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EU agrees to extend Brexit until Jan 31

EU agrees to extend Brexit until Jan 31

  • The European Union has agreed to extend Brexit until 31st January next year. European Council president, Donald Tusk made the announcement through a tweet today. He said the bloc would allow for a so-called flextension, meaning the UK could leave before the deadline if a deal was approved by Parliament.

    The UK was due to leave the EU on Thursday, but Mr Johnson was required to request an extension from the bloc after Parliament failed to agree on a Brexit deal. He had repeatedly said the UK would leave on 31 October deadline do or die, but the law known as the Benn Act also requires him to accept the offer.

    Donald Tusk’s announcement came after a very short meeting of EU diplomats in Brussels to sign off on the Brexit new delay. EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier while leaving the envoys said that it was a very short, efficient and constructive meeting. He said he is happy the decision has been taken.

    The draft text of the agreement for the 27 EU member States also includes a commitment that the Withdrawal Agreement on the UK’s exit from the EU cannot be renegotiated in future.

Great day for America, say US leaders after Baghdadi’s death

Great day for America, say US leaders after Baghdadi’s death

Congratulating American troops for their daring air raid in northwest Syria that led to the death of ISIS leader and the world’s most wanted terrorist Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi, top US leaders on Sunday described it as a great day for America and hailed President Donald Trump for the secret mission.

“It is truly a great day in America! Congratulations to President Trump, our intel community, and our US Special Forces for eliminating the most wanted terrorist in the world,” said Nikki Haley, Indian-American leader and former US Ambassador to the UN. “This is a great day for United States, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and people all across the world who have suffered far too long from the cruelty of terrorism,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The ISIS leader was taken down by the US Special Forces during an air raid in his hideout in northwest Syria on Saturday night.

“While there is still work left to do to ensure ISIS’s enduring defeat, Baghdadi’s death follows the path of scores of other ISIS leaders that have been removed from the battlefield and can no longer commit heinous atrocities or spread their vile ideology of hatred to poison and recruit vulnerable minds. His evil acts of beheadings, enslavement of women, rape, torture, and pure brutality follows him to his grave,” Pompeo said.

Former US Vice President and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden congratulated special forces, intelligence community, and all the brave military professionals on delivering justice to the terrorist al-Baghdadi.  “It is thanks to their courage and relentless determination to carry out their mission that ISIS has suffered a vital loss,” he said.

As the key figure behind the creation of ISIS, Baghdadi’s corrosive message inspired attacks that claimed thousands of innocent lives around the world, including in the United States, he said.  He proclaimed not the teachings of Islam, but a warped ideology of hate and brutality, built on mass slaughters, public executions, the enslavement of ethnic and religious minorities, and evils that have no place in any society. The world is better and safer without him in it, Biden said.

“We cannot afford to get distracted or take our eye off the target. ISIS remains a threat to the American people and our allies, and we must keep up the pressure to prevent ISIS from ever regrouping or again threatening the United States,” Biden said.
“That task is particularly important as the chaos of the past few weeks in northern Syria has jeopardised years of hard work and sacrifice by American and Kurdish troops to evict ISIS from its strongholds in Syria,” he added.

“Americans salute the heroism, dedication and skill of our military and our intelligence professionals and acknowledge the work of our partners in the region. We are relieved that no US personnel died in this daring raid,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Pelosi demanded that the House be briefed on the raid, which the Russians, but not top Congressional leadership, were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region.

“The death of al-Baghdadi is significant, but the death of this ISIS leader does not mean the death of ISIS.  Scores of ISIS fighters remain under uncertain conditions in Syrian prisons, and countless others in the region and around the world remain intent on spreading their influence and committing acts of terror,” Pelosi said. “This morning’s announcement should confirm for the world what many already knew — that terrorists cannot outlast or outmatch the commitment of the US counter-terrorism apparatus. We will not stop or waver in destroying terrorist leaders wherever they hide,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said.

“I applaud yesterday’s heroic actions by our US special operations forces and intelligence services to root out and eliminate the top leader of the oppressive Islamic State terrorist group,” said Senator Johnny Isakson.  Senator Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the brave special operations forces successfully executed a dangerous mission to get ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.

“I want to thank President Trump for making the call to bring down one of the most dangerous terrorists who is responsible for the death of hundreds, including Americans,” he said. “Killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an important achievement in the fight against ISIS. I am grateful to our men and women in uniform, our intelligence professionals, and our allies who contributed to this success. We have robbed ISIS of their founder and leader. That is significant, but the threat of ISIS did not die with him,” said Congressman Mac Thornberry, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee.

The ISIS leader’s death marks a significant milestone in US’ ongoing campaign to destroy ISIS and their threat to America, said Congressman Michael McCaul, lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I applaud the brave men and women of the United States military and intelligence community who collaborated on this successful operation and thank our foreign partners for their support,” he said.

“Baghdadi led one of the most brutal terror organizations in the world, which celebrated public executions, rape, torture and murder. His death should serve as a lesson to any would-be terror leaders around the world that seek to target the United States and our citizens,” said Congressman Mike Rogers, ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Rohingya refugees agree to relocate to newly-built camp in Bangladesh

Rohingya refugees agree to relocate to newly-built camp in Bangladesh

Approximately 6,000-7,000 Rohingya refugees have agreed to be relocated to the newly built camp on the Bhashan Char Island.

Refugee Commissioner of Bangladesh Mahbub Alam Talukder said on Sunday that officials will be posted to Bhashan Char island in the next few days to oversee the process.

He said the government has built a three metre high embankment along its perimeter to keep out tidal surges during cyclones, and a warehouse to store months-worth of rations. Mahbub Alam said that Rohingya leaders would be taken to Bhashan Char to view the facilities and living conditions.

The Bhashan Char is an uninhabited island around 30 kilometres east of Hatiya island in southeast Bangladesh. Hatiya has a population of 6,00,000.

Bhashan Char island was formed about two decades ago on the mouth of river Meghna.

Bangladesh has built the relocation camp at Bhashan Char with a capacity to accommodate about 1lakh people in 1440 buildings constructed there at an estimated cost of Tk 2,300 crore.

Government has been keen to relocate the Rohingya refugees to the Bhashan char island. Prime Minister of Bangladesh in her visit to UN last month had said that Bangladesh government had built houses, cyclone shelters and food warehouses at  Bhashan Char island to shift Rohingyas there. She said some organizations working in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps don’t want these people to go back and they are trying to prevent them.

While the government planned to relocate Rohingyas, environmentalists say that the Bhashan Char falls in an ecologically fragile area prone to floods, erosion and cyclone.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo sworn in for final term

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo sworn in for final term

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has been sworn into office for his second and final five-year term yesterday amid a string of fresh challenges around security, corruption and economic slowdown.

Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, took oath at a ceremony in the capital, Jakarta, attended by politicians and foreign dignitaries that was broadcast live on national television yesterday.

Re-elected in polls that took place in 17th April, the 58-year-old was sworn into office along with 76-year-old vice president Maruf Amin, who replaces Widodo’s vice president in his first term, Jusuf Kalla.

Widodo clinched victory with 55.5 percent of the vote in the April presidential election.

More than 30,000 security personnel were deployed in the capital. Police locked down some parts of the city and closed off streets near the parliament building and the presidential palace as they heightened the security.
The president said he would push two bills to replace laws that have hampered job creation, as well as warning he could sack underperforming civil servants.

Brexit: Crucial 2-day European Union Summit begins today

Brexit: Crucial 2-day European Union Summit begins today

U.K. & EU settle on BREXIT draft text for all but one significant issue concerning Northern Ireland; Draft text comes just in time ahead of 2-day European Council summit in Brussels beginning on Thursday.

The U.K. and the European Union have settled on draft text for all but one significant issue.

That last hurdle—whether Northern Ireland should be part of the EU’s tax regime for goods and services—prevented U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson from giving final approval to the text.

The draft text however comes just in time to be submitted to a key two-day European summit beginning today in Brussels.

Meanwhile, British Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay said that the government would comply with assurances given to a Scottish court that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would write a letter to the EU requesting a Brexit delay if a divorce deal is not reached by October 19.

The British parliament passed a law – the so-called Benn Act – last month which would require Johnson to request a three-month delay if parliament has not approved an exit agreement by the end of Saturday. Johnson has said both that he will obey the law and that he will not request a delay.

Bus crash near Saudi holy city of Mecca kills 35

Bus crash near Saudi holy city of Mecca kills 35

35 people killed in a bus crash near Mecca in Saudi Arabia; Pilgrims from Asian and Arab countries inside the bus; Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses grief over the accident.

35 foreigners were killed and four others injured when a bus crashed with another heavy vehicle in the Muslim holy city of Medina. The accident involved a collision between a private chartered bus with a heavy vehicle loader in the western Saudi Arabian city. Those involved were Arab and Asian pilgrims, who carried pictures of the bus engulfed in flames and with its windows blown out. The injured have been transferred to Al-Hamna Hospital and authorities have launched an investigation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish over Mecca bus crash. He extended condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. PM also prayed for a quick recovery of the injured.