Former UK PM David Cameron returns, Home Secretary sacked after criticizing police handling of Pro-Palestinian protests

Former UK PM David Cameron returns, Home Secretary sacked after criticizing police handling of Pro-Palestinian protests
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British Home Secretary Suella Braverman attends the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP)
Former UK PM David Cameron returns, Home Secretary sacked after criticizing police handling of Pro-Palestinian protests
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Britian's Home Secretary Suella Braverman leaves her home, in London, Britain, November 13, 2023. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 November 2023
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Former UK PM David Cameron returns, Home Secretary sacked after criticizing police handling of Pro-Palestinian protests

Former UK PM David Cameron returns, Home Secretary sacked after criticizing police handling of Pro-Palestinian protests
  • Braverman's exit follows her criticism of London police
  • Former PM’s shock return divides party

LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak brought back former leader David Cameron as foreign minister on Monday in a reshuffle triggered by his firing of interior minister Suella Braverman after her criticism of police threatened his authority.
It was the latest reset for a prime minister whose party is badly lagging the Labour Party before an election expected next year. The return of Cameron suggested Sunak wanted to bring in more centrist, experienced hands rather than appease the right of his party which supported Braverman.
It also awakens divisive debate over Brexit: Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, which Cameron triggered by holding a referendum in 2016 even though he backed staying in the bloc.
Under fire from opposition lawmakers and members of the governing Conservative Party to eject Braverman, Sunak seemed to have brought forward a long-planned reshuffle to bring in allies and remove ministers he felt were not performing.
His hand was forced when the ever-controversial Braverman defied him last week in an unauthorized article accusing police of “double standards” at protests, suggesting they were tough on right-wing demonstrators, but easy on pro-Palestinian marchers.
The opposition Labour Party said that inflamed tensions between a pro-Palestinian demonstration and a far-right counter protest on Saturday, when nearly 150 people were arrested.
While her removal was not a surprise, it was the appointment of Cameron which caused shock in the Conservative Party, welcomed by more centrist lawmakers but hated by some of the right who described it as the ultimate “Brexit surrender.”
Cameron said he was glad to take on his new role because at a time of global change, “it has rarely been more important for this country to stand by our allies, strengthen our partnerships and make sure our voice is heard.”
“Though I may have disagreed with some individual decisions, it is clear to me that Rishi Sunak is a strong and capable prime minister, who is showing exemplary leadership at a difficult time,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Brexit Returns
Lawmakers in the centrist wing of the party said Cameron’s appointment would bring international experience, and send a wider message to the country.
“It’s a sign to the Tory blue wall and moderate voters, we aren’t heading to the right,” one Conservative lawmaker said, using a phrase that is used to describe traditional Conservative-supporting areas in the south of England.
Some lawmakers had feared that Braverman was determined to remake the Conservatives as the “nasty party,” a moniker former Prime Minister Theresa May used in 2002 to try to persuade the party to shed its reputation of being uncaring.
But Cameron’s return compounded the anger felt by some on the right of the party after her sacking. They said Braverman’s stance on how the police dealt with protests was correct and predicted she would become a vocal force among those who do not hold ministerial positions in parliament.
Some Brexit supporters also said the fact Cameron had campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union after he called a referendum on membership for 2016 meant the so-called “remain” wing of the party had taken over.
James Cleverly, previously foreign minister, was appointed to replace Braverman. He is seen as a safe pair of hands and was quick to say his new role was “to keep people in this country safe.”
With Braverman sidelined, her attentions might focus on preparing for a possible future race for leader of the party if, as the opinions polls suggest, the Conservatives lose the election expected next year.
The Labour Party has consistently held an around 20-point lead in the polls, and Sunak has failed to reduce that gap.
He tried to relaunch himself as a representative of “change” at his party’s conference last month, when his message was overshadowed by a poorly communicated decision to cancel part of the country’s biggest rail project.
Labour had called Sunak weak since Braverman’s article was published on Wednesday. Now, opposition lawmakers said his decision to appoint Cameron was an act of desperation.
Lawmaker Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, said: “A few weeks ago Rishi Sunak said David Cameron was part of a failed status quo, now he’s bringing him back as his life raft.”
“This puts to bed the prime minister’s laughable claim to offer change from 13 years of Tory failure.”


Hundreds protest Netanyahu interview broadcast in France

Hundreds protest Netanyahu interview broadcast in France
Updated 5 sec ago
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Hundreds protest Netanyahu interview broadcast in France

Hundreds protest Netanyahu interview broadcast in France

PARIS: Hundreds of demonstrators rallied late Thursday outside a top French television station to protest the broadcast of an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the Gaza war.

Wearing black and white keffiyeh scarves and waving Palestinian flags, protesters gathered peacefully outside the offices of private broadcaster TF1 in the western Paris suburbs.

Kept away from the building by a heavy police presence, the protesters chanted: “Gaza, Paris is with you,” “Immediate ceasefire!” and “Israel, murderer.”

In the interview broadcast on TF1’s news channel LCI, Netanyahu defended his country’s devastating offensive in Gaza.

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,224 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

In the interview, Netanyahu told LCI “the number of civilian losses compared to losses of (Palestinian) combatants is the lowest rate we have seen in an urban war.”

He rejected claims that Israel was targeting civilians or deliberately trying to cause a famine as “anti-Semitic slander.”

The interview came amid international indignation over an Israeli strike and resulting fire at a displacement camp in the Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday, which killed 45 people, according to Gaza officials.

Members of parliament from French far-left party France Unbowed had called for the demonstration when they heard the interview was planned.


Muslim nurse in New York fired after calling Israel’s war in Gaza ‘genocide’

Muslim nurse in New York fired after calling Israel’s war in Gaza ‘genocide’
Updated 9 min 48 sec ago
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Muslim nurse in New York fired after calling Israel’s war in Gaza ‘genocide’

Muslim nurse in New York fired after calling Israel’s war in Gaza ‘genocide’

WASHINGTON: A New York City hospital fired a Palestinian American Muslim nurse after she called Israel’s war in Gaza a “genocide” during an acceptance speech for an award for her work with bereaved mothers who lost their children during pregnancy and childbirth.

A spokesperson of the hospital, NYU Langone Health, said on Thursday that labor and delivery nurse Hesen Jabr had previously been warned not to bring her views “on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace.”

Jabr posted on Instagram that she was awarded on May 7, when she made her remarks, adding that she was handed a termination letter later in the month.

In a portion of her acceptance speech, she spoke about mothers who had lost babies during the war in Gaza, saying the award was “deeply personal” to her.

“It pains me to see the women from my country going through unimaginable losses themselves during the current genocide in Gaza,” Jabr said in the video of her speech that she posted online.

The hospital’s spokesperson in an email said Jabr had been warned in December, “following a previous incident, not to bring her views on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace.

“She instead chose not to heed that at a recent employee recognition event that was widely attended by her colleagues, some of whom were upset after her comments,” the spokesperson said without providing details about the earlier incident.

“As a result, Jabr is no longer an NYU Langone employee.”

Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has left over 36,000 dead in the past eight months, the local health ministry says. The war has also caused widespread hunger in the narrow coastal enclave and displaced nearly its entire 2.3 million population.

The conflict, which has led to rising Islamophobia and antisemitism and widespread demonstrations in the US and elsewhere, began when the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which governs Gaza, attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 and taking more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.


What guilty verdict? Unfazed Republican donors focus on Trump’s polling

What guilty verdict? Unfazed Republican donors focus on Trump’s polling
Updated 18 min 50 sec ago
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What guilty verdict? Unfazed Republican donors focus on Trump’s polling

What guilty verdict? Unfazed Republican donors focus on Trump’s polling
  • Republican donors are mostly eyeing a growing number of public opinion polls that put Trump ahead against Biden in some battleground states

Major Republican donors say they are likely to keep pumping cash into supporting Donald Trump’s presidential run, excited by polls showing him in the lead and undeterred by his unprecedented criminal conviction, according to interviews with around a dozen donors and fundraisers.
Many conservative donors already viewed the New York hush money cash as political persecution, echoing the Republican presidential candidate’s claim that Democrats are trying to weaken him ahead of the Nov. 5 election against President Joe Biden. Prosecutors have dismissed those claims as untrue. A New York jury found Trump guilty on Thursday of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.
Republican donors are mostly eyeing a growing number of public opinion polls that put Trump ahead against Biden in some battleground states.
“I think that big donors are paying attention to the polls, not the verdict,” said oil businessman Dan Eberhart, a Trump donor who also helps raise money for the former president’s campaign. “The polls are motivating this latest round of businessmen,” Eberhart added, saying that calls from donors had picked up “considerably.”
Robert Bigelow, who is one of Trump’s top supporters having given over $9 million to an outside group supporting him, said the verdict had no impact on him. “All of the charges are contrived,” Bigelow told Reuters.
The interviews show the depth of Trump’s donor support despite his legal woes, suggesting he will retain significant financial firepower against Biden including from Wall Street, tech and the oil sector.
The donors interviewed by Reuters were upbeat about Trump winning in November and felt the New York case against Trump was weak and designed to ensnare him.
After setting out with a major fundraising disadvantage against Biden, Trump for the first time in April outraised his Democratic rival, aided by a flurry of major fundraising events across the country. Several major donors, including casino billionaire Miriam Adelson, recently pledged support for Trump.
Andy Sabin, a metals businessman and Republican donor who supported three different candidates in the Republican presidential before settling on voting for Trump but has not donated to him so far, does not see the verdict having an impact.
“I haven’t met one donor yet that gives a shit about the trial. No matter how much they hate Trump, they think he’s getting screwed,” said Sabin, who regularly attends fundraisers and is donating to congressional candidates.
Trump can absolutely win the election, Sabin added, “as long as he keeps his mouth shut.”
In the last few weeks, Trump has hit the fundraising trail hard, hosting high-end events from Texas to New York. He is due to host three fundraisers in California next month, according to invitations seen by Reuters, including one in left-wing San Francisco hosted by tech venture capitalists.
“Every event that I’m involved with is exceeding budget,” said George Glass, a major Trump campaign fundraiser and his former ambassador to Portugal. “Most donors feel like the ‘fix’ is in,” Glass said about legal proceedings against Trump.
Some Republican donors do remain holdouts, put off by the Jan. 6, 2021 capitol riot or Trump’s brash attitude. “I’m on the sidelines,” said one donor unsure about whether to donate, mostly because of the “drama” around Trump.


US State Department official resigns, says US report on Gaza inaccurate

US State Department official resigns, says US report on Gaza inaccurate
Updated 29 min 44 sec ago
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US State Department official resigns, says US report on Gaza inaccurate

US State Department official resigns, says US report on Gaza inaccurate

WASHINGTON: A US State Department official who quit this week said on Thursday her resignation was precipitated by an administration report to Congress that she said falsely stated Israel was not blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, prompting her to resign in protest of President Joe Biden’s Israel policy.

Stacy Gilbert, who served in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, was a subject matter expert working on the report.

“There is so clearly a right and wrong, and what is in that report is wrong,” Gilbert said in an interview.

The United Nations and aid groups have long complained of the dangers and obstacles to getting aid in and distributing it throughout Gaza.

As the Palestinian death toll in Gaza has exceeded 36,000 and a humanitarian crisis has engulfed the enclave, human rights groups and other critics have faulted the US for providing weapons to Israel and largely defending Israel’s conduct.

The State Department submitted the 46-page unclassified report earlier this month to Congress as required under a new National Security Memorandum that Biden issued in early February.

Among other conclusions, the report said that in the period after Oct. 7 Israel “did not fully cooperate” with US and other efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza.

But it said this did not amount to a breach of a US law that blocks the provision of arms to countries that restrict US humanitarian aid.

Gilbert, who worked for the State Department for over 20 years, said she notified her office the day the State Department report was released that she would resign. Her last day was Tuesday.

US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters on Thursday that he would not comment on personnel issues but that the department welcomes diverse points of view.

He said the administration stood by the report and continued to press the government of Israel to avoid harming civilians and urgently expand humanitarian access to Gaza.

“We are not an administration that twists the facts, and allegations that we have are unfounded,” Patel said.

The Israeli embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gilbert’s accusations.

Gilbert’s bureau was one of the four that contributed to a classified initial options memo, reported exclusively by Reuters in late April, that informed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Israel might be violating international humanitarian law.

Gilbert said the State Department removed subject matter experts from working on the report to Congress when the document was a rough draft about 10 days before it was due. She said the report was then edited by more senior officials.

In contrast to the published version, the last draft she saw stated that Israel was blocking humanitarian assistance, Gilbert said.

Officials who resigned prior to Gilbert include Arabic language spokesperson Hala Rharrit and Annelle Sheline of the human rights bureau.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air and land war in Gaza. Israel launched its offensive after Hamas fighters crossed from Gaza into southern Israel on Oct. 7 last year, killed 1,200 people and abducted more than 250, according to Israeli tallies.


‘Real verdict’ will be November 5 election, Trump says 

‘Real verdict’ will be November 5 election, Trump says 
Updated 24 min 2 sec ago
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‘Real verdict’ will be November 5 election, Trump says 

‘Real verdict’ will be November 5 election, Trump says 
  • Faving the media after he was declared guilty on all counts, Trump dismisses trial as "rigged, disgraceful"
  • "I'm a very innocent man, and it's OK. I'm fighting for our country. I'm fighting for our constitution,” he insisted

NEW YORK CITY: Former president Donald Trump said the "real verdict" would be the US election in November after a New York jury convicted him on all charges in his hush money case on Thursday.
"This was a rigged, disgraceful trial. The real verdict is going to be November 5, by the people. And they know what happened here, and everybody knows what happened here," Trump said as he left the court.
"I'm a very innocent man, and it's OK. I'm fighting for our country. I'm fighting for our constitution."