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Priti Patel resigns from British cabinet, Theresa May to rejig team again

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Priti Patel had to resign following reports of her unauthorized meetings with Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Indian-origin member of the British Cabinet, Priti Patel was, on Wednesday forced to resign as the United Kingdom’s international development secretary, becoming the second member of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet to quit office in little over a week. The development is set to force Theresa May to affect a second reshuffle of her cabinet in the past seven days.[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][vc_column_text]Patel was, on Wednesday, ordered to cut short her trip to East Africa and return to London as the political storm over her unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened to put Theresa May through another crisis in an election year. On November 1, May’s then defence secretary Michael Fallon had to resign from his position following accusations of sexual misconduct.

Patel was summoned to 10 Downing Street by Prime Minister Theresa May amid rumours that had she resisted the call for her resignation, she would have been fired from the job.

The departure of the Indian-origin cabinet minister of Britain marks yet another setback for a government that is already facing crisis on several fronts, including divisions over Brexit and growing allegations of sexual misbehaviour in politics.[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][vc_column_text]Patel’s ouster had been imminent ever since reports surfaced of her 12 meetings with Israeli groups and officials, including Benjamin Netanyahu, during a vacation in Israel in August — and that she hadn’t told May or her cabinet colleagues about it. Under British government protocols for ministers, any meeting between them and representatives of foreign countries – politicians or bureaucrats – have to first be informed about to and vetted by the British Foreign Office. Patel had reportedly kept her meetings with Israeli politicians a secret.

Patel apologised for the misconduct but then details of two more unauthorized meetings surfaced, forcing May to seek the resignation.

In her resignation letter, Patel said her conduct “fell below the high standards that are expected of a secretary of state”. The British Prime Minister, in turn, replied that it was right of Patel to quit “and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated.”

Patel said earlier that her meetings in Israel — arranged by Stuart Polak, honorary president of the group Conservative Friends of Israel — stemmed from her “enthusiasm to engage”. But critics accused her of breaching ministers’ code of conduct and making a major diplomatic gaffe in a region of high political sensitivity.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper had reported on Wednesday that Patel had visited an Israeli military field hospital in the Golan Heights during her August trip. Britain regards Israel as illegally occupying the territory, which it captured from Syria in 1967.

A report by news agency Associated Press said: “After the visit, Patel discussed with her department the possibility of British aid being given to the Israeli army to support medical assistance for refugees from the Syrian civil war arriving in the Golan Heights. A fellow minister has said the idea was rejected.”

Patel’s situation had been made worse by her contradictory statements about the meetings.

Patel had insisted that British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson “knew about the visit.” Her department was later forced to clarify the statement, saying “the foreign secretary did become aware of the visit, but not in advance of it”, leading to allegations of Patel misleading the British public.

Patel apologised, saying the meetings “did not accord with the usual procedures”.

Patel had also met Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in London on 7 September and foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in New York on 18 September — in both cases without any other British officials present.

Patel’s demotion to a backbench lawmaker cuts short her rapid rise in British politics since her first successful bid to enter the country’s Parliament in 2010.

Labour Party lawmaker Jonathan Ashworth said Patel’s position was untenable even if she had been unaware that she was breaking rules when she met Netanyahu and the others.

“If she didn’t know, she’s incompetent. If she did, she’s lying…either way, she’s got to go,” Ashworth had told Sky News.

Several British lawmakers have been suspended by their parties amid a growing scandal over sexual harassment and abuse in British politics. May’s deputy prime minister, Damian Green, too is facing a civil service investigation after a young party activist accused him of unwanted touches and text messages.

Patel’s resignation will now force May to reshuffle her cabinet again – the second such exercise in just the past week.

The former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, another Eurosceptic, told The Guardian that the British Prime Minister “should not seek to change the fine balance in the cabinet between ‘Remain and Leave’ supporters – a term used for pro and anti Brexit supporters respectively.

“I don’t think Theresa May is looking to change the balance or send any great signal, that would be wrong,” Simith was quoted as saying at BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “It would be wrong, I think in her own mind, to make any great changes to the balance of the cabinet.”

-(With inputs from AP, The Guardian)

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Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto’s parties strike deal on Pakistan coalition Govt, Shehbaz Sharif to be PM

The PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, 68, is set to assume the role of the President of Pakistan again.

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Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have agreed on a power-sharing deal to form a new coalition government after days of intense negotiations, as per the senior party leaders.

On Tuesday night, in a joint conference, the PPP Chairman Bhutto announced that PML-N president, 72-year-old Shehbaz Sharif will be the Prime Minister of Pakistan once again and the PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, 68, is set to assume the role of the President of Pakistan again.

Speaking to reports, Bhutto said the PPP and PML-N have achieved the required number, and now they were in a position to form the government.

He said the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party-backed candidates and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) could not achieve a simple majority in Parliament to form government in the Centre.

Bilawal hoped that the political alliance with PML-N to form a coalition government would result in a positive market response since the cash-strapped country faced a hung Parliament after the February 8 elections.

Independent candidates, who were supported by the 71-year-old Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, managed to secure 93 seats in the National Assembly.

Shehbaz Sharif, in his speech, expressed confidence that his PML-N party, along with the PPP, now has the necessary numbers to form the next government. He also thanked the leadership of both parties for successfully concluding the talks.

According to the reports, the former prime minister highlighted the unity between the two political parties and their strong position to form the government at the Centre.

The PML-N secured 75 seats in the election, while the PPP came in third with 54 seats. Additionally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has agreed to support the two parties with their 17 seats.

To form a government, a party must win 133 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly or the lower house of Parliament.

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Poland Minister Wladyslaw T Bartoszewski says India is a superpower, should play role in World affairs

The Polish Minister said it is time to take the relations between the the two countries to a higher level. He said India has developed into a phenomenal country and is the 5th largest economy in the world. The minister said the Polish economy has also developed and both the countries have much more to offer each other.

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Secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Poland Wladyslaw T. Bartoszewski on Monday said that India should play a bigger role in global politics. He said India is a superpower now and hence India should play a role that fits superpower at the global scale. He said the relations between Poland and India have been extremely good. He said they have not had any problems.

The Polish Minister said it is time to take the relations between the the two countries to a higher level. He said India has developed into a phenomenal country and is the 5th largest economy in the world. The minister said the Polish economy has also developed and both the countries have much more to offer each other.

He said the Polish government wants India to play a more active role in World Politics. He said India is the largest democracy in the world and shares values with Poland as to how the world should be organised. The Polish Minister said he is looking to partner with India. He said Poland is looking at potentially creating the India-Central Eastern European Forum to discuss amongst a few countries.

He said there are a lot of topics and Poland wants to partner with India to play its role in the world affairs. Bartoszewski highlighted the remarkable economic growth India has made under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said Warsaw would like to work in closer co-operation with New Delhi. India and Poland share strong bilateral ties.

After the Ukraine war began, Poland helped in India’s Operation Ganga by aiding in the evacuation of Indian students from the war struck country in 2022.The Polish minister commented on the Russia-Ukraine war which has been going on since the last two years. He said the war will end if immediately if Russian President Vladimir Putin withdraws his forces from neighbouring Ukraine.

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71st Miss World contestants visit Raj Ghat and pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi

The 71st Miss World will take place between February 18 and March 9 which will unfold across various venues, including the Bharat Manadapam in New Delhi. 120 contestants from countries around the world will participate in various competitions and charitable initiatives, serving as ambassadors of change.

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Miss World contestants, accompanied by Julia Morley, chairman and CEO of the Miss world Organisation, visited the Raj Ghat, also known as the Gandhi memorial, on Monday, where they paid their respects to Mahatma Gandhi. The 71st Miss World participants also visited the Gandhi Museum.

The 71st Miss World will take place between February 18 and March 9 which will unfold across various venues, including the Bharat Manadapam in New Delhi. 120 contestants from countries around the world will participate in various competitions and charitable initiatives, serving as ambassadors of change.

Julia Morley, chairman and CEO of the Miss World Organisation said in a statement that her love of India is no secret and having the 71st Miss World Festival in this country means a lot to her. She thanked Jamil Saidi for his herculean efforts to make the return of the event to India a reality. She said the Miss World Organization has assembled the best team for the 71st edition.

The 71st Miss World will end with a dazzling grand finale at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai. India last hosted the international pageant in 1996. Manushi Chhillar was the most recent Indian to win the pageant, having bagged the crown in 2017. Previously, Reita Faria Powell, Aishwarya Rai, Diana Hayden, Yukta Mookhey, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas have also won the competition.

India is currently hosting Miss World 2024 in Delhi and Mumbai after 28 years. The competition will begin on  Februray 18, with the grand finale scheduled  on March 9, the 71st Miss World Pageant will feature 120 contestants from 120 countries and territories, which includes India and will feature various competitions and charitable initiatives. The 21-day fashion and beauty event will feature a variety of events that will empower young women as change agents and future leaders.  

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