President Muhammadu Buhari inherited an energy crisis in Nigeria when he took charge of the country in May 2015. Now elected for a second term of four years, it is safe to assume that the policies he worked with would not change significantly. Mr Buhari took over an upstream sector gasping for breath: even as crude oil prices were crashing down as he took the oath of office, there were problems that were self-inflicted by the previous administration, which were wrestling with the sector’s legacy challenges. Operations in the oil fields of the Niger Delta had not entirely recovered from the historic MEND attack of February 2006, which had reset the dynamics in the region around the distinctions between licence to – and freedom to – operate. The state hydrocarbon company, NNPC, was owing cash calls in a way that effectively disabled work programmes of operating companies. And by insisting on operatorship without the wherewithal to do so (competencies, governance, processes and funding), the NPDC, the operating E&P arm of the NNPC, had strangled investment in assets that Shell & Co. had sold to five Nigerian independents since 2012. At the time Buhari came in, those companies had lost three years’ worth of aggressive investment to boost production. Midstream, the lresident met proposals to diversify the gas market from export-led to an inclusive, part export, part domestic beneficiation, which could establish an industrial economy with huge absorptive capacity. A crucial part of the challenge here was that a disproportionate percentage
Theresa May became prime minister in 2016 with one overriding goal: to lead Britain out of the European Union. Three years on, the U.K. is still in the EU, and May’s time in 10 Downing St. is ending. She announced Friday that she will step down as Conservative leader on June 7, remaining as caretaker prime minister during a party leadership contest to choose her successor. She will be remembered as the latest in a long line of Conservative leaders destroyed by the party’s divisions over Europe, and as a prime minister who failed in her primary mission. But history may also see her as a leader who faced a devilishly difficult situation with stubborn determination. The daughter of a rural Anglican vicar, May attended Oxford University and worked in financial services before being elected to Parliament in 1997. She was quiet and diligent, but also ambitious. One university friend later recalled that May hoped to be Britain’s first female prime minister, and “was quite irritated when Margaret Thatcher got there first.” She was not a natural political campaigner; her stiff public appearances as prime minister landed her the nickname “The Maybot.” Her only touches of flamboyance are a fondness for bold outfits and accessories like brightly patterned kitten-heel shoes. But she soon established a reputation for solid competence and a knack for vanquishing flashier rivals. May served for six years in the notoriously thankless job of home secretary, responsible for borders, immigration and law and order. In 2016, she
As British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her departure with a Brexit plan nowhere near success, European Union leaders offered kind words. But it was quite another matter during the years of negotiations with the bloc that often produced exasperation, miscommunication and even some ridicule of her. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, whose office led the Brexit negotiations, on Friday called May “a woman of courage for whom he has great respect,” saying he watched her resignation speech “without personal joy.” And Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said: “I just want to express my full respect for Theresa May and for her determination.” But they expressed plenty of frustration during the rocky ride that May engineered over nearly three years that saw good relations go sour. After the U.K.’s 2016 referendum in which voters decided to leave the EU, officials in Europe complained that May waited almost a year to begin the negotiations and that her team was ill-prepared for the task and later turned on her after failing to make progress. They were dismayed after she called a general election in June 2017 to bolster her Conservative Party’s numbers to help the negotiations, only to lose its majority and weaken her government. That made her beholden to special Northern Ireland interests that complicated the talks. Perhaps the lowest point came in September 2018 at Salzburg Castle when EU president Donald Tusk publicly mocked her for being too greedy in the negotiations. “A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries,” Tusk
Even as the anti-abortion movement celebrates the sweeping bans passed in several states, it’s divided by a widening rift over whether those prohibitions should apply to victims of rape and incest. The debate pits those who believe any abortion is immoral against those who worry that a no-exception stance could be harmful to some Republican candidates in upcoming elections. A Gallup poll last year found that 77% of Americans support exceptions in cases of rape and incest. “There is a media spotlight shining on this issue,” said Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel with Americans United for Life. “State leaders need to be prudent and reflect not only on state elections but also national elections, and the pace of change the public might accept.” There’s potential for even more division. The Federalist, an online magazine influential in conservative and anti-abortion circles, ran an article this week by two abortion opponents suggesting that women who induce their own abortions should be prosecuted for murder. The position is at odds with the pro-women rhetoric of leading anti-abortion groups. “We’re 100% percent against prosecuting women.” said Kristi Hamrick, spokeswoman for Students for Life of America. Divisions over rape-and-incest exceptions have existed within the anti-abortion movement for years, but have become more apparent as several states in the South and Midwest enacted tough bans on abortion. Only the ban in Georgia includes an exception for victims of rape or incest — and then only if the woman files a police report first. Measures enacted in Alabama,
Fighting back tears, Theresa May said on Friday she would quit after failing to deliver Brexit, setting up a contest that will install a new British prime minister who could pursue a cleaner break with the European Union. May’s departure deepens the Brexit crisis as a new leader, who should be in place by the end of July, is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the EU and potentially a snap parliamentary election. Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, the favourite to replace May, was first out of the blocks, saying Britain should be prepared to leave the EU without a deal to force the bloc to offer a “good deal”. Current foreign minister Jeremy Hunt also confirmed he would run for the leadership just hours after May, her voice cracking with emotion, said she would resign as Conservative Party leader on Friday, June 7, setting up a contest to succeed her. “I will shortly leave the job that has been the honour of my life to hold,” May said outside her Downing Street official residence with her husband, Philip, looking on. “The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last. “I do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” said the usually reserved May. May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit referendum,
Three years ago, when Iran’s military captured 10 U.S. sailors after they mistakenly strayed into Iranian waters, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif jumped on the phone in minutes and worked out the sailors’ release in hours. Could a similar crisis be so quickly resolved today? “No,” Zarif said in a recent interview with Reuters. “How could it be averted?” Zarif and the current Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, have never spoken directly, according to Iran’s mission at the United Nations. They instead tend to communicate through name-calling on Twitter or through the media. “Pompeo makes sure that every time he talks about Iran, he insults me,” Zarif said. “Why should I even answer his phone call?” The open rancor between the nations’ two top diplomats underscores growing concern that the lack of any established channel for direct negotiation makes a military confrontation more likely in the event of a misunderstanding or a mishap, according to current and former U.S. officials, foreign diplomats, U.S. lawmakers and foreign policy experts. The Trump administration this month ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East, citing intelligence about possible Iranian preparations to attack U.S. forces or interests. “The danger of an accidental conflict seems to be increasing over each day,” U.S. Senator Angus King, a political independent from Maine, told Reuters as he called for direct dialogue between the United States and Iran. A senior European diplomat
For years, Iran’s supreme leader only criticized the West over Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Now, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is publicly chastising the country’s elected president and his foreign minister as the accord unravels amid heightened tensions with the U.S. By naming President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as failing to implement his orders over the deal, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is signaling a hard-line tilt in how the Islamic Republic will react going forward. That will include how Iran handles the ongoing maximalist pressure campaign of President Donald Trump, who has piled on new sanctions and dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region over still-unspecified threats the White House perceives to be coming from Tehran. Now U.S. officials say the Pentagon will present a plan to the White House on Thursday calling for sending as many as an additional 10,000 troops to the Middle East over Iran. And while not calling for Rouhani and Zarif’s replacement, his words limit the already-waning influence of their relatively moderate administration as they have only two years left in their term. “For now, Tehran is likely focused on building up leverage against the U.S. — in the nuclear realm and regionally — before it would agree to even limited talks,” wrote Henry Rome, an analyst at the Eurasia Group. Khamenei, 80, is only the second supreme leader Iran has known since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had a dominating
British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing widespread pressure to quit but can her lawmakers actually force her from office? May has already promised she will resign to let someone else negotiate Britain’s future relationship with the EU and has agreed to set out the timetable for her departure after putting her exit deal to another vote in parliament early next month. But an attempt to relaunch her European Union divorce deal with sweeteners aimed at winning over sceptics in her own party and opponents has been loudly criticised. Some Conservative lawmakers now say there is no point delaying Theresa May exit, but can the party force her to go sooner than she wants to? FORMAL LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE Conservative Members of Parliament cannot use the party’s formal process to challenge Theresa May until December because they tried and failed to oust her in December 2018. The rules of the process state that May is immune to further challenge for 12 months from the date of any failed leadership challenge. It is possible for the committee which represents Conservative lawmakers – known as the 1922 Committee – to change the rules of the process, but they have so far chosen not to do so. Nigel Evans, one member of the committee’s executive, said May should make way and he would be pushing for a vote on the issue at a meeting on Wednesday. VOTE OF CONFIDENCE Parliament can vote on whether it has confidence in May’s government. If a majority of
When Britain voted to leave the European Union, few voters outside Northern Ireland thought about what it would mean for the British province. Three years on, Northern Ireland is inching closer to holding a referendum of its own — on reunification with Ireland. A united Ireland, and Northern Ireland’s withdrawal from the United Kingdom, remain distant prospects, and a unity referendum may not happen soon. But, as an unexpected consequence of Brexit, the political landscape is shifting. The two largest parties in the Irish republic, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, both of whom ultimately favour a united Ireland, have expanded their political networks north of the border to position themselves for a possible “unity vote”. Fine Gael, Ireland’s governing party, has also taken the unusual step of selecting one-time Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan as a candidate to run in the Dublin constituency in this week’s European elections. “The unity debate has gained legs in the context of Brexit,” Durkan, a former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), one of Northern Ireland’s two main pro-unity parties, told Reuters while campaigning in the Irish capital. In the 2016 Brexit referendum, nearly 56% of voters in Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU but the province will leave when the rest as Britain departs — on a date that has not yet been set. Ireland, which won independence from Britain a century ago and joined the EU in 1973, will remain in the bloc as its
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison thanked his fellow Pentecostal churchgoers on Sunday after a miraculous election victory that defied years of unfavourable opinion polls and bruised a Labor opposition that had been widely expected to win. Morrison’s Liberal-led conservative coalition has won or is leading in 76 seats, the number needed to form a majority government, according to the Australian Electoral Commission. Slightly more than three-quarters of the roughly 17 million votes have been counted. A jubilant Scott Morrison hugged community members after an early Sunday service at the Horizon Church in Sydney’s southern suburbs, from where he was first elected to parliament in 2007. “You don’t get to be a prime minister and serve in that capacity unless you first are a member of your local electorate,” Scott Morrison said. He drew cheers later on Sunday when he arrived in the stands to watch his team, the Cronulla Sharks, in a rugby league match in his beachside electorate. Morrison told raucous supporters late on Saturday, who had earlier seemed resigned to defeat, that he had always believed in miracles. The result drew comparisons with Republican Donald Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were among the first world leaders to congratulate Morrison. “Congratulations to Scott on a GREAT WIN,” Trump said on Twitter before calling the Australian leader.. Jacinda Ardern, the progressive prime minister of neighbouring New Zealand, also called to congratulate him, saying that Morrison
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will step down before the next phase of Brexit negotiations and, although she has not put a date on her departure, senior members of her Conservative Party are jostling to replace her. Below are Conservatives who have either said they plan to put themselves forward or are widely expected to run: Planning to run: BORIS JOHNSON, 54 The former foreign minister is May’s most outspoken critic on Brexit. He resigned from the cabinet in July in protest at her handling of the exit negotiations. Johnson, regarded by many eurosceptics as the face of the 2016 Brexit campaign, set out his pitch to the membership in a speech at the party’s annual conference in October – some members queued for hours to get a seat. He called on the party to return to its traditional values of low tax and strong policing. On Thursday the BBC reported he had told The British Insurance Brokers’ Association, “Of course I’m going to go for it.” He is the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed May. ESTHER MCVEY, 51 The pro-Brexit former television presenter, who resigned as work and pensions minister in November in protest at May’s exit deal with the European Union, has said she plans to run in the leadership contest. McVey told Talkradio: “I have always said quite clearly that if I got enough support from my colleagues, yes I would (run). Now people have come forward and I have got that support, so I will
The Friday appointment of four additional emirs in Kano State by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has significance beyond the perceived move by the governor to get at the controversial Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II. Before the governor’s action, Kano — as a geographical and cultural entity — has maintained single rulership since the establishment of the Sokoto caliphate in 1804. It was, therefore, no surprise that Mr Ganduje’s action generated anxiety and anger in equal measure. Speaking to State House correspondents on Friday, Mr Ganduje defended his government’s swift creation of four additional emirates. “It is not vendetta, I am not against him (Mr Sanusi). In fact, he is supposed to be reporting to the local government chairman according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the governor was reported as saying. But even as Mr Ganduje struggled to defend the happenings in the state, the actions of his government, in partnership with the Kano State House of Assembly, have left no room to take the governor’s words. It is public knowledge that Mr Ganduje has barely had a good relationship with Mr Sanusi for most of the last four years. Mr Sanusi was appointed Emir of Kano in 2014 by Mr Ganduje’s predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso. Mr Ganduje was then Mr Kwankwaso’s deputy. But since the coming of Mr Ganduje as governor in May 2015, the emir and the governor have been in a frosty relationship. In 2017, what appeared like an engineered plot by the government to
President Donald Trump, in what’s become a staple of his rallies, accuses doctors of executing babies who are born alive after a failed abortion attempt. His comments, meant to taint Democrats, have been embraced by many anti-abortion activists, and assailed as maliciously false by many medical professionals. What’s clear is that he is oversimplifying a deeply complex issue. It’s already a crime to kill babies, but not necessarily a crime to forgo sophisticated medical intervention in cases where severe fetal abnormalities leave a newborn with no chance of survival. A look at his rhetoric, similarly framed from one event to the next, and the reality behind it: TRUMP: “Democrats are aggressively pushing late-term abortion allowing children to be ripped from their mother’s womb, right up until the moment of birth. The baby is born and you wrap the baby beautifully and you talk to the mother about the possible execution of the baby.” — rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, on Wednesday. THE FACTS: Federal data suggests that very few U.S. babies are born alive as a result of a failed abortion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 143 deaths between 2003 and 2014 involving infants born alive during attempted abortions. Anti-abortion politicians and activists have been pushing for state and federal legislation this year that would impose criminal penalties on doctors who fail to give medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion. Organizations representing obstetricians and gynecologists say existing laws already provide protections to
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is crafting a climate change policy he hopes will appeal to both environmentalists and the blue-collar voters who elected Donald Trump, according to two sources, carving out a middle ground approach that will likely face heavy resistance from green activists.
The backbone of the policy will likely include the United States re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement and preserving U.S. regulations on emissions and vehicle fuel efficiency that Trump has sought to undo, according to one of the sources, Heather Zichal, who is part of a team advising Biden on climate change. She previously advised President Barack Obama.
The second source, a former energy department official advising Biden’s campaign who asked not to be named, said the policy could also be supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology, which limit emissions from coal plants and other industrial facilities.
Support for Italy’s far-right League has fallen following weeks of feuding with its coalition partner the 5-Star Movement, opinion polls showed on Friday in the run-up to elections for the European Parliament in late May.
With backing for 5-Star holding steady, the League appeared to be paying the price for the constant cabinet tensions, which culminated this week in a junior League minister being turfed out of government after being engulfed in a corruption scandal.
Friday was the last day that opinion polls can be published in Italy ahead of the May 26 EU vote, with four separate surveys all showing the League, which is led by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, in decline.
The number of Americans who said President Donald Trump should be impeached rose 5 percentage points to 45 percent since mid-April, while more than half said multiple congressional probes of Trump interfered with important government business, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.
The opinion poll, conducted on Monday, did not make clear whether investigation-fatigued Americans wanted House of Representatives Democrats to pull back on their probes or press forward aggressively and just get impeachment over with.
The question is an urgent one for senior Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives, who are wrestling with whether to launch impeachment proceedings, despite likely insurmountable opposition to it in the Republican-controlled Senate.
N.K. Masliya says she has been visiting a neighbourhood clinic in the northwestern Sri Lankan village of Rathmalyaya for over five years, always dressed in a black abaya - a cloak-like over-garment worn by some Muslim women.
But when Masliya went to the clinic nearly three weeks after Islamic militants killed over 250 people in churches and hotels across the country, she said things had changed.
The 36-year-old said she was in a queue with her five-year-old daughter when a nurse told her to remove her abaya, saying: “What if you blow us up with your bomb?”
Muslim groups say they have received dozens of complaints from across Sri Lanka about people from the community being harassed at workplaces, including government offices, hospitals and in public transport since the Easter Sunday attacks.