The environmentalist Green Party, perennial outsiders in Irish politics, voted Wednesday to join the next government and extend Prime Minister Bertie Ahern’s 10-year run in power.
Green leaders won a surprisingly easy ratification for their pact with Ahern’s long-dominant Fianna Fail party following a daylong conference of party activists.
The outcome means Ahern is certain to be re-elected prime minister when parliament convenes today. His party won 78 seats in a May 24 election. Combined with the Greens’ six, Ahern will have a majority in the 166-member chamber.
Giving the Greens a share of power will likely mean significant policy shifts in Ireland, which has a poor energy-conservation record and a car-dependent culture.
The landmark deal involved generous concessions by Fianna Fail, which offered the Greens two Cabinet posts and a raft of promises, including a carbon tax on polluters and the pursuit of aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Bill proposes legal prostitution
The leftist party that has already legalized gay unions and abortion in Mexico City said Wednesday it wants to make prostitution legal in the capital of this overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.
Mexico City legislator Juan Bustos of the Democratic Revolution Party, who submitted the bill on Tuesday, said the move is necessary to protect prostitutes from abuse and regulate the sex industry.
In most Mexican cities, prostitution is considered the equivalent of a misdemeanor. In Mexico City, it is punishable by 12 to 24 hours in jail and fines equal to about $51 to $93.
Iran backs death for porn makers
Iran’s parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that could lead to the death penalty for persons convicted of working in the production of pornographic movies.
In a 148-5 vote, lawmakers approved a measure saying “producers of pornographic works and main elements in their production are considered corruptors of the world and could be sentenced to punishment as corruptors of the world.”
The term “corruptor of the world” is taken from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, and ranks among the highest on the scale of an individual’s criminal offenses. Under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, it carries a death penalty.
The “main elements” referred to in the draft include producers, directors, camera operators and actors involved in making a pornographic video.
To become law, the bill requires approval from the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog in this conservative Islamic country.