Elections to the Security Council

UN Security Council Chamber in New York.
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Today 5 new members of the of United Nations Security Council will be elected. They will replace Uganda, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Austria.

They will be elected for two years. The African seat is not being contested as South Africa as been endorsed by the African Union and is therefore unopposed. For the Asian seat, India is running unopposed and it is the same in Latin America where Columbia is running unopposed. The only election will be for the Western Europe and Others Group. Portugal, Germany and Canada are all vying for a place on the council.There are two seats available for this group so only one will lose out. Many do hope to see Canada win one of the seats.

Germany and India want reform of the UN to allow them (plus Brazil and Japan) to have permanent seats at the UN Security Council. This is of course opposed by many other UN member states especially Italy and Mexico. Russia and China also don’t like the idea.

I will post the results as soon as they are out.

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Morning Briefing, 16th January

Earliest Morning Briefing yet, Thinking of shortening it down to MB but i might be infringing on trademarks 😛

An nuacht ar an maidin seo!

Feic ar mo dheireadh post le nuacht agus na bhuaiteora ag an Golden Globes areir!

(Wow look at my Irish!! Tell me if im wrong please

Looks like we’ll be a having a referendum in March (BreakingNews) I could have sworn someone had said no referendum before the election! eh typical government!

Castro could be on is way out (BreakingNews) 3 failed operations and an intenstinal infection ouch!

Bird Flu has hit Japan (BBC) That aint good! Will it be our version of the Spanish Flu?

Criticism has been growing over more executions in Iraq (BBC). Well im against Capital Punishment anyway so y’all know where i stand on this!

New plans for the Greencore site in Mallow (RTÉ) Should be an interesting development and a great boost for the town!

Predictions for 2007

Well Sam over at Pull out the Pin as asked me to make some predictions for 2007. So here it goes.

1) The Irish General Election will be longest in history

2) It will result in a hung DĂĄil

3) The situation in Iraq will deteriorate, increasing the support for the Democrats in the US

4) In the UK, Tony Blair will finally resign and Gordon Brown will take over

5) Talks will be fully suspended in Turkeys negotiations to join the EU

6) Japan will develop nuclear weapons as a Defensive deterrant against North Korea.

7) The Socialists will sweep to power in France.

8) Civil Unions will be brought into Ireland

9) Their will be a confusing referendum in Ireland on Childrens Rights.

Okay thats it, now its your turn.

Sams Predictions

Japan Pacifisim Gone?

Via Al Jazeera

Japan alters pacifist stance

Japan’s government has moved to alter the country’s pacifist stance, requiring schools to teach patriotism and upgrading the defence agency to a full ministry for the first time since World War II.

The measures, passed by parliament’s upper house, are key to Shinzo Abe’s push to bolster Japan’s international military role and national pride.

The votes on Friday were important victories for the prime minister, who has suffered a sharp drop in popularity polls since taking office in September over the perception that he has not paid enough attention to domestic issues.

The education reform bill triggered controversy, because of its sensitive content and disclosures this week that the government had planted officials posing as ordinary citizens at town meetings to discuss the measure.

On Thursday, Abe apologised for helping to rig the meetings to give the impression of public support for his policies and said he and four senior cabinet members would work for three months without pay as penance.

The scandal and other issues inspired a spate of no-confidence motions against Abe and Taro Aso, his foreign minister, but they were crushed in parliament, which is dominated by the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP).

Aso had angered opposition politicians, and some members of his own party, by suggesting Japan should hold debate on building a nuclear arsenal.

Last month, he told members of a parliamentary committee that Japan’s pacifist constitution did not prevent it from building nuclear weapons for defensive purposes and that it was capable of building a nuclear weapon but had no plans to do so.

The upgrading of the defence agency to a full ministry passed parliament without significant opposition, propelled by deep concern in Japan over North Korea’s nuclear test on October 9.

The upgrade, to be effected early next year, gives Japan’s generals greater budgetary powers and prestige – a reversal for a military establishment that has kept a low profile since the war.

The education measure, the first change to Japan’s main education law since 1947, calls on schools to “to cultivate an attitude that respects tradition and culture, that loves the nation and home country”.

The reform reflected concerns voiced by Abe and Bunmei Ibuki, the education minister, that Japan’s long stretch of economic prosperity has eroded the morals and co-operative spirit of prewar Japanese.

“The new education law will allow children to acquire a good understanding of their heritage and become intelligent and dignified Japanese,” Hiroo Nakashima, an LDP legislator, said during the upper house debate.

Critics, however, attacked the move as harkening back to Japan’s war-era education system, in which children were instructed to support the country’s imperialist military and sacrifice themselves for the emperor and nation.

Opponents on Friday voiced fears that the changes could lead to schools grading students on their patriotic fervor – possibly as a prelude to making Japan an aggressive nation once again.

Ikuko Ishii, a Communist party lawmaker, said: “The government is putting the future of Japanese children at risk and turning Japan into a country that wages war abroad.”

The call for more patriotism in the schools coincides with a push by some local governments to crack down on teachers and students who refuse to stand for the national flag or sing an anthem to the emperor at school ceremonies.

Sliding popularity

The no-confidence motions come amid sliding popularity polls for Abe’s government which only came to power in September.

At the time his public support stood at around 70 per cent. But in a poll released this week, conducted before the scandal over the public hearings emerged, that had slumped to 42 per cent.

Voters have expressed worries over Abe’s handling of the economy and his approach to foreign policy, particularly in the wake of North Korea’s test.

Interesting I think. One of the few countries in the world that does not have offensive capalities. Which is unique, I believe, among developed countries. Not sure where i stand on this, as the world is becoming more and more polarised.

Japan ‘can build nuclear bomb’

Japan is fully capable of building a nuclear weapon but this should not be taken to mean it will do so, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Taro Aso told a parliamentary committee on Thursday: “Japan is capable of producing nuclear weapons, but we are not saying we have plans to possess nuclear weapons.”

Aso said the government would stick to Japan’s decades-long policy of not possessing, developing or introducing nuclear weapons to its shores, despite neighbour North Korea’s testing of a nuclear bomb on October 9, which has raised security concerns around the region.

Aso, though, reiterated his previous calls for greater debate on Japan’s non-nuclear stance. He said the constitution’s pacifist clause does not prevent Japan from possessing nuclear bombs for defence purposes.

“Possession of minimum level of arms for defence is not prohibited under Article 9 of the constitution,” he said. “Even nuclear weapons, if there are any that fall within that limit, they are not prohibited.”

Aso has said that in light of North Korea’s test, “it’s only natural to discuss how we should cope with the changing environment around us”.

However, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, has asserted several times since the North Korean test that Japan would not stray from its non-nuclear policy. He has refused to commence a formal review of the stance.

Nuclear energy accounts for about 30 per cent of Japan’s energy production.