Connect with us

World news

UK Supreme Court Strikes Down Parliament Suspension

Avatar

Published

on

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in suspending parliament in the run-up to Brexit, in a stunning blow that sparked immediate calls for him to resign.

The 11 judges of the country’s highest court were unanimous in their verdict, which they said meant parliament could now immediately reconvene.

Johnson had argued that shutting down parliament until October 14 was a routine move to allow his new government to set out a new legislative programme.

But critics accused him of trying to silence MPs ahead of Britain’s scheduled exit from the European Union on October 31 — the terms of which remain unclear.

“The court is bound to conclude… that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue was unlawful,” Supreme Court President Brenda Hale said.

She said this was “because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions”.

She said the suspension was as a result “void and of no effect”, adding: “Parliament has not been prorogued”.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said MPs should reconvene immediately.

The judges “have vindicated the right and duty of parliament to meet at this crucial time to scrutinise the executive and hold ministers to account”, Bercow said.

The ruling is a major blow to Johnson, and sparked calls for him to stand down.

“I invite Boris Johnson, in the historic words, to consider his position, and become the shortest-serving prime minister there has ever been,” main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

The Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Ian Blackford, said: “We must be back in parliament immediately.

“We want to get back to work. On the back of this, Boris Johnson must resign.”

Johnson, who took office on July 24, had advised Queen Elizabeth II as head of state to prorogue parliament, which then took place early on September 10.

He insisted it was a long-overdue move unrelated to Brexit, but it sparked accusations that he was trying to avoid scrutiny from a hostile parliament.

Most members of the House of Commons oppose Johnson’s threat to leave the European Union next month even if he has not agreed on exit terms with Brussels.

In two separate cases, more than 75 lawmakers and a team backed by former Conservative premier John Major had challenged the prorogation as unlawful.

One had failed in the High Court in England, while another succeeded in Scotland’s highest civil court — with the Supreme Court asked to make the final ruling.

Ahead of the decision, Johnson — who is attending the UN General Assembly in New York — repeated that MPs will still have “ample opportunity to debate Brexit”.

Officials noted that in the week between returning from their summer break and prorogation in the early hours of September 10, MPs rushed through a law aimed at stopping a “no-deal” Brexit next month.

The government had argued that a prime minister’s power to suspend parliament was “one of high policy and politics, not law”.

Advocate General Richard Keen had argued that ruling against the government would see the courts straying into an “ill-defined minefield”.

The ruling is the most dramatic in the turbulent Brexit process and comes at a crucial time.

Johnson has insisted Britain must leave the EU on October 31 no matter what, more than three years after the 2016 referendum vote for Brexit.

But the law passed by parliament earlier this month demands he ask EU leaders for a delay if he has not got a divorce deal by a Brussels summit on October 17.

He has expressed optimism that he can agree with new terms by then, to replace the deal struck by his predecessor Theresa May, which was rejected by MPs.

But EU leaders are not as hopeful.

The bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said Monday that London’s current position did not offer any “basis to find an agreement” on leaving.

Johnson met EU Council President Donald Tusk in New York on Monday, after which the latter tweeted: “No breakthrough. No breakdown. No time to lose.”

The British prime minister also held talks in New York with the French and German leaders, while further meetings with European colleagues are planned on Tuesday.

However, there is speculation he may now have to return to face a crisis at home.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

World news

Xi Jinping Reviews Poverty Relief Progress in Hunan as China’s War on Poverty Nears End

Avatar

Published

on

China has vowed to eradicate absolute poverty in rural areas by the end of 2020 despite the COVID-19 epidemic. While efforts are being made to ensure “no single poor area or individual shall be left behind” – as President Xi Jinping puts it – people that have recently shaken off poverty are striving for a better life.

Among the 529 residents in a small village in central China’s Hunan Province, 95 in 30 households used to live under the poverty line. The whole village was lifted out of poverty through rural tourism in 2018, and the average annual income of the residents reached 13,840 yuan (about 2,060 U.S. dollars) last year – way above the national poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about 340 U.S. dollars).

Shazhou Village, located in a mountainous area in Rucheng County, Chenzhou City, was the first stop of Xi’s inspection tour in Hunan.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, visited the village on Wednesday and learned about poverty relief industries and progress in consolidating poverty eradication at a modern agricultural tourism demonstration base.

Chinese President Xi Jinping learns about poverty relief industries and progress in consolidating poverty eradication at a modern agricultural tourism demonstration base in Shazhou Village, Rucheng County, central China’s Hunan Province, September 16, 2020. /Xinhua

Targeted poverty alleviation

China has adopted a targeted approach in in its poverty alleviation campaign, which means taking tailored relief measures to fit different local conditions.

The story of Shazhou is a prime example of that approach. The village boasts the beautiful scenery of the Luoxiao Mountains and the unique Yao ethnic culture – nearly two thirds of the residents belong to the Yao ethnic group. Tourism has played a significant role in Shazhou’s battle against poverty.

The village has promoted rural tourism and high-quality fruit planting, and arranged training programs to help villagers obtain such job skills as for restaurant cooks and rural tourism industry employees. More than 350 local jobs have been created through the efforts.

With all its residents lifted out of poverty, Shazhou has also been known for such national-level honor as the “village of beauty and leisure,” “role model for ethnic unity and progress,” “key village for promoting rural tourism” and “traditional Chinese village.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with residents of Shazhou Village, Rucheng County, central China’s Hunan Province, September 16, 2020. /Xinhua

New starting point

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in late 2012, China has achieved remarkable results in poverty reduction. More than 93 million rural people shook off poverty between 2013 and 2019.

But 5.51 million people needed to get rid of poverty by the end of 2019. And such a formidable task was coincided by accident with the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at a symposium on poverty alleviation in March, Xi described the goal of ending absolute poverty by 2020 as a “solemn pledge” made by the CPC Central Committee to the Chinese people, urging authorities at all levels to deliver on that promise.

As China intensifies efforts in the final stage of the tough battle, Xi tours around the country to inspect economic and social development, with poverty alleviation high on the agenda. Prior to the Hunan trip, he had taken inspection tours this year of capital city Beijing and provinces of Yunnan, Hubei, Zhejiang, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Jilin and Anhui, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

In addition to increasing poor people’s incomes, China is also striving to improve the quality of poverty relief. Xi has repeatedly called for efforts to ensure rural poor people do not have to worry about food and clothing and have access to compulsory education, basic medical services and safe housing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with villagers in the village of Shazhou, Rucheng County, central China’s Hunan Province, September 16, 2020. /Xinhua

Meanwhile, he is looking into the future beyond the end of poverty. “Being lifted out of poverty is not an end in itself but the starting point of a new life and a new pursuit,” he said on several occasions this year, calling for consolidating achievements in poverty alleviation and advancing the rural vitalization strategy.

Put forward at the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017, the strategy aims to build rural areas with thriving businesses, pleasant living environments, social etiquette and civility, effective governance and prosperity.

Shazhou is among many previously poor villages in China that have embarked on the journey for a better future.

00:47

From ‘saplings’ to ‘towering trees’

On Wednesday, Xi also visited a revolution-themed exhibition hall, a village service center, a clinic, a primary school and the homes of villagers in Shazhou.

The exhibition chronicles the story of an impoverished villager named Xu Jiexiu, who offered shelter to three female Red Army soldiers during the Long March in the 1930s. Upon the soldiers’ departure, they cut their only quilt in halves, leaving one part with Xu to show their care.

Xi said the CPC owes its achievements to the people’s support, vowing to further improve the people’s wellbeing.

01:09

While inspecting the village service center, he stressed the effectiveness of primary-level public services. The center should provide targeted services for local residents according their needs, he told workers there.

At the primary school, the president encouraged students to make progress every day and grow from “saplings” into “towering trees” of the Chinese nation.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

World news

Coronavirus Largest Health Crisis

Avatar

Published

on

The novel coronavirus pandemic is the largest global health crisis of the past decades, and China was the first country to be hit by COVID-19.

When the lives of 1.4 billion people were put under threat by the virus, China locked down Wuhan, once the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

But how did the virus spread throughout the city? And what led to the unprecedented lockdown? CGTN launches “The Frontline: China’s Fight Against COVID-19”, a 90-minute-long two-part documentary.

In part one, the initial outbreak and the following two months are explored, and how a city of 11 million came to a standstill.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

World news

Xi Jinping: China, EU Should Be Committed To Multilateralism, Dialogue

Avatar

Published

on

China and the European Union (EU) should be committed to peaceful coexistence, openness and cooperation, multilateralism and dialogue, and consultation, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday, calling on the two sides to firmly promote the healthy and stable development of their comprehensive strategic partnership.

Xi made the remarks while co-hosting a China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting on Monday evening in Beijing via video link with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process, Xi said, adding that humanity is standing at a new crossroads.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic ties, and this was the second video meeting between Chinese and EU leaders in less than three months. It also comes after recent visits by senior Chinese diplomats to EU member states such as Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Greece.

During the meeting, the leaders announced the official signing of the China-EU Geographical Indications (GI) Agreement.

GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. The agreement is expected to prevent counterfeiting of GI and enable consumers on both sides to eat and use authentic high-quality products.

The two sides also vowed to accelerate the negotiation of the China-EU investment agreement and reaffirmed the goal of concluding the negotiation by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Xi and the European leaders decided to establish a China-EU high-level dialogue on environment and climate, and one in the digital field, in order to build a green partnership and a digital cooperative partnership.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 -2019