Home Authors Posts by Diane A. Wade

Diane A. Wade

Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.

Austria’s Constitutional Court has annulled the result of the presidential election narrowly lost by Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party.

The Freedom Party had challenged the result, saying that postal votes had been illegally and improperly handled.

Norbert Hofer lost the election to the former leader of the Greens, Alexander Van der Bellen, by just 30,863 votes or less than one percentage point.

The election will now be re-run.

Announcing the decision, Gerhard Holzinger, head of Austria’s highest court, said: “The challenge brought by Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache against the May 22 election… has been upheld.”

In two weeks of hearings, lawyers for the Freedom Party argued that postal ballots were illegally handled in 94 out of 117 districts.

The party alleged that thousands of votes were opened earlier than permitted under election rules and some were counted by people unauthorised to do so.

Photo euractiv.com

Photo euractiv.com

It also claimed to have evidence that some under-16s and foreigners had been allowed to vote.

In its ruling, the Constitutional Court said election rules had been broken in a way that could have influenced the result.

However, it said there was no proof the count had been manipulated.

If elected, Norbert Hofer will become the first far-right head of state of an EU country.

The Freedom Party has based its election campaigns around concern over immigration and falling living standards for the less well-off.

After Brexit, Norbert Hofer said he favored holding a similar referendum in Austria if the bloc failed to stop centralization and carry out reforms “within a year”.

On June 26, he told the Oesterreich newspaper: “If [the EU] evolves in the wrong direction, then in my opinion the time has come to ask the Austrians if they still want to be part of it.”

Norbert Hofer’s opponent, Alexander Van der Bellen, is strongly pro-EU and has spoken of his dream for a border-free “United States of Europe”.

Following the court’s order to re-run the vote, President Heinz Fischer will be replaced on a temporary basis by three parliamentary officials, including Norbert Hofer.

The new election is expected to be held in September or October.

Austria’s president has a mostly ceremonial role.

However, the president does have the power to dissolve the National Council – the more powerful lower house of parliament. That triggers a general election.

The president can only do that once for a particular reason – he cannot use the same grounds to dissolve it again.

It is the chancellor’s job to appoint government ministers. And the chancellor has the power to dismiss the government. But ministers have to be formally sworn in by the president.


Rodrigo Duterte has been sworn in as the new president of the Philippines, after winning election in May.

The 71-year-old overthrew the political establishment at the polls, promising a “bloody war” on crime and corruption.

In his inaugural speech the controversial former mayor of Davao City promised to make sweeping changes to the country’s political system.

However, in a nod to his critics Rodrigo Duterte also insisted that he “knows the limits” of his power.

Rodrigo Duterte, who has barely left Davao in the south since his election win, took his oath at a small ceremony at the Malacanang Palace in Manila.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Only state media were permitted to cover the event, but it was streamed live online.

Rodrigo Duterte told the audience he would tackle an “erosion of the people’s trust” in the leaders, the judiciary and public servants.

He added: “As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president. I know what is legal and what is not.”

“I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality. They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal.

“My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising. You mind your work and I will mind mine.”

Rodrigo Duterte also promised to honor international treaties and respect peace deals agreed with rebels at home.

The new vice-president, Leni Robredo, was sworn in at a separate ceremony in Quezon City, in the suburbs of Manila.

Both will both serve a single six-year term.

The two swearing-in ceremonies were being held separately for the first time in the Philippines, which local media attributed to Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to a opt for a relatively small event.

However, there is a notable political and personality gulf between the two leaders.

Leni Robredo, an anti-poverty campaigner and human rights lawyer, was sworn in by the chairman of the poorest ward of a district in her province, as well as the chairman of the ward in which her new office is located.

She won her new position by a wafer-thin margin against Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the son of late former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose family has staged a remarkable political comeback since being toppled in 1986.

Leni Robredo is from the same Liberal Party as outgoing President Benigno Aquino III, who oversaw big improvements in economic growth and foreign investment.

Benigno Aquino had less success tackling endemic corruption and inequality, something Rodrigo Duterte has promised to change.


The extradition of Mexican cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the US has been temporarily halted after his lawyers filed appeals.

Mexico agreed to transfer El Chapo Guzman in May after the US guaranteed he would not face the death penalty.

However, the ruling means it could be months or even years before the drug lord is sent to the US, where he faces murder and drug smuggling charges.

El Chapo Guzman is being held in a maximum security prison near the US border.El Chapo Guzman extradition to US

He was arrested in January after six months on the run following his escape through a tunnel in his jail cell. He had already escaped a maximum security facility once before, spending 13 years at large.

One of the appeals argues that the statute of limitations has run out on some crimes El Chapo Guzman is accused of in the US, his lawyer Jose Refugio Rodriguez told Associated Press.

El Chapo Guzman’s defense also argues some of the accusations lack direct evidence.

Spanish voters are going back to polls after the country’s four main parties failed to break the political deadlock from December’s inconclusive general election.

More than 36 million of voters are called on to cast their ballot.

Opinion polls have suggested that June 26 election may still not overcome the stalemate.

Spain’s conservative Popular Party (PP) is tipped to win, but to fall short of a parliamentary majority.

Polls indicate the left-wing Unidos Podemos (United We Can) alliance is edging ahead of the Socialists (PSOE) for second place.

The two could potentially form a broad left-wing coalition.Spain elections 2016

The center-right, pro-business party Ciudadanos (Citizens) is forecast to take fourth place.

Analysts say many voters are disillusioned and a high turnout is not expected.

December’s election was a watershed for Spain, because the PP and the PSOE had previously alternated in power since the restoration of democracy in the 1970s.

Unidos Podemos and other leftists argue that the PP, under acting PM Mariano Rajoy, has been discredited because of austerity and the chronic unemployment that has plagued Spain since the 2008 financial crisis.

The PP, however, says the country’s improved economic performance is proof that its policies have worked.

PM Mariano Rajoy said it was “important to convey a message of institutional and economic stability”.

Meanwhile, Unidos Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said Europe had to “change course”, adding: “No-one would want to leave Europe if it were fair and united.”

Polls open at 07:00 GMT and close at 18:00 GMT with results expected two to three hours later.


President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in West Virginia, where the worst floods in more than a century have left at least 24 people dead.

The president ordered federal aid for three of the worst affected counties following a request by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

West Virginia residents will now receive grants for temporary housing and repairs.

More than 30,000 homes and businesses are without power.

Heavy rain on June 23 turned rivers and streams into torrents, cutting off several towns.

Photo abc7

Photo abc7

The floods are the worst in a century in some areas and hundreds of people have had to be rescued.

President Barack Obama “ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides”, a White House statement said.

Governor Tomblin said the federal help included medical support and housing to Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties.

Officials were still assessing the damage in other areas and additional requests for aid could follow, the governor added.

West Virginia received a quarter of its annual rainfall in a single day, the US National Weather Service said.

A storm system dumped up to 10 inches of rain on parts of the state, causing rivers and streams to overflow.

More than 100 homes were destroyed, some of them torn from their foundations and carried away, and an estimated 32,000 residences were still without power.

Teams removed people from upper-floor windows, tops of trees and cars.

According to officials, among those rescued were a 97-year-old woman and a family of five, including an infant.

About 500 people were trapped in a shopping centre as crews scrambled to build a new gravel road to reach them.

Meanwhile, rescue teams continued to try to reach others stranded in devastated areas.

States of emergency have been declared in 44 of the state’s 55 counties, and up to 500 soldiers have been authorized to assist in the rescue operations.

The European Union has explained the way Britain can kick start formal negotiations to exit the union following June 23 referendum.

The EU says Britain can trigger Article 50, which sets a two-year deadline for a deal, by making a formal declaration either in a letter or a speech.

British PM David Cameron has said he will step down by October to allow his successor to conduct the talks.

However, EU foreign ministers have urged Britain to start the process soon.

Since June 23 referendum there has been intense speculation about when, and how, the UK might begin formal negotiations.

A spokesman for the European Council, which defines the EU’s political direction and priorities, reiterated on Saturday that triggering Article 50 was a formal act which must be “done by the British government to the European Council”.

“It has to be done in an unequivocal manner with the explicit intent to trigger Article 50,” he said.

Photo Getty Image

Photo Getty Image

“It could either be a letter to the president of the European Council or an official statement at a meeting of the European Council duly noted in the official records of the meeting.”

On June 25, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU had “no need to be particularly nasty in any way” in the negotiations with Britain.

Angela Merkel said that deterring other countries from leaving the EU should not be a priority in the talks.

She added that she was not in favor of pushing for a speedy withdrawal.

“It shouldn’t take forever, that’s right, but I would not fight for a short timeframe,” Angela Merkel said.

She was speaking after several EU foreign ministers, including Germany’s, had urged Britain to quickly implement its exit.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “This process should get under way as soon as possible so that we are not left in limbo but rather can concentrate on the future of Europe.”

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said the continent could not accept a political vacuum, saying “this will not be business as usual”.

The first summit of EU leaders with no British representation will be held on June 29, a day after David Cameron holds talks with members.

Global stock markets and the pound fell heavily on the news of Brexit, while credit rating agency Moody’s cut the UK’s outlook to “negative”.

Brexit steps:

  1. UK votes Leave.
  2. Within 2 years from referendum the UK notifies the EU invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, then the remaining 27 EU states meet to discuss withdrawal.
  3. Negotiations will begin between the UK and the EU ending with a draft deal put to the European Council. At the end of two years negotiations can be extended further but only if all 27 countries agree. The draft deal needs approval from at least 20 countries with 65% population. Then the deal should be ratified by the European Parliament.
  4. If no agreement to extended negotiations then the EU treaties cease to apply to the UK
  5. The UK leaves the European Union. UK parliament must repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and replace with new agreement.
  6. If the UK wants back in, it has to apply like any other country.

Venezuela’s opposition has validated enough signatures on a petition to move to the next stage in a process to remove President Nicolas Maduro in a recall referendum.

Hundreds of thousands of people have given fingerprints to authenticate signatures on the petition.

Referendum co-ordinator Vicente Bello said the number of signatures had “clearly exceeded the minimum needed”.

The process must now be validated by electoral officials.

If that step is passed, a second petition must be signed by 4 million people before a recall referendum can be held.

The opposition blames President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist policies for rampant inflation and shortages of food and basic goods.Nicolas Maduro imposes visas for Americans

The initial petition handed in on May 2 gathered almost two million signatures but election officials said 600,000 of those were fraudulent.

Those who signed the petition had until June 24 to have their identity cards and fingerprints checked in centers set up by the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Only 1% of the electorate – or 194,729 voters – is needed to endorse the referendum in the first phase.

Many people queued for hours to have their signatures authenticated by electronic fingerprinting.

Opposition leaders want the recall vote to be held this year, as its timing is key for what happens next.

If the referendum is held before January 10 and goes against Nicolas Maduro, fresh elections will be triggered.

If the vote were to be held after January 10 – in the last two years of Nicolas Maduro’s mandate – he would be replaced by his vice-president and supporter, Aristobulo Isturiz.

Nicolas Maduro was elected in April 2013 and his term runs until 2019.

Bernie Sanders has announced he will vote for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in November’s presidential election.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have fought for the Democratic nomination, which the former secretary of state won this month.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, told MSNBC he would do everything in his power to defeat the likely Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

However, he stopped short of saying he would end his campaign.

Bernie Sanders said his job now was to “fight for the strongest possible platform” at the party’s convention in July, including a higher minimum wage.Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton row

However, he dismissed the idea that he should withdraw from the race.

“Why would I want to do that when I want to fight to make sure that we have the best platform that we possibly can, that we win the most delegates that we can,” Bernie Sanders said.

Although Hillary Clinton has won enough of the all-important delegates to secure the nomination, she will not be declared the official nominee until July’s convention.

The Vermont senator has failed to give Hillary Clinton a full endorsement.

Last week Bernie Sanders vowed to work with Hillary Clinton to prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House and promised to continue his fight to “transform” the Democratic party.

When asked if his decision to remain in the race hindered Hillary Clinton’s chances in the general election, Bernie Sanders said: “You talk about disunity, I talk about people in the political process and wanting to have a government and party that represents all of us.”


Donald Trump has said it is a “great thing” that Britons have “taken back their country” in voting to leave the EU.

The presumptive Republican nominee’s comments came as he arrived at Trump Turnberry in Scotland for the reopening of the refurbished Open venue golf resort.

Donald Trump added his name to the Ayrshire hotel and golf course after buying the resort for an undisclosed fee in 2014.

Comedian Simon Brodkin later disrupted Donald Trump’s news conference by waving golf balls with a swastika on them.

Donald Trump was also the subject of a small protest by those who accuse him of “racism and bigotry” during his bid for the presidency.

Dozens of people, with placards stating “No To Racism”, gathered outside the resort before Donald Trump arrived.Donald Trump hails Brexit referendum result

He was asked about the EU referendum result, which saw Leave beat Remain by 52% to 48%, shortly after he touched down at Turnberry in a helicopter.

Donald Trump said: “I think it’s a great thing that’s happened. It’s an amazing vote, very historic.

“People are angry all over the world. They’re angry over borders, they’re angry over people coming into the country and taking over and nobody even knows who they are.

“They’re angry about many, many things in the UK, the US and many other places. This will not be the last.”

Donald Trump said UK divisions “will heal” as “it is a great place”, adding: “I said this was going to happen and I think it is a great thing.

“Basically, they took back their country. That’s a great thing.

“I think we’re doing very well in the United States also, and it is essentially the same thing that is happening in the United States.

“I want to support my son who really represented me here in building this great great place (Turnberry).”

When asked his opinion on UK’s PM David Cameron announcing he is to step down as prime minister after the Leave vote, Donald Trump said: “Well, that’s too bad.”

Speaking later at a news conference, Donald Trump acknowledged his family connection with Scotland through his mother Mary MacLeod, who was born in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.

“She loved Scotland, she would be here a lot,” he said.

“She would come every year with my sister Mary and my sister Elizabeth and they just loved it. Her loyalty to Scotland was incredible.”

Donald Trump said his mother would often visit Turnberry for dinner with friends but she never played golf.

He said it was “an honor” to have taken ownership of the resort, which he acquired from Dubai-based Leisurecorp two years ago, before adding his name to the brand.

Donald Trump owns more than a dozen golf resorts in the US and opened his first in the UK, at the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire, in 2012 after controversy surrounding planning, environmental issues and clashes with local people who refused to move.

Turnberry is one of 10 UK golf courses to host the Open golf championship on a rotational basis.

The tournament has been played there on four occasions, most recently in 2009.

The Open is expected to be played in England in 2020 and at St Andrews in 2021, meaning the earliest it could return to Turnberry would be 2022.

Donald Trump’s news conference was interrupted comedian Simon Brodkin, also known as Lee Nelson, who attempted to hand out golf balls with a swastika on them. He was escorted away by security officials.

President Barack Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants living illegally in the US failed to pass the Supreme Court.

The court has announced it is split on the president’s plan.

The divide comes as a blow to Barack Obama’s 2014 executive action which he enacted without Congress and will now be assessed in a lower court.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan applauded the news, saying only Congress should write laws.

However, Barack Obama said the deadlock was “heartbreaking” for millions of people.

“They are Americans in every way but on paper,” the president said at the White House, adding that reform will happen, sooner or later.

“Congress is not going to be able to ignore America forever,” Barack Obama added.

Texas led 26 Republican-led states in challenging the program, which would have given the right to work to millions of people.Barack Obama immigration plan at Supreme Court

The deadlock between the eight judges was only possible because of the death of the ninth, Justice Antonin Scalia, leaving a vacancy that is still unfilled.

This is the first tied decision produced by the Supreme Court, as the Senate continues to block Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) initiatives had been on hold since 2015 as the court considered the programs’ legality.

DAPA was considered particularly controversial as it allows the parents of US citizens and permanent residents to remain in the county for up to three years and apply for work permits.

Lawyers for the state of Texas argued that state governments would be overburdened by having to spend more on public services with the addition of the undocumented residents.

The lack of ruling leaves the legal status of about four million undocumented immigrants in limbo.

Barack Obama’s unilateral action would have allowed migrants to obtain work permits and would block them from deportation while their citizenship status was being determined by lawmakers.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton called the courts deadlocked opinion “unacceptable” and said that immigrants “enrich our communities and contribute to our economy every day”.

She said in a statement: “We should be doing everything possible under the law to provide them relief from the specter of deportation.”

Republican lawmaker Paul Ryan applauded the Supreme Court for making “the president’s executive action on immigration null and void”.

“The Constitution is clear: The president is not permitted to write laws, only Congress is.”

Paul Ryan, the top-ranking elected Republican, is at odds with the party’s presidential nominee-to-be Donald Trump over his plans to build a wall on the southern border paid for by Mexico.

UK’s PM David Cameron has announced he will step down by October after Britain voted to leave the EU.

In a statement outside Downing Street, David Cameron said he would attempt to “steady the ship” over the coming weeks and months but that “fresh leadership” was needed.

He had urged Britain to vote Remain but was defeated by 52% to 48% despite London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backing staying in.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed it as the UK’s “independence day”.

The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 as the markets reacted to the results.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Flanked by wife Samantha, PM David Cameron said he had informed Queen Elizabeth II of his decision to remain in place for the short term and to then hand over to a new prime minister by the time of the Conservative conference in October.

It would be for the new prime minister to carry out negotiations with the EU and invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal, David Cameron said.

“The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected,” he said.

“The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.”

The Brexit referendum turnout was 71.8% – with more than 30 million people voting – the highest turnout at a UK-wide vote since 1992.

Britain is set to be the first country to leave the EU since its formation – but the Leave vote does not immediately mean Britain ceases to be a member of the 28-nation bloc.

That process could take a minimum of two years, with Leave campaigners suggesting during the referendum campaign that it should not be completed until 2020 – the date of the next scheduled general election.

Once Article 50 has been triggered a country cannot rejoin without the consent of all member states.

The UK’s government will also have to negotiate its future trading relationship with the EU and fix trade deals with non-EU countries.

The UK voted to leave the European Union with 52% to 48% despite London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backing staying in.

The Brexit referendum turnout was 71.8% – with more than 30 million people voting – the highest turnout at a UK-wide vote since 1992.

Nigel Farage – who has campaigned for the past 20 years for Britain to leave the EU – told cheering supporters “this will be a victory for ordinary people, for decent people”.

Germany’s foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier described the referendum result as “a sad day for Europe and Great Britain”.

Leave supporting Tory MP Liam Fox said voters had shown great “courage” by deciding to “change the course of history” for the UK and, he hoped, the rest of Europe.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the EU vote “makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union” after all 32 local authority areas returned majorities for Remain.Brexit wins in UK referendum

Britain is set to be the first country to leave the EU since its formation – but the Leave vote does not immediately mean Britain ceases to be a member of the 28-nation bloc.

That process could take a minimum of two years, with Leave campaigners suggesting during the referendum campaign that it should not be completed until 2020 – the date of the next scheduled general election.

Once Article 50 has been triggered a country cannot rejoin without the consent of all member states.

UK’s PM David Cameron previously said he would trigger Article 50 as soon as possible after a Leave vote but Boris Johnson and Michael Gove who led the campaign to get Britain out of the EU have said he should not rush into it.

They also said they want to make immediate changes before the UK actually leaves the EU, such as curbing the power of EU judges and limiting the free movement of workers, potentially in breach the UK’s treaty obligations.

The UK’s government will also have to negotiate its future trading relationship with the EU and fix trade deals with non-EU countries.

In Whitehall and Westminster, there will now begin the massive task of unstitching the UK from more than 40 years of EU law, deciding which directives and regulations to keep, amend or ditch.

The Leave campaign argued during a bitter four-month referendum campaign that the only way Britain could “take back control” of its own affairs would be to leave the EU.

Leave dismissed warnings from economists and international bodies about the economic impact of Brexit as “scaremongering” by a self-serving elite.

The Congress has been blocked by a Democrat protest over a vote on gun control legislation.

The Democrats’ sit-in comes in the wake of the recent shootings in Orlando, the deadliest in modern US history.

Republican Speaker Paul Ryan tried to regain control of the lower house but was met with chants of “no bill, no break!”

The Republicans switched off the House TV cameras but Democrats continued to feed live pictures via their phones.

The transmissions, broadcast by the C-Span network, technically break House rules, but one Democrat representative, Scott Peters, who provided a feed via the Periscope app, said the sit-in was breaking rules anyway.

The Democrats’ protest follows the gun attack on June 12, when a man claiming allegiance to ISIS, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people at the Pulse club in Orlando, Florida.

On June 22, some 168 House Democrats – out of 188 – and 34 senators – out of 44 – were on the floor.Democratic sit in 2016

As the protest reached its 10th hour, Paul Ryan tried to restore control with a recess, and then a return to voting on other legislative business.

Paul Ryan banged his gavel and tried to ignore the outbursts but amid Democrat shouts of “Shame! Shame!” he left the podium.

Democrats began singing “We shall overcome” and held up the names of gun attack victims.

The floor of the House became chaotic, with Republicans and Democrats shouting at each other.

Some Democratic representatives brought in sleeping bags, pillow and blankets, others doughnuts for colleagues.

Outside Congress, several hundred gun-control advocates gathered to voice support for the Democrats, shouting “hold the floor” and “do your job”.

A motion for a brief adjournment was passed at about 01:30 local time and the House then resumed at 02:30, with the majority Republicans hoping to vote on a bill on the Zika virus and then adjourn fully to July 5.

The sit-in is being led by congressman John Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

President Barack Obama took to Twitter to thank John Lewis “for leading on gun violence where we need it most”.

Paul Ryan dismissed the protest as a publicity stunt.

He told CNN he would not bring a gun control vote in the House of Representatives.

“They know that we will not bring a bill that takes away a person’s constitutionally guaranteed rights without… due process,” Paul Ryan said.

Some senators are pushing for a compromise, with top Democratic Senator Harry Reid supporting a Republican proposal.

Harry Reid said he supported new legislation proposed by Republican Senator Susan Collins that would stop gun sales to a limited number of people who are on some terrorism watch lists.

The bill is due to come before the Senate on June 23.

Polls have opened in the UK for a historic referendum on whether the country should remain a member of the European Union or leave.

An estimated 46,499,537 people are entitled to take part in the vote.

Polling stations opened at 07:00 BST and will close at 22:00 BST.Brexit referendum 2016

It is only the third nationwide referendum in UK history and comes after a four-month battle for votes between the Leave and Remain campaigns.

The referendum ballot paper asks the following question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

Whichever side gets more than half of all votes cast is considered to have won.

After the referendum polls close, sealed ballot boxes will be collected and transported to the count venue for each of the 382 local counting areas.

These represent all 380 local government areas in England, Scotland and Wales, plus one each for Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

Individual areas’ results will then be declared throughout the night, along with results from 11 regional counts.

Depending on how close the poll is, the result may become clear before the final national result is officially declared by the Chief Counting Officer, who will be based at Manchester Town Hall.

The Electoral Commission estimates a final result “around breakfast time” on June 24.


South Korea is holding a rare hearing into the detention of 12 North Koreans who defected to the South.

A group of human rights lawyers – Lawyers for a Democratic Society – who requested the hearing want to determine whether South Korea’s continuing detention of the women is legal.

The North Koreans, who worked as waitresses at a North Korea-run restaurant in China, arrived in Seoul in April.

Seoul said they came of their own free will, while Pyongyang maintains they were abducted.

The hearing will not be public and it is unclear if the women will be present to give their testimony, but it could set a precedent for how South Korea deals with the hundreds of defectors it receives every year.

The defectors have not spoken in public and the South Korean government has indicated that they don’t want to.North Korea restaurant workers defection

Some of their relatives and friends in North Korea have given interviews. According to the Associated Press which has a bureau in Pyongyang, Ri Gum-suk, the mother of one of the workers, So Kyong-ah, said all the parents were heartbroken.

Her husband, So Thae-song told AP: “They say our children defected, making their own free decision, but then why don’t they put our children in front of us parents? I want to hear the words from my lovely daughter. Why don’t they let her meet us? They say they defected willingly as a group. I can’t accept this”.

According to the AP, the interviews were unforced though the interviewees may well have been rehearsed by the authorities in Pyongyang.

The usual procedure when North Koreans defect to South Korea is for them to be accommodated in special centers.

They are questioned by the intelligence service to ascertain whether they are spies, and they are also given courses in how to negotiate life in South Korea – how to get a job, how to use a bank account, etc.

Many North Korean defectors find the transition hard. Suicide rates among defectors are higher than among the general population.

Lawyers for a Democratic Society says it “strives to further the development of democracy in Korea through litigation, research, and investigation”.

The group says it is “dedicated to increasing public awareness and collaborating in joint activities to protect basic human rights and attain social justice”.

Lawyers for a Democratic Society has more than 900 members who are prominent lawyers.

It is fair to say that they are not naturally sympathetic to the current right-of-centre government but their prime concern is the protection of democratic rights.

According to South Korean media, the group of lawyers obtained power-of-attorney from the defectors’ families in North Korea for the hearing.

About a thousand people defect every year from North Korea. The number has fallen in recent years as North Korea’s economy has improved.

Most get over the porous border with China and the indications are that the Chinese authorities are more lenient than they used to be.

These waitresses had visas to be in China because they were working openly there, so the usual argument of the Beijing authorities – that they should simply be returned to North Korea as illegal migrants – didn’t hold.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is to leave his job.

A campaign spokeswoman said Corey Lewandowski would no longer be working on it and said the team was grateful to him “for his hard work and dedication”.

The exact reason for Corey Lewandowski’s departure is not yet clear but sources close to Donald Trump have told media he was fired.

Corey Lewandowski oversaw Donald Trump’s unlikely triumph in the primary contests.

His departure comes as Donald Trump faces strong resistance from senior members of his own party over his strident tone and his hard-line immigration policy.

Among Donald Trump’s critics is Speaker of the House and top-ranked Republican Paul Ryan, who appeared to leave the door open to a possible revolt at next month’s convention.

When asked on June 19 about reports that party delegates may rebel against voting for Donald Trump at the convention, he said: “They write the rules, they make the decisions.”

Donald Trump was criticized for his reaction to the Orlando nightclub shooting in which 49 people were killed.Corey Lewandowski assaults Michelle Fields

Following the attack, Donald Trump repeated his pledge that the US should ban Muslims from entering the country.

Republicans also started to distance themselves from Donald Trump following his personal attacks against a Hispanic federal judge overseeing two lawsuits against him.

Donald Trump is likely to face Democrat Hillary Clinton in November’s election, and there were reports over the weekend that her campaign is way ahead in spending in the key swing states.

Corey Lewandowski has had a contentious relationship with the press. Earlier this year, he was charged with battery after allegedly yanking a female reporter out of Donald Trump’s way after a campaign event.

Donald Trump defended him throughout that incident, which concluded when the charges were dropped.

Following the news, one Trump campaign director, Michael Caputo, tweeted: “Ding dong the witch is dead.”

Corey Lewandowski did not get along with Donald Trump’s chief strategist Paul Manafort either, with sources telling the New York Times that he would try to block Manafort from hiring more campaign staff.

Donald Trump is suffering in political polls lately, with most voters viewing him as “strongly unfavorable”.

One of Donald Trump’s campaign staff member told NBC News that the campaign was not briefed on Corey Lewandowski’s firing and that right now there is “bedlam in the Trump campaign. No one knows what is happening”.

Five Star Movement’s Virginia Raggi has won 67% of the Rome vote and becomes the Italian capital’s first female mayor.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement has won key mayoral races in Rome and Turin, cementing its role in Italian politics.

Virginia Raggi’s victory is a blow to PM Matteo Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party (PD), which won in Milan and Bologna.

The results could give anti-globalization Five Star a platform for parliamentary elections due in 2018.

Five Star Movement is aiming to establish itself as the main opposition party ahead of the vote, and its success on June 19 extended well beyond Rome. It won in 19 out of 20 towns and cities in which its candidates stood for mayor.

Chiara Appendino, another female Five Star candidate, has won the race for mayor in Turin, defeating a Democratic Party candidate who had come out on top in the first round of voting two weeks ago.

“It was not a vote of protest, but of pride and change,” Chiara Appendino told supporters, promising to rebuilt trust between the people of Turin and its elected representatives.

Her win, although more narrow than in Rome, was a significant step for Five Star because Turin is a big power base for the PD as well as the headquarters of car-maker Fiat.

Chiara Appendino defeated Piero Fassino, who had been well ahead after the first round of voting.

Photo Twitter

Photo Twitter

In Rome, 37-year-old lawyer Virginia Raggi promised a new era for the city as she celebrated her victory over PD candidate Roberto Giachetti.

Virginia Raggia said: “I will be a mayor for all Romans. I will restore legality and transparency to the city’s institutions after 20 years of poor governance.”

She will find a city mired in debts of more than €13 billion ($15 billion) – twice its annual budget.

PD’s Ignazio Marino resigned as mayor of Rome in October over an expenses scandal. Rome has been without a mayor since then. Five Star’s rise in Rome was fuelled by a big scandal involving alleged Mafia influence at Rome city hall.

In Naples, Italy’s third city, former prosecutor Luigi de Magistris, a centrist, won a second term with two thirds of the vote.

June 19 results were bad news for PM Matteo Renzi, who has staked his political future on an October referendum in which he wants Italians to back far-reaching constitutional reforms.

The plan is to end Italy’s tradition of “revolving-door” governments and inject stability after years of party infighting and legislative logjams.

Egyptian investigators have recovered the cockpit voice recorder from the EgyptAir plane that crashed on May 19 into the Mediterranean Sea.

The MS804 “black box” was damaged and had to be pulled out in several stages but its memory unit was intact, they said.

A search vessel with an underwater robot has been scouring the crash site and has sent back images of wreckage.

Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo crashed on May 19, killing all 66 people on board.

It is not clear yet what caused the aircraft to go down.

In a statement, investigators said: “The vessel’s equipment was able to salvage the part [of the recorder] that contains the memory unit, which is considered the most important part of the recording device.”

Photo Twitter

Photo Twitter

The voice recorder will now be taken to the Egyptian city of Alexandria to be studied.

Airbus previously said that finding the black boxes was crucial to understanding what happened when radar lost track of MS804.

Electronic messages sent by the plane revealed that smoke detectors went off in the toilet and the aircraft’s electrics, minutes before the radar signal was lost.

A terror attack has not been ruled out but no extremist group has claimed to have downed the plane.

Analysts say human or technical error is also a possibility.

The crew on board do not appear to have sent a distress call.

The cockpit voice recorder should allow investigators to hear what the pilot and co-pilot were saying to each other, plus any alarms in the background.

If the flight data recorder is recovered, it should show what the plane’s computers were recording at the time.

Experts have warned that signals emitted by the data recorder are expected to expire by June 24.

The area in which flight MS804 crashed is one of the deepest in the Mediterranean – more than 10,000ft deep in some parts.

Days after the search began, debris and body parts were found to the east of the plane’s last known location. Egypt’s military released images of debris including a lifejacket, pieces of fabric and metal fragments.

On June 15, Egyptian investigators said the deep sea search vessel John Lethbridge had found wreckage of the fuselage of the plane in “several main locations” and had taken the first images of it.

A map of the distribution of the wreckage is being drawn up so a recovery operation can begin.

The European Space Agency (ESA) said one of its satellites detected what appeared to be a one mile-long oil slick in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in the same area the plane disappeared.

Egyptian investigators have announced that wreckage of the EgyptAir flight that went missing over the Mediterranean on May 19 has been found.

A statement said “several main locations of the wreckage” had been identified.

It added that a deep sea search vessel had also sent back the first images of the wreckage.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

There were 66 people on board flight MS804 when it crashed while flying from Paris to Cairo.

The Airbus A320 plane vanished from Greek and Egyptian radar screens, apparently without having sent a distress call.

The Egyptian investigation committee said that investigators on board the John Lethbridge search vessel, which has been contracted by the Egyptian government, would now draw up a map of the wreckage distribution.

Search teams said signals from one of the “black box” flight recorders had been detected.

Signals emitted by the recorders are expected to expire by 24 June, experts have warned.

The cause of the crash remains a mystery.

A terror attack has not been ruled out but no extremist group has claimed the downing of the plane.

Analysts say human or technical error is also a possibility. Electronic messages sent by the plane revealed that smoke detectors went off in the toilet and the aircraft’s electrics, minutes before the plane’s signal was lost.

According to Greek investigators, MS804 turned 90 degrees left and then 360 degrees to the right, dropping from 37,000ft to 15,000ft and then 10,000ft before it was lost from radar.

Hillary Clinton met her defeated rival Bernie Sanders after winning the final primary in Washington DC.

In statements, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate and her rival said they had discussed the campaign, unifying the party and the “dangerous threat” posed by Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders vowed to do all he could to prevent Donald Trump from being elected, but has not endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Photo USA Today

Photo USA Today

Hillary Clinton got nearly 80% of the vote in June 14 Washington DC primary.

During their meeting, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders discussed common goals, including raising wages for working families and reducing the cost of university education.

The Vermont senator had earlier said the meeting would enable him to determine Hillary Clinton’s commitment to the issues he has campaigned on.

Bernie Sanders – who won primaries in 22 states – has said he will urge the party to be more inclusive of young people and working-class voters at the Democratic convention in July.

Last week, Bernie Sanders met President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden, who both later endorsed Hillary Clinton.


Silvio Berlusconi has been placed in intensive care to recover after four-hour heart surgery to replace a defective heart valve, Milan’s San Raffaele hospital said giving no further details.

Sources told Ansa news agency the operation had been a success.

The 79-year-old former Italian prime minister is likely to take a month to recover.

Silvio Berlusconi served as prime minister four times but has since been convicted of tax fraud and bribery.

Italy's Court of Cassation has confirmed a two-year ban from public office imposed on Silvio Berlusconi after he was found guilty of tax fraud

Italy’s Court of Cassation has confirmed a two-year ban from public office imposed on Silvio Berlusconi after he was found guilty of tax fraud

He was admitted to hospital last week after suffering a heart attack his doctor said could have killed him.

Silvio Berlusconi is expected to remain in intensive care for another 48 hours.

“Everything is okay guys, now I can speak more calmly,” Gianni Letta, an ally of Silvio Berlusconi, told AGI news agency.

On June 13, Silvio Berlusconi wrote on his Facebook page he was “concerned” by the looming operation.

“But I am also very moved by the very many demonstrations of appreciation, support and affection which I have received from everywhere, even from political rivals,” Silvio Berlusconi added.


According to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, a referendum the opposition is trying to recall him will not take place this year.

There was no time to organize the recall referendum, said Nicolas Maduro.

On June 10 the National Electoral Council (CNE) declared more than 600,000 signatures on a petition for the referendum invalid.

Venezuela’s opposition says the electoral authorities are working alongside the government to derail the process.

Opposition leaders say their signatures on the petition have also been invalidated, revealing the electoral council’s bias.

Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles is among those who say their signatures have been ruled out for “failing to meet the requirements”.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, described the move as “shameful” and “a provocation”.

Nicolas Maduro accused the opposition of fraud and said he would ask the Supreme Court on June 13 to annul the process.

“If they meet the requirements, the recall referendum will take place next year, full stop” said Nicolas Maduro at a rally in Caracas.

“If they don’t meet the requirements, there will be no recall referendum, full stop.”

Timing is essential for both sides. If the referendum is held by January 10, 2017, and President Nicolas Maduro loses, a new election will be called.

If it is held after January 10, 2017, and the vote goes against Nicolas Maduro, his vice-president takes over and remains in power until the end of the presidential term, in January 2019.

The opposition handed over the petition on May 2.Nicolas Maduro mango

It said it had gathered the signatures of 1.85 million voters backing a recall referendum, many more than the 197,000 needed at this initial stage. The CNE said on June 10 there were 1.97 million signatures on the list.

The voters whose signatures have not been struck off by the CNE – more than 1.3 million people – will need to turn up at regional electoral offices to confirm their identities later this month.

They will have five days from June 20 to have their signatures checked, CNE President Tibisay Lucena announced on June 10.

Henrique Capriles urged voters to get ready to comply with the CNE demand and go to government offices to have their identities checked later this month.

Venezuela is in a serious economic crisis, which the opposition blames on mistaken left-wing policies of Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez.


1.3 million Venezuelans who signed a petition for a referendum to oust President Nicolas Maduro will need to turn up at regional electoral offices to confirm their identity, the National Electoral Council (CNE) has ruled.

Voters will have five days from June 20 to have their signatures checked.

According to Venezuela’s opposition, the CNE is working in tandem with government to slow down the process.

The opposition blames the government for Venezuela’s serious economic crisis.Nicolas Maduro imposes visas for Americans

The petition was handed over to the electoral authorities on May 2.

The opposition said it had the signatures of 1.85 million voters backing a recall referendum, many more than the 197,000 needed at this initial stage. The CNE said there were 1.97 million signatures.

Nicolas Maduro’s government said there was widespread fraud in the process.

It said the names of thousands of dead voters and children were on the petition, which has been confirmed by CNE President Tibisay Lucena.

More than 600,000 signatures have been invalidated by the electoral bodies.

The other voters who signed the petition will need to have their identities checked between June 20 and 24.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles urged voters to get ready to comply with the CNE demand and go to government offices to have their identities checked later this month.

Tibisay Lucena warned that the process would be immediately suspended until order was restored if there was “any act of violence, trouble or aggression”.

Bernie Sanders has announced he will meet Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton “soon” but has not endorsed her.

After speaking with President Barack Obama, the Vermont senator said he and Hillary Clinton would be meeting to discuss their common goal of defeating Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders virtually has no path left to the Democratic nomination but has not formally dropped out.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has captured enough delegates to become the nominee.

Speaking outside the White House after his meeting with President Obama, Bernie Sanders detailed a list of issues he plans to bring to the Democratic convention in July.

Bernie Sanders said the United States, as the wealthiest nation in the world, should not have students in huge amounts of debt and seniors and veterans without adequate social security benefits.

Before his talks with Bernie Sanders, President Obama said he hoped the Democrats would “pull things together” after Hillary Clinton became the party’s presumptive nominee for president.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Bernie Sanders has said he will participate in the District of Columbia primary on June 14, despite pressure to step down from party figures.

Barack Obama stopped short of calling for Bernie Sanders to drop out, instead saying the Vermont senator had made Hillary Clinton a “better candidate”.

The president has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton and called for the party to unite against Donald Trump.

Speaking on NBC’s Tonight Show, Barack Obama admitted the race had been “ouchy”.

However, the president went on to say that this was welcome.

“It was a healthy thing for the Democratic Party to have a contested primary,” he said.

“I thought that Bernie Sanders brought enormous energy and new ideas. And he pushed the party and challenged them. I thought it made Hillary a better candidate.”

Barack Obama added: “My hope is, that over the next couple of weeks, we’re able to pull things together.”

Hillary Clinton won four out of six primaries on June 7.

Hillary Trump has pitched to Bernie Sanders’ supporters: “Bernie Sanders must really dislike Crooked Hillary after the way she played him. Many of his supporters, because of trade, will come to me.”

However, Bernie Sanders said his campaign would not support Donald Trump, “a candidate whose major theme is bigotry”.

During his interview, Barack Obama said he was “worried” for the Republicans, saying the US needed a “healthy two-party system”.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski appears to have won the majority in Peru’s cliff-hanger presidential election after all were counted.

According to the electoral commission, economist Pedo Pablo Kuczynski received 50.12% of votes, against 49.88% for his rival, Keiko Fujimori.

About 50,000 ballots must first be settled by an electoral court before a winner can be officially declared.

Keiko Fujimori has yet to concede, but Pedro Pablo Kuczynski tweeted his thanks to the Peruvian people: “It’s time to work together for the future of our country.”

This has been the tightest fought election in Peru in five decades.Pedro Pablo Kuczynski wins Peru presidency

As the last few votes were counted, the candidates remained neck-and-neck, with Pedro Pablo Kuczynski leading by a tiny margin.

The closeness of the result came as a surprise after polls in the run-up to the election had suggested Keiko Fujimori had a comfortable lead.

Analysts said corruption scandals in Keiko Fujimori’s Popular Force Party may have dented her support since April, when she comfortably won the first round of voting.

Keiko Fujimori is the daughter of Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori, who is in jail for crimes against humanity.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who is an ex-Wall Street financier, said he would use his international financial experience to promote economic growth.

He has the support of prominent figures such as Nobel-Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and left-wing candidate Veronika Mendoza, who came third in the first round of voting.

However, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski he has faced scrutiny over his close relationship to Peru’s business elite.