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UK PM’s call for general election rejected by British MPs

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In a dramatic day of British politics, the House of Commons has passed a bill that rules out the new PM Boris Johnson’s plan to pull out of the EU next month without a blueprint of how trading terms will continue with the UK out of the bloc.

That bill now goes to the unelected House of Lords for assent.

Hours later, Parliament also rejected Mr. Johnson’s request for a snap election, at least until the no-deal Brexit measure becomes law, leaving the British prime minister bruised by three consecutive rebukes in two days.

Earlier, MPs backed a bill aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit if the PM hadn’t agreed a plan with the EU ahead of the 31 October deadline.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the PM of “playing a disingenuous game” to force a no-deal Brexit saying his party would back an election after the bill had been passed, but not before.

Both the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats also criticised the PM’s motion as a plot to make sure the UK left the EU without a deal.

For the better part of three years, former UK PM Theresa May was the focus of the nation’s frustration as she was unable to cobble together a deal with the EU to find a path to Brexit.

 

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Laos

Laos prime minister orders an extension on lockdown measures

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Photo via Facebook/ ພະແນກສາທາລະນະສຸກ ແຂວງ ສະຫວັນນະເຂດ

While the majority of countries across the globe have been grappling with Covid-19 outbreaks for the past year, Laos, just North of Thailand, has only reported 1,177 cases with the vast majority of the infections detected over the past month.

Laos PM Phankhan Viphavanh says ordered an extension on lockdown measures, now until May 20, saying it is essential in containing the Covid-19 outbreak, which spiked in mid-April with some daily new cases surpassing 100. Yesterday, the country recorded 105 new cases. In Vientiane, the capital of Laos, the government has prepared 3 field hospitals with 1,200 beds.

“The government is aware that extending measures will cause difficulties in people’s daily lives… But we ask everyone to understand the situation and to be patient so that we may control and eventually overcome this virus outbreak.”

Over the next 2 weeks, the Covid-19 situation will be monitored by the Laos government, the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, and local task forces. In areas where the virus is contained, officials will look into easing restrictions. In areas with clusters of infections, restrictions will remain tight.

Apparently, some Laos residents caused problems for local health officials who are trying to contain the virus. Phankham some people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have refused to be admitted into healthcare facilities while others residents break Covid-19 prevention rules such as holding large gatherings.

Laos prime minister orders an extension on lockdown measures | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 6 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Laos prime minister orders an extension on lockdown measures | News by Thaiger

Daily new Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 6 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Environment

It’s cicada season and America is preparing for billions to emerge after 17 years of hiding

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Stock photo via Pixabay

Americans are preparing for billions of cicadas to emerge after spending 17 years underground. Some are thinking it’s their worst nightmare to see and hear the insects as they will undoubtedly swarm their yards and porches. Their semi-hard skin, that is shed, will also be a sight to see, if there are, indeed, billions coming out.

In Thailand, and most other countries, cicada season is just about here, with the deafening noises sure to grace the outdoor air. But Thai people are more accustomed to seeing Cicadas in food form. As it is a delicacy in the northeastern or Isaan areas of the country, the females are more prized as they are considered to have more meat. Cicadas are also used in traditional Chinese medicine formulations.

The arrival of the swaths of cicadas in the US is being called Brood X, as it features billions of cicada nymphs that will burst from the soil, shed their skin, mate, lay eggs and then die. And, the noise of the male cicadas trying to find a female to “make eggs with”, will be deafening. The last time Americans had to deal with a cicada invasion, was during George W Bush’s time as president.

For those interested in the arrival of cicadas, or who may want to eat them, there are websites and social media groups being dedicated to their arrival, which could be any day now. One person says just watching them morph into their adult form in under 1 hour is fascinating.

Another, who is more interested in using them for cooking, says there are websites that feature the insects in recipes. From mixing them with mushrooms or chocolate, or even frying them, it’s sure spark anyone’s curiosity as they sit inside, hearing and seeing billions of cicadas invade their lawns. Ranging from cicadas with mushrooms or with chocolate, there is something for everyone’s palate. Or at least, for those happy to eat bugs.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Politics

Diplomatic spat between China and Australia, Chinese suspend economic dialogue

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A diplomatic spat between China and Australia has the Communist State suspending all economic dialogue “indefinitely” between the 2 countries as of today. A statement by China’s National Development and Reform Commission detailed some of the reasoning behind the move, which is under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue.

“Recently, some Australian Commonwealth Government officials launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination.”

But the statement didn’t elaborate on what specific actions prompted the suspension, however, it most definitely signifies the growing tensions between the 2 countries. Back in 2018, Australia became the first country to ban the Chinese tech giant of Huawei from its 5G network. And, as Covid-19 ravaged the world, Australia called for an independent investigation into its origins. China responded by restricting trade between the nations.

Last December, Australia’s federal parliament granted veto power over foreign deals by states amid worsening diplomatic relations with China, which has handed down trade sanctions on Australian exports.

Australia, has also refused to sign agreements on directly participating in China’s new foreign policy initiative, which previously was agreed upon by Australia’s trade minister to cooperate with third-party countries in Belt and Road projects. In April, Canberra cancelled 2 of those projects struck by the state of Victoria, which prompted a warning from the Chinese embassy that bilateral ties would get worse. Just this week, Reuters reported that Australia was reviewing a 99 year lease of a northern port to a Chinese firm.

But Atilla Widnell, the managing director of Navigate Commodities says trade won’t be affected.

“We believe the iron ore trading relationship between Australia and China will remain ring-fenced in relation to current political tensions between the two nations. This is a co-dependent relationship whereby either party cannot survive without the other.”

Today has seen the Australian dollar nosedive, reaching as low as $ .7701 to the US dollar, compared to yesterday’s $.7747.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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