In a televised address broadcast live on Russian TV on September 4, Putin said, “we have to admit that we showed no understanding of the processes occurring in our country and the world at large. We failed to act appropriately, and instead, displayed weakness. And the weak are beaten.” This is worrying as it signals a repetition, perhaps in amplified form, of the counterproductive iron-fist policies that have led to up to half of Chechnya’s population leaving and over 200,000 fatalities — according to the most reliable estimates — since the first Chechen war in 1994-96.
DERRY — One of Northern Ireland’s most controversial political assassinations reached a conclusion of sorts on Thursday with the jailing of a former loyalist paramilitary. Ken Barrett, 41, admitted to being one a group of masked gunmen who in February 1989 shot prominent Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane 14 times as he ate a Sunday meal with his family. Finucane was a high-profile lawyer who represented republican clients – but also worked with Protestants. Barrett, then a member the loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was given a minimum 22 year sentence.
DERRY – Tuesday marked the 10-year anniversary of the first IRA ceasefire, the culmination of years of official and behind-the-scenes negotiation and confidence building. After yet more intricate and stop-and-start dealings, the way was paved for the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998, aimed at permanently settling the 30-year civil conflict in Northern Ireland. With the guns largely silent and the daily litany of bombings, assassinations, and sectarian murder now largely a thing of the past, the focus is on the current political impasse that has stalled the implementation of the landmark peace deal.