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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…

Wanted: Sri Lanka hangman. Very light work. Only males need apply

(Reuters) - Sri Lanka on Tuesday began interviews for the post of hangman a year after two positions fell vacant, with at least 480 convicts on death row.

But it was not quite clear how the two successful candidates would fill their days - the death penalty has not been used in Sri Lanka, a predominantly Buddhist country, since 1976.

"About 176 applicants are there and interviews are going on today and tomorrow," Gamini Kulatunga, commissioner operations at the Prisons Department, told Reuters. "Only males will be eligible for the post."

The two posts fell vacant after one hangman was promoted and the other retired.

At least 480 people convicted of murder and drugs offences could potentially be executed, Kulatunga said.

There has been an alarming rise in child abuse, rapes, murders, and drug trafficking since the 25-year war against Tamil Tiger separatists ended in May 2009, prompting some lawyers and politicians to push for the death penalty to be reintroduced.

Source: Reuters, August 28, 2012

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