International Polity - Current Affairs for July, 2017
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▼ French military head resigns over defence spending cuts [07-20-17]
French leader Emmanuel Macron faced the biggest crisis of his young presidency on Wednesday following the resignation of the head of the armed forces.
Macron had rebuked him for criticising defence spending cuts.
The row between Mr. Macron and General Pierre De Villiers blew up last week when the chief of staff told a parliamentary committee that he would not allow the armed forces to be harmed by the government’s plans to slash 850 million euros from this year’s budget.
Mr. Macron, 39, slapped down the 60-year-old, five-star General, telling the army top brass at their annual summer party “I am the boss” and that he deeply regretted that the budget dispute had been dragged into the “public sphere.”
General De Villiers, who had been in the job for three years, said he felt he had no choice but to stand down.
“I no longer feel able to ensure the sustainability of the model of the armed forces that I think is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French people,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Macron named 55-year-old General Francois Lecointre, currently the top military adviser to the Prime Minister, as his replacement.
At a weekly Cabinet meeting, the President hailed General de Villiers for his “remarkable service” and promised to hike the defence budget again in 2018, government spokesman Christophe Castaner said.
▼ Gopal Prasad Parajuli is Nepal’s new CJ [07-19-17]
The name of acting Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli was unanimously endorsed on July 16 by the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (PHSC) for the post of Nepal's Supreme Court Chief Justice. Parajuli was summoned by the PHSC at its meeting today to conduct the hearing.
Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari appointed him to the post, which he will continue to head till April 28 next year.
A 39-point judiciary reform plan was presented by Parajuli during the meeting.
Parajuli’s name was sent to the PHSC for hearing by the Constitutional Council on June 29. P
Parajuli, the senior-most Justice at the Supreme Court, has taken up the responsibility of acting Chief Justice since June 7, this year after the retirement of then Chief Justice Sushila Karki on June 6.
After being sworn in as Nepal’s new chief justice has pledged to make justice delivery fast and less expensive in the country.
Parajuli, 61, was administered the oath of office by President Bidya Devi Bhandari at Rastrapati Bhawan in Sheetal Niwas.
He had taken charge of the Supreme Court as the acting chief justice on June 7 when Sushila Karki, the first female chief justice of the country, retired.
▼ British gets first Sikh lady MP on Parliament Committee [07-19-17]
Britain’s first woman Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill was elected to Home Affairs Select Committee in the UK Parliament.
She will be one of 11 MPs on the cross-party home affairs committee.
The Home Affairs Select Committee is an influential cross-party panel in the UK Parliament that examines the workings of the Home Office.
It investigates the spending, policy and administration of the ministerial department. The committee chooses its own subjects of inquiry within the remit of the home office.
Previous inquiries have looked at extremism, immigration, hate crime, asylum, drugs, human trafficking, prostitution, extradition, counter-terrorism and the police.
It publishes reports and the Government must respond to its recommendations.
Labour party MP Yvette Cooper was recently elected unopposed as chairman of the committee.
Earlier it was chaired by Keith Vaz, Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP, who had stepped down in September 2016.
Preet Kaur Gill had won the Edgbaston seat for the Labour party in the June 2017 snap general election.
She also has been chosen to lead the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs, which promotes the interests of Sikhs in Britain.
Gill’s whose family is from Jamsher, in Jalandhar, Punjab.
Her father, Daljit Singh, had moved and settled in the UK in 1962.
▼ Former Brazilian president indicted on corruption charges [07-13-17]
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was found guilty of corruption and money laundering on July 12, 2017 and sentenced to almost 10 years in prison.
This is the highest-profile conviction yet in the sprawling graft investigation that has jailed dozens of Brazil’s elite.
The decision by Judge Sergio Moro was widely expected, even by Silva’s own defense team, but was still stunning.
The charismatic leader left office on Dec. 31, 2010, with sky-high popularity and is credited with pulling millions of Brazilians out of poverty and turning Latin America’s largest nation into an important player on the world stage.
Brazil’s first working class president will remain free while an appeal is heard, but he is now also the country’s first ex-president to be convicted in a criminal proceeding at least since democracy was restored in the 1980s.
In many quarters, the man known to Brazilians simply as Lula remains revered both for his economic policies and his role in fighting for democracy during the country’s dictatorship.
The 71-year-old has been considered a front-runner for next year’s presidential election.
The case is part of the huge “Operation Car Wash” corruption investigation centred on state-run oil giant Petrobras that has led to the convictions of dozens of business executives and politicians, and threatens current President Michel Temer.
Silva was accused of receiving a beachfront apartment and repairs to the property as kickbacks from construction company OAS.
Silva never owned the apartment, but prosecutors argued it was intended for him.
Prosecutors also alleged that OAS paid to store Silva’s belongings, but Judge Moro dismissed that part of the case.
Silva also faces charges in four other cases.
Judge Moro said he did not order Silva’s immediate arrest because the conviction of a president is such a serious matter that he felt the former leader’s appeal should be heard first.
The case now goes before a group of magistrates. If they uphold the conviction, Brazilian law says Silva would be barred from seeking office.
In addition to sentencing Silva to 9 1/2 years in prison, Judge Moro also ruled that the politician should be barred from public office for 19 years.
Silva’s presidency coincided with an economic boom fuelled by high commodity prices and he used the profits to fund generous social programs that made him a hero among Brazil’s poor.
He left office with popularity ratings of up to 87 per cent and Brazilians elected his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, to succeed him.
But a subsequent fall in commodity prices and economic mismanagement by Silva and Ms. Rousseff led Brazil’s economy to implode.
▼ French PM Edouard Philippe wins confidence vote by landslide margin [07-7-17]
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe overwhelmingly won the confidence vote in the National Assembly on 4 July 2017.
Philippe won the vote in France’s lower house of parliament by a huge margin, 370-67.
He not only had the backing of President Emmanuel Macron’s party that has a wide majority after a landslide victory last month but he also got votes from centrist allies and some even from the conservative lawmakers.
The country’s national audit office reported last week that France’s budget deficit could reach 3.2 percent above the EU limit for the 10th consecutive year in 2017 if no measures are taken.
To resolve the same, Philippe pledged to bring the country’s budget deficit under the European Union limit of 3 percent this year without raising taxes.
He further pledged to stop increasing the number of state employees and to make the government focus on its main priorities and to stop spending money on policies that don’t deliver results.
The French PM also detailed the government’s agenda in the next months and years, from health to education and job policies.
He notably wants to raise the price of a cigarette pack from current 7 euros ($8) to 10 euros ($11.35).
He has also promised to push for labour reform that aims to boost job creation, as unemployment in France has been hanging around 10 percent for years.
Coping with Migrant Crisis: France's Challenge
- Besides this, the French government will soon be outlining new measures to handle Europe’s migrant crisis.
- It is seeking a balance between helping refugees and controlling illegal immigration.
- The government also wants to reduce the asylum application procedure from 14 months now to 6 months and be able to deport those who are not granted asylum.
- In an effort to fight rising terrorism, the country’s military budget next year will increase spending on defence to 2 percent of GDP by 2025.
- Further, Edouard Philippe said that by choosing to vote for Macron, French voters have showed that they are attached to the European Union and the euro.
- They want a more concrete, less fussy and more protective Europe.
- Macron’s leading competitor Marine Le Pen, who lost her presidential bid to him, on the other hand, said that his economic plans would produce very tough consequences to buying power for French citizens.