Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#CANADA: Conservatives To Remove Protests And Dissent From Anti-Terror Bill

[world politics news]

The majority Conservatives will put forward four changes to their proposed terrorism law, clarifying that protests and dissent do not qualify as national security threats. Current wording allows "lawful" protests, which some assert could criminalize civil disobedience.

#THAILAND: PM Offers To Lift Martial Law, If He Gets To Control All Three Branches Of Gov't

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says he has asked Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej for permission to bring an end to martial law. But his desire to replace it by assuming unchecked powers over all branches of government have led to fears of an impending dictatorship.

Monday, March 30, 2015

#BRAZIL: Teen Leads Fight For Free Market Reforms Against Pres. Rousseff's Leftist Gov't

[world politics news]

Kim Kataguiri, 19, is leading the most effective movement of demonstrations since the 1980s pro-democracy movement. His pro-free market and low-tax Free Brazil Movement is gaining a huge following among the nation's youth, hit hard by rising taxes and slow economic growth.

#EU: #Hamas Kept On Terror List, Despite Court Ruling They Be Removed

[world politics news]

The European Union kept Hamas on its terrorism blacklist despite a controversial court decision ordering it to remove the Palestinian Islamist group from the list. Hamas was added to the list in 2001. The EU said it will remain on the list while it appeals.

#GREECE: Foreign Min. Denies Resignation In Twitter Post, Quelling Germans' Hopeful Rumors

[world politics news]

After German tabloid Bild reported that Germany's least-favorite Greek minister Yanis Varoufakis was considering resigning, the minister rejected the story on Twitter, much to the disappointment of German politicians, who find the tough negotiator "difficult."

Sunday, March 29, 2015

#UK: Poll Shows Cameron Out Debated Miliband in TV Face-Off

[world politics news]

Pollster ICM said its snap verdict giving a narrow victory for PM David Cameron in the first of the leaders' election broadcasts Friday represented the company's 'best guess' of the nationwide response. The debate dominated UK Twitter conversations.

#TUNISIA: Citizens March Against Terrorism After Museum Massacre

[world politics news]

Over 12,000 Tunisians marched Sunday against terrorism through the capital following the massacre of foreign tourists at the country's national museum. Many waved Tunisian flags to chants of "Tunisia is free! Terrorism out!"

#LEBANON: International Fears Rising About Lebanon's Security After 9 Months With No President

[world politics news]

After nine months of political deadlock over the election of a new president, international fears are growing that Lebanon may not be able to effectively secure its borders against terrorist threats like ISIS, or control its militias its the southern border with Israel.

Pictured: Walid Jumblatt, leader of the mostly Druze Progressive Socialist Party

Saturday, March 28, 2015

#NIGERIA: First Genuine Electoral Fight Since End of Military Rule in 1999

[world politics news]

Nigerians vote this weekend in what looks set to be the first genuine electoral contest since the end of military rule in 1999, one in which an opposition aspirant has a fighting chance of unseating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

#JAPAN: Gubernatorial Candidates Kick Off Election Campaigns

[world politics news]

Aspiring governors have kicked off 17-day election campaigns for April 12 elections in 10 of Japan's 47 prefectures. A total 25 candidates are running in Hokkaido, Kanagawa, Fukui, Mie, Nara, Tottori, Shimane, Tokushima, Fukuoka, and Oita. Japan's shrinking population and regional economic revitalization in general are key issues.

#EGYPT: Gov't Rejects 'Radical Overhaul' Of Electoral System

[world politics news]

The government has rejected amendments proposed by political forces that would radically overhaul the electoral system, siting past rulings of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Friday, March 27, 2015

#CANADA: Alberta Tories Dump Flat Tax, Raise Tax Rates On The Rich, Increase Fees

[world politics news]

Alberta's legislature is raising taxes on those making $50,000 or more, as well as taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and gas, and is introducing a new health care fee in July in an effort to deal with sharply lower revenues from the oil industry. Finance Minister Robin Campbell says Alberta will remain the lowest-taxed province in Canada.

Pictured: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#EU: 27 of 28 Member States Sued By EU For Failing To Implement Energy Law

[world politics news]

Every member state of the EU except Malta was sued on March 26 over failures to translate the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive into national law. The European Commission referred Hungary to the European Court of Justice, seeking fines of €15,444 a day for not implementing the directive by a June 2014 deadline.

#IRELAND: Senator Faces Expulsion From Party For Opposing Gay Adoption Bill

[world politics news]

Fianna Fáil Party Senator Jim Walsh is likely to lose his position as party whip and be expelled from the parliamentary party over his opposition to 36 provisions of the Children and Family Relationships Bill, which includes extending adoption  rights to same-sex couples.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#JAPAN: Regional Court Says 2014 National Election Unconstitutional; But "Do-Over" Unlikely

[world politics news]

The Nagoya High Court in central Japan ruled that last December's general election was unconstitutionally held due to the disparity in the value of votes between densely and sparsely populated areas, but it did not nullify the election. The day before, the Tokyo High Court upheld the election's constitutionality.

#CANADA: Treasury Board President Says Tax Agency Should Preserve Work-Related Instant Messages

[world politics news]

Treasury Board President Tony Clement believes the Canada Revenue Agency should not have deleted instant messages if they were related to government business. Last August, Canada Revenue Agency asked Shared Services Canada, which is responsible for government IT services, to delete all records of instant messages between its employees.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#ITALY: Transportation Minister Quits Over Public Works Dept. Scandal

[world politics news]

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Maurizio Lupi has resigned, caught up in the country's biggest corruption scandal in two decades, saying he had to take political responsibility for his department's rigging of public works tenders that cost taxpayers billions.

#BOLIVIA: Gov't Official Says Socialist Pty Members Who Don't Campaign For the Pty "Should Be Shot"

[world politics news]

Interior Vice Minister Jorge Pérez, a senior Bolivian official, suggested on local radio that party members who fail to campaign for the ruling Movement Towards Socialism in regional elections this month should be executed. "Traitors should be shot," he said. "It’s a shame that we’re not allowed to do it."

#GREECE: Energy Min. Says Gov't Opposes #EU Energy Union; Will Not Privatize Energy Sector

[world politics news]

Greece opposes the EU's Energy Union plan, which undermines Greece's national interests, including relations with Russia, says Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who also ruled out any privatizing the energy sector. The Union would require deals with non-EU states be approved by the European Commission. Russia says energy deals are confidential.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#FRANCE: National Front Comes In Second Place in Regional Elections Behind Sarkozy's Party

[world politics news]

Despite polling showing a surge for Marine Le Pen's Front National Party, they came in second place in Sunday's national regional elections, behind future presidential rival Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives. The ruling Socialists came in third place.

#SPAIN: Socialists Stave Off Threat From Leftist Podemos Party In Andalusian Election

[world politics news]

Spain’s two establishment parties, the Socialists and the conservative Popular Party, staved off a challenge by a pair of insurgent parties in a regional election Sunday in Andalusia. Socialists retained all 47 of its seats, with Podemos coming in third. The Right-of-Center Citizen's Party came in fourth.

Pictured: Susana Díaz, in center, president of the regional government of Andalusia and a member of the Spanish Socialist Party

#GREECE: UK Independence Pty Memb. of EU Parliament Suspended After Expenses Scandal

[world politics news]

A UK Independence Party (UKIP) Member of the European Parliament was suspended and barred from standing in May’s elections, amid accusations of expenses fraud. Janice Atkinson was also stripped of the party whip by UKIP, which said it was “incredibly disappointed” with the South East England MEP.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#SPAIN: Key Electoral Test For Rising Left-Wing Podemos Party In Today's Andalusian Vote

[world politics news]

Polls opened Sunday in Andalusia, one of the poorest parts of Spain, in a regional vote that will be a key test for the anti-austerity Podemos Party as well as the upstart center-right Ciudadanos Party ahead of the country's most unpredictable general election in decades.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#RUSSIA: #Putin Proposal For Common Eurasian Currency With Belarus, Kazakhstan Gets Cool Reception

[world politics news]

Reacting to the Russian Ruble falling 40% in value against the US Dollar, Pres. Putin has proposed a common currency with former Soviet Republics Belarus and Kazakhstan, but both have privately reacted coolly to the idea, instead proposing common fiscal policies.

#ISRAEL: Kulanu Party Ldr #MosheKahlon Wants Rival In #Netanyahu Gov't

[world politics news]

Playing the "kingmaker" in post-election negotiations with election victor Benjamin Netanyahu, Kulanu Party leader Moshe Kahlon is said to want the Finance Minister post, and wants his party to have a Knesset committee position that allows "real reforms" to be implemented.

Friday, March 20, 2015

#FRANCE: Parliament Overwhelmingly Supports "Deep Sleep" Option For Terminally Ill

[world politics news]

The French parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a law allowing terminally ill patients to cease treatment and enter a “deep sleep” until they die. The measure stops short of legalizing euthanasia, which remains a divisive issue in French politics, but the government said the law would give patients on the brink of death more control at the end of their lives.

 Photo: Marisol Touraine, French minister for social affairs, health and women’s rights

#AUSTRALIA: Senator Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Bill To Spark Debate

[world politics news]

Admitting that the votes aren't there for passage in this sitting of parliament, Liberal Democratic Party Sen. David Leyonhjelm has introduced a Same-Sex Marriage bill to "push the Government" to allow members to have a "free vote" on the issue and discuss it within the party's caucus.

#MALAYSIA: Kelantan State Legislature Approves Harsh Sharia Law To Include Stonings, Amputations

[world politics news]

Malaysia's state of Kelantan has amended its criminal code to introduce an Islamic criminal code. The Sharia laws would allow punishments ranging in severity according to the crime such as amputations and death by stoning. The state needs federal support to implement the bill, which is rocking political coalitions in the country.

Photo: Supporters of Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party hold their party flag. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

#LITHUANIA: Parliament Votes To Bring Back Military Draft To Counter Russian Threat

[world politics news]

The Lithuanian parliament has voted overwhelmingly to reintroduce conscription as the country grapples with a renewed threat of Russian invasion. Under the terms of the new bill, 3.500 young men between the ages of 19 and 26 will be drafted each year for the next 5 years for periods of 9-month service.

#UK: Pre-Election Minimum Wage Hike: Up 3% to £6.70/Hour

[world politics news]

The minimum wage in the UK is set to rise 3% to £6.70 an hour. The government, just two months before the May election, accepted the Low Pay Commission recommendation to raise rates, with similar rises for younger workers and a 20% jump to £3.30, for apprentices.

#NEWZEALAND: Bill To Provide Free In-School Food For All Students Fails In Parliament

[world politics news]

Two members' bills, both aiming to provide free food to children in schools, have failed to gain enough support in Parliament. Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei put forward legislation known as the 'Feed the Kids Bill', but it was defeated 61 votes to 59.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#UK: #NigelFarage Says He'll Step Down As #UKIP Ldr If He Fails To Win Seat In Parliament

[world politics news]

Nigel Farage has warned he will step down as Leader of the UK Independence Party if he fails to win a seat as a Member of Parliament at the general election in May, declaring it would be "curtains for me." Polls show he is likely to win a seat in South Thanet in Kent.

#MEXICO: Mayoral Candidate Accused Of Buying Votes With Bar Gift Card

[world politics news]

A candidate for mayor of the southern Mexican border city of Tapachula is distributing a “People’s Card” that entitles the bearer to discounts at local businesses, including bars. Neftali del Toro, a Chiapas state legislator, denies charges he's buying votes.

#ISRAEL: Netanyahu's Party Admits Forging Recording of Kulanu Pty Ldr Vowing Pre-Election Support For Netanyahu, Fined $5,000

[world politics news]

PM Netanyahu's Likud Party admitted to forging a recording of Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon promising to support Netanyahu and distributing it to voters the day before Tuesday's election. A Central Elections Committee judge ordered Likud to stop using it, and fined it nearly $5,000.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#CANADA: Deal Reached With USA For Pre-Clearance For Frequent Border Crossers

[world politics news]

A long-awaited deal between the US and Canada will allow travelers - especially frequent ones - to acquire a "pre-clearance" status away from border crossings to ease congestion caused by tighter post-9/11 restrictions.

#RUSSIA: Furious Nordic Foreign Ministers To Close Offices In Russia

[world politics news]

The Nordic Council of Ministers will close its offices throughout Russia after being told by Russia it will need to register as a "foreign agent." The council is composed of government ministers from all the Nordic countries, and worked for over 20 years to cooperative ventures with Russia.

#UK: Parliament Approves Plain Packaging For Cigarettes By Next Year

[world politics news]

Parliament has voted to introduce plain cigarette packaging to England starting in May, 2016. England will be the third country to introduce such a law after Australia and Ireland. The law applies only to England, but the UK's other self-governing regions may follow suit.

Monday, March 16, 2015

#ISRAEL: Hours Before Election: Livni Says She Won't Rotate PM Office With Herzog If Coalition Elected

[world politics news]

Just hours before Israeli polls open, the Zionist Union’s Tzipi Livni announced she would give up the rotation of the premiership with the slate’s leader, Isaac Herzog, an agreement they made months ago when her party merged with his. PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the announcement meant the two were "panicking."

#ISRAEL: #Netanyahu Says There Will Be No Palestinian State If He Wins Election

[world politics news]

In an apparent attempt to woo voters from a far-right wing political party, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, in a pre-election radio interview, said there would be no Palestinian State in a "two-state solution" if his party's re-elected this week.

#GERMANY: Cabinet Minister's Plan to Expose Women's Wages Draws Fire From Business Groups

[world politics news]

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, but the proposal is drawing angry reactions from employers, who warn it will create "dissatisfaction" and could compromise privacy.

#EGYPT: Elections Face Delays After Law Banning Dual-Citizens Candidacy Ruled Unconstitutional

[world politics news]

A government-affiliated committee began meeting this week to redraft two election laws after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled them unconstitutional. One dealt with election boundaries, the other unfairly banned candidates with dual citizenship, the court said. The ruling could delay the first round of parliamentary elections, scheduled for March 21.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

#COLOMBIA: Christian Activist Fighting Installation Of Condom Dispensers Across Bogota

[world politics news]

Colombia’s capital city of Bogota is set to install condom dispensers in public areas in spit of long resistance from local Christian activists who had called for “more values, less condoms.”

#SOUTHKOREA: Assembly Speaker Proposes Controversial Joint Resolution With US Congress Over End of WWII

[world politics news]

South Korea's National Assembly is proposing a "joint resolution" with the US Congress to commemorate 70 years of peace in Asia since the end of World War II, but some fear it may touch on controversial subjects like North Korea's nuclear ambitions and Japan's failure to admit to war crimes against Korean women.

Photo: Rep. Chung Ui-hwa, the Speaker of South Korea’s National Assembly

Saturday, March 14, 2015

#AUSTRALIA: Cabinet Split Over UK's Decision To Support China's "Asian Bank" Proposal

[world politics news]

A shock decision by the United Kingdom to support Beijing's plans for an ambitious new Asian bank has re-opened cabinet divisions about how best to work with rising Chinese power. Key ministers remain split on if and how to join the US$100 billion China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.

#PUERTORICO: Legislators Propose Fining Parents of Obese Children

[world politics news]

Parents in the US territory of Puerto Rico would be fined up to $800 if their children’s health conditions do not improve following parent-focused education on obesity.  The Obesity Society  and the Obesity Action Coalition call the legislators’ solution a “misguided policy."

Friday, March 13, 2015

#ISRAEL: In Tight Race, Parties Courting Recent French Immigrants to Israel

[world politics news]

As campaigning heats up ahead of what is predicted to be an extremely close general election in Israel on Tuesday, politicians are, for the first time, turning their attention to an increasingly important demographic – immigrants from France.

#USA: Potential Pres. Cand. Lindsey Graham Threatens Military Force Against Congress

[world politics news]

In comments to Republicans in Concord, New Hampshire last week, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham - who is strongly considering a run for president - said he would "literally" employ the US military to force Congress to restore military and intelligence agency budget cuts, refusing to allow them to leave until they do. He later  said he was joking.

#GREECE: PM #AlexisTsipras Assures Europe Greece Will Pay Its Debts

[world politics news]

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras insisted Thursday that his government will pay debts that are due soon, even if Athens doesn't get part of a rescue loan that will only get released if current bailout talks are successful.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

#SWEDEN: Defense Contract Cancelled, Saudis Recall Ambassador, Amid Nasty Diplomatic Spat

[world politics news]

An increasingly nasty diplomatic spat between Sweden and Saudi Arabia is dramatically escalating, as Saudi Arabia this week recalled its ambassador a day after Sweden canceled a 10-year arms deal with the kingdom. A top Swedish diplomat has criticized the Saudi human rights record and called it a "dictatorship.

#ISRAEL: Rising Panic In #Netanyahu's #Likud Party As Opposition Gains Momentum

[world politics news]

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union Party appears to be gaining momentum in the run-up to this weekend’s general election, triggering a rising sense of panic in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party. Two new polls suggest a lead of three to four parliamentary seats for the Zionist Union, with internal polling from both parties indicating a wider gap.