India cancels talks with Pakistan

The combo shows Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, left, and Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2018
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India cancels talks with Pakistan

  • India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson pointed to the killings of Indian security personnel by “Pakistan entities” in Jammu and Kashmir and the recent release of series of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan “glorifying terrorists”
  • Modi government under pressure from opposition to respond to killing of policemen by militants

DELHI: India called off high-level talks with Pakistan within 24 hours of their announcement. On Thursday New Delhi had accepted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries. India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi were to meet at the United Nation in New York next week. However, the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi said on Friday that since the announcement, two “deeply disturbing” developments had taken place that led India to call off the meeting.
Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, pointed to the killings of Indian security personnel by “Pakistan entities” in Jammu and Kashmir and the recent release of series of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan “glorifying terrorists.” 
He said: “It’s obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan has been revealed to world in his first few months in the office.”
Doubts began to be raised yesterday about the talks when the brutal killing of a Border Security Force (BSF) came to light at the international border.
Modi’s government further came under pressure after the opposition Congress party questioned its Pakistan policy.
“On September 19, 2018, USA clearly stated that Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba are main contributors to terror, and are linked to Al-Qaeda,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi. “The government has betrayed each and every part of Jammu and Kashmir. The mutilations are an unspeakable horror,” he added.


UK PM candidate Hunt: Boris Johnson is a ‘coward’ for avoiding debates on Brexit

Updated 51 min 30 sec ago
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UK PM candidate Hunt: Boris Johnson is a ‘coward’ for avoiding debates on Brexit

  • Jeremy Hunt: It was disrespectful for Boris Johnson to turn down the opportunity for a head-to-head debate
  • Hunt says candidates should explain their Brexit positions

LONDON: Jeremy Hunt, one of the two candidates vying to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May, said on Monday that rival Boris Johnson was a coward for avoiding public head-to-head debates on what to do about Brexit.
“On the question of debates, he is being a coward,” Foreign Secretary Hunt said. “It is cowardice not to appear in head-to-head debates.”
Hunt, 52, said it was disrespectful for Johnson to have turned down the opportunity for a head-to-head debate on Sky television.
“People need to know what you’re going to do and you need to answer those questions,” Hunt said. “I promise Boris Johnson the fight of his life and he’s going to have that and he’s going to lose.”
Johnson, 55, is the favorite to win a vote of 160,000 Conservative Party members who will decide who will be the next prime minister. Betting markets give him a 79 percent implied probability of winning the top job, down from 92 percent last week.
He has cast himself as the only candidate who can deliver Brexit on October 31 — with or without a deal — while fighting off the electoral threats of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and socialist Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.
Early on Friday, police were called to Johnson’s home after neighbors heard a loud altercation between him and his girlfriend. Police said there was no cause for police action.
The Guardian newspaper, which first reported the story, said an unidentified neighbor had heard Johnson’s girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, screaming followed by “slamming and banging.” At one point, Symonds could be heard telling Johnson to “get off me” and “get out of my flat.”
Johnson declined to answer questions about the incident at a hustings event in Birmingham on Saturday.
Hunt said the personal life of Johnson was irrelevant but that the candidates should explain their Brexit positions — and specifically what would a new leader do if lawmakers tried to sink a new government heading toward a no-deal Brexit.
“If parliament takes no-deal off the table before Oct. 31, will Boris call a general election?” Hunt said. “I think a general election would be catastrophic.”
Hunt said he would seek a better deal from the EU to leave on Oct. 31 and would, if absolutely necessary, leave without a deal. If parliament took a no-deal Brexit off the table, he intimated there would have to be delay.
“In that situation, you would have to carry on negotiating,” Hunt said. “I want to leave by Oct. 31 but if parliament stops it the prime minister has to obey the law.”
Johnson repeated on Monday that he would lead the United Kingdom out of the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.
“We are going to come out of the EU on October 31,” he wrote in The Daily Telegraph. “This time we are not going to bottle it.”
Like Hunt, Johnson promised lower taxes if he wins the top job.
When asked the naughtiest thing he had ever done, Hunt said: “When I was backpacking through India, I once had a Bhang Lassi — which is a kind of cannabis lassi — that’s the naughtiest thing I am prepared to confess to on this program.”