Tag Archives: Scotland

Northern Ireland launches the first COVID-19 tracking application in the UK | Instant News


DUBLIN (Reuters) – Northern Ireland on Friday launched the first COVID-19 tracking application in the UK, and the first that can also track users in another country, Ireland, who has been in contact with someone who has the disease.

The COVID Tracker Ireland application, which is used to track the contact of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), is displayed on mobile phones, because it is accommodated for illustrated photos in Galway, Ireland, 30 July 2020. REUTERS / Clodagh Kilcoyne / Illustration

NearForm developers, who hope the application will become a blueprint eventually synchronize across Europe, launch a similar application in Ireland on July 8, and cases can now be traced across the island’s open border with two separate health services.

NearForm’s technical director Colm Harte said the technical approach he used in developing StopCovid NI would work with applications throughout the UK and that could be applied throughout Europe if countries agreed on how to share and store data.

The Scottish devolution government announced on Friday that tracking applications are under development using the same software as Ireland and are also being built by NearForm.

It will be available in the fall.

“This can definitely be done, technically it can be done because more and more countries are turning to Apple and the Google API (application programming interface),” Harte told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“I think that will happen. I do not know when but countries throughout Europe are aware that there are more people starting to travel now, this is a problem that must be resolved. ”

USER DOOR IS PUBLISHED

The UK moved to the same Apple and Google model last month when it disposed of locally made models originally scheduled for May.

NearForm, based in the coastal city of Tramore in southern Ireland, is building a Pennsylvania contact tracking application and is in discussions with other states and governments after the successful Irish launch, Harte said.

Nearly 1.5 million people, or 37% of the population of the Republic of Ireland over the age of 15, have downloaded the Irish application since July 8 and 137 users have been warned through the application that they have made close contact with confirmed cases.

Ireland has one of the lowest infection rates in Europe in recent weeks with an average of around 20 per day to surge on Thursday. Northern Ireland has the same low level with no related deaths reported since July 12.

NearForm’s Harte said that if one application can destroy multiple transmission chains, it will be successful.

“You can enter into a conversation about how much needs to be disconnected before it is considered truly successful, but the aim is to break the transmission chain. Once it does that, it has an impact, “he said.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Cawthorne

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Boris Johnson’s approach to Covid-19 could accelerate the end of England | Instant News


When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson landed on Thursday in Orkney, an island off the north coast of Scotland, he boldly stated that the trip proved his commitment to a united country.

“The Union is an extraordinarily powerful institution – it is helping our country through the thick and thin,” he said. “I think what people really want to do is see our entire country back together, and that’s what we will do.”

Maybe together, but not with Scottish leaders. For his first trip to Scotland this year, Johnson chose a group of islands with hundreds of miles of Scottish political powerhouse in Edinburgh; he did not meet with Scotland’s top elected official, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

That might be for a good reason. Although Scotland suffered greatly from Covid-19, Sturgeon’s popularity has surged, in large part because he has directed a more cautious approach to the pandemic than his British counterparts. Support for Sturgeon’s main political goal, Scotland’s independence from Britain, has also increased.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s personal ranking was hit, because the message surrounding the reopening south of the Scottish border was more haphazard. His visit to Scotland was an attempt to regain the political capital north of the Hadrian Wall.

Different approach

One of the many lessons from the pandemic in Britain is the style of governing that is very different from the country’s political leaders.

Johnson, despite being educated in the most elite company in the UK, has made a career playing as an ordinary klutzy. This is a routine that works very well for photo operations – the famous zipline accident during the 2012 Olympics, as the mayor of London, is the main event – but maybe not so good for the global pandemic.

Long before Johnson himself signed Covid-19, he told a group of journalists with a mischievous smile that he recently visited the hospital and “I think there are actually some coronavirus patients, and I shake hands with everyone, you will be glad to know. ”

Johnson faced special ridicule for confusing suggestions about reopening. He told the Brits on May 10 that if they cannot work from home, they must now “be actively encouraged to go to work” but they must also “stay alert.”

Sturgeon was not impressed. “I don’t know what it means to ‘stay alert’,” Sturgeon said at the time, adding that he had asked the British government not to use the slogan in Scotland.

When the Johnson government introduced new rules that allow residents to visit certain countries without having to quarantine upon return, Sturgeon called the decision-making process “chaotic.” Unlike Downing Street, he refused to allow unlimited travel from Spain.

Another area that is different is the face covering problem – Sturgeon made them compulsory in the shops here two full weeks before Downing Street followed suit with the same rules for the UK. Tartan Sturgeon mask has become a fashion signature.

Johnson did not reject the mask in the spirit of US President Donald Trump, but he was more often seen without a face mask, even indoors, than with a mask. His visit to Orkney drew little protest; a man denounced, “Where is your mask, Boris?”

Perception of power

For outsiders (and even for many Britons), the distribution of power in Britain can be confusing. Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but since the late 1990s, much power has been transferred to the British constituent states – a process known as devolution.

This means that many policy decisions on health, education and transportation for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been taken not in London, but in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. It was common to see major policy announcements originating from Downing Street, only to find additional notes explaining that the rule only applies to Britain.

“This is really the most significant time where devolution has become the most obvious for ordinary citizens,” said pro-independence poll Mark Diffley on a typically rainy summer day in Edinburgh.

That perception is clearly visible on the streets of the Scottish capital. “London is too choppy, changes its mind all the time, can’t see what it wants to do,” said Karen Miele, 58, from Edinburgh. “Does it want to help people? Does it want to prioritize the economy? Or don’t care? Don’t know what it does.”

Andrew MacDonald, 21 from Linlithgow, said that his views on Sturgeon had “really gone up” during the pandemic trip. “I think Nicola has done the right thing in trying to keep politics away from it, and to go with science first and foremost in everything,” he said.

Despite the differences felt in this approach, Covid-19 results – so far, at least – have not been that different. In fact, death rates in Scotland are only slightly better than in England. For every 100,000 people, 77 in Scotland have died and have Covid-19 registered on their death certificate, compared with 86 in the UK.

“There are important differences in this approach, and also important differences in public perceptions about the approach,” said Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh.

Increase independence

The question for Sturgeon – and fear for Johnson – is whether this positive appreciation for the management of this pandemic will be transferred to political support for the goal of Scottish independence, which remains the main objective of the Scottish National Party.

The last time the Scots formally chose independence, in 2014, “no” was won by more than 10 percentage points. A lot has changed. In the 2015 UK general election, the SNP rose from six seats in the House of Commons in Westminster to 56 – taking all but three Scottish constituencies. Scotland voted strongly against Brexit in 2016.

The famous poll John Curtice, from Strathclyde University, told the BBC on Thursday that support for independence had surged for about and a year, and now it was rising even among the Scotsmen who voted for Brexit.

The latest poll, said Diffley, “would suggest that support for independence is higher than it actually is, very long.”

That’s a problem for Johnson, the leader of a party whose full name is the Conservative and Unionist parties. By visiting Scotland, Johnson hopes to underline the benefits for Scottish citizens from a 300-year-old union with Britain – he wants to show that the Ministry of Finance in London is saving thousands of Scottish jobs with generous leave schemes, for example.

But the Conservative prime minister has historically enjoyed little support in Scotland, and Sturgeon joked on Twitter that Johnson’s visit did not harm him.

The SNP has promised a new referendum on independence before next year’s Scottish parliamentary elections. That is now postponed, because of a pandemic.

For SNP MPs like Tommy Sheppard, who represents Edinburgh East, it’s just a matter of time. “Those who want to see Scotland become an independent country welcome as much as possible Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland, because every time he sets foot in Scotland, support for independence increases,” he said.

The pandemic response, he believes, has opened many Scottish skeptical eyes to the real difference between Scotland and England.

“They realize that in an unprecedented way. And they may be open to the possibility of what an independent Scotland can do if it has the political power to act.”

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Britain quarantined travelers from Spain in a big blow to the rise of Europe | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain abruptly imposed a two-week quarantine on all travelers arriving from Spain after a surge in coronavirus cases, a dramatic and sudden reversal on Saturday for the opening of the European continent to tourism after months of being locked.

PHOTO PHOTO: Signs of social distance are seen on the floor at Manchester Airport, after an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), Manchester, England, 8 June 2020. REUTERS / Phil Noble

Quarantine requirements will take effect from midnight (2300 GMT on Saturday), making it impossible for travelers to avoid it by rushing home.

The British foreign ministry also announced recommendations for all but important trips to mainland Spain. The Canaries and the Spanish Balearic Islands are not covered by advice to avoid traveling, but will still be subject to quarantine.

Britain’s sudden move followed the steps this week by other European countries. On Friday Norway said it would re-impose 10-day quarantine requirements on people arriving from Spain starting Saturday, while France advised people not to travel to the northeastern region of Catalonia Spain.

But British tourists accounted for more than 20% of foreign visitors to Spain last year, the largest group by nationality. Tourism usually accounts for around 12% of the Spanish economy.

Spain is on the list of countries the British government says is safe for tourists to visit – meaning returning tourists do not have to go into quarantine.

The announcement of the list just a few weeks ago has enabled the European tourism sector to begin its revival after a total shutdown that was almost triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responding to British measures, Spain said on Saturday it was a safe country with a localized, isolated and controlled coronavirus outbreak.

A Spanish Foreign Ministry spokesman said Spain “respects Britain’s decision” and has contacted authorities there.

The British move will affect not only the Spanish tourism sector but airlines and travel companies struggling to get back into business.

‘SAFE’ COUNTRIES

On Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told CNN television that like many countries in the world that had managed to control the disease, Spain “had an outbreak but the government – both national and regional – worked to isolate cases as soon as they appeared”.

Spain is one of the worst countries in Europe by a pandemic, with more than 290,000 cases, and more than 28,000 deaths. This imposed very strict locking measures to restrain the spread, gradually alleviating it earlier this summer.

But there has been an outbreak in recent weeks, with Catalonia one of the hotspots.

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Catalonia, which includes many popular tourist resorts as well as the city of Barcelona, ​​reported 1,493 new cases of corona virus and three deaths on Saturday. The local government has urged Barcelona residents to stay at home.

Regional officials have also ordered all discos in Catalonia to close from Saturday for the next 15 days, while bars, restaurants and casinos must close at midnight.

Britain itself has become the worst country in Europe by this pandemic, with more than 328,000 cases and the official death toll of more than 45,600.

Reporting by David Milliken; Additional reporting by Graham Keeley in Barcelona; Writing by Peter Graff and Frances Kerry

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Scottish support for independence increased when COVID-19 endangered Britain | Instant News


HELENSBURGH, Scotland (Reuters) – James Henderson has spent most of his life strongly opposed to Scottish independence. Now, he reluctantly supports it.

The 71-year-old former marine engineer voted against Scotland to leave Britain during the last independence referendum in 2014. But after Brexit, the election of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the coronavirus pandemic, he now believes Scotland will be better off on its own.

Henderson lives in Helensburgh, a coastal city in the Firth of Clyde, which is home to Scottish nationalists.

This area has one of the highest levels of British population living in Scotland, and everyone knows someone who works at the nearby Faslane nuclear submarine base, a symbol of the common bond that binds England.

The base is the second largest single site provider company in Scotland and the red-white-blue union jack flag flying in several community gardens. If Scotland wins independence and the nationalists fulfill the promise to move the submarine from its waters, thousands of jobs are at risk.

But Scottish nationalism was increasing in places like this and other former trade union strongholds, a phenomenon that could give a point on the scale supporting the destruction of centuries of political unity between Scotland and the whole of England.

“Independence may be inevitable now – I don’t mean to sound dramatic,” Henderson said. “I just feel like we’re separated and Scotland can run better.”

The corona virus pandemic is straining ties that bind Great Britain. In Scotland, where this is most visible, 54% of people now support independence, according to a recent poll, driven by the perception that Scotland’s semi-autonomous government has handled the coronavirus outbreak better than the British government.

Under the British devolution system agreed towards towards the end of the last century, each country has responsibility for matters such as health, while the government in London is responsible for dealing with the wider economy and foreign policy.

All countries in the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – were locked at almost the same time. But they have emerged at different speeds, a difference that reflects fears that the Johnson government, after locking up too late, exits prematurely.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and chair of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, has been widely praised for handling the crisis, including among those who chose to remain part of Britain in the 2014 independence referendum.

Sturgeon has won praise for his honesty, detailed understanding and adopted a more cautious approach to lifting lock restrictions. Scotland has not recorded the death of a person who tested positive for the corona virus in the past week. In contrast, Britain has reported more than a dozen deaths a day.

John Curtice, a political professor at Strathclyde University, said for the first time nationalists were favorites to win independence. Curtice said the crisis had shown the Scottish people that their government could determine its own direction.

“Coronavirus has put the Scottish government at the center and center of community life,” he said. This has “eroded a bit further in support of the union”.

CLASH CONSTITUTION

In Northern Ireland, where politicians who want to reunite with Ireland share power with pro-British trade unions, the government plan delegated to remove the lock is also more like the Republic of Ireland’s more cautious and deviant approach from the Johnson government.

Analysts say the pandemic is allowing the Sinn Fein nationalists to advance the unity of Ireland by calling for the policy of all the islands.

In Scotland, the goal of independence has also been supported by Britain’s departure from the European Union. Sustained bloc membership is a key promise of the trade union strongholds in the 2014 referendum and the Scots chose very carefully to remain in the Brexit referendum two years later.

Many felt dragged down by a Conservative government they did not elect and regarded as arrogant and arrogant. Johnson is very unpopular.

With all that, nationalists are now on track to win a majority in Scottish parliamentary elections next year, according to the poll.

If this happens, they will claim political and moral rights to hold another referendum.

They even believed they would take Dumbarton, including Helensburgh and other villages around the nuclear base. That seat is only one of seven that nationalists have never had anyone directly elected to since the formation of the Scottish parliament in 1999.

Alasdair Jamison, a local SNP leader, said if they won the seat it would indicate there was an alignment in Scottish politics.

“If support for nationalism grows here, then it must grow everywhere,” he said.

Labor incumbent, Jackie Baillie, only held his chair with 109 votes in the last election in 2016.

Even so, independence is not a close or inevitable thing. To hold another referendum legally, Scotland needs permission from the British parliament.

Johnson, who was insulted on a visit to Scotland on Thursday to prop up support for the union, said the 2014 referendum was decisive and must be respected. But if the nationalists win a majority, this will create a constitutional conflict over the right to call another referendum.

In the long run, the biggest problem for the independence movement might be economic performance. Scotland’s economic growth rate is around half of the UK average and unemployment is higher.

Baillie, who acknowledged his position was vulnerable, said the economic consequences of the pandemic could persuade current voters to avoid more constitutional upheaval.

“Changing the constitution will not make bread on the table. It does not put shoes on children’s feet. They might want it now. But priorities have changed, “he said.

But Andrew Nisbet, a local leader in Helensburgh’s campaign to guard Scotland in Britain six years ago, said the nationalist movement now seemed unstoppable.

“Sadly, I’m afraid that union might not last.”

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Additional reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin. Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus MacSwan

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Scottish Nationalists Urged to Boycott Russian State Media | American voice | Instant News


LONDON – Scottish nationalists are under increasing political pressure to stop appearing on Russia’s state-backed RT broadcasting station following an explosion report earlier this week by British parliamentary intelligence watchdogs, which said Moscow had actively sought to step up its campaign for Scottish independence.

The House of Commons intelligence and security committee said efforts to encourage Scotland to break away from Britain were part of a wider Kremlin effort to disrupt Western democracy.

Former Scottish National Party leader, SNP, Alex Salmond, who served as Scotland’s First Minister from 2007-2014, was also urged to stop hosting ordinary RT programs. Opponents of the SNP, both in Scotland and south of the border in England, said he was serving as apparatchik for the Kremlin.

Salmond “needs to accept that he has promoted a TV channel that has a destructive agenda for western democracy,” said Alex Cole-Hamilton, Liberal Democrat from the Scottish parliament.

“After the report was published, we should hear the First Minister speak, so I now call him … to condemn Alex Salmond’s ongoing relations with Russia as strong as possible,” said David Mundell, a Conservative MP in London and a former minister.

Scottish nationalists were left angry this week. Much of the initial media coverage in the UK about the explosive report released midweek by the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee detailing Russia’s influence operations in the UK focused on a panel that concluded that “Russia conducted an influence campaign in connection with the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.”

Russia, new normal?

The panel said this was likely “the first post-Soviet Russian intervention in the Western democratic process.” The Scots voted small but healthy in 2014 to remain bound to the UK, but the SNP is now pushing for re-election.

One Scottish tabloid complained about “selective pre-briefing” directing attention to Scotland in an effort to divert attention from the broader committee’s claim about how “Russia’s influence in Britain is the new normal.”

And an SNP spokesman said Conservative and Labor lawmakers in the south of the border used Scotland as a “smokescreen to try and hide” the most serious conclusions from the watchdog’s report detailing Russia’s efforts to interfere in the workings of British democracy in general.

Facilitator

He quoted the committee’s criticism of Britain’s “enablers and problem solvers,” including members of the British House of Lords, who had facilitated the flow of Russian money to Britain over the past decade turning London into a “laundry” for Russian money, which later exploited political influence.

On Thursday, it was revealed that 14 ministers in the ruling Conservative government in London received tens of thousands of pounds from individuals or businesses with ties to Russia. Donations are made to them or their constituent parties.

FILE – Pro-independence activists fly the Scottish Saltire flag as they march in Edinburgh, Scotland, October 5, 2019.

Nonetheless, the SNP has been put on the back foot by the committee’s findings that Moscow has sought to increase Scottish independence by an online disinformation campaign and by making RT, formerly known as Russia Today, to broadcast fake news, along with fellow Russian countries. Sputnik’s broadcaster, who has an editorial office in Edinburgh.

Old critics of Scottish independence are not surprised by intelligence watchdog’s findings that Moscow is happy to push for a British split. “There is no pretense of justice” in the coverage of the 2014 referendum RT, according to Stephen Daisley, a columnist for British Spectator magazine, a publication leaning toward the Conservatives. “Putin’s propagandists are eager to throw grenades to help,” he added.

Motif

George Grant, a former colleague at The Henry Jackson Society, a London think tank, said, “Whatever weakens the G7, Western nuclear power can only be a good thing as far as Vladimir Putin is concerned.” Grant, who wrote a report on the implications of Scotland’s defense to secure independence, said that one of the spin-off destabilization of Scotland’s separation would be a disruption to Britain’s military capabilities, specifically its nuclear deterrent.

Scottish independence will mean the Royal Navy will lose its base at Faslane, the port of origin of the British Trident nuclear submarine, and the base at Coulport, where missiles and nuclear warheads are stored. And there is no clear alternative port or base south of the British border to move the fleet, Grant said.

“Regarding deterrence is a very difficult thing and the short answer is there is no ideal place. The difficulty as far as relocation is that there are not many places to house nuclear submarines, but where to put nuclear warheads back and – most problematic – mate them with missiles, “he said. Some Scottish nationalists don’t care about the impact of defenses” to the extent that “I can see, on the basis that my enemy is my friend, and in this case their common enemy is the British establishment,” he added.

Moscow’s refusal

Russian officials reject claims that the Kremlin has pushed Scotland to secede. “Our interest in Scotland is only one: we are open for business,” Andrey Kelin, Russia’s ambassador in London.

Asked this week in an interview with the BBC whether Russians had an interest in the British split, Kelin said: “An interesting idea, frankly. I do not believe that Scotland will withdraw from England, because as I understand it, for Scotland it will be very uncomfortable to leave, separated from England. “

Western leaders and Russian experts accuse the Kremlin of supporting peripheral, ultra-nationalist and separatist parties in Europe to disrupt the stability of groupings such as NATO and the European Union. In 2016, the Kremlin hosted a conference for separatists in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Basque, Catalan and Italy. And in 2017, the Spanish government accuses Russia of spreading disinformation and false news on its RT channel and through other Russian-state media about the crisis in Catalonia at the height of separatist efforts to break away from Spain.

A study by academics at George Washington University in the United States found “an entire army of zombie accounts” on social media sites that were perfectly coordinated to strengthen output by RT and Sputnik in what was described as a “deliberate disruption strategy” by Russia. propagandist.

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European Union Barnier says Britain’s position on making trade deals ‘impossible’ | Instant News


FILE PHOTOS: Michel Barnier, head of the EU Brexit negotiator, attended the start of the round of post-Brexit trade agreement talks between the EU and the UK, in Brussels, Belgium on 29 June 2020. John Thys / Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union chief negotiator Brexit said on Thursday that Britain did not show a willingness to break the deadlock in the same field of play and fisheries problems, making sealing a new trade agreement impossible.

“With its current refusal to commit to conditions of open and fair competition and to a balanced agreement on fisheries, Britain makes trade agreements – at this point – impossible,” said Michel Barnier.

He added that as long as London’s position on these two core issues remained unchanged, there was a risk of failure of negotiations and disunity without agreement between Britain and the 27-nation bloc by the end of this year.

Speaking after this week’s negotiating round in London, Barnier said there was no progress at all in the matter of ensuring justice in state aid.

“The time for answers is fast running out,” he said at a press conference in London, referring to the five months remaining before the end of the UK transition period since officially leaving the European Union at the end of January.

“If we don’t reach agreement on our future partnership, there will be more friction.”

Barnier noted some progress on lateral issues this week but said the European Union would not seal an agreement that would damage the fishing industry and noted that the two sides were still “far away” from each other with only a few weeks to go.

“We will not accept to pay bills for British political choice,” he said.

Speaking separately in London on Thursday, British Brexit negotiator David Frost said he thought it was possible to seal the deal in September.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and John Chalmers; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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Trump asks envoys to see whether Britain will move the British Open to its Scottish resort: NYT | Instant News


US Ambassador to Britain Robert Wood Johnson to colleagues in early 2018 President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than a dozen people were injured in shootings near Chicago’s funeral home The Cleveland Indian player meets with the team leader to discuss a possible change in name Pelosi calls coronavirus a ‘Trump virus’ MORE has asked him to see if the British government will help Turnberry, the Scottish golf resort president, secure a bid to host the British Open, the oldest golf tournament in the world, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper, quoting three people who were aware of the situation, reported Tuesday that Johnson’s representative, Lewis Lukens, advised him not to put forward the idea. But Johnson reportedly decided to stick to the idea by David Mundell, Scotland’s secretary of state at the time.

A statement from Downing Street obtained by the newspaper said the US diplomat “did not ask Mundell about the British Open or other sporting events.”

Mundell told the Times last week that it would be “inappropriate” for him to openly discuss his affairs with Johnson, referring to statements made by the British government.

His colleague Lukens, who was reportedly forced out of the embassy by Johnson in 2018, told the newspaper that career diplomats were interrupted by Johnson’s actions and e-mailed officials at the State Department at the time.

As president, Trump was acquitted of a federal conflict of interest law that prohibits government employees from participating in “government matters that will affect your own personal financial interests.”

However, the president was not released from the Constitutional Clause Emoluments, which forbade federal officials from accepting gifts from foreign governments.

Trump is no stranger to such controversies. Last year, he was angry when he announced the Trump National Doral Miami as the venue for the Group of Seven world conference. Pushback forced the president to move the summit to Camp David, although it was eventually canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Norman Eisen, who served as the country’s ambassador to the Czech Republic during the Obama administration, told the Times that “no experienced diplomat would do that,” referring to Johnson’s alleged conversation with Mundell.

“This is diplomatic malpractice because once you do that, you put yourself in a compromised position,” Eisen explained. “They can always say, ‘Remember that moment when you made that suggestion.'”

The White House declined to comment to the Times about instructions reported by Trump, and both Johnson and the State Department also declined to comment.

Hill has contacted the White House and the State Department for comments.

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Russian report reveals British government fails to investigate Kremlin disorder Political | Instant News


The British government and intelligence agencies failed to prepare or make a proper assessment of the Kremlin’s efforts to disrupt 2016 Brexi referendum, according to a long-delayed Russian report.

The incriminating conclusion was contained in a 50-page document from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, which said the current minister turned a blind eye to allegations of Russian interference.

It said the government “had not seen or sought evidence of successful interference in the British democratic process” at the time, and that it explained that no serious efforts had been made to do so.

The committee, which examines the work of British spy agencies, said: “We have not been given a post-referendum assessment of Russian intervention efforts”. That contrasts with the US response.


“This situation is in sharp contrast to the US handling of allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, in which the intelligence community’s assessment was produced within two months of the vote, with unclassified summaries publicly announced.”

The committee members said they could not conclude definitively whether or not the Kremlin had managed to interfere in the referendum which caused Britain to stop European Union because no attempt was made to find out.

“Even if the conclusion of such an assessment is that there is minimal disruption, this will still represent guarantees that help the public that the British democratic process remains relatively safe,” said the report, released on Tuesday.

Compiled by a cross-party committee of parliamentarians and colleagues, the report is the result of an 18-month work involving evidence taken from British spy agents and independent experts. Although the long overdue version was greatly removed, the impetus for his conclusion – that sufficient attention had been given to Russian infiltration in British politics and public life – was clear.

The committee member noted that publicly available research had shown “the dominant pro-Brexit or anti-EU story” on Russia Today and Sputnik TV channel at the time of the vote, and “use of ‘bot’ and ‘troll'” on Twitter, as evidence of Russia’s efforts to influence the process.

There are “credible open source comments” that Russia is carrying out “influence campaigns” related to 2014 Scottish independence referendum, but even so, no attempt was made to see the Kremlin’s threat to British democracy until after the Brexit vote.

It was only after Russia hacked the US Democratic Party’s e-mail in July 2016 that any assessment appeared to have been made – and the document showed that some type of exercise was carried out after the 2017 general election.

“If the relevant sections of the intelligence community carry out the same threat assessment before the referendum, it is inconceivable that they will not reach the same conclusions as Russia’s intentions, which may then lead them to take action to protect the process,” the report added. that.


The British government ‘does not want to know’ about Russian interference in the EU referendum – video

The official response of the British government said: “We see no evidence of successful interference in the EU referendum,” adding that there was no need to launch an investigation because British spy agents made “regular assessments” of Russian threats.

“Given this long-term approach, a retrospective assessment of the EU referendum is not needed,” he said.

Stewart Hosie, an MP from the Scottish National Party who is one of only two committee members currently compiling the report, condemned the refusal by Boris Johnson and Theresa May to see the Kremlin’s interference after the Brexit vote.

“Nobody wants to test this issue with a 10ft bargepole,” he said, adding that it was “outraged” that the report wasn’t published before the December elections. Downing Street “distracted itself from the ball” at Russia’s threat, MP said, it underestimated the response needed and was still trying to play “catch up”.

Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign minister, said that it was extraordinary the prime minister took “a political decision last October ahead of the general election to block the publication of this important report that systematically cuts through Russia’s threat to British national security”.

Britain has also become “a lucrative destination for Russian oligarchs and their money,” the committee said, concluding that they had become a corrupt force in British public life through their connections.

“Some members of the Russian elite are closely related [Russian president Vladimir] Putin was identified as being involved in charitable and / or political organizations in the UK, which have contributed to political parties, with a public profile that places them to assist in the operation of Russian influence, “the report said, although no individual was named.

He also warned that “it should be noted that some members of the House of Lords have business interests related to Russia, or work directly for large Russian companies connected with the Russian state”. Again no name is quoted.

Consideration should be given to tightening reporting of donations to colleagues, asking them to register external payments of more than £ 100 as required for lawmakers – and the introduction of US style laws to require foreign agents or lobbyists to be registered and monitored.

Marina Litvinenko, whose husband, Alexander, was killed in 2006 in London by the Kremlin assassin, said he was “very pleased” with the report, and his mention of the Russian oligarchy making political contributions.

He said the report showed there was much evidence of threats posed by the Kremlin to Britain. “The government has no reason to be naive. After what happened to my husband in 2006 and Sergei Skripal in 2018 there was no reason. Too many suspicious deaths. “

Ministers have long claimed that “there is no successful example” of Kremlin interference in British politics but left the position last week when Dominic Raab, the foreign minister, blamed “Russian actors” for distributing illegally obtained documents related to US-trade talks Britain finally ended in the hands of former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn during the election campaign.

Committee members complained that when they asked for written evidence from MI5 at the beginning of their investigation of possible interference in the Brexit vote, the domestic spy agency “initially only provided six lines of text”.

The committee accused MI5 of operating with “extreme caution” and said “his attitude was illogical” because the problem was “protection of the processes and mechanisms of hostile state interference, which should fall to our intelligence and security services”.

The report was completed last October, but was occupied by Johnson before the general election and was only declassified and cleared for release by the prime minister in December. That cannot be released until No. 10 has nominated a Conservative member to the committee, even though his candidate for the chair, Chris Grayling, was ambushed by opposition members who voted otherwise for Julian Lewis.

Lewis later revoked the Conservative whip, but the newly independent lawmaker had no regrets when the report was published, accusing Downing Street of politicizing the surveillance of intelligence agents.

“This committee has been experiencing delays and dislocations that have never happened before. this can’t happen again. the sooner normal relations are formed between the government and this committee, the better it is for all parties, “said the committee chairman.

Russian officials angrily protested the conclusion of the report, accusing Britain of taking “a leading role in Russophobia” and claiming it cleared Moscow’s efforts to influence the 2016 Brexit referendum.

“The accusations are again baseless, baseless and unconvincing,” Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian federation council, the legislature, said in a written address on Tuesday. He also said that the report “lifted suspicion towards Russia for Brexit”.

Russia’s foreign ministry also attacked the report shortly after it was released. Maria Zakharova, a ministry spokesman, said, “There is no sensation.” He also called the report “Russophobia.”

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The British government failed to determine whether Russia intervened in the Brexit vote: report | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – The British government failed to determine whether Russia intervened in a 2016 referendum on membership in the EU, a parliamentary report released on Tuesday said, demanding the intelligence community to investigate the matter and make its findings open.

FILE PHOTOS: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wears a Tartan mask when he visits New Look at Fort Kinnaird Retail Park, in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 26, 2020. Sturgeon sees some changes in stores ahead of the retailer’s gradual reopening. on Monday. Jeff J Mitchell / Pool via REUTERS

The long-awaited report by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee found that Russia had tried to influence a separate referendum in 2014 when voters in Scotland refused independence.

But it said the committee could not determine whether Russia was trying to influence the EU referendum. When asked for evidence, Britain’s main domestic intelligence agency MI5 only produced six lines of text, he said.

“Nonetheless, the Committee’s view that the British Intelligence Community must produce an analogous assessment of Russia’s potential disruption in the EU referendum and that an unclassified summary was published,” he said in the report, which was produced more than a year ago. and stored until now.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, which came to power as one of the main figures in the victory campaign to leave the European Union, responded by saying it did not see evidence of “successful” Russian intervention in the referendum.

It rejects the call for review.

The report called Russia a hostile force that posed a significant threat to Britain and the West in various fields, from espionage and cyberspace to electoral interference and dirty money laundering.

“It seems that Russia regards Britain as one of the top Western intelligence targets,” the report said.

It said there were open source indications that Russia had tried to influence the Brexit campaign but hard evidence had not yet been produced.

“The key point is … they are not even trying to ask that question and that is the essence of this report,” Stewart Hosie, a member of the Scottish National Party committee, told reporters.

“We don’t see evidence because there is no evidence and no one in the government is trying to find or ask questions that need to be asked,” Labor MP Kevan Jones said.

The Kremlin said Russia had never interfered in the process of selecting other countries. Russia has repeatedly denied interference in the West, leaving the United States and Britain gripped by anti-Russian hysteria.

“Russia has never interfered in the selection process of any country in the world – not the United States, not Britain, or any other country,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova called the report “Russophobia in a false frame”.

RUSSIAN MONITORING AND MONEY

Relations between London and Moscow fell to post-Cold War lows after Britain blamed Russia for poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent in the city of Salisbury, England.

Last week, the British government said it believed Russian actors had tried to interfere in last year’s election, after the report was completed.

When discussing the EU referendum, the report was heavily edited and there were secret attachments which were not made public.

The committee also called Russia a corrupt source of money received in London, the world’s main international financial capital.

“Britain welcomes Russian money, and some questions – if any – are asked about the origin of this great wealth,” the report said. “Britain has been seen as a destination that Russian oligarchs and their money are very like.”

“This offers an ideal mechanism by which illicit finance can be recycled through what is called London ‘laundry’,” the report said.

Additional reporting by Alexander Marrow in Moscow; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Sarah Young, Paul Sandle and Peter Graff

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The key to slowing the aging process may be in your genes,the level of iron in your blood, more life | Instant News


Group scientists now identified the genes that are associated with aging. Studying genes may help explain why some people age at different rates to others.

An international study using genetic data from more than a million people suggests that maintaining a healthy level of iron in your blood could be the key to aging better and living longer.

The results can accelerate the development of drugs to reduce the risk of diseases of aging to extend healthy years of life, and increase chances of living to old age without the disease, researchers say.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and max Planck Institute for biology of ageing in Germany is focused on three measures related to biological aging – life expectancy, years of life lived free of disease (quality of), and being extremely long-lived (longevity).

Biological aging – the rate at which our body decline over time varies between people and drives the world’s most deadly diseases, including heart disease, dementia and cancer.

The researchers combined information from three public datasets to analyse in unprecedented detail. In the combined data set was equivalent to the study of 1.75 million life expectancy and more than 60 000 a very long time people lived.

The team identified ten regions of the genome associated with long lifespan, its quality and durability. They also found that gene sets associated with iron over-represented in their analysis, all three measures of ageing.

The researchers confirmed this using a statistical technique known as Mendelian randomization – that suggested that genes involved in the metabolism of iron in the blood is partly responsible for a healthy long life.

The level of iron in the blood depends on the diet and abnormally high or low levels are associated with age-related conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, and reduce the body’s ability to fight infection in the elderly.

The researchers say that developing drugs that can mimic the effect of genetic variability on the metabolism of iron would be the next step to overcome some of the effects of aging, but warn that it is necessary to carry out additional work.

The study was funded by the medical research Council and published in the journal Nature communications.

Of anonymized data linking genetic changes to a healthy body condition, life expectancy and longevity have been downloaded from publicly available Zenodo, Edinburgh datashare and the durability of the genomics server.

Dr. Paul Timmers from the Asher Institute at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are very excited by these results because they clearly show that the high level of iron in the blood and decrease our healthy years of life, and to keep these levels in check can prevent age-related damage.

“We assume that our data on iron metabolism may also begin to explain why very high levels of iron-rich red meat in the diet have been associated with age-related conditions such as heart disease,” Timmers added.

Although Dr. Joris Deelen from the max Planck Institute for biology of ageing in Germany, said: “Our ultimate goal is to see how aging is regulated and to find ways to increase health in old age. Ten regions of the genome, we found that they are linked to life expectancy, the quality and durability of all the interesting candidates for further research.”

(This story was published by wire Agency to feed without changes to the text. Only the title was changed.)

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