December 20, 2013 |
After Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to pardon his arch foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky, much of the world is asking: "Why now?" Putin clearly wants to clean up his human rights record before the Olympic Winter Games, which open in the southern Russian resort of Sochi in a mere seven weeks, and Khodorkovsky's decade-long imprisonment on what have been widely viewed as politically motivated charges was the most glaring blemish. But the "why now?" question might better be asked of Khodorkovsky, who has stubbornly refused to bargain for his freedom with guilty pleas and mea culpas that the Kremlin has sought to legitimize its repression of the former oil tycoon in the eyes of the Russian public.
December 19, 2013 |
MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former tycoon and rival whose imprisonment was widely seen as politically motivated. The Russian leader said Khodorkovsky had asked for clemency in a letter, and that he was planning to grant it within the next few days. “His over 10 years of imprisonment is a serious punishment and he referred to humanitarian circumstances" in the letter, Putin said to reporters after his annual news conference in Moscow.
December 19, 2013 |
MOSCOW - He was once Russia's richest man and, by some measures, President Vladimir Putin's most potent foe. By Thursday, when Putin said he was likely to grant clemency to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, that was all long in the past. Both Khodorkovsky's power and the source of his wealth have been lost over the course of a decade in prison, and Putin's position as Russia's leader is more secure than ever. Khodorkovsky's release would signal an end to a remarkable saga that has been one of the hallmarks of Putin's tenure, and has led to international condemnation of what many view as a high-profile violation of human rights.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 6, 2013
Peter Graf Father of tennis great was jailed for tax fraud Peter Graf, 75, who mentored his daughter, tennis great Steffi Graf, but then went to jail for evading taxes on her earnings, died Nov. 30 at his home in Mannheim, Germany, his family said. German media reported last year that he had pancreatic cancer. Graf, who sold used cars and had other businesses, placed a sawed-off tennis racket in his daughter's hand before she was 4 years old, rewarding her with ice cream when she was able to sustain long rallies on an improvised tennis court in the family living room.
December 3, 2013 |
Ai Weiwei is an artist who knows a thing or two about doing time in jail. Next year the activist Beijing artist will exhibit a series of new installations at Alcatraz, the former island prison in San Francisco Bay. The project, which was officially announced on Tuesday, will feature artwork located at four sites around the island. The exhibition will have new sculpture, sound and multimedia works that address subjects including activism, incarceration and freedom of speech, according to organizers.
November 26, 2013 |
Here's a denunciation of the financial system and income inequality that people all over the world will find hard to overlook, or ignore. Its author is Pope Francis, and the text is from his apostolic exhortation published this week , which addresses in part what he calls "a socioeconomic system...unjust at its root. " Selections from paragraphs 53-60. No further commentary required: "Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality.