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Malaysian police say political leader behind gay sex tape allegations

KUA,上海品茶网Pablo,LA LUMPUR ( ) – Malaysian police on Thursday said a leader of a political party was behind videos purporting to show a cabinet minister, seen as a potential successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, engaged in sex with another man.

They did not identify the party or the leader.

The sex tapes, allegedly of Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, were widely distributed to journalists and politicians via WhatsApp la上海品茶微信st month.

Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia and Anwar Ibrahim, who Mahathir has named as his succes,上海品茶会所Idaia,so,上海喝茶资源群Fabian,r, spent about a decade in jail under the law on what he said were trumped up charges.

Azmin, who is said to be close to Mahathir, said the videos were a “nefarious plot” to end his career.

“Results of (police) investigation reveal that there is a wicked alliance that is masterminded by a leader of a political party with the intention to shame and destroy the reputation of a certain individual,” police chief Abdul Hamid Bador said in a statement.

Abdul Hamid said the video was probably authentic but that facial recognition tests were “not able to associate the perpetrator in the video with the individual in question”.

The statement did not identify the individual but the headline of the statement referred to the sex video “allegedly involving an individual bearing likeness to a senior cabinet minister”.

The video was produced by parties that were hired with “hundreds of thousands of ringgit”, Abdul Hamid said, referring to Malaysia’s currency.

The sex scandal has deepened rifts within the ruling coalition and raised concerns of a turbulent transition from 94-year-old Mahathir.

Azmin last month said he was convinced the videos were the work of insiders in the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) party, the biggest component of the Pakatan Harapan alliance. Anwar and Azmin are the president and deputy president in PKR.

Anwar has said it was “slander” to suggest he had anything to do with the leaked footage.

Earlier on Thursday, Anwar brushed aside talk of a challenge from Azmin for the premiership and said he had the support needed to become prime minister.

Croatia PM reshuffles cabinet, proposes six new ministers

ZAGREB ( ) – Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Wednesday ordered a reshuffle of his cabinet with six new ministers, just over a year before his government’s term in office expires in late 2020.

“The logic behind this government reshuffle is to continue our work on achieving our goals for the benefits of the citizens, without any burden,” Plenkovic told reporters late on Wednesday after meeting his coalition partners.

The conservative-liberal ruling coalition, which is also supported by some s上海品茶QQmaller parties, has a thin parliamentary majority. The new ministers are expected to be approved by lawmakers on Friday.

The government will get new ministers for public administration, state assets management, agriculture, foreign and European affairs, labor and pensions, we,上海品茶Nadia,lfare policy, regional development and European Union funds.

All six of the proposed new ministers were previously lower-level government officials. Only the current Labour Minister Marko Pavic, who will take over the regional development and the EU funds ministry, was in the Cabinet.

The previous ministers in charge of public administration and state ,上海品茶微信Jackson,assets management resigned earlier this month following media reports about questionable real estate deals..

Also, some other ministers who are set to be replaced, have in recent months been criticized for conduct in relation to private matters which media reports have said raised questions of propriety.

“We want to carry on our work with the public and the media focusing on our,上海品茶网Landon, achievements rather than on the matters which have been a distraction from what we have been doing well,” Plenkovic said.

As part of the reshuffle, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic and Finance Minister Zdravko Maric have been proposed as new deputy prime ministers.

Worries remain for U.S. government contractors as shutdown ends

WASHINGTON ( ) – Minutes after President Donald Trump announced an end to the longest U.S. government shutdown in history on Friday, Yvette Hicks’ phone started ringing.

“I had bill collectors calling me back-to-back-to-back wondering when I could start making a payment arrangement,” she said, recalling how her mood quickly changed from excitement back to worry.

Hicks, 40, a security guard at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, is one of thous,上海品茶会所Faith,ands of federal gove,上海品茶群二维码Talon,rnment contractors who do not expect to be paid for the month of work they missed during the 35-day partial shutdown – and who remain at risk if Trump and lawmakers fail to reach a more lasting agreement beyond the current three-week deal to reopen the government.

Trump, who had demanded Democrats agree to fund construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border before he would agree to reopen the government, has signed legislation guaranteeing back pay for 800,000 federal employees affected by the shutdown.

Contractors, however, were not included, leaving many worried they won’t recover their losses.

Without a paycheck, Hicks began rationing her children’s asthma medication, considered cashing in a life insurance policy and prayed every day she could keep her family from becoming homeless again.

“I promised them that we would never suffer like that again,” Hicks said in an interview at her home on Friday, crying as she recalled the three years she and her four children spent without a home.

‘NO STABILITY’

It is not clear how many federal government contract workers there are, though some estimates run into the millions.

An official with the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents Hicks and nearly 700 other contractors, mostly security guards and janitors in Washington, said those members are among the lowest paid workers in the federal government.

“These are not folks who can afford to miss a paycheck,” said Alison Hirsch, the unit’s vice president. “These are not folks who are making enough money to have a robust savings account. It can permanently alter their credit scores, their ability to support themselves.”

When Hicks reports to work on Tuesday, it will be the first time she has been able to wear her uniform since she was hired in late December. Her first day was scheduled for Jan. 1, the same day the Smithsonian, which oversees the space museum and several others in Washington, closed due to a lack of funding.

With a book titled “Prayers for Difficult Times” on the sofa beside her, Hicks tearfully described giving her 8-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter smaller doses of their asthma medicine to make it last longer, while limiting how much time they ran and spent outside in the cold.

In a statement issued before Friday’s deal was reached, her employer, Allied Universal, said it would “provide vacation buyback for accrued time,” which is unlikely to help new hires like Hicks. It also said it provided letters to furloughed employees who were seeki上海品茶工作室ng to avoid late fees from creditors.

Wi,上海品茶微信Kaia,th bills piling up and uncertainty over whether the government will still be open beyond Feb. 15, Hicks said she still worries about becoming homeless again.

“There’s no stability,” she said. “How long will the government be shut down again if Trump doesn’t get what he wants?”

Myanmar filmmaker charged over Facebook posts about military

YANGON ( ) – A Myanmar judge on Thursday charged filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi for Facebook posts he made about the po,上海外卖品茶群Queena,werful military, meaning he will stand trial despite concern over his health and an outcry from human rights groups.

The director, who runs a human rights film festival, was detained three months ago after a complaint from an army officer that listed 10 of,上海品茶419论坛Rachel, his Facebook posts.

In the posts he criticized the military’s political role and Myanmar’s 2008 constitution, which was drawn up by the former ruling junta and which civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi is attempting to amend.

The case is one of a slew the military has launched against critics in recent months.

Some activists want Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to do more to protect free expression, but Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi himself has said she should not be blamed for his incarceration.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi pleaded not guilty to the charge, under section 505(a) of Myanmar’s colonial-era penal code, which carries a maximum two-year prison term for statements that could cause a soldier or other service member “to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty”.

But after preliminary hearings, the judg,上海品茶水磨Fabi,e at Insein Township Court, in the main city of Yangon, ruled the posts caused soldiers to lose respect for the military.

The court was packed with friends, diplomats and reporters.

A separate defamation case under a telecommunications law has been filed against Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi for the same Facebook posts.

After Thursday’s ruling, the filmmaker told reporters he did not intend to damage or disrespect the military.

“The military was also not destroyed. There is no proof that respect was lost in the military. But I was charged with 505(a),” he said.

The prosecutor declined to comment.

The complainant, Lieutenant-Colonel Lin Tun, told the court that he filed the lawsuit because he took 上海品茶会所offense at the filmmaker’s posts.

“I am unsatisfied with his posts. This wouldn’t have happened if he did not write anything,” he told the judge.

“They couldn’t provide any proof on their accusations and yet they charged him,” defense lawyer Robert San Aung told after the hearing.

His client, who has recently undergone cancer treatment, was deteriorating in detention, the lawyer said.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners human rights group, 161 people are in jail, either convicted or facing trial on politically motivated charges.

Scores are on bail and 76 people had lawsuits against them just in June.

China reveals plans for carrier relocation to Beijing’s new airport

(This Jan. 3 story was refiled to fix typo in airport name in paragraph 6)

BEIJING ( ) – China’s aviation regulator published on Thursday plans for airline relocation to Beijing’s new mega-airport set to open this year and said it would let foreign carriers decide which of the capital’s airports they will use.

Beijing Daxing International Airport, due to open in September, will accommodate 72 million passengers a year by 2025 and is expected to become one of the world’s busiest airports upon completion.

This will be the city’s second such facility and help relieve pressure on Beijing Capital International Airport, whose annual capacity has reached 100 million passengers.

Foreign airlines, along with those in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, can choose which airport they want to operate in, with the option of having a presence in both. Chinese carriers, except China P上海品茶工作室ostal Airlines, will have to use only one airport, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). ,上海品茶网Earl,

China initially planned to relocate airlines from,专门哟啪的微信群Quaid, th,上海品尝嫩茶Sabine,e SkyTeam alliance to the new airport, while Star Alliance airlines would stay at the existing Beijing airport.

Airlines including China Southern, China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines and China United Airlines will be relocated to Beijing Daxing International Airport, while carriers such as Air China, Hainan Airlines and Grand China Air will stay at Beijing Capital International Airport.

Relocation will last from the winter of 2019 to the winter of 2021, the CAAC said.

Merkel’s coalition partner demands answers over German data breach

BERLIN ( ) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), demanded on Sunday that her interior minister quickly find out what Germany’s security agencies knew about a huge data breach and how they reacted.

The breach has shocked Germany’s establishment and risks rocking Merkel’s awkward ‘grand coalition’ again just months after a row over the fate of the domestic intelligence agency chief came close to tearing apart the ruling alliance.

The government said on Friday that personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures including Merkel had been published online, in what appeared to be one of Germany’s biggest data breaches.

Lars Klingbeil, secretary general of the center-left (SPD), told the Funke media group the government must quickly shed light on “which agencies knew what exactly when, and how th,上海品茶工作室Idaleen,at was dealt with”.

“This should be a priority for (Interior Minister) Horst Seehofer. It’s about protecting our democracy,” Klingbeil added.

Seehofer told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung he only became aware of the breach on Friday morning, but that he would share everything he finds out with the public and intended to do so by the middle of this week at the latest.

The ecologist Greens leader in parliament, Anton Hofreiter, said the president of the BSI cyber defense agency, Arne Schoenbohm, must explain himself urgently in an extraordinary parliamentary committee meeting.

The BSI on Saturday defended its role in responding to,上海品茶419论坛Gabi, the data breach, saying it could not have connected individual cases it was aware of last year until the entire data release became public last week.

Last year, Seehofer was at the center of a political storm over another security agency chief, whose the fate almost tore apart Merkel’s coalition of her conservativ上海品茶工作室e bloc and the SPD.

Despite SPD resistance, Seehofer rescued Hans-Georg Maassen from dismissal in September when the domestic spy chief questioned the authenticity of videos showing far-right nationalists chasing immigrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz.

But Maasse,上海外卖品茶群Idaline,n was subsequently sacked in November over a speech given behind closed doors condemning “naive and leftist” government policies.

Egypt’s Sisi opens mega-mosque and Middle East’s largest cathedral…

CAIRO ( ) – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated Egypt’s largest church and mosque in the New Administrative Capital on Sunday, the eve of Coptic Christmas, in a message of tolerance in the predominantly Muslim country.

Copts, the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, were due hold a midnight mass in the Cathedral of the Nativity, billed by the government as the Middle East’s largest church, a few hours after the inauguration.

Coptic Christians make up an estimated 10 percent of Egypt’s nearly 100 million people and have long complained of discrimination under laws that favor Muslims.

They have also increasingly been targeted in recent years by Islamist militants including Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency in the north of the remote Sinai Peninsula.

Foreign dignitaries and officials including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit flanked Sisi at the opening, state television showed.

Angham, a prominen,上海品茶交友群Daisy,t local singer, sang for Muslim-Christian coexistence as a display of fireworks lit the skies over the two houses of worship.

“This is an important moment in our history,” Sisi said in a speech as he opened the cathedral. “We are one and we will remain one,” he added, referring to Egyptian Christians and Muslims.

“On this day we see you have fulfilled this promise and here we are witnessing a great opening on this grand occasion,” the head of the Coptic church Pope Tawadros II said. He w,上海品茶论坛Caitlin,ill preside over midnight mass later in the evening with Sisi in attendance.

U.S. President Donald Trump also praised the opening of the church and the mosque.

“Excited to see our friends in Egypt opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East. President Al-Sisi is moving his country to a more inclusive future,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

The Cathedral of the Nativity, adorned with Coptic icons, can accommodate more than,专门哟啪的微信群Kaiden, 8,000 worshippers while the al-Fattah al-Aleem Mosque can hold nearly double the number. Both are located in the new administrative capital, a major development located some 45 km (28 miles) east of Cairo.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of the al-Azhar Mosque, said Islam obliges Muslims to safeguard and defend houses of worship, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish.

Contractors have been clearing debris from the perimeter of the cathedral in the last two weeks in preparation for its grand opening.

The new Egyptian capital, announced in March 2015, is intended partly to reduce crowding in Cairo but will also be home to governm上海品茶QQent ministries and an airport. The government is expecting to begin moving to the new premises later this year.

Wisconsin governor backs Republican Ted Cruz in presidential race

WASHINGTON ( ) – Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz won the backing on Tuesday of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, gaining a boost in the contentious three-way race a week before that state’s presidential primary.

Walker, himself a former Repub,上海妹子品茶微信Fabi,lican president上海品茶QQial candidate, emphasized he was not endorsing the U.S. senator from Texas in an effort to thwart Republican front-runner Donald Trump from clinching the party’s nomination for the Nov. 8 election.

“To me, I’m all in,” Walker said in a radio interview on WTMJ radio in Milwaukee. He said he planned to campaign for Cruz throughout the state before the April 5 Wisconsin primary.

Wisconsin polls, though scarce, show Trump and Cruz running neck-and-neck in the state. A recent Emerson poll showed Cruz taking 36 percent and Trump with 35 percent. Ohio Governor John Kasich lagged in third place, with 19 percent.

Walker said he chose to back Cruz because he was a principled constitutional conservative who would stand up to big government special interests and give power to the states.

“I just fundamentally belie,上海品茶群二维码Cade,ve if you look at the facts, if you look at the numbers, that Ted Cruz is in the best position by far to both win the nomination of the Republican Party,专门哟啪的微信群Eden, and to then go on and defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall this year,” Walker said.

Walker’s endorsement adds to a number of other more mainstream Republicans stepping up behind Cruz as the best alternative to Trump, who has racked up a strong delegate lead but alienated many party leaders with his harsh views on immigration, Muslims and women.

From Russia with love: why the Kremlin backs Trump

MOSCOW ( ) – Donald Trump is a brave pro-Putin political maverick who would end U.S. foreign wars and perhaps lift sanctions on Moscow. Hillary Clinton, however, is a warmonger beholden to the military-industrial complex.

Russian state TV, which hews closely to the Kremlin’s world view, leaves little doubt about who Moscow supports in November’s U.S. presidential election: “The Donald.”

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman took brief exception this month to a Trump attack video which showed Putin laughing at the prospect of Clinton defending America. But officials and analysts say the Kremlin still sees Trump as the best candidate by a mile.

Putin has hailed Trump as “very talented”. The head of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee said he’d be a worthy winner of the 2015 “man of the year” title in the United States.

And Dmitry Kiselyov, presenter of Russia’s main weekly TV news show “Vesti Nedeli,” claimed this month that the Republican party elite had struck a secret deal with the Democrats to derail Trump, in part because of his sympathy for Russia.

“Trump doesn’t suit the Republican party,” Kiselyov told viewers. “They usually divide up the state budget (among themselves) by frightening people about Russia. But Trump is ready to find a common language with Putin. That’s why they don’t need Trump and even regard him as dangerous.”

Kiselyov has been one of the chief proponents of state television’s strongly anti-American tone, once saying Moscow could turn the United States into radioactive ash.

Some experts say Trump appeals to Moscow because Putin believes a Trump presidency would be isolationist and leave Russia with a free hand.

“The Kremlin can’t believe its luck,” said Konstantin von Eggert, an independent Moscow-based political analyst who believes the Obama administration has not been forceful in countering Russia.

“President Obama and (Secretary of State) John Kerry were a dream team for them, but now they have an even better option; someone who thinks that America should have nothing to do with the rest of the world.”

RT, the Kremlin’s English-language TV channel formerly known as Russia Today, says it does not back any U.S. candidates. But it has described Trump as “idiosyncratic and raw,” and suggested he represents the popular will of U.S. voters, which a sinister U.S. establishment is trying to subvert.

“Can America’s elections be truly called democratic if the political establishment aligns itself against the popular will?” lamented Peter Lavelle, the American host of RT’s flagship talk “CrossTalk” show. “As things stand now millions of voters could be disenfranch,上海品茶网Idris,ised.”

‘THANK GOD FOR TRUMP’

Trump has received advice from Lieutenant General Michael 上海品茶工作室Flynn, a former U.S. military intelligence chief who advocates better ties with Russia, and who shared a dinner table in Moscow with Putin in December to celebrate RT’s 10th anniversary.

Trump has won friends in Moscow with statements praising Putin as a strong leader that he could probably get along with. His support for Russian air strikes in Syria was welcomed.

In January, after a British judge ruled that Putin had “probably” authorized the murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, Trump said he saw “no evidence” the Russian president was guilty.

“First of all, he says he didn’t do it. Many people say it wasn’t him. So who knows who did it?” Trump said.

This week, Trump said the United States should reduce funding for NATO. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said his comments showed the,上海品茶工作室Ebba, alliance was in crisis.

“For the last two years all we heard from Western newspapers and TV was very critical of Russia,” Victor,上海品茶论坛Barbara,ia Zhuravleva, a Moscow-based expert on U.S.-Russia relations, told .

“So when you hear something that is not so critical and even more friendly towards your country it’s like: ‘Thank God, There’s one person we can talk to: Donald Trump’”

Trump and Putin were similar, she said: “They are both open-minded, pragmatic, and say what they think.”

‘THE OLD BRIGAND’

The mutual appreciation between Trump and Putin has invited comparisons to the Russian leader’s friendship with another billionaire-turned-politician, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, who outraged Ukrainians and irked EU leaders last year by visiting Russian-annexed Crimea with Putin. They toured a Crimean winery and drank a priceless 240-year-old bottle from its cellar.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton, who is well known to the Kremlin because of her 2009-2013 stint as U.S. Secretary of State, is clearly not to Moscow’s taste.

“We really don’t want Hillary,” said one Russian official, who spoke anonymously because of the subject’s sensitivity. “She’s no friend of Russia’s.”

State media coverage has focused on what it has cast as her wacky promise to declassify UFO files and on the pressure she has faced for using her personal email account for government business and over her response to the fatal 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Pro-Kremlin bloggers, corralled by a Putin supporter who used to represent the ruling party in parliament, are enthused by the prospect of agitating on behalf of Trump.

“Trump is the first member of the American elite in 20 years who compliments Russia. Trump will smash America as we know it, we’ve got nothing to lose,” Konstantin Rykov told his followers on social media.

“Do we want the grandmother Hillary? No. Maybe it’s time to help the old brigand.”

Khamenei aide says U.S. approached him in Kabul seeking talks with…

DUBAI ( ) – An aide to Iran’s supreme leader said on Monday U.S. officials approached him during a December visit to Afghanistan to request talks with Tehran, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, but the U.S. State Department denied the report.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have increased since May, when President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers and later reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the pact.

“During my visit to Kabul last month, the Americans … asked to hold talks,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and a close aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying, without specifying what the U.S. side wanted to discuss.

“This report is not accurate,” said a State Department spokeswoman on condit,上海品茶工作室Mace,ion of anonymity.

While denying it made a specific overture to Shamkani, the spokeswoman repeated that Trump is open to a dialogue with Iran on “urgent national security issues” and wants Tehran to “make fundamental changes in their destructive behavior.”

Washington accuses Tehran of destabilizing the region by projecting its power via proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

In 2001, Iran worked with the United States to help set up a new Afghan government to replace the Taliban, which had been toppled by a U.S.-led military campaign following al Qaeda’s September 11 atta上海品茶微信cks on U.S. cities.

Shamkhani was in Kabul last month for talks with the Taliban “to help curb the security problems in Afghanistan.” He said the Kabul government had known of his talks with the Taliban.

Majority-Shi’ite Iran has long had close ties to Shi’ites in neighb,上海喝茶资源群Mabel,oring Afghanistan whose militias have fought the Taliban’s Sunni militants.

Washington accuses Iran of trying to extend its influence in western Afghanistan by providing military training, financing and weapons to the Taliban, a charge Tehran denies.

Shamkhani’s comments came days after reports of talks between U.S. and Taliban officials over proposals for a ceasefi,上海品茶微信Cade,re in Afghanistan and a future withdrawal of foreign troops ahead of possible peace negotiations.

Khamenei slapped down an offer of direct talks made by Trump last year and Iranian officials have said Washington’s crippling sanctions would fail to wreck the economy.

In July, Iranian authorities said Tehran had rejected eight U.S. requests for a meeting between Trump and President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in Sept 2017.

New Jersey sues Atlantic City over school money

( ) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration sued cash-strapped gambling hub Atlantic City on Monday, seeking to freeze city spending until it remits the millions of dollars it owes to its school district.

In the civil action, State Education Commissioner David Hespe said Atlantic City owed the district $82 million of tax revenues collected for the school year. The city already paid $48 million of that, but must still remit the remaining $34 million by July 15, court documents showed.

That might be impossible. As of April 1, the city had only $8 million of cash available for operations. Second-quarter tax collections that begin in May will not provide enough to fund required disbursements, the lawsuit said.

Christie is seeking to stop the city from making its $3.,上海品茶QQGabe,2 million payroll on Friday, he said in a televised press conference.

The state sued “to protect the property tax collections that rightfully belong to the Atlantic City School District and the children and fami,上海品茶微信Dahlia,lies they serve,” Christie said.

In New Jersey, cities must act as collection agents by collecting property taxes on behalf of school districts and transmitting the money to them.

The lawsuit is the latest in Christie’s high-stakes game of chicken against city officials and some lawmakers over whether to take over the city’s operations to avoid bankruptcy.

Christie and state Senate leaders say city officials have not done enough to stop the blee上海品茶会所ding. They supported a legislative package that links a full state takeover with one that would provide immediate revenue for the city.

The nearly insolvent city has been under state oversight since 2011. Mayor Don Guardian threatened to close City Hall for three weeks beginning on Friday afternoon because it will not have enough money to pay workers after that.

Christie twice vetoed – even after winning changes he sought – legislation aimed at stabilizing the city’s tax base by letting casinos make,上海品茶论坛Earl, fixed payments in lieu of property taxes. The city’s state-approved budget relied on those revenues.

In February, Christie pinned that legislation to the takeover measure, which Guardian initially supported but later called a “fascist dictatorship.”

The package is now stalled in the state Assembly, where Speaker Vincent Prieto has refused to bring it to a vote because he says its goal is to dismantle collective bargaining agreements.

On Monday, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the city deeper into junk territory, to Caa3.

Plan to raise California minimum wage to $15 clears key panel

SACRAMENTO, Calif. ( ) – A plan to raise California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 cleared its first legislative hurdle on Wednesday, putting the state on track to become the first in the nation to commit to such a large pay hike for the working poor.

The measure, incorporating a deal Governor Jerry Brown reached,上海喝茶资源群Barrett, with labor leaders and fellow Democrats in the Legislature, was approved on a party-line vote of 12-7 by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where a previous version of the bill had stalled last summer.

One Democrat, Tom Daly, joined six Republicans in opposing the measure, which now advances to the full Assembly for action as early as this week. It would then return to the Senate for a final vote.

If enacted, the bill would put California, home to one of the world’s biggest economies, in the vanguard of a growing number of U.S. states and cities that have moved in recent years to surpass the federal minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

Supporters say such measures are necessary to help low-paid workers who have been slipping into poverty due to stagnant earnings and rising living expenses. Opponents say raising the mandatory wage floor puts undue strain on businesses still struggling to rebound from a prolonged U.S. economic slump.

The measure would gradually raise California’s hourly minimum wage from the current level of $10 to $15 by 2022 for large businesses and by 2023 for smaller firms.

It also would head off上海品茶QQ a pair of competing ballot initiatives lacking a provision to allow the governor to suspend the increases in hard economic times, a deal breaker for Brown.

Raising the minimum wage has cropped up on many Democratic candidates’ agendas ahead of the November elections, and the iss,上海品尝嫩茶Jacklyn,ue could help galvanize supporters at the polls.

But passage is not assured without backing from more moderate Democrats, including business-friendly Assembly members in swing districts who have recently held up bills that were priorities for the party’s progressive wing, including a plan to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the governor’s office, 2.2 million Californians earn the state minimum wage of $10 an hour. The bill would ultimately benefit 5.6 million workers, raising their wages by an average of 24 percent, according to an analysis from the University of Calif,上海品茶交友群Nadine,ornia, Berkeley.

Retail employees account for 16 percent of affected workers, and restaurant employees 15 percent.

Court orders Indian government to reinstate top cop

NEW DELHI ( ) – India’s highest court ordered the government on Tuesday to reinstate the head of the country’s top crime fighting bureau, who was suspended in October along with his deputy after they accused each other of bribery and interfering in investigations.

The spat embarrassed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI), which fulfils a similar role to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

And it also led to accusations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had damaged the independence of the CBI by putting its two most senior officials on leave until investigations into the allegations had been completed.

In its ruling on Tuesday, the Supreme Court said CBI Director Alok Verma should be re上海品茶工作室stored to his post, but it also barred him from taking major policy decisions until the conclusion of the probe.

In his earlier petition to the court, Verma had described his ousting as eroding “the independence of the instit,上海喝茶资源群Daisy,ution” and its officers’ morale. Some critics said the government’s actions were part of a wider pattern of government authoritarianism.

“I do not see it solely as a victory for Alok Verma. I see it as a victory for the independence of investigative agencies in this country,” Verma’s lawyer, Sanjay Hegde, told reporters after the Supreme Court ruling.

The court did not address the case of the CBI’s second-in-command, Rakesh Asthana.

Welcoming the ruling, the opposition Congress Party said the court had “lambasted” the government,上海品茶水磨Macey,’s decision to place Verma on leave.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the government’s stance, but told reporters that it would comply with the court’s ruling.

The CBI is currently investigating several high profile cases, including a $2 billion fraud at Punjab National Bank involving fugitive diamond billionaire Nirav Modi and loan defaults by li,上海品茶微信Cade,quor baron Vijay Mallya.

China denies report of bailout offer for scandal-plagued Malaysian…

KUALA LUMPUR ( ) – China on Tuesday rejected a Wall Street Journal report that said Chinese officials had offered to bail out scandal-ridden Malaysian state fund 1MDB and try to get the United States and other countries to drop their corruption probes into the fund.

The Journal, citing minutes of meetings between Chinese and Malaysian officials, reported on Monday that the offers were made in 2016. In return, Malaysia offered China lucrative stakes in railway and pipeline projects for Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure initiative, the report said.

In a statement in response 上海品茶工作室to the Journal report, the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lump,上海品茶会所Balthazar,ur said China never attaches political conditions to its cooperation with other countries.

“China has all along adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of any other country. We do not accept any groundless accusations made against China,” the embassy said.

1MDB, founded by former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, is the subject of corruption and money laundering investigations in at least six countries.

The U.S. Justice Department has estimated that a total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB fund officials and their associates.

The scandal was a key reason for the shock ouster of Najib in last year’s election, which saw the return of Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.

Najib has since been charged with corruption over 1MDB. He has pleaded not guilty and has consistently denied wrongdoing.

In a statement issued on his Facebook page late on Tuesday, Najib denied the allegations made in the Journal report. He said China had never offered to bail out 1MDB, and he defended the cost of i,上海品茶群二维码Gabe,nfrastructure,上海外卖品茶群Radley, projects awarded to China.

Since coming to power in May, Mahathir’s government has accused the Najib government of inflating the cost of Chinese deals. The new administration has paused more than $20 billion worth of projects awarded to Chinese firms, pending review.

Malaysian finance minister Lim Guan Eng said the government would study the allegations made in the Journal report.

“I have to refer back to any details explicitly said. If it was said in black and white, then it is something we will pursue,” Lim was quoted as saying in Malaysian media.

Congo opposition campaign says talking with Kabila camp on transition

KINSHASA ( ) – A Congolese presidential candidate’s representatives have met with outgoing President Joseph Kabila’s camp to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, they said on Tuesday.

Kabila’s camp denied any such meetings had occurred since,上海品尝嫩茶Mabel, the Dec. 30 election, for which provisional results are expected this week, but supporters of another candidate, who led opinion polls ahead of the vote, said they feared the government was maneuvering to squeeze him out of contention.

Members of opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi’s campaign said they spoke with上海品茶工作室 representatives of Kabila’s hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, in meetings aimed at promoting national reconciliation.

Kabila and Tshisekedi “have an interest in meeting to prepare for the peaceful and civilized transfer of power,” Jean-Marc Kabund told a news conference at which he said Tshisekedi was the “presumptive winner”.

Tshisekedi’s spokesman, Vidiye Tshimanga, later said Kabila and Tshisekedi had not met personally since the election but that their representatives had convened several times.

Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, a spokesman for Shadary and one of Kabila’s senior advisers, denied there had been contacts with Tshisekedi or his representatives.

Supporters of Martin Fayulu, the opposition candidate who had a healthy pre-election poll lead, have voiced suspicions Kabila may be looking to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with Tshisekedi if his preferred candidate, Shadary, loses.

Fayulu and six other presidential candidates issued a statement on Tuesday saying: “the electoral results cannot be negotiated and under no circumstances will we or the Congolese people accept such results”.

In a tweet, Fayulu’s Lamuka coalition also criticized Tshisekedi for saying in an interview with a Belgian newspaper this week that Kabila deserves praise for agreeing to step down.

Kabila is due to leave office this month but his refusal to go when his mandate expired in 2016 sparked protests in which security forces killed dozens of people.

“Falsifying the history of Congo by attributing to Mr. Kabila a false role in the advent of the (democratic) transfer of power would be an insult ,上海品茶群二维码Dallas,to the memory of all our martyrs who died for democracy,” it said.

URGENT MEETING

The election is meant to bring,上海品茶水磨Macey, about Congo’s first democratic transition in 59 years of independence, but a disputed result could trigger the kind of violence that erupted after 2006 and 2011 elections and destabilize Congo’s eastern borderlands with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, where dozen of militia groups are active.

The streets of the eastern city of Goma were deserted on Tuesday evening after a rumor spread that the results were about to be announced. The election board has not given a date for the release of results, which have already been delayed past Sunday’s deadline.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu’s office said he was traveling to South Africa on Tuesday for an “urgent consultative meeting” with President Cyril Ramaphosa about the election.

Domestic observer mission SYMOCEL said on Tuesday it witnessed 52 major irregularities, including people tampering with results, in the 101 vote counting centers it monitored. There are 179 counting centers tallying the vote across Congo.

Its findings, and those of a Catholic Church observation mission that noted significant irregularities, are likely to fuel complaints about the outcome once it is announced, although regional observers said the vote went “relatively well”.

In its own news conference on Tuesday, the ruling coalition accused Fayulu’s campaign and Catholic bishops of trying to stoke post-election violence.

Last week, the bishops said they knew the winner of the election, a declaration widely seen as a warning to authorities against rigging the vote.

Israeli ex-minister pleads guilty to spying for Iran

JERUSALEM ( ) – An Israeli former cabinet minister admitting to spying for Iran on Wednesday in a plea deal in exchange for an 11-year prison sentence, the Israeli Justice Ministry said.

Gonen Seg,专门哟啪的微信群Hallie,ev, energy minister from 1995 to 1996, was indi,上海品茶网Nadia,cted in June. The Shin Bet internal security service said at the time had been recruited by Iranian intelligence while living in Nigeria and had “served as an agent”.

Investigators found that Segev made contact with officials at the Iranian embassy in Nigeria in 2012 and that he visited Iran twice for meetings with his handlers, the Shin Bet said.

Segev, it said, received an encrypted communications system from Iranian agents and supplied Iran with “information related to the energy sector, security sites in Israel and officials in political and security institutions”.

Israel has long been locked in a shadow war with Iran, which supports Islamist guerrillas in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. Iran has accused Israel of being behind acts of sabotage and assas,上海品茶交友群Kai,sinations of scientists invo上海品茶QQlved in its nuclear program.

The court has yet to formally approve the prison sentence agreed with Segev, a physician, who had been jailed in 2004 for attempting to smuggle “Ecstasy” pills into Israel and left the country in 2007 after his release from prison.

He was arrested in May during a visit to Equatorial Guinea and extradited to Israel, Shin Bet said.

There was no immediate response from Iran to the Justice Ministry statement.

UK lawmaker cleared of election expenses fraud, aide convicted

LONDON ( ) – A lawmaker from Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority ruling Conserv,上海品茶水磨Quaid,ative Party was cleared on Wednesday of declaring false expenses during Britain’s 2015 national election in which he narrowly beat leading Brexit figure Nigel Farage.

Craig Mackinlay, 52, defeated Farage, the former head of the UKIP party, to win the parliamentary seat of South Thanet in southeastern England by 2,812 votes but was later accused of falsifying his expense returns.

Prosecutors said thousands of pounds of overspending was omitted from the returns which were “woefully inaccurate, and deliberately so”.

Mackinlay was cleared of the charges by a jury at Southwark Crown Court but Conservative Party official Marion Little, 63, who the judge said described herself as a friend to May and other senior political figures, was found guilty of two co,上海品茶工作室Sabrina,unts of encouraging or assisting an offense.

“No one can know whether her misconduct had any effect on the outcome of that election, but she plainly intended that it would,” Judge Andrew Edis said.

She was sentenced to nine months in prison but this was suspended because her husband is seriously ill.

In May 2017, prosecutors ruled out bringing more widespread criminal charges over allegations of expenses fraud by the Conservatives during the 2015 campaign which saw the party win power.

Mackinlay retained his seat in another national election in June 2017 with an increased majority of more than 6,000 votes as support for U,上海品尝嫩茶Lark,KIP coll上海品茶微信apsed with Farage – who played a key role in securing Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016 – no longer the party’s candidate.

Nigerian military frees editor held over Boko Haram article

ABUJA ( ) – Nigeria’s military has released an editor two days after detaining him over an article about a planned offensive against Islamist militants in the northeast, his newspaper said.

Soldiers raided the Daily Trust’s offices in the capital Abuja on Sunday in an operation that the Committee to Protect Journalists said showed “a dearth of respect for press freedom” a month before elections.

Soldiers also shut down the ,上海品茶微信Jacklyn,newspaper’s bureau in the northeastern city of Maiduguri where they detained regional editor Uthman Abubakar. The military later said the article had “divulged classified military information” and the action was meant to show the seriousness of the breach.

Islamist militants have stepped up attacks in the northeast in recent months, piling pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 promising to crush the insurgency and faces fresh elections on Feb. 16.

The military has complained in上海品茶会所 the past about critical coverage of its fight against the militants from the Boko Haram separatist group, and their more le,上海妹子品茶微信Rae,thal offshoot Islamic State West Africa. But it had stopped short of arresting reporters.

Abubakar was brought back to the paper’s Maiduguri office and released without charge on Tuesday, the Daily Trust said in an article. The bureau was reopened a day earlier.

The regional editor said he was “courteously treated” but “his mobile phones and laptop were still with the military as the authorities said they needed time to finish the forensic checks being carried out on t,上海品茶群二维码Talon,he equipment,” the paper said.

Its chief operating officer, Mannir Dan Ali, called the arrests “totally uncalled for and condemnable,” in interviews on local media.

The military did not immediately comment on the release.

The government’s chief spokesman, Lai Mohammed, said on Tuesday that while authorities “are not about to gag the press,” the media “must exercise greater restraint” reporting on the northeast insurgency.

Some publications were “demoralising the military and strengthening the insurgents,” he said, without providing details.

A second Daily Trust journalist detained in Maiduguri was released eight hours after the raid.

Baton-wielding Bangladesh police fire tear gas to break up garment…

DHAKA ( ) – Baton-wielding Bangladeshi police fired tear gas to break up thousands of garment workers demonstrating,上海妹子品茶微信Balthazar, for higher wages for a fifth day on Thursday, forcing dozens of factories to close.

The government of the world’s second biggest garment exporter behind China said this week it would consider demands for an increase in the minimum wage, after clashes between police and protesters killed one worker and wounded dozens.

Around 30 people were wounded,上海品茶微信Daisy, on Thursda上海品茶微信y as police fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing protesters in the Ashulia industrial belt, on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, that accounts for nearly 20 percent of total garment exports.

Nearly 50 factories closed after hundreds of workers took to the streets demanding higher wages, police official Rezaul Haque said.

“We had no other option but to use tear gas as they blocked a major highway,” Haque added.

The protests pose a problem for the government of Sheikh Hasina, who won a third straight term in Dec. 30 elections which themselves were marred by violence amid allegations of widespread rigging and voter intimidation.

The government said in September that the minimum wage for garment workers would increase by up to 51 percent this year to 8,000 taka ($95) a month, the first such increase since 2013.

But union leaders say that increase will benefit only a small percentage of workers in the garment sector, which employs 4 million in the country of 165 million people.

Low wages and trade deals with Western countries have made the sector a $30 billion industry accounting for 80 perc,上海品茶交友群Landon,ent of Bangladesh’s exports.

U.S. says Kerry to meet Iran foreign minister on Tuesday

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York on Tuesday to discuss implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and ways Tehran can use its influence to end Syria’s civil war, U.S. officials said on Monday.

Kerry is expected to raise Tehran’s concerns over difficulties with accessing the global financial system despite the lifting of some U.S. sanctions under the nuclear deal.

Iran and six world powers clinched the nuclear agreement in July 2015, which a上海品茶会所llowed for the easing of some sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

Tehran has called on the United States to do more to remove obstacles to the banking sector so that businesses feel comfortable with investing in Iran without penalties.

,上海品茶交友群Easton,

Current U.S. policy bars foreign banks from clearing dollar-based transactions with Iran through U.S. banks. But U.S. officials have said the Obama administration is considering ways in which non-U.S. companies can use the dollar in some business transactions with Iran.

“The secretary is very mindful that topic will come up, that that is very much on Foreign Minister Zarif’s mind,” State Departm,上海品茶论坛Pablo,ent spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing. “The secretary will be ready to talk to them about it.”

Kerry will press Iran to use its influence over the Syrian government to end Syria’s war, Kirby said, after peace talks in Ge,上海喝茶资源群Kailani,neva were halted by the opposition, which accused government forces of breaking a ceasefire in their bid to recapture the northern city of Aleppo.

“The secretary intends to raise … ways in which Iran can get more helpful going forward in a political process,” said Kirby, adding: “We want them to use that influence in a constructive manner, towards a political solution.”

Macron’s will to reform intact despite concessions to protesters:…

LUXEMBOURG ( ) – The French government remains committed to its push to reform the economy, the head of the central bank governor said on Thursday, describing a package of measures to appease a social uprising a,上海品茶论坛Sabia,s “justified”.

President Emmanuel Macron has faced since mid-November violent anti-government protests originally against since-scrapped fuel tax hikes, but which have snowballed into rage against the high cost of life and Macron’s reform drive.

Although the 41-year-old leader has insisted he will maintain his push to modernize the French economy, some economists have raised questions about whether he,上海品茶水磨Earl, may be forced to scale down his ambitions in the face of waves of street protests.

“The will and the necessity to reform France seems to me to be intact. What is key is that it is explained and shared, and that it is seen as just,” Villeroy said in Luxembourg.

Desperate to contain the uprising, Macro上海品茶会所n’s government announced wage increases in December for th,上海品茶交友群Talon,e poorest workers and a tax cut for most pensioners.

But the measures will leave a 10 billion euro ($11.5 billion) hole in the Treasury’s finances, pushing France back over the EU deficit limit of 3 percent of national output.

“The yellow vest crisis justified an emergency package to support purchasing power, but I don’t think it is neither desirable nor probable that it interrupts reforms underway,” Villeroy said.

Nearly half Australians shrink at prospect of President Trump: poll

SYDNEY ( ) – Nearly half Australian adults would support their country distancing itself from the United States if Donald Trump became U.S. president, a poll suggests, as the New York billionaire tightens his grip on the Republican nomination race.

The telephone poll of 1,202 Australian adults found that 45 percent believed the country should distance itself from the U.S. “if it elects a president like Donald Trump”, said researcher the Lowy Institute, which commissioned the research.

Just 51 percent of Australians believed the country should remain close to the United States regardless of who became president in the Nov. 8 election, the lowest level of support in a generation.

“By al,上海喝茶资源群Ida,lying,上海品茶交友群Pablo, ourselves with the United States … we contribute to global security as well as our own,” said Lowy Institute executive director Michael Fullilove.

“That nearly half of Australians would seek to move away from America in the event of a Tru,上海品茶会所Gabe,mp victory says something quite disturbing about the GOP front runner.”

Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. have been formal allies since signing the ANZUS treaty to protect the Pacific in 1951, and have been allies in most conflicts of the past century. Australia currently has troops in the Middle East to fight Islamic State alongside the United States.

The poll by the Lowy Institute, an independent policy think tank based in Sydney, was conducted between Feb. 26 and March 15.

It did not offer any insight into how Australians would want to distance themselves from the United States, nor did it specify a Donald Trump presidency – merely “a person like Donald Trump” becoming president.

But Australia’s sentiment towards the United States 上海品茶会所under Trump is weaker than it was under President George W. Bush in 2007, several years into the unpopular Iraq war. In what was considered a dip, 63 percent of Australians regarded the country’s alliance with the United States then as important to Australia’s security, Lowy said.

Just a year ago, 80 percent of Australians said the alliance with the United States was either “very” or “fairly” important, Lowy said.

Ex-House Speaker Hastert gets 15 months, admits sex abuse

CHICAGO ( ) – Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, once one of the country’s most powerful politicians, was sentenced on Wednesday to 15 months in federal prison for a financial crime related to sexual abuse of high school wrestlers he coached decades ago.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert a serial sex abuser in handing down the sentence, which was longer than the zero to six months recommended by federal prosecutors. Durkin said the sentence would have been even longer if it weren’t for Hastert’s age, 74, and poor health.

Frail and clinging to a walker, Hastert apologized for sexually上海品茶会所 abusing boys when he was a teacher and coach in his hometown of Yorkville.

“I’m sorry to those I hurt and misled. I wanted to apologize for the boys I mistreated,” Hastert told Durkin at the two-hour sentencing hearing in federal court in Chicago.

The judge asked him if he acknowledged sexual abuse of his victims and Hastert said he did.

Hastert, the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history and a successful international lobbyist who was earning $75,000 a month, pleaded guilty last October to the crime of structuring. That involves withdrawing a large sum of money in small,上海喝茶资源群Barrett, increments to avoid detection.

He needed the cash after he reached a secret agreement with one of his five sexual abuse victims to pay him $3.5 million in compensation for pain and suffering.

The judge said that even though Hastert could not be charged with sex abuse because the statute of limitations had run out, he could take the conduct into consideration at sentencing.

“Some conduct is unforgivable no matter how old it is. The abuse was 40 years ago but the damage lasts today,” Durkin said.

Hastert’s defense had asked for a probation-only sentence, arguing that his shame and humiliation were punishment enough. His portrait has been removed from the Capitol, the seat of the U.S. Congress, and his alma mater Wheaton College stripped his name from a public policy center.

“Nothing is more stunning than having the words ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the house’ in the same sentence,” Durkin acknowledged. But he said that an extremely aggravating factor in the sentencing was that Hastert lied to federal agents about the money and falsely claimed that the victim was extorting him. He said Hastert must serve two years of probation and go through sex-offender treatment after release, and also pay a $250,000 fine.

Scott Cross, 53, one of Hastert’s victims, and Jolene Burdge, the sister of another victim who is deceased, both spoke during the hearing.

“Don’t be a coward, Mr. Hastert,” Burdge said. “Tell the truth. What you did wasn’t misconduct. It was sexual abuse of a minor.”

Cross, the first victim to ever speak publicly about the abuse, choked up as he described how Hastert molested him in the wrestling locker room in 1972.

“As a 17-year-old boy I was devastated,” he told the judge. “I tried to figure out why Coach Hastert had singled me out. I felt very alone and tremendously embarrassed.”

Hastert, a conservative who trumpeted his honesty and small-town values when he was in Washington, D.C., said he did not contest Cross’s statement.

But his defense said the former politician had forgotten the incident from 1972 and had even approached Cross’s older brother, Tom Cross, former Illinois House Republican leader, and asked him to writ,上海品茶会所Jace,e a letter o,上海品茶水磨Lark,f support to the judge.

The sex abuse victim who received money from Hastert has not been named publicly. On Monday, using the name James Doe, he sued Hastert for $1.8 million, saying he had received only $1.7 million of the promised compensation.

Hastert had been out on bail pending sentencing. When there is room for him, he will report to a federal prison where he can get medical treatment after suffering a life-threatening blood infection last year.

Old boats cluttering Northumberland beauty spot auctioned

Old boats which have cluttered a Northumberland beauty spot are to be auctioned today as part of a National Trust bid to tidy up the popular coastal location.

Auctioneer Jim Railton has been appointed by the National Trust to sell more than 20 unclaimed craft from Low Newton Boat Park.

They range from a 19ft yacht “ripe for restoration” to kayaks, lasers, clinker wooden boats and dinghies.

The sale, which will begin at Low Newton a,上海品茶工作室Abra,t noon, has caused some local controversy, according to Mr Railton.

A National Trust spokesperson said: “The National Trust operates a small boat yard at Low Newton where a number of boat owners pay a small fee to moor their boats there for the season or annually.

“This income supports vital conservation work at Low Newton and along the Northumberland coast.

“The number of unlicensed and abandoned boats has increased over the years, impacting on the scenery of this special place and limiting the use of the yard for owners who pay a fee to moor their boats.

“The National Trust has a responsibility to care for the land we manage in the best way possible, and have taken the decision to remove broken and unclaimed boats to maintain the yard.

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“We have spent a great deal of time consulting with residents and members of the boat yard, and taken all possible steps to track down owners of unlicensed and abandoned boats in the yard.

“Owners we could contact were given a three month notice to remove their boats or to license them if they were in good condition, but we refused payment for unseaworthy vessels.

“Following a legal process we have appointed an auctioneer to sell the small number of boats remaining.”

To store a boat for the summer season costs £45 per boat, and an annual mooring costs £80 for a full year.

“By paying to store their boats in the yard, owners are helping us to care for special places such as Low Newton for everyone to enjoy, and funding vital conservation work along the Northumberland coastline,” said the trust spokesperson.

“We have been working since October 2018to trace the owners of boats and notify them of the plans to remove boats from the yard where the fee has not been paid.

“We have written to all boat owners that we were able to trace on a number of occasions and given three months’ notice to remove their boats from the yard where they were broken or pay the mooring fee. We also put up notices at the boat yard and in Low Newton to notify owners of the clearance.”

So far around20 boats have been removed from the爱上海419 yard, leaving theuntraced and unlicensed boats which will be auctioned.

The spokesperson said:,上海品茶QQMadelyn, “It has taken time to ensure we go through the correct legal process with the remaining boats. This has involved a lot of work to trace owners of boats that have not paid the mooring fee and give fair notice to remove the boats.

“As a charity with limited resources, time spentmanaging the boat parktakes away valuable resource which could be spent on vital conservation work and looking after the Northumberland coastline.”

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Apparently this is the best place for a first date in Hull

We asked our readers where the best place for a first date is in Hull – and they didn’t disappoint with their responses.

Almost 600 people shared their views on Facebook, with some cheekily suggesting certain lay-bys, swingers clubs and even places outside of Hull altogether.

But the most popular destination that kept cropping up might surprise you.

It was, in fact, the beautiful golden arches of McDonald’s.

It is certainly a cheaper option for those on a tighter budget, and they are often close to cinemas or bowling alleys so that you can make a night of it.

One person said: “McDonald’s and then onto foreshore for a bit of desserts…. True romance.”

While another joked: “Deffo gotta be McDonald’s I’ve been saving my bus tickets for that special someone.”

Have your say

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Would you go to McDonald’s in Hull? 0+ VOTES SO FAR

The second most popular option was Hull Marina, thanks to the array of bars and restaurants choosing to make the regenerated Fruit Market area their home, and the next best destination after that is apparently The Deep.

So if you’ve got a first date coming up, or you’re ready to start swiping on Tinder and need to impress, these might be worth a go.

Click here for more news.

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