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World Putin scores victory in 'gameshow'-like vote

18:46  02 july  2020
18:46  02 july  2020 Source:   pri.org

Putin, on eve of vote that could extend his rule, to review Red Square military parade

  Putin, on eve of vote that could extend his rule, to review Red Square military parade US-WW2-ANNIVERSARY-RUSSIA-PARADE:Putin, on eve of vote that could extend his rule, to review Red Square military paradeThe parade, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union's World War Two victory over the Nazis, was postponed from May 9 because of the novel coronavirus outbreak and critics say it is irresponsible to go ahead with it now.

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Vladimir Putin et al. sitting at a table: Russian President Vladimir Putin shows his passport to a member of a local electoral commission at a polling station on the last day of a weeklong nationwide vote on constitutional reforms in Moscow, Russia July 1, 2020. © Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin shows his passport to a member of a local electoral commission at a polling station on the last day of a weeklong nationwide vote on constitutional reforms in Moscow, Russia July 1, 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gained an unsurprising victory as polls closed Wednesday in a weeklong referendum. Russians were asked to vote on a package of constitutional amendments, ranging from pension increases to endorsing a ban on gay marriage. It was a straight yes-or-no decision for the 206 amendments proposed. But the most important — and largely obscured or ignored in election materials and campaigning — was a change that paves the way for Putin to stay in power until 2036, when he will be in his mid-80s.

Russia opens polls for vote on extending Putin's rule

  Russia opens polls for vote on extending Putin's rule MOSCOW (AP) — Polls opened in Russia on Thursday for a week-long vote on constitutional changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The vote on a slew of constitutional amendments, proposed by Putin in January, was initially scheduled for April 22, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But while the results show an overwhelming victory, opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza emphasized that the election was "a sham exercise." Had the vote actually been democratic, he told The World, Putin "would have lost that referendum. That much is absolutely clear from trends in Russian public opinion."

Indeed the election itself had the trappings of a poorly funded game show: Text messages lured voters to the polls with the promise of "millions of prizes," ballot boxes were placed on trees and votes were collected in car trunks. The Kremlin sought a symbolic victory with high voter turnout, but there was little question of how the election would end.

Russian influencers and bloggers say they were offered as much as $100,000 to support Putin's bid to extend his term to 2036

  Russian influencers and bloggers say they were offered as much as $100,000 to support Putin's bid to extend his term to 2036 Russians are voting on constitutional amendments that would allow President Vladimir Putin to extend his administration beyond his 2024 term limit.Russia is currently holding a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments that would allow Putin to extend his administration through to 2036. Under the current rules he is on his last term, which expires 2024.

Kara-Murza called on the world to reject Putin's authoritarian power grab. Still, he does not believe the longtime ruler will remain in power when 2036 comes: "In the authoritarian system that Vladimir Putin has created — political changes in Russia will not be decided at the ballot box. They will be one day decided on the streets."

The referendum was originally planned for April, as Putin sought to capitalize on the wave of Russian patriotism ahead of Russia's May 9 Victory Day commemorations. But both events were postponed as Russia was ravaged by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Less than two months later — even as Russia reports the third-most cases of COVID-19 — both the celebration and the voting went ahead.

Also: Foreign diplomats display Pride flags as LGBTQ rights threatened in Russian elections

And: In the US, the coronavirus pandemic has continued to spread. Today on The World we speak to Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who said that the pandemic has become his "worst nightmare."

Russians vote to keep Putin in power until 2036

  Russians vote to keep Putin in power until 2036 Voters in Russia have approved changes to the country's constitution that would allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in power for two more terms, a widely expected result in a nation whose elections are the subject of unending international criticism.The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the changes, which Russian election officials said were approved by 74 percent of voters with 30 percent of precincts counted, came following a weeklong voting period that was extended due to concerns about crowd size amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What The World is following

More than 100 are reported dead and more than 50 injured after a large landslide struck the Hpakant jade mining site in Myanmar. Authorities expect that more bodies will be found. Kachin State, where much of the world's high-quality jade is produced, is the site of frequent mine accidents, and miners often work under dangerous conditions, which can become more perilous in the rainy season.

The killing of Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, an Ethiopian singer and activist, has sparked days of protest, leading to 80 deaths. Hundeessaa's music had "provided a soundtrack to a generation" of Oromo anti-government protesters, who eventually forced Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to step down in 2018.

A mysterious die-off of hundreds of elephants in Botswana has stumped scientists.

And, Amsterdam's red-light district is reopening after the coronavirus shutdown. But strict rules abound to keep workers and their customers safe.

From The World

People in northeast Syria are in desperate need of help. Aid groups can’t get to them.

An internally displaced Syrian girl wears a face mask as members of the Syrian Civil Defence sanitize the Bab al-Nour internally displaced persons camp, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Azaz, Syria, March 26, 2020. Khalil Ashawi/Reuters © Khalil Ashawi/Reuters An internally displaced Syrian girl wears a face mask as members of the Syrian Civil Defence sanitize the Bab al-Nour internally displaced persons camp, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Azaz, Syria, March 26, 2020. Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

This week, heads of 20 aid agencies published an open letter urging the UN Security Council to reopen the Al Yarubiyah crossing into Syria. The crossing was closed last January, with fatal consequences, the aid groups say.

Russia voted to pass a law that claims to limit presidential power, but a cynical loophole means Putin can rule until 2036

  Russia voted to pass a law that claims to limit presidential power, but a cynical loophole means Putin can rule until 2036 President Vladimir Putin, who is set to end his final term in 2024, would now be allowed to run again right away and could rule until he is 83.In January, Putin proposed a number of amendments to the Russian constitution, which has rarely been altered since it came into law in 1993. The Russian parliament had already voted to pass the bill in March, but Putin wanted a public referendum to signal his popularity.

Whose Haghia Sophia?

Numan Kurtulmuş, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Emine Erdoğan posing for the camera: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdoğan, attends the opening ceremony of the Yeditepe Biennial at the Haghia Sophia Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, March 31, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via Reuters © Kayhan Ozer/Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via Reuters Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdoğan, attends the opening ceremony of the Yeditepe Biennial at the Haghia Sophia Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, March 31, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via Reuters

For more than a thousand years, the Haghia Sophia in Istanbul was the largest dome in the world. The Byzantines commissioned the Haghia Sophia as a Greek Orthodox cathedral. The Ottomans conquered it and turned it into an ornate mosque. Then, secular revolutionaries converted it into a monument to two faiths. Now, the Haghia Sophia may change hands again.

Morning focus

Top of The World will be back on Monday after the July 4 holiday, but you can still catch The World on air. And for a little celebration: a celestial firework display.

In case you missed it

Listen: New security law in Beijing targets protesters

a group of people walking down the street: Riot police use water cannon to disperse anti-national security law protesters during a march at the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from Britain in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2019. Tyrone Siu/Reuters © Tyrone Siu/Reuters Riot police use water cannon to disperse anti-national security law protesters during a march at the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from Britain in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2019. Tyrone Siu/Reuters
Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - 6:55pm

In Hong Kong, a restrictive new security law enacted by Beijing is being used to arrest protesters on its first day in effect. we hear from pro-democracy activist Isaac Cheng. Plus, in Russia, it’s the last day for citizens to vote on a large bundle of constitutional amendments that include a measure that would allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036. And, we look at how the coronavirus has impacted migrants in the seafood industry in the US.

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Constitutional changes are the 'right thing' for Russia: Putin .
Constitutional changes are the 'right thing' for Russia: PutinOne of the changes approved in the week-long vote that ended on July 1 makes it possible for Putin to seek two more terms as president and, if re-elected, to stay in power until 2036.

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