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Legislative Branch

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Legislators Approve Independence Referendum

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Legislators Approve Independence Referendum

The plan for the non-binding Kurdish referendum was approved in the Iraqi city of Erbil, the capital of a northern province with the same name, in the 111-seat parliament consisting of Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraq’s former president, Jalal Talabani, and the independent Goran and Jamaa Islamiya opposition parties.

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USA POLITICS: California Lawmakers Take Anti-Trump Stance as Session Ends

USA POLITICS: California Lawmakers Take Anti-Trump Stance as Session Ends

Trump issued an executive order in January targeting funding for cities that offer illegal immigrants safe harbor by declining to use municipal resources to enforce federal immigration laws. A San Francisco judge blocked the order.

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TUNISIA POLITICS: Tunisian Women Win Freedom to Marry Non-Muslims

TUNISIA POLITICS: Tunisian Women Win Freedom to Marry Non-Muslims

The new law comes after President Essebsi pushed for the lifting of the marriage restriction law that was put in place in 1973. He said in a speech last month, during celebrations of the National Women’s day, that the marriage law was “an obstacle to the freedom of choice of the spouse”. The restriction was also seen as violating Tunisia’s constitution which was adopted in 2014 in the wake of the Arab Spring revolution.

Tunisia, which is 99% Muslim, is viewed as one of the most progressive Arab countries in terms of women’s rights.

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PHILIPPINE POLITICS: Duterte Critics, Allies in Senate Vow to Block Budget Cut for Rights Body

PHILIPPINE POLITICS: Duterte Critics, Allies in Senate Vow to Block Budget Cut for Rights Body

Duterte on Tuesday appeared to distance himself from the lawmakers proposing the meager budget. He said CHR was constitutionally created and should probe whatever it wants, adding he was “not here to destroy institutions”.

“He had it coming. He opens his mouth in a most inappropriate way. He knows nothing,” Duterte said, referring to Gascon. “The congressmen are really angry. I have nothing against him. Give them a budget for all I care, whatever he likes to investigate.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Parliament Rejects Iraqi Kurdish Referendum: Lawmakers

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Parliament Rejects Iraqi Kurdish Referendum: Lawmakers

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government had previously rejected the referendum as unilateral and unconstitutional.

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USA POLITICS: Defying Trump, Senate Panel Approves Funding for UN Climate Body

USA POLITICS: Defying Trump, Senate Panel Approves Funding for UN Climate Body

The amendment passed even though the 2018 budget proposal that Trump, a Republican, introduced earlier this year eliminated support of any mechanism to finance climate change projects in developing countries and organizations. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, the amendment’s author, said on Twitter on Thursday: “Despite @RealDonaldTrump’s dangerous #ParisAgreement decision & unwillingness to act, we can & will fight back to combat #climatedisruption.”

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USA POLITICS: Bob Menendez faces Federal Corruption Trial

USA POLITICS: Bob Menendez faces Federal Corruption Trial

“This case is about a corrupt politician who sold his senate office for a life of luxury he couldn’t afford, and a greedy doctor who put that senator on his payroll,” the lead prosecutor, Peter Koski, said at the start of Menendez’s corruption trial in Newark.

Menendez is accused of intervening with federal officials to help Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist from Florida who showered the senator with private flights, stays at a Caribbean villa and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign money.

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USA POLITICS: US House Unanimously Approves Sweeping Self-Driving Car Measure

USA POLITICS: US House Unanimously Approves Sweeping Self-Driving Car Measure

Under the House proposal, states could still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections, but could not set self-driving car performance standards.

Consumer advocates have sought more changes, including giving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration quicker access to crash data and more funding to oversee self-driving cars.

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USA POLITICS: Paul Ryan to Trump: Preserve the ‘Dreamers’ Immigration Policy

USA POLITICS: Paul Ryan to Trump: Preserve the ‘Dreamers’ Immigration Policy

“I actually don’t think he should do that, and I believe that this is something Congress has to fix,” House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview with WCLO radio in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.

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USA POLITICS: Ryan, McConnell Failed to Heed to His Advice: Trump Says

USA POLITICS: Ryan, McConnell Failed to Heed to His Advice: Trump Says

Trump said Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan had failed to heed his advice to insert a debt ceiling measure into a veterans affairs’ bill which the president signed into law earlier this month.

“They … didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!” he said in Twitter posts.

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USA POLITICS: Republicans Rebuke Trump Over Government Shutdown Threat

USA POLITICS: Republicans Rebuke Trump Over Government Shutdown Threat

Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the Republican chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee, said Trump’s threatened move could backfire on the party.

“When you control the presidency, the Senate and the House, you’re shutting down the government that you’re running. I don’t think it’s smart politically and I don’t think it would succeed practically.”

“Trump saying he would be willing to shut down the government over the wall obviously doesn’t really inspire much confidence in anyone,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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QATAR POLITICS: Qatar Enacts Law to Protect Foreign Domestic Workers

QATAR POLITICS: Qatar Enacts Law to Protect Foreign Domestic Workers

Like other wealthy Gulf Arab states, Qatar hosts tens of thousands of mostly female domestic workers, mostly from the Philippines, South Asia and East Africa. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have long complained that Gulf states do not properly regulate working conditions for low-income residents helping tend homes or toiling at omnipresent construction sites.

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VENEZUELA POLITICS: Political Standoff: Congress Defies Push to Take Over its Powers

VENEZUELA POLITICS: Political Standoff: Congress Defies Push to Take Over its Powers

“They will have to kick us out with bullets,” said Freddy Guevara, Venezuela congress’ vice president, who tore up a copy of the edict while presiding over the special session. “But we will continue to defend this space the Venezuelan people gave us as long as we have the will and the means to do so.”

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VENEZUELA POLITICS: NCA Takes Over Legislative Powers from Opposition-Led Congress

VENEZUELA POLITICS: NCA Takes Over Legislative Powers from Opposition-Led Congress

One socialist party leader said for Venezuela lawmakers to continue meeting in the congressional building, they would need to seek permission from the NCA.

“We will teach them a historic lesson,” NCA President Delcy Rodriguez, who formerly served as Maduro’s foreign minister, said as delegates broke into loud applause while voting for the measure. We will not permit any more diverting of power” by the opposition, added Rodriguez, who formerly served as Maduro’s foreign minister. “The constituent assembly is here to impose order.”

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Pauline Hanson Burqa ‘Stunt’ Backfires

AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Pauline Hanson Burqa ‘Stunt’ Backfires

Attorney General George Brandis said, “Senator Hanson, I’m not going to pretend to ignore the stunt that you have tried to pull today by arriving in the chamber dressed in a burqa, when we all know you are not an adherent of the Islamic faith. Be very, very careful not to offend the religious sensibilities of other Australians. To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do.”

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Pauline Hanson Wears Burqa in Parliament Linking it to Terrorism as Fellow Senators Heckled Her

AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Pauline Hanson Wears Burqa in Parliament Linking it to Terrorism as Fellow Senators Heckled Her

“Will you work to ban the burqa in Australia in light of what is happening with national security?” Australian anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson said after whipping off the garment to question Attorney-General George Brandis.

Pauline Hanson added: “Terrorism is a true threat to our country, many Australians are in fear of it.”

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USA POLITICS: Police Arrrest Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, 30 Other Protesters Outside White House For Protesting Agaist Trump Immigrant Policy

USA POLITICS: Police Arrrest Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, 30 Other Protesters Outside White House For Protesting Agaist Trump Immigrant Policy

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said, “The same values that I inculcated in my daughters, that my wife and I raised them, [Dreamers] are an example and exemplify them. Their dreams are just like my kids’ dreams.”

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IRAN POLITICS: Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Pass Bill in Response to US Sanctions

IRAN POLITICS: Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Pass Bill in Response to US Sanctions

In a session Sunday, 240 lawmakers voted for the bill, with only one abstention, to confront “America’s terrorist and adventurous actions” in the region. The plan would require Iran’s government and armed forces to draw up a strategy to counter US violations of human rights around the world, and to support Iranian bodies and individuals affected by US sanctions. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is the head of an Iranian commission tasked with monitoring the agreement’s implementation, told MPs that the government backed the bill which he described as “very strong.”

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USA POLITICS: Trump Slams Mitch McConnell Over Healthcare Failure

USA POLITICS: Trump Slams Mitch McConnell Over Healthcare Failure

U.S. President Donald Trump says, “Senator Mitch McConnell said I had “excessive expectations,” but I don’t think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done? Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!”

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ETHIOPIA POLITICS: Ten Months State of Emergency Lifted By Lawmakers

ETHIOPIA POLITICS: Ten Months State of Emergency Lifted By Lawmakers

In addition to their decision to lift the emergency decree, the MPs are expected to approve Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s new picks for two ministerial positions at the Ehiopia Ministry of Federal and Pastoralist Affairs and Ministry of Education, as well as a new head at the national electoral board.

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