Over Easy: Around the World
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Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.
Sweeping progressive New Democratic Party victories in Alberta, Canada, have overturned the dominant Tory government of the province that had sought to extend XL pipeline through the U.S. to Texas refineries, where it would go onto the world oil market.
The Tories’ books have been in the red for years, even when record-high oil prices bolstered the bottom line. There were years of pent-up anger, mistrust, and outright dislike, fatally exacerbated by yet another deficit.
Finally, NDP Leader Rachel Notley kicked the dam that caused the crack that broke it.
“She didn’t make any stupid mistakes, like Laurence Decore did in 1993, or Danielle Smith did in 2012. She looks and acts and sounds like a premier, and she’s run a flawless campaign,” said Ken Boessenkool, a strategist running a PC campaign just outside Calgary.
Notley will be elevated in Canadian politics; she is now one of the most important NDP figures in the country. She ran a tight campaign and defended policies that would normally be anathema to Alberta political culture. She is planning to raise corporate income tax, and said she’d no longer lobby for contentious pipeline routes, like Keystone XL and Northern Gateway. This move alone brings Alberta’s political culture more in line with the sentiments of the rest of Canada.
Notley capitalized on the perfect storm of political conditions that allowed a progressive candidate to win power.
Last night’s midnight deadline for formation of a government pushed Benjamin Netanyahu to give the Minister of Justice portfolio to Member of Knesset Ayelet Shaked. Netanyahu had difficulties in his election that ended with his promises to cut off any chance of representing Arab interests in an Israeli government, a position he abandoned after the election.
Netanyahu reached an agreement with Bayit Yehudi that will give the party the Education and Diaspora Affairs portfolios for its leader Naftali Bennett. MK Uri Ariel will be agriculture minister and MK Ayelet Shaked justice minister. Bennett succeeded in pressuring Netanyahu to give Shaked the Justice Ministry, because a coalition could not be formed without Bayit Yehudi’s eight Knesset seats. She was originally going to be given the Culture and Sports Ministry.
The Likud tried unsuccessfully to prevent Shaked from entering the security cabinet despite the justice minister automatically being in that influential body by law.
A close election will be held in the UK today, with Labour and Tories going to the polls with no clear leader in the national vote to be held.
Labour and the Conservatives are heading into Thursday’s general election neck and neck, tied at 35% each according to the preliminary results of the final Guardian/ICM campaign poll.
Ed Miliband’s party has pulled back three points on the previous campaign poll, published nine days ago, with the Conservatives remaining unchanged.
Labour’s recovery goes hand in hand with a squeeze at the political fringe: Ukip and the Greens both slip back two points, to 11% and 3% respectively.
In a victory for women’s protection and rights, four men were sentenced to death for a mob killing in Kabul, Afghanistan, in an event sparked by a false rumor that the woman had burned the Koran.
Judge Safiullah Mojadedi handed down the four death sentences at Afghanistan’s Primary Court in Kabul on Wednesday. He also sentenced eight defendants to 16 years in prison and dropped charges against 18. The remaining suspects are to be sentenced on Sunday.
The defendants have the right to appeal their sentences. The charges included assault, murder and encouraging others to participate in the assault. The police officers were charged with neglecting their duties and failing to prevent the attack.
Farkhunda’s brother, Mujibullah said that her family was angered by the leniency of the court toward the majority of the defendants.