24 June 2015   Leave a comment

Sometime within the next few days a “Freedom Flotilla” will sail to the Gaza Strip bringing humanitarian supplies to the besieged Palestinians there.  Israel has maintained a tight blockade of the Gaza for a number of years and since the war in 2014 the situation in the Gaza has deteriorated severely.   This will be the third flotilla since 2010–none has been successful, and the last one was stopped by Israel with the loss of nine lives on the ships bringing supplies.  This time there will be an Arab member of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, on the flotilla.  Israel has vowed to stop this flotilla as well.

The Senate approved Trade Promotion Authority (or “fast-track”) for President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.  The vote was 60-38 passing with the minimum number of votes to prevent a filibuster.  The President joined forces with the Republicans in Congress to get the bill passed.   The Authority means that once President Obama finalizes the Agreement (we still do not know the specific details of the bill), the Congress will only be able to vote yes or no on the bill–no amendments or negotiations will be allowed.  Democracy Now has published a debate between a supporter of the TPP and an opponent of the agreement on the merits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership which is fairly even-handed, although Democracy Now opposes the bill.

A class-action suit was brought against the Dutch Government arguing that failing to stop the process of global warming constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights.  The suit was brought by the Urgenda Foundation and the foundation won the case.  According to Ars Technica:

“Today, a Dutch court at The Hague ruled in favour of Urgenda, ruling that the Netherlands’ plans to cut emissions by only 14-17 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 were illegal. Moreover, the wording used by the judges in the ruling is incredibly strong and clear-cut: ‘The state should not hide behind the argument that the solution to the global climate problem does not depend solely on Dutch efforts … Any reduction of emissions contributes to the prevention of dangerous climate change and as a developed country the Netherlands should take the lead in this.’”

The court ordered the Dutch state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the year 2020.

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Posted June 25, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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