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Kim Jong Un Rejects Talks With South Korea

No reason given why Pyongyang rebuffed parliament's request

(Newser) - "Depending on the mood and circumstances to be created, we have no reason not to hold the highest-level talks [with South Korea]" was one of the most unexpected statements that came out of Kim Jong Un's New Year's speech from Pyongyang in which he said he'd... More »

Italian Parliament's Barbers See Pay Cut—to $125K

It's proof of 'unjustified privileges,' says civil servants union

(Newser) - In Italy, the average nurse earns about $30,000 a year . A high school teacher typically brings home about the same, reports. The barbers who snip the hair of Italy's members of parliament? Well, they rake in just a bit more: $125,000 a year—and that'... More »

Ukraine Prez Dissolves Parliament

Military convoys seen pouring in 'from the direction of Russia'

(Newser) - Ukraine's president today dissolved parliament and called for early elections in October as his country continues to battle a pro-Russian insurgency in its eastern regions. President Petro Poroshenko announced in a statement posted on his website that he has dissolved parliament and called for snap elections on October 26.... More »

Man Nabbed in Plot to Bomb Polish Parliament

Suspect's motives called nationalistic, anti-Semitic

(Newser) - A Polish man has been arrested for allegedly plotting to detonate a four-ton bomb in front of the country's parliament amid a budgetary debate. The BBC reports that the academic researcher, 45, has confessed to planning the assassination of the president and other leaders. Prosecutors called the unnamed man'... More »

Greek Parliament OKs Austerity Budget

But Europe still hasn't settled on aid package

(Newser) - Following the tight passage of an austerity package last week, Greece's parliament has approved a 2013 austerity budget. The budget, part of a plan to receive further foreign financing, passed by a margin of 167 to 128, the New York Times reports. It cuts salaries, pensions, and benefits by... More »

Ukraine Ruling Party Claims Election Win

But ultranationalist party gets big boost

(Newser) - Ukraine's governing Party of Regions says it won yesterday's parliamentary elections, though it will be weeks before the new parliament's makeup becomes clear. Exit polls suggest President Viktor Yanukovich's ruling party took between 27.6% and 32% of the vote and the former prime minister Yulia... More »

Egypt Court Upholds Dissolution of Parliament

President Morsi now holds all legislative powers

(Newser) - Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court has upheld last summer's ruling that dissolved parliament just days before Mohamed Morsi was declared victor in the country's presidential election. It ruled against an appeal by a former lawmaker who wanted the court to reinstate two-thirds of parliament, only excluding the third... More »

French Left Leads in Parliamentary Election

President Francois Hollande's party takes the lead

(Newser) - Leftist candidates led the first round of France's parliamentary elections today, according to polling agencies and partial official results, in a vote that is crucial to President Francois Hollande's Socialist agenda. Hollande needs leftists to take control of the lower house of parliament—currently dominated by conservatives—to... More »

Muslim Brotherhood to Egypt Military: Time to Go

Islamist group now refuses to wait until planned June deadline

(Newser) - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood had planned to wait until June for the military to hand over power—but now it says that's not soon enough. The Islamist group now says the military must let Parliament—led by the Brotherhood—form a coalition government, thus replacing the current prime minister... More »

Egypt's Military Dissolves Parliament

Leadership says it'll run gov't for 6 months

(Newser) - Egypt's military leaders dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution on Sunday, meeting two key demands of protesters who have been keeping up pressure for immediate steps to push forward the transition to democratic, civilian rule after forcing Hosni Mubarak out of power. In their latest communique, the military rulers that... More »

Burma Opens First Parliament in 20 Years

Heavy security in the capital reported, with police manning roadblocks

(Newser) - Burma's first parliament in more than 20 years opened under tight security today, with armed police manning roadblocks on all routes leading to parliament and checking all buses carrying representatives for bombs. Delegates wore traditional attire, but were banned from carrying mobile phones, cameras, computers, and other electronic devices into... More »

All Alone, Karzai Twists in Political Wind

Allies are deserting Afghan leader after failed stalling tactic

(Newser) - Afghanistan’s new parliament was finally sworn in yesterday, much to Hamid Karzai’s chagrin. The Afghan president’s failed bid to delay the new parliament’s arrival is the latest in a string of political miscues that have left Karzai in a precarious position, diplomats, analysts, and Afghan lawmakers... More »

Ukrainian Pols Hurl Eggs in Messy Brawl

Smoke bombs tossed, too, over naval deal with Russia

(Newser) - Ukrainian lawmakers opposed to a naval deal with Russia made their objections known with eggs, smoke bombs, and fists in the country's parliament today. Dozens of politicians and aides scuffled over a huge Ukrainian flag in the center of the chamber as the parliament ratified a deal extending Russia's lease... More »

F-Bomb Riles Irish Parliament

Outburst prompts review of rules of conduct

(Newser) - Irish Green Party member of Parliament Paul Gogarty has apologized for using the F-word—twice—during a heated debate on budget cuts. Gogarty, who swore after being heckled by an opposition party member, withdrew the remarks but pointed out that the hackles-raising word in question—unlike "buffoon" and "... More »

After 3 Decades, Iran Names Female Cabinet Minister

Health appointee heralds achievement of 'long-standing dream'

(Newser) - Iran has named its first female cabinet minister since the dawn of the Islamic Republic in 1979, the Guardian reports. “I think today women reached their long-standing dream of having a woman in the cabinet to pursue their demands,” said new health minister Marzieh Vahid Dastgerdi. “This... More »

Mali's President Bails on Women's Rights Law

Protests force him to send it back for review

(Newser) - Mali's president says he won't sign a controversial new law that gives more rights to women, the BBC reports. President Amadou Toumani Toure says he supports the so-called family law, which Muslim leaders have denounced as the devil's work, but is sending it back to parliament for review. "I... More »

Berlusconi Irate Over Pesky Media Questions

Italian PM walks out of interview when asked about teen model

(Newser) - Silvio Berlusconi owns nearly half of Italy’s television stations—but not La Repubblica, the Italian daily that has incensed the PM with questions about his connection to an 18-year-old model, the Guardian reports. When a reporter asked about Berlusconi's appearance at her birthday party, Berlusconi took offense, saying “... More »

Sri Lanka Prez: We're 'Liberated'

Body of rebel leader said to be found

(Newser) - Sri Lanka’s leader celebrated the country’s “liberation” from the Tamil Tigers after 26 years of war in a speech to parliament today, the BBC reports. “Today we have been able to liberate the entire country from the clutches of terrorism," said Mahinda Rajapaska. "We... More »

UK Expenses Scandal Claims House Speaker

House of Commons speaker Michael Martin steps down

(Newser) - The ongoing controversy surrounding British MPs' lavish expenses has claimed its biggest victim: the speaker of the House of Commons. Michael Martin, who presides over the country's main legislative body, will announce his resignation today after losing the support of party leaders, including Gordon Brown—not for cheating on his... More »

S. African Parliament Elects Zuma

(Newser) - The South African parliament elected Jacob Zuma president today, and the country’s new leader will be inaugurated on Saturday, Reuters reports. Zuma’s ANC routed the opposition in last month’s election, and today’s election was expected. The new president will name a cabinet on Sunday; international watchers... More »

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