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Brexit - UK Politics News

Jules Wilde has never voted for Britain’s Conservatives and would hate to do so at the Dec. 12 election, yet for the first time in his life, the 62-year-old carer is considering backing the governing party because of Brexit. Wrapped up against icy wind in the northwestern English town of Crewe, Wilde is one of thousands of supporters of the main opposition Labour Party who Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to win over to secure a parliamentary majority and push through his “great new deal” to leave the European Union. In regions of northern and central England which traditionally back Labour and are known as the “red wall”, Johnson’s team hopes to break the opposition party’s hold on voters, who have, sometimes for generations, rejected his party’s overtures. Crewe and Nantwich constituency, which voted in favour of leaving the EU in a 2016 referendum, has sometimes been described as a bellwether, and anecdotal evidence suggests some diehard Labour supporters are edging towards the Conservatives. Split between the industrial and railway town of Crewe and its more affluent neighbour Nantwich, only 48 more voters backed Labour than the Conservatives in 2017, making it a prime “swing seat” that Johnson’s team hopes to win back. In Wilde’s case, the prime minister’s promise to “get Brexit done” seems to be working. Born of personal experience caring for a friend who struggled to find the right healthcare, Wilde backs Brexit to control the levels of immigration from the EU he suspects is stretching Britain’sContinue reading

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Bolivia, Evo Morales

Evo Morales said he would return to Bolivia from Mexico, which has granted him political asylum, if that would contribute to his country’s pacification.

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Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, USA News

Kamala Harris got a much needed boost this past week when the California senator picked up the endorsement of Higher Heights, the country’s largest political organization aimed at electing black women. But Elizabeth Warren would not be outdone. A day after Harris’ announcement, the Massachusetts senator won the backing of more than 100 black female activists. She also picked up the coveted endorsement of Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a black woman from her home state and the only member of the so-called squad of progressive lawmakers not to side with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The dueling endorsements signal an emerging battle between Warren and Harris for the support of black women, who are the Democratic Party’s most loyal and consistent voters. Both White House hopefuls are struggling with black voters, who have sided with Joe Biden by large margins. But as the election moves into a critical phase with just months before voting begins, the announcements this week highlight the contrasting styles of the surging progressive firebrand and the lone black woman in the Democratic field. “We’re still on a long road, and black women are still shopping,” said Higher Heights co-founder Glynda Carr. Harris is “exactly what our organization was built on, to be able to help support and invest in qualified black women to run for offices at all levels. At the end of the day, even if she ends up not being your top choice, black women should be celebrating this moment.” Both candidates are expected to keepContinue reading

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Facebook News

Bipartisan hostility against Facebook has been building for months, fueled by a series of privacy scandals, the site’s role in Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign and accusations that Facebook crushes competitors. Now, with the 2020 elections approaching, Democrats especially are homing in on the conduct of the social media giant and its refusal to fact-check political ads and remove false ones. “When you’re the No. 1 monopoly, people are going to come after you,” says John Feehery, a veteran Republican communications strategist. The challenge for Democrats, as he sees it: “They’re facing a base that is very angry and restive. So they have to be much more aggressive in taking on corporations.” Zuckerberg enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Obama administration. But in the face of growing public outrage, the co-founder of the upstart born under the motto “Move fast and break things” is learning the art of smoothing over and piecing back together. His new strategy: a personal blitz featuring serial private meetings in Washington with key lawmakers of both parties and President Donald Trump; small, off-the-record dinners at his California home with conservative journalists and opinion makers; and the occasional public address or TV interview. He’s become lobbyist-in-chief for a tech giant that has about 60 people officially playing that role. The company spent an estimated $12.6 million on federal influencing last year. The political ad issue hits close to home for Democrats. Facebook, as well as Twitter and Google, refused in September to remove aContinue reading

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Iraqis Protest - Iraq News

Protests in which 250 people have died over the past month have accelerated dramatically in recent days, drawing huge crowds from across Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divides to reject the political parties in power since 2003. Protests in which 250 people have died over the past month have accelerated dramatically in recent days, drawing huge crowds from across Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divides to reject the political parties in power since 2003. Thousands have been camped out in Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square, with many thousands more joining them by day. Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, was expected to draw the biggest crowds yet, with many taking to the streets after worship. More than 50 people were wounded overnight and early Friday morning, police and hospital sources said. By late morning hundreds were marching to the square from side streets, condemning elites they see as deeply corrupt, beholden to foreign powers and responsible for daily privations. In recent days protests have been comparatively peaceful by day, joined by elderly people and young families, becoming more violent after dark as police use tear gas and live ammunition to battle self-proclaimed “revolutionary” youths in the street. Amnesty International said on Thursday security forces were using “previously unseen” tear gas canisters modelled on military grenades that are 10 times as heavy as standard ones. In Baghdad, protesters had set up checkpoints in the streets leading into and surrounding Tahrir Square, redirecting traffic. New arrivals joined and assisted those who had camped overnight. AContinue reading

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Jeremy Corbyn vs Boris Johnson - UK News

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn traded barbs over Brexit and public spending Wednesday as campaigning unofficially kicked off for the country’s crucial yet unpredictable Dec. 12 general election. The Conservative and Labour leaders honed their pitches to the public while speaking during the House of Commons’ weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session, the last before Parliament is suspended for the five-week election campaign. “This election is a once-in-a-generation chance,” Corbyn said. “People have a chance to vote for real change after years of Conservative and Lib Dem cuts, privatization and tax handouts for the richest.” Johnson agreed “that there is a stark choice facing this country.” He said the choice was between “getting Brexit done and ending the dither and the delay” if the Conservatives won, and “economic catastrophe under the Labour Party.” The partisan peacocking came a day after the House of Commons approved an early election that politicians hope could break the deadlock over Britain’s stalled departure from the European Union. The date will become law once it is approved later Wednesday by the unelected House of Lords, which doesn’t have the power to overrule the elected Commons. The looming national vote comes 2 1/2 years before Britain’s next scheduled vote in 2022 and will be the country’s first December election since 1923. While Johnson’s Conservative Party has a wide lead in opinion polls, analysts say the election is unpredictable because Brexit cuts across traditional party loyalties. Johnson told Conservative lawmakers onContinue reading

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Iraq Protests

Iraq declared a curfew in Baghdad on Monday as two people were killed and 112 injured in the fourth day of anti-government protests, and the coalition government’s most powerful erstwhile supporter called for early elections. Baghdad’s top military commander imposed the curfew from midnight (2100 GMT) until 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) effective “until further notice,” state television said, but protesters in the capital’s central Tahrir Square remained defiant. The curfew provides cover for security forces to clear the square, demonstrators said, but they intended on going nowhere. “No, we will stay. They have now declared a curfew and severe punishments for anyone not going to work, this is how they fight us. We will stay here until the last day, even if there are a thousand martyrs,” one protester said. The unrest, driven by discontent over economic hardship and deep-seated corruption, has broken nearly two years of relative stability in Iraq, which from 2003 to 2017 endured a foreign occupation, civil war and an Islamic State insurgency. Counting Monday’s deaths, which security and medical sources said resulted from security forces launching tear gas canisters directly at the heads of protesters, some 233 people have been killed overall in the disturbances this month. Security forces on Monday fired tear gas at school and university students who defied a warning from Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and joined thousands in Baghdad protesting against his government. A spokesman for the premier, whose position is increasingly precarious in the face of the stiffest challengeContinue reading

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Brexit Headline Today

The United Kingdom will ultimately leave the European Union on the terms of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal, a senior Downing Street source said on Thursday, as EU leaders mulled offering London a three-month flexible Brexit delay. More than three years after voting 52%-48% to be the first sovereign country to leave the European project, the United Kingdom is waiting for the EU to decide how long the latest delay to Brexit should be. “This ends with us leaving with the PM’s deal,” a Downing Street source who spoke on condition of anonymity said. “We will leave with a deal, with the PM’s deal.” When asked when Brexit would happen, given that the current deadline of Oct. 31 is only a week away, the source said: “Parliament has taken back control.” Johnson won the top job by staking his career on getting Brexit done by Oct. 31, though he is almost certain to fail to do that after parliament defeated his proposed legislative timetable on Tuesday. So will there be an election before Christmas? “Perhaps,” the Downing Street source said. “We shall see.” As British politicians discuss the pros and cons of a Christmas election, responsibility for the timing of Brexit has passed to other European capitals: Berlin supports a three-month delay, while Paris is pushing for a shorter one. Timing is crucial to the Brexit riddle. While both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron appear to be fatigued by Brexit, they fear a no-deal exit thatContinue reading

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Russian Tupolev Tu-160 - Russia News Headlines

Russia landed two nuclear-capable bombers in South Africa on a training mission on Wednesday, a flight apparently timed to coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s opening of a flagship Russia-Africa summit designed to increase Russian influence. The two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers touched down at Waterkloof air force base in Tshwane on Wednesday, the South African National Defence Force said. Russia’s Ministry of Defence has said the mission is designed to nurture military ties with South Africa. Speaking before dozens of African heads of state at a two-day summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi, Putin called for trade with African countries to double over the next four to five years and said Moscow had written off African debts to the tune of over $20 billion. The first Russia-Africa summit is part of a Kremlin drive to win business and restore influence that faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which backed leftist governments and movements across the continent throughout the Cold War. “Many Russian companies have long and successfully worked with partners from the most different sectors of the African economy and plan to expand their influence in Africa. We of course will provide support at the state level,” said Putin. The prize is greater political clout on a continent with 54 United Nations member states, vast mineral wealth and potentially lucrative markets for Russian-manufactured weapons. But Russia is starting from a low base. Although it has enjoyed considerable success selling arms to African countries, Moscow lagsContinue reading

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Bashar al-Assad - Syria Politics News Headlines

Once again, Syrian President Bashar Assad has snapped up a prize from world powers that have been maneuvering in his country’s multi-front wars. Without firing a shot, his forces are returning to towns and villages in northeastern Syria where they haven’t set foot for years. Assad was handed one victory first by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from northeastern Syria, analysts said. Then he got another from a deal struck between Turkey and Russia, Damascus’ ally. Abandoned by U.S. forces and staring down the barrel of a Turkish invasion, Kurdish fighters had no option but to turn to Bashar al-Assad’s government and to Russia for protection from their No. 1 enemy. For once, the interests of Damascus, Moscow and Ankara came into alignment. Turkey decided it was better having Assad’s forces along the border, being helped by Russia, than to have the frontier populated by Kurdish-led fighters, whom it considers to be terrorists. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan struck a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin that allows Syrian troops to move back into a large part of the territory and ensure Kurdish fighters stay out. The Kurds once hoped an alliance with Washington would strengthen their ambitions for autonomy, but now they are left hoping they can extract concessions from Moscow and Damascus to keep at least some aspects of their self-rule. Turkey, which had backed rebels trying to oust Assad, has now implicitly given the Syrian leader “de facto recognition,” said LinaContinue reading

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Carrie Lam and Xi Jinping - China and Hong Kong News

Beijing is drawing up a plan to remove Hong Kong’s beleaguered Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, after nearly five months of pro-democracy unrest. The pro-Beijing leader has faced sustained criticism from protesters in the semi-autonomous city. So far, the Chinese central government has given its support to her and the Hong Kong police, calling the demonstrators “rioters” and condemning the violence. But according to the FT report, which quoted unnamed figures briefed on the deliberations, Beijing is drawing up a plan to replace her with an interim chief executive. However, sources told the newspaper that the plan would be dependent on the situation in the city first stabilising so that Beijing is not seen as giving in to violence. Lam’s office said it would not comment on speculation. Hong Kong has been battered by 20 weeks of protests and with no political solution in sight, clashes have intensified each month. Earlier this month, Lam — who has refused to grant any major concessions to protesters — invoked a colonial-era emergency law to ban face masks, setting off a new wave of protests and vandalism that shut down much of the city’s transport network. One of the protest leaders, Jimmy Sham, was hospitalised after being attacked by unknown assailants wielding hammers last week. If President Xi Jinping decides to go ahead with the plan to remove Lam, the report said her replacement would be installed by March. Leading candidates being considered to replace her reportedly include NormanContinue reading

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U.S. Forces in Syria - American Troops

“It’s time to bring our soldiers back home, USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones” and “Bringing soldiers home!,” Donald Trump said.

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YPG, Syrian Kurdish Military in Syria

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said there were still clashes inside Ras al-Ayn and medical personnel could not enter to help the wounded.

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Boris Johnson on UK Politics

Britain clinched a last-minute Brexit deal with the European Union on Thursday, but still faced a challenge in getting it approved by parliament. “Where there is a will there is a deal – we have one. It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is a testament to our commitment to find solutions,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a tweet a few hours before an EU summit in Brussels. He said he would recommend that leaders of the other 27 member states approve the deal. “I believe it is high time to complete the divorce process and move on, as swiftly as possible, to the negotiation on the European Union’s future partnership with the United Kingdom,” Juncker said in an attached letter. Separately, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we have a great new Brexit deal”. Johnson is hoping to get approval for the agreement in a vote at an extraordinary session of the British parliament on Saturday, to pave the way for an orderly departure on Oct. 31. However, the Northern Irish party that Johnson needs to help ratify any agreement has refused to support the deal that was hammered out over weeks of negotiations. The head of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said in Brussels he was “unhappy” with the deal and would vote against it. Lawmakers in his party said they had been told to vote for another referendum on Saturday. STERLING SURGES Nevertheless, sterling surged moreContinue reading

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Rudy Giuliani - US News Today

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was paid $500,000 for work he did for a company co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges, Giuliani told Reuters on Monday. The businessman, Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination. Giuliani said Parnas’ company, Boca Raton-based Fraud Guarantee, whose website says it aims to help clients “reduce and mitigate fraud”, engaged Giuliani Partners, a management and security consulting firm, around August 2018. Giuliani said he was hired to consult on Fraud Guarantee’s technologies and provide legal advice on regulatory issues. Federal prosecutors are “examining Giuliani’s interactions” with Parnas and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, who was also indicted on campaign finance charges, a law enforcement source told Reuters on Sunday. The New York Times reported last week that Parnas had told associates he paid Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for what Giuliani said was business and legal advice. Giuliani said for the first time on Monday that the total amount was $500,000. Giuliani told Reuters the money came in two payments made within weeks of each other. He said he could not recall the dates of the payments. He said most of the work he did for Fraud Guarantee was completed in 2018 but that he had been doing follow-up for over a year. Parnas and Fruman wereContinue reading

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Felipe Nyusi, Filipe Nyusi - Mozambique

The face of President Filipe Nyusi beams from flags billowing across Mozambique’s city of Beira, where T-shirts and posters colour the streets with his Frelimo party’s signature red in what is usually an opposition stronghold. Frelimo’s show of force ahead of presidential, provincial and legislative elections on Oct. 15 could signal problems for the main opposition party Renamo, and also threaten a peace agreement signed between the two civil war rivals in August. While Nyusi is all but certain to be re-elected president, the peace deal has given Renamo hope of winning more political power in a country dominated by Frelimo since the southern African country’s independence from Portugal in 1975. Under the deal, provincial governors will now be picked by the main party in each province, rather than the government in Maputo, and Renamo is banking on traditional provincial strongholds such as Sofala to gain influence. “The biggest threat to the peace process is if Renamo does not deliver a good number of provinces,” said Alex Vines, head of the Africa programme at Chatham House. The elections come at a difficult time for Mozambique, a poor country with a population of 30 million. Cities such as Beira were smashed by two devastating cyclones this year and there is a festering Islamist insurgency in the north, which is right on the doorstop of blockbuster projects to develop vast natural gas reserves. The projects led by oil giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Total are expected to attract investment ofContinue reading

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Bashar al-Assad - Syrian Kurdish YPG - Syria News

Syria’s troops have entered a northeastern town, Syrian state media said on Monday, after Washington announced it was abruptly pulling out its forces, and its former Kurdish allies reached a deal with Damascus to help resist a Turkish attack. The abrupt U.S. withdrawal from the eight-year Syrian war, and the potential return of the Syrian army to the Kurdish-controlled northeast, are major victories for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Russia and Iran. The U.S. announced on Sunday it would swiftly withdraw its remaining 1,000 troops from northeast Syria, just four days after Turkey launched its cross-border offensive with a green light from President Donald Trump. The Turkish assault has prompted widespread criticism and alarm that it could allow Islamic State fighters in Syria to escape their Kurdish-run prisons and regroup. Trump decided a week ago to move U.S. troops out of the way of the Turkish assault, an act denounced as a stab in the back by the Kurds, thousands of whom died fighting against Islamic State in partnership with Washington since 2014. The Kurds announced on Sunday they were pursuing a new pact instead with Washington’s foes, Assad and his Russian backers. Meanwhile, the United States said it was pulling its troops out of Syria altogether. Ankara says its operation aims to neutralise the Kurdish YPG militia, the main element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which was the key U.S. partner in dismantling the jihadist “caliphate” set up by Islamic State militants in Syria. Ankara viewsContinue reading

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