The leaders of Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands have been caught on camera at a Buckingham Palace reception mocking US President Donald Trump’s lengthy media appearances ahead of Wednesday’s NATO summit.
The footage, shot by the British host’s camera pool on Tuesday evening and spotted and subtitled by Canada’s CBC, set the tone for the allies’ summit in Watford, just outside London.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson can be heard asking France’s President Emmanuel Macron: “Is that why you were late?”
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau interjects: “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.”
Earlier Tuesday, Macron’s one-on-one pre-summit meeting with Trump had been proceeded by a lengthy question and answer session with the media, as the leaders publicly disagreed about NATO strategy and trade.
In the video, Macron appears to tell an anecdote about the encounter as Britain’s Princess Anne and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte look on, but the French leader’s back is to the camera and he is inaudible amid the hubbub.
“Oh, yeah, yeah, he announced…” an amused Trudeau declares, adding: “You just watched his team’s jaw drop to the floor.”
As he did at last year’s NATO meeting, Trump has thrown out normal summit protocol and used his appearances with allied leaders to field dozens of questions from the world’s media.
He has condemned as “nasty” Macron’s criticism of brain dead NATO, branded European countries that have failed to meet military spending targets “delinquent” and railed against moves in Washington to impeach him.
Trump is due to give another news conference, this time on his own, later Wednesday after the 29 NATO leaders hold a full three-hour closed-door summit session and issue a statement to celebrate their unity.
See video below:
Video credit: Power & Politics
Trump’s Fiery Response To Impeachment Summons By Senate
President Donald Trump’s legal team has sent the Senate a fiery response to its impeachment summons, outlining the defences it expects to use in the upcoming trial.
President Trump’s answer to the Senate’s formal impeachment summons calls the two articles of impeachment passed by the House last month “a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president”.
“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away,” the filing states.
President Trump’s legal team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, is challenging the impeachment on both procedural and constitutional grounds, claiming President Trump has been mistreated by House Democrats and that he did nothing wrong.
His lawyers argue that the articles of impeachment are unconstitutional in and of themselves and invalid because they do not allege a crime.
President Trump was impeached by the House on one count each of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Under the Constitution impeachment is a political, not a criminal process, and the president can be removed from office if found guilty of whatever lawmakers consider “high crimes and misdemeanours”.
President Trump’s answer to the summons is the first salvo in what will be several rounds of arguments before the trial is expected to formally begin on Tuesday.
Prince Harry And Meghan To Give Up Royal Titles
Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have agreed to give up their royal titles and stop receiving public funds as part of a settlement with the Queen that lets them spend more private time in Canada.
The announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the couple’s shock decision to give up front-line royal duties.
The decision means the couple will stop usings the titles “royal highness” as they assume more ordinary lives that will see them spend more time away from both Britain and the royal family.
“Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family,” Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement.
“I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.”
Her comments referred to battles with the media that prompted Harry and Meghan — known until now as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — to sue several newspapers over intrusions into their private lives.
A separate statement attributed to Buckingham Palace said, “the Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family”.
HRH stands for Her Royal Highness.
“As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties,” the statement said.
The settlement added that the two will also repay £2.4 million ($3.1 million) of taxpayer’s money spent on renovating their Frogmore Cottage home near Windsor Castle.
– ‘Progressive new role’ –
The Palace would not comment on who ends up paying for their security detail in Canada — an issue of intense public debate.
It also failed to mention whether the couple would be allowed to benefit financially from future royalties and franchise fees.
Harry and Meghan are seeking to register the “Sussex Royal” brand as a global trademark for their future enterprises.
The couple are dedicated to environmental causes and are looking to develop their charitable foundation as part of a “progressive new role”.
The queen’s announcement is her second on the royal crisis — dubbed Megxit in honour of Britain’s painful battle over Brexit — since Harry and Meghan’s effective resignation on March 8.
“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the couple said at the time.
“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America.”
Meghan then jetted back to Canada and is now there with their son Archie.
Their announcement caught the royal family by surprise and created a media sensation in both Britain and the wider world.
Their treatment by London’s hard-hitting tabloid press and their personal future — as well as questions about longstanding royal traditions — have turned into daily front-page news.
Media reports said Harry would probably join Meghan and Archie on the west coast of Canada this coming week.
– ‘Abdication’ –
The Queen’s final ruling on her grandson’s future drew immediate comparisons to King Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.
Edward married the American socialite Wallis Simpson the following year and never returned to Britain.
“Harry is not King (he is sixth in line) but tonight this feels like his and Meghan’s own abdication,” ITV television’s royal editor Chris Ship said on Twitter.
“This isn’t 1936. But it’s still pretty big.”
The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said Meghan must also decide whether she intends to return and spend time in Britain in order to gain her UK citizenship.
The couple’s future tax status also remains unclear.
“I think they are feeling their way into this as much as anyone else is,” Witchell said.
The couple will now officially be known formally as “Harry, The Duke of Sussex” and “Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex”.
The Palace statement said the new arrangement “will take effect in the Spring of 2020”.
Facebook Apologizes After Mistakenly Calling Chinese Leader ‘Mr Shithole’
Facebook on Saturday January 18, apologized over a technical error which translated Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s name from Burmese to English as “Mr Shithole”.
The error was pointed out on the Facebook page of Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in a post that recounted her meeting with Mr Xi during his state visit to Myanmar. The Asian leaders signed dozens of agreements, covering massive Beijing-backed infrastructure plans.
Though it is not clear how long the error lasted, a quick check revealed that Google’s translation function did not show the same error. Facebook’s translation into English referred to Mr Xi as “Mr Sh*thole” six separate times in the post.
The translation read in parts;
“Mr Sh*thole, President of China, arrives at 4pm.
“Consultant Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is friendly. And the president of China, Mr Sh*thole, signed a guest record of the house of representatives.”
However reacting to the error in a statement made available to The Independent, a Facebook spokesperson said they are doing everything to fix the error as quickly as possible.
The Facebook spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue regarding Burmese to English translations on Facebook, and we’re doing everything we can to fix this as quickly as possible.
“This issue is not a reflection of the way our products should work and we sincerely apologise for the offence this has caused.”
It was further gathered that the Facebook system does not have President Xi Jinping’s name in its Burmese database which guessed the translation.
Facebook is blocked in mainland China, but it is not blocked in Hong Kong. Mainland companies advertise elsewhere on the platform, making China’s Facebook the biggest for revenue after the United States.