Bristish psychic wants to use mass telepathy to stop Brexit

Tel Aviv: Spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller wants to bend British Prime Minister Theresa May’s will against Brexit using mass-telepathy.

From his home in Israel, Geller – who is also a British citizen and a former resident of May’s Maidenhead constituency – wrote an open letter to the prime minister urging her to block Britain’s exit from the European Union.

 

Now he wants Britons to join him in twice-daily bursts of telepathy directed at the Conservative leader, in the hope of inspiring her to call a second Brexit referendum.

“Maybe I’m a bit too late but at least I’m trying my best to use my paranormal abilities, because I’m very concerned that Theresa May will step out of EU,” Geller told Reuters.

“That would be tragic. It would be catastrophic, especially for young people. There’ll be economic chaos. I’m calling it a catastrophe and I feel it … call it extra-sensory perception.”

Geller came to prominence in Britain with a series of appearances on prime time television when he pulled off stunts such as bending spoons, claiming the only force he used was the power of the mind.

Theresa May urged to set her exit date to get Brexit deal through

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May was under pressure on Monday to give a date for leaving office as the price to bring Brexit-supporting rebel lawmakers in her party behind her twice-defeated European Union divorce treaty.

At one of the most important junctures for the country in at least a generation, British politics was at fever pitch and, nearly three years since the 2016 EU membership referendum, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit will ever take place.

 

With May humiliated and weakened, ministers lined up to insist she was still in charge and to deny a reported plot to demand she name a date to leave office at a cabinet meeting at 1000 GMT on Monday.

“Time’s up, Theresa,” Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial. It said her one chance of getting the deal approved by parliament was to name a date for her departure.

“I hope that the cabinet will tell the prime minister the game is up,” Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative lawmaker who supports Brexit, told Sky News.

“The prime minister does not have the confidence of the parliamentary party. She clearly doesn’t have the confidence of the cabinet and she certainly doesn’t have the confidence of our members out there in the country,” he said.

Ministers will discuss at 0900 GMT how to address parliament’s attempts to take control of Brexit before a meeting of May’s cabinet team, a government source said.

The United Kingdom, which voted 52-48 percent to leave the EU in the referendum, remains deeply divided over Brexit.

Just 24 hours after hundreds of thousands of people marched through London on Saturday to demand another referendum, May called rebel lawmakers to her Chequers residence on Sunday in an attempt to find a way to break the deadlock.

“The meeting discussed a range of issues, including whether there is sufficient support in the Commons to bring back a meaningful vote (for her deal) this week,” a spokesman for May’s Downing Street office said.

Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker attended along with ministers David Lidington and Michael Gove who had been reportedly lined up as caretaker prime ministers. They were forced on Sunday to deny they wanted May’s job.

Ms May was told by Brexiteers at the meeting she must set out a timetable to leave office if she wants to get her deal ratified, Buzzfeed reporter Alex Wickham said on Twitter.

May told the lawmakers she would quit if they voted for her twice-defeated European Union divorce deal, ITV news said.

The Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, said some ministers were urging May to pivot to a no-deal Brexit as the only way to survive in power.

The deal May negotiated with the EU was defeated in parliament by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15.

To get it passed, she must win over at least 75 MPs – dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some opposition Labour Party MPs and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

The Sunday Times reported 11 unidentified ministers agreed May should stand down, warning she has become a toxic and erratic figure whose judgment has “gone haywire”.

Brexit had been due to happen on March 29 before May secured a delay in talks with the EU. Now a departure date of May 22 will apply if parliament passes May’s deal. If she fails, Britain will have until April 12 to offer a new plan or decide to leave without a treaty to smooth the transition and avoid an economic shock.

Lawmakers are due on Monday to debate the government’s next steps on Brexit, including the delayed exit date. They have proposed changes, or amendments, including one which seeks to wrest control of the process from the government in order to hold votes on alternative ways forward.

Amendments are not legally binding, but do exert political pressure on May to change course.

Flights from Frankfurt, Germany reduced by air traffic control IT glitch

Berlin: Scores of flights to and from Germany’s biggest airport Frankfurt were scrapped on Monday because of a software problem affecting the national air traffic control service.

By noon, 66 flights had been cancelled, said the air navigation service provider DFS, which cited an IT glitch in its control centre in Langen, Hesse state. The agency has assured the public that “the safety of air traffic is not impaired”.

 

The DFS first announced last Wednesday that a “software malfunction” at Langen was affecting the Frankfurt, Cologne Bonn, Stuttgart and Duesseldorf airports. The glitch had impacted the system that transmits flight data such as aircraft type, route and expected time overhead to air traffic controllers.

The DFS said last week it had reduced air traffic volume within Langen’s area of responsibility, which stretches to Lake Constance in the south, Kassel city to the north, the French border to the west and Thuringia state to the east.

The state-owned DFS has 5,400 employees, including around 2,000 air traffic controllers who guide up to 10,000 flights a day in German airspace, totalling more than three million movements a year.

Ram Nath Kovind arrives in Croatia on his maiden visit

Zagreb: President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Croatia on Monday on a four-day visit, becoming the first-ever Indian head of state to visit the country.

He is accompanied by First Lady Savita Kovind on the first leg of his eight-day three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia and Chile as part of efforts to further strengthen bilateral ties between India and the three countries. Kovind was welcomed by Anamarija Kiriniae, Chief of staff from the Croatian President Office, on his arrival at Franjo Tudman International Airport at the Croatian capital of Zagreb.

 

“#presidentkovind and First lady arrive at FranjoTudman International Airport #Zagreb #croatia on their first leg of visit to three countries State Visit. Ms Anamarija Kiriniae, Chief of staff from the Croatian President Office welcomed them along with other dignitaries,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

It is a first-ever state visit undertaken by President of India to Croatia and Bolivia, he said in another tweet. In Croatia, Kovind will meet his Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. “India and Croatia are now focussing on strengthening trade and investment linkages,” according to a MEA press release.  

Thousands protest in London to demand new Brexit vote

London: Hundreds of thousands of protesters swamped London on Saturday demanding another referendum on EU membership amid political paralysis over Brexit, in one of the country’s biggest protests in decades.

Organisers said about a million people opposed to Britain leaving the European Union joined what they called the “Put it to the People” march, descending on the capital by road and rail from across the country.

 

Wielding an array of anti-Brexit signs and EU flags, they first gathered at Hyde Park before walking the approximately two-mile route to Westminster — whistling, cheering and chanting.

“It’s terrible,” protester Emma Sword told AFP of the current political gridlock.

“We need to revoke Article 50 and if we can’t do that, then we need the people’s vote,” she said, referring to the EU legal mechanism Britain invoked for Brexit.

At the endpoint of the march outside parliament, speakers including Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and opposition Labour deputy leader Tom Watson rallied the crowds through the afternoon.

“We’ve seen how the government has ignored our warnings time and time again,” said Khan.

“It’s time to say loud and clear: enough is enough.”

A host of other political figures also joined the demonstration, including Independent Group MPs who quit Britain’s two mainstream parties — the Conservatives and Labour — earlier this year in protest at their Brexit policies.

“This cause is actually bigger than any political party, it is bigger than any tribalism, and it is what unites us,” said Anna Soubry, one of the breakaway lawmakers.

A majority of MPs voted against holding another referendum on the issue earlier this month, and it remains a longshot bid by Remainers.

But with the protest coming just days after EU leaders granted a delay to Brexit, people are increasingly hopeful they could still force a public vote.

“The message is clear: stop Brexit,” said the leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable, who led the march as it set off at lunchtime.

“We are now a Remain country. Nearly 90 percent of young voters who weren’t allowed to vote in 2016 would vote to remain,” he added.

Science student Calypso Latham, 19, echoed the point.

“I was too young to vote in the last referendum,” she told the BBC.

“It’s going to affect my career with research grants so I definitely wanted to come and protest.”

This week’s agreed delay to Brexit, which was set for March 29, has prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to make a renewed bid to win MPs’ backing for her divorce deal.

If she succeeds, Britain will depart on May 22 under the terms of the withdrawal agreement the prime minister struck with Brussels last year.

But if lawmakers defeat the accord again, as expected, London must outline a new plan or face a no-deal Brexit as early as April 12 — unless it decides to request another extension and hold European Parliament elections in May.

Called by the People’s Vote pressure group, Saturday’s protest follows a similar demonstration in October that drew an estimated half a million people.

Organisers arranged hundreds of coaches and even chartered a train to bring protesters from all corners of the country to the capital.

Stephen Goodall, a 96-year-old World War II veteran, travelled 200 miles (300 kilometres) by train from southwest England alongside four generations of his family including his great-granddaughter.

“I am an old man and the outcome won’t affect me — but it will affect my family and many people that I know for years to come,” he said.

May has repeatedly ruled out holding another poll on the issue, claiming it would renege on promises to honour the 2016 referendum result.

Meanwhile the main opposition Labour Party appears divided on the issue, with some MPs in favour while others representing Leave-supporting areas in central and northern England are bitterly opposed.

Watson, the deputy leader, said he had now decided to campaign for a referendum “reluctantly” and would only back May’s deal if it was also put to the people.

“It can only begin to bring the country back together again if we all have a final say — and then live with the result,” he said.

“I trust the people I represent. And only they can sort this mess out.

Stampede at Disneyland Paris as crowd mistake sound for ‘attack’

Paris: Crowds of holidaymakers stampeded for safety in Disneyland Paris on Saturday when they mistook the din from a broken lift or escalator for the sound of weapons, officials and witnesses said.

“There was a stampede due to a sound, probably caused by a lift or escalator,” said one official who asked not to be named.

 

“There was an enormous panic,” one witness, who identified herself as Alexia, told AFP.

“Everyone thought it was an attack. After a few minutes they made us leave through the back. There were police everywhere.”

“False alarm, security forces confirm there is no threat,” the French interior ministry said in a tweet.

The theme park complex 30 kilometres east of Paris is one of Europe’s most visited private tourist destinations.

1300 people airlifted, as cruise ship in Norway suffers engine failure

Oslo: Rescuers were working into the night on Saturday to airlift 1,300 passengers and crew off a cruise ship after it got into difficulty in rough seas off the Norwegian coast.

The Viking Sky lost power and started drifting mid-afternoon two kilometres (1.2 miles) off More og Romsdal, prompting the captain to send out a distress call.

 

The crew managed to restart one of the engines and drop anchor but authorities decided it was too risky for passengers to remain on board.

Five helicopters were scrambled along with coastguard and other rescue vessels.

“I have never seen anything so frightening,” said one of the passengers who was rescued, Janet Jacob.

“I started to pray. I prayed for the safety of everyone on board,” she told the NRK television channel.

“The helicopter trip was terrifying. The winds were like a tornado,” she added.

Pictures broadcast in media reports showed passengers on board as the boat rocked up and down.

“We were sitting down for breakfast when things started to shake…. It was just chaos,” said another passenger, American John Curry, as quoted in Norwegian by media.

Tor Andre Franck, the head of the police operations, said: “The boat only has one working engine and the winds are rather strong. Therefore we would prefer to have the passengers on land rather than on board the ship.”

The Viking Sky sent out a distress signal due to “engine problems in bad weather”, southern Norway’s rescue centre said earlier on Twitter.

By 9:00 pm (2000 GMT) 136 people had been evacuated, with each helicopter able to take 15-20 people per airlift.

“The operation is going on all night long. The people are safe on board,” said Per Fjeld, a rescue centre official.

The ship was travelling south en route from Tromso to Stavanger when it got into trouble in an area that has claimed many ships.

“It is dangerous to encounter engine problems in these waters, which hide numerous reefs,” Franck said.

A reception centre has been set up in a gym on shore to accommodate the evacuees, many of whom are from the US and Britain.

Another vessel had been despatched to try to tow the Viking Sky into port, potentially removing the need for the airlift.

“The boat is stable. It has dropped anchor and one of its engines is working,” said a rescue centre spokesman, Borghild Eldoen.

“For the moment everything appears to be going well,” added another spokesman, Einar Knutsen.

The centre said eight people had suffered minor injuries.

The area where the ship is stranded, known as Hustadvika, is notoriously difficult to navigate.

The shallow, ten nautical mile section of coastline is known for its many small islands and reefs.

“Hustadvika is one of the most notorious maritime areas that we have,” Odd Roar Lange, a journalist specialising in tourism, told NRK.

In their time, the Vikings hesitated to venture into the Hustadvika, preferring instead to transport their boats by land from one fjord to another.

Operated by the Norwegian firm Viking Ocean Cruisers, the Viking Sky is a modern cruise ship launched in 2017 with a capacity of 930 passengers plus crew.

In addition to US and British nationals, there were also passengers from 14 other countries on board, Fjeld said.

UK chancellor for 2nd referendum

London: Philip Hammond became UK’s first Cabinet minister to say that a fresh Brexit referendum “deserves to be considered”. He agreed that its supporters “have a case”.  

The chancellor described a second public vote as a “perfectly coherent proposition” – agreeing MPs should vote on it this week.

 

The comment is expected to give a big boost to the push for a Final Say referendum, a day after an estimated one million people marched through London to call for it.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said she opposes another vote, because it would betray the British public’s decision in the first referendum three years ago.

Speaking to Sky News Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Hammond insisted his “number one priority is to ensure we leave the EU and that we leave with a deal”.

But he took the extraordinary step of urging MPs of all parties to “get themselves together in a room” to find a solution to the crisis, admitting the PM’s deal is all-but dead.

And, on a new referendum, the chancellor said: “I am not sure that there’s a majority in parliament in support of second referendum, but it’s a perfectly coherent proposition. “Many people will be strongly opposed to it, but it’s a coherent proposition And it deserves to be considered along with the other proposals that you’ve got on the list.”

That list included a softer Brexit, a crash-out no-deal Brexit and revoking Article 50 to scrap departure — only the last two of which Mr Hammond ruled out.

A new referendum is likely to be among the options if MPs successfully seize control of the Commons agenda to stage “indicative votes” on Wednesday.

However, it’s best chance of success is if the PM’s deal is allowed to pass — subject to it being confirmed in a referendum, with the alternative of remaining in the EU.

Ms May has hinted she will not allow the third “meaningful vote”, after the Democratic Unionist party read the last rites on it last Friday.

50 year old Mayor from France quits over nude photos sent to woman

Paris: A mayor in northwest France close to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has resigned after several nude pictures of him were released by a woman who claims she was the victim of unwanted advances.

Philippe’s office on Friday welcomed the resignation, describing it as a “responsible decision”.

 

Luc Lemonnier, a 50-year-old father of four who replaced Philippe as mayor of the Channel port city of Le Havre in 2017, announced his resignation on Thursday in order to “protect his family.”

He denied improper behaviour, saying “the exchange of messages occurred without any coercive intent and between consenting adults.”

Lemonnier had filed a libel suit last June over the publication of the text messages, though prosecutors later dropped the case.

“Municipal council members received a picture of the mayor along with a description of behaviours which he denies,” Lemonnier’s lawyer Christian Saint-Palais told news agency AFP.

But the woman who released the photos said she felt she had no other option.

“It was a very difficult situation,” she told a local radio station this week, on condition of anonymity.

“I’ve been married for more than 20 years, I have children and our relationship is fulfilling — I was not involved at all in any games of seduction,” she said.

The mayor’s resignation is an embarrassment for the centrist Republic on the Move government which is hoping to win over Philippe’s former political stronghold in the 2020 municipal elections.

Before signing on as prime minister to President Emmanuel Macron in 2017, Philippe served, both as mayor and as a member of parliament for Le Havre, as a member of the conservative party the Republicans.

In UK, Indian origin homes are targeted for gold robbery

London: Indian-origin homes are at the centre of over 140 million pounds worth of gold jewellery stolen in the UK over the past five years, a freedom of information request revealed on Saturday. So-called “Asian gold”, bought as wedding gifts and known to be stored in homes of South Asian origin families as it is passed down generations, led to nearly 28,000 thefts since 2013, the BBC investigation found.

Out of 23 of 45 police forces from across Britain that provided figures on these thefts, Greater London had the highest value stolen – 115.6 million pounds, followed by 9.6 million pounds in Greater Manchester. Sanjay Kumar, who specialises in selling Asian gold in the dominantly Indian-origin suburb of Southall in west London said he recognised the cultural significance behind gold jewellery and always advised his customers to think carefully about how they store their gold and to insure it.

 

“People are told by their parents and grandparents ‘you must buy gold – it’s an investment, it’s lucky. It’s something that we as Asians do, so people are following the tradition and the culture,” he said.

Police forces investigating cases of theft said that in some of the burglaries victims owned large amounts of jewellery, but that was not always the case. In Cheshire, police set up a dedicated team to work with members of the community after a series of Asian gold related burglaries.

Aaron Duggan, head of crime at Cheshire Police, said that one of the challenges his officers face is that gold can be disposed of easily. “At second-hand outlets, certainly around Asian jewellery, questions should be asked – ‘who is this person in front of me selling this gold?’ The irony is it’s often harder in this country to sell scrap metal than it is second-hand jewellery,” he said.

Scotland Yard regularly issues special advice around Diwali, Navratri and other major Indian festivals for the British Asian community to be extra vigilant. “The festival period tends to see a spike in this type of crime largely due to more jewellery being worn as communities travel across London to different venues – whether temples or to other people’s homes,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

During the course of 2017-18, the Met Police recorded 3,300 such high-value thefts, worth around 21.2 million pounds. Kent Police with 89 thefts worth 1.6 million pounds and Greater Manchester Police with 238 thefts worth 1.5 million pounds were among the other key hotspots.

“Gold will continue to be highly desired by criminals due to the speed and anonymity with which it can be exchanged for large sums of cash,” Metropolitan Police Detective Constable Lisa Keeley said during last year’s Diwali appeal.

“These pieces of gold and jewellery are not just valuable possessions, they are also of great sentimental value, and if stolen, would have a huge impact on owners. Our proactive measures to tackle these crimes has seen reductions in offences, however there is more to be done,” she said.

Operation Nugget is the Met Police’s dedicated operation to tackle gold thieves, which seeks to drive down the number of such offences through a series of initiatives.