Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Arctic 30 Finally Free

Image credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24985001

Image credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24462045

Image credit: http://350.org/about/blogs/update-global-day-solidarity-greenpeace-s-arctic-30-freethearctic30 

On December 21, in a post titled "Russian Amnesty", I blogged that Russia had dropped charges against the Arctic 30 activists. They had been illegally held at gunpoint by Russian secret services when they participated in a peaceful protest at Gazprom's oil rig to call attention to the threat of oil drilling and climate change – as a matter-of-fact, their Dutch-flagged ship Arctic Sunrise was in international waters.

The thirty Greenpeace protestors were originally charged with piracy and faced up to 15 years in jail. This was changed to ‘hooliganism’, which could carry six years behind bars. And then they were told they had been freed under a Kremlin-backed amnesty, ahead of February’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

On Sunday, Polish national Tomasz Dziemianczuk, 37, flew out from Saint Petersburg to Warsaw – he followed the other 25 who had all left by Saturday. Another four are Russians and they too benefited from the reprieve and are free to travel inside and outside the country.

The Arctic Sunrise ship remains under Russian control in Murmansk and Greenpeace had made clear that it wants its vessel back.

FYI, Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom, whose Prirazlomnaya rig in the Pechora Sea was the target of the Greenpeace protest, has just started oil production at the platform.

Yesterday, I was at the Malaysia Airlines Academy in Kelana Jaya to attend the Kelana Bilingual Toastmasters meeting. I managed to secure a speaking slot and I delivered my CC speech #7 titled “Drink and Live” – this is my twelfth round. I also took part in Table Topics and the TT Evaluator, Shirley Bak kindly presented all five participants a Christmas cookie each! (Photo on the left).

I also volunteered to be the Timekeeper – in order to complete my second round of CL. I can say it was a good meeting and I would give it a score of a 7 over 10.


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