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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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ACC probes corruption claims involving ex-MPs and ministers

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The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has opened an investigation into allegations of corruption involving several former parliamentarians and government ministers.

A spokesperson from the ACC told Sun on Thursday said the case involves deposits made from state-owned enterprises to companies they own stakes in.

The ACC said that it recently received complaints regarding the case.

However, the spokesperson declined to disclose any details regarding the investigation.

The investigation comes with Maldives set to elect the next parliamentary assembly on March 17. A number of incumbent and former parliamentarians are contesting the election.

Source(s): sun.mv

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MDP submits an anti-defection bill

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The main opposition MDP says it has submitted an anti-defection bill to prevent floor crossing, but was facing challenges in pushing the legislature through.

In a press briefing on Thursday evening, MDP’s parliamentary group leader, Mohamed Rasheed Hussain (Bigey) told reporters that the bill was submitted to the Parliament by Baarah MP Ahmed Abdulla. But he did not specify when it was submitted.

According to Bigey, the bill was submitted due to great public concern over cases of floor crossing.

“But we have been unable to push this through to the Parliament floor due to various reasons. The Parliament’s secretariat has yet to facilitate this opportunity,” said Bigey, who represents the Alifushi constituency.

MDP’s legal director Hisaan Hussain, who represents the Thulhaadhoo constituency in the Parliament, told reporters that the bill submitted by MDP is different from the anti-defection legislature which was passed, and then later repealed by the PPM administration in 2018.

Hisaan said the previous legislature disqualified lawmakers who are expelled by their parties.

“Even back then, we said it cannot be done that way. Even political parties must not have such great power over a lawmaker and the chance to abuse that power,” she said.

Hisaan said the greatest difference with MDP’s bill is that it requires lawmakers elected on party tickets to resign if they voluntarily leave the party.

Secondly, lawmakers who are expelled from their party will be subjected to a recall vote – which will be held by the Elections Commission (EC).

“After a recall referendum, if the constituents decide they do not want the lawmaker to represent the seat, then the lawmaker will be required to resign from the Parliament,” she said.

She, too, said the MDP face facing challenges in scheduling the bill.

She added that the Parliament’s secretariate still had the same top officials who were there when the previous anti-defection legislature was submitted and passed.

Hisaan did not elaborate on the challenges the MDP if facing in pushing the legislature through, but said that the speaker and deputy speaker – both of whom belong to the MDP – are working on resolving the issue.

The previous anti-defection legislature was formulated in response to a Supreme Court ruling in July 2017, in which the top court established that lawmakers would lose their seat if they left or were expelled the party they were elected from, or if they switched parties. The ruling, which contentiously stripped the seats of a dozen lawmakers who left the then-ruling PPM, called for the formulation of anti-defection legislature.

The bill was submitted by the then-PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik in March 2018. But the bill was repealed in November 2018.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Chinese envoy: Immediate ceasefire in Gaza is the universal call

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A Chinese envoy said Thursday that an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is the universal call of the international community and the overwhelming consensus of Council members.

Two days ago, the Council once again missed an opportunity to push for a ceasefire in Gaza because of the veto of an Algerian-drafted resolution by the United States, said Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, stressing that “the realization of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is an urgent requirement to save innocent lives and to prevent a wider war.”

The envoy said that China has noted that the U.S. has introduced a new draft resolution and hopes that the United States will adopt a responsible attitude, and respect the established consensus of the members of the Security Council.

The core of the Council’s action must be the immediate realization of a ceasefire, and the relevant signals must be clear, unambiguous and unmistakable, rather than evasive and covert, he told the Security Council.

“What the Council needs at this time is strong determination, not just negotiating skills,” Zhang emphasized.

Zhang also pointed out that China is gravely concerned by the recent repeated public dismissal of the two-state solution by some Israeli politicians and their rejection of any international effort toward independent Palestinian statehood.

Noting that “Gaza is an inalienable part of Palestine, and the two-state solution is the bottom line of international justice and the only viable path toward the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli issue,” he said that China urges Israel to stop without delay eroding the foundation of the two-state solution, “halt the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, and cease the searches, arrests, and raids in the West Bank.”

The historical wrongs suffered by Palestine must be righted. Palestine’s aspiration for independent statehood must be fulfilled. China supports Palestine in becoming a member of the United Nations as soon as possible, and calls for the convening of a larger, more authoritative, and more effective international peace conference to push for a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the question of Palestine, he said.

Source(s): sun.mv

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