Saturday, January 11, 2020

Stormont is back!! and other news

Saving the best for last, lets start with Iran, which admitted it did indeed accidentally shoot down the plane. Supposedly the missile hit under the cockpit, which is where most of the flight controls and connections are; hence it makes sense that it would vanish from flight tracking websites (as this would turn off the transponder) and why the plane continued what it was doing (making a right turn) after being hit.

As expected, Tsai has won the election in Taiwan, with 57% of the vote, compared to 39% for Han. In the legislature, the DPP appears down to 61 seats with the KMT is up to 38. I will offer full coverage tomorrow, due to all the other news today.

In France, the government is attempting to find a compromise on the pension/retirement age. I'll be doing a more full post on issues like this one, where the 'popular' demand is one that is horrible for nearly everyone in the long term and on a large scale.

Sultan Qaboos has died. He ruled Oman since he overthrew his father in the 70s. Qaboos was widely considered a political master, and it remains to be seen if his successor, his cousin, can remain both popular and an absolute monarch, as Qaboos was. Chances are, he can not, meaning either reform is coming, or an overthrow is on the cards.

Related to the first story I posted here, Canada is reacting to news of the shoot down. One issue is that in 2012, under Harper, Canada cut off relations with Iran. It is thus unlikely that this will end well for families of the Canadians killed in the crash. I will likely address this in a larger post I'm planning at the same time I address the "sometimes popular things are unpopular" I hinted at in the 3rd story (France)

As if today wasn't busy enough in the news, the Wexit party has registered with Elections Canada.

Another warning to ignore misleading news like this story. Western countries have stopped flying, but the majority of companies who flew over Iran, still fly over Iran. It is simply 'fake news' to claim that most other airlines had stopped flights.

Lastly, and most excitedly, Stormont is back! The Stormont assembly, which is the devolved Parliament for Northern Ireland, has returned after the 5 major parties have come to an agreement in its future. It is unclear exactly what is in the deal, but it appears both the Irish Language and Ulster Scots, will be looked at seriously, while there will be coming reforms to the "petition of concern" which has been used as a veto by parties over issues that it was never designed for.

Current standings in the Assembly is as follows:

27 - DUP
26 - SF
12 - SDLP
10 - UUP
8 - APNI
83 - participating in the executive
2 - Green
1 - TUV
1 - PBP
2 - Independent
1 - Speaker

Attending meetings of the new Executive will be as follows:

Arlene Foster (DUP) - First Minister
Michelle O'Neill (SF) - Deputy First Minister
Edwin Poots (DUP) - Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Deirdre Hargey (SF) - Communities
Diane Dodds (DUP) - Economy
Peter Weir (DUP) - Education
Conor Murphy (SF) - Finance
Robin Swann (UUP) - Health
Nichola Mallon (SDLP) - Infrastructure
Naomi Long (APNI) - Justice
Gordon Lyons (DUP) - Jr Minister to First Minister
Declan Kearney (SF) - Jr Minister to deputy First Minister

Interestingly, this will be a gender balanced cabinet (6 female, 6 male) with the 10 cabinet positions seeing a 6-4 split, more women than men, and all three of the top positions (First Minister, deputy First Minister, and Justice minister) held by women.

Because it took years to get this government together, the next election is still scheduled for just 2 years away in May of 2022.

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