UK’s opposition Labour chides government over Brexit ferry contract

LONDON ( ) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party criticized the government on Monday for awarding a 14 million pound ($18 million) contract to,上海品尝嫩茶Pamela, a ferry company with no ships to provide backup freight cover in case the country exits the European Union without a deal.

Labour’s transport spokesman, Andy McDonald, said the transport ministry had failed to carry out proper checks on the company, Seaborne Freight, contrary to what it had asserted.

He pointed to “mounting evidence of a lack of relevant expertise or experience” on the part of Seaborne.

“Our economy depends on these trading routes continuing to function yet [Transport Secretary] Chris Grayling is prepared to rely on amateurs in the event of a no deal,” he said.

“A no-deal (Brexit) scenario would be terrible for our transport networks under any circumstance but the sheer incompetence with which preparations have been handled is alarming in the extreme.”

Seaborne Freight Chief Executive Ben Sharp rejected the criticism ,上海品茶QQGabriel,and said the company had been working on providing a ferry service for the last two years.

“Collectively, the directors and investors of Seaborne have significant experience in operating vessels and ferries alike – in particular ferries in the Channel,” he told .

“Seaborne is no threat to the United Kingdom because they are not paying us anything until we deliver. So, what is the problem?”

Currently, Britain’s EU membership means that trucks drive smoothly through border checks within the 28-nation bloc. But in a no-deal Brexit, even a few minutes’ delay at customs for each truck could mean vehicles backed up at ports and queued on feeder roads on both sides of the Channel.

British lawmakers are expected to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, potentially leading to a disruptive departure of the UK from the EU on March 29 without an agreement on their relationship.

Britain awarded contracts worth more than 100 million pounds in total to three shipping firms to provide extra ferries. The other two are established operators – French firm Brittany Ferries and Danish group DFDS.

Grayling said on Monday the contract with Seaborne was “subject to the achievement of a range of key milestones”.

“It is not uncommon that they d上海品茶会所o not own their own vessels and will be chartering them through third parties,” Grayling said. “The bids we received to provide capacity were subject to technical, financial and commercial assurance.”

In a review of UK filings, Seaborne Freight’s Sharp served as a director with a shipping company, Mercator International Ltd, which filed for insolvency in 2014. The firm owed creditors 1.7 million pounds, a filing for the year to March 31, 2013 showed.

Sharp said: “That was part of a complex chartering contract that failed, and the company was wound up in the United Kingdom. The directors were not sanctioned, disciplined or c,上海妹子品茶微信Balthazar,riticized and that has never changed.”

Seaborne Freight faced separate criticism last week when its business terms and conditions showed references to placing “any meal/order”, prompting speculation on social media that it had copied the format from a takeaway delivery company. Seaborne has since updated its website.

Sudanese forces fire tear gas to break up Omdurman protests

KHARTOUM ( ) – Security forces fired tear gas to disperse dozens of demonstrators in Sudan’s Omdurman city on Thursday, a witness said, in the latest of several weeks of anti-government protests sparked by economic and political grievances.

Amnesty International meanwhile accused security forces in the city of pursuing injured demonstrators inside a hospital after protests on Wednesday in which three people were killed. Some people injured in the protests had been taken to the hospital for treatment.

Authorities said they were investigating Wednesday’s unrest.

The demonstrations are the most serious challenge yet to President Omar al-Bashir, a former army g,上海妹子品茶微信Cade,eneral who overthrew an elected government in 1989 but has since won elections that his opponents say were neither fair nor free.

Wednesday’s deaths raised to at least 22 the number of people killed in Sudan since protests began on Dec. 19, including two security personnel, according to official figures. Hundreds have also been injured and hundreds more have been arrested.

In Omdurman on Thursday, demonstrators blocked the city’s 40th Street before security forces attacked them with tear gas, forcing many to disperse into side roa,上海品茶QQEaston,ds. There were no immediate reports of any casualties.

The African nation has been rocked by weeks of almost daily anti-government protests sparked by rising food prices and cash shortages amid a deepening financial crisis. The protests have since turned against Bashir’s nearly 30 years in,上海品尝嫩茶Quaid, office.

Wednesday’s protests took place as Bashir addressed thousands of supporters in downtown Khartoum, defiantly telling his opponents to seek power through the ballot box.

State news agency SUNA said police on Wednesday had used tear gas to disperse “illegal” protests in Omdurman. It cited police as saying they knew of three deaths and several people being wounded and that these attacks were being investigated.

Amnesty said that in Omdurman on Wednesday security forces had opened fire on demonstrators and three people were killed. Eight people were hospitalized suffering from gunshot wounds to the head, chest, stomach and legs, Amnesty added.

“The security of上海品茶会所ficers opened fire in the hospital court yard and then marched into the emergency and medical sections of the Omdurman Hospital roughing up both patients and doctors,” an Amnesty statement said. “There must be an urgent investigation into this horrific attack, and all officers involved must be held accountable.”

Sudanese officials were not immediately available for a comment on the report. But a spokesman for Bashir’s ruling party said that the Khartoum governor has set up a “fact-finding committee to investigate what happened at Omdurman Hospital on Wednesday night, January 9”.

Sudan’s economy was crippled when the south seceded, taking away much of the country’s oil resources. The crisis has deepened since last year, when the country saw some brief protests over bread shortages.

The United States lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions on Sudan in October 2017. But many investors have continued to shun a country still listed by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism.

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