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Ireland elects Micheal Martin as its new prime minister

Issued on: 27/06/2020 – 15:36Modified: 27/06/2020 – 15:36

Ireland's parliament picked veteran..

Issued on: Modified:

Ireland's parliament picked veteran opposition leader Micheál Martin as prime minister on Saturday to head the first ever coalition uniting the two parties that have battled each other for power since a civil war nearly a century ago.

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He pledged to rescue Ireland from the "the fastest-moving recession ever to hit", brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

Martin's Fianna Fail party was forced to join forces with its foes Fine Gael, after a surprise election surge for leftist Irish nationalists Sinn Fein left neither of the traditional centrist parties with enough support to govern on its own. They and are joined in coalition by the environmentalist Greens.

Under a novel agreement, Martin is expected to step aside half way through the five-year term to allow Fine Gael's leader, outgoing Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, to return to the post.

"There is no question what our most urgent work is. There is no community, no part of our country which has escaped untouched" by coronavirus), Martin told a special sitting of lawmakers, held in Dublin's large Convention Centre as the houses of parliament are too small for social distancing.

To overcome the recession "we must act with urgency and ambition," said Martin, close to tears as he thanked his family who were unable to travel from his native Cork due to coronavirus restrictions due to be eased on Monday.

He was elected by 93 votes to 63 after also securing support from some independent members of parliament.

The appointment represented a turnaround for Fianna Fail and Martin, who was a member of the government that signed up to an EU/IMF bailout a decade ago and led to an unprecedented 2011 electoral collapse just after he took over as leader.

Facing new economic crisis

The 59-year-old former history teacher, who has held several senior ministries including health, trade, foreign affairs and education, faces another economic crisis with 26% of the country either temporarily or permanently unemployed.

The jobless rate was just 4.8% when the election was fought in very different circumstances in February. The main issue then was ovRead More – Source

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Woman dies after knifeman stabs three in Norway; suspect arrested

Issued on: 15/07/2020 – 05:43

Norwegian police said Wednesday they had arrested one person after m..

Issued on: 15/07/2020 – 05:43

Norwegian police said Wednesday they had arrested one person after multiple women were stabbed, one of whom reportedly succumbed to her wounds, in the city of Sarpsborg south of Oslo.

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Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, Norwegian police wrote on Twitter that they had received reports of "multiple people that have been stabbed in multiple locations in Sarpsborg."

Police later said that three women had been stabbed, with two receiving critical injuries, and that one person had been arrested.

Several Norwegian media outlets reported that one of the women had died of her injuries.

According to broadcaster NRK, one of the victims reportedly recognised the assailant and one person was arrested at an undisclosed address in central Sarpsborg.

The motive was not immediately known, but according to local newspaper Sarpsborg Arbeiderblad, the husband of one of the vicRead More – Source

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16 years old and stuck in solitary confinement 23 hours a day because of coronavirus

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Poland Presidential Election Likely Heading to Courts

Poland’s incumbent President Andrzej Duda, a social conservative aligned with the ruling populist La..

Poland’s incumbent President Andrzej Duda, a social conservative aligned with the ruling populist Law and Justice Party (PiS), secured a second term in office Sunday with a narrow margin of victory after an ill-tempered, mudslinging presidential race.

His challengers supporters said they plan to contest the election result in Polands courts, a legal tussle likely to worsen the bitter polarization of the country.

After a tight runoff race, Duda won 51.21% of the vote, while his opponent, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski of the liberal Civic Platform Party, took 48.79%. The preliminary result was declared with 99.97% of polling stations reporting. The electoral commission said the votes yet to be counted will not materially affect Dudas overall win.

The incumbents secured reelection was the slimmest victory margin for any presidential victor since the end of communism in 1989.

“I think there will certainly be electoral protests, and I think the whole issue will end up in the Supreme Court,” political scientist Anna Materska-Sosnowska told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Dudas political opponents claimed voting “irregularities” in polling stations and said many Poles living overseas did not receive ballots in time to vote.

Polish President and presidential candidate of the Law and Justice (PiS) party Andrzej Duda holds up a bouquet after the announcement of the first exit poll results on the second round of the presidential election in Pultusk, Poland, July 12, 2020.

Polish President and presidential candidate of the Law and Justice (PiS) party Andrzej Duda holds up a bouquet after the announcement of the first exit poll results on the second round of the presidential election in Pultusk, Poland, July 12, 2020.

Despite the closeness of the race, Dudas supporters said he won a clear mandate since the turnout was high — just under 70%. They said his win opens the path for the PiS to continue with contentious reforms of the judiciary and media regulations, which have raised the ire of the European Union. If Trzaskowski had won, he would have been able to block some legislation by using a presidential veto.

“Winning the presidential election with 70% of turnout is excellent news,” Duda said at an event in Pultusk on Sunday. “I’m very moved.”

Trzaskowski said, “Weve already won, regardless of the final result. We have managed to wake up. We have managed to create new hope.”

Pollsters had said the race was too close to call in the days leading up to voting. The election campaign centered on Dudas promise to ban LGBTQ education in schools and his refusal to endorse same-sex marriage or gay adoption.

The incumbent president enjoyed a commanding lead in opinion polls before the coronavirus pandemic impacted Poland. Pollsters say Duda would have likely won more votes if the election, which was delayed because of the pandemic, had taken place in May as scheduled.

Oxford University-educated Trzaskowski, the candidate of the Civic Coalition (KO) alliance, the countrys main centrist opposition bloc, proved to be an energetic campaigner and hoped to pull off a win by uniting all opposition parties behind his challenge.

The race became so toxic that neither candidate would agree to debate each other in person on the eve of the vote, choosing instead to hold one-man “debates” on separate television channels at the same time.

Poles were not the only ones watching the election closely. This is the first nationwide poll in Europe, aside from Frances recent municipal elections, since the coronavirus arrived in Europe, and is being seen by some as a possible bellwether on the strength of social conservatism in Europe.

Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, presidential candidate of the main opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, reacts after the announcement of the first exit poll results on the second round of the presidential election in Warsaw, Poland, July 12, 2020.

Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, presidential candidate of the main opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, reacts after the announcement of the first exit poll results on the second round of the presidential election in Warsaw, Poland, July 12, 2020.

Dudas campaign matched the style of electioneering and political agenda pursued by Hungarys firebrand anti-migrant populist Viktor Orbаn, one combining social conservatism emphasizing “family values” and criticism of the European Union.

Like Orbаn, Duda and the PiS claim national sovereignty is being undermined by globalization, and nation states and their traditional cultures and lifestyles are being weakened by bankers and urban elites.

His victory will hearten fellow populists in neighboring European countries where there is a strong electorate for social conservatism and generous state handouts.

Like Orbаn, Duda and the PiS have been accused by domestic critics and Brussels of eroding democratic checks and balances, of seeking to curb judicial independence and of expanding state control over the media and civil society.

But as in Hungary, generous welfare schemes have been credited with recent election wins by conservative nationalists. Analysts deem social spending as a big factor in Dudas reelection.

The campaign exposed clear political and cultural fault-lines in Poland. The countrys weekly Polityka magazine said the contest came down to the “young against old, cities against countryside.” Dudas voters are older and concentrated in rural areas in the strongly Catholic east of the country. Younger voters in the west and in larger towns and cities voted largely for his challenger.

Some commentators expect the win will trigger moves by the PiS to limit foreign ownership of Polands private media outlets. During the campaign, Duda and his backers chafed at criticism of the PiS by foreign-owned media companies, especially German ones. Railing against “foreign interference” at one rally, he accused Germany of trying to choose Polands president.

Duda focused his attacks on Fakt, a Polish tabloid partly owned by the German Axel Springer publishing group. His critics say foreign-owned media is a needed counterweight to state-owned Polish television, which they say acts as a mouthpiece for the PiS.
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