ABOARD PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis said Sunday politicians should "never sow hatred and fear" in an answer to a question about Matteo Salvini, Italy's strongman and leader of the far-right. The pontiff told journalists on the return leg of a three-day trip to Romania that it would be "very unwise" of him to express an opinion on the deputy prime minister and interior minister, who heads the anti-immigrant League party. And he insisted the reason he had not received Salvini -- who regularly waves aloft a Catholic rosary at his rallies -- was simply because the minister had not requested a private audience. "I pray for all, for Italians to move forward, for them to unite," he said, days after Italy's far-right parties won over 40 per cent in the European elections, largely thanks to an "Italians First", anti-migrant message. "We must help politicians to be honest... Never should a politician sow hatred and fear, never," he said. … [Read more...] about Pope calls on politicians not to ‘sow hate’
ATHENS — Greece’s parliament on Thursday voted to revise several articles in the country’s constitution, aiming to facilitate the prosecution of corrupt politicians, the prime minister’s office said. The changes must be reconfirmed by parliament after the next election, which is scheduled by October. Lawmakers agreed to amend safeguards shielding ministers and MPs from prosecution, which has proved a major stumbling block in pursuing several high-profile graft cases dating back to the early 2000s. Judicial officials are currently investigating alleged kickbacks to conservative and socialist ex-ministers from Swiss pharma multinational Novartis and German engineering giant Siemens. A 2003 case linked to bribes allegedly paid for a navy frigate upgrade is also under investigation. Specific changes to the constitution articles are still under debate and another vote is to be held next month. Thursday’s … [Read more...] about Greece revises constitution to fight corrupt politicians
UK vote designed to bring Brexit clarity. But can politicians finally agree? There is an over-used saying about negotiations with the European Union: "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." But in the case of Brexit, that agreement may never come. Britain's political deadlock over its biggest challenge for decades may never be broken. In a series of votes in Britain's House of Commons Tuesday evening, lawmakers will try to take control of Brexit from UK Prime Minister Theresa May's government, which has failed to get parliamentary approval for her plan for leaving the EU. Several amendments expected to be put to a vote should, in theory, finally bring some clarity over what kind of Brexit will win the most support. But that is only in theory. Even as events unfolded Monday, with momentum building around two key amendments, opposing factions were trying to block them. It is possible that, when the time comes for voting, just after 7 p.m. UK time, nothing will pass. And with … [Read more...] about UK vote designed to bring Brexit clarity. But can politicians finally agree?
Australia's home affairs minister Peter Dutton has faced questions over his intervention in the immigration case of two European au pairs AFP/SEAN DAVEY Peter Dutton, the driving force behind a bitter Liberal party coup that unseated Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister last week, has strongly denied any wrongdoing. But the scandal is deepening with a Senate committee inquiry due to scrutinise his decisions next week at the request of opposition politicians. In the first case Dutton, then immigration minister and known for his support of hardline policies, used his discretionary powers to free a Frenchwoman from detention in November 2015 and allow her to stay in the country. The move was made after an appeal to his office by Australian Football League boss Gillon McLachlan, documents released under freedom of information showed. The woman was reportedly planning to work as a live-in babysitter for a relative of McLachlan, but did not have the proper paperwork when she arrived. … [Read more...] about Au pair scandal hits Australia politician who ousted PM
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyễn Phú Trọng (r) receives MIU General Secretary and Minister for Regional Integration Policies Miguel Mejia in Hà Nội yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Trí Dũng HÀ NỘI — General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyễn Phú Trọng has urged the CPV and the Dominican Republic’s United Left Movement (MIU) to step up exchanges of delegations. The Party chief made the suggestion at a reception for MIU General Secretary and Minister for Regional Integration Policies Miguel Mejia in Hà Nội yesterday. He thanked the Dominican people, the MIU, and Mejia for their sentiments towards the Vietnamese Party and people, as well as their efforts to enhance friendship between the two countries. The leader noted his belief that the MIU would reap even … [Read more...] about Party chief greets Dominican politician