Author Topic: International News Events: Asked and Answered...  (Read 8684 times)

mamselle

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International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« on: May 27, 2019, 09:21:27 AM »
So, given the abysmal coverage the US journalistic network usually offers of things happening outside our borders (largely--there are exceptions, of course), I'd like to see and hear from those who either live, have lived, study, or have studied some aspect of a situation that is covered elsewhere but not here.

For starters, I'm interested in the two (seemingly similar) events in the UK and India at present.

Theresa May is out, and the residual Indian government at the moment seems to be in turmoil because of election losses.

   https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/disquiet-in-congress-ranks-as-rahul-insists-on-resigning-fate-of-rajasthan-and-karnataka-governments-uncertain/articleshow/69524169.cms

I know about some of the practices--if a leader loses some certain level of credibility, they don't wait for regular elections, they resign--but not the deeper rationale behind these traditions (doesn't that make for a lot of upheavals?)

Or...does the resulting fluidity lead to better governance? Or not?

I'd be interested in further discussion on this topic, and would leave the thread open to those who'd like to post other non-US national news items of interest that we really could do well to know more about.

For example, until I got to France one year, I'd known nothing of the Bulgarian nurses' plight (the Libyan government, in denial over the severity of the AIDS/SIDA epidemic there, accused them of injecting 438 babies with the virus, not wishing to recognize that they were in fact caring for that number who were already ill, imprisoning and torturing them and the doctor involved:)

    http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/International/2007/07/24/001-bulgare-libye-infirmiere.shtml
and
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,495974-2,00.html
and
    https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/2000/06/04/libye-cinq-infirmieres-bulgares-jugees-pour-propagation-du-sida-se-sont-plaintes-d-avoir-ete-torturees_3605579_1819218.html?xtmc=sida_bulgares&xtcr=1

Also of interest to me (if prompts are wanted/needed) are the reasons the US news isolates its readers from such materials, while making a big deal of some of the most inane local issues conceivable.

Any continent, any country (except the US) any issue of interest.

Be polite.

M.
   
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spork

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2019, 09:34:38 AM »
In part you can blame the French, since "parliament" comes from parlement, an institution that allowed the aristocracy to challenge any royal edict deemed to be a violation of customary practice. From there we eventually got, as I think you're alluding to, the UK's Westminster model of parliamentary government. In the Westminster model, the legislative branch can be dissolved at any time, through:

  • Prime Minister tries to capitalize on current degree of popularity by calling for "snap" elections.
  • Parliament approves a vote of no confidence in the existing government or refuses to approve the government's budget.
  • Regularly scheduled elections (when parliamentary seats have fixed terms).
  • The king or queen dissolves parliament via his or her authority as the nominal head of state (this power hasn't been exercised in a few hundred years, I believe.

Political parties emerged not too long after parliaments became the de facto form of national government. In the Westminster model, the executive branch (the "government" in UK political lingo) is formed by whatever political party wins a majority of parliamentary seats in an election, or whichever party can, via the construction of a coalition between parties, can prevent the other parties from establishing a majority bloc. The prime minister (head of government/executive branch) comes out of parliament from the majority or coalition-leading party.

With the above said, there are all sorts of ways in which parliamentary governments operate. Some resemble the UK's much more than others. But there is data indicating that a parliamentary systems are less likely to lead to dictatorships than presidential systems.

Don't know if this answers your question. I hope it doesn't come across as mansplaining.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2019, 07:20:30 PM »
Very helpful. Thank you.

Not mansplained,* but well-explained to someone who wanted to know.

(When I talk to my British and Belgian cousins I like to have a sense of how things work, just a bit!)

In India, then, is there any danger of decentralization or a rupture of the national structure? Since it's sort of stitched together from so many different parts of the subcontinent, I've wondered if it would ever come to such a point that some kind of secession could happen.

Do areas like Chennai and Bangalore, which have a stronger technical/industrial base, for example, have so much less in common with some other parts? Or do they each have underlying complimentary strengths that I'm unaware of?

M.
-=-=-=-

*(My quick-n-dirty version of mansplaining is when a) the other person hasn't asked for information--which I did--and b) the other person knows as much or more about the subject at hand, and the mansplainer is ignoring strong cues being given to point this out--which you are not doing, either....

And I have been mansplained to...recently I had to interrupt a new acquaintance and ask, "Are you explaining this to me, or to yourself? Because I already know  how it works..."
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

spork

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2019, 05:09:16 AM »
I would say that the risk of outright disintegration for India is extremely low to nonexistent. There is a Maoist rebel movement in a few of the poorest areas that ebbs and flows, but in general it's kept in check by security forces. (Pakistan, however, could very well devolve into an anarchic environmental and economic disaster.)

After independence, India took three years to work out a constitution and borrowed heavily from the British. It has a federal system (some powers held by the national government, some by the states, and some shared by both levels) and a bicameral parliament. Two things that helped solidify India's political system: state borders were redrawn to coincide with India’s linguistic regions, and the plan to make Hindi the sole national language was abandoned in favor of education in Hindi, English, and the local predominant ethnic language. Particular social groups, including castes that had been previously discriminated against, were provided with constitutional protections.

The end result (borrowing from Arend Lijphart here) was a democratic system with the following features: cultural autonomy for all major linguistic and religious groups, national government requires the construction of a coalition among representatives of those groups, political representation and civil service appointments are distributed in proportion to the relative population size of these groups, and minorities can exercise veto power in regard to matters that affect minority rights and autonomy.

Modi and the BJP have moved Indian politics more into a Hindu nationalist direction, which is a bit worrisome, but I see India's main problem as still one of economic development -- the middle and upper class has expanded by a few hundred million people, but there are still a half billion or so who are  wretchedly poor. Getting all those people to a level of material well-being that is both ethically appropriate and environmentally friendly is tricky.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2019, 06:28:28 AM »
I worked for someone (decades ago) who did policy advisement on resource development of tropical rain forests. They had to work with both an indigenous population that lived fairly lightly on the land there, and a growing group of developers who wanted to saw down huge hunks of the forest and make money.

Your remarks make me wonder how that worked out. It didn't go well in Brazil or Indonesia, where the "smog" that summer was from widespread burning of trees for supposed farmland (but I wasn't sure if the farmlands then failed because of soil/water issues not aligning well, or if it ended up being worth all that destruction.)

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2019, 05:14:43 PM »
The execution of a North Korean diplomat recently has been bothering me.

Death, for what seemed to me to be a poorly-reasoned sense of causality, seemed like a high toll to pay.

Can anyone comment?

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2019, 06:28:44 AM »
Hong Kong demonstrations point up what I imagine are realistic concerns about PR/China. A 99 years' lease is a tenuous thing.

 Friends from Taiwan have similar concerns. Planting cat's paw Han agitators seems to be the trick of the moment (it worked for Hitler...for awhile)


In this hemisphere, of concern to me is a weird kind of instability in the Dom. Republic, which (I thought, for awhile) had settled down. Most recently upsetting was the shooting of retired baseball player Ortiz, visiting at home, and possibly stalked by the shooter (thankfully, Ortiz will survive, per the latest reports).

But it followed on three unexplained situations with US visitors, involving 4 fatalities, if I'm reading aright, also in the DR, and that's worrisome as well.

Other comments?

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

backatit

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2019, 10:22:29 AM »
I also thought the Dom Rep had settled down so I'm following that with interest. Most of my surfer friends have stopped going there, and the people I know who were living there on a temporary basis have all pulled out (not for political or safety reasons - they were transferred by their comidpany to other areas such as Belize) so I'm not getting a lot of news out of there at the moment. So I'll be following the news in that area with interest.


mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 04:28:30 AM »
I'm going to have to go back and do some catch-up reading; in the 70s/80s people left to avoid upheavals in DR government, but in the past 10-20 years that seemed to have abated.

Do current issues connect to that earlier time, or is this a backlash, or...?

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2019, 01:58:56 PM »
While the DR problems seem to be continuing (and the attack on Ortiz is now said to be due to "mistaken identity," the Middle East and its nearby regions are both seeing a stronger-spined U.S. Congressional vote against arms sales, and a U.N. determination on Kashoggi's death (which we have wimped away from condemning).

To say nothing of the downed drone....has its exact location been divulged yet?

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2019, 07:24:05 AM »
It's interesting (and perhaps a sign of something, but I'm not yet sure what, exactly) that a return strike was planned, then aborted.

Definite relief....but sort of unexpected, to my mind.

Was that an actual sign of considered wisdom in heeding those who said, "Back away from this"?

Is there some commercial leverage to be gained in staying buds with Iranian power brokers that resides under the table and far away from the public's awareness?

Both? Something else?

Can anyone here comment from a position of researched knowledge--or off-the-cuff gut response?

Just wondering, again.

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2019, 12:24:57 PM »
Anyone with an understanding of recent EU issues who can define "Spitzenkandidat" and--maybe more to the point, explain WHY that system was sidestepped?

I have a cousin in Belgium and friends in Strasbourg, all of whom are either puzzled, angry, or both.

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

writingprof

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2019, 02:05:43 PM »
The execution of a North Korean diplomat recently has been bothering me.

Death, for what seemed to me to be a poorly-reasoned sense of causality, seemed like a high toll to pay.

Can anyone comment?

M.

Are you joking?  It's a Marxist prison state built on torture and state terror.  Yes, they execute people for poor reasons.  Perhaps you thought this was Republican propaganda.  Alas, no. 

Stalin also murdered people from time to time.  I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you.

mamselle

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2019, 04:34:59 PM »
Ummmm....I knew all of that, was more focused on the "why now," since it seemed as if their leader was trying to curry favor here. I realize that in itself is a fluid, unstable desire, and that human responsibility wasn't invented yesterday (having studied medieval history in several climes, among other things).

I was also hoping for some courteous, more in-depth analysis on this thread, more generally, but I realize the OP doesn't get to control the ways the threads are woven...

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

writingprof

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Re: International News Events: Asked and Answered...
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2019, 04:55:16 PM »
Ummmm....I knew all of that, was more focused on the "why now," since it seemed as if their leader was trying to curry favor here. I realize that in itself is a fluid, unstable desire, and that human responsibility wasn't invented yesterday (having studied medieval history in several climes, among other things).

I was also hoping for some courteous, more in-depth analysis on this thread, more generally, but I realize the OP doesn't get to control the ways the threads are woven...

M.

My apologies. Some folks on the left still hold a candle for the Kims, and I mistakenly read your question as issuing from that weird perspective.