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Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, Wife, Sophie Announce Separation

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, have decided to separate, according to statements posted online by both of them.

“Sophie and I would like to share the fact that after many meaningful and difficult conversations, we have made the decision to separate,” Trudeau wrote in a message posted to his Instagram account.

Trudeau, 51, and Grégoire, 48, were married in May 2005 and have three children together: two sons, Xavier, 15, and Hadrien, nine, and one daughter, 14-year-old Ella-Grace.

“As always, we remain a close family with deep love and respect for each other and for everything we have built and will continue to build,” Trudeau and Grégoire Trudeau wrote in identical messages. “For the well-being of our children, we ask that you respect our and their privacy.”

Grégoire Trudeau, a former television presenter, has been a prominent presence at Trudeau’s side throughout his political career and became a public figure in her own right as an advocate for several charitable and social causes, including mental health and gender equality.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Trudeau and Grégoire Trudeau have “signed a legal separation agreement.”

“They have worked to ensure that all legal and ethical steps with regards to their decision to separate have been taken, and will continue to do so moving forward,” Trudeau’s office said.

“They remain a close family and Sophie and the Prime Minister are focused on raising their kids in a safe, loving and collaborative environment.  Both parents will be a constant presence in their children’s lives and Canadians can expect to often see the family together. The family will be together on vacation, beginning next week.”

According to a source with knowledge of the arrangements, Grégoire Trudeau has moved to a separate home in Ottawa and the prime minister will remain at Rideau Cottage. Grégoire Trudeau will also spend time at Rideau Cottage, where their children are expected to live most of the time, and the Trudeaus will share parenting responsibilities, according to the source. Trudeau is expected to speak publicly this week before leaving on vacation with his family.

Trudeau’s parents — former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau — famously separated in 1977. The announcement of Trudeau and Grégoire Trudeau’s separation was extensively covered by international media on Wednesday.

Dominic LeBlanc, a cabinet minister and childhood friend of Trudeau’s, was expected to brief Liberal MPs about the situation on Wednesday afternoon.

As first reported by the National Post, a source confirms that Grégoire Trudeau will no longer take on any official duties and she will not be provided with government staff to manage her own personal appearances.

As recounted in his autobiography, Common Ground, Trudeau and Grégoire Trudeau began dating in 2003. Grégoire Trudeau, the daughter of a stockbroker and a nurse, was a former schoolmate of Trudeau’s late brother, Michel.

The couple became engaged in 2004 and married each other a year later during a ceremony at Montreal’s Sainte-Madeleine d’Outremont church — “by Canadian standards, a sweet and appropriately understated fairy-tale wedding,” was how a writer for Maclean’s described it.

‘Our marriage isn’t perfect’

Both Trudeau and Grégoire Trudeau spoke at times candidly about their relationship and the challenges of marriage.

“Our marriage isn’t perfect, and we have had difficult ups and downs, yet Sophie remains my best friend, my partner, my love,” Trudeau wrote in Common Ground, which was published in 2014.

Grégoire Trudeau told an interviewer in 2015 that “no marriage is easy.”

“I’m almost kind of proud of the fact that we’ve had hardship, yes, because we want authenticity. We want truth,” she said. “We want to grow closer as individuals through our lifetime and we’re both dreamers and we want to be together for as long as we can.”

Trudeau launched his political career in 2007, when he decided to seek the Liberal Party nomination in the Montreal riding of Papineau. After winning there in 2008 and 2011, Trudeau began to consider seeking the Liberal leadership. The decision, he wrote, would ultimately come down to “a deeply personal private discussion between Sophie and me.”

“We had many long, honest talks that summer,” Trudeau recalled. “I wanted to be sure she knew, from my own  experience, just how rough that life can be. I recalled for Sophie that my father had once told me I should never feel compelled to run for office. ‘Our family has done enough,’ he said.”

His father said that, Trudeau noted, “despite having never experienced the incessant, base vitriol of twenty-first-century politics.”

“I welcome a good tussle, and my skin is thick, but I had grown up in the reality of public life,” Trudeau wrote. “Sophie had not, and our decision would affect our kids, in some ways, more than either of us.”

In an interview in 2008, Grégoire Trudeau said that when she met Trudeau, “politics was not impossible, but it was not in the short-term or the mid-term plan.”

“But an opportunity came up, and we felt that if we weren’t going to embark on this adventure, a part of us would be selfish with the voice that we have and the opportunities that are given to us,” she said.

In Common Ground, Trudeau credits Grégoire Trudeau with “profoundly” influencing his style of politics and for helping keep him grounded.

“Sometimes it’s easy for people who have made politics their livelihood to get caught up in the heat of battle and forget about their personal values. Sophie never does, and no matter how intense things get, she makes sure I don’t either,” Trudeau wrote.

Personal lives generally private matters

The personal lives of prime ministers are generally treated as private matters. But Pierre Trudeau’s relationship with Margaret Sinclair — including  their marriage in 1971 and their separation in 1977 was highly publicized. Trudeau was the first prime minister to get married while in office and also the first to publicly separate from his partner. Margaret Trudeau later disclosed her long struggle with mental illness.

Justin Trudeau, who was born nine months after his parents wed, experienced their divorce as a young child and he wrote at length about those years in Common Ground. Trudeau said that much of what was written about his parent’s relationship was “lurid and inaccurate.”

“From my perspective today, the commonly held story of my parents’ marital breakdown is nothing but a caricature, because my father was not just the tradition-bound diehard he appeared and my mother was not entirely the totally free spirit that her actions suggest,” Trudeau wrote.

“Things are never that simple, especially with a couple as complex as my parents, and I remain amused by and exasperated with those who view their relationship — all the passion, triumph, achievements, and tragedy — in black and white, seeing it merely as a flawed union between a cool and aloof man and an exuberant and uninhibited younger woman. It was that, but also much more.”

Source: CBC News

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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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