Boris Johnson launches leadership bid: We leave EU on October 31 deal or no deal

Boris Johnson, a former foreign minister who resigned in protest at May’s handling of Brexit, is the bookmakers’ favorite to be Britain’s next prime minister. (Reuters)
Updated 03 June 2019
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Boris Johnson launches leadership bid: We leave EU on October 31 deal or no deal

  • Prime Minister Theresa May is due to resign on Friday having failed to deliver Brexit on time

LONDON: Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to be Britain’s next prime minister, promised on Monday to lead the country out of the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without an exit deal, launching his leadership bid in a campaign video.
Prime Minister Theresa May is due to resign on Friday having failed to deliver Brexit on time, leaving behind her a divided nation and parliament with no consensus on the way ahead for the world’s fifth largest economy.
Johnson, a former foreign minister who resigned in protest at May’s handling of Brexit, is the bookmakers’ favorite to win a crowded contest and take over the running of the country at its most important strategic juncture in decades.
“If I get in, we’ll come out, deal or no deal, on October the 31st,” he was seen telling a member of the public in a campaign video released on Twitter.
The video, featuring clips of Johnson talking to voters and a monologue delivered straight to camera, is his first real salvo in the leadership battle which so far has 13 contenders and could take two months to determine the winner.
“Cut some taxes and you get more money in,” he is telling another member of the public, while also arguing for more investment in education, infrastructure and health care.
“Now is the time to unite our society, and unite our country. To build the infrastructure, to invest in education, to improve our environment, and to support our fantastic NHS (National Health Service),” he said.
“To lift everyone in our country, and of course, also to make sure that we support our wealth creators and the businesses that make that investment possible.”


Sri Lanka expands visa-free scheme halted after bombings

Updated 53 min 1 sec ago
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Sri Lanka expands visa-free scheme halted after bombings

  • Sri Lanka initially projected a 30 percent dip in the number of foreign holidaymakers after the attacks
  • Sri Lanka welcomed a record 2.33 million tourists in 2018

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has re-introduced and expanded a visa-free entry scheme for visitors in a bid to revive its flagging tourism sector after the deadly Easter bombings, officials said Wednesday.
The concession for tourists from 39 nations was suspended after militants bombed three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo on April 21 killing 258 people, including 45 foreigners.
“As the security situation has improved, the cabinet of ministers decided to revive the visa-free scheme and also extended it to seven more countries,” the government said in a statement.
A tourism official said foreign governments have relaxed travel advisories for Sri Lanka since the attacks.
There has also been a lift in the number of arrivals, which nosedived soon after the bombings blamed on a home-grown militant group, the official said.
The new countries added to the expanded scheme — which already allows travelers from the European Union, Australia and the United States to enter Sri Lanka without a visa — include China and India.
Visitors still have to obtain a visa on arrival, but the government has waived the $35 fee from August 1.
Sri Lanka initially projected a 30 percent dip in the number of foreign holidaymakers after the attacks.
The following month the number of tourists plunged to 37,800, down from 166,975 in April, according to official figures.
But they improved last month with some 63,000 visitors, although numbers are still down from 146,828 in June 2018.
Sri Lanka welcomed a record 2.33 million tourists in 2018, and was named the world’s top travel destination for 2019 by the Lonely Planet travel guide.