19 July 2019

Britain

China protests to UK over ‘fantasizing’ about Hong Kong

KONFRONTASI-China has protested to Britain after London warned Beijing of “serious consequences” if it breached an agreement over the handover of Hong Kong from the British Empire to China.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday that he expected China to honor the 1984 agreement that would hand Hong Kong over to China in 13 years but would also assign semi-autonomy to the region.

Britain plans social media regulation to battle harmful content

KONFRONTASI-Britain proposed new online safety laws on Monday that would slap penalties on social media companies and technology firms if they fail to protect their users from harmful content.

Easy access to damaging material particularly among young people has caused growing concern worldwide and came into the spotlight in Britain after the death of 14-year-old schoolgirl Molly Russell, which her parents said came after she had viewed online material on depression and suicide.

Governments across the world are wrestling over how to better control content on social media platforms, often blamed for encouraging abuse, the spread of online pornography, and for influencing or manipulating voters.

Global worries were recently stoked by the live streaming of the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand on one of Facebook’s platforms, after which Australia said it would fine social media and web hosting companies and imprison executives if violent content is not removed “expeditiously”.

In a policy paper widely trailed in British media, the government said it would look into possibly using fines, blocking access to websites, and imposing liability on senior tech company management for failing to limit the distribution of harmful content.

It would also set up a regulator to police the rules.

TechUK, an industry trade group, said the paper was a significant step forward, but one which needed to be firmed up during its 12-week consultation. It said some aspects of the government’s approach were too vague.

“It is vital that the new framework is effective, proportionate and predictable,” techUK said in a statement, adding not all concerns could be addressed through regulation.

Facebook said it was looking forward to working with the government to ensure new regulations were effective, repeating its founder Mark Zuckerberg’s line that regulations were needed to have a standard approach across platforms.

Britain's Labour Party leader backs Brexit referendum

KONFRONTASI-Britain’s opposition Labour Party will back a new referendum on Brexit after parliament defeated its alternative plan for leaving the European Union, its eurosceptic leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

With 29 days left until the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union, both Prime Minister Theresa May and Corbyn have been forced into making changes to their approaches to the divorce.

Corbyn, who voted against membership in 1975 and gave only reluctant backing to the 2016 campaign to remain in the EU, on Wednesday gave ambiguous backing for another referendum, saying he would push for one alongside a British parliamentary election.

It is the first time since Britons voted in 2016 to leave the EU that one of its two major political parties has thrown its weight behind giving voters a chance to change their minds.

But it was unclear what the exact question might be.

“After tonight’s votes in parliament, we’ll continue to push for a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election,” Corbyn said.

“We’ll also back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or disastrous no deal.”

John McDonnell, the second most powerful man in the Labour Party, said it would put down an amendment calling for a second referendum as soon as May brought a deal back to parliament.

Britain’s Brexit minister, Steve Barclay, said there was no consensus in parliament for another referendum or even on what question might be asked.

After months of saying that Britain must leave the EU on time on March 29, May opened up the possibility on Tuesday of a short extension to the exit date.

She is hoping to bring back a tweaked divorce accord for a parliamentary vote, which could come as early as next week but may not take place until March 12.

Talks with the EU have moved forward in the last week, but there is a significant amount of work to do, May’s spokesman said.

Sungguh Ironi, Lulusan SD yang Piawai Modifikasi Airsoft Gun Jadi Senpi

KONFRONTASI -  Warga Lumajang, Joni Mahendra (35), ditangkap diduga memproduksi dan menjual senjata api (Senpi) rakitan. Ulah warga Dusun Krajan, Desa Jarit, Kecamatan Candipuro, ini terbongkar berawal saat senpi rakitan yang dikirim ke pembeli, terdeteksi petugas Bandara Juanda.

UK's Labour plans to make companies give shares to workers

KONFRONTASI-Large companies would be forced to transfer as much as 10 percent of their shares to their workers under plans set out by Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Monday.

Labour, which under socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn has shifted from a centrist pro-business platform to a more interventionist left-wing pitch, is using its annual conference to detail its plans to help a greater number of people to share in economic prosperity that it says is “hoarded by the few”.

The party has announced plans to nationalize key industries, including water, energy and rail, and to give workers a third of seats on company boards.

Labour said that every company with more than 250 employees would have to create an “Inclusive Ownership Fund”, transferring at least 1 percent of their shares into the fund every year, up to a maximum of 10 percent.

“Employee ownership increases a company’s productivity and encourages long-term decision making,” Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell told the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.

“The shares will be held and managed collectively by the workers. The shareholding will give workers the same rights as other shareholders to have a say over the direction of their company, and dividend payments will be made directly to the workers from the fund.”

Labour has cited the example of Germany, where workers sit on company boards, but the business lobby group, British Chambers of Commerce, criticized Labour’s plan, saying it could deter people from investing in Britain.

“Let no one be fooled, Labour’s proposals are both a tax grab and an unprecedented overreach into the way many of our businesses are run and will raise serious concerns,” BCC Director General Adam Marshall said.

“At a time of peak Brexit uncertainty, when Labour should be setting out how it will support business confidence and investment, it is announcing policies that would deliver the exact opposite.”

Two years after Brexit vote, British leaders still tied in knots over how to leave Europe

KONFRONTASI-It was two years ago this week that Britain voted in a historic referendum to leave the European Union. And by now, Brexit was supposed to be pretty far along, with “quick” negotiations starting to yield beautiful trade deals and the glimmer of independence.

But this uncoupling is turning out to be far more difficult and acrimonious than promised.

Britain, France and Germany agree support for Iran nuclear deal

KONFRONTASI-The leaders of Britain, France and Germany have agreed the Iran nuclear deal is the best way of stopping Tehran from gaining nuclear weapons, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said in a statement on Sunday.

May had phone calls with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel where they agreed the deal may need to be broadened to cover other areas such as ballistic missiles, what happens when the deal expires, and Iran’s destabilizing regional activity, the statement said.

Britain expels 23 Russian diplomats over nerve attack on ex-spy

KONFRONTASI-Britain is to kick out 23 Russian diplomats, the biggest such expulsion since the Cold War, over a chemical attack on a former Russian double agent in England that Prime Minister Theresa May blamed on Moscow.

May pointed the finger firmly at Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday as she outlined retaliatory measures in parliament.

Russia denies any involvement in the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who have been critical in hospital since they were found unconscious on March 4 on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury.

May announced the potential freezing of Russian state assets that pose a security threat, new laws to counter hostile state activity and a downgrading of Britain’s attendance at the soccer World Cup in Russia this summer.

She had given Moscow until midnight on Tuesday to explain how the Soviet-made Novichok nerve agent came to be deployed on the streets of Salisbury, saying either the Russian state was responsible or had lost control of a stock of the substance.

“Their response demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events,” May said in her statement to parliament. “They have treated the use of a military-grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance.”

The only possible conclusion was that the Russian state was behind the attempted murder of the Skripals and the harm that befell Nick Bailey, a police officer who is in a serious condition after being exposed to the nerve agent, May said.

“This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom,” she said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow would swiftly retaliate against the British measures which had been undertaken for “short-sighted political ends”.

“The British government has made a choice in favour of confrontation with Russia,” it said.

UK says it will respond robustly to nerve agent attack on Russian ex-spy

KONFRONTASI- Britain will methodically work out who carried out a nerve agent attack on a Russian ex-spy and his daughter, then take robust action, interior minister Amber Rudd said on Thursday.

Former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, have been in hospital since they were found unconscious on Sunday on a bench outside a shopping center in the southern English city of Salisbury.

“Both remain unconscious, and in a critical but stable condition,” Home Secretary Rudd told parliament.

British media and some politicians have speculated that the Russian state could be behind the attack - suggestions dismissed by Moscow as knee-jerk, anti-Russian propaganda.

“The use of a nerve agent on UK soil is a brazen and reckless act. This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way,” Rudd said.

“But if we are to be rigorous in this investigation, we must avoid speculation and allow the police to carry on their investigation.”

Despite her call, several lawmakers pointed the finger at Russia during their questions to Rudd, with some calling for investigations to be re-opened into the deaths of Russian exiles in Britain in recent years.

Rudd rebuffed them, urging people to keep a cool head and saying the focus should remain on the Salisbury incident.

“We will respond in a robust and appropriate manner once we ascertain who was responsible,” she said. “We are committed to do all we can to bring the perpetrators to justice, whoever they are and wherever they may be.”

 

Britain knows more about mystery substance behind illness of Russian double agent

KONFRONTASI-Britain said on Wednesday that investigators now knew more about a mystery substance that struck down a former Russian double agent and his daughter in an English city, in a case that threatens to further damage already strained ties with Moscow.

Sergei Skripal, once a colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in the southern English city of Salisbury on Sunday afternoon.

Both remain critically ill in intensive care.

British politicians and media have speculated that Russia may have been behind the suspected poisoning of a man it regards as a traitor. Moscow has strongly rejected any involvement.

“We do know more about the substance and the police will be making a further statement this afternoon in order to share some of that,” interior minister Amber Rudd said after chairing the government’s emergency response committee.

“We need to keep a cool head and make sure that we collect all the evidence we can and we need to make sure that we respond not to rumor,” Rudd said. “Then we will need to decide what action to take.”

Counter-terrorism police are leading the investigation and Britain’s military research laboratory at Porton Down is trying to identify the substance which caused Skripal, 66, and his daughter to collapse.

The suspected poisoning prompted Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to say on Tuesday that if Moscow were behind the incident then Britain could look again at sanctions and take other measures to punish Russia, which he cast as a “malign and disruptive” state.

On Wednesday Russia reaffirmed its view that allegations of Russian involvement in the case were being cynically used to whip up an anti-Russian campaign in Britain.

“It’s very hard not to assess this (speculation) as provocative black PR designed to complicate relations between our two countries,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Moscow.

A source close to the British investigation said that Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning was just one of the versions being looked at by counter-terrorism investigators with assistance from the MI5 domestic intelligence agency.

Police said new cordons had been added near Solstice Park, a business park, in the town of Amesbury near to Salisbury. They have sealed off the area of Salisbury where Skripal was found as well as the Zizzi pizza restaurant where they dined and the Bishop’s Mill pub where they had a drink.

Some emergency workers were treated after the incident and one remains in hospital.

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