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

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…

Slain Filipino maid raped in Kuwait, NBI autopsy shows

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino maid Jeanelyn Villavende was raped before she was killed in Kuwait last month by her employers, according to the autopsy conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation.

The NBI autopsy also showed that the 26-year-old from Norala, South Cotabato, who began working as a maid in Kuwait only five months ago, had suffered from past beatings.

“There were clear indications of sexual abuse. There were also old healed wounds indicating that Villavende had been battered weeks prior to the fateful incident,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters on Sunday.

The autopsy was conducted by NBI medicolegal chief Ricardo Rodaje on Jan. 10 near Villavende’s home in Norala.

Appeal for justice

The autopsy report will be submitted to Guevarra on Monday.

Villavende’s remains arrived in Manila on Friday.

Villavende’s family appealed anew to President Duterte and Kuwaiti officials for justice after learning the results of the autopsy.

“We demand justice,” said Nelly Padernal, 42, Villavende’s stepmother. She said she had yet to see pictures of her stepdaughter’s employers in jail.

The Kuwaiti government’s autopsy report did not mention signs of rape or past abuse, angering the workers’ group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), which demanded the government respond strongly to the submission of what it called “fake autopsy report.”

“We strongly condemn this . . . fake autopsy report submitted by the Kuwaiti [authorities] to the Philippine government,” TUCP Rep. Raymond Mendoza said in a statement on Sunday.

He said the incomplete report showed “a willful dishonest attempt of the Kuwaiti government to cover up the heinous crime” committed by Kuwaiti nationals and “whitewash the gruesome act of inhumanity.”

Source: globalnation.inquirer.net,  Dona Z. Pazzibugan, January 13, 2020

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