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UKRAINE – Where is the Nova Kajovka dam and what has happened to it?

Kherson, June 6.– The dam is located upstream from the city of Kherson on the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine. Russia controls territory on the left bank of the river. The right bank is held by Ukraine.

The 2km-long dam has a road running along its top and is about 30 meters high. It powers the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, a major energy producer, and holds back a reservoir containing 18 cubic km of water, which in turn feeds the north Crimea canal. The canal carries drinking water to Russian-occupied Crimea.

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Has France lost its way in the Sahel?

The Sahel, which spans the continent from East to West, is a region that is being encroached upon by the sands of the Sahara desert.

France wants to achieve its ends mainly by defeating jihadists militarily, whereas local leaders want to secure political solutions through talks. Which looks a lot like a replay of old colonial-era dynamics.

June 6.– Operation Barkhane, launched in 2014, formally ended on 9 November 2022. But although France no longer has any troops in Mali, it still has nearly 3,000 military personnel in nearby Niger and Chad – as many as it did eight years ago. Refusing to admit defeat. it The SahelCountries in the Sahelcontinues to do battle in the Sahel with ill-defined enemies conveniently labeled ‘terrorists’. This is a war of indefinite duration. Its legal basis is unclear (and never discussed by politicians) and it uses opaque methods that France even plans to extend to neighbouring countries on the Gulf of Guinea.

‘Barkhane 2’, as it is sometimes known, is headquartered in Niger’s capital, Niamey, where France has drones and fighter jets and around 1,200 troops. Most of the military land vehicles have already been shipped back to France but the air component remains in place for surveillance and air strikes.

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Disinformation, electoral interference and hybrid warfare threaten our democracies and the EU is fighting back

European Parliament building, BrusselsEuropean Parliament building, BrusselsJune 2.– This week, politics in the UK and EU highlight one of history’s most ironic moments. In the UK, faced with Baroness Heather Hallett’s requests for access to Covid exchanges among senior government figures, the champions of ‘take back control’ squirm around. In the EU, those they accused of being anti-democratic are intensifying action to invigorate democracy against dark forces and to sustain participatory democracy.

All this is happening because both the UK and the EU face elections. In the EU, in June 2024 there will be elections to the European Parliament. It was first directly elected by voters from all nine members of the states comprising the then European Community (forerunner of the EU) in 1979. In those days, it was little more than a talking shop. But gradually it and the states’ governments made a reality of the principle of democratic accountability. As a result, the European Parliament has real power to legislate and hold member governments and the EU Commission to account over decisions taken together. Now it is acting to protect democracy.

Why the obsession with democracy?

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Council of Europe holds annual Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services

Berlin, June 5.– The Council of Europe annual conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services will convene on June 6 and 7 to explore innovative responses to challenges such as prison overcrowding, the need to improve living conditions in prisons, the increasing number of people with mental problems in prison and probation and how Berlin-Bradenburg Academy of Sciences & Humanitiesto better help offenders reintegrate into society. This 28th Conference will be held at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jägerstrasse 22/23, 10117 Berlin

Hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Justice, the conference will bring together directors of prison and probation services from the 46 Council of Europe member states, its observer states, and international experts and organizations.

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Defend Our Democracy civil society movement launches in South Africa encouraging active citizenry

Founders of Defend Our DemocracyThis Movement intends to promote human rights and enhance democratic values and processes embedded in the Constitution.

Participants renewed their commitment to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and established Defend Our Democracy as a progressive civil society movement. Issues flagged by those present included local and global threats to democracy, a lack of active citizenry for transformation and accountability, and the problem of young people having no agency to respond to their generational mission.

This is a South African movement officially launched as a civil society movement on May 27 in Illovo, established to defend Constitutional democracy. They issued the Conference Paper for a Democratic Renewal and Change as a discussion document. «This call for comment serves to gather all input made by all members of the public and sectors of society. The discussion document serves to convene and facilitate conversation on democratic renewal and change.»
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