Just days ahead of the country’s October 1 parliamentary vote, televised images of the brutal treatment of detainees at Georgia’s Prison No. 8 are stoking one of the most serious political crises ever encountered by President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration. The scandal has quickly scrambled assumptions about the upcoming election.
With Eurovision now a thing of the past, Azerbaijan’s Sing for Democracy civil rights activists are expressing concern about how to keep the country’s spotty civil-rights record in the international spotlight. As media attention moves on to other countries, they say, government crackdowns could resume against outspokenly critical human rights activists and journalists.
President Lee Myung-bak’s administration in South Korea is making a risky bet on Uzbekistan. Seoul is ramping up its investments in the Central Asian state, but given that Uzbekistan is home to one of the most world’s most repressive and arbitrary regimes, South Korean deals stand a higher than usual chance of souring.
This election year, Americans are reminded and fatigued at how the campaign season drives rifts between various groups in the country. Wouldn’t you love instead to live in a nation where the President is so universally beloved, he is elected with a 97 percent majority? How about a country that celebrates an annual “Week of Happiness” to foster good health and high spirits?
The opening act for this year’s Eurovision song contest is a war of words. State-controlled media outlets in the host country, Azerbaijan, are assailing Germany, complaining that Berlin is behind a “large-scale aggressive campaign” to politicize the Eurovision event and discredit Baku.