30 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


MP who headed leave camp in EU referendum says he is not the person to lead the country

Live coverage of the fallout from Boris Johnson’s announcement

Boris Johnson announces on Thursday that he will not be running in the contest to be leader of the Conservative party. The former mayor of London’s surprise decision came after his Leave campaign ally, Michael Gove, announced that he would run

Boris Johnson has unexpectedly ruled himself out of the Conservative leadership race after a turbulent morning in the contest, hours after his key ally Michael Gove challenged him for the top job.

Speaking at a hotel in central London, where he had been expected to lauch his candidacy, Johnson gave an upbeat speech, saying the agenda for the next prime minister was for the UK to become a more outward-looking nation that resets its relationship with Europe.

But he went on to say: “Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me.”

Despite having been the leading public face in the victorious Vote Leave campaign, Johnson appeared to have concluded that he could not command enough support from his party, after a series of key MPs, including business minister Nick Boles, and pro-Brexit Dominic Raab, defected to the Gove camp.

“My role will be to give every possible support to the next Conservative administration to make sure that we properly fulfil the mandate of the people that was delivered at the referendum and to champion the agenda that I believe in, to stick up for the forgotten people of this country.”

He went on: “And, if we do so, if we invest in our children and improve their life chances, if we continue to fuel the engines of social mobility, if we build on the great reforming legacy of David Cameron, if we invest in our infrastructure and we follow a sensible, one-nation Conservative approach that is simultaneously tax-cutting and pro-enterprise, then I believe that this country can win and be better and more wonderful and, yes, greater than ever before.”…………


Cash seized from two men and three women under law that allows police to confiscate valuables to cover housing and food costs

Flag of Denmark.

Flag of Denmark. Critics say the controversial law is degrading and inhumane. Photograph: Rex Shutterstock

Danish police have seized valuables from asylum seekers for the first time since a controversial law went into force five months ago.

National police spokesman Per Fiig said the two men and three women carried dollars and euros worth about 129,600 kroner (£14,400). They were arrested late on Tuesday at Copenhagen’s airport for using forged passports.

Fiig said the group, aged between 26 and 35, immediately sought asylum.

Under the controversial law, police are allowed to search asylum seekers on arrival in the country and confiscate any non-essential items worth more than 10,000 kroner that have no sentimental value to their owner.

Denmark’s centre-right government said at the time the procedure was intended to cover each asylum seeker’s housing and food costs while their cases are being processed, and mimics the handling of Danish citizens on welfare………………


Setback for gay community, which argued that penal code undermined their rights by failing to protect sexual preferences

Gay rights activists attend a protest against section 377 of India’s penal code in New Delhi

Gay rights activists attend a protest against section 377 of India’s penal code in New Delhi. Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

India’s supreme court has refused to hear a petition challenging a law criminalising gay sex, in a setback for activists battling in the country’s courts to get the ban overturned.

A number of well-known lesbian, gay and bisexual Indians had argued that section 377 of India’s penal code, which prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”, undermined their fundamental rights by failing to protect their sexual preferences.

“The supreme court refused to hear the matter and asked the petitioners to approach the chief justice of India,” said Arvind Dattar, a lawyer for one of the petitioners.

India’s chief justice is already hearing a separate case to strike down the ban, and India’s top court has previously argued that only parliament has the power to change section 377.

The decision is the latest setback India’s gay community has faced in its fight to get a prohibition on homosexual sex overturned since the supreme court reinstated a colonial-era ban in late 2013.

That ban ended a four-year period of decriminalisation that had helped bring homosexuality increasingly out into the open in a deeply conservative society………….


Ultra-conservative Society of St Pius X, notorious for its Holocaust-denying bishop, attacks Francis over his stance on doctrine

Pope Francis

Pope Francis’s stance on topics such as sex and pre-marital cohabitation has angered many traditional Catholics. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/AP

A controversial traditionalist Catholic group that split from the Vatican has accused Pope Francis of spreading confusion and errors about the faith, joining a chorus of conservative criticism over his perceived lax doctrine and emphasis on mercy at the expense of morals.

A statement from the schismatic Society of St Pius X suggested that a new attempt at reconciliation with Rome had stalled, or that the society itself was divided over next steps and decided at least to take a hard line against Francis.

The organisation has become notorious for its anti-semitism, Holocaust denial, and support for far-right parties such as the Front Nationale and fascist regimes including the Nazi collaborationist Vichy government in France and Spain under Franco. It was founded by a French archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, in 1970 in response to the liberal reforms of the Catholic church that began with the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

The statement, issued after a meeting of the society’s superiors, said its members were not primarily looking for a legal resolution to their schismatic status but eager to return Catholic tradition to a church where “great and painful confusion” reigned………………


Bipartisan group of 158 members of Congress ‘deeply concerned’ that US did not treat UN’s refusal to accept responsibility for outbreak with enough urgency

At least 30,000 people have died during the cholera outbreak after UN peacekeepers relocated from Nepal in 2010 brought the bacterium with them.

At least 30,000 people have died during the cholera outbreak after UN peacekeepers relocated from Nepal in 2010 brought the bacterium with them. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of 158 members of Congress has accused the Obama administration of a failure of leadership over the cholera scandal in Haiti in which at least 30,000 people have died as a result of an epidemic caused by the United Nations for which the world body refuses to accept responsibility.

A joint letter highly critical of US policy – and devastatingly critical of the UN – has been sent to the US secretary of state, John Kerry, signed by 12 Republican and 146 Democratic members of Congress. Led by John Conyers, a Democratic congressman from Michigan, and Mia Love, a Republican congresswoman from Utah, the letter’s signatories include many of the most senior voices on foreign affairs on Capitol Hill.

The missive takes the Obama administration to task for failing to admonish the UN for its refusal to accept responsibility for the cholera outbreak. “We are deeply concerned that the State Department’s failure to take more leadership in the diplomatic realm might be perceived by our constituents and the world as a limited commitment to an accountable and credible UN,” the letter says.

It continues: “We respectfully urge the Department of State to treat the issue of a just and accountable UN response to Haiti’s cholera with the urgency that 10,000-100,000 deaths and catastrophic damage to the UN’s credibility deserves.”………….


Harvard report highlights the lion-sized role in modern death penalty of just four men and a woman, and how capital punishment is a ‘personality-driven system’

Lynne Abraham, known as the ‘Queen of death’, saw 108 capital sentences returned during her time as chief prosecutor in Philadelphia County.

Lynne Abraham, known as the ‘Queen of death’, saw 108 capital sentences returned during her time as chief prosecutor in Philadelphia County. Photograph: Dan Loh/AP

One had a poster from the movie Tombstone on his office wall with “Justice is coming” emblazoned on it; another used a miniature model of an electric chair as a paperweight; a third, dubbed the “Queen of death”, said she was “passionate” about judicially killing people and described the emotion of watching an execution as a “non-event”.

What they all had in common was a vast appetite for putting men and women to death. What additionally made them special was that they all had the power to turn such unusual tastes into sentences.

As head prosecutors in their counties, just five individuals have been responsible for putting no fewer than 440 prisoners onto death row. If you compare that number to the 2,943 who are currently awaiting execution in the US, it is equivalent to one out of every seven…………….

The five are profiled in a new report from Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project. Titled America’s Top Five Deadliest Prosecutors, the report highlights the lion-sized role in the modern death penalty of just four men and one woman.

They are: Joe Freeman Britt of Robeson County, North Carolina; Donnie Myers of Lexington, South Carolina; Bob Macy of Oklahoma County; Lynne Abraham of Philadelphia County; and Johnny Holmes of Harris County, Texas…………….


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English Online International Newspapers

For a change from the same old news stories from the same old news networks, here are links to English-edition online newspapers from other parts of the world. Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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Some of the available newspapers:

Asia & CIS


China & Hong Kong








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