Saturday, February 28, 2015

#CANADA: Frmr. Liberal Leadership Contender Defects To Greens

[world politics news]

Deborah Coyne — Justin Trudeau’s erstwhile leadership rival and mother of his half-sister — has joined the Green party. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has appointed Coyne, a constitutional lawyer, to be her senior policy adviser.

Friday, February 27, 2015

#DENMARK: Gov't Moves To Ban Radical Islamic Group Seeking Worldwide Caliphate

[world politics news]

Danish politicians want to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group that openly supports the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. A political majority is calling on the  prosecutor office to band the group, which is already banned in Germany and a number of other countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Russia and China.

#SWITZERLAND: Cabinet Proposes Bill To Restrict EU Immigration

[world politics news]

The Swiss government has presented a bill for new quotas on immigration from the European Union, a year after voters narrowly approved such curbs and put the country on a collision course with Brussels. The bill will first be submitted to political parties, professional organizations, unions and others for consultation.

Pictured: Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga

#IRELAND: "Low Pay" Commission Will Assess Minimum Wage Annually

[world politics news]

A "Low Pay Commission" has been launched to assess the rate of the national minimum wage on an annual basis. Currently set at €8.65, the pay rate has not been amended since 2007. A person on the minimum adult wage can expect to earn approximately €340 for a 40 hour week, around €17,992 per year

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#LITHUANA: Military Conscription Re-Introduced In Face Of Russian Threat

[world politics news]

Lithuania plans to restart military conscription, which it ended in 2008, to address growing concerns about Russian assertiveness in the region, says President Dalia Grybauskaitė. The Baltic states are concerned that Russian annexation of Crimea and support for east Ukraine's rebels may lead to Russia reasserting itself in other former Soviet territories.

#GERMANY: Conservatives In Merkel's Party Demand Vote, Tough Terms For Greek Bailout

[world politics news]

A group of hardliners among German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have urged lawmakers to take a tough stance on a loan extension to Greece. They have publicly warned against being too lenient on Greece, underscoring misgivings about the loan extension among Merkel's Christian Democrats.

#AUSTRIA: 1912 Law Recognizing Islam Amended To Ban Foreign Funding For Mosques And Imams

[world politics news]

The Austrian parliament has passed controversial reforms to the country's century-old law on Islam. The bill, which is partly aimed at tackling Islamist radicalism, gives Muslims more legal security but bans foreign funding for mosques and imams. The 1912 law made Islam an official religion in Austria.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#SPAIN: Podemos Party Denies It's Being Funded By Latin American Gov'ts

[world politics news]

Juan Carlos Monedero, a founder of Spanish Podemos Party, has denied accusations the party was financed by left-wing Latin American governments, saying he's the victim of a "witch hunt." Spanish media reported last month that he received 425,000 euros ($480,000) in 2013 from Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#IVORYCOAST: Frmr First Lady Goes On Trial For Inciting Violence Over Husband's Failed 2010 Election Bid

[world politics news]

Ivory Coast's former first lady Simone Gbagbo appeared in court for the first time Monday, accused of undermining state security during rioting following the 2010 election, in which her husband Laurent Gbagbo lost, sparking 5 months of violence and 3,000 deaths.

#THAILAND: Two Students Sentenced to Jail For Play Allegedly Insulting King

[world politics news]

Two students were jailed for 2 1/2 years each for allegedly insulting the king in a school play. The play, set in a fictional kingdom, featured a king and his advisers. It's a crime under the military-backed Junta-ruled government to insult or defame the king, an ailing 87-year-old.

#JAPAN: PM Abe Forced To Defend Playing Golf During ISIS Hostage Crisis

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has responded to criticism in the Diet about his playing golf and attending concerts in late December after he had been informed that two Japanese were being held hostage by Islamic State extremists. Abe replied to criticism saying that, "Taking care of my physical and mental health is vital to my job."

Monday, February 23, 2015

#VENEZUELA: Caracas Mayor Arrested Over Alleged Coup Plot

[world politics news]

Venezuelan intelligence agents have arrested opposition leader and Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma amid accusations of his involvement in a coup attempt against President Nicolas Maduro, who frequently denounces alleged coup plots by opposition leaders, usually without presenting concrete evidence.

#AUSTRALIA: PM #TonyAbbott Survives Leadership Challenge

[world politics news]

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott survived a challenge to his leadership on Monday after his ruling Liberal Party voted 61-39 to defeat a motion to unseat him after weeks of infighting, but the attempted revolt appears likely to weaken his grip on power.

#ITALY: Parliament To Vote Friday On Recognition of Palestinian State

[world politics news]

The Italian parliament will vote whether to recognize the State of Palestine on Friday, Feb. 27. Premier Matteo’s Renzi’s Democratic Party has said it would vote in favour, Ansa reported. However, the lower house vote may be postponed until March 3 if the government calls for a vote of confidence on a separate issue.

#GREECE: #EU, Greece Reach Temporary 4-Month Deal To Avert Fiscal Crisis

[world politics news]

European finance ministers have agreed in principle to extend Greece's financial rescue by four months, averting a potential cash crunch in March that could have forced the country out of the currency area.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

#UKRAINE: German Foreign Min. Warns Against Escalation By Separatists

[world politics news]

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned Sunday in comments to the Bild newspaper that any attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol would be a clear violation of a week-old ceasefire accord. The truce seemed to be holding on Sunday.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

#CANADA: MP Excuses His Absence After Vote By Claiming Tight Underwear

[world politics news]

Winnipeg MP Pat Martin left his seat “briefly” after voting on a procedural motion to adjourn debate Thursday. When Conservatives asked the speaker whether Martin’s departure would mean his vote doesn;t count, Martin rose and told the House he’d left due to his tight underwear, which he'd bought on sale.

Video of Martin's statement:

#MONGOLIA: Parliament To Approve Private Casinos To Attract Chinese High-Rollers, Boost Economy

[world politics news]

Mongolia's parliament may vote as early as this week on draft legislation to develop multi-billion dollar casinos to lure gamblers away from hubs like Macau, seeking to stimulate a slumping economy and diversify away from the mining industry.

#FRANCE: PM Valls Pushes Pro-Business Economic Reforms Through Parliament Without A Vote

[world politics news]

France's prime minister will push a key package of pro-business economic reforms through parliament without a vote, in a move that could spark a confidence vote in the government, which is the only way the action can be overturned. Socialists in his own party say the measure are too pro-business.

Friday, February 20, 2015

#JAPAN: Gov't To Make Parliament Approval For Use Of Self-Defense Forces Mandatory

[world politics news]

The Abe government is proposing to make parliamentary approval mandatory for the overseas dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces. The legislation would allow the SDF to be deployed to provide logistic support for foreign forces, and includes exceptions for when the Diet is not in session, possibly leading to some opposition.

ISRAEL: Ahead of Congressional Speech, #Netanyahu Says Iran Deal "Bad" for Israel

[world politics news]

PM Benjamin Netanyahu has struck out at the Obama administration, saying that a nuclear deal that’s being forged between the United States and Iran - a deal largely negotiated behind closed doors - is no good. His comments come weeks before a controversial speech to the US Congress.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#SWITZERLAND: Parliament To Question Financial Watchdog, May Launch Invest. Into HSBC Tax Evasion

[world politics news]

Swiss lawmakers plan to question the country's financial watchdog about HSBC's Swiss bank to determine whether parliament needs to take a more active role in investigation of a trove of details on alleged tax evasion by some of the bank's wealthy clients.

#GREECE: #Germany Rejects Greek Request For Loan To Replace Severe Austerity Plan

[world politics news]

Germany has rejected a Greek request for a six-month extension to its EU loan. Greece had sought a new six-month package, rather than a renewal of the existing deal that comes with tough austerity conditions that have devastated its economy. Greece now has one day to reach a new deal.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#CANADA: #JustinTrudeau Wants Right-To-Die Debate After Ct. Strikes Down Ban

[world politics news]

Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau is calling on the Harper government to launch a debate on doctor-assisted suicide after the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a nationwide ban two weeks ago for patients who are mentally competent but suffering irremediable ailments.

#GREECE: EU Issues Greece An Ultimatum Over Extending Bailout Deal

[world politics news]

1000.jpg (620×450)

Greek officials are "cautiously optimistic" about a deal extending the EU's bailout of the troubled nation, just 10 days before their current deal expires. The EU hopes Greece will extend the deal six months, but Greece's new government, saying it's suffering under severe austerity measures, wants a loan deal instead.

#LIBYA: Arab States Seek UN Resolution Allowing Arming Legally Recognized Gov't

[world politics news]

Arab states Wednesday are seeking a U.N. resolution to end an embargo on weapon sales to Libya's internationally recognized government. Egypt is pushing for action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Libya after they released a video showing the beheadings of Egyptian Christians.

#NORTHERNIRELAND: Tribunal Rules That Obese Man Entitled To Disability Benefits

[world politics news]

A Belfast employment tribunal has found obese workers in Northern Ireland are entitled to the same protection as the disabled if they are subjected to humiliating, degrading or violating treatment. It follows a 2014 European Court of Justice ruling that obesity was not a disability - but they would be legally protected if they had a long-term impairment because of it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#EGYPT: More Than 5,300 Candidates Register To Run For 567-Seat Parliament

[world politics news]

More than 5,300 candidates have registered to run in March in the first round of elections to Egypt's 567-member parliament. Not among them are Muslim Brotherhood candidates, who are banned from running. 420 seats are being reserved for independents.

#CHINA: Pres. Xi Urges Poverty Program For Historic "Revolutionary Base Areas"

[world politics news]

Touring "Revolutionary Base Areas" - regions used by Mao's army during the Chinese Revolution as military strongholds in difficult terrain - Pres. Xi Jinping said he wants to end poverty in these areas and improve local people's standard of living.

#UK: UKIP's Farage On Video Calls N. Ireland Peace Process "Loathesome Surrender To Murderers"

[world politics news]

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has been seen on a YouTube video criticizing the Northern Ireland peace process. The process led to a prisoner release and a unity government which he called a "loathsome surrender to murderers." The peace deal ended decades of terror and fighting in Northern Ireland.

Monday, February 16, 2015

#EGYPT: Bedouin Candidate From South Sinai The Only Female Seeking Election to Parliament

[world politics news]

Daily News Egypt interviewed Na’sa Ibrahim, a female Bedouin activist from South Sinai who will run individually for a seat. Part of the Al-Oliakat tribe, Na’sa is the only female candidate to run for parliament. She presented her official papers to the court Saturday.

#RUSSIA: Duma Considers Declaring Khrushchev's 1954 "Gift" of #Crimea to #Ukraine Illegal

[world politics news]

Legislators are considering proposals to declare the 1954 transfer of Crimea to Ukraine by Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev illegal,  strengthening Russia's claim to the region, which it annexed last year from Ukraine. The transfer was a "gift" by Khruschev to Ukraine, both of which were Soviet regions at the time.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

#IRELAND: Sinn Féin Lawmakers Set To Block Naming Of Overpass For Slain Journalist

[world politics news]

Sinn Féin representatives on South Dublin County Council have objected to the proposal to name an overpass after a journalist killed in gang violence, saying it would "create a hierarchy of victims" of gangland crime. The idea of naming the overpass in Dublin is supported by the nation's transportation secretary.

#USA: California Lawmakers Consider Making Childhood Vaccinations Mandatory

[world politics news]

California lawmakers are proposing a bill requiring parents to vaccinate all schoolchildren, unless the child is in danger. Parents would no longer be able to cite personal beliefs or religions reasons to send unvaccinated children to private and public schools. The move comes after a measles outbreak at California's Disneyland.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

#TURKEY: Bill Would Allow PM, Cabinet Members, To Ban Websites for 24 Hours Without Court Order Citing "National Security"

[world politics news]

The government is working on legislation granting the prime minister or a member of Cabinet the power to ban a website for 24 hours without a court order when public order or national security are at stake. The bill was submitted by deputies of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

#ARGENTINA: Slain Prosecutor's Case Against Pres. Kirchner To Go Forward, Says Judge

[world politics news]

A Federal prosecutor is seeking to investigate Pres. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in a case involving an alleged cover-up of Iran's role in the 1994 Jewish Center bombing. The original complaint was filed by late prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who drafted an arrest warrant for Kirchner the day before dying mysteriously.

#BAHRAIN: TV Station Banned By Gov't After It Interviews Dissidents

[world politics news]
Billionaire Al-Waleed Ben Talal’s TV news channel, Al-Arab (The Arabs) was banned on its second day, after it interviewed a Bahraini dissident critical of the government's decision to revoke the citizenship of 72 nationals. The new station said it would break the mold of news reporting and would be unbiased.

#UK: Scottish First Minister Criticizes Plan To Devolve Powers To Scotland As "Watered Down"

[world politics news]

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has criticized a UK proposal to devolve more powers to Scotland published this week as "watered down" and she says it does not fulfill Westminster's pre-referendum promises of significant devolution of powers from the United Kingdom to Scotland.

Friday, February 13, 2015

#TRINIDADANDTOBAGO: Spokesman Warns Legislation Will Destroy Credit Unions; Raise Interest Rates

[world politics news]

A spokesman for the country's credit unions says proposed legislation to change regulations on credit unions would cause administrative burdens and higher financial cost for the organisations, leading to their collapse and higher interest rates. His group has planned protests against the 2014 bills.

#AUSTRALIA: Changes To Racial Discrimination Act Would Mean No Longer Illegal To "Insult" Or "Offend" Based On Race

[world politics news]

A parliamentary committee has ruled that a change in Australia's Racial Discrimination Act proposed by Sen. Bob Day to remove the words "insult" and "offend" would not contravene treaties. Removing the words mean it would no longer be a crime to offend or insult someone based on their racial background.

#UKRAINE: Parliament Fires Top Prosecutor For Lack of Reform

[world politics news]

Parliament has acted on Pres.  Poroshenko's request to dismiss General Prosecutor Vitaliy Yarema from office for his failure to bring reform and justice after last year's revolution. Significant government reform is one of the terms of Ukraine's agreements with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for billions in financial aid.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#UKRAINE: Peace Deal Between Putin and Ukraine; Troops Pull Back Sunday

[world politics news]

Leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany have agreed on a cease-fire in Ukraine for midnight Sunday, followed by a troop pull-back from disputed areas. The deal was reached following overnight talks between Putin, his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Minsk.

#USA: House Dems May "Skip" But Not "Boycott" #Netanyahu Speech, Says #Pelosi

[world politics news]

There will be no "boycott" of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before Congress next month, says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but while she downplayed reports of an organized protest, she suggested some lawmakers might just be "too busy" to attend. And at least two Democrats have already decided they won't be on hand.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

#USA: Obama Set to Ask Congress for War Powers to Fight ISIS; Limits on Ground Forces

[world politics news]

Pres. Obama will soon give Congress his proposal for a new authorization for the use of military force against Islamic State fighters, and it will place strict limits on the types of U.S. ground forces that can be deployed, say congressional sources.

#GERMANY: Jewish Groups Slam Gov't Anti-Semitism Commission For Failing to Include Jews

[world politics news]

Jewish groups are criticizing the German government for creating a new commission on anti-Semitism without including a single Jew. The Interior Ministry did not include any Jewish scientists or community leaders on the commission it created to fight anti-Semitism and support Jewish life. One leader called it a "unique scandal."
photo: Berlin's "New" Synagogue, built in the 1860s. From Trip Advisor.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

#ISRAEL: #Netanyahu Determined to Give US Congress Speech After Week of Criticism

[world politics news]

PM Benjamin Netanyahu has told Likud Party loyalists he is determined to make a speech before the US Congress about Iran policy after a week of criticism from the Obama Administration and others concerned the move is too political and suggestions he speak to closed session of Congress.

#RUSSIA: Officials Warn Europeans About Using "Ultimatum Language" Against #Putin

[world politics news]

The Kremlin is warning Europeans not to issue ultimatums against Vladimir Putin as they sit to negotiate a cease-fire in Ukraine Wednesday. Reports said German Chancellor Angela Merkel had given him until Wednesday to agree a peace plan over Ukraine or face brutal new European sanctions as the war escalates.

#NORTHERNIRELAND: Health Min. Wants to Same Minimum Alcohol Pricing As Ireland's

[world politics news]

Health Minister Jim Wells has vowed to work with the Republic to end the difference between alcohol prices on both sides of the border. Despite the euro dropping in value, the price of alcohol in Northern Ireland is still cheaper than south of the border.

Monday, February 09, 2015

#CANADA: Ag Min. Hopeful Of Avoiding Trade War With USA Over Regulatory Policy

[world politics news]

The Canadian government is optimistic it  can avert a trade war with the United States in a long-standing dispute over agricultural products. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says he likes what he heard this week during a trip to Washington, and senses a willingness to adjust a U.S. regulatory policy at the heart of the dispute.

#GREECE: PM #AlexisTsipras Seeks Bridge Loan To Replace EU Austerity Plan; Seeks WW2 Reparations from Germany

[world politics news]

New PM Alexis Tsipras says Greece will seek a bridge loan rather than an extension of its bailout from the EU, which is due to end this month. Addressing parliament, Tsipras said Greece would also seek wartime reparations from Germany for the occupation of Greece.