SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — Volodymyr Protsenko has given himself until March 16 to speak his mind.
But after next Sunday, when residents of Crimea are set to head to the polls in a vote that’s expected to back a decision by the new Moscow-installed authorities to join Russia, the 60-year-old writer and Ukrainian nationalist says he’ll clam up.
Writing about Ukraine’s rocky history under Soviet rule had been risky enough in this historically Russian city of about 340,000, where nostalgia for the USSR runs high and tolerance for pro-Ukraine sentiments remains low.
Now, Protsenko says, it may be outright dangerous.
“After the referendum, I won’t say a word,” he says. “They’ll pressure me into promising I won’t speak out.”
Nationally conscious Ukrainians like Protsenko — a career police officer-turned-poet — have never felt completely at ease in Sevastopol, where they constitute a small minority of the population. But many fear bigger troubles are only beginning.
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Three years after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off Japan’s coast, triggering a huge wall of water that engulfed entire villages and towns, the search for victims continues.
Japan on Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the quake-tsunami disaster that swept away more than 18,000 people, flattened coastal communities and triggered a nuclear crisis.
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President Barack Obama on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.
For some, he’s the man without a face. For others, he has too many. He’s a thug, a killer, a statesman, a dude. He’s widely admired and even more widely reviled.
One thing is certain: Russian President Vladimir Putin is not an easy man to fit into clear categories. Rather, he is a human Rorschach blot into which the observer projects a revealing chunk of his or her own worldview.
Since the Ugandan parliament passed the anti-homosexuality bill in December 2013, the kuchu population—as its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex citizens are known—has been fleeing the country in droves for even slightly more tolerant neighboring states such as Kenya, Burundi, and Rwanda. Those brave enough to stay have been forced to take their personal lives even further underground. The few community gatherings and safe spaces that once existed for kuchus have vanished.
On February 24, 2014, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Leaving Kuchus to continue facing the daily reality of harrowing discrimination, constant harassment, and death threats––and now, the threat of imprisonment.
View more from Pulitzer Center grantee Daniella Zalcman’s project: Kuchus in Uganda.
Catch up on the whirlwind of events that happened in Crimea, Kyiv, Europe, Russia, and the United States today:
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Nigeria has shut five government-run schools in the country’s northeast in the wake of a deadly series of attacks targeting students.
A ministry of education statement issued late Wednesday said the affected schools were “located within the high security risk areas of the northeast geo-political zone.”
Students of the schools in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, which are worst hit by the Boko Haramviolence, would be absorbed into other government schools, it added.
Last week, 43 students were shot and hacked to death when suspected Boko Haram gunmen stormed Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe state.
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Senior Correspondent Tristan McConnell who has reported on Boko Haram previously answers some questions about the ongoing crisis.
CARACAS, Venezuela — Tear gas canisters rocket into the sky like signal flares and explode in mid-flight. The protesters’ wall of improvised riot shields collapses, a useless defense against the insidious weapon.
One rioter wearing a Coke-bottle-turned-gas mask picks up a nearby canister, its contents still billowing. He runs it toward the police line, returning it back over their riot shields. Hitting his target he removes his mask and roars a chant, joined by his fellows. “The government will fall” echoes through the streets of Caracas.
Nightly riots like this one have left scars on Altamira, an opposition-strong district of the Venezuelan capital. Burnt asphalt, battered brick walls and graffiti-covered buildings are marks of countrywide demonstrations that have claimed more than a dozen lives. The protests aimed at ousting President Nicolas Maduro are entering their fourth week and show no sign of abating.
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