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UK’s Johnson offers visa relaxation to 3 million Hong Kong people |NationalTribune.com

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the United Kingdom will consider revisions in its immigration rules, giving more Hong Kong residents a path to residency and citizenship, amid China’s plan to impose a new national security law in the city. “If China imposes its national security law, the British government will change our…

UK’s Johnson offers visa relaxation to 3 million Hong Kong people |NationalTribune.com

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the United Kingdom will consider revisions in its immigration rules, giving more Hong Kong residents a path to residency and citizenship, amid China’s plan to impose a new national security law in the city.
“If China imposes its national security law, the British government will change our immigration rules,” Johnson wrote in an opinion piece published in the South China Morning Post on Wednesday.
More:

US, UK, Canada, Australia condemn China over national security legislation 

‘A blow to autonomy’: China’s planned Hong Kong security law

Pompeo declares Hong Kong ‘no longer autonomous’ from China

Johnson’s column in the paper was published as Hong Kong continues to clamp down on dissent and pro-democracy activities, including the prohibition, for the first time, of the annual June 4 vigil honouring victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. A controversial bill that will criminalise “disrespect” of China’s national anthem is also due for a second reading in the territory’s legislature on Wednesday. 
Since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, Johnson said that “the key has been the precious concept of ‘one country, two systems’, enshrined in city’s Basic Law and the Joint Declaration signed by Britain and China”.
He said imposing the national security law “would be in direct conflict with (China’s) obligations under the Joint Declaration, a legally binding treaty registered with the United Nations.”

Johnson warned that what Beijing was proposing in Hong Kong “would curtail its freedoms and dramatically erode its autonomy”.
In response, Johnson said that “if necessary”, the British government would take steps to welcome more Hong Kong residents to the UK.
“This would amount to one of the biggest changes in our visa system in British history,” he wrote.
Millions qualified to apply
Among the changes he is proposing is the authorisation for Hong Kong residents carrying British National Overseas passports to have visa-free access to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months, instead of the current six-month limit.
The proposal would also give those passport holders “further immigration rights, including the right to work, which could place them on a route to citizenship”.

An estimated 350,000 people living in the Special Administrative Region of China are eligible, with a further 2.5 million qualified to apply.
“Many people in Hong Kong fear their way of life – which China pledged to uphold – is under threat. If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead, we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative,” Johnson said.
Hong Kong has been rocked by sometimes-violent protests since June last year when the government tried to push through a now-dropped bill that would have allowed people to be sent to China for trial. After a series of mass marches, the rallies evolved into broader calls for democracy with some protests descending into violent clashes with police.
Tom Tugendhat, a member of the British parliament and chairman of its Foreign Affairs Committee, meanwhile, joined his counterparts from Australia, Canada and New Zealand in calling on the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to send a special envoy for rule of law and human rights to Hong Kong.

Today I’ve joined fellow Foreign Affairs Committee chairs from AUS, NZ & UK- Sen David Fawcett, Simon O’Connor MP & @TomTugendhat in calling on @UN SecGen @antonioguterres to send a Special Envoy for rule of law & human rights in #HongKong. We stand in solidarity w/ Hong Kongers. pic.twitter.com/wlflsFssLV
— Michael Levitt 🇨🇦 (@LevittMichael) June 2, 2020

The letter, which Tugendhat posted on social media, warned of the “erosion of the rule of law” in Hong Kong.
They said that China’s proposed national security law in Hong Kong was “a breach” of the deal between the UK and China on Hong Kong.
Late last month, the National People’s Congress, which acts as China’s rubberstamp parliament, cleared the path for the national security law to be imposed on Hong Kong, prohibiting among others acts of sedition, secession, terrorism and foreign interference. It would also allow mainland security agencies to set up offices in Hong Kong for the first time.
Hong Kong residents and pro-democracy groups worry that the proposals risk entangling people for simply expressing their views. 

Protesters gesture with five fingers, signifying the ‘Five demands – not one less’ in a shopping mall during a protest against China’s national security legislation for the city on Monday [Vincent Yu/AP]

The proposal was greenlighted by Beijing just a day after Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco) approved the second reading of legislation criminalising abuse of China’s flag and national anthem. Pro-democracy members of Legco have accused pro-China legislators of ramming through the bill despite limited debate and have proposed a number of amendments for Wednesday’s debate.
On Tuesday, the UK had also warned that Hong Kong risks losing its status as one of the centres of trade, commerce and culture in the world with the imposition of the new national security law.
The United States had earlier announced that it was stripping Hong Kong of its special status in response to the security bill because it no longer believed the territory had autonomy.
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COVID-19: US passes ‘unfathomable’ 200,000 death toll |NationalTribune.com

Sorry, we can’t find the page that you are looking for. Don’t let that stop you from visiting some of our other great related content.EXPLORE MOREPalestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel dealsPalestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.At UN,…

COVID-19: US passes ‘unfathomable’ 200,000 death toll |NationalTribune.com

Sorry, we can’t find the page that you are looking for. Don’t let that stop you from visiting some of our other great related content.EXPLORE MOREPalestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel dealsPalestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.At UN, Qatar emir questions world inaction on Israeli occupationQatar’s leader says Israel continues to carry out ‘flagrant violation of international resolutions’.Lebanon: Hezbollah arms depot blast caused by ‘technical error’Lebanon’s official news agency said explosion took place in southern village of Ein Qana, about 50km south of Beirut.
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Iran says ‘internal agents’ may be responsible for Natanz blast |NationalTribune.com

Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government said on Tuesday there are strong suspicions that “internal agents” played a role in a massive explosion that occurred at a key nuclear facility earlier this year. On July 2, a fire ripped through a building at Natanz, a major uranium enrichment site. Satellite images showed it caused the…

Iran says ‘internal agents’ may be responsible for Natanz blast |NationalTribune.com

Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government said on Tuesday there are strong suspicions that “internal agents” played a role in a massive explosion that occurred at a key nuclear facility earlier this year.
On July 2, a fire ripped through a building at Natanz, a major uranium enrichment site. Satellite images showed it caused the roof to collapse and parts of the building were blackened by the blaze.
“One of the strong theories is based on internal agents being involved in the incident,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters at a news conference, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).

“The issue is being seriously reviewed by the country’s security organisations and we will announce the results after things are clear.”
It is the first time an Iranian official specifically pointed to the possibility of an inside job for the blast.
In late August, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization confirmed the damage to the facility was the result of “sabotage”.
“But how this explosion took place and with what materials … will be announced by security officials in due course,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said at the time, citing “security reasons” for not disclosing further information.
‘Sabotage is certain’
In early September, Kamalvandi announced Natanz saboteurs “have been identified” but refrained from discussing further details, including whether internal agents were complicit.
On Tuesday, Rabiei also reiterated that “sabotage is certain” but the incident still needs to be investigated due to its complexities.
The desert Natanz site, much of which is underground, is one of several Iranian facilities regularly monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.
Following the explosion, international media reports indicated Israel may have been behind the attack. Israel has been deliberately vague, neither confirming nor denying involvement while stressing the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.

“Everyone can suspect us in everything and all the time, but I don’t think that’s correct,” Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said days after the attack.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also said “Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear capabilities”, adding to that end, “We take actions that are better left unsaid.”
IAEA-Iran relations
September’s announcement that Iran knows the saboteurs behind the Natanz explosion came one week after IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi visited the country.
The trip was successful, leading to Iran granting access to two suspected former nuclear sites that the UN watchdog wished to inspect.
“In this present context, based on analysis of available information to the IAEA, the IAEA does not have further questions to Iran and further requests for access to locations other than those declared by Iran,” the IAEA and Iranian officials said in a joint statement following the visit.
In a speech during the 64th session of the General Conference of the IAEA on Monday, the president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi referred to the Natanz incident.

“These malicious acts need to be condemned by the agency and member states,” he said via video conference, adding “Iran reserves its rights to protect its facilities and take necessary actions against any threat as appropriate.”
Salehi also urged the UN watchdog not to compromise its “impartiality, independence and professionalism”.
Iran, UN and the United States are locked in a major disagreement centred around the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers, which US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in May 2018.
The US on Sunday declared it reinstated all UN sanctions on Iran, an announcement that was roundly rejected by the United Nations Security Council as lacking legal basis.
The US is trying to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran that is set to expire in October as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name of the nuclear deal.
Iran, which has always maintained it never pursued nuclear weapons, accepted the nuclear deal that removed all UN sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.
The US reneged on the deal, unilaterally imposing a harsh campaign of sanctions that have hit almost all the productive sectors of the Iranian economy. US sanctions have also targeted Iranian officials and organisations.
In response, starting exactly one year after US sanctions were imposed and other parties failed to guarantee economic benefits promised Iran under the deal, Iran started gradually scaling back its nuclear commitments.

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Palestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel deals |NationalTribune.com

Palestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel. Palestinians see the deals that the United…

Palestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel deals |NationalTribune.com

Palestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel.
Palestinians see the deals that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed with Israel in Washington a week ago as a betrayal of their cause and a blow to their quest for an independent state in Israeli-occupied territory.
Earlier this month, the Palestinians failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn nations breaking ranks and normalising relations with Israel.
Palestine was supposed to chair Arab League meetings for the next six months, but Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told a news conference in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah that it no longer wanted the position.
“Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League’s council [of foreign ministers] at its current session. There is no honour in seeing Arabs rush towards normalisation during its presidency,” Maliki said.
In his remarks, he did not specifically name the UAE and Bahrain, Gulf Arab countries that share with Israel concern over Iran. He said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit had been informed of the Palestinian decision.

Palestinians rally against Bahrain-Israel normalisation

The Palestinian leadership wants an independent state based on the de facto borders before the 1967 war, in which Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and annexed East Jerusalem.
Arab countries have long called for Israel’s withdrawal from illegally occupied land, a just solution for Palestinian refugees and a settlement that leads to the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state, in exchange for establishing ties with it.
In a new move addressing internal Palestinian divisions, officials from West Bank-based President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Gaza-based Hamas movement were due to hold reconciliation talks in Turkey on Tuesday.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in 2007 from Fatah forces during a brief round of fighting. Differences over power-sharing have delayed implementation of unity deals agreed since then.
Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies
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