Daily News Roundup

February 19, 2019

Tuesday, February 19

Seven politicians have quit Britain’s opposition Labour party over leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and a row over anti-Semitism.

The departure of the politicians, who said their party had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left”,  underlines the mounting frustration with Corbyn’s reluctance to change his Brexit strategy and refusing to push for a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

With only 39 days until Britain leaves the EU  divisions over Brexit have fragmented British politics, breaking down traditional party lines and creating new coalitions across the country’s left/right divide.

“The Labour party that we joined that we campaigned for and believed in is no longer today’s Labour Party,” said one of the departing MPs.

“We did everything we could to save it, but it has now been hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left,” Mr Leslie told a news conference.

“Evidence of Labour’s betrayal on Europe is now visible for all to see. Offering to actually enable this government’s Brexit, constantly holding back from allowing the public a final say.”

The seven politicians were: Luciana Berger, Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey.

They will continue to sit as MPs in parliament under the banner ‘The Independent Group’.

Labour won 262 seats at the 2017 election.

A Labour source close to the group, said Monday’s departures could trigger a second wave of resignations, underlining the frustration over Corbyn’s approach to Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years.

Corbyn said he was disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election.

Corbyn has so far stuck to Labour policy to keep the option of a second referendum “on the table” if Prime Minister Theresa May’s government fails to secure a deal with Brussels that can pass through parliament.

Corbyn denies that he has allowed anti-Semitism to grow in the Labour Party and has pledged to stamp it out.

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Donald Trump has attacked what he called an “illegal coup attempt” after former acting FBI chief Andrew McCabe said discussions were held about removing the President from office.

McCabe told America’s 60 Minutes program that talks were held in 2017 about invoking a clause under the 25th Amendment that can remove a president

Immediately Mr Trump tweeted that any such discussions were “illegal and treasonous”.

The US Department of Justice has said Mr McCabe’s account of the alleged talks was “inaccurate and factually incorrect”.

Mr McCabe also backed a New York Times report that Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein remarked about wearing a wire in meetings with Mr Trump.

“To be fair, it was an unbelievably stressful time,” Mr McCabe said.

“I can’t even describe for you how many things would have been coursing through the Deputy Attorney-General’s mind at that point. So it was really something that he kind of threw out in a very frenzied, chaotic conversation about where we were and what we needed to do next.”

Mr Trump’s angry tweets came as protesters gathered in cities across America to demonstrate against his declaration of a national emergency to fund his planned US-Mexico border wall.

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The French Fencing Federation has officially recognised lightsabre duelling, as seen in Star Wars.

Fencing has been part of the Olympics since the first modern Games in 1896 and normally  involves three disciplines — the foil, the epee and the sabre.

Now the French have  added a fourth discipline, making lightsaber duelling a competitive sport.

The LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate lightsaber replicas can’t slice an opponent in half like Star Wars..

But they look and, with the more expensive sabers equipped with a chip in their hilt that emits a throaty electric rumble, even sound remarkably like the silver screen blades.

The physicality of lightsaber combat is part of why the French Fencing Federation threw its support behind the sport and is now equipping fencing clubs with lightsabers and training would-be lightsaber instructors.

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