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Posts Tagged ‘lawmakers’

Irish lawmakers to vote on EU-IMF bailout deal

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

 Ireland’s parliament is set to back the country’s 85-billion-euro (113-billion-dollar) EU-IMF bailout later Wednesday, but it will be a close vote, a key independent lawmaker said.

Joe Behan, a former member of Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s Fianna Fail party, told AFP on Tuesday that he expected the vote to be “extremely tight.”

“It could be passed by just two votes,” added Behan.

The bailout deal for crisis-hit Ireland comprises 67.5 billion euros in external loans and guarantees from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, with another 17.5 billion euros from the Irish government.

Irish police guard the front gate of the Irish Parliament building (Dail) in Dublin, Ireland, on December 7, 2010.

Lawmakers will vote later Wednesday at the Dail, or lower house of parliament, amid stubborn market worries over the eurozone debt crisis.

Cowen’s parliamentary party has called for the vote to “add political legitimacy to the agreement and to force the opposition to take a definitive position on the matter.”

Behan, now an independent lawmaker in the Wicklow constituency south of Dublin, has backed the government’s budget measures and will be voting for the deal.

The lawmaker, who resigned from Fianna Fail in 2008, added that he was “very, very sceptical” that the opposition would be able to negotiate a better bailout deal if they got into power.

Cowen has said opposition parties were still trying to make the public believe that there was “an easy way out” of the country’s funding crisis.

The vote would give them the opportunity “to either come clean, recognise that this deal is essential and in the best interests of the country, or spell out their alternative,” he argued.

But Cowen’s personal standing has plummeted to just eight percent in the polls and support for his party is also down sharply: it is at 13 percent compared to the 42 percent backing it received in the 2007 general election.

Judging from the polls, it is facing a drubbing when the country holds elections again early next year.

Ireland’s opposition parties — who have already voted against the government’s annual 2011 budget — have said they will also reject the EU-IMF memorandum of understanding on the bailout.

Dr James Reilly, deputy leader of the main opposition Fine Gael party, described the decision to vote on the bailout as a “political stunt” to deflect attention from the dismal nature of the deal.

Fianna Fail had initially refused to hold a Dail vote on the deal, he said. “Now they can’t wait to have one. The only thing that has changed is Brian Cowen’s need to keep his restive backbenchers happy.

“Fine Gael has already made it quite clear that we regard the IMF-EU bailout package as a most incompetent piece of negotiation.

“It makes no sense for Fine Gael to support a vote on a bailout which we intend to renegotiate. Such a move would only weaken the ability of a Fine Gael Government to renegotiate the deal after an election,” Reilly said.

But government chief whip John Curran was confident the bailout will be endorsed with the help of independent lawmakers.

“Yes, I do believe that the government will have the numbers to pass this motion without the support of the opposition,” he said in a statement.

The IMF’s executive board has decided to delay consideration of the rescue plan for Ireland until after Wednesday’s vote.

Source: SGGP

Lawmakers urged to play greater role in climate change issue

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

Lawmakers urged to play greater role in climate change issue

QĐND – Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 21:6 (GMT+7)

 The role of legislators needs to be promoted in policy and legal planning, negotiation and the supervision of conventions, treaties, international commitments on sustainable development and climate change.

This was agreed among the delegates who attended a seminar on the role of the Asian-Pacific Parliamentary Francophone Assembly (APF) in the environmental field and climate change, which was organised by the APF, the International Francophone Organisation (OIF) and Vietnam’s National Assembly in Hanoi on December 15.

On addressing the opening ceremony, Nguyen Van Son, the chairman of Vietnam’s NA’s Committee for External Affairs, said that the event is meaningful in the context of the 16 th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16) that has just finished in Cancun, Mexico.

“The seminar stresses the responsibilities of Francophone member countries in the face of common global challenges in Asia-the Pacific region”, said Son.

At the event, delegates from APF member countries such as Laos and the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu as well as experts from the Institute for Energy and Environment of Francophone Countries (IEPF), representatives of Vietnam’s ministries, along with scientists agreed that environmental protection is always an essential factor in sustainable socio-economic development.

In reality, in a global economy, climate change poses challenges to many countries around the world, especially poor and developing countries, of whom many are members of the Francophone bloc.

The delegates were also briefed on Vietnam’s progress in the implementation of solutions on climate change as well as the NA’s role in sustainable development.

According to Jean Luc Lala, the Secretary General of Administration for the APF, the crucial point is to find a balance between the economic benefits and environmental protection, so all concerned parties must take own responsibility after signing conventions and international treaties in this area.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Lawmakers applaud administrative reform

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Lawmakers hold televised session

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2010 at 11:49 am

Thailand’s ‘Red Shirt’ lawmakers in court

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

BANGKOK, Aug 19, 2010 (AFP) – Two Thai opposition lawmakers appeared in court Thursday on terrorism charges in connection with deadly “Red Shirt” street protests earlier this year.

But the court allowed Jatuporn Prompan and Karun Hosakul — both members of the Puea Thai Party who are free on bail — to delay their plea submission until after the current term of parliament finishes.

Opposition lawmaker Jatuporn Prompan (2L) arrives at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on August 19, 2010. AFP

“The court has allowed me to give my testimony after the parliamentary session,” Jatuporn told reporters. The current legislative term began in early August and will last for about four months.

Seventeen other anti-government protest leaders who do not enjoy parliamentary immunity on Monday pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges and will stand trial.

Two months of protests by the Red Shirts, aimed at forcing immediate elections, triggered a series of clashes between demonstrators and troops that left 91 people dead — mostly civilians — and nearly 1,900 injured.

Most top Red Shirts surrendered to police after the army launched a deadly assault on the movement’s fortified encampment in the heart of Bangkok in May.

After the crackdown, protest leaders asked their thousands of supporters to disperse, but hardcore demonstrators set fire to dozens of buildings, including a shopping mall and the stock exchange.

Source: SGGP

BP boss in hot seat as lawmakers demand oil spill answers

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 4:28 am

Angry US lawmakers skewered BP boss Tony Hayward Thursday, accusing him of stonewalling as he dodged a barrage of hostile questions seeking to lay bare the causes of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“I can’t pass judgement on those decisions,” Hayward told openly disbelieving members of a key House panel investigating the worst environmental disaster in US history. “I think it’s too early to reach conclusions.”

Just a day after BP won praise for bowing to White House demands to set up a 20-billion-dollar fund to pay compensation claims for Gulf residents facing economic ruin, the British energy giant’s CEO was back in the hot seat.

Protester Diane Wilson is escorted from the hearing room

Hayward said he would wait until BP finished its probe into the April 20 blast that killed 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, sank the rig, and sent oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico’s waters.

“I wasn’t involved in any decision-making,” on how to drill, test, or secure the well, added Hayward, a 28-year oil industry veteran, drawing a charge from Democratic Representative Henry Waxman that he was “stonewalling.”

Hayward’s contrite opening remarks to the panel, and a vow that the British energy giant would repair the economic and environmental damage wrought on US southern shores, were quickly overshadowed as he declined to reveal specifics.

“Is today Thursday?” asked Cliff Stearns, a representative from oil-hit Florida, after Hayward repeatedly refused to give a straight “yes or no” answer as to what was to blame for the catastrophe.

Waving pictures of oiled birds, congressmen did not hide their frustration or derision in a piece of political theater before a barrage of media cameras.

Hayward, who has been dubbed the most hated man in America, offered an olive branch at the start of the day-long hearing, apologizing for the catastrophe.

“I know that only actions and results, not mere words ultimately can give you the confidence you seek. I give my pledge as the leader of BP that we will not rest until we make this right,” he said.

“We and the entire industry will learn from this terrible event and emerge stronger, smarter and safer.”

But in a sign of the tensions, a protestor with a blackened face and hands briefly disrupted the hearing. “You need to be charged with a crime, Tony,” she shouted. “You need to go to jail!”

Despite a massive mobilization, millions of gallons of crude are fouling the shorelines of four US states, closing down vital fishing waters and hitting the region’s lucrative tourist industry.

US experts believe between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels is spewing into the Gulf every day.

Hayward told lawmakers BP is now siphoning up an average of 20,000 barrels a day of oil to two processing ships on the surface.

And the US disaster coordinator, Admiral Thad Allen, said that by “sometime early next week” the company hoped to be containing 28,000 gallons — some of which will be burnt off by one of the surface ships.

In some good news, Allen said drilling on a relief well, seen as the only way of permanently capping the spill, was ahead of schedule.

“Mid-August was the target date, they’re actually ahead of schedule right now, but I’m not going to guarantee it will be earlier,” Allen said, citing the meticulous work needed in carrying out the work safely.

“We should be very wary about hard deadlines,” he cautioned.

On Wednesday BP agreed to set up a 20-billion-dollar escrow fund to pay compensation claims from thousands of Gulf businesses and residents, which it will pay into over the next four years.

The deal was struck after Hayward and BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg were summoned to the White House for talks with President Barack Obama.

News of the escrow fund deal with the US administration sent BP’s share price soaring almost 10 percent on Thursday, after days of falls sparked by uncertainty over its future.

The fund will be run by prominent lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who managed compensation claims by victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and will be overseen by a panel of three judges who can hear appeals.

BP will fund the account in four annual payments of five billion dollars, the White House said in a statement, adding it was “neither a floor nor a ceiling” on BP’s total liability for the disaster.

Source: SGGP

Environment taxes may hurt poor people the most: lawmakers

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Environment taxes may hurt poor people the most: lawmakers

QĐND – Sunday, June 06, 2010, 21:0 (GMT+7)

Many Vietnamese legislators said Saturday they were concerned that new taxes proposed for several products, including fuel and coal, will place more burdens on poor people.

The taxes would fall more heavily on the poor while they should be aimed at producers who pollute the environment, said Nguyen Lan Dung, a deputy from Dak Lak Province.

He was speaking at a National Assembly meeting held to discuss the Environmental Tax Law, under which the government plans to impose taxes on petrol, coal and other ozone-damaging substances, like hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), pesticides and plastic bags.

“I feel the bill is targeting farmers and poor people,” said Duong Thi Thu Ha of Lao Cai Province. “Fuel is an essential product in poor areas that don’t have electricity and farmers can’t farm without pesticides,” she said.

Danh Ut, a representative of the southern province of Kien Giang, said environment tax rates of VND2,000-4,000 per liter on petrol products, when combined with other taxes and fees, will have a huge impact on consumers.

Although people who harm the environment have to pay taxes,  the rates should be reasonable and must not hurt consumers, said Tran Hanh from the northern province of Vinh Phuc.

The taxes should not disrupt production activities as well, Hanh said. The bill has to make sure producers won’t think that they are allowed to pollute the environment as long as they have paid the taxes.

During Saturday’s meeting many lawmakers also suggested tobacco be included in the list of taxable items under the bill.

Le Dung, a deputy of Tien Giang Province, said despite a special consumption tax rate of 65 percent, tobacco prices in Vietnam are still at the lowest level in the world.

Tobacco is harmful to the environment and public health and thus should be subject to high tax rates, he said.

The Environmental Tax Law is expected to be passed next year.

Source: Thanh Nien


Source: QDND

Voters deserve fast replies: lawmakers

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Voters deserve fast replies: lawmakers

QĐND – Thursday, May 13, 2010, 22:47 (GMT+7)

National Assembly Standing Committee members yesterday discussed voter problems at their closing session yesterday, May 12.

Tran The Vuong, head of the National Assembly’s Ombudsman Committee, said that 46 voter petitions were sent to the NA, 1,171 to the Government and 17 to the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuracy.

Relevant authorities had sent 1,170 replies by May, Vuong said, adding that despite the large number of petitions, most responses were promptly made.

However, he said there were still some delays and some replies had failed to properly address voter concerns.

One such example was the reply by the Ministry of Health to a query about health insurance for victims of traffic accidents, while the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Training had been tardy with some of their responses.

The Ombudsman Committee’s report said that officials should better serve voters.

Truong Thi Mai, chairwoman of the NA’s Social Affairs Committee, said officials should be compelled to answer voter petitions.

Le Quang Binh, chairman of the Committee for National Defence and Security, agreed with Mai, saying that the document should ask functional agencies to explain why they had been tardy in responding to voter petitions to both the NA and the voters.

Nguyen Duc Kien, vice chairman of the National Assembly, said the Ombudsman’s report should have described in more detail how petitions were resolved. He added that the replies should also have been published to determine which agencies were acting responsibly and which were not.


Members also discussed the agenda for the upcoming 7th session of the 12th National Assembly.

It has been decided that laws governing the sea, capital and public investment would not be debated as more preparation time was needed.

At the next session, which runs from May 20 to June 19, the Government would give a report on Dung Quat Oil Refinery Factory Number 1 in the central province of Quang Ngai, said Tran Dinh Dan, head of the NA’s Office.

Dan said they would also review national hydro-electricity plans, as well as forestry management.

Source: VietNamNet/Viet Nam News


Source: QDND

Lawmakers want lower budget deficit target next year

In Politics-Society on October 25, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Lawmakers want lower budget deficit target next year

QĐND – Sunday, October 25, 2009, 20:49 (GMT+7)

Vietnamese legislators said the 2010 budget deficit should be kept at 6 percent of gross domestic product instead of 6.5 percent as projected by the government.

Fiscal policies need to be tightened, Ho Chi Minh City representative Tran Du Lich said on Friday at a meeting of the National Assembly, the country’s highest lawmaking body.

If public capital spending was not monitored closely, there would be a high risk of inflation, he said.

Many lawmakers said it was necessary to tackle the growing deficit, which the National Assembly Finance and Budget Committee has forecast to stand at 6.9 percent of GDP this year, up from 4.1 percent in 2008. They wanted the government to cut the deficit to 6 percent next year.

But Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh said the government was aiming to keep the budget deficit at 6.5 percent of GDP in 2010 because revenue sources were not expected to grow next year.

Many tariff lines would be cut next year, reducing government revenue by around VND3 trillion, Ninh said.

As a result, if the budget deficit next year had to be cut to 6 percent, the government would need to ask localities to contribute more, or investment, social welfare and salaries would need to be reduced, he said.

“The important thing is government debt is still in the safe zone,” Ninh said, noting that many other countries also have budget deficits as they want to spend money for economic development.

Vietnam’s government debt is forecast to stand at 40 percent of its gross domestic product this year, up from 36.5 percent in 2007, the National Assembly Finance and Budget Committee said earlier this month. The debt may continue to surge to 44 percent of GDP next year.

However, Lich said Vietnam’s authorities were not excellent forecasters, implying that government revenue sources may not fall next year as expected by the government.

The government set the 2009 budget deficit target at 7 percent of GDP after there were forecasts that government revenue would fall by as much as VND60 trillion this year, Lich said.

But revenue has been on the rise so far this year, he said, asking why the full-year budget deficit was still expected to reach only 6.9 percent of GDP despite sharp revenue hikes.

Lich said although the government had not successfully raised funds through bond sales but “there was still enough money for investment.”

“So why did the government have to hold bond auctions in the first place?” he asked.

Vietnam’s government reportedly aimed to raise up to US$1 billion from bond issuances on the domestic market in 2009, Standard & Poor’s said in a report last month. “However, the weak demand for its offerings in late August suggests that this target is unlikely to be met. The low interest rate that the government was willing to pay did little to attract investor interest.”

Standard & Poor’s forecast government budget deficit to rise to 6.7 percent of GDP this year. “This reflects both an expectation of weaker economic performance in the year as well as countercyclical measures the government is undertaking,” said the US-based provider of independent investment research.

The forecast compares with an estimate of 10.3 percent of GDP by the Asian Development Bank last month.

Vietnam’s GDP growth this year is projected to hit a decade-low of 5.2 percent, in line with a target of around 5 percent set by legislators, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Tuesday.

Source: Thanh Nien, Agencies

Source: QDND Bookmark & Share

Lawmakers slam experts’ report on US human space flight

In World on September 16, 2009 at 6:39 am

A group of US lawmakers on Tuesday slammed a report by aerospace experts tasked to review NASA’s human space flight program that proposed ditching plans to return to the Moon.

The landing gear has deployed as the space shuttle Discovery lands at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Friday, Sept. 11, 2009

“When it was announced that you were going to be leading an independent review of the human space flight program, I thought you were going to take a hard, cold, sobering look at the Constellation program,” Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords told Norman Augustine, head of the review panel that bears his name.

The Arizona Congresswoman said she had expected the group to “tell us exactly what we need to do here in Congress with our budget in order to maximize the chances of success.”

Former president George W. Bush launched in 2004 the Constellation program, which aimed to return to the Moon by 2020 and then establish a lunar launchpad for a first trip to Mars.

“Instead of focusing on how to strengthen the exploration program on which we’ve spent so much time — four years — and billions of dollars, we have a glancing attention to Constellation,” said Giffords, who chairs of the House Science and Technology Committee.

“Instead, the bulk of the time is spent crafting alternative options.”

The alternatives proposed in the report were “almost like cartoons, lacking detailed costs, schedule, technical, safety, other specifics,” she said.

Augustine, a former president of aerospace giant Lockheed Martin who also served as undersecretary of the US Army, denied writing off Constellation.

On the contrary, he said, the summary report outlined several proposals — including Constellation — for keeping the United States in space.

The summary report, which was submitted to Congress last week, warned that NASA was hugely underfunded and on an “unsustainable trajectory.”

“Space operations are among the most complex and unforgiving pursuits ever undertaken by humans,” said the Augustine Commission in its summary.

“Space operations become all the more difficult when means do not match aspirations. Such is the case today.”

Giffords and other lawmakers, including Donna Edwards of Maryland, said legislators didn’t need a report to tell them NASA was in financial straits.

If NASA’s dire funding situation continues, the United States would see a gap of at least seven years in human space flight — the longest since the US human space program began — starting in 2011, when the space shuttle program is retired, the report said.

The shuttle fleet, which has flown since 1981, has suffered two major disasters: the 1986 Challenger explosion and the 2003 in-flight Columbia breakup, which claimed the lives of 14 astronauts.

Bush decided to end shuttle flights, amid concerns about the aging fleet.

The Augustine Commission is due to testify Wednesday before a Senate committee.

The panel’s full report on US human space flight, which was commissioned by President Barack Obama early this year, is due out at the end of the month.


Source: SGGP