Belarus sends Nobel winner Bialiatski to 10 years in jail

A court in Belarus has sentenced Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski to 10 years in prison.


A court in Belarus has sentenced Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski to 10 years in prison. He was convicted of smuggling and financing “actions grossly violating public order”, the Viasna human rights group said.

Supporters of Bialiatski, 60, say the authoritarian regime of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is trying to silence him.  Bialiatski was one of three winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

He was arrested in 2021 following massive street protests over widely disputed elections the previous year, and accused of smuggling cash into Belarus to fund opposition activity.

Demonstrators were met with police brutality and Lukashenko critics were regularly arrested and jailed during the demonstrations, which started in 2020.

Bialiatski was in court alongside two fellow campaigners, Valentin Stefanovich and Vladimir Labkovich. Stefanovich was sentenced to nine years in prison, while Labkovich received seven years, according to Viasna, the group Bialiatski founded in 1996.

All three had pleaded not guilty.

Arun Subramanian becomes 1st Indian-American judge at New York court

Arun Subramanian, an attorney, has been appointed as the first Indian American judge of the Manhattan Federal District Court in New York. The nomination of Subramanian for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York was first made public by US President Joe Biden in September 2022. The Senate confirmed the nomination of Subramanian by a vote of 58-37.

According to the statement Subramanian earned his BA from Case Western Reserve University in 2001 and his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Columbia Law School in 2004. He has been employed since 2007 as a partner at Susman Godfrey LLP in New York.

Three years later, he earned his law degree from Columbia Law School as a James Kent & Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He also served as executive articles editor for the Columbia Law Review.

Subramanian currently serves as Chairperson of Susman Godfrey’s 2022 Pro Bono Committee and is also a long time director of the Columbia Law Review, one of the Nation’s pre-eminent legal journals. Arun Subramanian was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1979.

Xi Jinping starts third term as China’s president

China’s leader Xi Jinping has secured a historic third term as president from the country’s rubber-stamp parliament. It follows a consolidation of power that has made Xi, 69, China’s most dominant leader in generations.

In the Chinese system of governance, the functions of the president are largely ceremonial. Xi’s power comes from him being General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). He was handed both posts at a party congress last October.

Confirmation of his third term as president had been widely expected. The naming of a new premier and various ministers in the coming days is considered more important.

The new appointees are mostly expected to be Xi Jinping loyalists. This includes Li Qiang, who is tipped to serve as Mr Xi’s number two.

Xi has also gained another term as the chairman of the CMC of the People’s Republic of China. There are two CMCs in the country – one is a party organisation while another is a state institution – but their make-up is usually the same.

Xi has solidified his rule as China reopens from his bruising zero-Covid policy that has fuelled anti-government protests. The country is also facing a falling birth rate that threatens its economic growth engine.

Group Captain Shaliza Dhami first IAF woman officer to head frontline unit

The Indian Air Force said that it has selected Group Captain Shaliza Dhami to take command of a frontline combat unit in the Western sector. Dhami will be the first woman officer in the IAF to command a missile squadron in the Western sector facing Pakistan. She is currently posted in the operations branch of a frontline command headquarters.

A qualified flying instructor, she served as flight commander of a Chetak unit at the Hindon air base— both firsts for an Indian Air Force woman officer. She has been commended twice by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the past.

As a helicopter pilot, she flew several search-and-rescue missions, and also undertook flood relief operations.

Hailing from Ludhiana – her parents were in government service – she decided very early on joining the Indian Air Force, more so after becoming a cadet of the NCC. The Indian Army, being the largest of the three services, has the largest number of women officers at 1,705, followed by 1,640 women officers in the Indian Air Force, and 559 in the Indian Navy – this data was provided by the government to Parliament last year.

British Architect David Chipperfield Wins 2023 Pritzker Prize

David Alan Chipperfield has won the 2023 Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is best known as a civic architect, urban planner, and activist. Chipperfield CH was selected as the 2023 Laureate of The Pritzker Architecture Prize. This award is regarded internationally as architecture’s highest honour.

Subtle yet powerful, subdued yet elegant, he is a prolific architect who is radical in his restraint, demonstrating his reverence for history and culture while honouring the preexisting built and natural environments as he reimagines functionality and accessibility of new buildings, renovations and restorations through timeless modern design that confronts climate urgencies, transforms social relationships and reinvigorates cities.