European politicians were in frantic meetings this weekend amid the unprecedented crisis sparked by an Italian politician whose appointment MEPs say will "undermine the quality" of EU justice. \nThe controversy over Italy's would-be justice commissioner's fitness for office is dividing MEPs. Now it is being also seen as having crippled the authority of the incoming European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso. \nThe debacle is also resonating in Italy, where the Catholic church has become embroiled in the debate over whether Rocco Buttiglione should be in charge of rights, civil liberties and immigration issues for Europe. \nLiberal and socialist groups, who believe Buttiglione, a friend of the Pope, has views that make him unfit for office, were scrambling to rally enough MEPs to vote down the entire 25-member commission on Wednesday. \nThe "nuclear option" is the last resort for MEPs, who have pressed Barroso to drop the nominee or at least shuffle him out of such a sensitive role. \nA defiant Barroso -- who has stood by Buttiglione and proposed, to appease concern, that he be shadowed by four commissioners for civil liberties issues -- says he is confident his commission will survive. \nHe described the critics as "extremists." According to reports, Barroso thinks he will win 363 votes, enough, given the numbers expected to abstain, to confirm his team. \nAmong those campaigning against Barroso's commission is MEP Antonio di Pietro, the former Milan magistrate who led anti- corruption investigations. He said yesterday: "I am calling on all European liberals to vote against this whole commission. \n"Unless there is some change, I hope the Barroso commission will be voted out," di Pietro said. "I say that not just because of Mr Buttiglione's views on homosexuals. I say it because I believe that no member of Berlusconi's government should be given control of justice for the EU The Berlusconi government isan anomaly as far as the law." \nMartin Schulz, a German MEP and leader of 200-strong socialist group, said Barroso was risking a calamitous defeat. If Barroso's gamble does not pay off, he could find himself starting his five-year term with a constitutional crisis. \nAnd this in the same week in which Europe's leaders will be in Rome to sign the new EU constitution. \nShould Barroso's gamble fail, the outgoing commission, led by Italian Romano Prodi, will have to preside over a grandiose ceremony in the caput mundi on Friday while Barroso retreats to form a new team. \nAt the same time, Vatican officials will be still upset that the Pope's plea for Europe's Christian roots to be enshrined in its constitution landed on deaf, northern European ears. \nFrom the Holy See, some of the strongest cries of foul play rose last week amid a furious Europe-wide debate over the effects of mixing religion with politics.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle