The United States said Wednesday it did not consider Alexander Lukashenko the legitimate president of Belarus after he was secretly inaugurated following contested elections.

US says Lukashenko not legitimate president of Belarus

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The United States said Wednesday it did not consider Alexander Lukashenko the legitimate president of Belarus after he was secretly inaugurated following contested elections.

The State Department reiterated that it did not believe the August 9 elections in Belarus were free or fair.

“The announced results were fraudulent and did not convey legitimacy,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“The United States cannot consider Alexander Lukashenko the legitimately elected leader of Belarus.”

Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has claimed a sixth term despite wide claims of fraud, with police unleashing a crackdown on mass protests.

Police on Wednesday deployed water cannons and tear gas to disperse several thousand demonstrators after news of Lukashenko’s secret inauguration.

“The path forward should be a national dialogue leading to the Belarusian people enjoying their right to choose their leaders in a free and fair election under independent observation,” the State Department spokesperson said.

“Release of those unjustly detained and an end of repression against peacefully protesting citizens is a first step toward genuine national dialogue.”

Agence France-Presse

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On 35th EDSA anniversary, Duterte calls on Pinoys to set aside differences and work together

By Prince Golez

In his message for the 2021 EDSA People Power celebration, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday appealed to the nation to “set aside our differences” and “work together in building a legacy that we can proudly leave behind.”

Duterte said the EDSA Revolution should inspire Filipinos to be “vigilant” in safeguarding the country’s democratic institutions, preserving its history and culture, and upholding human rights.

“Our history has been shaped by the countless battles that the valiant heroes of our past have fought. Today, we mark the 35th Anniversary of the People Power Revolution inspired by the valor of those whose sacrifice made the liberties we enjoy today possible,” the Chief Executive said.

“As we contemplate the relevance of this occasion, let us proceed with renewed hope and optimism towards the realization of our shared aspirations for our nation,” he added.

The EDSA People Power in 1986 saw the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose 21-year authoritarian regime was marred by widespread corruption and massive human rights violations.

Model Natalia Vodianova named new UN women’s health envoy

Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova travels the world working for luxury fashion brands such as Balmain and Stella McCartney, and now as a United Nations’ goodwill ambassador she’ll be promoting a new global message about normalizing discussions on women’s reproductive and sexual health.

Vodianova was named as a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) goodwill ambassador Wednesday.

“For too long, society’s approach to menstruation and women’s health has been defined by taboo and stigma. It is now our responsibility to culturally redefine what is normal,” said the model, who lives in Paris.

“Menstruation is a normal bodily function. As UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, I want to work to build a world where we no longer need to explain this.”

Vodianova and the UNFPA, which focuses on reproductive and maternal health, will work together to empower women and girls against prejudices around their bodies and health that can lead to discrimination and exclusion.

“It’s a tragic irony that something as universal as menstruation can make girls feel so isolated,” said UNFPA director Natalia Kanem.

“Societies prosper when girls are confident, empowered and making their own decisions.”

The model joins other UNFPA goodwill ambassadors including US actress Ashley Judd and Danish princess Mary Donaldson.

Agence France-Presse

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