special needs boarding school in 1995, has applied to the courts for a flat, but the inadequacy of her present housing is irrelevant to the judges examining her case. They are interested in only one thing: her age when she first declared her priority status. This is because, until the recent change in the law, people could only apply for their housing rights up to the age of 23. Since the beginning of this year, the age restriction has been removed, but Omsk officials and courts are determined to ignore this and Aliya, as well as a couple of dozen others who had applied too late under the previous regulations, have been unable to gain the right to decent housing, even with the help of the SLF.

Since the beginning of 2013 there is no age restriction on applications for housing, but Omsk’s officials and courts are determined to ignore this.

‘The central district court told us in so many words’, says Aliya,’ that they wouldn’t recognise our rights until the new regulations became standard judicial practice in Russia.’ In fact, not a single local court has made a ruling on the basis of the new amendment, and the Omsk courts aren’t keen to be the first to do so.


Aliya Autinova lives together with her husband and their four children in one room measuring just 17 square metres. Photo: Georgy Borodyansky

The regional education authority is also refusing to support the rights of the ‘outcasts’, and even an appeal to central government isn’t budging them. Twenty nine-year old Yekaterina Yakushina put a straight question to Vladimir Putin during his latest live TV phone-in. Did she, she inquired, have a right to decent housing, and if so, given the change in the law, why was she being refused on the grounds that ‘she hadn’t applied before the age of 23’? Her question didn’t go on air, but it was noted and sent to the president’s office, which passed it on to the Ministry of Education and Science. She received a reply from the Ministry confirming that she should be on a priority housing list, and stating that a letter to that effect had been sent to its Omsk regional headquarters. But officials there are claiming they never received any such letter.

The regional officials also didn’t turn her down immediately, but kept her hanging on. They demanded one (unnecessary, as it turned out) bit of paper after another: from the children’s home, from her employer, from her bank (again – how was she meant to have a bank account, living in a hostel that didn’t officially exist?).

Yekaterina works as a shop assistant and earns 10,000 roubles (185GBP) a month. She’s been lucky: she’s found a room in a two-roomed flat through friends, at a rent of 4,000 a month. It took her three months to get the necessary papers together, and cost her 3,000 roubles. And even now the officials are telling her that she can’t get on the priority housing list because she didn’t apply before she was 23.

The Starostins estimate that there are about a thousand people in Yekaterina’s position in the Omsk region, and 300 of them have been in contact with the ‘Outcasts’ Union’. ‘We are putting together an open letter on their behalf to President Putin and the President of the Supreme Court’, they tell me. ‘Most of these people have children who will also, like their parents, be deprived of their housing rights. If our government has really abandoned them, let it say so. But a country that does that can hardly then ban other people from adopting them.’

 

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#aceworldnews, #herods-law, #law-of-the-russian-federation, #maria, #natalya, #novaya-gazeta, #omsk, #pussy-riot, #special-education

Freed Pussy Riot members still want Putin out

#AceNewsServices says “Freed #PussyRiot Members Still Want #Putin Out” #freedomofspeech

Social Action 2014

Two members of punk band Pussy Riot say they still want to topple Russian President Vladimir Putin – after they were released from prison.Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina made the comments during a two-hour news conference in Moscow.They also revealed plans to form an organisation, to help Russia’s jail inmates.Al Jazeera’s Peter Sharp reports from Moscow.

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#acenewsservices, #freed, #prison, #pussy-riot, #vladimir-putin