Democracy

Brexit pressure rises, but UK government says no to second vote

Britain’s government is not preparing for a second referendum on Brexit, ministers said on Dec. 16, sticking to the script that Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal could still pass through parliament with a… LONDON – Reuters Hurriyet May delayed a vote last week on her agreement to leave the European Union because she was set to lose in parliament and has tried to secure “assurances” from the bloc to try to better sell it to… Brussels said last week it was ready to help ... Read More »

Mounting legal threats surround Trump as nearly every organization he has led is under investigation

Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation. By David A. Fahrenthold, Matt Zapotosky and Seung Min Kim The Washington Post Trump’s private company is contending with civil suits digging into its business with foreign governments and with looming state inquiries into its tax practices. Trump’s 2016 campaign is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigation into Russian interference has already led to guilty pleas ... Read More »

Obamacare: Texas court rules key health law is unconstitutional

A federal judge in the US state of Texas has ruled that a key part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. BBC Twenty states argued the whole law was invalidated by a change in tax rules last year which eliminated a penalty for not having health insurance. President Donald Trump said the ruling was great news for America. The law’s provisions will, however, remain in place until an appeal is heard at the US ... Read More »

Brexit: Prepare for fresh referendum within months, Nigel Farage tells Leave supporters

Former Ukip leader’s warning comes as ex-minister reveals growing support in cabinet for Final Say vote Benjamin Kentish Independent Nigel Farage has told Brexit campaigners they should prepare for another referendum amid parliamentary deadlock over Theresa May’s planned deal. The former Ukip leader told Leave supporters to be “ready” for a fresh public vote as reports suggest some cabinet ministers are increasingly receptive to the idea of giving the public the Final Say on Brexit. Speaking at a Leave Means Leave rally in London, he “implored” Brexiteers to prepare for ... Read More »

China: Repression of Christian Church Intensifies

Protestant Pastor, Dozens of Congregants Detained (New York) – Chinese authorities should immediately release the pastor and scores of members of an independent Protestant church in the southwestern city of Chengdu, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW Authorities should also return church properties and allow the members to resume worship services. On December 9 and 10, 2018, police officers in Chengdu took into custody Pastor Wang Yi and more than 100 congregants of the Early Rain Covenant Church from the ... Read More »

Confront Turkey’s ethnic cleansing and stop indulging it

Every April, Turkish diplomats and members of the Congressional Turkey Caucus scramble to avert a resolution recognizing as genocide the World War I-era Ottoman massacres of Armenians. Washington Examiner Turkish officials oppose any resolution holding Turkey responsible both because the Republic of Turkey was not formally declared until 1923 and because they hold that what happened was not deliberate but… Other Turkish historians and politicians hold that the evidence upon which genocide historians rely is exaggerated if not fraudulent. Lost ... Read More »

European Parliament raises concerns about EU funds in Czech Republic

Prime Minister Babiš’ business interests have come under significant scrutiny. Lili Bayer Politico The European Parliament Thursday adopted a resolution raising concerns about conflict of interest and the use of EU money in the Czech Republic. The Parliament “regrets that for a long time the Commission remained passive, despite there having been strong indications since 2014 that Mr [Andrej] Babiš had a conflict of interest in his role as Minister of Finance and later as Prime Minister,” the MEPs wrote ... Read More »

Maria Butina Pleads Guilty to Role in a Russian Effort to Influence Conservatives

WASHINGTON — To the conservative Americans she courted, Maria Butina was the right kind of Russian. Matthew Rosenberg The New York Times She loved guns and the church and networking with top officials in the National Rifle Association. She schmoozed with Republican presidential candidates, and became a supporter of Donald J. Trump. She spent Thanksgiving at a congressman’s country house, took a Trump campaign aide to see the rock band Styx and helped a Rockefeller heir organize “friendship dinners” with ... Read More »

Theresa May wins confidence vote

British prime minister gets backing from Conservative MPs to stay as party leader. By CHARLIE COOPER AND ANNABELLE DICKSON Politico LONDON — U.K Prime Minister Theresa May won a vote of confidence Wednesday, defeating an attempt by some of her party to oust her and install a new leader to take control of Brexit. Her victory comes as short-term relief for May but marks a crisis delayed, not averted, at a critical time in negotiations with the European Union. The prime minister won ... Read More »

Four journalists, one newspaper: Time Magazine’s Person of the Year recognises the global assault on journalism

Time Magazine has just announced its “Person of the Year” for 2018, and for once, it isn’t one person. This time it is four people and a newspaper. Prof. Peter Greste The C0nversation Collectively calling them “The Guardians”, Time has awarded the accolade to the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Filipino journalist Maria Ressa who edits the Rappler news website, two… Time’s Person of the Year cover is reserved for those who the magazine judges have had “the greatest impact ... Read More »

Socialism: What do Americans think?

| In 60 Seconds In a recent USA Today article, President Trump stated that “If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America.” Karlyn Bowman American Enterprise Institute Is he right? AEI’s Karlyn Bowman reviews polling data to discover American attitudes about socialism… Read More »

If May loses, Brexit could be delayed or even abandoned

Analysis: It seems if May wins tonight’s vote by any margin, she will stay put Theresa May’s defiant statement outside 10 Downing Street, promising to fight “with everything I’ve got” to keep her job, set out the case she will make to Conservative MPs ahead of tonight’s confidence vote. Denis Staunton The Irish Times A leadership election now would mean that her successor would not be in place until at least the middle of January, too late to renegotiate the Brexitdeal ... Read More »

The Writer Who Destroyed an Empire

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, born 100 years ago today, did more than anyone to bring the Soviet Union to its knees. Michael Scammell The New York Times When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, pundits offered a variety of reasons for its failure: economic, political, military. Few thought to add a fourth, more elusive cause: the regime’s total loss of credibility. This hard-to-measure process had started in 1956, when Premier Nikita Khrushchev gave his so-called secret speech to party leaders, in which ... Read More »

Putin Hails Solzhenitsyn As ‘True Patriot’ On Centenary Of His Birth

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin has praised late Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as a “true and real patriot” after unveiling a statue honoring the Nobel Prize-winning author in central… By RFE/RL With reporting by AFP Speaking at the unveiling ceremony marking the centenary of Solzhenitsyn’s birth, Putin said on December 11 that even in exile, the author “did not allow anyone to talk dismissively and badly… “He stood up against any expression of Russophobia,” said Putin, a former KGB officer. ... Read More »

Armenia Elections Boost Hopes for Peace with Azerbaijan

With his party’s victory in the snap parliamentary elections and a new calm on the frontlines with Azerbaijan, Armenia’s leader Nikol Pashinyan and his team will have more space to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Olesya Vartanyan ICG BERKABER, Armenia – One of the windows in Sonya Matinyan’s home is filled in with bricks. The glass of the other is splintered by a rifle bullet. The roof has taken a few missile hits and leaking water has stained the ceilings in ... Read More »

Australia faces class actions for ‘crimes against humanity’ on Manus and Nauru

One day after the government filibustered proposed changes to medical transfers from Nauru, human rights lawyers have filed two class action suits alleging “torture”, “persecution” and “other inhumane acts”. Chris Woods Crikey Local human rights lawyers have launched two class action lawsuits alleging that Australia’s offshore detention regimes demonstrate negligence amounting to crimes against humanity and torture. Just a day after the government successfully filibustered proposed changes to medical transfers from Nauru, George Newhouse (principal solicitor at the National Justice Project) filed two ... Read More »