News of the Day: 2 August 2021

The Moscow Times: New amendments to Russia’s hunting law will effectively legalize trophy hunting of endangered animals, Greenpeace activists said Monday.  Russia is home to 13 endangered species: the Amur tiger, Central Asian and Far Eastern leopard, snow leopard, bison, saiga, Przewalski’s horse, Altai mountain sheep, gazelle, polar bear, Siberian crane, bowhead whale and gray whale.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Former Kremlin hostage, Oleh Sentsov has posted a letter he just received from 66-year-old Halyna Dovhopola, whom a closed ‘court’ in Russian-occupied Crimea recently sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for supposed ‘treason’.  The letter essentially confirms suspicions that the pensioner was targeted because of her pro-Ukrainian views and that she was held in total isolation, with only a state-appointed lawyer and without being allowed even the briefest visits from the Ukrainian consul.  While the years of Russian occupation have shown that in political cases, no amount of evidence can charge a largely predetermined sentence, a lawyer whom the person can trust and contact with people in Ukraine make it harder for the FSB to conceal the lack of any substance to the charges.  This is precisely why they hide prisoners like Dovhopola, and use all kinds of means to ensure that they only have access to state-appointed ‘lawyers’ who generally put pressure on them to ‘confess’ and certainly do not represent their interests.

The Guardian: The Siberian heatwave of 2020 led to new methane emissions from the permafrost, according to research. Emissions of the potent greenhouse gas are currently small, the scientists said, but further research is urgently needed.

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