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British PM Theresa May calls snap election on June 8

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Theresa May

London, April 18: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday announced a snap General Election on June 8, seeking a stronger mandate in talks over leaving the European Union (EU).

In an unexpected statement at Downing Street, May said she was starting the process of calling a vote, less than halfway through the government’s term, BBC reported.

Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum, she said.

Explaining the decision, May said: The country is coming together but Westminster is not.

There will be a Commons vote on the proposed election on Wednesday — opposition Labour Party has said it will vote with the government, reported BBC.

The Prime Minister needs Parliament’s backing to hold a vote before the next scheduled date of 2020.

Explaining her change of heart on an early election, May said: I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election.

She accused Britain’s other political parties of “game playing”, adding that this risks “our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country”.

“So we need a General Election and we need one now. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done.

In a statement outside Number 10, May said: “Labour had threatened to vote against the final Brexit agreement, the Liberal Democrats had stated they wanted to ‘grind the business of government to a standstill’.”

“…The Scottish Nationalist Party had said they would vote against the negotiations and ‘unelected’ members of the House of Lords had vowed ‘to fight us every step of the way’,” she added.

“If we don’t hold a General Election now, their political game-playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run up to the next General Election,” she said.

The Prime Minister challenged the opposition parties: “This is your moment to show you mean it — to show you’re not opposing the government for the sake of it, to show that you do not treat politics as a game.”

Let’s tomorrow vote for an election — let’s put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government and then let the people decide.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision, saying it would “give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first”.

He said: “Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS.”

In his response to May’s announcement, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron tweeted: “This is your chance to change the direction of your country. If you want to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the single market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.”

“Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority,” he added.

IANS

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President Trump orders creation of ‘Space Force’

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Donald Trump

Washington, June 19 : US President Donald Trump has ordered the creation of a “Space Force”, saying it would be “separate but equal” from the Air Force.

“We must have American dominance in space. Very importantly, I’m hereby directing the Department of Defence and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. That’s a big step,” he said in the White House during a meeting of his National Space Council on Monday.

“We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force: separate but equal, it is going to be something so important,” CNN quoted the President as saying.

In addition to calling for the Space Force, Trump signed Space Policy Directive — 3 on Monday, part of his administration’s push to lead in the space space.

Space Policy Directive — 3 is primarily focused on satellite traffic management and mitigating debris in space. The policy, executive secretary of the National Space Council Scott Pace told reporters, “seeks to address the challenges of a congested space environment”.

“If we’re going to expand the economy in space, we need to make sure it’s done in a sustainable way,” Pace said.

Trump previously floated the idea of adding a “Space Force” branch to the US military — a concept that has received some support on Capitol Hill but drawn scepticism from the Pentagon, CNN reported.

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Poll shows 66% of US voters oppose family separations

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Washington, June 19 (IANS) : Sixty-six per cent of US voters oppose the administration’s controversial policy of separating children from their parents who get caught crossing the country’s border illegally, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released on Monday.

Among those polled, 91 per cent of Democratic voters oppose the policy, compared with 35 per cent of Republicans. Only 7 per cent of Democrats surveyed support the policy, while 55 per cent of Republicans support it, reports Xinhua news agency.

The poll comes as pressure is building on Washington to act upon the family separation practice. Some Republicans have joined Democrats in denouncing the “zero tolerance” policy that has led to parents being separated from their children as they are prosecuted for illegal immigration.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families after illegally crossing the US border in April and May.

Half of voters say the Trump administration has been too aggressive in deporting illegal immigrants, as 13 per cent of voters think the White House is not aggressive enough, while 33 per cent of voters believe it is acting appropriately.

Illegal immigrants currently living in the US should be allowed to stay and eventually apply for citizenship, 67 per cent of American voters say. Another 8 per cent say they should be allowed to stay, but not become citizens, and 19 per cent say they should be forced to leave.

Fifty-eight per cent of voters oppose building a wall along the US border with Mexico. The only listed groups to support the wall are Republicans and white voters with no college degree.

Speaking at the White House Monday, US President Donald Trump said the country “will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility.” He has blamed Democrats for the situation.

The poll, conducted from June l4 to 17, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points, with 905 voters surveyed nationwide through landlines and cellphones.

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Trump threatens to levy additional tariff on Chinese goods

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Washington, June 19: US President Donald Trump has threatened China by asking his trade advisers  to levy a 10 per cent tariff on $200 billion  of Chinese goods in a tit-for-tat trade row with Beijing.

Last week Trump announced the US would impose 25 per cent tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese goods.

Beijing responded by saying it would hit 659 US goods worth $50bn with a similar tax.

The US president released a statement on Monday night saying “these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced”, reports BBC.

“If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods. The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable,” he said.

Earlier on Monday, stock markets across the globe fell amid fears of further deterioration of US-China trade relations.

The Chinese product lines that have been hit range from aircraft tyres to turbines and commercial dishwashers.

In response, China announced tariffs on $34bn of US goods including agricultural products, cars and marine products which will also take effect from 6 July.

Tariffs on other US goods will be announced at a later date, the Xinhua news agency reported.

US tariffs that affect more than 800 Chinese products worth $34bn in annual trade are due to come into effect on 6 July.

The White House said it would consult on tariffs on the other $16bn of products, and would apply these later.

The US wants China to stop practices that allegedly encourage transfer of intellectual property – design and product ideas – to Chinese companies, such as requirements that foreign firms share ownership with local partners to access the Chinese market.

However, many economists and businesses in the US say the tariffs are likely to hurt some of the sectors the administration is trying to protect, which depend on China for parts or assembly.

The US announced plans for tariffs this spring, after an investigation into China’s intellectual property practices.

It published a draft list of about 1,300 Chinese products slated for tariffs in April. The list released on Friday was slightly shorter, incorporating feedback and criticism received in the ensuing weeks.

The plans have elicited a mixed political reaction, drawing praise from Democrats and opposition from Republicans, who typically favour free trade policies.(IANS)

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