5 February 2017   1 comment

The protests in Romania have succeeded in forcing the government not to lessen the penalties for criminal misconduct.   The change would have reduced the penalties for “bribery, fraud and other crimes by officials if the amount involved was less than about $48,500”.   There were six days of street protests and the Romanian Orthodox Church was adamantly opposed to the change.  However, the government does not appear to be giving up on the measure and intends to introduce another version of the law to the Parliament.

Marine Le Pen of the National Front Party in France has officially opened her presidential campaign with a promise to free France from the “tyrannies of globalization, Islamic fundamentalism and the European Union.”  The election promises to be quite heated and unpredictable. The previous favorite, François Fillon, of the center-right has been rocked by charges of corruption, and may be forced to leave the race.  The hard left has a candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is running as an independent and the centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron, is currently drawing very large crowds.  The Socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon, is tarnished by his association with the very unpopular current president, Francois Hollande.  Le Pen is running on a platform very similar to that or US President Donald Trump.  The first round of the election will be held in April and the final election is scheduled for 7 May.

On 2 February, the US Government issued the following statement on the building of settlements by Israel in the Occupied West Bank:

“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”

The statement is very confusing because all previous Administrations since 1967 have considered the settlements to be an obstacle to peace–indeed, at various points, the US has deemed the settlements to be illegal.  But the additional statement that the settlements are “not helpful” is difficult to square with the idea that they are also not an “impediment” to peace.  Finally, the statement that the Trump administration “has not taken an official position” is inconsistent with the issuance of an official statement.  What exactly is this statement supposed to be?  Unofficial? How does one interpret an “unofficial” statement?  The carelessness of the new administration is apparent in the “Fact Sheet” issued by the White House on 4 February:

According to this fact sheet, the US has two Secretaries of Defense.  And there is no way for The President to have spoken with the Australian “President”.  Turnbull is the Prime Minister of Australia.

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Posted February 5, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “5 February 2017

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  1. Thanks for sharing the best posts they very nice and very help us. You made a good site and giving us such a good information on this topic it’s very useful to us.

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