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Russia: Reject Restrictions on Peaceful Assembly

Human Rights Watch - The upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, has today endorsed with unusual speed a set of restrictive amendments to the law on public rallies and the administrative code. The State Duma, or lower parliamentary chamber, had adopted the amendments in both their second and third (final) readings on June 5. The bill will become law after signature by President Vladimir Putin.  Read more.

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Every autumn, Victorians swarmed into the woods to collect ferns. From the 1850s until Queen Victoria’s demise, pteridomania (meaning “fern mania”) engulfed Victorians on both sides of the Atlantic. Almost every house had a potted fern. Those who could afford to, kept rare fern varieties “under the ample bell-glass, or in the Wardian case… to enliven the parlor window in the wintry season of the year.”  There were fern books, fern societies, and florists bulked out floral arrangements with ferns. Fern-collecting went beyond past-time to become an occupation.  Read more.