May expected to pick Brexit supporter to replace scandal-hit aid minister

May expected to pick Brexit supporter to replace scandal-hit aid minister
Conservative party MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mourdant, arrives at 10 Downing Street in London on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2017

May expected to pick Brexit supporter to replace scandal-hit aid minister

May expected to pick Brexit supporter to replace scandal-hit aid minister

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May was expected to appoint Brexit-supporting lawmaker Penny Mordaunt as aid minister on Thursday following a resignation that has left her struggling to stave off open conflict in a cabinet divided over leaving the EU.
May is grappling with crises on several fronts. Her team is struggling to make headway in exit talks with the European Union, several ministers are embroiled in a wider sexual harassment scandal and her ability to command a majority in parliament is facing its most serious test.
Mordaunt, 44, who has previously held junior ministerial roles, arrived at Downing Street for a meeting with May during which her appointment as the new International Development Secretary was expected to be confirmed.
Fellow Brexit supporter Priti Patel resigned from the position on Wednesday over undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials.
Patel’s resignation forced May into her second cabinet reshuffle in a week after former Defense Minister Michael Fallon resigned in the sexual harassment scandal that has also led to investigations into the conduct of two other ministers including May’s deputy.
Mordaunt was elected in 2010 to represent the southern English coastal city of Portsmouth, where she also serves as a volunteer reservist for the Royal Navy. She has previously argued the EU was a failing institution and that leaving would help make Britain safer.


Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Updated 04 December 2020

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

COTABATO, Philippines: Dozens of militants aligned with the Daesh group opened fire on a Philippine army detachment and burned a police patrol car in a southern town but withdrew after troops returned fire, officials said Friday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in Thursday night’s brief attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Piang town. Nevertheless it sparked panic among residents and rekindled fears of a repeat of a 2017 militant siege of southern Marawi city that lasted for five months before being quelled by government forces.
“We are on top of the situation. This is just an isolated case,” regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said in a statement.
Security officials gave differing statements on the motive of the 30 to 50 gunmen. Some said the militants targeted Datu Piang’s police chief over a feud but others speculated that the militants wanted to project that they are still a force to reckon with by attacking the army detachment in the center of the predominantly Muslim town.
Officials denied earlier reports that the militants managed to seize a police station and burn a Roman Catholic church.
When reinforcement troops in armored carriers arrived and opened fire, the militants fled toward a marshland, military officials said.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is one of a few small armed groups waging a separatist rural insurrection in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. The groups opposed a 2014 autonomy deal forged by the largest Muslim rebel group in the south with the Philippine government and have continued on and off attacks despite being weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism.
The armed groups include the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.