London, Jul 14 (AP/UNB) — An anti-Brexit activist who won a major legal case against the British government says she will go to court again if the country's next prime minister tries to force the country out of the European Union without a deal.
Businesswoman Gina Miller says she has instructed her lawyers in anticipation of Boris Johnson winning a Conservative Party leadership contest this month that would make him the next prime minister.
Johnson refuses to rule out suspending Parliament if lawmakers try to block Britain from leaving the EU on Oct. 31, as scheduled.
Miller said Sunday "it would be an abuse of his powers to close Parliament ... to limit the voice of the representatives that we all elect."
In 2017, Miller stopped the government from triggering the countdown to Brexit without a vote in Parliament.
Moscow, Jul 14 (AP/UNB) — Around 1,000 people have gathered in central Moscow to demand that opposition candidates be included on ballots for an upcoming city parliament election in September.
The rally was billed as a meeting between opposition leaders and their voters after signatures sponsoring several candidates were rejected by the Moscow election commission. Demonstrators on Sunday chanted "We are the authority here!" and "Putin is a thief."
Alexei Navalny, Russia's most famous opposition leader, has not yet arrived at the meeting, which has not been sanctioned by Russian authorities.
Ilya Yashin, one of the candidates who saw signatures invalidated, has called on demonstrators to march with him to the mayor's office to state their election demands.
No arrests have been reported so far.
London, Jul 14 (AP/UNB) — A newspaper in Britain has published more leaked memos from Britain's ambassador in Washington, despite a police warning that doing so might be a crime.
In one cable published by the Mail on Sunday, U.K. ambassador Kim Darroch says President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran as an act of "diplomatic vandalism" to spite his predecessor, Barack Obama.
Darroch resigned last week after the newspaper published cables in which he'd branded the Trump administration dysfunctional and inept. The White House responded by refusing to deal with him.
U.K. police are hunting the culprits behind the leak — and, contentiously, warned journalists that publishing the documents "could also constitute a criminal offence."
Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, who are competing to become Britain's next prime minister, both defended the media's right to publish.
Wellington, Jul 13 (AP/UNB) — Dozens of Christchurch gun owners on Saturday handed over their weapons in exchange for money, in the first of more than 250 planned buyback events around New Zealand after the government outlawed many types of semi-automatics.
Police said they paid more than 430,000 New Zealand dollars ($288,000) to 169 gun owners during the event. The money was paid directly into the bank accounts of gun owners.
New Zealand lawmakers in April rushed through new legislation to ban so-called military-style weapons after a lone gunman killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques in March.
The government has set aside more than NZ$200 million to buy back weapons such as AR-15 style rifles, although many gun owners remain unhappy with the compensation on offer.
Under an amnesty, gun owners have until December to turn over their now-banned weapons.
Police said at least 14,000 guns around the country are banned under the new legislation. There are an estimated 1 million to 1.5 million guns in New Zealand and 250,000 licensed gun owners.
Under the buyback scheme, gun owners are compensated between 25% and 95% of the pre-tax price of a new gun, depending on the condition of their weapon.
People who own guns that are not banned under the new laws can also turn over their weapons during the amnesty, although they won't get any compensation. Police said a half-dozen such weapons were turned in during the Christchurch event.
Police are using hydraulic machines to crush the gun barrels and firing mechanisms of the weapons that are handed in, rendering them inoperable, before disposing of them.
Mike Johnson, an acting district police commander, said the Christchurch buyback had been a success and the attitude of gun owners "outstanding."
Police Minister Stuart Nash said the results from the first collection were very encouraging.
"Many of those who handed over firearms commented how easy the process is, how the prices are fair, and how police made the whole event go smoothly," Nash said in a statement.
But Nicole McKee, the secretary of the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners, said the government was shortchanging gun owners by trying to complete the buyback on the cheap.
She said gun owners were forced to rely on police assessments of the condition of their guns and weren't getting paid anything for the thousands of dollars they had spent on tax as well as certain accessories and ammunition.
"They do want to abide by the new laws but they have no incentive and they're having fingers pointed at them and are being treated like criminals," McKee said. "They're angry at the way they're being treated."
The council has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to fight against possible further government-imposed gun restrictions.
McKee, who declined to say how much money they had raised, said they hadn't received any money from the U.S. National Rifle Association as far as she was aware.
She said the group wasn't in communication with the NRA, other than receiving a note of sympathy from the U.S. organization after the March attacks.
Hera Cook, a public health researcher who co-founded the group Gun Control NZ after the March attacks, said that before the massacre, most New Zealanders had no clue how easy it was to get hold of weapons capable of being used for mass killings.
She said she hopes the government enacts further gun control measures, including creating a register of guns and introducing shorter license periods for gun owners.
She said some of the gun owners complaints about getting short-changed or treated badly appeared to have some merit, and that "wasn't a good look" for the government.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist, has pleaded not guilty to terrorism, murder and attempted murder charges following the March attacks. He remains in jail ahead of his trial, which has been scheduled for next May.
London, Jul 13(AP/UNB) — A British investigation into the leaking of confidential diplomatic memos is raising press freedom issues with a police warning that U.K. media might face a criminal inquiry if leaked documents are published.
The Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command is investigating the leak of private memos written by Britain's ambassador to the United States as a possible breach of the Official Secrets Act.
Announcing the police inquiry, Counterterrorism police unit leader Neil Basu warned against any further publication of leaked documents.
"The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause, may also be a criminal matter," he said.
"I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty's Government."
His warning may be aimed specifically at preventing publication of any more memos that have already been leaked from Britain's sprawling diplomatic and security services.
Basu also urged the leakers of the already published documents to "turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences."
The leak led to the resignation of British Ambassador Kim Darroch after President Donald Trump said his administration would no longer work with Darroch, who had criticized Trump in the leaked cables.
Darroch's defenders said his critical memos showed he was doing his job by providing candid assessments, as diplomats are expected to do, but he said the controversy had made it impossible to fulfill his duties.
British officials say they believe the leak was not a result of computer hacking and seems to have been carried out by an insider.
The Official Secrets Act prohibits public servants from making "damaging" disclosures of classified material. It is aimed at civil servants and others in the government with access to sensitive information and is not designed to target journalists.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is jousting with Boris Johnson to become the next prime minister, tweeted Saturday that the person responsible for the leak must be found and held responsible, but he differed with police over whether the publication of leaks is a possible crime.
"I defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them & judge them to be in the public interest: that is their job," he said.
Johnson, a former foreign secretary, also said it would be wrong to seek criminal charges against the press for publishing leaked material.
"A prosecution on this basis would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate," he said at a campaign event.
The Mail on Sunday, which first obtained the trove of leaked memos, has not faced any legal repercussions for its decision to publish.
The Foreign Office criticized the leak but did not challenge the authenticity of the memos, which characterized the Trump administration as chaotic and inept.
Darroch's defenders said his critical memos showed he was doing his job by providing candid assessments as diplomats are expected to do, but he said the controversy had made it impossible to function.