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Rishi Sunak Emerges New British Prime Minister

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Rishi Sunak has emerged the new Leader of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party.

According to an announcement made by Sir Graham Brady, only one nomination was received by the 1922 Committee for the new leader of the party, and backed by 100 MPs.

Sir Brady, therefore, declared Sunak to be the next party leader, and consequently the new Prime Minister.

He confirmed that the new Tory leader Rishi Sunak will address MPs at 14:30 BST.

Earlier, one of the contenders for the UK top job, Penny Mordaunt, had announced his withdrawal from the race, leaving Sunak as the sole candidate for the position.

Mordaunt, in a statement, said, “Our Party is our membership. Whether we are elected representatives, activists, fundraisers or supporters. We all have a stake in who our leader is.

“These are unprecedented times. Despite the compressed timetable for the leadership contest it is clear that colleagues feel we need certainty today. They have taken this decision in good faith for the good of the country.

“Members should know that this proposition has been fairly and thoroughly tested by the agreed 1922 process.

“As a result, we have now chosen our next Prime Minister. This decision is an historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party. Rishi has my full support.

“I am proud of the campaign we ran and grateful to all those, across all sides of our party, who gave me their backing. We all owe it to the country, to each other and to Rishi to unite and work together for the good of the nation. There is much work to be done.”

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Africa

Kenya Protest: Ruto Makes Sweeping Changes, Reduces Aides, Scraps Agencies, Others

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Kenyan President, William Ruto, has scrapped budgets for the offices of first and second ladies.

The embattled Kenyan leader also dissolved 47 State agencies in a move to cut down government expenditure and pacify dissatisfied youths who have been on the streets for the past three weeks.

Ruto made this announcement during a broadcast on Friday while apologising to protesters clashing with security agents on the streets.

Budget lines providing for the operations of the offices of the First Lady, the spouses of the Deputy President, and the Prime Cabinet Secretary shall be removed,” said Ruto.

The president, who had earlier withdrawn the Finance Bill, which triggered the nationwide protest, has also suspended non-essential travels for government officials and workers. He also stopped the purchase of new vehicles and cut down his advisers by half.

The protests erupted in the capital Nairobi three weeks ago in response to a bill seeking to increase tax.

The protests have morphed into broader discontent with Ruto’s leadership and accusations of police brutality.

Human rights groups claimed 39 protesters have been killed by security forces, with the most brutal crackdown happening last week Tuesday after the parliament passed the bill.

Ruto has since dropped the bill, but the protesters are now demanding his resignation.

Unrest has spread beyond Nairobi, with demonstrations erupting in major cities such as Mombasa and Kisumu.

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World

Keir Starmer Officially Assumes Duty As UK Prime Minister

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Britain’s Head of State, King Charles III, officially appointed Labour leader Keir Starmer as Prime Minister during an audience at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

A photograph released by the Buckingham Palace showed the monarch shaking hands with Starmer, whose party won a landslide election victory. The king earlier accepted the resignation of Conservative leader, Rishi Sunak.

“The King received in audience The Right Honourable Sir Keir Starmer MP today and requested him to form a new Administration,” a palace statement read.

“Sir Keir accepted His Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.”

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has apologised to the public after his Conservatives were trounced by Labour in the UK general election, and said he would step down as party leader.

The 44-year-old former financier gambled on going to the country six months before he had to, hoping that better economic data would swing public support back towards the Tories.

But Thursday’s vote indicated that Britons wanted to send a clear message to the party by kicking them out of power after 14 years of economic hardships, Brexit upheaval and Tory infighting.

“To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry,” he said outside the Prime Minister’s residence at Downing Street, before heading to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation as prime minister to King Charles III.

“I have given this job my all, but you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgment that matters.”

“I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

The scale of the defeat made it inevitable that Sunak — the conservative party’s fifth leader since 2010 — would have to step down as Tory head as well.

But he said that he would stay on in the role until the arrangements are made for an internal leadership contest, which is expected to be a fight for the ideological soul of the party.

Sunak saw a record number of his top ministerial team lose their seats, including defence secretary Grant Shapps and House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt.

His immediate predecessor as Prime Minister, Liz Truss, also lost her seat.

Sunak, an observant Hindu who is Britain’s first Prime Minister of colour — wished his successor Keir Starmer well, calling him “a decent, public-spirited man who I respect”.

“One of the most remarkable things about Britain is just how unremarkable it is that two generations after my grandparents came here with little, I could become prime minister,” he added.

“And that I could watch my two young daughters light Diwali candles on the steps in Downing Street. We must hold true to that idea of who we are,” he added.

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USA

Trump Has Absolute Immunity for Official Acts, US Supreme Court Rules

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The United States Supreme Court has for the first time recognised that former presidents have immunity from prosecution for certain actions taken in office, as it threw out a judicial decision rejecting Donald Trump’s bid to shield himself from criminal charges involving his efforts to undo his 2020 election loss.

The court on Monday ruled 6-3 that while former presidents enjoy immunity for actions they take within their constitutional authority, they do not for actions taken in a private capacity.

The ruling marked the first time since the nation’s 18th-century founding that the Supreme Court has declared that former presidents may be shielded from criminal charges in any instance.

The decision will boost Trump’s defence against federal charges over his efforts to overturn the 2020 vote, which he lost to President Joe Biden. It could also affect similar state-level election interference charges in Georgia.

Trump was quick to welcome the ruling. “BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN,” the former president wrote in a social media post.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the landmark decision on behalf of the court’s six-justice conservative majority. The court’s three liberal justices dissented.

The Supreme Court justices argued that enabling the prosecution of former presidents over their official acts in office could open the door for political retribution and despotism.

“The President enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the President does is official. The President is not above the law. But Congress may not criminalize the President’s conduct in carrying out the responsibilities of the Executive Branch under the Constitution,” they wrote.

They stressed that the immunity does not apply just to Trump but “to all occupants of the Oval Office, regardless of politics, policy, or party.”

Three of the six justices who backed the ruling were appointed by Trump himself.

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor forcefully rejected the majority’s opinion on Monday, arguing that the ruling effectively legalises abuse of power.

“The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the country, and possibly the world. When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority’s reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution,” she wrote.

“Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

Source: Aljazeera

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