London, Apr 4 (AP/UNB) — Meetings are planned Thursday between the British government and the opposition Labour Party in an urgent search for a compromise Brexit solution.
The upper House of Lords is also set to consider legislation that would force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a Brexit delay from the European Union. The bill is aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit on April 12.
British police are warning politicians to tone down their Brexit rhetoric amid concerns about the volatile public mood as the future of Brexit is debated.
British officials hope to agree on a Brexit plan that can be presented to EU officials ahead of an April 10 summit that will determine if the scheduled exit date can be delayed.
Business leaders warn that a "no-deal" Brexit would badly hurt commerce.
Wellington, Apr 4 (AP/UNB) — Police say the man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges at his court appearance on Friday.
Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant had been charged with one count of murder after his arrest the day of the March 15 massacre.
Fifty people were killed in the two mosques and dozens of others were shot and wounded.
Tarrant won't be required to enter a plea on Friday.
The judge says the brief hearing will mainly be about Tarrant's legal representation. He has said he wants to represent himself.
The man accused in the Christchurch mosque attacks is due to make his second court appearance via video link on Friday although media photographs and reporting on the proceedings will be limited by New Zealand law.
Fifty people died in the March 15 attacks on two mosques.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder, and police plan to file more charges. Tarrant won't be required to enter a plea on Friday. The judge says the brief hearing will mainly be about Tarrant's legal representation. He has said he wants to represent himself.
New Zealand tightly restricts what can be reported about upcoming court cases to avoid tainting the views of potential jurors.
Toronto, Apr 3 (AP/UNB) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ousted Canada's former attorney general and another ex-minister from the Liberal party caucus Tuesday amid a scandal that has rocked his government in an election year.
Trudeau cited repeated questioning of his leadership as well as the fact that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould publicized a secretly recorded conversation she had with Michael Wernick, Canada's top civil servant.
Trudeau called that "unconscionable."
Trudeau also ousted Jane Philpott, a former Cabinet minister who stepped down from her role after she said she lost confidence in how the government has handled the affair.
Both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott had remained as members of Trudeau's party in Parliament after resigning from Cabinet but kept making remarks that damaged the prime minister and the party.
The two were two high-profile women ministers in Trudeau's Cabinet, half of which are women. Wilson-Raybould was Canada's first indigenous justice minister.
Trudeau and Liberal lawmakers met Tuesday evening to discuss Wilson-Raybould and Philpott.
Wilson-Raybould tweeted that Trudeau had removed her and she will not be a Liberal candidate in the fall election.
"What I can say is that I hold my head high & that I can look myself in the mirror knowing I did what I was required to do and what needed to be done based on principles & values that must always transcend party," she tweeted. "I have no regrets. I spoke truth as I will continue to do."
Wilson-Raybould believes she was demoted from her role as attorney general and justice minister to veterans' affairs minister in January because she didn't give in to pressure to enter into a remediation agreement with a Canadian company accused of bribing officials in Libya.
That potential solution would avoid a potential criminal conviction that would bar engineering giant SNC-Lavalin from receiving any federal government business for a decade. The company is a major employer with 9,000 employees in Canada and more than 50,000 worldwide.
The scandal has led to multiple resignations, including Gerry Butts, Trudeau's top aide and best friend. And it has damaged the party for eight weeks.
In a letter released earlier Tuesday, Wilson-Raybould pleaded with her colleagues to remain and acknowledged they are enraged but said she was "trying to help protect the Prime Minister and the government from a horrible mess."
"Now I know many of you are angry, hurt, and frustrated. And frankly so am I, and I can only speak for myself. I am angry, hurt, and frustrated because I feel and believe I was upholding the values that we all committed to," Wilson-Raybould wrote to colleagues earlier Tuesday.
Trudeau has been on the defensive since the Globe and Mail newspaper reported Feb. 7 via sources that Trudeau's staff put pressure on Wilson-Raybould. She denied she was the source of the story, writing "I am not the one who made it public."
The secret recording Wilson-Raybould made public shows Wernick telling Wilson-Raybould that Trudeau "is determined, quite firm" in finding a way to avoid a prosecution that could put 9,000 jobs at risk.
It also reveals Wilson-Raybould saying she regards the pressure as "inappropriate."
Philpott said neither she nor Wilson-Raybould initiated the crisis now facing Trudeau and the party.
"Rather than acknowledge the obvious — that a range of individuals had inappropriately attempted to pressure the former Attorney General in relation to a prosecutorial decision — and apologize for what occurred, a decision was made to attempt to deny the obvious — to attack Jody Wilson-Raybould's credibility and attempt to blame her," Philpott said in posting on social media.
"That approach now appears to be focused on whether Jody Wilson-Raybould should have audiotaped the Clerk instead of the circumstances that prompted Jody Wilson-Raybould to feel compelled to do so."
Wilson-Raybould has refused to express support for Trudeau for weeks, a demand many Liberal lawmakers said was necessary if she was to remain in Parliament as part of the party caucus
Trudeau said past civil wars within the Liberal party damaged the party.
"The team has to trust each other. With Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott that trust has been broken. Our political opponents win when Liberals are divided," Trudeau said to a loud ovation in caucus.
Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said Wilson-Raybould is angling to eventually replace Trudeau.
"Her letter, I believe, sets the stage for her run at the Liberal leadership if the Liberals lose in October and Justin Trudeau steps down," Wiseman said.
"She is a victim of the parliamentary system which in Canada imposes sturdier party discipline than in any of the other Westminster parliamentary systems. The letter reveals her naiveté, as a rookie Member of Parliament, about how the system works."
Dhaka, April 3 (UNB) - A 61-year-old woman has given birth to her own granddaughter in the United States after serving as a surrogate for her son and his husband.
The woman, Cecile Eledge, from Nebraska, had been through menopause but was nonetheless approved for surrogacy, reports local media.
She volunteered to carry the child for nine months and give birth in order to help her son, Matthew Eledge, and his husband, Elliot Dougherty, become parents.
The couple told media that the birth of their first child was possible due to the "selfless women" in their lives.
The egg was donated by Dougherty's sister.
Doctors fertilised the egg using Eledge's sperm, and the embryo was then implanted in his mother's womb.
Eledge gave birth to a baby girl, named Uma, last week at the Nebraska Medical Centre in Omaha.
London, Apr 3 (AP/UNB) — With Britain racing toward a chaotic exit from the European Union within days, Prime Minister Theresa May veered away from the cliff-edge Tuesday, saying she would seek another Brexit delay and hold talks with the opposition to seek a compromise.
May made the announcement after the EU's chief negotiator warned that a disruptive and costly Brexit was likely unless Britain broke the impasse that has paralyzed the government and Parliament.
After failing repeatedly to win Parliament's backing for her Brexit blueprint, May said the country needed "national unity to deliver the national interest."
Following the defeat of the government's plan and a range of lawmaker-written alternatives, May said Britain would need a further delay to its EU departure, currently scheduled for April 12. She offered to hold talks with opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to find a compromise solution.
"This debate, this division, cannot drag on much longer," May said in a televised statement from 10 Downing St. after an all-day Cabinet meeting.
European Council President Donald Tusk gave a cautious welcome to May's change of course.
"Even if, after today, we don't know what the end result will be, let us be patient," he tweeted — a suggestion the EU would wait for Britain to present a clear plan.
Earlier, EU negotiator Michel Barnier offered a downbeat assessment of the situation.
"As things stand now, the no-deal option looks likely. I have to tell you the truth," Barnier said in Brussels.
Barnier said "we can still hope to avoid it" if London produced a breakthrough before an April 10 EU summit.
The leaders of the EU's 27 remaining countries have given the U.K. until April 12 to leave the bloc or to come up with a new plan, after British lawmakers thrice rejected an agreement struck between the bloc and May late last year.
The House of Commons has also failed to find a majority for any alternative plan in two days of voting on multiple options.
May's statement came after a seven-hour meeting of her fractious Cabinet, which is split between supporters of a "soft Brexit" that keeps close economic ties with the EU, and Brexiteers who believe a no-deal exit is better than compromising.
May's words seemed to indicate that she was veering away from the possibility of a no-deal Brexit — but also that she has not given up on her own unloved withdrawal agreement.
Her plan is to seek approval for the legally binding agreement — which sets out in detail the terms of Britain's departure from the EU — after securing cross-party political support for a vision of future ties between the U.K. and the bloc.
If she and Corbyn fail to reach agreement, May said Parliament would get to vote on a range of options — and the government would be bound by the result. It is the first time she has committed to following the instruction of lawmakers.
May didn't indicate how long an extension she would seek from the EU, though she said she hoped Britain could pass the agreement by May 22, in time to avoid participating in elections for the European Parliament.
Corbyn said he would be "very happy" to sit down with May, even though "so far she hasn't shown much sign of compromise."
Corbyn said Labour would present May with its conditions for Brexit, which include a close economic relationship with the bloc through a customs union, maintaining high environmental standards and protecting workers' rights.
May's move infuriated pro-Brexit politicians, who say Britain must cut ties to the EU in order to forge an independent economic policy.
"I think people will feel very short-changed," said former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a prominent pro-Brexit voice in Parliament.
But May's words brought relief for those who fear the effects of a no-deal Brexit, which would complicate trade and travel, with new checks on borders and new regulations on dealings between the EU and Britain.
Businesses have warned that the economic impact in Britain could be devastating.
Ford of Europe Chairman Steven Armstrong said "a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the automotive industry in the U.K."
Edwin Morgan, interim director general of business group the Institute of Directors, said May's statement was "a welcome step towards compromise," though there remained obstacles ahead.
"We urge the leader of the opposition to work with the prime minister to find a solution," he said. "Both sides must play ball."
Britain's political paralysis — and May's failure to get Parliament's approval for the withdrawal agreement she negotiated — have exasperated EU leaders.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that if Britain's politicians could not agree on a way forward, "they will de facto have chosen for themselves to leave without a deal."
"We cannot avoid failure for them," Macron said before a meeting in Paris with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
But Varadkar stressed "there's still time" for May to come to the April 10 summit with "credible" proposals.
Meanwhile, British lawmakers intent on avoiding a no-deal Brexit have drawn up plans to prevent Britain crashing out of the bloc, by accident or design.
"We are now in a really dangerous situation with a serious and growing risk of no deal," Labour Party legislator Yvette Cooper said.
Cooper introduced legislation, which Parliament is set to consider, this week, that would compel May to seek to extend the Brexit process beyond April 12 in order to prevent a no-deal departure.