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Dutch parliament rejects motion for EU referendum

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The Dutch House of Representatives has rejected by majority a motion by opposition leader Geert Wilders for a referendum on the country’s European Union (EU) membership.

“I say this to everyone: the Dutch deserve a referendum as well,” Wilders stated while advocating his motion in parliament in The Hague on Tuesday.

“The Dutch should also be able to rule in favour or against the departure of the Netherlands from the European Union and the restoration of our national sovereignty and independence,” Geert, leader of Party for Freedom (PVV) said.

Only 14 of the total of 150 MP’s supported the motion for a ‘Nexit’ referendum, the 12 members of Wilders anti-EU Party of Freedom PVV and two MP’s who had separated themselves from the PVV.

A Dutch EU referendum would be possible with the backing of a majority of parliament or if the prime minister would issue a referendum. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has already stated that he is against a referendum in general and also against the Netherlands leaving the EU.

“That would have major consequences for the Netherlands, our stability and the recovery of our prosperity,” Rutte reacted on the outcome of Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

“I am absolutely against it. It would not be in the Dutch interest.”

According to a poll by Dutch news show EenVandaag on June 25, 54 per cent of the Dutch people would like to have a referendum on whether the Netherlands should stay part of the EU. The same survey showed there would be no majority for a Nexit, with 48 per cent voting to leave the EU.

According to Dutch law, citizens of the Netherlands can only apply for an advisory referendum and such a referendum can only deal with laws or treaties already adopted but not entered into force yet. This was the case in April when a majority of the Dutch voted against the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement.

Wilders won’t give up on his Nexit message.

“My proposal for a Nexit referendum was rejected today,” he said, adding “But the Dutch get a second chance on March 15, 2017, the day of our next general elections.”

 

Disaster

32,000 COVID-19 cases in France, nearly 2,000 deaths

“The epidemic continues to worsen. The entire hospital establishments in the country, public and private, are mobilized,” said Salomon, adding that 576 of them now receive COVID-19 patients.

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Coronavirus Treatment

Paris, March 28 : The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France has risen by 13 per cent within a day to reach a total of 32,964 as of Friday, the 11th day of national lockdown imposed to contain the outbreak, Health General Director Jerome Salomon said.

A total of 1,995 people had died, an increase of 299 from Thursday, Salomon added in an update, reported Xinhua news agency.

Further 1,828 people diagnosed with the COIVD-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, had received treatment in hospitals in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of hospitalized patients to 15,732. That included 3,787 serious cases, a daily jump of 472.

Some 5,700 infected people were recovered, up from 4,948 reported a day ago.

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Europe

Boris’ spoof on ‘Love Actually’ scene sets Twitter abuzz

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Boris Johnson

London, Dec 10 : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new pro-Brexit ad, a spoof on the 2003 hit movie ‘Love Actually’, set Twitter abuzz, with users posting memes and funny comments.

The 3-minute clip called ‘Brexit Actually’ got 9.7K retweets and 25K likes after it was posted on Johnson’s Twitter account on Tuesday. It had 1.7 million views.

The clipping shows Boris standing at a woman’s doorstep and using written signboards to seek her vote and warn that the elections are “closer than you think”.

Through several billboards, he mimicked a famous scene between Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightly. Thus, he tried to send the message across to fencesitting voter about Brexit.

One signboard read: “With any luck by next year we will have Brexit done (if Parliament doesn’t block it again) and we can move on.

“But for now let me say, your vote has never been more important. The other guy could win.

“So you have to make a choice – between a working majority or another gridlocked hung Parliament.”

It ends with the PM walking away and telling the camera “enough, enough – let’s get this done”.

Twitterati poked fun at the video and also tore into the Conservative Party leader. One said: “Hang on, isn’t the doorstep character trying to sleep with his best mate’s wife?”

In reply to @BorisJohnson, one user posted: “Oh, for God’s sake now you have really crossed a line.”

A Twitter user posted a meme of Johnson sporting blonde hair opening the door to US President Donald Trump with billboards in his hand that say ‘with some luck you will sell the NHS’ and ‘to me’.

One user said: “Desperate, yes. The sad thing is that this is still the only thing Boris can say to you in this election. Nothing of substance on anything that matters in your daily life. And even that’s an empty promise.”

Another post read: “Boris Johnson’s awkward ‘Love Actually’ spoof is an uncomfortable watch and not a patch on the original.”

One user posted Hugh Grant’s take on the issue: “Hugh Grant has said it was terrible and highlights how the message is meant to be about telling the truth, which Johnson doesn’t”.

One Brexit supporter wrote: “This is brilliant! Let’s get Brexit done.”

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Election

You’re a damn liar man: Biden tells voter

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Vice President Joe Biden

Washington, Dec 6 : Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden confronted a voter by calling him a liar who suggested that the former Vice President had sent his son to work in Ukraine, a media report said on Friday.

The incident took place on Thursday at a campaign event in Iowa on Thursday when the 83-year-old Merle Gorman, who previously served in the US Marine Corp, accused Biden of selling access to the Presidency by sending son Hunter to Ukraine to work for a gas company Burisma Holdings, the Daily Mail said in the report.

Footage of the confrontation has now gone viral, with Gorman seen stating: “Trump has been messing around in Ukraine, he’s (got) no backbone… But you, on the other hand, sent your son over there, gave him a job working with a gas company, he had no experience with gas or nothing, in order to get access for the President.”

Biden was clearly enraged by the accusation, seen pacing the floor furiously before walking up to Gorman as if to confront him physically.

“You’re a damn liar, man,” Biden told Gorman. “That’s not true.”

Biden denied that he or his son engaged in any corrupt activity in Ukraine and told the voter to “get your words straight”.

During the heated exchange, Gorman also told Biden (77) that he was too old to be running for office.

In response, Biden said that “you’re too old to vote for me”.

Meanwhile, Biden’s camp has aggressively denied the former Vice President fat shamed Gorman, after he challenging him to the push-up contest, the Daily Mail reported.

Video of the incident suggests Biden said to Gorman at one point: “Look, fat, here’s the deal.”

The confrontation came the same day when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at a reporter who asked if she “hated” President Donald Trump.

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