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Poll: Optimism About the Future Greater in Youths from Lower-Income Countries

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Out of 15 countries polled, young people in China, India, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Mexico were found to be more optimistic about the future than youths in the other countries, according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Young people in these countries are more likely to believe they can affect the way their countries are governed and that their generation will have a more positive impact on the world than their parents’ generation, according to the Goalkeepers Global Youth Poll, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.

The poll surveyed more than 40,000 people age 12 and older and asked for “their outlook on their personal lives, challenges for their communities, and the direction of their countries,” according to the foundation report. Youths expressed more optimism than older people about their futures at home and globally.

In the poll, Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, the United States and Saudi Arabia were deemed higher-income countries. Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria and Russia were considered middle- or lower-income. 

Happiness ratings show general contentedness among the 15 countries, but youths in lower- and middle-income countries reported the highest levels of optimism. 

Relationships with friends and family were the most important influence on a person’s life, and was highest in Sweden, the poll found.

Mexicans, Kenyans and Americans also ranked their relationships very high, like most countries, and more important than the impact of social media. And while social media scored high among Mexican youths, it remained lower than the positive impact of friends and family.

Health or well-being, and finances followed family and friends in importance. If they could have any job, most youths said they wanted to be doctors, while most adults said they wanted to be entrepreneurs.

Optimism about the ability to find good jobs was highest in China and lowest in Nigeria. Most countries hovered in the midrange. 

Worldwide, most people, young and old, agreed “life is better for men and boys than for women and girls,” and will continue that way, and there was very little difference between male and female responses, the poll found.

“This is particularly true in India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the U.S. and Brazil,” the results said. Most responses said they thought conditions would improve for women.

Religion was most important to youths in Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, Sweden and Kenya, and least important to youths in China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Mexico and Russia.

In China, both youths and adults reported overwhelming optimism in the future of their country: 90 percent of youths and 78 percent of adults feel good about the future of their country. India, Nigeria, Mexico, Kenya and Indonesia reported similar levels of optimism about their countries.

In the U.S., 35 percent of youths and 18 percent of adults reported feeling optimistic about their country. Brazil, Sweden, Germany, Great Britain and France also reported feeling less optimistic.

In response to the sentence, “My generation is better off than my parents were,” both Chinese youth (90 percent) and adults (80 percent) were most positive. Nigerian, Indian, Indonesian and Saudi Arabia youths followed in line for youths. Indian, Indonesian, German, Saudi Arabian and Swedish adults in succession said their generation was better off than their parents.

Government or political leaders, and climate change or pollution had the most negative impact on life for both youths and adults.

Both younger and older respondents cited ending poverty and improving education as paramount over other issues, including ending conflicts.

Cancer was the No. 1 health concern universally. HIV/AIDS came in second globally, with greatest concern in Kenya, Nigeria and Mexico.

The “sadness of aging” bummed out everyone, youths and adults, with responses ranking in the negatives, meaning no one was happy about aging. 

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Nigeria: Pirates Kidnap 12 Crew Members of Swiss Ship

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Twelve crew members of a Swiss commercial ship have been taken hostage by pirates who attacked the vessel as it sailed off the coast of Nigeria.

Massoel Shipping said in a statement Sunday that the ship MV Glarus, with 19 crew on board, was attacked as it was carrying wheat from the Nigerian commercial capital Lagos to Port Harcourt.

Reuters news agency reported late Sunday the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had identified the nationalities of the kidnapped crew. It said seven crew members were from the Philippines and others were from Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia.

Nigerian officials said the 12 were still unaccounted for.

Massoel Shipping said the vessel was attacked around 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island early Saturday.

“It is understood the pirate gang boarded the Glarus by means of long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck to gain access to the vessel and eventually the bridge,” the company said. “Having destroyed much of the vessel’s communications equipment, the criminal gang departed, taking 12 of the 19 crew complement as hostage.”

Piracy has been rising in the southern Niger Delta region in the past few years, along with the number sailors kidnapped for ransom.

According to a study published by the EOS Risk Group in July, the number of kidnappings in the region rose from 52 in 2016 to 75 last year. In the first half of this year, pirated kidnapped 35 sailors, it said.

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International Organizations Join Tech Powerhouses to Fight Famine

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The United Nations, the World Bank and the International Committee of the Red Cross are partnering with technology powerhouses to launch a global initiative aimed at preventing famines.

“The fact that millions of people — many of them children — still suffer from severe malnutrition and famine  in the 21st century is a global tragedy,” World Bank President Jim Young Kim said announcing the initiative.

The global organization will work with Microsoft, Google and Amazon Web Services to develop the Famine Action Mechanism (FAM), a system capable of identifying food crisis area that are most likely to turn into a full-blown famine.

“If we can better predict when and where future famines will occur, we can save lives by responding earlier and more effectively,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement.

The tech giants will help develop a set of analytical models that will use the latest technoligies like Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to not only provide early warnings but also trigger pre-arranged financing for crisis management.

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning hold huge promise for forecasting and detecting early signs of food shortages, like crop failures, droughts, natural disasters and conflicts,” Smith said.

According to the U.N. and World Bank, there are 124 million people experiencing crisis-level food insecurity in the world today.

FAM will be at first rolled out in five countries that “exhibit some of the most critical and ongoing food security needs,” according to the World Bank, which didn’t identify the nations. It will ultimately be expanded to cover the world.

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Юрій Луценко обіцяє у травні 2019 року піти з посади генпрокурора

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Генеральний прокурор Юрій Луценко у травні 2019 року має намір подати у відставку заради подальшої політичної діяльності, про це він заявив в інтерв’ю «ТСН.Тиждень».

За словами Луценка, він планує допрацювати до завершення президентських виборів, оскільки «вважає це серйозною гарантією того, що вони пройдуть відповідно до закону та у встановлений час».

«В травні приблизно думаю повернутися до політичної діяльності», – додав Луценко.

За словами генпрокурора, навесні 2019 року він прозвітує перед українським парламентом за виконану роботу.

Також Юрій Луценко запевнив, що не буде брати участі в роботі будь-яких виборчих штабів.

«Я не буду учасником виборчого штабу чинного президента. Це чітко. Так само я не збираюся якимось чином звертати увагу на процесуальні процеси щодо інших учасників перегонів. Не будуть спеціально порушені справи проти кандидатів, хоча я знаю, що кілька дуже мріють, щоб їх допитали, тому що тоді можна стати жертвою. Не дочекаються», – зазначив Луценко.

Читайте також: Журналісти запустили флешмоб із запитаннями до генпрокурора Луценка

Раніше в інтерв’ю виданню «Цензор.НЕТ» Юрій Луценко повідомив про намір «перейти в українську політику», і що спілкується з приводу майбутньої парламентської кампанії з мером Києва Віталієм Кличком, «але не тільки з ним».

Вибори президента України заплановані на 31 березня 2019 року, парламентські мають відбутися за кілька місяців після цього – у жовтні.

У 2014 році Луценко був обраний до Верховної Ради за списками партії «Блок Петра Порошенка». У травні 2016 року його призначили генеральним прокурором України.

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В Одесі через напади на активістів громадськість висунула вимоги до влади

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Представники політичних партій, громадських організацій, правозахисники, активісти, журналісти Одеси звернулися до президента, керівників МВС, СБУ та ГПУ з вимогою розслідувати усі факти нападів на журналістів та активістів у місті та звільнити очільників силових і правоохоронних відомств Одещини. Про це йдеться у спільній заяві представників громадянського суспільства Одеси, оприлюдненій 23 вересня.

«Закликаємо представників влади вжити комплекс невідкладних заходів для недопущення дестабілізації ситуації в Одеській області та захисту прав і свобод громадян», – йдеться у заяві.

Зокрема, від президента Петра Порошенка вимагають «негайного обговорення ситуації, що склалась в Одесі на позачерговому засіданні РНБО та створення єдиного штабу щодо контролю за розслідуванням усіх фактів нападу на журналістів та активістів».

Від керівника МВС Арсена Авакова та голови Нацполіції Сергія Князєва вимагають звільнити начальника ГУ Національної поліції в Одеській області Дмитра Головіна та його заступників.

Від голови СБУ Василя Грицака активісти вимагають звільнити главу облуправління СБУ Олександра Довженка та розслідувати «усі прояви сепаратизму у місті та області».

Від генпрокурора Юрія Луценка вимагають звільнення керівника прокуратури Одеської області Олега Жученка, його заступників та взяття під особистий контроль розслідування усіх фактів нападів на журналістів та активістів.

Від уповноваженого ВР з прав людини – доповіді щодо стану справ у Одеській області з приводу дотримання прав журналістів, громадських активістів та розслідування відповідних кримінальних проваджень.

На переконання підписантів заяви, Верховна Рада має створити спецкомісію щодо ситуації, яка склалась в Одесі щодо захисту прав представників громадянського суспільства та розслідування відповідних кримінальних проваджень правоохоронними органами. А парламентським комітетам з питань законодавчого забезпечення діяльності правоохоронних органів та з питань прав людини слід провести виїзне засідання в Одесі та заслухати представників місцевої громади, керівників місцевої влади та правоохоронних органів.

23 вересня близько сотні громадських діячів, місцевих політиків і пересічних громадян в Одесі вийшли на акцію проти системних фізичних атак проти активістів у місті і на підтримку політика й активіста Олега Михайлика, який був важко поранений пострілом із вогнепальної зброї ввечері 22 вересня.

Читайте також: «Ми втрачаємо Одесу». Що відомо про напад на активіста Михайлика

У поліції Одеської області повідомили, що для розслідування цього злочину створили посилену слідчо-оперативну групу, до складу якої увійшли найдосвідченіші слідчі, оперативники та працівники СБУ. Очолює групу процесуальний керівник із прокуратури Одеської області. Відомості за фактом нападу внесені до Єдиного реєстру досудових розслідувань за ознаками злочину замаху на вбивство (ст. 15, ч. 1 ст. 115 Кримінального кодексу України).

Олег Михайлик – голова міського осередку партії «Сила людей». Серед іншого, він боровся проти незаконного, на його думку, будівництва на узбережжі Чорного моря. За даними одеських громадських активістів і місцевої преси, Олег Михайлик також мав конфлікти з місцевою владою, зокрема з мером Одеси Геннадієм Трухановим.

Також за даними активістів, за останні півтора року в Одесі 14 разів нападали на громадських діячів.

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Ми заступимося за кожного члена угорської меншини на Закарпатті – Сійярто

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Голова МЗС Угорщини Петер Сійярто пообіцяв, що після того, як до бази сайту «Миротворець» потрапили особисті дані чотирьох місцевих депутатів і заступник мера прикордонного міста Чоп – власників угорських паспортів із Закарпаття – Угорщина «заступиться за права кожного члена угорської громади на Закарпатті».

Сійярто заявив у неділю, 23 вересня, в Будапешті, що його країна і надалі зацікавлена у добрих стосунках з Україною, однак не допустить, щоб образливі нападки сипалися на закарпатських угорців.

«Якщо українська сторона вишле консула (Угорщини – ред.), це не залишиться без відповідних заходів із боку угорської сторони, однак є надія, що цього можна уникнути», – сказав угорський міністр в аеропорту перед відльотом до Нью-Йорка, де Сійярто візьме участь у засіданні Генеральної асамблеї ООН.

Політик підтвердив, що на полях асамблеї у вівторок зустрінеться зі своїм українським колегою Павлом Клімкіним. За словами Сійярто, останнім часом в Україні «посилилися антиугорські настрої», що він пов’язує з підготовкою до проведення в Україні президентських і парламентських виборів.

Такі настрої, на думку міністра, проявилися в різних сферах: українські спецслужби почали активно займатися певними членами угорської спільноти на Закарпатті; в інтернеті з’явився заклик виступити проти осіб із подвійним громадянством; почастішали нападки на угорських дипломатів; неодноразово «запрошували на співбесіду» осіб, які беруть участь в економічних програмах за фінансування угорського уряду.

Читайте також: Угорський паспорт як загроза. Реакція України

На думку Сійярто, минулого тижня події «зайшли дуже далеко». Міністр наголосив, що подвійне громадянство поширене в Європі, і якщо Україна «справді хоче рухатися в бік Європейського Союзу, не може ставити під сумнів таку інституцію».

«Угорщина, отже, зробить усе можливе заради добрих стосунків, проте стане на захист кожного члена угорської меншини і не допустить, щоб українці порушували найґрунтовніші дипломатичні засади», – підкреслив Сійярто.

Він додав, що Угорщина робитиме надалі те, що робила й досі – вдаватиметься до кроків, які сповільнюватимуть рух України у бік ЄС і НАТО.

Минулого тижня засоби інформації оприлюднили відео, на якому українцям роздають паспорти Угорщини у консульстві Угорщини в Береговому з проханням не повідомляти про це владі. Голова МЗС України Павло Клімкін зазначив, що відомство перевіряє автентичність відео і назвав можливим видворення угорського консула у Берегові.

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Pompeo: US Would Win Trade War with China

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Бізнес, Новини, Фінанси

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vows the United States will be victorious in any trade war with China, a day before the Trump administration’s latest tariffs on Chinese imports go into effect.

Pompeo told Fox News on Sunday. “We are going to get an outcome which forces China to behave in a way that if you want to be a power, a global power… you do not steal intellectual property.”

The Trump administration has argued tariffs on Chinese goods would force China to trade on more favorable terms with the United States.

It has demanded that China better protect American intellectual property, including ending the practice of cyber theft. The Trump administration has also called on China to allow U.S. companies greater access to Chinese markets and to cut its U.S. trade surplus.

Last week, the United States ordered duties on another $200 billion of Chinese goods to go into effect on September 24 (Monday). China responded by adding $60 billion of U.S. products to its import tariff list.

The Untied States already has imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated on an equal amount of U.S. goods.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump threatened more tariffs on Chinese goods — another $267 billion worth of duties that would cover virtually all the goods China imports to the United States.

 

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Russia Blames Israel for Downing of Plane by Syrian forces

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The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday again blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian plane by Syrian government forces and said Israel appeared “ungrateful” for Moscow’s efforts to rein in Iran-backed fighters in Syria.

Syrian government forces mistook the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane for an Israeli jet and shot it down Monday, killing all 15 people aboard. While the Russian military initially blamed the plane’s loss on Israel, President Vladimir Putin later attributed it to “a chain of tragic, fatal circumstances.”

The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday presented its latest findings on the Il-20’s downing, laying the blame squarely on Israel.

“We believe that the Israeli Air Force and those who were making decisions about these actions are fully to blame for the tragedy that happened to the Russian Il-20 plane,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

For several years, Israel and Russia have maintained a special hotline to prevent their air forces from clashing in the skies over Syria. Russia has provided key air support to President Bashar Assad’s forces since 2015, while Israel has carried out dozens of strikes against Iran-linked forces. Israeli military officials have previously praised the hotline’s effectiveness.

But Konashenkov on Sunday accused Israel of using the hotline to mislead Russia about its plans. He said the Russians were unable to get the Il-20 to a safe place because an Israeli duty officer had misled them, telling them of an Israeli operation in northern Syria while the jets were actually in Latakia, in the country’s west.

Konashenkov said an Israeli fighter jet flying over Syria’s Mediterranean coast shortly before the downing deliberately used the Russian plane as a shield, reflecting “either lack of professionalism or criminal negligence.”

He also complained that the Israelis over the years have waited until the last minute to notify Russia of their operations, endangering Russian aircraft. He described Israel’s actions as “a highly ungrateful response to everything that Russia has done for the State of Israel recently.”

He referred to efforts by Russia to rein in Iran-backed forces in Syria, including a deal struck in July to keep such fighters 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

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Pope Warns Lithuanians to Guard Against Anti-Semitism

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Pope Francis warned Sunday against any rebirth of the “pernicious” anti-Semitic attitudes that fueled the Holocaust as he marked the annual remembrance for Lithuania’s centuries-old Jewish community that was nearly wiped out during World War II.

Francis began his second day in the Baltics in Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas, where an estimated 3,000 Jews survived out of a community of 37,000 during the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation.

 

During Mass in Santakos Park under a brilliant autumn sun, Francis honored both Jewish victims of the Nazis and the Lithuanians who were deported to Siberian gulags or were tortured, killed and oppressed at home during five decades of Soviet occupation.

 

“Earlier generations still bear the scars of the period of the occupation, anguish at those who were deported, uncertainty about those who never returned, shame for those who were informers and traitors,” Francis told the crowd, which was estimated by the local church to number 100,000. “Kaunas knows about this. Lithuania as a whole can testify to it, still shuddering at the mention of Siberia, or the ghettos of Vilnius and Kaunas, among others.”

 

He denounced those who get caught up in debating who was more virtuous in the past and fail to address the tasks of the present — an apparent reference to historic revisionism that is afflicting parts of Eastern Europe as it comes to terms with wartime-era crimes.

 

Francis recalled that Sunday marked the 75th anniversary of the final destruction of the Ghetto in the capital Vilnius, which had been known for centuries as the “Jerusalem of the North” for its importance to Jewish thought and politics. Each year, the Sept. 23 anniversary is commemorated with readings of the names of Jews who were killed by Nazis or Lithuanian partisans or were deported to concentration camps.

 

The pope warned against the temptation “that can dwell in every human heart” to want to be superior or dominant to others. And he prayed for the gift of discernment “to detect in time any new seeds of that pernicious attitude, any whiff of it that can taint the heart of generations that did not experience those times and can sometimes be taken in by such siren songs.”

 

Across Europe, far-right, xenophobic and neo-fascist political movements are making gains, including in Lithuania.

 

Francis noted that he would pray later in the day at a plaque in the Ghetto itself and called for “dialogue and the shared commitment for justice and peace.”

 

Francis will also visit the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius that is now a museum dedicated to Soviet atrocities, and will hear from Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius, who was persecuted by the Soviet regime and was detained in the facility’s chambers.

 

Francis is travelling to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to mark their 100th anniversaries of independence and to encourage the faith in the Baltics, which saw five decades of Soviet-imposed religious repression and state-sponsored atheism. Lithuania is 80 percent Catholic; Lutherans and Russian Orthodox count more followers in Latvia and Estonia, where Francis visits on Monday and Tuesday.

 

The Baltic countries declared their independence in 1918 but were annexed into the Soviet Union in 1940 in a secret agreement with Nazi Germany. The Vatican and many Western countries refused to recognize the annexation. Except for the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation, the Baltic countries remained part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in the early 1990s.

 

Francis’ trip changed its schedule three weeks ago to allow him to acknowledge the slaughter of some 90 percent of Lithuania’s 250,000 Jews at the hands of Nazi occupiers and complicit Lithuanians.

 

The issue of Lithuanian complicity in Nazi war crimes is sensitive here. Jewish activists accuse some Lithuanians of engaging in historical revisionism by trying to equate the extermination of Jews with the deportations and executions of other Lithuanians during the Soviet occupation.

 

Many Lithuanians don’t make any distinctions between the Soviets who tortured and killed thousands of Lithuanians and the Nazis who did same with Jews.

 

Until recently, the Vilnius museum was actually called the “Genocide Museum” but changed its name to the “Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights” since it focuses on Soviet atrocities, not Nazi German ones.

 

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UK’s Labour Party Considers Backing New Brexit Vote

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Britain’s Labour Party may hold the fate of Brexit in its hands — if only it can decide what to do.

With the U.K. and the European Union at an impasse in divorce talks, many Labour members think the left-of-center opposition party has the power — and a duty — to force a new referendum that could reverse Britain’s decision to leave the 28-nation bloc.

 

Labour’s leadership has long opposed that idea, and a showdown on the issue looms at the party’s annual conference, which starts Sunday in the port city of Liverpool.

 

Ever since Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU, Labour has said it will respect the result, though it wants a closer relationship with the bloc than the one Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government is seeking.

 

Now, with divorce negotiations stuck and Britain due to leave in March, many Labour members think the party must change course.

 

“Labour have to come to a decision. The time has gone for sitting on the fence,” said Mike Buckley of Labour for a People’s Vote, a group campaigning for a new referendum.

 

More than 100 local Labour associations have submitted motions to the conference urging a public plebiscite, with a choice between leaving on terms agreed by the government or staying in the EU.

 

Party chiefs will decide Sunday, the first day of the four-day conference, which motions will be up for debate and votes.

 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn — a veteran socialist who views the EU with suspicion — has long been against holding a second public vote on Brexit, though his opposition appears to be softening.

Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror newspaper “I’m not calling for a second referendum.” But, he said, if Labour’s conference “makes a decision, I will not walk away from it and I will act accordingly.”

 

Deputy leader Tom Watson was even firmer.

 

“We must back it if Labour members want it,” he told The Observer newspaper.

 

Still, Labour faces a major political dilemma over Brexit. Most of the party’s half a million members voted in 2016 to remain in the EU, but many of its 257 lawmakers represent areas that supported Brexit.

 

“For Labour to adopt a second referendum policy would spell political disaster in all those Labour seats that voted leave,” said Brendan Chilton of the pro-Brexit group Labour Leave.

 

Since the 2016 referendum, Labour has stuck to a policy of “constructive ambiguity” in a bid to appeal to “leave” and “remain” voters alike. The party opposes May’s “Tory Brexit” but not Brexit itself. It calls for Britain to leave the EU but remain in the bloc’s customs union with “full access” to the EU’s huge single market.

 

Pro-EU party members, including many Labour lawmakers, say that is both vague and unachievable as long as Labour remains in opposition.

 

The Conservative government’s blueprint for future trade ties with the bloc was rejected last week by EU leaders at a summit in Salzburg, Austria. That left May’s leadership under siege and Britain at growing risk of crashing out of the EU on March 29 with no deal in place.

 

Andrew Adonis, a Labour member of the House of Lords who supports holding a second referendum, said Labour can’t sit on the sidelines while the country staggers toward political and financial chaos.

 

“This is as big a crisis as I can remember in my lifetime,” Adonis said. “And no one has a clue at the moment what is going to happen.

 

 “That’s why I think we now need to take a stand — we the Labour Party and we the country.”

Brexit is one of several challenges facing Corbyn, who heads a divided party. He has strong support among grassroots members, many of whom have joined since he was elected leader in 2015. But many Labour lawmakers think his old-fashioned socialism is a turnoff for the wider electorate.

 

Labour has also been roiled by allegations that Corbyn, a long-time critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, has allowed anti-Semitism to fester inside the party. He has denied it and condemned anti-Semitism, but the furor has angered many Jewish party members and their supporters.

 

If Corbyn does back a second Brexit referendum, he will be going against his long-held euroskepticism. Labour backed the “remain” side during the 2016 referendum, but Corbyn’s support was lukewarm.

 

“Jeremy Corbyn is a Brexiteer and always has been,” said Chilton of Labour Leave.

 

“More and more people now support us leaving the European Union and getting on with it,” he said. “They don’t want to re-fight the referendum. They don’t want to open up old wounds.”

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Comcast Outbids Fox With $40B Offer for Sky

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Comcast beat Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox in the battle for Sky after offering 30.6 billion pounds ($40 billion) for the British broadcaster, in a dramatic auction to decide the fate of the pay-television group.

U.S. cable giant Comcast bid 17.28 pounds a share for control of London-listed Sky, bettering a 15.67 offer by Fox, the Takeover Panel said in a  statement shortly after final bids were made Saturday.

Comcast’s final offer was significantly higher than its bid going into the auction of 14.75 pounds, and compares with Sky’s closing share price of 15.85 pounds on Friday.

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, coveted Sky to expand its international presence as growth slows in its core U.S. market.

Owning Sky will make Comcast the world’s largest pay-TV operator with around 52 million customers.

“This is a great day for Comcast,” Roberts said on Saturday. “This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”

Comcast, which also owns the NBC network and movie studio Universal Pictures, encouraged Sky shareholders to accept its offer. It said it wanted to complete the deal by the end of October.

Comcast, which requires 50 percent plus one share of Sky’s equity to win control, said it was also seeking to buy Sky shares in the market.

A spokesman for Fox, which has a 39 percent holding in Sky, declined to comment.

The quick-fire auction marked a dramatic climax to a protracted transatlantic bidding battle waged since February, when Comcast gate-crashed Fox’s takeover of Sky.

It is a blow to media mogul Murdoch, 87, and the U.S. media and entertainment group that he controls, which had been trying to take full ownership of Sky since December 2016.

It is also a setback for U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney, which agreed on a separate $71 billion deal to buy the bulk of Fox’s film and TV assets, including the Sky stake, in June and would have taken ownership of the British broadcaster following a successful Fox takeover.

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UK PM’s Team Make Plans for Snap Election

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British Prime Minister Theresa May’s aides have begun contingency planning for a snap election in November to save both Brexit and her job, the Sunday Times reported.

The newspaper said that two senior members of May’s Downing Street political team began “war-gaming” an autumn vote to win public backing for a new plan, after her Brexit proposals were criticized at a summit in Salzburg last week.

Downing Street was not immediately available to comment on the report.

Meanwhile, opposition Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn said Saturday that his party would challenge May on any Brexit deal she could strike with Brussels, and he said there should be a national election if the deal fell short.

The British government said Saturday that it would not “capitulate” to European Union demands in Brexit talks and again urged the bloc to engage with its proposals after May said Brexit talks with the EU had hit an impasse.

“We will challenge this government on whatever deal it brings back on our six tests, on jobs, on living standards, on environmental protections,” Corbyn told a rally in Liverpool, northern England, on the eve of Labor’s annual conference.

“And if this government can’t deliver, then I simply say to Theresa May the best way to settle this is by having a general election.”

Labor’s six tests consist of whether a pact would provide for fair migration, a collaborative relationship with the EU, national security and cross-border crime safeguards, even treatment for all U.K. regions, protection of workers’ rights, and maintenance of single-market benefits.

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US-China Tensions Rise as Beijing Summons US Ambassador

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Tensions between China and the United States escalated Saturday as China’s Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to issue a harsh protest against U.S. sanctions set for the purchase of Russian fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles.

The move came hours after China canceled trade talks with the U.S. following Washington’s imposition of new tariffs on Chinese goods.

The statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website called the imposition of sanctions “a serious violation of the basic principles of international law” and a “hegemonic act.” The ministry also wrote, “Sino-Russian military cooperation is the normal cooperation of the two sovereign states, and the U.S. has no right to interfere.” The U.S. actions, it said, “have seriously damaged the relations” with China. 

China had earlier called on the U.S. to withdraw the sanctions, and speaking to reporters Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had lodged an official protest with the United States.

China’s purchase of the weapons from Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport violated a 2017 U.S. law intended to punish the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin for interfering in U.S. elections and other activities. The U.S. action set in motion a visa ban on China’s Equipment Development Department and director Li Shangfu, forbids transactions with the U.S. financial system, and blocks all property and interests in property involving the country within U.S. jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that China had planned to send Vice Premier Liu He to Washington next week for trade talks, but canceled his trip, along with that of a midlevel delegation that was to precede him.

Earlier Friday, a senior White House official had said the U.S. was optimistic about finding a way forward in trade talks with China.

The official told reporters at the White House that China “must come to the table in a meaningful way” for there to be progress on the trade dispute. 

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that while there was no confirmed meeting between the United States and China, the two countries “remain in touch.”

“The president’s team is all on the same page as to what’s required from China,” according to the official.

The Trump administration has argued that tariffs on Chinese goods would force China to trade on more favorable terms with the United States. 

It has demanded that China better protect American intellectual property, including ending the practice of cybertheft. The Trump administration has also called on China to allow U.S. companies greater access to Chinese markets and to cut its U.S. trade surplus.

Earlier this week, the United States ordered duties on another $200 billion of Chinese goods to go into effect on Sept. 24. China responded by adding $60 billion of U.S. products to its import tariff list.

The United States already has imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated on an equal amount of U.S. goods.