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‘Profound crisis’ ahead for UK

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Britain’s new prime minister describes challenges to come as he begins work

China Daily:- Britain’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has said that the country faces a “profound economic crisis” in his first public speech after formally taking over as the new national leader.

Sunak was named new leader of the Conservative Party and the country on Monday without a vote taking place, after his only rival for the post, Penny Mordaunt, withdrew from the race.

On Tuesday, he went to Buckingham Palace to be appointed by King Charles III, following predecessor Liz Truss’s formal resignation after her ill-fated 44 days in charge.

Having spoken to Conservative Party members of Parliament following his accession to power on Monday, after returning from the palace, Sunak gave his first public address as prime minister outside 10 Downing Street.

“Right now, our country is facing a profound economic crisis,” he said, adding that “some mistakes were made”, in a reference to the Truss era.

Sunak was only appointed to his previous post, as chancellor of the exchequer, in February 2020, a matter of weeks before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the country, and he referred to the experience of having introduced the furlough program in his speech, saying how he had done all he could “to protect people and businesses… I will bring the same compassion to the challenges we face today.

“I will unite our country not with words but with action … I will work day in and day out to deliver for you,” he added.

In her farewell speech before going to — tender her resignation, Truss gave a defiant defense of her premiership, the shortest in British political history, which will be remembered for the introduction and chaotic withdrawal of an economic policy that saw the pound crash and the problems of the cost-of-living crisis made even worse.

“We simply cannot afford to be a low-growth country,” she said, adding “I am more convinced than ever that we need to be bold and confront the challenges that we face”, showing no remorse or regret over what happened on her brief watch.

“I think there was an opportunity there for Liz Truss to do what she actually did in front of the media on the Monday after (Chancellor of the Exchequer) Jeremy Hunt junked her entire budget and say ‘I am sorry for the mistakes I made,'” noted Sky News political editor Beth Rigby.

“You did not see that at the podium. There was no ‘I am sorry’ … It was very (Boris) Johnsonian in that way, but a different style.”

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Brazilian deported after found carrying drugs worth MVR 6.5M

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ABrazilian traveler has been deported after Maldives Customs officials found 2.6 kilos of cocaine in her luggage.

According to Customs, the traveler, identified as a 23-year-old Brazilian woman, had arrived in Maldives via Doha on Monday, February 6.

Customs officials flagged the traveler for suspicious behavior, and conducted a search of her luggage, during which they found a suspicious substance – which tested positive for cocaine.

The cocaine seized in the operation weighed 2.6 kilos.

The street value of the drugs is estimated to be MVR 6.5 million.

According to Customs, the drugs seized in the operation has been handed over to the police, while the traveler was deported following discussions with law enforcement agencies.

Customs reserves the right to bar entry to people based on intel they use or may use Maldives as a transit point to traffic drugs.

Source(s): sun.mv

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U.S. long-arm jurisdiction harms int’l order, rule of law

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BEIJING, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) — The United States has a longstanding practice of exerting frequent long-arm jurisdiction over other countries, which severely harms the international political and economic order and the rule of law.

In essence, long-arm jurisdiction is an arbitrary judicial practice wielded by the U.S. government on the strength of the U.S. hegemony to enforce extraterritorial jurisdiction over entities and individuals of other countries on the ground of its domestic law.

In line with international law, the exercise of a country’s jurisdiction over an extraterritorial person or entity generally requires that the person or entity or its conduct has a real and sufficient connection to that country. Yet the United States exercises long-arm jurisdiction on the basis of the “minimum contacts” rule, constantly lowering the threshold for application.

Meanwhile, to exercise long-arm jurisdiction, the U.S. government has further developed the “effects doctrine,” meaning that jurisdiction may be exercised whenever an act occurring abroad produces “effects” in the United States, regardless of whether the actor has U.S. citizenship or residency, and regardless of whether the act complies with the law of the place where it occurred.

Long-arm jurisdiction has become a means by which the United States abuses unilateral sanctions, especially secondary sanctions. According to the Treasury 2021 Sanctions Review, by fiscal year 2021, the number of active U.S. sanctions designations had increased to more than 9,400.

U.S. sanctions have strained relations between countries and undermined the international order. So far, the “long arm” of U.S. jurisdiction has reached China, Russia, Iran, Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, among others.

Long-arm jurisdiction has become a tool for the U.S. authorities to interfere with normal international commercial exchanges and competition.

In 2013, in order to beat Alstom in their business competition, the United States applied the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to arrest and detain then Alstom’s senior manager Frederic Pierucci on charges of bribing foreign officials. He was further induced to sign a plea deal and provide more evidence and information against his company, leaving Alstom no choice but to accept General Electric’s acquisition, vanishing ever since from the Fortune 500 list.

In an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine, Professor Daniel Drezner of Tufts University criticized successive U.S. administrations for abusing economic coercion and economic violence, and using sanctions as the preferred solution to diplomatic problems, which have been causing humanitarian disasters.

When COVID-19 was raging across the world, the U.S. government did not relent in imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran, Syria and other countries, making it difficult for these countries to obtain the much-needed medical supplies to fight the virus. As a result of the sanctions, Iran has been cut off access to essential medicines and medical equipment, putting the health of millions of Iranians in jeopardy.

Long-arm jurisdiction not only undermines the principle of sovereign equality, violates international law, and erodes the multilateral order with the United Nations at its core, but also creates and intensifies tensions and conflicts among major countries, and poses a threat to the international security system established after World War II. It also interferes with and distorts normal international commercial exchanges and trade order, disrupts the supply chain of global trade, damages the interests of enterprises and raises their operating costs.

The United States should renounce its illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction measures, and truly take up its international responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Small unknown asteroid accidentally detected by Webb telescope

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European astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope have detected a previously unknown asteroid about the size of Rome’s Colosseum in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The asteroid measuring between 100 and 200 meters in length is suspected to be the smallest object observed to date using the telescope, the U.S. space agency NASA said Monday.

The European astronomers “serendipitously detected” the asteroid, NASA said in a statement, adding that more observations would be needed to better characterize its nature and properties.

“We – completely unexpectedly – detected a small asteroid,” said Thomas Muller, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.

It was detected during calibration of the telescope’s Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), which operates in mid-infrared wavelengths.

“Webb’s incredible sensitivity made it possible to see this roughly 100-meter object at a distance of more than 100 million kilometers,” Muller said.

Webb, which has been operational since July, is mainly built to study the life cycle of stars. Another main research focus is on exoplanets, planets outside Earth’s solar system.

Webb was not designed to look for small objects such as the newly discovered asteroid, but Muller said its discovery “suggests that many new objects will be detected with this instrument.”

Source(s): AFP & CGTN

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