The disgraced party leader blamed his downfall on “the herd instinct” at Westminster.
The Party Turns on Johnson
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday after days of resisting calls to step down and months of scandals that have haunted his political career.
What tipped off the latest scandal was the revelation that he was aware of upheld sexual misconduct allegations against MP Chris Pincher at the time he promoted Pincher to the post of deputy chief whip.
Johnson’s press office initially said he was unaware of the allegations before they emerged last week, but later statements by party officials and Johnson himself contradicted that claim.
Over 50 government ministers and officials have resigned in protest of Johnson’s premiership since Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid were the first to do so on Tuesday.
Given that over 40% of Conservative MPs voted against Johnson during last month’s vote of confidence, it appeared on Wednesday that he had lost his majority of support in parliament.
Some lawmakers feared that Johnson might dissolve parliament in an attempt to cling on to power, but Thursday’s announcement disconfirmed that possibility.
“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” Johnson said in front of Downing Street. “And I’ve agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now.”
With supporters cheering him and detractors booing him, Johnson thanked the millions who voted for him and said he was proud of his government’s accomplishments on Brexit, the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine.
He blamed his resignation on “the herd instinct” at Westminster, saying, “when the herd moves, it moves.”
He added that “our brilliant and Darwinian system” will produce another leader, whom he said he will support as much as he can.
“I know that there will be many people who are relieved, and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed,” he told the crowd. “And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But thems the breaks.”
What Happens Next?
Johnson said in his speech that he will remain in office until a new leader is chosen and that the timetable for a leadership contest will be announced next week.
Many demanded that he instead step down immediately, with former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major saying in a statement that either the timetable should be sped up or Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab should take over as caretaker PM.
Raab has ruled out a campaign for the leadership position when the contest commences, but other names have emerged as potential competitors.
Attorney General Suella Braverman declared that she will run for the post, and MP Steve Baker reportedly said he’s seriously considering it.
More Conservatives are expected to throw their hats in the ring in the coming days.
Senior Tories have been preemptively planning for a leadership contest since the so-called partygate scandal, working behind the scenes to court influential MPs and dine with potential campaign donors.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer threatened to hold a vote of confidence Thursday if Johnson doesn’t step down immediately, which, if the vote passed, would trigger a general election, but the Labor Party would need a large number of Tories to join it in such a vote.
When the leadership contest begins, Conservative lawmakers will narrow the field down to just two candidates, after which party members across the United Kingdom will decide the country’s next prime minister.
“QAnon Queen of Canada” Tries to Arrest Entire Police Department With 30 Followers
Observers fear Romana Didulo’s following will continue escalating toward violence.
You’re Under Arrest. No, You’re Under Arrest!!
A group of around 30 people attempted to conduct “citizen’s arrests” on the entire Peterborough police department in Ontario on Saturday.
They were brought there and directed to do so by Romana Didulo, the self-proclaimed “QAnon Queen of Canada,” whom they believe to be the country’s true leader in an underground war against a supposed global cabal of Satan-worshipping, pedophilic cannibals that control the world.
Didulo and her followers had been planning the event for weeks, posting about it on her Telegram, and even creating a website.
Using her supposed royal authority as justification, the group wanted to arrest the police for what they called “the COVID crime,” or the enforcement of pandemic safety restrictions like mask mandates and business closures.
“Who amongst you are prepared and ready to keep your city safe, peaceful, and secure after you’ve peacefully arrested Peterborough Ontario Police?” Didulo asked days before on Telegram.
On Saturday afternoon, while Didulo remained in her RV, the group marched from Confederation Park to the Water Street police station, but upon arriving they discovered the front door was locked. Attempts to bang on the door and use the intercom failed, so members of the group shouted at the cops through a megaphone and called 911 to ask them to come outside.
The group wandered around the property in search of another entrance for several hours, and at one point Didulo handed out vegetables and sardines on paper plates, as well as previously opened water bottles.
Eventually, members of the group found a restricted area where police vehicles are stored, at which point several officers arrived for their shift.
Some of the conspiracy theorists tried to detain the officers, who in turn arrested them instead.
Videos posted to social media show two men resisting arrest while a woman screams. One of the men is eventually seen being dragged along the ground and into the police station.
Later, the department announced that two men had been arrested and charged for assaulting police, resisting arrest, and mischief.
On Sunday, a third man was charged for assaulting an officer.
Who’s the Real Queen, Anyway?
Almost two years ago, Didulo declared herself the queen, commander in chief, and head of government in Canada.
She falsely claimed that the real Queen Elizabeth II had been executed.
According to her videos, Didulo was personally appointed by Donald Trump, as well as the U.S. military, the people she says seized the assets of the Vatican, and the “fake” royal family in the U.K.
She has also claimed to be an alien-adjacent being who is willing to share advanced medical technology with her followers.
Her Telegram counts over 60,000 followers, many of them coming from the QAnon conspiracy theory movement.
A major component of her ideology is a militant opposition to vaccines, with her having called them a “crime against humanity” and declaring Canada a “vaccine-free nation.”
In the summer of 2021, she organized her followers into groups that distributed hundreds of “cease and desist” letters to businesses, government offices, and police ordering them to halt all measures combatting the pandemic.
In November, she instructed her Telegram followers to shoot to kill anyone trying to inject children under the age of 19 with coronavirus vaccines. A few days later, she changed the wording from “shoot to kill” to “arrest.”
Shortly afterward, she said she was detained by Canadian authorities for the post and sent to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.
This summer, she issued a series of “decrees” declaring that water bills are illegal, electricity is free, and rent prices have reverted to rates from 1955. Some of her followers took the decrees seriously, then complained that their utilities had been shut off after they stopped paying their bills.
The confrontation with Peterborough police was her latest directive in a campaign that many fear will escalate toward violence.
The same day, she claimed on Telegram that “4 XR-0001 CRISPR-genetically modified supersoldiers are being pulled from cold storage and will be deployed within the hour.”
“Formed by crossing the Y-DNA of white rappers and Philippinos, We have created the strongest race known to man,” she said.
Currently, she continues a months-long tour of Canada in a fleet of RVs paid for by some of her most devoted followers.
See what others are saying: (Vice) (GlobalNews) (Newsweek)
Bank Robber Demanding His Own Money Hailed as Hero in Lebanon
Many people are directing their ire at the banks and the government, which they blame for the country’s almost unprecedented economic collapse.
A Shotgun, a Gas Canister, and a Whole Lot of Medical Bills
A man in Lebanon attracted hundreds of sympathetic protestors Thursday when he attempted to forcefully retrieve his own savings from a bank at gunpoint.
Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein, 42, barged into a Beirut bank armed with a shotgun and a gas canister, threatening to set himself ablaze if he was not given $200,000 from his account.
In response to a devastating economic and financial crisis, Lebanon’s banks have imposed severe restrictions on the amount of money depositors are allowed to withdraw.
Hussein came to get the money he considered rightfully his, saying he needed it to pay medical bills for his son and his father, who is reportedly in the hospital.
The bank employees refused to hand over the money and most customers fled the building during the initial panic, leaving at least six people trapped inside after he shut the doors.
Hussein reportedly fired at least two shots, but nobody appeared to have been injured.
Police showed up and began negotiating with Hussein, and he rejected a proposed $5,000, $10,000, and $30,000 in exchange for his surrender.
Meanwhile, crowds of onlookers gathered outside the building, many of whom expressed support for the gunman.
“Down with the rule of the banks!” They chanted. “Give him his money! Give him his money!”
After a roughly six-hour standoff with police, Hussein laid down his weapon and exited the bank in exchange for $35,000 to be delivered to his brother.
One of the Worst Economic Calamities in History
Lebanon has been embroiled in an ever-deepening downward economic spiral since October 2019 that has only been put under increased stress from the coronavirus pandemic.
The United Nations has estimated that nearly 80% of the population lives below the poverty line, and the country’s local currency has lost over 90% of its value.
For Lebanon, which imports many essential goods, monetary depreciation hits especially hard. As a result, the country has seen widespread infrastructure failure, with 20-hour-long power cuts, as well as fuel, food, and water shortages.
Inflation rose to 145% last year, and rising food prices have made it extremely difficult for many poor residents to survive.
Currently, banks only allow depositors to withdraw a maximum of $400 per month.
The World Bank has ranked the crisis, which it called a “deliberate depression,” one of the top ten, possibly top three most severe economic collapses globally since the 1850s.
The situation is “orchestrated by the country’s elite that has long captured the state and lived off its economic rents,” the bank said. “This capture persists despite the severity of the crisis.”
Although some saw hope in the May elections that ushered in new independent candidates, the government is still largely ruled by the same families and parties that fought each other during the country’s civil war ending in 1990.
The government has so far resisted proposed economic and political reforms, leading to popular unrest.
Lebanon’s GDP plummeted from nearly $52 billion in 2019 to a projected $21.8 billion in 2021, marking a 58.1 percent contraction, according to the World Bank. It was the highest contraction in a list of 193 countries.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (Vice) (World Bank)
Woman Accused of Using Fake Psychics to Trick Mom Into Giving up $140 Million in ‘Cursed’ Paintings
When her mother became suspicious, Sabine Coll Boghici allegedly confined her to her home for months with physical threats.
A woman in Brazil was arrested Wednesday with several accomplices who posed as psychics for allegedly swindling her elderly mother out of more than $140 million in cash, jewelry, and artwork.
Genevieve Boghici, an 82-year-old widow to the late art collector Jean Boghici, reportedly held mystical beliefs, which authorities say her daughter took advantage of.
In January 2020, a self-described psychic approached Genevieve and convinced her that her daughter, Sabine Coll Boghici, was sick and soon to die, according to a statement by police in Rio de Janeiro.
To save her, the psychic claimed the mother would have to fork over “exorbitant amounts” of money for spiritual treatment.
The daughter backed up the claim, also feeding personal information to several more supposed psychics, all of whom pressured the mother to make bank transfers totaling five million reais.
Next, police say the suspects told Genevieve her art collection was cursed with “negative energy,” and that it needs to be prayed over.
Meanwhile, Sabine allegedly fired her mother’s domestic employees so her accomplices could enter the home unimpeded and remove the art.
After Genevieve became suspicious of the situation, her daughter allegedly confined her to her home for months, with the suspects mistreating and physically threatening her.
In total, around $142.42 million worth of valuables was reportedly taken, including artwork by renowned Brazilian artists.
Three of at least 16 stolen paintings were from the modernist painter Tarsila do Amaral. Police estimated them to be worth around $137.69 million.