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As Belarus’s Central Bank devalues the ruble, the European Union has expanded sanctions and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) invokes human rights mechanism. Mike Harris reports
Google lifted some of its restrictions for on-line users in Iran on 21 January. Google unblocked access to Google Chrome, Google Earth and Picasa, previously US trade sanctions had prevented Iranian users from accessing the site. The restrictions are still in place for users linked to the Iranian government.
The United States’ sanctions against Belarus have been extended for one year in the hope of pushing for democratic reform. A White House spokesman reported that the executive order stood in opposition to corruption, censorship and human rights abuses. Despite acknowledging the 2008 release of three political prisoners, the report emphasised that “serious challenges remain”.