Troops and civilians are adjusting to a new reality after forces began disengaging along the line of separation between the Ukrainian military and Russia-backed separatists. Amid hopes for peace there's also distrust and anxiety.
Montenegrin residents have launched a lawsuit against a Chinese construction company, claiming their lands have been devastated by the construction of a new highway. UNESCO also expressed concern over "severe impacts" to the Tara River.
Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has opened a new police command center in the capital, Bishkek, which is using Chinese CCTV cameras with facial-recognition technology. China reportedly provided the equipment for free.
Cybersecurity firms are a major target of hackers, often from groups based in authoritarian countries. Avast has become a key player in defending citizens from the misuse of technology, tracking the hackers night and day from their "Threat Room" in Prague.
The Russian Duma has adopted amendments to consumer rights legislation requiring the pre-installation of Russian software applications on smartphones, computers, and smart TVs. The Duma says the bill, slated for implementation on July 1, 2020, will “help promote Russian programs in the information technology market.” An industry group representing electrical and computer equipment producers has said it opposed the draft law and was not consulted. (in Russian, Current Time)
A court in the Siberian city of Tomsk has found Sergei Klimov guilty of being a leader of an extremist group and sentenced him to six years in prison. Klimov is a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious group that Moscow has outlawed and labeled as "extremist."
Prosecutors in Moscow have opened a criminal investigation into a YouTube channel called Real Talk over two videos in which a group of children ask questions of representatives of Russia's gay community. According to the Pravozashchity Otkrytki human rights organization, the case was brought under Article 132 of the Criminal Code, which covers "violent acts of a sexual nature."
Russian tour operators are losing Chinese business even as the number of tourists from the world’s most populous country surges, Kommersant reports. Chinese operators are selling tour packages to Russia below cost while using black-market tactics to recoup money, offering an eight-day tour with visits to Moscow and St. Petersburg for an average of 30,000 rubles ($475), including flight, hotel, food, and some excursions.
Leonid Teyf, who served as second in charge at the Russian military contractor Voentorg, and five others individuals are accused of conspiring to divert FedEx business to Salt Lake Trucking Group, according to a filing in Utah federal court in late October.
Arkady Babchenko, a dissident Russian journalist who once facetiously promised to return to his homeland in a U.S.-made Abrams tank, has left Ukraine, where he has lived in self-imposed exile since fall 2017. In a Facebook post on November 3, Babchenko gave a vague reason for his departure that implied growing anxiety over his safety after the election of Volodymyr Zelenskiy as president in April.
The new U.S. special envoy to the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, has criticized the European Union for delaying the start of membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, calling it a "historic mistake" that sends “a bad message” to the region. Palmer said the United States "wants the Western Balkans to have a European perspective."
A former Bulgarian lawmaker who has been accused of spying on behalf of Russia traveled to Moscow after being given special court permission and received an award from President Vladimir Putin. Nikolai Malinov was shown in Kremlin pool photographs receiving the award from Putin on November 4, and later gave an interview to Russian state TV.
An estimated 4,000 protesters assembled in the capital city of Bucharest on November 3 to protest pervasive illegal logging after several forestry officials, including two in the past two months, have died in what are believed to have been attacks by timber thieves.
Prominent Azerbaijani rights activist Oqtay Gulaliyev is in a coma after being hit by a car in Baku late last month, his wife says. Gulaliyev is the coordinator of a nongovernmental group called Committee Against Repressions and Torture that defends inmates' rights in Azerbaijani penitentiaries.
Uzbekistan's state-run news agency made the birthday of President Shavkat Mirziyoev's daughter its top news story all day on November 4. The National Information Agency of Uzbekistan published an official biography starting with the second paragraph of the story, which remained the top news piece all day on the Russian-language version of the agency's website.
Kazakhstan, Sudan, Brazil, and other countries saw the worst deterioration in Internet freedoms over the past year, according to a new Freedom House report that also documented how governments increasingly use social media to monitor citizens and manipulate elections.
PRESSROOM: RFE/RL, Ukrainian Media Groups Call For Accountability Over Data Abuse And Threats Against ‘Schemes’ Journalists
Andriy Portnov, a former lawmaker and deputy head of Ex-President Viktor Yanukovych's administration, has disclosed personal data belonging to members of RFE/RL’s investigative “Schemes” reporting team on his Telegram channel, and suggested journalists could be exposed to physical harm.