Month: January 2020

Britain’s Independence Day Is Here As U.K., EU Set To Divorce

LONDON — Britain begins the day as a member of the European Union (EU). Its status at the end of the day — as a proud nation that has reclaimed its sovereignty, or a diminished presence in Europe and the world — will still be up for debate.

Britain officially departs the EU at 11 p.m. local time Friday (6 p.m. ET), which is midnight in Brussels. The departure comes three-and-a-half years after the country voted by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent to walk away from the club that it had joined in 1973.

It’s the first time a country has left the EU, and many in the bloc regard it as a sad day. In Brussels, European Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission leader Ursula von der Leyen are due to sketch out the EU’s first steps as a group of 27, rather than 28.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to meet in the morning with his Cabinet in the pro-Brexit town of Sunderland, in northeast England. He is scheduled to deliver a televised address to the country an hour before departure, calling Brexit “not an end but a beginning.”

According to his office, he will describe it as “a moment of real national renewal and change.”

The government hopes the moment will be marked in a dignified fashion, with red, white and blue lights illuminating government buildings and a countdown clock projected onto the prime minister’s 10 Downing St. residence.

Some Brexit supporters will be holding more raucous celebrations. Arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage and his band of devotees will gather for patriotic songs and speeches in London’s Parliament Square to mark a moment that even Farage sometimes doubted would ever come.

Others do not feel like indulging in any festivities. Lawyer Alice Cole-Roberts said Friday morning she expects “more and more frustration” as Brexit unfolds.

“It’s a very sad day,” she said. “I’m very upset that we are leaving the European Union and I simply wish it didn’t happen.”

Britain was never a wholehearted EU member, but actually leaving the bloc was long considered a fringe idea. It gradually gained strength within the Conservative Party, which has a wing of fierce “euroskeptics” — opponents of EU membership. Former U.K. prime minister David Cameron eventually agreed to hold a referendum, saying he wanted to settle the issue once and for all.

It hasn’t worked out that way. Since the 2016 vote, the U.K. has held fractious negotiations with the EU that finally, late last year, secured a deal on divorce terms. But Britain is leaving the bloc arguably as divided as it was on referendum day.

Scotland seeks 2020 referendum

By and large, Britain’s big cities voted to stay in the EU, while small towns voted to leave. England and Wales backed Brexit, while Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain.

In Edinburgh, the EU flag will not be lowered outside the Scottish Parliament on Friday night. Lawmakers there voted to keep it as a symbol of their opposition to Brexit. Scotland’s pro-EU government will also light up two government buildings in the blue and yellow of the EU flag on Friday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Friday her Scottish National Party will continue to pressure Britain’s government to authorize a second referendum on Scottish independence.

“I believe a referendum is practical this year,” she said. “I believe it can be delivered this year and I will continue to do all that I can to bring that about.”

Thus far, Johnson has stoutly ruled out a second independence vote. Scotland voted to remain in the U.K. in a 2014 referendum that the prime minister’s office says was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell urged the EU to “leave a light on for Scotland” so that it could eventually return.

Brexit supporter Joseph Afrane is decked out in the colours of the British flag Friday as he holds a sign saying

London, which is home to more than one million EU citizens, also voted by a wide margin to stay in the bloc. Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has linked the Brexit vote to a rise in xenophobic abuse, said Britain’s capital would remain “a truly global, European city.”

“We continue to be a beacon for progressive ideas, for liberal values and for decency and diversity,” Khan said in a statement. “And we will continue to welcome people from around the world, regardless of the colour of their skin, the colour of their passport or the colours of their national flag.”

Britain’s departure is a historic moment, but it only marks the end of the first stage of the Brexit saga. When Britons wake up on Saturday, they will notice very little change. The U.K. and the EU have given themselves an 11-month “transition period” ― in which the U.K. will continue to follow the bloc’s rules ― to strike new agreements on trade, security and a host of other areas.

Negotiations are due to start in March, and the early signs are not encouraging. Britain says it will not agree to follow an EU rule book in return for unfettered trade. The bloc insists there can be no trade deal unless Britain agrees to a “level playing field” and does not undercut EU regulations.

Johnson’s government hopes to negotiate a deal with the EU alongside a free trade agreement with the United States. That’s also likely to be contentious. Opposition politicians are already raising concerns about issues ranging from food-safety standards — especially the U.S. practice of chlorine-washing chicken to kill germs — to drug prices.

With files from Matthew Lee and Jo Kearney

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By The Wall of Law January 31, 2020 Off

Johnson hails UK’s ‘new beginning’ as Brexit day arrives

LONDON — Britain begins the day as a member of the European Union. Its status at the end of the day — as a proud nation that has reclaimed its sovereignty, or a diminished presence in Europe and the world — will still be up for debate.

Britain officially departs the EU at 11 p.m. local time Friday, midnight in Brussels (2300 GMT, 6 p.m. EST). The departure comes 3 1/2 years after the country voted by a margin of 52%-48% to walk away from the club that it had joined in 1973.

It’s the first time a country has left the EU, and many in the bloc regard it as a sad day. In Brussels, European Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission leader Ursula von der Leyen are due to sketch out the EU’s first steps as a group of 27, rather than 28.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to meet in the morning with his Cabinet in the pro-Brexit town of Sunderland, in northeast England. He is scheduled to deliver a televised address to the country an hour before departure, calling Brexit “not an end but a beginning.”

According to his office, he will describe it as “a moment of real national renewal and change.”

The government hopes the moment will be marked in a dignified, nontriumphalist fashion, with red, white and blue lights illuminating government buildings and a countdown clock projected onto the prime minister’s 10 Downing St. residence.

Some Brexit supporters will be holding more raucous celebrations. Arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage and his band of devotees will gather for patriotic songs and speeches in London’s Parliament Square to mark a moment that even Farage sometimes doubted would ever come.

Britain was never a wholehearted EU member, but actually leaving the bloc was long considered a fringe idea. It gradually gained strength within the Conservative Party, which has a wing of fierce “euroskeptics” — opponents of EU membership. Former Prime Minister David Cameron eventually agreed to hold a referendum, saying he wanted to settle the issue once and for all.

It hasn’t worked out that way. Since the 2016 vote, the U.K. has held fractious negotiations with the EU that finally, late last year, secured a deal on divorce terms. But Britain is leaving the bloc arguably as divided as it was on referendum day.

By and large, Britain’s big cities voted to stay in the EU, while small towns voted to leave. England and Wales backed Brexit, while Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain.

In Edinburgh, the EU flag will not be lowered outside the Scottish Parliament on Friday night. Lawmakers there voted to keep it as a symbol of their opposition to Brexit. Scotland’s pro-EU government will also light up two government buildings in the blue and yellow of the EU flag on Friday.

Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell urged the EU to “leave a light on for Scotland” so that it could eventually return. The governing Scottish National Party wants Scotland to become an independent EU member country, separate from the U.K.

“It is a stark fact that tomorrow we leave, dragged out against our will, despite the clear instruction of the Scottish people,” Russell said Thursday.

London, which is home to more than 1 million EU citizens, also voted by a wide margin to stay in the bloc. Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has linked the Brexit vote to a rise in xenophobic abuse, said Britain’s capital would remain “a truly global, European city.”

“We continue to be a beacon for progressive ideas, for liberal values and for decency and diversity,” Khan said in a statement. “And we will continue to welcome people from around the world, regardless of the colour of their skin, the colour of their passport or the colours of their national flag.”

Britain’s departure is a historic moment, but it only marks the end of the first stage of the Brexit saga. When Britons wake up on Saturday, they will notice very little change. The U.K. and the EU have given themselves an 11 month “transition period” — in which the U.K. will continue to follow the bloc’s rules — to strike new agreements on trade, security and a host of other areas.

Negotiations are due to start in March, and the early signs are not encouraging. Britain says it will not agree to follow an EU rule book in return for unfettered trade. The bloc insists there can be no trade deal unless Britain agrees to a “level playing field” and does not undercut EU regulations.

Johnson’s government hopes to negotiate a deal with the EU alongside a free trade agreement with the United States. That’s also likely to be contentious. Opposition politicians are already raising concerns about issues ranging from food-safety standards – especially the U.S. practice of chlorine-washing chicken to kill germs – to drug prices.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met Johnson in London on Thursday, said the U.S. would put Britain “at the front of the line” in its trade relationships after Brexit.

___

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed.

___

Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at: https://ift.tt/2QQDXv6

Jill Lawless, The Associated Press



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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/01/31/johnson-hails-uks-new-beginning-as-brexit-day-arrives/

By The Wall of Law January 31, 2020 Off

US finds ally in Mexico as asylum policy marks first year

TIJUANA, Mexico — The Perla family of El Salvador has slipped into a daily rhythm in Mexico while they wait for the U.S. to decide whether to grant them asylum.

A modest home has replaced the tent they lived in at a migrant shelter. Their 7- and 5-year-old boys are in their second year of public school, and their third son is about to celebrate his second birthday in Tijuana.

They were among the first migrants sent back to Mexico under a Trump administration policy that dramatically reshaped the scene at the U.S.-Mexico border by returning migrants to Mexico to wait out their U.S. asylum process. The practice initially targeted Central Americans but has expanded to other nationalities, excluding Mexicans, who are exempt. The Homeland Security Department said Wednesday that it started making Brazilians wait in Mexico.

Today, a year after the policy began, many other migrants have given up and gone back to the home countries they fled. Others, like the Perlas, became entrenched in Mexican life. The system known as the Migrant Protection Protocols helped change Washington’s relationship with Mexico and made the neighbour a key ally in President Donald Trump’s efforts to turn away a surge of asylum seekers.

The Perlas are faring better than most of the roughly 60,000 asylum-seekers, many of whom live in fear of being robbed, assaulted, raped or killed. Human Rights First, a group critical of the policy, has documented 816 public reports of violent crimes against those who were returned to Mexico. Late last year, the body of a Salvadoran father of two was found dismembered in Tijuana. A Salvadoran woman was kidnapped into prostitution in Ciudad Juarez.

Rapid expansion of the policy was key to a June agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that led Trump to suspend his threat of tariff increases. The Republican president said at the time that Mexico was doing more than Democrats to address illegal immigration.

American officials praised President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government last week after security forces repelled a caravan of Honduran migrants on Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala.

“Mexico continues to be a true partner in addressing this regional crisis,” Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said on Twitter.

U.S. border authorities say the policy has contributed to a sharp drop in illegal crossings, though legal challenges could modify or even block it. Immigration judges hear cases in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, while other asylum-seekers report to tent courts in the Texas cities of Laredo and Brownsville, where they are connected to judges by video.

This month, judges in El Paso began hearing cases of people who were returned to Mexico through Nogales, Arizona, the last major corridor for illegal crossings where the policy hadn’t been adopted. This has forced migrants to traverse dangerous sections of Mexico and travel hundreds of miles to make court appearances.

Richard Boren, a teacher, accompanied two Guatemalan women and their four children, ages 4 to 16, across an international bridge to their El Paso hearing. The Guatemalans travelled 13 hours by bus from the Arizona border.

“I was really worried about them,” said Boren, 62, who met them after they were returned to Mexico through Arizona and reconnected with them for their first hearing.

Of nearly 30,000 cases decided through December, only 187, or fewer than 1%, of asylum-seekers sent back to Mexico won their cases, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Lack of legal representation helps explain why. Fewer than 5% have lawyers.

Juan Carlos Perla, 37, said all five legal-services agencies that U.S. authorities say provide free representation in San Diego declined to represent him. Many attorneys refuse to represent clients in Mexico.

The Perlas abandoned their small bakery in El Salvador’s capital for Mexico in December 2018, arriving during a small window when the Mexican government issued one-year humanitarian visas with permission to work. The family told U.S. immigration authorities that they could not pay extortion fees to gangs in San Salvador.

“We were told that if we did not pay the last two months, the next time they would come to our house not to beat us but to kill us,” Ruth Aracely Monroy, 26, Perla’s partner and mother to their children, told U.S. officials, according to a transcript. “We left to save our lives.”

After bouncing around migrant shelters in Tijuana, they found a rental house for the equivalent of $65 a month an hour’s drive from downtown, where factories on the city’s east side give way to dairy farms and hillsides dotted with olive trees. The older boys walk one block to school in a densely packed neighbourhood of concrete-block homes with satellite dishes on the roofs.

Perla is grateful to be in Mexico, but grinding fear about the future has taken its toll on his health. “I am the driving force that keeps them from having to suffer from hunger,” he says.

Monroy’s sister, brother-in-law and their children fled El Salvador and became neighbours in June. Their first court date was in December in San Diego.

Perla earned enough at a factory that makes wood pallets to pay monthly rent with barely a week’s work, but he lost his job when his work permit expired. While he waits on a renewal, he scrapes by as a street vendor.

The family appears to face long odds of winning asylum, especially without a lawyer. The grant rate for Salvadoran asylum-seekers is 18%, and cases involving gang violence can be among the most difficult.

The family plans to take its chances and if they lose, try to return to Tijuana to live. Their sixth, and possibly final, hearing in San Diego is scheduled for March 26.

“Mexico has been very kind,” Perla said.

___

Associated Press Writer Cedar Attanasio in El Paso, Texas, contributed to this report.

Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law January 30, 2020 Off

UC Berkeley Law School strips itself of racist namesake

BERKELEY, Calif. — The law school at the University of California, Berkeley has stripped itself of a 19th century namesake who espoused racist views that led to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.

John Boalt’s name was removed from a main building Thursday after a three-year process. University officials say this is the first time U.C. Berkeley has removed a facility’s name due to the character or actions of its namesake.

The name removal comes as institutions around the country re-assess the people honoured with their monuments, streets and buildings. Last year, San Francisco removed a statue long deemed racist by Native Americans.

“It’s incredibly important to confront racist symbols, like John Boalt’s name on a building, because these symbols act to reinforce the history of white supremacy in our institutions,” said Paul Fine, a university professor and co-chair of the Building Name Review Committee.

Oakland attorney John Henry Boalt was never a student or teacher at the law school, but after he died in 1901, his widow Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt put up money to construct a Boalt Memorial Hall of Law.

Students and alumni have long referred to themselves as Boalties and the law school was casually referred to as Boalt Hall.

It wasn’t until 2017 that attorney and U.C. Berkeley law lecturer Charles Reichmann found Boalt’s racist writings and publicized them.

Boalt had moved to California from Nevada in the 1870s, at a time when Chinese immigration was rising to meet labour demands. And as president of the influential boys-only Bohemian Club, he delivered an address in 1877 arguing that the Chinese could never assimilate and so should be removed.

The movement filtered up and in 1882, Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act.

University officials say this is the second time the University of California system has removed a benefactor’s name. In 2018, U.C. Irvine removed the Ayala name from two buildings after an internal investigation substantiated sexual harassment claims against Francisco J. Ayala.

The Associated Press

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/01/30/uc-berkeley-law-school-strips-itself-of-racist-namesake/

By The Wall of Law January 30, 2020 Off

Germany: nurse suspected of drugging 5 babies with morphine

BERLIN — A nurse at a German hospital has been arrested on suspicion that she administered morphine to five young babies, who were later found by staff with life-threatening breathing difficulties, officials said Thursday.

The five babies at the University Hospital in the southwestern city of Ulm all suffered breathing problems at roughly the same time early on Dec. 20.

Hospital staff intervened quickly and officials said the children, who were between a day and a month old at the time, aren’t expected to suffer permanent damage to their health.

The hospital subsequently found traces of morphine in the urine of the babies and alerted police. Investigators concluded that the powerful painkiller must have been given to them during a night shift Dec. 20 and questioned the medical staff who were on duty.

They found a syringe containing what appeared to be breast milk in a locker at the ward belonging to one of the nurses, prosecutor Christof Lehr told reporters. Tests concluded that the liquid contained morphine.

The young woman was detained, and Lehr said she denies the giving the babies morphine. He said a judge has since ordered her kept in custody pending possible charges of attempted manslaughter.

The Associated Press

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/01/30/germany-nurse-suspected-of-drugging-5-babies-with-morphine/

By The Wall of Law January 30, 2020 Off