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Dowden becomes new UK Deputy PM as Raab quits over bullying

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Dominic Raab yesterday quit his position as the UK Deputy Prime Minister, paving the way for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to replace him with two of his (Sunak’s) close allies.

Alex Chalk thus becomes the new Justice Secretary while Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Dowden, will take over the role of Deputy Prime Minister.

Chalk, currently a junior defence minister, has been a member of parliament (MP) since 2015 while Dowden already plays a key role in the Cabinet Office.

Raab had resigned his appointment as Deputy PM after an inquiry found that he acted in an intimidating and aggressive way with officials in behaviour that could have amounted to bullying.

Adam Tolley KC’s investigation published yesterday had concluded that Raab engaged in an “abuse or misuse of power” that “undermines or humiliates” while he functioned as foreign secretary.

Raab’s conduct in the department had a “significant adverse effect” on one colleague and he was also found to have been “intimidating” to staff by criticising “utterly useless” work while justice secretary.

Rishi Sunak, who had spent the night agonising over whether to sack his key ally, accepted Raab’s resignation on Friday morning with “great sadness”.

Raab, who also quit as justice secretary, went down swinging, criticising the “Kafkaesque saga” and accusing “committed officials” of trying to force him out of the Cabinet.

Tolley’s five-month investigation into eight formal complaints about Raab’s conduct as Brexit secretary and foreign secretary, and in his previous tenure leading the Ministry of Justice, was handed to Downing Street on Thursday morning.

READ ALSO  PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

Downing Street suggested that Prime Minister Sunak accepted that his ally broke the ministerial code with what amounted to findings of bullying.
The Tolley report said that Raab acted in an “intimidating” fashion with “unreasonably and persistently aggressive conduct” in a work meeting while he was foreign secretary.
He also committed an “abuse or misuse of power in a way that undermines or humiliates” with a staffing move, which Raab argued was key to Brexit negotiations on Gibraltar with Spain.

Raab said in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister that he was “genuinely sorry for any unintended stress or offence that any officials felt”.

But he criticised a “number of improprieties” during the inquiry, including “systematic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims” as he called for an independent review.

Raab said the inquiry has “set a dangerous precedent” by setting a “low” threshold for bullying, which he says will “encourage spurious complaints”.

Sir Keir Starmer accused Mr Sunak of “continual weakness” by allowing Mr Raab to resign rather than sacking him, before hitting out at the outgoing minister’s “whining”.

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PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

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PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer meets US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington DC, during his visit to the US to attend the Nato 75th anniversary summit.

UK Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has met with the US President Joe Biden, saying the special relationship between the two nations remains stronger than ever.

BBC reports that the new prime minister met President Biden for the first time at Nato’s 75th anniversary summit in Washington just hours before their private talks in the Oval Office.

Starmer said his first face-to-face talks with President Biden were an opportunity to “recommit” to Nato and the “special relationship” between the UK and US.

Addressing reporters in the White House, Starmer told the president: “The special relationship is so important. It’s forged in difficult circumstances, endured for so long, and stronger now than ever.”

President Biden called the US and UK the “best of allies”, saying the UK was “the transatlantic knot” that ties Nato together with its European members.

The meeting comes as Starmer is looking to form a new security pact with EU nations to strengthen co-operation on defence.

The two leaders’ meeting came as Nato agreed further support for Ukraine at the Washington summit.

Starmer also confirmed that the UK’s £3bn a year military aid for Kyiv would continue.

President Biden said “things are moving in the right direction, I’m feeling really optimistic”.

The prime minister congratulated President Biden on hosting the summit, adding it was “a bigger Nato, a stronger Nato and a Nato with the resolve that we need”.

READ ALSO  PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

The Labour leader – on his first overseas visit as prime minister – is a season ticket holder at Arsenal Football Club and gave President Biden a personalised team shirt as a present.

It has President Biden’s surname on the back and the number 46 – a reference to him being the 46th US president.

Starmer also gave him a copy of the Atlantic Charter – the 1941 US-UK declaration which paved the way for the formation of the military alliance – featuring amendments from the then Labour leader Clement Attlee.

Foreign Secretary David Lammy, who accompanied Sir Keir on the trip, met his US counterpart Antony Blinken.

The State Department said the pair “re-affirmed the importance of ensuring Ukraine has the economic, security, and humanitarian assistance it needs to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

They “discussed the need to reach a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of hostages and lays the groundwork for durable peace”.

Source: Vanguard

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First US Senate Democrat asks Biden to step aside

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US election: Democrat lawmaker asks President Biden to withdraw from race

Peter Welch on Wednesday became the first Democratic senator to publicly call on US President Joe Biden to ditch his reelection bid as concerns rise over his age and fitness.

“For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race,” the Vermont senator said in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.

 

READ ALSO  PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’
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Pakistan grants 1.4m Afghan refugees one more year of stay

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Pakistan grants 1.4m Afghan refugees one more year of stay

Pakistan has announced its willingness to stretch the stay of 1.45 million Afghan refugees by one more year.

The government said Wednesday it will extend the registration cards of the nearly 1.5 million Afghan refugees after a senior UN official appealed to the country to pause its deportation plan.

“The federal cabinet approved a one-year extension of the validity of POR (Proof of Registration) cards of 1.45 million Afghan refugees,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement at the end of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday

The office said the affected refugees’ PoR cards expired over a week ago, on June 30, but that extension has now been granted until June 30, 2025.

Afghans cherish their stay in Pakistan and are hurt when pushed out by their host country.

Quite a number of those asked to go are defiant, insisting they are not returning to Afghanistan.

The new lease of life for the Afghans in Pakistan is a product of a discussion on the status of the refugees between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the chief of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, who visited Pakistan days ago.

Pakistan has been a major host country for Afghan refugees since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

There was a lull after a while, but a further influx started when the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in August 2021, when an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 Afghans sought refuge in neighbouring Pakistan.

Troubled by the large number of refugees, Pakistan last year launched a repatriation programme to return millions of Afghans.

READ ALSO  PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

Government sources have it that Pakistan currently hosts nearly three million Afghans, out of whom almost 1.5 million hold a UNHCR Proof of Residence card and another 800,000 possess an Afghan Citizenship Card.

Source: Daily Post

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NATO: Ukraine to continue defending self from Russia with F-16s jets – US

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NATO: Ukraine to continue defending self from Russia with F-16s jets – US

The United States, US, Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on Wednesday, said Ukraine can continue to defend itself against the aggression from Russia.

Blinken said the first batch of US-built F-16 fighter jets are being transferred to Ukraine to allow the country defend itself from Russia.

He spoke on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington DC where world leaders pledged continued support for Kyiv.

Blinken said the F-16s were being transferred from Denmark and the Netherlands.

He said: “And those jets will be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer to make sure that Ukraine can continue to defend itself against Russian aggression effectively.”

Top of the agenda at the NATO summit would be the backing of Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has long sought advanced Western aircraft to combat Russia in the ongoing war.

In August last year, President Joe Biden gave the green light to transfer F-16s to Ukraine despite concerns about how long it would take Ukrainian personnel to train to fly the planes.

Source: Daily Post

READ ALSO  PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’
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Exit from ECOWAS irreversible – Mali Govt

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Exit from ECOWAS irreversible – Mali Govt

Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop has maintained that the exit of his country, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic, from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, is irreversible despite reconciliatory efforts from the union.

DAILY POST recalls that the military juntas in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso broke away from regional grouping, ECOWAS, earlier this year and formed a confederation of their own on Saturday.

ECOWAS Heads of State assembled in Abuja a day later and appointed the presidents of Senegal and Togo as mediators of dialogue with the three Sahel states.

According to Diop, Mali is ready to cooperate with ECOWAS but it’s against the possible introduction of visas for nationals of the three countries travelling within the bloc.

“Our Heads of State were very clear in Niamey when they said the withdrawal of the three countries from ECOWAS is irrevocable and was done without delay, and from now on we must stop looking in the rear-view mirror,” Diop said.

Mali remains “open to working with our neighbours and other organisations with which we share this space,” he added.

“We will have to maintain discussions with others in order to move forward, but I believe that the path we have embarked upon is not reversible.”

Source: Daily Post

READ ALSO  PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’
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Israeli attack hits Syria’s coastal port city

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Israeli attack hits Syria’s coastal port city

Two powerful explosions were heard near the outskirts of Baniyas in the coastal region of Syria after midnight on Tuesday, in what appeared to be a new Israeli attack.

The Syrian Ministry of Defence confirmed on Tuesday that the Israeli forces conducted an aerial attack from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, west of Baniyas.

The Israeli forces targeted a site in the vicinity of the city.

The assault resulted in some material losses.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported that two explosions occurred in Baniyas.

While it is unclear if they were the result of an Israeli attack, the city of Baniyas is known to house an oil port.

 

READ ALSO  PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’
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