Majority of Britons would vote to leave EU

Updated 19 November 2012
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Majority of Britons would vote to leave EU

LONDON: A majority of Britons would vote to leave the European Union if given the chance, according to a survey published yesterday.
The Optimum Research poll in The Observer newspaper found that 34 percent would definitely vote to quit the 27-member bloc and 22 percent would probably do so, giving a total of 56 percent that would opt to leave the EU. Eleven percent would definitely vote to remain in the union, while a further 19 percent said they would probably cote to stay in — a total of 30 percent.
Some 14 percent said they did not know. Some 28 percent of those polled said Britain’s membership of the EU was generally a good thing, while 45 percent said it was generally a bad thing. EU leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday to try to thrash out the bloc’s budget for the 2014-2020 period, at which Britain will argue for a real terms freeze.




British Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing for a freeze in the trillion-euro budget, having threatened to veto any rise in spending.
Voters from Cameron’s Conservative Party were the most in favor of leaving the EU (68 percent), followed by the opposition Labour Party (44 percent) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats (39 percent).
The Conservatives and the Lib Dems form Britain’s coalition government.
The poll also found that 39 percent would vote for Labour in a general election. The Conservatives were on 32 percent, the anti-EU UK Independence Party on 10 percent, the Lib Dems on eight percent and other parties on 11 percent.
Optimum Research surveyed 1,957 adults online from Tuesday to Thursday.


Drought adds to Afghanistan woes

Afghan children fill canisters with water from a water pump outside their temporary homes on the outskirts of Jalalabad. Files/AFP
Updated 39 min 50 sec ago
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Drought adds to Afghanistan woes

  • Intensified conflict in many parts of the country is worsening the effects of the drought
  • More than $115 million was required for a six-month response in the 20 provinces

KABUL: Rain and snow are as important as peace for Afghanistan. But the landlocked and mountainous country this year had its lowest rainfall for years, causing widespread drought and leaving 2 million people facing food shortages.
Livestock in many areas have died, and some farmers have been forced to send their herds for pasture to neighboring Turkmenistan.
Thousands of people have left their homes already due to water shortages, with fears that the situation will worsen in autumn, Afghan and UN officials say.
Twenty of the country’s 34 provinces, including the northern region — Afghanistan’s food basket — have been badly affected, they said.
The aid-reliant Afghan government has begun delivering aid to affected areas. But assistance will be needed for months to come. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said rapid action was needed to enable delivery of food and water. More than $115 million was required for a six-month response in the 20 provinces, it said.
“Drought is gripping large parts of Afghanistan, with more than 2 million people expected to become severely food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance for survival,” OCHA said.
“A quick, comprehensive response will enable the delivery of food and water to the rural villages and help to avoid the migration of families to cities where they risk losing all of their few possessions, and where they lack shelter and access to health facilities and schools for their children,” it said.
Water points and fountains across the country have dried up, and the lack of rain and snow melt has made rivers run low or dry up, the organization said.
About 1.5 million goats and sheep in northeast regions are struggling to find food and more than half of the 1,000 villages in the province are suffering from lack of water.
Intensified conflict in many parts of the country is worsening the effects of the drought, limiting communities’ access to markets.
In Helmand, village elders reportedly need to obtain special approval from the armed groups to access markets in areas under government control.
In Uruzgan province, people often cannot access the main market in Tirinkot due to fighting and insecurity on the roads to the provincial capital. Following a temporary closure of the road to neighboring Kandahar province in April due to fighting, wheat prices went up by 50 percent in the city, and the price for fresh produce quadrupled within days.
Engineer Mohammed Sediq Hassani, chief of planning in the government’s Disaster Management Department, said the drought has directly and indirectly taken the lives of dozens of people.

“The impact of drought in terms of taking lives is intangible and slow. An indirect impact can be the recent floods, which claimed the lives of 73 people. Floods happen when there is a drought because of the change of the climate,” he told Arab News.