Nigerian lawmakers summons Buhari for security crisis

             By Rafiu Ajakaye <br>

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari was summoned Thursday by the House of Representatives to address parliament on rising insecurity in parts of the country.

Adopting a motion presented by Ahmed Safana, a lawmaker from Buhari's home state of Katsina, the House "resolved to request that the president address the House and the entire country."

Safana told parliament how bandits have taken over parts of the state, including abducting a monarch Wednesday and kidnapping at least five people from a girls-only secondary school in Zamfara.

Lawmakers took turns lamenting the unabated insecurity they suggested might be related to rising unemployment and poverty.

They urged the government to buckle down and tackle the challenges.

“The major problem is the policy we give out,” said Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun. “It took Bill Gates to tell us in Nigeria that we’ve neglected health and education."

Mohammed Monguno, a lawmaker from the restive northeast Borno state, said the situation is worsening and could spark national unrest.

"If care is not taken, if the situation is not curbed, we will not be able to sleep," he said.

UPDATE – Turkey celebrates 99th anniversary of first parliament

UPDATES WITH TURKISH PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH CHILDREN

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey on Tuesday celebrated the 99th anniversary of the first season of its Grand National Assembly and also National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

Senior politicians, including Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop, Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and IYI Party leader Meral Aksener, visited the mausoleum of the republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the capital Ankara.

"Our determination to work continues for our country's unity and solidarity, and for nation's peace and welfare," Sentop wrote in the mausoleum’s memorial book.

Sentop also said the parliament continues to work for Turkey's development and welfare.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a group of children at the presidential complex, where they followed the annual tradition of taking the seats of Cabinet ministers.

Erdogan symbolically gave his seat to Okan Sozeyataroglu as Turkey's head of state.

The sixth-grade student took questions from the press on current issues in Turkey.

Later, a special session will be held at the parliament, which will be attended by Erdogan and opposition leaders.

The April 23 celebrations focus on children after Ataturk, the first speaker of the parliament, dedicated the day to children as the nation’s future.

The Grand National Assembly met for the first time in Ankara in 1920 during the War of Independence to lay the foundations for an independent, secular and modern republic.

Turkey celebrates 99th anniversary of first parliament

                  By Diyar Guldogan</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Tuesday celebrated the 99th anniversary of the first season of its Grand National Assembly and also National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.</p>    <p>Senior politicians, including Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop, Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and IYI Party leader Meral Aksener, visited the mausoleum of the republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the capital Ankara.</p>    <p>&quot;Our determination to work continues for our country's unity and solidarity, and for nation's peace and welfare,&quot; Sentop wrote in the mausoleum’s memorial book.</p>    <p>Sentop also said the parliament continues to work for Turkey's development and welfare. </p>    <p>Later, a special session will be held at the parliament, which will be attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition leaders.</p>    <p>The April 23 celebrations focus on children after Ataturk, the first speaker of the parliament, dedicated the day to children as the nation’s future. </p>    <p>The Grand National Assembly met for the first time in Ankara in 1920 during the War of Independence to lay the foundations for an independent, secular and modern republic.

Egypt parliament to vote on charter change

By Viola Fahmy

CAIRO (AA) – Egypt's parliament began a session on Tuesday to vote on amendments to the country's constitution that would allow President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030.

Speaking at the session, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said lawmakers will finalize discussions and vote on the proposed amendments.

On Feb. 14, the parliament preliminarily approved proposed constitutional changes that would increase the duration of presidential terms from four to six years.

A total of 485 out of 596 MPs voted in favor of the proposed amendments.

According to the constitution in its current form, al-Sisi cannot run for a third term in office.

Al-Sisi was elected president the same year that Egypt’s 2014 constitution was ratified — and one year after he led a military coup against his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely elected president.

In June of last year, al-Sisi was re-elected to a second presidential term, which is set to expire in 2022.

Yemen parliament convenes for 1st time since civil war

By Mubarak Mohamed

HADRAMAUT (AA) – The Yemeni parliament convened on Saturday for the first time since civil war broke out in Yemen in March 2015.

Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is based in Saudi Arabia, and delegates of Arab and foreign countries attended the parliament session in the eastern city of Seyon.

More than 143 lawmakers attended Saturday’s session, a parliamentary source told Anadolu Agency.

During the session, lawmakers elected Sultan al-Burkani, the head of the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC), as speaker of the assembly.

The 301-member parliament was elected way back in 2009, before their six-year term in office ran out in 2015, about the time they were driven out of the country by Houthi rebels.

The Yemeni government is currently based in the southern city of Aden.

Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014 when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen in hopes of rolling back Houthi gains.

The violence has destroyed much of Yemen’s basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.

Final results of Israeli polls show win for Likud

            By Said Amuri</p>  <p>JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has the best chance of forming a government according to final election results released Friday.</p>  <p> The right-wing party captured 36 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, said the Yediot Aharonot daily, citing data from the Central Elections Committee.</p>  <p>Retired general Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party -- Likud's main rival -- clinched 35 seats, according to the data.</p>  <p>&quot;The right-wing bloc [led by Likud] now has a 65-55 advantage over the Left and the Arab parties. However, minor changes to the final tally may still be forthcoming,&quot; the daily said.</p>  <p>The ultra-Orthodox Shas Party got eight seats, the right-wing United Torah Judaism party got seven seats, the center-right Labor and Hadash-Ta'al parties tied with six seats each, Yisrael Beytenu and the Union of Right-Wing Parties each got five seats and Meretz, Kulanu and UAL-Balad four each. </p>  <p>More than 40 parties vied in Tuesday’s election with some 61% of voters casting ballots.</p>  <p>Netanyahu had run in the polls while facing corruption and bribery charges in three cases. </p>  <p>If he manages to form a new government, he will be the longest-serving leader in Israel's history.

UPDATE – Turkey condemns recognition of 1915 events in Italy

            CHANGES LEDE; ADDS FOREIGN MINISTRY’S STATEMENTS</p>  <p>By Beyza Binnur Donmez</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday strongly condemned the passing of a motion by Italy’s parliament to recognize the 1915 events in Armenia as 'genocide'.</p>  <p>“The motion of the Italian House of Representatives dated April 10, 2019 is a new example of the use of Armenian claims as a tool for domestic political interest,” the ministry said in a statement. </p>  <p>“We strongly condemn this move.”</p>  <p>The ministry noted that the proposal was prepared by Italy’s far-right Lega party.</p>  <p>“Essentially known, the Armenian allegations being brought up before the elections or in the context of opposition to Turkey clearly reveals the political nature of these allegations and that they are inconsistent with the historical facts.</p>  <p>“These efforts are not only beneficial to no side but also stonewall the way for good-faith initiatives,” the statement added.</p>  <p>Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter that the Italian parliament's motion is null and void.</p>  <p>Turkey’s presidential spokesman also slammed the passing of the motion.</p>  <p>&quot;The so-called genocide decision of the Italian parliament ignores historical facts and sows new seeds of hostility,&quot; Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.</p>  <p>He added that parliament’s decision &quot;fuels political populism&quot;.</p>  <p>&quot;We strongly condemn the Italian Parliament’s most recent attempt at distorting and politicizing our nation’s history,&quot; Turkey’s presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun tweeted earlier.</p>  <p>He said the Italian parliament’s move is “unproductive, hostile and deplorable”.</p>  <p>&quot;Instead of attacking each other’s memories, we must all work together to ensure that truth prevails over fiction,&quot; Altun added.</p>  <p>Omer Celik, the spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, also condemned the motion, saying Italy is being tricked by the Armenian diaspora, which in no way wants normal relations between Turkey and Armenia.</p>  <p>The proposal was voted on Wednesday and the motion was approved by 382 votes with none against and 43 abstentions.</p>  <p>Turkey's position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.</p>  <p>Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I.</p>  <p>Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as &quot;genocide&quot; but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.</p>  <p>Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.</p>  <p> 

Turkey condemns recognition of 1915 events in Italy

            By Beyza Binnur Donmez</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s presidential spokesman slammed the passing of a motion in Italy’s parliament Wednesday which declares the 1915 events as 'genocide'. </p>  <p>&quot;The so-called genocide decision of the Italian parliament ignores historical facts and sows new seeds of hostility,&quot; Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.</p>  <p>He added that parliament’s decision &quot;fuels political populism&quot;.</p>  <p>&quot;We strongly condemn the Italian Parliament’s most recent attempt at distorting and politicizing our nation’s history,&quot; Turkey’s presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun tweeted earlier. </p>  <p>He said the Italian parliament’s move is “unproductive, hostile and deplorable”. </p>  <p>&quot;Instead of attacking each other’s memories, we must all work together to ensure that truth prevails over fiction,&quot; Altun added. </p>  <p>Omer Celik, the spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, also condemned the proposal, saying Italy is being tricked by the Armenian diaspora, which in no way wants normal relations between Turkey and Armenia. </p>  <p>The proposal was voted on Wednesday and the motion was approved by 382 votes with none against and 43 abstentions. </p>  <p>Turkey's position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties. </p>  <p>Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I. </p>  <p>Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as &quot;genocide&quot; but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides. </p>  <p>Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue. </p>  <p> 

NZ Parliament votes to restrict semiautomatic guns

             By Riyaz ul Khaliq <br> <br> ANKARA (AA) – Less than a month after a massacre of Muslims during Friday prayers, New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday overwhelming passed a bill restricting the use of semiautomatic weapons.<br> <br> The government led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought in the bill just after the March 15 attack at two Christchurch mosques by an accused white supremacist, killing 51 people and injuring dozens more.</p>  <p>The law change had near unanimous support, passing by 119-1, Radio New Zealand reported, adding that the bill now only needs to be signed off by the governor general -- a formality -- before its becomes law. <br>

The bill bans military-style semiautomatic weapons and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms.

Ardern hailed how Parliament “came together to act swiftly” to pass the bill.

In Parliament, Ardern said how New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush told her after the shootings that “the gunman had obtained his firepower legally,” reported The New Zealand Herald.

UPDATE – Algerian parliament names interim president

UPDATES WITH BENSALEH REMARKS, DEMOS

By Abdel-Razek Abdallah

ALGIERS (AA) – Algeria's parliament on Tuesday named Abdelkader Bensaleh, head of the country's Council of the Nation (upper house of parliament), as an interim president, replacing Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned last week.

This came in a joint session held by the lower and upper houses of parliament to activate Article 102 of the Algerian Constitution.

The article states that, in the event of the president’s resignation or death, the parliamentary speaker should assume executive authority for a 90-day period during which presidential elections can be conducted.

Tuesday's session was attended by 470 members of parliament out of 487, the total number of seats of both chambers.

Addressing lawmakers, Bensaleh vowed "to work sincerely" to let the Algerians practice their right to elect a new president.

He lauded the Algerian people for championing "positive change" in the country and hailed the "role of the national popular army that did its job very professionally at this stage".

Reports of Bensaleh's appointment sent thousands into the streets of the capital Algiers and several cities to protest, denouncing the interim leader as part of Bouteflika's regime.

In Algiers, protestors chanted slogans against Bensaleh and in support of the military. Similar protests were reported in the cities of Constantine and Bejaia.

Last week, Bouteflika resigned under popular protests demanding the departure of all officials affiliated with the former president’s regime.