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Britain To Increase Nuclear Weapons, Review Relations With Russia, China

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BREAKING: Boris Johnson Resigns As UK PM

An increase of its nuclear arsenal and the clarification of relations with some nations formed Britain’s recent repositioning of itself in the world. The conclusions of the integrated review which is the most extensive since the end of the Cold War will include recommendations on how best to deal with new and emerging threats, including from Russia and China.

It will also notably announce an increase to the country’s nuclear arsenal, according to reports which have enraged disarmament campaigners.
The Guardian and The Sun newspapers said Britain was looking to raise the number of warheads from 180 to 260 by the middle of the decade.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab refused to comment directly but said the stockpile was the “ultimate insurance policy” against threats from hostile states.

Britain had “always maintained our commitment to the minimum credible deterrence on the nuclear front”, he told BBC radio.

“Over time, as the circumstances change and the threats change, we need to maintain a minimum credible level of deterrence,” he added.

The review also reportedly states clearly that Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, poses an “active threat” to Britain.

READ ALSO: Adebanjo Becomes Afenifere Leader As Fasoranti Quits

But it recommends closer economic ties with China, despite it posing the “biggest strate-based threat” to Britain, The Times said, in a move likely to infuriate those pushing a tougher line with Beijing.

London has increasingly locked horns with both Moscow and Beijing in recent years, on issues ranging from espionage and cyber-attacks to human rights.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote in an opinion piece in The Times that the review was guided by “enlightened self-interest” and was an opportunity to reset after Brexit.

Britain would work to “co-ordinate with like-minded democracies in the US, in Europe and around the world to protect and advance those ideas and beliefs against those who oppose them”, he added.

Immediate attention will likely be on nuclear weapons, given repeated calls for Britain’s Trident programme to be scrapped given global moves towards disarmament after the Cold War.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) both condemned the move.
ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn accused Britain of “pushing for a dangerous new nuclear arms race”.

She said it was “irresponsible, dangerous and violates international law”, adding: “This is toxic masculinity on display.”

Johnson’s Downing Street office billed the 100-page review as the government’s “most comprehensive articulation of a foreign policy and national security approach” in decades.

Britain is repositioning itself as “Global Britain”, eyeing new trade and investment opportunities as it strikes out on its own.
Included will be a strategic “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific region because of its increasing importance in global geopolitics.

Britain has already applied for partner status at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while Johnson is due to make his first post-EU visit to India in April.

Other key areas the review will address include plans for the military to adopt cutting-edge technologies such as drones and artificial intelligence.

There will also be a new focus on space and cyber, as well as a revamp of Britain’s ability to respond to security threats with the creation of a White House-style situation room.

A new Counter-Terrorism Operations Centre is also proposed.

The review is said to be a response to a changing world in which Britain “cannot rely solely on an increasingly outdated international system”.
It will stress the continuing importance of alliances, including with NATO, but set out a new foreign policy of “increased international activism… to shape a more open international order in which democracies flourish.”

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BREAKING: William Ruto Declared Winner Of Kenyan Presidential Election

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BREAKING: William Ruto Declared Winner Of Kenyan Presidential Election

William Ruto has won the race to be the fifth president of the East African nation, according to results announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

“There are no losers. The people of Kenya have won because we raised the political bar,” the president-elect said after the announcement on Monday.

Ruto led a tight presidential race against opposition leader Raila Odinga.

READ ALSO: Kenyan Ex-President Kibaki Dies

Chaos emerged just before the declaration when the electoral commission’s vice chair and three other commissioners told journalists they could not support the “opaque nature” of the final phase.

“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced,” vice chair Juliana Cherera said. At the declaration venue, police surged to impose calm amid shouting as pushing and shoving ensued.

.Al Jazeera and news agencies

 

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Trump Protests As FBI Search Divides Republicans, Democrats

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Trump Protests As FBI Search Divides Republicans, Democrats

Former United States President Donald Trump has protested against his probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The investigation which led to a raid on Trump’s palatial Florida residence on
Monday marked a stunning escalation of legal probes into the 45th US President, drawing cheers from his political foes and condemnation from his allies.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” the 76-year-old Trump said of the day-long FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago resort.
He denounced the FBI raid as “weaponisation of the Justice System” by “Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.”

The FBI declined to provide a reason for the unprecedented move against a former chief executive.

READ ALSO: Biden Goes To Hospital, Transfers Power To Harris

But multiple US media outlets said agents were conducting a court-authorised search related to the potential mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House in January 2021.

Trump has also been facing intense legal scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Since leaving office, Trump has remained the country’s most divisive figure, continuing to claim that he actually won the 2020 vote.

Leading Republicans rallied around the former President, who was not present at Mar-a-Lago when the raid took place.

Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence, a potential 2024 rival, expressed “deep concern” over the search of Trump’s home and said it smacked of “partisanship” by the Justice Department.

Kevin McCarthy, who is seeking to become speaker of the House of Representatives if Republicans win November’s midterm elections, accused the Justice Department of “weaponised politicisation.”

Republican Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the raid “outrageous.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, said, “launching an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic.”

Trump’s former social media manager, Dan Scavino, urged him to accelerate an announcement that he would run again.

“No person is above the law,” the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, told the NBC News. “Not even a former President of the United States.”

A Democrat from Connecticut, Senator Chris Murphy, said, “once we decide that the rich and powerful are above the law, we stop being America.”

In his statement, Trump did not give any indication about why the FBI raided his home but said, “They even broke into my safe!”

READ ALSO: Trump, Biden Clash Over Anniversary Of Capitol Riot

A former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, said he believed agents may have been looking for “something specific” related to its probe into the handling of classified information.

The National Archives said in February that it had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago and asked the Justice Department to look into Trump’s handling of classified material.

The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump’s adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to preserve records.

Speaking on the CNN, McCabe said, “there had to be a suspicion, a concern and indeed specific information that led (the FBI) to believe that there were additional materials that were not turned over.”
AFP

 

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Two Dead After Lightning Strike Near White House

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Two Dead From Lightning Strike Near White House

Two persons have been reportedly killed with two others left in  critical condition after a lightning strike near the White House on Thursday evening, police in the US capital have said.

The lightning is said to have  occurred at the Lafayette Square, a small park across the street from the White House, shortly before 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) Thursday, leaving two men and two women with “critical life-threatening injuries,” according to a statement from Washington’s fire and emergencies department.

All the victims were taken to local hospitals, but on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that two of them – 75-year-old Donna Mueller and 76-year-old James Mueller, both from Janesville in Wisconsin – had been pronounced dead.

The other two adults remain in critical condition, police said.

READ ALSO: US Kills Osama Bin Laden’s Deputy

A White House spokeswoman said the Biden administration was “saddened by the tragic loss of life.”

“We are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

US Secret Service and park police rushed to help the four after witnessing the strike, fire and emergency services department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said in a statement on social media.

Photos posted by the department on social media showed multiple ambulances and at least one fire truck with flashing lights at the scene.

Witness David Root told NBC he heard a “horrific boom.”

“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was surreal. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”

He said he had been sheltering beneath a tree when he saw the lightning strike across the park.

The people “weren’t moving,” he said, so he and others ran over to give help.

AFP

 

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