BBC, THE GUARDIAN, THE TELEGRAPH (UK), THE NEW YORK TIMES (USA)
LONDON - UK Prime Minister David Cameron has opened the door to a national referendum to allow voters to decide whether to pull Britain out of the European Union.
During a much anticipated speech Wednesday in London, Cameron said that if he is reelected in 2015, he would call the referendum if in the meantime he is unable to change the current terms of EU membership to something more favorable to Britain.
Describing British popular support for the Union as "wafer-thin," he said the founding purpose of the EU was “to secure peace. That mission is over.”
Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development via Wikipedia
Having originally planned to deliver the speech last Friday in the Netherlands, but delaying it because of the hostage crisis in Algeria, the Prime Minister described British disillusionment with the Union as at “an all-time high.”
If Britain was to receive a new deal that Cameron was happy with, then the Conservatives would campaign “heart and soul” to keep the country inside the EU. The BBC reports that the opposition, the Labour party, have said that Cameron’s pledge defined him “as a weak prime minister, being driven by his party, not by the national economic interest.”
Cameron said: “We would have to think carefully too about the impact on our influence at the top table of international affairs. There is no doubt that we are more powerful in Washington, in Beijing, in Delhi because we are a powerful player in the European Union,” the New York Times reported.
In his coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, led by Ed Milliband, this will most likely broaden tensions as they are much more pro-European than the Tories. Milliband described Cameron's move on the radio this morning as "something that could cause real damage," writes The Guardian.
Should the Tories win in the 2015 election, says The Guardian, the referendum will be put to the public by 2017. But before then, he will seek a better deal for the UK from the EU: “If there is no appetite for a new treaty for us all then of course Britain should be ready to address the changes we need in a negotiation with our European partners
For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.
Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.
Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.
The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.
The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes
New academic discipline
Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.
Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."
Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.
Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.
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