Norway’s Christian Democrats to decide government’s fate in terror row

Picture taken on March 15, 2018 shows Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security Sylvi Listhaug speaking to the media at the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo, Norway. (AFP/NTB Scanpix/Gorm Kallestad)
Updated 19 March 2018

Norway’s Christian Democrats to decide government’s fate in terror row

OSLO: Norway’s Christian Democrats, holding the balance of power in parliament, are expected to decide on Monday whether to back a no-confidence vote against Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug, a rarely used step that would probably bring down the government.
Listhaug recently rocked Norway’s traditionally consensual politics by accusing the opposition Labour Party — target of the country’s worst peacetime massacre — of putting terrorists’ rights before national security.
Five center-left parties last week said they would vote on Tuesday to oust the minister, leaving her fate in the hands of the small Christian Democratic Party, which has scheduled meetings on Monday to discuss its vote.
On Sunday, daily Verdens Gang and broadcasters NRK and TV2 quoted sources close to Prime Minister Erna Solberg saying her cabinet would stand by Listhaug and resign if the no-confidence vote succeeds.
Snap elections are not allowed, and Norway’s next general election is not due until 2021. This may allow Solberg to form a new government, but may also throw the job to Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere if the Christian Democrats switch sides.
On July 22, 2011, far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people in downtown Oslo with a car bomb and then shot dead 69 people, many of them teenagers, at a Labour party camp on Utoeya Island.
On Facebook, Listhaug recently posted a photograph of masked people clad in military fatigues, black scarves and ammunition with the text: “Labour thinks terrorists’ rights are more important than the nation’s security. Like and Share.”
The comments unleashed a political storm, and Listhaug, a member of the right-wing Progress Party, apologized in parliament on March 13. Most opposition parties, however, said her gesture was not sincere enough.
But although many attempts have been made by parties in parliament to oust governments via no-confidence motions, the last vote to succeed in bringing down a cabinet was in 1963.
Daily Aftenposten on Monday said that Solberg and Christian Democrats leader Knut Arild Hareide had discussed the possibility of defusing the situation by having Listhaug apologize a second time.
The dispute erupted after Labour and the Christian Democrats helped defeat a bill allowing the state the right, without judicial review, to strip individuals of Norwegian citizenship if they are suspected of terrorism or joining foreign militant groups.
While Hareide’s party has backed Conservative leader Solberg for prime minister since 2013, it has declined invitations to join the cabinet, primarily due to its opposition to the Progress Party.

Global civil unrest and violence in quarter of countries in 2019, expected to rise in 2020: Report

Updated 17 January 2020

Global civil unrest and violence in quarter of countries in 2019, expected to rise in 2020: Report

  • Identified Sudan as most troubled and “extreme risk” country in the world
  • According to the report, 2019’s biggest flashpoint locations were Hong Kong and Chile

LONDON: Nearly a quarter of the world’s nations witnessed a rise in unrest and violence in 2019 with the figure expected to rise in 2020, according to a study released earlier this week.

Verisk Maplecroft, a socio-economic and political analysis company, said in its index of global civil unrest that 47 of the world’s 195 countries were affected and that the number could hit 75 in the year ahead.

The UK-based consultancy firm identified Sudan as the most troubled and “extreme risk” country in the world, which had previously been held by Yemen.

According to the report, 2019’s biggest flashpoint locations were Hong Kong and Chile and neither is expected to be “at peace” for at least two years its researchers claim.

“The reasons for the surge in violent unrest are complex and diverse. In Hong Kong, protests erupted in June 2019 over a proposed bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China, However, the root cause of discontent has been the rollback of civil and political rights since 1997,” the firm said.

“In Chile, protests have been driven by income inequality and high living costs but were triggered by a seemingly trivial 30-peso (USD0.04) increase in the price of metro tickets,” it added.

Other countries now considered hotbeds unrest include Lebanon, Nigeria and Bolivia. Asia and Africa are disproportionately represented with countries such as Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe also coming under the “extreme risk” label.

Since authoritarian leader Omar Al-Bashir was overthrown in April, Sudan was gripped by protests, violence and killings as armed forces battled democracy supporters for control of the new government.

The index predicts that a further 28 countries examined will see a “deterioration in stability,” suggesting that nearly 40% of all countries will witness disruption and unrest at some point in 2020.

Ukraine, Guinea Bissau and Tajikistan are all expected to see the sharpest rises in unrest, but the report highlights growing concern in the world’s biggest and most powerful countries as well.

Countries identified include the hugely influential nations of Russia, China, Turkey, Brazil and Thailand.

Maplecroft says there will be increased pressure on global firms to exercise corporate responsibility, especially those in countries “rich in natural resources where mining and energy projects often need high levels of protection.”

“However, companies are at substantial danger of complicity if they employ state or private security forces that perpetrate violations,” the report added.