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  • UK PM Johnson sends photocopied letter to EU asking for Brexit delay - S.Times

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union on Saturday asking for a Brexit delay and sent another message in which he said he did not want an extension, the Sunday Times reported.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 17:06:56 -0400
  • The Latest: Syria Kurds say they will withdraw from border

    Golocal247.com news

    A senior Syrian Kurdish official says his forces will pull back from a border area in accordance with a U.S.-brokered deal after Turkey allows the evacuation of its remaining fighters and civilians from a besieged town there. Redur Khalil, a senior Syrian Democratic Forces official, said Saturday the plan for evacuation from the town of Ras al-Ayn is set for the following day, if there are no delays. Khalil said a partial evacuation happened earlier Saturday from Ras al-Ayn after much stalling and with U.S. coordination.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:38:24 -0400
  • Russian Media Cheers Trump’s Moves in Syria: ‘Putin Won the Lottery!’

    Golocal247.com news

    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyPresident Trump has boasted he’s “getting a lot of praise” for his abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops out of northern Syria, abandoning the Kurds—America’s longstanding allies—to Turkey’s incursion. On the home front, the controversial move has been met with criticism on both sides of the political aisle, but the reaction in Moscow was far from mixed. As Trump uncorked chaos in the Middle East, champagne tops were likely popping at the Kremlin.“Putin won the lottery! Russia’s unexpected triumph in the Middle East,” raved Mikhail Rostovsky in his article for the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets. “Those who were convinced of Trump’s uselessness for Russia ought to think again...What Washington got out of this strange move is completely unclear. To the contrary, what Moscow gained from this is self-evident...Trump’s mistake in Syria is the unexpected ‘lottery win’ that further strengthened Moscow’s position in the Middle East and undermined America’s prestige as a rational political player and a reliable partner.”  Maksim Yusin, the editor of international politics at the leading Russian business daily Kommersant, was amazed by the ongoing stream of inexplicable actions by the American president that benefit the Kremlin. “All of this benefits the Russian Federation,” Yusin marveled. “You know, I’ve been watching Trump’s behavior lately and get seditious thoughts: maybe he really is a Russian agent? He is laboring so hard to strengthen the international image of Russia in general—and Putin in particular...In this situation, Americans—to their chagrin and our enjoyment—are the only losers in this situation.”“This is such a pleasure,” grinned Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s state television program 60 Minutes. “Russian soldiers have taken an American base under our complete control, without a fight!” Skabeeva’s co-host Evgeny Popov added: “Suddenly, we have defeated everyone.” Incredulously, Skabeeva pointed out: “This is an American base—and they just ran away! Trump ran away!”The U.S. Spoiled a Deal That Might Have Saved the Kurds, Former Top Official Says“It’s been a long time since America has been humiliated this way,” gloated political analyst Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak, “They ran away in shame! I can’t recall such a scenario since Vietnam.” He added: “For us, this is of great interest, because this is a key region where energy prices are being determined. That is a shining cherry on top.” Political scientist Andrey Nikulin concurred: “This is sad for America. A smaller-scale version of what happened in Vietnam.”Appearing on the nightly television show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, political analyst Evgeny Satanovsky recounted many ways in which Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria and abandon the Kurds has hurt the image and standing of the United States: “America betrayed everyone...Trump also strengthened the anti-American mood in Turkey, when he promised to destroy the Turkish economy.” Satanovsky opined that now any economic problems or currency fluctuations in Turkey can be blamed directly on the United States, prompting textile, tobacco, steel and other industries to turn away from America. “Anti-Americanism in Turkey is off the charts,” Satanovsky pointed out, “American politics are tangled in their own shoelaces... America is successfully self-eliminating from the region.”The timing also struck the Russians as incredibly fortuitous and inexplicable. “They lost their only chance to remove [Syrian President] Bashar Assad,” exclaimed Russian lawmaker Oleg Morozov, appearing on 60 Minutes, “They were only half a step away!”     President Trump’s primitive letter to the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also delighted the Russians. Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s 60 Minutes, sarcastically pointed out that President Trump seems to be unfamiliar with even the most basic manners: “We should send a message to the American president: ‘Don’t call people names. Don’t fight. Don’t pick your nose. It’s nasty and unacceptable.’” Host Evgeny Popov said that the Turkish president threw Trump’s letter in the trash and remarked: “But who wouldn’t? The only thing missing was for Trump to call Erdoğan ‘dude.’” For his part, President Erdoğan said he “cannot forget” the letter in question and ominously promised that Turkey would “do what’s necessary” concerning the letter “when the time comes.”Discussing the exchanges between President Trump and President Erdoğan, Leonid Kalashnikov, Chairman of Russian State Duma Committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States affairs, commented: “I don’t care that those two clowns write such letters to each other. You can only pity them. Is it better for us that the Americans left Syria? Of course it is! Will we make deals with Erdoğan? Of course we will.”   Pence Just Ratified All of Turkey’s War Aims in SyriaPundits all over the Russian state media pondered out loud about the merits of Trump’s self-proclaimed “infinite wisdom” of pulling the U.S. forces out of northern and eastern Syria, concluding that the decision was an enormous blow to America’s standing, undermining its current and potential alliances. On the other hand, Turkey is delighted with the outcome. Vice President Mike Pence gave Erdoğan everything the Turkish side has been attempting to achieve, in exchange for a promised five-day pause in the offensive. A Turkish official told Middle East Eye, “We got exactly what we wanted out of the meeting.” At the conclusion of the five-day pause, Erdoğan will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.Appearing on 60 Minutes, Franz Klintsevich, a member of the Federation Council's Committee on Defense and Security, declared that Russia will take full advantage of America’s withdrawal from the Middle East, becoming a top player in the region. Klintsevich argued that America’s withdrawal from Syria represented Russia’s “global victory” and “demonstrated the absolute superiority of Russia’s arms, diplomacy and foreign policy.”During the same show, political analyst Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak was overcome with gratitude: “I look at Trump and think: ‘May God grant him good health—and another term. This is a great situation for Russia...We can practically sit back and reap the dividends from what others are doing...Meanwhile, Trump is yet to make a single good deal, which is why I wish him good health, may he flourish and get re-elected...Trump is a great candidate. I applaud him...For America, this isn’t a very good president.”To the contrary—for Russia, Trump’s presidency is a gift that keeps on giving. The Kremlin’s propagandists see no acceptable alternative to Trump amongst any viable presidential candidates in the United States. Complaining about prevailing anti-Russian attitudes, Vladimir Soloviev—host of the nightly television show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev—sarcastically surmised: “So it looks like we’ll have to elect your president—again.”  Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:28:04 -0400
  • Egypt: 4 killed when shells hit 2 houses in north Sinai

    EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Egyptian security officials and medics say shells hit two houses in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, killing at least four civilians, including a child. Last week, nine people of the same family were killed and six wounded when a shell hit a truck carrying civilians in the town of Bir al-Abd. Egypt is battling an Islamic State-led insurgency in the Sinai that intensified after the military overthrew an Islamist president in 2013.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:27:39 -0400
  • British PM to seek extension after MPs back Brexit delay

    Golocal247.com news

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to write to Brussels seeking a Brexit deadline extension after MPs voted Saturday to demand he delay Britain's October 31 departure date. In a phonecall with European Council President Donald Tusk after the vote, Johnson said he would send the letter mandated by MPs to seek more time, a EU source told AFP. "The PM confirmed that the letter would be sent to Tusk today," the source said.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:05:36 -0400
  • Johnson Asks EU for Brexit Delay, But Hopes He Won’t Need It

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson is sending the letter to Brussels he never wanted to write.Bound by a law passed by opposition Members of Parliament, he will formally ask the European Union to delay Brexit until Jan. 31, according to a person familiar with the matter. At the same time, he pledged to push on with his plans to leave by his Oct. 31 deadline.Johnson spoke to European Council President Donald Tusk this evening and confirmed that the letter would be sent before tonight’s deadline, an EU official said. Tusk will then start consulting EU leaders on how to react, which may take a few days. A unanimous vote is required to grant an extension.After Saturday’s defeat in Parliament, Johnson never got his chance to see if MPs would support his deal. He now plans to push through the legislation in less than two weeks. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill could begin its journey as soon as Tuesday, after Johnson makes another attempt on Monday to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his deal, making the extension unnecessary.If he succeeds, he will be able to meet the deadline and then push for a general election. If he fails, he risks plunging the country into a political crisis that could see Brexit delayed and the country vote once again on its EU membership.Based on how MPs voted today and their comments during the debate, Johnson might still have a chance. It could come down to a single vote.To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Ross in Brussels at tross54@bloomberg.net;Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Heather Harris at hharris5@bloomberg.net, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:55:13 -0400
  • On Day 1,001, Trump Made It Clear: Being 'Presidential' Is Boring

    Golocal247.com news

    DALLAS -- A one point during one of his most unpresidential of days, President Donald Trump insisted that he knew how to be presidential."It's much easier being presidential, it's easy," he told a stadium full of more than 20,000 boisterous supporters in MAGA hats and T-shirts cheering his every word Thursday night. "All you have to do is act like a stiff."He buttoned his suit coat, pursed his lips, squared his shoulders and dropped his arms rigidly at his sides. "Ladies and gentlemen of Texas," he then droned in a sleep-inducing staccato monotone the way he imagined most of the other 44 presidents had done. "It is a great honor to be with you this evening."The crowd loved it, roaring with laughter. Transforming back into the unpresidential president America has come to know, Trump added, "And everybody would be out of here so fast! You wouldn't come in in the first place!" Being presidential, he was saying, is so boring. Who wants that?After 1,000 days in office, Trump has redefined what it means to be presidential. On the 1,001st day of his tenure, which was Thursday, all pretense of normalcy went out the window. It was a day when he boasted of saving "millions of lives" by temporarily stopping a Middle East war that he effectively allowed to start in the first place, then compared the combatants to children who had to be allowed to slug each other to get it out of their system.It was a day when he announced without any evident embarrassment that officials of the federal government that answer to him had scoured the country for a site for next year's Group of 7 summit meeting and determined that the perfect location, the very best site in all the United States, just happened to be a property he owned in Florida.It was a day when he sent out his top aide, an adviser who has served as "acting" White House chief of staff for nearly 10 months without ever being granted the respect of earning the title outright, to try to quell the whole impeachment furor, only to have him essentially admit the quid pro quo that the president had so adamantly denied.It was a day that ended with a rally where one of the warmup acts, the Texas lieutenant governor, declared that liberals "are not our opponents, they are our enemy," and the president called the speaker of the House "crazy," a rival candidate "very dumb," a House committee chairman a "fraud" and the governor of another state a "crackpot."After 1,000 days of the Trump Show, the capacity for surprise has long since diminished and comments or actions that would have set off days of front-page coverage and howls from Capitol Hill now barely register. The shocker that consumed Twitter three hours ago is so quickly overwhelmed by the next one that it seems impossible to digest any single moment to assess its meaning or consequences."Unconventional" was the word the president himself used repeatedly Thursday.He used it specifically to describe his let-them-go-to-war policy with respect to two U.S. allies, Turkey and the Kurds, followed by a cease-fire days later. All part of the plan, he assured Americans. Just a little "tough love" to get the two sides to resolve their differences.Never mind that their differences are nowhere near solved, even as bodies are strewn in northern Syria; Kurds are forced out of their homes; and Russia, Iran, Bashar Assad and even the Islamic State are celebrating."We were a little bit unconventional," Trump explained, offering his foreign policy doctrine in a setting that was itself a little bit unconventional, a Louis Vuitton workshop near Keene, Texas, where they make Parisian bags while cattle graze outside. The president had stopped by in between a Fort Worth, Texas, fundraiser and his Dallas rally to cut the ribbon on the new factory as a favor to Bernard Arnault, the luxury industry giant, bringing French sensibility to the Lone Star State."Louis Vuitton -- a name I know very well," Trump said to laughter, even as he mispronounced the name he knows well. "It cost me a lot of money over the years."Fortunately for him, his Trump National Doral near Miami will soon have plenty of new business as the leaders of not just France but also Germany, Britain, Canada, Italy and Japan -- and maybe Russia -- will descend on the club next spring along with thousands of officials, diplomats, journalists and others who attend each year's G-7 summit meeting.Trump left it to his staff to announce the selection, as if it were somehow an independent decision, and they insisted that he actually would not make money because he would provide the property "at cost." The notion that it might make the United States look like all those countries it used to lecture about self-dealing was of no concern. The president knew it would be controversial, his top aide said, and boldly went ahead anyway regardless of the anticipated blowback, as if it were an act of political courage.By now, the notions of what is presidential and what is unconventional have taken on new meaning, long since divorced from anything that came before. On the 1,001st day of the Trump presidency, he charged forward, writing new rules for himself and the country.If to the outside world it looked like his presidency was unraveling and the president himself melting down, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week, to Trump, it was just another day in the never-ending battle with convention.The chief narrator of the battle, of course, remains its chief protagonist. At the American Airlines Center on Thursday night, Trump once again relived election night 2016, probably the high point of his political life, casting it as a moment of miracles for himself and the nation, before the scandals and the special prosecutor and the impeachment inquiry.He replayed the primary fight with Sen. Ted Cruz, who was standing off to the side of the stadium, recalling their debates for the Republican nomination. "You can't beat Ted Cruz if you don't interrupt him," Trump offered by way of a political lesson.He replayed the general election fight with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, still one of his favorite punching bags. "Remember the emails?" he called out to the crowd. Yes, they remembered.And then, as he often does, he recreated election night itself as it played out on television nearly three years ago. "Donald Trump has won the state of Utah," Trump boomed in his best news anchor voice. Then he went on in his own voice: "And we won Florida! And we won South Carolina! And we won Georgia! And we won North Carolina! And we won Pennsylvania!"For 1 hour and 27 minutes, he went on with all the winning -- winning against Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton and China and "fake news" and the "radical left," offering his greatest hits spliced with enough untrue whoppers to keep fact-checkers busy for days. He soaked in the applause, in no hurry to head back to Washington where investigators and enemies awaited.He has been doing this now for 1,001 days. Whether it will last another 1,000 days or nearly another 1,000 beyond that remains unclear. But his presidency, so unpresidential and unconventional, is definitively his. "I've been a politician for three years," he exclaimed. "I can't believe that."On that, at least, he was not alone.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:53:33 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-EU sick of Brexit, but likely to grant an extension

    European Union chiefs are so fed up of Brexit that when they clinched a new divorce deal with Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week they did not want to entertain the need to delay Britain's departure beyond Oct. 31. After a call between Johnson and European Council President Donald Tusk on Saturday evening, an EU official made clear, however, that the bloc would not rush. "Tusk will on that basis start consulting EU leaders on how to react.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:52:34 -0400
  • Kenya, Somalia Say Aid Will Keep Flowing Despite Border Dispute

    (Bloomberg) -- The finance ministers of Kenya and Somalia insist that a maritime-border dispute between the two nations won’t stop the cross-border flow of humanitarian aid and trade.The dispute about ownership of a 150,000 square-kilometer (58,000 square-mile) area off their Indian Ocean coastline has not caused any hostility between the two nations, Somalia Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh and Kenya’s acting Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani told reporters. They spoke on Saturday at a press conference during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington D.C. The maritime area in question is said to be rich in oil, gas and tuna fish. In 2014, Somalia went to court to challenge a 2009 agreement that set its maritime border along latitudinal lines extending 450 nautical miles into the sea. The United Nations International Court of Justice this week granted Kenya’s request for a postponement and the case is now scheduled for June.While Kenya has called for a negotiated settlement for the dispute, Beileh and Yatani both said their governments would abide by the ruling of court.As East Africa’s biggest economy Kenya has been a base for many organizations providing aid to Somalia, one of the world’s poorest countries, as it recovers from the aftermath of two decades of civil war. More than 250,000 Somali refugees and asylum-seekers are staying in Kenya, according to data from the UN Refugee Agency.Kenya has been giving support “in terms of managing the humanitarian crisis,” Yatani said. “We have a duty of care as a brother.”To contact the reporter on this story: Rene Vollgraaff in Johannesburg at rvollgraaff@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Harvey at bharvey11@bloomberg.net, Sarah McGregorFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:48:50 -0400
  • Johnson Tells Tusk U.K. Will Send Letter For Brexit Delay

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans were again thrown into chaos after the U.K. parliament voted to take more time to scrutinize the deal the prime minister struck with the European Union this week.Without Parliament’s sign-off, Johnson is required by law to send a letter to Brussels on Saturday requesting that Brexit be delayed until Jan. 31 -- three months after his self-imposed deadline. At a rare Saturday sitting, lawmakers voted by 322 to 306 in favor of a rebel Tory’s proposal to withhold their approval for now.BrexitDeal. Boris Johnson will be forced to send a letter to the EU requesting an extension pic.twitter.com/DCy4zZbZjA— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) October 19, 2019 According to a person familiar with a conversation Johnson had with European Council President Donald Tusk, the U.K. will send a letter requesting a delay tonight. But in a post-vote letter to MPs and peers in the House of Lords, Johnson said he “will not negotiate a delay” with the EU and that the government will introduce new legislation next week “needed for us to leave the European Union with our great new deal” on Oct. 31.The person familiar with the conversation said Tusk will start consulting EU leaders on how to react, which may take a few days.The result prolongs the 3 1/2 years of political turmoil triggered by the referendum. The possible outcomes range from delaying Brexit -- allowing time for a general election or a second referendum on leaving -- to a battle in court, or a chaotic and economically damaging departure from the bloc without a deal in just 12 days.BrexitDeal pic.twitter.com/UELjzvF5K5— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) October 19, 2019 Johnson’s hopes of meeting his deadline of getting the U.K. out of the EU by the end of the month now rest on pushing the legislation that implements his deal through Parliament in less than two weeks. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill could begin its journey as soon as Tuesday. But, on Monday, Johnson will make another attempt to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his deal, making the extension unnecessary.The scale of Johnson’s defeat on Saturday, though, shows the problem he has created for himself by alienating his allies in the Democratic Unionist Party. Their 10 votes made the difference between defeat and victory.They had supported Johnson until this week, when he signed a Brexit deal that creates a customs border in the Irish Sea -- a concession designed to secure Ireland and the EU’s support for the agreement. The DUP angrily denounced that during the debate.When Johnson does try to push his deal through, the question will be, as it was on Saturday morning, whether he has the votes. The day saw Conservative MPs, both current and almost all those he expelled last month, saying they would vote with him, as well as a small number of Labour MPs. If he can hold that coalition together for two weeks, he might have a chance.Johnson could still try to circumvent the legislation forcing him to seek a delay, but he do so, he would be certain to face legal challenges that could end up in the U.K. Supreme Court.Assuming he concedes and sends the letter, an extension will require the unanimous agreement of EU leaders. The European Commission urged the British government to clarify its next steps.On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron said one shouldn’t be granted. But Macron made similar noises before approving a Brexit delay in April. EU officials say it’s unlikely that he or any other leader would refuse another one, particularly if the U.K. was headed for a general election.On Saturday, the French presidency said in a statement: “Our message is clear: a deal has been negotiated. It is now up to the British parliament to say if it approves it or rejects it. An additional delay is in no one’s interest.”If attempts to avert a no-deal Brexit fail, the consequences for Britain are likely to be severe. According to the government’s own analysis, a no-deal Brexit would cause disruption to trade, financial services, and food supplies, and risk civil disorder.(Adds conversation with Tusk beginning in third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Greg Ritchie.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Edward Evans, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:44:56 -0400
  • Dutch PM Rutte: spoke with UK's Johnson, wished him success in 'next steps'

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Saturday he had spoken with Boris Johnson after parliament forced the British prime minister to seek a further delay to Brexit before it votes on the new divorce deal. "We discussed the situation around Brexit," Rutte said in a statement. Rutte said the two leaders have agreed to keep in close contact.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:41:58 -0400
  • Boris Johnson Has His Campaign Slogan Ready

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- There was very nearly a bedtime Brexit tale that went something like this: And so, finally, the porridge was just right, Parliament ate up Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and then, satisfied, went to bed. The End.Of course, lawmakers didn’t eat up and this interminable story isn’t over. Saturday’s parliamentary session instead served up another helping of thin gruel to those British voters who just want the whole thing resolved. Rather than the prime minister getting a vote on his 11th-hour agreement with Brussels, one he may possibly have won, he could only watch as lawmakers passed an amendment giving them more time to scrutinize the deal before passing it. Johnson might yet win the day; he’s planning another push on Monday to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his EU agreement. Yet one can hardly begrudge the House of Commons for wanting a closer look at legislation that will inflict such profound and historic changes on the U.K.At the same time, the delay means Johnson will by law have to write to the EU to ask for a three-month extension to Britain’s Oct. 31 official departure date, a demand that was enforced by Parliament if he couldn’t get its backing by Oct. 19. This would build stronger defenses against Britain crashing out of the EU without an agreement.There was a danger that if Johnson’s deal had passed but the followup legislation was rejected, a no-deal Brexit would have happened by default on Halloween. Taking that unhappy prospect off the table would be a noble and useful thing in itself.The amendment from the independent, formerly Conservative, lawmaker Oliver Letwin said the Johnson deal could be approved only if the implementing legislation — called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill — passes too. Letwin supports the Johnson deal and wasn’t trying to derail it (even if many of the amendment’s backers were); but given this government’s willingness to gamble with a no-deal exit, and the fact that a number of Conservative MPs would be happy with that outcome, he wasn’t taking any chances.While implementing legislation usually takes between 10 and 40 days, it might be done more quickly this time if there’s political support. It will also need agreement from the House of Lords, where the government doesn’t control the timetable. Johnson said he would press on with a potential “meaningful vote” on Monday and it’s possible the Withdrawal Agreement Bill could be introduced as early as Tuesday. But it will be up to the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, who has so often spoiled the government’s attempts to force through Brexit, to rule on what’s permissible.Saturday’s setback certainly doesn’t kill Johnson’s deal. It had much more support than his predecessor Theresa May’s attempt, and more than the alternative options of a no-deal Brexit, revoking Brexit altogether or a second referendum. It also, crucially, has momentum.Johnson’s gamble was that enough lawmakers could be shooed onto the bandwagon Saturday before the real forensics began. That this didn’t happen is in large part because his slash-and-burn strategy — where he first threatened a no-deal exit and then offered once unthinkable concessions to Brussels to get a deal over the line — has also undermined trust. The deal conjured success by pulling the rug out from under Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, a key Conservative ally.Whereas Johnson, May and many Tory Brexiters had sworn never to support an arrangement that put a customs border between the U.K. mainland and Northern Ireland, the new deal effectively does that. The DUP are furious about something that ties Northern Ireland closer to the EU and separates it from the rest of the U.K., an affront that was made worse by the party’s failure to secure a veto on the new arrangements.If Johnson had kept the support of the DUP, the Letwin amendment wouldn’t have passed on Saturday, and he will no doubt be seeking ways to bring Arlene Foster’s party back into the tent.While Johnson vowed after Saturday’s defeat not to “negotiate” an extension with the EU, the Benn Act (named after the Labour MP who introduced it) requires the prime minister to now seek an extension whether he wants to or not. Assuming he sends the letter, and avoids breaking the law, the EU will almost certainly grant an extension.The government will surely try to use the legislative process to woo holdout MPs with concessions, although opponents will try to attach amendments, such as a confirmatory referendum to put any agreed deal back to the British public. Johnson’s last-minute breakthrough with Brussels blindsided both the opposition Labour Party, whose own Brexit policy is a shambles, and the centrist Liberal Democrats, which wants to cancel Brexit. They will relish any chance to make sweeping changes as the legislation goes through Parliament.The EU may offer Johnson a conditional extension to the Oct. 31 date, which would come into force only if he fails to get the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through Parliament by then. If he can’t manage it, an extension looks inevitable, followed by either a general election or possibly another referendum to try to break the impasse, though the extra time needed to organize the latter would worry Brussels.Clearly a deal is Johnson’s preferred choice, but if Parliament won’t comply, his election campaign is ready. Anticipated slogan: Get Brexit Done, With My Deal.To contact the author of this story: Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Therese Raphael writes editorials on European politics and economics for Bloomberg Opinion. She was editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:30:07 -0400
  • Egypt reveals details of 30 ancient coffins found in Luxor

    Golocal247.com news

    Egypt's antiquities authorities on Saturday revealed the details of 30 ancient wooden coffins that were recently discovered in the southern city of Luxor. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters the coffins, with inscriptions and paintings, were found in the Asasif Necropolis on the Nile River's west bank near Luxor. The coffins were for men, women and children from the 22nd dynasty (945-715 B.C.) and had been collected and hidden by a priest for fear of being looted, Waziri said.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:28:39 -0400
  • Turkey wants Syrian forces to leave border areas, aide says

    Golocal247.com news

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants Syrian government forces to move out of areas near the Turkish border so it can resettle up to 2 million refugees there, his spokesman told The Associated Press on Saturday, adding that Erdogan will raise the issue in talks next week with Syria's ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Government troops have moved in to several locations in northeastern Syria this week, invited by Kurdish-led fighters to protect them from Turkey's invasion.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:06:37 -0400
  • Israelis rally in support of woman imprisoned in Russia

    About 200 Israelis are demonstrating in Tel Aviv in solidarity with an Israeli woman imprisoned in Russia on drug charges. Naama Issachar, 26, was arrested in Moscow airport in April on her way to Israel from India. Israeli officials consider the sentence excessive and have indicated that Russia is using the case as leverage to press for the release of a suspected Russian hacker held by Israel.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 14:51:56 -0400
  • EU's Tusk says spoke to PM Johnson, awaits Brexit delay request

    European Council President Donald Tusk said on Saturday evening he spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and was now awaiting a letter with a request to delay Brexit again. "Waiting for the letter," Tusk said on Twitter after Johnson lost a crucial vote on Brexit in the British parliament earlier in the day.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 14:47:49 -0400
  • Thousands in Germany, France protest Turkish push into Syria

    Golocal247.com news

    Thousands of people in the German city of Cologne and in the French capital demonstrated Saturday against Turkey's offensive in northern Syria. Cologne city authorities said around 10,000 people took part in marches organized by left-wing groups. In Paris, more than 1,000 gathered at the Place de la Republique to denounce Turkey's actions.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 14:27:43 -0400
  • Johnson Might Yet Get Brexit Done: Counting the Votes

    (Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson was defeated in Parliament on Oct. 19. But analyzing that vote, and the comments that members of parliament made in the run-up, suggests that the prime minister still has a chance of getting his Brexit deal done.MPs voted by 322 to 306 to force Johnson to seek an extension -- an insurance policy against a no-deal Brexit if there’s still no agreement by Oct. 31. It deprived Johnson of the chance to test whether there’s support for his deal before pushing the full legislation through parliament.He needs to persuade 61 Members of Parliament to back his deal. It looks like he has 62, based on what lawmakers said and did both in the debate before today’s vote and during it. Here’s our tally of how many look like they’ll support his deal.Now for the health warning. This analysis is necessarily imprecise: MPs can and do change their minds. Some are keeping their cards close to their chest.Here’s how the numbers break down:Johnson’s Target: 320Once non-voting MPs are accounted for, Johnson needs 320 MPs on his side to win any vote in the House of Commons.May’s Baseline: 259The last time Theresa May tried to get her deal through, in March, she had the support of 279 Conservatives. They are mostly likely to back a Johnson deal too, but there are some problems.Johnson expelled a group of MPs from the party in September after they backed legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit. They were joined by Amber Rudd, who resigned in sympathy. Also out of the party is Nick Boles, who quit the Conservatives earlier this year in frustration at the Brexit deadlock.As a result there are question marks against 19 former Tories who previously backed May’s deal. On top of that number, one deal-backing Conservative, Chris Davies, lost his seat to a Liberal Democrat in a recall election.That leaves Johnson 61 votes short. Where can he go?‘Gaukeward Squad’: 19The expelled Tories, who take their name from former Justice Secretary David Gauke, are temperamentally loyalists -- some had never voted against their party before September. Many of them are looking for a way back in -- including Gauke.In Saturday’s vote, seven of the Gaukeward Squad went against Johnson, but almost all made it clear they were ready to back his deal. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond still seemed uncertain, but Johnson seems to have the vast bulk with him.Democratic Unionist Party: 10Johnson worked hard to try to keep Northern Ireland’s DUP engaged, but they have come out firmly against the new deal. They have deep reservations about anything that creates any kind of border between Britain and Northern Ireland, such as customs checks in the Irish Sea, and want a stronger consent mechanism that hands a greater say to the regional assembly.They seem to have failed in their efforts to persuade Tories to vote against the deal, but on Saturday, they inflicted defeat on Johnson by voting against him, and they look ready to do it again.The Spartans: 28The self-titled “Spartans” are Conservative MPs who refused to vote for May’s deal. They chose their name to recall the fearsome Ancient Greek warriors who held off a numerically superior Persian force at the Battle of Thermopylae.When Johnson became prime minister, the Spartans were adamant they opposed anything but the most minimal Brexit agreement. But in recent weeks they have begun to see the virtues of compromise. This is the result of the Benn Act, legislation that aims to prevent the U.K. leaving on Oct. 31 unless Johnson has reached a deal. It’s made the Spartans fear losing Brexit altogether.On Saturday, Johnson had the support of all of the Spartans, with their leader Steve Baker offering MPs assurances of their good intentions in an effort to boost support for Johnson. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all vote for his deal, but the prime minister should be reasonably confident he has their support as long as he doesn’t let his deal get rewritten.Labour: 31May pinned her hopes on winning the support of a significant minority of MPs from the opposition Labour Party who believe the 2016 referendum result must be honored. She struggled to get more than five to vote with her, but 15 who didn’t back her last time joined some who did in signing a letter this month urging the EU to do a deal. That might imply a commitment to actually vote for such an agreement.Against that is the fear of retribution from their party if they do so. Leader Jeremy Corbyn and his team sense that defeating Johnson’s deal is a key step on their route to beating him at an election. Others in the party see defeating a deal as essential to securing another referendum.A law unto herself is Kate Hoey, a fierce supporter of Brexit but also an MP with Northern Irish roots, who said she’ll oppose the deal. Since Johnson announced his deal, some Labour MPs who previously made pro-Brexit noises have started to come out of the woodwork, so we’ve increased the number of potential Labour votes by 10.Saturday saw six Labour MPs voting with Johnson, and three more abstaining. He needs more, but at least three more have promised to support his deal.Independents: 5Four independent MPs backed May’s deal in March. A fifth, John Woodcock, might also be tempted. He voted with Johnson on Saturday. But Sylvia Hermon, who backed May’s deal, represents a Northern Irish seat and is opposed to Johnson’s deal.Other MPs: 2Two possible supporters defy categorization. Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, who is stepping down at the next election, represents a seat that voted to leave the EU and has been critical of his party’s anti-Brexit stance. On Saturday he said he was against Johnson’s deal. In better news for the prime minister, his brother Jo, an opponent of Brexit, voted with him on Saturday.The JokerIf it comes to a tie, Speaker John Bercow has a casting vote. It’s not clear how he would exercise it.(Updates throughout reflecting Oct. 19 vote.)\--With assistance from Kitty Donaldson and Jessica Shankleman.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, ;Heather Harris at hharris5@bloomberg.net, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:38:44 -0400
  • The law pitting UK parliament against PM Johnson

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    After British MPs voted on Saturday to delay a decision on whether to approve Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, the prime minister is now bound by the so-called "Benn Act" to ask the EU for an extension to the divorce deadline. The law, named after opposition Labour MP Hilary Benn, compels Johnson to deliver a letter to EU Council president Donald Tusk to formally request a delay, which he has vowed not to do. The bill states that if parliament does not approve a separation deal with the EU by Saturday, the prime minister must ask to delay Brexit until January 31, 2020.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:19:26 -0400
  • Lebanon's Nasrallah says he's against government resignation

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    Lebanon's influential Hezbollah leader said Saturday he is against the government's resignation as nationwide protests gained momentum on their third day, calling for the removal of the country's political elite. Hassan Nasrallah said the current unity government should instead bring "a new spirit" to tackling the economic crisis fueling the demonstrations. The spontaneous protests are Lebanon's largest in five years, spreading beyond Beirut.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:12:09 -0400
  • EXPLAINER-What happens next after UK PM Johnson loses Brexit vote?

    Britain's parliament voted to withhold its approval of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal on Saturday, triggering another law that requires him to request a delay to the country's departure from the European Union. Johnson has been defiant that he will not negotiate a Brexit delay beyond the scheduled Oct. 31 departure date, saying the law does not "compel me to do so", deepening uncertainty over how and even whether Britain will leave the EU. The law, the so-called Benn Act after one of its authors, requires the prime minister to "seek to obtain" an extension until Jan. 31, 2020, if parliament has not passed a withdrawal deal or approved Britain's departure without an agreement by Oct. 19.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:06:47 -0400
  • EU sick of Brexit, but likely to grant an extension if asked

    European Union chiefs are so fed up of Brexit that when they clinched a deal with Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week they did not want to entertain the need to delay Britain's departure beyond Oct. 31.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 12:58:38 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-Rebel with a cause ruins Johnson's big Brexit day

    Fearing Britain could drop out of the European Union without a deal by design or default, one British lawmaker on Saturday masterminded a plan to deny Prime Minister Boris Johnson his day of Brexit glory. Oliver Letwin, 63, is a former cabinet minister with a reputation as an unofficial fixer, using his affable manner and procedural knowledge to head off awkward disagreements in parliament. Brexit has given him notoriety as a rebel with a cause: to stop a no-deal Brexit.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 11:52:10 -0400
  • Anti-Brexit activists march to parliament as MPs delay decision

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    Tens of thousands of pro-EU protesters from across Britain wielding banners, placards and flags converged on parliament Saturday, erupting in cheers as MPs forced the government to ask Brussels for another Brexit delay. Demonstrators rallied near Hyde Park in central London before marching to parliament to call for a second Brexit referendum, in the hope of overturning Britain's planned departure from the European Union.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 11:43:54 -0400
  • Johnson Says He’ll Press on After Commons Defeat: Brexit Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Parliament voted for Boris Johnson to request a further delay to Brexit after a day of high tension in the House of Commons in London. The prime minister, who said the choice is his deal or no deal, said he will not “negotiate delay” with the European Union and will introduce the legislation needed next week for the U.K. to leave the EU on Oct. 31.Lawmakers voted 322 to 306 in favor of an amendment by former Tory minister Oliver Letwin which requires Johnson to write a letter by 11 p.m. requesting an extension until Jan. 31. Letwin said the amendment provides insurance against crashing out without an agreement on Oct. 31.https://t.co/TVTCmIxjxD pic.twitter.com/SpMI6G5obQ— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) October 19, 2019 https://t.co/TVTCmIxjxD pic.twitter.com/SpMI6G5obQ— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) October 19, 2019 Johnson said he will tell the EU further delay would be “bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy.” His deal wasn’t put to a vote as a result of the amendment being passed “because the meaningful vote has been voided of meaning,” he said.Key DevelopmentsMPs vote by 322 to 306 for Letwin amendment forcing government to request Brexit delayFurther votes being lined up for next weekProtesters converge on Parliament in anti-Brexit demonstrationCommons Vote Not All Bad News for Johnson (4:25 p.m.)The vote for Oliver Letwin’s amendment deprives us of a chance to test how much support there is for Johnson’s Brexit deal in Parliament, but it did tell us some things. Johnson mustered 306 votes against the amendment. While not all of those MPs would vote for his deal -- Labour’s Kate Hoey has said she won’t, for example -- several of the 322 who backed it said they would. That includes five former Tories, with two more saying they would have been willing to back the prime minister once the Letwin amendment passed. On the Labour benches, excluding Hoey, there were three abstentions by MPs who have said they would vote for a deal.Transferring those votes into a theoretical vote on a deal, we get 315 votes for Johnson, and 316 against. That’s not enough. But if Johnson were to pick up a few more Labour votes, and at least three more Labour MPs have indicated they’d vote for his deal, he’d be over the line.BrexitDeal PeoplesVoteMarch pic.twitter.com/G2X65uZBw4— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) October 19, 2019 Macron Questions Wisdom of Further Delay (4 p.m.)French President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement acknowledging the vote in the House of Commons and questioning the wisdom of a further delay to Brexit.“The vote by the British Parliament opens the way to a possible request for an extension. We will see in the coming hours what happens,” Macron’s office said in a statement. “It is not up to us to give our opinion at this stage and this will happen in consultation with our European partners.”“But our message is clear: a deal has been negotiated, it is now up to the British Parliament to say if it approves it or rejects it. An additional delay is in no one’s interest.”EU Takes Note of Commons Vote on Delay (3:40 p.m.)The European Commission said it has taken note of the House of Commons vote on the Letwin amendment and urged the British government to clarify the next steps.“It will be for the U.K. government to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible,” Mina Andreeva, chief spokeswoman for the Brussels-based commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, said in a twitter post.Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator, said the body’s Brexit steering group will consider the result of the Commons vote on Monday. “Whatever happens next, the marches outside the Parliament show just how important a close EU -- U.K. future relationship is,” he said on Twitter.Another Vote Mooted for Monday (3:25 p.m.)Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg announced that on Monday there will be a debate on a section of the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 -- raising the possibility of another vote on Boris Johnson’s deal.There are also plans for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the legislation needed to leave under the new deal, to be debated on Tuesday.Together they raise the possibility of two votes on the Brexit deal on consecutive days. Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said he would seek clarity on the government’s plans. By Monday Johnson should have requested an extension from Brussels in accordance with the requirements of the Benn Act.The Meaning of Johnson’s Ambiguity (3:15 p.m.)Boris Johnson’s elliptical response to the Letwin vote (see 3 p.m.) could be understood as suggesting he won’t send a letter to the EU, and in a briefing his office declined to clarify what he meant.But it’s clear from his earlier comments, and from his team’s approach to proceedings on Monday, that a letter requesting an extension will be sent to the EU. If the bloc agrees to it -- and the text of the letter is specified in law -- then the government is obliged to accept.In his comments to the House of Commons on Saturday morning, Johnson acknowledged he would have to write to the EU. “Whatever letters they may seek to force the government to write, it cannot change my judgment that further delay is pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust,” he said.Johnson Pledges to Press on With Brexit (3 p.m.)Boris Johnson said he’ll press on with Brexit and ruled out negotiating a further delay to Brexit with the European Union after losing a vote intended to force him to request an extension from the bloc.“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law require me to do so,” Johnson said. “Next week the government will introduce the legislation needed to leave the European Union with our new deal on Oct. 31.”The Benn Act, passed last month, required Johnson to write to the EU by 11 p.m. tonight if he was unable to get his deal agreed by Parliament.Campaigners Celebrate at Delay to Vote (2:55 p.m.)A raucous cheer erupted from the crowd packing Parliament Square after the result of the vote on Oliver Letwin’s amendment was announced. They had marched through central London towards Parliament to demand another referendum on leaving the EU.It had started raining moments earlier, but it didn’t dampen the mood among the buoyant crowd.Gove Appeals For Unity In Commons Vote (2:30 p.m.)Before MPs left the chamber to vote, Brexit Minister Michael Gove closed the debate for the government, arguing they should “honor democracy” and vote Boris Johnson’s deal through.He said he hoped that, come the end of the day, the “vote in 2016 that we promised to honor will after three and a half years of deadlock and division be honored by a House that is at last ready to unite.”Speaking for the opposition, Labour business spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey emphasized the economic impact of the deal. “For business, for our industry and for our manufacturing, it reduces access to the market of our biggest trade partner, threatening jobs up and down our country,” she said.“This is a bad deal for industry, a bad deal for manufacturing and more importantly a bad deal for jobs.”Demonstrators Fill Parliament Square (1:50 p.m.)A large crowd gathered outside Parliament after marching across central London demanding a referendum on Boris Johnson’s deal.Parliament Square was full of singing protesters waving EU and British flags as tens of thousands more packed Whitehall – the road between Parliament and Trafalgar Square which houses government buildings. They carried banners calling for a second referendum and chanted “Object to Brexit”.Theresa May Backs Johnson’s Plan (1:20 p.m.)Former Prime Minister Theresa May said she will vote for Boris Johnson’s agreement with the EU, even though it sets up a border in the Irish Sea, something she pledged never to accept. There had been speculation that she might not back it for that reason.“If you don’t want no deal, you have to vote for a deal,” she told the House of Commons. “If you want to deliver Brexit, if you want to keep faith with the British people, if you want this country to move forward, then vote for the deal today.”Letwin Moves Amendment Despite Pressure (12:50 p.m.)Oliver Letwin has so far shrugged off the pressure to drop his amendment (see 12:15 p.m.) and spoke to introduce it in the House of Commons. It doesn’t cause a delay but adds the insurance that the U.K. won’t leave without a deal if the government fails to get the necessary legislation through in time, he said.The prime minister “wants to be able to say to any waverers ’it’s my deal or no-deal. Vote for the implementing legislation or we crash out’,” Letwin said. “Despite my support for the Prime Minister’s deal, I do not believe that it’s responsible to put the nation at risk by making that threat.”If Parliament backs the amendment “we can be secure in the knowledge that the U.K. will have requested an extension tonight, which if granted can be used if and to the extent necessary, and only the extent necessary, to prevent a no-deal exit.”Starmer Highlights Threat to Trade (12:40 p.m.)Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour party, told MPs that Johnson’s deal “rips up our close trading relationship with the EU,” with the price being paid in damage to the U.K. economy and job-losses.He ran through passages of Theresa May’s old deal versus Boris Johnson’s new one, notably the removal of the phrase “the parties envisage having a trading relationship on goods as close as possible with a view to facilitating a needs of legitimate trade.”He asked Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay: “If the aspiration of the government is to stay as close as possible to the EU on trade rules, why take the words out?” Barclay didn’t reply.Starmer added that he doesn’t believe the prime minister’s promises on workers rights and the future relationship with the EU. “There is more than enough evidence that his word doesn’t mean anything and can’t be trusted,” he said.Letwin Under Pressure to Drop Amendment (12:15 p.m.)Oliver Letwin is coming under pressure from his former Tory colleagues to drop his amendment, according to three Tory MPs who have been involved in discussions with him.While another MP could push Letwin’s amendment to a vote, if he doesn’t gun for it himself then support -- particularly among former Tories -- could melt away.ERG Pledges Support to Brexit Legislation (12 p.m.)Mark Francois, deputy chairman of the hard line Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs, said the caucus agreed at its meeting on Saturday morning that its members won’t disrupt the passage of divorce legislation through Parliament this month.The announcement is significant because some MPs have said they will back the Letwin amendment to stop the ERG from forcing a no-deal divorce from the EU on Oct. 31 by blocking the government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill.“We agreed that if we vote for the deal, we vote for the bill,” Francois told the House of Commons.Shortly afterwards, independent MP Nick Boles made clear he doesn’t believe them.Grieve Appeals for Time for Scrutiny (11:45 a.m.)Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, one of the MPs expelled from the Conservative Party for opposing Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy, appealed for more time for MPs to scrutinize the deal with the EU.The government “is taking us out at such a gallop that proper scrutiny can’t take place,” Grieve told the House of Commons. “It continues to give the impression that it wants to run a coach and horses through the rights of this house.”Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay defended the lack of an official assessment of the deal’s economic impact. “It’s difficult to model a deal that was only made on Thursday,” he said.Labour Confirms Backing for Letwin (11:20 a.m.)The opposition Labour Party confirmed its lawmakers will be ordered to back Oliver Letwin’s amendment, which would force Boris Johnson to send a letter to the EU requesting a Brexit extension on Saturday night.Labour will vote for the amendment “to stop Boris Johnson sneaking through a no-deal crash out or setting up a blackmail vote between his sell-out deal and no deal on Oct. 31,” the party said.They argue that the amendment wouldn’t stop the U.K. leaving the EU on Oct. 31 if the necessary legislation is passed in time and simply prevents a “crash out by stealth.”Bonmarche Blames Brexit Delay For Failure (11:10 a.m.)Bonmarche, a U.K. womenswear retailer employing 2,900 people, went into administration and said uncertainty over Brexit delivered the knockout blow.“The delay in Brexit has created negativities, both in the global markets towards Britain and damaged consumer sentiment,” Chief Executive Officer Helen Connolly said in a statement. “Without such a delay, it is feasible to believe that our issues would have been more manageable.”Johnson: This Deal or No-Deal (10:55 a.m.)Challenged by Liberal Democrat MP Luciana Berger on the fact no economic analysis on the deal has been done, Johnson said the deal had been welcomed by business lobby groups and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.“The choice for her today is this deal, which I think is very good for this country economically and politically, and no-deal,” Johnson said “That’s what she has to decide between.”Johnson Pledges to Consult Parliament (10:45 a.m.)Boris Johnson gave reassurance after reassurance to concerned former Tories. He told Greg Clarke, who was business secretary under Theresa May, that workers’ rights will always be as good as or better than they are in the EU.In response to a question from former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, the prime minister also said he’ll sign up to a proposal from Labour MPs Lisa Nandy and Gareth Snell that Parliament would have to agree the negotiating mandate for the next stage of Brexit talks and the future relationship with the EU should only be signed with the agreement of lawmakers.Letwin Amendment ‘A Shame,’ Johnson Says (10:30 a.m.)Johnson took aim at former Tory minister Oliver Letwin, whose widely-supported amendment looks set to delay a vote on the deal until next week.While saying Letwin has the “best possible intentions”, Johnson told MPs that “this is a momentous occasion for our country and for our Parliament, and it would be a great shame if the opportunity to have a meaningful vote were to be taken away from us.”What Happens if Letwin Amendment Passes (10:20 a.m.)It looks likely the Letwin amendment will pass, as it has the support of opposition parties and several former Tories.The government says if that happens, it won’t push the amended motion to a vote. At that point, the uncontested votes of opposition MPs will mean the whole motion falls. Where will that leave us?Effectively, Johnson will be where he was at the start of the day. Without a deal passed by Parliament, he’ll be obliged by the Benn Act to write to the EU seeking a delay to Brexit until Jan. 31, 2020. Although officials have talked about finding a way around the law, the prime minister seemed to concede in Parliament that he’ll have to send the letter.Johnson will still have a way to meet his pledge to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 -- by getting his deal passed in Parliament before that date. But as he won’t have pushed today’s vote, he won’t know whether he has the support to do that.Packed Commons Sees MPs Sitting in Gallery (10 a.m.)The House of Commons is packed. Some MPs who can’t squeeze on to the green benches in the chamber are perched in seats in the gallery one level up, usually taken by staff and official visitors.MPs are continuously barracking the opposing side. Jeremy Corbyn drew jeers from the Tories when he said “we are not prepared to sell our constituents” because the Tories accuse Labour of abandoning their supporters who voted to leave. Boris Johnson drew ironic Labour jibes when he appealed for MPs to be less adversarial.Corbyn Warns Against Johnson’s Promises (9:55 a.m.)Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said Johnson’s deal is worse than the one negotiated by Theresa May and the Government’s proposed timetable deprives MPs of the opportunity for properly scrutinizing it.“We’re having a debate today on a text for which there is no economic impact assessment and no accompanying legal advice,”Corbyn said. “It’s not a good deal for our country and future generations will feel its impact.”Corbyn also leveled a warning at Labour MPs who suggested overnight that they might back the deal after receiving assurances from Johnson over workers rights after Brexit. “This prime minister can’t be trusted and these benches will not be duped,” Corbyn said. Backing the deal would start a “race to the bottom in regulations and standards,” he added.Johnson Says EU and U.K. Want to Move On (9:45 a.m.)Addressing Parliament, Boris Johnson tried to reach out for support, saying he wants to involve parliament in the future stages of Brexit.“I shall continue to listen to all honorable members throughout the debate today, to meet with anyone on any side, and to welcome the scrutiny the House will bring to bear, if, as I hope, we proceed to consider the Withdrawal Bill next week,” Johnson said.He also effectively conceded that if his motion doesn’t pass, he’ll have to ask for an extension, telling Parliament that “it cannot change my judgement that further delay is pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust.”The EU and the U.K. public want to move on from Brexit, Johnson said. While he had in the past urged a renegotiation with the EU, he said this is a good deal and should be embraced by all sides.Johnson Won’t Push Vote on Deal if Letwin Wins (9:30 a.m.)Boris Johnson won’t push his Brexit deal to a vote on Saturday if a rebel amendment that’s designed to postpone legal sign-off is passed, a U.K. official said.Johnson needs formal Parliamentary approval for his deal by the end of Saturday to get out of a law that requires him to request a delay of Britain’s departure from the European Union.But former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin’s amendment to Johnson’s motion would postpone legal approval until all the necessary laws have passed Parliament.The official said the effect of the amendment would be to render the motion meaningless. The government will still push ahead with putting its Brexit legislation before Parliament on Monday, the official said.Baker Sees Deal as ‘Tolerable Path’ (9:20 a.m.)Leader of the ERG Steve Baker told reporters after their meeting that he believes the deal is a “tolerable path to a bright future.”However, on their way out of the meeting, veteran Brexiteers Bill Cash and John Redwood declined to comment on how they would vote, leaving it open that they might abstain.DUP’s Wilson Appeals to the ERG (9:15 a.m.)The Democratic Unionist Party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson also spoke to the European Research Group of hard-line Brexiteers at their meeting on Saturday morning (see 9 a.m.).He spoke after the group’s chairman Steve Baker had recommended that members should back Johnson’s deal and urged them to oppose it. The DUP is against the agreement because it imposes different rules on Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K.ERG Deputy Chairman Mark Francois said after the meeting that no one in the room had said they would vote against the agreement, but members leaving the committee room refused to comment to reporters. “The ERG is not a Stalinist organisation so it will be up to everyone how they vote,” Francois said.Brexit ‘Spartans’ Pulling Behind Johnson (9 a.m.)Johnson has got the big scalp: Steve Baker, chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group and a key figure in the so-called “Spartans,” who refused to back May’s Brexit deal, has recommended that colleagues should support Johnson’s deal.Before the last big Brexit vote, Baker made an emotional speech to the group about his frustration with the process. If he’s on board, Johnson might hope to get all the Spartans.Tory MP Nigel Evans said that Baker had recommended at a meeting of the group on Saturday that they should back the plan.Johnson Gains Support as MPs Gather (8:45 a.m.)The vote is looking very close. By Bloomberg’s count, Johnson has 42 of the 61 MPs backing him that he needs, and there could easily be 20 more undeclared supporters out there.But a couple of former Tories are refusing to say. Both former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Antoinette Sandbach have refused to say what they’ll do. Hammond said he is open to backing the deal, but he is also backing the Letwin amendment.In Westminster there’s an idea around that if the Letwin amendment passes, the government might pull the final vote. But there’s no procedure to allow it to do that.Barclay Warns Over Dither and Delay (8:30 a.m.)Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said Oliver Letwin’s proposed amendment would cause “further delay, further dither and further uncertainty,” causing more damage to British business.He warned that any request to extend the Oct. 31 deadline could be vetoed by another EU member. “It is not Oliver Letwin’s decision how long an extension will be, anymore than it is the U.K. Parliament’s decision,” he said.Duncan Smith: Letwin Should ‘Stow’ His Plan (Earlier)Former Tory leader and lead Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith didn’t attempt to conceal his anger over Olive Letwin’s amendment, which would force Johnson to request a delay from the EU on Saturday as insurance against the U.K. accidentally crashing out without a deal on Oct. 31.“This vote has to be clear to our partners in Europe that we’re now on a track to leave under this deal,” Duncan Smith told the BBC, warning that the amendment would extend uncertainty. “I wish Oliver Letwin would just stow this now.”Dodds Says DUP May Back Insurance Amendment (Earlier)Nigel Dodds, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 MPs in Westminster, said the party will examine the Letwin amendment and decide whether to back it later on Saturday.“It’s a very interesting amendment,” Dodds told BBC Radio. “It does have the merit of pointing out that this would withhold the approval of the Commons from the government’s plan.”He said the party, which will vote against Johnson’s deal, hasn’t yet made a final decision on the Letwin amendmentEarlier:Brexit Decision Day Arrives as U.K. Parliament Votes on DealBoris Johnson Might Not Even Get His Brexit Vote on Saturday\--With assistance from Thomas Mulier and Jonathan Stearns.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 11:33:42 -0400
  • Rights lawyers: Egypt frees more than 100 held in crackdown

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    Egyptian authorities released more than 100 people who were among hundreds more arrested in a sweeping crackdown following small but rare anti-government protests last month, rights lawyers and officials said Saturday. Lawyers Mustafa el-Demiry and Khaled Ali said 101 detainees, including 30 women, were released late Friday, pending an investigation into allegations they took part in the activities of a banned group and disseminating false news on social media platforms. The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights said more than 800 people, including foreigners, have been released, but many others have been further detained.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 11:13:30 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-EU executive asks UK to inform of next Brexit steps ASAP

    The European Commission said Britain must inform the EU executive of its next steps as soon as possible after parliament voted on Saturday to postpone a key vote on a Brexit deal. "The European Commission takes note of the vote in the House of Commons today," spokesman Mina Andreeva said on Twitter. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a vote in parliament on Saturday that means he is now obliged to request a postponement to Britain's departure from the European Union.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 11:04:42 -0400
  • Deadly protests in Guinea as Russia calls for change of rules to keep despot in power

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    When police shot dead nine pro-democracy protesters in Guinea this week, Western embassies quietly shared their misgivings with the country’s president, Alpha Conde. International human rights groups were more unequivocal. François Patuel of Amnesty International denounced “a shameful attempt by Guinean authorities to stifle dissent by any means necessary”. But one major power seemed unperturbed. Mr Conde’s ruthless response to protests against his apparent efforts to cling to power not only suited Russia, it seems probable that they were tacitly endorsed by the Kremlin. On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, will host leaders from 35 African states at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as he seeks to consolidate Moscow’s growing influence in the world’s poorest continent. Russia may lack the heft of its rivals, able neither to match the West in aid nor China in terms of infrastructure financing, but it does have other resources with which to woo African leaders, particularly those of a more authoritarian bent. Vladimir Putin is looking to expand Russian influence Not only has Russia sold arms to 18 African states over the past decade, its mercenaries have fanned out across the continent to offer protection and other services to receptive governments.  “Political technologists” have also allegedly mounted disinformation campaigns in several recent African elections. In return, Russia has won concessions to mine minerals and secured backing from African delegates at the United Nations. Russia’s blossoming relationship with Mr Conde is an example of just how successful its muscular Africa policy can be. Guineans are meant to elect a new president next year. Having served two five-year terms, Mr Conde is constitutionally barred from standing again, but has made it increasingly clear that he is not yet ready to surrender the presidency. At least four people have been killed in Guinea's capital after police fired tear gas and bullets Monday to disperse thousands of opposition supporters Credit: AP To do so, Guinea will need an entirely new constitution, plans for which have already been advanced by Mr Conde’s ruling party.  The opposition has accused the president of seeking to ease its path by stacking the constitutional court, taming the electoral commission and delaying parliamentary elections by more than a year to protect his narrow legislative majority. Russia has openly given its cover to Mr Conde’s efforts. In an extraordinary intervention, brazen even by the Kremlin’s standards, Russia’s ambassador, made a televised address on New Year’s Eve backing a constitutional change. Alexander Bregadze told Guineans they would be mad to allow the "legendary" Mr Conde to step down, saying: “Do you know many countries in Africa that do better? Do you know many presidents in Africa who do better?” “It’s constitutions that adapt to reality, not reality that adapts to constitutions.” Such naked campaigning from a diplomat is unusual. But Russia has a vital relationship to nurture.  Guinea holds the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, the ore that is refined and smelted to produce aluminium. The Russian firm Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer outside Russia, sources more than a quarter of its bauxite from Guinea. Guinea’s importance to Russia grew immeasurably last year after the United States imposed sanctions on Rusal and its co-owner, the oligarch and close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska. Sanctions have since been lifted on Rusal but not on Mr Deripaska. Young people block the road as they protest against a possible third term of President Alpha Conde on October 16, 2019, in Conakry Credit: AFP The significance of the relationship was underscored when Mr Bregadze stepped down as ambassador in May to head Rusal’s operations in Guinea. Other Russian firms also have mineral interests in Guinea. Tellingly, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a shadowy Kremlin associate linked to mercenary and mining outfits in Africa, is understood to have set up operations in Guinea. Mr Putin has wooed President Conde, too, twice inviting him to Moscow for talks. Guinea’s opposition has denounced what it says is Russian interference. Protesters last week made their feelings clear by blockading a Rusal-owned railway line used to transport bauxite. Their anger is likely to achieve little. Emboldened by Russian backing, Mr Conde has only cracked down harder. Last week, nine senior opposition figures were charged with insurrection. They face five years in prison. Given everything it has invested in Mr Conde, Russia cannot risk the opposition coming to power. When Mr Putin meets his guest in Sochi, he is likely to encourage him to persist with repression.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:54:27 -0400
  • Vote on Johnson's Brexit deal will have to wait after all

    Oh, so close.It looks like the Brexit deal U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson brokered with the European Union on Thursday won't get through British Parliament on Saturday, as Johnson had hoped, adding to a growing list of defeats in his short tenure.U.K. Parliament passed an amendment during its first Saturday session in 37 years that requires Johnson to request a Brexit delay from the European Union by 11 p.m. Saturday. The vote was tight, but ultimately a cross-party group backed the amendment by a count of 322-306. It does not necessarily mean that the MPs were opposed to Johnson's deal -- instead it signals they are withholding their support. Oliver Letwin, the MP who led the charge for the amendment, said he was leaning toward backing Johnson's deal, but he prioritized keeping the insurance policy of an extension in place to prevent the U.K. from crashing out of the EU on Oct. 31 without a deal, should Parliament have blocked it.The government was clear that, after being defeated in the amendment vote, it would abandon a follow-up vote on the deal, as the amendment rendered it "meaningless." It appeared Johnson was close to receiving the votes he needed to pass the deal, and he said he would move forward with Brexit legislation next week, though he insisted he will not negotiate a delay with the EU in the meantime. Read more at BBC and The Guardian.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:44:14 -0400
  • Clashes and Confusion Mar Attempt at Cease-Fire in Syria

    ISTANBUL -- Sporadic fighting continued in northern Syria on Friday, casting uncertainty over a U.S.-brokered truce, as conflicting reports emerged about whether Kurdish forces were retreating or hunkering down and whether Turkish troops were advancing or holding fire.Clashes continued on and off in the vicinity of a strategic Syrian border town, despite President Donald Trump hailing the cease-fire, announced on Thursday night by Vice President Mike Pence, as "an incredible outcome."Pence had promised that fighting would halt for five days to allow Syrian Kurdish forces to evacuate a central pocket of northern Syria that Turkey wants to wrest from Kurdish control.But though fighting eased, gunfire could still be heard in the area of Ras al-Ayn, a town next to the Turkish-Syrian border, during the early morning and early afternoon. By nightfall the Kurdish military leadership said its forces remained in a "defensive position" in the places they had been deployed when the cease-fire was agreed -- contradicting Turkish and U.S. claims that they had started to retreat, as required by the terms of the deal.Most international news organizations were absent from the battlefield, leaving a dearth of independent information about the situation, which everyone from the lowliest militiaman to the most senior politician had an interest in interpreting to their favor.Around midday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey denied any fighting had taken place, hours after the Kurdish leadership said it was being shelled by Turkish forces. Then Trump tweeted that Erdogan had conceded by phone that there had been, briefly, "minor" sniper and mortar fire.What was clear by nightfall was that the cease-fire's desired outcome -- a complete cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of Kurdish troops from part of northern Syria -- had not yet fully taken place.Should Kurdish forces remain in position by Tuesday night, Turkey has pledged to renew its full-scale assault, which began on Oct. 9."If the United States can keep its promise, in 120 hours the issue of the safe zone will be resolved," Erdogan told reporters at a news briefing in Istanbul. "If not, the operation will continue where we left off."The stuttering nature of the cease-fire raised further concerns about the United States' waning influence on the outcome of Syria's eight-year civil war.These fears were compounded Friday when Erdogan issued a menacing response to a private letter sent by Trump to the Turkish president on the day the invasion began."Don't be a tough guy," Trump had written, in a letter characterized by informal language rarely seen in diplomatic communications.Erdogan responded publicly to the letter for the first time Friday, saying that his country "cannot forget" the harshly worded communique, since it was "not in harmony with political and diplomatic niceties.""We also want it to be known that, when the time comes, the necessary response will be taken," Erdogan said. However, he also noted that the issue was not a current priority for Turkey.The Turkish government defines the Kurdish militia that controls most of northern Syria as a terrorist group, and Erdogan hailed the planned withdrawal as a victory over it. He also said that Turkey would establish 12 observation points in a 20-mile deep buffer zone along a 250-mile stretch of the border east of the Euphrates River.U.S. troops would remain in southeastern Syria and would maintain control of the airspace of the entire northeastern zone, said Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for the Turkish president.Responding to the claims that Turkey had violated the truce, Erdogan told a reporter after leaving Friday Prayers at a mosque in Istanbul: "I do not know where you get your information from. Conflict is out of the question."But Trump posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon that Erdogan had told him in a phone call that "there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated."Nevertheless, Trump dismissed concerns about the viability of the cease-fire. "There is good will on both sides & a really good chance for success," he said.Trump also said that some European states were now prepared to take back European citizens from the Islamic State who are incarcerated in Kurdish prisons, allaying concerns that they might be released during the fighting."This is good news, but should have been done after WE captured them," Trump tweeted. "Anyway, big progress being made!!!!"Gunfire continued to be heard in Ras al-Ayn midafternoon by members of a civilian convoy attempting to reach the city, according to Robin Fleming, a U.S. researcher traveling with the convoy.Watching the town from a nearby hilltop shortly before 1 p.m., Fleming said she could see smoke rising from the town and hear gunshots, but no artillery.The convoy ultimately turned back before reaching the town because of fears of attack by Turkish-led Arab militias.Turkish-led forces also prevented a convoy of international aid workers from gaining access to Ras al-Ayn to treat people wounded in the fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an independent war monitor based in Britain.Ras al-Ayn has been the site of the fiercest clashes since Turkish troops invaded Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria early last week.On Friday, Kurdish health officials said they were investigating whether six civilians in the town had been hit by chemical weapons during Turkish airstrikes. Photographs shared by the Kurdish Red Crescent, a medical charity working in the area, showed at least two children with burns on their faces.Erdogan denied the claim and said the Turkish Army had no chemical weapons in its inventory. He accused the main Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, of sowing disinformation also about civilian casualties and accusation of war crimes committed by Turkish-backed Syrian forces.But Amnesty International, a global rights watchdog, accused the Turkish military and Arab militias fighting under its command of carrying out "serious violations and war crimes, including summary killings and unlawful attacks that have killed and injured civilians."In a statement, Amnesty's secretary-general, Kumi Naidoo, added: "Turkish military forces and their allies have displayed an utterly callous disregard for civilian lives, launching unlawful deadly attacks in residential areas that have killed and injured civilians."At least 218 civilians in northern Syria have died since the invasion began, according to the Kurdish authorities. A further 20 have been killed in Turkey by Kurdish mortar attacks, Erdogan said.By Friday, the Turkish troops had captured around 850 square miles of Syrian territory, Erdogan said in his speech.Turkey wants to force out the Syrian Kurdish militia that has used the chaos of the conflict to establish an autonomous region across roughly a quarter of Syrian territory. The militia is an offshoot of a guerrilla group that has waged a decadeslong insurgency in Turkey. The Turks view the group as a terrorist organization.Since 2014, the group had operated under the protection of the U.S. military, which partnered with the Kurdish fighters to help sweep the Islamic State from the region and, in the process, allowed the Kurdish militia to control most of the land lining the Turkish-Syrian border.But after Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the border this month, ending their protection of the Kurdish fighters, Turkish forces invaded with the aim of establishing a Turkish-friendly zone, roughly 20 miles deep, along the border.The deal announced Thursday by Pence and Pompeo effectively gave American assent to Turkish territorial ambitions in part of the area, handing Turkey a huge diplomatic victory and completing the sudden reversal of a central plank of American policy in the Middle East.It was sealed without the involvement of the Syrian or Russian governments, to whom the Kurdish authorities turned for protection after the American evacuation and the onslaught of Turkish-led forces.On Friday, Erdogan said he would discuss the future of the rest of northeastern Syria with Vladimir Putin of Russia at a meeting in Sochi on Tuesday."Our aim is to reach a reconciliation with Russia about those matters that are reasonable and acceptable to everyone," Erdogan said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:35:24 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-Protesters cheer as British parliament votes to force Brexit delay

    Thousands of anti-Brexit protesters gathered outside Britain's parliament cheered as lawmakers voted on Saturday to withhold support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's EU exit deal until formal ratification legislation had passed. "Hear us," many of the protesters said outside the 800-year-old parliament building while others chanted "People's vote". Hundreds of thousands of Britons had marched through central London towards parliament to demand a new Brexit referendum, with many crowding into the grass square outside to watch the result on a big screen.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:31:43 -0400
  • UK parliament speaker to rule on Monday if govt can put Brexit deal to vote again

    The speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said he would rule on Monday if he will allow the government to put forward a vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal. The government had tried to get lawmakers to approve the deal on Saturday but lawmakers instead backed a proposal to withhold support for the deal until formal ratification legislation has passed.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:31:08 -0400
  • UK parliament to debate Brexit deal on Monday - House of Commons leader

    British lawmakers will debate and vote on Monday on whether to approve Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, the leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Saturday. The government had planned to ask lawmakers to approve the deal on Saturday but parliament instead backed a proposal to withhold support for Johnson's Brexit deal until formal ratification legislation has passed. "Monday's business will now be a debate on a motion relating to Section 13 (1B) of the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018," Rees-Mogg said after the vote.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:12:59 -0400
  • Boris Johnson Furious as Parliament Refuses to Be Bounced Into Brexit Deal

    Golocal247.com news

    REUTERSLONDON—Boris Johnson was left raging on Saturday as lawmakers forced the prime minister to seek yet another Brexit delay from the European Union. The extremely rare parliamentary vote taken on a Saturday did not reject Johnson’s compromise deal with the EU outright, it merely demanded more time for the deal to be examined and inserted an additional failsafe to stop Britain from slipping out of the EU without an agreed deal on Halloween.No. 10 was furious because Johnson has repeatedly promised to leave the EU by October 31, and that will now become more difficult. Brexit campaign insiders lamented the destruction of Johnson’s “head of steam,” and an end to the momentum created by his unlikely success in securing a deal from Europe. After another vote that went against Johnson last month, the prime minister is now legally mandated to write to the EU asking for an extension to January 31. It is unclear how Brussels will respond to that request. Johnson is expected to bring the withdrawal legislation to the floor of the House of Commons early next week, so he may only have to wait a few days to secure victory but Labour opponents—and nervous No. 10 insiders—believe that potential support for the deal may ebb away once lawmakers get the chance to fully examine the fineprint.Just two days after Johnson was back-slapping European counterparts and clasping hands with fellow leaders, his precarious grip on power was underlined once again in a vote that went against him by 322 to 306.In response, Johnson stood up and said he would refuse to “negotiate” a further extension with the EU. He stopped short of saying he would refuse to comply with the law and send the extension letter, although he reiterated his hopes that the EU would not immediately grant an extension. “I don't think they'll be attracted by delay,” he said.As lawmakers continued to debate the result, Johnson sat slumped on the frontbench shaking his head. It was a sharp contrast to his mood two days earlier. Tickled pink with the deal he had unexpectedly secured from the EU, Johnson had sought to rush back to Westminster and bounce parliament into agreeing. One of his own long-term colleagues, Sir Oliver Letwin, had other ideas. Letwin is a veteran Conservative right-winger who has been in the heart of Conservative thinking for decades. He was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s Downing Street policy unit in the 1980s and entrusted by David Cameron to write the Tory manifesto in 2010.He was kicked out of the party last month by Johnson after voting to ensure there wouldn’t be a No Deal Brexit. He exacted his revenge on Saturday by wrecking Johnson’s chance for a victorious homecoming. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:07:52 -0400
  • UK Parliament votes to force Brexit delay in setback for Boris Johnson

    Golocal247.com news

    U.K. lawmakers voted on Saturday to undermine a deal reached between Boris Johnson and the European Union, casting doubt on the prime minister's ability to meet an Oct. 31 Brexit deadline. Johnson announced Thursday that he had reached a deal with European leaders for the U.K. to leave the EU, but the agreement still needed to be approved by his country's Parliament.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:07:00 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-British protesters lampoon the 'Lucifer' of Brexit and his billionaire backers

    Anti-Brexit protesters used a bizarre array of humour on Saturday to lampoon Britain's leaders, casting Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser as a manipulating devil behind an EU divorce they view as the work of a privileged few. The battle over Brexit spilled onto the streets of London when hundreds of thousands of people gathered to demand a new referendum while lawmakers decided the fate of Britain's departure from the European Union. Many turned to sometimes risqué British humour and their props ranged from exquisitely crafted effigies to battered empty boxes and a baguette.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:55:08 -0400
  • UK lawmakers vote for Letwin proposals, forcing Johnson towards Brexit delay

    British lawmakers on Saturday voted for a proposal to withhold support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal until formal ratification legislation has passed, a step that will oblige him to ask the European Union for a Brexit delay. Lawmakers voted 322-306 for the amendment, put forward by former Conservative lawmaker Oliver Letwin. Unless Johnson has approved a deal by the end of Saturday, he is obliged by law to ask the EU for a Brexit delay until the end of January 2020.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:52:44 -0400
  • 10 things you need to know today: October 19, 2019

    1.U.K. Parliament passed an amendment during its first Saturday session in 37 years that requires Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request a Brexit delay from the European Union by 11 p.m. Saturday. The vote was tight, but ultimately a cross-party group backed the amendment by a count of 322-306. It does not necessarily mean that the MPs would not have supported the deal Johnson had brokered with the European Union on Thursday, but the government was clear that, after being defeated in the amendment vote, it would abandon a follow-up vote on the deal, as the amendment rendered it "meaningless." It appeared that Johnson was close to receiving the votes he needed to pass the deal, and he said he would move forward with Brexit legislation next week. [BBC, The Guardian] 2.The State Department found "no evidence of pervasive systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information" after wrapping up its internal investigation launched in 2016 related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of private email during her tenure. The investigators did, however, determine that 38 unidentified current and former State Department officials were "culpable" in 91 cases of sending classified information that ended up in Clinton's personal email, meaning the use of private email did increase the vulnerability of such information. Any of the 38 officials still working for the State Department could reportedly face some form of disciplinary action, while the violations will be noted in the files of all 38, and will be considered when applying for or renewing security clearances. All in all, the investigation covered 33,000 emails and found 588 violations, though it could not assign fault in 497 cases. [The Associated Press, The Guardian] 3.The House is reportedly set to vote on a resolution to condemn the White House over its choice to hold the 2020 Group of Seven summit at President Trump's Doral resort in Miami, Florida. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced the decision Thursday saying Trump would not profit from the event. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticized the move as a potential ethics violation, pointing out that diplomats, world leaders, and their staffers would visit the financially strained resort. The House resolution will determine whether lawmakers want to condemn Trump's "practice of accepting foreign government Emoluments without obtaining Congress' affirmative consent." The resolution will be considered next week. [Politico, The Hill] 4.Kurdish troops reportedly began withdrawing from a key zone in northern Syria on late Friday, adhering to terms agreed upon by Turkey and the U.S. one day prior. Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that Turkey agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Syria between Turkish and Kurdish forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to "pause" the operation in Syria "to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours." However, shelling and gunfire were still heard in some Syrian border towns Friday morning, leading Kurdish leadership to accuse Turkish forces of violating the ceasefire. The deal came after President Trump pulled back U.S. troops from northern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey's military to enter Kurdish-held zones. [The New York Times] 5.At least 62 people have died and more than 100 others were injured in explosions at a mosque in eastern Afghanistan. Multiple bombings caused the roof of a mosque in the Nangarhar province to collapse during Friday prayers. Rescuers are still excavating the site and pulling survivors and bodies out of the destroyed mosque, a member of Nangarhar's provincial council said. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, though the Deh Bala district borders rural ISIS-held areas. Afghanistan's government has so far blamed the Taliban, but the Taliban has reportedly denied involvement. The United Nations recently said violence against civilians has reached "extreme levels" in Afghanistan. At least 1,174 civilians died in the months of July-September, the largest quarterly total in a decade. [Reuters] 6.President Trump's personal lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani attempted to secure a visa from the State Department for former Ukraine prosecutor Viktor Shokin, U.S. diplomat George Kent reportedly told congressional investigators, two people familiar with his closed-door deposition earlier this week said. Shokin was pushed out of his position in 2016 when several world leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, voiced concerns that Shokin was not pursuing corruption cases in Ukraine. Giuliani has previously said he wanted to interview Shokin because he promised to reveal information about Democrats' actions in Ukraine. Giuliani has alleged that Biden was trying to stop investigations to protect his son, Hunter, who was sitting on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the time. [CNN, NBC News] 7.Mark Forkner, a Boeing technical pilot, reportedly warned a colleague about problems with the flight-control program, MCAS, in the company's 737 MAX airplane in 2016, messages released Friday reveal. MCAS was later implicated in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia within the last year that combined killed a total of 346 people and ultimately led to the plane's removal from the sky, as engineers and regulators attempt to implement new safeguards. In 2017, Forkner reportedly instructed a Federal Aviation Administration employee to remove MCAS from pilot manuals and training because "it's way outside the normal operating envelope." The FAA said in a statement Friday it is "disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to our attention immediately upon its discovery." [CNBC, NPR] 8.Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on Friday condemned Hillary Clinton after Clinton suggested Russia was "grooming" a current 2020 candidate "to be the third party candidate," appearing to indirectly suggest that the outsider Democrat Gabbard is a "favorite of the Russians." In several tweets, Gabbard labeled Clinton "the queen of warmongers" and "embodiment of corruption," and declared "this primary is between you and me." Reports have indicated Gabbard's campaign has become a target of foreign bots and Russian media. Gabbard's tweets didn't address such reports, but the lawmaker has previously slammed the characterization as a "smear." Gabbard tweeted that Clinton must be behind a "concerted campaign to destroy my reputation." [Tulsi Gabbard, The Week] 9.Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir completed a seven hour and 17 minute spacewalk outside of the International Space Station on Friday. While 15 women have conducted spacewalks before, Meir and Koch joined up for what was the first ever all-female spacewalk. It was Koch's fourth spacewalk, and Meir's first go at it. The pair completed their primary task of replacing a failed power charging unit, as well as several extra tasks. While Meir said the walk was "really just us doing our job," she did recognize the event's importance. "We hope that we can provide an inspiration to everybody, not only women, but to everybody that has a dream, that has a big dream, and who is willing to work hard," she said. [Ars Technica, Space.com] 10.Disney's Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is projected to top the weekend box office, but with a weaker than anticipated debut. The Angelina Jolie-starring sequel centered around the Sleeping Beauty is projected to open to around $35 million, lower than earlier projections that had it making $45 million. This would be roughly half of the $69 million the original Maleficent made in its 2014 debut. Sony's Zombieland: Double Tap, meanwhile, is expected to earn around $28 million, higher than previous estimates that put it closer to $23 million. That would be a slight improvement on the original Zombieland's 2009 debut of $24 million. Joker, however, may snatch the second place slot away from Zombieland by taking in around $30 million in its third weekend. [Variety, Deadline]

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:16:00 -0400
  • Can Boris Johnson Pull Off the Impossible? We’re Counting the Votes

    (Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson has managed to strike a new Brexit deal with the European Union. But does he have the numbers to get it past Parliament?Well short of a majority, he needs to persuade 61 Members of Parliament to back his deal. He looks only three-fourths of the way there, based on public comments made by lawmakers in recent days. Here’s our tally of how many have declared for him so far.Now for the health warning. This analysis is necessarily imprecise: MPs can change their minds. It’s also incomplete: There are some we would expect to back the deal but simply haven’t said so publicly yet.For Johnson, it looks tight -- but not impossible. Here’s how the numbers break down.Johnson’s Target: 320Once non-voting MPs are accounted for, Johnson needs 320 MPs on his side to win any vote in the House of Commons.May’s Baseline: 259The last time Theresa May tried to get her deal through, in March, she had the support of 279 Conservatives. They are mostly likely to back a Johnson deal too, but there are some problems.Johnson expelled a group of MPs from the party in September after they backed legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit. They were joined by Amber Rudd, who resigned in sympathy. Also out of the party is Nick Boles, who quit the Conservatives earlier this year in frustration at the Brexit deadlock.As a result there are question marks against 19 former Tories who previously backed May’s deal. On top of that number, one deal-backing Conservative, Chris Davies, lost his seat to a Liberal Democrat in a recall election.That leaves Johnson 61 votes short. Where can he go?‘Gaukeward Squad’: 19The expelled Tories, who take their name from former Justice Secretary David Gauke, are temperamentally loyalists -- some had never voted against their party before September. Many of them are looking for a way back in -- including Gauke, who says he will vote for the deal on Saturday. Given that their objection to Johnson’s strategy was the fear he was pursuing a no-deal divorce, they may be happy to get back into line now he’s reached an agreement.But it’s not certain. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has warned of the economic dangers of not having a close relationship with the EU. Several of them, including Antoinette Sandbach, have suggested the U.K. needs to hold another referendum.Johnson would be doing very well if he got all of them on side.Democratic Unionist Party: 10Johnson worked hard to try to keep Northern Ireland’s DUP engaged, but they have come out firmly against the new deal. They have deep reservations about anything that creates any kind of border between Britain and Northern Ireland, such as customs checks in the Irish Sea, and want a stronger consent mechanism that hands a greater say to the regional assembly. They are now trying to persuade Tories to vote against the deal.The Spartans: 28The self-titled “Spartans” are Conservative MPs who refused to vote for May’s deal. They chose their name to recall the fearsome Ancient Greek warriors who held off a numerically superior Persian force at the Battle of Thermopylae.When Johnson became prime minister, the Spartans were adamant they opposed anything but the most minimal Brexit agreement. But in recent weeks they have begun to see the virtues of compromise. This is the result of the Benn Act, legislation that aims to prevent the U.K. leaving on Oct. 31 unless Johnson has reached a deal. It’s made the Spartans fear losing Brexit altogether.The leader of the Spartans, Steve Baker, twice described the emerging deal as “tolerable” before it was unveiled. Another, former Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, was more critical. But many are desperate to get Brexit over the line -- for fear this may be their last opportunity.Two Spartans, at least, are fairly sure to back a deal: Priti Patel and Theresa Villiers are both in Johnson’s Cabinet.Labour: 31May pinned her hopes on winning the support of a significant minority of MPs from the opposition Labour Party who believe the 2016 referendum result must be honored. She struggled to get more than five to vote with her, but 15 who didn’t back her last time joined some who did in signing a letter this month urging the EU to do a deal. That might imply a commitment to actually vote for such an agreement.Against that is the fear of retribution from their party if they do so. Leader Jeremy Corbyn and his team sense that defeating Johnson’s deal is a key step on their route to beating him at an election. Others in the party see defeating a deal as essential to securing another referendum.A law unto herself is Kate Hoey, a fierce supporter of Brexit but also an MP with Northern Irish roots, who said she’ll oppose the deal.Since Johnson announced his deal, some Labour MPs who previously made pro-Brexit noises have started to come out of the woodwork, so we’ve increased the number of potential Labour votes by 10.Independents: 5Four independent MPs backed May’s deal in March. A fifth, John Woodcock, might also be tempted.Other MPs: 2Two possible supporters defy categorization. Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, who is stepping down at the next election, represents a seat that voted to leave the EU and has been critical of his party’s anti-Brexit stance. And Jo Johnson, brother of the prime minister, voted against the deal in March, agreed to join his brother’s Cabinet, then resigned. Both could potentially back a deal to settle the issue.So, Johnson Needs 61 of 85 Available VotesIt’s tight, but feasible. In charge of wooing MPs is Johnson’s political secretary, Danny Kruger, who has been speaking not just to Conservatives but to opposition lawmakers who might be tempted to support a deal. The opposite of his more famous and abrasive colleague Dominic Cummings, Kruger is a gentle and thoughtful former political speech-writer who has set up two charities to help people on the margins of society.The RisksThere is a question, however, of whether the prime minister might lose some support, for example among those Tories who voted for a deal in March and regretted doing so afterward.There’s also another intriguing possibility. When May was prime minister, she said a Brexit deal that split Northern Ireland from Great Britain was one that no prime minister could accept. Now she’s a former prime minister and if that’s the path Johnson takes, could she live with it?She’ll almost certainly stay loyal, but then Johnson did make her life very difficult, so it’s hard to be sure.The JokerIf it comes to a tie, Speaker John Bercow has a casting vote. It’s not clear how he would exercise it.(Updates count in second paragraph, table.)\--With assistance from Kitty Donaldson and Jessica Shankleman.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:07:52 -0400
  • British protesters lampoon the 'Lucifer' of Brexit and his billionaire backers

    Anti-Brexit protesters on Saturday used a bizarre array of humour to lampoon Britain's leaders, casting Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser as a manipulating devil behind a divorce that was the work of a privileged few. The battle over Brexit spilled onto the streets of London when hundreds of thousands of people gathered to demand a new referendum while lawmakers decided the fate of Britain's departure from the European Union. Many turned to sometimes risqué British humour.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:53:40 -0400
  • Northern Ireland's DUP say they will use every strategy to seek changes to Brexit deal

    Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party will use every strategy available to try and get changes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, its Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said on Saturday. Lawmakers are due to vote on Saturday on a proposal to withhold support for Johnson's Brexit deal until formal ratification legislation has passed. The vote is expected to be very close and the DUP, who oppose the Brexit deal, have not said if they will back the amendment.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:44:24 -0400
  • Rebel with a cause plots ruin of Johnson's big Brexit day

    Fearing Britain could drop out of the European Union without a deal by design or default, one British lawmaker has threatened to deny Prime Minister Boris Johnson his day of Brexit glory by delaying a vote on a last-minute divorce deal. Oliver Letwin, 63, is a former cabinet minister with a reputation as an unofficial fixer, using his affable manner and procedural knowledge to head off awkward disagreements in parliament. Brexit has given him notoriety as a rebel with a cause: to stop a no-deal Brexit.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:33:01 -0400
  • Brexit Countdown, Canada Votes, Erdogan’s Gamble: Weekend Reads

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Can he pull it off? U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking enough votes to get his Brexit deal through a Parliament where he lacks a majority, and where his Northern Irish allies say they can’t support it. Can he pull it off? Justin Trudeau is no longer the political superstar he once was, and it's going to be a struggle to eke out another term when Canadians go to the polls next week.And speaking of pulling it off, Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have just outfoxed self-proclaimed deal master Donald Trump on Syria policy. Catch up on these and other topics with the latest edition of Weekend Reads. Canadian ElectionsOnce a Superstar, Canada’s Trudeau Fights for His Political LifeDogged by controversy and declining popularity, the prime minister is still the favorite — but barely. Ethan Bronner takes a closer look at what went wrong. Click here for interactive charts showing where things stand on the cusp of Monday’s election. Canadian Conservatives Want This ‘Barbecue Dad’ to Beat TrudeauTheophilos Argitis profiles Andrew Scheer — the former speaker of Canada’s House of Commons  — who’s running to oust Trudeau on a platform of extreme relatability. The Fortune Buried in Canada’s Oil Sands May Swing This ElectionTrudeau thinks the nation can be both an oil superpower and a climate pioneer. As Kevin Orland and Natalie Obiko Pearson report, this election will show if voters disagree.ElsewhereErdogan’s ‘Too Big to Fail’ Gamble Pays Off, But Carries RiskPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long based his dealings with the U.S. and Europe on a bet: that threats to cut his country loose or crush its economy won’t be followed through, because Turkey is simply too strategically important. The wager just paid off, Marc Champion and Selcan Hacaoglu report. To Win Giuliani’s Help, Oligarch’s Allies Pursued Biden DirtAssociates of a Ukrainian oligarch fighting extradition to the U.S. were working to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden last summer in an effort to get Rudy Giuliani’s help in the oligarch’s legal case, Stephanie Baker and Irina Reznik report. Pensioners Sleep Outside Zimbabwe Banks as Savings Vanish AgainAs hundreds of pensioners line up outside a bank in central Harare in the hope of collecting their pensions, military veteran Elias Nyabunzi has a sense that he has seen this all before. Ray Ndlovu spoke to pensioners in Zimbabwe, who are among the hardest hit in an economy that’s stagnated for almost 20 years. Census Could Miss Millions, Even Without a Citizenship QuestionCommunity groups are working to convince Latinos that answering the decennial survey isn’t just important, it’s essential. Reade Pickert explains why. Indonesia Oligarchs Are Trying to Yank Power From the PresidentIndonesia’s elites are edging closer to securing constitutional changes to strip President Joko Widodo of key powers in a move that could eventually end direct elections. As Arys Aditya and Karlis Salna write, it presents the most crucial test for democracy in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy since the downfall of the dictator Suharto in 1998.And finally … 2019 has seen a slow, steady advancement of women in leadership positions. It’s been a slightly different story in the aviation industry. Women still make up just over 7% of all pilots in the U.S., according to the most recent data. The numbers are even worse for black women — they make up fewer than 1% of all pilots holding airline transport, pilot, commercial, military, and/or certified flight instructor licenses. Jennifer Zabasajja takes a closer look at Sisters of the Skies, a group that aims to change that.  To contact the author of this story: Kathleen Hunter in London at khunter9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at kmaier2@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:00:27 -0400
  • Not responsible for PM to threaten 'my deal or no deal' - UK lawmaker Letwin

    British lawmaker Oliver Letwin said on Saturday it was not responsible for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to threaten a choice between his Brexit deal and a no deal. Letwin has put forward a proposal which is due to be voted on later on Saturday to withhold support for Johnson's Brexit deal until formal ratification legislation has passed. "The prime minister has a strategy ... he wants to be able to say to any waverers 'it is my deal or no deal, vote for the implementing legislation or we crash out'," Letwin told parliament.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 07:51:29 -0400
  • Libya's navy intercepts about 150 Europe-bound migrants

    Libya's coast guard says it has intercepted around 150 Europe-bound migrants off the country's Mediterranean coast. Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said Saturday the migrants had been returned to shore and would be taken to a detention center in the capital, Tripoli. Gassim said the three rubber boats with 148 Arab and African migrants were stopped off Libya's western towns of Zuwara and Sabrata Friday, and included 15 women and 11 children.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 07:20:39 -0400
  • UPDATE 3-"We are voiceless": Hundreds of thousands protest in London for new Brexit vote

    Hundreds of thousands of Britons marched through London on Saturday to demand a new Brexit referendum and celebrated as lawmakers in parliament voted to postpone Britain's departure from the European Union. The protesters, some having travelled for hours from around the United Kingdom to get to the capital, waved EU flags under sunny skies and held placards that employed creativity and wit. The crowd clogged vast stretches of central London, with thousands of people waiting to begin the march at Hyde Park by the time others had reached parliament as lawmakers held the first Saturday session since the 1982 Falklands war.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 07:10:34 -0400
  • Millions march in Iraq in annual Arbaeen Shiite pilgrimage

    Golocal247.com news

    Millions of pilgrims made their way on foot to the Iraqi city of Karbala on Saturday for the Shiite pilgrimage of Arbaeen, regarded as the largest annual public gathering in the world. Militias patrolled roads leading into the city and escorted Iranian pilgrims from the border, hiking up security for processions that have previously been targeted by Sunni militant groups with bloody bombings. This year's Arbaeen ceremonies take place amid widespread anger in Iraq's Shiite south over the government's heavy crackdown on protests that erupted earlier this month against unemployment, corruption and government mismanagement.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:44:03 -0400
  • The Latest: Gulf gov'ts warn travelers over Lebanon protests

    Golocal247.com news

    Arab Gulf nations are encouraging their citizens to leave Lebanon amid violent nationwide protests over the country's worsening economic crisis. The state-run Saudi Press Agency says Saudi Arabian nationals have been warned against travelling to Lebanon and those already there are being asked to take utmost caution. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain went a step further, calling on their citizens to leave amid the unrest.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:20:25 -0400
  • Protest Leaders Ignore Ban, Call for March: Hong Kong Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong protest organizers said they would lead demonstrators through Kowloon on Sunday in a march despite losing an appeal against a police ban on the procession.The Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions supported the police’s refusal to approve the march because of the potential for violence, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. The rally was originally called to protest a government ban on masks and comes after Wednesday’s attack on Civil Human Rights Front’s organizer Jimmy Sham by hammer-wielding thugs in Mong Kok.Protesters are seeking to keep the pressure on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam with a 20th straight weekend of demonstrations. Earlier this week, Lam was twice shouted down in the city’s legislature by opposition lawmakers as she discussed her annual policy address.The protests began in opposition to Lam’s since-scrapped bill allowing extraditions to mainland China and have expanded to include calls for greater democracy and an independent inquiry. The unrest has turned increasingly violent, with frequent clashes between protesters and police.Here’s the latest (all times local):March to go ahead (5:17 p.m.)Civil Human Rights Front convener Figo Chan said he will lead a march Sunday along the route originally planned and he will be joined by other prominent pro-democracy activists including Leung Kwok-hung, Albert Ho and Cyd Ho, RTHK reported.Demonstrators planned to walk from Tsim Sha Tsui to the express rail terminus in West Kowloon before the police banned the march. The protesters could face arrest, but all of the city’s protests have had to deal with risks, whether they received police permission or not, RTHK cited Chan as saying.March ban upheld (2:30 p.m.)Hong Kong protesters lost an appeal against the police ban of their planned march on Sunday through Tsim Sha Tsui on concern about violence, RTHK reported.Organizers had planned to march through Tsim Sha Tsui to the west side of the district, where the high-speed train station to mainland China is located. Civil Human Rights Front Sham was one of the organizers of the event.Despite the police ban, protesters could still go ahead with the march. Activists mostly ignore restrictions on their gatherings and have continued to show up at events that lack police permits, with some devolving into violent clashes.On Friday night protesters formed human chains citywide, with everyone covering their faces in some way in defiance of the mask ban. People masqueraded as Disney characters, animals and super heroes, but the most popular mask was one of China President Xi Jinping. In Tsim Sha Tsui a long line of protesters linked hands, all wearing a facade of Xi’s smiling face.Lam may reshuffle ExCo (1 p.m.)Chief Executive Lam said she would consider reorganizing the city’s Executive Council, its de facto Cabinet, but would wait until protests had ended.The beleaguered leader of Hong Kong said on an RTHK radio program that she doesn’t “blindly” support the actions of each officer but fully supports the force in enforcing the law. She urged people to wait for a report from Independent Police Complaints Council into the recent clashes, RTHK said. Lam again rejected calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the latest coming from Chinese University’s vice-chancellor, Rocky Tuan.Taiwan gets letter (10:45 a.m.)Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed it had received a letter from the Hong Kong police offering assistance in the case of Chan Tong-kai, Central News Agency reported.There is no precedent for the cooperation and the Taiwan bureau will follow up with relevant departments for discussion, CNA reported.Homicide suspect to surrender himself to Taiwan (11:28 p.m.)Hong Kong’s Chief Executive received a letter Friday from Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong man who’s been accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend during a Valentine’s Day trip to Taiwan, saying that he’d decided to surrender himself to Taiwan, according to a statement on the website of Hong Kong’s government.Chan, who’s currently serving a prison sentence for money laundering in a Hong Kong jail, “requested the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to assist him in making the relevant arrangement,” according to the statement.Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported earlier on Friday, citing a person it didn’t identify, that Chan made the decision after consulting with a pastor.Protesters march across city (1 p.m.)Demonstrators marched in the Central financial district on Hong Kong Island, temporarily blocking traffic, as well as in the Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok neighborhoods of Kowloon. Some carried a banner calling on the Hong Kong government to agree to their five demands, which include an independent inquiry into police violence, an amnesty for arrested protesters and greater democratic freedoms.Police deny weekend permit (12:30 p.m.)Hong Kong police denied a protest permit for the Civil Human Rights Front’s planned march in Kowloon on Sunday. The group -- whose organizer Jimmy Sham was hospitalized this week -- has been behind some of the largest protests during the last five months, including a few that have drawn over one million people. In many cases, protesters have continued to show up at events that lack police permits, with some devolving into violent clashes with police.\--With assistance from Dominic Lau.To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Stanley JamesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:09:49 -0400
  • UK government focused on defeating Letwin amendment - PM Johnson's spokesman

    The British government is focused on making sure lawmakers do not back a proposal to withhold support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal until formal ratification legislation has passed, Johnson's spokesman said on Saturday. If the amendment, put forward by former Conservative lawmaker Oliver Letwin, is accepted, parliament will not get to vote on Saturday on whether to approve Johnson's Brexit deal.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 05:39:16 -0400
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