Prime Minister Boris Johnson sought to assuage concern in Northern Ireland that his Brexit deal will economically cut off the region from the rest of the UK, Bloomberg reported.
China: Separatists will ‘stink for 10,000 years’
will ‘stink for 10,000 years’
Separatists will “leave a stink for 10,000 years”, the Chinese government’s top diplomat said on Monday, in Beijing’s most strongly worded reaction yet to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s reelection on the back of a message of standing up to Beijing.
Tsai said upon claiming victory that Taiwan would not give in to what she claimed threats and intimidation from China and that only Taiwan’s people had the right to decide their own future, Reuters reported.
Speaking in Africa, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi said the “one China” principle that recognizes Taiwan as being part of China had long since become the common consensus of the international community.
“This consensus won’t alter a bit because of a local election on Taiwan, and will not be shaken because of the wrong words and actions of certain Western politicians,” Wang added, in an apparent reference to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In congratulating Tsai, Pompeo had praised her for seeking stability with China “in the face of unrelenting pressure.”
Wang, in comments carried by China’s Foreign Ministry, said “reunification across the Taiwan Strait is a historical inevitability.”
“Those who split the country will be doomed to leave a stink for 10,000 years,” said Wang, one of whose previous roles was head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, using an expression that means to go down in history as a byword for infamy.
China passed an anti-secession law in 2005 which authorizes the use of force against Taiwan if China judges it to have seceded. Taiwan says it is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.
Responding to Wang’s remarks, Taiwan’s government said the island had never been part of the People’s Republic of China and called on Beijing to respect the outcome of the election.
China has been particularly angry by increased US support for Taiwan. Washington has no formal ties with Taipei, but is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
British regional airline Flybe in financing talks to survive
British regional airline Flybe
in financing talks to survive
Flybe, the regional British airline, is fighting for survival and the British government is being called upon to help prevent a second airline failure in less than six months, according to media reports.
Flybe, whose flights were operating as usual on Monday, said it did not comment on rumor and speculation, while the government’s Department for Transport said it did not comment on the financial affairs of private companies.
Sky News reported that Flybe bosses held rescue talks with the government on Sunday as its fragile finances were hit by a higher fuel price during the winter months when demand is lower as fewer people fly.
Accountancy firm EY is on standby to handle the possible administration of Flybe, added Sky. EY did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Should Flybe collapse, it would be the second high-profile failure in Britain’s travel industry in less than six months after Thomas Cook went into liquidation last September, stranding thousands of passengers.
Flybe has 68 aircraft and about 2,000 staff and was already struggling when it was bought by Connect Airways, a consortium created by Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group (STOB.L) and investment adviser Cyrus Capital for $2.8m last year.
The new owners’ turnaround plan involved providing a 20 million pound ($25.97 million) bridging loan facility and up to 80 million pounds of funding, but reports said more investment was needed, pushing Flybe to the brink.
Flybe’s fleet of small aircraft includes the Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 which seats 77 passengers and connects regional airports such as Exeter, where it is based, Birmingham and Aberdeen to other British and European cities, as well as operating flights from Europe’s busiest airport Heathrow.
While demand for flights from airports such as Heathrow was healthy, Flybe struggled to compete against road and rail options on some regional flights, said analysts.
Ben Bradshaw, lawmaker for the opposition Labour party who represents Exeter, said Flybe was important for British connectivity.
“I would expect the government to work closely with its management to secure the future of such a strategically important business,” he was quoted by local news provider DevonLive as saying.
Flybe said in its statement, “Flybe continues to provide great service and connectivity for our customers while ensuring they can continue to travel as planned. We don’t comment on rumor or speculation.”
Trump hints Senate should ditch impeachment altogether
President Donald Trump said the US Senate should simply dismiss the impeachment case against him, an extraordinary suggestion as the House prepares to transmit the charges to the chamber for the historic trial.
The Republican president is giving mixed messages ahead of the US House’s landmark vote that will launch the Senate proceedings in a matter of days, only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. Trump faces charges that he abused power by pushing Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and then obstructed Congress, AP reported.
First Trump was suggesting his own ideas for trial witnesses, then he said almost the opposite Sunday by tweeting that the trial should not happen at all.
“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial” over charges he calls a hoax, Trump tweeted, “rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!”
The idea of dismissing the charges against Trump is as unusual as it is unlikely. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell signed on to an outlier proposal circulating last week among conservative senators, but he does not have enough support in the Republican-held chamber to actually do it. It would require a rare rules change similar to the approach McConnell used for Supreme Court confirmations.
‘Republicans will pay price’
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Sunday that senators will “pay a price” if they block new witness testimony with a trial that Americans perceive as a “cover-up” for Trump’s actions.
“It’s about a fair trial,” Pelosi told ABC’s “This Week.” “The senators who are thinking now about voting for witnesses or not, they will have to be accountable.”
She said, “Now the ball is in their court to either do that or pay a price.”
Voters are divided over impeachment largely along the nation’s deeply partisan lines and the trial is becoming a high-stakes undertaking at the start of a presidential election year.
A House vote to transmit the articles to the Senate will bring to a close a standoff between Pelosi and McConnell over the rules for the trial. The House voted to impeach Trump last month.
Yet ending one showdown merely starts another across the Capitol as the parties try to set the terms of debate over high crimes and misdemeanors.
Democrats want new testimony, particularly from former White House national security adviser John Bolton, who has indicated he will defy Trump’s orders and appear if subpoenaed.
Trump does not want his brash former aide to testify. Republican allies led by McConnell, R-Ky., are ready to deliver swift acquittal without new testimony.
Trump first said Sunday it is Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who should both testify, which would be unlikely.
Trump sent several tweets on Sunday criticizing Pelosi and the Democratic-led impeachment effort.
“This phony Impeachment Hoax should not even be allowed to proceed. Did NOTHING wrong. Just a partisan vote. Zero Republicans. Never happened before!” Trump said on Twitter, Reuters reported.
The president said he should not have to carry the “stigma” of impeachment because he’s done nothing wrong. Pelosi said the House vote last month means Trump will be “impeached forever” and “for life.”
McConnell is reluctant to enter a divisive Senate debate over witnesses that could split his party and prolong a trial that is already expected to consume weeks of floor time.
Severe weather in Afghanistan, Pakistan leaves 48 dead
Severe weather in Afghanistan,
Pakistan leaves 48 dead
Severe winter weather has struck parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, with heavy snowfall, rains, and flash floods that left at least 48 people dead, officials said Monday as authorities struggled to clear and reopen highways and evacuate people to safer places.
In Pakistan, where 30 people were reported killed, much of the damage struck southwestern Balochistan Province. Imran Zarkon, chief of provincial disaster management, said 14 died there in the past 24 hours, mainly when roofs collapsed amid heavy snowfall, AP reported.
Heavy snowfall had forced closures of many highways and some parts in the province were under six inches of snow. Eleven people were killed in eastern Punjab Province, battered by heavy rains, and five others died in the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir, officials with the state-run emergency service said. The divided Himalayan region has witnessed heavy snow fall in recent days and power cuts have been reported. Emergency services said they were struggling to provide food and other items to snow-hit areas.
In Afghanistan, at least 18 people, including women and children, died on account of the severe weather, according to provincial officials. Hasibullah Shaikhani, a press officer with the state ministry for disaster management, said most of the highways in Afghanistan were closed due to heavy snowfall and fears of avalanches.
Of the Afghan casualties, eight people were killed in southern Kandahar Province, said Bahir Ahamdi, spokesman for the provincial governor. In western Herat Province, seven people died, including five members of the same family, said Abdul Ahad Walizada, spokesman for the provincial police chief. Three people were killed in southern Helmand Province, said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Residents of the Afghan capital, Kabul, where temperatures dropped to -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit), abandoned driving and struggled to get to work on snow-covered roads.
Pakistani judges rule special court in Musharraf case was unconstitutional
Pakistani judges rule special court
in Musharraf case was unconstitutional
A Pakistani high court on Monday revoked a guilty verdict and death sentence handed down to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for treason, declaring that the formation of the court that sentenced him was unconstitutional, a government law officer said.
Musharraf was sentenced to death in absentia by a special court in December on charges stemming from his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007. The head of a three-judge panel ruled that his corpse should hang for three days if the general died before his execution, Reuters reported.
Musharraf had challenged the formation of the court for the sole purpose of trying him for treason.
Lahore High Court “has declared everything from the initiation of the complaint and its conclusion unconstitutional”, Additional Attorney General of Pakistan Ishtiaq A. Khan, who represented the government in the case, told Reuters.
Musharraf’s lawyer also said the sentence had been revoked. “Lahore High Court has nullified the decision about Pervez Musharraf,” Azhar Siddique said.
Musharraf, 76, who seized power in a 1999 coup and ruled as president until 2008, is currently receiving medical treatment in Dubai. He is the first former army chief to have been charged with treason in Pakistan and has said the powerful military helped him get out of the country.
The final years of his rule were marked by struggles with the judiciary over his wish to remain head of the army while president. He quit in 2008, after a political party that backed him fared poorly in national elections.
Musharraf has lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai since he left Pakistan in 2016.
Pakistan has witnessed three coups and has been ruled by the military for close to half its 72-year existence.
Musharraf’s death sentence angered the military that pit it against the judiciary, which traditionally has backed the army in the past.
The sentencing court’s bizarre announcement about hanging Musharraf’s corpse came after the government said it had found “gaps and weaknesses” in the original sentence.