Over the last 14 months, Russia has abducted thousands of Ukrainian civilians, from volunteers and journalists to former soldiers and officials, and locked them in Russian prisons. Most of them are not allowed to communicate with their lawyers or loved ones and without knowing reasons for their incarceration. Now Ukrainians who have been released from the facilities, as well as with their relatives and lawyers, talk about how this clandestine prison system works.

Press freedom advocates have increasingly been criticising “lawfare”, the misuse of the law to silence critical voices. It typically involves charges not directly related to journalism and is more and more a common tool among corrupt and authoritarian regimes keen to fight freedom of expression. Instead of being targeted for the words published or spoken, journalists, publishers and editors are pursued on supposedly unrelated charges.

“We need to stop disguising military threats as ‘political compromises’”: Nobel Peace Prize laureate
The Ukrainian laywer and human rights activist says that Putin does not fear Nato but democracy and claims that Russia "has to be stopped in Ukraine" to not go further in its imperialistic expansion. "The imprisoned peoples of Belarus, Chechnya, Dagestan, Tatarstan, Yakutiia, and others endure forced russification, the expropriation of natural resources, and prohibitions on their own language and culture." [Speech transcript in English and German, or watch the recording in English.]

Iryna Gorobtsova was abducted by Russian forces from the home where she grew up in Kherson. She has now spent a year in a Crimean prison, with virtually no contact with the outside world.

True Russia, a non-profit organisation founded by Russian artists and economists who oppose the war, have created a constantly growing database of social, cultural and scientific initiatives of communities around the world - from distance jobs for academics to remote IT assignments, and from housing initiatives to psychological help.

Over 100 Nobel Laureates demand release of Belarusian peace laureate Ales Bialiatski
PEN International, the literary and free expression organisation, has released a letter signed by 103 Nobel Laureates, expressing solidarity with writer, human rights defender, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and PEN member Ales Bialiatski, and condemning the Belarusian authorities’ brutal, relentless, and systematic crackdown on independent voices.

Imagine if every person in the world could have a conversation with another person, across all borders. A Chinese woman from Shanghai and an American woman from the Rust Belt would exchange stories about their lives. A coal miner from Germany and a small farmer from Madagascar could share their experience of climate change. A cleaning woman from Greece could debate a teacher from Hungary about migration and LGBTQ rights. What would such conversations change?

Book bans by the Russian government increased soon after the invasion in Ukraine, with literature featuring LGBT themes and works by authors critical of Putin became scarce. But the censorship triggered a notable reaction as the Russian book market experiences a rise in sales of books by “foreign agents” such as Mikhail Zygar and Tamara Eidelman, and there is increased demand for dystopian novels and books exploring German life during World War II.

Between 2017 and 2022, more than 7,000 human rights violations were documented in occupied Crimea by the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, 5,613 of which were against members of the Crimean Tatar people. Since Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, repressions have persisted, marked by accusations solely based on ethnicity and the Crimean Tatar's unwavering fight for Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The relentless onslaught against the peninsula's Indigenous people is nothing but a genocide, a researcher says.

True Russia, a non-profit organisation founded by Russian artists and economists who oppose the war, have created a constantly growing database of social, cultural and scientific initiatives of communities around the world - from distance jobs for academics to remote IT assignments, and from housing initiatives to psychological help.

Secular Religion
unbelievable as it may seem, not all religion requires what you believe. For example I believe and have faith in -Bastet, Baby Yodin, Unholy Ghosts, fae, fairies and tinker bells for cats. -science as a magick unreal/imaginary number -technology that does not work but scams the surface Religion is a bubble, always foaming but ultimately empty of even the meanings we deny To put it another way. My religion is wrong and therefore unfollowable …

I'm submitting this to Humanities instead of Technology, because I believe this is less about social media and more about online communities. > Because that’s what we have to do. Be each other’s pen pals. Talk. Share. Welcome. Care. And just keep moving. Stay nimble. Maybe we have to roll the internet back a little and go back to blogs and decentralized groups and techy fiddling and real-life conventions and idealists with servers in their closets. Back to Diaryland and Minnesota and grandiose usernames and thoughts that take ever so much more than 280 characters to express. That’s okay. We can do that. We know how. We’re actually really good at it. Love things and love each other. We’re good at that, too. Protect the vulnerable. Make little things. Wear electric blue eyeshadow. Take a picture of your breakfast. Overthink *Twin Peaks*. Get angry. Do revolutions. Find out what Buffy character you are. Don’t get cynical. Don’t lose joy. Be *us*. Because us is what keeps the light on when the night comes closing in. Us doesn’t have a web address. We are wherever we gather. Mastodon, Substack, Patreon, Dreamwidth, AO3, Tumblr, Discord, even the ruins of Twitter, even Facebook and Instagram and Tiktok, god help us all. Even Diaryland. > > ... > > Stop buying things and start talking to each other. They’ve always known that was how they lose.

Really just like the picture more than anything.

Supreme Court upholds California law on humane pork sales The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld California’s right to block the sale of pork in the state unless producers abide by more humane regulations on the treatment of pregnant sows. The decision touched on constitutional issues of interstate trade and splintered the justices outside of their usual liberal-conservative blocs. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, writing the majority in what boiled down to a 5-4 decision, rejected what he called a request by pork producers for the court to “fashion two new and more aggressive constitutional restrictions on the ability of States to regulate goods sold within their borders.” “While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list,” Gorsuch wrote for a majority that included Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett.

Much has been written about the problems of large seemingly ultra-affluent cities like San Francisco. This story on San Francisco in 2023 reads a bit less editorialized, goes a bit more "on the ground" than most, with perspectives from diverse people whose lives are connected with the city.

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