Tuesday, May 31, 2016

#GERMANY: Disgraced MP Says He's Not A Pedophile, Wants To Return To Germany

[world politics news]

Sebastian Edathy, a former member of parliament, said he wants to return to Germany to marry after years in self-imposed exile after accusations of possessing child pornography. He had ordered pictures of children from a Canadian firm in 2005, but the pictures were later deemed legal under German law. That didn't keep scandal at bay, however, and the former rising star of the Social Democratic Party was politically ruined by the accusations.

#TURKEY: New Prime Min. - Friend of Pres. Erdogan - Wins Confidence Vote In Parliament

[world politics news]

The government of Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has won a vote of confidence in Turkey's parliament. The confidence vote also granted approval of his legislative programs. A co-founder of the ruling Justice and Development Party, along with President Tayyip Erdogan, Yildirim is known as an "arch-friend" of the president. His appointment will also likely bring the nation one step closer to Erdogan's stated goal of adopting a presidential governing system.

Monday, May 30, 2016

#IRAN: Conservative Parliament Speaker Defeats Reformist Upstart

[world politics news]

Moderate conservative Ali Larijani Sunday easily won reelection as speaker of the Iranian parliament with 173 votes against 103 for his reformist opponent Mohammad Reza Aref, in a vote broadcast live on state radio. The vote follows elections that saw major gains by reformists and moderates allied to moderate Pres. Hassan Rowhani, but not enough for them to take the speaker's position.

#JORDAN: Election Reforms Prompt King To Dissolve Parliament Ahead Of Nov. Election

[world politics news]

In accordance with the terms of a passage of a new election law, King Abdullah has dissolved parliament and has appointed a new prime minister, Hani al-Mulqi to oversee elections. Under the new bill, Jordan has done away with single-member districts, with elections now based on a large voting system, in which candidates will run for seats on one, multi-member ticket.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

#BRAZIL: Rio Mayor Welcomes Olympic Corruption Probe

[world politics news]

The mayor of the host city for the 2016 Olympics says he welcomes an investigation by federal prosecutors into possible corruption involving construction projects for the upcoming Games. He said there was no corruption and no bribes involved in creating venues, which he said have come in "under budget and on time." Construction in fact has been notoriously delayed, worrying the International Olympic Committee.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

#CANADA: Uber Drivers Called "Criminals" By Quebec Taxi Lobby Before Hearing On Stiff New Regs Begins

[world politics news]

Ride-hailing company Uber has the attitude of a "hardened criminal" and is stealing money from the state, the head of a Quebec taxi lobby said, shortly before the start of legislative hearings into a bill regulating companies such as Uber. Bill 100 would force Uber drivers to conform to the same laws as the taxi industry regarding regulations such as permits and taxes.

#USA: Virgin Islands Atty. Gen. Backs Down From Prosecution Threats Against Global Warming "Deniers"

[world politics news]

Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker has withdrawn his subpoena of the Competitive Enterprise Institute after a rash of criticism over his investigation into climate change dissenters. For the meantime, however, the free-market think tank is still seeking sanctions against Walker, one of a 17-member coalition of attorneys general pursuing fraud accusations against climate skeptics.

Friday, May 27, 2016

#PALESTINIANAUTHORITY: Palestinian PM Rejects Netanyahu's Call For Direct Talks

[world politics news]

Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah has dismissed an Israeli proposal for direct negotiations in place of a French multilateral peace initiative, calling it an attempt to "buy time." Hamdallah made the comments as he met French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has held talks in Israel and the Palestinian territories this week to push Paris’s peace initiative. Netanyahu has rejected the plan and called for direct negotiations.

#GERMANY: Infighting Within Anti-Migrant Party After Talks With Muslim Group Falls Apart

[world politics news]

The co-leader of the Alternative For Germany Party is criticizing his colleagues after talks with Muslim groups fell apart after only one hour last week. Jörg Meuthen, has blamed his fellow co-head Frauke Petry for the breakdown of the clear-the-air meeting with Muslim leaders. He claimed his party colleagues had failed to properly prepare for the meeting

Thursday, May 26, 2016

#ISRAEL: Appointment of "Radical" "Extremist" Avigdor Lieberman As Defense Min. Rattles Israelis

[world politics news]

The appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Benjamin Netanyahu's defense minister has prompted calls of "fascism" and "extremism" from many in Israel. He once said Palestinian prisoners should be beheaded with axes, defended a soldier who murdered a Palestinian on the ground, and opposes a two-state solution. The appointment of Lieberman, who lives in a disputed squatter settlement on the West Bank, is seen as a radicalization of Netanyahu's government.

#EGYPT: MP's Propose Changes To Avoid Harsh Prison Sentences For Young Political Protesters"

[world politics news]

Several members of parliament have voiced frustration over a court verdict that sentenced more than 500 young people to between two to five years in prison for protesting against an Egyptian-Saudi Red Sea maritime border demarcation deal. Anwar Al-Sadat, chairman of parliament’s Human Rights Committee, said the ruling against the youths was like a "medal on their chests."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

#SAUDIARABIA: Iranian Delegation To Meet With Saudis Over Iranian Hajj Pilgrimage Ban

[world politics news]

An Iranian delegation is set to travel to Saudi Arabia to hold last-ditch talks with the kingdom’s officials on the participation of Iranian pilgrims for the annual Hajj rituals, invited by the new Saudi Minister of Hajj, Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten, He expressed hope that the changes in the Saudi Ministry of Hajj will help settle problems allowing Iranian pilgrims to attend to this year’s Hajj. Earlier this year, Iran banned Iranians from participating, citing security concerns.

#FRANCE: Pres. Holland "Won't Back Down" On Labor Bill Despite No Conf. Vote, Protests

[world politics news]

Pres. Francois Hollande has ruled out withdrawing the labor market reforms which have sparked street protests for weeks and led to a vote of no-confidence in the government. France faced a week of strikes in protest at a reform the government says will make the notoriously rigid labor market more flexible but which opponents say will erode job security.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

#BURMA: Parliament Supports Gov't Plan To Deepen Military Ties With Russia

[world politics news]

Burma’s Parliament has approved Pres. Htin Kyaw’s proposal to deepen and formalize the country’s longtime military cooperation with Russia. Some lawmakers expressed concern over how the agreement might affect Burma’s ability to exercise an active and independent foreign policy. The agreement includes exchanging information on political and military issues, such as international security and counter-terrorism measures.

#UK: Frmr. SNP Dep. Ldr. Says The Separatist Pty. Fighting To Remain In EU's A "Glaring Contradiction"

[world politics news]

A former deputy leader of the SNP has accused the current leadership of living in "parallel universe" by campaigning to Remain in the European Union when they want to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom. Sillars said it is a "glaring contradiction to reject a union of 60 million people only to embrace a union of 500 million.

Monday, May 23, 2016

#AUSTRIA: Anti-Immigrant Candidate Hofer Concedes Presidential Election To Independent Van der Bellen

[world politics news]

In a sign that Europe's migration crisis is having an impact on its political psyche, the anti-immigrant candidate of the Austrian Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer, barely lost his bid to become Austria's president to a pro-EU Independent sponsored by the Greens, Alexander Van der Bellen, who beat Hofer by just 31,000 votes among the 4.64 million cast. While a largely ceremonial position, the presidential race signals the rise of the Freedom Party, which did extremely well in the last parliamentary election.

#THEPHILIPPINES: Incoming Pres. Duterte Suggests "Three-Child Policy" To Decrease Population Boom

[world politics news]

To have an effective family planning program under his administration, incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, who will take office June 23, has expressed interest in implementing a three-child policy in the Philippines. A similar policy has been in place for decades in China. Family planning has been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

#SPAIN: Podemos Party Forms Alliance With Far-Left Rival To Increase Election Odds

[world politics news]

In a marriage of political convenience, Spain's anti-austerity party Podemos has formed an alliance with its smaller far-left rival Izquierda Unida to run together in June 26th elections, boosting the chances it will replace the Socialists as the main opposition.

#IRAN: Parliament Approves Lawsuits Against USA For Support Of Saddam In Iran-Iraq War

[world politics news]

In retaliation for the US Supreme Court upholding legislation that allows American courts to confiscate Iranian assets in the United States, the Iranian parliament passed a bill that forces the administration to seek compensation from the United States for US actions taken against Iran in the past 63 years, including its support of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War and its support of the 1953 Iranian coup that overthrew Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and reinstalled King Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

#JAPAN: Diet Set To Enact Law To Counter Hate Speech

[world politics news]

The Diet, Japan's parliament, is set to enact a bill aimed at countering hate speech during the current session that ends on June 1. The bill is expected to pass the Upper House, with broad support from the ruling camp as well as opposition parties including the Democratic Party. The city of Osaka has also advanced hate speech legislation in response to anti-Korean demonstrations and threats against Korean minorities in recent years.

#UK: Nicola Sturgeon Re-Elected First Minister of Scottish Assembly

[world politics news]

Nicola Sturgeon is to be reappointed as first minister of Scotland after she was backed for the job by members of the Scottish Assembly at Holyrood. Sturgeon's SNP won its third consecutive election on May 5, but finished two seats short of an overall majority. Liberal Democratic Party Leader Willie Rennie was the only other member to run against Sturgeon. Sturgeon, who won 63 votes to Rennie's five, is now the official nominee for first minister, to be confirmed by the Queen. During the vote, 59 members abstained, backing neither candidate.

Friday, May 20, 2016

#ISRAEL: After Public Spats With PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon Quits Cabinet & Politics

[world politics news]

Citing a "lack of faith" in Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon quit his post and announced he was leaving his seat in the Knesset. He later publicly condemned the influence of "extremists" on the Netanyahu government.

#TURKEY: Parliament To Strip Immunity From Pols After Parliamentary Fist Fights

[world politics news]

Turkey's parliament has pushed through a government-backed bill that will see some politicians stripped of their immunity from prosecution following embarrassing fist fights on the floor of parliament. The bill was passed by a majority of 348 out of 550 parliamentarians.  The initial vote signals support for the bill, which will go to a second, binding vote after a further day of debates.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

#GAMBIA: Pressure Mounts On Pres. Jammeh To Leave Office After 21 Years; Remains Defiant

[world politics news]

Pres. Yahya Jammeh has warned his opponents and critics that his regime is here to stay and would triumph over any challenges. Jammeh has been in power since 1994 and has vowed to rule the Gambia for a billion years. However, pressure is mounting on him after a series of unprecedented opposition protests demanding an end to his rule. He blames Western interference for the protests. He is widely condemned for threatening to kill homosexuals in Gambia.

#ITALY: Parliament Gives Final Approval To Gay Civil Unions

[world politics news]

Italy has voted for the introduction of gay civil unions, granting rights in terms of inheritance, housing and pension rights and hospital visits. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called it a "day for celebrations." The Chamber of Deputies, Italy's lower house of parliament, voted 372-51 with 99 abstentions to approve legislation already passed in February by the Senate.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

#JAPAN: Tokyo Gov. Admits He Misused Political Funds; Will Pay Back $4,150

[world politics news]

Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe has admitted that there were "several inappropriate points" relating to his alleged use of political funds for personal purposes, a scandal exposed by a weekly magazine. At a press conference, Masuzoe said he plans to correct errors in related political funds statements and personally refund the spending in question, totaling about US$4,150.

#CANADA: Alexandre Clouthier Joins Race To Lead Parti Quebecois

[world politics news]

Former provincial cabinet minister Alexandre Cloutier has joined  the race to succeed Pierre Karl Peladeau as Parti Quebecois leader. Cloutier, 38, is the second candidate to seek the sovereigntist party's top job. Last week, former cabinet minister Veronique Hivon became the first person to enter the race, which was triggered by Peladeau's sudden resignation May 2, when he announced he wanted to spend more time with his young children.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

#GREECE: Gov't Threatens To Veto TTIP Trade Deal If Ag Labeling Issue Not Addressed

[world politics news]

The Greek government is prepared to veto the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the EU unless it ensures increased protection for key agricultural geographical indicators, which means the product carry a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

#EU: Steel Industry Cheers EU Parl. Vote Against Supporting "Flood" Of Cheap Chinese Steel

[world politics news]

Steelmakers are cheering a European Parliament resolution opposing plans to "open the floodgates" to cheap Chinese steel. MEPs passed a resolution saying China should not be granted market economy status by Brussels. While the resolution carries no legal weight, steel trade bodies welcomed a move that they said sent a message to politicians that the European steel industry needs protection from China.

Pictured: Reinforcing steel at a warehouse in Fenyang, China.

#IRAN: Gov't Will Prevent Citizens From Making Mecca Pilgrimage, Citing Security Concerns

[world politics news]

Iran will ban its citizens from going to Saudi Arabia this year to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage, The Iranian Minister of Cultural and Islamic Guidance, Ali Jannati, blamed travel to Saudi Arabia for failing to "resolve the issue of security" in the months-long discussions which took place between the two countries, which are fighting a proxy war in Yemen and have had numerous diplomatic clashes in the past year.

Monday, May 16, 2016

#LIBYA: US Sanctions Libyan Parliament Leader For Blocking #UN-Backed Transition

[world politics news]

The US Treasury Department has sanctioned Aguila Saleh, the president of Libya’s internationally recognized parliament in Tobruk, over his effects to block the formation of a UN-backed government of national unity. Saleh "is responsible for stalling political progress in Libya," said John E. Smith, Acting Director of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control. The statement said Saleh repeatedly blocked votes by Libya’s House of Representatives to support the North African country’s political transition. The sanctions freeze Saleh's assets in the US.

#DENMARK: All Parties Support Citizen Petition Plan That Would Require Votes In Parliament

[world politics news]

There is broad political support to allow Danish citizens to send proposals directly to parliament if they can recruit 50,000 fellow Danes to their cause. The plan is backed by the Danish People’s Party, the Social Liberals (Radikale), the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Alternative, the Socialist People’s Party and the Conservatives.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

#AUSTRALIA: Leaked Email Reveals Greens Do Like Election Polling, Despite Public Claims

[world politics news]

On April 27, Green Party Leader Richard Di Natale told Australia's National Press Club his party "haven't done internal polling. We don't waste our money on that. News Limited can do that for us. We rely on a good field campaign." And yet, a leaked email shows the Greens are just as willing to use the same political tools when it suits their purpose - such as winning the inner city seat of Batman, in Melbourne.

#SWEDEN: Green Pty Polling Reaches New Low After Scandals, Crisis Of Confidence In Leaders

[world politics news]

Just two years after the party roared into the parliament with 15 percent of the national vote, a new poll makes the party the smallest in parliament alongside the Christian Democrats with just 4.3% voter support. Greens are the Social Democrats' coalition partner, and must score at least 4% to get into the Riksdag. Joint spokespersons Åsa Romson and Gustav Fridolin may be forced out during the party's convention later this month.

Pictured: Åsa Romson, one of two leaders of the Swedish Greens.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

#COLOMBIA: Frmr. Pres. Uribe's Sons Implicated In #PanamaPapers Scandal

[world politics news]

The two sons of Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe, Tomas and Jeronimo Uribe Moreno, are mentioned in the latest Panama Papers disclosure. In the database revealing details of more than 200,000 offshore companies, both Uribe brothers Tomas and Jeronimo appear as shareholders of the Asia America Investment Corporation registered and associated with an address in the British Virgin Islands, a country included on a widely known list of tax havens worldwide.

#AUSTRIA: Head Of Rail System To Head Social Democrats, Become New Chancellor

[world politics news]

Austrian rail chief Christian Kern will become the country’s next chancellor. Werner Faymann stepped down as chancellor this week, following a revolt inside the party after it suffered a heavy defeat in the first round of a presidential election last month, in which the anti-immigration Freedom Party's candidate placed first.

Friday, May 13, 2016

#DOMINICANREPUBLIC: Pres. Danilo Medina Seems Headed For Big Re-Election Win

[world politics news]

Pres. Danilo Medina squeaked into his first term in a close election in 2012, and soon faced violent protests over his party's handling of the economy. He was barred by the constitution from running for s second straight term. Now, after popular internal improvements and an amendment giving him the right to seek re-election, he is almost certain to win more than 50% in Sunday's election to avoid a run-off.

#CHINA: Gov't Urges Banks to Increase Loan Activity To Continue Recovery

[world politics news]

The National Development and Reform Commission - China's top planning authority - has pledged to adopt more proactive measures to expand investment in order to sustain the economic recovery. The government says it will actively encourage commercial banks to issue credit and attract investment from the private sectors.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

#THENETHERLANDS: Cabinet Ordered To Re-Think Legislation Allowing Spy Agencies To Hide Internet Snooping

[world politics news]

Cabinet ministers have been ordered to reconsider their refusal to publish how often the security services tap people’s phones and internet. The Council of State, the highest Dutch administrative court, said on Wednesday that the government needs to improve the reasoning behind its refusal to publish the details. The case was brought by internet privacy campaigner Bits of Freedom.

#GERMANY: Medical Marijuana Should Be Legalized Next Year, Says Health Minister

[world politics news]

Health Minister Hermann Gröhe says medical marijuana will be legalized in Germany early next year. Draft legislation has been presented to the cabinet. Many parts of the world are relaxing laws on cannabis use and medicinal marijuana is gaining popularity.

#BRAZIL/BREAKING: Suspended By Senate After Impeachment Vote, Pres. Rousseff Defiant Against "Coup"

[world politics news]

After Brazil's senate voted 55 to 22 to suspend Pres. Dilma Rousseff for up to 180 days and put her on trial for corruption, she vowed to fight the charges, saying she "may have made mistakes but I did not commit any crime." Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, will be judged by senators. Vice President Michel Temer, who has become an outspoken opponent of Rousseff, has taken power as acting president.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

#THAILAND: Bangkok Gov. Threatens To Sue Anyone Who Criticizes His Spending On New Years' Light Show

[world politics news]

Embattled Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra has threatened to sue anyone suggesting he or his subordinates were guilty of illegal actions before the findings of an investigation into the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s US$1.1 million New Year light show is concluded.

#USA: NYC Council Imposes 5 cent Surcharge On Plastic Shopping Bags

[world politics news]

New Yorkers will have to fork over five cents for a plastic or paper bag at the store after the City Council voted Thursday to impose the fee. The bill passed, 28 to 20, after an impassioned floor debate, narrowly dividing the Council where supporters said it would help the environment, but opponents called it an unfair burden on struggling families.

Pictured: NYC Council member Margaret Chin celebrates the 5 cent bag fee as it passes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

#GREECE: Parliament Approves New Austerity Measures To Win #EU Aid Package

[world politics news]

Greek parliament approved further austerity measures needed to unblock the second tranche of aid provided for under the 86 billion-euro rescue package just before the extraordinary Eurogroup meeting yesterday. The new measures addressed stabilizing the pensions system and a 3.6 billion euro tax hike.

#THEPHILIPPINES: Controversial, Trump-Like Rodrigo Duterte Wins Presidential Election

[world politics news]

Tough-talking Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has courted controversy various times for his profanity-laden speeches and bold statements won Monday's presidential election. He attributed his victory to God, saying he was a "believer in destiny." He took over 7 million votes, while Senator Grace Poe came in a distant second with 4 million, followed by administration-endorsed Mar Roxas with 3.8 million votes. Vice President Jejomar Binay placed fourth with close to 2.8 million votes while Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago got 744,707 votes.

Monday, May 09, 2016

#IRAQ: Parliament Speaker Begs Members of Parliament In Facebook Post To Attend Session

[world politics news]

Iraq’s parliament speaker is calling on lawmakers to attend a session this week as part of an effort to normalize the political process. Speaker Salim al-Jabouri posted a statement to his official Facebook page on Sunday asking members of parliament to attend a scheduled May 10 session. Iraq has been facing political chaos, with Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr instigating a mob to occupy parliament earlier this month.

#AUSTRALIA: PM Turnbull Calls "Snap" Election For July 2

[world politics news]

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dissolved both houses of parliament and has called for a July 2 election, firing the starting gun on a 55-day election campaign, placing jobs, growth and economic management at the heart of his re-election pitch. Turnbull's legislation has been stalled in the Senate.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

#UK: Conservatives Make Big Gains In Scottish Assembly Election; Now #2 Pty

[world politics news]

The Conservative Party is now the second largest party in the Scottish Assembly after last week's election saw them gain 16 seats to hold 31 in the regional parliament, behind the Scottish National Party, which holds 63, down 13 from the 2011 election. Labour lost 13 seats, holding just 24 after the result.

Pictured: Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson

#GERMANY: Alternative For Germany Pty Adopts Strong Anti-Islam, Anti-Migration Platform

[world politics news]

Germany's right-wing populist Alternative For Germany Party adopted an anti-Islam policy in a manifesto that also demands curbs to immigration, as a poll showed it is now the country's third strongest party. Party co-leader Jörg Meuthen said the party stands for a "healthy patriotism." Formed just three years ago on a euro-skeptic platform, the party's become the loudest protest voice against Chancellor Angela Merkel's welcome to refugees that brought over one million asylum seekers last year.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

#SPAIN: Unable To Form Gov't, King Felipe Calls For Election "Repeat" On June 26

[world politics news]

Spain's King Felipe VI has signed a decree dissolving parliament and calling elections for June 26. It will be the country's second general election in six months, following months of unsuccessful attempts to form a coalition government among two established parties and two upstart parties, none of which gained a solid majority. It is the first time that Spain will repeat elections since the country returned to democracy following the death of long-time dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975.