Portal:Politics/Selected article

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Selected articles list

Selected article 1

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Flag of Hungary, with the communist coat of arms cut out. The flag with a hole became the symbol of the revolution.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Neo-Stalinist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. It began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building. The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. Thousands organized into militias, battling the State police force and Soviet troops. The new government formally disbanded the State police force, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest using artillery and air strikes, killing thousands of civilians. Organized resistance ceased by 10 November 1956, and mass arrests began. An estimated 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. By January 1957 the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. Soviet actions alienated many Western Marxists, yet strengthened Soviet control over Eastern Europe, cultivating the perception that communism was both irreversible and monolithic. Public discussion about this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for over 30 years, but since the thaw of the 1980s it has been a subject of intense study and debate.

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Selected article 2

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The Liberal Movement was a minor South Australian political party in the 1970s. Stemming from discontent within the ranks of the Liberal and Country League, it was organised in 1972 by former premier Steele Hall as an internal group in response to a perceived resistance to sought reform within its parent. A year later, when tensions heightened between the LCL's conservative wing and the LM, it was established in its own right as a progressive liberal party. When still part of the league, it had eleven parliamentarians; on its own, it was reduced to three. In the federal election of 1974, it succeeded in having Hall elected to the Australian Senate with a primary vote of 10 per cent in South Australia. It built upon this in the 1975 state election, gaining almost a fifth of the total vote and an additional member. However, the non-Labor parties narrowly failed to dislodge the incumbent Dunstan Labor government. That result, together with internal weaknesses, led in 1976 to the LM's being re-absorbed into the LCL, which by then had become the South Australian division of the Liberal Party of Australia. The LM and its successor parties gave voice to what is termed "small-l liberalism" in Australia.

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Selected article 3

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Flag of Europe

The European Union is an international organization of 27 European states, established in 1992. It originates from the Coal and Steel Community, founded in 1951 by Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries. However, the French-German politician Robert Schuman presented his proposal of a united Europe, known as the Schuman declaration, already in 1950, which is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union. The Union has many activities, the most important being a common single market, consisting of a customs union, a single currency, a Common Agricultural Policy and a Common Fisheries Policy.

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Selected article 4

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1939–1941 semi-official emblem

The League of Nations was an international organization founded after the First World War at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The League's goals included disarmament; preventing war through collective security; settling disputes between countries through negotiation and diplomacy; and improving global welfare. The League was a government of governments, with the role of settling disputes between individual nations in an open and legalist forum. The League lacked an armed force of its own and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, which they were often very reluctant to do. The League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the fascist powers in 1930s. The onset of the Second World War made it clear that the League had failed in its primary purpose—to avoid any future world war. The United Nations effectively replaced it after World War II and inherited a number of agencies and organisations founded by the League.

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Selected article 5

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Map showing counties and unitary authorities from 1998

The Local Government Commission for England was the body responsible for reviewing the structure of local government in England from 1992 to 2002. It was established under the Local Government Act 1992 replacing the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. The Commission could be ordered by the Secretary of State to undertake 'structural reviews' in specified areas and recommend the creation of unitary authorities in the two-tier shire counties of England. The Commission, chaired by John Banham, conducted a review of all the non-metropolitan counties of England from 1993 to 1994, making various recommendations on their future. After much political debate and several legal challenges, the Commission's proposals resulted in the abolition of Berkshire county council and the counties of Avon, Cleveland, Hereford and Worcester and Humberside. Combined with a second wave of reviews in 1995, under the chairmanship of David Cooksey, the Commission's proposals led to the creation of unitary authorities covering many urban areas of England. It was replaced by the Boundary Committee for England in 2002, which finished this review cycle in 2004.

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Selected article 6

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Anti-Internal Revenue Service symbol

The FairTax is a proposed change to the tax laws of the United States that would replace the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and all federal income taxes (including corporate taxes and capital gains taxes), as well as payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a national retail sales tax. Its enacting legislation, the Fair Tax Act, is pending in the United States Congress. The tax would be levied once at the point of purchase on all new goods and services. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all households of citizens and legal resident aliens (based on family size) as an advance rebate of tax on purchases up to the poverty level. The sales tax rate, as defined in the legislation, is 23% of net prices which includes the tax (23¢ out of every $1 spent—calculated like income taxes), which is comparable to a 30% traditional sales tax (23¢ on top of every 77¢ spent). With the rebate taken into consideration, the effective tax rate would be progressive on consumption and could result in a federal tax burden of zero or less. However, opponents of the tax argue that while progressive on consumption, the tax would be regressive on income, and would accordingly decrease the tax burden on high income earners and increase the tax burden on the middle class.

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Selected article 7

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Logo of the Fourth International

The Fourth International has been a communist international organisation working in opposition to both capitalism and Stalinism. Consisting of supporters of Leon Trotsky, it has striven for an eventual victory of the working class to bring about socialism. In Paris in 1938, Trotsky and many of his supporters, having been expelled from the Soviet Union, considered the Comintern to have become lost to "Stalinism" and incapable of leading the international working class towards political power. Thus, they founded their own competing "Fourth International". Throughout the better part of its existence, the Fourth International was hounded by agents of the Soviet secret police, repressed by capitalist countries such as France and the United States, and rejected by followers of the Soviet Union and later Maoism as illegitimate - a position these communists still hold today. The FI suffered a split in 1940 and an even more significant split in 1953. Despite a partial reunification in 1963, more than one group claims to represent the political continuity of the Fourth International. The broad array of Trotskyist Internationals are split over whether the Fourth International still exists and if so, which organisation represents its political continuity.

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Selected article 8

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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman title page from the first American edition

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a 1791 book of feminist philosophy by Mary Wollstonecraft. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to the educational and political theorists of the eighteenth century who wanted to deny women an education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men. Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly which stated that women should only receive a domestic education; she used her commentary on this specific event to launch a broad attack against sexual double standards and to indict men for encouraging women to indulge in excessive emotion. Wollstonecraft wrote the Rights of Woman hurriedly in order to respond directly to ongoing events; she intended to write a more thoughtful second volume, but she died before completing it.

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Selected article 9

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Crop diversification was carried out, phasing out rubber in favour of oil palms

The Second Malaysia Plan was an economic development plan set out by the government of Malaysia, with the goal of implementing the aims of the New Economic Policy. It aimed to "restructure" Malaysian society and overturn Chinese Malaysian and foreign hegemony in the economy of Malaysia so that the Malays would not be disadvantaged economically. Although the First Malaysia Plan had also set out to tackle the problem of poverty, especially among the Malays, it had not been very successful, and may have been a factor in the May 13 Incident when racial rioting broke out in Kuala Lumpur. The Second Malaysia Plan was regarded by some as excessive in its zeal to increase Malay participation in the economy, and the government accordingly scaled back the emphasis on restructuring the economy when the plan ended.

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Selected article 10

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The Political Cesspool is a weekly talk radio show founded by James Edwards, and syndicated by Liberty News Radio Network and Accent Radio Network. First broadcast in October 2004 twice a week from radio station WMQM, it is broadcast on Saturday nights on WLRM, a Christian radio station in Millington, Tennessee. Its sponsors include the white separatist Council of Conservative Citizens and the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial group. According to its statement of principles, the show stands for the "Dispossessed Majority" and represents "a philosophy that is pro-White." It has attracted criticism from multiple organizations for its promotion of anti-semitic, white nationalist and white supremacist views. The show features Edwards and his co-hosts Bill Rolen, Winston Smith, Keith Alexander, and Eddie Miller, as well as producer Art Frith. Its guests have included author Jerome Corsi, Minuteman Project leader Jim Gilchrist, former Constitution Party presidential candidate Michael Peroutka, actor Sonny Landham, British National Party leader Nick Griffin, Vermont secessionist Thomas Naylor, and paleoconservative activist Pat Buchanan.

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Selected article 11

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"The Power of Nightmares" title screen

The Power of Nightmares is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. The series consists of three one-hour films, consisting mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis's narration, which were first broadcast in the United Kingdom in late 2004 and have been subsequently aired in multiple countries and shown in several film festivals, including the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. The films compare the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and noting strong similarities between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organised force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is in fact a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries—and particularly American Neo-Conservatives—in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies. The Power of Nightmares has been praised by film critics in both Britain and the United States. Its message and content have also been the subject of various critiques and criticisms from conservatives and progressives.

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Selected article 12

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Current political map of India showing states and territories.

The political integration of India established a united nation for the first time in thousands of years from a plethora of princely states, colonial provinces and possessions. Despite partition, a new India arose above demographic distinctions to unite peoples of various geographic, economic, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. India was transformed after independence through political upheaval and ethnic discontent, and continues to evolve as a federal republic natural to its diversity. The process is defined by sensitive religious conflicts between Hindus and Muslims, diverse ethnic populations, as well as by geo-political rivalry and military conflicts with Pakistan and China. When the Indian independence movement succeeded in ending British Raj on 15 August 1947, India's leaders faced the prospect of inheriting a nation fragmented between medieval-era kingdoms and provinces organized by colonial powers. Under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of India's most respected freedom fighters and the Minister of Home Affairs, the new Government of India employed frank political negotiations backed with the option of military action to weld a nation.

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Selected article 13

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An ermine robe

The privilege of peerage is the body of special privileges belonging to members of the British peerage. It is distinct from Parliamentary privilege, which applies to those peers serving in the House of Lords, and members of the House of Commons, during and forty days before and after a Parliamentary session. The privileges have been lost and eroded over time. Only three survived into the 20th century: the right to be tried by other peers of the realm instead of juries of commoners, freedom from arrest in civil (but not criminal) cases, and access to the Sovereign to advise him or her on matters of state. The right to be tried by other peers was abolished in 1948. Legal opinion considers the right of freedom from arrest as obsolete. The remaining privilege was recommended for formal abolition in 1999, and may be retained, arguably, by peers whether members of the House of Lords or not. Peers have other rights that do not formally comprise the privilege of peerage. For example, they are entitled to use coronets and supporters on their achievements of arms.

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Selected article 14

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Debating chamber in Scottish Parliament building

The Scottish Parliament is the national unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Parliament is a democratically elected body with 129 members who are known as Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). Members are elected for four year terms under the proportional representation system. The original Parliament of Scotland was the national legislature of the independent Kingdom of Scotland and existed from the early thirteenth century until the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Following a referendum in 1997 where the Scottish people gave their consent, the current Parliament was established by the Scotland Act 1998 which sets out its powers as a devolved legislature. The Act delineated the areas in which it can make laws by explicitly specifying powers that are "reserved" to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. All matters that are not explicitly reserved are automatically the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. The UK Parliament retains the ability to amend the terms of reference of the Scottish Parliament, and can extend or reduce the areas in which it can make laws. The first meeting of the new Parliament took place on 12 May 1999.

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Selected article 15

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CEUNPA-supported logo of a UNPA

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is a proposed addition to the United Nations System that would allow for participation of member nations' legislators and, eventually, direct election of United Nations parliament members by citizens worldwide. The idea was raised at the League of Nations founding in the 1920s and again following the end of World War II in 1945, but remained dormant throughout the Cold War. In the 1990s and 2000s, the rise of global trade and the power of world organizations that govern it led to calls for a parliamentary assembly to scrutinize their activity. The International Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly was formed in 2007 to coordinate pro-UNPA efforts. Supporters have set forth possible UNPA implementations, including promulgation of a new treaty; creation of a UNPA as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly; and evolution of a UNPA from the Inter-Parliamentary Union or another nongovernmental organization. Several proposals for apportionment of votes have been raised to address disparities in UN members' population and economic power. CEUNPA advocates initially giving the UNPA advisory powers and gradually increasing its authority over the UN system. Opponents cite issues such as funding, voter turnout, and undemocratic UN member nations as reasons for abandoning the project altogether.

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Selected article 16

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Flag of the Central African Republic

The Saint-Sylvestre coup d'état was a coup d'état staged by Jean-Bédel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic army, and his military officers against the government of President David Dacko on 31 December 1965 and 1 January 1966. Dacko was aware that Bokassa had made plans to take over his government, and countered by forming the gendarmerie headed by Jean Izamo. Bokassa and his men started the coup on New Year's Eve in 1965 by first capturing Izamo and locking him in a cellar at Camp de Roux. They then occupied the capital, Bangui, and overpowered the gendarmerie and other resistance. After midnight, Dacko was arrested and forced to resign from office and then imprisoned at Camp Kassaï. According to official reports, eight people died while resisting the coup. Izamo was tortured to death within a month, but Dacko's life was spared due to foreign intervention. Soon after the coup, Bokassa dissolved the National Assembly, abolished the Constitution and issued a number of decrees, banning begging, female circumcision, and polygamy, among other things. Bokassa initially struggled to obtain international recognition for his regime, but the new government eventually obtained recognition from other African nations.

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Selected article 17

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John Edward Brownlee

The John Brownlee sex scandal occurred in 1934 in Alberta, Canada, and forced the resignation of Premier John Edward Brownlee. Brownlee was accused of seducing Vivian MacMillan, a family friend and a secretary for Brownlee's attorney-general, in 1930 when she was eighteen years old, and continuing the affair for three years. MacMillan claimed that the married premier had told her that she must have sex with him for his own sake and that of his invalid wife. She had, she testified, relented after physical and emotional pressure. Brownlee called her story a fabrication, and suggested that it was the result of a conspiracy by MacMillan, her would-be fiancé, and several of Brownlee's political opponents in the Alberta Liberal Party. MacMillan and her father sued Brownlee for seduction. After a sensational trial in June 1934, the six man jury found in favour of the plaintiffs, awarding them $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. In an unusual move, trial judge William Ives disregarded the jury's finding and dismissed the case. The Supreme Court of Canada eventually overturned the decision and awarded MacMillan $10,000 in damages. This award was affirmed by the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council, Canada's highest court of appeal at the time. All of this, however, was largely academic to Brownlee, who resigned after the jury's finding. During the next election, his United Farmers of Alberta were wiped out of the legislature, failing to retain a single seat.

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Selected article 18

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Oregon State Capitol, view from Capitol Mall

The Oregon State Capitol is the building housing the state legislature and the offices of the governor, secretary of state, and treasurer of the U.S. state of Oregon. It is located in the state capital, Salem. The current building, constructed in 1935 and expanded in 1977, is the third to house the Oregon state government since the state administration moved to Salem in 1852. Two former capitol buildings were destroyed by fire, one in 1855 and the other in 1935. New York architects Trowbridge & Livingston conceived the current structure's Art Deco design, in association with Francis Keally. Much of the interior and exterior are made of marble. The Oregon State Capitol was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. The Public Works Administration, part of the U.S. government, partially financed construction, which was completed during the Great Depression, in 1937. The building was erected at a cost of $2.5 million for the central portion of the building, which includes a dome of 166 feet (51 m).

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Selected article 19

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Edward II of England

The Ordinances of 1311 were a series of regulations imposed upon King Edward II by the peerage and clergy of the Kingdom of England to restrict the power of the king. The twenty-one signatories of the Ordinances are referred to as the Lords Ordainers. English setbacks in the Scottish war, combined with perceived extortionate royal fiscal policies, set the background for the writing of the Ordinances in which the administrative prerogatives of the king were largely appropriated by a baronial council. The Ordinances reflect the Provisions of Oxford and the Provisions of Westminster from the late 1250s, but unlike the Provisions, the Ordinances featured a new concern with fiscal reform, specifically redirecting revenues from the king's household to the exchequer. Just as instrumental to their conception were other issues, particularly discontent with the king's favourite, Piers Gaveston, whom the barons subsequently banished from the realm. Edward II accepted the Ordinances only under coercion, and a long struggle for their repeal ensued that did not end until Thomas of Lancaster – the leader of the Ordainers – was executed in 1322.

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Selected article 20

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Recruiting new members at The Ohio State University.

The College Republican National Committee is a national organization for college and university students who support the Republican Party of the United States. The organization is known as an active recruiting tool for the Republican Party and has produced many prominent Republican and conservative activists and introduced more party members to the Republican party than any other organization in the nation. The College Republicans were founded as the American Republican College League on May 17, 1892, at the University of Michigan. The organization was spear-headed by law student James Francis Burke, who would later serve as a Congressman from Pennsylvania. The inaugural meeting was attended by over 1,000 students from across the county, from Stanford University in the west to Harvard University in the east. Contemporary politicians also attended the meeting, including Judge John M. Thurston, Senator Russell A. Alger, Congressman J. Sloat Fassett, Congressman W. E. Mason, John M. Langston, and Abraham Lincoln's successor in the Illinois State Legislature, A. J. Lester. Then-Governor of Ohio William McKinley gave a rousing keynote speech.

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Selected article 21

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The Cultural Revolution Group (CRG) (Chinese: 中央文革小组) was formed in May 1966 as a replacement organisation to the Central Committee Secretariat and the "Five Man Group", and was initially directly responsible to the Standing Committee of the Politburo. It consisted mainly of radical supporters of Mao, including Chen Boda, the Chairman's wife Jiang Qing, Kang Sheng, Yao Wenyuan, Zhang Chunqiao, Wang Li and Xie Fuzhi. The CRG had a central role to play in the Cultural Revolution's first few years, and for a period of time the group replaced the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) as the de facto top power organ of China. Its members were also involved in many of the major events of the Cultural Revolution.

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Selected article 22

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Oliver Stone, director of JFK

JFK is a 1991 American film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and alleged subsequent cover-up through the eyes of former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (played by Kevin Costner). Garrison filed charges against New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones) for his alleged participation in a conspiracy to assassinate the president, for which Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) was found responsible by two Government investigations: the Warren Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (which concluded that there was another assassin shooting with Oswald). The film was adapted by Stone and Zachary Sklar from the books On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison and Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs. Stone described this account as a "counter-myth" to the "fictional myth" of the Warren Commission. The film became embroiled in controversy. Upon JFK's theatrical release, many major American newspapers ran editorials accusing Stone of taking liberties with historical facts, including the film's implication that President Lyndon B. Johnson was part of a coup d'état to kill Kennedy. After a slow start at the box office, Stone's film gradually picked up momentum, earning over $205 million in worldwide gross. JFK went on to win two Academy Awards and was nominated for eight in total, including Best Picture. The film was one of three films Stone made about the American Presidency, followed later by Nixon with Anthony Hopkins in the title role and W. with Josh Brolin as George W. Bush.

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The Latin American Boom (Boom latinoamericano) was a literary movement of the 1960s and 1970s when the work of a group of relatively youthful Latin American novelists became widely circulated in Europe and throughout the world. The Boom is most closely associated with Julio Cortázar of Argentina, Carlos Fuentes of Mexico, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru, and Gabriel García Márquez of Colombia; but it also brought fame to older writers like Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda and Ernesto Sábato. Influenced by European and North American Modernism, but also by the Latin American Vanguardia movement, these writers challenged the established conventions of Latin American literature. Their work is experimental and, owing to the political climate of the Latin America of the 1960s, often very political. "It is no exaggeration", critic Gerald Martin writes, "to state that if the Southern continent was known for two things above all others in the 1960s, these were, first and foremost, the Cuban Revolution and its impact both on Latin America and the Third World generally, and secondly, the Boom in Latin American fiction, whose rise and fall coincided with the rise and fall of liberal perceptions of Cuba between 1959 and 1971." The sudden success of the Boom authors was in large part because their works were among the first Latin American novels to be published in Europe, by publishing houses such as Barcelona's avant-garde Seix Barral in Spain. Indeed, Frederick M. Nunn writes that "Latin American novelists became world famous through their writing and their advocacy of political and social action, and because many of them had the good fortune to reach markets and audiences beyond Latin America through translation and travel—and sometimes through exile."

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Selected article 24

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Facsimile of the Act of February 16

The Act of Independence of Lithuania was signed by the Council of Lithuania on 16 February 1918, proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania, governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital. The act was signed by all twenty members of the council, chaired by Jonas Basanavičius. The act of 16 February was the end result of a series of resolutions on the issue, including one issued by the Vilnius Conference and the act of 8 January. The path to the act was long and complex because the German Empire exerted pressure on the council to form an alliance. The Council had to carefully manoeuvre between the Germans, whose troops were present in Lithuania, and the demands of the Lithuanian people. While the act's original document has been lost, its legacy continues. The laconic act is the legal basis for the existence of modern Lithuania, both during the interwar period and since 1990. The act formulated the basic constitutional principles that were and still are followed by all Constitutions of Lithuania. The act itself was a key element in the foundation of Lithuania's Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, adopted on 11 March 1990. Lithuania, breaking away from the Soviet Union, stressed that it was simply re-establishing the independent state that existed between the world wars and that the act never lost its legal power.

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A 2007 concert in Minsk hosted by the BRSM

The Belarusian Republican Youth Union is an organized youth group in the Eastern European country of Belarus. The goals of the BRSM are to promote patriotism and to instill individual moral values into the youth of Belarus, using activities such as camping, sporting events and visiting memorials. The organization, which was created by a merger of other youth groups in 2002, is the successor of the Leninist Communist Youth League of the Belorussian SSR. While it is only one of a few youth groups inside Belarus, it is the largest and receives much backing from the Belarusian government. The BRSM has been accused of using methods of coercion and empty promises to recruit members and of being used as a propaganda tool by the Lukashenko Government.

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Elizabeth II

The monarchy of the United Kingdom is a system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The terms British monarch and British monarchy may mean different things in different contexts beyond the United Kingdom. The present monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952. The heir apparent is her eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales and Duke of Rothesay. They and the Queen's husband and consort, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, undertake various public duties in accordance with their positions. Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth and also reigns as head of state of 15 other Commonwealth countries. This developed from the former colonial relationship of these countries to Britain, but they are now independent and the monarchy of each is legally distinct.

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Stephen F. Austin was elected president of the Convention of 1832.

The Convention of 1832 was the first political gathering of colonists in Mexican Texas. Delegates sought reforms from the Mexican government and hoped to quell the widespread belief that settlers in Texas wished to secede from Mexico. The convention was the first of a series of unsuccessful attempts at political negotiation that eventually led to the Texas Revolution. On October 1, 1832, 55 political delegates met at San Felipe de Austin to petition for changes in the governance of Texas. Notably absent was any representation from San Antonio de Béxar, where many of the native Mexican settlers (Tejanos) lived. The delegates elected Stephen F. Austin (pictured), a highly respected immigrant, as president of the convention. Delegates passed a series of resolutions requesting, among other things, a repeal of the immigration restrictions, a three-year exclusion from custom duties enforcement, permission to form an armed militia and independent statehood. They also voted themselves the power to call future conventions. Before the petition could be delivered to Mexico City, the political chief of Texas, Ramón Músquiz, ruled that the convention was illegal and annulled the resolutions. In a compromise, the ayuntamiento (city council) of San Antonio de Béxar drafted a new petition with similar language to the convention resolutions and submitted it through proper legal channels. Músquiz forwarded the new document to the Mexican Congress. (more...)

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Flag of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang

The Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang is a revolutionary socialist political party that sought independence from French colonial rule in Vietnam during the early 20th century. Its origins lie in the mid-1920s, when a group of young Hanoi-based intellectuals began publishing revolutionary material. From 1928, the VNQDD attracted attention through its assassinations of French officials and Vietnamese collaborators. Under increasing French pressure, the VNQDD leadership switched tack, replacing a strategy of isolated clandestine attacks against individuals with a plan to expel the French in a single blow with a large-scale popular uprising. After stockpiling home-made weapons, the VNQDD launched an uprising on 10 February 1930 at Yen Bai with the aim of sparking a widespread revolt. The mutiny was quickly put down, with heavy French retribution. Nguyen Thai Hoc and other leading figures were captured and executed and the VNQDD never regained its political strength in the country. During the 1930s, the party was eclipsed by Ho Chi Minh's Indochinese Communist Party (ICP). Vietnam was occupied by Japan during World War II and, in the chaos that followed the Japanese surrender in 1945, the VNQDD and the ICP briefly joined forces in the fight for Vietnamese independence. However, after a falling out, Ho purged the VNQDD, leaving his communist-dominated Vietminh unchallenged as the foremost anti-colonial militant organisation.

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The National Assembly of Wallachia in 1837

Regulamentul Organic was a quasi-constitutional organic law enforced in 1831–1832 by the Imperial Russian authorities in Moldavia and Wallachia (the two Danubian Principalities that were to become the basis of the modern Romanian state). The official onset of a common Russian protectorate lasting until 1854, and itself officially in place until 1858, the document signified a partial confirmation of traditional government (including rule by the hospodars). Conservative in its scope, it also engendered a period of unprecedented reforms which provided a setting for the Westernization of local society. The Regulament offered the two Principalities their first common system of government.

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Flag of the German Empire

The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. Princes of the German states gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor Wilhelm of the German Empire after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War. Unofficially, the transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states occurred over nearly a century of experimentation. Unification exposed several glaring religious, linguistic, and cultural differences between and among the inhabitants of the new nation, suggesting that 1871 really only represents one moment in a continuum of the larger unification processes. Historians debate whether or not Otto von Bismarck, the Minister President of Prussia, had a master-plan to expand the North German Confederation of 1866 to include the remaining independent German states into a single entity, or whether he simply sought to expand the power of the Kingdom of Prussia. They conclude that factors in addition to the strength of Bismarck's Realpolitik led a collection of early modern polities to reorganize political, economic, military and diplomatic relationships in the 19th century. By establishing a Germany without Austria, the political and administrative unification in 1871 at least temporarily solved the problem of German dualism.

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Flag of the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization established on 24 October 1945 to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN Headquarters is situated in Manhattan, New York City and enjoys extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. During the Second World War, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated talks on a successor agency to the League of Nations, and the United Nations Charter was drafted at a conference in April–June 1945; this charter took effect on 24 October 1945, and the UN began operation. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work. The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and a number of its officers and agencies have also been awarded the prize. Other evaluations of the UN's effectiveness have been mixed. Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, corrupt, or biased.

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