Iceland almost gets female-majority parliament
Iceland briefly celebrated electing a female-majority parliament Sunday, before a recount produced a result just short of that landmark for gender parity in the North Atlantic island nation.
The initial vote count had female candidates winning 33 seats in Iceland’s 63-seat parliament, the Althing, in an election that saw centrist parties make the biggest gains.
Hours later, a recount in western Iceland changed the outcome, leaving female candidates with 30 seats, a tally previously reached at Iceland’s second most recent election, in 2016. Still, at almost 48% of the total, that is the highest percentage for women lawmakers in Europe.
Only a handful of countries, none of them in Europe, have a majority of female lawmakers. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Rwanda leads the world with women making up 61% of its Chamber of Deputies, with Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico on or just over the 50% mark. Worldwide, the organization says just over a quarter of legislators are women.
“The female victory remains the big story of these elections,” politics professor Olafur Hardarson told broadcaster RUV after the recount.
Iceland’s voting system is divided into six regions and the recount in western Iceland was held after questions about the number of ballots cast. The mistakes have not been entirely explained but are thought to be due to human error.
The three parties in the outgoing coalition government led by Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir won a total of 37 seats in Saturday’s vote, two more than in the last election, and appeared likely to continue in power.
Opinion polls had suggested a victory for left-leaning parties in the unpredictable election, which saw 10 parties competing for seats. But the center-right Independence Party took the largest share of votes, winning 16 seats, seven of them held by women. The centrist Progressive Party celebrated the biggest gain, winning 13 seats, five more than last time.
China and Russia are increasing their military collaboration
STOCKHOLM — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed concern Saturday about Russian and Chinese military cooperation in Asia and said the security situation in Europe could not be separated from that in the Indo-Pacific region since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a meeting of European and Indo-Pacific foreign ministers in Sweden, Hayashi said Russia’s war in Ukraine had “shaken the very foundation of the international order” and must face a united response by the international community.
“Otherwise, similar challenges will arise in other regions and the existing order which has underpinned our peace and prosperity could be fundamentally overturned,” Hayashi said.
French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’
French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage
French President Emmanuel Macron faced significant criticism for his comments claiming that he would like to “piss off” unvaccinated individuals.
Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination.
“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response.
His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president.
“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”
She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC.
But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.”
Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported.
Assange ‘suffers stroke in jail’ after court rules he can be extradited to America
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has reportedly suffered a stroke in jail.
The 50-year-old is being held at the high security Belmarsh Prison as he battles to avoid being extradited to America following a court ruling.
Assange has reportedly been left with a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage following a mini-stroke.
It’s reported the stroke happened at the time of a High Court appearance via video link in October.
His fiancee Stella Moris said he is “struggling” with the stress of fighting extradition to a US prison.
Since the mini-stroke, Assange reportedly has had an MRI scan and is taking anti-stroke medication.
Ms Moris told the Mail: “Julian is struggling and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on.
“It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally.”