Wednesday, January 19, 2022



‘Pork pie plot’ could trigger vote of no-confidence in Boris Johnson within days

Boris Johnson is set to face an increasingly angry chorus of his own MPs amid reports the 54 letters which would launch a no confidence vote in the PM could be received on Wednesday.Reports on Tuesday night suggested MPs furious at the prime minister’s handling of the partygate scandal engulfing Westminster had been angered further by Mr Johnson’s insistence that nobody had told him a party at Downing Street would break rules he himself had set.And that especially those in the 2019 intake, many of whom have slim majorities after votes were “lent” to them during the last election, were preparing to submit their letters to the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, Sir Graham Brady

CNN Op-Ed Claims 'Everyone' Excited by Prospect of Hillary’s Comeback

Everyone in politics is thrilled by the prospect of failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s political comeback, a CNN op-ed author, Michael D’Antonio, claimed Tuesday. While Donald Trump defeated Hillary by a sweeping 77 electoral college votes, CNN published an op-ed that alleged “everyone in the political world,” including Democrats and Republicans, are “excited by the prospect” of Hillary returning to politics: While the mere mention of the Clintons in the context of another presidential campaign offends some and inspires others, everyone in the political world has a reason to be excited by the prospect. Among her supporters, there must be millions who have recovered from the heartbreak of 2016 and are ready to back her again. Among those who oppose her, the chance to resume battle against the woman they love to hate must surely send hearts racing. D’Antonio projected that if Hillary were to run in 2024, her ambition would grant her the ascendancy of other politicians like “Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, the first president Bush — who lost either primary or general elections and came back to win the White House.” Now we know why Hillary met with Kamala — Jacek Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 12, 2022 D’Antonio also stated Hillary would be the most qualified candidate in 2024, even more than President Joe Biden, who remained on the sidelines in 2016 and let Hillary skate to the nomination. “Given her experience as First Lady, a United States senator, and Secretary of State, Hillary is one of the most qualified potential presidents in the land,” the article read. The story accused right-wing media of framing Hillary as a “monster” instead of a “leader,” a narrative that could be rectified if she decides to run in 2024. But Hillary lost badly in 2016, forcing her to recover “at her home in Chappaqua and only recently began returning to public life,” D’Antonio continued. “It is this resilience that energizes her critics and her supporters at the mere mention of a comeback.” CNN’s op-ed follows a Wall Street Journal op-ed from last week that trumpeted Hillary as a potential 2024 front-runner. Written by two Democrat insiders, the op-ed alleged Hillary is an “experienced national figure who is younger than Mr. Biden and can offer a different approach from the disorganized and unpopular one the party is currently taking.” The Journal’s opinion piece dismissed Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden as legitimate 2024 contenders. Biden’s approval rating is pegged at 33 percent, while Harris’s approval rating in August was marked at the lowest for a VP since the 1970s. Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø

Iran’s regime disturbed by rising will to protest and secularism

The deputy interior minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Taghi Rostamvandi, outlined factors on Sunday during a speech that could shake the foundations of the theocratic state.The Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA, the regime-controlled news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, reported that Rostamvandi warned that Iranians are seeking with greater frequency "fundamental changes in the country," and a secular government and way of life.Rostamvandi delivered his remarks at a conference in Tehran titled the "Second National Conference on Social Harm from the Perspective of Islam." green movement teheran311 (credit: AP) cnxps.cmd.push(function () { cnxps({ playerId: '36af7c51-0caf-4741-9824-2c941fc6c17b' }).render('4c4d856e0e6f4e3d808bbc1715e132f6'); });console.log("catid body is "+catID);if(catID==120){document.getElementsByClassName("divConnatix")[0].style.display ="none";var script = document.createElement('script'); script.src = ''; script.setAttribute('pubname','jpostcom'); script.setAttribute('widgetname','0011r00001lcD1i_12258'); document.getElementsByClassName('divAnyClip')[0].appendChild(script);}else if(catID!=69 && catID!=2){ document.getElementsByClassName("divConnatix")[0].style.display ="none"; var script = document.createElement('script'); script.src = ''; script.setAttribute('data-widget-id','60fd6becf6393400049e6535'); document.getElementsByClassName('divVidazoo')[0].appendChild(script); }He said that “The index of people’s desire to protest is very important. We should conduct a socio-political assessment when people come on to the streets showing intense forms of protests because those protests will break the norms.”Rostamvandi added that "This will be extremely alarming if we find out that as a result of the incompetency of the government, people feel that the religious government is incapable of solving the country's problems and that a secular government can be effective.”Revolts against the clerical state have punctutated Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, including the widespread Green movement protests in 2009 and massive unrest  2019. The deputy minister alluded to the apparent effect of international sanctions on Iran’s struggling economy to prevent the clerical regime from building a nuclear weapons device: “The public’s patience is wearing very thin as economic pressures continue to mount. We should also sound the alarm as more people are leaning toward a secular government due to ineptitude or mismanagement. This is very dangerous.” The London-based news organization Iran International wrote in response to Rostamvandi’s speech that “According to Rostamvandi demand for fundamental changes in Iran are on the rise.The official did not explain how four decades of Shiite clerical rule have made the people turn their backs to the Islamic Republic government.”The outlet cited a study published in September that revealed a mere “32 percent of Iranians identify themselves as ‘Shiite Muslim,’ and nearly half of the population have moved on from religiosity and are ‘atheists."’Iran International said that “In December 2017, an adviser to the Roads and Transportation Minister said that 5.1 million Iranians, mainly educated individuals and skilled workers, were in the waiting list for immigration to Australia and Canada.”The Islamic Republic president Ebrahim Raisi recently declared that  "Western cultures and political systems are not attractive for the Iranian youths. No young Iranian would want to live in a Western cultural atmosphere.”Separately, Iran International on Tuesday reported that Fereydoun Abbasi, the former head of  the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and a current member of the Parliament Energy Committee in the parliament of the Islamic Republic, said "Instead of the thousand wounds they want to inflict on the body of the Islamic Republic, we must inflict 50,000 wounds on them," in connection with Israel, adding that "The Resistance Front and the Islamic world must break the siege of Gaza and liberate the Golan Heights, then we will definitely get an answer in the negotiations."

Volcano eruption was 'like bombs going off', says British man living on Tonga

A British man living on Tonga said the sounds of the volcano erupting was "like bombs going off around the place".Alistair Coldrick, who runs whale watching tours on the island of Vava'u, told Sky News he and his family fled to higher ground after hearing the explosion. He said: "We knew something catastrophic had happened."Images show island covered in ash from Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano Image: The islands have largely been cut off. Pic: Tonga Geological Services/Reuters Image: Three people are reported to have died. Images: Maxar / NZDF "We knew he had to get away from the water. We knew this was really bad, we just didn't know how bad," he added. Advertisement Military surveillance flights have been sent from Australia and New Zealand to assess the damage caused by Saturday's eruption from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano. Tonga is comprised of 176 islands, only 36 of them inhabited, with a population of just over 104,000 people. It has been largely cut off from the world after an undersea communication cable was severed - repairs will take some time and there is still volcanic activity in the area. More on Tonga Related Topics: Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player 1:34 Tonga eyewitness recalls eruption The tsunami warning system went down following the initial blast, Mr Coldrick said, adding: "Communications were completely severed, but everyone knew this was so drastic that people did move away from the water."He said the island he is living on is in "fearful limbo" as they wait for communications to be restored: "There has been this general sense of shock because we are kind of in the dark because there is no effective communication between the islands. Entire islands destroyed as devastation revealed"We are worried about people on the main island."Vava'u, which is several hundred kilometres away from the main island of Tonga, had a "light dusting of ash" from the volcano."On Monday, people were walking around wearing masks. It was the first time during this pandemic we have had to wear a mask here," said Mr Coldrick. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player 4:44 What do we know about Tonga volcano eruption? The government has confirmed three deaths - two locals and British national Angela Glover - in its first official update since Saturday's volcanic eruption and tsunami.A 65-year-old woman on Mango and a 49-year-old man on Nomuka are the other confirmed deaths, while a number of injuries were also reported.

UAE calls for UN Security Council session over Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi

NEW YORK: The UAE mission at the UN in New York on Tuesday called on the Security Council to convene in response to the deadly terrorist attack on Abu Dhabi a day earlier. In a letter addressed to the Norwegian delegation, which holds the presidency of the council this month, the UAE’s permanent representative to the UN denounced the Houthi militia in Yemen for targeting civilians “in flagrant violation of international law” and called on the council to “unequivocally” condemn the attacks “with one voice.” “The UAE expresses its condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes those injured a speedy recovery,” Lana Nusseibeh said in the letter. “This illegal and alarming escalation is a further step in the Houthis’ efforts to spread terrorism and chaos in our region. “It is another attempt by the Houthis, using the capabilities they have unlawfully acquired in defiance of UN sanctions, to threaten peace and security.” Three people were killed and six injured in a drone assault on a key oil facility in the Emirati capital, and a separate fire was sparked at Abu Dhabi’s international airport, police said. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, which immediately drew condemnation worldwide. On Friday the Security Council unanimously condemned another hostile Houthi act, the seizure on Jan. 3 of the UAE-flagged ship Rwabee in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen and the detention of its crew. In a statement drafted by the UK, council members demanded the immediate release of the vessel and those on board, and urged the Houthis to guarantee the safety and well-being of the crew. They also called on all sides to resolve the issue quickly and highlighted the importance of preserving freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, in accordance with international law. The hijacking of the Rwabee marked the latest Houthi assault in the Red Sea, a crucial route for international trade and energy shipments.

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet condemns Houthi attack on UAE

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reiterated its condemnation of a deadly attack that targeted an oil facility in the UAE capital a day earlier killing three people.The Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen launched a number of drones and ballistic missiles, causing three tankers to explode near storage facilities owned by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., and another fire also struck Abu Dhabi International Airport. Two Indians and a Pakistani were killed and seven were injured.The Kingdom emphasized its full support for the UAE against all threats to its security and stability, and vowed to continue — through its leadership of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen — confronting the Houthis and the threat they pose to regional and international security and peace.The statement came following a weekly Council of Ministers meeting that was chaired remotely by King Salman from the capital, Riyadh. At the beginning of the session, the Council of Ministers was briefed on the content of a letter to the king from Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. The ministers were also briefed on the overall talks and exchanged visits between officials in the Kingdom and a number of countries, aimed at consolidating areas of joint cooperation and teamwork to further boost relations and support regional and international security and stability.The Cabinet reviewed the outcome of the international Future Minerals Forum, which was held in Riyadh last week, in which several agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed, and the most important future directions of the sector were discussed.The forum also tackled the Kingdom’s role in developing this sector, in light of the Vision 2030’s aims to diversify the economy, make the mining sector a third pillar of national industries, and work to increase its GDP contribution from $17 billion to $64 billion by 2030.Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, acting minister of information, said that the Cabinet dealt with a number of reports on various regional and international developments.The ministers reviewed a report by the UN Financial Tracking Platform that placed the Kingdom among the top five donors of humanitarian aid globally, and the largest supporter of Yemen. “This reflects the firm values ​​and principles of this country and its people in doing good and providing aid to the needy wherever they are, and embodies its high global position in this field,” Al-Qasabi said.The Cabinet said it appreciated the efforts to combat drug smuggling into the Kingdom after the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, in coordination with the General Directorate of Narcotics Control, were able to thwart two attempts to smuggle more than 8.3 million Captagon pills and arrest the recipients.Meanwhile, the Cabinet authorized the sports minister to sign a draft agreement for cooperation in the field of sports with the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and authorized the interior and justice ministers to sign a draft Arab agreement to ban and combat human cloning.The ministers approved a guidance model for a cooperation agreement for exchanging and protecting personal data and information for security purposes between the Saudi government and the governments of member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and authorized the minister of interior to sign a cooperation agreement with his Gulf counterparts.The Council of Ministers also authorized the minister of tourism to sign a draft MoU with the Seychelles in tourism, and approved another MoU between the Saudi Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife in Kenya.It also authorized the finance minister and chairman of the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority to sign a draft agreement with Japan on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs issues, and approved a memorandum of cooperation between the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation and its UAE counterpart in civil aviation security.The Cabinet also set Feb. 10 of every year as Arabian Leopard Day, to spread awareness, preserve it from extinction and support the objectives of the Arab Leopard Fund.The Cabinet also reviewed a number of general topics on its agenda, including annual reports of the Oil Fund.

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