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December 18, 2014

Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school

Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

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In the wake of Tuesday’s high-school attack by the Pakistani Taliban (TTK) on an army public school, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a three-day period of official mourning. In addition to condemnation from world leaders — who include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, and Deputy director David Griffiths of Amnesty International — news agency Reuters are reporting the Afghan Taliban have also issued a statement condemning the attack.

The statement carried by Reuters, claiming to be from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, reads: “The intentional killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basics of Islam and this criteria has to be considered by every Islamic party and government.” Tuesday’s attack on the Army Public School in Pakistan‘s north-western city of Peshawar claimed the lives of 132 children, and nine staff from the school.

Official reports, following police and military action against the attackers, insist seven people took part in the school attack; although a statement, issued by the TTK, insists there were only six, their targets being older pupils. The attack began in the mid morning local time, with the assailants observed entering the compound wearing suicide vests. Shortly thereafter, shots were heard with survivors reporting the gunmen were shooting people indiscriminately, going from classroom to classroom, killing teachers and students as they found them.

The massacre sparked a public outcry, both national and international; which, press speculate, led to the TTK stressing the intent to only target older students at the army school.

Turkey announced one day of national mourning. Described as impossible to justify and “blood-curdling” by the UN Secretary-General, EU Parliamentary President Schulz labelled the attack “abominable and cowardly [demonstrating] the inhuman attitude of the Taliban, their inhuman ideology, their remorseless fanaticism”, and Indian Nobel Prize-winner Kailash Satyarthi, condemned the attackers as “enemies of Allah” and stated: “The militants, be they Taliban or any other militants, who kill children, are the enemies of humanity. This attack is a blot on humanity”.

In addition to a three-day period of national mourning, President Sharif reintroduced Pakistan’s death penalty.



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June 8, 2009

Europeans go to the polls to elect Members of the European Parliament

Europeans go to the polls to elect Members of the European Parliament

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Monday, June 8, 2009

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Over the course of the last four days, people across the European Union went to the polls to elect Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) as part of the European Parliament election, 2009. Voting began on Thursday in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and parts of Ireland. It continued on Friday across the rest of Ireland and parts of the Czech Republic. On Saturday the countries of Cyprus, France (for part of Outre-mer), Italy (day 1), Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and the Czech Republic all voted. On Sunday, the final day of polling, the remaing countries of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy (day 2), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden voted. Votes were released last night and will continue to be released over the course of today with the exception of Netherlands, which has broken rules and partialy released them on Friday.

The current President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering

The European Parliament is divided into constituencies, which have a group of representatives (the MEPs). Each constituency elects them proportionaly. The amount of MEPs representing a political party depends on the percentage of votes they gain. For example, if 50% of the electorate of a constituency vote for the x party then 50% of the MEPs in that constituency will be from the x party. In total there are 736 MEPs up for election by approximately 500,000,000 Europeans across 27 member states making it the largest transnational election in history.

The elections didn’t quite go to plan across the Netherlands, as the European Commission have asked that Dutch officials give an explanation to results they released. As countries across Europe vote on different days, the results of the election can only be released on the last day (Sunday), so that the results in other countries will not influence the decission made by people in countries that are still voting. Despite this, the Netherlands released some of their results on Friday: 92% of the votes have currently been counted. Further controversy arose from the results themselves. Results so far show that far-right Dutch Member of Parliament, Geert Wilders’s party the Party for Freedom (PVV), appears to have come second behind the Christian Democratic Appeal. Wilders is facing prosecution in the Netherlands for an anti Islamic statement and was refused entry to the United Kingdom on grounds of the intent to incite hatred.

It had initially been foreseen that the Treaty of Lisbon would have entered into force by the time of these elections, making them the first to be held under its provisions. However, primarily because of the failure of the referendum in Ireland, the framework established by the Treaty of Nice will be used again. Amongst other differences, the number of MEPs to be returned depends upon which rules are in effect: while 736 MEPs will be elected under the Nice rules, this number would have increased to 751 if the Lisbon Treaty were in force. A further change that Lisbon would have brought was an increase to the powers of Parliament, including powers over the appointment of the President of the European Commission.

In the previous election, German Hans-Gert Pöttering of the centre-right EPP-ED won with 34% and Martin Schulz of the Socialists came second with 26%. Despite this, during the last term the two leaders shared, each serving approximately two years in office.

European Parliament election, 2004 – Final results at 20 July 2004
Group Description Chaired by MEPs
  EPP-ED Conservatives and Christian Democrats Hans-Gert Pöttering 268 PE2004e.png
  PES Social Democrats Martin Schulz 200
  ALDE Liberals and Liberal Democrats Graham Watson 88
  G–EFA Greens and Regionalists Daniel Cohn-Bendit
Monica Frassoni
42
  EUL–
NGL
Communists and the Far Left Francis Wurtz 41
  ID Eurosceptics Jens-Peter Bonde
Nigel Farage
37
  UEN National Conservatives Brian Crowley
Cristiana Muscardini
27
  NI Independents none 29 Total: 732 Sources: [1][2][3][4][5]

Europeans have also been voting in local elections of County Councils in the United Kingdom and Ireland.



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European Parliament election, 2009

“United Kingdom elects first British National Party members of European Parliament” — Wikinews, June 8, 2009

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