UK seeks to end ‘direct’ rule of EU court

The UK is preparing to say that a new set of tribunals should enforce EU law after Brexit instead of the EU’s Court of Justice (ECJ).

“We have long been clear that in leaving the EU we will bring an ​end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the UK,” the British government said in a statement on Tuesday (22 August), ahead of its publication of a more detailed paper on the issue on Wednesday.

  •           May said last year that ECJ rule was “not going to happen”

 

The statement said there was “no precedent” for ECJ authority over a non-EU country.

It added that it was “in everyone’s interest that, where disputes arise between the UK and the EU on the application or interpretation of … [mutual] obligations, those disputes can be resolved efficiently and effectively”.

But it listed other forms of dispute settlement tribunal as potential models instead of the ECJ.

These included the World Trade Organisation, a court in the Canada-EU trade treaty, and the tribunal that governed EFTA, a European free trade club.

Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Britain’s deputy justice chief Dominic Raab said the “most likely” model would be a special Brexit arbitrator that involved EU and UK appointees.

The British government said different types of court could be used in different legal areas.

The tribunals would govern issues as diverse as bilateral trade and EU and UK citizens’ rights.

The British statement noted that in the international arena “the exact form of enforcement and dispute resolution is often tailored to the content of the agreement and varies across different issues such as trade or security”.

Wednesday’s paper will be the latest in a series of British publications of Brexit proposals.

The position papers – on customs, the Irish border, product certification, commercial and civil disputes, and exchange of EU documents – come ahead of the next round of EU exit talks on 28 August.

British vow

The tone of Tuesday’s statement on the ECJ was softer than previous British rhetoric.

“It is in the interests of both the UK and the EU, and of our citizens and businesses, that the rights and obligations agreed between us can be relied upon and enforced in appropriate ways,” the statement said.

Its reference to ending the “direct” jurisdiction of the ECJ prompted speculation that EU judges would retain indirect authority.

Raab, the British deputy chief justice, tried to quash that notion.

“We’re taking back control over our laws,” he told the BBC.

He added, however, that “as we take back control, it makes sense for the UK to keep half an eye on the case law of the EU, and for the EU to keep half an eye on the case law of the UK.”

British prime minister Theresa May vowed to end ECJ authority in a speech on Brexit last year.

“We are not leaving [the EU] only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice – that’s not going to happen,” she said.

Cart before horse

The British position papers have called for “frictionless” EU customs arrangements, “no physical border” with Ireland, and “free circulation” of UK-certified products in the EU.

They have also said the UK would recognise national court rulings in EU states on cross-border commercial and civil disputes.

The proposals were dubbed “confusing” and “unrealistic” by Ireland and called a “fantasy” by one EU politician.

The European Union has said “sufficient progress” must be made in talks on citizens’ rights, the Irish border, and the UK’s financial obligations to the EU before commencing talks on trade.

The prospect of not reaching a deal before the UK left the EU in March 2019 has spooked industry.

The British aviation sector was the latest to warn that a legal vacuum in British-EU relations threatened to cause havoc.

Passenger flight bookings could fall by 41 percent or as many as 8 million travellers in 2019 if people were not confident that their journeys would go smoothly, a report by a British consultancy said on Tuesday.

“Although an 11th-hour deal may prevent planes from being grounded, damage to the aviation industry and the wider economy would have already been done,” the report, by WPI Economics for the owners of Manchester, Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City airports in the UK, said.

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Wayne Rooney: England striker retires from international football

England’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney has retired from international football after turning down the chance to be part of the squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

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The Everton striker was asked by England boss Gareth Southgate to be involved against Malta and Slovakia.

“Every time I was selected was a real privilege but I believe now is the time to bow out,” said the 31-year-old.

The former Manchester United captain scored 53 times in 119 internationals.

Rooney, overlooked by Southgate for matches against Scotland and Francein June, made his England debut in February 2003, in a 3-1 defeat by Australia at Upton Park.

He made his major tournament debut as an 18-year-old at Euro 2004, and his last international appearance was as captain in last November’s 3-0 victory over Scotland at Wembley.

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Watch Rooney score for England at 2014 World Cup

Rooney rejoined boyhood club Everton in the summer, and his announcement comes two days after he scored his 200th Premier League goal in a 1-1 draw at Manchester City.

After that game, he said he was “focusing on Everton” rather than an international recall.

“I’m sure I’ll speak to Gareth Southgate over the next few days,” he added. “We’ll see what happens.”

Southgate is due to name a squad on Thursday for the World Cup qualifiers in Malta on 1 September, and at home to Slovakia three days later.

Rooney’s statement in full

It was great Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches. I really appreciated that.

However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football.

It is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me.

Playing for England has always been special to me. Every time I was selected as a player or captain was a real privilege and I thank everyone who helped me. But I believe now is the time to bow out.

Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton. Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful.

I will always remain a passionate England fan. One of my very few regrets is not to have been part of a successful England tournament side. Hopefully the exciting players Gareth is bringing through can take that ambition further and I hope everyone will get behind the team.

One day the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan – or in any capacity.

Analysis

BBC Sport’s chief football writer Phil McNulty

Rooney retires from international football as England’s record goalscorer – and perhaps with his contribution undervalued.

The 31-year-old’s career was a mixture of highs and lows after he truly burst on the global scene as a teenager at Euro 2004, and Rooney will forever be associated with an outstanding group of club players who could not replicate their domestic and European success at international level.

Rooney did not score at a World Cup until his third attempt – eventually netting against Uruguay in Brazil in 2014 – but he was also a player who carried England on so many occasions and his place in the history books is testimony to his outstanding contribution over so many years.

He performed selflessly, often in unfamiliar roles, and his commitment was unquestioned. For all the occasional demands for Rooney to be dropped during his England career, there was rarely much proof they would have been a better team without him.

England’s lack of success during his time on the international scene will always be a source of frustration and regret, but history may be kinder to Rooney on reflection upon an stellar career.

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US Airstrikes Kill at Least 100 Syrian Civilians in 48 Hours

170 civilians killed in past week, mainly children.

(ANTIWAR.COM) — Escalating US airstrikes are taking a growing toll on the population of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS which is presently being invaded by US-backed forces. Reports out of the area are that at least 100 civilians have been killed in US-led airstrikes in a 48 hour span from Sunday to Tuesday.

August 23, 2017

Monday’s airstrikes were the deadliest incident of that span, with 55 civilians killed in two of the city’s eastern neighborhoods, including at least 19 children.

The attacks, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, hit a particularly densely populated area.

“These are buildings full of civilians that are trying to get away from the front lines,” the Observatory’s director noted, adding that US-led coalition airstrikes seem to be targeting any building with any hint of ISIS activity in the city.

This appears to be a recurrence of the same problem that plagued the later months of the Iraqi invasion of Mosul, where US warplanes caused massive civilian tolls by attacking buildings they claimed ISIS was forcing civilians into, but which in practice were densely populated by locals because they were the only buildings still standing that were seemingly out of the direct line of fire.

Yet in the ever-escalating US war against ISIS, no building, no matter how civilian in nature, is ever really out of the direct line of fire. Such large civilian death tolls have severely harmed morale of forces on the ground, and fueled outcry from human rights groups. Officially, however, the Pentagon’s figures on how many civilians they killed are rarely more than 10% of the actual toll documented by independent NGOs, which so far has allowed the Pentagon to dismiss calls to stop targeting civilians.

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Germany’s Schulz says he would demand US withdraw nuclear arms

The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) pledged to have US nuclear weapons withdrawn from German territory if, against the odds, he defeats Angela Merkel to become chancellor next month. Addressing a campaign rally in Trier late on Tuesday, SPD leader Martin Schulz also said he, unlike Merkel, would resist demands by US President Donald Trump for NATO members to increase their defense spending. “Trump wants nuclear armament. We are against this,” Schulz said, apparently trying to differentiate his party from Merkel’s more hawkish Christian Democratic Union (CDU). “As chancellor, I will commit Germany to having the nuclear weapons stationed here withdrawn from our country,” he said. (Reuters)

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Moscow ‘preparing inevitable response’ as US hits Russians with new sanctions over N. Korea

Moscow has fired back at the latest round of US sanctions targeting Russian interests, as Washington blacklisted one Russian company and four individuals for their alleged dealings with North Korea.
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On Tuesday, the US Treasury revealed it had imposed sanctions on 16 Russian and Chinese nationals and companies for their alleged dealings with North Korea. The Treasury claims the sanctions are in line with the internationally agreed measures against North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs. The companies are accused of working with blacklisted individuals, helping develop the North Korean energy sector, help it place workers abroad or move money from abroad. As a result, their US assets are frozen and Americans are forbidden from doing business with them.

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FILE PHOTO: A soldier salutes from atop vehicle carrying a missile past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the parade, in Pyongyang. © Damir Sagolj

“It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region,”Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“We are taking actions consistent with UN sanctions to show that there are consequences for defying sanctions and providing support to North Korea, and to deter this activity in the future.”

Reacting to the sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov issued a statement expressing disappointment, and warning Washington that Russia was working on a response.

“Against such a depressing backdrop, the lip service from American representatives about the desire to stabilize bilateral relations is extremely unconvincing,” Ryabkov said. “We have always and will always support resolving our existing differences through dialogue. In recent years, Washington in theory should have learned that for us the language of sanctions is unacceptable, and the solutions to real problems are only hindered by such actions. So far, however, there doesn’t seem to be an understanding of such obvious truths.

READ MORE: US embassy in Russia temporarily halts issue of non-immigrant visas

“Nevertheless, we do not lose our hope that the voice of reason will sooner or later prevail, and that our American colleagues will be aware of the futility and detrimental nature of further sliding down the spiral of sanctions.

“In the meantime, we are beginning to work out the inevitable response to this situation.”

The companies under sanction include Gefest-M, a Moscow-based firm accused of acquiring metals for a North Korean company, and Mingzheng International Trading, a Chinese and Hong Kong-based bank that supposedly conducted transactions on behalf of North Korea.

Andrey Klimov, a senior Russian senator, said that the US sanctions against Gefest-M and the others lack legitimacy.

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The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang © KCNA

“These sanctions are illegal in themselves, because the only thing recognized by international law is the sanctions of the UN Security Council,” Klimov told Interfax. “We must react in principle to this insane and confrontational policy. The toolbox is rich, let’s hope that we will act consistently, reasonably, professionally and effectively.”

Klimov’s words were echoed by the Chinese government, with a spokesperson saying Beijing “opposes unilateral sanctions out[side] of the UN Security Council framework.”

“We strongly urge the US to immediately correct its mistake, so as not to impact bilateral cooperation on relevant issues,” the spokesperson said, as quoted by the Financial Times.

At the same time, the US Department of Justice also filed two complaints to forfeit over $11 million from two Asian companies for allegedly laundering funds for North Korea.

The DoJ alleges that the two companies violated the international sanctions against North Korea and indirectly supporting its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

“The United States filed two complaints today seeking imposition of a civil money laundering penalty and to civilly forfeit more than $11 million from companies that allegedly acted as financial facilitators for North Korea,” read the statement.

Proceedings have been launched against Velmur Management Pte Ltd., based in Singapore, as well as the Chinese company Dandong Chengtai Trading Co. Ltd.

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Finnish police doubt identity of main suspect in Turku stabbings

Finnish police are uncertain whether they have the real identity of the main suspect detained on suspicion of killing two people in a stabbing last week, the lead investigator into Finland’s first suspected Islamist militant attack said on Wednesday. Eight other people were wounded in the knife attack in the south-western coastal city of Turku on August 18. Finnish police have detained four men in connection with the Turku killings and an international arrest warrant has been issued for a fifth. The main suspect who is in custody has been named as 18-year-old Moroccan Abderrahman Mechkah, who on Tuesday told a court he was responsible for the attack. But Detective Superintendent Markus Laine of the National Bureau of Investigation said it was possible this was a false identity. (Reuters)

Kaifiyat Express derails in Auraiya district

At least 50 passengers were injured and have been rushed to the hospital

Nine coaches of the Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh this morning, resulting in injuries to at least 50 people, in the second rail accident in the State in four days.

The train travelling from Azamgarh to Delhi collided with a dumper at around 2:50 a.m. between Pata and Achalda railway stations, a spokesperson for the North Central Railway said.

At least 50 passengers were injured and have been rushed to the hospital, said M.C. Chauhan, General Manager, NCR. NCR sources said that work for a dedicated freight corridor was going on at the site at the time of the accident.

Officials have rushed to the spot to provide rescue and relief operations to the passengers. This is the second rail accident since last Saturday when Utkal Express had derailed in Muzaffarnagar distict of UP, killing 22 people and injuring 156.

Kaifiyat Express derails in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya district, 21 injured

Kaifiyat Express, travelling from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi, collided with a dumper at around 2:50am between Pata and Achhalda railway stations, injuring 21

Lucknow/New Delhi: Nine coaches of the Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh this morning, resulting in injuries to at least 21 people, in the second rail accident in the state in four days.

The train travelling from Azamgarh to Delhi collided with a dumper at around 2:50am between Pata and Achhalda railway stations, a spokesperson for the North Central Railway (NCR) said. One bogie of the train overturned due to impact of collision and some compartments jumped the rails between Acchalda and Pata railway stations after crossing Kanpur, superintendent of police Auraiya Sanjeev Tyagi said.

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At least 21 passengers were injured and have been rushed to the hospital, a spokesperson of NCR said. Earlier, M.C. Chauhan, general manager of NCR, has said that at least 50 people were injured in the accident.

Also Read: Why the railways suffer on an average 100 accidents a year?

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted, “A dumper hit the locomotive of the Kaifiyat Express,resulting in derailment. Some passengers have received injuries and have been shifted to nearby hospitals”. The minister said that he was personally monitoring the situation and had directed senior officials to reach the site immediately.

Kaifiyat Express travels between Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and the collision has impacted the train operations on the Delhi-Howrah route. Five trains including Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani have been diverted and seven trains including Kanpur-New Delhi Shatabdi express have been cancelled.

Since both UP and DOWN lines are blocked, around 40 local trains were also being diverted. NCR sources said that work for a dedicated freight corridor was going on at the accident site at the time of the incident. The dumper did not belong to the railways, the NCR sources said.

Also Read: Utkal Express derailment: Railways put the death toll in UP train accident at 21

On receiving information about the mishap, senior officials rushed to the accident site which comes under Acchalda police station, around 180 kilometres from Lucknow. Additional forces and ambulance were rushed to the spot from Auraiya, Etawah and Kannauj, while NDRF team was dispatched from Lucknow to provide support to the victims.

A medical train and a relief train have been dispatched from Allahabad to the accident site. This is the second rail accident since last Saturday. Utkal Express had derailed in Muzaffarnagar district of UP, killing 22 people and injuring 156.

A spokesman for NCR said rescue operations have been concluded and all injured were sent to hospitals nearby. General Manager, NCR, M. C. Chauhan and the divisional regional manager have rushed to the spot.

Dying MI5 Hitman Confesses To Killing Princess Diana By Direct Orders Of Prince Philip

An 80-year-old British intelligence agent who is just days away from death has made a shocking confession that he was tasked with murdering Princess Diana on behalf of the Royal family.

John Hopkins, who was a MI5 operative between 1973 and 1999 is claimed to have carried out over 23 assassinations of individuals who ‘posed a threat to national security’. The retired hitman for the UK government worked as part of a cell of seven operatives who carried out assassinations of politicians, journalists, activists and union leaders involving poisons and chemicals.

Mr Hopkins claims that Princess Diana was the only woman he ever killed, saying:

“She was the only target where the order came directly from the Royal family.”

He went on to add that she was ‘a beautiful, kindhearted woman’ whose life was tragically cut short because she was placing the British Crown at risk.

The final straw came when the Royal family gathered evidence that she was planning to divorce Prince Charles.

“She knew too many raw secrets, she had a huge grudge and she was going to go public with all sorts of wild claims. I was told she had to die and received orders directly from Prince Philip to make it look like an accident.”

“I’d never killed a woman before, much less a princess, but I obeyed orders. I did it for Queen and country.”

The operation was under strict control of Buckingham Palace in cooperation with the mainstream media. The conspiracy involved the media and palace to square their stories, making sure that everybody was on the same page.

After being told of the news that he only has a short time left to live by doctors, Hopkins says he will spend his final weeks at home but expects to be arrested or even silenced. He said:“If they try to take me out, they’ll be doing me a favour. Most of my colleagues are already dead.”

Rough seas: Alarming trend of US Navy ships involved in collisions in 2017

US Navy warships were involved in four major accidents this year, more than any other year since the turn of the century. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson has ordered an “operational pause” and a probe of all fleet activity.

The “trend” of incidents demands a forceful action, Richardson said on Monday, as the Navy paused operations in all US fleets following the collision of the guided missile destroyer USS John S McCain with a merchant ship off Singapore.

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“This is the second collision in three months, and the last in a series of incidents in the Pacific theater,” Richardson stated.

The stand-down will be accompanied by a review of fleet operations to see why the spike in US warship collisions.

USS John McCain, August 2017

2017

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a commercial oil tanker east of Singapore early Monday. Ten US soldiers were reported missing, while five were injured.

The collision caused a significant hull damage, with flooding in berthing compartments as well as machinery and communication rooms, the Navy said.

USS Fitzgerald, June 2017

The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan in June. Seven sailors died in the accident.

About 35 sailors were in the sleeping area when the cargo ship’s bow tore a hole in the side of the Fitzgerald, causing the compartment to flood.

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The ship’s commander and executive officer were relieved from duty as a result of the probe into the collision. Under international rules of navigation, the Fitzgerald should have yielded to the cargo ship, according to US officials.

“Clearly at some point, the bridge team lost situational awareness,” deputy chief of naval operations Admiral Bill Moran said last week.

 

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The guided-missile cruiser USS Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing boat while conducting operations near the Korean Peninsula in May. No one was injured

USS Antietam, January 2017

Another guided-missile cruiser, the USS Antietam, ran aground in late January in Tokyo Bay.

Although the incident did not result in any injuries, the ship spilled up to 1,100 gallons of hydraulic oil into the water off the coast of Japan, prompting environmental concerns.

USS Porter, August 2012

In August 2012, the guided missile destroyer USS Porter collided with an oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz, which connect the Persian Gulf with the Arabian Sea.

An investigation by the Navy later found that the Porter lost focus on her course, and that her commander did not order the ship to turn fast enough. He was relieved from his duties.

USS John F. Kennedy, July 2004

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy collided with a small local fishing boat in the Persian Gulf in July 2004.

There were no survivors from the boat, while no one on the warship was injured.

The Kennedy‘s commanding officer was relieved from his duties following an investigation into the incident.

USS Denver, July 2000

The amphibious transport dock USS Denver collided with a replenishment oiler Yukon, during a refueling exercise west of Hawaii.

An investigation found the Denver at fault, citing human error. Despite significant damage to both ships, no injuries were reported.

Weird?

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