Day: April 7, 2019

UK Conservatives slam Theresa May’s cross-party Brexit talks

LONDON — Britain’s pro-Brexit Conservatives are protesting angrily against Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to seek the opposition party’s help in finding a compromise Brexit agreement.

May acknowledged Saturday that, despite her best efforts to persuade lawmakers to back her European Union divorce deal, “there is no sign it can be passed in the near future.” She said there was no choice but to reach out to the opposition Labour Party. Otherwise, she says, Brexit could “slip through our fingers” unless a compromise alternative can be reached with Labour lawmakers.

But leading Conservative Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg on Sunday slammed May’s move to include Labour in the Brexit talks, and blamed her for failing to take Britain out of the EU already.

Three days of cross-party talks so far have ended with no agreement.

The Associated Press

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/04/07/uk-conservatives-slam-theresa-mays-cross-party-brexit-talks/

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AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT

Trump: Democrats would ‘leave Israel out there’

LAS VEGAS (AP) — President Donald Trump warned on Saturday that a Democratic victory in 2020 could “leave Israel out there,” as he highlighted his pro-Israel actions in an effort to make the case for Jewish voters to back his re-election.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump touted his precedent-shredding actions to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and recognition last month of Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel seized from Syria in 1967.

“We got you something that you wanted,” Trump said of the embassy move, adding, “Unlike other presidents, I keep my promises.”

The group, backed by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, supported Trump’s 2016 campaign and is preparing to spend millions on his 2020 effort.

“I know that the Republican Jewish Coalition will help lead our party to another historic victory,” Trump said. “We need more Republicans. Let’s go, so we can win everything.”

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Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Saturday to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if re-elected, a dramatic policy shift apparently aimed at rallying his nationalist base in the final stretch of the tight race.

Netanyahu has promoted Jewish settlement expansion in his four terms as prime minister, but until now refrained from presenting a detailed vision for the West Bank, seen by the Palestinians as the heartland of a future state.

An Israeli annexation of large parts of the West Bank is bound to snuff out any last flicker of hope for an Israeli-Palestinian deal on the terms of a Palestinian state on lands Israel captured in 1967.

A so-called two-state solution has long been the preferred option of most of the international community. However, intermittent U.S. mediation between Israelis and Palestinians ran aground after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital early in his term. The Palestinians, who seek Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital, suspended contact with the U.S.

More recently, Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a plateau Israel captured from Syria in 1967. The move was viewed in Israel as a political gift by Trump to Netanyahu who is being challenged by former military chief Benny Gantz.

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Ex-Sen Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings of South Carolina dies at 97

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, the silver-haired Democrat who helped shepherd South Carolina through desegregation as governor and went on to serve six terms in the U.S. Senate, has died. He was 97.

Family spokesman Andy Brack, who also served at times for Hollings as spokesman during his Senate career, said Hollings died at his home on the Isle of Palms early Saturday.

Hollings, whose long and colorful political career included an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, retired from the Senate in 2005, one of the last of the larger-than-life Democrats who dominated politics in the South.

He had served 38 years and two months, making him the eighth longest-serving senator in U.S. history.

Nevertheless, Hollings remained the junior senator from South Carolina for most of his term. The senior senator was Strom Thurmond, first elected in 1954. He retired in January 2003 at age 100 as the longest-serving senator in history.

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Virginia, Texas Tech get defensive to move to title game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Slap the floor, bend those knees and get both hands up.

This national championship game is going to be a clinic on defence.

Virginia and Texas Tech are the last two teams alive in the NCAA Tournament, and they’re here because they barely let their opponents breathe when possessing the ball.

Two of the three best defences in the nation will meet for the title on Monday night, the first appearance in the final for each program. So after surviving a low-scoring semifinal on Saturday, here come the Cavaliers and the Red Raiders for another clash of the paint packers, ball hawkers and board crashers.

Virginia stunned Auburn 63-62 , when Kyle Guy sank three free throws with 0.6 seconds left after a late foul call. Then Texas Tech grinded past Michigan State 61-51, buoyed by 22 points from Matt Mooney and bolstered by coach Chris Beard’s smothering defensive approach.

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US wants 2 years to ID migrant kids separated from families

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Trump administration wants up to two years to find potentially thousands of children who were separated from their families at the border before a judge halted the practice last year, a task that it says is more laborious than previous efforts because the children are no longer in government custody.

The Justice Department said in a court filing late Friday that it will take at least a year to review about 47,000 cases of unaccompanied children taken into government custody between July 1, 2017 and June 25, 2018 — the day before U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw halted the general practice of splitting families. The administration would begin by sifting through names for traits most likely to signal separation — for example, children under 5.

The administration would provide information on separated families on a rolling basis to the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued to reunite families and criticized the proposed timeline on Saturday.

“We strongly oppose a plan that could take up to two years to locate these families,” said Lee Gelernt, the ACLU’s lead attorney. “The government needs to make this a priority.”

Sabraw ordered last year that more than 2,700 children in government care on June 26, 2018 be reunited with their families, which has largely been accomplished. Then, in January, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s internal watchdog reported that thousands more children may have been separated since the summer of 2017. The department’s inspector general said the precise number was unknown.

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Venezuela street rallies show deep divide in power struggle

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Rival political factions took to the streets across Venezuela on Saturday in a mounting struggle for control of the crisis-wracked nation, where U.S.- backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó is attempting to oust socialist President Nicólas Maduro.

It was the first march Guaidó has led since Maduro loyalists stripped him of legal protections he’s granted as a congressman, opening a path to prosecute and possibly arrest him for allegedly violating the constitution.

The rallies also follow crippling power failures that left most of the country scrambling in the dark for days and without running water or phone service, which Maduro blamed on “terrorists” acts launched by political opponents.

Speaking before several thousand people who packed a broad Caracas avenue, Guaidó urged them to stay united and to keep up pressure until Maduro leaves power.

“Something is evident today,” Guaidó said. “Venezuela is not afraid and continues taking the streets until we achieve freedom.”

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Mormon leaders talk spirituality, not changes, at conference

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Leaders with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered spiritual guidance aimed at strengthening members’ faith amid a world of temptation and immorality and reaffirmed the faith’s opposition to gay marriage during a church conference Saturday in Utah.

Many church members had been bracing for more announcements of change during the two-day conference because church President Russell M. Nelson has made a flurry of moves in his first year at the helm. Those decisions included the surprising repeal Thursday of 2015 policies that banned baptisms for children of gay parents and labeled people in same-sex marriages as sinners eligible for expulsion.

But through the first three sessions Saturday, faith leaders instead focused speeches on how members can become better followers of the faith. During an all-men’s session Saturday night, Nelson encouraged men to be better husbands by making their wives a higher priority than watching sports.

“Your first and foremost duty as a bearer of the priesthood is to love and care for your wife. Become one with her. Be her partner,” Nelson said. “Make it easy for her to want to be yours. No other interest in life should take priority over building an eternal relationship with her.”

Neil L. Andersen, a member of a top governing panel called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke about the importance of one of the religion’s signature proclamations that states marriage should be reserved for relationships between man and a woman and that a person’s God-given gender is an essential part of a person’s eternal identity.

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For American Jews, Trump is key figure in Israeli election

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot for Israel’s national election, yet he’s a dominant factor for many American Jews as they assess the high stakes of Tuesday’s balloting.

At its core, the election is a judgment on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has won the post four times but now faces corruption charges. In his battle for political survival, Netanyahu has aligned closely with Trump — a troubling tactic for the roughly 75% of American Jewish voters who lean Democratic.

“The world has come to understand that Netanyahu is essentially the political twin of Donald Trump,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal pro-Israel group J Street. “Unlike his previous elections, there is a much deeper antagonism toward Netanyahu because of that close affiliation between him and Trump and the Republican Party.”

Netanyahu featured Trump in a recent campaign video, while Trump has made a series of policy moves viewed as strengthening Netanyahu in the eyes of Israeli voters, including relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

“It’s troubling,” said Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “The U.S.-Israel relationship should not be about any two leaders or any two parties. The American Jewish community wants the relationship to remain on a bipartisan basis.”

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Missing boy’s grandmother hopes hoax will generate new leads

WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) — The grandmother of a boy who went missing in 2011 from Illinois said she believes her grandson is still alive and hopes publicity surrounding a hoax perpetrated by an Ohio man claiming to be the 14-year-old boy will generate new leads in the authorities search for him.

Linda Pitzen, 71, told The Wooster Daily Record she tried to manage her expectations when she heard Wednesday that Timmothy Pitzen, missing since age 6, might be the teenager who told police he was Timmothy. She said she found it frightening to wonder whether Timmothy would remember his name after “supposedly being kept captive” for so long.

“You don’t want to get your hopes up, but yet you are hoping that it could be him,” Linda Pitzen said.

The teen was in fact 23-year-old Brian Rini , of Medina, Ohio, a convicted felon released from prison in March after serving a sentence for burglary and vandalism. Rini has been charged with make false statements to authorities in federal court in Cincinnati.

Timmothy vanished after his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, pulled him out of kindergarten in Aurora, Illinois, nearly eight years ago, took him on a two-day road trip to the zoo and a water park, and then killed herself at a hotel. She left a note saying that her son was safe with people who would love and care for him, and added: “You will never find him.”

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Junior hockey team victims remembered a year after crash

HUMBOLDT, Saskatchewan (AP) — After prayers and songs filled the Saskatchewan hockey arena, Carol Brons spoke as a grieving mother.

Her daughter was one of 16 people who died when the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus collided with a semi at a rural intersection. Thirteen others were injured.

Brons spoke Saturday at a memorial marking the anniversary of the collision and described the day as a milestone.

“Not a joyful milestone, but one of perseverance, faith and courage,” she said, standing beside Celeste Leray-Leicht, whose son also died.

“We are not preachers. We are moms,” Brons said. “And like many moms before us, we have lost a child.”

The Associated Press

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/04/07/ap-news-in-brief-at-1204-a-m-edt-23/

By The Wall of Law April 7, 2019 Off

British PM May admits Brexit deal not likely anytime soon

British Prime Minister Theresa May acknowledged that the government’s strategies to get her Brexit deal approved in Parliament failed, saying Saturday there’s little prospect lawmakers will back the thrice-rejected divorce agreement “in the near future.”

With the U.K. once again days away from a deadline for leaving the European Union, May pressured opposition lawmakers to help her find a compromise agreement instead, saying voters “expect their politicians to work together when the national interest demands it.”

After May’s deal with the EU out for a third time in the House of Commons, the prime minister invited the opposition Labour Party this week to discuss alternatives. But three days of talks ended with no agreement and the left-of-centre Labour accusing May’s Conservative government of not offering real change.

“I haven’t noticed any great change in the government’s position so far,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Saturday. “I’m waiting to see the red lines move.”

Labour favours a softer form of Brexit than the government has advocated. The party says Britain should remain closely bound to EU trade rules and maintain the bloc’s standards in areas such as workers’ rights and environmental protection.

Britain is due to leave the EU on Friday unless May can secure another delay from the EU, which already agreed to postpone the Brexit day originally set for March 29.

May now is asking for Britain’s departure to be pushed back until June 30, hoping to reach a compromise with Labour and a deal through Parliament in a matter of weeks.

“The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the U.K. never leaving at all,” May said in a statement.

But EU leaders favour a longer delay to avoid another round of cliff-edge preparations and politics. And they say the U.K. needs to put forward a concrete plan to end the stalemate to get any further postponement.

An extension requires unanimous approval from the 27 remaining leaders, some of whom are fed up with Brexit uncertainty and reluctant to prolong it further.

Last month, the EU gave Britain until April 12 to approve the withdrawal agreement it reached with the May’s government, to change course and seek a further delay to Brexit, or to crash out of the EU with no deal in place or transition period to cushion the shock.

The leaders of EU member countries are due to meet in Brussels Wednesday – two days before the April 12 deadline – to consider Britain’s request for a second extension.

Economists and business leaders have warned a no-deal Brexit would severely disrupt trade and travel, with tariffs and customs checks causing gridlocked British ports and possible shortages of some foods, medicines and other products.

Worries about a chaotic British exit are especially acute in Ireland, the only EU member that shares a land border with the U.K. Any customs checks or other obstacles along the currently invisible frontier would hammer the Irish economy and could undermine Northern Ireland’s peace process.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Saturday that it was “extremely unlikely” any of the 27 countries would veto a delay.

“If one country was to veto an extension and, as a result, impose hardship on us, real problems for the Dutch and Belgians and French as neighbouring countries (to the U.K.)…they wouldn’t be forgiven for it,” he told Ireland’s RTE radio.

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/04/06/british-pm-may-admits-brexit-deal-not-likely-anytime-soon/

By The Wall of Law April 7, 2019 Off