Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sometimes, even Presidents and Prime Ministers can't unite the divides

State of the Union: Obama calls for action, with or without Congress
"What I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require congressional action, and I'm eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still, and neither will I," Obama said during his speech.

In other words, with up to 535 members of Congress sitting in the same room during his speech, the President told them that he's going to go around them if necessary. One way is by using his pen to sign executive orders -- unilateral presidential directives.

Obama called for more government support to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, but warned he was willing to go it alone.

"I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible," he said.

The Republican Party has balked at the idea.
Ukraine's opposition celebrates as prime minister steps down
Mykola Azarov's resignation came after a week of violent clashes in Kiev, the capital, in which at least four activists were killed, dozens arrested and hundreds injured on both sides. It was the worst street violence in the history of post-Soviet Ukraine.

A short time after his announcement, the parliament rescinded unpopular anti-protest laws in another peace offering to opposition forces bent on the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich.

Opposition leaders had been negotiating with Yanukovich for four days, demanding that he call elections for the presidency and parliament. In a statement published on the Cabinet's official website, Azarov said that "the scope of the acute and dangerous conflict" compelled him to resign in the hope of enabling a political compromise.

"We have been doing everything to prevent bloodshed, escalation of violence, violations of citizens' rights," the statement said. "For all these difficult years I have been doing my best for Ukraine to develop normally as a democratic European state."
Turkish prime minister delivers speech as a 10-foot hologram
Recep Tayyip Erdogan recorded the message in advance, which was beamed to an audience of thousands and a political gathering on Sunday.

According to Breitbart, he also warned of 'treasonous networks' working against him.

He told the crowd: 'We are going to the elections in the shadow of attacks prepared by treasonous networks. I urge all my mayoral candidates to not waste any of their time.'

However, despite the obvious spectacle of Mr Edrogan's delivery, he is not the world leader in holographic political speeches.
In 2012 Narendra Modi, an Indian opposition leader, used hologram technology to broadcast himself to 26 different audiences at once. He said this was a demonstration of India's technological prowess. 
  UN chief meets with Fidel Castro in Havana
Their talk touched on the troubles in Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the statement said. They discussed food security, climate change and nuclear proliferation.

The statement made no mention of human rights or the treatment of Cuba's political dissidents. U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Ban raised the issue of human rights during meetings with a number of Cuban officials, including President Raul Castro, who is Fidel Castro's younger brother. Ban also discussed the U.S. embargo on Cuba with Raul Castro.

In a tweet, Washington's U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, urged world leaders visiting Cuba to meet with "everyday Cubans" and independent groups "to learn what's really happening & support democratic change."
Thailand to go ahead with election despite fear of clashes, political limbo
The decision to go ahead with the polls came at a meeting between Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Election Commission officials and cast further doubt over any quick resolution to months of protests aimed at ousting the government.

The demonstrations are the latest eruption in a political conflict that has gripped Thailand for eight years, broadly pitting Bangkok's middle class and royalist establishment against the mainly poor, rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The protesters reject the election that Yingluck's party will almost certainly win.

They want to suspend what they say is a fragile democracy commandeered by former telecoms tycoon Thaksin, whom they accuse of corruption, and eradicate the political influence of his family by altering electoral arrangements.

As part of their campaign, the protesters have been disrupting election preparations and early voting. In some constituencies, candidates have been unable to register and there might not be a quorum to open parliament and choose a government.
Egypt's Sisi cleared for presidential bid
If Sisi does run for president, he is expected to win by a landslide. Only one other candidate - Hamdeen Sabbahi, who came third in the 2012 presidential election - has announced that he will run against him.

Other possible contenders, including former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and retired general Sami Anan, have said they will wait to see whether Sisi runs before making any decision.

Monday’s announcement comes two days after tens of thousands of Egyptians demonstrated to mark the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak. Demonstrators said little about the uprising and most of them waved posters of Sisi, urging him to run for president.

Also on Monday, deputy prime minister Ziad Bahaa el-Din announced that he was resigning from the interim government.

In a letter dated January 23, Bahaa el-Din said he was stepping down to "resume his political and party and legal work" outside the government.

Bahaa el-Din is considered one of the more moderate figures in the cabinet and has been critical of a crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood organisation and other groups opposed to the government.

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