France approves ban on domestic oil and gas production by 2040: Under a new law enacted by French parliament on December 20, no new permits will be issued or renewed by the French government to extract fossils fuels in France or its territories. Hydrocarbon imports are France’s main source of energy.
France also plans on halting the sale of diesel and petroleum-fueled automobiles in 2040.
France currently extracts 815,000 tons of fossil fuels annually, approximately one percent of the country’s consumption. A relatively small amount in comparison to major global energy producers, France, however, will continue to import petroleum products beyond 2040.
Norway enacts historic drug law reform: Lawmakers in Norway’s Storting have passed legislation decriminalizing all controlled substances. Modeled on a Portuguese policy applied in 2001, Bergen and Oslo enacted local laws to some success.
Under the plan, supporters of the measure aimed to shift from criminal prosecution and imprisonment to treatment for addiction. The new policy does not legalize drugs.
The first Scandinavian country to move toward decriminalization, the new law demands those previously determined to be in offense of drug laws to enter into treatment programs. Should they refuse treatment, offenders can face jail time.
Honduras election ignites widespread protests: Amid widespread charges of election fraud, Juan Orlando Hernández has been declared the victor in Honduras’ November presidential election. Hernández’s reelection touched off days of protests, which left as many as 14 dead and inspired a dusk-to-dawn cerfew.
Hernández’s election opponent, Libre-PINU’s Salvador Nasralla, has agreed to enter into talks with Hernández over how to reach an accord and bring peace after days of demonstrations.
Citing some vote-counting irregularities, the head of the Organization of American States, Uruguay’s Luis Almagro, has called for Tegucigalpa to organize a new vote.
Raul Castro will remain as Cuban dictator until April: The Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power has voted to postpone Cuban presidential elections until April 2018. The delay in elections from February to April means Cuban dictator Raul Castro will stay as president until after the April vote.
Announced in the wake of Hurricane Irma, national assembly constitutional head Jose Luis Toledo Santander told reporters the destruction caused by the hurricane made it virtually impossible to facilitate any transfer in power until the cojntry can recover from Irma’s destruction.
The move is also widely speculated to be in response to President Trump’s reversal of Obama-era Cuba policy.
First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel is expected to succeed Castro as president, but Castro will remain as first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party.
Pro-secessionists regain majority in Catalan elections: In a sharp rebuke to Madrid, voters in snap parliamentary elections in Spain’s autonomous community of Catalonia have returned a majority of pro-secessionist lawmakers to power.
Pro-secessionist parties Republican Left, Together for Catalonia, and Popular Unity Candidacy claimed 70 of the 135 total seats in the Parlament de Catalunya, which could enable Carles Puigdemont to return as President of the Generalitat of Catalonia.
It is widely expected the three parties will form a unionist majority.
The Generalitat was suspended in October following a historic vote by the body to separate from Spain and form an independent nation. Madrid seized control and exercised direct rule after Spain’s top court ruled the vote unconstitutional.
[Euractiv] [The Independent] [BBC] [Caribbean News Now] [RT]