JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli parliament on Monday advanced a bill that would make it harder to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the corruption charges against him, as it plowed ahead with a broader plan to overhaul the country’s legal system in defiance of mass protests.
Lawmakers in the Knesset gave preliminary approval during a late-night vote on the bill, which would allow the parliament to declare a prime minister unfit to rule only for physical or mental reasons.
The body was expected to vote later on a measure that would allow the Knesset to overrule Supreme Court rulings and enact laws that had been struck down. Both bills require additional votes before being enshrined into law.
The steps were the latest in a series of moves by Netanyahu’s coalition to overhaul Israel’s legal system. The prime minister and his allies say the effort is aimed at reining in an activist court. Critics say the drive would upend the country’s democratic checks and balances and concentrate power in the hands of Netanyahu and his parliamentary majority.
Netanyahu and his ultranationalist and religious coalition allies have pledged to plow ahead with the legal changes despite demonstrations by tens of thousands of Israeli protesters over the past two months. Business leaders, legal experts and retired military leaders have joined the protests, and Israeli reservists have threatened to stop reporting for duty if the overhaul passes.
In a late-night vote, the Knesset moved forward a bill that would protect Netanyahu from calls to oust him, replacing current law that opens the door for a leader to be removed under other circumstances. The new bill would require approval by three-quarters of the government, and could be overridden by the prime minister.
The measure has personal importance to Netanyahu, who returned to power late last year after Israel’s fifth election in under four years. He is on trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes, and denies the allegations. The proceedings have dragged on for nearly three years.
Good governance groups and other critics have called on the country’s attorney general to deem Netanyahu unfit for office.
Speaking to members of his Likud party on Monday, Netanyahu lashed out at the Israeli media, saying they are broadcasting a “never ending tsunami of fake news” against him. He reiterated his claim that the legal overhaul will strengthen Israeli democracy.
Opposition lawmaker Orna Barbivai said the bill was “a disgrace, which says the the prime minister is above the law.”
Israel’s Palestinian minority, which makes up some 20% of the population, has been largely absent from the protests, in part because they suffer from discrimination in Israel and and because of Israel’s treatment of their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza.
Sylvanie Burton to become the first woman President of Dominica
DOMINICA – The second and final term of Hs Excellency Charles Savarin will end of October 1, 2023 and a new President will be inaugurated on October 2.
The Government of Dominica has nominated career public officer Mrs. Sylvanie Burton for the position. Mrs. Burton is set to be the first woman and first person of Kalinago decent to hold Dominica’s highest office.
A sitting of Parliament to elect a President became necessary when Prime Minister Skerrit informed the Speaker of the House that he and Leader of the Opposition Hon. Jesma Paul-Victor had not agreed on a joint nominee for the position of President.
“I have received a letter form the Hon. Prime Minister, which I shall read. It says that ‘Dear Hon. Speaker, in accordance to Section 19:3 of the Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution Order 1978, I hereby inform you that the Leader of the Opposition and I have been unable to agree on a joint nominee of a candidate for election as President. Signed Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister.’, the Hon. Speaker stated.
Chapter II of the Constitution outlines the procedures to follow once the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition do not agree on a joint nominee.
Parliament will meet again on September 27, where the Government of Dominica will officially nominate Mrs. Sylvanie Burton. Leader of the Opposition Hon. Jesma Paul Victor has given no indication as to who will be nominated by the Opposition.
“If you oppose, then you should have something else to propose. So we look forward to her proposed nominee if she has one, then there will be an election in the next fourteen days. We will come to Parliament so we can have a President Elect who will take up office on the 2nd of October 20223. So today was important. It was a fulfillment of the obligations mandated by the constitution that I inform the Speaker that there is no joint nominee and the Speaker convenes Parliament to inform the Parliament of that situation and advising Parliament of the process involved in the nomination and election of a President for Dominica as per the provisions of the constitution,” Prime Minister Skerrit explained.
The nomination by Government of the first woman and first indigenous person for the position of President has been described as historic. Many have expressed surprise that the Opposition has not supported the nomination.
“It’s unfortunate that she allowed an opportunity to be a part of history to pass her as a woman, and I think that recognizing that our nominee is not only a woman but an Indigenous person. And I think that this has received tremendous regional and international accolades for not only a woman but an indigenous person. Those of us who are students of history understand and appreciate the contributions of Indigenous people to the protection and preservation of our patrimony,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Representative for the Marigot Constituency Hon. Anthony Charles has expressed support for Government’s nominee Mrs. Sylvanie Burton. Hon. Charles is calling for unity in the process of the election of the President.
“It’s not you come with one and you come with one and we agree. I think we should come together, call out some names and pick the best candidate together. We should have a mutual agreement. I have no problem with the young lady. Mrs. Sylvanie Burton is a close family friend, so I have no problem with the candidate, but it’s the process,” Hon. Charles stated.
A person shall be qualified to be nominated for election as President once he or she is a citizen of Dominica, above the age of forty and who at the date of his nomination has been resident in Dominica for five years immediately preceding his or her nomination.
NASA Administrator to Head to South America; Discuss Space Cooperation
As part of a series of meetings with key government officials, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will travel to Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia beginning Monday, July 24.
Nelson will meet with space officials in each country as well as Argentinian President Alberto Fernández to deepen bilateral cooperation across a broad range of innovation and research-related areas, especially in Earth science to achieve our nations’ mutual goals of addressing climate change and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Students in each country also will have the opportunity to meet with Nelson to discuss science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and their roles as members of the Artemis Generation.
NASA is engaged in a wide range of activities with the nations, including SERVIR Amazonia, which uses NASA’s Earth science data to empower scientists and decisionmakers across the region to track and understand environmental changes in near real-time, evaluate climatic threats like deforestation and food security, and rapidly respond to natural disasters.
US Secretary Antony J. Blinken on the Global Food Crisis
The United States has long been at the forefront of tackling global food insecurity, and we remain steadfast in our leadership through our focus on two crucial dimensions: immediate emergency response and long-term strategies for sustainable productivity.
Global food demand will increase by more than 50 percent in 2050, but due to climate change, agriculture yields of major crops could decrease over that same period. This dangerous combination could lead to price spikes, food insecurity, social unrest, political tensions, and conflict.
We will never achieve food security without fertile soils and adapted and productive crops. The United States is providing an initial $100 million through the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS) program. As part of Feed the Future, VACS will initially focus on the African continent and will include mapping and analyzing soils, promoting better farm management, and mitigating drought effects. It will also foster crop varieties resilient to climate change, pests, extreme weather, and variable rainfall.
With this assistance, we are continuing to support critical agricultural development programs. We are also committed to partnering with the international community on food security initiatives that lead to nutritious adapted crops and healthy soils for sustainable agriculture.
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