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The Leader of Europe's 'Last Dictatorship' Is Facing an Unprecedented Challenge. Here's What It Could Mean for Belarus

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Europe’s longest serving leader Alexander Lukashenko has long worked hard to seem invincible. He has dominated past elections that the U.S. has deemed neither free nor fair and brokered no dissent and suppressed protests. Now, he is facing an unprecedented challenge as he runs for a sixth term as president of Belarus in elections on August 9. A former teacher and political novice, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has emerged as his main rival, pledging to topple Lukashenko’s regime and restore democracy.
Tens of thousands have rallied across Belarus in some of the country’s biggest opposition protests in a decade, amid mounting frustration over the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis, combined with grievances about the economy. Referring to Lukashenko, protestors chanted ‘stop the cockroach’ and held placards reading ‘change!’.
“For the first time in his 26-year rule, Lukashenko knows the majority don’t support him,” says Aleksandr Feduta, a former aide to the incumbent, who was i…

Electric chair attraction banned in Paris fun park

One attraction at a fun park in Paris (left) has been banned today by French authorities and later dismantled and put away by its owner.

Visitors to la Fête à Neu-Neu in the outskirts of Paris could admire an authentic, working electric chair imported straight from the United States. What's more, the park would periodically "execute" a puppet for guests' entertainment -- and they could watch as the mannequin flopped around and screamed as the voltage coursed through his body. At the end, the dummy's head would slump forward, smoke drifting up from the hood over his head.

The electric chair belongs to Stéphane Camors, 40, who bought it for $10,000 in Florida. He first had it on display at a fun park near Milan in Italy and was charging visitors €1.65 to watch the dummy die. The park manager told La Repubblica in July that 50 executions were performed daily, with 150 taking place on Sunday.

Protests against the macabre act, though, shut down the electric chair attraction. "It is my dragon or my King Kong, it's just an adornment," the owner told AFP. "It's not meant to glorify the death penalty."

The death penalty is not only illegal in the European Union but also severely frowned upon as a form of punishment, making this form of entertainment particularly politically incorrect.

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