Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders have signed a deal leading to an early presidential poll before the end of the year.
The election is part of an agreement to end the country’s political crisis.
The deal provides for a national unity government, electoral reform and constitutional changes reducing the president’s power.
The compromise came after hours of talks, mediated by three European Union foreign ministers.
The last time a deal was struck in Ukraine, it collapsed within hours. This new agreement, however, is much more far-reaching than the temporary truce from earlier this week — the restoration of the 2004 Constitution, in particular, is huge, as that was one of the primary demands of the protesters. Let’s hope it sticks this time.
10:42 // 2 weeks ago
HARTFORD – The Connecticut Insurance Department is directing all health insurance companies operating in the state to provide coverage of mental health counseling, hormone therapy, surgery and other treatments related to a patient’s gender transition.
A big victory for trans rights: A lot of insurance companies refuse to cover gender reassignment surgery, but Connecticut ruled last week that all insurers in the state have to cover both the surgery and other treatments related to gender dysphoria, including hormone therapy and counseling. The determination was based on two existing laws: One banning discrimination based on gender identity, and one requiring insurers to cover mental health treatment. Gender dysphoria is listed as a mental health disorder in the latest DSM; while there are a lot of reasons one could reasonably be upset about this, the upshot is that it gave the Connecticut Insurance Department additional legal justification for bolstering the rights of trans folk in the state.
16:46 // 2 months ago
Long before a nuclear deal was in reach, the U.S. was quietly lifting some of the financial pressure on Iran, a Daily Beast investigation reveals. How the sanctions were softened.
Suddenly, the recent thaw in US-Iranian relations makes a lot more sense. See, the White House has blacklisted numerous banks and transportation vessels that deal with Iran in an attempt to cripple the country’s economic ability; that’s part of the “sanctions” you hear so much about. In the six weeks prior to the Iranian elections, the administration blacklisted over 100 such entities; since Rouhani was elected last June, however, it’s only blacklisted 10. It’s a subtle way of easing sanctions, but consequential nonetheless. This back story goes a long way to explaining why Rouhani has been so relatively conciliatory with the West, and why the two countries are suddenly on the verge of the nuclear deal that’s eluded them for decades.
18:26 // 4 months ago