‘Be Visible and Loud’ to Drive #MeToo Forward, Women Say

Women have to be “visible and loud” in their fight for equality to build on the gains of the #MeToo movement, activists said as they push for legal reform, an end to violence and equal pay.

From India’s female vigilantes who beat men accused of rape, to demonstrators in Argentina demanding safe abortions, women have been speaking out on local issues that matter to them, said Inna Shevchenko, famous for her topless feminist protests.

“The only way to change the situation is to be visible and loud,” said Shevchenko, who was granted asylum in France after receiving threats in 2012 for hacking down a cross in protest against the prosecution of Russian punk band, Pussy Riot.

“All these voices and campaigns have brought us to #MeToo. It is a key movement in the history of feminist movements and it will keep spreading,” she told Reuters on the sidelines of the annual Trust Conference in London.

The #MeToo movement that began in the United States a year ago, in response to accusations of sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry, has emboldened women to speak out, from Britain and France to India and Iran.

Tens of thousands of women have taken to social media to recount their experiences of being verbally abused, groped, molested and raped by bosses, teachers and family.

While women have been protesting over physical and sexual abuse for years, society has become more willing to listen since the emergence of #MeToo, campaigners say.

“You had to hear a Hollywood star speaking about an issue to pay attention to an issue that affects lives of so many women,” said Shevchenko, a Ukrainian who leads Femen, a Paris-based group of feminists.

Members of Femen, which started in Ukraine in 2008, have protested bare-breasted and painted with slogans in front of U.S. President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, and at comedian Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial.

The next frontier, activists said, is legal reform.

‘Accessible, affordable and efficient’

#MeToo led to the Times Up movement in the United States, which has raised $30 million in a defense fund to enable victims of sexual harassment to go to court, said Carol Robles-Roman, head of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality.

“What’s next after #MeToo in the United States is constitutional equality,” said Robles-Roman, a lawyer campaigning for the U.S. Constitution to be amended to expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.

“You can raise money to hire all the lawyers you want, but all it means is that the line to the courthouse is going to be that much longer with aggrieved women.”

Anjuli Pandit, who said she was harassed by her company’s chief executive in India but could not afford to take him to court, also called for legal reform.

“It needs to be accessible, affordable and efficient for a woman to access the law,” she told the annual Trust Conference in London.

“Because it’s difficult to use formal systems, and because its culturally taboo, many women in India don’t get up and tell their story,” she said.

‘Speak up’

In India, a law which allows someone who is accused of a crime to file a criminal defamation case against the victim for speaking out is used to intimidate women, she said.

Natalie Ponce De Leon, who underwent multiple corrective surgeries after a stalker hurled acid at her in 2014, also called for women to tell their stories to bring about change.

“Girls need to speak up. I understand that they feel scared but if they continue to be silent, then the violence will continue,” said Ponce, who has become a leading voice seeking stricter punishment for acid crimes in Colombia.

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Review: Smashing Pumpkins’ Album Shiny and Oh So Bright

It’s no question The Smashing Pumpkins has had a tumultuous past. Multiple iterations, breakups and solo careers later, three founding members of the 90’s Chicago-rooted rockers — Billy Corgan, James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin — are back to release their first collaborative album in 18 years, “Shiny and Oh So Bright, VolL. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.”


The title of the LP is fitting, considering there’s a past the band likely wants to leave behind.


The Smashing Pumpkins has teetered between dissolution and reconciliation since 1996, after the overdose death of touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin and the firing of Chamberlin. Members have been in flux ever since, with the current roster featuring Corgan, Iha and Chamberlin with guitarist Jeff Schroeder.


Ahead of their latest tour, one founding member, bassist D’arcy Wretzky, was left in the dark. The circumstances surrounding her exclusion from the band’s reunion started a feud between Wretzky and Corgan, complete with publicized text message screenshots and name-calling.


Peel away the dramatics and dysfunction that marked the launch of “Shiny and Oh So Bright” — and the Pumpkins’ past, for that matter — and you’re left with an album that stays true to the band’s classic sound with the help of legendary producer Rick Rubin.


Triumphant strings and distorted vocals open the album, as “Knights of Malta” crescendos to a choir singing with the guttural Corgan singing, “We’re gonna make this happen/I’m gonna fly forever.”


While the album captures the nonconforming spirit of eccentric frontman Corgan — swinging between manic, obsessive and edgy tracks like “Solara” and delicate, trance-like songs such as “With Sympathy” — overall, “Shiny and Oh So Bright” is no masterpiece. Songs build then fizzle, like “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts),” a catchy tune lacking the chorus to be considered vintage Smashing, despite its nostalgic and distinctive Pumpkins feel.


Highlights on the 8-track album include “Travels” and “With Sympathy.” The optimistic “Travels” affirms the album’s commitment to “No Past. No Future.” in a fluid reality where Corgan sings, “See love, see time/see death, see life” before unfolding into a chorus of, “It’s where I belong/but far from here or else I’m gone.” There’s an element of opacity, common to Pumpkins lyrics, but one that manages to feel pleasantly unresolved by the anthemic track. “With Sympathy” pleads, “Please stay confused/disunion has its use,” but wraps itself in a comforting, steady melody.


“Shiny and Oh So Bright” brings hope that the band’s dark days are distant. Millions of Pumpkins fans certainly hope so.

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Roy Clark, Country Guitar Virtuoso, ‘Hee Haw’ Star, Has Died

Country star Roy Clark, the guitar virtuoso and singer who headlined the cornpone TV show “Hee Haw” for nearly a quarter century and was known for such hits as “Yesterday When I was Young” and “Honeymoon Feeling,” has died. He was 85.

Publicist Jeremy Westby said Clark died Thursday due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Clark was “Hee Haw” host or co-host for its entire 24-year run, with Buck Owens his best known co-host. Started in 1969, the show featured the top stars in country music, including Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Charley Pride, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, as well as other musical greats including Ray Charles, Chet Atkins and Boots Randolph. The country music and comedy show’s last episode aired in 1993, though reruns continued for a few years thereafter.

“‘Hee Haw’ won’t go away. It brings a smile to too many faces,” he said in 2004, when the show was distributed on VHS and DVD for the first time.

“I’ve known him for 60 years and he was a fine musician and entertainer,” Charlie Daniels tweeted on Thursday. “Rest In peace Buddy, you will be remembered.”

Keith Urban, who won entertainer of the year Wednesday night from the Country Music Association, also honored Clark on Thursday. “My first CMA memory is sitting on my living room floor watching Roy Clark tear it up,” Urban tweeted. “Sending all my love and respect to him and his family for all he did.”

Clark played the guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica and other instruments. His skills brought him gigs as guest performer with many top orchestras, including the Boston Pops. In 1976 he headlined a tour of the Soviet Union, breaking boundaries that were usually closed to Americans.

And of course, he also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

His hits included “The Tips of My Fingers” (1963), “Yesterday When I Was Young” (1969), “Come Live With Me” (1973) and “Honeymoon Feeling” (1974). He was also known for his instrumental versions of “Malaguena,” on 12-string guitar, and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009, and emotionally told the crowd how moving it was “just to be associated yourself with the members of the Country Music Hall of Fame and imagine that your name will be said right along with all the list.”

Clark won a Grammy Award for best country instrumental performance for the song “Alabama Jubilee” and earned seven Country Music Association awards including entertainer of the year and comedian of the year.

In his 1994 autobiography, “My Life in Spite of Myself,” he said “Yesterday, When I Was Young” had “opened a lot of people’s eyes not only to what I could do but to the whole fertile and still largely untapped field of country music, from the Glen Campbells and the Kenny Rogerses, right on through to the Garth Brookses and Vince Gills.”

Clark was guest host on “The Tonight Show” several times in the 1960s and 1970s when it was rare for a country performer to land such a role. His fans included not just musicians, but baseball great Mickey Mantle. The Yankees outfielder was moved to tears by “Yesterday When I Was Young” and for years made Clark promise to sing it at his memorial _ a request granted after Mantle died in 1995.

Beginning in 1983, Clark operated the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre in Branson, Missouri, and was one of the first country entertainers to open a theater there. Dozens followed him.

He was a touring artist as late as the 2000s. Over the years, he played at venues around the world: Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo, the Grand Palace in Brussels and the Rossiya Theatre in Moscow.

Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia, and received his first guitar on his 14th Christmas. He was playing in his father’s square dance band at age 15.

In the 1950s, Clark played in bands in the Washington, D.C., area. In 1960, he got the chance to front the band of country singer Wanda Jackson. He also performed regularly in Las Vegas. He got his first recording contract, with Capitol Records, in 1962.

He appeared on Jimmy Dean’s TV show “Town and Country Time” and took over the show when Dean left.

Clark and Owens worked together for years, but they had very different feelings about “Hee Haw.” Owens, who left the show in 1986, later referred to it as a “cartoon donkey,” one he endured for “that big paycheck.” Clark told The Associated Press in 2004 that “Hee Haw” was like a family reunion.

“We became a part of the family. The viewers were sort of part owners of the show. They identified with these clowns, and we had good music.”

Clark said the hour-long program of country music and corny jokes capped off his career.

“This was the icing on the cake. This put my face and name together.”

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В Празі протестують проти уряду Андрея Бабіша – трансляція

У Празі ввечері 15 листопада протестують проти уряду прем’єр-міністра Чехії Андрея Бабіша через поїздку його сина до анексованого Криму.

У Чехії розгорівся політичний скандал після інтерв’ю сина прем’єра Андрея Бабіша-молодшого виданню Seznam.cz, яке оприлюднили 12 листопада. За словами сина, минулого року його силою вивезли до анексованого Росією Криму, щоб не дати можливості свідчити правоохоронцям проти батька у можливих махінаціях з коштами Євросоюзу.

Натомість прем’єр Андрей Бабіш стверджує, що його син перебував у Криму «добровільно». Він додав при цьому, що син страждає від шизофренії.

15 листопада Вища палата парламенту Чехії Сенат визнала неприйнятною роботу Бабіша на посаді голови уряду до завершення розслідування можливих махінацій із коштами Європейського союзу.

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Заяви Путіна є явним прикладом його втручання у виборчий процес в Україні – речник Порошенка

Заяви президента Росії Володимира Путіна є «явним прикладом його втручання у виборчий процес в Україні», написав речник президента України Петра Порошенка Святослав Цеголко у Facebook.

«Сьогоднішні заяви Путіна є явним прикладом його втручання у виборчий процес в Україні, попри те, що кампанія ще навіть не почалася. Очевидною є неприязнь Путіна до Порошенка як державного діяча, який зірвав плани Кремля із повернення України під контроль Російської імперії», – заявив Цеголко.

Він додав, що Порошенко «виступав і виступає за політико-дипломатичне врегулювання, але ніколи не погодиться на мир на умовах країни-агресора».

Цеголко не уточнив, про які заяви Путіна йде мова.

15 листопада президент Росії сказав, що «зустрічатися в «нормандському форматі» в цей час в ході передвиборної кампанії, яка відбувається в Україні, більш-менш безглуздо, тому що взагалі дотепер сьогоднішня українська влада не виявила бажання виконувати Мінські угоди».

Вибори президента України заплановані на кінець березня 2019 року.

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Севастополь: в суді у «справі українських диверсантів» допитали свідків і понятих

У підконтрольному Росії Севастопольському міському суді у справі Володимира Дудки і Олексія Бессарабова, обвинувачених у підготовці диверсій на території Криму, допитали двох понятих і двох свідків. Про це кореспонденту проекту Радіо Свобода Крим.Реаліі розповів адвокат Сергій Легостов.

«Допитали двох понятих – студенток, які були присутні при обшуку в квартирі і гаражі Дмитра Штиблікова. Також допитали двох свідків, які розповіли про потенційні загрози інфраструктурним об’єктам, якщо раптом на цих об’єктах відбудеться диверсія. Тобто, стандартні свідчення, так само як і в справі Євгена Панова: що було б, якби», – розповів адвокат.

Легостов додав, що засудженого раніше фігуранта цієї справи Дмитра Штиблікова доставили в СІЗО Сімферополя. У суді його планують допитати 29 листопада.

9 листопада 2016 року в анексованому Росією Криму затримали Дмитра Штиблікова, Олексія Бессарабова і Володимира Дудку, яких підконтрольні Москві кримські силовики назвали членами «диверсійно-терористичної групи головного управління розвідки Міністерства оборони України».

Читайте також: «Штибліков має добрий вигляд, скарг не висловлює» – український консул після відвідин колонії в Омську

Підконтрольний Кремлю Ленінський районний суд Севастополя пізніше заарештував затриманих. Після цього термін утримання під вартою щодо Штиблікова, Бессарабова і Дудки продовжували кілька разів.

Штибліков і Бессарабов до 2014 року працювали військовими експертами в центрі «Номос». Володимир Дудка – капітан 2-го рангу запасу, в минулому – капітан корабля радіоелектронної розвідки.

У Службі безпеки України заявляли, що затримані в Криму громадяни України не є ані співробітниками служби, ані контактними особами з боку СБУ.

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Upset by Trump’s Iran Waivers, Saudis Push for Deep Oil Output Cut

When U.S. President Donald Trump asked Saudi Arabia this summer to raise oil production to compensate for lower crude exports from Iran, Riyadh swiftly told Washington it would do so.

But Saudi Arabia did not receive advance warning when Trump made a U-turn by offering generous waivers that are keeping more Iranian crude in the market instead of driving exports from Riyadh’s arch-rival down to zero, OPEC and industry sources say.

Angered by the U.S. move that has raised worries about over supply, Saudi Arabia is now considering cutting output with OPEC and its allies by about 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) or 1.5 percent of global supply, sources told Reuters this week.

“The Saudis are very angry at Trump. They don’t trust him anymore and feel very strongly about a cut. They had no heads-up about the waivers,” said one senior source briefed on Saudi energy policies.

Washington has said the waivers are a temporary concession to allies that imported Iranian crude and might have struggled to find other supplies quickly when U.S. sanctions were imposed on November 4.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on November 5 that cutting Iranian exports “to zero immediately” would have shocked the market. “I don’t want to lift oil prices,” he said.

A U.S. source with knowledge of the matter said: “The Saudis were going to be angry either way with the waivers, pre-briefed or even after the announcement.”

A U.S. State Department official said: “We don’t discuss diplomatic communications.”

The U.S. shift towards offering waivers adds to tension between the United States and Saudi Arabia, as Washington pushes for Riyadh to shed full light on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

“The Saudis feel they were completely snookered by Trump. They did everything to raise supplies assuming Washington would push for very harsh Iranian sanctions. And they didn’t get any heads up from the U.S. that Iran will get softer sanctions,” said a second source briefed on Saudi oil thinking.

Saudi energy ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Since the summer, Riyadh has led the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers to hike supplies by over 1 million bpd to keep a lid on prices as U.S. sanctions were imposed.

Brent oil had surged above $86 a barrel in October on tight supply worries, but prices have since slid to $66 on concerns about oversupply.

Unexpected waivers

Trump had wanted lower oil prices before the U.S. midterm elections earlier this month. Washington gave waivers in November to eight buyers to purchase Iranian oil for 180 days.

This was more waivers than were initially expected. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a key Trump administration ally, wants prices at $80 or more for his economic reforms, sources familiar with Saudi thinking say.

“The waivers were totally unexpected, especially after calls to raise output. A few people are upset,” said a senior Gulf oil source familiar with the discussions among OPEC and its allies on output policy.

While the United States set a time limit for the waivers, it did not tell the eight recipients how much oil they could buy and has not eased payment restrictions, complicating purchases.

Iran’s oil exports are expected to drop sharply to about 1 million bpd in November from a peak of 2.8 million bpd earlier this year. Although output is expected to recover from December thanks to waivers, it is still not clear by how much.

Riyadh’s concern is to avoid the kind of oversupply in the market that led to a price collapse in 2014 to below $30.

But the lack of clarity about the level of Iran’s supplies makes it tough for Saudi Arabia to work out appropriate production levels, especially after Russia raised output steeply in recent months and has said it wanted to produce more in 2019.

Saudi Arabia would need to convince Russia to join in any move for new supply cuts.

“First the Saudis let oil prices rise to $86 per barrel and then flooded the market. Can they now cut back enough going into a seasonally weak time of the year? Without Russia it won’t be credible,” said Gary Ross, CEO of Black Gold investors.

Saudi Arabia must also contend with rising U.S. production that has hit record levels above 11 million bpd and is set to climb further next year. U.S. exports could surge from the second part of 2019 when new pipeline infrastructure opens.

Rapidan Energy Group said it saw a supply glut now lasting much more than just a few months in 2019.

“Now that the market has correctly priced weaker-than-anticipated Iran sanctions and much bigger inventory builds next year, we wish to emphasize that ‘OPEC plus’ officials face more than a single-year supply tsunami in 2019,” Rapidan said.

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US Envoy for Iran Warns EU Banks, Firms Against Non-Dollar Iran Trade

European banks and firms which engage in a special European Union initiative to protect trade with Iran will be at risk from newly reimposed U.S. sanctions, the U.S. special envoy for Iran warned on Thursday.

It is “no surprise” that EU efforts to establish a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for non-dollar trade with Iran were floundering over fear in EU capitals that hosting it would incur U.S. punishment, Special Representative Brian Hook said.

“European banks and European companies know that we will vigorously enforce sanctions against this brutal and violent regime,” he said in a telephone briefing with reporters.

“Any major European company will always choose the American market over the Iranian market.”

The SPV is seen as the lynchpin of European efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran from which U.S. President Donald Trump, who took office after the deal was sealed, withdrew in May.

Iran has warned it could scrap the agreement, which curbed its disputed program in exchange for sanctions relief, if the EU fails to preserve the deal’s economic benefits.

The SPV was conceived as a clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods in an effective barter arrangement circumventing U.S. sanctions, based on global use of the dollar for oil sales.

Brussels had wanted to have the SPV set up by this month, but no country has offered to host it, six diplomats told Reuters this week.

Their reluctance arises from fears that SPV reliance on local banks to smooth trade with Iran may trigger U.S. penalties, severing the lenders’ access to U.S. financial markets, diplomats said.

Criticizing EU efforts to bypass sanctions, Hook reiterated a warning that such an EU effort sent “the wrong signal, at the wrong time.”

However, he added that waivers from sanctions granted to eight of Iran’s biggest oil importers were to ensure the U.S. measures did not harm allies or raise oil prices.

“We have looked at these on a case by case basis, taking into account the unique needs of friends and partners, and also ensuring that as we impose sanctions on Iran’s oil sector that we do not lift the price of oil,” Hook said.

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High-Level China US Trade Talks Resume

China’s Ministry of Commerce says high-level trade talks between officials from the world’s two biggest economies have resumed.  But whether or not Washington and Beijing will be able to strike a deal and avoid a looming sharp hike in tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods remains uncertain.


Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng says the resumption of talks began after U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke on the phone on November 1st.


“Working groups [of both sides] are keeping close contact to carefully carry out a consensus that the two leaders reached during the call,” Gao Feng said Thursday.  He added that companies in both the United States and China have been affected and are responding to the trade dispute, which has triggered tit-for-tat in tariffs on goods.


After the phone call earlier this month, Trump said he thought the two could make a deal, but added Washington is prepared to levy more tariffs on Chinese goods if no progress is made.


On January 1, Washington’s 10 percent tariff rate on $200 billion in Chinese goods is set to rise to 25 percent.  Trump has also said that if the two can’t reach a deal, Washington would impose tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports, about $267 billion worth. 


Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet in the coming weeks on the sidelines of a leaders summit for the Group of 20 nations in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Earlier this week, there were reports that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the country’s top trade negotiator would travel to Washington.


According to a Reuters report Thursday that quotes three U.S. government sources, China has delivered a written response to U.S. demands for wide-ranging trade reforms.


It was not immediately clear if the response could help bridge a wide gap between the two on trade or meet Trump’s demands for change.


The U.S. president has repeatedly criticized Chinese practices of industrial subsidies, intellectual property theft, the lack of a level playing field for U.S. companies in China and the trade deficit.


What happens next depends on Beijing’s attitude, said Darson Chiu, a research fellow at the Taiwan Institute for Economic Research.


“If Beijing is willing, on the one hand, to reduce the scope of unequal bilateral trade and guarantee that U.S. intellectual property rights will not be infringed upon or forced to hand over technology, there is a good chance the two can reach a consensus,” he said.


One way Beijing could do that is by offering to reach a bilateral free trade deal with Washington that includes all of the concerns Trump has addressed: be it currency manipulation, intellectual property rights, concerns about state-owned enterprises.


“That way Trump would have to accept [the offer],” Chiu said.  “And at the same time, it would help get those with vested interests out of the way and remove longstanding obstacles to reform that policymakers in China face.”


Chiu admits that such a solution is easier said than done and there are many with less liberal views in China.  Those with vested interests, the heads of state-owned enterprises also keep arguing that they can help China weather the storm.


At the very least, what the two could hope for is a sort of lowering of tensions, some analysts note.  China is willing to make some concessions, as long as the demands are not too excessive, said Shi Yinhong, a political scientist at Renmin University.


“China has long agreed to make concessions: import as many U.S. goods as possible and greatly relax local market access for U.S. companies.  But these may not please Trump, who wants China to fundamentally restructure its economic model and major industrial policies,” Shi said.


The United States could also create a monitoring mechanism to ensure China walks its talk this time, he adds.


Shi said that while China wants reform too, in his view, the best that could be hoped for is a trade war ceasefire.


What that means is the United States would suspend its tariff hike on $200 billion in Chinese goods in exchange for concrete concessions from China, including those Beijing made during negotiations in July.  At the same time, Washington is unlikely to drop its restrictions or increased scrutiny of Chinese high-tech firms, Shi said.

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