Johnson defiant after MPs vote to force Brexit delay

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Anti-Brexit supporters cheer outside parliament in London, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP)
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Anti-Brexit supporters cheer outside parliament in London, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP)
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EU supporters march as parliament sits on a Saturday for the first time since the 1982 Falklands War, to discuss Brexit in London, Britain, October 19, 2019. (Reuters)
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EU supporters march as parliament sits on a Saturday for the first time since the 1982 Falklands War, to discuss Brexit in London, Britain, October 19, 2019. (Reuters)
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Demonstrators with placards and EU and Union flags gather in Parliament Square in central London on October 19, 2019, as they take part in a rally by the People's Vote organisation calling for a final say in a second referendum on Brexit. (AFP)
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A woman wears the colors and stars of the EU flag as she and other anti-Brexit supporters march in London, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP)
Updated 20 October 2019

Johnson defiant after MPs vote to force Brexit delay

  • 1 million take part in peaceful march to call for a new referendum on the deal

LONDON: A defiant Boris Johnson said he would not negotiate a further delay to Britain’s departure from the EU after Parliament voted on Saturday to postpone a vote on his Brexit deal. Parliament voted 322 to 306 in favor of an amendment put forward by Oliver Letwin, a former Conservative Cabinet minister.
A sea of protesters was across the street from Parliament when word arrived that lawmakers in the House of Commons had forced another delay in Britain’s protracted Brexit battle. Parliament Square, awash in EU flags, erupted in cheers.
“Fantastic news,” said Paul Craddy, who had traveled from Bristol to join hundreds of thousands of people in a march calling for a “people’s vote” on Brexit. “We need another vote, we need another say now we know what the facts are,” he said.
According to legislation passed earlier, the vote means Johnson is obliged to write to the EU seeking a delay beyond Britain’s scheduled departure date of Oct. 31.
But Johnson has repeatedly vowed he will not do this and on Saturday he stuck to that line.
“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so,” Johnson told the Parliament.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Parliament voted 322 to 306 in favor of an amendment seeking postponement of a vote on Brexit deal.

• Many MPs are calling for a short ‘technical’ delay in Britain’s departure from the EU.

“I will tell our friends and colleagues in the EU exactly what I have told everyone else in the last 88 days that I have served as prime minister: That further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy.”
Johnson said he would put it to a vote on Tuesday. The latest delay was welcome news for those who poured into London to call for a new nationwide vote on the deal.
“Another chance for sanity and perhaps rationality to take over, rather than emotion,” filmmaker Jove Lorenty said as he stood outside Parliament. Organizers of the noisy but peaceful march said 1 million people took part. Police monitoring the protest tweeted: “We don’t provide estimates of numbers as it’s such an inexact science. However, it is fair to say it is now very busy throughout the procession route.”
The Letwin amendment proposed that a decision on whether to back a Brexit deal be deferred until all the legislation needed to implement it has been passed through the Parliament.
“My aim is to ensure that Boris’ deal succeeds,” Letwin said earlier. But he wanted “an insurance policy which prevents the UK from crashing out on Oct. 31 by mistake if something goes wrong during the passage of the implementing legislation.”
Three years after Britain voted 52-48 percent to leave the European project, Johnson struck a divorce deal with the bloc in Brussels on Thursday.


India reports over 8,000 new coronavirus cases

Updated 31 May 2020

India reports over 8,000 new coronavirus cases

  • Confirmed infections have risen to 182,143, with 5,164 fatalities

NEW DELHI: India reported more than 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus in a single day, another record high that topped the deadliest week in the country.
Confirmed infections have risen to 182,143, with 5,164 fatalities, including 193 in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Sunday.
Overall, more than 60 percent of the virus fatalities have been reported from only two states — Maharashtra, the financial hub, and Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The new cases are largely concentrated in six Indian states, including the capital New Delhi.
Public health experts have criticized the Modi government’s handling of the outbreak. A joint statement by the Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and Indian Association of Epidemiologists, which was sent to Modi’s office on May 25, said it was “unrealistic” to eliminate the virus at a time when “community transmission is already well-established.”
India has denied of any community transmission even though new cases have continued to mount significantly.
The health experts said that the infections were rising exponentially despite the “draconian lockdown,” which began March 25.
The restrictions have slowly been relaxed, with the government announcing Saturday a phased “Unlock 1” plan from June onwards that allows more economic activities. The restrictions in so-called containment zones — areas that have been isolated due to the outbreaks — will remain through June 30.
Modi, who addressed the nation through his monthly radio program on Sunday, said India was faring better than other countries.
India has a fatality rate of 2.8 percent.
There are concerns that the virus may be spreading through India’s villages as millions of jobless migrant workers return home from cities during the lockdown. Experts warn that the pandemic is yet to peak in India.