Protect Your Business From All Kinds Of Harm With This Advice

When you own a business, making sure that it is safe should be one of your top priorities. But, it is not always easy to know the kind of things that you need to do to make this happen. Don’t worry th...

News Company - avatar News Company

Expect tax cuts and an emptying of the cupboards in a budget cleanout as the billions roll in

Prime Minister Morrison and Treasurer Frydenberg will do their best to leave the cupboard bare next Tuesday while still delivering a budget surplus in 2019-20.ShutterstockIt has been just over three m...

Warren Hogan, Industry Professor, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Warren Hogan, Industry Professor, University of Technology Sydney

Morrison flags new laws to stop social media platforms being 'weaponised'

Scott Morrison is foreshadowing tough new criminal laws to crack down on social media companies which fail to quickly remove footage like that streamed by the gunman in the New Zealand massacre.Under ...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Australian political journalists might be part of a ‘Canberra bubble’, but they engage the public too

Australian journalists often use Twitter to comment on the issues of the day.Nina Maile Gordon/The Conversation, CC BY-NC-NDThe federal election is fast approaching – less than 100 days away in ...

Axel Bruns, Professor, Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology - avatar Axel Bruns, Professor, Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology

A new twist in the elusive quest for the origins of the word 'bogan' leads to Melbourne's Xavier College

Drawing of a 'bogan doll' which featured in a 1984 edition of a student-produced Xavier College magazine Sursum Corda.Author providedBogan is the most significant word to be created in Australian Engl...

Bruce Moore, Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, Australian National University - avatar Bruce Moore, Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, Australian National University

Massacre is now part of Christchurch's identity, so how does a city rise above that?

Christchurch has a challenging new aspect to its identity. The city is now inextricably associated with the March 15 mass shootings at two mosques. So how does a city come to terms with and recover fr...

Will Rifkin, Chair in Applied Regional Economics and Director, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, University of Newcastle - avatar Will Rifkin, Chair in Applied Regional Economics and Director, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, University of Newcastle

Schools are asking students to bring digital devices to class, but are they actually being used?

Not everyone has a digital device to bring to school.from shutterstock.comIt’s been over ten years since Kevin Rudd’s Digital Education Revolution placed small laptops (also called Rudd-to...

Nicola F. Johnson, Associate Professor of Digital Technologies in Education, Edith Cowan University - avatar Nicola F. Johnson, Associate Professor of Digital Technologies in Education, Edith Cowan University

Older people are more digitally savvy, but aged care providers need to keep up

Moving into aged care can affect a person’s ability to remain connected to their local community, but most aged care facilities don't provide access to digital devices.from www.shutterstock.com...

Dr Wendy Wrapson, Senior Research Fellow, Auckland University of Technology - avatar Dr Wendy Wrapson, Senior Research Fellow, Auckland University of Technology

Pets and owners - you can learn a lot about one by studying the other

The personality of a pet owner can help a veterinarian understand the health and welfare of the pet.Shutterstock/PM ProductionThere’s an old saying that pets and their owners become more similar...

Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney - avatar Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney

Shorten to announce Labor's 'living wage' plan but without an amount or timing

Bill Shorten will unveil on Tuesday a process to have the Fair Work Commission phase in a “living wage”. But he will not say what it should be as a proportion of the median wage, or how lo...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Health check: can eating certain foods make you smarter?

Green vegetables, nuts and berries are among the foods that could improve our brain function.From shutterstock.comTrying to keep up with what constitutes a “healthy” diet can be exhausting...

Margaret Morris, Professor of Pharmacology, Head of Pharmacology, UNSW - avatar Margaret Morris, Professor of Pharmacology, Head of Pharmacology, UNSW

A skilful and stirring one-man treatment of George Orwell’s Animal Farm

Renato Musolino is the beating heart of a new production of Animal Farm.James HartleyReview: Animal Farm, State Theatre Company of South AustraliaIn a new one-man production, Renato Musolino brings Ge...

Lisa Harper Campbell, Lecturer in Drama, Flinders University - avatar Lisa Harper Campbell, Lecturer in Drama, Flinders University

Expect tax cuts and an emptying of the cupboards in a budget cleanout as the billions roll in

Prime Minister Morrison and Treasurer Frydenberg will do their best to leave the cupboard bare next Tuesday while still delivering a budget surplus in 2019-20.ShutterstockIt has been just over three m...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

A chess program helped this 8-year-old raise $240,000 and get his family out of a homeless shelter – here's what to look for in a chess program for your child

Third-grader Tanitoluwa Adewumi was crowned as a New York State Scholastic chess champion on March 10.GoFundMeBefore he won the primary (K-3) championship section of the New York State Scholastic Cham...

Alexey W. Root, Lecturer in Education, University of Texas at Dallas - avatar Alexey W. Root, Lecturer in Education, University of Texas at Dallas

The promise and peril of the Dominican baseball pipeline

Boys practice baseball at a park in San Antonio de Guerra, a small municipality in the Dominican Republic.Reuters/Ricardo RojasLatinos will comprise about 30 percent of Major League Baseball rosters o...

Rob Ruck, Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh - avatar Rob Ruck, Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh

Why the Vatican needs to open its archives on Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII.AP PhotoPope Francis announced recently that, in 2020, the Vatican will open to researchers its archival materials related to Pius XII, who served as pope from 1939 to 1958. The Vatican ...

Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies, College of the Holy Cross - avatar Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies, College of the Holy Cross

Saudi women are going to college, running for office and changing the conservative country

Saudi Arabia is a notoriously difficult place to be a woman.The kingdom enforces a strict interpretation of Islamic law that sees the separation of men and women as a defining aspect of an Islamic soc...

Alainna Liloia, Graduate Associate, Ph.D. Student, University of Arizona - avatar Alainna Liloia, Graduate Associate, Ph.D. Student, University of Arizona

Why Trump's recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory matters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, left, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, right, in the Israeli-held Golan Heights on March 11, 2019Ro...

Dina Badie, Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies, Centre College - avatar Dina Badie, Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies, Centre College

Despite consumer worries, the future of aviation will be more automated

Human pilots, surrounded by automation.Sorbis/Shutterstock.comIn the wake of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes of Boeing 737 Max planes, people are thinking about how much of their air trave...

Stephen Rice, Associate Professor of Human Factors, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - avatar Stephen Rice, Associate Professor of Human Factors, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

We need to stop conflating Islam with terrorism

The Christchurch terrorist attack has shown us that we need to address the threat posed by far-right extremism to our ideals of peaceful social cooperation in a multicultural society. Unfortunately, i...

Nicolas Pirsoul, Sessional lecturer in Middle Eastern Politics, Australian Catholic University - avatar Nicolas Pirsoul, Sessional lecturer in Middle Eastern Politics, Australian Catholic University

Huawei exposes critical weaknesses. We need the infrastructure to engage with China

The European Commission has decided to ignore US calls that its allies keep Chinese tech giant Huawei away from significant telecommunications infrastructure. Britain, France and Germany had already m...

Alice de Jonge, Senior Lecturer, International Law; Asian Business Law, Monash University - avatar Alice de Jonge, Senior Lecturer, International Law; Asian Business Law, Monash University

From Mahometan to Kiwi Muslim: history of NZ's Muslim population

New Zealand Muslims have come from several parts of the world, including Pacific Islands, Asian countries, the Middle East and Africa.AAP/Martin Hunter, CC BY-SAMuslims make up just over 1% of New Zea...

Eva Nisa, Lecturer in Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington - avatar Eva Nisa, Lecturer in Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

Plant Hire For Small Businesses

All companies face challenges. However, small businesses face a unique set of challenges. From restricted resources to client dependency, there are various hurdles you need to overcome if your busines...

News Company - avatar News Company

imageThis crowd wants their president out David W Cerny/Reuters

The United States had just gone through a bruising election, but in Congress Democratic and Republican leaders gathered to unveil the bust of Vaclav Havel, the playwright and first post-Communist Czech president and only the fourth non-American to be installed in this hallowed space. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi praised Havel as a champion of freedom and human rights who used truth to defeat his totalitarian opponents.

Meanwhile in Prague, the city where Havel staged the Velvet Revolution twenty-five years ago, the streets were filled with demonstrators who thundered at Milos Zeman, the current president: “Resign! Resign!” and waved red cards, the kind used in soccer to eject a player who committed an egregious foul. Opinion polls show that the demonstrators represent two thirds of their fellow citizens who find Zeman to be a failure on the international scene and a divisive force at home.

How did it happen that the Czech Republic’s presidency declined from the universally respected Havel to the present low? For an answer we have to look at today’s Russia and the crisis in Ukraine.

The new Prague-Moscow axis

When Putin annexed Crimea and sent weapons and military personnel into eastern Ukraine, the United States and the European Union responded with sanctions. The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner MH17 hardened the Western response and caused some to speculate about a new cold war.

Inexplicably, President Zeman called on his EU and NATO partners to accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea on the grounds that the 1954 decree that transferred the region to Ukraine was “stupid.” He went on Russian television and denounced the sanctions as counterproductive. As far as the fighting in eastern Ukraine was concerned, Zeman argued, the West had no right to interfere since it was a civil war.

imageGood friendswww.kremlin.ru, CC BY-SA

But what about the weapons and troops dispatched by Putin, he was asked by then Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt . None of that was true, he replied. He believed Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who stated that not a single Russian soldier had entered Ukraine.

Zeman’s apparent willingness to believe Moscow is difficult to comprehend: anyone familiar with Czech history in the 1930s cannot fail to see the parallels between Putin’s takeover of Crimea and the Nazi Anschluß of Austria in 1938. Hitler argued that it was only an administrative measure that corrected a historical fluke, and since all involved spoke German, it was a “family affair” that was of no concern to outsiders. Sound familiar?

Equally strong similarities can be seen between today’s eastern Ukraine and the 1938 Czechoslovak-German crisis in the Sudetenland. Regarding the latter, Hitler insisted that the Czechs “terrorized” the German-speaking Sudetens living in Czechoslovakia and he needed to protect them by seizing the territory.

Controversial conference

Then President Zeman took a further step that created a gap between the Czech Republic and its EU and NATO partners. In September he attended a conference organized by Vladimir Yakunin, a billionaire who heads the Russian Railways and is also widely believed to have been a KGB operative. Yakunin heads a movement called National Glory of Russia that aims to protect the country from the corrosive Western culture. This does not, by the way, prevent Yakunin and his family from owning a house in London worth millions of dollars. As one cyberwag put it: he hates everything Western, except money.

Zeman used this questionable forum to demand an end to Western sanctions and to assert that the Ukrainian crisis was merely “a flu.”

When he encountered criticism at home and abroad for such pro-Kremlin statements, Zeman was nonplussed. He dismissed Havel’s accent on human rights in foreign affairs as naïve and declared during an official visit to China that he came to learn how to “stabilize society.” As if en passant Zeman added that Taiwan and Tibet were inalienable parts of China. Havel, by contrast, was on friendly terms with the Dalai Lama and a champion of Free Tibet.

Expletives on the radio and dissing American beer

Apparently invigorated by further negative comments, Zeman stated in a live interview on Czech Radio filled with profanities that the imprisoned members of the anti-Putin Pussy Riot group were “whores” who richly deserved their sojourns to the Gulag. Regarding Russian oligarch and Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Zeman opined that if he disapproved of something Putin had done, it was that he had failed to dispatch all the oligarchs to prison.

For his latest performance at the end of November, Zeman chose Kazakhstan, where he promoted Czech beer by dismissing its American competitor as “dirty water.” He then expressed his “unalterable view” that Ukraine should be “neutralized and Finlandized” under the tutelage of Russia, and never admitted into NATO.

Before he became president, Zeman - an economist by training who joined the Social Democratic Party after 1989, became prime minister in 1998 but then left politics for 12 years – held mainstream foreign policy views. What has happened, and why so suddenly? Why does he now have to be reminded by his own foreign minister that all decisions regarding the future of Ukraine belong to its citizens?

imageBipartisan support on Capitol Hill for Vaclav HavelKevin Lamarque/Reuters

As happens often when confronted with mysteries, some have resorted to conspiracy theories. But the principle of Occam’s Razor teaches that the simplest explanations tend to be correct. Here is mine.

When he compares himself to Vaclav Havel, Milos Zeman sees his own smallness. This propels him toward attention-seeking pronouncements and other forms of political exhibitionism.

It seems incredible that the unity of the West, and the legacy of the Velvet Revolution, should be jeopardized by a man struggling with his own insignificance.

image

Igor Lukes has received several Fulbright and IREX grants. He is the Honorary Consul General of the Czech Republic in Boston. .

Read more http://theconversation.com/pragues-velvet-wearing-off-25-years-later-34574