Trump’s travel ban sidesteps his own European resorts

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS)

 

CORONAVIRUS

Trump’s travel ban sidesteps his own European resorts

The president announced new travel restrictions on Europeans as the coronavirus pandemic escalated, but a few key spots on the continent were spared.

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump’s new European travel restrictions have a convenient side effect: They exempt nations where three Trump-owned golf resorts are located.

Trump is already under fire for visiting his properties in both countries as president, leading to U.S. taxpayer money being spent at his own firms. The president has been saddled with lawsuits and investigations throughout his term alleging that he’s violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting taxpayer money other than his salary.

The U.S. government proclamation initiating the ban targets 26 European countries that comprise a visa-free travel zone known as the Schengen Area.

The United Kingdom, which is home to Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links, and Ireland, which is home to another Trump-branded hotel and golf course at Doonbeg, do not participate in the Schengen Area. Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are also not part of the Schengen Area. All three of the resorts are struggling financially.

Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, is scheduled to meet Trump at the White House on Thursday in one of the few events related to St. Patrick’s Day that has not been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

The administration’s European travel proclamation notes that “the Schengen Area has exported 201 COVID-19 cases to 53 countries. Moreover, the free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.”

Trump’s European travel ban comes with several other loopholes.

There are now 460 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.K., including Nadine Dorries, the British government’s own health minister in charge of patient safety. Wednesday saw the biggest rise in U.K. cases in a single day, and the country’s highest-level crisis committee — known as Cobra — will meet Thursday to consider additional moves to reduce the impact of the virus.

Though they are subject to border checks on arrival, residents of the 26 Schengen Area countries are also free to live and work in the United Kingdom, meaning they could fly to the United States from a British airport as long as they hadn’t spent time within the Schengen countries in the last 14 days.

EU leaders condemned Trump’s move on Thursday, and disputed the president’s criticism of Europe’s handling of the crisis.

“The Coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel said in a joint statement.

“The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” they said, adding that the bloc was “taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”

Anita Kumar and Hans Joachim von der Burchard contributed to this report.

(A Savage Comment) With Taliban U.S. Government Being As Ignorant As England’s Chamberlain

With Taliban U.S. Government Being As Ignorant As England’s Chamberlain

 

Back in about 1939 the Prime Minister of England was a man named Chamberlain. He had just come back from a meeting with Hitler in Germany and as he got off his plane in England he was waving a piece of paper saying that he in writing had Hitlers signed agreement that there would be no war between them. Wasn’t it the very next day that Germany invaded Poland which caused England to have to help defend Poland via treaties between them. So much for Hitlers signed word.

 

I just read some headlines this morning about the U.S. Secretary of Defense just getting back to Washington from having had a week long meetings with the Leaders of the Taliban. Our Secretary says that we have reached an agreement with the Taliban about them attacking less and we can then draw down the numbers of troops there. Just like Vietnam we got into Afghanistan with no serious with-drawl program on the table.

 

Just as President Nixon lied to us all on T.V. saying that we had exited Vietnam with honor while he knew that there were still American POW and MIA’s in Country, our current President is doing the same thing here, or at least he is trying to. I am not a fan of Mr. Trump, but honestly he inherited this un-winnable mess in and around Afghanistan, there is no good way out. Reality check is that this reality should have been known to many within our own Governments (and basically everyone else) so, why did we still proceed down the path that we have? O, there was one other thing about Mr. Nixon on ending that war with Vietnam, we also gave them $4.6 Billion for ending the war with us and giving us back some of the pow’s to show the world on TV, Our POW’s coming home. Another article headline was that just a few hours after we signed this agreement one of our jets evidently popped a bomb on a vehicle killing a family of 8, including one infant.

 

We can say we are getting out with dignity, but, is there such a thing in this instance? We had to be knowledgeable enough to know that once you go in, how the hell do you get out? You should always know that answer before you give the order to attack! Reality is that once we do get every one of Our Service Members off their ground, the people that will be mauled in that Country will forever stain a lot of ground. With Honor? Will we ever really know the truth about the Taliban returning all of our captured or killed? Well, thats my thoughts on it anyway, you’re always welcome to tell me your opinion. Hope you’all have a good and a safe weekend.

Brexit: European Parliament overwhelmingly backs terms of UK’s exit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Brexit: European Parliament overwhelmingly backs terms of UK’s exit

Media caption Members of the EU Parliament sang Auld Lang Syne as the Brexit withdrawal agreement was approved.

Members of the European Parliament have overwhelmingly backed the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU.

MEPs ratified the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by 621 votes to 49 following an emotional debate in Brussels.

After the vote, MEPs marked the UK’s exit by singing Auld Lang Syne.

Several British MEPs said they hoped the UK would return one day although Euro-skeptics, including the Bre

xit Party’s Nigel Farage, used their final speeches to tear into the EU.

The UK is due to leave the bloc at 23:00 GMT on Friday.

Ratification of the withdrawal agreement, agreed by the UK and EU in October, was not in doubt after it easily cleared its committee stage last week.

Signing the letter confirming the EU’s consent, the Parliament’s president, David Sassoli, said the two sides must heed the words of the late Labour MP Jo Cox when approaching their future relationship and recognize “there is more that unites us than divides us.”

“You are leaving the EU but you will always be part of Europe…It is very hard to say goodbye. That is why, like my colleagues, I will say arrivederci.”

Media caption Ursula von der Leyen: “We will never be far”

Wednesday’s session saw those on either side of the Brexit debate, including the UK’s 73 MEPs, celebrate or lament the end of British EU membership.

Some MEPs marked the occasion with songs – others wore “always united” scarves.

The Parliament’s Brexit spokesman, Guy Verhofstadt, said it was “sad to see a country leaving that has twice given its blood to liberate Europe”.

He added that British MEPs had brought “wit, charm, and intelligence” as well as “stubbornness”, and would be missed.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said ratification of the withdrawal deal was “only a first step” towards a new partnership between the EU and the UK.

The two should “join forces” in areas such as climate change, she said, and seek a close partnership following the UK’s exit on Friday.

“We will always love you and we will not be far,” she told the UK in closing.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier also wished the UK well, saying the bloc would approach talks on the future relationship with “patience” and “objectivity” while defending its members’ interests.

Media caption Green MEP: “One day I will be back”

Media captionThe MEP’s last sitting in the European parliament

On the other side, though, Conservative MEP and prominent Eurosceptic Daniel Hannan said opinion in Britain turned against the bloc when it became clear “the aspiration was to have the EU as a quasi-state”.

“If at any stage Britain had been able to have a trade-only relationship that would have been enough,” he went on, but added: “You are losing a bad tenant and gaining a good neighbor.”

Mr Farage – who has been campaigning for the UK’s exit since before he was first elected to the Brussels Parliament in 1999 – used his final speech to excoriate the EU.

“I want Brexit to start a debate right across Europe – what do we want from Europe?” he said, arguing that “trade, friendship, co-operation and reciprocity” between nations could be achieved without “all of these institutions and all of this power”.

He and his fellow Brexit Party MEPs waved Union flags before walking out of the chamber en masse.

Sign in European ParliamentImage copyright AFP
Image caption The S&D coalition in the European Parliament put up a sign aimed at departing British MEPs – “au revoir” literally meaning “goodbye until we meet again”

A tearful Molly Scott Cato was applauded and hugged by her colleagues after she spoke of her “grief and regret” at Brexit and the hope she would return to the European Parliament “one day”.

“While now is not the time to campaign to rejoin the EU, we must keep the dream alive,” the Green Party MEP said.

Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts said the EU must learn lessons from the UK’s decision to leave.

He said the bloc had to “regain the hearts and minds of European citizens” by focusing on what it could do for the many, not the few.

Members of Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and DemocratsImage copyright AFP
Image caption Some MEPs wore “half-and-half scarves” to mark the UK’s final day

Earlier, the S&D coalition, which houses Labour’s 10 MEPs, displayed a sign aimed at departing British members, which read: “It’s not goodbye, it’s au revoir.”

On Tuesday evening, several MEPs in the Green group also held a ceremony to mark the UK’s departure.

While Brexit Party MEPs spoke of their joy and relief at leaving, others shared messages of sadness on social media as they prepared to vote for the last time.

The Green Party’s Alexandra Phillips tweeted: “I’m devastated to be leaving the best job in the world. I get to make real change every day while being surrounded by 27 different languages and cultures.”

Liberal Democrats shared pictures of gifts from the pro-European Renew Europe group.

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After the UK leaves, there will be an 11-month transition period in which the two sides hope to negotiate their future economic relationship.

Trade talks are expected to begin in earnest in early March. The European Parliament will also get a say in ratifying any future trade deal.

The UK has insisted talks should not extend beyond 31 December 2020 when a transition period – which will see the UK follow EU rules – comes to an end.

President Sassoli told CNN on Tuesday that the timetable for a deal was tight.

He said the UK’s exit would be “painful” for the bloc but building a new partnership based upon friendly co-operation and mutual interests was now essential.

The 10 most populous islands in the world

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

The most populous islands in the world

In order to identify the most populous islands in the world, we need to define what an island is and what it is not.

Technically, Australia fits the definition of an island: a mass of land surrounded entirely by water. But geographers go a step further to note that a mass of land cannot be both a continent and an island. For our purposes of identifying the most populous islands in the world, continents are out.

According to World Atlas, there are too many islands to count, as they exist in lakes, seas and oceans. Some islands deserve an honorable mention for being so densely populated, like Santa Cruz del Islote, with 500 people living in 115 houses on an island the size of two soccer fields.

The islands on our list have the largest population, regardless of the island’s overall size.

10. Borneo – 21.3 million people

Credit: zodebala / iStock

The third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia, Borneo is bordered by Java and Sumatra, two other islands on our list, and is renowned for its beaches, diving locations and lush rain forest landscape. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunel make up Borneo’s political position.

9. Sri Lanka – 21.44 million people

Credit: Milan Chudoba / istockphoto

Located at the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is a gorgeous island rich in its cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity. Lonely Planet named Sri Lanka its #1 travel destination in 2019.

8. Taiwan – 23.76 million people

Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock

Across 13,974 square miles, Taiwan holds the sixth spot of the most populous islands in the world, but by 2021 that may not be the case. The declining birth rate is attributed to long hours working away from home, which is not conducive to family life. Taiwan is the largest economy not a member of the United Nations.

7. Mindanao, Philippines – 25.53 million people

Credit: atosan / iStock

This Philippine island is the second largest island of the archipelago after Luzon. Mount Apo is the highest peak in the Philippines and an active volcano. Mindanao is the most religiously and culturally diverse of the Philippine islands.

6. Madagascar – 25.57 million people

Credit: guenterguni / iStock

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. While only 250 miles from Africa, most of the population is more closely related to the people in Indonesia, over 3,000 miles away. Wind patterns are attributed to the island’s settlement. Even wildlife is less like Africa and unique to Madagascar.

5. Luzon, Philippines – 49.52 million people

Credit: Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock.com

Almost half of the Philippine population lives on the island of Luzon, the 15th largest island in the world. Luzon is one of the islands in the 7,641 Philippine archipelago, and only 2,000 of those islands are populated.

4. Sumatra, Indonesia – 50 million people

Credit: pawopa3336 / iStock

The fourth-most populous island is Sumatra, an Indonesian island to the south of Java. Sumatra is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, including the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, because it lies between two tectonic plates. Coffee is its most well-known export, but Sumatra is also a major player in natural gas, crude petroleum, rubber, cocoa and palm oil.

3. Great Britain – 61 million people

Credit: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Great Britain is the world’s third most populous island. More generally referred to as Britain, the island consists of England, Scotland and Wales, three countries in Europe. The size of Britain’s population gives perspective to the islands of Java and Honshu (keep reading), as their populations greatly exceed Britain’s.

2. Honshu, Japan – 103 million people

Credit: Phattana / iStock

Japan is considered an archipelago, a cluster of islands. In this case, there are 6,852 islands, with Honshu being its most densely populated. Most of the country’s major cities can be found on Honshu, including Tokyo. Honshu is also home to Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1707.

1. Java, Indonesia – 140 million people

Credit: lkunl / shutterstock

The world’s most populous island is Java, an island of Indonesia. It is only the fourth largest island in Indonesia, but 57 percent of the country lives on Java. Located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, 35 out of 112 of Java’s volcanoes are active. In case you are wondering, Indonesia’s earliest coffee plantations were started on Java. Pun intended.

Why are there so many islands in Indonesia?

Credit: joakimbkk / iStock

You may have noticed several of the most populous islands in the world can be found in Indonesia. Indonesia is counting them and estimates there are 14,572 named islands and thousands more yet to be named. Its status as the largest archipelago in the world is an important distinction because its waterways are considered the most important in the world. The more islands it claims, the more waterways it can control for the country’s economically abundant trade industry.

Rare Indian art displayed in London exhibition

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

 

Rare Indian art displayed in London exhibition

Titled ‘Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company’, the exhibition has opened at the Wallace Collection until April, showcasing artwork from various collections across the globe, curated by writer William Dalrymple.

WORLD Updated: Dec 05, 2019 06:42 IST

Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Images of artwork at the London exhibition.
Images of artwork at the London exhibition.(SOURCED.)

Exquisite colonial-era paintings by artists such as Shaikh Zain ud-Din, Bhawani Das and Ghulam Ali Khan have been brought together for the first time in a major exhibition that shifts the focus from ‘Company School’ of painting to lesser known artists.

Titled ‘Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company’, the exhibition has opened at the Wallace Collection until April, showcasing artwork from various collections across the globe, curated by writer William Dalrymple.

The paintings were commissioned during the late eighteenth and nineteen centuries by East India Company officials and their wives, as well as by itinerant British artists and intellectuals passing through India for pleasure and instruction.

Comprising work from a variety of Indian traditions, organisers say the exhibition belatedly honours historically overlooked artists such as Shaikh Zain ud-Din, Bhawani Das, Shaikh Mohammad Amir of Karriah, Sita Ram, Bahadur Singh, Mihr Chand and Ghulam Ali Khan.

“The exhibition highlights the conversation between traditional Indian, Islamic and Western schools and features works from Mughal, Marathi, Punjabi, Pahari, Tamil and Telugu artists”, the organisers say.

The focus is on main centres of what has traditionally been described as the ‘Company School’ of painting: Calcutta and Lucknow, where Mughal painters from Murshidabad, Patna and Faizabad were employed; colonial Madras and Tanjore, where artists from south Indian traditions received patronage; and Delhi, where Mughal artists were based.

The exhibition includes a Mughal dagger, which was owned by a East India Company patron of this period: Claude Martin, who commissioned artists to create works of art depicting the flora, fauna and daily life in colonial India.

Xavier Bray of the Wallace Collection said: “We hope this exhibition will introduce a wider audience to one of the most interesting but often underappreciated phases of Indian painting, as well as explore the Wallace’s rich collection of Mughal arms and armour”.

Dalrymple added: “Forgotten Masters showcases the work of a series of extraordinary Indian artists, each with their own style and tastes and agency, whose brilliance has been frequently overlooked until now”.

“These masterpieces combine Indian and European influences to create rich, hybrid works which reflect the cultural fluidity of this period in India’s history.”

UK Labour Party omits Jews from campaign video promoting minority rights

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

UK Labour Party omits Jews from campaign video promoting minority rights

Amid anti-Semitism scandal, clip posted by Corbyn mentions over 20 marginalized groups and says party ‘will value you,’ but neglects Jews

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gestures during a general election campaign visit at Whitby Leisure Centre in Whitby, northern England, on December 1, 2019. (Paul ELLIS / AFP)

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gestures during a general election campaign visit at Whitby Leisure Centre in Whitby, northern England, on December 1, 2019. (Paul ELLIS / AFP)

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn failed to mention Jews in an election campaign video that champions diversity and the rights of over 20 groups.

The 68-second video released Saturday features images of British people, towns and cities, along with a September speech by Dawn Butler, who holds the party’s Women and Equalities portfolio.

Butler lists various population groups, including people who are LGBT+, straight, Roma, black, white, Asian, disabled, “struggling to pay rent” or “wear a hijab, turban, a cross.” She assures that “a Labour government will value you, just be your true authentic self.”

While Jews make up 0.37 percent of the United Kingdom’s population, leaders of major Jewish groups suggested the omission was not connected to the minority’s limited electoral strength.

Jeremy Corbyn

@jeremycorbyn

This is our strength.

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Rather, they say, it is linked to the anti-Semitism problem in Labour’s ranks following the 2015 election of Corbyn as its leader. Corbyn, a far-left politician, has supported boycotting Israel and called Hamas and Hezbollah his friends, and he has been widely and repeatedly accused of failing to adequately tackle rampant anti-Semitism within the party’s ranks.

Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, addresses the crowd in Parliament Square at the #EnoughIsEnough demonstration organized by UK Jewish leaders to protest anti-Semitism in the Labour party, March 2018. (Marc Morris/Jewish News)

Jewish Leadership Council Chairman Jonathan Goldstein told the Jewish Chronicle that the omission of Jews from the video was “extraordinary and chilling” and “shows they don’t regard the Jewish community or anti-Semitism as equal to other communities or racism of other types.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said that in the video, “The Jewish community is ‘erased’ as a minority group worthy of their support.”

Deborah E. Lipstadt@deborahlipstadt

Labour’s campaign video: Mention of every possible religious, ethnic, gendered, sexual orientation etc. minority. Except one. Jews. Sure it was just an oversight https://twitter.com/jeremycorbyn/status/1200675327636385792 

Jeremy Corbyn

@jeremycorbyn

This is our strength.

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A Labour Party spokesperson told UK media: “This video launched our Race and Faith Manifesto, which includes policies to guarantee the security and well-being of the Jewish community, defend and celebrate Jewish way of life, and combat anti-Semitism in Britain and across Europe. A Labour government will maintain real-terms funding for the Community Security Trust, make attacks on places of worship an aggravated offense, and force the tech giants to tackle anti-Semitism on social media.

“We will also protect the religious rights and freedoms of Jewish people and ensure public services meet the needs of Jewish people, from coroner services conducting quick burials to proper provision of religious and culturally sensitive social care and youth services. We will also ensure wider teaching about anti-Semitism in schools so that the next generation are better equipped to recognize and challenge these prejudices.”

Corbyn last week sparked outrage by repeatedly declining to apologize for his handling of anti-Semitism in the party in an interview with the BBC.

The BBC’s Andrew Neil pressed Corbyn six times to apologize to the Jewish community, in the wake of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s unprecedented statement that Britain’s Jews were “gripped by anxiety” over the future of the community in the country, amid the prospect of a Labour win in the December 12 election.

After being slammed for the interview, on Wednesday Corbyn tried to tamp down the flames by saying that the party had already apologized for anti-Semitism in its ranks.

Polls suggest that just six percent of UK Jews plan to vote Labour. Nearly half say they would “seriously consider” emigrating if Corbyn — a man 87% of those polled believe is an anti-Semite — gets to Downing Street.

Jewish groups have accused Corbyn of allowing a massive rise in anti-Semitism within the ranks of the party that was once considered the natural home of British Jewry. Thousands of cases of alleged hate speech against Jews have been recorded within Labour since 2015, when Corbyn was elected to lead the party.

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London: Another Terror Attack On The London Bridge

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

LONDON — A man was shot by police Friday afternoon after several people were stabbed near London Bridge, officials said.

The area surrounding the incident was cordoned off and bus, subway and train stations were closed. Shops and restaurants in the area were evacuated.

Video posted to social media from eyewitnesses appeared to show armed police and members of the public crowd around a person on the floor, on the north side of the bridge. Police are treating the incident as though it were terrorism-related on a precautionary basis.

Hand Luggage Only@HLOBlog

Please stay away from ! I just saw a man with a knife being shot in the head by police. Please be careful London!

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The attack was first reported just before 2 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) and the Metropolitan Police confirmed “a number of people have been injured.” Their condition is not known.

Transport for London confirmed that London Bridge station, a major terminus for commuters across the southeast of England, was closed.

The London Ambulance Service declared a major incident and confirmed it had a number of crews at the scene.

Metropolitan Police

@metpoliceuk

Police were called at 1:58pm to a stabbing at premises near to London Bridge.

Emergency services attended, including officers from the Met and @CityPolice.

A man has been detained by police. We believe a number of people have been injured. Further info to follow.

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Police vehicles and a fire truck could be seen arriving at the scene 90 minutes after the incident.

A bystander who declined to provide a name described hearing “rapid gunfire” and seeing police officers dragging a motionless body away from the scene.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement released via official Twitter account: “I’m being kept updated on the incident at London Bridge and want to thank the police and all emergency services for their immediate response.”

London Bridge was the scene of a terror attack in 2017, in which eight people died and 48 were injured.

UK chief rabbi: What will be the fate of Jews if Labour ‘poison’ comes to power?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

UK chief rabbi: What will be the fate of Jews if Labour ‘poison’ comes to power?

Dismissing claim by Corbyn’s party to be working to root out anti-Semitism in its ranks as ‘mendacious fiction,’ Ephraim Mirvis asks: ‘What should we expect of them in government?’

Illustrative: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)

Illustrative: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis took an unprecedented stand against the Labour party ahead of next month’s election, urging voters to see the “new poison” that has taken root in the party, and expressing fear for the fate of Jews in the country should Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister.

In a column published Monday on The Times website, Mirvis said he was compelled to intervene in politics because Britain’s Jews were “gripped by anxiety” over the future of the community and of Judaism in the country amid the prospect of a Labour win on December 12.

Without explicitly calling on people not to vote for Labour, or even mentioning Corbyn by name, Mirvis warned that “a new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party.”

“The question I am now most frequently asked is: What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labour Party forms the next government?” he wrote.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, addresses party members during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, England, September 24, 2019. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

“This anxiety is justified. Raising concerns about anti-Jewish racism in the context of a general election ranks among the most painful moments I have experienced since taking office,” the chief rabbi wrote, explaining his bombshell intervention by saying that “challenging racism is not a matter of politics, it goes well beyond that.”

Polls suggest that just six percent of UK Jews plan to vote Labour. Nearly half say they will “seriously consider” emigrating if Corbyn — a man 87% of those polled believe is an anti-Semite — gets to Downing Street.

Jewish groups have accused Corbyn, a far-left politician, of allowing a massive rise in anti-Semitism within the ranks of the party that was once considered the natural home of British Jewry. Thousands of cases of alleged hate speech against Jews have been recorded within Labour since 2015, when Corbyn was elected to lead the party.

The Labour leadership has strenuously defended itself, with Corbyn himself arguing in recent weeks: “Antisemitism and racism is an evil within our society. I’ve done everything to confront it throughout my life, and will always do so.”

Much of the fear of Corbyn is spurred by revelations about his past record that have emerged since he became Labour leader. These include him describing Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”; defending an anti-Semitic mural in East London; and a seeming willingness to associate with alleged anti-Semites, terrorists and Holocaust-deniers.

Mirvis described the last four years of having Labour repeatedly minimize and deny the rampant anti-Semitism in the party and the attacks, and even death threats, Jewish party members faced for speaking out about it, with many hounded out of the party.

Illustrative: People hold up placards and Union flags as they gather for a demonstration organized by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism outside the head office of the British opposition Labour Party in central London on April 8, 2018. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)

He noted Labour’s “quibbling and prevarication” over whether to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance‘s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, finally only doing so after adding an amendment that emphasized the right to “free speech” on Israel.

And he highlighted the party being formally investigated by the UK’s anti-racism watchdog.

“And all of this while in opposition. What should we expect of them in government?” Mirvis asked. “Therefore, with the heaviest of hearts, I call upon the citizens of our great country to study what has been unfolding before our very eyes.”

Mirvis dismissed Labour’s claims that it was doing everything possible to root out anti-Semitism as a “mendacious fiction.”

“According to the Jewish Labour Movement, there are at least 130 outstanding cases before the party, some dating back years, and thousands more have been reported but remain unresolved.

“The party leadership have never understood that their failure is not just one of procedure, which can be remedied with additional staff or new processes. It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of culture. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party,” he wrote.

Mirvis said given Labour’s record, it “can no longer claim to be the party of equality and anti-racism.”

“How far is too far? How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be to be considered unfit for office?” he asked.

“Would associations with those who have incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would describing as ‘friends’ those who endorse the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not,” he said. referring to Corbyn’s calling terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends” when inviting members for a parliamentary meeting in 2009. Corbyn later downplayed the comment and said he regretted using the term.

Jeremy Corbyn (second from left) holding a wreath during a visit to the Martyrs of Palestine, in Tunisia, in October 2014. (Facebook page of the Palestinian embassy in Tunisia)

“It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote,” Mirvis said. “I regret being in this situation at all. I simply pose the question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country?”

Therefore, he added, “When December 12 arrives, I ask every person to vote with their conscience. Be in no doubt, the very soul of our nation is at stake.”

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Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on 11 April 2019Image copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Assange was arrested in London after Ecuador abruptly withdrew its protection in April

Prosecutors in Sweden have dropped an investigation into a rape allegation made against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in 2010.

Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.

The 48-year-old Australian was evicted in April and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions.

He is currently being held at Belmarsh prison in London.

The Swedish investigation had been shelved in 2017 but was re-opened earlier this year following his eviction from the embassy.

In June, the then UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javed, formally approved an extradition request from the US where Assange is wanted on 18 counts related to the mass leak of American secrets.

What did the prosecutors say?

Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson took the decision to “discontinue the investigation regarding Julian Assange”, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said.

“The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question,” it added.

Media caption Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London

Ms Persson said: “I would like to emphasize that the injured party has submitted a credible and reliable version of events.

“Her statements have been coherent, extensive and detailed; however, my overall assessment is that the evidence situation has been weakened to such an extent that that there is no longer any reason to continue the investigation.”

The prosecutors said the decision had been taken after interviews with seven witnesses in the case.

What was the Swedish investigation about?

Assange was accused of rape by a woman and sexual assault by another one following a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm in 2010. He has always denied the allegations, saying the sex was consensual.

Media caption Who is Julian Assange?

He also faced investigations for molestation and unlawful coercion, but these cases were dropped in 2015 because time had run out.

Vietnamese police accelerate illegal immigration probe following lorry deaths in Britain

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Vietnamese police accelerate illegal immigration probe following lorry deaths in Britain

Xinhua
Vietnamese police accelerate illegal immigration probe following lorry deaths in Britain

AFP

Bui Phan Chinh, father of 37-year-old of Bui Phan Thang who is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a truck in Britain, sits outside his house in Hong Linh district of Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province on October 29, 2019.

Police of Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province have detained two individuals following reports of local families seeking for their missing relatives in Britain.

The provincial police have instituted legal proceedings against one among them for organizing, brokering illegal immigration and residence in foreign countries, Vietnam News Agency reported on Friday, quoting deputy head of Ha Tinh police Nguyen Tien Nam as saying.

Local police are also collecting testimony from others related to the case, Nam said, adding that they are working with the Ministry of Public Security and police of other localities to further investigate the case.

The investigation, which was officially announced on Thursday, follows reports of 10 families in the province who lost contact with their relatives on the way to Britain after the Essex lorry incident.

Ha Tinh authorities have collected DNA samples from members of those families to send to Britain for victim identification.

On Thursday, police of Vietnam’s central Thua Thien Hue province also pressed criminal charges and instituted legal proceedings against three Vietnamese individuals for organizing and brokering illegal immigration, Vietnam News Agency reported.

A resident from the province was duped into paying the trio over 36,000 U.S. dollars to immigrate to the United States.

Earlier on October 26, police of central Nghe An province filed the same charges against four people, who between 2015 and 2019 received hundreds of thousands dollars from more than 400 people without sending anyone abroad, local online newspaper VnExpress cited Nghe An police as reporting.

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