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When is a Brexit vote not a Brexit vote? March 29

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britains parliament will hold a special sitting on Friday to discuss and vote on Brexit, potentially unlocking a delay to May 22 to the countrys exit from the European Union but falling short of the criteria needed to formally ratify the deal.

A pro-Brexit supporter installs Union Jack flags outside the Houses of Parliament, following the Brexit votes the previous evening, in London, Britain, March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The government hopes to avoid another heavy defeat on the deal by separating the two elements which make up the exit package: a legal Withdrawal Agreement covering the terms of the split and a Political Declaration on a long-term relationship.

The two documents together have been rejected twice already by parliament. Under British law, the deal cannot be ratified without securing parliaments approval for both parts.

WHAT IS UP FOR DEBATE ON FRIDAY?

On Friday, the government will ask parliament to debate and vote on the Withdrawal Agreement alone. The full text of the motion up for debate can be found here:

WHAT WILL THE RESULT MEAN?

If government wins the vote, it believes it will have satisfied the conditions set by the EU in order to delay Britains exit from the bloc until May 22. These conditions were set out at a European Council summit on March 21.

However, the result will not meet the criteria in British law for the exit package to be formally ratified. The government acknowledges this in its motion.

In order to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, the government is required to have parliamentary approval for both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration on future relations. This would therefore require another separate vote at a future date.

CAN THE GOVERNMENT WIN?

Mays Conservatives do not have a majority in the 650-seat parliament, relying on the 10 lawmakers of Northern Irelands Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to prop up her government.

The Brexit deal was defeated first by a record 230 votes on Jan. 15 and then by 149 votes on March 12.

SpaceX heavy rocket takes Tesla car into orbit in test blast-off (VIDEO)

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SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy space rocket has launched on its maiden flight. The rocket departed from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying a Tesla car into orbit.

The launch was delayed twice due to heavy winds in the upper atmosphere, but the countdown finally began for a 3:45pm EST (2045 GMT) blastoff on Tuesday.

The rocket is the brainchild of billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk and contains Musk’s old midnight-cherry Tesla Roadster, complete with a dummy passenger called Starman. In a typical Musk flourish, the car will be blasting out David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” as it leaves the atmosphere.

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If the demonstration launch is a success, Falcon Heavy will be the world’s most powerful serviceable rocket.

It’s the biggest rocket in the world by far,” Musk told CNN on Monday. He had announced plans to develop the rocket in 2011.

If the rocket makes it into orbit, SpaceX will attempt to land the two side boosters at Landing Zones One and Two on land at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. These landings should occur at seven minutes and 58 seconds after launch.

The third central core of the rocket will stay attached to the Tesla payload car onboard before separating. If successful, this core will land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” landing drone ship eight minutes and 19 seconds into the flight.

US-Canada border closure puts sick Americans’ lives in danger

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Issued on: Modified:

FOCUS © FRANCE 24

By: François RIHOUAY | Gloria Henriquez

Since the spring, the border between the United States and Canada has been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. TRead More – Source

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Over a million protesters demand Chile president’s resignation

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More than one million people took to the streets in Chile Friday for the largest protests in a week of deadly demonstrations demanding economic reforms and the resignation of President Sebastian Pinera.

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The leader told the thronging masses that he had "heard the message" in a post on Twitter, characterizing the protests in a positive light and as a means towards change.

Demonstrators carrying indigenous and national flags sang popular resistance songs from the 1973-90 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship era as the country, usually seen as one of the most stable in Latin America, grapples with its worst violence in decades.

Santiago's governor Karla Rubilar described it as "a historic day" on Twitter, praising "a peaceful march… representing the dream of a new Chile."

Rubilar said more than a million were demonstrating around the country, while Santiago's town hall put the number of people marching in the capital at 820,000, citing police figures.

For the past week, Chileans' pent-up anger has spilled over in the form of protests against a socio-economic structure that many feel has left them by the wayside, with low wages and pensions, costly health care and education, and a big gap between rich and poor.

Pinera, a conservative billionaire, wrote on Twitter that "the massive, happy and peaceful march today, where Chileans demanded a more just and supportive Chile, opens great paths for the future and hope."

"We have all heard the message. We have all changed. With unity and help from God, we will travel the road towards a Chile that is better for all," he said.

Suspect Arrested in Shooting of Award-Winning NYPD Officer

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What to Know

  • A 33-year-old Brooklyn man was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a peace officer[hhmc]

  • Police say Kelvin Stichel fired multiple rounds at police who tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant[hhmc]

  • One officer was struck in the leg but is expected to survive [hhmc]

A suspect accused of shooting a police officer in Brooklyn was arrested Saturday, the NYPD said.

Kelvin Stichel, 33, of Brooklyn, was charged with four counts of attempted aggravated murder of a peace officer and four counts of attempted murder, police said. He also faces a charge of robbery from an outstanding warrant.

The officer, Miguel Soto, and other members of the warrant squad were driving around Bed-Stuy at 6:30 a.m. when they spotted Stichel coming out of a house, sources told NBC 4 New York. Stichel saw the cops and started running — they made a U-turn, eventually got out and started chasing him on foot, authorities said.

The officers identified themselves and asked Stichel to show his hands. He then started shooting at them on Decatur Street, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said.

Tense Moments Before and After Cop Shooting in BK

[NY] Tense Moments Before and After Cop Shooting in BK

Police returned fire and hit him one time in the arm. Soto, who earned a medal for valor in a 2013 playground shooting, was hit once in the upper right thigh; O'Neill said the bullet appeared to have passed straight through his leg and that he was conscious and alert while speaking with doctors at the hospital. Soto was released from the hospital early Thursday afternoon — seven hours after taking the bullet. No other cops were shot.

Stichel ran off after the gunfire and was later apprehended in a hallway. O'Neill said the gun was recovered nearby. He estimated the suspect had fired about six shots and that his officers fired "multiple rounds."

Stichel was most recently released from jail in May 2014 after serving time for criminal possession of a controlled substance. Before that, he served time for attempted robbery.

He is currently being treated at Kings County Hospital and has yet to be arraigned, pending his discharge from the hospital, the DA's office said.

Sources say both the suspect and the suspect's girlfriend were known to authorities. He had a warrant out for his arrest in connection with an alleged domestic violence robbery; his girlfriend was herself wanted by police for robbery, sources say. Cops came to arrest her several weeks ago, and she pepper-sprayed the officers, sources say. Then she and the boyfriend ran off.

Assange arrested in London after seven years in Ecuador embassy, U.S. seeks extradition

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LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police and carried out of the Ecuadorean embassy on Thursday after his South American hosts abruptly revoked his seven-year asylum, paving the way for his extradition to the United States.

The United States alleged Assange engaged in a 2010 conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, who served seven years in military prison for leaking classified data, and charged him with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion with a maximum penalty of five years.

An agitated, frail-looking Assange with white hair and a white beard was carried head first out of the embassy shortly after 0900 GMT by at least seven men to a waiting police van.

“The whole House will welcome the news this morning that the Metropolitan Police have arrested Julian Assange, arrested for breach of bail after nearly seven years in the Ecuadorean embassy,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament to cheers and cries of “Hear, hear!” from lawmakers.

Police said they arrested Assange, 47, after being invited into the embassy following the Ecuadorean governments withdrawal of asylum.

The arrests, after nearly seven years holed up in a few cramped rooms at the embassy, mark one of the most peculiar turns in a tumultuous life that has transformed the Australian programmer into a rebel wanted by the United States.

Assanges supporters said Ecuador had betrayed him at the behest of Washington, that the termination of his asylum was illegal and that they feared he would ultimately end up on trial in the United States.

To some, Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech. But to others, he is a dangerous rebel who has undermined U.S. security.

Assange gave a thumbs up in handcuffs as he was taken from a police station, and he later appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court.

WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

Students stage ‘lie-in’ outside White House to demand gun control (VIDEO)

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High school students from the Washington, DC area held a ‘lie-in’ protest outside the White House, demanding gun control legislation. The protest comes after the recent school shooting in Florida, where 17 people were killed.

Gathered outside the White House on Monday, activists read out the names of the victims that were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. Students then laid down in the street outside President Donald Trump’s residence for three minutes at a time, in a bid to highlight the relatively short amount of time it took 19-year-old alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz to kill 17 people with an AR-15 rifle.

Cruz was arrested roughly 40 minutes after the attack and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. School students have been at the forefront of protests ever since.

There was a brief scuffle between a protester and a man who brought a pro-gun sign to the rally. Otherwise, the demonstration passed without incident.

“I used to feel pretty safe but this has been happening more and more and the people in Florida probably thought it would never be them until it was, so I don’t know if my school’s next,” one young girl told Ruptly.

“It’s certainly strange to think that children are out here, some of these children are elementary school age protesting about guns," another protester said.

This hasn’t happened anywhere else in the world and you know the news is on and my mom tries to change channel for my little sister who is ten years old, she doesn’t want her to feel scared and unsafe or not sleep at night because she is scared that someone with guns gonna come to her school and kill her and her friends and her teachers.

Students who survived the shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are urging children and parents to join them in a massive new protest. A group of five senior and junior students at the school, led by Cameron Kasky, appeared on several major TV networks over the weekend to drum up support for a “March for Our Lives” rally, scheduled to take place on March 24 in Washington, DC.

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After years of giving refuge, Ecuador suspends Assange’s citizenship

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QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador has suspended Julian Assanges citizenship and accused him and people connected to his WikiLeaks group of collaborating in attempts to destabilise the Andean nations government, after years of offering him shelter.

A man is reflected in a window of a police van as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen inside, after he was arrested, in London, Britain April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

A bearded and frail-looking Assange was arrested by British police on Thursday after Ecuador terminated his asylum at its London embassy, where he had lived since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault investigation.

Assanges Ecuadorean citizenship was suspended on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters.

To some, Australian-born Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power and for championing free speech. To others, he is a dangerous figure who has undermined the security of the United States and has too many ties to Russia.

WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

Assanges lawyer in Quito, Carlos Poveda, told reporters asylum was terminated in reprisal for corruption allegations against President Lenin Moreno and that his life will be in danger if he is extradited to the United States.

Assange was offered refuge in 2012 by Ecuadors then-president Rafael Correa, but his relationship with Ecuador has soured under Moreno, who has said Assange violated the terms of his asylum.

Assange received Ecuadorean citizenship in January 2018.

Moreno was angered after years-old private photographs of him and his family taken when they lived in Europe circulated on social media. His government said it believed the photos were shared by WikiLeaks.

NYT: Pilots in Boeing simulation had 40 seconds to avert disaster

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Lion Air Flight 610 crashed off the coast of Indonesia last October, killing 189 people. Indonesian officials believe the failure of a sensor may have triggered an automated software system designed to prevent the plane from stalling. However, the system may have brought the plane down as pilots struggled to override it.During the recent tests, the simulator pilots found they had mere seconds to shut down the system and prevent the plane going into a nosedive, the Times said, citing two unnamed people involved in the tests. The system, known as MCAS, "as originally designed and explained, left little room for error," according to the report. "Those involved in the testing hadn't fully understood just how powerful the system was until they flew the plane on a 737 Max simulator," the Times reported.At least some of the tests described by the Times took place over the weekend, the paper reported.On Saturday, pilots and training officials from Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines met with Boeing officials to review updated software for 737 Max planes in the Seattle area, where the model is assembled, multiple airline sources told CNN on Monday. The software updates are intended to decrease the chances of triggering the MCAS system.737 pilots trained for Max 8 with short online courseThe pilots ran simulated flights using the current and updated software, one of the sources told CNN, adding that each flight landed safely.MCAS is a key focus of the investigations into the Lion Air disaster and the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 flight on March 10 that killed all 157 people on board. Both jets crashed minutes after takeoff, and in both cases the pilots reported problems minutes into the flights.Pilots transitioning to the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from older 737 models were given a short, self-administered online course that made no mention of the new system, pilots' unions spokesmen for two American carriers told CNN.During the Lion Air flight's last minutes, pilots searched in a handbook for a way to stop the plane from nosediving, according to a Reuters report.The Trump administration grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes indefinitely three days after the Ethiopia crash, and after the rest of the world had already done the same.In a statement Sunday, Boeing called the weekend meeting a "productive session" and said that it had invited more than 200 pilots and technicians, as well as regulators, to an informational session at the company's production facility in Renton, Washington, on Wednesday."This is part of our ongoing effort to share more details about our plan for supporting the safe return of the 737 MAX to commercial service," Boeing said.A Boeing 737 Max 8 parked at the company assembly plant in Renton, Washington.

Updated software required less intervention from pilots

In the simulations run over the weekend with the current MCAS software, the test pilots used existing procedures to disable the system, while test flights using the new soRead More – Source

Noisy NYC Bars Avoid Fines 99 Percent of the Time

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New Yorkers fed up with noisy nightlife have the odds stacked against them when filing complaints about loud bars and clubs.

Since 2015, there have been about 61,000 complaints about noisy bars and clubs, according to New York Citys 311 database. But the NYPD issued just 237 summonses in response to those complaints, the same data shows. That means owners of nightlife businesses avoid summonses and fines more than 99 percent of the time.

The NYPD has not responded to questions about that statistic, but 311 records show many noise complaints are resolved informally, without tickets, after visits from police.

If residents are unsatisfied with the NYPD response, they can also escalate grievances to the citys Department of Environmental Protection. But the I-Team found fines issued by the DEP are also few and far between.

In the last five years, city records show 180 DEP violations issued under the part of the NYC Noise Control Code related to music played in commercial establishments.

That amounts to an average of 36 tickets a year issued to bars, clubs, and restaurants citywide.

"Its irritating, but honestly not surprising," said a Lower East Side resident who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by her rent-controlled landlord.

After she summoned a DEP noise inspector, he failed to capture a noise meter reading indicating a violation.

"I dont know how many complaints I had to make to even get them to come out and do a reading to then know that, 'Oh, well, it was just pointless,'" she said.

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