May seeks ‘ambitious plans’ for Brexit talks at EU summit

British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2017
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May seeks ‘ambitious plans’ for Brexit talks at EU summit

BRUSSELS: British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday that she wanted European Union leaders meeting in Brussels to set out “ambitious plans” for Brexit negotiations in the coming weeks.
“We will be looking at the concrete progress that’s been made in our exit negotiations and setting out ambitious plans for the weeks ahead,” she said as she arrived for the two-day EU summit.
“I particularly want to see an urgency in reaching an agreement on citizens’ rights.”
The 27 other EU leaders are due to decide whether there has been “sufficient progress” in the first stage of Brexit talks, and if they can move on to discussing Britain’s future trading relationship.
But after five rounds of negotiations there remains a deadlock, notably on the question of Britain’s financial commitments, and the decision is expected to be delayed until the next EU summit in December.
May is due to plead her case with her fellow leaders at a working dinner on Thursday evening, before leaving them to make their decision without her on Friday morning.
The prime minister made a speech on Brexit in Florence last month, offering some concessions on the money and the rights of around three million European citizens living in Britain.
In a letter directly addressing European citizens on Thursday, May said Britain was within “touching distance” of a deal on guaranteeing their future, and vowed again that anyone living lawfully in Britain would not be asked to leave after Brexit.
But questions remain about their status if there is no deal before Britain automatically leaves the EU in March 2019.


Indonesia sentences eight Taiwanese drug smugglers to death

Updated 18 sec ago
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Indonesia sentences eight Taiwanese drug smugglers to death

  • Around 250 tons of illegal drugs passed through Indonesia’s borders in 2016, according to figures from the National Narcotics Agency.
  • Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, with sentences including the death penalty for smugglers who carry five or more grams.

Jakarta: Eight Taiwanese drug smugglers were sentenced to death by an Indonesian court Thursday after being nabbed with around a ton of crystal methamphetamine in a country that has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws.
The men were arrested during raids last July, when the drug network’s suspected leader was killed in a shootout with Indonesian police.
“The defendants have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of colluding and smuggling narcotics,” presiding judge Haruno Patriadi said as he passed sentence at the South Jakarta District Court.
Tipped off by their Taiwanese counterparts, Indonesian police said they discovered some 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of crystal meth — shipped by boat from China — packed inside about 50 boxes. The haul was reportedly worth some $144 million.
Some of the suspects were arrested at a beach where the drugs were delivered some 125 kilometers (77 miles) west of Jakarta, while others were apprehended in the suspected drug boat near Singaporean waters.
The sentence passed on the men — Liao Guan-Yu, Chen Wei-Cyuan, Hsu Yung-Li, Juang Jin Sheng, Sun Kuo Tai, Sun Chih-Feng, Kuo Chun Yuan, and Tsai Chih Hung — comes after 11 other Taiwanese drug smugglers were condemned to death in Indonesia in recent years.
Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, with sentences including the death penalty for smugglers who carry five or more grams.
Several foreign and Indonesian nationals have been executed by firing squad in recent years for drug trafficking, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015, a case that sparked diplomatic outrage and a call to abolish the death penalty.
Capital punishment is carried out by firing squad in Indonesia, which has slowed the pace of its executions in recent years despite broad public support for the penalty.
President Joko Widodo has said Indonesia is in the grips of a drug “emergency” and called for police to shoot suspected drug dealers who attempt to resist arrest.
The police regularly announce drug busts including one in February when they seized 1.6 tons of crystal meth hidden on a Singapore-flagged ship between Indonesia’s Sumatra island and the city state.
A subsequent search of the ship turned up the huge haul of narcotics stuffed into some 81 rice sacks. Four Taiwanese crew were arrested including a 69-year-old man.
Around 250 tons of illegal drugs passed through Indonesia’s borders in 2016, according to figures from the National Narcotics Agency, with China listed as the biggest source country.