3 Countries You (Probably) Didn’t Know Used to Be British Colonies

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

3 Countries You Didn’t Know Used to Be British Colonies

At the height of the British Empire, the United Kingdom ruled over 412 million people, 23 percent of the total human population of Earth. It was the largest empire in history, throughout which territories were divided into dominions, colonies, and protectorates. Based on the sheer size of the empire, it’s more of a challenge to find a corner of the world in which the British didn’t own some piece at one point or another. However, there are still a handful of nations that you may be surprised to learn were once colonies of the British Empire.

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Jamaica

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Although the official language is a bit of a giveaway, the history of Jamaica is less-than-straightforward. The islands were first inhabited by the Arawak and Taíno indigenous peoples of South America before their discovery by Columbus. It was from the Taíno word for the island, “Xaymaca,” that “Jamaica” was derived. Starting in 1509, the Spanish began their colonization of the island, which ended with the massacre and enslavement of the natives before the establishment of the New Seville Settlement and eventually the Island of Santiago.

Indigenous populations dwindled up until the Spanish began importing African slaves for labor, though the island served primarily as a military outpost. Between 1654 and 1657, British and Spanish forces fought throughout the Caribbean for territory until the British seized control of Jamaica. After the fall of the Spaniards, freed slaves lived in the mountains with Taíno while the British established sugar cane plantations. A complex history between free men, slave uprisings, and political turmoil eventually led to the independence of Jamaica in 1962.

Guyana

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Guyana of South America follows a similar story to its Caribbean neighbors to the north with added complexity. Originally inhabited by a wide variety of indigenous tribes comprising nine different ethnic groups, Guyana was first visited by Christopher Columbus during his early expeditions. However, it was the Dutch rather than the Spanish who first established settlements in Guyana. Dutch ownership was formally recognized by the Spanish in 1648.

Indigenous populations and imported African slaves were put to work on plantations until uprisings from brutal work conditions started in the late 1700s to the point of threatening Dutch control of the region. Struggling to maintain control of the area, the Dutch opened up trade with British territories, which led to increasing economic influence, eventually culminating in war between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The French occupation of The Netherlands in 1795 presented an easy opportunity for British takeover that resulted in their territorial acquisition.

Guyana’s acquisition preceded a number of political changes that would eventually lead to its independence including the abolition of the slave trade (but not slavery) in the United Kingdom and uprisings that led to the end of slavery as a whole in Guyana. The 19th century saw increased political turmoil and reform that started a gradual path to independence. However, it wouldn’t be until the end of World War II that Guyana started the path to sovereignty in earnest.

Malta

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Sitting just south of the Italian Peninsula, Malta has a complex history with inhabitants from ancient and modern empires. The earliest settlers on the islands trace back to the Neolithic period, proposed to have migrated from modern-day Sicily. Around 700 BC, the islands were colonized by the Phoenicians and 500 years later taken by the Roman Republic. Subsequent rulers included the Byzantines, the Aghlabids, the Normans, the Swabians, the Argonese and the Spanish.

By 1798, the French First Republic took control of the island briefly before they were expelled by its inhabitants. The British immediately declared the state as a protectorate, and though its status remained as such, it was in practice a British colony. The Maltese celebrate their sovereignty in the wake of the Malta Independence Act of 1964 on September 21, each year.

Where are The Beatles from?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

Where are The Beatles from?

Liverpool, England

97%

London, England

2%

Newport, Wales

1%

Edinburgh, Scotland

0%
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The Beatles—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison—were all born in and met in Liverpool, England. Lennon and McCartney first performed together in Liverpool in 1957. They went through several different band names, including the Quarrymen, before settling on The Beatles. Their meteoric rise as a group began in the early 1960s, when the term “Beatlemania” was coined. Today, they’re arguably the most influential band in pop music history.
Source: Britannica | Date Updated: June 3, 2019
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The top music singles from every decade

Songs that make you bob your head, tap your toes, and wiggle your way around the room are the reasons why people love music. Every year, a new song tops the charts, plays on repeat on your favorite radio station, and makes people love music all over again.

While there’s no definitive “these songs are the best ever” compendium everyone agrees on, the Billboard Hot 100 is often held as the standard by which the world rates music singles. Using this standard as a reference, here are the very top of the songs and singles from the Billboard Hot 100 every decade dating back to the 1960s.

Top music singles from the 1950s

Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Horton—the 1950s were full of songs that defined a generation.

  • 1950: “Goodnight Irene” by Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers
  • 1951: “Too Young” by Nat King Cole
  • 1952: “Blue Tango” by Leroy Anderson
  • 1953: “The Song from Moulin Rouge” by Percy Faith
  • 1954: “Little Things Mean a Lot” by Kitty Kallen
  • 1955: “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” by Perez Prado
  • 1956: “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley
  • 1957: “All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley
  • 1958: “Volare” (“Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu”) by Domenico Modugno
  • 1959: “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton

Top music singles from the 1960s

The 1960s were a tumultuous decade for both politics and music, and artists like The Beatles helped many see through the tough times.

  • 1960: “Theme from ‘A Summer Place’” by Percy Faith
  • 1961: “Tossin’ and Turnin’” by Bobby Lewis
  • 1962: “Stranger on the Shore” by Mr. Acker Bilk
  • 1963: “Sugar Shack” by Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs
  • 1964: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles
  • 1965: “Wooly Bully” by Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs
  • 1966: “The Ballad of the Green Berets” by Sgt. Berry Sadler
  • 1967: “To Sir With Love” by Lulu
  • 1968: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles
  • 1969: “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies

Top music singles from the 1970s

Fashion trends and over-the-top expression were the name of the game in the 1970s. The likes of Simon and Garfunkel and Barbra Streisand made the decade one to remember.

  • 1970: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel
  • 1971: “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night
  • 1972: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack
  • 1973: “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn
  • 1974: “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand
  • 1975: “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain & Tennille
  • 1976: “Silly Love Songs” by Wings
  • 1977: “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” by Rod Stewart
  • 1978: “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
  • 1979: “My Sharona” by Knack

Top music singles from the 1980s

Another unbridled decade of upheaval, the 1980s were full of punks being punks and Prince being Prince.

  • 1980: “Call Me” by Blondie
  • 1981: “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes
  • 1982: “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John
  • 1983: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police
  • 1984: “When Doves Cry” by Prince
  • 1985: “Careless Whisper” by Wham!
  • 1986: “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne and Friends
  • 1987: “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles
  • 1988: “Faith” by George Michael
  • 1989: “Look Away” by Chicago

Top music singles from the 1990s

The 1990s were a decade of “dirty design,” evolving tastes, and the public trying to find their place in the world. Bryan Adams wooed and Whitney Houston wailed like no one else could.

  • 1990: “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips
  • 1991: “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams
  • 1992: “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men
  • 1993: “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
  • 1994: “The Sign” by Ace of Base
  • 1995: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio
  • 1996: “Macarena” (Bayside Boys Mixby Los Del Rio
  • 1997: “Candle in the Wind 1997” by Elton John
  • 1998: “Too Close” by Next
  • 1999: “Believe” by Cher

Top music singles from the 2000s

The Pew Research Center defines the 2000s as a decade where millennials ended and Generation Z began. More hip-hop, heartfelt alternative rock, and, of course, Beyoncé, topped the charts.

  • 2000: “Breathe” by Faith Hill
  • 2001: “Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse
  • 2002: “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
  • 2003: “In Da Club” by 50 Cent
  • 2004: “Yeah!” by Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris
  • 2005: “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey
  • 2006: “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter
  • 2007: “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé
  • 2008: “Low” by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
  • 2009: “Boom Boom Pow” by The Black Eyed Peas

Top music singles from the 2010s

The 2010s (pronounced “twenty-tens”) aren’t over yet, but songs that rocked the world in some way or another were big hits. Also, it’s been an evolving decade for films and television.

  • 2010: “Tik Tok” by Kesha
  • 2011: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
  • 2012: “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra
  • 2013: “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton
  • 2014: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  • 2015: “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
  • 2016: “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
  • 2017: “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran
  • 2018: “God’s Plan” by Drake

Did a few of favorites make the list? See anything that brings back memories? Songs have a way of working their way into your soul. Take some time and revisit a few cream-of-the-crop singles from the Billboard Top 100 Songs.

England: Trump’s children make play for royal treatment

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
(ALL HAIL KING DON AND THE REST OF HIS INNER MAFIA FAMILY PURE SLIME OF THE EARTH)     (oped: oldpoet56)

Trump’s children make play for royal treatment

(CNN)At a grand banquet table in a red-carpeted Buckingham Palace ballroom, the Queen, a couple of princes, dukes and duchesses, and lords and ladies were intermixed with the Trump family: a President, a first lady, four of his five children, and two of their spouses.

Queen Elizabeth II formally invited just President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to travel to London for an official State Banquet at Buckingham Palace. But the event became more of an extended family affair, with Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and his wife Lara, and Tiffany Trump all joining the exclusive party.
The President’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, was already set to attend in her capacity as a formal adviser to the President, and a senior member of his administration. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is also part of the United States delegation attending the ceremonial events.
For the President, bringing his adult children, in his view, is akin to showcasing his version of royalty. In an interview ahead of the trip with the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, Trump said he wanted Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric and Tiffany to hold a “next generation” meeting with the Prince William and his wife, Kate, and Prince Harry.
“I think my children will be meeting them,” said Trump. “It would be nice.”
Though they mingled at the State Banquet, there were no plans for a sit-down meeting, a royal source told CNN International correspondent Max Foster. They did, however, join their father for his joint news conference with Prime Minister Theresa May, and later toured the Churchill War Rooms, according to their social media posts.

A family affair

Trump’s business has always been a family affair: He became a New York real estate magnate with the help of a loan from his father, Fred Trump, his then-wife Ivana Trump worked with him while they were married, and Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric all joined the Trump Organization when they came of age. But the family Trump is a far cry from the American political dynasties of the past — the Kennedys, the Bushes. Further, a vision of the President’s children as America’s equivalence to the Royal Family is at odds with everything Trump’s brand as a status quo disruptor.
Trump ran in the 2016 presidential race promising to “drain the swamp” and railing against political establishment at every turn, particularly his GOP primary rival Jeb Bush, the brother of one American president and son of another.
But since taking office, he elevated his daughter and son-in-law to two of the highest-ranking appointments inside the West Wing. He even suggested that she could hold public office herself after he leaves office.
“If she ever wanted to run for president,” the President said this year, “I think she’d be very, very hard to beat.”
But that his daughter hasn’t expressed any interest in running to him. For now, she continues her work on largely noncontroversial West Wing portfolio and style herself as a diplomat on the world stage. On Tuesday, she appeared alongside her father at a business roundtable and bilateral meetings with May as part of the official US delegation.

Separate lives

The full complement of Trump’s adult children, while present at the odd family event or holiday at Trump’s homes in Palm Beach and Bedminster, are a relatively scarce presence at the White House.
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump live in New York City, where they assumed control of the family real estate business, though Don Jr. now spends a significant amount of time traveling the country to attend events, rallying and fundraising for the 2020 campaign season alongside girlfriend and campaign senior adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Tiffany Trump, the only child of Trump’s marriage to second wife, Marla Maples, is about to begin her third year at Georgetown University Law School in Washington where she lives off-campus in a downtown apartment. Tiffany has spent part of her summer break in Europe, attending swanky events in Cannes, France, during the fabled film festival, posting photos from a yacht anchored in the Mediterranean, and this week back in London, where her boyfriend is said to live.
Ivanka Trump was in town ahead of her father’s arrival, too, posting on her Instagram account a visit to the Albert & Victoria museum to see the sold-out Christian Dior exhibition. As a member of the delegation, she joined other high-level staffers on a Buckingham Palace balcony for the formal arrival ceremony as her father inspected British troops.

UK Do Yourself A Favor: Throw The Trump Mafia Out Of Your Country Now

UK Do Yourself A Favor: Throw The Trump Mafia Out Of Your Country Now

 

This article to you today is simply an opinion piece about our Coward in Chief visiting your country right now. If you have a different opinion of the man and his family that is fine, people have different opinions about everything that exist, this article is simply my opinion on our Piece of Trash President and his equally crooked family members.

 

The first thing that England did wrong was to allow his plane to land there at all, they should have never even allow him into their air space. I would like to be able to say “the man” but I do not consider him to be a man, just an immature slimy crooked to the core piece of human trash. Before he even landed he called one of the Princesses a fowl name, then he blasted the Mayor of London as a ‘stone cold loser’. Then he lands and he tells the Prime Minister that if he was her he would never pay the $50 billion ‘separation fee’ that it seems the EU is wanting to lay on the British people for the concept of them getting their freedom back from that block. Personally I am not even a little bit surprised that he would condone not paying a bill as this has been this crooks MO since he was a very young person. He has a major habit of having people work for him like outside contractors do, and then stiff them when it is time to pay them. Usually he will use the excuse of he is not happy with their work so he isn’t paying and if they wish they can sue him for it. He knows most all people, especially the ‘little people’ can not afford to do that so they don’t. Pay half up front, then never pay the rest, that is simply the way he operates. One of the funny things I noticed in the news today is how he is upset that he cannot watch Fox News while in the UK as the UK banned them many months ago labeling them as nothing but a ‘Propaganda’ Network. Personally I wish they would also ban Twitter being that Twitter has done nothing but give him a channel to propagate his ignorance to the masses. To me, Twitter and Trump belong together as they both constantly prove that they have no ethics or morals as long as they are making money. Okay, that is the end of my gripe for the day, I figure that probably about half of you got a good laugh as you agreed with me or you’re one of the other half who is pissed off at me because I have a different opinion about him than you do. That is fair, as long as you are being honest with yourself. Happy Monday everyone.

Britain Elections: Tories and Labour punished for Brexit contortions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

European elections 2019: Tories and Labour punished for Brexit contortions

Nigel FarageImage copyright PA

The scrap has started.

Were these results an overwhelming cry for us to leave the EU whatever the cost? Or a sign, with some slightly convoluted arithmetic, that the country now wants another referendum to stop Brexit all together?

Guess what, the situation is not quite so black and white, whatever you will hear in the coming hours about the meaning of these numbers.

The Brexit Party’s success was significant – topping the poll, successfully building on Nigel Farage’s inheritance from UKIP. As a one-issue party, his new group is the biggest single winner.

But the Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid and SNP – all parties advocating the opposite – were victors too.

Those who have been clearly pushing the case for another referendum in order to slam the brakes on Brexit have, this morning, a new confidence, a vigour with which they will keep making their case.

Smashed

While those two sides fight over this election’s true meaning, what is clear is that the two biggest parties have been damaged by their various contortions over Brexit, punished by the fiasco at Westminster, and beaten by rivals who have offered clarity while they have tried to find nuanced ways through.

The Tories’ performance is historically dreadful. This is not just a little embarrassment or hiccup. In these elections the governing party has been completely smashed.

And for the main opposition to have failed to make any mileage out of the Tories’ political distress is poor too – with historic humiliations in Scotland and Wales for Labour as well.

There is immediate pressure, of course, on Labour to argue more clearly for another referendum, to try to back Remain, to shore up that part of their coalition. The dilemmas over doing so still apply even though more and more senior figures in the party are making the case.

Shades of grey

And with the success of The Brexit Party, there is a push for the Tories to be willing to leave the EU without a deal whatever the potentially grave economic costs.

The Tory leadership contest in the wake of these results runs the risk of turning into bragging rights over who can take a harder line on Brexit.

In these elections it seems both of our main Westminster parties have been punished for trying to paint shades of grey when the referendum choice was between black and white. And there is a chance that encourages both of them to give up fighting for the middle.

But that could set our politics on a course where, whatever happens, half of the country will be unhappy. Nothing about these dramatic results sketches out a straightforward route.

Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister, Resigns: Live Updates

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister, Resigns: Live Updates

Mrs. May announced Friday morning that she would be stepping down, after repeatedly failing to win Parliament’s approval for a deal to withdraw Britain from the European Union.

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A successor to Theresa May will be chosen before Parliament’s summer break, the Conservative Party chairman said. She will continue as prime minister until the leadership contest is finished.

Prime Minister Theresa May outside 10 Downing Street in London on Friday. Her premiership has been beset by crises. Credit Simon Dawson/Reuters

Facing a cabinet rebellion, Theresa May announced on Friday morning her decision to leave office. She spoke briefly after meeting with Graham Brady, a powerful leader of backbench Conservative lawmakers.

Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, Mrs. May said it was in the “best interests of the country for a new prime minister” to lead Britain through the Brexit process. She announced plans to step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, with the process to replace her beginning the following week.

“I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide. I have done my best to do that,” she added. “I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so.”

Mrs. May’s voice cracked as she said she was honored to serve the country as the “second female prime minister, but certainly not the last,” and said the role had been the honor of her life.

Conservative lawmakers have been deeply frustrated by Mrs. May’s failure to deliver on Brexit, which became the government’s central — some would say its sole — preoccupation after the country voted to leave the union in a 2016 referendum.

But the breaking point has come at an awkward moment, with President Trump scheduled to arrive in Britain on June 3 for a state visit and to take part in events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings that preceded the end of World War II.

Mrs. May’s authority was profoundly undermined in 2017, when she unexpectedly called a general election, then conducted a poor campaign and lost the majority in Parliament that she had inherited from her predecessor, David Cameron. The Conservatives remained in power with the support of a small Northern Ireland party.

Deep divisions in her Cabinet over the approach to Brexit weakened her at home. By contrast, the European Union remained remarkably unified in its negotiating strategy, and it remains doubtful that another British leader will get a deal any more palatable than the one Mrs. May agreed to.

Her ability to soak up political punishment and plow on regardless won her admiration, even from some of her many critics. But the pressure on her increased after disastrous local election results this month, when the Conservatives lost more than 1,300 seats in municipalities around the country and voters vented their frustration over the Brexit infighting and deadlock.

Then, the government announced that Britain would, after all, take part in elections to the European Parliament this week — another symbol of Mrs. May’s failure to achieve a withdrawal. Britons voted on Thursday, but the results will be announced on Sunday, after all the European Union countries have gone to the polls. They are expected to be catastrophic for the Conservatives.

Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary who would like to take Mrs. May’s place, described her statement as “dignified.” Credit Simon Dawson/Reuters

It has been a long time since so many prominent political figures had nice things to say about Mrs. May.

Compliments poured in from opposition lawmakers who have tried to oust her, and from fellow Conservatives who have undermined her and hope to take her place. Some were backhanded, some barbed, and still others gave no hint of the history of animosity behind them.

“Thank you for your stoical service to our country and the Conservative Party,” tweeted Boris Johnson, who quit Mrs. May’s cabinet over Brexit and who has never concealed his ambition to be prime minister.

Boris Johnson

@BorisJohnson

A very dignified statement from @theresa_may. Thank you for your stoical service to our country and the Conservative Party. It is now time to follow her urgings: to come together and deliver Brexit.

3,911 people are talking about this

Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, retweeted Mr. Johnson with the comment, “What a hypocrite.”

Two other Conservatives who quit Mrs. May’s cabinet over Brexit and would like to take her place, Dominic Raab and Andrea Leadsom, described her statement as “dignified.”

“An illustration of her total commitment to country and duty,” Ms. Leadsom tweetedMr. Raab wrote, “She remains a dedicated public servant, patriot and loyal Conservative.”

The statement from Tom Watson, deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, was no bouquet of roses, saying that Mrs. May “had an unenviably difficult job, and she did it badly,” and scolding “those who have plotted her downfall to further their own ambitions. But even he added, “she tried to do what was right for our country,” and “she was honorable in her intentions.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, dispensed with any pretense of a tribute. “She’s now accepted what the country’s known for months: She can’t govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.”

Boris Johnson, the hard-line Brexit supporter and former foreign secretary, is one of the candidates to replace Mrs. May.Credit Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Mrs. May’s departure could set off a ferocious succession contest within her governing Conservative Party, though lawmakers have been positioning themselves for this eventuality for months as her authority steadily weakened and several of her cabinet ministers stepped down.

Several prominent Conservatives are already campaigning actively to succeed her as party leader and prime minister. Candidates for party leadership have to be nominated by two other members of Parliament, though if there is only one candidate, he or she automatically becomes the new leader. If more than two candidates emerge, lawmakers vote among themselves to narrow the field and then put two candidates to a vote by all Conservative Party members, who number approximately 120,000.

Most analysts expect a new leader to be in place by the end of July. Hard-line Brexit supporters will be determined to replace Mrs. May with someone from their ranks, with the former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson; the former Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab; and Andrea Leadsom, who left her cabinet post as leader of the House of Commons on Wednesday, seen as likely contenders.

But less ideological figures are likely to put themselves forward, too, including Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, and Sajid Javid, the home secretary.

A pro-Brexit rally near Parliament in London in June 2016, before the referendum. Credit Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

David Cameron, the prime minister who called the 2016 referendum and campaigned to remain in the bloc, resigned the day after the vote. Mrs. May had also argued for remaining, but after emerging victorious from a brief but chaotic leadership contest, she appointed a cabinet with several leading Brexit campaigners and set out an agenda that implied a comprehensive break with the bloc.

She then gave herself a two-year legal deadline to complete withdrawal negotiations, only to have to postpone Britain’s exit twice after failing to persuade Parliament to accept the terms she had negotiated, painstakingly, with the European Union.

Time and time again, Mrs. May survived challenges to her leadership, escaping a seemingly inevitable end to her tenure as her Brexit plans repeatedly floundered. But the final push toward Mrs. May’s ouster came this week after she rolled out the latest iteration of a Brexit deal that lawmakers had thrice rejected by large margins.

Her hopes of trying once more to push her deal through Parliament were dashed after changes she unveiled on Tuesday, which opened the door to a second referendum on Brexit, were rejected by Brexiteers as a betrayal and by Remainers as simply not enough. Mrs. May had framed the changes as “one last chance” to deliver on the 2016 vote to leave the European Union.

Plans to publish her new plan on Friday were quickly shelved when it became clear they managed to alienate pro- and anti-Brexit factions alike. But Mrs. May has really been on her way out since her third failed attempt to get the plan approved — on the very day in March that Britain was initially scheduled to leave the European Union. She had offered to step aside if lawmakers voted for her proposal.

Ellen Barry and Benjamin Mueller contributed reporting from London.

Stephen Castle is London correspondent, writing widely about Britain, including the country’s politics and relationship with Europe. @_StephenCastle  Facebook

‘Blaze looks terrible’, Omar Abdullah tweets as fire ravages Norte-Dame

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

‘Blaze looks terrible’, Omar Abdullah tweets as fire ravages Notre-Dame

The fire caused a spire to collapse and raised fears over the future of the nearly millenium old building and its precious artworks.

INDIA Updated: Apr 16, 2019 00:39 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Notre-Dame Cathedral,Paris,Fire
Firefighters douse flames and smoke billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday .(AFP)

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and the Congress party tweeted their sorrow over the fire that ravaged the Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday.

Omar hoped that the fire could be put before it consumes the entire building.

Omar Abdullah

@OmarAbdullah

This blaze looks terrible. I hope they are able to put it out before it completely guts this historic building.

Breaking News Feed@pzf

BREAKING NEWS: Huge fire reported at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

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The Congress party in its tweet said it hoped there were no casualties.

Congress

@INCIndia

Heart-breaking news of the fire at the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. We hope there are no casualties & the Holy Cathedral can be salvaged.

cristina casacuberta@ccasacub

#notredame

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Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.

A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. Parisians watched on, many of them lost for words.

Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre-Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very centre of Paris

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 00:39 IST

England: Prime Minister May And The U.K. In Crisis Over Brexit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TH NEW YORK TIMES)

 

LONDON — The chaos and dysfunction of the British government were on full display on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Theresa May requesting a short delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union after a bitter dispute in her cabinet over her plan for a lengthier extension.

The deadlock in the cabinet underscored the political crisis gripping the government as the deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc draws ever closer. Even Mrs. May’s spokesman acknowledged as much, saying the prime minister had warned this could happen if her Brexit plan were rejected.

In a letter to European Union leaders, Mrs. May asked for an extension to the Article 50 negotiating process until June 30, raising the prospect that Britain could still suffer a disorderly departure in the summer. Reflecting that possibility, the British pound dropped on the news.

The prospect of any delay to Brexit, as Britain’s departure from the bloc is known, is a broad and humiliating reversal for Mrs. May. It is sure to infuriate many members of her Conservative Party, most of whom support leaving the European Union with no deal if necessary, and to reaffirm the cynicism, rampant among many of the 17.4 million Britons who voted to leave, that the elites in London would never let them have their way.

Her decision was sharply criticized by the opposition Labour Party and by some of her own lawmakers.

“Theresa May is desperate once again to impose a binary choice between her deal and no deal despite Parliament clearly ruling out both of those options last week,” the shadow secretary for Brexit, Keir Starmer, said in a statement. “What the government should be doing is showing real leadership, making good on their commitment to break the deadlock and secure an extension with a genuine purpose.”

Limiting the request to a short delay is the latest in a series of political gyrations from Mrs. May. Last week she said that, if Parliament failed to vote swiftly for her plans — which have been rejected twice — then Britain would face a lengthy delay and have to take part in European elections in May.

It was that prospect that triggered a rebellion from Brexit supporters in her cabinet on Tuesday — and reports of resignation threats — that appear to have prompted another retreat. “As prime minister, I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June,” Mrs. May told lawmakers, prompting some speculation that she might resign if Parliament tried to force a longer extension.

A short delay will keep alive hopes among hard-line Brexit supporters in Parliament, who want to leave without any agreement, and they will be under little pressure now to approve Mrs. May’s deal.

Though the political paralysis over Brexit is in Parliament, the decision on whether to grant the delay lies with the European Union, whose leaders had been expected to agree to some sort of extra time when they gather in Brussels on Thursday. But that could now be in doubt.

Speaking to the German radio station Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said that any decision by the European Union might have to be postponed until the end of next week, after fresh votes in Parliament. That could be on the eve of Britain’s departure, scheduled for March 29.

An extension could come with conditions, and European leaders stressed on Tuesday that they want to see some form of strategy in place to resolve the crisis. They worry that three months is not sufficient for Mrs. May to achieve success, and that she will be back to request another delay in the summer. That would be hard for them to accommodate for legal reasons, because Britain would not have participated in European elections.

Mrs. May faced criticism from all sides in Parliament on Wednesday. Several lawmakers noted that her decision directly contradicts a statement last week by David Lidington, her de facto deputy, who said that, in the absence of a deal, seeking such “a short and, critically, one-off extension would be downright reckless.” To do so, Mr. Lidington had said, would make “a no-deal scenario far more, rather than less, likely.”

But one pro-Brexit Conservative, Peter Bone, argued that if Mrs. May failed to honor her promise to achieve Brexit by March 29, she would be “betraying the British people.”

Since becoming prime minister in 2016, Mrs. May’s overriding objective has been to extricate Britain from the bloc while maintaining the unity of her Conservative Party.

European leaders will consider Mrs. May’s request for a delay in Brexit.CreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press
Image
European leaders will consider Mrs. May’s request for a delay in Brexit.CreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press

By beginning the negotiations in March 2017, she committed herself to an exit by March 29, 2019, within the two years dictated by the bloc’s rules, either with or without an agreement — a promise that critics have pounced on as one of her many misjudgments.

She has largely failed in that mission, and the underlying political problem for Mrs. May remains unresolved. There is no majority in Parliament for any approach other than a “soft” Brexit, with Britain staying in the bloc’s customs union and close to its single market. But that would require cross-party cooperation and would surely rip apart the Tories.

On the other hand, if a hard-liner like the former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, should supplant Mrs. May, that would just as surely prompt widespread resignations and defections among pro-European Conservatives.

Mrs. May is hoping she can still salvage something from the wreckage of her Brexit negotiations by making the delay a short one. Extra time would at least stave off the prospect of a disorderly, economically costly Brexit with no deal next week, which Parliament has made clear it wants to avoid.

Continental economies would be hit too, if not as severely as Britain’s, by a departure without a deal, so European Union leaders are unlikely to rebuff Mrs. May completely. But their patience is being sorely tested.

Mrs. May is likely to try to return to Parliament next week and stage another vote on her deal, even though it has been rejected twice by lawmakers by large margins.

Her plan would give Britain power over immigration from Europe at some point, but would tie the country to the European Union’s customs and trade rules until the end of 2020.

On Monday, the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said the prime minister could not put her deal to a third vote this week, citing parliamentary rules devised in 1604 to prohibit multiple votes on the same proposition.

Depending on what the talks with the European Union yield, Mrs. May could return with a changed proposition by next week, making it harder for Mr. Bercow to block another effort by Mrs. May to get a vote in Parliament.

If her deal is rejected again by lawmakers, Mrs. May could be forced to change tack, and perhaps allow Parliament to consider other options, like keeping closer economic ties to the European Union.

Mrs. May, nothing if not stubborn, is not giving up on her unpopular blueprint for Brexit. Indeed, she excels at buying more time, and a delay would give her at least a couple of more weeks to resolve the crisis.

Like most everything else with Brexit, the process of requesting and granting an extension is no simple matter, which helps explain why it created such bitter divisions in the cabinet on Tuesday.

For legal reasons, a delay beyond the end of June would be likely to require Britain to participate in elections to the next European Parliament, making a mockery of British plans to leave the bloc.

But as another legal matter, a decision on whether to stage the elections — and effectively to go for a longer delay — must be made during the second week of April. The Brexiteers want to use the upcoming European elections as a sort of backstop, to borrow a phrase, to force Britain to leave, since it would be legally problematic to remain in the bloc without representatives in the European Parliament.

If a long delay would be awkward for Britain, it is not straightforward for the European Union either. It would mean the British enjoy the full rights of membership despite their efforts to leave the club.

In that event, European officials are concerned that Britain might try to use its power to paralyze the bloc’s other business as leverage to extract more concessions on its exit deal.

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Indians get more UK visas as European Union citizens exit over Brexit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Indians get more UK visas as European Union citizens exit over Brexit

Indians were granted the highest number of visitor visas during the year ending September 2018: up 41,224 (or 10%) to 4,68,923; Chinese and Indian nationals alone accounted for just under half (47%) of all visit visas granted.

WORLD Updated: Nov 29, 2018 22:07 IST

Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Indian,UK visa,European Union
New figures released on Thursday show a rise in the number of visas granted to Indian professionals, visitors, students and family members, but also reflect the Brexit reality of more EU citizens leaving the United Kingdom.(File Photo)

New figures released on Thursday show a rise in the number of visas granted to Indian professionals, visitors, students and family members, but also reflect the Brexit reality of more EU citizens leaving the United Kingdom.

Indians were granted the highest number of visitor visas during the year ending September 2018: up 41,224 (or 10%) to 4,68,923; Chinese and Indian nationals alone accounted for just under half (47%) of all visit visas granted.

The demand for Indian professionals continued during the year, with 55 per cent of all Tier 2 (skilled) visas granted to them, the figures released by the Office for National Statistics show.

The number of Indian students coming to study at UK universities also showed a 33 per cent rise, to 18,735. Chinese and Indian students accounted for almost half of all students visas granted during the year.

There was also an increase in the family-related visas for Indians (up 881 to 3,574). The number of EEA family permits given to Indians (members of families of EU citizens) was also up 4,245 to 8,360, official sources said.

Figures showing more EU citizens leaving than arriving in the UK prompted renewed concern over the impact of Brexit. The net migration from the EU to the UK slumped to a six-year low, while non-EU migration is the highest in more than a decade.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said: “EU migrants have been leaving in larger numbers since the referendum, and net inflows have greatly decreased”.

“The lower value of the pound is likely to have made the UK a less attractive place to live and work and economic conditions in several of the top countries of origin for EU migrants have improved”.

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 18:27 IST

Fiji: Truth, Knowledge, History of South Pacific Island Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

Fiji

Introduction Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji, led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Re-elected in May 2006, QARASE was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president. In January 2007, BAINIMARAMA was appointed interim prime minister.
History The first inhabitants of Fiji arrived long before contact with European explorers in the seventeenth century. Pottery excavated from Fijian towns shows that Fiji was settled before or around 1000 BC, although the question of Pacific migration still lingers.[2] The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman visited Fiji in 1643 while looking for the Great Southern Continent.[3] It was not until the nineteenth century, however, that Europeans settled the islands permanently.[4] The islands came under British control as a colony in 1874, and the British brought over Indian contract labourers. It was granted independence in 1970. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987 because the government was perceived as dominated by the Indo-Fijian (Indian) community. The second 1987 coup saw the British monarchy and the Governor General replaced by a non-executive President, and the country changed the long form of its name from Dominion of Fiji to Republic of Fiji (and to Republic of the Fiji Islands in 1997). The coups contributed to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties but ensured that Melanesians became the majority.

In 1990, the new Constitution institutionalised the ethnic Fijian domination of the political system. The Group Against Racial Discrimination (GARD) was formed to oppose the unilaterally imposed constitution and restore the 1970 constitution. Sitiveni Rabuka, the Lieutenant Colonel who carried out the 1987 coup became Prime Minister in 1992, following elections held under the new constitution. Three years later, Rabuka established the Constitutional Review Commission, which in 1997 led to a new Constitution, which was supported by most leaders of the indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities. Fiji is readmitted to the Commonwealth of Nations.

The new millennium brought along another coup, instigated by George Speight, that effectively toppled the government of Mahendra Chaudhry, who became Prime Minister following the 1997 constitution. Commodore Frank Bainimarama assumed executive power after the resignation, possibly forced, of President Mara. Fiji was rocked by two mutinies at Suva’s Queen Elizabeth Barracks, later in 2000 when rebel soldiers went on the rampage. The High Court ordered the reinstatement of the constitution, and in September 2001, a general election was held to restore democracy, which was won by interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party.

In 2005, amid much controversy, the Qarase government proposed a Reconciliation and Unity Commission, with power to recommend compensation for victims of the 2000 coup, and amnesty for its perpetrators. However, the military strongly opposed this bill, especially the army’s commander, Frank Bainimarama. He agreed with detractors who said that it was a sham to grant amnesty to supporters of the present government who played roles in the coup. His attack on the legislation, which continued unremittingly throughout May and into June and July, further strained his already tense relationship with the government. In late November 2006 and early December 2006, Bainimarama was instrumental in the 2006 Fijian coup d’état. Bainimarama handed down a list of demands to Qarase after a bill was put forward to parliament, part of which would have offered pardons to participants in the 2000 coup attempt. He gave Qarase an ultimatum date of 4 December to accede to these demands or to resign from his post. Qarase adamantly refused to either concede or resign and on 5 December President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, was said to have signed a legal order dissolving Parliament after meeting with Bainimarama.

For a country of its size, Fiji has a large armed forces, and has been a major contributor to UN peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world. In addition, a significant number of former military personnel have served in the lucrative security sector in Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion.

Geography Location: Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 18 00 S, 175 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 18,270 sq km
land: 18,270 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,129 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; rectilinear shelf claim added
Climate: tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tomanivi 1,324 m
Natural resources: timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 10.95%
permanent crops: 4.65%
other: 84.4% (2005)
Irrigated land: 30 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 28.6 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.07 cu km/yr (14%/14%/71%)
per capita: 82 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: cyclonic storms can occur from November to January
Environment – current issues: deforestation; soil erosion
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited
Politics Politics of Fiji normally take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Fiji is the head of government, the President the head of state, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Fiji. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Since independence there have been four coups in Fiji, two in 1987, one in 2000 and one in late 2006. The military has been either ruling directly, or heavily influencing governments since 1987.

2006 military takeover

Citing corruption in the government, Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, staged a military take over on December 5, 2006 against the Prime Minister that he himself had installed after the 2000 coup. There had been two military coups in 1987 and one in 2000 when the military had taken over from elected governments led by or dominated by Indo Fijians. On this occasion the military took over from an indigenous Fijian government which it alleged was corrupt and racist. The Commodore took over the powers of the President and dissolved the parliament, paving the way for the military to continue the take over.

The coup was the culmination of weeks of speculation following conflict between the elected Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, and Commodore Bainimarama. Bainamarama had repeatedly issued demands and deadlines to the Prime Minister. At particular issue was previously pending legislation to pardon those involved in the 2000 coup. Despite intervention to reconcile the parties by the President, Vice President and Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand there was no willingness to make concessions on either side. This therefore failed to resolve the crisis.

Bainimarama named Jona Senilagakali caretaker Prime Minister. The next week Bainimarama said he would ask the Great Council of Chiefs to restore executive powers to President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo.[5] On December 6, Bainimarama declared a state of emergency, and warned that he would not tolerate any violence or unrest.

Following the coup, the Commonwealth of Nations held an emergency meeting in London, where they declared Fiji’s membership had been suspended. On December 9, the military rulers advertised for positions in the Government, including cabinet posts, in a national newspaper. They stated people wishing to apply must be “of outstanding character”, have no criminal record, and never have been bankrupt.[6]

Also on December 9 the IFNA withdrew the right of Fiji to host the 2007 World Netball Championships as a consequence of the Military takeover. The withdrawal is expected to have a significant impact in Fiji due to the popularity of sports such as Netball.

On January 4, 2007, the military announced that it was restoring executive power to President Iloilo,[7] who made a broadcast endorsing the actions of the military.[8] The next day, Iloilo named Bainimarama as the interim Prime Minister,[9] indicating that the Military was still effectively in control.

In the wake of the take over, reports have emerged of intimidation of some of those critical of the interim regime. It is alleged that two individuals have died in military custody since December 2006. These deaths have been investigated and suspects charged but not yet brought to court.

Following ongoing criticism from neighbours, specifically Australia and New Zealand, the New Zealand High Commissioner Michael Green was expelled from Fiji in mid June 2007, in the aftermath of restrictive emergency regulations having been lifted (recognised as a generally positive development by outside observers).

On September 6, 2007, Commodore Frank Bainimarama said Fiji’s military declared again a state of emergency as he believed ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was engaged in destabilization efforts when he returned to Suva after 8 months of exile on his home island Vanuabalavu in Lau, Elections were tentatively set on March 2009.[10]

The interim Government set up an anti corruption Commission which have received numerous complaints and allegations, also there have been a number of high profile dismissals from government and associated industry. The anti corruption body however, has yet to successfully prosecute anyone for alleged corruption.

During November 2007 there were a number of people brought in for questioning in regard to an assassination Plot directed at the Interim Prime Minister, senior army officers and members of the Interim Cabinet.

People Population: 918,675 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 30.9% (male 144,665/female 138,816)
15-64 years: 64.7% (male 297,709/female 296,897)
65 years and over: 4.4% (male 18,397/female 22,191) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 24.9 years
male: 24.4 years
female: 25.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.394% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 22.37 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 5.66 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.042 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.003 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.829 male(s)/female
total population: 1.006 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 11.99 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.12 years
male: 67.6 years
female: 72.76 years
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