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Britain and US prevent Alexander Prokopchuk’s election as Interpol President

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Alexander Prokopchuk

The expectations of Russia have been blighted as the delegates elected South Korea’s Kim Jong-yang as next President of the International Criminal Police Organization, that is, Interpol.

On Wednesday, at Interpol’s general assembly in Dubai, Kim secured at least two-thirds of votes cast. He will be serving until 2020 for the remainder of the current mandate, Meng Hongwei, who was detained in China over alleged corruption.

It was expected that Alexander Prokopchuk, a former Russian Interior Ministry official, will be the elected president. However, his nomination was strongly opposed by the critics, namely the United States and Britain.

According to the media reports, the White House along with its European partners had lobbied against Prokopchuk’s attempts to be elected the next president of Interpol.

The countries had raised concerns that naming Alexander Prokopchuk as the President would lead to further Russian abuses of Interpol’s red notice system to target its political opponents.

South Korean Kim Jong-yang’s name as President followed a last-ditch bid by America and Britain to impede Moscow’s chosen candidate.

According to The Times, Prokopchuk have also been accused of being a foreign intelligence agent who has served in the KGB, by a prominent Ukrainian MP.

Besides, on November 20, senior UK politicians and human rights groups also criticized the candidacy of Moscow’s nominee, and called for his to halt from getting the top job.

Officials in Ukraine and Lithuania had even said that they would consider withdrawing from Interpol if he was elected.

Moreover, a UK Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable also warned that if Alexander Prokopchuk was elected, Interpol risked becoming a “branch of the Russian mafia.” He said even the likelihood of his election demonstrated that the police organization was “potentially corrupt.”

Referring to the Novichok attack by the suspected agents of Russian military intelligence, Sir Vince Cable said, “If this Russian gentleman were to become head of Interpol it would be an absolute insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack.”

He also added that it would be “a massive propaganda victory for the Putin regime” and “amount to accepting that Interpol has become a branch of the Russian mafia.”

The British Government also confirmed that it would not support the frontrunner’s promotion from his role as vice president.

On the other hand, in an open letter released on Monday, US senators said, “’Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists.” They also accused Prokopchuk of being “personally involved” in this strategy since being elected to Interpol’s executive committee.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had endorsed Kim Jong-Yang, a South Korean police official, to take the position of president at Interpol. Besides, Britain also supported him.

While tensions have been there between Britain and Moscow since the Salisbury attack, the US is against Russia for meddling in its 2016 election. Speculations have emerged that since both the countries share strained ties with Russia, they have smartly coalesced against the Moscow’s candidate and prevented his promotion from vice president.

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Nigel Farage Criticises Labour Leave over Second Brexit Referendum

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Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage, leader of the new Brexit party since 2019, aims for a “northern attack” on Labour leave voters. This is because he has never been in favour of the second Brexit referendum, believing that this would act as a “total insult” to the millions of Labour voters who voted Leave.

Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, asserted that the only way to respond to the challenges put forward by Farage was to call for a second referendum. Thereby, he asked his party’s support on this matter of contention. It came into notice that Watson’s main aim behind it was to pressurise the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, so that the second referendum could become a subject of utmost importance in Brexit talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Watson claimed that Farage’s way includes a backward looking brand of politics that would offer no solution. He said, “Labour won’t defeat Farage by being mealy-mouthed and sounding as if we half agree with him.”

“We won’t beat him unless we can inspire the millions crying out for a different direction. We will not win if we sit on the fence about the most crucial issue that has faced our country for a generation,” he added.

Thus, while opposing Nigel Farage, he asserted that both the Leavers and the Remainers must be entitled to a confirmatory referendum for a final say.

A fundamental back up based on proper values, that would demonstrate the voice and needs of the citizens is required and the Labour party would become an important way out from this existing crisis. In order to bring new values and to do the best for the country, the Labour party has begun to unite for people’s vote. They believed that the addition of second Brexit referendum might influence Farage’s lead by 3 percent. 

Despite the poll results a week ago where Farage’s new Brexit party was seen to be leading with 27 percent, Jeremy Corbyn neglected his political stance as a “simple populism”.

While Watson mocks Farage’s way out of the Brexit issue as inconceivable, the latter accused the Leave Labours for changing their minds over the withdrawal deal.

Nigel Farage asserted, “My priority as leader is to go into the Labour heartlands. It’s my intention to go round south Wales, the Midlands, the North, and absolutely lay it out there, the extent to which they are being sold out [on Brexit] by Labour. I now intend to wholeheartedly target Labour lies and dishonesty in the weeks ahead.”

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Lyra McKee: Violence in Derry Leads to Death of the Journalist

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Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee, one of the most acclaimed journalists of Northern Ireland, was allegedly shot dead by the activists of the dissident Republican group of the New IRA – that aims to oppose the British rule in the country.

Police has been looking for numerous suspects in relation to the death of McKee in the riots that broke out on Thursday. A group known as the New IRA “are likely to be the ones” responsible for her murder, said police.

In a hunt for weapons and ammunition, an intelligence-led operation took the law enforcement officials into Londonderry’s Creggan estate late on Thursday night. Violence broke out after police started raiding houses in Mulroy Park and Galliagh areas in Derry. More than 50 petrol bombs were thrown at the police and two vehicles were hijacked and set on fire.

Hamilton, a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said “I believe that this was orchestrated – orchestrated to a point that they just want to have violence and attack police.”

29-year-old McKee was a rising star in the field of investigative journalism and book publishing. She worked as an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer, a trade publication covering the media industry. She had received a number of honours in her lifetime and gained popularity for writing a heartbreaking and powerful letter to her 14-year-old self about growing up gay in a hateful environment in Belfast.

Her passion was to analyse the topics that were left behind by others and was a source of inspiration for other lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people, because of her views. She had written for many publications, including BuzzFeed, Private Eye, the Atlantic and Mosaic Science.

In a tweet in January, while describing Derry as a beautiful city, Lyra McKee revealed that she was in love with a woman from the city. Before her death, she was working on a book named, “The Lost Boys”, that was due to be published in 2020.

There has been a wave of shock and sympathy in the country after her death. Politicians have damned the ones responsible for the violence. The country’s six biggest political party leaders said that they have been “united in rejecting those responsible for this heinous crime”. They claimed that her murder was an attack on all the people of her community.

A mobile phone footage by an observer showed that a masked gunman started firing towards the police officers on the streets. Lyra McKee, who was standing near a 4×4 vehicle, was shot on the head.

Hamilton said, “She was taken away from the scene in a police Land Rover to Altnagelvin Hospital but unfortunately she has died.”

The people in the country claimed that the murder was an attack on their freedom and that they would stand in “solidarity with the people of Derry” in this tough situation. Prime Minister Theresa May also added that the McKee’s killing was “shocking and senseless” as she “died doing her job with great courage”.

While Lyra McKee’s death was heartbroken for her family, it also received a wide condemnation on a global level. Police said an inquiry against the suspects has been started to deliver justice to the lost soul.

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British Far-Right Groups & Promoters Banned on Facebook & Instagram

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Social media giant Facebook has banned various far-right groups and individuals for violating site rules, and spreading hatred and violence.

The banned groups and individuals include, The British National Party and its ex-leader Nick Griffin; Britain First, along with its leader Paul Golding and ex-deputy leader Jayda Fransen; English Defence League and its founder Paul Ray; Knights Templar International and its promoter Jim Dowson; National Front and its president Tony Martin; and an individual neo-Nazi, Jack Renshaw, who planned to murder a Labour MP.

All of these far-right groups and individuals have been removed from Facebook and Instgram. The company said it had to take such a serious action because the involved members were on a “violent or hateful mission”.

The social networking company’s policy does not allow groups or individuals that engage in “terrorist activity, organised hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking or organised violence or criminal activity”.

“Individuals and organisations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” the US firm’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“Under our dangerous individuals & organisations policy, we ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence. The individuals and organisations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on Facebook or Instagram.

“Posts and other content which expresses praise or support for these figures and groups will also be banned. Our work against organised hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organisations, pages, groups and content against our community standards,” the spokesperson added.

Moreover, any sort of praise or support for the named far-right groups or individuals would also be not allowed on either of the platform.

MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select committee, praised the ban, calling it “long overdue”.

“For too long social media companies have been facilitating extremist and hateful content online and profiting from the poison. They have particularly failed on far-right extremism as they don’t even have the same co-ordination systems for platforms to work together as they do on Islamist extremism,” she added.

Cooper also added financial penalties should be levied on firms that are not ready to remove violent or hateful content.

“We all know the appalling consequences there can be if hateful, violent and illegal content is allowed to proliferate,” she said.

The removal of far-right groups and individuals comes after the social media site said it would block “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism” on Facebook and Instagram.

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Day Four of Extinction Rebellion Protests Causes Serious Disruption in the Capital City

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It’s been four days since the protests against the government by Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists started in London.

The environmental protestors have pledged to continue protesting by maintaining roadblocks, which has led to “serious disruption” in the capital city. Nearly 400 people have been arrested as a part of the Extinction Rebellion protests while half of the London population remains affected by it.

Extinction Rebellion has emerged as a premier protest movement for climate change activists.  Thousands of people have been taking part in the civil-disobedience protest against the government and have blocked four landmarks in the capital – Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch. By disrupting the London transport, the protestors aim to bring attention to their cause.

The protests were an attempt to force the government to take stricter actions against growing climate changes and wildlife declines to avoid a “sixth mass extinction”.

The protestors had three main demands. Firstly, they asked to “Tell the truth” about “how deadly our situation is”, so that the citizens and businesses are aware of the cause and effects, and could take appropriate steps to avoid it.

Secondly, they wanted the government to cut the carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and that the global economy should run on half of the planet’s resources per year. Lastly, they demanded a citizen’s assembly to be set up to enact the long-term changes, as they did not trust the government for it. The group has vowed to keep up their acts of “non-violent civil disobedience” until all the three demands are met.

In order to prevent the activists from coordinating protests, Wi-Fi networks at the underground stations in London were jammed.  Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, acknowledged the motive behind the ongoing protests and accepted that proper steps need to be taken to resolve the problem. Mayor Sadiq Khan, while supporting the rights of the protestors, asked them to work peacefully with the police to minimize the disorder in the city.

John Apter, chairperson of Police Federation, criticised Khan for his views in favour of the protestors. He said, “The likes of Sadiq Khan should be supporting the police, especially when we are having to deal with rising crime on our streets.”

Amidst the chaos, where many have joined the Extinction Rebellion protest, a recent YouGov poll showed that 52 percent of the 3,561 adults stood against the protests while only a minuscule part of the population supported it.

The protests that initially started on Monday are likely to continue until next Friday.

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Calls to Revoke Brexit Likely to Increase with Six-month Extension

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Last updated on April 16th, 2019

Relying on the 11th hour, Britain’s habit of not throwing caution to the wind almost made them crash out of the European Union (EU). Now, with the EU agreeing for a flexible extension until Oct 31, a huge amount of uncertainty has once again surrounded Brexit.

Exploring the root cause of the problem, assurance over the Irish backstop has constantly been at war in the House of Commons. However, no solution has been reached even after such heated exchange. Besides, with the extension of Article 50, the plans to revoke the deal have significantly increased.

Though it is known that the Article 50 allows multiple extensions of the exit date only if all member states agree. But if the deal is not agreed within the allotted time, Britain will surely crash at the end of the period this time.

Correspondingly, even the Conservative MPs now fear that British PM Theresa May’s move to delay Brexit until the end of October will lead to the collapse of the agreement. Likewise, MPs from across the party believe that the Prime Minister’s decision has increased the chances for a second referendum or to scrap the deal altogether.

“I have been saying for weeks that Brexit is hanging on by its fingernails,” one MP from the Brexit Delivery Group, said in his statement given to Business Insider.

Another major issue as per Tory pro-Brexiteers is the span of time, which according to them will take Britain away from the reality and result in the Brexit being called off eventually.

One Conservative MP said: “There has been a significant shift in the conversation around revocation. It is interesting to see how many of my colleagues are now openly discussing it,” referring to the talks around scrapping May’s withdrawal agreement.

As things stand, the congregation of Brexit clearly portrays that this Parliament will once again go all guns blazing at May’s deal. Besides, to draw more clarity on the future of Britain, the Commons has now four major options to choose from – Reach an accord and leave the EU, cancel Brexit and remain a member of the EU, hold national elections, or hold another Brexit referendum.

Clearly, there is growing support calling for scrapping the deal. Nonetheless, with uncertainty synonymous to Brexit, there are still a lot of things that can happen in the coming months.

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