WORLD LEADERS laud fallen soldiers on eve of armistice centennial

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold hands after unveiling a plaque in the Clairiere of Rethondes during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, in Compiegne, France, November 10, 2018. Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Pool via Reuters

Leaders laud fallen soldiers on eve of armistice centennial

|AIWA! NO!|PARIS — Traveling from across the world to monuments honoring soldiers who fell 100 years ago, victors and vanquished alike marked those sacrifices Saturday ahead of Armistice Day and assessed alliances that have been redrawn dramatically since the dark days of World War I.

The leaders of former enemies France and Germany, in an intimate gesture that underscored their countries’ current roles as guarantors of peace in Europe, held their heads together at the site north of Paris where the defeated Germans and the Allies signed the agreement that ended the 1914-18 war.

After Chancellor Angela Merkel briefly snuggled her head into the neck of French President Emmanuel Macron, the two went inside a replica of the train car where the armistice was reached and put their names in a guestbook. Macron then took Merkel’s hand in his, again highlighting the changes on the continent where two world wars were fought in the 20th century.

“Our Europe has been at peace for 73 years. There is no precedent for it, and it is at peace because we willed it and first and foremost, because Germany and France wanted it,” he said.

Merkel was equally convinced of the power their friendship exudes.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet with veterans at the Clairiere of Rethondes, during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, in Compiegne, France, November 10, 2018. Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Pool via Reuters

“The will is there, and I say this for Germany with full conviction, to do everything to achieve a more peaceful order in the world even though we know we have very, very much work still ahead of us,” she said.

The open show of affection was a welcome antidote for Macron. Earlier Saturday, the French leader had a somewhat awkward meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. As Air Force One landed in Paris on Friday night, Trump wrote on Twitter he had been “very” insulted by comments Macron made in the days before that he considered anti-American.

A century ago, the entry of U.S. troops into World War I tipped the momentum toward its allies, including France and Britain. Even as he embarked on two days of observances for the Nov. 11, 1918 armistice, Trump said the United States now bears far too much of the burden to defend the West.

A flurry of Armistice-related diplomacy once again turned Paris, the jewel that Germany sought to take in 1914 but which the Allies successfully fought to defend, into the center of global attention Saturday as dozens of world leaders arrived in the French capital on the eve of the solemn centennial commemorations.

A portrait of a soldier is displayed at the Armistice Museum in the Clairiere de Rethondes in Compiegne where the Germans signed the armistice in 1918 that ended the World War One, France, August 30, 2018. Picture taken August 30, 2018.  Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Merkel’s appearance in Compiegne marked how her nation’s bloodstained history with France has become a close alliance that is now the driving force behind the European Union.

In the four years of fighting, remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of gas, France, the British empire, Russia and the United States had the main armies opposing a German-led coalition that also included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires.

Almost 10 million soldiers died. France lost 1.4 million and Germany 2 million.

Yet, despite a war that was supposed to end all wars, World War II pitted both sides against each other once again in 1940.

Across the line that once marked the Western Front, leaders lauded the courage of soldiers who were killed during the unprecedented slaughter, before converging on Paris for a dinner.

The armistice entered into force on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, and on Sunday 69 world leaders will commemorate the centennial of the event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, underneath the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris.

A view shows the table inside the replica of the wagon where the Germans signed the armistice in 1918 that ended the World War One at the Armistice Museum in the Clairiere de Rethondes in Compiegne, France, August 30, 2018.  Picture taken August 30, 2018.   Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

At dawn Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Vimy Ridge, the battlefield in northern France where Canada found its sense of self when it defeated German opposition against the odds.

Standing amid the white headstones against an ashen sky, Trudeau addressed the fallen, saying what Canada has achieved in the past century has been “a history built on your sacrifice. You stand for the values on which Canada was built.”

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In southern Belgium’s Mons, Canadians were also lauding George Price, the last Commonwealth soldier to die in the war when he was shot by a German sniper two minutes before the armistice took effect.

Trump was looking beyond the tragedy of death and destruction, asking in a tweet: “Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?”

After his meeting with Macron, Trump had been scheduled to head to the battlefield of Belleau Wood, 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of the capital, where U.S. troops had their breakthrough battle by stopping a German push for Paris shortly after entering the war in 1917.

The battle of Belleau Wood proved America’s mettle to allies and foes alike, and by the time the war ended U.S. forces were at least an equal to any of the other major armies, which were exhausted and depleted.

However, Trump canceled his visit because of bad weather and immediately came in for criticism.

“It’s incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary – and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow,” David Frum, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, tweeted,

The White House sent a delegation that included chief of staff John Kelly in Trump’s place. Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, said the White House should have had a fallback plan for the president.

“There is always a rain option. Always,” Rhodes said.

Trump is scheduled to visit a different U.S. cemetery close to Paris on Sunday.

John Leicester contributed.

BRITAIN’S MI6 in urgent Jeremy Corbyn security meeting amid fears of snap ELECTION

JEREMY Corbyn has been called in to meet the head of MI6 as spooks fear Brexit talks may collapse and spark a snap election.

Corbyn
BRIEFING: Corbyn has been briefed by MI6 on the threats to the UK (Pic: REUTERS
Dan O’Donoghue , DAILY STAR|AIWA! NO!|The Labour leader is believed to have met Alex Younger, head of MI6 so he could be briefed on the agency’s work and the severity of the threats facing Britain.
Mr. Corbyn is reported to have met Mr. Younger at the organization’s headquarters in Vauxhall, south London, where he was told that “MI6 did not pursue its own agenda”.

Mr. Corbyn spent years as a backbench MP attacking the integrity of the intelligence services and in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisoning his spokesman provoked outrage after appearing to question British intelligence by saying: “There’s a history in relation to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence which is problematic, to put it mildly.”

Why we need to remember the Black and Asian people who fought in World War 1

These soldiers volunteered to help the British army despite what the British empire did to their home countries

Serving submariners hold wreaths of poppies during the Submariners Remembrance Service and Parade (Photo: Henry Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images)
Serving submariners hold wreaths of poppies during the Submariners Remembrance Service and Parade (Photo: Henry Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images)

|HABIBA KATSHA, i|AIWA! NO!|This year marks the 100 years since the end of World War 1 in November 1918.

Since then Every year we remember those who risked their lives for us to live a better life in Britain. However, it seems that the people of colour who fought in the war played a less significant role in WW1 and this isn’t true. 

Until recently, I didn’t know that people of colour fought in the battle and this is the case for many other British people. The lives of soldiers of colour are just as important as their English counterparts and it’s time we started telling their stories. Serving with ‘great gallantry’ During WW1, the British empire was still intact so black individuals from British colonies travelled from their respected countries to come and fight for Britain.

Britain was often referred to as “the mother country” and people came from countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, and Jamaica to help defeat the Germans.

The British West Indies Regiment (BWIR) was a unit made up of volunteers from British colonies in the West Indies. The BWIR made their mark in the military, especially in Palestine and Jordan. The name of former Northampton Town player Walter Tull is inscribed on the Arras Memorial.

Tull was killed on March 25th 1918 during the second battle of the Somme (Photo: Pete Norton/Getty Images) 

The British Imperial Governor General Allenby sent a telegram to the then-Governor of Jamaica, William Henry Manning stating: “All ranks behaved with great gallantry under heavy rifle and shell fire and contributed in no small measure to the success of the operations.”  

Towards the end of the war, in November 1918, a total of 15,600 black men, had served in the (BWIR). A Black Brit who deserves an honourable mention is Walter Tull who died serving in the war. Tull was not only a soldier but a football player too.  

The footballer was born in Kent and was the first black outfield player to feature in the English top flight. He went on join the British Army and became the first black officer to lead white troops into battle. Tull suffered from shellshock and died in action in 1918 aged 29.

South East Asians also played a significant role in the first world war. Indians had a large presence in the WW1 as it’s estimated that 1.3 million Indians served in world war one and 74,187 Indian soldiers died. Indians troops helped various divisions in European, Mediterranean, Mesopotamian, North African and East African theatres of war.

Victoria crosses The Indian troops managed to break through the German defence by recapturing the town of Neuve Chapelle after the British had lost it. The Indian army fighting in the trenches suffered 34,252 total casualties during the trenches. Victoria Crosses is the highest award for gallantry that a British and Commonwealth serviceman can achieve.

Darwan Singh Negi and 10 other Indians received Victoria Crosses. He was given the title of subedar in Urdu which is the equivalent of British captain. Both of his sons went on to follow in his footsteps to become soldiers and joined the Indian army. As a person of colour, these stories make me proud of my Black and British heritage.

These soldiers volunteered to help the British army despite what the British empire did to their home countries. At a time when race and racism are touchy subjects in the UK, stories like these highlight how people of colour have contributed to Britain and that needs to be recognised. 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan: “Recording of dying Saudi journalist Khashoggi as he was killed in Istanbul shared with Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, and Germany in addition to the United States.”

The tape of Khashoggi’s killing has been given to U.S., Saudi, Europeans, Erdogan says

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament in Ankara on Oct. 23. (Tumay Berkin/Reuters)

|LOVEDAY MORRIS, The Washington Post|AIWA! NO!| An audio recording that Turkish officials say captures the dying moments of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as he is killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has been shared with Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Germany in addition to the United States, the Turkish president said Saturday. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at Ankara airport before departing for Paris for commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

“We gave it to Saudi Arabia,” he said of the recording. “We gave it to America. To the Germans, French, English, we gave it to all of them.”

Turkey has not said how it has a recording from inside the consulate.

Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post World Opinions section, was killed at the Saudi Arabia Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 as he went to collect a document he needed to get married. Turkey has said the killing was carried out by a 15-man Saudi hit squad that traveled to Istanbul from Saudi Arabia to kill him.

Erdogan has previously said the orders came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.

Northern Irish lawmakers tell Prime Minister Theresa May: Don’t betray the United Kingdom

Northern Irish politicians tell PM May: Don’t betray the United Kingdom

LONDON (Reuters) – The Northern Irish party which props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on Friday cast her Brexit negotiation as a betrayal and cautioned it could not support a deal that divided the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Theresa May at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Theresa May remembers ‘staunch to the end’ troops on Belgium Armistice visit
Prime Minister Theresa May at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The warning underscores the travails that May faces in getting any Brexit divorce deal, which London and Brussels say is 95 percent done, approved by both her fractious party and by the Northern Irish lawmakers who keep her in power.

Less than five months before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, negotiators are still haggling over a backup plan for the land border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland should they fail to clinch a deal.

U.K. BREXIT SECRETARY Dominic Raab: “The end is now firmly in sight” – BREXIT Deal By 21 November

RAAB BREXITBrexit deal in 21 days: End is in sight says Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab|MACER HALL, EXPRESS|AIWA! NO!|BRITAIN is expected to conclude a Brexit deal with the EU within the next three weeks, Theresa May’s chief negotiator has revealed. In a letter to MPs released last night, Dominic Raab predicted an agreement about the UK’s departure from the European bloc would be finalised before November 21.

Dominic Raab expects a Brexit deal within 21 days (Image: Getty)

“The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them,” the EU Brexit Secretary said.

His optimistic remarks raised hopes that the two sides are close to breaking the deadlock in the stalled Brussels talks. And the value of the pound strengthened after his remarks were reported.

But officials admitted many issues needed to be resolved and insisted ministers wanted to inject urgency into the talks after months of foot dragging by Brussels.

One Whitehall insider said: “There’s plenty of stuff still to do.”

Mr Raab’s indication of a possible date came in an October 24 letter to the Commons Exiting the EU Committee which was released last night. In the letter, Mr Raab said he expected to be in a position to give details about a possible deal by the November date.

“I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalised, and currently expect 21 November to be suitable,” he said.

Downing Street sought to dampen expectations of an imminent deal last night. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We want to get a deal as soon as possible and that is what we are working to complete.”

Mr Raab’s signal came as talks continued yesterday to find a breakthrough in the row over the future of the Northern Ireland border.

Civil servant Oliver Robbins, the Government’s chief EU envoy, was holding discussions with his EU counterpart Sabine Weyand in Brussels. European ambassadors expected to be updated on progress last night.

EU officials were understood to be expecting a decision to be taken within days on whether to hold a special EU summit this month to conclude a draft deal.

A Whitehall source close to Mr Raab said achieving a deal by November 21 was an “ambition” rather than a definite expectation, saying: “There has not been some tectonic shift in the last few days.”

In his letter, Mr Raab struck an optimistic note on the chances for a deal. He wrote: “Despite our differences, we are not far from an agreement on this issue.

“We agree on the principle of a UK-wide customs backstop. An agreement on the details of that backstop should be possible.

“Both sides agree that this backstop cannot provide for a permanent UK/EU relationship and are committed to a future relationship that works for the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland.

“We are open to talking about ways to achieve this and committed to continuing discussions in order to reach an agreement.

The end is now firmly in sight

Dominic Raab, Brexit Secretary

“The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them.

“We now need to acknowledge the progress that has been made and now work rapidly through the remaining issues and come to an agreement that works for both sides.”

In reply to Mr Raab’s letter, Labour MP and Exiting the EU Committee chairman Hilary Benn expressed disappointment at the Brexit Secretary’s failure to follow the pattern of regular appearances established by his predecessor David Davis. He also rejected Mr Raab’s proposal to update the committee by letter until the deal was agreed as “not sufficient or effective”.

He said: “You will know that this is not how committees undertake inquiries and is not conducive to scrutiny.”

With EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meeting European Parliament officials “almost daily”, the Government was failing to live up to Mr Davis’s promise to match Mr Barnier for openness, Mr Benn said.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said a deal by November 21 was “possible” but required more movement from the UK.

“It is up to the British side in particular to intensify negotiations towards a deal,” he said.

In a series of exchanges with MPs in the Commons yesterday, Theresa May insisted the Government was dedicated to getting “a good deal” for the UK in the Brexit negotiations.

After the rally by the pound last night, Hamish Muress, a currency analyst at financial firm OFX, said: “No Halloween scares today. Instead we finally have a concrete date from Raab regarding a Brexit deal being finalised, and the pound has jumped in response.”

A Department for Exiting the EU spokesman said last night: “There is no set date for the negotiations to conclude.

“The 21st November was the date offered by the chair of the Select Committee for the Secretary of State to give evidence.”

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British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt: Brexit deal by Nov 21 entirely possible

Hunt: Brexit deal by Nov 21 entirely possibleImage result for brexit

|LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters)|AIWA! NO!| – British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Wednesday it was entirely possible that there could be enough progress in Brexit talks for a deal with the European Union to be agreed by Nov. 21.

Brexit minister Dominic Raab said earlier in a letter to a lawmaker that he expected a deal to be finalised by Nov. 21, but his department said on Wednesday that there was no set date for EU negotiations to end.

“I think it is entirely possible that we could make enough progress by then,” Hunt said in response to a question about Raab’s letter following a speech at Policy Exchange in London, adding that outstanding issues could be resolved.

“I think that although there is a degree of doom and gloom about the Brexit talks at the moment, the fact that we have got to this stage… is broadly encouraging.”

 

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©(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by David Stamp)

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