Julian Assange’s extradition appeal, Alexei Navalny’s death, Tamil Nadu budget, and more | The week in 5 charts

Here are five charts that will help you understand some of the key stories from last week

Updated - February 25, 2024 03:30 pm IST

Published - February 25, 2024 01:44 pm IST

(1) Julian Assange begins his appeal to stop his extradition from Britain to the United States, (2) Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most famous opposition leader, died on February 16, (3) India slips in world’s most powerful passports ranking, (4) Oppenheimer won seven prizes at the 77th BAFTAs. 

(1) Julian Assange begins his appeal to stop his extradition from Britain to the United States, (2) Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most famous opposition leader, died on February 16, (3) India slips in world’s most powerful passports ranking, (4) Oppenheimer won seven prizes at the 77th BAFTAs. 

(1) Alexei Navalny reported dead in jail

Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most famous opposition leader, died on February 16 after collapsing and losing consciousness at the penal colony north of the Arctic Circle where he was serving a long jail term, the Russian prison service said.

Also Read | Death of dissent: The Hindu’s Editorial on Putin’s Russia today

Navalny rose to prominence more than a decade ago by lampooning President Vladimir Putin and the Russian elite whom he accused of vast corruption, avarice and opulence.

Western governments and Russian opposition figures said the Kremlin was responsible for Navalny’s death. U.S. President Joe Biden said he was “not surprised” but “outraged” after the reported death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. “He bravely stood up to the corruption, the violence and all the bad things the Putin government was doing.

Also Read | Who are other Russian dissidents besides the late Alexei Navalny?

Navalny’s exposes, posted on his YouTube channel racked up millions of views and brought tens of thousands of Russians to the streets, despite Russia’s harsh anti-protests laws.” He was jailed in early 2021 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he was recuperating from a near-fatal poisoning attack with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent.

I will continue the work of Alexei Navalny. I will continue to fight for the freedom of our country,” Yulia Navalnaya, Alexei Navalny’s widow, said. “And I call on you to stand by me. Putin took from me the most valuable thing that I had, the closest and most loved person. But Putin also took Navalny from you.”

(2) Tamil Nadu Budget 2024-25 focuses on pro-poor measures

Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Finance Minister Thangam Thenarasu presented Tamil Nadu’s budget for 2024-25, which focused on inclusive growth, pro-poor measures, infrastructure development and allocation for various ongoing welfare schemes, amid a tight financial situation and took a glide path of fiscal consolidation.

Also Read | Seven ideals form bedrock of Tamil Nadu Budget 2024

He announced that the State government will launch Chief Minister’s Thayumanavar scheme to rescue around five lakh of the poorest families from poverty and Kalaignarin Kanavu Illam scheme to create a ‘Hut-Free Tamil Nadu’ by 2030, besides Tholkudi scheme to upgrade the basic amenities in tribal habitations and improve their living standards.

Also Read | A Budget loaded with literary and historical references

On the education front, the Minister announced “Tamizh Pudhalvan” scheme which would provide a monthly assistance of ₹1,000 to boys who have studied in Government schools from 6 th to 12th standard and said the government will cover all educational expenses including tuition and hostel fees for transgender individuals who want to pursue higher education.

Fiscal Year 2023-24 has been challenging for the State’s finances, owing to the heavy floods in Chennai and southern districts.

(3) Julian Assange appeals against extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange begins what could be his last chance to stop his extradition from Britain to the United States on February 20 after more than 13 years battling the authorities in the English courts. U.S. prosecutors are seeking to put Assange (52) on trial on 18 counts relating to WikiLeaks’ high-profile release of vast troves of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables.

Also read | What’s next in Julian Assange’s extradition appeal? | Explained

They argue that the leaks imperilled the lives of their agents and there is no excuse for his criminality. Assange’s many supporters hail him as an anti-establishment hero and a journalist, who is being persecuted for exposing U.S. wrongdoing and committing alleged war crimes.

Assange’s legal battles began in 2010, and he subsequently spent seven years holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London before he was dragged out and jailed in 2019 for breaching bail conditions. He has been held in a maximum-security jail in southeast London ever since, even getting married there.

Also read | Julian Assange: A journalist or an enemy of the U.S. State?

Britain finally approved his extradition to the U.S. in 2022 after a judge initially blocked it because concerns about his mental health meant he would be at risk of suicide if deported.

Following are some key events and details in Assange’s life:

(4) BAFTA Awards 2024: ‘Oppenheimer’ wins seven prizes

Atom bomb epic Oppenheimer won seven prizes, including best picture, director, and actor, at the 77th British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, cementing its front-runner status for the Oscars next month. Gothic fantasy Poor Things took five prizes and Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest won three.

British-born filmmaker Christopher Nolan won his first Best Director BAFTA for Oppenheimer,” and Irish performer Cillian Murphy won the Best Actor prize for playing physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb.

Also read | BAFTA Awards 2024: Deepika Padukone presents Jonathan Glazer with award

Emma Stone was named Best Actress for playing the wild and spirited Bella Baxter in Poor Things, a steampunk-style visual extravaganza that won prizes for visual effects, production design, makeup, and hair and costume design. Oppenheimer had a field-leading 13 nominations but missed out on the record of nine trophies, set in 1971 by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

It won the best film race against Poor Things, Killers of the Flower Moon, Anatomy of a Fall, and The Holdovers. Oppenheimer also scooped trophies for editing, cinematography, and musical score, as well as the Best Supporting Actor prize for Robert Downey Jr., who played Atomic Energy Commission head Lewis Strauss. Da’Vine Joy Randolph was named Best Supporting Actress for playing a boarding school cook in The Holdovers and said she felt a “responsibility I don’t take lightly” to tell the stories of underrepresented people like her character Mary.

Ukraine war documentary 20 Days in Mariupol, produced by The Associated Press and PBS Frontline, won the prize for best documentary.

(5) India’s Passport Index rank slips to 85

In the recently-released Henley Passport Index of 2024, India’s ranking slipped by one spot compared to last year. Currently, India is ranked 85th on the list, where France shared the top spot with Germany, Italy, Spain, Singapore, and Japan. Indian passport holders can travel to 64 countries visa-free, whereas those with a French, German, Italian, Japanese, Singaporean, or Spanish passport can visit 194 destinations visa-free.

India’s best ranking was in 2006, when it was 71st. But India’s ranking has improved since 2021, when it was ranked 90th. Since 2022, India’s rank on the passport index has slipped by one spot consecutively from 83rd in 2022, to 84th in 2023.

Apart from where Indian passport holders can travel visa-free, the map below also shows where Indian passport holders are eligible to get visa-on-arrival.

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