Joe Biden has said he will not allow peace in Northern Ireland to become a “casualty of Brexit” if he is elected US President in November.
The Democratic candidate said any UK-US trade deal had to be “contingent” on respect for the Good Friday Agreement.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been trying to reassure US politicians about the latest Brexit developments during a trip to Washington.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he trusted the UK to “get this right”.
But US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there was “no chance” of a UK-US trade deal getting through the US Congress if the UK violated international agreements, undermining the Good Friday Agreement.
After a meeting with Mr Raab, the Speaker of the House of Representatives said the UK’s exit from the EU could not be allowed to “imperil” peace in Northern Ireland.
She said the lower house of Congress, which is currently controlled by her party, would defend the 1998 Good Friday Agreement as a “beacon of hope for peace-loving people throughout the whole world”.
And Mr Biden, who is going up against US President Donald Trump in November’s election, tweeted.
Brexit is high on the agenda at the Washington meetings, after the Internal Market Bill cleared its first parliamentary hurdle earlier this week.
The proposed law would give the UK government the power to override part of the Brexit withdrawal deal – which Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with the EU last October.
It now faces further scrutiny in the House of Commons, and also needs to be passed by the House of Lords.
If the law comes into force, it would breach international law – a prospect that prompted an angry response from senior figures in the US last week.
On Tuesday, four senior congressmen also issued a similar warning, saying a UK-US trade deal would be blocked if the UK failed to preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.
In a letter to Mr Johnson, the four congressmen said the plans to give ministers powers to override part of the UK’s exit agreement – designed to avoid a hard Irish border – could have “disastrous consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and broader process to maintain peace on the island of Ireland”.
“We therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the withdrawal agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland,” the letter added.
The letter was signed by Democratic congressmen Eliot Engel, Richard Neal, and Bill Keating, who all chair committees in the US House of Representatives, as well as Republican
Attack outside former Charlie Hebdo office in Paris ‘clearly act of Islamist terrorism’ – French interior minister
A meat cleaver attack that seriously injured two people outside the former offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris is being treated as an act of Islamist terrorism by French authorities.
Two employees of the Premieres Lignes news production agency were outside their office in the 11th arrondissement on Friday when they were attacked by a knife-wielding man. They were “very badly wounded,” Premieres Lignes founder Paul Moreira told AFP.
The attack took place near the former address of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical newspaper whose staff was massacred in a 2015 attack by Islamist militants. The 14 alleged accomplices in that attack are currently on trial in Paris.
Charlie Hebdo eventually reopened at a different address in Paris, which is being kept secret for security reasons.
AFP reports that five men have been detained, including the suspected attacker. The PNAT anti-terrorism prosecution office said it has opened an investigation, with charges of “attempted murder related to a terrorist enterprise” and “conspiracy with terrorists.”
PNAT head Jean-Francois Ricard said the main suspect is an 18-year-old man, reportedly born in Pakistan.
DETAILS TO FOLLOW
‘The Army just killed my wife!’: Soul-crushing video provokes online outrage towards Colombian military
A young Colombian man filmed himself crying over his dead wife, who was shot in her car by soldiers. The emotional video led online users to denounce both the country’s government and US foreign policy.
The woman, reported as Juliana Giraldo Diaz, was killed on Thursday, while she and her husband were driving through the rural area of Miranda, Cauca. In the graphic video, her body can be seen lying in the car’s front seat, apparently shot in the head, and in a pool of blood.
WARNING: DISTURBING VIDEO
The Colombian army shot this man’s wife in the head and killed her. He’s begging for help. “Help me please, we have nothing.” Her name is Juliana and she was killed this morning in Miranda, Cauca.pic.twitter.com/l8Cq4TPmZU
— Camila (@camilateleSUR) September 24, 2020
“The Army just killed my wife!” the man, Francisco, can be heard screaming in the footage.
“We had no drugs, we had no weapons, we had nothing … Please help me!”
The Colombian Army has issued a statement, saying that the woman was shot by a soldier while the military was securing the area.
The country’s president, Ivan Duque, ordered both the defense ministry and the army to carry out a “quick” investigation and “punish” those responsible. Separately, the incident will also be reviewed by the attorney general’s office.
Condeno repudiable hecho ocurrido en Miranda, Cauca. He ordenado a @mindefensa y @COL_Ejercito disponer lo necesario para investigación con celeridad. Responsable debe recibir castigo ejemplar. Solidaridad con familiares de Juliana Giraldo, a quienes brindaremos acompañamiento.
— Iván Duque 🇨🇴 (@IvanDuque) September 24, 2020
Commentators universally condemned the killing online, saying that people in uniform always get to act with “impunity”.
Others lamented that “no one” in the international community addresses such incidents, in their view because “Colombia is a US puppet state”.
Knowing Colombia is US puppet state no one will condemn it.
— Tito ☭ 🇸🇻 ⛰️ Андрей 🐈🐕 (@adxtrjuseniorit) September 24, 2020
The woman’s horrifying death follows countrywide turmoil during protests and riots against police brutality, which broke out over the death of law student Javier Ordonies. He died on September 8, after being repeatedly tasered by police officers.
Death toll from Covid-19 could ‘very likely’ reach 2 MILLION before vaccine widely available, WHO says
The coronavirus death toll could double to reach the two million mark before a vaccine comes into wide use, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) head of emergencies Mike Ryan has warned.
The current death toll, which is hovering just below the one million mark, could easily grow twofold without a “concerted” effort to make an effective vaccine widely available as soon as possible, Ryan said in a Friday news conference.
“Unless we do it… the number you speak about [two million deaths] is not only imaginable, but sadly very likely,” he said.
The official also spoke about the ongoing increase in spread rates registered worldwide in the past few weeks after anti-coronavirus lockdowns were eased in many countries. Ryan cautioned against blaming the latest spike on young people, who have allegedly become the primary spreaders.
“I really hope we don’t get into finger wagging: it’s all because of the youth,” he said. “The last thing a young person needs is an old person pontificating and wagging the finger.”
The situation in Europe, where several countries, including France and the UK, reported the highest-ever daily rises in Covid-19 cases, remains very “worrying,” WHO officials have said, urging the authorities to do their best to try and halt the spread before the season of regular flu comes around.
“We are at the end of September and we haven’t even started our flu season yet, so what we are worried about is the possibility that these trends are going in the wrong direction,” WHO’s technical lead on coronavirus, Maria Van Kerkhove, said.
Globally, more than 32.3 million people have contracted the disease with over 980,000 succumbing to it, the latest figures by Johns Hopkins University show.
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