Queen Elizabeth II approves legislation against no-deal Brexit

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019   •   440

The bill to prevent British Prime Minister Boris Johnson from taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal with Brussels was given Royal Assent on Monday by Queen Elizabeth II.

The signing came after the House of Commons and House of Lords on Wednesday and Friday passed the so-called no-deal legislation ahead of its planned suspension.

It means Johnson now has to go to the European Council meeting of leaders on October 17 to seek an extension to Britain’s membership of the bloc until January unless a deal is in place.

Brief announcements were made in both houses of Parliament to inform politicians that the bill had now become law and entered the statute books.

The bill is aimed at tying Johnson’s hands after he entered 10 Downing Street saying he would take Britain out of the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal.

The Guardian in London reported that at a Monday briefing with journalists, Downing Street insisted Johnson will refuse to request a Brexit extension till January, even though legislation passed last week, and the Royal Assent later today, would require him to do this.

The prime minister is not going to seek an extension. If MPs want to resolve this there is an easy way – vote for an election today and let the public decide, Johnson’s spokesperson said in briefing.

Johnson’s threat to refuse to ask leaders of the 27 EU members for an extension has provoked intense debate among lawyers and political commentators about whether he would be breaking the law. (Reuters)

British TV presenter Flack died by hanging — inquest hears

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Caroline Flack

British television presenter Caroline Flack was found hanged in her London flat on Saturday (February 15) and paramedics were unable to revive her, an inquest into her death heard.

The suicide of the 40-year-old former presenter of the hugely popular “Love Island” dating show has reignited a debate in Britain about the conduct of the tabloid press and social media trolls.

Coroner’s Officer Sandra Polson told the court that police had been flagged down on the street by an unidentified person who had led them to a residential address. There, a woman was found lying on her back.

An ambulance arrived and paramedics attempted CPR but were unable to revive her. She was pronounced dead at 1436 GMT on Saturday.

An autopsy determined that the cause of death was suspension by ligature. The coroner adjourned the rest of the inquest until Aug. 5. (Reuters)

(Production: Marissa Davison)

Global warming causing ‘irreversible’ mass melting in Antarctica says scientist

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Global warming was leading to an “irreversible” mass melting of the Antarctic ice and purging carbon from the atmosphere was the only solution to slow the process, an Australian climate scientist told Reuters on Wednesday (February 19).

Recent human activity has intensified global warming, which could result in a mass melting of Antarctica, said Zoe Thomas, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales who was part of an international team of scientists that recently published a paper on Antarctic ice melting.

The study showed the world could lose most of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which rests on the seabed and is fringed by floating ice, in a warmer world.

“What we’re seeing with the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is that this starting of the melt, once we reach a certain threshold, will continue despite our efforts to stop it,” she told Reuters.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica of 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.94 degrees Fahrenheit) was taken at a research base there on Feb. 6. If hotter temperatures were to sustain they could cause an extreme global sea level rise.

“This will gradually displace people as it goes,” Thomas said. “We know this is already happening in small island communities and this will just continue to happen gradually as more and more houses are being inundated at high tide, then at normal tide and then even at low tide.”

Thomas said that the only thing that would slow down the ice melting was if economies across the world began de-carbonising themselves.

Many advanced economies have pledged to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 though Australia is largely seen as dragging its feet on the issue despite recently suffering one of its worst bushfire seasons ever. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

Libya talks suspended after rebels attack Tripoli port

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Libya’s internationally recognized government on Tuesday (February 18) suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over the capital after eastern forces shelled Tripoli’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.

Footage from Tripoli’s port showed black smoke rising near docked ships from the area believed to have been hit by shelling.

The U.N. has been hosting in Geneva ceasefire talks between officers from the Tripoli government and the eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

The two factions have been trying to take the capital in a near year-long campaign, displacing at least 150,000 people.

The LNA on Tuesday shelled Tripoli port, saying first it had attacked a Turkish vessel bringing weapons but saying later it had hit an arms depot. Three civilians were killed and five wounded, the Tripoli forces said.

In response to the LNA attack, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said in a statement it suspended its participation in ceasefire talks “until firm responses are taken against the attacker, and we will respond firmly to the attack in appropriate timing.” (Reuters)

(Production: Ahmed Elumami, Seham Eloraby and Fintan McDonnell).

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