Sunday, July 31, 2016

#AUSTRALIA: Former PM Kevin Rudd Finding Opposition In His Quest For UN Top Job

[world politics news]

Former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has taken the critical step of requesting Australian government support for his bid to become the next United Nations Secretary-general. He must receive approval from the cabinet. Political opponents are noting his "large ego" as an impediment to his candidacy.

#SPAIN: Catalan Parliament Defies Spanish Court: Will Begin Secession Process

[world politics news]

The separatist movement in Catalonia’s parliament has escalated its battle with Madrid after it defied Spain’s constitutional court by debating a controversial pro-independence roadmap, and the region’s president announced a confidence vote to consolidate the move towards sovereignty. The angry, last-minute debate – in which the pro-independence Together for Yes coalition and the smaller, far-left Popular Unity Candidacy secured approval for the unilateral disconnection plan by 72 votes to 11 – represents another open challenge to the Spanish judiciary and to Spain’s acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

#THAILAND: 2,000 Teak Trees Still Won't Be Cut For New Parliament Building - Now It Will Be 5,000!

[world politics news]

Not long ago (as world politics news reported) the Thai prime minister stepped into save 2,000 trees that were slated to be used to construct a new parliament building. But now, it's been revealed that up to 5,000 rare teak trees will actually be used. Once plentiful in Southeast Asia, teak stands have been devastated and wild teak logging is illegal in many places, Thailand included. The teak being used is required, say designers, because it uniquely represents a traditional temple, to remind legislators to make wise decisions.

#BULGARIA: Second Round Of Court Reform Amendments Passed

[world politics news]

Bulgarian MPs have passed a second package of amendments to the country’s Judiciary Act, part of the judiciary reform process that started after the constitutional amendments passed last year. The amendments are meant to improve court self-governance, reducing the powers of the administrative heads of individual courts, as well as increasing the accountability and decentralization of the prosecutor’s office.

Friday, July 29, 2016

#KENYA: MP Returns After Ejection From Parliament, Vows To Continue To Interrupt President's Speeches

[world politics news]

Defiant Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi has said he would disrupt President Uhuru Kenyatta's addresses "again and again." Wandayi recently returned to parliament after being ejected after a chaotic March 31 session of parliament in which he and other opposition members consistently used a whistle to interrupt the State of the Nation address by Pres. Uhuru.

#AUSTRALIA: Victoria Premier Urges PM To Avoid "Harmful" Public Same-Sex Marriage Vote

[world politics news]

Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews is urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to avoid a "damaging" plan to hold a public referendum on Same-Sex marriage. Turnbull just won a razor-thin re-election campaign and has repeatedly blocked a free vote on the issue in parliament.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

#EGYPT: Parliament Approves Civil Service Bill On Second Try

[world politics news]

The House of Representatives have approved a new Civil Service Law, which it had previously rejected in February. Speaker Ali Abdul Aal announced the government-proposed bill will be sent to the State Council for review of its constitutionality. An earlier one failed to pass that process.

#INDIA: Parliament Passes Controversial Child Labor Bill

[world politics news]

India’s parliament on Tuesday approved a controversial law that would allow children to work for family businesses, despite widespread concern by the United Nations and other rights advocates that it will push more children into labor. The bill brings a raft of changes to a three-decade-old child labor prohibition law. The bill now goes for the President’s assent before becoming law.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

#UKRAINE: Parliamentarian Caught Watching Porn On Smartphone During Session

[world politics news]

Member of Ukrainian Parliament Vyacheslav Konstantinovskiy was caught on camera watching adult movies during one of the latest sessions. The unrepentant politician, who representative for the city of Kiev, admitted his bizarre actions, but added "at least I wasn't playing Pokemon Go." He made an official statement on social media about the incident saying that he got tired of the "circus that was going on in the hall" and simply followed one of the suggested links while browsing on his phone. He said: "I admit that the location for watching this type of content was inappropriate."

#ISRAEL: Knesset Passes Bill Allowing Expulsion Of Its Members

[world politics news]

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has passed a controversial law allowing MPs to expel colleagues for incitement, racism or support for armed struggle against the state that critics say is aimed mainly at Arab legislators. Opposition Israeli-Arab MPs said immediately they would appeal against the legislation at the country’s supreme court.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

#NEPAL: Prime Min. Oli Resigns Before No Confidence Vote

[world politics news]

Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Oli has resigned, nine months after coming to power and minutes before parliament was to vote on a no confidence motion he was likely to lose. Oli's departure plunges the Himalyan country, plagued by political turmoil for years, into a whole new round of political uncertainty. This is the country's 23rd government to fall since a multi-party democracy began in 1990 after bloody protests, and the political tumult has weighed on business confidence.

#CZECHIA: Tough Anti-Smoking Bill Considered, One Of Last Nations In EU To Consider

[world politics news]

One of the last holdouts in Europe when it comes to enacting comprehensive anti-smoking legislation is considering it again, after a similar bill failed last month. The bill contains a full ban on smoking in restaurants.

Monday, July 25, 2016

#IVORYCOAST: Parliament Will Scrap Constitution, Re-Write To Remove Controversial Clauses

[world politics news]

Ivory Coast's parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of holding a referendum on a new constitution that would among other measures remove a controversial nationality clause that contributed to years of unrest and civil war. Pres. Alassane Ouattara pledged during his successful campaign for re-election last year to scrap the clause, which states presidential candidates must prove both their parents are natural-born Ivorians. They must also have never claimed citizenship of another country.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

#SPAIN: Polling Shows Catalan Separatists Winning For The First Time

[world politics news]

The number of people in favor of an independent Catalonia has surpassed the number of those against according to a new poll.

#UK: Despite Uncertain Future For Scottish UK Base, Parliament Renews Trident Sub Program

[world politics news]

Despite an uncertain future for the UK's Trident submarine base in Scotland - which the Scottish National Party says would be closed if a second independence referendum passes - the UK's parliament has overwhelmingly passed legislation to spend  £40 billion to replace four Vanguard-class submarines that carry nuclear warheads.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

#SWEDEN: Tough New Residency Laws Come Into Effect For Asylum Seekers

[world politics news]

Tougher rules on seeking asylum in Sweden have come into force, as law changes approved by the Riksdag in June come into effect. The amendments to the country’s asylum laws mean that asylum seekers in Sweden are now granted the minimum level of rights the European Union requires of its member states.

#UK: France's Pres. Insists UK Maintain Free Movement Of People With EU To Keep Free Trade Privileges

[world politics news]

Theresa May was warned by the French president, François Hollande, at their first meeting in Paris that the UK cannot expect access to the single market if it wants to put immigration controls on EU citizens. At a joint press conference in the Élysée Palace, Hollande made it clear that the new British prime minister was facing a choice about whether to accept free movement of people in return for free trade.

Friday, July 22, 2016

#GERMANY: Anti-Islamic Pegida Movement To Form Political Party

[world politics news]

Germany's anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant Pegida movement says it is seeking to launch a political party but stressed it would not seek to draw votes from populist far-right group Alternative For Germany.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

#GERMANY: MP Resigns After "Significant" Fabrications Found In Her Resume

[world politics news]

Petra Hinz of the Social Democratic Party has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2005. It was recently discovered that she never studied law or even finished school, and had fabricated significant parts of her resume.

#JAPAN: Hiroshima Court Rules: Denial Of Inmates' Voting Rights Constitutional

[world politics news]'

A Japanese court  has found constitutional an election law provision denying prison inmates the right to vote in a national election, in the latest ruling in a series of lawsuits filed over the controversial issue.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#THAILAND: Prime Minister Steps In To Save Teak Trees Slated For Cutting

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has put the brakes on a plan to cut down 2,000 teak trees in Chiang Mai for the construction of the new parliament building, following opposition from residents.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#CYPRUS: Property Taxes Reduced By 75% For 2016, Eliminated In 2017

[world politics news]

With strong support from nearly all political parties, the legislature of Cyprus has reduced property taxes due in 2016 by 75%, and has eliminated them entirely from 2017 onward.

Monday, July 18, 2016

#IRELAND: Bill To Allow Abortions For Fetal Abnormalities Defeated

[world politics news]

A bill to allow for abortions in cases of fatal fetal abnormality has been defeated in the Dáil, the nation's legislature, by a 95 to 45 vote. Three Independent Alliance Ministers voted against the Government on the Bill, introduced by Independents 4 Change Dáil member Mick Wallace. Taoiseach Enda Kenny agreed reluctantly to allow the Independent Ministers a free vote, but it is understood he robustly insisted this was a once-off and would not be allowed on a regular basis.

#JAPAN: Abe And China's Premier Meet To Ease South China Sea Tensions

[world politics news]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met on the sidelines of an international meeting in Mongolia as Asia's two largest economies try to repair a relationship fractured after Japan sided with the West in the South China Sea dispute.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

#EGYPT: British War Report Sparks Anti-Western Tirade In Parliament

[world politics news]

Members of Parliament seized on the publication of an independent British judicial report investigating the UK’s participation in the Iraq War to denounce Western policies. They also condemned what they called “wide-scale abuses by US police against black citizens." In a statement on July 8, parliament’s Arab Relations Committee, led by MP Saad Al-Gammal, said former US president George W Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes.

#CANADA: Senator Refuses To Pay Back $17,000 In Disputed Expenses

[world politics news]

Sen. Mike Duffy is disputing claims that he owes the Canadian Senate $17,000 in expenses he claims were completely legitimate. Duffy's lawyer wrote to the Senate this week to say the senator won't repay seven of his claims totaling $16,955 because they were deemed "appropriate" by an Ontario judge who acquitted Duffy of 31 criminal charges in April.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

#GERMANY: Parliament Unanimously Approves "No Means No" Rape Law

[world politics news]

"No means no" when it comes to rape – so says the German parliament after a unanimous vote. All 601 lawmakers in the lower house the Bundestag decided to toughen laws, seeking to reassure a public shaken by mass attacks on women on New Year’s Eve that were largely blamed on migrants. Under the new rules, all forms of non-consensual sexual contact will be punishable, regardless of the circumstances. They aim to close loopholes that made convictions difficult if evidence was lacking that violence had been used, or when victims did not resist.

#JAPAN: Tiny Party Hope To Make It Big Supporting Legalized Medical Marijuana

[world politics news]

Japan's tiny New Renaissance Party hopes to make a big name for itself by being the first to adopt a platform calling for an end to a ban on the medical use of marijuana. The government says its effectiveness has not been proved, despite backers around the world making claims to the contrary. Japan outlaws owning and growing marijuana. The idea of medical uses, however, is popular with the growing elderly population. "Faced with this sharp gap between Japan and the rest of the world, the public are at a loss which to believe," said party spokesman Saya Takagi.

Pictured: Saya Takagi of the New Renaissance Party

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

#INDONESIA: Tax Amnesty Hopes To Rake In Billions In Repatriated Unpaid Tax Bills

[world politics news]

Parliament passed a tax amnesty law aimed at repatriating billions of dollars from wealthy Indonesians abroad and from tax evaders at home to help finance infrastructure and boost economic growth. The law grants special tax rates of 2 percent to 10 percent to tax evaders who declare their past earnings, compared to normal personal income tax rates of 5 to 30%. Enterprises below $757,700 in assets will get a 0.5% rate, while those with greater assets will be levied a 2 percent rate. Normal tax rates are as high as 25%.

#GHANA: Deposit Protection Bill Passes Amid Bank, Microfinance Co. Failures

[world politics news]

The Parliament in Ghana has passed the Depositors Protection Bill to protect the savings of depositors and also promote confidence in the financial system. The bill became necessary in the wake of the microfinance financial crisis involving DKM Microfinance Company and four other Savings and Loans Companies. The bill requires the establishment of Deposit Protection Fund Corporation where the banks and depositors pay an amount when they deposit their money to the Corporation.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#CANADA: Frmr. Cabinet Min. Tony Clement To Enter Conservative Pty Ldr Contest

[world politics news]

Longtime Tory cabinet minister Tony Clement is expected to announce tomorrow that he's seeking the leadership of the federal Conservative Party. Clement, the MP for the Ontario riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka, has long been considered a possible candidate in the race to replace former Prime Minister Stephen Harper as party leader .

#CUBA: Economy Slows To 1%; Pres. Raul Castro Says Venezuela Crisis Partly To Blame

[world politics news]

Pres. Raul Castro says the crisis in Venezuela, Cuba's key ally and main trading partner, is having a negative effect on the island's Communist economy. Officials have begun ordering energy-saving measures and rationing for the coming months. The Cuban leader said the economy grew just one percent in the first part of the year, half of what the government had planned for.

Monday, July 11, 2016

#UK: Sole Conservative Ldr. Cand. Theresa May To Become PM Wed.

[world politics news]

Home Secretary Theresa May is set to become the head of the Conservative Party and the UK's next prime minister after her sole opponent dropped out of the race to succeed David Cameron. After May secured the position, Cameron said he will step down on Wednesday, rather than wait until October, allowing her to immediately take office. He had originally said he would resign, following the defeat of the "Remain" side of the Brexit vote, which he championed.

#AUSTRALIA: PM Turnbull Finally Declares Victory, Days After Election

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared victory in the federal election, saying it is vital for the nation that all sides of politics work together to make this term of parliament work. Turnbull's victory speech Sunday afternoon came just hours after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten rang him to concede defeat.

#JAPAN: PM Abe's Ruling Coalition Wins Supermajority In Election

[world politics news]

The Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling coalition scored a sweeping victory in the Upper House election Sunday that gave the Diet’s pro-revision forces the two-thirds majority needed to initiate Japan’s first constitutional referendum, final results showed Monday morning.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

#POLAND: Minimum Wage Set To Rise; Gov't Hopes To Put End to "Gravely Dysfunctional" Compensation

[world politics news]

Poland's Lower House of Parliament has passed a bill raising the minimum wage for casual and self-employed workers to 12 Polish Zlotys (2.73 Euros) per hour as of 2017. Labour Minister Elżbieta Rafalska said she hopes the bill "will put an end to gravely dysfunctional compensation patterns in Poland."

#EU: European Parl. Creates Tax Haven "Blacklist," Sanctions For Illegal Activities

[world politics news]

Members of the European Parliament have today voted through measures to make corporation tax fairer, which include drawing up a blacklist of tax havens, sparked by the Panama Papers scandal. Sanctions were also proposed for companies, banks, accountancy and law firms and tax advisers which are proven to be involved in "illegal, harmful or wrongful activities."

Saturday, July 09, 2016

#UK: Fury As Female Conservative Leadership Cand. Attacks "Childless" Opponent

[world politics news]

Conservative Party Leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom has come under fire from leading Conservatives over the "vile," "insulting" and "wrong" suggestion that being a mother meant she had a "a very real stake" in the future of our country – as she talked about fellow leadership candidate Theresa May's "really sad" lack of children. The incendiary comments were published just hours after the May, the UK's Home Secretary, had pledged to fight a "clean campaign" and urged her rival to "do the same."

Friday, July 08, 2016

#GERMANY: Political Pty Rents Truck In London For "Move To Berlin" Post-Brexit Message

[world politics news]

Keep calm and move to Berlin: thus reads a mobile billboard that's been spotted all over London, sponsored by a German political party. The Berlin branch of the Free Democratic Party is making the tongue-in-cheek effort to woo London startups to the German capitol.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

#EGYPT: Low Spending For Healthcare, Schools In Proposed Budget May Trigger Constitutional Challenge

[world politics news]

Insufficient funds for healthcare and education have triggered a debate in parliament about the 2016-2017 budget, with some claiming that the amounts allocated to social welfare fields are below constitutional requirements. The figures allocated to healthcare, education and scientific research in the country’s new budget are minimal. This in contrast to the government’s plan to increase spending on infrastructure projects. Debt repayments, salaries and subsidies will claim 31 per cent, 24 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, of the expenditure side of the new budget.

#CHINA: Pres. Xi Defends Marxism, Says It's Still Relevant

[world politics news]

The Communist Party of China should adapt Marxist principles to the current realities of China, with innovation in both theory and practice, said Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee during a rally marking the 95th anniversary of the founding of the party. Socialism has been practiced in China for only a few decades and is still in its primary stage, Xi said, adding that China should not waver in its Marxist and socialist ideals.  In the 1990s, China largely embraced capitalism but is still a centrally-run one-party state.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

#IRELAND: Parliamentarians Invite Scottish Leader To Speak To About Post-Brexit Plans

[world politics news]

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon is to be invited to address the Seanad, Ireland's Parliament, on the UK’s exit from the EU before it adjourns for the summer recess later this month. The proposal was made by Fine Gael Senator Paddy Burke, who said there was a great affinity between parts of Ireland and Scotland, with both having much in common.

#AUSTRALIA: PM Turnbull Takes Responsibility For Poor Campaign; Slams Labor's "Medi-Scare" Campaign

[world politics news]

As the Liberal/Coalition gov't waits to see if they can form a government following a very close election result, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took responsibility for not doing better at the polls, while also slamming Labor's "medi-scare" campaign, which questioned their commitment to medicare for the elderly. It's unclear if Turnbull can face down a leadership challenge if the Coalition is given the chance of forming a government again.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

#GERMANY: UN Seat on Security Council Sought By Germany; Last Held In 2012

[world politics news]

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced on Monday in Hamburg that Germany would apply for a role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2019-2020. Germany last held a seat on the council in 2011-2012.

Monday, July 04, 2016

#UK: UK Independence Party Leader Farage Resigns After #Brexit Success

[world politics news]

Nigel Farage says he is resigning as leader of the UK Independence Party. He said his "political ambition has been achieved" with the UK having voted to leave the EU. He said the party was in a "pretty good place" and said he would not change his mind about quitting as he did after the 2015 general election.

#CANADA: Federal Gov't Establishes Task Force For Legalization of Pot Next Spring

[world politics news]

The federal government established a travelling task force Thursday that will spend the coming months studying how best to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use in Canada.
The move comes as Ottawa prepares to introduce legislation on the legalization of marijuana in spring 2017 — a timeline first announced by Health Minister Jane Philpott in April at the United Nations General Assembly special session on drugs.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

#FRANCE: Parliament Moves To Make Armenia Genocide Denial Illegal

[world politics news]

Denying the Armenian genocide will soon be a crime in France, as the French parliament has passed an amendment criminalizing the denial of all crimes against humanity. Those flouting the law could face a $50,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

#AUSTRALIA: PM Turnbull/Liberals Falling Short Of Majority Gov't Numbers In Close Election; Counts Continue

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Trumbull's Liberal Party seems to have fallen short of the necessary votes needed to form a majority government in parliament, following Saturday's election. Estimates showed Liberals had won 67 seats, nine fewer than the 76 needed to command a majority in the Lower House. While Labor Party Leader Bill Shorten fell short of being able to form even a minority government, but they have staged an amazing comeback that has again highlighted the volatility of modern Australian politics.

#FRANCE: Euro Skeptic Marine Le Pen Leading In New Pres. Election Poll

[world politics news]

National Front Party Leader Marine Le Pen is now the frontrunner to be the next French president, a shocking new poll shows. Le Pen, who has vowed to hold a Brexit-style EU referendum if her party wins the 2017 elections, is twice as popular as current French president Francois Hollande, the poll showed.

Friday, July 01, 2016

#INDIA: Kerala State Law: Motorcyclists Without Helmet Can't Gas Up After Aug 1

[world politics news]

Concerned over increasing number of road accidents involving two-wheelers riders in the state, the Kerala government has announced those not wearing helmets would not be allowed to fill petrol for their vehicles from August 1.