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STURGEON’S OFFER: Scottish first minister invites Remainers to settle in Scotland if independence occurs

Aberdeen, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via PATRICK GRAFTON-GREEN and Evening Standard

The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has invited residents of the other parts of the UK who were disappointed with the outcome of last year’s Brexit referendum to settle in her country, as she petitions for a new referendum on Scottish independence.

In a report by London-based newspaper The Evening Standard, the first minister announced an open invitation to the forty-eight per cent of Britons who voted ‘yes’ to staying in the European Union to relocate to Scotland, which plans to rejoin the EU should the outcome of the second ‘indyref’ be in favour of Scotland departing the United Kingdom and going it alone. Sturgeon presided over the first referendum, in 2014, which saw fifty five per cent of voters opt to stay in the UK, and forty-four per cent lean towards independence.

 

 

Sturgeon has expressed that those who have experienced discomfort with the actions of Westminster could relocate to Scotland and be part of a “outward-looking, compassionate country”. The open invite is the latest in a war of words between Sturgeon and UK prime minister Theresa May, who is open in her desire to realise Brexit and complete EU withdrawal by 2019. May has condemned Sturgeon for demanding a new referendum before Brexit negotiations with Brussels are complete, and has refused to give federal government permission for it to go ahead, angering Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party (SNP) which she heads.

In an address she made at the SNP conference in Aberdeen recently, Sturgeon has said that her party will completely guarantee the rights of EU nationals residing in Scotland. This is at odds with May’s approach, where she has refused to give a final ruling on EU settlers’ status in a post-Brexit Britain. May’s critics have accused her of using European nationals in the UK as a ‘bargaining chip’ in order to force the EU to guarantee settlement rights of Britons living in countries like France and Spain. At the address, Sturgeon also said that Scotland had potential for massive opportunities, and criticised the Conservative Party, who are the dominant political party currently in the UK, claiming they were trying to interfere with Scotland and accused them of maintaining a condescending attitude towards the country since the 1980s.

Sturgeon also criticised Westminster for its attitude towards Europeans living in the UK, saying “You cannot lecture others about politics not being a game while you are using the lives of human beings as pawns,” to Prime Minister May.

She told the conference: “Imagine what will happen if Scotland chooses to stay.

“We will become a magnet for talent and investment from all across the UK.

“So let me issue this open invitation today – Scotland isn’t full up.

“If you are as appalled as we are at the path this Westminster Government is taking, come and join us.

“Come here to live, work, invest or study.

“Come to Scotland – and be part of building a modern, progressive, outward-looking, compassionate country.”

SOURCES:
Sonel BC.
BritCits, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/britcits1/
“Nicola Sturgeon tells UK residents: Move to Scotland if you don’t like Brexit” – Patrick Grafton-Green, EveningStandard – News – Politics (18 March 2017) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-tells-uk-residents-move-to-scotland-if-you-don-t-like-brexit-a3493366.html
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Welcome to Scotland sign A1 road.jpg” – Amanda Slater via oxyman, Wikimedia Commons (14 September 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Welcome_to_Scotland_sign_A1_road.jpg

 

SULLEE J: Solo

Baltimore’s finest underground rapper Sullee J has just released his autobiographical album, entitled SOLO, that tells the story of his musical journey. The mixtape is guaranteed to be a treat for fans of the upcoming musician, it being packed full of phenomenal bars and wisdom for every listener, with a story behind every track.

To make the launch of SOLO, Sullee J has also released a special music video on YouTube, produced by BCHILL Music and directed by Michael ‘G-Nut’ Flores. It was filmed on the streets of Chicago and features contemporary footage of recent events since the shock election of Donald Trump as the American president this past 8th November, revealing the stark intimidation people face under a new order. Sullee J delivers hard-hitting poetic justice over a gentle Nineties beat, asking where do we all go?

 

 

Sullee J also used the album launch to reveal his latest thoughtful slogan “Let’s Keep America Awake” – a direct reinterpretation of the election slogan of the Trump campaign “Make America Great Again”.

The artist was recently picked up by indie record label Bogish Brand Ent. owned by King Ca$his, who was himself previously signed as an artist to Shady Records. His latest single with his group TRIPL3 Threat was just released last week on iTunes, Apple Music & other locations, featuring Slaughterhouse’s Royce Da 5’9. 

SOLO’s headliner track is available on YouTube and SoundCloud, and you can stream the full album at Sullee J’s Bandcamp page below.

 

 

BANDCAMP https://sulleej.bandcamp.com/album/solo-by-sullee-j

officialsulleej.com

 

SOURCE/IMAGE & VIDEO CREDITS:
Sullee J Management/Team Justice.

SULLEE J: Trump & beyond

Baltimore rapper and street poet Sullee J has this week kindly submitted an article regarding the US presidential elections taking place on the 8th November, one of the most contentious the country has even seen. As there are so many things and controversies happening in America and across the world with the elections being right around the corner, Sullee J has penned this article as he considered it vital to open up people’s minds before they go out to the polls, and that it will influence them towards a positive decision.

*********

I initiate this with a few words to Trump –
A man who has changed his belief more than he’s changed his undergarments. What has happened? A man who is trapped in a self-made illusion in such a level of hate finds it to be a form of satisfaction. A man whose word reflects spasticity but actions remain flaccid. A man who’s focus is worse than Dick Cheney, no matter what brand his glasses. A man who’s addicted to a lifestyle inspired by ignorance wants to tame the masses? A man who, back in 1999, went from activist to Democrat to Republican and whatever next seems to look attractive! Distractions. Distractions.

War over seas, and you’re here playing Pokémon, what happened? “War against blacks” “all lives matter” “prays for humanity”, which is the caption? Syria faces bloodshed, Yemen is being massacred. World War 3 has already begun, poisonous waste in the vascular. Brilliant vernacular but actions real amateur. Sounds like the most wicked have taken over the vehicle and kill off any awake passenger. The ambassador of evil, faith vanisher. Quite interesting, as this next subject is tempting.

 

 

One Kardashian falsely robbed and the worlds in a frenzy. My skin isn’t bright enough for that action; they’d have me burned before they exempt me. I learned that reaching for your wallet could have you murdered, and that the law isn’t friendly. I learned that protect and serve was for a certain group, now I understand how nepotism affects me. I also hate that my religion is the reason they won’t accept me. Distractions, distractions, how dare they neglect me!

Biased traditions, force fed capitalism, torched heads for alliances, which allowed tyrants to be risen. Manipulate science to where they afflict the most pious chemical and spread disease for monopoly. Programmed virus in the vision and this is by default they flaw the nucleus, more signs of division. The origin of all new creation, motto: keep you as far from the cure, healthy lifestyle deviation. Aggravate the internal, solution alleviation. This is pollution with a constant reign, who’s mediating. I watched the debate recently, saw fools in the making. Money rules, if you haven’t picked up on the clues, and the news is just a tool to distract you from the truth. The view is all faking.

Magnitudes of abuse, racial feuds, and cruel hateful fumes. Can we really count on anyone in power right now to change this fuse? Who dare save us from this flagrant noose? Systematic slavery, what a game they choose. How can we win when the way they set up the rules have us aimed to lose. Confused. Avenues tainted with a heinous lube. Oh, and how many strange things to attain fame, that they would do. This is all entertainment now; everything from the election to Isis. False created groups to spread hate amongst nations. If you didn’t know, your tax money is supplying the mass murders overseas, you probably think you aren’t apart of the crisis. I still don’t understand the power of paper, money isn’t real, where the f*** do they get these artificial prices. How do you sell a star, something nobody owns, I swear greed makes you lifeless. Distractions, distractions. This is a call to all the righteous.

I hope you picked up on the last ring. This message is to alter your rhythms and get the lights flashing. Awaken all the sleep; life is too short to stay a sheep. We can’t allow them to keep separating us through lame tactics, quit obeying the freaks. They got money in their pockets, but surely the character they display is weak. I will starve before I eat off the plates they offer. Some of the realest speakers are the fakest authors. You may have the same watch as me but our time is different. I’m on a mission to lift my generation and my grind’s consistent. I rebut not with a roguish mind full of puckish thoughts. It’s as if Trump was designed for an atrocious crime, what a sucker’s plot. We can stand up now and prevent this. Otherwise future demise is endless. You think they really care if we die? That’s senseless. Just one more question before I end this. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a politicians intention?

DISCLAIMER: Views are of the author only. The Half-Eaten Mind is impartial.

 

SOURCE/IMAGE CREDIT:
Sullee J Management.

POST-BREXIT SCOTLAND: First minister may sign off separate trade deal with EU

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London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via BBC News

As the UK decides what to do next after the life-changing EU referendum in June which saw the country vote largely to leave the European Union, and the nation is facing a rocky political climate coupled with a weak pound, there are concerns about whether the UK will still be able to maintain access to the European single market.

In a sign of the complexity of the situation, and with EU leaders hitting back hard at the UK’s pick-and-choose approach to negotiations, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has hinted that her country may go it alone in seeking a separate trade deal with the Continent, the BBC reports.

 

 

Around 62 per cent of eligible Scottish voters were in favour of Remain, and in the aftermath of the highly divisive referendum, some members of Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party pushed for another plebiscite on Scotland quitting the UK and rejoining Europe. In a recent interview with the BBC, the First Minister said that she believed a deal could be struck which will preserve Scotland’s own access to the single market, saving the country millions of pounds in tariffs and other fees for importing European goods.

Speaking on videolink with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sturgeon said that Brexit should not come in the way of Scotland establishing its own and separate trade deal that will not be affected by the rest of the union’s departure from the EU.

“I think that is possible,” she said.

Sturgeon also added that her government are examining the technicalities of a separate trade deal and mentioned We will publish proposals over the next few weeks.”

In recent days, EU leaders have warned the UK that continued access to the single market is dependent on it continuing to allow free movement of EU citizens. Concerns over the UK being a magnet to EU arrivals was one of the issues vocalised by supporters of Leave.

SOURCES:
Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind
Ace News Services, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/AceNewsServices
“Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland may seek separate EU trade deal” – BBC News – UK – Scotland – Scotland politics (16 October 2016) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-37671236?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland” – First Minister of Scotland, Flickr (29 November 2014) https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstministerofscotland/15805899567

BREXIT: EU nationals in the UK to stay after country leaves union

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London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via Press Association & The Guardian

 

 

The Home Office, the UK government agency in charge of immigration and settlement matters, has announced via various reports that European Union nationals currently residing in Britain will be permitted to continue living there, ending a dilemma for hundreds of thousands of continentals worried about their status post-Brexit, the Guardian reports.

After the July referendum which saw the shock decision by just over half of British voters to get their nation withdrawn from the EU after forty years, European Union citizens were left in the lurch, unsure of their futures, as new prime minister Theresa May refused to give a final definition of their status. Her manoeuvre consisted of a criticised attempt to guarantee the rights of the 1.2 million British emigrants living in Europe, mostly in France and Spain.

It is expected that 80 per cent of the EU citizens currently in the UK will be allowed to stay after Britain triggers Article 50 on membership and leaves the union, widely expected to be in 2019. The 600,000 remaining will be offered an amnesty, the Guardian says. At one point, reports suggested that EU nationals who settled in the UK before the referendum would not be asked to leave. There are believed to be 3.6 million EU nationals working and living across the UK.

Home Office calculations were reported as saying that five out of six EU nationals could not be deported after the country leaves the EU.

SOURCES:
‎Sergio Mourão‎.
EEA visa.. EU free movement, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/650212281695959/?fref=nf
“EU nationals living in UK will be allowed to remain after Brexit – report” – Press Association, The Guardian – home – politics/Guardian News and Media Limited (8 October 2016) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/08/home-office-says-eu-nationals-living-in-uk-can-remain-after-brexit
IMAGE CREDIT:
“brexit” – portal gda, Flickr (25 June 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/135518748@N08/27612677760

 

HARROW YOUTH ELECTIONS 2016: Young people make themselves heard

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Harrow, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via Harrow Times

Youngsters in the Harrow borough in north-west Greater London will have a chance to make their voices heard in the forthcoming elections for the Harrow Youth Parliament next week and decide the next direction for their community and borough’s youth services, local paper the Harrow Times reports today.

The Youth Parliament, which is the largest and most active of any of Greater London’s 32 boroughs, has called on young Harrovians to go out and vote in the 2016 elections, enabling them to challenge decisions made by councillors, get involved in important decisions affecting them and their local communities and express their opinions and concerns to decision-makers.

Polls are open from February 8-12 and thousands of Harrow’s young people are expected to cast votes for Youth Parliament representatives to speak for them on the local government stage. The elections are open to Harrow residents aged 11-18 years only. Seventy seats in the Parliament are to be filled, along with two seats for the borough in the National Youth Parliament, the Harrow Times reports.

Annual Sitting 2009

Annual Sitting 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Current chairperson of the Harrow Youth Parliament (HYP), Dina Khatum said to the Times recently: “Harrow Youth Parliament’s extensive local and national involvement has played an active role in getting young people’s voices heard.

“We try, both with our external activities and internal projects, to do as much as we can to improve the lives of Harrow for young people by representing their views to decision makers.”

The HYP came into existence in 2004, and in its nearly twelve years of operations have helped influence and shape many key regulations regarding Harrow Council‘s provisions for young residents, as well as speaking on behalf of teenagers across the nation.

Lists of candidates contesting the 2016 HYP elections are being put on public view in the borough’s youth centres, schools and sixth-form colleges for voters to choose the Members of Parliament they will be backing.

The elections are supported by Harrow Council’s Electoral Services and organised by the borough’s Youth Development Team.

Youth Parliaments are an important means of getting youth interested in politics. They help give future decision makers a taste of the democratic process and a chance to represent young people in key decisions including the annual debate at the House of Commons. They have been key in helping many of their young members a foothold into local and national politics.

Last year more then 12,000 ballots were cast in the Harrow borough– one of the highest turnouts in London.

The adult Harrow councillor in charge of the portfolio for young people and children’s services, Simon Brown, commented: “By taking part in the youth elections you can help shape the future of young people.

“Challenge us, share your views and speak up on issues that matter to you.

“I encourage you all to vote in this year’s election and look forward to working closely with new members of our fantastic Harrow Youth Parliament.”

In 2015, the HYP has been active in running various projects, including improving relations between schools, between young people and the police, and setting up activities during school and college holiday periods. The Parliament also won a contract with MOPAC in their police and youth community work.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Harrow Times, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Harrow_Times
“Chance for young people to have their say in the 2016 youth elections next week” – Beth Cherryman, Harrow Times/Newsquest (London) Ltd/Gannett (6 February 2016) http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/14257155.Chance_for_young_people_to_have_their_say_in_the_2016_youth_elections_next_week/?ref=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:MYPs at the University of Kent.jpg” – UK Youth Parliament & Pretzels, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (28 October 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MYPs_at_the_University_of_Kent.jpg

DBIS SCALEDOWN: UK Government department to shut Sheffield office, others

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Sheffield, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via The Mirror

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, a government agency tasked with supporting business development and work initiatives in the United Kingdom, has announced this past Thursday it will be closing down its office in the northern English city of Sheffield and moving jobs to London, the Mirror reports.

The closure is due to go into effect by 2018, possibly seeing the loss of 250 jobs at the Sheffield office, and several other DBIS offices may also face the axe as the Department cuts back under the government’s cost-saving austerity programme and as DBIS leaders look to centralise their operations in the UK’s capital.

Often dubbed the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ for its efforts to promote business in the North of England, the DBIS may close another 12 or so offices, including six in the North, despite previous parliamentary intentions to encourage more investment and job creation in the region, which is one of the poorest pasts of the country, having lost many of its heavy industry output since the 1980s.

The DBIS plans have not been warmly received in Sheffield, a city of 563,749 inhabitants in South Yorkshire, once famed for its stainless steel cutlery manufacturing, but having experienced severe decline until recently. Local MP (Member of ParliamentNick Clegg , former party leader for the Liberal Democrats, told the Mirror: “This flies directly in the face of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.”

“I want to be clear that no one ever put this to me in Government and I would not have agreed to it if they had.”

Labour’s Shadow Civil Service Minister Louise Haigh also lambasted the ruling Conservative party’s decision to close the Sheffield and other northern offices, saying that the plan “demonstrates the utter contempt the Tories have for the North.”

DBIS civil servants have allegedly already been informed of the closure, scheduled for January 2018, with the department looking to move towards a “smaller workforce and more streamlined structures”, according to the Mirror. A spokesperson for UK prime minister David Cameron said “The Business Department, like all departments, seeks to operate as efficiently as it possibly can to deliver the best quality of service to provide the right kind of guidance and advice to ministers.

“This is part of their process of becoming leaner and more efficient.”

The DBIS plans to close its regional offices and focus on fortifying operations at its central HQ in London, where most government departments are situated. Currently the department oversees twelve other regional centres in the towns and cities of Billingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Darlington, Guildford, Gateshead, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Watford – all of which are likely to go with much job losses or relocations.

The DBS will possibly replace them with six ‘business centres’ and some staff will be offered the chance to relocate to them. Each of the new business centres will be connected to a particular business activity, for example higher education, but there will not be one in Sheffield, a huge blow to the city’s economy and business community.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said: “Sheffield needs jobs and London’s overheating. This move makes no sense and it exposes George Osborne’s empty rhetoric about the Northern Powerhouse once again.

“I’ve pressed Ministers to move public sector jobs out of London, as Labour did, and I’ll be challenging this decision at every opportunity.

“Well paid civil service jobs provide opportunities for local people. They enable graduates of our two universities to stay in the city.

“Their spending in the local economy creates more jobs. And we need more of the country’s top decision makers to experience life in the regions, not see everything through the distorted experience of London.”

Speaking to Sheffield-based civil servants this morning, the DBIS permanent secretary Martin Donnelly said: “Today’s announcement is part of implementing our BIS 2020 strategic plans to modernise the way we work, reduce operating costs and deliver a simpler, smaller department that is more flexible and responsive to stakeholders and businesses.

“Our operating model needs to be designed in a way that works for this smaller workforce with more streamlined structures.”

“The decision to close Sheffield by 2018 has not been taken lightly. The unions are being consulted and will be involved throughout the process.

“It is my top priority that all our staff are fully briefed and consulted on the process. We will provide comprehensive support to all those facing a potential change or loss of job.

“In relation to the new business centres, we will be working closely with our Partner Bodies over the coming months to develop firm plans for their office locations.”

The DBIS is a relatively new government department, created in 2009  by the merger of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). It is headed by Conservative MP Sajid Javid who is also the president of the Board of Trade. The department is responsible for many aspects of business matters, law and education, along with the promotion of trades, scientific research and skills. The DBIS even has remit for business aspects concerning outer space and the postal services. Most deicisions on important policy areas are undertaken at DBIS HQ in Westminster, London.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/topic/Department-for-Business-Innovation-and-Skills/133294340042912?source=whfrt&position=1&trqid=6245539918854066441
“‘Northern Powerhouse’ department to close Sheffield office and move 247 jobs to London” – Ben Glaze & Mikey Smith, Mirror/Mirror Online/MGN Limited (28 January 2016) http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/northern-powerhouse-department-close-sheffield-7265022
“Sheffield” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheffield
“Department for Business, Innovation and Skills” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_for_Business,_Innovation_and_Skills
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

BNP: Far-right racist political party officially ‘defunct’

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London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via GapBaGap.com

The U.K. far-right anti-immigration political organisation the British National Party (BNP) has been officially declared defunct after party members failed to pay its registration fee to the Electoral Commission at the beginning of this year, according to GapBaGap.com and reported widely by British media yesterday.

The party, once headed by Oxford-educated firebrand Nick Griffin at the height of its popularity, was widely derided by many for its far-right and racist stance, including its support for the repatriation of all non-native Britons and immigrants. its overt nationalism, and its reputation as a collection of ‘thugs in suits’. It has in recent years being losing ground to other far-right nationalistic outfits, such as the English Defence League and Britain First.

English: Nick Griffin MEP speaks at a British ...

English: Nick Griffin MEP speaks at a British National Party press conference in Manchester. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Electoral Commission, which is a statutory body responsible for the compulsory register of all political parties in the United Kingdom, said that BNP treasurers failed to pay the mandatory £25 registration fee in order to maintain its entry on the register. The deadline for payment was the 7th of January this year, according to newspaper Metro. According to the BBC, all political parties must be registered officially under the provisions of the Political Parties and Referendums Act 2000.

The lack of registration means that BNP councillors will not be able to run for office using the party’s logos or its name until the registration issue is resolved. This occurred despite the party having a notice period of six months.

Sources within the official defunct party however denied that the party had ceased its involvement in the political process. One spokesperson was quoted by GapBaGap.com as saying “If it (the failure to be registered) has happened, it was an oversight”.

The Commission confirmed that the BNP has been officially removed from the register. It also added that the party, which succeeded in gaining two seats in the European Parliament in 2009, had ‘failed to meet the annual requirement to submit its registration details on time’. A source at the Commission commented: “The last date a notification can be sumbitted…is six months after the deadline for submission of a party’s statement of accounts”.

Its then-leader Nick Griffin was the face of the party, which was widely hated for its alleged racist nature, until he lost his seat as an MEP in 2014, before eventually losing the BNP leadership itself in the following internal struggle as the party began to falter. Griffin was eventually expelled from the party five months later and replaced by chairman Adam Walker.

The BNP’s accounts, last filed in September 2014, showed the party was in serious financial disarray after it lost £50,000 worth of deposits filed for the contesting of European elections, and the total leftover assets were a mere £45,756 remaining.

The BNP does still have the option of ‘returning from the dead’ and becoming officially registered for elections again, should it be able to muster the funds to pay the £25 registration costs, the Electoral Commission said. The registration process takes up to 3 weeks to complete, including a 10-day long ‘public consultation’. A BNP spokesperson however said that the party would fix its registration issue ‘within a couple of days’.

The BNP was founded in 1982 by John Tyndall as a breakaway faction of the notoriously racist National Front and headquartered in Wigston, Cumbria. The party’s main platform is the promotion of a ‘British nationalist identity’ and the repatriation of immigrants and even their British-born children. It also advocated the re-introduction of the death penalty and is opposed to same-sex marriage, multiculturalism and the existence of Islam in the UK. Despite fielding candidates for European Union elections, the BNP was opposed to EU membership.

It has been condemned as fascist and a outlet of neo-Nazism by many inside and outside politics. An electoral breakthrough in 2008-2009 led to the BNP holding over fifty local council seats, forming the official opposition on Barking and Dagenham Council, winning a seat in the London Assembly and having leader Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons elected as Members of the European Parliament (MEP) in the North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions respectively.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc https://www.facebook.com/topic/British-National-Party/113465761997303?source=whfrt&position=3&trqid=6237746580447216645
“The BNP has officially ceased to be a recognised political party” – GapBaGap.com/GapBaGap (8 January 2016) http://gapbagap.com/?p=9197#
“BNP removed from official list of political parties” – BBC News – Politics/BBC (8 January 2016) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35261637
“British National Party” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_National_Party
IMAGE CREDITS:
“File:Nick griffin bnp from flickr user britishnationalism.jpg” – britishnationalism & Parrot of Doom, Wikimedia Commons (10 June 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nick_griffin_bnp_from_flickr_user_britishnationalism.jpg

 

INDO-PAK DIALOGUE: New trade talks stutter over conditions; hostilities

A new round of talks on commerce and security between South Asian neighbours and bitter enemies India and Pakistan, designed to facilitate links and friendship has ground to a halt over tensions during the high-level government meetings, the Voice of America reported yesterday.

In Pakistan‘s capital Islamabad, the Pakistani delegation called off the talks after the two sides began ‘trading barbs’ over the meeting’s agenda, VOA reports. The national security advisors of both countries were due to meet in India‘s capital New Delhi today and tomorrow, but the reluctance of the two nations to step away from their pre-conditions for the meetings has hampered dialogue.

Jammu, June 25. Pakistan Ranger stands near th...

Jammu, June 25. Pakistan Ranger stands near the flags of India and Pakistan during the ancient shrine of ‘Dalip Singh’ Baba Chamliyal annual fair at zero line international border in RamGarh sector about 45 KM’s from Jammu on Thursday. Pix by Vishal Dutta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Indian position wanted the bilateral talks to focus on cross-border terrorism, in particular incursions of Pakistan-sponsored militants across the heavily fortified border of the disputed region of Kashmir. They wanted assurances that Pakistan would rein in the militants and help maintain peace in the restive northern region. Pakistan however, wanted to also communicate on other issues, in particular resolving the Kashmir dispute which has seen the two neighbours go to war three times since their joint independence in 1947 after the dismantling of the British Raj.

The foreign affairs minister of India, Sushma Swaraj, told her opposite number, NSA adviser Sartaj Aziz that he could only participate in the New Delhi phase of the talks if he was prepared to address the terrorism issue.

“If you want to come, I have two messages for you,” Swaraj told Aziz via a press conference in the Indian capital. “Don’t create a third partner, the talks should be between India and Pakistan. And keep them limited to terrorism. If you do so, you are welcome to come.”

The ‘third partner’ that the Indian foreign minister was referring to are the numerous Kashmiri separatist factions such as the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, who are agitating for complete independence for Kashmir or its annexation to Pakistan. Pakistan itself had originally invited leaders of the region’s separatist factions to meet with Sartaj Aziz before Aziz was to travel to New Delhi to meet the Indians, angering Indian politicians whose patience has been worn thin from separatist agitated violence in the Kashmir area over the past fifteen years or so.

A previous round of meeting with separatists from Kashmir by the Pakistanis caused India to call off talks between their foreign secretaries. Pakistan considers the Kashmiris to be ‘legitimate stakeholders’ in the ongoing debate over their region’s status, and has met with them as a matter of course for many years. India in turn regards the separatists as troublemakers and their position is that Kashmir and the wider Jammu and Kashmir state is an integral part of India without dispute. India regards the meetings between Pakistan and the Kashmiris as a violation of the 1972 Shimla Agreement, a document that implores both sides to bilaterally settle their differences.

The security meeting was a follow-up to a previous Indo-Pak meeting which took place in Ufa, in the Bashkiria region of Russia. On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Council summit, which was taking place at the same time, the prime ministers of the two nations reached an agreement to discuss bi-national security arrangements and issues.

Both sides accused each other of trying to re-interpret that agreement and violating its spirit.

“We were clear that if we say all outstanding issues then Kashmir is included… Ask anyone sitting here what is the biggest outstanding issue between the two countries, everybody will say Kashmir,” Aziz said referring to the joint communiqué issued at the Ufa meeting.

“All outstanding issues will be discussed once violence and terrorism end. This meeting was supposed to discuss how to end those,” Swaraj retorted. The foreign minister also said that Aziz had not referenced the communiqué properly, only referring to what was noted in its preamble, rather than the main actionable body of the document from Ufa. Tensions over the exact agenda of the NSA meeting were further exacerbated by recent incidents of cross-border firing between Indian and Pakistani troops over the Line of Control, which separates Pakistani-occupied Kashmir from India’s autonomous Jammu and Kashmir state.

The good news is that despite the tensions over cross-border terrorism and security concerns, India and Pakistan have said that the talks will still continue, and despite the hard-hitting rhetoric between Swaraj and Aziz, the door has been left open for further negotiations between the Asian subcontinent’s two largest nations. According to Sartaj Aziz, however it is too early to say if the parties will meet again on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session to be held in New York next month.

Swaraj in turn commented of her hope that talks will persist, stating to the VOA that despite the difficult and complicated Indo-Pak relationship, the two sides have had worse falling-outs and was confident the problems could be negotiated.

“In diplomacy, there’s never a full stop, only commas or semi-colons,” she said.

SOURCES:
newsmap, Marcos Weskamp, Newsmap http://newsmap.jp/
“Pakistan: No High-level Talks With India” – Ayesha Tanzeem & Anjana Pasricha, Voice of America – News – Asia (22 August 2015) http://www.voanews.com/content/india-pakistan-trade-blame-as-proposed-talks-falter/2928347.html
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Baba Chamliyal Mela at Indo-Pak international Border, near Jammu.jpg” – Vishal Dutta, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (14 August 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baba_Chamliyal_Mela_at_Indo-Pak_international_Border,_near_Jammu.jpg

 

DONALD TRUMP: Presidential hopeful and billionaire shut out of meeting for ‘incendiary remarks’

American presidential candidate and billionaire Donald Trump has elicited a significant controversy in his recent campaign trail for the 2016 elections after making derogatory comments against ethnic minorities, and now the Republican nominee has been banned from attending a leading conservative gathering after rankling organisers with alleged anti-woman comments directed at a current affairs professional, the Associated Press news agency reports in the Christian Science Monitor website yesterday.

Trump’s name was struck off from the list of attendees to the high-profile political gathering of conservative activists after he was said have made a derogatory comment about a moderator on the conservative news TV station Fox News on last Thursday’s first Republican presidential debate. The comments drew ire from not only opponents but also Trump’s own party and the RedState Gathering, which occurred yesterday (Saturday 8th August) also condemned Trump’s utterances, before deciding not to host the philanthropist and businessman.

The RedState Gathering saw appearances by several leading members of the United States’ Republican party, one of two main parties to contest elections there, and which is famed for its highly patriotic, traditionalist and economically and socially conservative outlook. Big name attendees included the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, current governor of Wisconsin state Scott Walker, the senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, who is the brother and son of two former US presidents.

The absence of Donald Trump however threatens to overshadow and divert attention away from the topics under discussion at RedState, the Associated Press reports.

Trump was said to have ‘lashed out’ at Fox News employee Megyn Kelly for questions she posed to him in the debate. She had asked the presidential hopeful to explain himself for earlier comments he was said to have made against women and whether it reflected the “temperament of a man we should elect as president.”

Trump then later made a visit to the offices of CNN, an American non-partisan news channel, where he spoke about his encounter with Kelly in less than complimentary terms, AP reports. In the Friday night interview, Trump commented “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”.

The comment against the Fox News presenter disgusted observers of the presidential race, with RedState’s representative Erick Erickson ordering Trump’s dismissal from the event’s roster of guest speakers. Referring to US politics and the race, Erickson commented: “I just don’t want someone on stage who gets a hostile question from a lady and his first inclination is to imply it was hormonal. It just was wrong,” Erickson wrote on the RedState website. The website gets its name from electoral maps, often shown on television and newspapers, which depict Republican-leaning states in red and Democrat-leaning ones in blue.

Erickson said that “while Mr. Trump resonates with a lot of people with his bluntness, including me to a degree, there are just real lines of decency a person running for president should not cross.”

Trump’s supporters have expressed their displeasure at the latest furore surrounding their political idol. A campaign statement from a pro-Trump source poured scorn on Erick Erickson and his decision to drop Trump and accused RedState organisers of pandering to political correctness.

“This is just another example of weakness through being politically correct. For all of the people who were looking forward to Mr. Trump coming, we will miss you. Blame Erick Erickson, your weak and pathetic leader,”

Even while the gathering was in full swing, Trump’s camp continued to wage a war of words against Erickson, as well as targeting Megyn Kelly, and said the comments made by Trump about Kelly’s blood leaking was misinterpreted. A follow-up statement insisted that Trump has in fact said “blood was coming out of her eyes and whatever”. Observers who viewed the CNN interview however rubbished the statement and said that those words were not used.

The campaign also hinted at alleged RedState activists’ collective disapproval of Erickson’s decision, claiming that 900 attendees at the gathering had made a joint complaint about what they saw as political correctness from Erickson and unnamed others. Some activists who spoke with AP journalists said that they had wanted Trump to still appear at the event to hear what he had to say. “Personally, we need to make up our own minds if someone is stupid,” said Jack Staver, a business consultant from Woodstock in Georgia state. “If someone is going to fall on their face, let them do it for everyone to see. Maybe it will help us make up our minds in a primary like this.” Another activist spoken to by AP however was glad of Trump’s eviction from the proceedings, saying that the wealthy hopeful was ‘a bit crude’ and was a poor fit for a Republican president.

Two of Trump’s rivals, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and the Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, said there was no excuse for Trump’s words about Kelly. They said they stood with the journalist.

Trump’s political bosses, the Republican National Committee, meanwhile urged the 2016 presidential candidate to clarify what he meant in the CNN interview on Friday and said it would be ‘highly inappropriate’ if Trump continued to justify his comment, the committee said.

Trump needs “to understand that he is seeking the presidency of the United States now and that words do matter,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told NBC’s Today show on Saturday.

“I’m hoping that Mr. Trump, because he does speak off the cuff, because he doesn’t ascribe to political correctness, was speaking in a way that wasn’t fully thought out,” Spicer said.

Trump’s latest round of derogatory comments could well put his bid for the Presidential office seat in jeopardy, by alienating a large swathe of possible supporters. Many Republicans, embarrassed by his words, have sought to minimise the negative impact on their party’s reputation by distancing themselves in public from him.

SOURCES:
newsmap, Marcos Weskamp (9 August 2015) http://newsmap.jp/
“Trump shut out of conservative meeting after incendiary remarks” – Sergio Bustos & Bill Barrow, Associated Press via The Christian Science Monitor – USA (8 August 2015) http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2015/0808/Trump-shut-out-of-conservative-meeting-after-incendiary-remarks
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.