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May 11, 2010

UK elections: David Cameron becomes Prime Minister

UK elections: David Cameron becomes Prime Minister

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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Cameron had only been in Parliament for nine years before becoming Prime Minister

David Cameron was today appointed the new British Prime Minister. This follows five days of negotiation after the May 6 general election resulted in a hung parliament. While the Conservative Party won the largest number of seats, they lacked enough for a majority government, and will consequently form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who took the third-largest number. The agreement induces Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader, becoming Deputy Prime Minister, five Cabinet seats for Liberal Democrat members and a compromise between policies.

Cameron, at 43, is the youngest prime minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812, and had only been a Member of Parliament for nine years prior to taking the most senior political office in the country. He is the twelfth Prime Minister of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The post-election negotiations see the end of thirteen years of Labour Party rule beginning with the victory of Tony Blair in 1997.

Brown served as Prime Minister for three years
Image: World Economic Forum.

Earlier today Cameron’s predecessor Gordon Brown, recently resigned as leader of the Labour Party, officially stood down from office with immediate effect. The news followed the inital announcement yesterday in which he declared he was standing down to secure a coalition for Labour and other parties and avoid a Conservative government.

In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, following his initial statement, Brown admitted he had “learned a lot about human frailties, including [his] own”, and thanked the armed forces, his wife, Sarah, his family and staff before wishing the new Prime Minister well.

The possibility of a Labour-LibDem parliament was ruled out as negotiations between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats drew to a close. Brown was officially relieved of his role as Prime Minister by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. According to The Guardian, Harriet Harman, who has been deputy leader of the Labour Party since 2007, will stand in temporarily as acting Labour party leader and leader of the opposition. David Cameron arrived at Buckingham Palace at about 20:10 British Summer Time (1910 UTC) and was asked by the Queen to form a new government.



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May 10, 2010

UK elections: Gordon Brown offers resignation to secure Labour-Liberal coalition

UK elections: Gordon Brown offers resignation to secure Labour-Liberal coalition

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007
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In the latest developments in discussions between the Liberal Democrats and the two largest parties, Gordon Brown has announced his resignation as Labour Party leader and Prime Minister.

Gordon Brown made his statement at 5.00 pm local time in front of 10 Downing Street, London, following a meeting he had yesterday with Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.

He stated that a strong and stable “progressive alliance” of the Labour and Liberal parties would be in the best interest of the country and made his resignation as a means to forward this, saying that he would set in motion the process needed for a new leader of the Labour Party to be selected and that a new leader will be in place in the autumn by the time of the next Labour Party Conference.

However, unlike a Conservative-Liberal alliance, a Labour-Liberal one would not command a majority in Parliament. For the “progressive alliance” to have its majority, it would therefore need to bring in MPs from the smaller parties, something that both the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru have stated they would be amenable to.

The current move follows the return of a hung parliament in the United Kingdon general election on Thursday. The Liberal Democratic Party, who hold the balance of power, have been in negotiations with the Conservative Party.



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May 7, 2010

UK elections: Hung parliament, Cameron to negotiate with Liberal Democrats

UK elections: Hung parliament, Cameron to negotiate with Liberal Democrats

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Friday, May 7, 2010

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A day after general elections were held in the UK, results indicate there will be a hung parliament — where no party obtains the simple majority needed to pass legislation on its own — raising the prospect of a minority or coalition government being formed, which would require cooperation between parties.

Incumbent PM Gordon Brown, Labour
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David Cameron, Conservative
Image: World Economic Forum.

Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat
Image: Nick Clegg.

With only one constituency not yet counted, David Cameron’s Conservatives have taken 306 seats, incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour party 258 seats, and Nick Clegg with his Liberal Democrats with 57. Cameron has said he will negotiate with the latter party to try and form a coalition to attain more than 325 seats, or half those in the parliament.

After Labour’s large losses at the polls yesterday, both in terms of seats and votes, Cameron said Brown has “lost his mandate to govern”. Clegg, meanwhile, says he thinks the result allows the Conservatives to try to form a government first, contrary to past tradition, under which the incumbent prime minister and his party in a hung parliament try first to form a coalition.

“I’ve said that whichever party gets the most votes and the most seats, if not an absolute majority, has the first right to seek to govern either on its own or by reaching out to other parties, and I stick to that view,” Clegg said this morning.

“It seems this morning that it is the Conservative Party that has more votes and more seats though not an absolute majority. That is why I think it is now for the Conservative Party to prove that it is capable of seeking to govern in the national interest.”

Clegg described his party’s performance as “disappointing” during the night, as they had failed to make any significant advances in their target seats. Overall, the general swing varied, with all parties failing to gain many of their targets, and suffering unexpected losses in others.

Brown: ‘prepared to discuss’ issues with Lib Dems

A colour-coded map of the constituencies contested. Please click the image to expand.
Image: Wereon.

Pre-empting a statement from Cameron, Brown said at lunchtime in a short statement outside Downing Street that if any negotiations between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats failed, he would be prepared to form an alliance with Nick Clegg, offering “far-reaching political reform”, in reference to the Liberals’ long held position that the UK’s first past the post voting system must be reformed into some form of proportional representation system, historically opposed by the Conservatives.

“I understand and completely respect the position of Mr. Clegg in stating that he wishes first to make contact with the leader of the Conservative Party,” he commented, but noting that, “should the discussions between Mr. Cameron and Mr. Clegg come to nothing […] I would be prepared to discuss with Mr. Clegg the areas where there may be some measure of agreement between our two parties.” He said there is “substantial common ground” between his party and the Liberals.

“I understand as I know my fellow party leaders do that people do not like the uncertainty or want it to be prolonged. We live, however, in a parliamentary democracy, the outcome has been delivered by the electorate. It is our responsibility now to make it work for the national good,” Brown said.

Cameron made his position known in a statement delivered in the early afternoon, in which he offered the prospect of both a Lib Dem supported minority Conservative government, or an alliance “stronger, more stable, more collaborative government than that”. Cameron stated: “I want to make a big, open and comprehensive offer to the Liberal Democrats. I want us to work together in tackling our country’s big and urgent problems — the debt crisis, our deep social problems, and our broken political system.”

He went on to describe how both parties had “common ground” they could work together on to form a government in the “national interest”. On the issue of electoral reform, Cameron ruled out holding a referendum, but suggested forming an all party commission on electoral and voting reform. He also ruled out concessions on other Lib Dem positions like greater integration with the European Union or altering the position on defence and the nuclear deterrent, although offering to adopt other Lib Dem policies, such as on schools.

The AFP news agency says this is the first time the Liberal Democrats have considered working with Conservatives; previously, the former were thought likelier to negotiate with Labour due to them being considered more “progressive”.

Brown not to step down after ‘lost mandate’

Brown, however, has made it clear he has no intention of stepping down as PM, saying he has “a duty as Prime Minister to take all steps to ensure Britain has a strong, stable and principled government”.

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Business Secretary Lord Mandelson commented on the matter, saying: “The Prime Minister’s duty is to stay at his post, to continue doing his job and not resign until it is clear who the Queen should call as an alternative to form a new government, should Mr Brown not be able to do so.”

When asked whether it was “inconceivable” that the PM should step down, Mandelson responded: “Frankly, there are quite a number of permutations. And the reason I don’t want to start getting into hypotheses about what may or may not happen is because, quite frankly, I think it’s premature. I am not ruling out or ruling in anything.”

Under British parliamentary convention, in the event of a hung parliament, Brown remains Prime Minister and the Labour Government continues to operate until it is demonstrated it cannot command a majority. The Government effectively gave approval for talks to begin by giving civil servants permission to support all parties in hung parliament negotiations. Brown described how the negotiations could be “prolonged”, and while recognising people might want a swift conclusion, “the outcome has been delivered by the electorate. It is our responsibility now to make it work for the national good”.



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March 6, 2010

Gordon Brown defends Iraq decision

Gordon Brown defends Iraq decision – Wikinews, the free news source

Gordon Brown defends Iraq decision

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

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On Friday, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown defended the decisions he made leading up to and following the British invasion of Iraq in 2003. Brown made his statements while testifying before the Chilcot Inquiry. At the time of the invasion, Brown was the Chancellor of spending for the British Armed Forces.

Brown comments were mainly directed at critics who had alleged that he had limited the spending budget for the war. Brown said that he had told then Prime Minister Tony Blair that he “would not try to rule out any military option on the grounds of cost.” One of the most notable criticisms involved the use of the Snatch Land Rovers, a patrol vehicle used following the invasion. People had complained that the vehicles were vulnerable to road side bombs. Brown, however, alleged that he fulfilled all requests for better vehicles. Regarding the Land Rovers, Brown said that he moved to replace them as soon as he heard complaints.

In addition to defending his budget decisions, Brown also defended the overall decision to go into Iraq. Brown said that invading was “the right decision” and that it was based on “the right reasons.” He said the international community was justified in its invasion. However, Brown admitted he may have been unknowledgeable about certain aspects of the war, and hinted that the possibility that things could have been done better. Brown mentioned that there were “learnt lessons” from the war. One specific regret he made was that did not apply more pressure towards America regarding their plans for Iraq following the invasion. During the testimony, Brown emphasized the importance of post-invasion planning and reconstruction. Brown also mentioned that he was unaware of doubts that another Cabinet member had about the validity of the evidence that Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction. The member, Robin Cook, later resigned because of his opposition to the war. This is relevant because both the UK and America had claimed that Hussein had had the weapons, and used this as part of their cases for the invasion. It was later revealed that Hussein had never had the weapons.

In addition to the issues regarding his handling of the war, Brown is also in the situation of being up for reelection. The main opponent of Brown, who represents the Labour Party, will be David Cameron, from the Conservative Party. The elections will be held on June 3, 2010.



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March 5, 2010

Britain thinks Africans are barbaric, claims South African President

Britain thinks Africans are barbaric, claims South African President

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Friday, March 5, 2010

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Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, claimed Britain believed Africa is “barbaric”, hours before a state visit to Queen Elizabeth II. These claims were made after the Daily Mail described him as a “sex-obsessed bigot and vile buffoon.”

Zuma accused Britons of considering themselves to be culturally superior owing to their past colonial activities. “When the British came to our country they said everything we did was barbaric, was wrong, inferior in whatever way. Bear in mind that I’m a freedom fighter and I fought to free myself, also for my culture to be respected. And I don’t know why they are continuing thinking that their culture is more superior than others, those who might have said so,” stated Zuma in an African newspaper.

According to him, he had never “looked down upon any culture of anyone” and that no one has the authority of judging other cultures. Zuma added, “The British have done that before, as they colonised us, and they continue to do this, and it’s an unfortunate thing. If people want an engagement, I’m sure we will engage on that issue.”

The President’s comments were published in a local private newspaper. Zuma, who has three current wives, made these comments after arriving in Britain with Thobeka Madiba, 38, his third wife.

The Queen will welcome them at the Horse Guards Parade and take them to Buckingham Palace thereafter. A state banquet will also be held in his honor at the palace, where he is set to spend two nights.

Zuma, a member of the Zulu tribe, was compelled to make a public apology following a love child with the daughter of a friend. This incident triggered the articles in Daily Mail and Daily Mirror which attacked Zuma.

Cquote1.svg Bear in mind that I’m a freedom fighter and I fought to free myself, also for my culture to be respected. And I don’t know why they are continuing thinking that their culture is more superior than others, those who might have said so. Cquote2.svg

—Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

Zuma, whose state trip includes meetings with Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, as well as a speech to members of parliament, plans to continue with the visit. This was confirmed by officials today.

Vincent Magwenya, Zuma’s spokesman said the incident would have no impact in Zuma’s trip.

Magwenya stated: “Mr Zuma is in the UK for wide-ranging programme of substantial and serious issues. The comments he made were not aimed at the British public in general but at certain sections of the media which have lambasted him for what he considers to be his culture. Mr Zuma had a meeting with British journalists yesterday and was asked not one question about his private life”.

He also added that Zuma did not “appreciate reading things which he considers are patronising to his culture” and claimed that it was obvious that “his comments will have no bearing on the state visit.” The President, according to Magwneya, looks forward to the visit and will continue with the full schedule.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s principal opposition party, stated that the reports in the British newspapers did not warrant Zuma’s lashing out at Britain.

Kenneth Mubu, of the opposing political party said, said: “Instead of rising above predictable criticism from a particular quarter of the British press, he has allowed himself to be dragged down to the level of the tabloids. By accusing the British people of believing that Africans are barbaric and inferior, he has insulted his hosts, and no doubt undermined the entire purpose of the state visit – which is to strengthen relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom.”

The youth sector of the African National Congress supported the President. It expressed its disgust at the British reports.

“British media seem to have developed a habit of rubbishing our president and constantly portray him as barbaric and of inferior belonging,” the youth league said. “It is quite apparent that the British media is the one that is characterised and defined by the worst form of barbarism, backwardness and racism. These British racists continue to live in a dreamland and sadly believe that Africans are still their colonial subjects, with no values and principles. They believe that the only acceptable values and principles in the world are British values of whiteness and subjugation of Africans,” stated the party.



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January 28, 2010

International conference agrees on plan for Yemen\’s terror problem

International conference agrees on plan for Yemen’s terror problem

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

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An international conference in London on Tuesday came up with a plan to fight al-Qaeda’s presence in Yemen. Delegates present at the conference were from twenty countries, including Yemen, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

David Miliband, chair of the conference.
Image: Munich Security Conference.

The conference was called by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown due to the failed Christmas Day plot to blow up a US plane, for which al-Qaeda in Yemen claimed responsibility. However, the attendees stress that the al-Qaeda presence is not Yemen’s only problem, and that it cannot be solved without first dealing with the others.

Cquote1.svg we—the international community—can and must do more. Cquote2.svg

—Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, said that bringing peace to Yemen and making it more stable is a major priority for the United States. She said that the United States had signed a three-year agreement on security development in Yemen. “To help the people of Yemen, we—the international community—can and must do more. And so must the Yemeni government,” she said.

Clinton said that she does not believe that military action would be enough to solve Yemen’s problems, and that corruption must be combated as well as building up democratic institutions and promoting human rights. She asked that the government of Yemen begin its proposed ten-point program for the development of these areas and to reduce the influence of extremist organisations.

Yemen is the poorest nation in the Arab world, and its economy was also on the meeting’s agenda. The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband chaired the talks, and said that the Yemeni government had pledged to begin an attempt to combat this by entering into discussions with the International Monetary Fund, representatives of which were present at the conference, in order to put together a plan for its economy.

Cquote1.svg In tackling terrorism it is vital to tackle its root causes. In Yemen’s case these are manifold—economic, social and political Cquote2.svg

—David Miliband

Miliband also announced that a “Friends of Yemen” organisation was to be launched, to discuss the economy, government, and judicial process of Yemen. Also present were delegates from the United Nations, European Union, and World Bank. Miliband acknowledged that the solution was not simply a military one by saying at a press conference, “It’s been a common feature of every contribution that we have heard today that the assault on Yemen’s problems cannot begin and end with its security challenges and its counter-terrorism strategy. In tackling terrorism it is vital to tackle its root causes. In Yemen’s case these are manifold—economic, social and political”.

Ali Mujawar, the Prime Minister of Yemen, received this support warmly, but said that any attack on the nation’s sovereignty would be considered “unacceptable”, and that it should not be portrayed as a failing nation, despite a multitude of problems, including its damaged economy, rapidly growing population, and shrinking oil reserves, as well as the beginning of a drought and its problems with insurgents, such as al-Qaeda terrorists. British Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis echoed Mujawar’s statements by saying that Yemen is “not a failed state”, but “an incredibly fragile state”. Lewis also said that “[s]upporting the government of Yemen is crucial to the stability of that country but it is also crucial to the stability of the world”.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, asked the delegates at the conference for “international support to build infrastructure, combat poverty and create jobs, as well as support in combating terrorism”. However, he said that the idea of having US military bases in Yemen was “inconceivable”.

Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa is unsure how useful the meeting will be. He expressed these concerns by telling the BBC, “I don’t know how a conference like that can decide something useful, something reasonable for Yemen… in a couple of hours”, and saying that it was a “strange” and “very unusual sign” that the Arab League had not been given the chance to send delegates to the conference, despite wanting to discuss all of Yemen’s problems without specific focus on al-Qaeda. Despite these concerns, donors from a number of Western and Gulf nations have agreed to meed again, this time in the Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh, in February.



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January 25, 2010

Gordon Brown: Extra troops for Afghanistan, Yemen security the focus for int\’l conference

Filed under: Afghanistan,Gordon Brown,United Kingdom,United States,Yemen — admin @ 5:00 am

Gordon Brown: Extra troops for Afghanistan, Yemen security the focus for int’l conference

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Monday, January 25, 2010

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British prime minister Gordon Brown said in his monthly news conference today that a conference on the war in Afghanistan and another on security concerns in Yemen, due to take place over two one-day sessions in London this week, will announce an expansion of the British military presence in Afghanistan.

Cquote1.svg We will be announcing new figures from NATO forces and for Afghan forces in the time to come Cquote2.svg

—Gordon Brown

Brown says that the conference on Thursday will outline projections on forces and training for Afghan soldiers and military police, with the ultimate objective of British forces leaving as soon as the Afghan forces are able to provide their own security. He said that “[t]he London conference will be attended by President Karzai, the U.N. Secretary General Ban, 60 nations will be represented. We will be announcing new figures from NATO forces and for Afghan forces in the time to come and we will be focusing on how the political and civilian surge that we plan in Afghanistan can match and compliment the military surge that is taking place.”

File photo of Gordon Brown in 2008
Image: World Economic Forum.

United States general Stanley McChrystal, the head of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, also believes that an increase in troop levels could result in the negotiation of peace with the Taliban, as he said in an interview with the UK’s Financial Times newspaper. Brown was asked directly whether he believed the same, and responded “Now if at the same time, we can bring over from those people who were previously associated with the Taliban or with groups that were taking action against the coalition forces, by them renouncing violence and agreeing to join the democratic process, then that is of value to the peace process.” It is expected that this year Afghanistan will be host to 134,000 soldiers and 90,000 police. Brown also responded to recent promises of 3,000 additional US troops and 500 additional British soldiers by saying “I believe that both for (international) trainers (for Afghan forces) and for forces generally there are still some announcements to be made.”

Cquote1.svg anything that suggests that the government of Afghanistan cannot deal with its corruption problems is something that we must be worried about Cquote2.svg

—Gordon Brown

Brown says that he expects Afghan president Hamid Karzai to announce new security measures and initiatives regarding corruption in his government. He said that “President Karzai and his ministers, with the addition of the armed forces and the police have got to show that they can take security control of their country. That is what our aim is and therefore anything that suggests that the government of Afghanistan cannot deal with its corruption problems is something that we must be worried about.” A number of delegates—including US secretart of state Hilary Clinton—are expected to press Karzai to focus on security in his nation. The conference was called after last year’s Afghanistan elections, which saw many accusations of corruption, with the focus of how NATO forces can ensure a smooth transition of power to local forces.

One day before the Afghan meeting, the conference will meet to discuss the situation in Yemen. Gordon Brown says the international delegates will discuss how they can “strengthen support for Yemen in its efforts against al-Qaida and … help the government of Yemen with development and governance.” He says that Britain will make every effort to counter threats made by extremists.



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January 10, 2010

Gordon Brown says the UK won\’t run out of gas

Gordon Brown says the UK won’t run out of gas

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Saturday that the UK’s natural gas reserves will not run out in spite of record demand. This spike in demand is caused by the recent cold weather.

File:Latenight-1.jpg

Gas supplies heat homes and cook food
Image: TheSilentPhotographer.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

A supplier, National Grid, issued two “balancing alerts”, which mean a possible supply shortfall, which were promptly lifted. A spokeswoman for the company said that there was a possible shortfall of 35 million cubic metres (1.2 billion cubic feet). This third balancing alert is expected to last for the next few days, and is said not to be due to the cold weather – which is expected to continue for at least a week – but due to problems in Norwegian gas fields.

Another staple related to the cold snap, rock salt, is feared in short supply. The Automobile Association reports that supplies have been reduced by 250,000 tonnes over the last ten years. Local governments pledged to conserve supplies through a 25% reduction in the amount used; 12,000 tonnes of white salt have been redirected for use on roads.

Non-profits have asked that the allowance for gas money be temporarily raised for pensioners. The Red Cross reports that it is having the highest volume of aid being given out in nearly 30 years.

The cold snap has caused at least two further deaths, a 90-year-old woman who had frozen to death in her garden in Barnsley, and a 42-year-old who was found frozen in Newcastle, taking the total to 26.



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December 3, 2009

Pakistani prime minister says Osama Bin Laden not in the country

Pakistani prime minister says Osama Bin Laden not in the country

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

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Yousuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister of Pakistan, has told British prime minister Gordon Brown that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is not in the country.

Brown hailed Pakistan’s efforts to “disrupt the activities of al-Qaeda”, and referred to them as his “allies”, promising to provide another £50 million to support the operations to stabilise the borders of the nation; announcing this pledge, he said “This is your fight but it is also Britain’s fight.” Four days ago, he urged Pakistani officials to “join [Britain] in the major effort” to find Bin Laden, based on CIA intelligence that placed him in South Waziristan, a region of northwest Pakistan.

Cquote1.svg I don’t think Osama Bin Laden is in Pakistan. Cquote2.svg

—Yousuf Raza Gilani

Gilani said in a press conference today “I doubt the information which you are giving is correct because I don’t think Osama Bin Laden is in Pakistan.” He argues that the intelligence provided by the United States is not “credible or actionable”, and requested “more clarity” from the US before he could act on it. He said that Pakistani officials “are carefully examining” Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan plan, which he announced yesterday, before making a decision on whether or not to support it.



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November 9, 2009

Thousands to celebrate twenty years since fall of Berlin Wall

Thousands to celebrate twenty years since fall of Berlin Wall

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Monday, November 9, 2009

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Leaders from around the world are set to join hundreds of thousands of people in Berlin, Germany tonight to celebrate twenty years of the fall of the Berlin Wall, an historic event which contributed to the end of the Cold War.

As the capital prepared for the anniversary of the Wall’s fall with festivities planned throughout the city, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for renewed worldwide efforts for freedom for those still living in repressive regimes. “Our history did not end the night the Wall came down,” she said last night to influential political figures, past and present. “To expand freedom to more people, we cannot accept that freedom does not belong to all people. We cannot allow oppression defined and justified by religion or tribe to replace that of [communist] ideology.”

Celebrations will centre around the Brandenburg Gate, which has become the symbol of German reunification since the peaceful revolution that opened up the Wall in 1989. Much of the Wall has since been demolished, although a section of the 155 kilometre (96 mile) long wall remains serving as an art gallery for graffiti artists.

Host German Chancellor Angela Merkel reminisced that the end of the Cold War came as a total surprise. “The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall should remind us all what incredible luck we had with the reunification of Europe and Germany,” commented Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, in Monday’s edition of the Bild newspaper.

Other leaders expected to attend are Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, along with former Polish President Lech Wałęsa, once leader of the Solidarity trade union and former Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Németh, who decided to open his country’s borders, both who were key players in the downfall of communism in Europe.

Berlin’s Mayor Klaus Wowereit summed up the feeling of the people. “History is palpable and alive here,” he said. “The peaceful revolution of the fall of the Wall 20 years ago paved the way to an unprecedented transformation of Berlin.”


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