Castle Journal - Nadeemy Haded

Castle Journal - Nadeemy Haded

Boris Johnson has called for a renewal of "the ties that bind our United Kingdom" ahead of his first visit to Scotland as prime minister.

During Monday's visit he will announce £300m of funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It comes the day after Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said she would not back his plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson has insisted the UK will leave the EU by 31 October with or without a deal.

During his visit to a Scottish military base, Mr Johnson will set out how the latest "growth deals" plan will help communities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He is also expected to have meetings with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Ms Davidson in Edinburgh, with his Brexit strategy high on the agenda for both.

Ahead of his visit, the new prime minister said: "Our union is the most successful political and economic union in history. We are a global brand, and together we are safer, stronger and more prosperous.

"So as we prepare for our bright future after Brexit, it's vital we renew the ties that bind our United Kingdom.

"I'm proud to be in Scotland today to make clear that I am a passionate believer in our great union, and I look forward to visiting Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that every decision I make as prime minister promotes and strengthens our union."

Mr Johnson also plans to go to Wales to meet members of its farming community and Northern Ireland to discuss ongoing efforts to restore devolution at Stormont.

No-deal Brexit

The prime minister's plans for Brexit will be a key feature of his talks with Ms Sturgeon and Ms Davidson, expected to take place in Edinburgh on Monday afternoon.

Mr Johnson has said there are "no ifs, no buts" over his pledge to take the UK out of the EU by 31 October, and three new committees have been formed to ensure this happens.

One of them - a "daily operations committee" - is made up of senior cabinet ministers responsible for overseeing all of government's preparation for leaving, including planning for a no deal.

Meanwhile, the CBI has warned the government neither the UK nor the EU are ready for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

On Sunday, Ms Davidson said that while Mr Johnson had her "full support" in his efforts to secure a withdrawal agreement with the EU, she did not agree with a no-deal Brexit.

Writing in the Scottish Mail on Sunday, she said: "When I was debating against the pro-Brexit side in 2016, I don't remember anybody saying we should crash out of the EU with no arrangements in place to help maintain the vital trade that flows uninterrupted between Britain and the European Union."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also pledged to fight against a no-deal exit, saying it would cost 100,000 jobs and "plunge the economy into recession".

Speaking ahead of an expected meeting with Mr Johnson on Monday, she said: "The people of Scotland did not vote for this Tory government, they didn't vote for this new prime minister, they didn't vote for Brexit and they certainly didn't vote for a catastrophic no-deal Brexit which Boris Johnson is now planning for."

Trump’s ‘rat-infested’ attack on lawmaker was racist, says Pelosi

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused US President Donald Trump of "racist attacks" in his tweets about an African-American lawmaker.

Mr Trump attacked Democratic Rep Elijah Cummings and his Maryland district on Twitter.

The president described Mr Cummings' majority-black district in Baltimore as a "rodent-infested mess".

Mr Cummings was a "bully", Mr Trump wrote, for criticising the treatment of migrants at the US-Mexico border.

As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Mr Cummings has instigated a series of investigations into the Trump administration's policies, including its handling of migrants at detention centres.

Ms Pelosi led Democratic legislators in defending Mr Cummings and condemning Trump's tweets.

The tweets, Ms Pelosi wrote, were "racist attacks" on Mr Cummings, whose district's population is more than 50% black according to US census data.

President Trump's remarks come just weeks after he was criticised for another tweet telling "'progressive' Democrat congresswomen" to "go back" to the "crime infested" places they came from.

The message was aimed at four lawmakers of colour - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar - all of whom are US citizens.

What sparked Mr Trump's latest tweets?

Last week, Mr Cummings lashed out at acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and conditions at migrant detention centres at a congressional hearing.

In a heated exchange with Mr McAleenan, Mr Cummings demanded "improvement" at border facilities.

Mr Cummings, who represents Maryland's 7th congressional district, suggested the Trump administration had "an empathy deficit" in its handling of migrants.

The tweets also come days after a Democratic-led congressional committee voted to subpoena the private communications of senior White House officials.

Mr Cummings accused the Trump administration of not keeping communications records in compliance with federal law.

The committee's investigation is one of several being pursued by House Democrats into the president and his administration.

What further reaction has there been to Mr Trump's tweets?

A prolific critic of Mr Trump, Mr Cummings has responded in kind, tweeting: "It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents."

In another tweet, Baltimore's mayor, Bernard "Jack" Young, called Mr Trump "a disappointment to the people" of his city, and to "our country, and to the world".

The response from Republican Party representatives has been muted so far.

But many other Democrats have derided Mr Trump's latest remarks.

Joe Biden, the frontrunner to challenge Trump in 2020's presidential election, scorned the president's tweets as an example of why he is "unfit to hold the office"

 The government is now "working on the assumption" of a no-deal Brexit, Michael Gove has said.

Mr Gove said his team still aimed to come to an agreement with Brussels but, writing in the Sunday Times, he added: "No deal is now a very real prospect."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Mr Gove to chair meetings seven days a week until Brexit is delivered, according to the paper.

Mr Gove said tweaks to Theresa May's withdrawal agreement - which was approved by the EU but resoundingly rejected by Parliament - would not be enough.

"You can't just reheat the dish that's been sent back and expect that will make it more palatable," he wrote.

He added he hoped EU leaders might yet open up to the idea of striking a new deal, "but we must operate on the assumption that they will not".

"While we are optimistic about the future, we are realistic about the need to plan for every eventuality."

Mr Gove highlighted a major flaw of Mrs May's deal as the Irish backstop plan - a measure designed to prevent the introduction of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

So far the backstop has proved a sticking point in the Brexit negotiations.

A no-deal Brexit would mean the UK leaving the EU and cutting ties immediately, with no agreement in place.

The UK would follow World Trade Organization rules if it wanted to trade with the EU and other countries, while also trying to negotiate free-trade deals.

But with Britain outside the EU, there could be physical checkpoints to monitor people and goods crossing in and out of the UK - something ruled out by the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

No-deal scenario

Mr Gove is one of several new ministers pressing on with Brexit preparations since joining Mr Johnson's cabinet earlier this week.

Chancellor Sajid Javid has pledged extra funding to help prepare for a no-deal scenario.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Javid said there would be "significant extra funding" for 500 new Border Force officers and "possible" improved infrastructure at British ports.

Mr Javid is expected to pledge more money for projects next week.

Boris Johnson's government

Meanwhile there have been reports of more dissatisfaction within the Conservative party, as MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit continue to consider ways to avoid it.

The Observer alleges former chancellor Philip Hammond held private talks with Labour's Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer before Mr Johnson became prime minister.

The pair met shortly after Mr Hammond resigned from the government, the paper said.

Mr Starmer told the paper that work to build "a strong cross-party alliance" to prevent a no-deal Brexit would "intensify over the summer".

But despite several Tory MPs voicing their opposition to Mr Johnson in his first week in Downing Street, an opinion poll has suggested a recent boost in support for the party.

Since Mr Johnson took office on Wednesday the Conservatives have gained 10 points to stand at 30%, a survey for the Mail on Sunday showed.

 Canada killings: police say teen suspects may be in disguise

Canadian police say two teenagers suspected of killing three people may have managed to evade law enforcement again with the aid of disguises.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were last seen near the remote northern community of Gillam, Manitoba.

More than three dozen officers descended onto the tiny town, believing they were hiding in the woods.

Police now say the pair may have been helped by a civilian who did not recognise them to leave the area.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will be canvassing the community door-to-door to see if anyone has any leads that could help locate the suspects.

The nationwide manhunt for the pair has sparked several online rumours and left the small community of Gillam, with a population of about 1,300, on edge.

Police have deployed a drone, dozens of officers and a crisis negotiation team, to help bring the manhunt to a "successful resolution".

"We don't want anyone else to be hurt here, including Kam or Bryer. We want the opportunity for them to face a fair judicial process," Sgt. Janelle Shoihet told media on Thursday.

What can a negotiator do?

Clint Van Zandt, a former criminal profiler and hostage negotiator with the FBI, says that the most important thing for any crisis negotiator to remember is that anything could happen.

"These two could change at a moments notice - they could change and come out and surrender, or they could change and come out shooting," he told the BBC.

Van Zandt, who was one of the negotiators during the 51-day siege in Waco, Texas, likens his job as a negotiator as to that of a "fisherman".

"You don't just go fishing with one worm... you've got a whole tackle box of psychological lures."

The biggest lure, he said, is to give them hope for their future, no matter what they did in their past. To do that, he says it is vital to do as much background research on the suspects as possible.

"If they've got a dog, then I want to know about the dog," he said.

"As negotiators, we'll talk about anything to keep people talking, because if they're talking then they're not shooting."

What are they accused of?

His body was found burned near the pair's burnt-out camping van in northern British Columbia last Friday. They are also suspected of killing Australian-American couple Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, who exploring the area too.

The two young men have travelled some 3,300km (2,000 miles) east since the murders.

RCMP say a car the pair had been spotted driving was found burning near Gillam on Monday. No other cars have since been reported stolen, which leads them to suspect the pair may be hiding in the woods nearby.

"We believe they are still in the area," said Cpl Julie Courchain

 School end-of-year parties are often riotous affairs, but they rarely end with 100 teenagers laying siege to a police station.

That was the scene in the lakeside Bavarian town of Starnberg on Thursday night, after police were called to a party and arrested a boy, described as drunk and aggressive.

The teen was put in a cell, prompting schoolmates to seek his release.

Police said the crowd threw bottles and tried to break down the front door.

What happened at the party?

First reports of trouble came at 21:45 local time (19:45 GMT), hours into a summer party at Starnberg's Gymnasium school, to which students, teachers and friends had been invited.

According to the school, a private party was taking place on a footpath just outside the school and that is where things got out of hand.

A 15-year-old boy had approached a security guard asking for drugs and had gone on the rampage, police said. Police were called but the schoolboy, who was described as drunk, remained aggressive and was ordered to leave the party.

When he refused, "policy custody was all that remained", they said. Some of the boy's friends tried to intervene and one of them reportedly tried to kick a policeman in the head.

Riot at the police station

By the time the officers had reached the police station, a crowd of up to 100 people had formed outside. The head teacher was unable to say whether pupils from his school were among them.

Around 50 people threw bottles and stones, and some of them tried to force their way in to free him. A window was broken and the police sign at the entrance was torn down, a police statement said.

Some 70 extra police were called in and a 19 year old was temporarily detained on suspicion of trying to release a prisoner and damaging property. Security at Starnberg police station was stepped up for the rest of the night.

Some 70 extra police were called in and a 19 year old was temporarily detained on suspicion of trying to release a prisoner and damaging property. Security at Starnberg police station was stepped up for the rest of the night.

The boy is not a student at the school, says Starnberg Gymnasium, adding that many of its students have written to the police saying they are opposed to violence against the authorities

Chinese 'love mother' who adopted 118 children jailed for fraud

A 54-year-old Chinese woman who was once hailed as a philanthropist for adopting 118 children has been sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Li Yanxia was found guilty at Wu'an Court in Hebei province on Wednesday of extortion, fraud, forgery and disturbing social order.

The former orphanage owner, who was once nicknamed "Love Mother", was also fined 2.67m yuan (£311,000; $388,000).

Fifteen accomplices, including her boyfriend, were also convicted.

The court found that Li Yanxia - also known as Li Lijuan - had "abused the orphanage's influence".

"[She] committed fraud together with the gang amongst other crimes to obtain vast economic benefit," said a post released by the Wu'an City People's Court on micro blogging site Weibo.

Her boyfriend Xu Qi, was charged with disturbing social order, extortion, fraud and intentional injury. He received a sentence of 12.5 years in jail and a fine of 1.2m yuan.

Some of the other 14 accomplices received jail terms of up to four years.

The 'love mother' who opened a village

Li first shot to fame in 2006 after the media got wind of the fact that she had been adopting dozens of children in her hometown of Wu'an, a small city in the province of Hebei.

She told media outlets that she had once been married but had divorced. Her ex-husband had sold their son to a trafficker for 7,000 yuan, she alleged. She said she managed to get her son back - and it was then that she decided she wanted to try to help other children.

Over the years she accrued significant wealth, becoming one of the richest women in Hebei. And in 1996, she bought an iron mining company,

"I often saw a five or six-year-old girl running around the mine. Her father died... her mother ran away... so I took the girl to my home. She was the first child I adopted," she told local Hebei newspaper the Yanzhao Metropolis Daily at the time.

She went on to adopt dozens of other children and eventually opened an orphanage, which she named "Love Village". She was often written about in the media, including some reports that she had battled cancer and had spent all her fortune.

The number of children under her care reached its peak in 2017 with 118 children.

It was in that year that the government received tip-offs from members of the public alerting them to suspicious activities.

In May 2018, police found that she had more than 20 million yuan and $20,000 in her bank accounts, and owned luxury vehicles like Land Rovers and Mercedes Benz.

They found she had been carrying out illegal activities since 2011.

She also manipulated some of her adopted children into hindering work on construction sites - in one instance, making them run under trucks so construction could not continue. Li then blackmailed these construction companies.

The 54-year-old was also found to have gained money on the pretext of building up the "Love Village".

Li was placed under criminal detention later in May - there were 74 children left in the village when she was detained. They were transferred to various other government and school facilities.

Many on social media in China have condemned her actions, calling her a wolf in sheep's clothing.

"Disgusting. My uncle actually donated to her [orphanage] before," said one commenter on Weibo.

"I once called her Love Mother," said another user. "I want to take it back... there's no love in her at all. She's not worthy of that name."

Rutger Hauer: Blade Runner actor dies aged 75

Actor Rutger Hauer, who starred in 1982's Blade Runner, has died at the age of 75.

The star died in the Netherlands on Friday after a short illness, his agent confirmed.

Hauer played the murderous replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner, which was directed by Ridley Scott and also starred Harrison Ford.

The actor's funeral was held on Wednesday.

Hauer's character gives a famous speech during a face-off with Ford at the end of Blade Runner, dialogue which he helped write himself.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe," he is seen telling Ford. "Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."

Hauer is quoted as telling an interviewer his character - who had only a four-year lifespan - wanted to "make his mark on existence".

"The replicant in the final scene, by dying," he said, "shows Deckard [Ford's character] what a real man is made of."

Hauer was particularly well known for horror and vampire roles, starring as Van Helsing in Dracula 3D, and as the vampire Barlow in Salem's lot - a 2004 mini series of the Stephen King novel.

Hauer was born on 23 January 1944 in Breukelen, near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

In his youth, he joined the Dutch merchant navy but returned to Amsterdam in 1962. He briefly studied acting but then quit to join the army. He later returned to acting and got his major break in 1969 when he was cast in the title role of TV series Floris.

His performance in Blade Runner was by far his most famous role, but he continued acting right up until this year.

He has also appeared in the films Sin City, Batman Begins and the HBO series True Blood.

Filmmakers and actors led tributes to Hauer on social media.

Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro said Hauer had brought "truth, power and beauty to his films".

Charles de Lauzirika, a Blu-ray producer and filmmaker, tweeted: "Deeply saddened by the passing of the great Rutger Hauer. I have many fond memories of him, both on screen and in person."

British producer and author Jonathan Sothcott hailed Hauer "as one of cinema's finest villains" who "made rubbish watchable".

Robert Patrick, who starred in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, posted: "I am so sad to hear this, Rutger was such a sweet human being, and amazing actor!"