Joe Biden has said he will not allow peace in Northern Ireland to become a “casualty of Brexit” if he is elected US President in November.
The Democratic candidate said any UK-US trade deal had to be “contingent” on respect for the Good Friday Agreement.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been trying to reassure US politicians about the latest Brexit developments during a trip to Washington.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he trusted the UK to “get this right”.
But US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there was “no chance” of a UK-US trade deal getting through the US Congress if the UK violated international agreements, undermining the Good Friday Agreement.
After a meeting with Mr Raab, the Speaker of the House of Representatives said the UK’s exit from the EU could not be allowed to “imperil” peace in Northern Ireland.
She said the lower house of Congress, which is currently controlled by her party, would defend the 1998 Good Friday Agreement as a “beacon of hope for peace-loving people throughout the whole world”.
And Mr Biden, who is going up against US President Donald Trump in November’s election, tweeted.
Brexit is high on the agenda at the Washington meetings, after the Internal Market Bill cleared its first parliamentary hurdle earlier this week.
The proposed law would give the UK government the power to override part of the Brexit withdrawal deal – which Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with the EU last October.
It now faces further scrutiny in the House of Commons, and also needs to be passed by the House of Lords.
If the law comes into force, it would breach international law – a prospect that prompted an angry response from senior figures in the US last week.
On Tuesday, four senior congressmen also issued a similar warning, saying a UK-US trade deal would be blocked if the UK failed to preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.
In a letter to Mr Johnson, the four congressmen said the plans to give ministers powers to override part of the UK’s exit agreement – designed to avoid a hard Irish border – could have “disastrous consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and broader process to maintain peace on the island of Ireland”.
“We therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the withdrawal agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland,” the letter added.
The letter was signed by Democratic congressmen Eliot Engel, Richard Neal, and Bill Keating, who all chair committees in the US House of Representatives, as well as Republican Congressman Peter King.
However asked about the bill at a joint UK-US press conference Mr Pompeo said: “We trust the UK, we know the complexities of the situation, I have great confidence they will get this right.”
Mr Raab said “the threat to the Good Friday Agreement comes from the EU’s politicisation of the issue”.
He defended the bill as “precautionary and proportionate” adding “what we can’t have is the EU seeking to erect a border down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Britain”.
Asked earlier about the letter from US politicians, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I think when they understand what we are trying to do they will share our ambition and concern which is to protect the peace process.
Former Democrat congressman Bruce Morrison, who co-chairs a committee of American politicians dedicated to protecting the Good Friday Agreement, accused the UK of reneging on its withdrawal agreement with the EU.
He told BBC Radio Ulster: “That deal recognised the importance of the open border on the island of Ireland, and now some of that agreement is being taken back or sought to be taken back by unilateral action by the UK.
“Anything that says ‘well we made a deal once, but it’s inconvenient now and we’re going to recede from that agreement when Northern Ireland is at stake’ – we think that’s a threat,” he added.
In his talks on Wednesday, Mr Raab argued that the government’s plans are precautionary and proportionate – and in response to what ministers describe as threats from the EU to block food imports.
Mr Raab also met Mr Pompeo, amid continuing transatlantic tensions over Iran.
The US secretary of state recently accused the UK and its European allies of “siding with the Ayatollahs” for blocking further United Nations sanctions on Iran.
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in India has surpassed five million, officials say, the second-highest in the world after the US.The virus is spreading much faster in India than any other country, with daily cases crossing 90,000 for the five days up until Tuesday.More than 80,000 people have died, amid reports of shortages of intensive care beds and oxygen supplies.But the death rate is lower than in many countries with a high caseload.The rise in infections comes as the government continues to lift restrictions throughout the country to try to boost an economy that lost millions of jobs when the virus hit in March.
In the initial stages of Covid-19, India appeared to be doing fairly well, imposing a strict lockdown, but the virus then hit megacities like Mumbai and the capital Delhi, before surging in smaller cities and rural areas.Despite the increase, the government has eased restrictions.As India opens up its economy and people return to work, Covid-19 cases have been surging. Some 600,000 cases were added just last week.India’s caseload now stands at 5,020,359 after it added 90,123 cases in the last 24 hours.
Demand for oxygen has risen exponentially recently.Hospitals and care centres are consuming up to about 2,700 tonnes of oxygen every day this month, compared with 750 tonnes in April, according to data obtained from All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association.
Oxygen manufacturers say the demand for industrial oxygen has also shot up because more factories are now reopening.The states seeing a worrying uptick in infections – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh – are suffering the most. It is a lives-versus-livelihoods question that India is grappling with now, BBC India correspondent Soutik Biswas reports.India will now need to increase capacity to make sure that both industries and patients do not suffer, our correspondent adds.Most oxygen plants are built near cities and big towns. So supplies to far flung districts where Covid-19 patients are filling hospitals have to be sent by special lorries carrying cryogenic tanks – India has some 1,500 such vehicles.Many states – the capital, Delhi, for example – do not have a single oxygen manufacturer, and all supplies have to come from neighbouring regions.
On Monday, climate change took centre stage in the US presidential campaign – and the contrast between the two candidates couldn’t have been more stark.
While touring fire-ravaged California, Donald Trump downplayed the role a warming planet could have in the devastation, suggesting temperatures will “start getting cooler” and that the recent conflagrations was a lack of proper forest management.
“I don’t think science knows actually,” he said when told that science didn’t agree with his conclusions
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Joe Biden went on the attack, accusing Trump of ignoring a “central crisis” facing the nation.
“If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?” he asked. “If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is underwater?”
The environment has largely been a sideline issue in the race for the White House, getting scant attention even during the Democratic primary campaign, when questions on the topic during candidate debates were few and far between.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who made climate change the focus of his presidential bid, was one of the first to drop out of the race. Tom Steyer, a billionaire who self-funded his campaign, also made the issue a priority, but his campaign also never gained significant traction.
The topic, however, is on one on which Trump and Biden have sharp and substantive disagreements.
Trump has previously dismissed the notion of manmade climate change as a “hoax” perpetrated by China and, while he’s backed away from such rhetoric, his comments on Monday were reflective of the lack of attention he devotes to the issue.
Instead, his administration has focused on promoting US manufacturing and the energy industry, rolling back more than 70 environmental regulations – many of which deal with climate change.
He eased regulation on methane produced by oil and gas wells, reduced fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles and rescinded Obama-era rules on greenhouse gas emissions by electrical power plants.
Trump also followed through on a campaign promise to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement in the sixth month of his presidency.
“The Paris Agreement handicaps the United States’ economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense,” he said at the time.
Biden, on the other hand, says he would rejoin the Paris Agreement on the first day of his presidency and reinstate many of the environmental regulations Trump has rescinded.
He surprised many in the political world when he moved to the left on the environment since the end of the Democratic primary campaign, expanding on his original plan for spending $1.7tn infrastructure and green jobs over 10 years to $2tn over four years. He also pledged to make the US power supply carbon-free in 15 years.
“We have a choice,” Biden said in his speech on Monday. “We can invest in our infrastructure to make it stronger and more resilient, improving the health of Americans and creating millions of good paying jobs while at the same time tackling the root causes of climate change. Or we can continue down the path Donald Trump has us on – a path of indifference, costing tens of billions of dollars to rebuild.”
There could be a political calculation behind Biden’s move, as climate change is an area of concern for many younger voters – a demographic that supported other candidates over Biden in the primaries and has been the key to general-election victories by Democratic candidates in the past.
Trump, however, won the White House in 2016 in part because of support from white working-class voters in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. His electoral strategy has been to emphasis jobs and manufacturing over climate concerns, while making the occasional rhetorical nod to maintaining “crystal clean” air and water.
Even though the environment still ranks behind issues like healthcare and the economy for a majority of Americans, if the presidential race is close, the how – or whether – to address climate change in a substantive fashion could make the difference between victory and defeat.
Microsoft has said that its offer to buy the US operations of hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok has been rejected, paving the way for Oracle to make a last-minute bid.
US President Donald Trump gave a 15 September deadline for the Chinese-owned app to sell or shut down.
The Trump administration claims TikTok and other Chinese apps are national security threats.
Microsoft and Oracle led the race to buy TikTok from Chinese firm ByteDance.
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have reported that Oracle, which sells database technology and cloud systems to businesses, had won the bidding war, citing people familiar with the matter.
Earlier reports had said Oracle was seriously considering buying TikTok’s businesses in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with investment firms, including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital.
A TikTok spokesperson told the BBC the firm was “not commenting on either the Microsoft development nor the Oracle speculation”.
On Sunday Microsoft announced that “ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests.”
“We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas,” its statement added.
This paves the way for Oracle, who Mr Trump said would be “a great company” to take over TikTok’s US operations last month.
Oracle’s chairman Larry Ellison is a supporter of Mr Trump and held a fundraising event for him in February.
Earlier this month Mr Trump said the government should get a “substantial portion” of the sale price of TikTok’s US unit if an American firm buys it.
Mr Trump ordered TikTok’s owner ByteDance to sell its US business within 90 days or face being shut downThe forced sale of TikTok’s US business is part of a wider crackdown on Chinese technology firms in America.
Mr Trump has said apps such as TikTok, WeChat and equipment maker Huawei pose a national security threat because data collected about users can be shared with the Chinese government. The Chinese firms deny this claim.
Huawei also faces a ban on 15 September that effects its non-American suppliers. They will have to stop shipping to Huawei if their products contain US technology. To be able to supply Huawei they will need a license from the US Commerce Department.
Two weeks ago, China announced new government restrictions on tech exports. The rules are believed to be aimed at delaying the TikTok sale. The restrictions meant some technologies such as AI, will need government approval before they can be exported.
TikTok has become so popular because it has highly-advanced algorithms that predict what users want to watch.
This sort of technology will now be under the spotlight from the Chinese government.
These highly-valued algorithms will not be sold or transferred according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
TikTok is now the second example of a high profile Chinese company that has become caught up in the US China tech cold war.
Huawei was first – getting embroiled in a battle that has now effectively seen it crippled from doing any business in the US or buying any parts that have US components in them.
The Trump administration says this is about levelling the playing field and national security – protecting American’s data and privacy.
But Beijing says this is the US being a bully – dissatisfied with its lack of progress in key technology areas, it is worried about losing ground, and that’s why it has either tried to block Chinese tech or acquire it – in the case of TikTok.
It’s still not clear though what form TikTok will have if indeed it ends up in American hands – and how popular it will remain with American users.
All of this of course could slow down the firm’s growth in the US, but it’s beginning to hint that it has already turned its focus elsewhere from the markets it’s being pushed out of – the US and India – and investing in South East Asian markets instead.
It’s unclear what will happen to the popular video-sharing app which has around 100m active users in the US.
Neither Microsoft or Oracle are seen as the most obvious suitors for TikTok, which has a predominantly young audience who share short-form lip-synching videos.
Any deal will still need approval from a number of interested parties including the US and Chinese governments, ByteDance and investors.
In August, TikTok filed a lawsuit against the US government in response to Mr Trump’s executive order to ban the app.
Germany says 10 European countries have agreed to take 400 unaccompanied minors who fled Greece’s largest migrant camp when it was gutted by fire.Most will go to Germany and France, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told reporters on Friday.Close to 13,000 people had been living in squalor in the Moria camp on Lesbos.Families have been sleeping in fields and on roads after fleeing the blaze on Wednesday, as authorities struggle to find accommodation for them.Near the ruins of Moria, residents of the island blocked roads to stop charities from delivering aid and said they were against the construction of new tents.But the Greek military later used helicopters to reach the site and have begun setting up replacement accommodation.After visiting the area, European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas announced that the devastated camp would be replaced by a modern facility at the same location.The Moria camp was initially designed to house 3,000 migrants. People from 70 countries had been sheltered there, most from Afghanistan.
By Bethany Bell, BBC News, LesbosMigrants from the burnt-out Moria camp are staging a protest in front of the police barriers which prevent them from moving to other parts of the island.Singing and banging plastic bottles, they march up and down a stretch of coastal road, calling for the right to leave Lesbos.One person carried a large piece of cardboard emblazoned with the message: “We don’t want food, we want freedom.” Another banner read: “Moria kills all lives”.
Many local Greeks too want the migrants to leave the island.They strongly oppose plans to rebuild a temporary camp. Sanitary conditions are grim. There’s little running water, and washing is difficult.
“Now is the time to shut down Moria for good,” Vangelis Violatzis, a local municipal leader on Lesbos, told AFP news agency.
How to deal with the mass arrivals of migrants, mainly to Italy and Greece, has divided the EU for years.Italy and Greece have accused wealthier northern countries of failing to do more, while a number of central and eastern nations are openly resistant to the idea of taking in a quota of migrants.
Mr Seehofer said France and Germany would each accept between 100 and 150 of the children. The Netherlands has already pledged to accept 50 and Finland will take 11. Talks are ongoing with other states to take part, Mr Seehofer said.Other countries expected to take in children include Switzerland, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Portugal, according to German reports.The fire at Moria was “a sharp reminder to all of us for what we need to change in Europe”, the interior minister said.
But a group of charities and NGOs have written to the German government saying more has to be done for all of the migrants, not just those minors.”The shameful situation in the camp and the fire disaster are the direct result of a failed European refugee policy – now the EU must finally help the people affected,” the open letter reads.All 400 children have now been flown to the Greek mainland. EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Wednesday that the EU had agreed to finance the transfer of the minors to the mainland and their accommodation. “The safety and shelter of all people in Moria is a priority,” she tweeted.
On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the migrant crisis was Europe’s problem, and concrete action was needed by the EU to tackle it.German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Mr Mitsotakis on the phone and said she had agreed Germany would take some of the migrant children.
Touring the burnt-out Moria site on Thursday, Mr Schinas said it was “inconceivable” that the EU did not yet have a unified migration policy.He said the Commission’s proposals for a new pact on migration and asylum, due to be presented on 30 September, would “put an end to this unacceptable situation”.
Fires broke out in more than three places overnight on Tuesday, according to local fire chief Konstantinos Theofilopoulos. Further fires left the camp almost completely destroyed.The fires started hours after reports that 35 people had tested positive for Covid-19 at the camp. Authorities placed the facility under quarantine last week after a Somali migrant was confirmed to have contracted coronavirus.Eight of the 35 who tested positive for Covid-19 are since believed to have been found and isolated.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said the fires “began with the asylum seekers because of the quarantine imposed”. Some of those infected with the virus had reportedly refused to move into isolation with their families.He did not say, however, that the fires were a deliberate act of arson aimed at destroying the camp.But some migrants told BBC Persian that the fire had broken out after scuffles between migrants and Greek forces at the camp.
Greece has sent three ships to Lesbos to provide accommodation for some 2,000 migrants. The Blue Star Chios ferry, which has capacity to house 1,000 people, has docked at the Lesbos port of Sigri. Two naval vessels have also been provided.But officials have also increased security on the island. Military personnel, riot police and water cannon have arrived at the scene.
On a car park park outside a supermarket on Thursday, hundreds of migrants, including families with small children, waited for bottled water and food to be distributed.”There is no food, no milk for the baby,” Congolese migrant Natzy Malala, who had a newborn infant and an eight-year-old girl, told Reuters news agency.But there is strong resistance from locals for a new camp to house them. “We don’t want another camp, and we will oppose any construction work. We’ve faced this situation for five years, it’s time for others to bear this burden,” local leader Vangelis Violatzis was quoted as saying.
Josie Bates has revealed some devastating personal news:
She has suffered a miscarriage.
The Bringing Up Bates cast member detailed the awful development on Instagram on Wednesday, explaining that she and husband Kelton Balka were “over the moon” to be expecting a sibling for their 13-month-old daughter Willow Kristy in March 2021.
However, they found out during “a recent ultrasound” that she had lost the child.
“Sometimes you have to walk through experiences you never thought you would have to. This has been a very difficult time for our little family,” wrote the 21–year old.
She included with this admission images of herself and Balka on the beach.
Continued the reality star:
“We were filled with anticipation as we began to dream of what it would be like as a family of four and for Willow to have a little playmate.
“We surprised our family and friends with the news at Willow’s one year old birthday party! Already, my heart felt an unexplainable amount of excitement!”
Josie, who is very close with the Duggar family, continued to be an open book when it came to this tragedy.
“Sadly, when I went for a recent ultrasound, we were heartbroken to hear our precious baby had gone to be with Jesus,” she wrote.
“Our hearts have been completely broken. I’ve never experienced the type of pain and loss that I’ve had these past weeks. There is an empty spot in our hearts and in our home.”
Bates is a woman of strong faith.
She went on to say that she and her husband “know God has a purpose for” their baby’s “short life,” even though the grieving parents “never got to see our baby face to face or hold its tiny hand.”
“I added a charm to my necklace, next to Willow’s, to help us never forget the memories of how this little one made us feel and how much love and joy it brought to our family,” Bates wrote of the above photo. “We are grateful for the love and prayers from so many during this time.”
“In spite of our grieving, we have peace in knowing that our little baby is in heaven with Kelton’s sweet mom,” she said, citing her mother-in-law, who passed away when Balka was 13 years old… while giving birth to her fifth child.
Bates and Balka got married October of 2018 in the Tennessee mountains.
They announced they were expecting first child the following February.
“We couldn’t be happier to announce that we’re having a baby!” the then-parent-to-be told People Magazine back then.
“We are a little nervous but totally flooded with joy as we’re starting this new journey of love and parenting together!”
On September 24, Bringing Up Bates will air an episode that centers on Bates telling Balka about her second pregnancy.
According to People, UPtv offered to edit this portion of the episode out.
But the footage will remain intact because the couple wants to preserve the memory of discovering the jouyous news, cementing their unborn daughter’s place in their immediate family.
We send them our very best.