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  •  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is struggling to maintain a grip on power in No 10 Downing Street as ministers and aides continue to quit his government in protest at his leadership It has only been weeks since Johnson survived a no confidence vote sparked by revelations that he had attended parties in government offices at hellip
    UK PM faces parliamentary grilling after top ministers quit
     British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is struggling to maintain a grip on power in No 10 Downing Street as ministers and aides continue to quit his government in protest at his leadership It has only been weeks since Johnson survived a no confidence vote sparked by revelations that he had attended parties in government offices at hellip
    UK PM faces parliamentary grilling after top ministers quit
    Foreign19 hours ago

    UK PM faces parliamentary grilling after top ministers quit

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is struggling to maintain a grip on power in No 10 Downing Street as ministers and aides continue to quit his government in protest at his leadership.

    It has only been weeks since Johnson survived a no-confidence vote sparked by revelations that he had attended parties in government offices at a time when government policy expressly forbade social gatherings.

    The forbade gatherings were due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

    Now he was accused of having ignored concerns about the personal behaviour of Chris Pincher, who went on to take multiple government positions.

    Pincher quit as deputy chief whip after allegedly assaulting two men while drunk at London’s Carlton Club.

    The outrage about the story has prompted multiple Cabinet resignations, most recently that of Will Quince, who quit as children and families minister.

    He said he could not accept being sent out to defend the prime minister on television with inaccurate information in the Pincher row.

    Laura Trott quit as a ministerial aide, “saying trust in politics is and must always be of the utmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost.’’

    Their resignations early on Wednesday followed a string of departures from the government on Tuesday, led by Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid who delivered broadsides at Johnson as they quit their Cabinet posts.

    Sunak’s replacement as chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, hinted at reversing a planned rise in corporation tax as part of the effort to restore trust between the leadership and lawmakers from Johnson’s Conservative, or Tory, party.

    But the Cabinet reshuffle did not appear to have persuaded Johnson’s critics to hold fire.

    Quince was one of the ministers sent on the airwaves to defend Johnson’s position about Pincher.

    The Prime Minister later acknowledged he had previously been informed of allegations against Pincher dating back to 2019 and said he regretted keeping him in government beyond that point.

    Quince said he had received a “sincere apology’’ from Johnson for being sent out with an inaccurate briefing about the prime minister’s knowledge of events.

    “I have no choice but to tender my resignation as I accepted and repeated those assurances in good faith.’’ (

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned on Friday from an overseas tour to face multiple crises including the latest resignation of a top Conservative from his scandal hit government The embattled leader found his ruling Conservatives mired in another sexual misconduct controversy shortly after he returned to Britain on Thursday from a NATO summit in Spain hellip
    UK PM back in crisis mode after foreign tour
     UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned on Friday from an overseas tour to face multiple crises including the latest resignation of a top Conservative from his scandal hit government The embattled leader found his ruling Conservatives mired in another sexual misconduct controversy shortly after he returned to Britain on Thursday from a NATO summit in Spain hellip
    UK PM back in crisis mode after foreign tour
    Foreign6 days ago

    UK PM back in crisis mode after foreign tour

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned on Friday from an overseas tour to face multiple crises, including the latest resignation of a top Conservative from his scandal-hit government.

    The embattled leader found his ruling Conservatives mired in another sexual misconduct controversy shortly after he returned to Britain on Thursday from a NATO summit in Spain.

    In a letter to Johnson, Conservative MP Chris Pincher announced he would resign as deputy whip chief after admitting he drank "too much" and "embarrassed myself and other people" on Wednesday night.

    Reports said he had been accused of groping two men in front of others at London's exclusive Carlton Club, prompting complaints from Conservatives.

    His departure from the whip office, charged with enforcing discipline and party standards, marks the latest allegation of sexual misconduct by the Tories in recent months.

    Conservative MP Neil Parish resigned in April after viewing pornography on his mobile phone in the House of Commons.

    That sparked a by-election in his previously secure seat that the party lost in a landmark victory for the opposition Liberal Democrats.

    Johnson himself has been embroiled in several scandals, including the so-called "Partygate" affair that prompted his own lawmakers to launch a no-confidence motion against him in early June that he narrowly survived.

    The 58-year-old prime minister still faces a parliamentary inquiry into whether he lied to MPs about parties breaching the Downing Street lockdown.

    'Survival mode' The controversies erupt as Britain grapples with a worsening cost-of-living crisis and a summer of multi-union strikes over wages and working conditions.

    Meanwhile, the country continues to struggle to adjust to Brexit and risks a potential trade war with the European Union by unilaterally revising the special deal it agreed with the bloc for Northern Ireland.

    The Financial Times reported on Friday that Britain's trade performance this year has fallen to its worst level since records began, adding to the pound's recent slide.

    A growing chorus of critics argues that the Johnson administration is too distracted by its own problems to focus on these mounting challenges.

    "We have a problem in trade, (a) problem in Northern Ireland, a problem with labor shortages, the pound has devalued significantly, business investment is down," the former Prime Minister told the BBC on Thursday. Labor Minister Tony Blair.

    "I think it's incoherent and it's also not well thought out and the reason is that the government is in survival mode - they're not thinking about what is the right long-term plan for Britain's future."

    Johnson returned home after nine days of globetrotting that saw him attend three international summits, including a Commonwealth meeting in Rwanda and a G7 meeting in Germany.

    'Serious questions' Pincher's resignation within hours of that immediately refocused attention on persistent claims of conservative sleaze.

    It also left the UK leader with another top job to fill after the Conservative chairman resigned following two by-election defeats last month, including for the Parish seat.

    "The prime minister has accepted the resignation and believes it was right for him to resign," Johnson's deputy spokesman told reporters, amid a series of questions about Pincher.

    "(He) thinks that kind of behavior is unacceptable and would encourage those who wish to make a complaint to do so," he added, while refusing to specify exactly what behavior had led the former whip to resign.

    The spokesman said he was not aware of any government investigation into the matter, amid anonymous briefings in Downing Street that Pincher would remain as MP, sparking a backlash.

    The only two Conservative chairs of parliamentary watchdog committees have written to the party's chief whip urging Pincher to be suspended from the party while his conduct is investigated.

    They also demanded a "zero tolerance policy" on sexual misconduct following an "inconsistent and unclear approach".

    Pincher only became deputy whip chief in February, when Johnson reportedly defied warnings from other Tories about his behavior.

    He previously resigned as a junior whip in 2017, following a complaint that he had made an unwanted pass at a former Olympic rower and potential Conservative election candidate.

    Johnson's deputy spokesman denied that the prime minister was aware of any other "specific" allegations against Pincher before his latest appointment.

    That has failed to satisfy opposition politicians.

    "Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer about why Chris Pincher was given this role in the first place and how he can remain a Conservative MP," Labor Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said.

  •  President Xi Jinping hailed China s rule of Hong Kong on Friday as he led celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city s handover from Britain insisting that democracy was flourishing despite years of political repression that had silenced dissent Xi s speech was the end of a two day victory lap meant to celebrate the Chinese Communist hellip
    Xi hails China’s rule over Hong Kong at handover anniversary
     President Xi Jinping hailed China s rule of Hong Kong on Friday as he led celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city s handover from Britain insisting that democracy was flourishing despite years of political repression that had silenced dissent Xi s speech was the end of a two day victory lap meant to celebrate the Chinese Communist hellip
    Xi hails China’s rule over Hong Kong at handover anniversary
    Foreign6 days ago

    Xi hails China’s rule over Hong Kong at handover anniversary

    President Xi Jinping hailed China's rule of Hong Kong on Friday as he led celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain, insisting that democracy was flourishing despite years of political repression that had silenced dissent.

    Xi's speech was the end of a two-day victory lap meant to celebrate the Chinese Communist Party's control of the once-open mall after authorities cracked down on huge pro-democracy protests.

    Since Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in 2020, the opposition has been crushed and most pro-democracy figures have fled the country, been removed from office or jailed.

    But Xi said Beijing had always acted "for the good of Hong Kong."

    "After rejoining the motherland, the people of Hong Kong became masters of their own city," he said. "Hong Kong's true democracy started here."

    The closely choreographed trip is the Chinese leader's first outside the mainland since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and his first to Hong Kong since the mass protests that overwhelmed the city in 2019.

    Friday's ceremony included the inauguration of the new city government, headed by John Lee, a former security chief who oversaw the police response to those demonstrations.

    "After all the storms, everyone has painfully learned that Hong Kong cannot fall into chaos and Hong Kong cannot afford chaos," Xi said.

    "You have to get rid of all disturbances and focus on development."

    "Erosion of autonomy" Friday marks the midpoint of the 50-year governance model agreed by Britain and China under which Hong Kong would retain autonomy and key freedoms, known as One Country, Two Systems.

    The anniversary used to be a prime example of those freedoms in action.

    For years after the handover, hundreds of thousands of residents participated in a march every July 1 to express their political and social grievances.

    But that rally, like all other mass gatherings and protests in Hong Kong, has been banned for more than two years.

    Critics, including many Western powers, say Beijing has effectively broken a promise that Hong Kong would keep its way of life after the handover.

    "We made a promise to the territory and its people and we intend to keep it by doing everything we can to see that China honors its commitments," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday.

    The United States and Australia also issued statements scheduled for the anniversary criticizing the erosion of freedoms, while Taiwan's prime minister said freedom and democracy had "disappeared" in Hong Kong.

    But Xi insisted that One Country, Two Systems was "a good system."

    "It has no reason to change and must be maintained in the long term," he said in his speech, arguing that it safeguarded "the country's sovereignty, security and development interests."

    Closed loopChina still maintains strict zero-covid controls and Xi's visit was carried out under a strictly monitored "closed loop" system to protect him.

    Those who came into the president's orbit — from the schoolchildren who greeted him at the train station to the highest government officials — were forced to take daily PCR tests and spend days in a quarantine hotel.

    Parts of the city were closed off and media coverage was strictly restricted.

    Police moved to remove any potential sources of embarrassment during Xi's time in the city, with national security police making at least nine arrests over the past week, and many of the few remaining opposition groups saying they had been warned. not to protest.

    The authorities have sought to give an image of public support for the celebrations.

    The city's major newspapers ran full red covers to celebrate the anniversary, and pro-Beijing publications ran extraordinary, ad-filled editions, the longest at 188 pages.

    Friday's celebrations began with a flag-raising ceremony in the city's Victoria Harbour, complete with a military flight and a flotilla launching columns of water.

    Xi was not present: local media reported that he spent the night in the neighboring mainland city of Shenzhen and traveled back to the city on Friday morning.

    All events have been closed to the public, but a few scattered groups gathered near the flag-raising ceremony to watch the flyover.

    Liu, a 43-year-old restaurant worker, was one of those taking photos on her phone as helicopters, dragging huge Chinese and Hong Kong flags, roared by.

    “Our homeland has taken very good care of us and we are grateful,” he said. “I am hopeful for the next 25 years.”

    At a nearby restaurant, a 35-year-old tech worker surnamed Cheng said he had no special plans for the day.

    "For me and I think for some Hongkongers, the biggest shock we feel is (Xi's) visit causing huge traffic jams everywhere."

  •  The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday called on Russia to prevent the execution of two British citizens sentenced to death in a pro Moscow breakaway region of Ukraine Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin were sentenced to death earlier this month by a court in the unrecognized Donetsk People s Republic following their surrender to Russian hellip
    Europe court urges Russia to stop executions of two Britons
     The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday called on Russia to prevent the execution of two British citizens sentenced to death in a pro Moscow breakaway region of Ukraine Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin were sentenced to death earlier this month by a court in the unrecognized Donetsk People s Republic following their surrender to Russian hellip
    Europe court urges Russia to stop executions of two Britons
    Foreign7 days ago

    Europe court urges Russia to stop executions of two Britons

    The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday called on Russia to prevent the execution of two British citizens sentenced to death in a pro-Moscow breakaway region of Ukraine.

    Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin were sentenced to death earlier this month by a court in the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic, following their surrender to Russian forces in the conflict sparked by Moscow's invasion of their neighbour.

    Both men, residents of Ukraine with Ukrainian partners, joined the Ukrainian armed forces in 2018 and were posted to Mariupol, which was later besieged by Russian forces.

    Russia must “ensure that the death penalty imposed on the applicants is not carried out,” the court said in an emergency ruling following applications filed on behalf of Pinner and Aslin on June 27.

    He stressed that Russia had an obligation on their situation due to the state of the region and should also "ensure appropriate conditions of their detention and provide them with necessary medical assistance and medication."

    The ECHR also noted that the couple "voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol."

    The ruling issued by Europe's court of rights is an urgent interim measure, provided on an exceptional basis, when applicants would otherwise "face a real risk of irreversible harm," he stressed.

    On June 16, the ECHR issued a similar ruling urging Russia to stop the execution of Brahim Saadun, a Moroccan citizen born in 2000 who was sentenced to death along with two Britons.

    The urgent interim measure is the same format used by the ECtHR earlier this month when it led to the cancellation of the first deportation flight of UK asylum seekers to Rwanda, angering London.

    That move has sparked debate within the British government over whether Britain should continue to implement ECHR rulings.

    The ECHR is part of the Council of Europe, which expelled Russia from its membership in mid-March following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Russia simultaneously also took steps to leave the body.

    The court insists it can deliver verdicts on Russia, even though the Russian parliament has adopted legislation insisting it no longer adhere to ECHR rulings.

    According to his spokesman, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "appalled" by the death sentences imposed on the two Britons.

  •  Queen Elizabeth II met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday a day after politics put her government on a collision course with London by announcing plans to hold another independence referendum The 96 year old monarch met Sturgeon at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh but no details of their conversation were released She is in hellip
    Queen Elizabeth II meets Scotland’s leader after referendum announcement
     Queen Elizabeth II met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday a day after politics put her government on a collision course with London by announcing plans to hold another independence referendum The 96 year old monarch met Sturgeon at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh but no details of their conversation were released She is in hellip
    Queen Elizabeth II meets Scotland’s leader after referendum announcement
    Foreign1 week ago

    Queen Elizabeth II meets Scotland’s leader after referendum announcement

    Queen Elizabeth II met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday, a day after politics put her government on a collision course with London by announcing plans to hold another independence referendum.

    The 96-year-old monarch met Sturgeon at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, but no details of their conversation were released.

    She is in Scotland for the annual "Holyrood Week," when she and other members of the royal family traditionally hold a series of engagements in the country.

    The queen has greatly reduced public engagements since a health problem in October left her with mobility problems and not expected to make the long journey north from Windsor Castle.

    But he recently appeared in better health and did not use a cane when he met Sturgeon, according to video footage.

    The clip also showed Sturgeon presenting the monarch with a £150 ($181) bottle of the high-end Johnnie Walker Blue Label whiskey.

    The Scottish leader wants to secede from the UK and on Tuesday announced plans to hold a referendum on October 19, 2023.

    Addressing Parliament in Edinburgh, Sturgeon admitted his deputy administration may lack the power to call the vote without London's approval and is seeking an opinion from the UK Supreme Court.

    Eight years ago, Scotland voted to remain in the UK, and current polls suggest Scots remain evenly divided on the question of independence.

    The UK government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the 2014 plebiscite settled the matter for a generation.

    Speaking en route from Germany to a NATO summit in Spain, Johnson promised to study Sturgeon's plan and "respond appropriately."

    Sturgeon's Scottish National Party (SNP) wants to keep the monarchy after independence.

    As head of state, the queen is politically neutral, but observers said her mere presence in Scotland was a subtle reminder of tradition and Scotland's three-century union with England.