Politeía Digest

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Daily News – March, 31

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Legal Commission reject Basescu’s referendum deadline ordinance

The Legal Commission of the Senate yesterday rejected a request by President Traian Basescu to pass the Government Emergency Ordinance that instates a deadline for the Parliament to give green light to the head of state’s demand of holding a nationwide referendum.   The Parliament already rejected the Ordinance last year, but on November 27 President Basescu asked for the rejection law to be reconsidered.

In the re-examination request, the president evokes the provisions of the Venice Commission, which ruled that a deadline should be set for the Parliament to pronounce over such an initiative taken by the head of state. If the Legislative does not observe the deadline, the text may be submitted to population’s vote without Parliament green light.

Gabriel Oprea: F-16 acquisition to be decided by Parliament

Gabriel Oprea said yesterday that a final decision on the acquisition of F-16 multi-role fighter jets would be made by Parliament. “The aircraft has been recommended by Air Force specialists who would be flying them. I trust their judgement, but the final decision is with the Parliament. It will be a strategic decision made by the Romanian people through Parliament,” the defence minister told a press conference in Brasov yesterday. The minister noted that he submitted the matter of F-16 aircraft acquisition to the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) for discussion and that the proposal would be tabled to the two chambers of Parliament’s defence committees. The committees’ decision would then be forwarded to the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.

According to Oprea, an argument in favour of buying the jets is that all NATO member states’ armed forces use them in the Black Sea region and over 25 armies are equipped with F-16, after successfully testing them in combat. At the same time, Oprea added that the Ministry of Defence would also step in to help Romanian defence industry and that the Romanian Army would need to become its best customer by procuring locally-made ammunitions and armaments.

CSAT last week passed the Defence Ministry’s proposal to acquire a total of 24 used F-16 multi-role fighter jets, with the document now pending debate and decision by Parliament.

MPs slam public television report, sack management

Parliament’s joint chambers yesterday rejected the public television company’s 2008 activity report, with 195 votes against the document, 78 in favour and three abstentions, Agerpres reported. The move leads to the immediate removal of the state-run television’s Administrative Council and its general director, Alexandru Sassu. MPs also rejected a Social Democrat deputy’s proposal that the current TVR management board’s term be extended until a new leadership is named. The head of the Chamber of Deputies’ culture committee, Democrat Liberal Raluca Turcan, insisted there was no need for a special Parliament vote on the matter, since current legislation allows the board to go on as caretaker for 15 days until its successor is appointed.

The vote was highly anticipated as the public television’s report had already been rejected by Parliament’s culture committees last month. Moreover, Sassu is facing allegations that he tends to favour the opposition Social Democrat Party in the television’s editorial policies. Turcan, one of Sassu’s fiercest critics, repeatedly called for his dismissal. The TVR manager, a former PSD member before being appointed on the job, denied the allegations.

Social Democrat Deputy Bogdan Niculescu Duvaz said after the vote that his party would challenge MPs’ ruling with the Constitutional Court. He insisted that the ruling coalition is trying to forcefully take control of TVR and make the institution ‘obedient’ and serving its own interests. Opposition Liberal Senator Cristian Topescu also told ruling coalition lawmakers that by trying to discredit the TVR, they will not manage to “change the world and perception on reality, but only the pleasure of overseeing reality.”

But Democrat Liberal MPs slammed the public television’s lack of objectivity and equal treatment in editorial policies. Senator Radu F. Alexandru said Sassu should be held accountable for the public television’s poor performance under his term, underlining that the company also reported significant financial losses. But the financial issues “are not the public television’s main shortcoming. Lack of objectivity and equal treatment are the most serious things,” Alexandru said. In turn, Deputies’ Speaker Roberta Anastase, a member of the PDL, voiced hope that Parliament’s vote will pave the way to having specialists, not politicians in charge of the public television.

Bombs kill 11 in southern Russia

Two blasts, one set off by a suicide bomber, rocked Kizlyar in Russia’s Dagestan region on Wednesday, killing at least 11 people just two days after twin bombs hit Moscow, officials told Reuters.

 Investigators said a suicide bomber dressed in a police uniform set off the second of the blasts in Dagestan, which followed the two bombings in Moscow that killed 39 people and which authorities blamed on female suicide attackers with links to insurgents in the turbulent North Caucasus.

In Kizlyar, a police official said a car parked near a school in the centre of town blew up as a traffic police patrol was driving by, killing two police officers. He said the second bomb was set off shortly after police and onlookers gathered at the scene.

The provincial police spokesman said Kizlyar police chief Vitaly Vedernikov was among the dead. At least six other police officers, an investigator and a civilian were killed, Russian news agencies cited police as saying.

Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim province adjacent to war-scarred Chechnya along Russia’s southern border, is plagued by frequent attacks targeting police and government officials.

Moscow observed a day of mourning on Tuesday for the victims of the blasts, which authorities said were set off by female suicide bombers linked to the North Caucasus – a string of heavily Muslim provinces that includes Chechnya.

Source: Reuters and Ynet

Iranian nuclear scientist defects to US

An Iranian nuclear scientist who has been missing since June has defected to the United States and is helping the CIA, ABC news reported on Tuesday. Citing unnamed sources briefed on the defection, the network said Shahram Amiri, a nuclear physicist in his early 30s, defected as part of a long-planned operation to get him to leave Iran and resettle in the United States.  A CIA spokeswoman declined to comment. The ABC report said Amiri has been extensively debriefed since his defection and said he helped confirm US intelligence assessments about the Iranian nuclear program.

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Written by Theophyle

March 31, 2010 at 11:19 am

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