Egypt Independent: World-Main news en Labour leader Corbyn says could suspend Syria air strikes if elected <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The leader of Britain&#39;s main opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn said on Sunday he could suspend British involvement in air strikes against Syria if he was elected prime minister at a June 8 election.</p><p>The veteran peace campaigner, whose Labour Party is around 20 points behind the ruling Conservatives in opinion polls, set out his position on a range of security and foreign policies, saying he would look again at Britain&#39;s nuclear deterrent and was against using nuclear weapons.</p><p>His comments were pounced upon by the Conservatives, who said that Corbyn posed a threat to British security and was the best reason &quot;for sticking with the strong leadership of [Prime Minister] Theresa May&quot;.</p><p>Corbyn told the BBC&#39;s Andrew Marr Show that he believed that &quot;the only solution in Syria is going to be a political one&quot;.</p><p>&quot;I want us to say &#39;Listen, let&#39;s get people around the table quickly&#39; and a way of achieving that - suspending the strikes, possibly.&quot;</p><p>The leftist leader, whose views on foreign policy have often been at odds with those held by other lawmakers in his party, also said he would have to consider whether he would authorize a drone strike against the leader of Islamic State to limit civilian casualties.</p><p>May, who said she had called the early election to shore up support for her divorce plan with the European Union and heal divisions in the country, looks set to win a large majority, with some polls putting support for her party at 50 percent.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Jason Neely</em></p> Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:05:00 +0000 Reuters 2478273 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/04/23/507555/corbyn.jpg French police tighten election security after Paris shooting <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Paris&#39; Champs-Elysees boulevard reopened early on Friday, picking up its usual morning routine after a gunman opened fire on police late on Thursday, killing one police officer and injuring at least two others.<br /><br />A spokesperson for the German Foreign Office also confirmed that a female German tourist was injured in the attack. In a tweet expressing its condolences, the Foreign Office said it would continue standing shoulder-to-shoulder with France.<br /><br />The assailant, identified as 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi, was shot dead by nearby police officers. Paris prosecutors leading the investigation have since detained three of the suspected gunman&#39;s family members for questioning. A note which praised the so-called &quot;Islamic State&quot; (IS) and named Cheurfi, as one of its &quot;fighters&quot; was found near the attacker. The group had earlier claimed responsibility for the shooting.<br /><br />Hours after the attack, a second man, who Belgian authorities had flagged to their French counterparts over possible involvement in the shooting, turned himself in to police in Belgium&#39;s northern city of Antwerp.<br /><br />According to authorities, however, there was no link between the man and the Paris attack. A prosecutor in Antwerp said: &quot;That man came to police late yesterday after he saw himself appear on social media as the number one terror suspect, relating to yesterday&#39;s facts.<br /><br />&quot;He was not part of a terrorism investigation,&quot; the Belgian prosecutor added.<br /><br /><strong>&#39;Barbarity and cowardice&#39;</strong><br /><br />Speaking after a government security council meeting on Friday morning, French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, &quot;Barbarity and cowardice struck Paris last night, as they also recently struck elsewhere in Europe - in Berlin, Stockholm, in London.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;The whole of Europe is targeted because it represents the values and ideals of peace,&quot; Cazeneuve added.<br /><br /><strong>Tighter election security</strong><br /><br />Looking ahead to Sunday&#39;s first round of presidential elections, the prime minister said more than 50,000 police and gendarmes had been mobilized to protect the election process. Some 7,000 additional soldiers will also be on patrol.<br /><br />&quot;Nothing must hamper this democratic moment, essential for our country,&quot; Cazeneuve said.<br /><br />Read more: What you need to know about the French presidential election<br /><br />The 11 presidential candidates were appearing on television on Thursday evening, making their final election pitches to voters, as the assault happened, shortly before 9 p.m. local time (1900 UTC).<br />French President Francois Hollande<br /><br />Outgoing French President Francois Hollande called an emergency security meeting early on Friday<br /><br />Reacting to Thursday night&#39;s attack, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has been campaigning on a hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration platform, called on the government to immediately expel foreigners monitored by intelligence services.<br /><br />&quot;We need to close our borders,&quot; she said, describing IS as a group which had &quot;declared war.&quot;<br /><br />Prime Minister Cazeneuve condemned Le Pen&#39;s rhetoric, claiming that the National Front (FN) leader was looking to exploit the shooting to score political points and divide people &quot;without any shame.&quot; He added that there was nothing in the shooting investigation linking immigration to the incident.<br /><br />Conservative candidate Francois Fillon, meanwhile, said that the fight against &quot;Islamist totalitarianism&quot; should be a priority of the next French president.<br /><br />&quot;I intend to fight with an iron fist,&quot; Fillon says, promising to maintain France&#39;s state of emergency.<br /><br />Similar to Le Pen, Fillon, also vowed to expel any foreign Islamic fundamentalists and dissolve Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood movements.<br /><br />&quot;From Washington to Moscow, I will take the diplomatic initiative to create an international coalition against Islamist terrorism,&quot; he said.<br /><br />Leading candidates in the presidential election: Jean-Luc Melenchon, Emmanuel Macron, Francois Fillon, Marine Le Pen<br /><br />Independent leading candidate Emmanuel Macron said voters should not yield to fear, division and intimidation in light of the most recent Paris attack.<br /><br />&quot;Our generation must take up this challenge ... by building a future around a progressive project, by re-establishing a Europe that protects people, indispensably, in the face of the terrorist threat and in the face of a changing world,&quot; Macron said.<br /><br /><strong>No confirmed &#39;IS&#39; link with gunman</strong><br /><br />While authorities are yet to confirm any links between IS and the assailant, President Francois Hollande said at a press briefing that he was convinced the incident pointed to a terrorist attack.<br /><br />France has remained in a state of emergency since 2015. A spate of nationwide Islamist attacks over the last two years has killed more than 230 people.<br /><br />Early reports on Friday suggested that the unnamed gunman was known to security services and had previously been flagged as an extremist. The Paris prosecutor&#39;s office leading the investigation of the Champs-Elysees attack said investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in the gunman&#39;s car.<br /><br />In February, the assailant was arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill officers but was released due to lack of evidence.<br /><br /><strong>Previous convictions</strong><br /><br />In 2005, he was convicted on three counts of attempted murder, two of which were against police officers. The charges dated back to 2001, when the attacker was fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle. Armed, he shot and wounded both officers before being apprehended and placed in custody.<br /><br />While incarcerated, he also seriously injured another officer who was escorting him from his cell, grabbing his gun and firing several times.<br /><br /><strong>Champs-Elysees under lockdown</strong><br /><br />Video footage shared on Twitter on Thursday night showed the world-famous shopping mile teeming with police vehicles, as well as officers armed with machine guns and clad in helmets and bullet-proof vests following the incident. Helicopters were also seen flying low across the French capital.<br /><br />Speaking to reporters several hours after the shooting, anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins thanked the police for showing great courage in neutralizing the assailant and preventing a potential blood bath.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><em>Deutsche Welle</em><br /><br />&nbsp;</p> Sat, 22 Apr 2017 14:32:00 +0000 Deutsche Welle 2478245 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/04/22/507556/reuters2.jpg Trump warming to EU free trade deal: Times <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p><br />The United States could strike a free-trade agreement with the European Union after President Donald Trump warmed to a deal with the bloc, the Times reported on Saturday, quoting sources from both sides of the discussion.<br /><br />Post-Brexit Britain would be pushed behind Europe in the race to secure a U.S. deal after Germany&#39;s Angela Merkel persuaded Trump that talks on a deal would be simpler than he thought, the newspaper said.<br /><br />Britain will not be free to agree new trade deals until it has left the EU in 2019.<br /><br />A source close to the White House was quoted as saying that there had been a &quot;realisation&quot; in the Trump administration that a trade deal with the EU - allowing the tariff-free exchange of goods and services - was more important to U.S. interests than a post-Brexit deal with Britain.<br /><br />&quot;Ten times Trump asked her (Merkel) if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany,&quot; the newspaper quoted a senior German politician as saying.<br /><br />&quot;Every time she replied, &#39;You can&#39;t do a trade deal with Germany, only the EU&#39;,&quot; the politician said. &quot;On the eleventh refusal, Trump finally got the message, &#39;Oh, we&#39;ll do a deal with Europe then.&#39;&quot;<br /><br />Trump, who has repeatedly criticised the EU, had welcomed Britain&#39;s 2016 vote to leave the bloc and said he would work hard to get a quick bilateral trade deal done.<br /><br />But German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Friday he was optimistic a U.S.-EU trade deal could be reached soon after he met his U.S. counterpart in Washington.<br /><br />He said he had seen a relaxation in the dispute with the U.S. over trade and believed a &quot;non-confrontational solution&quot; would be reached when financial leaders of the world&#39;s 20 top economies meet in Hamburg in July under Germany&#39;s presidency.<br /><br />Any quick deal between the U.S. and Europe could come as a blow to British Prime Minister Theresa May who had hoped to win a promise of deeper trade ties when she became the first foreign leader to meet Trump in office in January.<br /><br />Trade became a major issue during the Brexit campaign when the then-president Barack Obama said Britain would go to &quot;the back of the queue&quot; for a deal if it voted to leave.<br /><br />The comment was denounced as meddling by those campaigning to leave the bloc, who argued that Britain would be free to negotiate quick trade deals with major economies around the world once it had left the bloc.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><br /><em>Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Louise Ireland; Reuters</em></p> Sat, 22 Apr 2017 10:43:00 +0000 Reuters 2478242 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/04/22/507556/trump.jpg World's longest-reigning monarch celebrates 91st birthday <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The sound of a gun salute tore through central London on Friday to celebrate the 91st birthday of Britain&#39;s Queen Elizabeth II, with the world&#39;s longest-reigning monarch taking a step back from royal duties to allow the younger generation to step forward.<br /><br />To mark the occasion the BBC opened its morning news broadcast with the national anthem, &quot;God Save the Queen,&quot; while the country&#39;s foreign secretary Boris Johnson took to Twitter.<br /><br />&quot;Hip hip hooray for The Queen,&quot; he wrote, adding &quot;happy birthday Ma&rsquo;am!&quot;<br /><br />This year&#39;s celebrations are a notably more low-key affair after a year of festivities to mark her hitting 90.<br /><br />A thousand beacons were lit around the country on April 21, 2016, and other events last year included street parties and a pageant at her Windsor Castle home.<br /><br />&quot;I&#39;m still alive,&quot; the Queen joked in June during a visit to Northern Ireland, one of the numerous engagements filling the royal calendar.<br /><br />But the ever-popular monarch has begun handing over duties to other royals, standing down as patron of 25 bodies at the end of last year, including the Wimbledon tennis championships.<br /><br />While her eldest child Prince Charles is heir to the throne, greater attention has fallen on his two sons William and Harry, who have taken on some of the Queen&#39;s duties.<br /><br />The arrival of Prince William and his wife Kate&#39;s two children -- Prince George and Princess Charlotte -- has cemented the country&#39;s positive view of the royal family.<br /><br />Prince Harry is also admired, receiving widespread acclaim this week for speaking out about seeking counselling years after his mother&#39;s death when he was a child.<br /><br /><strong>Reforming the Royals</strong><br /><br />The Queen was instrumental in bringing the royals into modern times, after ascending to the throne in 1952 as Britain&#39;s empire was in sharp decline.<br /><br />&quot;My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,&quot; she said in a speech to mark her 21st birthday, years before starting her reign.<br /><br />One of the most testing periods for the monarch came during the 1990s. The Queen dubbed 1992 her &quot;annus horribilis&quot; after the marriages of three of her four children broke down and Windsor Castle was badly damaged in a fire.<br /><br />Five years later she faced the wrath of the British public when Princess Diana died and the Queen chose to stay at her estate in Scotland rather than return to London.<br /><br />Buckingham Palace has since been careful to avoid such clashes with the Queen&#39;s subjects.<br /><br />She has remained quiet about political issues such as the divisive Brexit referendum and, in January, Prime Minister Theresa May&#39;s controversial decision to invite US President Donald Trump for a state visit.<br /><br />In modernising her family&#39;s image and refusing to become political, the Queen has held on to the nation&#39;s affection. While generally in good health, she suffered a cold over Christmas and her recovery was watched anxiously.<br /><br />Despite being followed closely in her public appearances -- feeding an elephant at a British zoo this month, for example -- she has succeeded in keeping life behind palace doors relatively secret.<br /><br />While her love of horses and Corgis is well publicised, palace insiders have revealed that the Queen&#39;s private pastimes include crossword puzzles and a Dubonnet-and-gin cocktail before lunch.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><em>Report by Rosie Scammell; AFP</em></p> Sat, 22 Apr 2017 09:06:00 +0000 AFP 2478238 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/04/22/507556/liz.jpg