United Kingdom, United States of America Special Relationship. What Special Relationship? And How?

When British Prime Minister Theresa May became the first world leader to visit Donald Trump at the White House in January 2017, it appeared the historic friendship between the two nations was in good health.

But a series of spats have driven the two leaders apart, culminating in the president’s extraordinary public criticism of May’s Brexit strategy as he arrived on a visit to Britain this week.

November 2016: The US president-elect catches May off-guard when he tweets that former UK Independence Party leader and Brexit champion Nigel Farage “would do a great job” as Britain’s ambassador to the United States.

May’s Downing Street office is forced to say there is “no vacancy”.

January 2017: May meets Trump at the White House, where he predicts that “great days lie ahead for our two peoples and our two countries”, raising hopes of a swift post-Brexit trade deal.

May and Trump also met at the UN General Assembly in September© Provided by AFP May and Trump also met at the UN General Assembly in September

The defining image of the trip is of Trump holding May’s hand as they walk outside the White House. It attracts derision in Britain. The British leader invites her counterpart for a state visit.

But the feelgood factor lasts only a matter of hours, as the US leader unexpectedly announces a travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries, affecting dual British citizens.

May says she “did not agree” with the ban, and British lawmakers demand she rescind the state visit invitation.

June 2017: Trump takes aim at London Mayor Sadiq Khan following a terror attack in the British capital.

Distorting a message from Khan telling Londoners there was “no reason to be alarmed” by an increased police presence, Trump tweets: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'”

Khan responds, saying: “We’re not schoolchildren. He’s the president of the United States, so I’m unclear what his beef is with me.”

September 2017: After the botched bombing of a London underground train, Trump weighs in again, tweeting: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”

May responds it was “unhelpful” to speculate on an ongoing investigation.

Jayda Fransen, the deputy head of a British far-right group, posted anti-Muslim videos that were retweeted by US President Donald Trump© Provided by AFP Jayda Fransen, the deputy head of a British far-right group, posted anti-Muslim videos that were retweeted by US President Donald Trump

November 2017: Trump retweets three videos originally posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy head of far-right group Britain First, purportedly showing Muslims engaging in acts of violence, although one of the videos is later debunked.

May says Trump was “wrong” to retweet the messages, but the US leader hits back, tweeting to May: “Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.”

January 2018: Trump says he is not coming to inaugurate the new US embassy building with a tweet, calling its new site in south London an “off location”.

“I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts’,” he wrote, adding: “Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”.

May 2018: Trump tells a National Rifle Association convention that a “once very prestigious hospital” in London was like a “war zone” because of knife crime.

“Yes, that’s right, they don’t have guns, they have knives and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital.”

He then mimicked someone using a knife.

Knife-related crimes rose by 23 percent in London last year.

July 2018: With the promised state visit now downgraded to a working trip, the president drops a bombshell for May as he begins the four-day stop fresh from rebuking NATO allies in Brussels.

Interviewed by The Sun newspaper, Trump says May is deviating from British voters’ wishes with her plan to retain close trading links to the EU after Brexit.

“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me,” he says.

May’s plan would “probably kill” her hopes for a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States, Trump says, and for good measure adds that former foreign minister Boris Johnson, who resigned over the Brexit plan, would make “a great prime minister”.

The undiplomatic language does nothing to endear Trump to the many protesters who intend to shadow the president’s visit, complete with a nappy-clad blimp bearing his features.

Theresa May Rolls Eyes As Trump Is Asked About Sun Interview Attacking Her

Both President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May were caught on camera showing their displeasure at a journalist’s question about the now-infamous interview given by the American leader to The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper.

The pair were giving a brief update to a pool of reporters at Chequers, the prime minister’s countryside residence, but Trump said he would take no questions until a press conference scheduled later in the day.

china us tradeTrump had told The Sun newspaper that May’s current plan for Brexit would “probably kill” any potential trade deal with the U.S. by keeping Britain too closely aligned with the European Union E.U.

By Crimson Tazvinzwa

Donald Trump: ‘British people like me a lot. The police build barriers to stop me getting mobbed’

I’d like to start by thanking myself bigly for finding the time to talk to you at this press conference. As many of you will know, the president of the United States of America is a very busy man. Possibly the busiest man in the world. And no president has ever been busier than me. I am the busiest. So I’m sure you’d like to join me in thanking me for making time in my schedule for you.

When I said yesterday Nato was a waste of space and I couldn’t wait to leave, that was fake news. I don’t know why the media always choose to report me accurately but they do. I’m telling you now that Nato is a great place. One of the very best places I’ve ever visited. I like it a lot. A lotly a lot. I’ve got a lot of properties in Nato. More properties than any other person in the world. You should come and stay in them some time. You really should. And the Natians are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. The very nicest.

But I’m telling you this and I need you to hear me. Some of the Natians haven’t been paying their fair share. And that’s got to stop right now. So that’s what I told them. I said, if you don’t pay your fair share then you aren’t paying your fair share. And yes, we had some tough talks about that. Some of the toughest talks of all time.

But we got there in the end, with the Natians agreeing to pay what they had already agreed to pay. No one bargains tougher than me. No one.

So Nato is now a lot safer and a lot stronger than when I arrived here a couple of days ago. It was amazing to see the spirit in the room. And I guess that’s down to me. Everyone here in Natoland has personally thanked me. That’s a fact. A factly fact. Each Natian has made a point of coming up to me to say thank you. They thanked me a lot for being a very stable genius.

They said: “Thank you, Mr President, you can leave now.” Even Mr Stoltenburger – I’ve never eaten one of those – thanked me as he showed me the door. That was a joke by the way. I like to make jokes. I make a lot of jokes. I really do. You should ask Pierce Morgan. He says I’m the funniest guy he’s ever met.

My next stop is Britain, England. I’m going to a lot of pretty hotspots on this European trip. But that’s what the president does. He goes to hotspots. And I make no bones about it, hotspots don’t get hotter than Blenheim Palace and Windsor Castle. There’s a lot of very bad people in those places. Worse even than Afghanistanistan.

But America makes the best weapons in the world. We really do. The very best. No one makes better weapons than America. You should buy some of them. We’ve got planes that can do incredible things. Things you wouldn’t believe. Just like in the cartoons. Have you watched Fox News? So I can look after myself if the environment gets too hostile. I’m not worried. Nothing worries me. I sleep very well at night. Better than any other president. I take my memory foam mattress everywhere. Helps with my dementia. Not that I have it.

I think the British people like me a lot. They like me so much the police have had to build barriers everywhere I go to stop me being mobbed by my fans. And I’m really looking forward to getting out and seeing a bit of the country and not meeting anyone. I love not meeting people. Hugely.

What’s that about heartbreak? Oh, you said hard Brexit. I thought you said heartbreak. I’ve had heartbreak. Though not so much recently. I guess Brexit means Brexit though I haven’t really given it much thought. Then no one in Britain, Europe, has either. Just make sure you’ve got enough cages for the kids and it’ll be fine.

So yeah, I reckon the first two days of my UK trip are going to be a bit dull. Just lunch and a few castles. But then I get to go up to my golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, England. I’ve got a lot of golf courses. No president has ever had more golf courses.

And mine are the best. The absolute best. It’s going to be great putting my feet up before I go off to see Vladimir Putin. He’s a great guy. A lot of people misunderstand him. He’s a competitor not an enemy. We get on really well and I’m telling you he can’t wait to hear what I’ve got to say about you Natians.

Thanks so much for my time. It was your pleasure.

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: We are not so far from the final [Brexit Deal] agreement, 20 per cent

a man wearing a suit and tie© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said a deal is 80 per cent agreed, in an apparent softening of tone as Theresa May faces down Tory rebels over the direction Britain should take in talks.

Speaking on a visit to the United States Michel Barnier said he was determined to negotiate the remaining 20 per cent of the deal, with the Brussels deadline for an agreement now just around three months away.

“After 12 months of negotiations we have agreed on 80 per cent of the negotiations,” he told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“We are not so far from the final agreement, 20 per cent. I don’t want to put myself in the situation where we fail. But to be clear, we are prepared on the European side [for] many options, including the no deal.”

The EU official added that “time is short” to close a deal and declined to comment on the resignations, saying he did not “want to make any comment on domestic and national policy in the UK”.

The approach is in contrast to Mr Barnier’s boss, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who on Monday responded sarcastically to the idea that Ms May’s Cabinet may have finally reached a position unity.

But speaking at the think-tank Mr Barnier reiterated his early warnings that Britain could not secure a better deal than EU membership, stating: “It will be clear, crystal clear at the end of this negotiation that the best situation, the best relationship with the EU, will be to remain a member.”

Donald Trump: So I have Nato, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin

Donald Trump, with first lady Melania Trump, speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn on Tuesday. © AP Donald Trump, with first lady Melania Trump, speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn on Tuesday. Donald Trump expects to see a country in “turmoil” when he lands in the UK on Thursday for a two-day visit he said would make his subsequent summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki seem “easy”.

The president spoke to reporters on the south lawn of the White House on Tuesday morning, before boarding Marine One to begin his trip to Europe, which will begin with a Nato summit in Brussels.

He repeated familiar criticism of Nato and spoke warmly of Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary and Brexit leader who resigned from the government of Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday. Trump said Johnson had been “very nice” and “very supportive”.

“It’s going to be an interesting time in the UK and certainly an interesting time with Nato,” Trump said, over the noise of the helicopter. “Nato has not treated us fairly but I think we’ll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little. But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.”

President Donald Trump shakes hands with British Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson during the "Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development" meeting during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Catalyst Images President Donald Trump shakes hands with British Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson during the “Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development” meeting during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Johnson was the second Eurosceptic cabinet member to resign in recent days, after Brexit secretary David Davis. The UK, Trump said, was in “a situation that’s been going on for a long time”.

“So I have Nato, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly Putin may be the easiest of them all, who would think. Who would think. But the UK certainly has a lot of things going on.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One for travel to Europe from the White House, in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis © Catalyst Images U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One for travel to Europe from the White House, in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis Trump was asked if he had spoken to May since Johnson’s resignation.

“I have not, no I have not,” he said. “Boris Johnson’s a friend of mine, he’s been very nice to me, very supportive and maybe I’ll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson, I’ve always liked him.

The emergency siren is whirring, but few are taking much notice.

The most fundamental Brexit truth right now is this: Unless there is a concession from Brussels over the next few months, a full-blown political crisis in the U.K. is inevitable.

And right now, that concession is nowhere in sight.

That is the reality facing Theresa May as she prepares for the most important Cabinet meeting of her premiership at her Chequers country retreat on Friday, where she hopes to forge a consensus on the government’s preferred future relationship with the EU after Brexit, which could form the basis of a breakthrough in the negotiations with Brussels.

All signs suggest it will involve a lot of British give. But without any EU take it will be pointless.

Fundamentally, both sides have until March 29, 2019 to sign a withdrawal agreement which settles the terms of the divorce and sketches out “a framework” for what the future EU-U.K. relationship will look like.

In that document, there must be a binding “backstop” clause which sets out a series of measures ensuring the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic stays open.

This clause must be legally enforceable “unless and until” a better solution can be found — i.e. it could last forever. Even more importantly, it must also be “Northern Ireland-specific.” In other words, it can’t apply to the whole of the U.K.If Brussels does not relent on this second point it means that for the U.K. to reach a deal with the EU — any deal — it must sign a legally enforceable treaty binding part of its territory (and not the rest) to EU rules in perpetuity.

The EU’s position means that if the U.K. wanted to break from EU rules and strike its own trade deals, a customs border must be erected within its own single market — between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.Here’s the crux. Brussels insists that there is only one way to stop that — no cherry-picked third way options: The whole of the U.K. must remain in the single market and customs unionThese are the only two options now on the table, EU officials say. (Assuming we put aside no deal or no Brexit.

To accept either option guarantees a political crisis in Britain. But refuse the choice and the clock ticks down to a no-deal crisis all of its own. All signs point to crisis — unless the EU relents. To accept either option would be the end of the U.K. prime minister, aides say. “She’d be gone in two minutes,” one senior government official said.

Why? Both breach every Brexit promise she has made — and everything Vote Leave promised.

Staying in the single market and customs union means accepting all the rules and regulations that come with them — including freedom of movement. It would also mean no independent trade deals and large annual contributions to the EU budget.

Known as “Norway Plus” in the Brexit patois, this is the dream option for Brussels. It is, essentially, the terms of the transition extended in perpetuity.

But many in Brussels believe whatever May’s “red lines” in the negotiations — no freedom of movement, no European Court of Justice and no “vast” annual payments to Brussels — a full-scale British capitulation is under way.

This is the reason the Norway Plus option is explicitly left on the table by Brussels despite repeated U.K. government warnings that it is a nonstarter.

If London insists on sovereignty, “so be it” says the European Commission — but it must lose control of Northern Ireland. This is the only other option which protects the integrity of its market and the open border in Ireland. May has said “no U.K. prime minister” could agree such terms.

The EU has offered two options, both equally unacceptable. Both mean a full-scale political crisis in the U.K., unless the EU compromises and allows some U.K. cherry-picking.

What emerges from the Chequers summit on Friday will be Britain’s last chance to tempt the EU away from forcing that scenario.

Yemen’s Ansarullah claims Saudi Arabia bribing foreign media firms in an attempt to shut down anti-Saudi Yemeni media.

yemen2
Houthi rebel fighters inspect the damage after a reported airstrike carried out by the Saudi-military

By Crimson Tazvinzwa

Yemen’s Ansarullah movement claims that Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a deadly war on the impoverished country for the past three years, is giving huge bribes to foreign firms in an attempt to shut down anti-Saudi Yemeni media.

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the movement’s Spokesman, made the remarks in a statement carried by Al-Masirah satellite television network on Sunday, saying in only one instance Riyadh had given as much as “$30 million to a foreign satellite company to block a Yemeni news channel for just 30 days”.

He added that the so-called military coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, was “sparing no effort” to muffle the true voice of Yemeni people calling out through the country’s satellite television channels and radio stations.

READ MORE: Yemen conflict explained in 400 words

yemen crisis
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstall the former Saudi-backed Hadi regime and crush the Houthi movement. The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in March that the war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured until then.

Abdul-Salam also added that all attempts made by the “invaders” to target Yemeni media were constantly being foiled by the media bureau of Yemen’s Operations Command through revealing their true nature and the harm and misery that they had brought to Yemen so far.

“What the enemy is doing against the anti-invasion media outlets, either Yemeni or non-Yemeni, are mere oppressive acts aimed at obscuring the facts and distorting the reality, similar to what they have done and are doing against the Palestinian cause,” he stated.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstall the former Saudi-backed Hadi regime and crush the Houthi movement. The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in March that the war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured until then. The war and an accompanying blockade have also caused famine across Yemen.