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UK and Russia to Replace Debarred Diplomats Following Novichok Attack



Sergi Skripal

Last updated on February 17th, 2019

Britain and Russia are reportedly in talks to replace the 23 diplomats debarred from the UK after the Salisbury Novichok attack, MPs have learned.

The poisoning attack which took place last year was an attempt to assassinate the former Russian spy Sergi Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, who critically fell ill after the poisoning. The same poison though claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess, who along with her partner Charlie Rowley, fell ill on 30 June after coming into contact with the chemical. Sturgess could not survive and died just over a week later.

Considering which, the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May took a major step and announced expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, citing the incident an ” “unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK”.

The government at that time also stated that expulsions were just the beginning of the actions against Russia, but did nothing afterward. Therefore, appearing before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Bill Browder, a prominent critic of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, condemned Britain’s lack of action.

“What has happened? 23 diplomats were expelled from this country and nothing else. Nothing else,” Browder told the cross-party committee. He added, “The United States sanctioned people, and sanctioned Russia for using chemical weapons in Salisbury, and the chemical weapons attack didn’t occur in the United States, it occurred in Great Britain.”

Further expressing his anguish, he cited, “But this country has not done anything. By the way, there is now negotiations for 23 more Russian diplomats to return. So, in the end, with exception of this expulsion of diplomats, there have been no consequences for Russia committing an atrocity in Salisbury.”

Conservative Bob Seely is also pushing for legislation to force individuals such as lawyers, politicians, and lobbyists who work for foreign governments, such as Russia, to declare and register their interests.

The MP of the Isle of Wright questioned Bowder, who supports his bid for a Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and asked for the information of about 23 diplomats, including where they had come from, and if should be known to the public.

“It was announced by the Russians that they are in negotiation with the British Government to replace those 23 diplomats,” the American-born British financier revealed.

Two Russian nationals known by their aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, have been accused of traveling to the UK in order to assassinate Skripal with Novichok.

Besides, even the evidence collected point out that two officers were from Russian military intelligence service, the GRU. Therefore, with the proofs against Russia, reconsideration of 23 diplomats is a highly controversial move taken by the British government.


Psychic Uri Geller Threatens to Stop Brexit using Telepathy



Uri Geller

The popular Israeli-British psychic Uri Geller, who is particularly famous for his trademark spoon-bending trick using just his psychic powers, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, saying that he would stop the Brexit “telepathically”.

Geller urged May via his letter to stop the Brexit as he felt “psychically and very strongly” that most of the UK citizens, including him, are against the idea of Britain leaving the European Union.

“I feel psychically and very strongly that most British people do not want Brexit. I love you very much but I will not allow you to lead Britain into Brexit. As much as I admire you, I will stop you telepathically from doing this — and believe me I am capable of executing it. Before I take this drastic course of action, I appeal to you to stop the process immediately while you still have a chance,” Uri Geller wrote.

Geller rose to prominence in the 1970s, when he performed an act based on his psychic powers and telepathy skills that have been tested by the CIA too.

He is currently residing in Israel, but used to live in Sonning – an area in May’s Maidenhead constituency. In his letter, he reminded May that she had visited him at his home before becoming the PM.

“You visited my home in Sonning, where you also lived. Three years before you became Prime Minister, I predicted your victory when I showed you Winston Churchill’s spoon on my Cadillac, which I asked you to touch,” the psychic wrote.

To prove the seriousness of his intention, Uri Geller also reminded May about his previous telepathies.

“I have influenced many high ranking officials around the world. On one occasion, Senator Clayborne Pell, then the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, directed me to bombard the mind of Yuli Vorontsov, the Soviet Union’s chief nuclear negotiator, to influence him telepathically to sign the Nuclear Arms Reduction treaty, which I did successfully,” the illusionist wrote.

Geller also claimed that he is using his mind power to ensure that “Jeremy Corbyn never gets the keys to Number 10 Downing Street”.

“I will ensure that they bend out of all proportion to ensure that he never takes up residence there,” Uri Geller wrote.

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EU Leaders Agree on Article 50 Deadline Extension



Article 50 - May

European Union leaders on Thursday agreed to extend the deadline of the Article 50, allowing Prime Minister Theresa May and the Parliament to get the deal through.

An extension until 22 May has been offered by the EU, only if the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU is approved by the MPs next week. If MPs fail to approve the deal third time, the extension will only be applicable till 12 April, giving the UK enough time to “indicate a way forward”.

As per May, MPs face a “clear choice” as they would vote for the third time on her Brexit deal next week.

“At this point we would either leave with no deal, or put forward an alternative plan,” May said, adding that the MPs would face a prospect of participating in European elections, which according to her is “wrong”.

May said she would be “working hard to build support for getting the deal through“. Referring to her last night’s speech, in which she blamed the MPs for the Brexit delay, she said “Last night I expressed my frustration and I know that MPs are frustrated too. They have difficult jobs to do.

“I hope that we can all agree we are now at the moment of decision. And I will make every effort to ensure that we are able to leave with a deal and move our country forward.”

May brushed off the idea of revoking Article 50, saying that people of the country voted to exit and that their decision would be respected. A petition calling to revoke Article 50 on the Parliament website has been signed more than two million times.

Speaking at a press conference after the deadlines were extended, European Council President Donald Tusk said that until April 12, “all options will remain open and the cliff-edge date will be delayed.”

“The UK government will still have a choice of a deal, no deal, a long extension, or revoking Article 50. If the UK has not decided to hold European elections by April 12, the option of a long extension will automatically become impossible,” he said.

On Wednesday, May had made a formal request for a delay in the Article 50 process by June 30. However, when she was asked by the European leaders on Thursday that how she intended to move further in case the deal is rejected for a third time next week, she had no answer, European diplomats said.

The leaders of 27 nations of the EU, made the decision to extend the deadline on Thursday, without the presence of May. But, Tusk said, May was consulted throughout and also agreed on the decision.

Tusk added that the atmosphere of the talks “was much better than I expected, and better than for example in December – not only because of the weather but also because of the mood. But frankly speaking, our mood is not the most important thing here”.

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May Turns to DUP Hoping to Perfuse Voters’ Void on Her Brexit Deal



Theresa May

Turning one page after the other, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May after losing vote on her Brexit deal that too despite conforming to the ‘legally binding changes’, will now embark on a final attempt to win Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) support.

As it stands, the MPs have already voted for the extension of the Article 50, which foresees Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) on 29 March. However, with the next meaningful vote is due within a few days’ time, government sources said they hoped that DUP backing could create “a sense of momentum”.

“We will only bring the deal back if we are confident that enough of our colleagues, and the DUP, are prepared to support it, so that we can get it through parliament. We’re not going to keep presenting it if we haven’t moved the dial,” said the chancellor, Philip Hammond.

Hammond was among the senior ministers who met DUP politicians, including Nigel Dodds on Friday. For Irish party, DUP, the biggest concern as for the entire nation is based on the assurance May’s deal can provide to prevent the return of hard border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

Meanwhile, the EU leaders are set to meet on Thursday, in order to discuss the extension of Brexit. Technically as it stands, the extension is not possible until 30 June because of the upcoming European parliamentary elections, which will be held from 23 May – 26 May.

May’s last deal was rejected by 149 votes last week, so she needs to convince 75 MPs to change their minds. Therefore, using an article in the Sunday Telegraph, she even warned MPs that if they failed to support her deal this week, “we will not leave the EU for many months, if ever”. The move though sounded absurd because such a protocol only raises a speculation that even May is not confident about her next move.

What’s hard to understand in this scenario is if May is really offering the ‘legally binding changes’, or hoaxing them on a mass level to get her deal through?

Contrarily, whatever be the reality, the move has already started yielding positive changes for May. McVey, who resigned in opposition to her deal and has already voted it down twice, said she would “hold her nose” and support the deal now. Similarly, another senior backbench rebel, Daniel Kawczynski, has publically stated that he would also back the deal.

Even the Downing street said that it is focused on the DUP as the best hope of winning over the bulk of European Research Group (ERG), and is trying to convince Labour MPs firmly against another referendum.

Britain certainly doesn’t have a lot of time galore to draw out a conclusion on a broader level. Therefore, keeping in mind the last minute moves, and May’s warnings, it seems that the nation will get over the line using bids like turning to DUP, and warning the MPs to gain their support.

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Uncertainty of Support from Democratic Unionist Party Still Hangs Around May’s Collar



Democratic Unionist Party

Sources revealed on Monday, there is an uncertainty if Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) would be supporting Theresa May’s withdrawal deal. The support to May’s deal is mandatory prior to the crucial meeting with the EU leaders on Thursday. 

The speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow rejected the vote on May’s withdrawal deal yesterday. In an unexpected turn of events, Bercow said that he won’t be allowing a third “meaningful vote” in the approaching days on “substantially the same” law. The reason being provided is that the MP’s have denied the same in the previous week.

Bercow mentioned a meeting of 1604, stating that the defeated motion needs to be changed before bringing it in the parliamentary session. He also noted that the second Brexit vote was substantially different to the first; however, any new votes should be different from the previous vote.

The party resources said that it was “extremely unlikely” that the Democratic Unionist Party would be supporting the withdrawal deal of the prime minister before the EU meeting. This was stated following a day of serious talks with the ministers and senior-most civil servant of the government.

As per Jim Wells, one of the assembly members listed by the party, the DUP’s stand is still uncertain. The party would be backing the deal if the government has made enough changes on border insurance policy.

With support of Democratic Unionist Party still unclear, the news definitely comes as a shock to the government who had expected the support of the party. If May’s deal had been approved by the parliament, the government has already decided to appeal a delay of three months to get the rule book ready.

In order to get her vote passed, May needs to make necessary changes on the deal to present it to the parliament. Following that, she needs the present deal before the MPs again and needs more than 75 MPs along with those who voted for her in the previous week.

The attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, has assured that the party and the prime minister would make sure that the UK is not stuck in the Northern Ireland backstop forever.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said the main emphasis of the party was now on reassuring the DUP that every possible effort will be made so that new barriers do not develop between Northern Ireland and Great Britain if the backstop is cited.

It can be said that the support of the Democratic Unionist Party is required to get the deal through and present it to the EU.

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A Briton Arrested for Supporting New Zealand Mosque Attacks on Social Media



New Zealand mosque attacks

A British man from Oldham in Greater Manchester has been arrested for creating and circulating a social media post that supported the gruesome New Zealand mosque attacks.

The mass shootings that took place in two of the churches in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand on Friday shook the world.

The 24-year-old man allegedly shared a social media post that directly referenced and appeared to sympathise with the tragedy in Christchurch that killed at least 50 people. The man was arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.

The atrocious attack killed innocent children as young as three, along with other who were a part of Friday prayers in the mosque. More than 30 people were injured in the attack and remain in the hospital in a critical condition.

Police said, “This is a very difficult time for people. The events in New Zealand have reverberated around the world. Many people are in deep shock and are worried. ​

“It is at times like this that, as a community, we stand together. ​Where the law permits and people cross the line, we will take robust action, which may include arrest and prosecution.”

Following the New Zealand mosque attacks, Brenton Harrison Tarrant – 28-year-old man – was arrested.

On his appearance in the court, Tarrant made a gesture with his hands that seemed to be a symbol of white supremacy. He has been charged with murder. More charges are likely to follow, police said.

Families of victims killed in the New Zealand mosque attacks have been waiting anxiously for the bodies to be released, as the Islamic law says bodies should be cleaned and buried as soon as possible after the death.

Mike Bush, Police Commissioner, said, “We have to be absolutely clear on the cause of death and confirm their identity before that can happen,” he said.

“But we are so aware of the cultural and religious needs. So we are doing that as quickly and as sensitively as possible.” 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a few bodies would be released on Sunday evening and by Wednesday, hopefully, all the remaining bodies would be released.

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