UK Conservatives to investigate Boris Johnson burqa comments

Boris Johnson recently compared Muslim women in burqas to “letter boxes.” (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)
Updated 09 August 2018
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UK Conservatives to investigate Boris Johnson burqa comments

  • The former foreign minister said women in burqas looked like bank robbers
  • Johnson refused to apologize after he made the comments

Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is facing a Conservative Party investigation over a column comparing women who wear face-covering veils to mailboxes and bank robbers.
The party has received complaints that the comments breached its code of conduct, and under Conservative rules they must be investigated by an independent panel. Possible penalties include expulsion from the party.
The party confirmed it had received complaints but declined to give details Thursday, saying that the process is confidential.
The Conservative code of conduct says members should “lead by example to encourage and foster respect and tolerance.”
Johnson, who quit the government last month in a dispute over Brexit, wrote in the Daily Telegraph this week that it was “absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.” He said he opposed banning burqas and other face-covering garments worn by some Muslim women, but referred to a woman wearing the attire as “looking like a bank robber.”
Johnson’s comments were criticized by Muslim groups and politicians including Prime Minister Theresa May, who urged Johnson to apologize. He has not said sorry.
Tousle-headed Johnson is one of Britain’s best-known politicians, a popular but divisive figure known for Latin quips and verbal blunders that have included calling Papua New Guineans cannibals and accusing people in Liverpool of “wallowing” in victimhood.
Critics claim Johnson is using the burqa comments to boost his appeal among right-wing members of the party. Many expect May to face a leadership challenge soon if faltering Brexit negotiations with the European Union do not improve — and Johnson is likely to be a contender to replace her.
He is popular with the pro-Brexit wing of the Conservative Party, which is deeply divided over its attitude to the EU. His Brexiteer credentials were bolstered when he resigned as foreign secretary in July, accusing May of killing “the Brexit dream” with her plan to seek close economic ties with the bloc after Brexit next year.


Spanish emergency services working to rescue toddler trapped in well

Updated 21 min 10 sec ago
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Spanish emergency services working to rescue toddler trapped in well

  • Among debris pulled out of the well, rescuers found hair, which DNA tests confirmed belonged to the child
  • Emergency services are using cameras to try to locate the child but said access was difficult, with soil partially blocking the well

TOTALAN, Spain: Spanish emergency services were working to rescue a toddler trapped in a well since Sunday.
The two-year-old boy was seen falling into the well as his family walked through a private estate in Totalan, Malaga, in southern Spain, his father Jose told Spanish media.
Among debris pulled out of the well, rescuers found hair, which DNA tests confirmed belonged to the child. No signs of life have been detected.
The town’s residents turned out on Wednesday for a vigil to support the family, many holding homemade placards reading “All of Spain is with you” and “We are sending you our strength.” One man held a sign simply reading “Julen,” the name of the toddler.
Emergency services are using cameras to try to locate the child but said access was difficult, with soil partially blocking the well, which is just 25 cm (10 inches) wide and 100 meters (328 feet) deep.
“We are not only giving voice for all the residents of Totalan but also for the rest of the country because we have all had Julen in our minds since last Sunday,” resident Patricia Calderon told reporters.
Spanish police said members of a Swedish firm which helped locate 33 Chilean miners rescued after 69 days underground more than seven years ago had arrived on Tuesday to help in the rescue operation.
Alternative routes were being studied and officials said they were working to dig a tunnel next to the well.