The Hill Talk’s Glance at the Globe

UK Supreme Court rules on Brexit:  Following a legal case which took Brexit to the highest court in the UK, the British Supreme Court ruled Prime Minister Theresa May must consult Parliament prior to triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

May argued Royal Prerogative granted her the authority to act independent of Parliament in the effort to extract the UK from the EU.  May’s opponents, led by London businesswoman Gina Miller, said her insistence on going above Parliament was undemocratic.

Similarly in the ruling, the court stated Scottish Parliament and the Assemblies of Wales and Northern Ireland would not have a voice in UK Parliament’s vote.

Poland, Lithuania say no to hosting CIA stockades:  Influenced by speculation the U.S. intends to broaden strategies to combat terrorism under President Donald Trump, the governments of Lithuania and Poland have announced neither will allow America to operate “black site” prisons in their countries.

Both countries are rumored to have previously allowed the CIA to supervise such sites in their territory, although neither Vilnius nor Warsaw admitted as much.

Both countries have stated their willingness to cooperate with the U.S. in its ongoing efforts to defeat radical Islamist terror, but, citing human rights issues, both countries declined to host CIA-operated interrogation centers.

China strengthens Internet censorship:  Vowing to clamp down on violators to its strict Internet-usage policies, the government of China issued a directive reaffirming a ban on the use of virtual private networks or leased lines, which allow Internet users entry to websites barred by Beijing.

Over the next year, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology plans on snap inspections of cloud-hosting and content-delivery services, which frequently are the source of tools to evade Internet restrictions imposed by Beijing.

China presently blocks access to over 3,000 foreign websites including numerous Internet search engines, social media sites like YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, and hundreds of foreign news services.

U.S. signals sanctions on Venezuela:  A  journalistic exposé detailing Venezuelan military involvement in profiteering from food distribution throughout Venezuela has prompted calls from members of Congress to impose sanctions on Caracas.

The AP report implicated high-ranking figures in the Venezuelan military in a scheme in which inducements were paid to obtain food contracts and to offload and distribute food.

Massive food shortages, including scarcities in bread and meat, have inspired rioting and widespread looting over the last year.

Syria talks conclude in Kazakhstan:  Representatives from Russia, Iran and Turkey wrapped up a two-day meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, in which the trio of countries reaffirmed its commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the six-year civil war in Syria.

The three countries vowed to strengthen a nationwide ceasefire in place since Dec. 30 ahead of planned talks in Geneva in February.

In a joint statement released Tuesday, officials from all three parties involved in talks pledged to strengthen the existing truce and both Russian and Iran called on Syrian opposition groups represented by Turkey to break ties with the al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham Front.

Iran to ban U.S. visitors:  Following President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Middle Eastern nations, including Iran, to the U.S., Tehran announced it would ban Americans from visiting Iran.

Describing Mr. Trump’s temporary ban as “an affront against the Muslin world,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said it would prohibit Americans from arriving in Iran until restraints placed on Iranians entering the U.S. were lifted.

Commenting on the ban and the new policies enacted by President Trump, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said this was neither the time nor the place to erect walls or institute economic policies which could widen the abyss between nations or their citizens.


[BBC] [RT News] [AP] [Reuters]