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Entry Into Force Of Tromsø Convention on access to Official Documents

A unique opportunity for European governments to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to transparency.

Feb.20.– Accessing quality information has never been so challenging, despite or maybe, because of our exposure to tremendous amount of information. The entry into force of the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Access to Official Documents (Tromsø Convention) on 1 December 2020, in a context of concerning deficit of transparency in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, appears as an opportunity for governments to reinforce transparency culture and restore citizens trust and legitimacy in their institutions, in democracy.

The Nordic European States pioneered the development of the right of access to official documents, with the world’s first law on access to information adopted by Sweden in 1766. It then spread progressively to many other West European countries, before reaching its peak in the 1990s with the creation of legal tools in the new democracies of Eastern and Central Europe. Today, various legal instruments (constitutions, national laws and jurisprudence) across Europe recognize the right of access to official documents. At the international level as well, this right has been increasingly recognized.

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Horrible’: Witnesses recall massacre in Ethiopian holy city

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Bodies with gunshot wounds lay in the streets for days in Ethiopia’s holiest city. At night, residents listened in horror as hyenas fed on the corpses of people they knew. But they were forbidden from burying their dead by the invading Eritrean soldiers.

Those memories haunt a deacon at the country’s most sacred Ethiopian Orthodox church in Axum, where local faithful believe the ancient Ark of the Covenant is housed. As Ethiopia’s Tigray region slowly resumes telephone service after three months of conflict, the deacon and other witnesses gave The Associated Press a detailed account of what might be its deadliest massacre.

For weeks, rumors circulated that something ghastly had occurred at the Church of St. Mary of Zion in late November, with estimates of several hundred people killed. But with Tigray cut off from the world and journalists blocked from entering, little could be verified as Ethiopian and allied fighters pursued the Tigray region’s fugitive leaders.

The deacon, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he remains in Axum, said he helped count the bodies — or what was left after hyenas fed. He gathered victims’ identity cards and assisted with burials in mass graves.


The Chapel of the Tablet at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum allegedly houses the original Ark of the Covenant. Credit: Adam Cohn

He believes some 800 people were killed that weekend at the church and around the city, and that thousands in Axum have died in all. The killing continues: On the day he spoke to the AP last week he said he had buried three people.

“If we go to the rural areas, the situation is much worse,” the deacon said.

Read more: AP

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Romania's Justice Minister & French Ambassador discuss the process of modifying the laws of justice and criminal codes

 Bucharest, Feb.21.– The Minister of Justice, Stelian Ion, on Tuesday met with the French Ambassador to Romania, Laurence Auer, on which occasion they discussed the process of modifying the laws of justice, but also the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.

According to a press release of the Ministry of Justice sent to AGERPRES on the 9th of February, Stelian Ion had a bilateral meeting with Laurence Auer, France’s Ambassador to Romania, the two officials discussing “the excellent bilateral cooperation” and the priorities of the French presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will have its debut on January 1, 2022.

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“Homeland and Life”

A powerful message to the dictatorship that its time is over

"Patria y Vida"

*See below the lyrics in English and Spanish (both are unofficial versions by Cuba Archive).

The song and video clip “Patria y Vida” (“Homeland and Life”) was released this past Wednesday, February 16th, and in less than 72 hours reached one million hits in YouTube. It is so effective that the Cuban regime's frenzied overreaction can only confirm its weak, anachronistic, state.

The title “Homeland and Life” is a twist on the slogan “Patria o Muerte” (“Homeland or Death”), the longstanding cri de couer of the Cuban Communist regime. The slogan was introduced by Fidel Castro on March 5th 1960 in his eulogy for the victims of the explosion of the La Coubre ship in Havana.
“Patria y Vida” is a collaboration of several renowned artists --the duo Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno, Yotuel Romero, and rappers Maykel Osorbo and El Funky-- intended as a strong critical message to the Cuban dictatorship. The production, directed by Asiel Babastro, was put together outside Cuba with images from the island and of recent international demonstrations in support of Movimiento San Isidro (MSI), an artists' group that started in protest of Decree Law 349 of April 2018 that fiercely controls all artistic activity in Cuba.

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World Leaders Decry Facebook’s ‘Anti-Democratic’ Censorship in Australia

“Threatening to bring an entire country to its knees to agree to Facebook’s terms is the ultimate admission of monopoly power”. 

Feb.19.– World politicians have lambasted Facebook’s move to restrict Australians from sharing news on its platform, with some saying the tech giant has behaved in an “anti-democratic” way and more like a “dictator.”

Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, David Cicilline (D-RI), wrote on Twitter that the move made it clear Facebook was not compatible with democracy.

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