Displaying items by tag: Politics
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is widely expected to become the next leader of the DUP in the extraordinary political drama which has consumed the party in recent months. This follows the resignation of Edwin Poots; his main challenge will be to restore stability following one of the most turbulent periods in the DUP’s history. He originally put his name forward to become leader after Arlene Foster was ousted following internal party unrest, but was defeated by just one vote in the DUP’s first ever leadership election last month. He will have to pick up the pieces and deal with many of the same challenges which faced his predecessor. He may be expected to take a harder line over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which unionists oppose.
It is estimated there are over 18,000 Grey Wolves in Germany, five times more than the number of members of Germany’s neo-Nazi party. The Grey Wolves movement is a Turkish version of Aryanism opposed to anyone who is not Turkish or Sunni Islamic. It is anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-American, anti-Armenian, anti-Kurdish and anti-Greek. Its objective is to establish a new world order based on Islam and led by Turkey. Members are opposed to the assimilation or integration of Turkish immigrants into Western society, and its supporters are responsible for a large number of murdered political opponents and members of minorities in Turkey and abroad. Germany’s Christian Democratic Union is working with this group, although it preaches that right-wing extremism is the greatest danger in Germany. Associations linked to Grey Wolves strive for a moderate appearance in their external presentation and tend to cultivate their right-wing extremist ideology internally.
Leaders arrived at the summit with a global pandemic crisis raging around them, but the hard truth is that they left Cornwall having failed to take the real action needed to end the pandemic. G7 leaders said their commitments are just the beginning- a foundation on which they can build but there was little detail on how. UNICEF said, ‘This G7 commitment is the beginning of the action required to end this pandemic. However, the urgent need immediately to share more vaccines with the world remains.’ Pray for the richest countries, with the power to do something, to deliver vaccinations globally and quickly. These nations pledged to spend $100bn a year to help poor nations deal with cutting emissions and global warming, but only two nations came up with firm promises to stump up the cash. Pray for every nation which made the pledges on climate change to honour them.
US president Joe Biden and Russian president Putin will meet in Geneva on 16 June. They first met in 2011, when vice-president Biden told Putin, ‘I don’t think you have a soul.’ They clashed again in 2014, when Biden was tasked with bolstering Ukraine in the wake of its protests and pressuring Russia to scale back military interference in eastern Ukraine. Putin then pushed back against Biden and the strain of US policy he represented. In 2016 Putin had his intelligence services interfere with the US presidential election, hoping Donald Trump, once elected, might reverse Obama’s administration stance on Russia. In the ensuing years, Putin’s minions likely passed information or misinformation to Biden’s son Hunter, which Trump’s supporters eagerly received and did their best to deploy in the 2020 campaign. With so much jagged history between them, the meeting will be awkward at a personal level.
Peru's presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori reacted at a press conference in Lima, the day after an election run-off. The right-wing candidate, who is running for president for the third time, alleges there have been ‘signs of fraud’ in the run-off election. With 97.3% of the votes counted her left-wing rival, Pedro Castillo, pulled past her in the vote count with a lead of less than 0.5% points. In a news conference, Ms Fujimori alleged that there had been a strategy by Peru Libre, Mr Castillo’s party, to distort and delay the results which reflect the popular will. Ms Fujimori is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year-jail sentence for corruption and human rights abuses. She said if elected she will pardon her father, a deeply divisive figure - praised for his fight against Shining Path guerrillas but denounced for abuses including forced sterilisations of indigenous women.
The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo will meet imminently to restart the EU-brokered dialogue that would normalise relations and put both nations on a path to European Union membership. The date for a meeting will be announced shortly by the EU's foreign policy chief. The dialogue is the only path to membership of the European Union for both nations. Talks began a decade ago but have stalled in recent years. A change of government and a new prime minister with a strong political mandate in Pristina has increased the chances of successful talks between the two neighbours. In February Albin Kurti was elected in a landslide victory and has repeatedly said he wanted a full apology from Serbia for its actions during the 1998-99 conflict, which led to the displacement of a million Kosovars and at least 20,000 deaths. The politicians may make many public statements, but what really matters is what is said in discussions.
An open letter from ‘Don’t Screen Us Out’ has been sent to Arlene Foster, Edwin Poots, and other leading politicians. It was written on behalf of people with Down’s syndrome and their families, who are asking for their parties to support a bill which has been introduced to the NI Assembly. The bill seeks to amend the current abortion regulations, to no longer allow unborn babies with a ‘serious foetal impairment’ to be aborted to term. This bill would not amend the law in cases of ‘fatal foetal abnormality’. Currently NI abortion is legal up to birth if the foetus has Down’s syndrome, cleft palate, cleft lip, or club foot. This new bill proposes that non-fatal disabilities should not be grounds for abortion, and the current law is discriminatory against those with such disabilities. 90% of babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome are aborted.
On 26 May Dominic Cummings made ‘unsubstantiated allegations’ against health secretary Matt Hancock, describing him as ‘completely incapable of doing the job’. The next day Mr Hancock clarified the Government's handling of the pandemic and accused him of lying. He said he was ‘straight with people in public and private throughout’, and the handling of the pandemic has been ‘unprecedented’. When asked if the PM still has confidence in Mr Hancock, No 10 said. ‘Yes, the health secretary is working closely with the prime minister and has been fully focused on protecting the health and care system and saving lives’. See Conservative Christian MP Gary Streeter said, ‘Last summer when Dominic Cummings was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons for breaking the lockdown rules, constituents were telling me how unfit he was to be so close to the Prime Minister. Now he is giving evidence against the Government. I think, going back to my old lawyer days, he might be described as a witness lacking credibility.’
US president Joe Biden and Russia's president Vladimir Putin will hold their first summit on 16 June in Geneva, setting the stage for a new chapter in their fraught relationship. The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, seeking to restore predictability and stability to the US-Russia relationship. The Kremlin said that Putin and Biden would be discussing ‘issues of strategic stability,’ as well as ‘resolving regional conflicts’ and the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden, making his first international trip as president, will go to Geneva immediately after separate summits with his key Western allies in the G7, NATO, and the EU. To prepare the ground, US secretary of state Antony Blinken and veteran Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov met last week in Reykjavik. After their meeting, a Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that repairing ties ‘will not be easy’, but he saw ‘a positive signal’.
Brexit minister Lord Frost has said that if Brussels continues to insist on checks on goods arriving from UK’s mainland the Government could trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol (which gives power to suspend the protocol if its application creates economic, societal or environmental difficulties that persist, or divert trade). No 10 fears that unless it takes such action, Unionist violence could flare during July’s marching season in protest at a virtual barrier down the Irish Sea. Urging Brussels to 'stop the point-scoring and work with us', Lord Frost said the UK's 'European friends' do not appear to share our desire for 'free trade and friendly relations. From the unfortunate attempt to put a hard border on the island of Ireland for vaccine exports to threatening to cut off Jersey’s electricity or retaliating against our financial services, we haven't heard much enthusiasm to make things work.'