Irish PM Varadkar rejects May’s plans to change backstop

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar reiterated the Irish and EU position on the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop. (Reuters)
Updated 30 January 2019

Irish PM Varadkar rejects May’s plans to change backstop

  • Leo Varadkar told British Prime Minister Theresa May he would not accept her plans to renegotiate a post-Brexit arrangement for the Irish border
  • Parliament voted late on Tuesday to order May to return to Brussels to replace the so-called Irish backstop

LONDON: Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told British Prime Minister Theresa May he would not accept her plans to renegotiate a post-Brexit arrangement for the Irish border and said the so-called Irish “backstop” needed to be legally robust.
Parliament voted late on Tuesday to order May to return to Brussels to replace the so-called Irish backstop, an insurance policy that aims to prevent the reintroduction of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“The Taoiseach set out once again the unchanged Irish and EU position on the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop, noting that the latest developments had reinforced the need for a backstop which is legally robust and workable in practice,” a spokesman for Irish government said after the two leaders spoke by phone.


Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

Updated 15 November 2019

Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

  • The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s tourists
  • Apsara authority plans to end the elephant rides by 2020
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia will ban all elephant rides at the country’s famed Angkor temple park by early next year, an official said Friday, a rare win for conservationists who have long decried the popular practice as cruel.
The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists — which topped six million in 2018 — and many opt for elephants rides around the ancient temples.
But these rides “will end by the start of 2020,” said Long Kosal, a spokesman with the Apsara Authority, which manages the park.
“Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore,” he told AFP, adding that some of the animals were “already old.”
So far, five of the 14 working elephants have been transferred to a community forest about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the temples.
“They will live out their natural lives there,” Kosal said.
The company that owns the elephants will continue to look after them, he added.
Cambodia has long come under fire from animal rights groups for ubiquitous elephant rides on offer for tourists, also seen in neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
The elephants are broken in during training and rights groups have accused handlers of overworking them.
In 2016, a female elephant died by the roadside after carrying tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex in severely hot weather.
The animal had been working for around 45 minutes before she collapsed.