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UK will Participate in European Elections, Says David Lidington

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European Elections

Last updated on May 17th, 2019

Despite Prime Minister May’s continuous efforts to avoid being a part of the European elections, the country will be demonstrating its active participation in the same on May 23. This is because the cross-party Brexit talks that took place on Tuesday to find a way forward on the Brexit deal, largely failed to reach an agreement.  

May’s effective deputy David Lidington announced that the government was “redoubling our efforts” to get the Brexit deal approved by July so that the elected MEPs would not have to take their seats. Expressing dissatisfaction towards the government’s handling of the Brexit deal, Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said, “Nothing has been agreed yet. Discussions today were very robust and we are having further meetings this week where we hope to make some progress.”

“The Government needs to move on its red lines and we expect to make compromises, but without a government that’s willing to compromise, it’s difficult to see how any agreement can be reached, and I think the Government is aware of that,” Bailey added after a three hour-long meeting.

She further stressed, “There certainly is a willingness on both sides to move towards some sort of consensus and we certainly need to try.”

Bailey criticising the government, said that despite so many defeats in the past, there has been no significant changes in the positioning of the policy.

“Our policy position has not changed since the last Labour conference, where a public vote was one of many options on the table, certainly to avoid a Tory deal, a bad Tory Brexit, or a no-deal situation.

“Certainly we’ve been exploring the issue of a confirmatory vote in these discussions, but as yet nothing has been agreed,” she added.  

A representative from Downing Street claimed that, Tuesday’s meeting was “constructive and detailed”, while the follow up meeting recognising the need to resolve the existing Brexit deadlock in the Parliament would continue on Wednesday.

Amidst the continued Brexit talks, Theresa May has largely saved herself from being ousted for another year as she had earlier survived a vote of no confidence in December. She had claimed to leave the office once Brexit deal becomes a success, which is a clear contradiction to her situation in the present scenario.

The Tory’s poor performance in local elections in England, where they lost more than 1,300 seats also raised calls for May’s resignation. With the approaching European elections, May has been experiencing immense pressure to set a departure date.

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Diamond Princess: UK Repatriates Its Citizens from Coronavirus Stuck Cruise

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diamond princess, coronavirus

Stepping aboard on cruise Diamond Princess, no one would have had in their minds that coronavirus outbreak would leave them strangled for days. Stuck in Japan with no immediate help, dozens of Britons have finally arrived at Arrowe Park Hospital in the UK, where they will be quarantined for two weeks.

A woman amongst 30 British passengers and two Irish citizens, who returned home, gestured a heart sign with her hands in jubilation. Besides, another gave an “okay” signal through a coach window. All of them will undergo medical checks in an accommodation kept separate from the main hospital entrance building in Wirral.

The commuters in three buses wore masks, while medical professionals were seen in white hazmat suits. Arrowe Park’s chief executive, Janelle Holmes said that the new arrivals would be “safe, well-managed and comfortable”.

The coronavirus has already left hundreds dead and thousands infected, with a possible vaccination still not known. The 32 evacuees took off from the Haneda airport in Tokyo late on Friday, and landed at Boscombe Down Ministry of Defence base near Salisbury, Wiltshire. All tested negative before boarding the flight.

On Diamond Princess, some 634 passengers and crew caught the SARS-like illness — the numbers comprising more than half of the cases reported outside China. The news came, as Italy reported its second death from coronavirus.

Among Britons, Alan and Vanessa Sandford said: “I think I might struggle a bit with this second lot of 14 days. You can’t get on with your life, everything’s on hold, and I’ve got this certificate that says I’m negative for the virus and nobody on the aircraft is going to be anything other than negative, so it just seems excessive.”

“But I understand as well that people are nervous about having people back in the country,” he added.

In the UK, some 5,885 people have been tested for coronavirus, of which only 9 tested positive.

When will the coronavirus outbreak stop? When will the pace of life return to normal? When will the virus stop affecting the global economies?

These are just some of the questions that have the word desperation hidden in them. And every time a report claims death or a country reports presence of coronavirus, the hope for a possible solution becomes even more impassable.

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Storm Dennis: Weather Destruction to Double Up with Rain and Floods

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Storm Dennis: Weather Destruction to Double Up with Rain and Floods

Life for the UK appears to be getting dramatic with time, as it prepares for the second weekend of weather destruction. The country is expected to be battered by storm Dennis, which is expected to hit with winds of nearly 70mph and more than a month’s rain could fall in some places in just two days.

Hundreds of homes are at a risk of flooding again, but the experts have warned that the damage could be much more than the harm done by storm Ciara, last weekend. Amber and yellow warning signs for rain and winds were in place across the UK.

Forecasters have predicted that the entire Yorkshire could experience up to 80mm of rain in just 48 hours. On Saturday, the military was being sent to Calderdale, West Yorkshire to support and boost the preparations for the disaster. The Calderdale council said that his teams were preparing hard for storm Dennis.

The resources, however, were stretched due to the impact of last weekend’s storm, and additional assistance was called from the 4th Infantry Brigade. The council said that the troops will be supporting organizations, residents and business on ground.

Meanwhile, hundreds of flights were cancelled by British Airways and easyJet, as well as from London Luton Airport, for safety reasons. The two airlines called their passengers to check their websites for latest updates.

“We are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of the disruption for our customers and to arrange alternative travel,” said a spokeswoman for easyJet, which has cancelled 234 flights.

However, British Airways said that most of their flights would “operate as planned”, but they were facing disruptions as “all airlines [were] flying to and from the UK today”. They stated, “We are merging a small number of Heathrow short-haul flights to the same destination and using larger aircraft where possible to minimise disruption.”

The Met Office also warned of a “danger to life” due to potential flooding in some locations. “Homes and businesses are likely to be flooded, causing damage to some buildings,” the forecaster warned. The country is expected to witness rainfall of up to 120mm, which is more than that usually falls in a month.

While the storm Dennis is yet to arrive, the country is already coping up with the impact of storm Ciara, which flooded 800 homes and left half a million people without electricity. Several parts still lack proper facilities for protection from floods, including Yorkshire. Citing that, the safety of people remains under an even larger risk.

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Former Goldman Sachs Employee – Rishi Sunak Succeeds Sajid Javid as Chancellor

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Sajid Javid

The City of Westminster has been taken aback by the resignation of Sajid Javid amid the ongoing cabinet reshuffles by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The ex-Chancellor rejected the orders of Johnson to fire his team of aides. He added that such a condition could never be accepted by any “self-respecting minister” and that his advisers had been working “incredibly hard”, so he could not think of them being replaced.

The resignation letter of Javid reads, “I believe it is important as leaders to have trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with.”

Succeeding Sajid Javid will be former Goldmann Sachs employee – Rishi Sunak, who successfully entered the Parliament in 2015. Prior to taking up this position, the 39-year-old British politician was serving as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury since July 2019.

The takeover is remarkable for someone who was serving as just a junior housing minister seven months ago.

The news of Sajid Javid’s resignation comes as a shock as the ex-Chancellor had to deliver his first budget next month. He has taken the appointment of Rishi Sunak in an optimistic sense, saying that Mr Sunak and the rest of the government has his “full support”. From here on, the Chancellor and Prime Minister will be having a joint team of economic advisers.

Besides this major change in Chancellor position, the cabinet is witnessing several modifications. Former Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is serving as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Baroness Morgon has been replaced by new culture secretary – Paymaster General Oliver Dowden.

Among others leaving the government are Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom and Housing Minister Esther McVey. With this reshuffling, the strength of women in the full cabinet has dropped from seven to six. At a time, when men hold majority positions in the UK Cabinet, this plunge raises serious questions about gender disparity in power positions.

Moreover, tensions between Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid state that the former was more interested in gaining political control and did not consider keeping valuable personnel, which is certainly not expected from the Prime Minister of any country.

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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Boris Johnson Supports US Peace Plan

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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

 A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson has affirmed the PM’s decision to support the US Peace Plan about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict along with the two-state solution in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two prime ministers had met for a discussion over improving trade between the two countries and advancing regional peace efforts. Proposing a peace plan for the conflict last week, the US President, Donald Trump referred to the creation of a Palestinian state with a capital in east Jerusalem. This plan was rejected by the Palestinian leaders, the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Organization.

As per the Prime Minister’s Office, Johnson put forth that the UK would support an internationally recognised two-state solution.

Right after releasing the plan, Trump met Johnson, who considered the proposed solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be “a positive step”. As per Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, the plan was “clearly a serious proposition, reflecting a lot of time and effort.”

Foreign Office Minister Andrew Morrison rejected the plan on the grounds that the US must be given proper time to consider its proposed plan. He added that “this is not our plan” and Britain was not delivering full support to it. Addressing the parliament, Morrison said, “Of course we welcome this plan. This doesn’t mean we endorse its contents.”

Becoming the first trading partner of the UK post Brexit, Israel has shown its future trade prospects with the UK. After the US and China, the UK is now the third largest trading associate of Israel. Moreover, Israel and the UK are working on multiple national security issues currently.

Prior to the UN Security Council vote scheduled for June 2020, the UN draft resolution associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has softened its criticism towards the Peace Plan proposed by Trump. The draft recently released does not mention the US as the propositor. Although using a milder tone, the latest draft would not necessarily avoid a US veto in the coming days.

Post the official execution of Brexit, Johnson’s support to the US peace plan can be considered as a tactic to remain in the good books of the US President as the decision of trade deal depends on the US. Based on the UK’s previous statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is evident that most policies introduced in the past were taken by the country after considering the sensitiveness of its relations with moderate Arab allies.

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Storm Ciara: Gusty Wind and Floods Disturb Pace of Life Across UK

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Storm Ciara: Gusty Wind and Floods Disturb Pace of Life Across UK

Causing severe disruption and rattling the pace of life across the UK, gusty winds of storm Ciara have knocked down properties, led to cancellation of trains, flights and even sporting events until now.

The stormy winds blowing at a speed of more than 90mph have also reportedly resulted in the loss of power connection in some areas. And the disturbance is likely to bring a major drop in temperatures as well. As per the reports, there is a considerable chance of blizzards in Northern Ireland and Scotland along with 20cm of snow.

The Met office has issued yellow warnings for wind and snow for a major part of Scotland and informed that the warnings will stay in place for until midnight on Tuesday. “It’s going to stay very unsettled. We have got colder air coming through the UK and will be feeling a real drop in temperatures,” Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said.

Destruction by Storm Ciara

As reported, several communities in the north of England suffered because of floods caused by the storm. The list of places included Appleby in Cumbria, Bury in Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire.

By Sunday evening more than 220 flood warnings stayed active across England. Besides, transportation services were also hit as no trains ran on the west coast line between Manchester and Scotland.

Unfortunately, Lancashire was in the pick of the things with as many as 192 reports of flooding coming from Blackpool, Whalley, Longton and Rossendale. In West Yorkshire, the fire service said it attended 106 incidents and received 671 emergency calls about flooding in Calder Valley, Kirklees, Bradford and Leeds.

People in Cader Valley also said that the fast blowing winds and floods swept away cars and engulfed defences that had been set up at a cost of tens of millions of pounds since flooding back in 2015.

“When we got up this morning it was evidently flooding from eight to 9am but within an hour or two the river was about to breach its banks and abandoned cars were being swept away,” said Ben Myers, an author in the Calderdale town of Mytholmroyd who has written about the impact of flooding.

Meanwhile in Scotland, 62 flood warnings remained in place as of Sunday evening. And a part of cafe and a guest house collapsed into a river in Hawick in the Borders. The Police later informed that no one got injured in the incident.

Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) said, Storm Ciara could cause a further flooding risk following river embankments being broken on Sunday. The blueprint of the storm has suggested that even more difficulties would arise, and a heavy snowfall is expected from about 08:00 GMT.

To tackle with the situation a response team has been set up at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre in South Queensferry. “We are also being told to expect snow and high winds throughout Monday and on Tuesday morning, so there is the potential for significant disruption on the trunk road network, as well as other modes of transport,” Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said.

Storm Ciara has potentially damaged properties and disturbed the pace of human lives across the UK. But the damage control across Britain has minimized the risk to life. Yet it is still important that people keep on checking the latest information before they leave their homes in order to stay safe from any risk to their lives.

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