Connect with us

International

Zelensky makes surprise Grammys appearance to urge support for Ukraine

Published

on

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

In a moment that no one was expecting at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise appearance via a remote video message, urging the millions of viewers watching to “support us in any way you can” during the Russian invasion.

Host Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” introduced Zelensky. “One thing that has always made music so powerful is the way it responds to the times. Even in the darkest times, music has the power to lift spirits and give you hope for a brighter tomorrow. And there is nobody who could use a little hope right now more than the people of Ukraine,” Noah said.

Zelensky appeared from a bunker in Kyiv, according to Variety, which reported that the video was shot within the past 48 hours. ″The war. What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people. Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars. Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died. And we’ll never see them drawing,” he said. “Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning in bomb shelters, but alive. Our loved ones don’t know if we will be together again. The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.”

READ ALSO:

“Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos, they sing to the wounded in hospitals. Even to those who can’t hear them, but the music will break through anyway,” he continued. “We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound. On our land, we are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs. The dead silence.”

He concluded: “Fill the silence with your music! Fill it today, to tell your story. Tell the truth about this war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can. Any — but not silence. And then peace will come. To all our cities the war is destroying: Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Mariupol and others. They are legends already, but I have a dream of them living. And free. Free like you on the Grammy stage.”

The video led into a performance by John Legend, who sang a ballad he released earlier in the day called “Free.” Ukrainian musician Siuzanna Iglidan joined in, as did singer Mika Newton; a chyron noted that Newton’s sister is serving in the Ukrainian army. Poet Lyuba Yakimchuk, who fled Ukraine only days ago, joined them and read a poem asking for protection for her country and her family.

All four were dressed in either blue or yellow — the national colors of Ukraine — as a tribute to the country, and images of the war’s destruction were projected behind them on a giant screen.

Zelensky’s appearance comes a week after the Academy Awards, where there were rumors that the former actor might appear. American actor and activist Sean Penn made headlines for saying that if Zelensky didn’t make a cameo at the Oscars ceremony, he would “smelt” his own trophies in public.

THE WASHINGTON POST

International

Comoros ex-president Sambi jailed for life for ‘high treason’

Published

on

Former Comorian President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi (2nd R), escorted by Gendarmes, arrives at the courthouse in Moroni on November 21, 2022. – Sambi, who served as president from 2006-2011 and is the main opponent of current leader Azali Assoumani, has been held under house arrest since May 2018.
Sambi was originally placed under house arrest for disturbing public order.
Three months later he was placed under pre-trial detention for embezzlement, corruption and forgery, over a scandal involving the sale of Comorian passports to stateless people living in Gulf nations. (Photo by Ibrahim YOUSSOUF / AFP)

A court in the Comoros on Monday handed down a life sentence for high treason to ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, who was convicted of selling passports to stateless people living in the Gulf.

Sambi, 64, an arch-rival of President Azali Assoumani, was sentenced by the State Security Court, a special judicial body whose rulings cannot be appealed.

“He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians,” public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid told the court last week as he requested a life sentence.

Sambi, who led the small Indian Ocean archipelago between 2006 and 2011, pushed through a law in 2008 allowing the sale of passports for high fees.

The scheme aimed at the so-called bidoon — an Arab minority numbering in the tens of thousands who cannot obtain citizenship.

READ ALSO:

The former president was accused of embezzling millions of dollars under the scheme.

The prosecution said the cost was more than $1.8 billion — more than the impoverished nation’s GDP.

“They gave thugs the right to sell Comorian nationality as if they were selling peanuts,” said Eric Emmanuel Sossa, a lawyer for civilian plaintiffs.

But Sambi’s French lawyer Jean-Gilles Halimi said “no evidence” of missing money or bank accounts had been put forward to suggest a crime.

Sambi refused to attend the trial after a brief appearance at the first hearing, as his lawyers said there were no guarantees he would be judged fairly.

He was originally prosecuted for corruption, but the charges were reclassified as high treason, a crime that “does not exist in Comorian law,” Halimi said.

Sambi had already spent four years behind bars before he faced trial, far exceeding the maximum eight months. He was originally placed under house arrest for disturbing public order.

Guardian

Continue Reading

International

UK university workers begin strike over ‘falling pay, brutal workloads’

Published

on

Thousands of university and college staff in the United Kingdom, including lecturers, librarians and researchers, have declared a strike to demand pay increase and improved working conditions.

The University and College Union (UCU), the UK trade union for university staff, said the strike, referred to as the biggest in decades, is to improve quality in the education sector.

The UCU “represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians, technicians, professional staff and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK”.

“This is the biggest week in our history. Every single university takes strike action on Thursday and Friday. We need every member, student and supporter on our picket lines on Thursday to show the employers that this time is different,” the union said in a statement.

Announcing the strike on Wednesday, Jo Grady, UCU’s general secretary, warned of a “bigger action” unless employers improved their offers.

“Staff are burnt out but they are fighting back and they will bring the whole sector to a standstill,” she said.

READ ALSO:

“Vice-chancellors only have themselves to blame. Their woeful leadership has led to the biggest vote for strike action ever in our sector. Students are standing with staff because they know this can’t go on.”

The strike, which began on Thursday, will also hold on November 25 and November 30.

Commenting on the development on Thursday, Grady expressed satisfaction with the turnout of university staff.

“Today’s picket lines are huge. 70,000 university staff have turned out like never before, defying bullying tactics from management to show they will no longer accept falling pay, pension cuts, brutal workloads and gig-economy working conditions,” she was quoted as saying, according to UCL.

“If vice-chancellors doubted the determination of university staff to save our sector, then today has been a rude awakening for them.”

The strike has affected over 2.5 million students, some of who are standing in solidarity with their lecturers.

Lawyers, nurses, postal workers and many others have also protested to seek pay rises that match the soaring inflation in the country.

The latest protests come after the UK’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers announced on Tuesday that more than 40,000 rail workers will stage strikes in December and January, disrupting travel for scores of people during the festive season.

The union said members will have demonstrations for four days from December 13 and in the first week of January.

The UK has been battling difficult economic situations due to surging energy costs arising from the Russia-Ukraine war.

Earlier in August, the Bank of England warned that inflation would climb to just over 13 percent in 2022.

It also projected that the country would enter a recession from the fourth quarter of 2022 until late 2023.

In November, the country’s inflation rate jumped in the last 12 months to 11.1 percent in October — up by one percent from August’s inflation rate.

The Cable

Continue Reading

International

Gunman kills 10 in US Walmart store

Published

on

A gunman has killed up to 10 people in a Walmart superstore in Chesapeake, in the US state of Virginia, police say.

Reports say the man, a store manager, opened fire then turned the gun on himself and is now dead.

READ ALSO:

The City of Chesapeake tweeted “police confirm an active shooter incident with fatalities at the Walmart”.

Continue Reading

Trending