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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson assembles
a talented team in biggest re-shuffle for over 50 years

by Larry Neild LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- Britainís new Prime Minister Boris Johnson named the first of his new front bench ministers on Wednesday night, just hours after moving into 10 Downing Street.

In what has been the biggest political reshuffle since the early 1960s, more than half of government ministers who served under former Prime Minister Theresa May were either sacked or resigned.
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Britainís new Prime Minister Boris Johnson | Coastweek

  As Johnson handed out jobs, thousands of protesters converged in Whitehall Wednesday night, gathering around the entrance to Downing Street. Officers from the Metropolitan Police were forced to form a line across the entrance to Downing Street.

Reacting to the big changes at the top, Tom Watson, deputy leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said: "This huge cull will lead to early collapse of Johnsonís government, bringing a general election that much closer."

The call for a speedy general election was echoed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who said:

"We need a General Election and a Labour government that works for the many not the privileged few."

Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary in Mayís government, was named as new Chancellor of the Exchequer, succeeding Philip Hammond who resigned.

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- Britainís new Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a speech at 10 Downing Street in London. XINHUA PHOTO - ALBERTO PEZZALI
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Now in charge of interior matters as the new Home Secretary is 47-year-old Priti Patel, who served under May as International Development Secretary until she resigned.

The new Foreign Secretary is former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

He replaces Jeremy Hunt, the politician who went head-to-head with Johnson in the battle to be leader of the Conservative Party.

Media reports claimed Hunt had been offered a new job in Johnsonís government but rejected what he considered a demotion from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In an extraordinary day in British politics, outgoing Prime Minister May ended her last day in office at her final Prime Ministerís Question Time.

May then made the short journey to Buckingham Palace to offer her resignation to Queen Elizabeth, followed soon after by Johnsonís journey to the palace, to be invited by the British monarch to form the new government.

He then headed to his new home at 10 Downing Street where among the people waiting to greet him was his girlfriend Carrie Symonds.

In a rousing speech aimed at the nation, Johnson promised that Britain would leave the European Union on Oct. 31.

Behind the worldís most famous front door Johnson quickly started to hand out the first key posts in a team that will be made up mainly of Brexit supporters.

One of the few front benchers to stay in the same job, Steven Barclay, remains in Johnsonís cabinet as Brexit Secretary. He had replaced Raab when he quit.

Also remaining in his old job is Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Former security minister Ben Wallace, the new Defense Secretary, campaigned to remain in the European Union. He trained at Britainís top military academy, Sandhurst, and later joined the famous Scots Guards, serving in the military for eight years.

Loyal Johnson supporter Liz Truss has been appointed International Development Secretary.

She was second-in-command at the Treasury in Mayís cabinet and in 2016 became the first female Lord Chancellor.

There was also a top job for former Environment Secretary Michael Gove who had a spectacular fall-out with Johnson in the 2016 leadership election which saw Theresa May emerge as prime minister.

In that campaign Gove scuppered the leadership hopes of Johnson by announcing his own candidature on the morning Johnson was due to launch his campaign.

Johnson stunned his allies by withdrawing from the contest.

Gove was also a contender in the recent contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

Political commentators said it appeared Johnson and Gove have "buried the hatchet", with Gove appointed as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The holder of the title is usually the de-facto deputy prime minister.

In his first speech as prime minister, on the steps of Downing Street, Johnson said he had a message for the doubters, the doomsters and the gloomsters, adding "they are going to get it wrong again.

"The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts."

"We are going to fulfill the repeated promises of parliament to the people and come out of the EU on Oct. 31, no ifs or buts," he said.

"And we will do a new deal, a better deal that will maximize the opportunities of Brexit while allowing us to develop a new and exciting partnership with the rest of Europe based on free trade and mutual support. I have every confidence that in 99 daysí time we will have cracked it."

Johnson will continue assembling his ministerial team over the next few days.
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UPDATES:

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson orders hiring of 20,000 extra police officers

LONDON (Xinhua) -- Britainís new Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a massive recruitment drive Friday to start hiring 20,000 police officers in a fight against rising violent crime.

Johnson has taken swift action after promising on his first day at 10 Downing Street that police numbers will increase.

Downing Street said the unprecedented drive to deliver more front-line police officers will start in September with the launch of a national campaign led by Britainís interior ministry, the Home Office.

Johnson said: "As I said on the steps of Downing Street this week, my job as prime minister is to make our streets safer.

"People want to see more officers in their neighborhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime."

"I promised 20,000 extra officers and that recruitment will now start in earnest," he added.

There have been major complaints in London and across the country that the number of front-line officers has been reduced because of spending cuts.

At the same time there has been an increase in knife crimes and serious assaults.

Johnson said he wants recruitment completed over the next three years, adding that the government will shortly set out plans for a new national policing board.

Chaired by Home Secretary Priti Patel, the board will bring together key police leaders.

It will hold the police to account for meeting the target set by Johnson, and drive the national response to the most pressing issues that affect communities right across the country.

Patel said: "Officers up and down the country put themselves in danger every day to keep us safe.

"They deserve our support."

"The rise weíve seen in serious violence is deeply worrying.

An additional 20,000 officers sends a clear message that we are committed to giving police the resources they need to tackle the scourge of crime," Patel said.

The government also said it will urgently review a pilot project which makes it simpler for police officers to use stop and search powers, with a view to rolling it out across all police forces.
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French President Emmanuel Macron to meet
Britain's Johnson to discuss post-Brexit ties

PARIS France (Xinhua) -- French President Emmanuel Macron will receive Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson here soon to discuss the relationship between the two countries after Brexit, French European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said on Friday.

While stressing there was no question of renegotiating the Brexit deal, de Montchalin told state-run France 2 television that Britain will "remain a partner after the Brexit."

The French minister said the divorce deal agreed between former British Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union (EU), which Britain's parliament had rejected three times, showed how the separation should be carried out.

"What I would like to do in the coming weeks is that we can go through this stage and negotiate, calmly ... how to work afterwards.

"What is still to negotiate is the future relationship," the minister said.

In his first speech as prime minister, Johnson on Wednesday pledged to bring Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31, saying "no ifs, no buts."

He warned that there would be a hard Brexit if the EU refused to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates
new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message of congratulations to new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, the Kremlin said in a press release.

"Developing relations in a variety of areas would be for the benefit of our countries and peoples," Putin said in the message, wishing Johnson success in his post.

Earlier in the day, newly-elected Conservative Party leader Johnson took office as the British prime minister amid rising uncertainties of Brexit.

Moscow-London ties have been strained since March 2018, when former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter were allegedly poisoned in Britainís southwestern city of Salisbury, an incident that sparked a diplomatic war between Russia and several Western countries.
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French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission president-elect
Ursula von der Leyen hope for and expect good working ties with Boris Johnson

PARIS (Xinhua) -- French President Emmanuel Macron and visiting European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday congratulated Boris Johnson who was elected the leader of the UKís ruling Conservative party and set to become prime minister.

They said they looked forward to having constructive talks with Johnson on Brexit and international crises.

"I warmly congratulate Boris Johnson, and I hope that we will soon be able to work together," Macron told reporters.

"Iíll call him as soon as he becomes officially the Prime Minister... I am very eager to working with him not only on the Europeans topics and Bexit-related negotiations, but also on the international issues on which we are closely coordinated such as the situation in Iran and security," he added at a joint press meeting with Von der Leyen.

For her turn, Von der Leyen congratulated Johnson and said "looking forward to having a good working relationship with him."

"We have a challenging time ahead of us. I think that itís very important to build up a strong and good working relation because we have the duty to deliver something good for people in Europe and in the United Kingdom," she said.

Earlier Tuesday, Johnson, the former British Foreign Secretary, was elected the leader of the Conservative party and set to become British prime minister.

He has pledged to bring Britain out of the European Union by Oct. 31, with or without a deal.
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Sweden and United Kingdom to explore possibilities
for future combat aircraft development

STOCKHOLM Sweden (Xinhua) -- Sweden and the UK have agreed to explore possibilities for joint development of future combat aircraft, a press release issued by the Swedish government said on Friday.

Swedish Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist and UK Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday.

"It is an opportunity for a strategic partnership in which we safeguard technology development, research, and then see how we can, in different ways, develop something that is good for both parties," Hultqvist told Swedish news SVT.

The MoU is the starting point for the two countries to analyse possibilities for deeper cooperation on the development of future combat aircraft capabilities, including future development of Swedenís current combat aircraft, the JAS 39 Gripen.

The agreement will be valid for 10 years, during which time the two countries are free to investigate similar possibilities with other parties, but may decide to fully initiate a bilateral development and procurement project.

Swedenís JAS 39 Gripen will continue to be the backbone of Swedish combat aircraft capabilities for the foreseeable future, with 60 latest-model planes to be delivered starting in 2020, according to SVT.

In Fridayís press release, the government states that this collaboration offers the opportunity to further insert advanced technologies into JAS 39 Gripen.

"Developing fighter aircraft is an extremely long-term process, so we actually think itís time to start with what will be the next generation after JAS Gripen 39 E," Hultqvist told SVT.

"That the state is involved in this is primarily about how we develop Swedish defense capability in the long term and how we manage the defense of Swedenís airspace," he added.

The MoU will remain valid regardless of Brexit, Hultqvist told SVT.

"We have extensive cooperation with the UK when it comes to defense, and this will remain regardless of whether they leave the EU or not," Hultqvist noted.
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Honduran exporters welcome Britain-Central America trade deal: officials

TEGUCIGALPA Honduras (Xinhua) -- Honduran exporters welcome the signing of a trade and political continuity agreement with Britain, which ensures ongoing exchange after Britainís exit from the European Union (EU), according to Honduran officials.

Medardo Galindo, president of the Honduran Federation of Agroexporters, said the UK-Central America Association Agreement was important, since "we will be able to continue exporting products without losing the tax benefits we have with the EU."

Honduran Minister of Economic Development Arnaldo Castillo said "once Brexit takes effect, we will continue to benefit from the advantages of the free-trade agreements" already signed with European countries, thanks to the accord.

The agreement "provides a framework for cooperation and development through political dialogue, increased economic ties" and work on other issues, the British government said Thursday in a statement.

The agreement was jointly signed by Britain, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guetemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama on July 18 in Nicaragua, in the lead up to Britainís expected withdrawal from the European bloc.

In 2018, the trade volume between Central America and Britian reached 1.255 billion U.S. dollars, and the Central American countries enjoyed trade surpluses.

Britain is the fourth-largest European market for the Honduran export, according to the Central Bank of Honduras.

Up to April, the Honduran imports from Britain amounted to 8 million dollars while exports surpassed 41.7 million dollars.
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Switzerland signs post-Brexit security co-operation deal with United Kingdom

GENEVA Switzerland (Xinhua) -- Switzerland said on Wednesday it had agreed with Britain to maintain the flow of information on organized crime and terrorism even if Brexit begins without a deal with the European Union (EU).

The Swiss Federal Council said in a statement that Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter traveled to London on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding that would bolster policing and security cooperation whatever happens with Britainís plan to leave the EU.

"Switzerland and the UK want to reinforce their already good cooperation on police matters," said the statement.

Both countries have reaffirmed their intention to work together even more closely in the future, especially in cases of organized crime and terrorism, it noted.

Should Britain leave the EU without a deal, the statement said, "all information from the British security services will be deleted from key EU databases, such as the Schengen Information System."

"In this case Switzerland, as indeed all other states in the Schengen area, would no longer have access to this valuable information, making it all the more necessary to find alternative forms of cooperation and other information channels," it added.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Boris Johnson elected leader of the ruling Conservative party

by Larry Neild LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- Boris Johnson was elected leader of the ruling Conservative party on Tuesday and is set to become the countryís prime minister.

Three years after abandoning his ambition to become the British prime minister, he will move into Londonís most famous address 10 Downing Street soon.
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He could have won after ex-prime minister David Cameron resigned just hours after the British people sent shockwaves around the world by voting against all expectations in June 2016 to leave the European Union.

Johnson assumes the task of steering Britain through the stormy waters of Brexit with his pledge to bring Britain out of the bloc by Oct. 31.

Nobody will ever know if he would have succeeded three years ago as prime minister had he entered the leadership race then, and won.

Johnson was born in 1964 in New York City to wealthy upper middle-class British parents. His birth was registered with both the U.S. authorities and the British Consulate in New York which meant that he was granted both American and British citizenships.

As a child, Johnson dreamed of one day becoming "king of the world." He was educated at the famous Eton College, he would later read classics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he could practice his oratory skills as president of the Oxford Union.

His first stint in the House of Commons saw him representing Henley, the place on the Thames famed for its annual regatta, a rowing event started on Londonís most famous river 180 years ago.

Johnson left Parliament in 2008 and started two terms as mayor of London, returning to the Commons in 2015 as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, counting Heathrow Airport within his constituency.

 

Britainís new Prime Minister Boris Johnson | Coastweek

LONDON United Kingdom -- Britainís new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is the great-grandson of a Turkish Muslim, and brother to Jo Johnson who is also an MP in the current parliament.
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Between 2016 and 2018, he served as Foreign Secretary in his old boss Theresa Mayís cabinet, later resigning over the Brexit deal she brokered with Brussels.

It was a deal that the House of Commons rejected three times, once by the biggest margin in British political history.

In a profile in the Sunday Times over the weekend, the newspaper posed the question:

What is it precisely that has produced The Man Who Would Be World King?

The answer was a combination of a chaotic childhood, big brains and the best education money can buy on a budget.

Written by Harry Mount, author of "The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson," the article told how Borisís childhood, like those of his siblings, was supercharged for success.

Mount said a crucial ingredient in Borisís success story was that he came from a family that had just about enough money to get along, but not enough to easily pay for school fees or for Boris not to work.

"While many of Borisís contemporaries at Eton and Oxford, such as Charles Spencer, brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, could float along on inheritances and trust-fund cushions, Boris had to get scholarships and earn a living as soon as he left Balliol," said Mount.

The young Johnson went to Eton College, thanks to an endowment made by King Henry VI in 1440.

It meant his fees were paid as one of 70 "poor boys" among the intake.

Boris is the great-grandson of a Turkish Muslim, and brother to Jo Johnson who is also an MP in the current parliament.

With his childhood dream fulfilled, Johnson will now find out whether his ambitions have been worth the long wait.
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Mixed reactions as Boris Johnson set to become United Kingdom prime minister

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- Reactions are mixed worldwide as former British foreign secretary and ex-mayor of London Boris Johnson was elected the leader of the ruling Conservative party on Tuesday and set to become the countryís prime minister.

Johnson won 92,153 votes against the 46,656 received by his rival, Jeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary.

Johnson said as PM he will bring "a new spirit of can-do" to the country.

"Itís time to deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn," he told the cheering audience after winning the leadership.

The Queen Elizabeth Center, just a few hundred meters from the Houses of Parliament was crowded with an audience who had been waiting to hear the name of Britainís incoming prime minister.

Johnsonís brother and MP Jo Johnson sat alongside their sister Rachel and father Stanley Johnson to hear the announcement.

With an anti-Johnson move already geared up to prevent a no-deal Brexit, Johnson said in his speech there will be people who question the wisdom of the decision to elect him as leader and prime minister.

"No one person or party has a monopoly of wisdom," he said, adding that the Conservatives had always had the best instincts, and the best way of balancing instincts.

The win on Tuesday comes four years after Johnson abandoned ambitions to join a leadership race following the resignation of the then prime minister David Cameron in the wake of the 2016 referendum result.

The announcement of the result Tuesday triggers a hand-over between Johnson and Theresa May, who succeeded Cameron in 2016.

In what will be 48 historic hours in British politics, May will make her last ever appearance Wednesday at Prime Ministerís Question Time in the House of Commons. She is also expected to make a farewell speech.

Later Wednesday afternoon May will travel to Buckingham Palace to offer her resignation as prime minister to Queen Elizabeth.

An hour later, Johnson will make the same journey to the palace to be appointed as prime minister by the British monarch.

Both are part of a formal ceremonial ritual between crown and state.

Johnson will then head to his new home at 10 Downing Street where he will make his first public speech as prime minister in front of one of the worldís most famous front doors.

Behind the closed door of No. 10, Johnson is immediately expected to start the task of assembling his new ministerial team, including appointing secretaries of state to the great offices of state, foreign secretary, home secretary and defense secretary.

It is likely to take several days to complete his ministerial team.

Outside the Houses of Parliament pro-leave and pro-EU supporters gathered, waving flags and shouting messages, as Brexit remains a hot topic across Britain.

Johnson had always been the favorite among the majority of the partyís 160,000 members, but his victory is expected to lead to a string of front bench resignations.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has already stated publicly he will quit, saying he cannot support the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson has pledged to bring Britain out of the European Union (EU) by Oct. 31, with or without a deal.

The prospect of Britain leaving the bloc with no deal has already provoked talk of a rebellion among pro-Euro Conservative MPs.

The announcement of the leadership race results has elicited mixed reactions from across the world.

May sent her congratulations to Johnson on her Twitter account, and said "we now need to work together to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole UK and to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of government."

She said Johnson will have her full support from the back benches.

Responding to the result, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said:

"Boris Johnson has won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members by promising tax cuts for the richest, presenting himself as the bankersí friend."

Corbyn said Johnsonís No-Deal Brexit would mean job cuts, higher prices in the shops, and risk Britainís NHS (National Health Service) being sold off to U.S. corporations in a sweetheart deal with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Corbyn added:

"The people of our country should decide who becomes the prime minister in a General Election."

In Brussels, the EUís Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said:

"We look forward to working constructively with Boris Johnson when he takes office, to facilitate the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement and achieve an orderly Brexit.

"We are ready also to rework the agreed Declaration on a new partnership in line with EU guidelines."

U.S. President Donald Trump also sent his congratulations to Johnson on his Twitter account, saying that "He will be great!"

Congratulations to Johnson were mixed with a shopping list of things he has to do to help the business world.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said to Johnson:

"British business shares your optimism for the UK.

"Letís work together to get our economy back on track and working for communities everywhere."

"Business needs three things in the first 100 days.

"A Brexit deal that unlocks confidence; clear signals the UK is open for business; and a truly pro-enterprise vision for our country."

Adam Marshall, director general of British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"The message to Boris Johnson from business communities around the UK couldnít be simpler.

"The time for campaigning is over and we need you to get down to business."

Marshall said companies need to know, in concrete terms, what Johnsonís new government will do to avoid a messy, disorderly Brexit on Oct. 31, the date set by Brussels for Britainís departure from the European Union.

He said a disorderly exit would bring pain to communities across Britain and cause disruption to UK trade around the world."
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FURTHER READING:

Britainís new Prime Minister Boris Johnson fills his Cabinet with close allies

           

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