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UK, EU pledge to intensify talks on future relations

During this period, the UK would have to pay into EU funds but have no say in laws imposed by Brussels.

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Boris Johnson

London, June 16 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a video-conference with leaders of the European Union (EU), with both sides calling for a new momentum to reach an agreement before the end of this year when the Brexit transition period ends.

In a joint statement published on Monday after the online summit between Johnson and President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, the two sides said they noted the UK”s decision not to request any extension to the transition period, reports Xinhua news agency.

The transition period will therefore end on December 31 in line with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, said the statement.

On June 12, the UK formally ruled out the possibility of an extended post-Brexit transition period.

However, the two sides agreed that new momentum was required.

“They supported the plans agreed by Chief Negotiators to intensify the talks in July and to create the most conducive conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal before the end of 2020,” said the statement.

“This should include, if possible, finding an early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement,” said the statement.

Ahead of Monday”s talks, Von der Leyen said the EU was ready to intensify talks, and was available 24/7.

“The Parties underlined their intention to work hard to deliver a relationship, which would work in the interests of the citizens of the Union and of the UK. They also confirmed their commitment to the full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement,” said the joint statement.

The video summit followed four rounds of negotiations between the UK and the EU during past few months, which saw little progress made on major stumbling blocks such as fisheries, governance arrangements and the so-called level playing field.

The UK formally exited the EU on January 31 but is still following the Union”s rules during the transition period until Dec. 31 to enable a permanent future trade deal to be reached.

During this period, the UK would have to pay into EU funds but have no say in laws imposed by Brussels.

India

Citizenship query: It’s not unusual, Chidambaram comes out in Kanimozhi’s support

While non-Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts quickly learn functional spoken Hindi, why cannot Hindi-speaking recruits to these posts learn functional spoken English? the senior Congress leader asked.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi: Former Union Minister P Chidambaram, a native of Tamil Nadu, has come out in support of DMK MP Kanimozhi, who had tweeted about an incident at an airport wherein she was asked about her citizenship and pointed to his own experiences.

“The unpleasant experience of DMK MP Kanimozhi at the Chennai airport is not unusual. I (too) have experienced similar taunts from government officers and ordinary citizens, who insisted that I speak in Hindi during telephone conversations, and sometimes even face to face,” Chidambaram said.

Read: CISF orders inquiry after DMK MP Kanimozhi asked ‘are you Indian’ at Chennai airport

The former Union Minister said: “If the Centre is genuinely committed to both Hindi and English being the official languages of India, it must insist that all central government employees are bilingual in Hindi and English.”

While non-Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts quickly learn functional spoken Hindi, why cannot Hindi-speaking recruits to these posts learn functional spoken English?” the senior Congress leader asked.

Meanwhile, the BJP has dismissed her allegation as ‘electoral stunt’. BJP General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh tweeted to counter Kanimozhi’s charge, saying that “assembly elections are 8 months away … the campaign starts”.

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India

Amid reconciliation talks, Congress leaders hint at Rahul-Pilot meet

Meanwhile, the Gehlot camp in Jaisalmer is keeping a wary eye on any development in Delhi vis-a-vis the proposed meeting.

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Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, Aug 10 : Political circles in Rajasthan were on Monday agog with talks of a likely resolution to the crisis arising out of rebellion by Congress MLAs owing allegiance to Sachin Pilot. Congress sources claimed that the Pilot camp lawmakers will meet Rajya Sabha MP KC Venugopal during the day and even meet with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi thereafter.

The Congress sources said that veteran party leader Ahmed Patel had pitched in to resolve the issue that had threatened the survival of the Ashok Gehlot government after the Pilot camp raised a banner of revolt over the state leadership.

The Congress had sacked Pilot as Deputy Chief Minister and the Rajasthan Congress President. So far, Gehlot has stayed put in the CM chair amid claims and counter-claims on attempts to poach MLAs.

On Sunday night, a Congress Legislature Party meeting was held in a Jaisalmer hotel, where MLAs from the Gehlot camp are lodged. In this meeting, they held mixed views on taking back the rebels into the party fold.

While a few MLAs suggested that the rebel camp leader should be taken back in view of the “wafer-thin margin” of the Gehlot government over the opposition in the Assembly, others were not ready to budge and were not in favour of taking back the Pilot followers.

Meanwhile, the Gehlot camp in Jaisalmer is keeping a wary eye on any development in Delhi vis-a-vis the proposed meeting.

A senior Congress worker confirmed to IANS that a few Ministers from Rajasthan had hints to the meeting and that the views of party MLAs were sought ahead of the scheduled meeting on reinducting Pilot and his loyalist MLAs.

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India

Rajasthan Cong MLAs demand action against rebels including Sachin Pilot

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Ashok Gehlot

Jaipur, Aug 10 : Ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly session, Congress MLAs have demanded action against Sachin Pilot and other rebel MLAs at the Congress’ Legislature Party meeting for creating the political crisis in the state. The Congress has accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading to bring down the Gehlot government.

State Congress in-charge Avinash Pandey said that he is not in favour of rebels and will convey to the party high command of the situation created by them.
“MLAs in yesterday’s Congress Legislature Party meeting demanded action against Sachin Pilot and other rebel MLAs. State Congress in-charge Avinash Pandey said he will not advocate for rebels in front of party high command,” ANI reported quoting sources.

Gehlot is likely to seek a trust vote during the session which is likely to start on August 14. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has already sent out a three-page communication urging all MLAs in the 200 member House to listen to the voice of the people to save democracy and stand with the truth in the interest of the state.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had on Sunday held CLP meeting at Hotel Suryagarh in Jaisalmer.
Gehlot has accused the BJP of horse -trading as Amit Shah led BJP has already taken down the Congress led governments in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and now Nadda led saffron party wants to forcibly install BJP government in Rajasthan.

Pilot was removed as the Deputy Chief Minister and as the state chief of the party on July 14. Pilot was reportedly miffed after the SOG sent him a notice to record his statement. Gehlot also targeted the 19 Congress dissident MLAs for wronly “creating the impression” that notices issued to them by the SOG which filed three sedition cases last month, had been engineered by state government but Gehlot said he also received a notice.


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