Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Why a no deal Brexit is becoming more likely as the UK heads to Brussels for crunch talks.

Britain's Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

LONDON — Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab heads to Brussels, Belgium today in a fresh bid to sell the UK's Brexit plan to the European Union amid increasing concern over the prospect of no deal. 

Raab will meet with Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator on Tuesday and Wednesday, before delivering a speech on the state of Brexit talks in London on Thursday. 

Raab and the UK negotiating team have a big task on their hands.

Full story at Business Insider.
By Thomas Colson and Adam Payne.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Investigators examine over $20 million in loans by former Trump lawyer Cohen: New York Times.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors are focused on over $20 million in loans obtained by U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen from taxi businesses owned by him and his family, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The loans are part of an investigation into whether Cohen committed bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He has not been charged with any crime.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said the loans were from Sterling National Bank and Melrose Credit Union, two New York institutions that do business with the taxi industry.

Full story at Yahoo News.

Friday, 17 August 2018

The secret Soviet organization that explains what Russia is doing today.

Yuri Andropov, Felix E. Dzerzhinsky and Vladimir Putin.
(Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty)

In November 1921, Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of the Soviet Union’s secret police known as the Cheka, had a plan. Four years earlier, the Bolsheviks had expelled the Romanov dynasty and established the world’s first Communist government. Western European intelligence agencies, fearful of communism, sought to infiltrate the Soviet Union, while the powerful White Russians had fled to European capitals like Paris and Berlin, from where they hoped to plot the czar’s return.

Dzerzhinsky’s plan involved a prisoner, Alexander Yakushev,  then sitting in the infamous Lubyanka prison in central Moscow. Although Yakushev had worked for the Soviet government, the Cheka had discovered his secret allegiance to the czar, arrested him and threw him into the Lubyanka, where in future years alleged enemies of the people would be executed on the flimsiest pretenses.

Dzerzhinsky wanted an indirect means of neutralizing the enemies of the Soviet Union, of fooling and confusing them so thoroughly that they would lose all sense of moral and political direction.

By Alexander Nazaryan.
Full story at Yahoo News.

2019 Election Budget: Senate invites INEC Chairman again for clarifications.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.

The Chairman of the Senate committee on INEC, Sen. Suleiman Nazif, who made this known to newsmen after the joint committee meeting, said Yakubu was expected to be at the meeting by 11:00 a.m.

The National Assembly Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again invited the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to give further clarifications on the 2019 General Elections Budget.

The Chairman of the Senate committee on INEC, Sen. Suleiman Nazif, who made this known to newsmen after the joint committee meeting, said Yakubu was expected to be at the meeting by 11:00 a.m.

He said the joint committee, having met to harmonise their reports, following Yakubu’s visit to both chambers on Wednesday, came to a conclusion that more clarifications needed to be made on the budget.

Full story at Pulse NG.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

New report reveals how company passed R600m to Gupta fronts.

The Gupta family and its various sub companies are now well known for their role in state capture at SA's state-owned enterprises.

While the Hawks may be finalising an extradition deal with the UAE to bring the Guptas before South African courts, South Africans have just got another reminder of why. With Transnet and other state-owned enterprises in a disastrous state, a new report shows how the Gupta fronts managed to secure R600m.

Gupta fronts: Rolling in the dough.

Investigative journalism group amaBhungane have revealed their latest investigation looking into the smoky world of Gupta number one henchmen Salim Essa and the front companies that managed to extract funds out of state entities.

In the new report, records show that Regiments Capital passed “more than half’ of its consulting fees from Transnet, SAA and Denel contracts to Essa and Gupta fronts.

By Nic Anderson.
Full story at The South African.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Christine Hallquist Scores Historic Win In Vermont's Democratic Gubernatorial Primary.

Christine Hallquist on Tuesday became
the country's first openly transgender

Christine Hallquist on Tuesday became the country’s first openly transgender candidate to win a major party’s nomination in a governor’s race.

Vermont Democrats made history by selecting Hallquist as their gubernatorial nominee in the party’s primary. She defeated three other candidates.

In November’s election, the former CEO faces off against Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who polls show has lost popularity among voters in recent months.

Hallquist joins a number of transgender men and women who have run for office recently, including the country’s first openly transgender state legislator, Virginia’s Danica Roem, who won her office last November.

By Doha Madani.
Full story at Yahoo News.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Brexit, the separation of powers and the role of the supreme court.

The library of the Supreme Court.
Photo:Ana Alfaro/ Supreme Court via a CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence

The Supreme Court’s role has changed since it was created. Byron Karemba (University of Leeds) looks at how Brexit is altering it further and makes the case for a new conception of the judicial function based on the separation of powers.

When the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC) was created, there was great emphasis by the architects of the Court that it would largely assume the same constitutional status and functions as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords. For example, in the course of shepherdingthe Constitutional Reform Act through Parliament, Lord Falconer insisted that:

As to whether we envisage the Supreme Court having the power to give advisory opinions, no, we do not. Our legal system has never operated on the basis that hypothetical questions are put to courts. We should not see the courts as having an advisory function; they are bodies which resolve disputes between people […] Nor do I believe it would be a particularly good idea for the Government to be able to refer issues to the courts for advisory opinions.

Full story at LSE

Monday, 13 August 2018

Meager 'Unite the Right 2' rally exposes limits of white supremacist movement.

Protestors march against the far-right’s Unite the Right rally August 12, 2018 in Washington, DC on the one-year anniversary of deadly violence at a similar protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — A handful of members of right wing, white supremacist and neo Nazi groups holding a Sunday rally near the White House were vastly outnumbered by massive crowds of counter protesters.

Dubbed “Unite the Right 2,” the white supremacist rally was organized by Jason Kessler, a self-described “white civil rights” activist who held a similar event in Charlottesville, Va., on this date last year. While Kessler’s prior rally sparked massive clashes that fueled attention towards emboldened right wing groups, his second event failed to draw a crowd of supporters.

A young woman named Heather Heyer died during the Charlottesville rally when a neo Nazi sympathizer drove his car into a crowd of protesters. Numerous others were injured and a pair of police officers also died during a helicopter crash while they were patrolling the event. Due to the past violence, Washington braced for a similar situation on Sunday with numerous local businesses closing and officials developing a plan for the rally participants to be escorted to the event’s location in Lafayette Park with police protection.

By Hunter Walker.
Full story at Yahoo News.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Master Plan: Read how the plot to impeach Saraki failed.

Operatives of the Department of
State Services (DSS) (Medium/The Senate President)

The APC thought it was going to successfully impeach Saraki this week, until the DSS showed up to mess up the plan.

At about midnight of Monday, August 6, 2018, 30 senators elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) converged on a property in upscale Abuja with two objectives in mind—begin gathering signatures for the impeachment of Senate President Bukola Saraki and put finishing touches to the plot to impeach Saraki.

On paper, it looked an easy enough plan. As far as they were concerned, Saraki had to leave the position of senate president. And the sooner, the better. The Kwara born politician had not only defected from their party, he had gone on to call the APC all sorts of names.

A top ranking source in the presidency told Pulse that the now sacked Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Lawal Daura, was well aware of this plot and had been mandated to play his part.

By Jude Egbas.
Full story at Pulse NG.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Ohio special election, a referendum on Trump, is too close to call.

Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor
(Photos: Balderson campaign, Tim Reid/Reuters)

A special election for an open U.S. House seat in Ohio that was viewed as a referendum on President Trump remains too close to call. 

With 100 percent of early and Election Day ballots counted, Republican Tony Balderson led Democrat Danny O’Connor by 1,766 votes, or 0.9 percent, but provisional ballots had yet to be counted. Green Party candidate Joe Manchik received 1,120 votes. If the race is within 0.5 percent, Ohio requires an automatic recount of the votes.

Though news organizations held off from making a call in the race, Trump wasted little time in declaring Balderson the winner and took his share of the credit.

By Laina Yost.
Full story at Yahoo News.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

BREXIT: Today's the day the food would run out on our own, says NFU.

Today (August 7) would mark the day in the calendar where the British larder would run bare if we fed the nation only British food from January 1, according to NFU Cymru.

Defra figures for 2017 show that Britain produced 60 per cent of its own food. This rate is in long-term decline and NFU Cymru president, John Davies, is urging Welsh Government to put food at the heart of policy decisions.

John Davies said: “The decline in our food self-sufficiency is of real concern. A nation must have the ability to feed itself and these figures show that Britain is falling short.

“With Brexit only eight months away and the recent launch of the Welsh Government ‘Brexit and Our Land’ consultation, we are now in a time of great uncertainty but also a time of real opportunity. NFU Cymru is ambitious for the future of our food and drinks industry and Welsh Government now has the chance to put food production and food security front and centre of the political agenda and Welsh and British farmers are up for the challenge of feeding an ever growing population.

By John Davies.
Full story at Wales Farmer.