Thursday, April 30, 2015

#GREECE: PM Tsipras Threatens Referendum If A Good Deal Isn't Reached With EU In May

[world politics news]

If Greece can't reach a compromise with its European creditors that fits with the main governing party's election promises, it will be put to a referendum, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Monday night on Greek TV.

#USA: Jeb Bush Endorses Puerto Rican Statehood In Spanish-Language Speech On Island

[world politics news]

On a trip to Puerto Rico before his final decision on whether to seek the presidency, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in a Spanish-language speech, endorsed Puerto Rican statehood. Many Republicans oppose full statehood for the territory, fearing it will elect Democrats.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#CROATIA: Pres. Grabar-Kitarovic Urges Adoption Of Euro Currency By 2020; PM, Cabinet Disagree

[world politics news]

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said she sees her country adopting the euro by 2020 after emerging from a six-year recession, even as the government refuses to set a date.

#UK: #UKIP Leader #NigelFarage Is "Bored" With Media Portrayal Of UKIP As Racist

[world politics news]

UK Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage says he's "really rather bored" with the media's "obsession" that depicts UKIP as a racist party. Labour's Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna asserted recently that a "virus of racism" runs through UKIP. Farage says that's "complete and utter rubbish". He told a reporter, "Your media obsession with attempting to paint UKIP out to be a racist party is something I'm getting really rather bored of."

#THAILAND: Political Parties Get Draft Constitution For Review; Current Law Forbids Them From Meeting To Debate It

[world politics news]

The draft constitution went to political parties for review today, but with a catch: They are forbidden from meeting to debate the proposed charter. Even though martial law has been lifted, political gatherings of five or more people are still prohibited. Critics say the constitution will weaken political parties.

Pictured: National Reform Council chairman Thienchay Kiranandana and other NRC members receive copies of the first draft of the new constitution from the Constitution Drafting Committee at parliament April 7

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#USA: Hawaiian Lawmakers Raise Tobacco And e-Cigarette Purchase Age To 21

[world politics news]

A bill to increase the age restriction on tobacco products in Hawaii is headed to the governor. Senate Bill 1030 would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to sell, possess, consume or purchase tobacco products or electric smoking devices in Hawaii. It would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

#UK: Welsh Legislators Fear UK Will Abolish Welsh Assembly; Academics Unconcerned

[world politics news]

An academic at a Welsh think tank added that fears of the Assembly being abolished were not credible, despite concerns raised by legislators that a future UK government could easily eliminate the body, rather than increase its powers through greater devolution.

#EGYPT: Daylight Savings Time Cancelled By PM After Poll Showed Unpopularity

[world politics news]

Responding to a recent poll showing 70% of Egyptians did not like Daylight Savings Time, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb says clocks will not "Spring ahead" this year. It was also cancelled in 2011. A study showed the country hasn't saved fuel from moving its clocks, a main argument for DST.

Monday, April 27, 2015

#SUDAN: Pres. Omar al-Bashir Extends 26-Year Reign With 95% Of Vote

[world politics news]

Pres. Omar al-Bashir was re-elected with 94.5 per cent of the vote in a national election yesterday. Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, seized power in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup, and won re-election in a widely criticized 2010 election marred by an opposition boycott.

Pictured: Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (left) with his Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein

#ECUADOR: Legislators Debate Law That Would Legalize, Regulate Marijuana

[world politics news]

A new bill in Ecuador seeks to change the public-policy paradigm on drug use in the country by decriminalizing  and regulating the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs, substituting "information" about them in place of criminal charges.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

#VIETNAM: National Assembly Debates Internet Security Law, Cracks Down On Spam

[world politics news]

Vietnam's National Assembly is debating a draft internet security law that would address cyber attacks, rampant junk email-ad and text messages, suspicious software, and personal information protection.

#UK: After Political Firestorm, Labour's #Miliband Rules Out Informal Coalition Arrangement With SNP

[world politics news]

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has ruled out a deal with the Scottish National Party after the general election, following a firestorm of criticism from the Conservatives. Asked if he would negotiate with SNP in the event of a hung parliament, Mr Miliband said, "It's not happening...I'm not doing deals with the Scottish National Party."

#JAPAN: Lawmakers Rush to Regulate Drones After Drone Lands on PM's Helipad

[world politics news]

Lawmakers are rushing through legislation to regulate where drones can fly after a drone containing rainwater and trace amounts of radiation landed on the prime minister's helipad earlier this month.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

#JAPAN: Male Candidate Posing Nude In Campaign Poster "Legal" Say Election Officials

[world politics news]

Election officials in Japan say a male candidate posing nude in a campaign poster in front of the Imperial 'Rising Sun' graphic is perfectly legal, since content of campaign signs is not regulated, other than to accurately display the candidate's name (which in this case covers his genitals.)

#GERMANY: Parliament Tightens Rules On Crowdfunding

[world politics news]

Germany has passed its new investor safety law, one that was viewed with trepidation by the investment crowdfunding industry as it impinged on online platforms ability to raise funds, but the final rules appear to be less onerous than initially anticipated.

Friday, April 24, 2015

#EU: Opposition To Trade Deal With USA Growing In EU Parliament

[world politics news]

Half of the European Parliament's committees have rejected the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership's (TTIP) investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS), casting doubt over the trade deal's prospects of to passing through Parliament.

#USA: #MarcoRubio Surges Ahead of GOP Pack In Latest Poll; Walker, Carson Slide

[world politics news]

Sen. Marco Rubio is winning the support of 15 percent of Republican primary voters and runs best against Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll. Rubio has 15% Jeb Bush has 13%. Scott Walker and Ben Carson slipped. No other candidate tops 9% and 14% are undecided.

#UK: Labour Pty Refuses To Rule Out Power-Sharing Alliance With Scottish National Pty

[world politics news]

Conservative Party strategists are noting gleefully that the Labour Party has publicly refused to rule out a deal with the Scottish National Party over 100 times during the campaign leading up to the May 7 election. The SNP is on course to be a supermajority in Scotland, trouncing Labour candidates.

Pictured: Conservative campaign poster showing Labour leader Ed Miliband in SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon's top pocket.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

#FINLAND: Oppo. Centre Party Ousts Coalition Gov't

[world politics news]

Finland's opposition Centre Party has ousted Prime Minister Alexander Stubb's left-right coalition after a campaign dominated by the country's economic woes. Centre Party leader Juha Sipila, an IT millionaire and newcomer to politics, will become the next prime minister.

#CANADA: #StephenHarper Proposes New Ethics Rules for Military Procurement

[world politics news]

The Harper government has proposed new integrity standards, aimed at ensuring it only does business with ethical companies. But some critics are warning the standards could inadvertently shrink an already shallow pool of defense contractors, since many have had ethical scandals in the past.

Pictured: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (left) stands with Finance Minister Joe Oliver

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#HONGKONG: Controversial Electoral Legislation Announced; Pro-Beijing Committee To Nominate HK's Leader

[world politics news]

Legislation to create a 1,200-member, pro-Beijing committee to select the next leader of Hong Kong, has finally been announced. The committee will select two or three candidates to face the public vote in 2017 for the territory's next chief executive. Beijing's proposal sparked mass protests last September.

#IRELAND: Fianna Fáil Ldr Calls Sinn Féin "Unfit" For Gov't; Is Exploiting 1916 Rising Anniv.

[world politics news]

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has attacked Sinn Féin, saying the party's engaged “in a deeply sinister attempt to misuse the respect which the Irish people have" for the 1916 Rising that established the Republic. He also claimed Sinn Féin "remains unfit for participation in a democratic republican government."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#GREECE: Gov't Orders Cash From State-Owned Enterprises In Desperate Bid To Remain Solvent

[world politics news]

The Greek government has ordered a mandatory transfer of cash reserves from state-owned enterprises to its central bank, in a desperate bid to gather enough cash to remain solvent. The move comes as Greece's cash crisis gets worse every day. Even the most conservative estimates calculate the government's coffers will run dry in a matter of weeks.

#UK: Polls Show Labour Pty Running 28 Points Behind SNP In Scotland

[world politics news]

A new Scotland-wide poll puts the Labour Party at just 24 per cent, 28 points behind the Scottish National Party, weeks before the May 7 national election, The party's Scottish leader could lose his "safe" seat and polling suggests Labour could lose all 41 seats it won in 2010.

Pictured: Labour leader Ed Miliband, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and Labour's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls. 

#SPAIN: Podemos Pty "Fires" Slate Of Candidates For Election Fraud, Sets New Primary Date

[world politics news]

The year-old, far-Left Podemos Party, which is rising to fame on an anti-corruption message, invalidated the election of the top 14 members of the party list in the La Rioja region after detecting election fraud in their selection. A new primary will be held.

Monday, April 20, 2015

#ITALY: Gov't Warns Whirlpool Against Layoffs At Newly-Acquired Company's Factories

[world politics news]

Italy's government have joined unions in denouncing reported plans by US appliance giant Whirlpool to cut 1,350 jobs a year after it took over Italian rival Indesit, despite assurances that it would not engage in unilateral layoffs. The Economic Development ministry expressed "strong displeasure" at the prospect of potentially heavy job losses.

#GERMANY: Tens Of Thousands Protest #EU/USA Trade Deal

[world politics news]

Thousands of protesters protested in Europe Saturday to oppose talks between the US and European Union on a new trade pact. In Munich, 23,000 people joined the protest, while 2,000 turned up in Leipzig, 1,000 in Stuttgart and 2,000 in Brussels. The would not slash the already low trade tariffs but would also harmonize regulations.

#IRELAND: 10,000 Rally Against Nation's First Water Bills

[world politics news]

Up to 10,000 marched in Dublin this weekend to protest the mailing of the nation's first water utility bills, a move forced onto the country by EU regulators. Demonstrators threw their bills into a symbolic trash can. The movement has shown no signs of letting up after a winter of demonstrations.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#INDIA: Congress Pty VP Rahul Gandhi Takes Heat After Return From 57-Day "Sabbatical"

[world politics news]

Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, the presumptive future party leader - his mother Sonia is the current president - has returned from an unexplained and mysterious 57-day "sabbatical." The return promoted a firestorm of ridicule on twitter and other social media.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

#THENETHERLANDS: Smoking Ban Fines Raised 1.4 million Euros For Gov't From Cafe, Bar Owners [world politics news]

Health inspectors handed out 1,578 fines to Dutch cafe, bar and club owners for breaking the ban on smoking in 2014. This is a rise of just under 200 on 2013. In total, inspectors levied fines totaling €1.4 million. The smoking ban went into effect in 2008.

#GERMANY: Liberal Oppo. Parties Say Gov't's Data Retention Proposals Are Unconstitutional

[world politics news]

The deputy leader of the Free Democratic Party, Wolfgang Kubicki, called the government's plans to store communications data 'unconstitutional' and said he will fight the proposals in court. Left Party Deputy Leader Jan Korte said it contravened the basic rights of German citizens since it put everyone under general suspicion.

#NORWAY: Pty Ldr Says Labor Gov't Would Recognize #Palestinian State; Israeli Amb. Warns

[world politics news]

Labor Party Leader Jonas Gahr Støre says his party would recognize Palestinian state if they come to power. He stated that there must be no longer a prerequisite of a peace agreement before recognition. Israeli Ambassador Raphael Schutz warned that recognition would be a mistake that prolongs the conflict.

Friday, April 17, 2015

#UK: Greek Financial Crisis "Greatest Threat" To World Economy, Says UK Chancellor; Stocks Plunge

[world politics news]

The ongoing Greek fiscal crisis caused stocks in Europe and the USA to plunge over 1%, as the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne warned the deadlock over Greece’s bailout program could trigger a repeat of the 2011/2012 fiscal crisis in the EU, causing a potential "calamity."

#JAMAICA: "Ganja Law" Legalizes Pot As Rastafarian Sacrament, For Medicinal Uses

[world politics news]

The “Ganja Law” was passed by both Houses of Parliament in February and went into effect April 15, It acknowledges the constitutional rights of the Rastafari community, who use marijuana as a sacrament, paves the way for the emergence of a lawful, regulated medicinal and industrial marijuana industry.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#EU: European Parliament Recognizes 1915 Armenian Genocide By Ottomans

[world politics news]

Following in the footsteps of Pope Francis in calling out the Turkish Ottoman's role in the 1915 genocide in which 1.5 million Armenians were killed, the European Parliament has recognized  the event on its anniversary. The move is controversial in Turkey, where the killings aren't acknowledged as "genocide."

#GREECE: German Finance Min. Says "No Chance" Of Reaching Deal With Greece To Avoid Default

[world politics news]

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble says he believes there was no prospect of the Eurozone reaching a deal with Athens next week on economic reforms that would unlock bailout funds, potentially leaving Greece perilously short of money.

#JAPAN: Record Low Turnout In Gubernatorial, Regional Election

Turnout for Sunday's elections in cities and regional prefectures hit an all-time low, both in the 10 gubernatorial races and 41 prefectural assembly polls. Turnout for the 41 prefectural assembly elections hit a record low, with only 45.05% of voters participating, down from 48.15% in the 2011 election.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#CANADA: Supreme Court Strikes Down Mandatory Minimum Gun Crime Sentences

[world politics news]

Calling the law "cruel and unusual," the Canadian Supreme Court has struck down Prime Minister Stephen Harper's legislation for mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes. By a 6-3 margin, the high court dealt Harper's tough-on-crime agenda a blow by upholding a 2013 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling.

#UK: Green Party Releases Hilarious Video Ad Likening Four Parties to A Boy Band, Singing In Harmony

[world politics news]

#JAPAN: Upper House Approves Record US$803.45 Billion Budget

[world politics news]

Japan's parliament has approved a record 96.34 trillion yen ($803.45 billion) budget for fiscal 2015 which started April 1. Passage of the budget was delayed by the general election last Dec. 14 called by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to seek a public mandate for postponing a tax hike.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#HUNGARY: Far-Right Jobbik Party Wins By-Election, Defeating Governing Party's Candidate

[world politics news]

Putting aside its usual anti-Semitic and anti-Roma rhetoric, the far-right Jobbik party, focusing on an anti-corruption platform, defeated  the governing Fidesz Party's candidate in a by-election. In the western Hungary's Tapolca riding, long dominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, Jobbik edged out its candidate by one percent.

Pictured: Lajos Rig (right) and Jobbik party leader Gábor Vona (left)

#UK: Ahead of May Election, #DavidCameron Promises To End Inheritance Taxes

[world politics news]

Prime Minister David Cameron added a new promise to the Conservative Party's election package, promising to end inheritance taxes on properties worth under one million Pounds by 2017. His party previously was blocked from passing the plan by their coalition partners, the Liberal Democratic Party.

#INDONESIA: Lawmaker To Face Possible Criminal Charges After Punching Fellow Member During Hearing

[world politics news]

A politician from the United Development Party (PPP) will likely face disciplinary action and possibly criminal charges for punching a fellow lawmaker who interrupted him while he was speaking during a hearing. Mustafa Assegaf will face the House honorary council for punching the deputy head of the committee of which he's a part.

Monday, April 13, 2015

#AUSTRALIA: PM #TonyAbbott Would Take Public Benefits From Anti-Vaccination Parents

[world politics news]

Parents who are "conscientious objectors" to childhood vaccination will have their childcare and family tax payments stopped after January as the federal government attempts to crack down on the anti-vaccination movement. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a loophole would be closed to stop payments to parents worth up to $15,000 per child.

#FINLAND: Poll-Leading Center Party Would Cut Spending, Devalue Currency To Spur Economy

[world politics news]

Spending cuts and devaluing the currency will lead Finland's economy out of its lost decade, according to the Center Party, which is leading by 10 points in polls before next Sunday's election. The party will also seek cuts in pension contributions by employers.

Pictured: Olli Rehn, former European Commission economics chief and former member of parliament, who's returning to Finnish politics as one of the group's top candidates in Sunday's election.

#VATICAN: Pope Rejects France's Choice of A Gay Ambassador To the Vatican

[world politics news]

The Vatican has refused to accept the nomination of the new French ambassador, a close aide of President François Hollande, because he is gay. Laurent Stefanini, a senior diplomat and French president's chief of protocol, was nominated in early January but the Vatican has "rejected" the nomination by its stony silence, which signals its failure to accept it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

#FRANCE: Parliament Bans Use of Super-Thin Models In Fashion Shows, Magazines

[world politics news]

Parliament has banned modeling agencies and fashion brands from employing models who are "too thin." Models must now prove they have a body mass index of at least 18, The average French woman’s BMI is 23.2. People who employ models too thin could be imprisoned and fined US$82,417.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

#KOSOVO: Serb PM And EU Condemn Albanian PM's Call for "Unification" With Kosovo

[world politics news]

Ghosts of the Balkans' violent past were resurrected when Albania's Prime Minister said Kosovo - the former Serb region now independent and aligned with Albania - would face "unification" with Albania either through both becoming EU members or "the classical way." His statement was condemned strongly by EU officials and Serbia's president.

#IRELAND: Poll Shows Young Adults Will Support Gay Marriage in May 22 Referendum

[world politics news]

Young people under 25 seem ready to overwhelmingly support gay marriage when it's put to a vote in Ireland on May 22, though the gap is shown narrowing as it draws nearer. Those over 65 years old are among the least supportive. All parliamentary parties are publicly supporting gay marriage.

#EUROPE: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden Form Nordic Military Partnership

[world politics news]

Four Nordic nations will expand military cooperation in response to "aggressive Russian behavior" in the region. The new strategy will include joint exercises, exchange of intelligence information and industrial cooperation. It will maintain "NATO standards" even though Sweden and Finland are not members of NATO.

Pictured: Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist

Friday, April 10, 2015

#CZECHREPUBLIC: US Ambassador Banned From President's Residence After Critical Comments About Planned Moscow Trip

[world politics news]

Czech Pres. Milos Zeman has banned the US ambassador from his official residence after he made comments perceived as critical of the president's decision to attend a World War II commemoration in Moscow. Most European leaders are boycotting the event to protest Putin's invasion of Ukraine.