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Parliament passes National Anti-Doping Bill 2022

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju will move the Bill to amend the ‘Family Courts Act, 1984’, as passed by the Lok Sabha…reports Asian Lite News

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Anti-Doping Bill 2022, providing the legal sanctity to National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 17, 2021, and passed on July 27, 2022, with some Official Amendments, initiated by Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur.

“With the passage of this bill, India joins the group of select countries which have their own anti-doping Law, and this establishes our commitments to Sport,” Thakur said during the passing of the bill.

While replying to debate on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said, “India is organising big sporting events like Chess Olympiad, in which 187 countries are participating. In 2017, India successfully hosted FIFA U-17 World Cup and this year, India is going to host U-17 Women’s World Cup in October.”

“Be it National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) or National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), the Government has taken several measures to increase their capability, which will come in handy in fulfilling the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat,” he said assuring the House that the government’s efforts will not be limited to just one lab but in future many more labs will be established.

Key features of the Bill intend to accomplish building institutional capabilities in anti-doping and enabling the hosting of major sports events, protecting the rights of all sportspersons, ensuring time-bound justice for athletes, and enhancing cooperation among agencies in fighting doping in sports, reinforcing India’s commitment to international obligations for clean sports.

It also aims for an Independent mechanism for anti-doping adjudication, providing legal sanctity to National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) and National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), establishing more Dope Testing Labs, creating job opportunities both, directly & indirectly; and creating opportunities for academic research, science, and manufacturing relating to Anti-Doping.

Govt to move Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in RS

The government will move ‘The Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022’ in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday for consideration and passing.

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju will move the Bill to amend the ‘Family Courts Act, 1984’, as passed by the Lok Sabha.

Union minister Narayan Rane to move the motion to elect, in the manner as directed by the Chairman, a member from the House to be a member of the National Khadi and Village Industries Board.

Rijiju to move the motion to elect three Members of the House to the Joint Committee on Offices of Profit in the vacancies caused by the retirements of V. Vijayasai Reddy, Dr. Sasmit Patra and Mahesh Poddar from the membership of Rajya Sabha to fill the vacancies.

ALSO READ-Centre withdraws Personal Data Protection Bill

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-Top News EU News

European Parliament backs green label for gas and nuclear power

The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities is time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements…reports Asian Lite News

European Union (EU) lawmakers have voted down an objection to labeling gas and nuclear power as sustainable energy sources.

The controversial decision was taken when the deputies, meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg, France, voted against a motion to block the proposal by 278 votes in favour, 328 against and 33 abstentions.

If the Council of the EU does not object to the proposal by July 11, the Taxonomy Delegated Act will enter into force and apply as of January 1, 2023, Parliament said in a statement after the vote.

European Commissioner for Financial Stability Mairead McGuinness said during Tuesday’s plenary debate that the taxonomy is a voluntary instrument to guide private investors towards investments that allow the EU to reach its climate goals.

“With this Complementary Delegated Act, we provide clarity around the criteria under which private investments in gas or nuclear, or both, comply with the taxonomy in the transition category,” McGuinness said.

The European Commission has proposed the inclusion of gas and nuclear technology in the EU’s Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act on climate change mitigation and adaptation — a list of economic activities deemed in line with the bloc’s transition to climate neutrality.

As the Commission believes that there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the green transition, it has proposed the classification of certain fossil gas and nuclear energy activities as transitional activities contributing to climate change mitigation.

The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities is time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements.

However, the contentious EU proposal sparked claims of “greenwashing” by some EU member states and environmental lobbyists.

ALSO READ-Iran blames US for stalled nuclear talks in Doha

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-Top News UK News

Bill to override Northern Ireland deal back in Parliament

This creates a customs border down the Irish Sea, keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs orbit so as to avoid a politically sensitive hard border between it and EU member Ireland…reports Asian Lite News

A government bill proposing an overhaul to a post-Brexit deal in Northern Ireland returns to parliament on Monday, despite EU warnings it is illegal and could spark a trade war.

Brussels threatened legal action after the UK government earlier this month introduced the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill to unilaterally change trading terms for the British province.

A day before it gets its second reading in parliament — the first opportunity for lawmakers to debate a proposal — the EU’s ambassador again warned London of reprisals if it is passed.

“We think it is both illegal and unrealistic. It is illegal because it’s a breach of international law, a breach of EU law and UK law,” Joao Vale de Almeida told Sky News on Sunday.

“We are committed to find the practical solutions on implementation, but we cannot start talking if the baseline is to say everything we have agreed before is to be put aside,” he added.

The protocol — signed separately from the wider trade and cooperation agreement — requires checks on goods arriving into Northern Ireland from England, Scotland and Wales, in order to track products that could be potentially headed to the EU via the Republic of Ireland.

This creates a customs border down the Irish Sea, keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs orbit so as to avoid a politically sensitive hard border between it and EU member Ireland.

But pro-British parties in Northern Ireland say it is driving a wedge between London and Belfast and are refusing to join in a power-sharing government in the province until the protocol is changed.

Unionist parties and the UK government argue the protocol is threatening the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of violence over British rule in Northern Ireland.

They want checks to be removed on goods and animal and plant products travelling from Great Britain.

“The problem (with) the protocol is the way the EU want to see it implemented,” the UK’s Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis told Sky News on Sunday.

“What we are doing is fixing the problems within the protocol, about how it’s being implemented, so that businesses can prosper again.

“I want to see the re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the executive — the protocol is getting in the way of that and that’s why it’s breaching the Belfast Good Friday Agreement,” he added.

“We want to do this by agreement with the EU but to do that, they need to show some flexibility.”

Plans to unilaterally override parts of the protocol have provoked anger in European capitals, particularly Dublin, and have led to the EU threatening an all-out trade war if implemented.

“Unilateral action is damaging to mutual trust,” European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic told reporters in Brussels when the UK introduced the legislation.

Sefcovic said Brussels would now consider reopening a suspended “infringement procedure” against Britain, as well as opening fresh cases.

This would be to “protect the EU single market from risks that the violation of the protocol creates for the EU businesses and for the health and safety of EU citizens”, he added.

After Monday’s debate, the bill still has several hurdles to clear in both the House of Commons and upper House of Lords before it becomes law, and faces legal challenges.

ALSO READ-Britain introduces law to protect Northern Ireland’s native language

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-Top News UK News

Boris faces Parliament for 1st time since trust vote 

Critics, however, have warned the political crisis is not over for the embattled prime minister after more than 40 percent of his own MPs voted against him in Monday’s no-confidence vote…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a boisterous parliament Wednesday in his first appearance before lawmakers since narrowly fending off a damaging no-confidence vote from his own Conservative MPs.

His backers are likely to stage a noisy show of support when he steps up for his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions.

Critics, however, have warned the political crisis is not over for the embattled prime minister after more than 40 percent of his own MPs voted against him in Monday’s no-confidence vote.

Johnson, who called the 211-148 vote a “convincing result”, has vowed to plough on, saying it was time to “draw a line” under questions about his leadership and the “Partygate” controversy over lockdown-breaking events at Downing Street.

The prime minister’s team has tried to regain the offensive by pointing to a setpiece speech expected in the coming days on new economic support measures, as Britons struggle with a cost-of-living crisis.

But many question whether Johnson can recover voters’ trust, as the party braces for two Westminster by-elections this month and an upcoming investigation by MPs into whether he lied to parliament over “Partygate”.

Even without any obvious candidate to succeed him, former Tory party leader William Hague this week argued that Johnson should now “look for an honourable exit”.

Comparing Monday’s margin to votes that ultimately toppled Johnson predecessors Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, Hague said it showed “a greater level of rejection than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived”.

“Deep inside, he should recognise that, and turn his mind to getting out in a way that spares party and country such agonies and uncertainties,” Hague wrote in The Times.

‘War of attrition’

The Guardian reported Wednesday that rebel Conservative MPs were drawing up plans for “vote strikes” to paralyse the government’s legislative agenda, as happened at the end of May’s stint in office.

Johnson, 57, needed the backing of 180 of the 359 Conservatives MPs to survive the vote.

Most of Johnson’s cabinet publicly backed him in the secret ballot. But more than 40 percent of the parliamentary party did not.

The scale of the revolt “constitutes a crisis for Downing Street”, King’s College London politics professor Anand Menon said.

“I think there’s very little doubt that the vulnerability of the prime minister is going to be the single greatest factor shaping what this government does for the foreseeable future,” Menon told AFP.

Under current Tory rules, the prime minister cannot be challenged again for a year, which leaves little time for any new leader to emerge before the next general election due by 2024.

But the party’s “1922 committee” of MPs, tasked with overseeing leadership challenges, says it could easily change the rules if a majority backs it.

The Liberal Democrats are now pushing for a parliamentary no-confidence vote after Johnson survived the Tory revolt.

“Liberal Democrats are tabling a motion of no confidence in the prime minister so Parliament can finally put an end to this sorry mess,” party leader Ed Davey said.

“Every Conservative MP with a shred of decency must back our motion and give Boris Johnson the sack.”

If the government lost a no-confidence motion in the House of Commons it would have to call a snap general election.

That appears unlikely at present given the Conservative majority, but Johnson could face a challenging period in the months ahead.

Senior backbencher Tobias Ellwood, who voted against Johnson, said the prime minister was living on borrowed time.

“I think we’re talking a matter of months, up to party conference (in October),” he told Sky News.

ALSO READ-Is Boris running out of time?

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-Top News Sri Lanka

‘Crisis-ridden Lanka’s Parliament to be strengthened’

The angry people torched over 50 houses of government politicians, including houses of ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the violence killed nine persons, including an MP, besides injuring over 200 others…reports Asian Lite News

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday stressed that the crisis-ridden nation’s Parliament should be strengthened with more powers as done in India and other countries.

Making a special statement, Wickremesinghe proposed that a system similar to that of pre-independence state council should be introduced to monitor public finances and create powerful and stronger laws to enable the Parliament to exercise monetary powers.

“Now we need to change the structure of our Parliament and create a new system by combining the existing system of Parliament or the Westminster system and the system of State Councils. In those cases, the Parliament can participate in governing the country,” the PM stated.

“First of all, the existing laws need to be strengthened in order to give those powers to Parliament in the exercise of monetary powers. Following the example of countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and India, we are proposing a stronger and more powerful law,” Wickremesinghe said in the televised public speech.

Suffering from severe financial crisis, Sri Lankans launched non-stop street fights for more than 50 days with violent resistance by the Rajapaksa government and his supporters.

The angry people torched over 50 houses of government politicians, including houses of ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the violence killed nine persons, including an MP, besides injuring over 200 others.

Former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cabinet was forced to step down as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Wickremesinghe from the opposition as PM.

During his address, Wickremesinghe also stressed that there were two major issues in the political spheres — constitutional change with 21st Amendment to weaken the powers of Executive President and strengthening the Parliament, and to abolish the Executive Presidency.

He charged that functioning of the Parliament has been paralysed due to the weakening of the Parliamentary powers by the 20th Amendment which was introduced by Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government.

“There is an allegation that even though the ruling party had a majority in the Parliament, it neglected the work of the Parliament. Everything was systematically controlled by the Cabinet ministers,” Wickremesinghe said.

To face the economic crisis, the premier proposed to appoint five committees to monitor public finances and find solutions to the problems faced by banks and financial institutions, besides appointing 10 other supervisory committees.

The backbenchers of the Parliament are to appoint the chairpersons of the total 15 committees which have to be responsible for the Parliament.

Wickremesinghe also invited the youth who had been protesting for over 50 days to join the 15 committees.

The PM proposed to establish a National Council consisting of the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the leaders of the major parties to form policies for the country.

He said the National Council could talk about the decisions of the Cabinet, reorganisation of the Parliament and it will have the right to summon the Cabinet of ministers and the chairmen of the committees.

“According to the new system we have proposed, the President will be held accountable to the Parliament. The Cabinet of ministers woll also be accountable to the Parliament, and the same goes for the National Council. The 15 committees and oversight committees will also be accountable to the Parliament,” Wickremesinghe said.

ALSO READ-Lanka’s ailing medical system gets a boost from India

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Africa News Arab News News

Tunisian President dissolves Parliament

Tunisian President Kais Saied announced the dissolution of the Assembly of People’s Representatives or Parliament…reports Asian Lite News

The announcement was made by Saied in a speech broadcast on state television Wataniya 1 late Wednesday night, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The state is targeted by a desperate coup attempt… My responsibility is to protect the state, its institutions, and its people,” the President said.

Saied referred to Article 72 of the country’s Constitution, which states that “the President of the republic is the head of the State and the symbol of its unity, guarantees its independence and continuity and ensures respect for the Constitution”.

Describing an earlier meeting of Parliament as “illegal”, he said it “has already been suspended since last July” and its session has “no legitimacy”.

The Tunisian head of state warned against any attempt to sow chaos and internal division.

“Solid institutions and a conscious people will be there to counter any plot against national security, and all the authors of this plot will be prosecuted in justice according to the regulations in force,” said the President.

ALSO READ: Tunisia decides to send plane to withdraw Tunisians in Ukraine

“We will pursue the construction of a new Tunisia… The legitimacy will be that of the people,” he added.

On July 25, 2021, Saied sacked former Prime Minister Hichem Mechich and suspended all activities of Parliament.

More than half of the 217-seat Parliament voted on Wednesday in a symbolic online session to revoke presidential decrees halting the chamber’s functions.

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Lite Blogs UK News Woman

Int’l Women’s Day celebrated at Parliament House

The speakers underscored a diverse range of aspects, linking mental health to psychiatry, social stigma, yoga, physical movement and performing arts…reports Asian Lite News

International Women’s Day was celebrated at the House of Commons of the British Parliament recently. Aligning with this year’s theme #BreaktheBias, the program highlighted the challenges and solutions to mental health problems. 

The event was hosted by Virendra Sharma MP and organised by Sushma Bhanot, a businesswoman and co-director of Coolherbals, who has spent 20 years supporting thousands of women suffering poor mental, physical and financial health in Essex and beyond.

Host Virendra Sharma MP and organiser Sushma Bhanot MBE

The speakers underscored a diverse range of aspects, linking mental health to psychiatry, social stigma, yoga, physical movement and performing arts.

Heather Mason, Founder of The Minded Institute, spoke on Yoga and Mental Health. After Dr. Ragini Bahry, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and clinical lead at the Priory North London spoke, award-winning author, spoken word artist and writer Jaspreet Kaur spoke on the stigma attached to mental health in South Asian communities and read excerpts from her debut book Brown Girl Like Me. Dr Ravina Bhanot, an NHS Doctor specialised in Women’s Health and Founder of FemTech company Zonas spoke about how hormones can affect mental health. Simona Neata mental health struggles among new moms and how to cope.

Jaspreet Kaur speaking at the Women’s Day event

University Educator and award-winning dancer Ragasudha Vinjamuri spoke on the role of music and dance in mental health and how Dance Movement Therapy and Music Therapy are helpful in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in addressing trauma, anxiety, stress, exhaustion, aggression, and sleep disorders. She then presented a short dance. Counselor, trainer Ramesh Kumari Talwar outlined the report on the mental health needs of Asian Women in the Borough of Greenwich/Greenwich MIND. Reiki Master Bali Bhalla spoke on how colours and Reiki help mental wellbeing.

Former Senior Project Manager at the Department of Education, founder of Super Cool Friends and co-founder of the Great British Chai Party Kiran Bhanaut spoke on loneliness, mental wellbeing, and social isolation in the elderly.  The event concluded with fitness instructor and D-Style founder Angelique giving inputs on wellbeing, Founder and Chairman of volunteer organisation Go Dharmic adding a faith element and Neela Sedhani adding a poetry element. Sushma, who was awarded an MBE for her services to wellbeing in the community says “I wanted to highlight the fact that mental wellbeing is very important and wanted to offer practical solutions and answers. The day concluded with many action points to improve mental wellbeing in the community and nationally”.

ALSO READ-‘I shape my world’: Tales of fearless women

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Africa News News World

S.African Parliament fire allegedly started by boxes, paper, petrol

The man who is suspected of setting fire to the South African Parliament earlier this month allegedly used boxes, paper and petrol to start the blaze, which eventually gutted buildings in the premises…reports Asian Lite News

The statement issued on Sunday by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa said the prosecution alleged that Zandile Christmas Mafe, the suspect, “purchased petrol in a bottle, made his way to Parliament, using stealth, broke into Parliament and after spending some time in Parliament, used boxes, paper and the petrol to set parliament alight causing devastating damage to the facility”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The prosecution opposed the application.

The 49-year-old, who is charged with housebreaking with intent to commit terrorism and arson, terrorism, arson and theft, could face life imprisonment if convicted.

ALSO READ: South African Parliament fire suspect under mental observation

While Mafe pleaded not guilty, an affidavit of an investigating officer submitted by the prosecution said Mafe had confessed that he committed to the crime because he wanted President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign with immediate effect, while also demanding the release of Janus Waluz, a convicted murderer in the assassination of former South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani in 1993.

The fire that started in the morning on January 2 lasted more than 70 hours, severely damaging the building of the National Assembly (NA), the lower house, and completely burned down the NA chamber.

It also caused extensive damage to the century-old Old Assembly building that houses the National Council of Provinces, the upper house.

The affidavit said Mafe appeared to be pleased with himself after he was shown a video clip of the burning parliament and voluntarily pointed out a petrol station where he purchased petrol for 10 rands, as well as the gate and window he used to enter Parliament.

Bail judgment will be delivered on February 4, according to the statement.

The fire forced Parliament to move its flagship program, the State of the Nation Address, to be delivered by Ramaphosa on February 10, from the NA chamber to the historic City Hall of Cape Town.

Geordin Hill-Lewis, Cape Town mayor, will on Monday officially hand over the City Hall to Parliament’s Presiding Officers.

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Africa News News World

South African Parliament fire suspect under mental observation

The man who is suspected of setting fire to the South African Parliament, which gutted buildings in the legislative capital Cape Town, has started a 30-day mental observation at a psychiatric hospital…reports Asian Lite News

In a statement, the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa (NPA) said 49-year-old Zandile Christmas Mafe appeared at Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, and was ordered to be admitted for observation, reports Xinhua news agency.

In Mafe’s second appearing at court earlier this week, it was revealed that he was diagnosed of paranoid schizophrenia after being sent for mental observation by the state on January 3 and the NPA argued for his referral to a psychiatric hospital.

Mafe currently faces charges of terrorism, housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, two counts of arson and possession of an explosive device.

The suspect was arrested on January 2, when the fire broke out, with suspected stealing property after he gained entry to the parliamentary precinct without authorization, according to the police.

The fire lasted more than 70 hours, severely damaging the building of the National Assembly (NA), the lower house, and completely burned down the NA chamber.

ALSO READ: South Africa lower house to continue sitting in Parliament precinct

It also caused extensive damage to the century-old Old Assembly building that houses the National Council of Provinces, the upper house.

The southern African country has three capitals.

Besides Cape Town, the two others are the administrative capital Pretoria that hosts the national government and the presidency, and the judicial capital Bloemfontein that hosts the Supreme Court of Appeal.

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Africa News News World

South Africa lower house to continue sitting in Parliament precinct

NA sittings will continue with a limited number of its members assembling physically and the rest joining through a virtual platform…reports Asian Lite News

South African Parliament said its lower house, the National Assembly (NA), will host sittings in a much smaller chamber inside the precinct, with some lawmakers to participate online, after the original chamber was burned down in last week’s fire accident.

The fire, which lasted more than 70 hours from January 2, severely damaged the NA building in the legislative capital of Cape Town and completely burned down the NA chamber, reports Xinhua news agency.

It also caused extensive damage to the century-old Old Assembly building that houses the National Council of Provinces, the upper house.

A meeting, which brought together parliament leaders and political parties to discuss alternative venues for sittings of the 400-member house, decided the NA sittings to be held in the Good Hope Chamber within Parliament precinct, Parliament said in a statement.

ALSO READ: South Africa’s Parliament fire flares up again

Good Hope Chamber, which used to host legislative sittings between 1854 and 1885 in the colonial period, has a seating capacity of 170 persons but only permits 70 in a sitting under Covid-19 social distancing measures.

Parliament said it will continue NA sittings with a limited number of its members assembling physically and the rest joining through a virtual platform, a method it has been using since May 2020 due to Covid-19.

The work of repairing or rebuilding the NA will take longer, according to it.

Parliament’s flagship program, the State of the Nation Address, will be held at the historic City Hall of Cape Town on February 10.