FILE PHOTO: British and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
March 19, 2019
By Thomas Escritt and Gabriela Baczynska
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union governments are exasperated by British dithering over quitting the bloc but have little appetite for pushing it out on schedule next week without a divorce deal, senior figures said on Tuesday.
EU ministers in Brussels to prepare a summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday voiced frustration after the speaker of parliament threw up a new obstacle for her plan to get her Brexit deal ratified before the March 29 deadline.
“Our patience as the European Union is being sorely tested at the moment,” German Europe minister Michael Roth told reporters. “Dear friends in London, please deliver. The clock is ticking.”
But Roth also echoed comments in Berlin by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU’s pre-eminent leader, who said she would “fight to the last minute” until midnight (2300 GMT) on March 29 to ensure an orderly exit for the EU’s second-ranked economy.
He said Germany’s main aim was to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which would disrupt business across the continent.
However, after two defeats for the Withdrawal Agreement that May negotiated with the EU, and her difficulty in trying to get it through parliament on a third vote even before the speaker ruled that it must be substantially changed, it is not clear how May can avert this without asking fellow leaders for more time.
ALL DEPENDS ON MAY
Leaders expect to discuss such an extension at the two-day summit starting on Thursday afternoon. But if May has yet to make a concrete proposal on her next move then, then the summit can do little more than outline possible steps — such as a readiness to give her a couple of months, or maybe longer.
“If there is no move from London, the leaders can also decide to wait,” said Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders. “It really depends on what May will say at the summit.”
Diplomats said member states were still discussing options for extension — possibly only for two to three months, if May persuades them she can clinch a deal at home, or for much longer if May accepts that radical reworking is needed. But these would come with conditions and might not be agreed until next week.
Merkel said there was “far too much in flux” to forecast the outcome of the summit, but her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, told reporters in Finland: “If more time is needed, it’s always better to do another round than a no-deal Brexit.”
EU diplomats say it is highly probable that leaders will unanimously support some sort of extension rather than see Britain lurch out of the bloc in 10 days’ time — even though some governments are starting to argue for ending the uncertainty and trusting to arrangements already put in place to mitigate the effects of a sudden, immediate exit.
Aides to French President Emmanuel Macron, a powerful voice on the Council alongside Merkel, say the onus is on Britain to say what it would do with more time.
“This uncertainty is unacceptable,” his EU affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau said in Brussels on Tuesday.
“Grant an extension? What for? Time is not a solution, it’s a method — if there’s an objective and a strategy. And it has to come from London.”
(Writing by Alastair Macdonald; @macdonaldrtr; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
U.S. President Donald Trump walks down the U.S Capitol steps with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) after they both attended the 37th annual Friends of Ireland luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
March 18, 2019
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee said on Monday that it expects to receive tens of thousands of documents as part of its wide-ranging corruption and obstruction of justice probe of Republican President Donald Trump.
Two weeks ago, the committee requested documents from 81 individuals, government agencies and other entities including Trump family members, current and former business employees, Republican campaign staffers and former White House aides, the FBI, White House and WikiLeaks.
The probe, which Republicans have denounced as an overreach of congressional authority, is aimed at determining whether Trump has used his office to enrich himself or has sought to obstruct investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any collusion by his campaign.
Trump maintains that his campaign did not collude with Russia and has dismissed the probe as a “political hoax.”
In a statement issued as Monday’s deadline for document submissions expired, the House of Representatives committee said it has heard from “a large number” of those who received document requests on March 4 and that many have either sent or agreed to send documents to the committee.
“Those documents already number in the tens of thousands,” the statement said.
“The committee continues to be in discussions with others, including some who have requested a subpoena … before they are comfortable supplying the information requested,” it said. The statement did not say which recipients have submitted or agreed to submit material.
Among the recipients were the president’s sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former White House counsel Don McGahn.
The committee has also sought documents from among those already charged in U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, including former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump adviser Roger Stone and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
“I am encouraged by the responses we have received since sending these initial letters two weeks ago,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler said in the statement.
“It is my hope that we will receive cooperation from the remainder of the list, and will be working to find an appropriate accommodation with any individual who may be reluctant to cooperate with our investigation.”
The Republican president faces several investigations including congressional committee inquiries and Mueller’s probe into Russian campaign interference and any Trump campaign role.
(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Cynthia Osterman)
WASHINGTON — Those of us who have always thought that Brexit — Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union — was a bad idea should be feeling self-satisfied and vindicated now. Well, we’re not; at least this observer isn’t. The reason is obvious. Many of the things that we feared would happen have happened, or might still. Worse, the consequences aren’t confined to the United Kingdom.
If you take a crude and unscientific survey of some of Washington’s major think tanks, you discover (no surprise) that they’re generally agreed that the economic outlook for Britain is grim. Here’s a commentary by economist Desmond Lachman of the right-of-center American Enterprise Institute:
“Since the Brexit referendum, the U.K.’s economic performance has deteriorated. It has done so as the U.K.’s future access to the European single market, which buys around 50 percent of the U.K.’s exports, has come into serious question. … At a time that the European economy is already stuttering, with Italy in recession and the German economy on the cusp of recession, the last thing that Europe now needs is a sclerotic UK economy.”
A new study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics reviewed the forecasts of 12 economic models and found that only two of them predicted gains from Brexit. Other studies forecast losses up to 8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The study also warns that “a no-deal ‘crash out'” — a reversion to higher tariffs rather than a “soft Brexit” of continuing the present no-tariff situation — “would have serious negative short-run impacts on the U.K., which are essentially impossible to model.”
Although EU countries would also lose some exports to the U.K., these are much smaller than the U.K.’s export losses to the EU. Thus, they’re more easily made up by boosting exports to other countries, the report contends.
The U.K.’s losses are not just theoretical. Already, some companies are announcing closures of U.K. manufacturing operations, a good example being Honda. Similarly, some banks are moving financial assets (stocks, bonds, other securities) from their London offices to locations on the continent. There is much fear that London will lose its traditional position as Europe’s pre-eminent financial center.
Meanwhile, the chaos, confusion and contradictions of Parliament’s efforts to find a tenable Brexit policy must seriously undermine confidence in Britain’s political system and its ability to attract future investors, domestic and foreign.
The prevailing political anarchy was on public display last week. On March 12, Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed agreement with the EU for the second time. Then on March 13, it voted down a proposal for the U.K. to leave the EU without an agreement, failing to acknowledge “that this is precisely what will happen unless they reconcile themselves to the very deal they rejected the day before,” as Douglas Rediker of The Brookings Institution noted in a blog post. The deadline for deciding is March 29, though that could be extended.
The larger and more significant issue floating over this controversy involves the future of the world trading system. There has been a loss of authority among the corporate executives, governmental officials and economists whose support is crucial if the system is to survive and flourish.
It’s not that they have changed their minds about the value of open trade so much as the public has turned more skeptical and hostile to trade expansion. A less supportive public in turn alters the political climate, making governments more nationalistic and leading to more, not fewer, trade barriers. Multinational firms become more cautious in making new investments, because they can’t know how much open trade will be tolerated.
Brexit is one example of this break from the past. Others are well-known: the Trump administration’s renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico; its bargaining with China over trade practices; and the imposition of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
The fate of Brexit is just a small part of this much larger story. Is the post-World War II global trading system, constructed gradually over the past half-century or so, breaking down? Or is it just in a state of temporary hiatus? History awaits an answer.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post Writers Group
Philadelphia 76ers’ forward Mike Scott knows how to stay fresh during a game.
During the first quarter of the 76ers’ critical Eastern Conference game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Scott dove for a ball in the stands, and then decided to hydrate. (RELATED: NBA Trade Deadline Heats Up As 76ers Make Blockbuster Trade)
Watch Scott sip on a cold one during the 76ers’ biggest game of the regular season:
— ESPN (@espn) March 17, 2019
Mike Scott sippin’ on this fine Sunday afternoon ???? pic.twitter.com/UptEPjQOjQ
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) March 17, 2019
I wonder what he was drinking. Given that the game was in Milwaukee, I’m going to guess it was a Miller Lite, the beer of champions. (RELATED: 76ers Star Joel Embiid Cusses Out Refs During Press Conference)
The 76ers are currently battling for home court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs which start next month, but Scott appears to be enjoying the ride. It’s because of this, that I am now picking the 76ers to win the Eastern Conference. They not only have the most talent in the East, but also the type of swag necessary to maintain a deep playoff run.
Source: The Daily Caller
Pope Francis attends an audience with the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir at the Vatican, March 16, 2019. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS
March 16, 2019
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis has asked aides to resume plans for a visit to South Sudan, a trip that had to be scrapped in 2017 because of the civil war in the world’s youngest country.
During a meeting with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Saturday, Francis “expressed the wish to ascertain the conditions for a possible visit to South Sudan,” a Vatican statement said.
It added that he wanted to make the trip as “a sign of closeness to the population and of encouragement for the peace process”.
Oil-producing South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, descended into civil war in December 2013 when a dispute between Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar sparked fighting, often along ethnic lines.
In September, Kiir, who is Catholic, and Machar, a Presbyterian, signed a peace deal calling on the two main rival factions to assemble, screen and train their respective forces and unify them into a national army before the formation of a unity government in May.
Three days ago, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said in a report that the six-month-old peace deal risked collapse because none of these steps have occurred, just two months before the deadline.
More than half of the population of South Sudan is Christian, while Sudan is predominantly Muslim.
In 2017, Catholic Church leaders in the country said they had expected the pope would visit the capital, Juba, in the autumn of that year. The tentative plans were scrapped because of security concerns.
About 400,000 people have been killed, and more than a third of the country’s 12 million people uprooted by the civil war – a conflict punctuated by multiple rounds of mediation followed by renewed bloodshed.
The original trip was to have lasted only one day for security reasons and the pope was to have flown in after spending a night in another African country.
Francis is expected to visit several African countries this year, including Madagascar.
The pope was to have made the 2017 trip to South Sudan with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the worldwide Anglican communion, in an effort to promote unity in the mostly Christian country.
The conflict sparked Africa’s worst refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide and plunged parts of the country into famine.
More than 875,000 refugees have fled into neighboring Uganda since the war broke out.
The pope and Kiir discussed the return of refugees, the Vatican statement said.
(Additional reporting by Hereward Holland in Nairobi)
FILE PHOTO: Flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a Brexit vote, in London, Britain March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Jacobs/File Photo
March 16, 2019
By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
ZURICH (Reuters) – Britain must take part in European parliamentary elections if its departure from the European Union is pushed back beyond July 1, Austria’s delegate to Brexit negotiations said in an interview published on Saturday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to head to Brussels next week to request a short delay to the exit process after the UK parliament on Thursday voted in favor of extending negotiations beyond the original March 29 deadline.
“We have to wait and see what the government in London actually proposes. If there is an extension beyond July 1, then in any event, the United Kingdom must vote in May for the European elections,” Austrian diplomat Gregor Schusterschitz said in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard.
“The EU has never been the side in the negotiations that has rejected something for reasons of principle. This also applies to the question of the extension: it shouldn’t fail because of us.”
Several EU leaders have already said Britain must either have left before a new European Parliament is elected in May to take office in July or must hold its own EU election in order to avoid any legal challenge to the legitimacy of the legislature.
In the interview, Schusterschitz also said the EU might have been too soft on Britain and allowed it too long to conduct a largely domestic discussion, which involved less debate with the EU than it did internal political back-and-forth.
“Maybe we could have been more brutal sometimes,” he said. “We didn’t do that, and so we probably allowed British politics too long to fool around – and not face the really difficult questions, which are being discussed now, much earlier.”
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Mark Potter)
EU leaders on Friday called for clarity from Britain before considering any delay to Brexit after a series of chaotic votes by MPs just two weeks before the deeply divided country is due to leave the bloc.
Quitting the EU after 46 years on March 29 remains the legal default unless EU leaders unanimously grant Britain an extension, with the issue likely to dominate a March 21-22 EU summit in Brussels.
The length of any possible delay will depend on the outcome of another parliamentary vote on the twice massively rejected Brexit deal struck by Prime Minister Theresa May with EU leaders.
The government said it would ask for a “technical” delay until June 30 to pass necessary legislation if MPs finally approve the deal next week.
If MPs vote against it for a third time, the government has warned it will be forced to seek a much longer delay.
Proposal ‘Must Come From Britain’
“It is very clear that the next steps, the next proposal on how to move forward must come from Britain,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin on Friday.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said that if the current deal is rejected again “a clear and new alternative plan” must be presented or else Britain would have to leave the EU with no agreement.
No EU27 country has categorically ruled out a delay, though most member states maintain the view that there must be a clear reason.
But there are nuances in their positions, as seen in the table below (not mutually exclusive)👇 pic.twitter.com/4gfc3gdrH8
— Open Europe (@OpenEurope) March 15, 2019
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Netherlands is open to delaying Britain’s exit, but will seek guarantees that the extra time will be used to break the political impasse in London. A short, technical delay of a few weeks to implement a deal would be straightforward, he said, but a longer postponement would be more difficult.
“If they want a delay the British need to explain how they plan to ensure a different outcome,” Rutte told journalists in The Hague.
Similarly, Denmark’s foreign minister suggested that, if Britain is going to ask the EU for a delay, it should explain how it would be used to find a solution.
“We’re still awaiting clarity from the British side. Before we get that we cannot help the Brits,” Anders Samuelsen said Friday in an e-mail to Reuters.
The British government is hoping that talk of a long delay to Brexit will persuade hardliners in May’s own Conservative Party and its ally, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to get behind her deal.
We’ve all been betrayed by a globalist cabal that planned to cancel Brexit from the very start.
Need for ‘Clear Plan’
Speaking on a visit to Paris, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said “everyone would welcome” MPs approving the deal and Brexit being briefly pushed back to get the necessary legislation through.
But, asked about the possibility of a longer delay, Coveney said: “I think many EU leaders will be very uncomfortable with a long extension.”
He said Ireland would only consider it if it was to “implement a clear plan and strategy to reflect on and perhaps change direction in regard to Brexit”.
EU leaders have hinted they could support a longer delay only if Britain were to drop its red lines, particularly its insistence on leaving the EU customs union so as to pursue an independent trade policy.
On currency markets Friday, the pound jumped versus the dollar and steadied against the euro after a week that saw wild fluctuations for the UK unit triggered by the Brexit twists and turns in parliament.
The UK is barrelling towards the March 29 Brexit deadline with no approved EU withdrawal agreement and a prime minister who appears to have lost control over her bickering cabinet.
On Thursday, MPs voted to ask EU leaders to simply push Brexit back in a bid to head off a hugely disruptive end to their partnership.
‘Still Some Common Sense’
May struck her agreement with the EU in November after nearly two years of tortuous negotiations.
But the deal has remained deadlocked in the British parliament, chiefly by disagreement over the so-called Irish “backstop” a measure to keep trade flowing and avoid barriers at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Lawmakers voted on Wednesday not to leave without an agreement but still lacked a clear roadmap on the way forward three years after Brexit was approved in a bitterly divisive referendum in June 2016.
MPs also rejected a call to hold a second Brexit referendum a blow to the hopes of a large number of Britons who still dream of keeping their European identity.
The political crisis has weighed heavily on the economy, dragging down growth and forcing businesses to delay investment decisions.
Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the Confederation of British Industry, Britain’s main business lobby, has called on parliament to “stop this circus”.
Following the votes against a no-deal Brexit and for a delay, the CBI tweeted there was “still some common sense in Westminster”.
“But without a radically new approach, business fears this is simply a stay of execution,” it said.
Paul Joseph Watson exposes the smears being pushed by the left.
Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor
- Prominent Democrats, including Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, are encouraging kids to ditch school to protest climate change.
- Climate strikes are inspired by 16-year-old Swedish girl Greta Thunberg who warned of civilizational collapse at the U.N. in 2018.
- Strikers are claiming we only have 11 years left to get climate change under control, based on media narrative and not science.
Democratic politicians are encouraging thousands of children to skip school to demand politicians do something about global warming, including passing the Green New Deal.
“[S]tudents are fighting like their world depends on it,” former Vice President Al Gore said in a tweet extolling Haven Coleman, a 12-year-old listed as the U.S. climate strike’s co-founder and co-director.
“I stand with all students striking here in Atlanta and across world today,” Gore tweeted Friday as thousands of students skipped school to protest climate change.
Led by the inspiring @GretaThunberg and @ClimateReality leader @havenruthie in the U.S, students are fighting like their world depends on it. I stand with all students striking here in Atlanta and across world today. #YouthClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture
— Al Gore (@algore) March 15, 2019
Student strikes were inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who began ditching school in August to sit in protest outside the Swedish parliament. Thunberg told the United Nations in December that “civilization is being sacrificed” by adults who were “stealing” their children’s futures by not immediately shedding fossil fuels.
Tens of thousands of students have since skipped school to demand politicians immediately address global warming. U.S. strikers are demanding Congress pass the Green New Deal resolution introduced by New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Backed by well-funded environmental groups, youth strikers are protesting “for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure,” according to the Youth Climate Strike website.
The kids say “inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change.” That deadline is based on the misleading media hype surrounding a U.N. report released in October. (RELATED: Just 12 Years Left? Let’s Break Down The Alarmist Talking Point Fueling Kids’ Climate Change Strikes)
Ocasio-Cortez, activists and politicians have claimed humanity has less than 12 years to cut emissions and avert catastrophic global warming — a message they only amplified as students took to the streets Friday.
California Rep. Ro Khanna said lawmakers should listen to the teenagers and children striking. Khanna, a supporter of the Green New Deal resolution, called on Congress to immediately address global warming.
“I am so energized to see young people across this country taking action on climate change,” Khanna tweeted Thursday night. “Our job as lawmakers is to listen to them.”
“If we don’t act, they will have to deal with the fallout from climate disaster,” the Democrat tweeted.
I am so energized to see young people across this country taking action on climate change.
Our job as lawmakers is to listen to them.
If we don’t act, they will have to deal with the fallout from climate disaster.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) March 15, 2019
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also extolled Coleman and the other leaders of the “You Climate Strike” movement in the U.S., which includes Isra Hirsi, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 16-year-old daughter.
Three amazing young women—Isra Hirsi, age 16; Haven Coleman, age 12; and Alexandria Villaseño, age 13—have organized youth climate strikes around the country tomorrow. Their demand: a livable future for their generation.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 14, 2019
Omar, a Democrat, will march with climate strikers in Washington, D.C., Friday. Omar is also a Green New Deal supporter.
I’m answering that demand Secretary, and will be standing with them at tomorrow’s march! I hope our country and congress will answer their demand as well. https://t.co/Qqtkrw6W2D
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 14, 2019
However, Democratic leadership and party moderates have tried to distance themselves from the Green New Deal, which calls for a massive expansion of government control over the economy.
Republicans, on the other hand, want the resolution debated publicly, confident it can be used against Democrats in the 2020 elections. Some Republicans have called the Green New Deal a grab bag “socialist” policy demands.
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Source: The Daily Caller