26 December 2017   Leave a comment

Alexei Navalny, a prominent opposition figure to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been barred by the Russian Election Commission from running in next year’s election as a Presidential candidate.  The grounds for his disqualification were a conviction for embezzlement in 2013, a conviction that was rejected by the European Curt of Human Rights, but reinstated by the  Russian Supreme Court.  Navalny is a popular figure who had no chance of defeating Putin but someone who was quite adept at mobilizing his base to undermine Putin’s authoritarian rule.  Navalny has called for a boycott of the election, but Russian authorities dismiss his significance and the chances for an effective boycott.

Alexei Navalny

 

The US has negotiated a substantial decrease in its contributions to the UN budget.  The decrease is $285 million off the 2016-2017 final budget and represents a big cut to the UN’s overall budget.  According to The Guardian: “the US is responsible for 22% of the the body’s annual operating budget, or around $1.2bn in 2017-18, and 28.5% of the cost of peacekeeping operations, estimated at $6.8bn over the same period.”  In defending he budget cuts, the US Ambassador to the UN said:

“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked. This historic reduction in spending – in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN – is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency while protecting our interests”.

There is little question that the US action is in response to the 128-9 vote condemning the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Posted December 26, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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