UK ministers voted down a symbolic amendment to the Bereavement Support Payment program that UK courts ruled as unjust for children of cohabiting parents. The amendment was put forward by 54 Ministers of Parliament in their desire to fully comply with the court rulings. However, the move was defeated by a vote of 366 Nays vs. 265 Ayes.
Nonetheless, the Department of Work and Pensions said it is making careful considerations on how to implement the changes that will provide full remedy, to what the Supreme Court has ruled as unjust and against human rights. The remedy aims to give children of cohabiting parents the right to receive bereavement payments.
Since the UK courts issued the ruling, a cross-party group of MPs have been working with child poverty campaigners to update the legislation pertaining to the Bereavement Support Payment program.
What is the Bereavement Support Payment Program?
Bereavement Support Payment was enacted in April 2017 as a single benefit replacing various support programs, namely the Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance
While the new bereavement support payment aimed to simplify matters for new claimants, payment of benefits still excluded families of unmarried couples. This despite the fact that the National Insurance calculates and determines the eligibility of dependents based on thebNI contributions of the deceased husband, wife or civil partner but excluding unmarried couples.
The bereaved family of the deceased NI contributor will receive bereavement support for 18 months. However, children born out of wedlock are not eligible to receive the benefit.
Campaigners against the existing rule has called on MPs to comply with the court judgment, saying that on a yearly basis, around 2,000 families do not receive bereavement support after a husband, wife or civil partner passes away.
Oprah’s recent interview with ex-royal couple Meghan and Harry, revealed that the British royal family still cannot accept Meghan as a bonafide family member. Meghan who is African American by blood, is the product of a union between a Black American monther and a white American father. One of the highlights of Meghan’s revelations is that prior to the birth of their child, there were “conversations” in the palace discussing the baby’s skin tone and how dark his skin might be.
Nevertheless, Oprah was able to confirm that it was not Queen Elizabeth II nor Prince Phillip was among those who brought up the question about the skin color of meghan and Harry’s son.
The ex-royals said it’s a turning point in the worldwide racial reckoning of last year. A lot of institutions have been acknowledging the ugly aspects of their histories particularly those concerning racism; but confronting the British monarchy about racism can be a significant issue.
Although Harry and Meghan celebrated their wedding nationally, their life as a married couple has been affected by racist comments; making it obvious that racism still exists in the royal family. Especially since the British royals are members of a dynasty that for centuries, had amassed wealth gained from the trade and enslavement of Africans.
Lost Hopes of Eradicating Anti-Black Sentiments in Britain
According to a professor of African American studies at Emory University, Kali Nicole Gross, the Oprah’s interview with meghan and Harry had once again reminded the audience of how long anti-Black racism has been around in the UK and how African Britons have constantly encountered its existence. Gross said that she was naive to have believed that the Harry-Meghan union would set a different trend as she truly believed for a moment that the English monarchy accepted Meghan and her African American origin.
This despite how members of the royal family have been accused of racism in the past, including Prince Philip, Harry’s grandfather and husband of Queen Elizabeth II. While visiting China in 1986, he made remarks to a group of British students that if they will stay longer in China, they would become “slitty-eyed” themselves. Another public display of his racist stance was in 2002, when he asked an Aborigine in Australia if their tribe was “still throwing spears”.
In 2004, The Sun reported that Princess Michael who is married to a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth had told Black guests in a New York restaurant to “go back to the colonies.”
The most recent report of racism displayed by a British monarch was that of Harry’s father, Prince Charles was when in 2018, when he remarked that journalist Anita Sethi “did not look like she hailed from Manchester, because of her skin color.”
The UK makes record of being the first to roll out a COVID-19 Vaccine Program; administering a vaccine proven safe and effective in several clinical trials. Prior to the rollout last December 08, the UK government initially approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency, for which 40 million doses have been procured to see to the immediate vaccination of about ⅓ of the country’s population.
Is the Vaccine Really Safe?
The government gave assurance that the Pfizer vaccine is safe to administer as it went through meticulous clinical trials. Afterwards, the results of those trials were thoroughly evaluated by the country’s national medicine regulator. It has been deemed safe enough to gain confidence in administering the first 800,000 doses to people at risk and the frontline medical and healthcare workers. Another batch from the country’s population will be vaccinated before the new year.
The country’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is himself a former Covid-19 victim, thanked the National Health Service (NHS) and the country’s scientists who were thorough in their assessment of the Pfizer vaccine.
Order of Prioritization Based on the Guidelines of the Vaccine Program
A group of experts from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation offered suggestions to UK health departments on who to prioritize during the actual rollout of the COVID-19 Vaccine program. The suggestions now serve as guidelines in prioritizing the people who will be the firsts to be injected with the vaccine:
People who are young and considered healthy will need to wait for a while to receive their injection, as the older population are given first priority. While there are approximately 70 hospital hubs currently administering the vaccine in the country, vaccine administrators must give vaccine priority in the following order:
- Older citizens living in care homes, including their respective caretakers
- All people aged 80 years and above, simultaneously with medical and healthcare frontliners;
- Old folks aged 75 and above;
- Old folks aged 70 and simultaneously prioritize those who have existing health problems;
- Older adults aged 65 and above
- Older adults aged 55 and above
- Older people aged 50 years and above.
90-Year Old British Woman Takes Pride in Making History as the First Vaccine Recipient
Margaret Keenan, a 90-year old British woman has been administered with the first of two vaccine shots at the University Hospital. Ms. Keenan professes that she feels very privileged to be the first ever person to be vaccinated against the virus. She will receive the second dose after three weeks, and can expect full immunity, in a week’s time, after receiving the second dose.
Ms. Keenan, who was alone during the entire quarantine period also considers being the first to receive the vaccine, as the greatest early birthday present she could ever wish for, as she will be celebrating her birthday in good health next week.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s battle with cancer is over but her death has sparked another partisan issue, in relation to her replacement in the Supreme Court. The question of whether the position left vacant by Justice Bader should set off before the November general election would not be an issue if the Republicans had not made a different ruling in 2016.
The filibuster ruling had barred then incumbent President Obama from appointing a replacement for Justice Anthony Scalia after his untimely demise in February 13, 2016. Being the ruling party in the Senate House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, suspended any hearing that would formally confirm President Obama’s appointee (Merrick Garland) as Justice Scalia’s replacement.
Rationale Behind Republican Senate’s 2016 Suspension of Obama’s Exercise of Filling Up Vacant SC Seat
Back then, Mitch McConnel, along with other Republicans were already of a mindset that no other Democratic-appointee will sit as a member of the U.S. Supreme until after the results of the 2016 general election declares a new U.S. president. In his announcement, McConnel argued that the American people have to have a say on who gets to appoint a new member of the Supreme Court.
Now that Justice Ginsberg’s death has turned the tables on the Republicans, Mitch McConnel is making it known that the rule will not apply to Donald Trump, even if there are only less than 45 days before the 2020 November election.
Apparently banking on the strength of the Republucan majority leadership, Mitch McConnel, the ruling party can confirm any appointee Trump names even if the November election is only less than 2 months away. However, with many Republucan senators running for re-election, a resolution to overturn the previous filibuster ruling might not muster majority votes.
However, a reversal of the 2016 filibuster ruling will put Republican senators who are up for re-election, in an awkward position. They will literally be baring themselves as Trumpets (Trump puppets) serving the interest of Donald Trump and not of their constituents.
As it is, Trump has been experiencing defeat in Supreme Court rulings, since even his appointee, Chief Justice John Roberts,had sided with the liberals in protecting former President Obama “Dreamers” program, which basically gives immigrants the right apply for U.S. citizenship.
Trump went into another self-aggrandizing show of power tripping when he ordered 9,500 soldiers to leave Germany after Chancellor Markell rebuffed G7 invitation.
As if still not satisfied or in denial of the fact that he has been receiving serious backlash and criticisms in handling the country’s current state affairs, the U.S. president once again made use of his executive power to prove that he has control over important diplomatic matters.
The military order stemmed from Chancellor Angela Markell’s polite refusal of Trump’s invitation for her to attend the G7 Summit in Washington scheduled at the end of June. The German Chancellor cited concerns over the still ongoing global health crisis. That is understandably so since, as of June 10, 2020, the World Health Organization reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has reached a total of 1,933,560, of which 110,220 have died.
The numbers continue to rise, where as many as 17,850 new cases were added last June 08, 2020. Actually, the large numbers of increases are expected due to Trump’s and other Republican’s call for reopening state economies even if not meeting the checkpoints that public health experts recommended as conditions for reopening. Not to mention that millions of Americans are now out in the streets, in support of calls for a nationwide reform of the police force.
However, Trump was slighted by the Chancellor’s rejection of his invitation, since the G7 Summit meet would have been excellent propaganda for convincing his supporters that all’s well in the U.S.
White House officials claim that the removal of the U.S. troops in Germany was in now way connected to Chancellor Markell’s rebuff of Trump’s invitation, as plans were already underway even before that. However, many of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress were unaware of such plans, and were in fact critical of the move.
Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming branded Trump’s order to remove U.S. soldiers in German soil, as a dangerously misguided policy.
“If the United States continues to abandon allies, withdraws U.S. forces and order retreats within U.S. borders, such actions put in peril the cause of freedom on which the American nation was founded and on which the country’s own security depends.”
Trump Forced to Cancel G7 Summit as Other World Leaders Will Not Commit Attendance
Yet, inasmuxh as other G7 leaders have expressed non-committal responses to Trump’s summit invitation in June, the POTUS decided to cancel the event instead; but without making a repeat of his response to Chancellor Markel’s outright refusal.
As if the controversy he created was not enough, Trump announced that in resuming the G7 Summit in September, he intends to invite Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Trump said he plans to form an expanded world alliance against China.
Apparently, Trump is overlooking the fact that Russia has been banned from attending Western summit meetings of world leaders, as sanction for its invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Besides, is Trump not aware that Russia and China have been holding joint military exercises since 2018, which clearly indicate their military ties?
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has branded Boris Johnson “a part-time prime minister” for not spending most of his time checking on the people in flood-hit communities.
According to reports, Corbyn uttered the branding during a session of Prime Minister’s Questions, drumming up a Conservative Party member’s questioning.
Barry Lewis, the Conservative leader of Derbyshire Council accused Johnson of turning his back on the communities affected by the floods. Corbyn then linked Lewis’ accusation to criticisms that the UK Prime Minister had spent the entire parliamentary recess at the Chevening mansion, instead of visiting the people affected by the flooding.
As it is, torrential rains since November have caused flooding in several UK communities, which was aggravated by Storm Dennis last weekend. Wales was the worst hit; experiencing continuous heavy rains that caused not only flood waters to rise. Some parts of Wales took on landslides that trapped people inside their homes.
Recently, another Labour Party member, in the person of Leicester South MP, Jonathan Ashworth, who is also Corbyn’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health, carried on with the “part-time branding.” Guesting on BBC radio programmes. Ashworth said
”People are worried,”…”needing to hear about the government’s plans on how it will handle the continuing spread of the coronavirus outbreak.”
Ashworth remarked that the UK’s part time Prime Minister still does not have a grip of the urgency posed by the escalating coronavirus outbreak.
The COBR-A meeting, which is supposed to addressi an emergency situation, still has to wait three days before it takes place. At the same time, MP Ashworth asserted that PM Johnson should drop his childish ban of barring MPS from speaking in radio programmes.
PM Johnson’s Response to Labour Party’s “Part-Time PM” Bashing
In response to Jeremy Corbyn’s accusation that he has been working part-time, Prime Minister Johnson refused to acknowledge the criticism; saying that
The government has been working “flat out” in attending to the flooding problem; working day and night ever since the flooding started, to make certain that the people receive the support they need.”
The UK Prime Minister said a COBR-A meeting merely means a Cabinet meeting held in a Cabinet office briefing room A; pointing out that It is not the only venue in which cabinet meetings take place.
Johnsom added that Labour Party members are mainly engaging in narcissistic debates; of which the hottest topic is the matter of deciding on what Shadow Cabinet job to give to the Labor Party leader, after he lost in the snap general election held last December 2019.
On December 12, 2019, British voters will once again decide whether the U.K. is to forge ahead with the country’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) even without a deal, or to stay with EU instead. Although the matter had been previously decided in a referendum held in June 2016, in which 51.9 percent of those who cast their vote sealed the approval for Brexit, or Britain’s exit from the EU.
Brexit was supposed to take effect last March 2019, following a two-year period of negotiating a deal that would clearly define the changes that will transpire. The plan was that if a deal could not be reached, the UK will go ahead with the EU withdrawal even without a deal. However, despite the British Parliament’s rejection of the withdrawal agreements negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May and later by PM Boris Johnson, there is still no clarity on whether the whole of Great Britain will move forward with a no-deal Brexit
Latest Polls Show UK Citizens are Also Divided Over a No-Deal Brexit
Incumbent Prime Minister Johnson is pushing for the government to proceed with the no-deal Brexit. Yet this particular move has caused a rift even among Conservatives; leaving the no-deal Brexit proposal unsupported by the majority of those in the British Parliament. As recent polls show, most UK citizens have had second thoughts about Brexit, as 34 percent said they would prefer staying with the EU, while only 23% percent favor a no-deal Brexit .
Three times the no-deal Brexit was kept at bay, as the UK government stalled on that decision by requesting extensions of the deadline for the finalisation of a Brexit deal. The final extension though is set on January 31, 2020, but this time, the extension will be time used for holding a general election; giving the UK citizens another chance to decide whether to stay with the EU or to go ahead with the no-deal Brexit.
The 3-month long protest actions that have been embattling Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam may possibly come to an end, or so she hopes. Through a press release, the controversial extradition bill that sparked the civil unrest, has finally been withdrawn by the Hong Kong leader; confirming the exclusive report released last Wednesday by the South China Morning Post.
However, there is still a possibility that protests will continue because protest leaders are now saying that the withdrawal action came a little too late. Too many violent clashes have transpired, with some demonstrators hurt and/or have been arrested. In addition to the extradition bill’s withdrawal, there is now a demand for a full-inquiry that will make the police accountable for the violent outcomes of their demonstrations.
The demonstrations lasted because the HK Chief Executive has a reputation for mincing words, like when she said the extradition bill is “dead” rather than directly state that it will be off the legislation table. Now she is also saying that in addition to the bill’s withdrawal, she will set up an inquiry commission to investigate the root causes on why social unrest ignites in the city, as well as formulate solutions on how to avoid them from happening again.
Yet protesters have three other demands to consider before the civil unrest can be completely called off.
Other Conditions that the HK Chief Executive Must Meet to End Social Unrest
The 3-month long protest movements have attracted international attention mainly because most rallies resulted to violence, despite an attempt by moderate demonstrators to hold a peaceful rally. Protesters are now calling on the government to investigate why the police used aggression in dispersing the demonstrators, which only sparked greater anger among people.
In addition to the withdrawal and the inquiry, other demands on the table include the HK authorities’ characterization of their movements as riots. Mainly because whatever violence that transpired were the results of the police force’s use of unreasonable aggression.
Another concession that must be met is the granting of amnesty to those who were arrested as a result of the violent disruptions.
Finally, protesters are calling on the government to restart the political reform process that had been previously voted down at the Hong Kong Legislative Council. .
Despite Senator Elizabeth Warren’s heavy pronouncements against the financial sector, bankers and fund managers are showing signs of warming up to her, expressing respect for her views and policies.
Sometime in March this year. Ms. Warren appeared in CBS’ “Face the Nation,” in which she asserted it is not right to call her a democratic socialist. That is because often times, she has criticized some financial industry sectors as predatory. This presidential aspirant made clear her stance by stating,
“I believe in markets; but in markets that work…that have a cop on the beat. Markets that have real rules where everybody follows them.”
What Wall Street People are Saying about Elizabeth Warren Lately
Recently, Fortune Magazine interviewed people at Wall Street. They were surprised to receive feedback about Senator Warren that was quite different from what the majority were saying during the 2016 presidential election campaigns. According to Fortune, some had no qualms about giving their growing approval of the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, while others requested anonymity; lest they face political pressure from associates who think Ms. Warren is just not right for their business
Yet even for those with liberal leanings, it was gathered that the Democratic Senator has become an acceptable alternative to incumbent president Donald Trump and the self-professed democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.
Chief Investment Officer and founding partner of Atlas Merchant Capital, David Schamis, told Fortune that he has no trouble giving Ms. Warren his support, if ever she gets the Democratic presidential nomination. Mr. Schamis sees her as somebody who is intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful and responsible, whom he believes gives importance to the financial markets.
Schamis even added that there are people in his network, including the conservatives, who have high regard for the former Harvard Law School professor, having studied under Ms. Warren’s tutelage.
Tom Nides, Vice Chairman at Morgan Stanley and former Deputy Secretary of State to President Obama, gives Senator Warren credit for her accomplishments; citing her feat of setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as impressive. Although he clarifies he does not agree with all of Ms. Warren’s statements, he gives value to her idea and her drive in giving fruition to that idea.
Even Whitney Tilson, the former hedge fund manager, whom Elizabeth Warren derided in 2016 via a post on Facebook, recently wrote an article in Yahoo explaining why he is glad the Democratic Senator is running for president. Notwithstanding that Ms. Warren had lashed at him for being a Wall Street insider who allegedly stood to gain from Trump’s administration. Upon learning that Tilson had made small contributions to her campaign fund, Ms. Warren tried to patch things up by extending her apology to Tilson. .
Despite the 2016 incident, Tilson wrote that he agrees with Senator Warren’s general assessment.of the country
that they have allowed multiple systems to develop… screwing average people in countless ways, from health care, education, trade, criminal justice and trade, among other things’…“I’m glad she is running.”
Trump Asserts Imaginary Rights to Limit Congressional Oversight to What He Deems as Legitimate or Not
U.S. president Donald Trump asserts he has the right to determine the legitimacy of Congressional Oversight proceedings. Practically saying that Congress can legitimately scrutinize his activities only if he as president, deems it legal. ERGO: Congress can initiate as many oversight proceedings as they want, but cannot expect Trump to cooperate if he says it is not legitimate, like when he says that the oversight is politically motivated.
If it is any consolation, some Republicans are expressing disagreement to such views. House Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), said he disagrees with Trump’s legal theories about Congressional Oversight and the ability of Congress to police Trump’s activities while acting as president of the U.S.
House Judiciary Committee member Ken Buck (R-CO.), says his stance is aligned with Congress and not with the Executive Branch. That if Trump had acted illegally, then Congress has oversight authority.
Rep. Justin Amash (R – MI) was more specific with his disagreement over Trump’s views about having the right to determine the legality of a Congressional Oversight, This Republican lawmaker was more vocal, he argues
“The Mueller Report proved Trump committed obstruction of justice… Trumped escaped indictment only because of rules that prevent the U.S. Justice Department from indicting a sitting president.”
Such disagreements sounded like good news to the House Democrats, but the bad news is that except for Rep. Amash, the disagreeing Republican lawmakers still support Trump’s rejection of the House Democrats Committees’ investigations. They continue to insist Democrats are seeking to gain more by overreaching their Congressional investigative powers.
Republican Representative Justin Amash Shows Consistency by Making a Call for Impeachment
Aside from being the sole Republican to make a call for Trump’s impeachment, Representative Justin Amash tweeted strong words over the issue:
“We’ve witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice, all of which depend on whether they are dealing with Bill Clinton or Donald Trump,”
As a result, Rep. Amash faces the wrath of his fellow Republicans and has been rebuked by Donald Trump who says,
”He (Amash) is a total lightweight who continuously opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies, just to get his name out there through controversy.”
Famous political leaders, government and politics
Famous political leaders, government and politics
Famous political leaders, government and politics