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Andrew Mitchell Condemns Saudi’s Involvement in Yemen War

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Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen after 4 continuous years of inflicting wounds and raging havoc has once again been condemned. A former British cabinet minister has accused the sheikhdom’s leadership of going all guns blazing over Yemen.

Speaking at the event in the Palace of Westminster earlier this month, Andrew Mitchell, ex-secretary of state for international development, scathed about the humanitarian suffering caused by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

The coalition, which took the support of the Yemeni government to stabilize the condition of the nation and to fight Houthi militias has contrarily killed more than 10,000 people.

“This is a conflict where in my view Saudi Arabia has gone completely mad. It happens to countries from time to time… Countries do go bonkers and I think Saudi Arabia has gone completely bonkers in this war,” he told a meeting of the South Asia and Middle East Forum on 14 February.

Back in 2017, Mitchell visited Yemen and claimed that even his nation had a big role to play in the war. This is because the UK is one of the prime suppliers of weapons to Saudi. Also, according to the UN World Food Program, some 20 million Yemenis are still in need of humanitarian assistance.

“The UK has made a tremendous strategic misjudgment about this conflict,” Mitchell told the February meeting. “The British government some time ago took the view that the economic and security relationship with Saudi Arabia trumps everything else and it is precisely those two priorities that have been so gravely damaged by this conflict. Why? Because as I saw for myself on the ground, the impact of what Britain and America, with French support, are doing in this conflict is radicalizing tens of thousands of young Yemenis who know the great powers who are responsible for their misery, their starvation and the destruction of the basic infrastructure of their country.”

Mitchell claimed that British Policy towards Saudi and the Yemen conflict has been changing since Jeremy Hunt took over as Foreign Secretary. Moreover, after the horrendous account of the Kingdom brutally killing the Washington Post Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, the changes in policy have been made.

Clarifying on what changes mean, he affirmed that policy changes do not restrict the trade of arms between the two nations, but only see if those are used under the rules of the war. “I have always been quite clear that it’s not for Westminster politicians to wave their moral consciences about at the expensive of very high-quality jobs in the northwest of Britain; it’s for the arms export committee to exercise the proper rigor on whether arms can or cannot be exported,” he added.

Yemen’s outstretched hand has been praying for assistance ever since the beginning of the war, yet not even the UN has been able to ensure peace in the nation. Apart from Mitchell, backbench Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, a former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons, said the best thing would be frankly if Saudi Arabia could find itself another ruler,” insulting Mohammed bin Salman, who has been named time and again for spreading menace in Yemen.

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Johnson’s Government Struggles for Brexit Deal Prior to Withdrawal Date

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Brexit deal

In the wake of the Brexit deal that has been a heated topic for debates since its launch in 2016, the country is willing to reach a deal before the summit ahead, making concessions to its plans over Northern Ireland border that is considered to be a specific part of the UK.

Though the border is a key sticking point in the UK-EU deal talks, at a time when the government is ready for post-Brexit arrangements, yet its deal does not seem to be enough for the EU. The EU officials have been demanding more movement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself thinks that a “significant work” is still missing.

Prime Minister’s Early Attempts

With respect to the Northern Ireland border, Johnson earlier wrote a letter to the EU Council asking them to remove the Irish Backstop from the withdrawal agreement. He claimed that though Britain’s priority was to leave the EU with a favourable deal, it could only happen if the backstop was removed from the withdrawal deal as it was “anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK as a state”.

However, in present Johnson is ready for negotiations. The decision comes days before the two-day summit in Brussels, where the Prime Minister would meet 27 EU leaders for Brexit deal negotiations.

Government’s New Agenda through Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech during the opening of new session of Parliament on Monday would set out the government’s legislative agenda, focusing on “people’s priorities”. Some of the proposals in the Queen’s Speech would include:

  • Measures to bring in a points-based immigration system from 2021
  • Scrapping the rail franchise system – the contracting out of services introduced when the rail system was privatised in the 1990s
  • Setting up an independent NHS investigations body with legal powers to improve patient safety
  • Updating the Mental Health Act to reduce the number of detentions made under it
  • Creating legally binding targets to reduce plastics, cut air pollution, restore biodiversity and improve water quality

UK-EU Talks Before Summit

While the UK and the EU’s negotiating teams continue to reach a deal before the scheduled summit on Thursday and Friday, the EU officials believe that there is a big gap over customs arrangements. During the weekend talks over the Brexit deal, the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the UK plans on the tracking of goods were unacceptable.

Barnier, in his briefing to the EU diplomats, added that the UK had dropped its proposals to include an up-front veto for Northern Ireland politicians in the Stormont Assembly before any arrangements for the country came into force. The UK is still seeking power for Northern Ireland to leave the arrangements at some point in the future.

The discussions between the UK-EU officials in Brussels would continue today with the prospects of an agreement in time for Britain to leave with a deal on October 31 in the balance. If the government succeeds in reaching an agreement at the summit it will again introduce a withdrawal agreement bill to be voted on next Saturday in a special Parliamentary session.

Conclusion

Though the government plans to use the Queen’s speech to describe its aims by bringing ideas of improved building standards, and increasing investment in infrastructure and science, the question at large is whether it would succeed in making the Brexit deal happen?  

The EU negotiators on the other hand seem to have “softened” their position, indicating they are prepared to keep talking until Wednesday – the eve of the summit. With the withdrawal date approaching, everyone awaits the bigger surprise of whether the UK would celebrate the Brexit deal success or would once again be drenched in the EU laws.  

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Boris Johnson’s No-deal Brexit is How English Win Over the Rest of UK

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UK Brexit | Boris Johnson's No-deal Brexit is How English Win Over the Rest of UK

Boasting of plans that would see United Kingdom across the line come October 31, Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the annual Conservative Party conference last week, avowed of “constructive and reasonable proposals” that he had up his kitty.

The statement was cheered at first, but later looked at from a very different perspective because it once again only completely looked to eradicate the previously promised Irish Backstop plan.

The dispelling concerns about leaving the European Union without a deal have already scared the wit out of Britain. The same old debate, which has seen the extension of Article 50, demonstrations to remain, rise of populist movement to a new high and MPs along with even the Prime Minister resign, still hasn’t settled the scores with the European Union. However, the idea works best for Boris Johnson, who on public front has called for control of trade policy, which he says is fundamental to Britain’s future vision. However, the reality seems otherwise.

Offering a Second Look

UK voted to leave the European Union, but as the date looms, the internal prospects for British dissolution cannot be looked upon. What the Brexit to-and-fro has shown since 2016 is a loud version of English blindness, as if only England were to leave and not the entire UK.

Commencing with his first speech as the Prime Minister and justifying with selection of his cabinet members, Boris Johnson’s abhorrence with the EU is overtly visible. Yet he remains clear because the nexus of the argument here is to leave and without a deal in place.

Looking at Boris Johnson’s record it becomes evident that he has followed a path that is more English than British. Working both as a Brexit campaigner and scribe for the Daily Telegraph until 1994, the UK Prime Minister condemned European Commission, while establishing himself as the Eurosceptic journalist.

The UK is under besiegement from whichever way it is looked at. Beginning with the prime minister’s attempt at suspending the parliament, which was a measure designed to prevent MPs from functioning normally, to beating around the same bush that UK voted to leave and threatening to agree on the divorce agreement or leave without a deal, there is only one way of out of this situation, there isn’t any.

So, with the prominent English ideology that marks as if the Conservative Party are running the UK, here is what they have totally forgotten. At helm is the fact that Scotland is the most likely candidate to exit this unsettled union. While 51.9 per cent Britons voted to leave, 62 per cent Scots voted to remain. Also, while 52 per cent Welsh supported leave, the idea has become conflicting with calls to scrap Brexit at a general election, if the UK government sought a mandate for leaving the EU without a deal.

Hywel Williams, MP for Arfon, said: “If the UK Government seeks a crash out, no deal mandate, Plaid Cymru must and will campaign to revoke Article 50 because at that point, that will be the only lever left to protect Wales and our communities from the disastrous effects of no deal.”

Money that Matters

According to the reports, with no-deal Brexit, Johnson won’t only win over the EU and rest of the UK, but will also allegedly make financial gains.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor has, therefore, written to the cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, asking if there may be a conflict of interest in Johnson’s acceptance of support from hedge funds, which could gain from an economic shock of no deal scenario.

Philip Hammond, the former chancellor, speaking on the same lines said, the prime minister was pursuing the interest of his financial backers. “Johnson is backed by speculators who have bet billions on a hard Brexit – and there is only one option that works for them: a crash-out no-deal that sends the currency tumbling and inflation soaring,” Hammond wrote in the Times.

As evident as it looks now, Johnson isn’t working as the prime minister, but as the minister of his interests. Consequently, from every angle whether it is controlling the trade policy, scrapping of Irish Backstop or delivering what people asked for; Britain is falling down at a rapid pace. The pace that is more than matched by Johnson’s shrewdness, who on the public front wants nothing, but a better policy than the previous one.

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Sprinter Gold Winner Dina Asher-Smith Prepares for 2020 Summer Olympics

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Dina Asher-Smith

After winning gold in a 200m global sprint competition at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championship, which is being held in Doha, Qatar, British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith is now preparing for a step forward and aiming to participate in Tokyo’s Olympic glory next year. This is her second medal after silver that she won for 100m sprint race.

Known for breaking records, Asher-Smith has become the fastest woman ever in the history of sports, finishing the 100 and 200 meters in 10.83 secs and 21.88 secs respectively in the 2019 World Championship.

Other than being a 2019 World Champion at 200 metres, the 23-year-old is also the 2016 and 2018 European champion. At such a young age, Dina Asher-Smith has won huge fame with her hard work and constant success. She is a gold medallist of 2018 Commonwealth Games and European Championship. She even won bronze in 2016 Olympics and silver in 2017 World Championship.

During the 2015 World Championship, Asher-Smith broke the former elite sprinter Kathy Cook’s 200 metres record. The runner has been preparing herself against the next challenge i.e. 2020 Summer Olympics, which is an upcoming international multi-sport event that would take place next summer in Tokyo, Japan.

Wishing for more success in future, Dina Asher-Smith said, “The Olympics is less than a year away so we’ve already been thinking about it. But my coach John Blackie and I still have some things to work on. In the 100m I didn’t run the race I planned. I am still getting stronger and more experience physically and mentally. So hopefully there is more to come and it should be an exciting journey.”

The famed sprinter said that she would never let her success of being an athlete get in her way of hard work, saying, “I train six days a week and I am still going to push myself to the limit. It’s very unglamorous when you’ve got lactic [acid], and you’re on the floor. Ultimately you’re only ever as good as your last performance.” 

Asher-Smith added, “Athletics is a very unpredictable and at times unforgiving sport.

“I could run the same time next year and finish fifth in the Olympics – that’s just how it goes. So I have to really keep my feet firmly on the ground and keep working hard.”

Dina Asher-Smith started her career in sports at the tender age of eight. Getting stronger and faster is one of her main objectives in life, which she had been following while she was a little girl. Breaking the previous records be it her own national record is one of the major challenges that she lives for. Meanwhile, commemorating her achievement, she dedicated her gold medal to her parents and her trainer Blackie, who guided her when her passion for sports was at the initial stage.

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Hurricane Lorenzo Expected to Weaken When It Hits UK

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Hurricane Lorenzo Expected to Weaken When It Hits UK

Hurricane Lorenzo, that inched closer the Atlantic on Monday morning, is heading to the UK along with wind, rain and the risk of serious flooding. According to the Met Office, it will be one of the strongest tropical storms to hit Europe.

The Category 2 storm has been threatening Azores, a group of paradise-like islands, for days. However, early morning, it was about 1,160 miles from the islands packing 110 mph winds, said the National Hurricane Center. It highlighted that the storm will pass the islands early Wednesday.

Besides, Britain too is expected to be hit weather-wise this week. Across the UK, there are already reports of 85 localised flood warnings with another 203 flooding alerts in England and Wales. On Sunday, the Met Office issued a yellow “danger to life” weather warning for three consecutive days.

The United States National Hurricane Centre said on Monday that the Hurricane Lorenzo remains large over the central Atlantic Ocean. The country is expected to be hit by the worst weather from the repercussions of the storm on Thursday. Moreover, the Met Office stated that by the time it will reach the UK, it may not still be a hurricane.

“By the time it hits the UK Lorenzo will be an ex-tropical storm,” said Met Office forecaster Nicola Maxey. “It is currently a category 2 storm and is heading over the Azores before it will travel east towards us. It is likely to pick up moisture and lose wind speed as it travels across the sea, which means that by the time it hits us it is likely to bring wind and heavy rain – but will not be at the strength it is currently.”

Nicola also stated that for now it cannot be identified that where exactly the storm will hit Britain on Thursday and into Friday, because there are varied results of different weather models for the Atlantics too.

“It is still unclear where will be hit worst, as some models say the storm will hit Scotland and the north east of England, while others say the South West will be affected,” she said. “We are not sure yet whether we will be issuing more weather warnings but what we are saying is that most of the UK will experience wet and windy weather in the days to come.”

As of Monday, rains are expected to sweep across Ireland and the South West before charging across Southern England and Wales. Whereas, heavy downpours have also been reported to spread north throughout the day. In the north of Scotland, it is expected to be followed by major flooding where water surge across small villages was already reported.

“There will be another spell of rain across much of the UK on Monday. There are warnings in force for Wales and western England,” said Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson. “In England there are 72 localised flood warnings and 180 flood alerts, and in Wales there are 13 localised flood warnings and 23 flood alerts.”

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Sajid Javid Announces £25bn Plan to Boost Infrastructure in Country

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Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Boris Johnson-led government, has announced a plan to boost the infrastructure of the country. With this, Javid aims to appease the common people and gain their support before an imminent early general election.

In his plan, the Cabinet Minister has promised to better conditions of the roads, broadband coverage and bus services.

To successfully boost the infrastructure, Javid announced a funding of £25billion over next five years from which £5 billion will be used to provide fast broadband in harder-to-reach parts of the country.

Apart from the broadband, the £25 billion plan aims to improve the bus services. Moreover, he also announced how the amount for road improvements will be spent.

Sajid Javid’s decision will shift the focus from unlawful suspension of Parliament and Brexit to hopes of improving infrastructure of the country. Javid termed the plan made during the annual Conservative Party conference “The People’s Priorities”.

The announcement comes at a time when the peril of an early election is looming over Boris Johnson and his government. With no majority in the parliament and division over the fate to deliver Brexit, it is difficult to comprehend if the government can come together to pass the plan that will help them gain majority or support of people.

Sajid Javid while speaking during the annual conference in Manchester on Monday said, “Investment in our infrastructure will be key to making the next decade one of renewal – boosting our economy and making life easier for people all across the country.

“This new multi-billion pound investment to deliver gigabit-capable broadband for all the UK and investment in roads and buses will help people to get around and businesses to grow, ensuring no community is left behind. This will make the UK a better place to live and work, extending opportunity and raising living standards for all.”

With the economy already going down the drain due to Brexit, Sajid Javid’s plan to boost the infrastructure will certainly have some major effects on various sectors of the UK post Brexit, but whether the effects would be negative or positive remains to be seen

Furthermore, announcement of such plans will help the Tory Party to gain the lead they usually have in the polls and to ensure that they come back with majority. According to the law firm Opinium, post their annual meet in Brighton, Labour Party gained 2 points in comparison to the Conservative Party. However, the Conservatives still have a lead of 12-points.

Although the future of Brexit remains bleak and there are no favourites in upcoming general elections, plans like the one introduced by Sajid Javid might help Tories to register the win and deliver Brexit according to their own will.

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