It is the worst time for human rights in China since the Tiananmen massacre. Since 9 July last year, over 300 human rights lawyers and their associates and relatives have been detained and harassed. It is time for the UK to speak out publicly and consistently about human rights in China, to consult with dissidents to explore what steps would be most useful, as part of our responsibilities under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Ukraine is trying hard. It has voluntarily adopted over 4000 European Union technical standards over the last 3 years and introduced a new government website, Prozorro, where all state purchasing must be published in an attempt to improve relations with the EU. Ukraine will remain in geopolitical limbo, a long way off FTAs, for a good time to come, but it is clear that despite the glacial pace of reform, it is still slowly drifting westwards.
Liechtenstein is the only state in which direct democracy is fully developed: it would only take action from half of its 35,000 citizens to pass or abolish any law or regulation. In such a tight-knit community, this creates a sense of security from the expansionary nature of government, an almost private business-like relationship with the state. Thanks to Liechtenstein, we are now able to prove that Liberty works.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's winning Popular Party still lacks a parliamentary majority after securing 137 seats in the 350-deputy chamber in the repeat elections held on Sunday. If he fails to secure a coalition with the Socialist Party, a partnership they maintain they will not enter, Rajoy will have to rely on a Socialist abstention in a Congressional investiture vote, which would allow him to take office with a minority government.
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