Northern Irish kingmakers: We will not support May’s Brexit deal

DUP leader Arlene Foster attends the launch of A Better Deal in London, Britain, December 12, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 04 January 2019

Northern Irish kingmakers: We will not support May’s Brexit deal

  • The Northern Irish party that props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government said that it would not support her Brexit deal
  • If the British parliament does not approve May’s deal then the world’s fifth-largest economy will leave the EU without one on March 29

LONDON: The Northern Irish party that props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government said on Friday that it would not support her Brexit deal but that businesses should be relaxed about leaving the EU without an agreement.
“In fact we’re more alarmed about what is coming out from the EU and especially the Irish government,” the Democratic Unionist Party’s Sammy Wilson said when asked if he was reassured by signals from Brussels.
May still hopes to get her deal through parliament, though even members of her own cabinet admit privately that to do so she will need to make significant changes and win over lots of opposition lawmakers.
If the lower house of the British parliament does not approve May’s deal then the world’s fifth-largest economy will leave the EU without one on March 29 at 2300 GMT as the date is set in law — the 2018 Withdrawal Act.
The Northern Irish DUP, whose 10 lawmakers have propped up May’s minority government, has demanded she ditch the Irish backstop, something the EU and May have ruled out.
The DUP’s Wilson told BBC radio that the Irish backstop was a “con trick” and added that farmers and businesses should be totally relaxed about a no-deal Brexit.
“If anyone should be worried about the tariffs on beef and sheep then it should be the Irish because of course, we, the United Kingdom are net importers of food,” Wilson said.
Facing the defeat of her deal last month, May postponed a parliamentary vote on it, pledging to seek “legal and political assurances” from the EU.
Those efforts appear so far to be in vain. The EU said it will not reopen the negotiation though it signalled it might offer some concessions.
May needs 318 votes to get a deal through parliament yet 117 of her 317 lawmakers voted against her in a confidence vote on Dec. 12.
So she will need the support of some of the Labour Party’s 257 lawmakers or to win over swathes of her own party and the DUP.


Indian govt slammed over poor ranking in global hunger index

Visitors try out food at 'Bengaluru Aaharotsava', a 3-day vegetarian food festival, in Bangalore on October 18, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 49 min 38 sec ago

Indian govt slammed over poor ranking in global hunger index

  • This ranking reveals a colossal failure in Govt policy and blows the lid off the PM’s hollow ‘sabka vikas’ (development for all) claim,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who leads the opposition Congress party

NEW DELHI: India’s poor rating in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) has come in for sharp criticism, with the opposition calling it a “colossal failure of government policy.”
The GHI showed that India ranked 102 in the database of 117 nations and trailed its smaller South Asian neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2000, India ranked 83 out of 113 nations.
The index is designed to measure and track hunger at a global, regional, and national level. The report, which was released on Wednesday, was a joint effort between Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organization Welt Hunger Hilfe.
“This ranking reveals a colossal failure in Govt policy and blows the lid off the PM’s hollow ‘sabka vikas’ (development for all) claim,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who leads the opposition Congress party.
Thomas Isaac, finance minister in the southern state of Kerala, said: “The slide started with PM (Narendra) Modi’s ascension. In 2014 India was ranked 55. In 2017 it slipped to 100 and now to the levels of Niger and Sierra Leone. The majority of the world’s hungry now resides in India.”
The GHI score is based on four indicators — undernourishment; child wasting (children below five who have a low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting, (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and child mortality, the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
“India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent, the highest for any country,” the report said. It added that, with a score of 30.3, India suffered from a level of hunger that was serious.

BACKGROUND

The Global Hunger Index showed that India ranked 102 in the database of 117 nations and trailed its smaller South Asian neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2000, India ranked 83 out of 113 nations.

International NGO Save the Children  said the government needed to focus on wasting and stunting. Other low- and middle-income countries in the world which are faring better have actually scored better than India in those two areas, it added.
“There are nearly 1.8 million children in the country who are wasting and for that we will need comprehensive interventions, including the provision of therapeutic foods for such children to be managed at a community level,” it told Arab News.
The NGO warned of serious social consequences, with wasting leading to impaired cognitive ability and poor learning outcomes. “Furthermore, for underweight and stunted girls, it invokes a vicious cycle whereby initial malnutrition with early child-bearing gets translated into poor reproductive health outcomes.”
Arab News contacted the Child and Family Welfare Ministry for comment but did not get a response.
Nepal ranks 73 in the index, Sri Lanka is placed at 66, Bangladesh is in 88th place, Myanmar is at the 69th spot and Pakistan ranks 94.
The GHI said these countries were also in the serious hunger category, but that their citizens fared better than India’s.