Category: FOREIGN NEWS

Theresa May survives confidence vote of Tory MPs

Prime Minister Theresa May has won a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party by 200 to 117.

After securing 63% of the total vote, she is now immune from a leadership challenge for a year.

Speaking in Downing Street, she vowed to deliver the Brexit “people voted for” but said she had listened to the concerns of MPs who voted against her.

Her supporters urged the party to move on but critics said losing the support of a third of MPs was “devastating”.

The prime minister won the confidence vote with a majority of 83, with 63% of Conservative MPs backing her and 37% voting against her.

The secret ballot was triggered by 48 of her MPs angry at her Brexit policy, which they say betrays the 2016 referendum result.

Speaking shortly after the result was announced, Mrs May said she would be fighting for changes to her Brexit deal at an EU summit on Thursday.

“I am pleased to have received the backing of my colleagues in tonight’s ballot,” she said.

“Whilst I am grateful for that support, a significant number of colleagues did cast a vote against me and I have listened to what they said.”

She spoke of a “renewed mission – delivering the Brexit people voted for, bringing the country back together and building a country that really works for everyone”.

How have Conservative MPs reacted?

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who led calls for the confidence vote, said losing the support of a third of her MPs was a “terrible result for the prime minister” and called on her to resign.

Brexit-backing Tory MP Mark Francois told the BBC it was “devastating” that more than half of backbenchers not serving in the government had abandoned the prime minister.

“In the cold light of day when people reflect on that number – 117 – it’s a massive number, far more than anyone was predicting. I think that will be very sobering for the prime minister. I think she needs to think very carefully about what she does now.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling conceded there were “lessons” for the prime minister and the party in the result but former cabinet minister Damian Green said it was a “decisive” victory for the prime minister, which should allow her to “move on and get on with the job in hand”.

Conservative grandee Nicholas Soames urged Brexiteers to “throw their weight” behind the PM as she sought to address the “grave concerns” many MPs had about aspects of the EU deal.

The result was greeted by cheers and applause from Tory MPs as it was announced by backbench Tory chairman Sir Graham Brady.

The prime minister still faces a battle to get the Brexit deal she agreed with the EU through the UK Parliament, with all opposition parties and, clearly, dozens of her own MPs against it.

What are the opposition saying?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the vote had “changed nothing”.

“Theresa May has lost her majority in Parliament, her government is in chaos and she’s unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country.”

Labour has said it will table a no-confidence motion that all MPs – not just Conservatives – will be able to vote in when they felt they had a chance of winning it, and forcing a general election.

The SNP’s Stephen Gethins urged Labour to “step up to the plate” and call a vote of no confidence in Mrs May, accusing the government of “playing games with people’s lives”.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said his party, which helps keep Mrs May in power, was still concerned about the Irish backstop plan, which most MPs were against.

“I don’t think this vote really changes anything very much in terms of the arithmetic,” he told BBC News.

But he said the DUP would not support a no-confidence motion in Parliament at this stage.

PM pledges not to fight next election

Mrs May earlier vowed to fight on to deliver her Brexit deal, which she argues is the only option for leaving the EU in an orderly way on 29 March.

But in a last-minute pitch to her MPs before the vote she promised to stand down as leader before the next scheduled election in 2022.

While “in her heart” she wanted to fight another election as leader, she realised her party did not want her to. However, she resisted calls to name a firm date for her departure.

If she had lost the confidence vote Mrs May would have been forced to stand down as Conservative Party leader, and then as prime minister.

But she is now expected to travel to a summit in Brussels on Thursday to continue trying to persuade EU leaders to change the deal – they have previously said it cannot be renegotiated.

The outcome of the vote was welcomed by Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who said avoiding a no-deal exit from the EU was their “shared goal”.

South Africa ‘sets date for white farmers land grab’ months after announcing ‘test case’ to see if ‘expropriation without compensation’ is legal

A report from daily mail stated that White South Africans could be forced to give up their own homes from next year as the nation’s government steamrolls through plans for land expropriation over claims ‘Africa’s original sin’ must be reversed.

 

 

 

Land is a huge issue in South Africa where racial inequality remains entrenched more than two decades after the end of apartheid when millions of the black majority were dispossessed of their land by a white minority.

 

 

 

The National Assembly agreed to the establishment of a committee that will draft an amendment to section 25 of the Constitution – a law which will allow the government to take homes from the people – and refuse to pay them compensation.

 

 

 

As many in the nation see the move as retribution for the ‘original sin’ when decades ago black people were driven off their land, it is believed white farmers will be driven from their homes immediately.

 

Governing party The African National Congress (ANC) wants to amend the law so the government can take back land and distribute it.

 

 

 

However, critics say it is likely it will be handed off to their friends rather than dished out to those in need.

 

 

 

Last week the nations politicians fast tracked the set up of a committee which will write the legal change and present it next year.

 

 

 

The motion was adopted with 183 MPs voting yes, 77 voting no and no abstentions in fiery scenes as South Africans battle over land reform.

 

 

 

In the same week, South Africa’s High Court rejected a legal challenge brought by a group representing white farmers against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans for land expropriation without compensation.

 

 

 

Currently section 25 of the Constitution ‘just and equitable’ payment which reflects ‘an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected’ must be offered for land – but changes would abolish the need to compensate.

 

 

 

Economic Freedom Fighters politician Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi said those arguing against legalising land grabs are ‘beneficiaries of racism’.

 

 

 

‘Your time is up, white people,’ She added.

 

 

 

The EFF will later put forward an amendment stating all land in private hands must be appropriated.

 

Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen said the amendment is being pushed through without proper procedure.

 

 

 

‘What it (the passing of the motion) also says, very clearly, to the people of South Africa is that regardless of their submissions, this bill is a fait accompli (already decided),’ Steenhuisen said.

 

 

 

‘This is madness. The message it sends to the people of South Africa is ‘we don’t care what you say’.’

 

 

 

MP Sibusiso Mncwabe supported the adoption of the motion: ‘Let’s continue giving this Christmas gift (expropriation without compensation) to our people.’

 

The Joint Constitutional Review Committee’s report recommended that section 25 of the Constitution be amended ‘so as to address the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land’.

 

 

 

The report also recommended that the Constitutional Amendment Bill be tabled, processed and passed before the end of the Fifth Parliament, which will rise before next year’s election, presumably in March or April.

 

 

 

However, experts said it is not likely to happen if proper processes are followed.

 

 

 

The motion gives the committee a deadline of March 31, 2019, to complete its work.

 

 

 

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu says the nationalisation of land presents a risk that could see those in power giving land away to their friends and cronies.

 

 

 

In some places the wheels are already in motion.

 

 

 

A city outside Johannesburg is preparing what the mayor calls a ‘test case’ over plans to take hundreds of acres of land from private owners, without paying for it in order to build low-cost housing.

 

Last month, Ekurhuleni’s city council voted in favour of forging ahead with ‘expropriation without compensation’ – a legal tool that the ruling African National Congress says is necessary to provide land for disadvantaged black citizens.

 

 

 

Ramaphosa handed over the title deeds of 4,586 hectares of land to Chief Inkosi Mandla Mkwanazi of the KwaMkwanazi community in Empangeni, near Durban.

 

 

 

The KwaMkwanazi community was forcibly removed from their land more than 100 years ago following the enactment of the 1913 Land Act.

 

 

 

Like other South African cities, Ekurhuleni faces a dire housing crunch, with some 600,000 of its nearly 4 million people living in ‘informal settlements’ and a shortage of land to build homes.

 

 

 

Executive mayor of Ekurhuleni, Mzwandile Masina, who heads the local ANC-led coalition, echoed the president, saying landowners in South Africa don’t need to be ‘scared’.

 

 

 

He added: ‘Our policy is not to take the land by force. Our policy is to make sure the land is shared amongst those that need it.’

 

 

 

Ekurhuleni plans to expropriate about 865 acres (350 hectares) of land in the city limits, both private and government-owned, that has been vacant for decades and develop it to relieve pressure in vast tracts of ramshackle dwellings. The mayor did not identify the landowners.

Is it time for the #MenToo movement? How psychologist believes the rise of ‘male bashing’ could be down to the ‘destructive’ feminist movement

 

Psychologist Bettina Arndt has claimed that the global #MeToo feminist movement has granted women a license to ‘destroy’ men.

The psychologist and author controversially blamed the feminist movement for throwing false accusations of rape and violence at men on Tuesday.

The author went as far as to label feminism as a ‘destructive force in our society’.

Ms Arndt discussed her upcoming book ‘#MenToo’, which she claims highlights the problems that confront men today.

She went on tell Sunrise co-hosts Samantha Armytage and Natalie Barr that feminism has ‘gone off the rails’ and is ‘all about rules and regulations to advantage women at the expense of men.’

Ms Arndt used as an example of this an incident in which a female Canadian MP was standing between two men, when one of them made the joke: ‘This wasn’t the sort of threesome I had in mind.’

The female MP took offense to the comment and Manitoba MP James Bezan later made a public apology, calling it ‘inappropriate and flippant.’

Ms Arndt referred to the entire incident as ‘madness’ and a ‘trivial’ accusation.

Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage agreed that the men she ‘knows and loves’ are ‘scared at the moment.’

The #MeToo movement, which started going viral in October 2017, is a global action against sexual harassment and sexual assault.

It was started to give women the confidence to speak out about the sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour they had to endure at the hands of the opposite gender.

The popular hashtag has flooded social media platforms with women speaking out about their often traumatising experiences.

The hashtag was sparked after the emergence of shocking sexual harassment allegations made against American film producer Harvey Weinstein, during which dozens of women came forward about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct spanning three decades.

DailyMail news report

 

Be celibate or leave the priesthood, pope tells gay priests

Men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to the Catholic clergy, and it would be better for priests who are actively gay to leave rather than lead a double life, Pope Francis says in a new book.

 

While he has previously spoken of the need for better screening of candidates for the religious life, his comments suggesting that priests who cannot keep their vows of celibacy should leave are some of his clearest to date.

Francis made the comments in a book-length interview with Spanish priest Fernando Prado called “The Strength of Vocation”, in which he discusses the challenges of being a priest or nun today.

 

Francis said in the book that homosexuality in the Church “is something that worries me”. It is due to be published this week in several languages. An advance copy of the Italian version was made available to Reuters.

 

“The question of homosexuality is a very serious one,” he said, adding that those entrusted with training men to be priests must be certain that candidates are “humanly and emotionally mature” before they can be ordained.

 

This also applied to women who wanted to enter female religious communities to become nuns. In the Catholic Church, priests, nuns and monks all take vows of celibacy.

 

The Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful in themselves, but homosexual acts are.

 

Francis said there was “no room for this” in the lives of priests and nuns, adding that the Church had to be “demanding” in choosing candidates for what is known as the consecrated life.

 

“For this reason, the Church urges that persons with this rooted tendency not be accepted into (priestly) ministry or consecrated life,” he said.

 

 

 

“BETTER TO LEAVE”

 

He urged homosexuals who are already priests or nuns to be celibate and responsible to avoid creating scandal. “It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life,” he said.

 

The interview was conducted in mid-August. Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 26, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the Vatican, threw the Church into turmoil with a bombshell statement against the pope and Vatican officials.

 

Vigano said a “homosexual network” existed in the Vatican, whose members helped promote each other’s careers in the Church.

 

He also accused the pope of having ignored alleged sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians by former American cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88.

 

The Vatican said Vigano’s accusations were riddled with “calumny and defamation”.

 

The Catholic Church has been haunted for more than two decades by evidence of thousands of cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy around the world, in countries ranging from the United States to Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Chile.

 

In July, McCarrick became the first cardinal to resign in nearly 100 years after U.S. Church officials said allegations made in a separate investigation that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy almost 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.

 

McCarrick has said he had no recollection of the alleged abuse of the minor, but has not commented on the allegations of misconduct with the seminarians, which allegedly took place decades ago.

 

The Reuters Report

The death toll from California’s fires has risen to 82 — and nearly 700 people are still missing

The death toll from the California wildfires has risen to 82. Around 700 people are still missing.

The Camp Fire in Northern California destroyed an entire town in less than a day and has killed at least 79 people, making it the deadliest fire in the state’s history. It was 70% contained on Tuesday morning.

The Woolsey Fire, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, has burned more than 150 square miles and is over 95% contained.

California wildfires are becoming so frequent and pervasive that local officials say there’s almost no need for the term “wildfire season” anymore.

The flames from California’s deadliest wildfire have mostly retreated into forested, unpopulated areas of the state, but the death toll is still rising.

Roughly 700 people are still missing, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office’s imprecise count.

NORTH CALIFORNIA FIRE: DEATH TOLL AT 76, MORE THAN 1,000 MISSING

The death toll from wildfires in Northern California has risen to 76, with thousands left homeless from the deadliest blaze to hit the US state in a century.

As hundreds of rescue workers sifted through the rubble in the affected areas, the remains of five more people were found on Saturday, including four in the decimated town of Paradise and one in nearby Concow.

Northern California’s Camp Fire has destroyed nearly 10,000 homes and torched 233 square miles (603 square kilometers). It is 55 percent contained.

US President Donald Trump toured the area, as nearly 1,300 people still remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire sparked in Butte County, Sheriff Kory Honea announced on Saturday night.

Trump also visited Southern California, where firefighters were making progress on a wildfire that tore through communities west of Los Angeles from Thousand Oaks to Malibu, killing three people.

“We’ve never seen anything like this in California, we’ve never seen anything like this yet. It’s like total devastation,” Trump said as he stood amid the ruins of Paradise, which has a population of about 26,000.

He met with state officials who have been critical of him and pledged federal assistance for Californians.

In Paradise, at a makeshift camp, shell-shocked families took stock of their losses.

Amy Bravo-Robertson and her family were among the 50,000 who were forced to flee their homes as the wildfires closed in around them. Her trailer home and place of employment were destroyed.

Photos: Libyan Navy rescues 199 African migrants including Nigerians at sea

The Libyan Navy has rescued 199 illegal immigrants, including women and children, while attempting to reach Europe by sea.
“A Libyan Coast Guard patrol rescued 179 men, 16 women and 4 children on board rubber boats in the middle of the sea,” the Information Office of the Libyan Navy explained.
Photos: Libyan Navy rescues 199 African migrants including Nigerians at sea
The office added that the immigrants were of different African nationalities, including Nigeria. Four of them were from Egypt.
The migrants were handed over to the immigration HQ of the Immigration Control Agency after providing them with humanitarian and medical assistance, according to the Information Office of the Libyan Navy.

63-year old Ethiopian president, Mulatu Teshome resigns

President Mulatu Teshome of Ethiopia filed resignation request to the Ethiopian parliament today.

 

Teshome, who has been the East African country’s head of state since October 2013, submitted his letter of resignation to the Ethiopian parliament’s two houses. They are scheduled to consider his resignation.

 

The houses would eventually name his successor in a joint extraordinary session on Thursday. The joint extraordinary session of the Ethiopian parliament on Thursday “will deliberate on the president’s application for resignation and will elect a new president.’’ according to ENA news agency.

 

The president, who conducted his doctoral studies in international law at Peking University in China, was unanimously appointed as Ethiopia’s president on October 7, 2013 while he was serving as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Turkey. Teshome is a member of Oromo Democratic Party, one of the four member parties of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.

 

His imminent resignation also came shortly after Ethiopian government’s cabinet reshuffle. The Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives, the Ethiopian parliament’s lower house, earlier approved the appointment of 16 new cabinet members upon the endorsement of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in which only four of the previous cabinet’s members remained in their positions.

 

Teshome, 63, had served in various high-level Ethiopian government offices and ministries as deputy minister of economic development and cooperation, minister of agriculture, and spokesperson of the house of federation.

Time Warner building in New York from where CNN broadcasts is being evacuated due to suspicious package

Occupants of the Time Warner building in New York are being evacuated, including CNN employees, after a suspicious package was reportedly discovered.

Police have been called to the Time Warner Center in New York to investigate a suspicious package.

 

CNN was forced to cut a live broadcast out of its New York City studios which are housed in the building after an alarm went off due to a suspected suspicious package, according to employees.

According to The Hill, the alarm went off during “CNN Newsroom,” with anchors Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto cutting an interview short that was focused on suspicious packages sent to the home of Bill and Hillary Clinton in New York and one package intercepted by the Secret Service that was intended to reach President Obama in Washington, D.C.

CNN switched to its Washington, D.C., studio to resume its broadcast Wednesday morning.

 

Washington State government appoints a Nigerian, Edirin Okoloko as Judge (Photos)

Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington state, has appointed a Nigerian, Edirin Okoloko, to Snohomish County Superior Court as a judge.

 

“Edirin has a clear dedication to the legal profession and a successful history of bringing justice to some of our state’s most vulnerable crime victims. He will be an excellent addition to the bench in Snohomish County”  Inslee said.

 

Okoloko will replace Judge George Bowden who is retiring. Okoloko, who bagged his Bachelor of Law from the University of Benin in Nigeria and received a law degree from the Seattle University School of Law, has worked for the past 13 years in the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, where he is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney working on homicide, sexual assault, child abuse, and elder abuse cases.

 

Washington State government appoints a Nigerian,?Edirin Okoloko as Judge (Photos)

He has also worked in the office’s violent crime, property crime, and District Court units, and he represents the office on the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team which investigates incidents of suspected excessive force by police officers.

 

He has successfully prosecuted four murder trials and has been recognised by his office for completing a high volume of jury trials. Before working as a prosecutor, Okoloko served as a judicial law clerk for former Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Michael Downes.