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Wednesday, November 18, 2009
ARGENTINA BECOMES THE FIRST LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRY TO DECLARE THAT LAWS BANNING GAY MARRIAGE VIOLATE CONSTITUTION
The story puts Argentina’s high court in direct conflict with the Catholic Church in a country where 88 percent of the people are Catholic.
CANADA GREETS PRINCE CHARLES, ITS FUTURE KING, WITH INDIFFERENCE
The country’s constitution (which, like Great Britain’s, is not a single document but an amalgamation of different acts and traditions) provides the role of head of state to the British monarchy, though most royal constitutional and ceremonial roles are carried out by the Governor General, who serves as the “Queen’s representative.”
SRI LANKA RELEASES PUBLISHER, CONTINUES TO HOLD JOURNALIST CONVICTED OF WRITINGS THAT “CAUSE COMMUNAL DISHARMONY”
The publisher of North Eastern Monthly was released because the editor was considered the culpable party for columns that were deemed to have incited ethnic violence. Last May, President Obama had singled out the same editor, J. S. Tissainayagam, for praise on World Press Day. Tissainayagam was convicted in September of this year for writing columns that criticized the Sri Lankan Army’s treatment of the terrorist group known as the Tamil Tigers. At the time of Tissainayagam’s conviction under the country’s Prevention of Terrorism Act, the prosecutor argued that “the Constitution gives freedom of the press but that doesn’t allow anybody to spread false information to spur ethnic violence.” Below are the excerpts from Tissainayagam’s columns that prompted his prosecution:
Providing security to Tamils now will define northeastern politics of the future It is fairly obvious that the Government is not going to offer them any protection. In fact it is the state security forces that are the main perpetrator of the killings.
July 2006, North Eastern Monthly
With no military options Government buys time by offering watered-down devolution Such offensives against the civilians are accompanied by attempts to starve the population by refusing them food as well as medicines and fuel.
November 2006, North Eastern Monthly
IRAQ AGAIN IN DANGER OF STALLING ELECTIONS; THIS TIME, THE SUNNIS ARE THE OBSTACLE
Just when the Kurds had lifted their objections (see our two earlier posts on this subject below), now Iraq's Vice President, Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, has stepped up to veto the January elections, essentially because the rules threaten to limit the number of Sunni seats in what will surely be a Shiite-majority Parliament. Prime Minister Nouri-al-Maliki, a Shiite, declared that the veto was "a dangerous threat to the democratic and political process." Any delay in the elections will likely throw the planned US withdrawal of troops off schedule.
MEXICO MOVES CLOSER TO A CONSTITUTIONAL BAN ON ABORTION
The proposed amendment to the Mexican constitution declaring that life begins at conception must now be passed by both houses of Congress, then sent to the state legislatures for a majority approval. Advocates say that they have the necessary votes to pass it through Congress and since more than half of Mexico's 32 states already have state laws banning abortion, it seems likely to pass there as well, becoming law.