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FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem May 19, 2019. Ariel Schalit/Pool via REUTERS

May 25, 2019

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country’s Supreme Court.

The demonstration in Tel Aviv was attended by nearly all opposition parties, a rare show of unity for Israel’s splintered political system. Police did not say how many people attended. A Reuters photographer estimated about 20,000 were present, while organizers put the figure at 80,000.

In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term in April despite an announcement by Israel’s attorney general in February that he intended to charge him with fraud and bribery. The prime minister is a suspect in three graft cases.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations a political witch-hunt. The right-wing leader has said that with a renewed public mandate to govern he has no plans to resign, even if charged.

Although the prime minister is under no legal obligation to step down if charged, Netanyahu loyalists in his Likud party have pledged to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for him while he is in office.

Expecting legal challenges, they also have been advocating legislation that would annul any Supreme Court ruling rescinding immunity.

Since the election, Netanyahu has not said whether he would seek immunity.

On May 13, Netanyahu said on Twitter that his policy had always been to preserve a strong and independent Supreme Court, but that changes were needed in order to restore balance between Israel’s executive, legislative and judiciary branches.

The opposition has described any attempt to shield Netanyahu or put limitations on Israel’s highest court as threats to Israeli democracy.

Yair Lapid, one of the leaders of the main opposition party, the centrist Blue and White, said on Saturday at the demonstration that Netanyahu was trying to crush the Supreme Court in order to keep out of prison. “He’s destroying the country,” Lapid said. “We won’t let him.”

Netanyahu is trying to form a new coalition with right-wing, ultranationalist and religious parties that would give him control of 65 of the 120 seats in parliament, which has already been sworn in.

Most of the parties expected to join his coalition have expressed support for granting immunity to Netanyahu and limiting the powers of the Supreme Court, branded by some rightists as too liberal and interventionist.

However, Netanyahu has only until Wednesday to produce a government and he has not yet secured a deal with any party. Negotiations came to an impasse this week when the factions failed to agree on a new conscription law for Israel’s military.

According to Israeli law, if Netanyahu fails to form a government by May 29 the president can ask another member of the Knesset legislature to try.

No political party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s Knesset, making coalition governments the norm. Coalition talks have often been protracted with deals signed at the very last minute.

Netanyahu is due to attend a pre-trial hearing over the graft charges with the attorney general, set for October.

(Additional reporting by Rahaf Ruby and Ammar Awad; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab attends
FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab, former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union attends “A Better Deal” event in London, Britain, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

May 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Former Brexit Minister Dominic Raab became the sixth candidate to enter the contest to replace Theresa May as prime minister on Saturday, vowing to fight for a fairer deal on Brexit.

“To deliver Brexit successfully will require focus, discipline and resolve,” Raab wrote in an article for the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “As a former Foreign Office lawyer and Brexit Secretary I have the experience.”

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab attends
FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab, former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union attends “A Better Deal” event in London, Britain, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

May 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Former Brexit Minister Dominic Raab became the sixth candidate to enter the contest to replace Theresa May as prime minister on Saturday, vowing to fight for a fairer deal on Brexit.

“To deliver Brexit successfully will require focus, discipline and resolve,” Raab wrote in an article for the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “As a former Foreign Office lawyer and Brexit Secretary I have the experience.”

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido takes part in a meeting in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country’s rightful interim ruler, speaks at a meeting at the Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

May 25, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Norway said on Saturday that representatives of Venezuela’s government and opposition will return to Oslo next week following an initial round of preliminary talks about how to address the country’s political crisis.

“We announce that the representatives of the main political actors in Venezuela have decided to return to Oslo next week to continue a process facilitated by Norway,” the Scandinavian country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We reiterate our commitment to continue supporting the search for an agreed-upon solution between the parties in Venezuela,” it said.

Venezuela has been plunged into political turmoil this year as opposition leader Juan Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, dismissing President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud. More than 50 countries, including the United States and many members of the European Union, now see Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

Maduro, who maintains control over state institutions amid a hyperinflationary economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis, calls Guaido a puppet of Washington.

The Venezuelan information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the announcement. Guaido’s press team said it would comment shortly.

The ruling Socialist Party has endorsed the talks, but opposition sympathizers remain skeptical, arguing that Maduro has previously used dialogue as a stalling tactic to maintain his grip on power while living standards steadily declined in the oil-rich nation.

Last week, opposition lawmaker Stalin Gonzalez and two advisors represented Guaido’s side, while Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Miranda state governor Hector Rodriguez went to Oslo on behalf of the government.

Each side met separately with Norwegian mediators, but there was no face-to-face meeting between government and opposition representatives, Gonzalez told local media.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth, editing by G Crosse)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido takes part in a meeting in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country’s rightful interim ruler, speaks at a meeting at the Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

May 25, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Norway said on Saturday that representatives of Venezuela’s government and opposition will return to Oslo next week following an initial round of preliminary talks about how to address the country’s political crisis.

“We announce that the representatives of the main political actors in Venezuela have decided to return to Oslo next week to continue a process facilitated by Norway,” the Scandinavian country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We reiterate our commitment to continue supporting the search for an agreed-upon solution between the parties in Venezuela,” it said.

Venezuela has been plunged into political turmoil this year as opposition leader Juan Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, dismissing President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud. More than 50 countries, including the United States and many members of the European Union, now see Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

Maduro, who maintains control over state institutions amid a hyperinflationary economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis, calls Guaido a puppet of Washington.

The Venezuelan information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the announcement. Guaido’s press team said it would comment shortly.

The ruling Socialist Party has endorsed the talks, but opposition sympathizers remain skeptical, arguing that Maduro has previously used dialogue as a stalling tactic to maintain his grip on power while living standards steadily declined in the oil-rich nation.

Last week, opposition lawmaker Stalin Gonzalez and two advisors represented Guaido’s side, while Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Miranda state governor Hector Rodriguez went to Oslo on behalf of the government.

Each side met separately with Norwegian mediators, but there was no face-to-face meeting between government and opposition representatives, Gonzalez told local media.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth, editing by G Crosse)

Source: OANN

Supporters of the opposition party attend an anti-government protest in Tirana
Supporters of the opposition party attend an anti-government protest in front of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s office in Tirana, Albania, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga

May 25, 2019

By Benet Koleka

TIRANA (Reuters) – Albanian opposition supporters took to the streets again on Saturday in a mostly peaceful protest, the sixth national one in three months, calling on Prime Minister Edi Rama to step down to pave the way for early elections.

Waving posters and releasing paper lanterns marked “Quit”, some in the crowd of several thousand threw a dozen paint bombs at Rama’s office. Some also hurled firecrackers at riot police near the parliament building.

But there was less unrest than in the last protest two weeks ago, when some demonstrators hurled petrol bombs, firecrackers and paint at the government building and parliament.

Rejecting allegations of fraud at the 2017 elections that gave his Socialist Party victory and him a second term in office, Rama told opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha he would not resign and urged him in a public letter to settle the crisis with talks.

“He is asking me, asking us to capitulate? Answer to him!” Basha told the crowd, who chanted back in unison: “Rama quit”.

“Pave the way to the political solution,” Basha added.

Hours before the rally, the EU delegation, its member states’ embassies and the United States embassy had urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

“We call on all sides to build upon the existing offer for a Dialogue, with the view to finding a way out of the current political situation as a matter of urgency,” the EU office said.

(Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

A fighter loyal to Libya's U.N.-backed government (GNA) gestures during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar on the outskirts of Tripoli
A fighter loyal to Libya’s U.N.-backed government (GNA) gestures during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar on the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

May 25, 2019

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Heavy fighting raged in the Libyan capital on Saturday as eastern forces made a new push to advance inside the city controlled by the internationally recognized government.

The Libya National Army (LNA) force of Khalifa Haftar, who is allied to a parallel government in the east, started an offensive to take Tripoli almost two months ago but has not breached the city’s southern defenses.

The LNA made a new push on Saturday morning, trying to advance on a road from the former airport – located in a southern suburb – towards the center but there was no sign of progress, residents said.

Fighting had slowed in recent weeks during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan when most people fast during the day until sunset.

The battle for Tripoli has killed at least 510 people, forced 75,000 out of their homes, trapped thousands of migrants in detention centers, and flattened some southern suburbs. It has also forced closures of schools, split families on different sides of the front line, and brought power cuts.

Two ambulance workers were killed and three wounded on Thursday when their ambulance cars were hit, the World Health Organization said. It did not say who was responsible.

The United Nations has been unable to negotiate a ceasefire. France has, like other European countries, called for a ceasefire but also supported Haftar as a way to fight Islamist militants in the country.

On Wednesday, Haftar, meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, ruled out a ceasefire and said he wanted to rid the capital of militias that had “infested” the U.N.-backed government of Premier Fayez al-Serraj, a French presidential official said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, Ayman al-Warfalli and Ulf Laessing)

Source: OANN

A fighter loyal to Libya's U.N.-backed government (GNA) gestures during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar on the outskirts of Tripoli
A fighter loyal to Libya’s U.N.-backed government (GNA) gestures during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar on the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

May 25, 2019

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Heavy fighting raged in the Libyan capital on Saturday as eastern forces made a new push to advance inside the city controlled by the internationally recognized government.

The Libya National Army (LNA) force of Khalifa Haftar, who is allied to a parallel government in the east, started an offensive to take Tripoli almost two months ago but has not breached the city’s southern defenses.

The LNA made a new push on Saturday morning, trying to advance on a road from the former airport – located in a southern suburb – towards the center but there was no sign of progress, residents said.

Fighting had slowed in recent weeks during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan when most people fast during the day until sunset.

The battle for Tripoli has killed at least 510 people, forced 75,000 out of their homes, trapped thousands of migrants in detention centers, and flattened some southern suburbs. It has also forced closures of schools, split families on different sides of the front line, and brought power cuts.

Two ambulance workers were killed and three wounded on Thursday when their ambulance cars were hit, the World Health Organization said. It did not say who was responsible.

The United Nations has been unable to negotiate a ceasefire. France has, like other European countries, called for a ceasefire but also supported Haftar as a way to fight Islamist militants in the country.

On Wednesday, Haftar, meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, ruled out a ceasefire and said he wanted to rid the capital of militias that had “infested” the U.N.-backed government of Premier Fayez al-Serraj, a French presidential official said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, Ayman al-Warfalli and Ulf Laessing)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: French police apprehend protesters during the May Day march involving French unions and yellow vest protesters in Paris
FILE PHOTO: French police apprehend protesters during the May Day march involving French unions and yellow vest protesters in Paris, France, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Inti Landauro

PARIS (Reuters) – Yellow vest protesters clashed with riot police in Paris and the northern city of Amiens on Saturday as the French anti-government movement waned on its 28th straight weekend.

Police in Amiens, hometown of President Emmanuel Macron, fired teargas at about 1,200 demonstrators after a group pelted stones at police, attacked local bank branches and set fire to rubbish cans, the local police chief’s office said.

Police detained 27 people in the city.

A few hundred protesters also clashed with police in downtown Paris, in and around the Place de la Republique.

After more than six months, the grassroots movement protesting over the cost of living and Macron’s perceived indifference seems to be losing steam.

Around the country only 12,500 demonstrators took to the streets during the latest day of protests, the lowest turnout since the movement started, the French interior ministry said. At the peak in November more than 300,000 were taking part nationally.

The prolonged protests, named after the high-visibility jackets worn by participants and which began in opposition to fuel tax increases, have hampered Macron’s efforts to push his reform timetable and forced him into costly concessions.

Despite Macron’s swift reversal of the tax hikes and introduction of other measures worth more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion) to boost the purchasing power of lower-income voters, protests and riots continued all over the country.

As he was celebrating his second anniversary in power, Macron last month offered more tax cuts worth 5 billion euros, along with other measures.

The protests also battered Macron’s party in its campaign for European elections to be held on Sunday. La Republique en Marche is polling neck-and-neck with the far-right National Rally.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: French police apprehend protesters during the May Day march involving French unions and yellow vest protesters in Paris
FILE PHOTO: French police apprehend protesters during the May Day march involving French unions and yellow vest protesters in Paris, France, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Inti Landauro

PARIS (Reuters) – Yellow vest protesters clashed with riot police in Paris and the northern city of Amiens on Saturday as the French anti-government movement waned on its 28th straight weekend.

Police in Amiens, hometown of President Emmanuel Macron, fired teargas at about 1,200 demonstrators after a group pelted stones at police, attacked local bank branches and set fire to rubbish cans, the local police chief’s office said.

Police detained 27 people in the city.

A few hundred protesters also clashed with police in downtown Paris, in and around the Place de la Republique.

After more than six months, the grassroots movement protesting over the cost of living and Macron’s perceived indifference seems to be losing steam.

Around the country only 12,500 demonstrators took to the streets during the latest day of protests, the lowest turnout since the movement started, the French interior ministry said. At the peak in November more than 300,000 were taking part nationally.

The prolonged protests, named after the high-visibility jackets worn by participants and which began in opposition to fuel tax increases, have hampered Macron’s efforts to push his reform timetable and forced him into costly concessions.

Despite Macron’s swift reversal of the tax hikes and introduction of other measures worth more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion) to boost the purchasing power of lower-income voters, protests and riots continued all over the country.

As he was celebrating his second anniversary in power, Macron last month offered more tax cuts worth 5 billion euros, along with other measures.

The protests also battered Macron’s party in its campaign for European elections to be held on Sunday. La Republique en Marche is polling neck-and-neck with the far-right National Rally.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN


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