Connect with us

World

‘Brexit talks to start as scheduled despite losing parliamentary majority’

Published

on

Theresa May

Paris, June 14, 2017: Visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday said that talks to launch procedures of Britain’s divorce from the European Union will start as scheduled next week.

In a joint press meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, May stressed that the “timetable has not changed and negotiations will begin next week,” dismissing fears of a possible delay in Brexit talks after she lost parliamentary majority in a snap general election.

“We will find an agreement that is both in the interest of the United Kingdom but also of the 27 countries that will remain in the European Union,” Xinhua quoted May as saying.

For his turn, Macron wished “negotiations on the exit from the European Union and then on the future relations with the United Kingdom will start as soon as possible.”

“The door of course is still open as long as Brexit negotiations have not been concluded,” he said.

“But, let us be clear and organised and once the negotiations have started we should be well aware that it’ll be more difficult to move backwards,” he noted.

Talks for a new relationship between London and Brussels will start on June 19.

IANS

World

US ready for North Korea talks without preconditions, says Tillerson

Published

on

Rex-Tillerson

Washington, Dec 13: The US is ready to open nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, without preconditions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said.

“Let’s just meet and let’s talk about the weather if you want,” he said on Tuesday at a policy forum in Washington, BBC reported.

His statement appeared to shift the US position away from previous demands that North Korea must first disarm.

North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons technology has led to heavy US-led sanctions against the regime.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Tillerson insisted that the economic and diplomatic sanctions would continue until “the first bomb drops”.

Diplomatic relations between the two nations have been strained by recent North Korean missile tests, and by a war of words between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

Speaking at the Atlantic Council policy forum, Tillerson said that the US “simply cannot accept a nuclear armed North Korea”.

But appearing to soften the US stance to talks, he said: “Let’s just meet and let’s talk about the weather if you want and talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about.

“Then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work towards.”

Tillerson also said that China had made contingency plans to accommodate North Korean refugees in the event of a conflict.

IANS

Continue Reading

World

Donald Trump signs defense policy bill worth nearly $700 bn

Published

on

Washington, Dec 13: US President Donald Trump has signed a nearly $700 billion annual defense policy bill in the White House, which authorizes the US military to add troops, ships, planes and other equipment.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was passed by the Congress last month, authorizes $626.4 billion for the base defense budget and $65.7 billion for a war fund known as Overseas Contingency Operations, Xinhua news agency reported.

The US President signed the defense policy bill on Tuesday. The money would go toward adding 7,500 active-duty soldiers to the Army, 4,000 active-duty sailors to the Navy, 1,000 active-duty Marines and 4,100 active-duty airmen to the Air Force.

It would also allow for a 2.4 per cent pay raise for troops, higher than the 2.1 percent requested by the administration.

Under the bill, the Pentagon will be allowed to buy 90 F-35s, 20 more than requested; 24 F/A-18s, 10 more than requested; and three littoral combat ships, two more than requested, among other equipment purchases.

Moreover, the bill folds in the administration’s November request for $4 billion more for missile defense and $1.2 billion to support sending another 3,500 troops to Afghanistan.

The US Army, Navy and Air Force would also see increases in the reserves and National Guard, according to a report by the Washington-based political news website The Hill.

However, the total money exceeds budget caps by more than $80 billion and the Congress has yet to pass a defense spending bill to make the buildup a reality.

IANS

Continue Reading

World

Queensland PM seeks veto of federal loan to Adani’s coal mine project

Published

on

protest against adani in australia
Protest against Adani in Australia(Photo- Reuters )

Brisbane, Dec 12: Queensland’s re-elected Labor Party Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to veto a federal loan to Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises’ A$16.5-billion Carmichael coal project in Galilee Basin, a media report said.

In one of her first acts after she was officially sworn in on Tuesday morning, Palaszczuk has followed through on the shock announcement she made during the election campaign to block a A$900 million loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to the Indian conglomerate to build a common-user rail line in the basin, The Australian reported.

“My government provides formal notification for the Commonwealth that financial assistance should not be provided to Adani for the North Galilee Basin Rail Project,” Palaszczuk’s letter to Prime Minister Turnbull reads.

“As such, the government is exercising its veto right under section 13(4) of the Investment Facility Mandate in response to the Adani loan application.”

An Adani spokesman said the company was still committed to Queensland despite the veto, and insisted the Queensland government was still supportive of its Carmichael coal mine proposal for the Galilee Basin.

“We congratulate Premier Palaszczuk on her government’s election and look forward to working closely and cooperatively with the state and federal governments and regulatory authorities as we get on with the job of making all of our projects a reality,” the spokesman said.

“Adani Australia currently employs over 800 people and has invested over $3.3 billion in Queensland, which is one of the biggest investments by an Indian company in Australia.

“We would not be investing our time, money and energy in this manner if our projects were not viable and if we were not serious about delivering our projects which will ultimately generate more than 10,000 direct & indirect jobs across all of our projects.

“The projects are viewed in a positive light by the Queensland Government and considered as critical infrastructure investments. The projects continue to retain the support of the Queensland Government.

“Adani Australia will now fully consider and adjust to the constraints the veto of NAIF (Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility) funding brings. Adani Australia is 100 per cent committed to Queensland, we have a strong regional Queensland presence. This will not change,” it said.

The contentious loan was for a rail line connecting the Carmichael coal mine to the Abbot Point coal terminal, and related mining project.

In response to Palaszczuk’s letter to Turnbull, Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said the Queensland government had “chosen to stand in the way of North Queensland jobs as its first official act”.

“It was the Palaszczuk Government that first asked last year that the NAIF consider a loan to the Adani Galilee rail project in a letter from the now-sidelined former Treasurer Curtis Pitt,” Senator Canavan said.

“But what the Queensland Premier has failed to say today is whether she intends to block all investment in the Galilee Basin.

“The people of regional Queensland deserve to know which jobs will be next on Labor’s hit list.

“I hope the Adani project proceeds because there are 800 people whose current jobs depend on it, and thousands of future jobs hang in the balance. If Adani does proceed it will be in spite of Queensland Labor not because of it.”

Under the constitution, the federal government funding must be facilitated by the state government to the private company.

Palaszczuk said newly appointed Treasurer Jackie Trad, the state’s Deputy Premier, would write to federal Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan to provide the same advice.

During the campaign, the Integrity Commissioner wrote to Palaszczuk and said she should not make any decisions about any NAIF applications, because of a conflict of interest created by Palaszczuk’s partner working on Adani’s NAIF application, the Australian reported.

However, she said she would veto the loan. Palaszczuk has not said what she would do for other NAIF projects, such as Aurizon’s application to build a rail line in the Galilee Basin.

Despite scepticism that its Carmichael mine was not viable, Adani said it had been verified by independent third parties to be in the lowest cost quartile of the cost of production in the global cost curve for seaborne thermal coal.

The decision to veto the loan has been criticised by the federal coalition government, which says it will put the entire multibillion-dollar project in jeopardy.

IANS

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular