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Keir Starmer Officially Assumes Duty As UK Prime Minister



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




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




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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Poor Debate Outing: Democrats Panic, Seek to Replace Biden




Democrats are so panicked over President Joe Biden’s faltering debate performance some are actively discussing what was once unspeakable: replacing him on the ticket.

Three strategists close to three potential Democratic presidential candidates said they had been bombarded with text messages throughout the debate. One adviser said they received pleas for their candidate to step forward as an alternative to Biden.

Another adviser said they had “taken no less than half a dozen key donors texting ‘disaster’ and [the] party needs to do something,” but acknowledged that “not much is possible unless” Biden steps aside.

They were among more than a dozen Democrats who spoke with POLITICO, most of whom were granted anonymity to speak freely.

One major Democratic donor and Biden supporter said it was time for the president to end his campaign. This person described Biden’s night as “the worst performance in history” and said Biden was so “bad that no one will pay attention to Trump’s lies.”

“Biden needs to drop out. No question about it,” the donor said in a text message, proposing an alternate ticket led by the governors of Maryland and Michigan.

At least two prominent potential 2028 contenders — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and California Gov. Gavin Newsom — said they stood by Biden even after his performance.

Newsom, when pressed on MSNBC if Biden should step down, said that talk is “unhelpful” and “unnecessary.”

“You don’t turn your back because of one performance,” Newsom said. “What kind of party does that?”

Biden struggled throughout much of the debate, the first 2024 general election matchup between the president and former President Donald Trump. The 81-year-old president has long faced questions about his fitness for office, and the debate — the earliest general election matchup of its kind in modern political history — had been a gambit by the Biden campaign to reset the narrative around the race.

For weeks, Democrats had hoped a strong performance by Biden in the debate could ease concerns about his age. Instead, it did the opposite.

“No Labels and Dean Phillips won this debate,” said a former senior Biden White House official, referring to the outsider efforts to push a different candidate, not named Trump or Biden, into the race.

The pleas from within the party, while unlikely to actually result in a change atop the ticket, reflect a major turn in the campaign. Incumbent presidents have traditionally underperformed during their first debates — inundated by the demands of the job and often unable to dedicate serious time to preparation. But Thursday’s debate was unique in that it affirmed an existing preconception of Biden among many voters as a candidate past his sell-by debate.


One adviser to major Democratic Party donors said they were texting from a meeting of donors in Atlanta on Thursday night, some writing “wtf.”

“Our only hope is that he bows out, we have a brokered convention, or dies,” the donor adviser said. “Otherwise we are fucking dead.”

Nonetheless, the likelihood of a brokered convention or Biden stepping aside are unlikely, a reality that even those who privately complained about Biden’s performance acknowledged.

“Only one guy can decide, and it’s him,” said one Democratic strategist.

The Biden campaign pushed back on the critique of the president, with an adviser calling him “the only person who has ever beaten Donald Trump.”

“He will do it again,” the adviser said. “Donald Trump did not give voters any reason to vote for him tonight. On the issues, the American people are with Joe Biden.”

Asked if Biden would be dropping out, one campaign aide said “of course not.” The aide said the hour just after the debate — from 11 p.m. to midnight — was the campaign’s strongest hour of grassroots fundraising since it launched.

In a statement, Biden’s campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon said Biden “presented a positive and winning vision for the future of America,” while Trump “offered a dark and backwards window into what America will look like if he steps foot back in the White House.”

Stephanie Cutter, a Democratic consultant, said, “President Biden is the Democratic nominee and that’s not changing because of one debate performance.”

She said, “We need to calm down and stay focused because Donald Trump certainly didn’t gain any voters tonight.”

But for many Democrats on Thursday night, the view was far dimmer. One down-ballot statewide Democrat running for election said: “I mean, it’s not great all around. Our president has a speech impediment, a cold, and is 81.”

“No one expected a master class in debating from Joe Biden, but no one expected this nose dive,” said a senior adviser to top Democratic officials. “He was bad on message, bad on substance, bad on counter punching, bad on presentation, bad on non-verbals. There was no bright spot in this debate for him. The only bright spot is that this happened in June and not October.”

Source: Politico

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