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Jordan chooses its first prime minister

on March 10, 2013 1:00 AM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan’s parliament voted Saturday for the monarchy’s caretaker prime minister to form a new Cabinet, the first time in the country’s history that the legislature rather than the king has decided who will be head of government.

Abdullah Ensour, a former liberal lawmaker known for fiery criticisms of the government when he was in parliament, was selected as part of a reform program aimed at defusing political unrest to stave off an Arab Spring-style uprising.

But he is also committed enough to Abdullah’s plan for cautious reforms to be the king’s choice for prime minister in October, when the sitting government was dissolved prior to parliamentary elections.

China plans to streamline government

BEIJING (AP) — China is issuing a plan to streamline government ministries, doing away with the powerful Railways Ministry, creating a super-agency to regulate the media and realigning other bureaucracies in a bid to boost efficiency.

The plan introduced today to the rubber-stamp national legislature is being pushed by the newly installed Communist Party leadership and reflects its priorities to reduce waste and address quality of life issues for a more prosperous, demanding society.

Among the changes, the corruption-plagued Railways Ministry will be split, its regulatory responsibilities going to the Transport Ministry and its operations to a commercial entity. The food and drug agency will see a boost in authority, and two censorship arms, one of broadcasters and one for print media, will be merged.

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