A research team in Berlin is teaching a robot to knit. The goal of the research is to acquire new insights into interactions between humans and the mechanical helpers of the future.
Asleep at the wheel: Driving while drowsy can be deadly Falling asleep at the wheel can have dire consequences not only for drivers, but other road users. Illegal wildlife trade thrives on Facebook, internet forums September Endangered reptiles are being traded on Facebook.
Wildlife activists say tech giants aren't doing enough to shut down groups buying and selling live animals. Why can't we tickle ourselves? Trapped between uncontrollable laughter and excruciating discomfort, it's difficult to decide when being tickled: do I like this or not? But why doesn't this happen if we tickle ourselves?
New research on rats shows why. Addiction therapist Andreas Latzel works with recovering alcoholics. He talks to In Good Shape about alcohol addiction. Is China doing enough for climate protection? Alexander Reitzenstein, a policy advisor for climate policy at E3G, talks to DW about China's efforts to protect the environment.
He says the Asian giant excels in some areas, but is lagging behind in others. Germany: Therapy Ban for Homosexuality Germany wants to become the second EU country to ban the controversial practice. Alzheimer's - interview with Saskia Weiss For sufferers and their relatives, Alzheimer's can be a real challenge. For one year, a research ship called "Polarstern" will drift through the frozen Arctic.
Researchers want to better understand the influence of the Arctic on climate, says cruise leader Christian Haas in a DW interview. Tariffs are a key issue in energy market reforms and INOGATE will deliver a study providing an overview of tariffs setting methodologies in the Partner Countries and recommending appropriate revisions to tariffs setting methodologies, in line with the relevant EU best practices.
INOGATE continues to support energy supply security by providing a comprehensive study on state of the art technologies for the reduction of gas losses. Other key areas of continued INOGATE support include the development of the energy statistics system and the harmonisation of priority gas and electricity standards. The INOGATE Technical Secretariat ITS activities are being implemented at national level with ITS expert technical assistance provided in the form of capacity and institutional building, and at regional level where the actions include conferences, study tours, national meetings, as well as networking opportunities.
This country work plan can be found here. EN RU.
Network Milestones Ministerial conferences. Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus. Georgia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan. Moldova Tajikistan Turkey. Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan.
The centralized nature of both states requires that important issues be solved at the highest level. During the first few years after the accident, the levels of radioactive materials in agricultural plants and animals decreased quickly because of factors such as weather and decay. Those appointed to senior posts must show personal loyalty to the president, share his views, and have the management experience that he deems appropriate. They are trying to patch up the system from within, and they try to come up with arguments that will convince Lukashenko to make necessary changes. The conflict in Ukraine and the accompanying Russian propaganda temporarily made pro-Russia sentiment in Belarus twice as prevalent as pro-European sympathies, but toward the middle of this gap began to close again. A year after first being elected, he held a referendum that adopted slightly amended Soviet national symbols, made Russian a state language, and endorsed economic integration with Russia. Particularly, in the past two years, the EU and Belarus have established a formal Dialogue on Trade , where the WTO accession process has been reported to be at the top of the agenda.
Projects overview AHEF overview. One major reason for not privatizing these firms is to avoid a surge in unemployment that could be perceived by elites and the public as a breach of the existing social contract. There are no streets named after him, there are no busts or monuments dedicated to him, and his portrait is not featured on coins or billboards, even during elections. The personalized nature of Belarusian authoritarianism lies in the details, such as the article in the Criminal Code covering insults to the president or the existence of Lukashenko-themed museum exhibits at the Mogilev State A.
Kuleshov University, where he studied.
The propaganda efforts that do take place seek to cultivate an image of Lukashenko as an experienced, reliable leader who brought the country out of the chaos of the s. Little independent public opinion polling exists in Belarus.
Surveys on political topics are strictly regulated and effectively monopolized by the state. The results of research carried out by entities close to the government are either not published or propagandistic, like election data from the Central Election Commission.
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One nonstate center, the Independent Institute of Socioeconomic and Political Studies IISEPS , carried out and published quarterly surveys on social and public issues from until mid, when the institute stopped conducting surveys due to pressure from the security services. Notably, Belarusian society seems to have fairly homogeneous views insofar as the eastern and central parts of the country traditionally dominated by the Orthodox faith and the western part of the country which contains many Catholics display few discernable differences in terms of survey indicators.
On the whole, people from eastern and western Belarus tend to have similar takes on a host of political topics, including Russia, Europe, Lukashenko and the opposition, and the need for reforms. In recent years, Belarusians have often voiced a preference for close ties with Russia over Europe, although geopolitical circumstances have sometimes changed this trend see figure 1. According to IISEPS polls conducted between and , when Belarusians were asked to choose between being unified with Russia or joining the EU, 40—50 percent chose Russia and 25—35 percent picked the EU, although support for Russia was sometimes lower and support for the EU higher in prior years.
In —, Belarus and Russia attacked each other in a series of highly critical and hostile television shows and documentaries; simultaneously, there was a thaw in Belarusian relations with the West. It was only during this period that pro-European feelings reached parity with pro-Russian ones about 35—45 percent , or even took the lead in certain months. The conflict in Ukraine and the accompanying Russian propaganda temporarily made pro-Russia sentiment in Belarus twice as prevalent as pro-European sympathies, but toward the middle of this gap began to close again.
Notably, however, other poll figures seem to indicate that Belarusians have gotten used to independence and have begun to value it see figures 2 and 3. In both cases, since around , the status quo has generally won out with substantially more support than either alternative Russian accession or EU entry ; about 50 percent tend to back the status quo compared to 20—30 percent who favor a change, while the remaining 20—25 percent would abstain in a hypothetical referendum on Russian accession or EU entry. Further evidence of this burgeoning support for Belarusian independence can be seen in polls on the prospect of restoring the Soviet Union see figure 4.
During the s, the majority of Belarusians felt nostalgic for the Soviet era, but since those opposed to a Soviet restoration have taken the lead. Between and , about 60 percent opposed a return to the Soviet era, while roughly 20—25 percent supported a retreat into the past. This shift is likely due at least in part to demographic changes, as the number of Belarusians with actual experience of the Soviet Union gradually falls.
At the same time, though, public support for Eurasian integration remains stable at 60—65 percent. This perspective informs Belarusian views on other Russian foreign policy disputes as well. After Turkey shot down a Russian bomber plane near its border with Syria in , only one in six Belarusians were in favor of offering complete support for Russian sanctions against Turkey. More than 50 percent said Belarus should not get involved in the dispute.
Between and , Lukashenko generally enjoyed a 10—20 percentage point lead over opposition figures, although on a few occasions this gap fell sharply or diminished altogether. Since then, GDP growth has stagnated, and a wave of economic protests surged across the country in ; as a result, at present probably between one-quarter and one-third of Belarusians are ready to vote for Lukashenko.
But the proportion of citizens in this category has always been quite volatile, usually fluctuating between 25 and 45 percent. Support for the president is higher among female voters, who tend to like his emphasis on stability. He also has more supporters among less educated and rural voters, like many populist leaders around the world. This is a product of many years of state paternalism; as a result, Lukashenko is caught in the trap of his own ideology.
Belarusians have gotten used to the idea that only the authorities can look after them. Anyone who thinks that Lukashenko is emotional in his dealings with other countries now should recall how he behaved twenty years ago. Back then, he did not restrain himself at all in terms of domestic politics or foreign affairs. In those days, the Belarusian president portrayed himself as the vanguard of resistance to Western imperialism. In , amid tense relations with the EU and the United States, and the expulsion of the Belarusian delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Lukashenko forced Western ambassadors in Minsk from their residences on the pretext of needed plumbing work.
The scandal peaked when the ambassadors were recalled from Minsk. In the same year, Belarus joined the anti-Western Nonaligned Movement, and today it is the only European country still in this group. All this was possible while Belarus enjoyed Russian protection, until the pragmatist Vladimir Putin came to power in Moscow. By the second half of the s, energy disputes between Belarus and Russia had become an almost annual occurrence.
A little more than a decade ago, Belarusian diplomacy began to mature and Lukashenko started to experiment with overtures to the West as a result of the turbulence in relations with Russia. In late , a serious dispute unfolded over the price of natural gas imported from Russia, and in Moscow introduced excise duties on Belarus-bound oil shipments.
The reason for this flirtation was the Russian-Georgian War, which showed that Russia was ready to use military force in a dispute with a neighbor. Brussels, in turn, lifted sanctions against Belarus, and European heads of state and foreign ministers began to visit Minsk regularly after a decade-long break. On the eve of his reelection in , Lukashenko reached an agreement with Dmitry Medvedev, who by then had temporarily succeeded Putin, on an excise-free supply of oil in exchange for Belarus signing agreements on a Customs Union with Russia and Kazakhstan. Belarus found itself under Russian protection again.
After two years of domestic liberalization, when a crowd of 40, protesters surged on the day of the election, Lukashenko was no longer overly concerned about the Western element of his foreign policy. His efforts to break up the protest and prosecute its leaders sent Belarusian relations with the West into reverse.