Trump talks tough on terror

President Trump has called for the death penalty for the suspected New York rampage killer who used a truck to kill 8 people and injured 12 more.

Speaking at a White house press conference Mr Trump said “it’s time to get tough”. When asked by reporters if he should be sent to “Gitmo”, the president said “he would certainly consider that.”

Sayfullo Saipov, a 29 Uzbek immigrant and the main suspect in the attack who was shot by police, has been reported to say that he “felt good” about the Halloween attack. And that he was inspired by the so-called Islamic state group.

Mr Saipov made the comments while appearing in court, only a day after the attack on the busy bike lane in Lower Manhattan.

Mr Trump said that the US had become “so politically correct” which has left politicians “too afraid to do anything.”

BBC news interview with Trump

He attacked the Diversity Visa Lottery, the system which allowed Mr Saipov into the country. He called it a “joke and a laughing stock.”

Mr Trump called for an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery and to replace it with a merit based system which would need Congress approval.

What is the Diversity Visa lottery?

The lottery programme awards 50,000 visas a year and it gives a unique chance for migrants to gain US citizenship.

Applicants come from all over the world and are typically underrepresented in American immigration.

The selection is hugely popular with millions applying every year. A computer random generator selects people and it does not require the visa recipient to have sponsorship, employment or family in the US.

In recent years, the project has been referred to as the green Visa lottery or golden ticket scheme.

Changing the system

Changing the system could be more difficult for Mr Trump than first thought, as it would require support from Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

However the President might have damaged his chances already after falsely accusing top Democrats for creating the Diversity Visa Lottery, which was actually passed by a bipartisan Majority.

The president has been accused of politicizing this tragedy by high ranking senates, showing the lack of support in changing the system to a merit based one.

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Catalan crisis is set to intensify

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called upon senators to approve a motion of direct rule over Catalonia, after the regions elected representatives push for independence.

Mr Rajoy addressed the Spanish parliament on the crisis, calling on the parliament to “follow the rule of law” and to “inforce the constitution.”

He called for the Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, and his vice-president and all regional ministers to be dismissed from office.

 

The speech was received with applause by the Spanish senate, a united front behind president.

Mr Rajoy speech was full of strong rhetoric, calling for “exceptional measures” and he claimed he had “no other choice” saying that “law, democracy and stability” needed to be returned to Catalonia.

He also attacked the Catalan government of dividing families and fracturing society after the disputed referendum.

What is the Catalan parliaments’ next move?

Yesterday the Catalan parliament began discussions over a possible declaration of independence.

It came after Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont struggled on what would be the next best possible form of action he would take.

MPs were called to debate on what options where available to them.

Mr Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence following the 1th October vote, but then halted implementation and called for negotiations between Catalonia and the Spanish government.

 

What could happen next?

Following this crisis, it has appeared to me that both side have tried to call each other’s bluff, which has now led to a stand-off.

If the Spanish Parliament votes in favour of direct rule, which looks likely, we could see this crisis deepen as Spanish authorities would have to take over certain parts of Catalonia including policing.

This could result in more unrest as Catalan separatists would protest against Spanish rule and there could be more violence on a bigger scale.

The Spanish authorities would have to remove the Catalan parliament and its leader Carles Puigdemont which would intensify the crisis.

 

It is more than likely that the Catalan elected officials would not go quietly, which would create huge constitutional problems for the Spanish government.

However there is one card that Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont could play in the next few hours which might swing the balance back into his favour, and could bring the likely hood of talks back onto the table.

Cards

If the Catalan parliament votes and then declares independence, it would leave the Spanish government with a dilemma.

Would Mr Rajoy chose the option of talks with the Catalans, which might resolve the crisis or at least start a dialogue between the two sides, Or to pursue the direct rule route which would be messy and could prolong the crisis.

 

 

Brexit talks in deadlock as May arrives for emergency talks

This week Theresa May flew to Brussels for emergency talks after negations failed to move forward, but downing street played down the trip insisting the visit had been in the diary for some weeks.

Theresa May met EU leaders and other EU Officials and claimed that talks had been productive, however she suggested there was “some way to go,” but that she was “optimistic”.

Her visit comes at a turbulent time in the Brexit’s negations, after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the talks had been in “deadlock” for some weeks.

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Progress had been slow after both sides disagreed on the so-called divorce bill, and the financial commitment the UK would have to pay before the negations could move onto trade talks, and the future relationship the UK would have with the EU post Brexit.

Influential French President Emmanuel Macron, has waded into the deadlock, warning “there was still much work to be done on the financial commitment before trade talks can begin.”

European Council President Donald Tusk, has tried to diffuse tensions speaking at a press conference, suggesting that the deadlock over Brexit negotiations may have been “exaggerated “by the press.

He said Progress was “not sufficient” to begin trade talks with the UK but added that it “doesn’t mean there is no progress at all.”

EU leaders will discuss the issue at their next summit, which could lead to trade being discussed possibly in December.

Mays secret deal ?

Theresa May has been criticised this week after it is rumoured that she has privately reassured EU leaders that the UK would not leave a black hole in the EU budget, by promising a figure of over 20 billion Euros as the UK leaves.

This is likely to anger many of her back benchers who already question her leadership and many leave voters will feel betrayed after the campaign promise that the UK would not pay a penny for leaving.

Mrs May was asked at the press conference in Brussels, where she did not deny it or reject the idea the UK could have to pay around 60 billion euros.

Whatever the rumours there is still not set figure on the table of how much the UK will have to pay in settling its accounts.

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Theresa May sets out the proposals for the new deal the UK will have with the EU.

Theresa May today has addressed the House of Commons in a speech where she called for a “unique and ambitious economic partnership” with the EU after Brexit.

 

After a turbulent few days for the PM, namely the failed cue against her and a poor conference speech.

Mrs May told MPs that “progress will not always be smooth.” Highlighting the European parliament’s decision, voting in favour of a motion to allow the Brexit negotiation not to move to the next round.

But she insisted that she could “prove the doomsayers wrong”, and that Britain would be able to negotiate a deal that works for the UK and the EU.

 

She referred back to her Florence speech where she gave EU leaders certain assurances on payments and citizens’ rights.

She said that “the ball is in their court”. Which was received with cheers on her side of the house.

The leader of Labour Jeremy Corbin, criticized the PM and her negotiating team, arguing that “no real progress had been made,” in the last 15 months since the referendum.

He accused the government of “squabbling” and put the question to Mrs May “what on earth has the government been doing all this time?”

 

 

In Mrs May’s speech, she called for “leadership and flexibility” between the UK and the other 27 nations. Which would allow both sides to form a “new” deep and special partnership.

Mrs May ended her speech expressing her good will and said she would “look forward to the next stage “and she was optimistic the UK would “receive a positive response.”

The EU is set to vote later this week about when the next round of negotiations will take place.

Tory rebels plot to a launch a leadership bid next week if May refuses to go?

It is rumoured, that 30 MPs will confront Mrs May, in the next three days, to ask her to step down by the end of the year after a poor party conference speech.

Theresa Mays speech was supposed to be the party’s relaunch after the humiliating election result in the spring.

But instead she was faced with a persistent sore throat and cough, a set that was falling apart behind her, and she also was handed a P45 by prankster Simon Brodkin.

This has led to some in the party to question her continued leadership with many backbenches calling for her to go.

Ed Vaizey, a former minister has become one of the first Tory MPs to break his silence and urged others to follow suit.

 

 

Speaking to the BBC, he said “The Tory party conference was a great opportunity to reboot the party and therefore reboot the country to give a clear sense of direction and that did not happen, and so, yes, I am concerned.”

Former Conservative Party chairman, Grant Shapps has claimed that he has around 30 Tory MPs signatures on a list supporting the idea of leadership change.

 

 

He said in a sky news interview yesterday that, “It’s time to do something else and that means changing the leader.”

In the interview he criticised the failure to reboot the party, and compared Mrs Mays situation to former leaders like Gordon Brown and John major. He said the Conservative party had damaged leadership and “we know the outcome of that”.

 

 

The prime minster today has fought back saying “the country needs calm leadership, that’s what I’m providing with the full support of my cabinet.”

Senior figures like the Home secretary Amber Rudd and the Environment secretary Michael Gove, have publicly called for her to stay.

Michael Gove speaking on the BBC radio 4 Today show said, “the overwhelming majority of MPs and the entirety of the cabinet support the prime minister.”

With a bad election result and a bad conference performance it would seem that the Conservative Party is set for turbulent times over the next few weeks.

Catalan is set to declare an independence declaration in the next few days says President.

Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont, has said he plans to move forward with an independence declaration despite condemnation from the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

This comes after last week’s referendum vote which saw violence at some polling stations between Catalans and the national Spanish police.

It was reported that around 900 people were injured after police tried to stop people voting, and enforcing the Spanish court decisions to ban on the vote. 33 police officers were also hurt in the violence.

2.3 million people took part in the disputed legal referendum vote and out of those who voted, 90% backed independence with a 40% turnout.

The vote has led to the building tension between the Catalan and Spanish governments, with either side unwilling to back down or reopen talks.

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Mr Rajoy today has upped the stakes and has warned that the declaration would have “no effect” and that Catalonia region’s autonomy could be “suspended.”

Mr Puigdemont is expected to address the regional parliament of Catalan on Tuesday after Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended the Catalan parliament session that had been planned for Monday.

Mr Puigdemont said “we are going to declare independence when all the results are in at the end of the week or early next week.”

Many Catalans wait anxiously and believe that parliament will declare independence unilaterally at its next sitting which has led to protest rallies in Madrid for Spanish unity, and rallies in Barcelona in response to last week’s disputed referendum.

The unnecessary controversy Trump created for himself in his first 100 days.

What Trump promised?

Trump promised that his leadership would be unpredictable and unconventional. He promised American voters that he would, “shake the establishment to the core”.

He would focus on American trade and bring back industries to the inner cities. He also announced radical new immigrations plans to deport thousands of illegals. And let’s not forget the big wall he had planned to build.

Trump also had big ideas with regards to foreign policy. He often said that his administration would have an “America first” approach, and the US would not get involved in foreign conflicts.

But it seems fair to say that Trump has found that saying it, is one thing, but actually carrying out these plans is a lot harder and complicated than he might have thought.

His inauguration

It started from the get go for the president, when he was enraged at the media after the suggestion, that the crowds at his inauguration where much smaller than in previous ones.

At the time I found this story to be a bit of a wind up by the main stream media. Trump had been going for the news outlets for weeks, but this time Trump fell into their trap.

Trump held a speech in front of the CIA memorial, he commented about his ongoing battle with the “misleading press” and that his inauguration had attracted millions of people.

His irritation was clear and he made the reference of looking out to millions of people a few times in the speech. However photos did emerge showing the clear difference between his inauguration and Obamas.

That should have been the end of it, but then Sean Spicer, one of Trumps political aides held a press conference, where there were cut outs showing the mass crowds Trump had attracted.

He called out the main stream media, and said what they were doing was “shameful and wrong. This was a sign of things to come and he was clearly wrong.

This whole debacle lasted a few days, Trump and his administration could not let it go, and they made this in to a huge controversy.

Trumps travel ban.

This may or may not have been the start Trump would have wanted, but he wasted no time in initiating his plans for America. Only a few days in, he announced his travel ban policy.

It was no surprise that Trump wanted to move fast on this policy, as this was one of the main issues he had campaigned on.It was popular too, striking a cord with voters.

However the execution was messy. It was controversial when he announced it, and the ban sparked major protests around the US.

Lots of people got caught up in the chaos at airports with protesters campaigning for the ban to be overturned immediately.

The order quickly ran into legal problems too. The ban was weakly written and was easily torn apart by the judicial process. It was stopped in its tracks by one judge.

Trump went on the attack, criticising the judiciary on twitter. He said that “Judges had become political” and it was “unbelievable behaviour”.

But the judiciary fought back calling this policy unconstitutional. This policy became very controversial and it showed Trumps failure in trying to get one of his flag-ship policies through.

Trumps inner circle.

Trumps inner circle became shrouded in controversy almost straight away. Michael Flynn, who was Trumps United States National Security Advisor, was forced to quit after 24 days in the job.

When it came out that he had lied to the Vice president and to Trump about meetings he had had with Russian contacts before trump took office.

It was huge embarrassment to Trump and it made his administration look chaotic. But the Russia shadow would continue to cause problems for trump.

Trumps next miss hap was with the accusation that Obama had tapped phones at Trump tower. Trump made this accusation via twitter creating a huge media storm.

No information had come to light backing the president’s claims, but some in Washington believed it was a distracting method to shine light away from another controversy which was brewing with Jeff sessions.

Jeff Sessions was appointed Attorney General of the United States but failed in his confirmation hearings to admit that he had meetings with the Russian ambassador.

At this point in trumps presidency there was this growing narrative that there was something murky with Trump, and his relations ship with Russia, and it seems to have kept growing.

Repealing Obama care

Then things got even worse. Another one of Trumps major campaign promises was the repealing of Obama care. He wanted to replace it with the American care act. It was very popular with voters.

However it became clear that there was no real plan to back up this policy and Trump relied heavily on speaker Paul Ryan who put the legislation together.

They both miss read the mood of republicans on this issue, the party was a lot more fractured making it difficult to get it through.

Trumps military strike on Syria

Trump was always very opposed to getting involved in the Syrian conflict. He often tweeted even before his campaign warning Obama of the dangers of getting the US involved.

But when Bashar al-Assad attacked his own people with chemical weapons on Trumps watch.

 

The president reacted by ordering an attack on the air field where the Syrian planes took off. The missiles damaged the airfield preventing the Syria air force from using runway for some time.

However Trump found himself under fire from many republicans saying he had “gone back on his word”.

Summary

Trump has defiantly got stuck in with his legislative programme and it’s fair to say it’s not been plain sailing.

 

 

Trump has often been referred to as unconventional, acting against the norm. However this approach has got him into some sticky situations.

Despite these mishaps, Trump seems to be still very popular with American votes. Surviving many thing which other president would not of. He is able to push the goal posts further and further apart.

And looking forward, it appears he’s not going to change his way, which leaves me with just one thought.

What is next for Trump?

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The Repeal Bill already facing challenges?

Yesterday the Repeal bill was published, but it has already run into some difficulties, with the Labour party and the devolved administrations threatening to block it.

The UK is only into the Brexit process by a few weeks, but it looks like the cracks are starting to show for the government, by not having the devolved administrations on side.

Government Ministers are confident about getting it through the commons and have promised an “ongoing intense dialogue” with the devolved administrations.

First Minster of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and First Minster of Wales, Carwyn Jones, described the bill as a “naked power-grab” by Westminster that undermined the principles of devolution.

The government is also facing criticism from inside the Labour Party, they claim it gives ministers a free hand over huge parts of policy without being scrutinized by Parliament.

From an outsider, it does appear that the government is being pushed and prodded from all angles, and with the shambolic general election result, this government authority does seem to be wavering.

However the Brexit Secretary David Davis, rejected the criticism and said its “one of the most significant pieces of legislation that has ever passed through Parliament”.

He also made the point that the bill does not give ministers “sweeping powers” to make changes to laws as they are repatriated.

The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, with his new found confidence, has said his party would not support the bill in its current form and called for concessions in six key areas.

These comments come after the Labour leader was in Brussels meeting the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

During his visit Corbyn appeared to go on the attack. He said, “We will make sure there is full parliamentary scrutiny.”

He also added that “we have a Parliament where the government doesn’t have a majority, we have a country which voted in two ways on Leave or Remain.”

With the bill likely to pass in the commons, the Conservative government are just starting the trek through the two year battle ahead. What seems for certain is the UK becoming more and more divided on the Brexit issue.

 

 

North Korea launches an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Yesterday the United States confirmed that North Korea has successfully launched an ICBM that may be capable of reaching the United States.

The news was broadcasted on North Korea TV. The TV spokes women claimed that North Korea was “a strong nuclear power state” and had “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world.”

The United States and South Korea, today have held a ballistic missile drill, for a show of unity and strength. The US have said that other military exercises would be held if other missiles were tested.

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has condemned the missile test. He said the test was a “new escalation of the threat” and he said the US would “never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea”.

Reading between the lines, the USA and her allies only have a few options open to them, none of them are good.

This test is a huge development in the North Korea missiles programme, with many outside experts and even the president court off guard.

Mr Trump expressed himself through his favourite online platform, twitter. Where he mocked the North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

He said “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?”

But behind this mocking tweet, Mr Trump must be anxious. Many experts believed that North Korea were at least three years away from having this kind of capability.
Mr Trump has often said at his rally’s that “north Korea will never be able to have a nuclear missile.”

If North Korea is much closer to having a nuclear missile, are we edging closer to a major conflict in the region?

Other key players in the region China and Russia, have urged the North to halt its weapons programme. In exchange the US-South Korean military exercises will stop.

With North Korea showing no intention of slowing down their missiles programme, tensions in the region are set to rise.

 

Munity in the cabinet on public sector pay.

The PM and the chancellor have been put under more pressure today, after another senior cabinet minister calls for a rethink on the 1% public sector pay cap.

The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has stepped into the fold, adding his criticism of the government’s position on the cap, calling for a change in the policy.

 

 

His intervention could not come at a worse time for the PM and the chancellor.
Over the weekend, Michael Gove spoke on the Andrew Marr show, suggesting that there could be a change in direction in regards to public sector pay.

He said “it is the ‘collective view of Government’ to ‘respect the integrity’ of independent public sector pay review bodies”.

 

 

He then added, “You sometimes have to suppress your own views, I sometimes might suppress mine in order to ensure that we can operate successfully as a collective team.”
It sounds like the collective team may be feeling the pressure on this issue. Are we seeing the beginning of the end for this minority government?

Michael Gove full interview on the Andrew Marr show.

I think it’s fair to say that Theresa Mays leaderships has been a bit rocky over the last few weeks. And with senior cabinet ministers divided on this issue, this is probably the last thing she needs.

She is also under pressure from her back benchers. Heidi Allen, the MP for South Cambridgeshire, suggested that austerity could be “scaled back”, calling for the “rebalancing” of where money is spent.

But with all this political talk about being part of a “collective team” and making the “hard decisions”, it’s easy to forget the people at the heart of the story. Our public sector works.

With nurses using food banks and with greater pressure on our services, the PM and the chancellor are going to have to grapple with what’s fair, and use the limited money in the public finances to better the many.