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Boris Johnson Resigns, Conservatives to Elect New Prime Minister



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.

See what others are saying: (BBC) (CNN) (Vice)


95-Year-Old Woman Dies After Police Tases Her in Nursing Home



The officer involved was suspended with pay and charged with assault.

A 95-year-old Australian woman whom police tasered in a nursing home last week has reportedly died from her injuries.

Clare Nowland, who had dementia and required a walking frame to stand up and move, was living at the Yallambee Lodge in Cooma in southeastern Australia.

At about 4:15 a.m. on May 17, police and paramedics responded to a report of a woman standing outside her room with a steak knife.

They encountered Nowland, then reportedly tried to negotiate with her for several minutes, but she didn’t drop the knife.

The five-foot-two, 95-pound woman walked toward the two officers “at a slow pace,” police said at a news conference, so one of them tasered her.

She fell to the floor and reportedly suffered a fractured skull and a severe brain bleed, causing her to be hospitalized in critical condition.

Nowland passed away in a hospital surrounded by her family, the New South Wales police confirmed in a statement today.

After a week-long investigation, the police force also said that the senior constable involved would appear in court next week to face charges of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.

NSW police procedure states that tasers should not be used against elderly or disabled people absent exceptional circumstances.

Following the incident, community members, activists, and disability rights advocates expressed bewilderment and anger at what they called an unnecessary use of force, and some are now questioning why law enforcement took so long to prosecute the officer involved.

See what others are saying: (Reuters) (The New York Times) (CNN)

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U.K. Police Face Backlash After Arresting Anti-Monarchy Protesters



London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that some of the arrests “raise questions” and “investigations are ongoing.”

The Public Order Act

A controversial protest crackdown law in the U.K. is facing criticism after dozens of anti-monarchy protesters were arrested during the coronation ceremony in London over the weekend.

The law, dubbed the “Public Order Act” was passed roughly a week ahead of the coronation for King Charles III. It gives police more power to restrict protesters and limits the tactics protesters can use in public spaces. It was condemned by human rights groups upon its passing, and is facing a new round of heat after 52 people were arrested over coronation protests on Saturday.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said protesters were arrested for public order offenses, breach of the peace and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. The group said it gave advance warning that its “tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low and that we would deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining the celebration.”

It is currently unclear how many of those arrested were detained specifically for violating the Public Order Act, however, some of those arrested believe the new law was used against them.

“Make no mistake. There is no longer a right to peaceful protest in the UK,” Graham Smith, the CEO of anti-monarchy group Republic tweeted after getting arrested. “I have been told many times the monarch is there to defend our freedoms. Now our freedoms are under attack in his name.”

An Attempt to “Diminish” Protests

During a BBC Radio interview, Smith also said he believes the dozens of arrests were premeditated. 

“There was nothing that we did do that could possibly justify even being detained and arrested and held,” Smith claimed. 

“The whole thing was a deliberate attempt to disrupt and diminish our protest.”

Yasmine Ahmed, the U.K. Director of Human Rights Watch, also tweeted that the arrests were “disgraceful.”

“These are scenes you’d expect to see in Russia not the UK,” she wrote. 

When asked about the controversy, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters officers should  do “what they think is best” in an apparent show of support for the Metropolitan Police. 

For his part, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he is looking into the matter.

“Some of the arrests made by police as part of the Coronation event raise questions and whilst investigations are ongoing, I’ve sought urgent clarity from Met leaders on the action taken,” Khan tweeted.

See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (CNN) (The Washington Post)

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Foreign Nationals Make Mad Dash out of Sudan as Conflict Rages



The conflict’s death toll has surpassed 420, with nearly 4,000 people wounded.

As the 10-day-long power struggle between rival generals tore Sudan apart, foreign governments with citizens in the country scrambled to evacuate them over the weekend.

On Sunday, U.S. special forces landed in the capital Khartoum and carried out nearly 100 American diplomats along with their families and some foreign nationals on helicopters.

An estimated 16,000 Americans, however, remain in the country and U.S. officials said in a statement that a broader evacuation mission would be too dangerous.

Christopher Maier, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity warfare, said in a statement that the Pentagon may assist U.S. citizens find safe routes out of Sudan.

“[The Defense Department] is at present considering actions that may include use of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to be able to observe routes and detect threats,” he said.

Germany and France also reportedly pulled around 700 people out of the country.

More countries followed with similar efforts, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, China, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Indonesia.

Yesterday, a convoy carrying some 700 United Nations, NGO, and embassy staff drove to Port Sudan, a popular extraction point now that the airport in Khartoum has closed due to fighting.

Reports of gunmen prowling the capital streets and robbing people trying to escape, as well as looters breaking into abandoned homes and shops, have persuaded most residents to stay indoors.

Heavy gunfire, airstrikes, and artillery shelling have terrorized the city despite several proposed ceasefires.

Over the weekend, the reported death toll topped 420, with nearly 4,000 people injured, though both numbers are likely to be undercounted.

See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (The New York Times) (The Washington Post)

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