Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#FRANCE: National Assembly Creates Holocaust Survivor Reparations Fund

[world politics news]

The French National Assembly voted to approve the creation of a $60 million fund to compensate Holocaust victims transported to Nazi camps by the state railroad SNCF. The fund, to be administered by the United States, would compensate foreign nationals and also protect France against lawsuits filed in the United States.

#MYANMAR: Parliament Votes To Keep Military Veto Over Reforms

[world politics news]

Myanmar's parliament has failed to remove the army's veto over constitutional change, dealing a blow to hopes for fuller democracy. The bill received a majority of MPs' votes but not the 75% needed for passage. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy is expected to see big gains against the ruling party in an election likely to take place in the fall.

#JAPAN: PM Abe Apologizes For Party Officials Calling For "Financial Pressure" On Media

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he regrets comments made at a study session last week by Liberal Democratic Party's members calling for placing financial pressure on news outlets, which are being blamed for low public support for military reforms. In the Diet, opposition parties grilled the LDP over the attacks on the media.

Monday, June 29, 2015

#GREECE: Country Will Default On Tuesday, Admits Gov't Official; Makes "Grexit" From Euro More Certain

[world politics news]

Greece won’t make a debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund Tuesday, a senior government official has said. The IMF has said that if payment of US$1.7 billion is not made, Greece will be immediately in default, causing a possible exit from the Eurozone and a painful economic shockwave.

Pictured: An ATM in Greece that has run out of funds.

#SYRIA: Russia's #Putin Doubles Down On Support For Syria's Assad Regime

[world politics news]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a surprise meeting with the Syrian foreign minister, has pledged his support for Syrian President Bashar Assad. Syria's crisis, which began in March 2011, has killed more than 220,000 people. Russia has been seen as a key to a peaceful solution. Russia has rebuffed suggestions that Assad resign.

#SRILANKA: Pres. Maithripala Sirisena, Elected In January, Calls For August Election

[world politics news]

Elected just six months ago, Pres. Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved parliament and has called for new elections, to be held on Aug. 17.  A government spokesman said it an effort to consolidate power and push through political reforms.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

#SPAIN: Socialists Choose Sanchez To Lead Them In Year-End PM Race

[world politics news]

Spain's opposition Socialists have named party chief Pedro Sánchez as their candidate for prime minister in a year-end general election in which upstart parties are expected to make inroads. Sánchez, a 43-year-old parliamentarian, says his campaign will focus on joblessness and corruption.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

#AUSTRIA: National Assembly Overwhelmingly Rejects Gay Marriage

[world politics news]

The National Assembly of Austria has voted against a proposed resolution to grant gay couples the right to marry. Out of 136 representatives, only 26 voted for and 110 against the proposal in a roll-call vote on June 18. The Green party, who proposed the resolution, was the only party to fully support the measure.

#MEXICO: Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriages; Annuls State Constitutions' "1 Man, 1 Woman" Language

[world politics news]

In a June 12 ruling, the Mexican Supreme Court said it was discriminatory for Mexico's 33 states to limit marriage to "one man and one woman" or to define its sole purpose as "procreation," as some state constitutions read. The head of the Mexican Family Council accused the court of acting "like a group of activists."

Friday, June 26, 2015

#BREAKING: Greek PM Tsipras Calls July 5 Referendum On Bailout Deal

[world politics news]

Late today, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a July 5 referendum on whether to accept an accord with its creditors. Tsipras said Greece’s creditors gave its government an ultimatum, and that the creditors’ proposals were designed to "humiliate the Greek people."

#GREECE: Exit From Euro "Inevitable" Without Debt Deal; Greek Pols Resigned To Leaving

[world politics news]

More and more Greek politicians are resigned to a painful and difficult exit of the country from the European common currency if a deal isn't reached. Labor Minister Panos Skourletis says a deal for a new credit arrangement looks slim. Germany's EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger says a "Grexit" is "unavoidable" without a deal by Tuesday.

#RWANDA: Pres. Kagame Condemns UK After Intelligence Chief Arrested For War Crimes

[world politics news]

President Paul Kagame has accused the British government of "colonialism" and "arrogance and contempt" after the arrest of his intelligence chief, Karenzi Karake, at London's Heathrow Airport Saturday, in response to a European Arrest Warrant. Karake is accused of ordering massacres in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Pictured: Gen. Karenzi Karake.

#ARMENIA: Gov't Refuses To Bend As Nearly 10k Protest Electricity Rate Hike

[world politics news]

Nearly 10,000 protesters demonstrated for the seventh day to protest the government's plans to raise electricity tariffs by more than 16% starting in August. Pres. Serzh Sargsyan says the $3/month charge is aimed at ending periodic power shut-offs that endanger the economy, and promised aid to poor families.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#CANADA: New Democratic Party Leader Mulcair Reopens Quebec Sovereignty Debate

[world politics news]

Federal New Democratic Party Leader Tom Mulcair has reopened a thorny and controversial debate about Quebec sovereignty by appearing to promise Quebecers a special status in Canada if they voted "50% plus one" in a referendum, which is his party's policy, but goes against national law requiring a "clear majority."

#THAILAND: Constitutional Drafting Committee Begins Reviewing Changes

[world politics news]

The 30-member Constitution Drafting Committee began the first day of a section-by-section deliberation of the draft constitution's 315 sections on Thursday, with only a few changes being made. The CDC has until July 23 to review changes before sending the amended draft charter back to the National Reform Council for an Aug. 6 vote.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#SAUDIARABIA: Gov't Prepares For First Women Voters, Candidates

[world politics news]

Saudi election officials are preparing for the kingdom's first women voters and candidates in December's local elections. The late King Abdullah approved extending the right to vote and hold office to women in 2011. Eighty-five separate polling stations are being set up for women, in accordance with Islamic Law.

#USA: Wikileaks Reveals NSA Spied On Current, Past French President's Phone Calls

[world politics news]

The US National Security Agency spied on French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, WikiLeaks said in a press statement published on Tuesday, citing top secret intelligence reports and technical documents.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#UK: Labour Pty Ldr Frontrunner: Private Sector Experience Is Working In Wife's Firm For 3 Years

[world politics news]

Andy Burnham, the frontrunner for the Labour leadership contest, has claimed he has experience of living in the "real world' because he has worked outside the "Westminster" government bubble. Challenged during a TV interview to explain his "real world" experience, Mr Burnham said he worked in his wife's marketing firm, which folded in 2011 after three years.

Pictured: Andy Burnham with his Dutch-born wife Marie-France "Frankie" van Heel.

#EGYPT: Press Association Calls For Full Press Freedom; Demands Journalists' Release

[world politics news]

Egyptian journalists staged a demonstration Monday at the headquarters of the Press Syndicate, calling for freedom of the press and the release of 32 detained journalists, the detention of which the group says is unconstitutional. The Syndicate filed 13 complaints at the prosecutor general’s office detailing alleged acts of torture inflicted on journalists while in custody.

#PALESTINIANAUTHORITY: "No Place For Hamas" In New Gov't Says Pres. Abbas; Members Must "Recognize Israel"

[world politics news]

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that any new Palestinian unity government would not include Hamas. Abbas is building a new cabinet after the government collapsed this week amid a deepening rift with Hamas. Abbas reportedly said all government members must "recognize Israel" which would exclude Hamas.

Monday, June 22, 2015

#EU: First Day Of Emergency EU Summit Ends Without Greek Deal; More Talks Planned

[world politics news]

The first day of an emergecy EU summit on the Greek financial crisis ended Monday without a deal, but EU officials optimistically predicted a deal could be reached within a week. Greece risks defaulting on its debt June 30, when it faces a bailout repayment it will not be able to make without more emergency funds.

Pictured: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (left) with EU President Jean-Claude Juncker.

#JAPAN: Diet Approves Lowering Voting Age to 18 from 20

[world politics news]

The Diet on Wednesday passed legislation to lower the voting age to 18 from its current 20, allowing teenagers into polling booths for the first time. The move will bring Japan-where political power resides firmly with the burgeoning older generations-into line with other developed countries and will extend the franchise to an extra 2.4 million 18- and 19-year-olds.

#CHINA: Gov't Adds US$1.6 Billion To Low-Cost Housing "Stimulus" Plan Amid Slump

[world politics news]

Another 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) was pledge last week for infrastructure construction in shantytown renovation at a meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet. China has dedicated 149.4 billion Yuan to shantytown rebuilding this year, and 36.5 billion Yuan toward renovating rural housing. Overall, China is budgeting 477.6 billion Yuan of its 2.2 trillion Yuan central budget on housing renovation.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

#GERMANY: Parliament's Computers Have Been Hacked For Six Months, Agency Reveals

[world politics news]

Unknown attackers have been targeting the computer network of the Bundestag, the German parliament for around six months, rather than since May, when the attacks became known. The hackers used several waves of 'Trojan' viruses to gradually extend their access to the network piece by piece. The infiltration was only discovered in May.

#EU: Emergency Summit Of EU Foreign Mins. Called As Greek Economic Crisis Threatens EU's Future

[world politics news]

European Council Pres. Donald Tusk has called an emergency summit of nations in the Eurozone next week after Greek debt talks ended Thursday without a deal, sparking warnings of an "accident" that could push Athens out of the nations using the Euro currency if there is no breakthrough by June 30.

Pictured: European Council President Donald Tusk.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

#CANADA: Conservative Senators Attack Fellow Conservative's Bill

[world politics news]

Conservative senators are seeking to gut caucus colleague Michael Chong’s Reform Act, a bill aimed at rebalancing power between MPs and party leaders. The Act would give MPs in a party caucus the power to trigger a leadership review, and to subsequently vote to oust their leader.

#THENETHERLANDS: Party Leader Wilders Accuses National Broadcaster Of Sabotaging Attempt To Show Mohammed Cartoons

[world politics news]

Dutch Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders is accusing the national public broadcasting company of sabotaging his attempt to broadcast Mohammed drawings on his TV program. An old episode ran in place of the planned one. The network has re-scheduled the broadcast for Wed. June 24.

Update: Wilders has placed the video on YouTube.

#EU: Member States Balking At New EU Quota System For N. African Refugees

[world politics news]

The European Commission wants EU nations to accepts quotas as a fairer way to distribute asylum seekers, but many are balking at the proposed numbers. A bloc of nations - Poland, Hungary, the Czech  Republic and Slovakia - rejected the plan outright, while France and Germany sought "corrections" to the quota figures.

Background: Italy's PM Matteo Renzi is pushing the commission hard for the new quotas because it has taken the brunt of most migrants in the past few years, due to its proximity to north Africa.

#FRANCE: National Front To Lead Anti-EU Parties In New "Party Group" In European Parliament

[world politics news]

France's National Front Party says it has the votes to organize a Party Group within the European Union composed of Euro-skeptics and anti-immigrant members, it's leader Marine Le Pen has announced. It's the first such Group within the EU Parliament, which has formal Groups of Socialists, Greens and moderates. The move will likely boost the National Front's clout.

Friday, June 19, 2015

#DENMARK: People's Party Makes Huge Electoral Gains; Will Form Gov't With Other Right-leaning Parties

[world politics news]

Right-leaning Danish People’s Party made huge gains in Denmark's election Thursday. It's part of a consevative "blue bloc"  that won a slender victory over the ruling center-left coalition. Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt resigned as leader of the Social Democrats. Opposition leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen will seek to form a government.

Pictured: Kritian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the Danish People's Party.

#AUSTRIA: Social Democrats Form Coalition With "Extremist" Freedom Party In Burgenland

[world politics news]

Less than a week after regional elections in the small Austrian state of Burgenland, the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) entered a coalition with the right-wing Freedom Party. The alliance marks a sharp change for the Social Democats, which in a 2004 conference resolution, reaffirmed in 2014, described the Freedom Party as "right-wing extremist" and rejected "any coalition with the right-wing populist FPÖ at all political levels."

Pictured: Johann Tschürtz (L) of the Burgenland Freedom Party and Social Democatic Party Gov. Hans Niessl.

#EGYPT: Coptic Pope Supporting Legislation Spelling Out Divorce Criteria

[world politics news]

Egypt's Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, is awaiting the incoming parliament's approval of a new, 135-article Personal Status Law for Copts expands the grounds for annulment of marriage to include abandonment after a three-year absense, apostasy, homosexuality, conversion from Christianity, adultery, and elopement by one of the spouses.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

#HONGKONG: Bejing-Backed Election Reforms Voted Down After Ill-Advised Pro-Bejing Parliamentary Walkout

[world politics news]

In a shocking defeat for Bejing, 28 pro-democracy legislators voted down plans for the Mainland to hand-select candidates for its 2017 leadership race after 31 pro-Bejing legislators walked out of Parliament to wait for a colleague. The 28 votes were enough to defeat the measure even if they had remained.

Pictured: Grim-faced pro-Bejing legislators try to explain their walkout after the vote.

#KENYA: Foreign Ministry Accuses Norway, US, UK, Of Supporting Al-Shabaab Tied Terror Group

[world politics news]

Kenya’s Foreign Ministry is demanding Norway, the US and Britain to end financial support for Haki Africa, which they say poses a serious threat to Kenya’s security. However, all three nations have reacted negatively to accusations, saying the Mombasa-based group is countering violent extremism in the region.

Pictured: Kenyan soldiers in training.

#BRAZIL: Rio's Parliament Bans The Carrying Of Small Knives

[world politics news]

The parliament of Rio de Janeiro has approved a law punishing those who openly carry knives, pocket knives and daggers in the entire state. Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezão now has fifteen days to approve or veto the law, which allows police to apprehend and fine anyone who openly carries a cutting object that can be used as a weapon and has a longer blade than 10cm.

#EGYPT: Pres. Al-Sisi Seeking National Unity Coalition To Keep Out Former Regime's Cronies

[world politics news]

Called a "romantic idea" by some, "undemocratic" by others, Pres. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's party is seeking to unite almost all parties in parliament in one electoral list, in an attempt to keep out parties and independent members affiliated with former Pres. Hosni Mubarak.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

#DENMARK: Far-Right Parties Will Back UK's EU Reform Demands If They Win Election Thursday

[world politics news]

A four-party coalition of far-right parties will back UK PM David Cameron's demands for reforms of the European Union if they win Denmark's election Thursday. The traditionally pro-European Liberal Party surprised many by striking the agreement with the eurosceptic Danish People's Party. The coalition is tied in the polls with the ruling Social Democrats.

Pictured: Former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen, leader of the Venstre Party

#GREECE: Nation's Central Bank Warns Of Default, Recession, EU Exit, If Fiscal Talks Fail

[world politics news]

The Greek central bank has warned that the country would be put on a "painful course" towards default and exiting the eurozone if the government and its international creditors failed to reach an agreement on an aid-for-reforms deal. It also said Greece risked a renewed bout of recession. The ongoing crisis has prompted a recent outflow of deposits of about US$33.84 billion from Greek lenders.

#PALESTINIANAUTHORITY: Abbas Gov't Set To Dissolve Unity Gov't Today; Hamas Keeping It From Governing In Gaza

[world politics news]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that the Authority's unity government will resign as the rival Hamas movement is not allowing it to operate in the Gaza Strip. A Hamas spokesman reportedly said that it has rejected any unilateral dissolution and was "surprised" by the announcement and have accused Abbas of acting like a "dictator."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#JAPAN: Gov't Drafts Legislation To Ban Drones Flying Over Urban Areas, At Night

[world politics news]

The government has drafted legislation to ban drones from flying over crowded urban areas as well as during nighttime, sources close to the matter said Thursday, a move taken in response to concerns that the unmanned aircraft could be used for terrorist attacks. It also comes after a drone landed on the roof of the offices of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Monday, June 15, 2015

#NORWAY: Progress Party Rejects Increased Syrian Immigration, Demands Referendum

[world politics news]

The Progress Party has rejected an agreement to accept 8,000 Syrian refugees to Norway in the next three years. That number is an increase of 3,500 over the government’s plans. It called the agreement "irresponsible," threatened to leave the coalition government, and has called for a referrendum on the issue of immigration in the fall.

#IRELAND: #Donegal County Council Blocks Monument To #1916 Rising Soldiers

[world politics news]

A proposal to erect a monument dedicated to the Irish rebellion of 1916 and those who gave their lives for Irish freedom was voted down by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour councillors in Donegal County Council Monday. The motion was supported by the nine Sinn Féin councillors along with one Independent.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

#JAPAN: Scuffle In Parliament Over Three-Year Limit To Temp Workers Legislation

[world politics news]

Politicians briefly fought on the floor of the Diet during debate over a bill requiring employers to hire temporary workers after three years. Opponents say the measure won't work because employers will simply fire temps and hire new ones every three years. A scuffle erupted as a member attempted to speak after a disputed ruling from the Speaker's chair.

#CANADA: Liberals, Conservatives Trade Accusations Of Racism As Nerves Fray In Parliament

[world politics news]

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Liberal MP John McCallum traded barbs in the Commons today in a heated exchange that ended with the minister labelling the Liberals as the "racist party." With only days left before a scheduled summer recess and an autumn election call that will end this Parliament, tempers appear to be growing short.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

#GREECE: Finance Min. Insists #EU Won't Risk Economic Fallout From Greek Exit

[world politics news]

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is insisting that fellow European nations will not risk a Greek exit from the European Union despite the breakdown in debt negotiations with its creditors and a walk-out of the International Monetary Fund Thursday night.. He said fellow European nations will not be prepared to take the economic and political risk of forcing a "Grexit."

#THENETHERLANDS: Left-Wing MPs Call For Higher Minimum Wage For Young Adults

[world politics news]

Labour, GroenLinks and Socialist MPs are calling on the government to increase the minimum wage for 18 to 22-year-olds because they don’t currently earn enough to live on. The Netherlands is one of a handful of countries which does not give youngsters an entitlement to a full minimum wage at 18 but at 23.

#GERMANY: Upper House Resolution Passes, Urging Gay Marriage, Gay Adoption Law

[world politics news]

Though no law is currently being considered, Germany's Upper House has passed a resolution urging the legalization of gay marriage and gay adoptions. There remains strong opposition to both in the Lower House of the legislature and in Chancellor Merkel's party.

Friday, June 12, 2015

#EU: Hopelessly Divided EU Parliament Delays US Trade Deal Vote

[world politics news]

The European Parliament has failed to on a unified stance on a proposed trade deal with the United States, postponing a vote that was meant to cement its support for the biggest accord of its kind. There are growing doubts in the European Union about the benefits of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP.)

#FRANCE: National Front Founder Le Pen Suing Party For Expelling Him

[world politics news]

Jean-Marie Le Pen says he was taking France's Front National to court over his expulsion from the far-right party he founded more than 40 years ago. The party, now led by his daughter Marine Le Pen, is trying to distance itself from its founder's often anti-semitic, racist and otherwise controversial remarks.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

#UK: Cameron Concedes 16, 17-Year-Olds Could Vote In EU Referendum

[world politics news]

While personally opposed to the idea, PM David Cameron has agreed to allow Members of Parliament to vote on whether 16- and 17-year-olds should be allowed to participate in the country's referendum on European Union membership. The youth were allowed to vote in the Scotland Indepdenence referendum earlier this year.