Thursday, December 31, 2015

#VENEZUELA: Leftist Gov't Sets Up Extra-Constitutional "Assembly" After Election Loss

[world politics news]

The Leftist government of Pres. Maduro has set up an extra-constitutional "Parallel" parliament called the "People's Assembly" after a massive landslide victory last month for the opposition in which the government lost control of the National Assembly. Maduro faces a "rapidly unraveling state" reports the UK Daily Telegraph, as drug charges against Maduro's family and government mount.

#CROATIA: Pharma Exec. Named Prime Minister As Compromise Cand. After Month-Long Crisis

[world politics news]

Pres. Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic named pharmaceutical company director Tihomir Oreskovic as prime minister designate, signalling an end to a political deadlock following November's parliamentary elections. Oreskovic was nominated by the center-right Patriotic Coalition, led by the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, and the kingmaker party, the Bridge of the Independent Lists, MOST.

#JAPAN: PM Abe Holds Private Meeting With Ex-Osaka Mayor Hashimoto, A Day After Mayor's Resignation

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with former Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto at a Tokyo hotel, only a day after the populist mayor left office to "retire from politics." The meeting was also attended by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. Reportedly, they discussed the Constitution, diplomacy and a new national security bill which Abe hopes Hashimoto's Innovation Party supports.

Pictured: Former Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, right, and PM Shinzo Abe.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#DOMINICA: Prime Min. Warns Of Crackdown On Litterers, Illegal Dumping; Styrofoam, Plastic Shopping Bag Bans Possible

[world politics news]

Saying the nation's pristine environmental reputation is at state, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has warned that polluters will soon feel the full weight of the law, including night courts to prosecute litterers and those who dump illegally. A ban on Styrofoam cups and plastic shopping bags are also possible, he said.

#IRELAND: Half Of Cabinet Will Be Women If Gov't Re-Elected, Says Taoiseach

[world politics news]

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny says he intends to have equal numbers of men and women in his next cabinet if he retains power. Out of the 15 current ministers in Cabinet, four are women. As of the next election, 30% of parties' candidates are required to be women. Parties who fail to meet this target will face severe financial penalties.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#JAPAN: Korean & Japanese Foreign Ministers Reach Agreement On "Comfort Women" Compensation

[world politics news]

The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan have reached a deal meant to resolve a decades-long impasse over Korean women forced into Japanese military-run brothels during World War II, an important breakthrough for the Northeast Asian powers. The deal included an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a 1 billion yen aid fund from Tokyo for the elderly former sex slaves.

Pictured: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se, right, and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida 

#CHILE: Congresswoman Faces Internet Ridicule After Showing Up To Parliament In Blanket

[world politics news]

A Chilean congresswoman has become the butt of social media jokes after turning up to parliament wrapped in a comforter. MP Karla Rubilar then proceeded to nestle down into her blanket as she sat in her seat in the Chamber of Deputies, in the capital Santiago. In her defense, she said she was ill, was running a fever, and didn't want to miss an important debate and vote on university fees.

#UK: Labour Pty Ldr Corbyn Said To Be Planning January Shadow Cabinet Re-Shuffle

[world politics news]

Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is said to be planning a shake-up in the Shadow Cabinet in the new year. Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn and Shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle are understood to be most at risk of being sacked by the Labour leader due to their outspoken opposition to Mr Corbyn's stance against bombing ISIS in Syria.

Monday, December 28, 2015

#GERMANY: Bavarian Gov't Demands Control Of Borders From Federal Gov't

[world politics news]

Saying its borders with Austria remain unsafe and vulnerable to terrorists, the state government of Bavaria has demanded that it be allowed to control its own border with Austria, a demand swiftly rejected by Berlin. The calls from Bavaria's governing Christian Social Union may worsen relations with their their allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

#RUSSIA: Parliament Considers "Baby Boxes" For Safe, Legal Care Of Abandoned Babies

[world politics news]

Vadim Tulpanov, a member of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, has submitted a bill to legalize the use of baby boxes, or incubators for parents who want to leave their newborn babies anonymously, at hospitals and social organizations. Several European nations already have the "boxes," and in the US, it's legal for parents to safely leave children at "safe havens" such as hospitals and fire stations.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

#REPUBLICOFGEORGIA: Pres. Nominates Kvirikashvili As New Prime Minister

[world politics news]

Pres. Giorgi Margvelashvili has supported the ruling coalition's nominee, Vice Premier Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as candidate for prime minister and asked parliament to approve him. It has seven days to act. Kvirikashvili's Georgian Dream coalition controls a majority in parliament. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili unexpectedly resigned last week without explaining why.

#GREECE: Parliament Approves Same-Sex Unions With Cross-Party Support

[world politics news]

A same-sex civil union bill has passed with a wide majority in Parliament, gaining support from political parties like the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Potami and the Union of Centrists, along with some New Democracy members. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was pleased, and apologized to gay couples who had been denied this right in the past.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

#SPAIN: Conservatives Begin Difficult Task Of Seeking Coalition Partners After Close Election

[world politics news]

Spain entered a governing void Monday, facing weeks or months of uncertainty over what political party or parties will lead the country following a national election that fragmented the status quo. Anti-austerity party Podemos and liberal Ciudadanos made big gains forcing the ruling conservative Popular Party to lose its majority.

Pictured: PM Rajoy after last week's election.

#IRAN: Over 12,000 Candidates Sign Up To Contest 290 Seats In Parliament

[world politics news]

A total of 12,123 candidates have registered to run to fill 290 parliamentary seats in late Feb. elections - an average of 42 per available seat. Candidates still must qualify, with a final list released on Feb. 17. An election to fill the 88-member "Assembly of Experts" will be held at the same time. 801 candidates are seeking those seats.

Pictured: Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli

Friday, December 25, 2015

#CENTRALAFRICANREPUBLIC: Referendum Passes; Supporters Hope It Brings Stability

[world politics news]

A referendum passed voter approval by 93% last month, paving the way for elections this Sunday. The referendum creates a senate, allows freedom of worship and prohibits religious fundamentalism. It also prevents perpetrators of coups cannot hold public office. Central African Republic has been highly volatile since early 2013.

#RUSSIA: Kremlin Imposes "Tit-For-Tat" Sanctions On Ukraine, Starting Jan 1

[world politics news]

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on extending tit-for-tat economic measures against Ukraine in response to anti-Russian sanctions. The sanctions, which constitute mainly customs duties and product embargo, will come into force on January 1, 2016.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

#ITALY: Five Star Party Rises In Polls To Threaten PM Renzi's Center-Left Party

[world politics news]

Italy's Five Star anti-establishment party is enjoying a boom in popularity which presents a real threat to the ruling center-left, according to a new poll. It showed 31.2% supporting PM Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party, while 29.1% favor the Five Star Party founded in 2009 by former comedian, Beppe Grillo.

Pictured: Luigi Di Maio, leader Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Party.

#ROMANIA: An Early Christmas Gift, As Parliament Gives Mayors, City Officials Nationwide Fat New Pensions

[world politics news]

Mayors, Deputy mayors and city councilors across the nation got a huge Christmas gift this year, as parliament voted to give them pensions equal to 55% of their salaries, based on the number of terms they've served. 86 senators voted for the law, one voted against, and 30 senators from the National Liberal Party decided not to vote and left the room.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#USA: Pittsburgh City Council Decriminalizes Small Amts Of Marijuana

[world politics news]

Pittsburgh's city council has voted to drop criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The council voted to allow police to levy a fine of up to $100 against anyone possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of hashish. In the case of minors, parents or guardians will be notified of the offense and must pay the fine.

#GREECE: Parliament Votes To Recognize Palestinian Statehood

[world politics news]

Greece's parliament, led by the Left-leaning Syriza Party, has voted to recognize an independent Palestinian State, joining several other European Nations in the past year. It comes amid an official visit to Greece by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Monday, December 21, 2015

#SPAIN: Political Turmoil As New Parties Win Nearly 35% of Vote; 109 Seats In Parliament

[world politics news]

Sunday's Spanish election saw voters reject the two traditional parties. The result is a hung parliament, with new Citizen's and Podemos parties taking nearly 35% of the vote. the conservative Popular Party took 28.72% of the vote, Socialists won 22.01%, Podemos 20.66% and Citizen's won 13.93%. In the 350-seat parliament this translates to PP (123); Socialists (90); Podemos (69); Citizens (40).

#UK: Labour Pty Ldr Corbyn Says He'll Lead Pty Into 2020 Election, Despite Critics

[world politics news]

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says he's "not going anywhere" and plans to lead the party into the 2020 general election, despite opposition within his own party who "obsess" about him. The controversial, outspoken Leftist celebrates 100 days in office today. He won almost 60% of the 400,000 votes cast to become leader in September.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

#CANADA: Conservative Fury After Liberals Kill Program For First Nation Spending Transparency

[world politics news]

The Liberal government has lifted sanctions against Canada's First Nations that have not complied with a Conservative spending transparency law. The decision was quickly condemned by the Opposition Tories, who warned it would leave First Nations people in the dark about how their elected leaders spend public money.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

#NORTHERNIRELAND: Finance Min. Arlene Foster Chosen Leader Of Democratic Unionists, Will Be First Min. In January

[world politics news]

Finance Minister Arlene Foster was the only candidate to replace retiring Democratic Unionist Party leader Peter Robinson, and will become the First Minister and head of government for Northern Ireland in January. She'll be the first woman leader of Northern Ireland.

#FRANCE: At UN, Foreign Min. Demands That #Assad Leave Power

[world politics news]

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has demanded that talks on Syria’s future yield assurances that Pres. Bashar al-Assad will leave power after the adoption of a resolution endorsing a peace process. The resolution calls for a ceasefire and peace talks to begin in early January, but does not address the issue of Assad’s future.

Friday, December 18, 2015

#RWANDA: Referendum Will Decide Whether Pres. Can Run For Third Term

[world politics news]

Rwandans are voting in a referendum on a constitutional amendment to allow Pres. Paul Kagame to seek a third term in office. If it passes, Kagame could potentially remain in power until 2034. Rwandans are expected to vote overwhelmingly in favor the change. This is a growing trend in Africa. A law allowing a third term for Burundi's president last October has led to a civil war.

#UKRAINE: Kiev Court Bans Communists Party In Ukraine

[world politics news]

The activities of the Communist Party of Ukraine has been banned by a Kiev court, shutting them out of the political system. One Wednesday, the Kiev District Administrative Court ruled for the plaintiff – the Ukranian Ministry of Justice – that had filed a lawsuit in 2014 requesting a ban on all activities of the Communist Party.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

#DENMARK: Voters Reject Gov't Plan For Greater Police Integration With EU

[world politics news]

Voters in euro-skeptic EU member Denmark have soundly rejected a government proposal to further integrate its police force with that of the EU's. The 'no' side was led by the anti-EU, anti-immigration Danish People's Party which argued that dropping the justice opt-out it currently enjoys would give too much power to the EU.

#AUSTRIA: Foreign Min. Kurz Criticizes Saudi Human Rights Record; Response To Refugees, During Visit

[world politics news]

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has criticized Saudi Arabia over its human rights record during a visit to the kingdom. He urged the Saudis to create more opportunities for the relocation of the Syrian refugees and took them to task for violations of women's rights and extreme punishments under Sharia Law.

#JAPAN: Ruling Parties Exempt Groceries From 2017 Consumption Tax Hike

[world politics news]

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito have agreed to make general foods, with the exception of eating out and alcoholic beverages, subject to a reduced tax rate that will be introduced when the consumption tax rate is raised to 10% in April 2017.

Pictured: Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki, left, answers questions from reporters in Tokyo with his Komeito counterpart Yoshihisa Inoue.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

#KENYA: Pres Kenyatta, Dep. Pres. Ruto, Create New Party, Plan For Succession in 2022

[world politics news]

Pres. Kenyatta and Deputy Pres. William Ruto have created a new party to contest elections in 2017. Kenyatta hopes to win reelection on the new Jubilee Party, and allow Ruto to succeed him as president in 2022. The new, united party hopes to win over central Kenyan voters, who have been suspicious of the president's party, and avoid regionalism that's plagued national politics.

Pictured: Pres. Kenyatta addressing party leaders in Nairobi.

#KOSOVO: EU Leaders Condemn Illegal Arrest of Opposition Leader, 13 Oppo. MP's

[world politics news]

Kosovo’s authorities have arrested the main opposition leader,Albin Kurti, the founder and most charismatic figure of the largest opposition party, and another nine of the opposition’s 31 MPs. Five of them, including Kurti, are now in pre-trial detention, for an initial one-month term, and the other five are under house arrest. The arrests are illegal, because under Kosovo’s constitution, MPs cannot be arrested without parliament’s consent.

#GERMANY: Rousing Speech To Party Conference Saves Merkel's Political Future

[world politics news]

Christian Democratic Union delegates offered Chanceller Angela Merkel a standing ovation at the party conference Monday that lasted almost ten minutes after a speech in which she summoned the party's storied past and offered her vision for the future. Her speech was seen as a key test for the Chancellor after months of grumbling over her refugee policy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

#BURKINAFASO: Free And Fair Elections Held After 2014 Coup

[world politics news]

The country that overthrew long-serving Pres. Blaise Compaoré last year, then survived a coup attempt this September, has successfully held free and fair elections. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, a former prime minister and parliamentary speaker, won 53.49 per cent of the vote, followed by former Finance Minister Zephirin Diabré with 29.65 per cent. The turnout was 60 per cent of the 5.5 million registered voters.

#CANADA: Alberta Premier Threatened On Facebook Over Workers' Comp Legislation

[world politics news]

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was threatened by a Facebook user over pending legislation that would extend worker's compensation to paid farmers. “Someone’s gotta man up and kill her,” one person wrote on Facebook. “Burn down parliament and put a pitchfork through notleys neck." Opposition Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean condemned the posts along with Notley.

#NORWAY: All Parties Agree To Tougher Refugee Policy As Record Numbers Arrive

[world politics news]

The ruling Conservative and populist Progress Party reached an agreement with allies and the Labour opposition, giving them a broad parliamentary majority to tighten Norway's asylum policy and reduce asylum-seeker benefits to dissuade migrants from coming, the country's political parties agreed, amid a record number of asylum applications. In 2015, 29,000 people have sought asylum in the country of 5.2 million.

Monday, December 14, 2015

#SOUTHAFRICA: Pres. Zuma Appoints Third Finance Min. In A Week; Markets Jittery

[world politics news]

Democratic Alliance Party leader Mmusi Maimane said the government's new Finance Minister, Pravan Gordhan must tell Pres. Zuma to stop, "playing Russian roulette with our economy." Zuma fired the widely respected Nhlanhla Nene from the post last week, replacing him with a total unknown, who was sacked Sunday after the Rand and markets slumped dramatically.

Pictured: South Africa's latest finance minister, Pravin Gordhan (left) chats with Lesetja Kganyago, governor of the Reserve Bank of South Africa.

#SPAIN: Socialist Party Falls To Fourth Place In Polls After Debate Fiasco

[world politics news]

The opposition Socialist Party has fallen to fourth place after a disastrous debate performance. They are now behind the new Podemos and Citizen's Parties. The ruling conservatives of PM Rajoy are favored to win the election. Rajoy, who is gaffe-prone, skipped the debate, which commentators said was won by the pony-tailed leader of the left-leaning Podemos Party.

#CZECHREPUBLIC: Pres. Zeman Opposes Turkish EU Membership; Says They "Behave Like ISIS Ally"

[world politics news]

Pres. Milos Zeman says Turkey should not become a member of the European Union, alleging that they "sometimes" behave like an ally of the Islamic State terror organization. He also criticized the EU's plan to give 3 billion Euros to Turkey to help them deal with the 2 million refugees stranded on its territory.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

#SAUDIARABIA: Kingdom Holds First Election Open To Women Voters And Candidates

[world politics news]

Voting began Saturday in Saudi Arabia’s first elections open to female voters and candidates, a tentative step towards easing restrictions that are among the world’s tightest on women. Male voters began to enter a polling center in central Riyadh at about 8 am. Men and women vote separately in the kingdom, where the sexes are strictly segregated.

#RUSSIA: St. Petersburg Lawmaker Proposes Ban On Russians Owning Turkish Real Estate

[world politics news]

A St. Petersburg city legislator has suggested banning Russians from owning or renting homes and apartments in Turkey under the threat of substantial fines. Deputy Vladimir Petrov fears property there may be confiscated and sold by Turkey to support ISIS terrorist, an accusation colored by the tensions between the two nations since the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey.

#GERMANY: Social Democrat Ldr Sigmar Gabriel Re-Elected, But With Less Support Amid Migrant Crisis

[world politics news]

A lower percentage of delegates reelected vice-chancellor and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel as party leader of the Social Democratic Party Satruday. The party put on a brave face as approval ratings continue to slump for the party, which is the junior coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

#STVINCENT&GRENADINES: Unity Labour Party Wins Fourth Term After Narrow Victory; Two Seats Get Recount

[world politics news]

The ruling Unity Labour Party led by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has retained its slim majority of eight seats to the New Democratic Party opposition’s seven in general elections. However, the ULP has called for a recount in two voting districts, both won by the NDP, whose leader, Arnhim Eustace, by less than 50 votes.

#BRAZIL: Supreme Court Temporarily Suspends Impeachment Committee Investigating Pres. Rousseff

[world politics news]

Brazil’s Supreme Court has suspended, at least through Dec. 16, a special Committee formed to recommend to Congress whether to proceed with the impeachment of Pres. Dilma Rousseff. The court was acting on an appeal from Brazil's Communist Party, an ally of Rousseff's leftist Worker's Party, alleging irregularities in the composition of the all-party committee.

#KENYA: Plan To Eliminate The Senate, Reduce Number Of Counties, Finds Stiff Opposition

[world politics news]

Member of Parliament Moses Kuria wants to eliminate Kenya's Senate and reduce the number of counties, but his plan is being met with stiff opposition from lawmakers who believe the Senate's role of checking the "excesses" of the National Assembly. The Senate was eliminated in 1967 but re-established by the 2010 Constitution.

Friday, December 11, 2015

#VATICANCITY: Officials Admit "Irregularities" After 20,000 Euros Found In Vatican Desk Drawer

[world politics news]

The Vatican has confirmed a German newspaper's report that "irregularities" were discovered during a search of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith office. Investigators found a wad of about 20,000 euros ($22,000) in cash in a desk drawer. Until recently, cash payments were common in the Vatican for services such as translation work. That policy has no changed.

#MALTA: Member of Parliament Threatens Female Colleague With Violence During Parliament Session

[world politics news]

Labour MP Joe Debono Grech can be heard on live TV telling a female member of parliament, Marlene Farrugia, "I'll come and beat you up" during a raucous session in which she allegedly accused him of being "corrupt." Farrugia resigned from the Labour Party last month.

#SERBIA: Despite Apology, Defense Min. Fired After Making Sexist Remark To Reporter

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić fired Defense Mnister Bratislav Gašić after he made a sexist remark to a female journalist. Gašić sparked outrage after a journalist from B92 Television knelt down in front of him to avoid being in the way of cameras as he spoke to a group of reporters during a visit to a factory. Gašić remarked, "I like these female journalists who kneel down so easily."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

#UKRAINE: Lawmakers Vote To Create State-Run News Service To Promote Ukrainian Worldview To Foreign Audiences

[world politics news]

Parliament has voted to create a taxpayer-funded newscaster to set up news bureaus overseas to promote the government's policies and counter Russian propaganda. Ukraine Tomorrow will be broadcasting in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

#AUSTRALIA: Greens Make Deal With Gov't To Get Tougher Corporate Tax Penalties; Called "Sell-Out Rats" By Labor Pty.

[world politics news]

The Labor Party accused the Greens of being "sell-out rats" for doing a deal with the governing Coalition on a bill to double existing penalties for multinational tax avoidance. The changes will force private Australian companies with revenue of $200 million or more to also publicly disclose their tax information, and multinationals with global revenue of $1 billion or more will have to prepare more detailed financial statements.

Pictured: Green Party Leader Richard Di Natale.