The pro-Russian separatists who have occupied government buildings in eastern Ukrainian cities such as Donetsk have rejected an amnesty offer put forward by the government in Kiev. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov struck a softer tone than previous, hoping to avoid bloodshed. Activists, however, are claiming they will not accept such an offer without a referendum for partition or federalization attached.
In related developments, President Vladimir Putin has warned European leaders that cutting the gas flow to Ukraine, who has an outstanding gas bill towards Russia of $2.2bn, could also disrupt gas imports in Europe. This was followed by U.S. accusations that Russia is using energy as a “tool of coercion.” State-controlled Gazprom stopped pumping gas to Ukraine during price disputes in the winters of 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, leading to reduced supplies in European countries.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, 33 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, now outlawed as a terrorist organization, are imprisoned and are facing various charges, some which carry the death penalty, Simia Nakhoul reports for Reuters from Cairo. With the army now seemingly bent on eradicating Islamists militarily, the situation is reminiscent of Hosni Mubarak’s army-backed dictatorship that was toppled in the 2011 Tahrir Square revolt. In this predicament, many Egyptians are disillusioned with the current regime, while the Muslim Brotherhood still enjoys fairly wide popular appeal.
Finally, in yet another instance of social media being used for and around elections, the hashtags #GetInked and #Elections2014 are trending on Twitter, as Indian voters young and old are expressing their pride in exercising their right to vote, reports NDTV. Furthermore, pictures of inked fingers, with accompanying messages such as “my vote, my pride” or “best thing I have done as an Indian citizen” are being posted on social networking sites, having become a social media symbol of the power of one’s vote.
In the Press Review section of the GovFaces blog you will find regular updates on important social, political, and economic issues of the day. Items presented here and in the Analysis & Opinion sections do not necessarily reflect the views of GovFaces.