Suriname court seeks to uphold ex-president’s sentence

Prosecutors in Suriname have asked the High Court of Justice to uphold a 20-year jail sentence given to former President Desi Bouterse. The 74-year-old was convicted in 2019 of ordering the extrajudicial execution of 15 political opponents four decades ago. Bouterse has since been appealing against this ruling and cannot be arrested until the process ends. The court is expected to rule on the sentence later this year. Bouterse has denied involvement in the executions. He insists the victims – who included lawyers, union leaders and journalists – were shot while trying to escape a colonial-era fortress in Paramaribo, the capital … Continue reading Suriname court seeks to uphold ex-president’s sentence

New Fiji govt suspends police commissioner, scraps China policing arrangement

Fiji’s president on Friday suspended the commissioner of police after a general election saw the first change in government in the Pacific island nation in 16 years, after the military earlier warned against “sweeping changes”. President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere said Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho had been suspended on the advice of the Constitutional Offices Commission, “pending investigation and referral to and appointment of, a tribunal”. The Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem was also suspended by the commission, the statement said. Qiliho declined to comment to local media because he said he will face a tribunal over his conduct. He … Continue reading New Fiji govt suspends police commissioner, scraps China policing arrangement

New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden to step down next month

Jacinda Ardern has announced she will quit as New Zealand prime minister next month, saying she no longer has “enough in the tank” to lead. Ms Ardern choked up as she detailed how six “challenging” years in the job had taken a toll. She will step down as Labour Party leader no later than 7 February. There will be a vote in the coming days to determine her replacement. New Zealand will hold a general election on 14 October. Ms Ardern, 42, said she had taken time to consider her future over the summer break. “I had hoped that I … Continue reading New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden to step down next month

Portugal to enact new law regarding assisted suicide

Portugal’s parliament is expected to approve legislation on Friday that will allow medically assisted suicide in certain limited circumstances. It will be permitted for adults only if the wish is “current and reiterated, serious, free and informed”. The person must be “in a situation of great intensity suffering, with definitive injury of extreme gravity or serious and incurable disease”. The measure has parallels in only a handful of countries worldwide. The final version was approved in committee on Wednesday, following a fraught week that saw proceedings delayed after the Socialist politician steering the bill provided changes to members just hours … Continue reading Portugal to enact new law regarding assisted suicide

Former Australian PM censured over secret ministries

Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been censured by the nation’s parliament for giving himself secret powers while in office. The historic motion follows a damning report which said his actions were “corrosive of trust in government”. It marks the first time a former prime minister has been censured by the House of Representatives. Mr Morrison has defended appointing himself to several ministries, calling the censure “retribution” by opponents. In August, it emerged that Mr Morrison had become joint minister for health, finance, treasury, home affairs and resources in the two years before he lost power in May. Most … Continue reading Former Australian PM censured over secret ministries

New Zealand Supreme Court rules voting age of 18 is discriminatory

New Zealand’s Supreme Court has ruled that the country’s current voting age of 18 is discriminatory, meaning parliament must discuss whether it should be lowered. The case was brought by campaign group Make It 16, which wants the voting age reduced to include 16 and 17 year olds. “This is history,” Make It 16 co-director Caeden Tipler said. The group argued that young people should be able to vote on matters affecting them, such as climate change. The issue must now be brought to parliament, after the court ruled that New Zealand’s minimum voting age of 18 was inconsistent with … Continue reading New Zealand Supreme Court rules voting age of 18 is discriminatory

#BackToThePast: Taliban leader orders Sharia law punishments

Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada has ordered Afghan judges to impose punishments for certain crimes that may include public amputations and stoning. His spokesman said offences such as robbery, kidnapping and sedition must be punished in line with the group’s interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. When in power in the 1990s, the Taliban were condemned for such punishments, which included public executions. They promised to rule more moderately when they retook power last year. But since then the militant Islamist group has steadily cracked down on freedoms. Women’s rights in particular have been severely restricted. The Taliban’s supreme leader said judges … Continue reading #BackToThePast: Taliban leader orders Sharia law punishments

Sir Gavin Williamson resigns after bullying claims

Sir Gavin Williamson has resigned as a government minister after allegations of bullying, saying he aims to clear himself of “any wrongdoing”. The MP had been accused of sending abusive messages to a fellow Tory MP last month and of bullying a senior civil servant as defence secretary. Sir Gavin said he “refuted” how his conduct had been characterised. However, he added that the claims were becoming a “distraction” from the government’s “good work”. In his resignation letter he said he was leaving government with “real sadness” but offered Prime Minister Rishi Sunak his “full and total support from the … Continue reading Sir Gavin Williamson resigns after bullying claims

How Spain sold six helicopters to Peru for 100 euros each

The maintenance and demilitarization and custody costs of the SH-3D helicopters were more expensive than their sale to Peru for a symbolic price of one hundred euros per helicopter, 600 euros in total. This is how the Government justifies it in a parliamentary answer to Deputy Pablo Cambronero, collected by Europa Press. The operation was authorized by the Council of Ministers at the beginning of October for its sale to Peru together with a package of spare parts. They are six SH-3D ‘Sea King’ helicopters of the Navy that were already decommissioned in June of this year after an operational … Continue reading How Spain sold six helicopters to Peru for 100 euros each

Rishi Sunak becomes the first Asian UK Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak has issued a plea for unity in the face of a “profound economic challenge” after winning the race to be the next prime minister. He won the Tory leadership contest after rival Penny Mordaunt failed to secure enough backing from MPs. In his first speech, Mr Sunak said bringing his party and the UK together would be his “utmost priority”. Mr Sunak will become the UK’s first British Asian prime minister and the youngest for more than 200 years. Mr Sunak, a 42-year-old practising Hindu – is expected to take office on Tuesday after being formally appointed by … Continue reading Rishi Sunak becomes the first Asian UK Prime Minister

Suella Braverman quits and vote chaos add to turmoil for PM

A chaotic day in Parliament has left Liz Truss’s survival even more uncertain after the sudden resignation of her home secretary and angry scenes during a fracking vote in the Commons. Opposition MPs alleged some Tories were bullied and manhandled into voting with the government on fracking. A minister denied the claim, but many Tory MPs ended the day feeling angry and let down by their own party. Conservative MP Charles Walker said the situation was a “shambles”. Visibly furious, he told the BBC there was “no coming back” for the government. Later he added: “I expect the prime minister … Continue reading Suella Braverman quits and vote chaos add to turmoil for PM

Poor quality crude oil blamed for Sri Lanka’s power outage

A senior Sri Lankan official has blamed poor quality crude oil imports for the shutdown of a power plant, leading to extended blackouts. Utilities regulator chief Janaka Ratnayake said the oil burnt in the furnaces had too much sulphur in it. But the country’s energy minister has disputed the allegation. Last week, Sri Lanka increased its daily power outage from 80 minutes to 140 minutes because of a drop in power generating capacity. “Sulphur content is too high in the furnace oil [fuel oil] which is not suitable for the current power plants and it’s also not conforming with environmental … Continue reading Poor quality crude oil blamed for Sri Lanka’s power outage