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Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill passes Parliament but lawmakers reject timetable

The Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

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Boris Johnson

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 308 to 322 to turn down his rapid timetable for Brexit bill. As a result, Johnson has paused the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Xinhua news agency reported.

French Foreign Minister questions need for Brexit extension

France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, questioned the need for a Brexit extension in a statement Tuesday night, demanding: “what for? And why?”

“An extension has been asked for: what for? And why? We know that time alone won’t find a solution. Instead a political decision is what is needed. We cannot prolong this situation indefinitely,” Le Drian said.

EU Brexit Coordinator jokes “another three weeks” of Nigel Farage

European Parliament Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has reacted to Tuesday night’s news out of Britain with a jibe about Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

“You’re all thinking: another extension,” Verhofstadt tweeted, along with a GIF of the politician, his mouth agape. “I am thinking: another three weeks listening to Farage.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

“If parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen… in no circumstances can the government continue with this,” he said. “With great regret I will have to say the Bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.”

Europe

UK’s Prince Andrew steps back from public duties over scandal

The 59-year-old has been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl, Virginia Roberts, in 2001 after going to a London nightclub.

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Prince Andrew

London, Nov 21 (IANS) The United Kingdoms Prince Andrew has announced he is stepping back from royal duties over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

In a statement released on Wednesday he said he would end his public work “for the foreseeable future “over his links to the convicted sex offender, Efe news reported.

He also offered to help police investigating allegations against the disgraced hedge-fund manager and accused sex trafficker.

Andrew said his former association with Epstein had become a “major disruption” to the royal family.

“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission,” he added.

“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstien.”

Epstein was found dead in a prison cell in the United States while awaiting trial for sex trafficking of minors.

He was found to have died of suicide by hanging.

Andrew’s statement said his death “has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure”.

“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives,” he added.

“Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”

Andrew has been under increasing criticism for his relationship with the well-connected financier, with a number of sponsors severing ties with the royal after an interview he gave with the BBC on Saturday.

The 59-year-old has been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl, Virginia Roberts, in 2001 after going to a London nightclub.

He has denied all the allegations and in the BBC interview said he was at a pizza restaurant on the day in question.

Roberts said she had sex with Andrew three times, in London in March 2001, weeks later at Epstein’s New York mansion and a third time on his private island.

Epstein, who was known for friendships with high-profile figures such as US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, and Israeli former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

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Business

US govt grants export licenses for some Huawei’s suppliers

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network late on Tuesday that the department has “had 290-something requests for specific licences.”

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Huawei US Suppliers

Washington, Nov 21 : The US government has started to issue licenses to some US suppliers, allowing them to resume shipping to China’s telecom giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The US Department of Commerce in May put Huawei on its Entity List over the so-called “national security concerns.” The sale or transfer of American technology to a company or person on the Entity List requires a license issued by the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Xinhua news agency reported.

Reuters cited two industry sources as saying that companies began receiving notices of approval and “intent to deny” notices from the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network late on Tuesday that the department has “had 290-something requests for specific licences.”

“We now have been starting to send out the 20-day intent to deny letters and some approvals,” said Ross.

The Commerce Department announced Monday to extend, for the third time, a temporary license loosening restrictions on business deals with Huawei for another 90 days.

Huawei said in a statement on May 20 that the US export control decision is in no one’s interest and will do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business.

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Europe

Donald Tusk elected as new EPP leader

Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk was elected the new president of the European People’s Party, the largest bloc within the EU Parliament. Tusk vowed to fight “populists, manipulators and autocrats.”

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Donald Tusk

Zagreb, Nov 21 : The European People’s Party (EPP) elected outgoing President of the European Council Donald Tusk as its new leader at annual congress here.

Tusk, whose term in the European Council expires at the end of November, got 93 per cent of votes in his favour on Wednesday night.

He is replacing Joseph Daul who has been leading the largest political group in the European Parliament since 2013, Xinhua news agency reported.

Tusk promised earlier on Wednesday that he will tackle populists as soon as he becomes the new president of the EPP.

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