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Will knocking Belarus offline help save president from protests? | Planet news



As he fights for his political survival, Alexander Lukashenko has taken a massive gamble by slicing off the net throughout most of Belarus.

Belarusians seeking to protest in opposition to his governing administration have been mostly slash off from the outside world: cellular world-wide-web has been throttled and preferred messaging applications have been disabled, leaving demonstrators scrambling to discover wifi connections and operating VPNs or proxies to get on-line and then sharing what information they can locate.

The online blackout, which Lukashenko hopes will disrupt the protests towards him for mass vote-rigging in previous week’s presidential elections, is a exceptional instance in contemporary Europe of federal government voluntarily knocking its entire region offline to stifle dissent.

Governments around the globe have utilized online blackouts, or blocked well known platforms these as WhatsApp, at occasions of political disaster. Quite a few countries have also applied short-term outages to try out to foil cheats in countrywide exams. The controls India has put on communications in Kashmir – blocking mobile phone strains and the web, and limiting travel to the area – have made a unusual diploma of isolation.

Netblocks screens outages around the globe, and has recorded dozens of conditions this 12 months by itself. But it is unusual for all interaction, which include cellphone lines, to be severed. Other countries that have constrained their citizens’ communications, both of those briefly and extensive-time period, in recent a long time contain:

  • North Korea is likely the most isolated place in the environment. Its individuals are not able to make or acquire intercontinental mobile phone calls, or entry the world net. Cellular phones run on a closed domestic community, and North Koreans can only surf a really restricted national intranet.
  • Xinjiang region in western China was largely isolated for 10 months in 2010. Following riots, Beijing blocked online obtain and barred international cellphone phone calls. Because then an unprecedented surveillance program has been place in place that will allow authorities to observe residents’ cellphone and web use rather than blocking it totally.
  • China has blocked its world wide web off from the rest of the globe wide web with digital obstacles acknowledged colloquially as the ‘Wonderful Firewall’. Companies that are a staple of electronic daily life somewhere else, like Fb, Google and Amazon, are blocked and mysterious in China. However the controls can be dodged with a VPN, and telephone connections to the relaxation of the globe are open up.
  • Sudan had a thirty day period-long internet blackout during mass demonstrations this 12 months. Other nations around the world have shut down the net or blocked key web-sites for the duration of occasions of political stress, like Zimbabwe in the course of gasoline price tag protests this 12 months and Uganda for the swearing in of a president whose re-election sparked protests.
  • Iraq, Algeria and Ethiopia are amid a number of international locations that have briefly blocked the world-wide-web to avoid cheating in nationwide significant school examinations. These blocks have typically only lasted a couple of hrs.

Emma Graham-Harrison

The absence of world wide web has still left protesters in an facts vacuum. Popular impartial information web-sites, together with Tut.By and Naviny, have been stored mostly offline due to the fact election day and tv information is dominated by the government.

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“This very long-long lasting internet blockage is unprecedented,” reported Katsiaryna Shmatina, a political analyst at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Scientific studies, noting that the world-wide-web was remaining blocked for for a longer time and more aggressively than at protests in previous yrs. On Tuesday, there were unconfirmed rumours that the country could cut phone and world-wide-web visitors fully.

With people not able to reach one yet another, protests have mainly relied on common bloggers on Telegram channels, some anonymous and situated outside the nation, who recommend meeting points for demonstrations and share video clips of protests and breaking news, some of it unverified, that manages to filter as a result of the blockade.

The major is Nexta, which has a lot more than 1,151,000 subscribers, and has been a essential clearing residence for movies from this week’s protests and for guidelines to protesters. On Tuesday evening, it instructed its viewers to meet at 7pm in small groups of much less than 20 and to occupy the streets. “Paralyse the metropolis!”

Personnel and allies of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the opposition applicant for president who has stated she will not recognise the outcomes owing to enormous vote fraud, explained that the shutdown had created it almost unachievable to coordinate action.

“They’ve done this all specially so that individuals can not publish information and facts and discuss about what is occurring in Belarus,” claimed Veronika Tsepkalo, an ally of Tikhanovskaya. In the course of a excursion to the city on Monday, she stated, she had been unable to access both Tikhanovskaya or Maria Kalesnikava. “There’s no online – you require to go as a result of a VPN. Even the phones barely operate.”

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Alexander Lukashenko votes

Alexander Lukashenko votes in the presidential election. Photograph: Natalia Fedosenko/Tass/Getty

The shutdown has disrupted ordinary corporations, from Belarus’s flourishing IT sector to tourism. A receptionist at one of the global chain motels in Minsk laughed when questioned if there was online at the hotel. “No, there’s no web in the entire state,” she stated.

In accordance to Yana Goncharova of the Minsk-based Human Constanta NGO, the government practised throttling web traffic as early as July, two times reducing website traffic to and from the place at evening. Authorities have been also focusing on popular VPNs, she explained, as properly as the well known proxy company Psiphon.

The world-wide-web blackout was enacted at the amount of Beltelecom, the national telecommunications company, and the country’s Countrywide Targeted visitors Trade Centre, she said. Cell operators have apologised for the assistance slowdowns but mentioned they took place due to “reasons outside of our control”.

A supply at a single Belarusian cell operator informed the Guardian: “We’re in shock from what is happening. It’s heading to carry on until eventually roughly 14 August. We’ve basically been instructed that this is what is occurring.” Lukashenko has blamed the outages on dispersed denial-of-company (DDoS) assaults from overseas, with out presenting evidence.

The blackout has still left channels on Telegram, a messenger app that has currently outwitted a Russian endeavor to block it, as the key way for protesters and the media to share information. Together with Nexta, which is centered in Poland, are the Belamova channel, which has 340,00 subscribers, and the My Country Belarus channel.

The bloggers share photos and video clips from protests, leaks about vote-tampering from the elections, and support coordinate demonstrations, which includes by placing the instances and places where protesters must satisfy. Viewers can also post their individual films – if they take care of to get online.

“So much I would say the significant source of details, some of which is unconfirmed and in some cases convert out to be unreliable, are individuals Telegram channels, this sort of as Nexta, and then some main independent media retailers or Television channels like Belsat – they also submit on Telegram,” claimed Shmatina.

In a Minsk condominium in the vicinity of a protest web page on Monday night time, protesters and journalists huddled on the ground as law enforcement shone flashlights as a result of the home windows.

1 protester opened Telegram and observed a video that purported to present Russian riot law enforcement obtaining entered the town. The video has considering that been judged faux.

“That’s it. Lukashenko has made a deal with Putin and he’s sent him some help,” he mentioned. “He’s provided up the region.”

“He does not treatment about the country,” yet another particular person stated. “But he’ll never share electrical power with the Russians or with any individual else.”

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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