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Rishi Sunak Becomes Great Britons First Prime Minister of Colour

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Rishi Sunak Becomes Britons First Prime Minister of Colour

Rishi Sunak, the UK’s former finance minister, has become the country’s first prime minister of colour after winning the Conservative Party leadership race on Monday.

Penny Mordaunt, the only candidate standing after Boris Johnson stepped down, could not receive the requisite 100 nominations from Conservative colleagues.

Rishi Sunak was elected Conservative Party leader, and Mordaunt pledged her “all support” for Sunak.

Sunak’s triumph came after Boris Johnson declared late Sunday that he would stand down and not run for office again.

Sunak achieved a spectacular reversal in fortunes just weeks after losing the Prime Ministership to Liz Truss.

The Conservative leadership election, sparked by Liz Truss’ resignation on Thursday, needs candidates to garner the support of at least 100 Conservative MPs.

Only Sunak passed the test, according to senior backbencher Graham Brady.

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Rishi Sunak, a son of Indian and East African immigrants, had reached that threshold by Friday night, garnering around 200 nominations – more than half of the Conservative Party’s parliamentary membership.

After Boris Johnson dropped down, Mordaunt was the sole remaining standing candidate.

However, she could not gain the necessary support, ending the leadership election.

If she had run, the election would have been decided by an online vote of the party’s approximately 170,000 members. The findings will not be available until the end of the week.

Sunak’s win came on the first day of the five-day Diwali festival, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

Sunak marked the occasion as chancellor of the exchequer in November 2020 by lighting oil lamps on the front steps of 11 Downing Street, the chancellor’s official residence.

 

Liz Truss quit after only 44 days due to a poor market reaction to her tax-cutting mini-budget, forcing the Conservatives into their second leadership contest since the summer.

She succeeded Johnson in early September, following a government rebellion led by Sunak over a series of scandals, most notably the “Partygate” story involving Covid lockdown-violating parties.

Johnson’s bid to return to Downing Street sparked months of instability and disagreement within the ruling Conservatives.

Backbenchers were concerned that a wave of resignations under Johnson’s resurrected leadership would result in the general election sought by opposition parties. One isn’t expected for another two years.

Johnson cut short his Caribbean vacation on Saturday to return to the United Kingdom.

However, in a sign of his diminishing political standing, Johnson abruptly stepped down on Sunday, admitting that “you can’t govern successfully until you have a united party in parliament.”

“I believe I have much to offer, but I don’t believe this is simply not the right time,” he added, believing he had received the requisite 100 nominations.

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Rishi Sunak quickly praised Johnson, saying, “I sincerely hope Boris continues to contribute to the Conservative party at home and abroad.”

Mordaunt claims she is best prepared to take on the opposition Labour Party, which is polling well.

In a piece published in the right-wing Daily Telegraph, she again stressed her commitment to a “lower-tax, high-productivity economy.”

Rishi Sunak maintained a low profile, tweeting only that the country was in a “severe economic crisis.”

“I want to fix our economy,” he proclaimed, “bring our party together and deliver for our country.”

Labour has now declared a general election.

“Tory MPs are ready to hand over the keys to No 10 (Downing Street) to Rishi Sunak without saying a word about how he’d rule,” deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner tweeted.

According to Anand Menon, a politics professor at King’s College London, Sunak becoming Prime Minister was a watershed moment.

“Having a prime minister of Indian descent is a major deal,” he told BBC television just before the result was revealed.

Menon expressed his relief at how little was spoken about it. “In some respects, it appears that we have normalized this,” he observed.

Rishi Sunak Becomes Great Briton’s third Prime Minister in 2022

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

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WASHINGTON – With rare bipartisan support, the House advanced Friday on a $95 billion foreign aid plan for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and humanitarian aid, as a coalition of members helped it cross a procedural hurdle and reach final votes this weekend. Friday’s vote delivered an unusual outcome in the generally hyper-partisan House, with Democrats voting 316-94 in support of Republican Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan. The final House approval might come this weekend, when the package is delivered to the Senate.

It was a success for Speaker Mike Johnson’s strategy, which he put into action last week after agonizing over the legislation for two months. Nonetheless, Johnson has spent the past 24 hours making the rounds on conservative media, attempting to salvage support for wartime funding, particularly for Ukraine as it faces a critical moment in its battle with Russia, but also for his own job, as the restive right flank threatens to oust him over the effort.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

“There’s a lot of misinformation about what we’re doing here and why,” Johnson said to The Mark Levin Show’s conservative host.

“Ukrainians urgently require lethal aid right now. “We cannot allow Vladimir Putin to roll through another country and take it,” he stated of the Russian president’s invasion of Ukraine. “These are very serious matters with global implications.”

After months of delay, the House moved slowly but methodically this week after Johnson decided to move forward. President Joe Biden quickly endorsed the speaker’s plan, and Donald Trump, the Republican assumed presidential nominee who opposes most foreign aid to Ukraine, has not slowed the speaker’s progress.

“The world is watching what Congress does,” the White House stated. “Passing this legislation would send a powerful message about the strength of American leadership at a pivotal moment.”

In an extremely rare move, members of the House Rules Committee banded together late Thursday in a near-midnight vote, with four Democrats supporting a procedural step, to push the package past the Republican majority’s three hardline holdouts and send it to the House floor for debate, 9-3. It was a moment unlike any other in recent House history.

Johnson will need to rely on Democrats again on Friday to pass the next procedural vote and block Republican amendments that might kill the plan. One proposed by extreme Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene would cut Ukraine’s funding to zero.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

Greene has filed a “motion to vacate” the speaker from office, which has at least one Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky. It may initiate a bid to oust Johnson from the speaker’s office if she calls it up for a vote, similar to how Republicans removed Kevin McCarthy from the job last November.

With one of the most slender House majorities in modern history, Johnson can only afford to lose one or two Republican votes to pass any legislation. That dynamic has pushed him into the arms of Democrats as he seeks votes to enact the legislation.

Johnson cannot tailor the plan as the ultra-conservatives seek without risking losing Democratic support. It has prompted him to abandon severe security measures to control migrants at the US-Mexico border, among other goals.

At best, Johnson has been able to divide a Senate-passed version of the bill into different portions, as House Republicans prefer, and the final votes will be on various measures — for Ukraine, Israel, and Indo-Pacific partners.

The plan would also include a fourth clause, which incorporates several Republican demands that Democrats support or are ready to accept. Proposals include allowing the United States to seize frozen Russian central bank assets to rebuild Ukraine, imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia, China, and fentanyl trafficking criminal organizations, and potentially banning the video app TikTok if its Chinese owner does not sell its stake within a year.

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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back On Track As House Pushes Toward Weekend Votes

Passing each package, which is set to be voted on Saturday, would require Johnson to establish intricate bipartisan coalitions, with Democrats assuring Ukraine funding is authorized but some left-leaning progressives refusing to support military aid for Israel due to the destruction of Gaza.

The components would then be automatically stitched back together into a single package and delivered to the Senate, where hardliners are plotting procedural measures to postpone final passage.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Italy Opens New Slander Trial Against Amanda Knox. She Was Exonerated 9 Years Ago In Friend’s Murder

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Florence, Italy – Amanda Knox was back on trial for defamation Wednesday after falsely accusing a Congolese man of murdering her roommate while the two were exchange students in Italy. Knox was convicted of the murder before being acquitted in a case that drew national attention.

Amanda, a 20-year-old student with limited Italian who had just arrived in Perugia, faced a long night of questioning in the death of Meredith Kercher. She eventually accused the owner of the pub where she worked part-time of killing the 21-year-old British student.

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Italy Opens New Slander Trial Against Amanda Knox. She Was Exonerated 9 Years Ago In Friend’s Murder

In 2016, the European Court of Human Rights found that her rights were infringed since she was interrogated without the presence of a lawyer or an official translator.

In November, Italy’s highest Cassation Court overturned the defamation conviction — Knox’s lone remaining guilty decision — nine years after the same court overturned convictions for Kercher’s murder against Amanda and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.

That conviction, which went through many trials and appeals, has remained a legal stain on her, particularly in Italy, while she seeks a new life in the United States, lobbying for judicial reform.

Another man was found guilty in Kercher’s 2007 murder.

Amanda, now 36, did not present at Wednesday’s court in Florence and is being tried in absentia. She stays in the United States, where she works for social justice and is working on several media projects, including a podcast and a limited series on her case for Hulu.

Amanda’s accusation against bar owner Patrick Lumumba surfaced in police-typed statements that she signed, but Italy’s highest court declared them inadmissible in the new trial.

She recanted the claim in a four-page handwritten note in English dated the following afternoon, which is the only evidence the court can consider.

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Italy Opens New Slander Trial Against Amanda Knox. She Was Exonerated 9 Years Ago In Friend’s Murder

However, Lumumba’s lawyer, Carlo Pacelli, contended that the banned documents should be readmitted as references because Knox mentioned them several times in her written statement. Lumumba, who is participating in the case in accordance with Italian law, did not attend the trial.

After nearly four hours of arguments, the court recessed and will reconvene on June 5 for rebuttals and a ruling. Eight lay jurors and two qualified judges are conducting the trial.

Despite Knox’s attempts to retract the claim, Lumumba was apprehended for questioning and detained for nearly two weeks.

Knox was sentenced to three years in prison for defamation, which she served for nearly four years until being judged not guilty by a Perugia appeals court. After six years of conflicting judgments, Italy’s highest court formally exonerated Knox of the murder in 2015.

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Italy Opens New Slander Trial Against Amanda Knox. She Was Exonerated 9 Years Ago In Friend’s Murder

Kercher’s body was discovered with her throat cut on November 2, 2007, in her locked bedroom in the apartment she shared with Knox and two other roommates.

Rudy Guede, whose DNA and footprints were discovered at the scene, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He was released after spending 13 years and is now being investigated for allegedly physically and sexually assaulting a previous girlfriend since his release.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Germans Celebrate As Recreational Cannabis Use Becomes Legal

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Crowds gathered in Germany overnight to celebrate the legalization of cannabis, which begins on Monday.

There was music and dancing at the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin as many waved placards and blew smoke into the air.

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Germans Celebrate As Recreational Cannabis Use Becomes Legal

One guy was seen cycling through the crowd, carrying a big cannabis leaf artwork on a trailer behind their bike, while another ceremoniously rolled a joint in front of news cameras.

Following a contentious national discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of making cannabis more accessible, Germany’s lower house of parliament decided last month to legalize it for restricted recreational use.

Karl Lauterbach, the health minister, praised the move in an X post on Monday.

“Weed use was already present yesterday, but it is increasing. “Now it’s out of the taboo zone,” he wrote.

“This is better for real addiction help, prevention for children and young people and for combating the black market, for which there will soon be an alternative.”

The new restrictions allow adults to carry tiny amounts for personal use, but the substance remains illegal for people under 18.

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Germans Celebrate As Recreational Cannabis Use Becomes Legal

Under new regulations proposed by Germany’s ruling coalition party, adults can cultivate up to three plants for private use. Beginning April 1, the limit is 50g at home and 25g in public.

From July 1, cannabis will be offered in approved not-for-profit clubs with no more than 500 members, all of whom must be adults. Only club members would be able to consume their output.

The German government stated that cannabis would remain illegal for kids and severely restricted for young adults and that consuming the substance near schools and playgrounds would be prohibited.

Germany becomes the third country in Europe to legalize cannabis for recreational use, following Malta and Luxembourg, and removes it from the official list of illegal narcotics.

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Germans Celebrate As Recreational Cannabis Use Becomes Legal

The Netherlands prohibits drug possession, but some towns allow them to be sold at coffee shops as part of its so-called toleration policy.

Other countries, such as Australia and the United States, have differing local restrictions.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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