Uruguay’s first female vice president is convicted ex-guerrilla

Uruguay’s newly named Vice President Lucia Topolansky presides over a session in Senate chambers, in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Wednesday, September 13, 2017. (File photo by AP)
Updated 14 September 2017
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Uruguay’s first female vice president is convicted ex-guerrilla

MONTEVIDEO: Uruguay’s new vice president is a 72-year-old formerly imprisoned ex-guerrilla who is also the wife of popular former president Jose Mujica.
Lucia Topolansky begins her first full day on the job Thursday after the country’s General Assembly appointed her following the resignation of vice president Raul Sendic over allegations he used public money for personal shopping. Sendic denies the charges.
By law, the job second to President Tabare Vazquez should have gone to the senator who won the highest number of votes in the last election — but that happened to be Topolansky’s husband, who was president 2010-2015.
Mujica cannot take the position because of a five-year ban on re-election. Enter Topolansky, a leading member of the party with the highest number of votes in Uruguay’s governing leftist coalition.
Like her husband, Topolansky was member of the National Liberation Movement MLN-Tupamaros guerrillas in the 1960s and 70s.
She spent 13 years in prison for her activities, most of it during Uruguay’s military regime, and once escaped but was recaptured.
Topolansky’s job includes being head of the National Assembly and leader of the Uruguayan senate.
She is Uruguay’s first female vice president.


Britain condemns Israel bias at UN rights council

Updated 17 min 10 sec ago
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Britain condemns Israel bias at UN rights council

  • British foreign secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories.
  • Johnson noted however that the council had an important role to play in “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the right agenda item.”

GENEVA: Britain on Monday urged the UN Human Rights Council to reform its treatment of Israel, joining the United States in demanding an end to the body’s alleged bias against the Jewish State.
Addressing the opening of the 38th council session, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories.
“We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace, and unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7,” Johnson said.
Israel is the only country with a dedicated council item.
Washington, some European countries and Australia have sided with Israel in condemning Item 7 as prejudiced, noting that countries with arguably worse rights records in recent years, like Syria are spared such intense scrutiny.
While previous US administrations have criticized Item 7, President Donald Trump’s government has raised the prospect of withdrawing from the council unless it is scrapped.
Johnson noted however that the council had an important role to play in “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the right agenda item.”
Each council session includes an agenda item on so-called country specific situations, known as Agenda Item 4, where debates on the crises in Syria, Burundi and others typically take place.