World View: Europeans Broker 'Peace Agreement' in Ukraine
- Europeans broker a 'peace agreement' in Ukraine
- Ukraine's parliament votes to free president's arch-enemy from jail
- Venezuela and other countries increasingly block press freedom
Europeans broker a 'peace agreement' in Ukraine
Yulia Tymoshenko, Yanukovych's arch-enemy
With violence growing in Ukraine and the country becoming increasingly lawless and ungovernable, foreign ministers from Poland, France, and
Germany brokered a Ukraine peace agreement between president Viktor
Yanukovych and the leaders of the opposition. Whether the agreement
will be fully implemented remains to be seen, and it leaves
Yanukovych in power, at least for the time being, in defiance of the
key demand of the opposition that he step down. Instead, the
agreement calls for new elections by December, which opposition
leaders say is far too late. However, the opposition signed
because European leaders warned them that the alternative
was martial law.
Under the agreement, Ukraine's parliament voted to restore the 2004
constitution, limiting some of Yanukovych's power and giving more
power to the parliament. The parliament also voted to fire the
interior minister who ordered police violence that resulted in
hundreds of deaths.
It's not clear how much support the agreement will continue
to have. In particular, the Russian envoy to the negotiations
originally initialed the agreement, but then disappeared before
the final signing, apparently on orders from Moscow.
Some people sang Ukraine's national anthem after the agreement:
Ukraine has not yet perished,
The glory and the freedom!
Still upon us brave brothers,
Fate shall smile!
Our enemies will vanish
Like dew in the sun;
We too shall rule
In our country.
That's the original 1863 version. In later versions, the first two
lines were changed to: "Ukraine's glory has not yet perished, nor her
Ukraine's parliament votes to free president's arch-enemy from jail
After the agreement was signed, Ukraine's parliament voted to free
Yulia Tymoshenko, a bitter political enemy of President Viktor
Yanukovych. Tymoshenko became a world recognized figure in 2004 for her distinctive mix of peasant hair and high-fashion dresses, after
she played a major role in the 2004 "Orange Revolution" that ousted
Viktor Yanukovych, the current president, from power. Tymoshenko
herself became prime minister in 2007, but then lost the 2010 election
Yanukovych got his revenge in 2011 by sending Tymoshenko to jail on
charges that many consider to be trumped up. The European Union has
been demanding that Tymoshenko be freed, and now the parliament has
agreed. However, there's no timetable for freeing her.
She's developed back problems in jail, so it's not clear whether she is capable of entering politics again, but if she did and joined the
opposition against Yanukovych, then watching those two fight it out
would be quite a spectacle. AP and AFP
Venezuela and other countries increasingly block press freedom
On Thursday, Venezuela's president Nicolás Maduro announced that he
would expel CNN if it did not "rectify" its coverage of
anti-government protests, saying, "They [CNN] want to show the
world that there is a civil war in Venezuela."
On Friday, Maduro carried out his threat, notifying seven journalists
for CNN International and CNN en Español that their press credentials
had been denied or revoked and that they should book flights back
home. So far, CNN International and CNN en Español continue to
broadcast in Venezuela.
Increasingly, countries around the world are taking legal measures to
restrict press freedom when the press doesn't support the government.
Besides Venezuela, examples are:
- Egypt has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a "terrorist
organization," and has arrested 20 journalists from al-Jazeera who
have been covering the news in Egypt, accusing them of terrorism for
their reports on MB. The arrests include four foreigners, an
Australian, two Britons, and one Dutch, accusing them of "airing false
news" to "undermine the state's status and disrupt public security."
Al-Jazeera has called the charges absurd.
- Russian officials are becoming increasingly panicked over the
chaos in Ukraine, fearing that similar anti-government protests could
take place in Moscow. Russia has already shut down one popular cable
channel for taking occasional anti-Putin positions and is now
threatening another one.
- In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
in the Obama administration proposed a new program, "Multi-Market
Study of Critical Information Needs," which would place government
monitors in the newsrooms of TV networks, "news and talk-radio
stations," and newspaper companies across the United States. Both
liberal and conservative groups expressed outrage, and the
administration was forced to back down, at least for the time being.
The administration has frequently sought to use its power to
intimidate Fox News Channel and has even threatened Fox's White House
reporter James Rosen with criminal charges, which were later
Other countries, like China and Iran, have strict controls on all
media, most of which is state-owned. CNN and Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Jamestown and Washington Times
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Ukraine, Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych,
Yulia Tymoshenko, Poland, France, Germany,
Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, CNN,
Egypt, al-Jazeera, Russia, Fox News Channel
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