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Andrea Leadsom says she is pulling out of the race to be UK PM

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Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom is reportedly set to quit the Tory leadership race

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom abruptly withdrew from the contest to succeed David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister on Monday, leaving her rival Theresa May as the only candidate.

The two women had been due to contest a ballot of around 150,000 Conservative party members, with the result to be declared by Sept. 9, but the shock announcement opens the way for May to take over much sooner.

Leadsom, who has no cabinet experience, was barely known to the British public until she emerged as a prominent voice in the successful campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

She had been criticized over a newspaper interview in which she appeared to suggest that being a mother meant she had more of a stake in the country’s future than May, who has no children.

Leadsom read out a statement to reporters in which she said she was pulling out of the race because a nine-week leadership campaign was highly undesirable at such a critical time. She acknowledged that May had secured overwhelming backing in a vote of Conservative members of parliament last week.

“Strong leadership is needed urgently to begin the work of withdrawing from the European Union,” Leadsom said.

“I have … concluded that the interests of our country are best served by the immediate appointment of a strong and well supported prime minister. I am therefore withdrawing from the leadership election and I wish Theresa May the very greatest success. I assure her of my full support.”

May, 59, who has served as interior minister for the past six years, is now set to become Britain’s second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher.

In a speech earlier on Monday she set out her vision for the economy, calling for “a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few”.

“In the coming weeks I will set out (how) to take our economy through this period of uncertainty, to get the economy growing strongly across all parts, to deal with Britain’s long-standing productivity problem, to create more well-paid jobs, to negotiate the best terms for Britain’s departure from the EU and to forge a new role for ourselves in the world,” May said.

May favored the ‘Remain’ side during last month’s referendum campaign. But she repeated her new mantra that “Brexit means Brexit”, saying there could be no second referendum and no attempt to rejoin the EU by the back door.

“As prime minister, I will make sure that we leave the European Union,” she said.

“The British people were given their opportunity to vote on this… They’ve given us a very clear message, and I think we respond to that message and we do what the British people have asked us to.”The 52-48 percent vote to quit the EU after 43 years of membership has shaken financial markets because the complex divorce process creates huge uncertainty for business, trade and investment.

It has thrown both Britain’s major political parties into upheaval.

Minutes before Leadsom’s announcement, opposition Labour lawmaker Angela Eagle said she would challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the party.

Corbyn was elected last year with overwhelming support from grassroots Labour activists. He has ignored a vote of no confidence from the party’s lawmakers, saying he has a responsibility to carry out that mandate.

 

 

Source : reuters.com

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America

US unemployment rate falls to 50-year low

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The U.S. unemployment rate fell in September to a new five-decade low of 3.5%, while employers added a modest 136,000 jobs.

The Labor Department says that despite the ultra-low unemployment rate, which was down from 3.7% in August, average hourly wages slipped by a penny. Hourly pay rose just 2.9% from a year earlier, lower than 3.4% at the beginning of the year.

Hiring has slowed this year as the U.S.-China trade war has intensified, global growth has slowed, and businesses have cut back on their investment spending. Still, hiring has averaged 157,000 in the past three months, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.

The unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 3.9%, the lowest on records dating from 1973.

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Trump embarrassed by TV channel

As Trump was speaking to the media after meeting Zelensky to clarify his position, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut into it, saying: “We hate to do this but the President isn’t telling the truth.”

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New York, Sep 26 : US President Donald Trump was subjected to an embarrassment when the MSNBC news channel cut away from his press conference while he was speaking on the controversy surrounding him over the Ukrainian probe against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump on Wednesday was addressing the press conference against the backdrop of impeachment proceedings announced against him by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following allegations that he put pressure on the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to order a probe against Biden whose family has business interests there.

The allegation against Trump came to light because of a whistleblower and a transcript of the conversation between him and Zelensky in July, which has become public.

As Trump was speaking to the media after meeting Zelensky to clarify his position, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut into it, saying: “We hate to do this but the President isn’t telling the truth.”

She added that Trump was trying to do it to deflect the attention from his impeachment.

According to the transcript of the telephonic conversation that has gone public, Trump is heard asking Zelensky to “do us a favour”, after the latter expresses gratitude for the military aid the US provided to his country.

Trump’s words of “do us a favour” is seen as a quid pro quo for the American military aid, because of which the impeachment proceedings have been announced.

After Wallace cut the press conference, her guest on the programme, justice and security analyst Matthew Miller, rebuked Trump for saying that Biden and his son had done wrong.

“This story has been looked at and thoroughly debunked by everyone involved,” Miller said, adding the real issue was whether Trump’s conduct is “impeachable”.

Trump is facing problem at a time when he is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

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Kim Jong-un receives ‘excellent’ letter from Trump

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Pyongyang, June 23 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has received a personal letter with “excellent” and “interesting” content from US President Donald Trump, Pyongyang’s state media said on Sunday.

“After reading the letter, the Supreme Leader of the Party, the state and the armed forces said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content,” the Korean Central News Agency said, referring to its leader.

“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong-un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” it added.

The KCNA did not disclose when and how the letter was delivered to Kim, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The letter appears to be in response to the one Kim sent to Trump recently in time for the anniversary of their first-ever summit in Singapore last June.

Trump had described Kim’s letter as “beautiful” and “very warm”. He also emphasized that the relationship between them remains strong and that “something will happen that’s going to be very positive”.

The exchange of correspondence between the leaders renewed hopes for a resumption of denuclearization talks which have stalled since the breakdown of their second summit in February.

The summit collapsed as Pyongyang wanted sanctions relief as a corresponding measure in exchange for dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear complex, while Washington insisted that sanctions should remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons programme.

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