Thursday, February 9, 2017

British PM clears bill empowering for EU exit

vlearsThe parliamentary bill empowering the British government to begin the formal process of leaving the European Union completed its passage Wednesday night in the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government succeeded in crossing the final crucial hurdle with 494 votes to 122 — a majority of 372.
May sat in the chamber alongside her Brexit ministers as the historic result was announced by deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle.It now goes to the unelected House of Lords for further scrutiny before being sent to Queen Elizabeth for royal assent.
Scottish Nationalist MP Alex Salmond criticized the process and accused the government of railroading the legislation through parliament in a “disgraceful fashion.
He said this was the first time a bill of great constitutional importance had been passed in this day since the Defense of the Realm Bill prior to World War One in 1914.
Win on  Wednesday night in the Commons, where a string of amendments were defeated, it almost guarantees that May will be on course to tell Brussels within weeks to start the EU exit process.
May’s government only introduced the briefly worded bill into parliament last week, determined to see it fast-tracked through the parliamentary process.
Attempts by the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) to ensure the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh could have a vote on Brexit, as well as a call by the minority Liberal Democrats for a second national referendum, each failed, as did a string of proposed amendments by the main opposition Labor party.In the final vote, the result indicated that some Labor MPs had defied an instruction from their leader Jeremy Corbyn to vote in favor of the Article 50 bill.A number of his shadow cabinet members have already resigned, and more may quit as a result of the vote.
Before the result was even announced it was reported that Labor’s shadow business secretary Clive Lewis resigned from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, saying he could not vote in favor of the Brexit bill.
Under parliamentary convention in Britain a minister or shadow minister disobeying the leadership is expected to resign or be fired. The vote will add to the ongoing civil war within the Labor Party that erupted after Corbyn’s election as leader.
During a day of intensive debates, MPs failed by 332 votes to 290 to ensure EU nationals lawfully resident in Britain on the date of last June’s EU referendum would have the right to stay in Britain.
Another vote called for Britain to remain as a member of Euratom, the European Atomic Agency Community. This was also lost with a vote of 287 in support and 336 against, another victory f
Brexit Minister David Jones had confirmed during the debate that Britain leaving the EU also meant leaving Euratom.
But he added that the government wants to maintain successful cooperation with the EU and says this will be a matter for negotiation with Brussels.
On the residence rights of EU nationals in Britain, Jones said the government recognizes issue is extremely important and will addressed as a matter of priority.
As MPs were voting, a group of MPs burst into song in the chamber of Commons where even applause if frowned upon. The choir was silenced by an order from Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle. Xenhua

Iran ,Saudi Arabia, talks on oil market

Iran expressed its readiness to hold talks with Saudi Arabia to stabilize the oil market, Press TV quoted Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zanganeh as saying on Wednesday.
Zanganeh hailed major oil producers’ adherence to their oil quota commitments, subject to last year’s November agreement, and said that the market’s reaction to OPEC and non-OPEC members’ production cuts are “positive.”
“OPEC members’ commitment to cutting production has been very good and the trend continues. Non-OPEC members have also started decreasing output and we hope they will quickly reach the figures they committed to,” he was quoted as saying.
In their meeting last November, OPEC members unanimously agreed on the oil price of 60 U.S. dollars per barrel, hence they agreed to cut output by 1.2 million bpd down to 32.5 million bpd for the first six months of 2017.
He added that non-OPEC members including Russia, Oman and Mexico also agreed to cut 558,000 bpd off their production.
“If the current trend continues, we predict that the oil market’s supply and demand situation will balance out and crude oil inventories will drop,” he pointed out.
“However, the market still needs to further cut production for the year’s second six months. This issue requires further negotiations,” Zanganeh added.
To stabilize the oil market, Iran and Saudi Arabia “will continue negotiations within the framework of their common and national interests,” he stressed.

Ageing Europe needs immigration

With its ageing population, Europe needs immigration and can only resolve the migrant crisis through cooperation and not by “closing its doors,” EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said Wednesday. “I believe Europeans should understand that we need immigration for our economies,” as the continent’s population ages, Mogherini said, opening a Europe-Africa meeting on migration in the Maltese capital. Some 8,500 people making desperate bids to reach Europe have been rescued at sea since the start of the year, while at least 227 people are either missing or feared dead.

German agency on pending of 435,000 asylum cases

Germany’s migration agency hopes to clear a backlog of 435,000 asylum cases within months, the organization’s new director said in an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper on Wednesday. Jutta Cordt, who took over as head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) this month, told the newspaper her top priorities were to accelerate the processing of asylum applications, deepen integration, and step up deportations of those whose applications were denied. “We carried over 435,000 cases into the new year and we want to have dealt with those this spring,” the paper quoted Cordt as saying. “If there is virtually no prospect for a migrant to stay here, it makes sense to push for an early repatriation and to encourage that financially,” Cordt said.

ISIS planned attack on Turkish parliament

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists planned to carry out an attack on the Turkish parliament, Turkey’s Dogan news agency reports, citing an indictment prepared by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. One of the accused, identified as Selim S., conducted reconnaissance of the areas near the parliament building, as well as near the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters and several mosques in Istanbul, the indictment says. It adds that 35 suspects are facing charges in relation to the case. According to the prosecutors, 28 of the 35 suspects have already been arrested. Six of them face aggravated life sentences while the others could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. RT news

Putin to visit China in May

President Vladimir Putin is expected to be in China on a working visit in May, Russian Ambassador to Beijing Andrey Denisov was quoted as saying on Thursday. Putin plans to take part in the Silk Road Summit that is due to take place in Beijing on May 14-15. China’s President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow in midyear, TASS reported. Top level contacts between the two countries have intensified in recent years. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, as well as the foreign and defense ministers are also expected to meet this year. RT news

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