Ministers accuse DUP of ‘obstructing’ north-south relations

The DUP has been accused of “obstructing” north-south institutions. Sinn Féin and the SDLP say the DUP failed to nominate a unionist minister to attend two North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) sectoral meetings in recent weeks which prevented them from going ahead. One accompanying minister from the opposing political view must attend NSMC meetings to allow them to proceed. ‘Obstruction’ On 16 April, infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon (SDLP) said an NSMC transport meeting could not go ahead due to no unionist minister having been nominated. DUP leader Arlene Foster later claimed the meeting did not happen due to a timing issue and insisted it would take place in…

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Stormont’s ministers are urged to speak out as loyalist rioting continues

Ministers in the Stormont Executive have been urged to speak with a united voice in condemning the ongoing British loyalist rioting in the north of Ireland. The call from the Police Federation, the body that represents rank and file officers, came ahead of a meeting of the north’s powersharing administration to discuss the escalating loyalist violence. The Stormont Assembly is also being recalled from Easter recess for an emergency sitting later on Thursday morning to debate the violence, which has mostly flared in loyalist areas. Loyalist violence A total of 41 officers sustained injuries in previous outbreaks of disorder in various parts of the north in recent days.…

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Government ministers accused of failing to take steps to tackle sexual assault in schools

As an inquiry is launched into an increasing amount of sexual abuse allegations in schools, ministers are said to have ignored requests for greater monitoring powers. The Guardian reported that the chief inspector of Ofsted asked for more powers to check “potential safeguarding issues” in independent schools in 2018 and 2019. The requests were ignored. Since then, more than 14,000 allegations of sexual harassment and assault in schools and universities have been shared on the website Everyone’s Invited. There are stories from both private and state schools. Ofsted is heading an inquiry into how sexual harassment is dealt with by schools, as MPs said ministers hadn’t taken the issue…

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Johnson aide quits as ministers face backlash over race disparities report

Boris Johnson’s most senior Black adviser has resigned. It comes after the government faced backlash over a review which claimed Britain is no longer a country where the “system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”. Fallout Downing Street said Samuel Kasumu will remain in post until May and he had planned his departure for several months. His exit is allegedly not linked to the landmark report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (Cred), which faced heavy criticism over its findings, although the timing is proving uncomfortable for the government either way. A No 10 spokesperson said Kasumu has played an “incredibly valuable role” during his time…

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Tory minister’s remarks on new UK oil drilling plan may be the dumbest thing ever uttered by this government

It’s difficult to think of anything more dumb than planning to find new sources of dirty oil and gas when the planet is ecologically collapsing because of dirty oil and gas. That is unless your name is Kwasi Kwarteng. And the Tory business and energy secretary’s associated remarks have outstripped even that proposal itself in sheer absurdity. A message to the world… As scientists warned that the climate crisis could mean regular wildlfires blazing across Britain in the not-too-distant future, the government made an upbeat announcement. In what can only be described as the policy equivalent of dancing on its own citizens’ future graves, ministers cheerily explained that…

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A socialist ‘hacktivist’ has helped expose the platform used by both US rioters and UK government ministers

On 6 January 2021, hundreds of Trump supporters invaded and occupied the Capitol building in Washington DC, the seat of the US Congress and Senate. The rioters damaged property and five people died. Two pipe bombs were reportedly found in buildings not far from the Capitol. In the aftermath, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for “incitement of insurrection”. Now, thanks to the swift work of a ‘hacktivist’, more information is coming to light about what really happened during the lead-up to the invasion of the Capitol. Home for hate speech Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) ‘Hatewatch’ has accused social media platform Parler of being “a…

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A socialist ‘hacktivist’ has helped expose the platform used by both US rioters and UK government ministers

On 6 January 2021, hundreds of Trump supporters invaded and occupied the Capitol building in Washington DC, the seat of the US Congress and Senate. The rioters damaged property and five people died. Two pipe bombs were reportedly found in buildings not far from the Capitol. In the aftermath, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for “incitement of insurrection”. Now, thanks to the swift work of a ‘hacktivist’, more information is coming to light about what really happened during the lead-up to the invasion of the Capitol. Home for hate speech Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) ‘Hatewatch’ has accused social media platform Parler of being “a…

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Ministers face calls to support university students with rent rebates for their empty rooms

Ministers and university leaders are facing calls to offer rent rebates to students amid the lockdown. The government has said the majority of university students in England can’t return to campus until at least mid-February. Instead, they’ll have to study from their current residence. Some universities have decided to move lessons online until even later in the year amid tighter restrictions announced this week. The National Union of Students (NUS) has said it’s “unacceptable” that students have to pay towards accommodation that they’ve been told not to travel to on public health grounds. They say ministers in England should step in to ensure all students get rent refunds.…

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EU freezes assets of ministers responsible for the mass repression of Syrian civilians

The Canary‘s latest investigation into the Syrian government, as part of our #FollowTheMoney series, has found that the over half of its newly appointed ministers have had their assets frozen by the EU. We can confirm not only that their assets have been frozen on grounds of the violent repression of Syrian civilians, but also that the government has been freezing the bank accounts of innocent people, whilst thousands more died in its custody. The EU has frozen the assets of Syrian ministers over their alleged role in violence against civilians in Syria. The European council has further confirmed that it has placed eight ministers on a travel ban. HM…

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Communities rally to feed hungry children as ministers leave them high and dry

After a shocking 320 Tory MPs voted to prevent children living in poverty from receiving free school meals during the holidays, local businesses, authorities and community groups are stepping in to plug the gap in duty-of-care. Meanwhile, ministers face a damaging grassroots Tory revolt over the issue. Dozens of people from a range of organisations have stepped in to help their local communities. Health secretary Matt Hancock, who voted against the motion to feed hungry children, has leapt at the chance to praise their “absolutely wonderful” efforts. Meanwhile, he insists that the government has already provided millions to town halls to help their communities. Piling on pressure A…

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