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Who's right? Harper and Putin disagree about Ukraine

Photo: flickr/snamess

Let's begin with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's version. One can think what one likes about deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, but his election in 2012 was recognized as legitimate by international observers and, after a certain hesitation, by the defeated candidate, Yulia Timoshenko. In fact, relatively honest elections were just about the only positive outcome for ordinary people of the last big mobilization on Maidan Square, the 'Orange Revolution' of December 2004.

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Tony Benn, radical champion for democracy in the UK, dies at 88

Photo: wikimedia commons

There are two things you need to know about Tony Benn. The first is that he always saw his primary role, as a politician, as that of an educator who was engaged in developing popular democratic ambitions and capacities. The second is that, again unlike most politicians, he actually took democracy seriously in terms of its potential for changing the world. These two rare qualities explain why he was among very few political leaders of the 20th century who became more rather than less radical over the course of their careers.

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The Conservatives' multi-pronged attack on science

Photo: flickr/Håkan Dahlström

A colleague of mine in environmental science recently told me that he is about to run out of funding since his Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) discovery grant has not been renewed, twice in a row. Scientists like him, focused as they are on their work, are encouraged to think their funding has not been renewed because there is something wrong with them or their research. In fact, there are broader social forces at play.

It turns out that the feminist slogan the personal is political is relevant to science as well. For decades, the membership card in the club of Canadian scientists was the NSERC discovery grant. The purpose of the grant was to give every working scientist basic funding to do their research.

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The third insurrectionary moment of the Venezuelan Right

Photo: flickr/ruurmo

"Today the counter-revolutionary Right is reactivating itself," according to long-time Venezuelan revolutionary Roland Denis, "taking advantage of the profound deterioration that this slow revolutionary process is suffering. Its reappearance and interlacing with ‘democratic civil society' is a clear signal to the popular movement that we either convert this moment into a creative and reactivating crisis of the collective revolutionary will, or we bid farewell to this beautiful and traumatic history that we have built over the last 25 years."[1]

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Yanukovych's run out of options for Ukraine

Photo: flickr/snamess

When a government announces that it is going to launch an "anti-terror operation," that generally means that it has decided to kill some people. That was what the police said at 6 p.m. local time Tuesday in Kiev, as they launched their assault on the protesters who have occupied the main square of the Ukrainian capital for 11 weeks -- and sure enough, people started to die.

Other people had already died in clashes elsewhere in Kiev on Tuesday, including some policemen, and the more excitable observers have started speculating about the forcible imposition of a police state in Ukraine or even civil war. But the likeliest outcome is that the president will be forced out without a civil war.

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Venezuelan government shows restraint and resolve during anti-Chavista protests

Photo: flickr/matthewvenn

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) views with great alarm the violence perpetrated against the democratically elected government and civilians in Venezuela that has resulted, as of February 12, 2014, in three confirmed deaths, 61 persons wounded and 69 detained. The carnage and destruction in Caracas on Wednesday comes on the heels of generally peaceful marches held on the 200th anniversary of the battle of La Victoria, a battle in which students played a critical role in a victory against royalist forces during Venezuela's war of independence.

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Revisiting the 'Orange Crush' with NDP MP Laurin Liu

Alice Shen (McGill Daily)

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National Council of Canadian Muslims sue PMO for libel

Photo: flickr/Sean MacEntee

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What does it mean to be Canadian when you belong to a visible minority?

Growing up on a steady diet of pseudo-liberal Canadian cultural mosaic pride and regular renditions of "This Land is Your Land," I thought that it meant my citizenship; my childhood memories and the rest of my lived experience were enough to legitimize my identity as a 'Canadian,' and afford me the corresponding rights.

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'Right-to-work' laws and their roots in racial segregation

Photo: flickr/Kheel Center, Cornell University

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Five things you need to know about the Fair Elections Act

Photo: wikimedia commons

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The Conservative government on Tuesday tabled their so-called Fair Elections Act in the House of Commons -- 70 weeks late.

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