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Belarus election: Clashes after poll predicts Lukashenko re-election

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Media captionPeople have been detained in cities across Belarus, according to media reports

Protesters and riot police have clashed in Belarus’s capital Minsk and other cities, after a state TV exit poll said long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in Sunday’s election.

Police used stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon. A human rights group said one protester was killed and about 120 arrested.

Mr Lukashenko won 80% of the vote, according to a preliminary count.

But the main opposition leader has refused to recognise the results.

“We have already won, because we have overcome our fear, our apathy and our indifference,” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said.

The preliminary results give her 9.9% of the vote, but her campaign said she had been polling 70-80% in some areas.

Ms Tikhanovskaya entered the election in place of her jailed husband and went on to lead large opposition rallies.

Mr Lukashenko, 65, has been in power since 1994.

The lead-up to Sunday’s poll saw a crackdown on activists and journalists amid the country’s biggest opposition demonstrations in years.

How did the protests unfold?

Demonstrators took to the streets in central Minsk as soon as voting ended and the exit polls were released late on Sunday.

Many chanted “Get out” and other anti-government slogans. Riot police fired stun grenades, used batons, and made arrests as they dispersed the demonstrators.

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Reuters

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Protesters say President Lukashenko must step down

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Reuters

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A number of people were arrested on Sunday evening

Early on Monday, Valentin Stefanovic from the Belarusian human rights group Viasna, told Reuters news agency that at least one person had died after being knocked over by a police van and dozens had been injured.

He added that at least 120 people had been detained.

However, the interior ministry denied that there had been any deaths.

Similar protests took place in Brest, Gomel, Grodno and other cities.

What’s the context?

Sometimes referred to as Europe’s last dictator, President Lukashenko was first elected in 1994.

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EPA

Image caption

Mr Lukashenko cast his ballot at a polling station in Minsk

In the last vote in 2015, he was declared winner with 83.5% of the vote. There were no serious challengers and election observers reported problems in the counting and tabulation of votes.

This year’s election is being held amid growing signs of frustration at his leadership.

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EPA

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Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has emerged as the wild card of the race

The campaign saw the rise of Ms Tikhanovskaya, 37, a former teacher who became a stay-at-home mother until she was thrust into the political spotlight.

After her husband was arrested and blocked from registering for the vote, she stepped in to take his place.

In the lead-up to the election she told the BBC that people in Belarus did not believe the election would be run fairly.

“But I still believe that our president will understand that his time is over. People don’t want him any more,” she said.

President Lukashenko has dismissed Ms Tikhanovskaya as a “poor little girl”, manipulated by foreign “puppet masters”.

Tens of thousands defied an escalating crackdown on the opposition last month to attend a protest in Minsk, the largest such demonstration in a decade.

Since the start of the election campaign in May, more than 2,000 people have been detained, according to Human Rights Centre Viasna.

On the eve of the vote Ms Tikhanovskaya’s team said her campaign manager had been arrested and would not be released until Monday.

And on Sunday, as people voted, internet service was “significantly disrupted”, according to online monitor NetBlocks. Opposition supporters say this makes it harder for evidence of election fraud to be collected and shared.

There were already concerns over a lack of scrutiny because observers were not invited to monitor the election and more than 40% of votes were cast ahead of election day.

Was anyone else running?

There were three other candidates:

Two key opposition figures were barred from running and threw their weight behind Ms Tikhanovskaya’s campaign.

One of them, Valery Tsepkalo, fled Belarus ahead of the contest, fearing arrest. His wife Veronika stayed behind, becoming a key campaigner for Ms Tikhanovskaya.

It emerged on Sunday that Ms Tsepkalo had also now left Belarus for Moscow, for “safety” reasons.

Anger towards Mr Lukashenko’s government has been in part fuelled by the response to coronavirus.

The president has downplayed the outbreak, advising citizens to drink vodka and use saunas to fight the disease.

Belarus, which has a population of 9.5 million, has reported nearly 70,000 cases and 600 deaths.



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Entertainers discuss disability representation in Hollywood | World News

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It’s an old cliche that if an actor wants to win an Oscar, he or she should consider playing a character with a disability. And it’s not entirely unfounded advice: 61 actors have been nominated for playing a character with a disability and 27 have walked away winners. But only two of those actors actually had a disability — Marlee Matlin in “Children of a Lesser God” and Harold Russell in “The Best Years of Our Lives.”

That’s just one of the things that needs to change, according to a group of entertainment industry professionals with disabilities including actors Danny Woodburn, “A Quiet Place’s” Millicent Simmonds and “Peanut Butter Falcon’s” Zack Gottsagen. They and other creatives with disabilities, from directors to VFX artists, spoke about the state of representation in front of and behind the camera in series of virtual panels organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that debuted Monday night. The panels, funded in part by a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, coincides with the 30th anniversary year of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It would be really helpful to have a disabled (Disney) princess,” said actor and comedian Maysoon Zayid, who has cerebral palsy.

Zayid noted that people with visible and invisible disabilities make up about 20% of the American population but a miniscule number of characters on television and in film.

“The message being sent out to disabled kids is you do not belong in this world,” Zayid said. “People with disabilities face enormous amounts of bullying, violence and discrimination. Positive images of disability can stop that.”

Part of that is casting actors with disabilities to play characters with disabilities. Simmonds, who is deaf, said she’s had to go up against non-disabled actors for disabled roles. She recalled that her “A Quiet Place” director John Krasinski had to fight to cast a deaf actor and that producers wanted someone who was hearing.

“Deaf roles should be played by deaf actors,” she said through an interpreter.

At times she’s even taken it a step forward to advocate for herself.

“I’m not above calling directors or producers and suggesting that they have a deaf actress for a particular role,” she said.

But another part of the equation is giving actors rich and nuanced storylines that go beyond the three they usually get: “’You can’t love me because I’m disabled,’ ‘heal me’ or ‘kill me,’” said Zayid.

Woodburn, who has dwarfism, remembers watching actors like Michael Dunn when he was young and seeing only stereotypes and tropes like the “sad little man” or the “devious little man” and storylines that were the same.

There is also the issue of working and how productions can be more accommodating to people with disabilities both on screen and behind the scenes. Many noted that they don’t want to ask for special accommodations.

Zayid remembered being unable to get into her trailer on the set of “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and basically had to ask a production assistant to help hoist her up.

“Adam Sandler saw and said, ‘What is happening? Make her trailer accessible!” I said I didn’t want to be high maintenance,” she said. “He said ‘look around, we’re in Hollywood.’”

Jim LeBrecht, who directed the Netflix documentary “Crip Camp,” said it could help if the industry re-thought its own barriers to entry, like starting as a production assistant who has to carry 14 cups of coffee and work 20 hour days to get a foot in the door.

“Instead of asking what you won’t be able to do, ask is there anything I can do to help you do the best work you can,” LeBrecht said. “None of us got to your door by being oversensitive and mad at everybody…we are comfortable with our disability.”

VFX supervisor Kaitlyn Yang said that people with disabilities can be particularly effective in post-production roles. She’s also found a silver-lining in the video conferencing realities of COVID-era filmmaking: She doesn’t have to wonder now if she should address her wheelchair.

“Video conferencing is taking away the uncomfortableness that people might have if I were to take a meeting and roll into the conference room,” Yang said. “It puts us on an equal playing field.”

Talent manager Eryn Brown hopes that disability representation reach the same level of discussion as LGBTQ and racial and ethnic diversity. She said the ingrained stigma around it has even made her reticent to discuss it with her clients.

“A raised awareness in this moment of cultural reckoning is imperative,” Brown said. “Anyone at any moment can become disabled so it’s in everyone’s best interests in the world to be accommodating.”

The film academy, which puts on the Oscars, has been working to increase diversity in its own ranks and in the industry and recently set inclusion standards for best picture nominees.

“As the Academy continues to examine longstanding issues of representation within the film industry, it’s imperative we bring conversations about disabilities to the forefront,” said Christine Simmons, who heads the Academy’s office of representation, inclusion and equity.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Coronavirus live news: ‘We cannot give up’ warns WHO chief; protests flare in Italy | World news

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Morning, I’m taking over from Helen to update the blog this morning. As ever, please do send me any stories, tips and even any ideas of what you think we should be covering. Email me at nazia.parveen@theguardian.com or follow me on Twitter to send me a DM

Updated





That’s it from me for today. It’s been Very Nice!

Helen Sullivan
(@helenrsullivan)

Kazakhstan has embraced Borat with ads that show tourists hiking with a selfie stick, (“Very nice!”), drinking fermented horse milk (“Mm, that’s actually very nice!”), marvelling at the architecture (“Wow, very nice!”)https://t.co/H0WT26YIDT


October 27, 2020





Summary





Structural racism led to the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, a review by Dame Doreen Lawrence has concluded.

The report, commissioned by Labour, contradicts the government’s adviser on ethnicity, Dr Raghib Ali, who last week dismissed claims that inequalities within government, health, employment and the education system help to explain why Covid-19 killed disproportionately more people from minority ethnic communities:





Police in Italy have fired tear gas to disperse angry crowds in the northern cities of Turin and Milan after protests against the latest round of anti-coronavirus restrictions flared into violence.

As the head of the World Health Organization urged countries “not to give up” in their fight to contain the virus, luxury goods shops, including a Gucci fashion shop, were ransacked in the centre of Turin as crowds of youths took to the streets after nightfall, letting off firecrackers and lighting coloured flares.

Police responded with volleys of tear gas as they tried to disperse the crowds and there were also clashes in Milan, the capital of the neighbouring Lombardy region, an area that has borne the brunt of the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy.

“Freedom, freedom, freedom,” crowds chanted as they confronted police in the city centre:

















Trump to announce plan to cover vaccine costs – report







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Trump and Africa: How Ethiopia was ‘betrayed’ over Nile dam

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“I saved a big war. I’ve saved a couple of them,” he said, shortly after

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abi Ahmed was awarded the prize.

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