News Update for Wednesday, November 22


A Step in the Right Direction

Source: Globo

Photo: Jefferson Rudy / Agência Senado

The Brazilian Senate approved yesterday two bills to establish mixed district voting for aldermen and state and federal representatives. The bills will now proceed to the House of Representatives. Under the new system, which if approved, would only be effective in the 2020 elections, states and counties will be divided into districts, and each party will nominate one candidate per district. Citizens will cast two votes: one for a candidate of their district and one for a candidate on a list provided by a political party. Half of the seats for each function will be filled by the candidates with more votes in each district, and half by candidates from the party lists. Sound confusing? What did you expect? It’s Brazilian legislation. But it is a step in the right direction, since district voting (as adopted in countries like the U.S. and England), ensures greater political accountability and more proximity of the voters with their representatives.

Mugabe Resigns

Source: The New York Times

Jekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Only God will remove me,” proclaimed Robert Mugabe once. However, shortly after lawmakers started impeachment proceedings, the longest-serving head of state resigned as president of Zimbabwe. Jubilant residents poured into the streets after Mr. Mugabe, 93, stepped down, saying it was for “the welfare of the people.” Yeah, right!

Merkel Unable to form Coalition Government

Source: The New York Times

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Angela Merkel has been unable to form a coalition government and new elections might be called in Germany. This is bad news for the European Union, who needs a strong Germany for serious decisions for issues such as the Eurozone, migration, asylum and defense, as well as Britain’s exit.

The chancellor said she remained hopeful about forming a majority government. But if forced to choose, Ms. Merkel said, she would prefer to go through new elections rather than try to lead a minority government.

“I don’t want to say never, but I am very skeptical, and believe that new elections would be the better way forward,” she declared.

Hariri Back in Lebanon

Source: The New York Times

Jamal Saidi/Reuters

The Prime Minister of Lebanon has returned home. He did not answer questions about his mysterious two-week absence from Lebanon or whether he will make official the resignation he announced in Saudi Arabia. His only public statement was to say “thank you” to the Lebanese people.

Many questions remain, including whether he plans to reaffirm his resignation or rescind it — apparently it is not valid unless delivered in person — and to what extent he may have acted under Saudi pressure.

Net Neutrality to be Revoked

Source: The New York Times

Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission chairman. Credit: Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The American Federal Communications Commission released a plan on Tuesday to dismantle ground-breaking regulations that ensure equal access to the internet. The existing rules prohibit high-speed internet service providers from stopping or slowing down the delivery of certain websites and prevent the companies from charging customers extra fees for high-quality streaming and other services. This announcement set off a fight over control of the internet, pitting telecom titans like AT&T and Verizon against internet giants like Google and Amazon. The internet companies say these rules keep the telecom enterprises from being powerful gatekeepers to information and entertainment, while the telecom companies say they prevent them from offering customers a wider selection of services at higher and lower price points.

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