Tuesday, 28 October 2014

*Side-Eye Jamaica*

Res Ipsa Loquitur: The thing speaks for itself.

David Cameron was plunged into a double crisis on Saturday after one of his ministers resigned over a sex scandal and another MP defected to Ukip.

On the eve of the Conservative Party’s final conference before next year’s election, Brooks Newmark quit as Minister for Civil Society after he was caught sending an explicit photograph of himself over the internet.

Sources told The Telegraph that Mr Newmark had sent the pictures to someone he believed was a woman using a social networking website, as part of a tabloid newspaper sting operation.

In a statement, Mr Newmark said: "I have decided to resign as Minister for Civil Society having been notified of a story to be published in a Sunday newspaper.

“I would like to appeal for the privacy of my family to be respected at this time. I remain a loyal supporter of this Government as its long term economic plan continues to deliver for the British people."

The married father of five, added that he was "so sorry”, after the scandal came to light.

Taiwan's Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta has resigned over a food safety scare that has gripped the island after hundreds of tonnes of products made with "gutter oil" were removed from sale.

Chiu had repeatedly offered to step down after the tainted oil case surfaced last month, and his resignation was finally approved by Premier Jiang Yi-huah late Friday (Oct 3), a cabinet statement said. He is the third minister to have stepped down in recent months. Economic affairs minister Chang Chia-juch resigned over fatal gas blasts in August, while education minister Chiang Wei-ling quit in July after he was implicated in an academic scandal.

Chiu's resignation came as prosecutors on Friday indicted Yeh Wen-hsiang, chairman of Chang Guann Co., on 235 accounts of fraud and food safety violations for selling hundreds of tonnes of "gutter oil" to food companies, bakeries and restaurants. Three people, including the manager of an unlicensed factory that supplied the firm, were indicted for the same offences while four others were charged with violating waste disposal law, prosecutors said.

South Korea's prime minister announced his resignation Sunday morning, taking responsibility for the slow initial reaction to a ferry's sinking that has left nearly 200 dead and scores more still missing.

Prime Minister Chung Hong-won explained his decision on national television. He apologized "on behalf of the government for the many problems that arose during the first response and the subsequent rescue operation," in addition to "problems that existed before the accident."
"During the search process, the government took inadequate measures and disappointed the public," Chung said. "I should take responsibility for everything as the prime minister, but the government can assume no more. So I will resign as prime minister."

Chung urged South Koreans to stand united, rather than divided.

"This is not the time for blaming each other but for finishing the rescue operation and dealing with the accident," he said. "In order to get over these difficult times, I ask the citizens for help."

Chung becomes the highest-profile public figure to fall after the April 16 capsizing of the Sewol ferry that carried more than 300 South Korean high school students. Many in the country have lambasted the government's response to the disaster. 

Downing Street said there was "no suggestion that Mr Harper knowingly employed an illegal immigrant", but Prime Minister David Cameron "accepted his resignation with regret".

The Forest of Dean MP made the decision after being told the cleaner for his London flat did not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

He admitted he "should have checked more thoroughly" that the documents provided to him when he took her on in 2007 were genuine - a copy of her passport and a Home Office letter which said she was allowed to stay.

Mr Harper decided against checking her status twice after that - when he was appointed a Cabinet Office minister in 2010 and after being named immigration minister two years ago.

The former minister said he thought it was "prudent" to check her status again last year as the Immigration Bill was going through Parliament.

The legislation doubles the fines for employers who take on illegal immigrants without proper checks.

Gabon's education minister has resigned due to a scandal after hundreds of students failed the country's high-school exams, local media reported on Monday, AFB reports.

Prime Minister Daniel Ona Ondo "acknowledges the resignation of the Minister of Education and Technical Education, Leon Nzouba," said government spokeswoman Denise Mekamne.

Nzouba is the first Gabonese minister to step down from office in almost 20 years.

He was heavily criticised for his handling of a dispute involving 900 students who were deemed to have failed their high-school exams but who challenged their grades.

The students claim to have been penalised by recent reforms meaning their marks obtained during previous years no longer count towards the final exam result.

Nzouba initially awarded the students with the qualification following protests, before changing his mind.

The former minister was pictured in August on his knees in front of protesting students, an image that made the rounds on social media and sparked public ridicule for Nzouba.

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis abruptly resigned Wednesday, saying he was taking “political responsibility” for a supermarket collapse that killed more than 50 people last week and caused outrage in the small Baltic nation.

Dombrovskis, who took office at the height of the European economic crisis in 2009, told reporters that the country needs a new, broad-based government that will have the support of Parliament.

"I wish to thank Latvia's society for support during the trying period when the country was battling the economic and financial crisis to return to the path of growth,” Dombrovskis was quoted as saying by the Latvian news agency LETA. “I also apologize for all that we have failed to achieve."

At least 54 people, including three firefighters, were killed and dozens injured in the Nov. 21 collapse at a Maxima supermarket in the Zolitude neighborhood of the capital, Riga. First, part of the roof caved in, then a wall came crashing down as rescue teams worked at the scene.

According to local news reports, it was the largest loss of life since Latvia declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Three ministers from the autonomous Greenland of Denmark resigned on Wednesday amid a misconduct scandal surrounding the island's government leader, Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond.

The Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Jens-Erik Kirkegaard and the Education and Culture Minister Nick Nielsen, both from Hammond's social democratic Siumut party, announced their resignations while the prime minister is investigated for allegedly misusing 106,363 kroner of public funds for private use.

Hammond narrowly escaped a vote of no confidence on Tuesday and lawmakers granted her temporary leave.

The liberal Atassut party, without which the government lacks a parliamentary majority, said it would also leave the coalition and called for fresh elections.

The party's health and infrastructure minister, Steen Lynge, announced his resignation earlier on Wednesday.

A report from the Greenlandic parliament's audit committee on Friday said the prime minister had used public fund to pay for airline tickets for herself and hotel costs for her family.

France's new trade minister Thomas Thévenoud was forced to resign Thursday because of "problems with his taxes", a government source confirmed, in a new blow to embattled President François Hollande.
The socialist deputy was only appointed less than a fortnight ago in a reshuffle after a revolt over austerity measures threw the French government into crisis.

A government source told AFP that he stepped down after admitting he had a "problem about the declaration of his taxes... he has not resigned because of any political disagreement".

The resignation has uncomfortable echoes of the so-called Cahuzac affair, when Hollande's budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac was sacked in March 2013 after he was accused of evading tax using non-declared Swiss bank accounts.

Indonesia's energy minister stepped down on Friday, a presidential spokesman said, after anti-corruption officials named him a suspect in the latest graft case to embarrass the president's fractured Democratic Party.

Mr Jero Wacik resigned as minister for energy and natural mineral resources after officials accused him of raking in almost 10 billion rupiah (S$1.1 million) for his ministry's budget through illegal means.

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) officials named Mr Wacik a suspect on Wednesday, saying he had collected kickbacks and claimed money for arranging fictitious meetings. They accused him of extorting state funds and abuse of power.

"The letter of resignation was received by the President this morning. Perhaps he will appoint someone to fill in as an interim energy minister," presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha told reporters. Mr Wacik has neither admitted nor denied the accusations, saying only that he would respect the legal process.

Haderthauer, a Christian Social Union (CSU) state minister, is under investigation after a business partner accused her of cheating him out of tens of thousands of euros and has been facing down calls to resign for weeks.

Although the case didn't oblige her to resign, she said at a hastily-called press conference in Munich “that my office and the political themes that go with it would be totally overwhelmed after my experience with all the public press coverage in recent weeks”.

Haderthauer and her husband Hubert were partners with Frenchman Roger Ponton in Sapor Model Engineering. The company sold model cars built in prison by criminals under treatment by psychiatrists, including a man, Roland S., convicted of three sex murders.

Just a week after NSW Premier Kristina Keneally put her MPs on notice about bad behaviour, Ports and Waterways Minister Paul McLeay has resigned over a sex and gambling internet scandal.

Mr McLeay was forced to quit the frontbench on Wednesday after admitting to using a parliamentary computer to access gambling and adult websites - making him the fourth Keneally minister to leave cabinet this year.

"Some people may choose to undertake similar activities in their personal lives, but I cannot condone the use of parliamentary resources by a minister in this way." - Keneally

In an uncomfortable, 11-minute media conference outside Parliament House, the married father of two admitted being humiliated and embarrassed by the revelations.

He apologised to his colleagues for further denting their chances at the March 2011 state election, saying his behaviour was not of the standard expected of cabinet ministers.

Breton was already in hot water over his alleged intimidation of government employees. But on Wednesday it came to light that he had $8,000 in unpaid rent, had been convicted of employment insurance cheating and had speeding violations, one which saw him clocked at 275 km.hr.

Some of Breton’s infractions dated back 25 years, but whether they should factor into how he’d perform now as a cabinet minister has become academic. Breton has resigned from cabinet.

Given that resignation, the fact the Charbonneau inquiry was able to learn this week just how many politicians were having lunch with how many construction bosses at Club 357 and the fact nobody can do anything without its being tweeted seconds afterward, a question needs to be asked:

Are we in the process of witnessing a transformation of the political landscape? One where the theory of being a model of virtue and probity is now being brutally turned into practice?

Simply put, are we witnessing a raising of the bar for political conduct? And if so, how can the political establishment react?

Yes, I'm looking at you, Jamaica.


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