Saturday, April 30, 2016

#IRAQ: State Of Emergency Declared As Shia Radicals Storm Parliament, Green Zone

[world politics news]

Hundreds of Shia Muslim activists have stormed Iraq's parliament in Baghdad, in protest against continuing deadlock in approving a new cabinet. Supporters of radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke through barricades of the fortified Green Zone for the first time, after MPs failed to convene for a vote. A state of emergency was declared and security forces near the US embassy fired tear gas. Protesters now seem to leaving the parliament but camping outside.

#CANADA: Animal Welfare Bill A "Trojan Horse" To Curtail Hunting, Say Critics

[world politics news]

A private member's bill seeking to modernize Canada's animal welfare laws is coming under fire for the bill's potential to dramatically change how hunters, anglers and farmers operate. But the bill, drafted by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith from Toronto, could do more than ban shark fin imports as well end the sale and trade of cat and dog fur, claim critics.

Friday, April 29, 2016

#UK: Frmr. London Mayor Livingstone Suspended From Labour Pty. After Anti-Semitic Rant

[world politics news]

The Labour Party has suspended the former London Mayor Ken Livingstone "for bringing the party into disrepute" after MPs accused of him of antisemitism and making offensive comments claiming that Hitler supported Zionism before he "went mad." The suspension

#EGYPT: "Coalition In Support Of Egypt" Group Wins 14 of 18 Committee Chairs In Parliament

[world politics news]

Members of Parliament assigned to the respective committees have voted 14 Coalition in Support of Egypt members to committee heads. The coalition thus has control of 14 of the announced 18 specialised internal committees, solidifying its control of the parliament.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

#SAUDIARABIA: Gov't Tilting Towards India After Pakistan Snub Of Saudi War In Yemen

[world politics news]

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud gave Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a very warm welcome last weekend in a public tilt of Saudi policy toward New Delhi and away from its traditional ally Pakistan. Economic interests are part of the tilt, but so too is Saudi pique at Pakistan's refusal to back its military adventure in Yemen.

#AUSTRIA: Parliament Set To Approve Toughest Refugee Asylum Standards In The #EU

[world politics news]

The Austrian parliament is expected to pass legislation that would be among the toughest on refugees in the entire EU. It would make it significantly harder for refugees to apply for asylum.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#IRAQ: Bitterly Divided Parliament Approves Partial Cabinet Reshuffle

[world politics news]

The Iraqi parliament has finally endorsed six new ministers proposed under a cabinet reshuffle plan by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi despite attempts by dozens of deputies opposed to changes to block the chamber meeting with a sit-in.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

#SERBIA: Pro-EU PM's Party Wins Big in Snap Election

[world politics news]

Pro-EU Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has claimed victory in general elections with his Progressive Party winning 50% of the votes. Vucic called an early election seeking a mandate to continue reforms required to join the EU. The Socialists came in second place with about 13%, while the ultra-nationalist Radical Party - which seeks closer ties with Russia - is third with 7%.

#GERMANY: #Merkel Says Initial Reax To Comic's Erdogan Video "A Mistake" But Prosecution Continues

[world politics news]

Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted on Friday that she had made a "mistake" in her initial reaction to a video that mocked Turkey's president, but continues to think that the investigation against the comedian who created it should be allowed to go forward.

Monday, April 25, 2016

#ITALY: PM Renzi Hails Approval Of Election Reform Package

[world politics news]

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hailed Monday a sweeping constitutional reform to which he has attached his political future, ahead of a final vote on the measure by the lower chamber of parliament. The package strengthens central executive powers at the expense of the legislature and local administrations in the hope of giving Italy steadier governance.

#AUSTRIA: Anti-Immigration Freedom Pty. Wins First Round of Pres. Election

[world politics news]

The law-and-order candidate of Austria's right-wing party swept the first round of presidential elections on Sunday, winning over 36 percent of the vote for the party's best ever result. Government coalition contenders were among the five losers, signaling deep voter rejection and political uncertainty ahead. Presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, campaigning on an anti-immigration, anti-Europe platform, will still face a run-off ballot next month, however, having failed to win a majority of first round votes.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

#NORTHERNIRELAND: Green Pty Ldr Launches Election Campaign Platform, Pledges "Zero-Waste Strategy" For Assembly

[world politics news]

Green Party Leader Steven Agnew launched a manifesto for the Stormont Northern Ireland Assembly elections calling for a "zero waste strategy" for Northern Ireland. The Greens had one member in the outgoing Assembly, but are fielding a candidate in each of the North’s 18 six-seater constituencies. Agnew pledged to "bring about an end to the waste of money, time and opportunity" in the Assembly.

#VIETNAM: Independents Having Difficult Time Getting On The Ballot In Communist Nation

[world politics news]

More than 100 Vietnamese - an unprecedented amount - tried to run in the May 22 election as independents, including activists bent on testing the party's sincerity about fostering inclusiveness and a democratic spirit. But almost all the self-nominated candidates in Hanoi failed to get on the ballot.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

#BULGARIA: It's Official: Bulgarians Are Now Required By Law To Vote

[world politics news]

Bulgarians will be required by law to vote in elections, after the National Assembly amended the Electoral Code to introduce mandatory voting. In a divisive vote which split several parties, 109 MP's voted for the measure, while 74 opposed. The leader of the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms, parliament's third-largest party, said it would oppose the new law in the nation's Constitutional Court, although it ironically might help the party's performance.

#UK: Thousands Of May 5 Election Ballots Recalled After Printing Error Discovered

[world politics news]

Thousands of postal ballots in three voting constituencies in Mid and West Wales have been recalled because of a printing error. Voters received voting packs for the May 5 elections containing three ballot papers. The regional ballot contained a small error. It should have said voters could vote by putting a cross IN the box next to their choice, but instead it instructed them to mark the box NEXT to their choice.

Friday, April 22, 2016

#CANADA: Frmr. Sens. Could Face Legal Action If They Don't Pay Back Expenses

[world politics news]

Friday is a Senate-imposed deadline for seven of its former members to hand over almost $528,000 in claims the federal auditor general ruled should never have been charged to taxpayers. They were among 30 senators flagged in the June 2015 report, but none chose to challenge the decision through an independent arbitration process.

#CANADA: Liberal Assisted Death Proposal Upsets Backbenchers

[world politics news]

Justin Trudeau is defending his government's restrictive approach to legalizing medical assistance in dying, arguing that it's a momentous change that needs to be implemented slowly and cautiously. The prime minister made the argument after some Liberal backbenchers expressed concern that the government's proposed new law does not comply with the charter of rights and falls short of what the Supreme Court ordered in last year's decision, striking down the ban on doctor-assisted death.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

#THEPHILIPPINES: Pres. Frontrunner Won't Apologize For Saying He'd Have Raped Prisoner

[world politics news]

Presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte said he will not apologize for remarks he made over the 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary in a Davao prison. As mayor of the town, he told a crowd that he should have been first in line to rape her. Opponents are calling him unfit for the presidency.

#SWEDEN: Majority Would Vote To Leave #EU If UK Votes "Brexit" In June

[world politics news]

A new poll shows that a majority of Swedes would vote to leave the European Union if the United Kingdom votes to do so in its June 23 referendum. Currently, 44% would remain, but political observers say that could change dramatically if a British "Brexit" from the EU occurs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#CUBA: Raul Castro Re-elected Head Of Communist Party For 5-year Term

[world politics news]

Cuban leader Raúl Castro and José Ramón Machado Ventura, revolutionaries who have been members of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party for more than 50 years, were reelected Tuesday to the party’s two most powerful posts, indicating the Old Guard wants a place as Cuba transitions to younger leaders. Former Pres. Fidel Castro made a surprise appearance at the gathering.

#JAPAN: Quakes Delaying Trade Package Debate In Parliament

[world politics news]

The Diet is expected to delay debate and ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact until after its ongoing ordinary session, while the government gives top priority to responding to a series of powerful earthquakes in the Kyushu southwestern region, mainly Kumamoto Prefecture.

Monday, April 18, 2016

#GERMANY: #Merkel Faces Criticism For Allowing Prosecution Of Comic Who Insulted #Erdogan

[world politics news]

Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing criticism from all parties after allowing the prosecution of German comic Jan Böhmermann, who created a vulgar video attacking Turkish Pres. Recep Tyyip Erdogan, who demanded he be prosecuted for insulting him. Under German law, the government must agree to such prosecutions, which are rare, The obscure law protects foreign heads of state from being insulted.

#BRAZIL: Lower House Votes To Begin Pres. Rousseff Impeachment Process

[world politics news]

Opposition lawmakers in Brazil's lower house have approved impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff. Her ruling Workers' Party and allies have described the impeachment drive as a "coup," but have admitted defeat. They say they will continue to fight the moves against the deeply unpopular president in the Senate.

#GERMANY: North Rhine-Westphalia State Interior Min. Accused Of Removing "Rape" From Reports Of New Years' Eve Immigrant Attacks

[world politics news]

The government of North Rhine-Westphalia was under fire on Wednesday after NRW interior minister Ralf Jäger allegedly attempted to remove the word "rape" from the first police reports about mass sexual assaults by immigrants in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

#SCOTLAND: Frmr. First Min. Tried To Sell Edinburgh Airport To Qatar, Trade Agenda Shows

[world politics news]

Selling Edinburgh Airport to the rulers of Qatar was top of Alex Salmond’s agenda during a 2011 trade mission, according to civil servant papers. Briefing documents drawn up before the former first minister traveled to the oil-rich Gulf nation in 2011 have revealed that promoting the airport was a priority. The air hub, Scotland’s busiest, was on the market at the time.

#KENYA: Death Penalty For Banking Crimes Proposed As Parliament Discusses Bank Failures

[world politics news]

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has directed a parliamentary committee to inquire into the issues in the banking sector. Some MPs asked the House to pass laws imposing death sentence on those who commit economic crimes, others described the insider lending by banks that have gone under receivership as outright theft while others talked of their encounters with depositors whose money is stuck in the closed banks.

Pictured; Customers of a Nairobi Chase Bank branch (no connection to the American bank) after the bank was closed and put into receivership on April 7 due to the corruption of its board members, some of whom made off-book loans to themselves.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

#FRANCE: "Whiz Kid" Economy Min. Macron Spurs Presidential Ambitions By Forming New Group

[world politics news]

Reform-minded French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has launched his own political movement, declaring he wanted to promote "new ideas" that were neither "of the right nor the left" a year ahead of the next presidential election. Macron, a 38-year-old former banker who was brought into the Socialist government in 2014 to try to turn around the ailing French economy, said the movement called "En Marche" (On the move) would spur debate on how to tackle "blockages" in French society. His formation of a political movement has fueled speculation about his political ambitions.

#JAPAN: Diet Approves Law Allowing Voting At Train Stations, Shopping Centers

[world politics news]

Japan’s Diet enacted Wednesday a bill to revise the public offices election law to allow voters to cast ballots for national and local elections at train stations, shopping centers and other facilities. The legislation will come into force on June 19, when the country's voting age is to be lowered from 20 to 18 under another amendment to the same law made last year.

Friday, April 15, 2016

#BELGIUM: Transport Min. Resigns Over Known Security Lapses At Brussels Airport

[world politics news]

Belgian Transport Minister Jacqueline Galant submitted her resignation to Prime Minister Charles Michel after being heavily criticized by the opposition of ignoring a report which criticized security at Brussels Airport long before the brutal attack. There has also been severe internal dissension within the Transportation Ministry over her style, and Michel complained he was never made aware of an audit by the EU earlier this that criticized security at the airport.

#SERBIA: PM Vows To Smooth Tensions With Croatia After War Criminal Found Not Guilty, Plans Visit

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic pledged to visit Croatia to ease tensions that escalated between the two countries after the acquittal of hardline nationalist war crime defendant Vojislav Seselj. Croatia has been demanding that Serbia do more to prosecute crimes against its Croatian minority, and has vowed to obstruct Belgrade’s EU entry process if Serbia doesn't comply. Vucic dismisses these threats as "unreasonable blackmail," but says the two nations must work better together.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

#LITHUANIA: Parliament's Website Comes Under Cyber Attack During Discussion Of Crimean Tartars

[world politics news]

Lithuania’s parliamentary website came under cyber attack just as an April 11 special session of the World Congress of Crimean Tartars was meeting to discuss mass violations of human Rights in Russian-occupied Crimea. The website was blocked partly preventing live coverage of discussions. Lithuanian police claim the attack came from abroad. According to Baltic Course, the cyber attack was aimed at preventing foreign viewers from watching the global gathering of the Tatar community.

#SOUTHKOREA: Oppo. Minjoo Pty Scores Big Upset Against Pres. Park's Saenuri Pty In Assembly Elections

[world politics news]

Against the backdrop of a sluggish economy, South Korea's ruling conservative party suffered an upset defeat in a parliamentary election Wednesday, a stinging blow to Pres. Park Geun-hye, whose Saenuri Party had been expected to regain a majority. Saenuri took 122 of the 300 seats in the single-chamber National Assembly, while the main opposition Minjoo Party won 123 seats and the People's Party grabbed 38.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#INDIA: Housing Bill Brings Relief To Buyers Of Delayed Housing Projects

[world politics news]

It will now be difficult for promoters and builders to delay projects, with Parliament on Tuesday giving nod to a bill which gives relief to home-buyers and proposes imprisonment of up to three years besides monetary penalties for any violation of rules.

#FRANCE: New Law Fines Prostitutes' Clients Up To 1,500 Euros

[world politics news]

Prostitutes’ clients who will face a 1,500 euro fine if caught buying sex in France, according to new legislation passed this week. The new law includes measures to try to help sex workers leave the industry. France has become the fifth European country to punish prostitutes’ clients, following Sweden which pioneered the move in 1999, Norway, Iceland and the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

#UK: Despite Panama Papers Pressure, UKIP's Farage Says He Won't Disclose Tax Returns; "Private Matter"

[world politics news]

UK Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage has ruled out publishing his tax returns just days after fellow party leaders David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon agreed to release theirs. He warned that if party leaders are made to publish their tax returns, it could set a precedent for other people to have to do the same.

#CANADA: New Democrats Reject Party Leader Mulcair At Convention

[world politics news]

In a dramatic rejection of Tom Mulcair's time as leader of the federal NDP, delegates gathered in Edmonton for the party's convention voted in favor of launching a new leadership race on Sunday. Delegates voted 52% to 48% to proceed with the leadership election, Mulcair taking far less than the 70% required to remain leader.

Monday, April 11, 2016

#ICELAND: Gov't Survives No-Confidence Vote, But Anger Persists Over Panama Papers Revelations

[world politics news]

The ruling Progressive and Independence parties have easily shrugged off opposition efforts in parliament to topple the government and force immediate elections, defeating a no-confidence motion by 38 votes to 25. But demonstrators protesting former Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson's off-shore accounts are keeping up pressure on the government, which continues to defend him.

#UKRAINE: PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk Resigns; Clears The Way For New Gov't

[world politics news]

Ukraine's embattled prime minister has announced he will resign, opening the way for the formation of a new government to end a drawn-out political crisis. In a televised address on Sunday, Arseniy Yatsenyuk said his resignation would be formally submitted to parliament on Tuesday.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

#THEPHILIPPINES: Filipino Version Of Donald Trump Gains Momentum With Anti-Crime Pledge

[world politics news]

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is gaining momentum in the Philippines' presidential race with incendiary rhetoric often compared with Donald Trump's in the U.S. elections, tapping into deep discontent over the country's persistent inequality and the criminality that comes with it.

#JAPAN: Lawmakers Begin Debate On TPP Trade Deal; Farmers Oppose

[world politics news]

The House of Representatives has started deliberations on a Pacific Rim free trade deal, with the ruling parties looking to have it ratified before June 1. Measures to support farmers, who will face an influx of cheaper products from abroad under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, are expected to be a major part of the deal.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

#GERMANY: In Poll, 2/3rds Seek End Of "Free Movement" Agreement Between EU Nations

[world politics news]

Germans appear to be losing faith in the idea of a borderless Europe, as the results of a poll published on Tuesday showed that two-thirds would prefer the government to end the Schengen free-movement zone.

#BRAZIL: Pres. Rousseff Impeachment Vote To Move Forward, Says Commission

[world politics news]

The representative for a congressional commission has called for Brazil's legislature to move forward with the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. The decision brings Brazil one step closer to a democratic showdown. The special impeachment commission in Brazil's lower house has concluded the "legal admissibility" of the case against President Dilma Rousseff, who could lose her post as early as May.

Pictured: Jovair Arantes representative of the special impeachment commission in Brazil's lower house

Friday, April 08, 2016

#THENETHERLANDS: Voters Reject EU-Ukraine Trade Deal In Referendum; "Continental Crisis" Feared

[world politics news]

Voters Wednesday rejected a European Union trade deal with Ukraine, with many citing the Eastern European nation's corruption as the reason. The vote, which barely met the criteria of 30% of registered voters - a rare low turnout in Europe - was the first under a new law requiring parliament to reconsider any vote if 300,000 voters sign a petition ordering a popular referendum. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had warned that a Dutch No vote could lead to a “continental crisis." The deal could mean trouble for Ukrainian Pres. Petro Poroschenko and is a victory for Euro-skeptics.

#SOUTHAFRICA: ANC Majority Allows Pres. Zuma To Survive Impeachment Vote

[world politics news]

The lower house of Parliament has voted 233 to 143 not to impeach Pres. Jacob Zuma, despite a court ruling he had violated the nation's constitution. The governing African National Congress, which has 249 seats, defeated the opposition Democratic Alliance Party-sponsored motion, saying Zuma was not guilty of "serious misconduct."

Thursday, April 07, 2016

#THAILAND: 57% In Poll Support "Attitude Adjustment" Courses For Politicians Speaking Out Against The Military Gov't

[world politics news]

A shocking 57% people agree to the idea of organizing a 3 to 7-day "attitude adjustment" course for politicians or others who repeatedly express opinions opposed to the National Council for Peace and Order - the nation's military government, according to a survey by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University. Respondents said "too much criticism" with "personal opinions" could confuse the public and lead to misunderstanding. The military established a junta after it led a coup in 2014. It has broad new powers to arrest opponents of the regime.

#THENETHERLANDS: Oppo. Pols Oppose Closing More Prisons, Despite Rapidly Falling Crime Rate

[world politics news]

Opposition parties and MPs from ruling parties rejected cabinet plans to close prisons and other penal institutions. The government said last week closing prison cells is inevitable, as crime is expected to fall by 0.9% a year, and a third of cells are already empty – at great cost to the country. Some prisons are taking prisoners from Norway and other European nations.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

#ICELAND: PM Resigns After "Panama Papers" Reveal Secret Accounts

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned Tuesday amid reports that he and his wife set up an offshore company with the help of a Panamanian law firm at the center of a massive tax evasion leak, representing the first world leader to step down in the Panama Papers scandal. Gunnlaugsson denies doing anything illegal and says he paid all taxes. Opponents say his company, set up in the British Virgin Islands, represents a severe conflict of interest because it held investments in failed Icelandic banks his government was responsible for overseeing.

#SOUTHAFRICA: Pres. Zuma Faces Impeachment Over Violations Of Constitution And Influence Peddling Accusations

[world politics news]

Pres. Jacob Zuma faces impeachment after the nation's high court said he violated the constitution by misusing state funds to renovate his home, and amid accusations that a powerful family tried to force the appointment of cabinet members sympathetic to their business interests. His party holds the parliament so he is likely to survive impeachment, but calls for his resignation are increasing.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

#SPAIN: PM Rajoy Suggests End To "Siesta" To Spur Workforce Productivity

[world politics news]

The Spanish Prime Minister has announced moves to cut the working day by two hours and bring an end to the siesta- a three-hour break in the middle of the workday - in an attempt to bring the country into line with its European counterparts.

#UK: Labor Sec. Faces Criticism For Australia Trip During Steel Union Talks

[world politics news]

Sajid Javid, once seen as a Tory rising star and potential future party leader, is facing a storm of criticism for taking a trip to Australia just as critical steel union talks are set to culminate in northern England.