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.
Wellington, Apr 2 (AP/UNB) — New Zealand lawmakers on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of new gun restrictions during the first stage of a bill they hope to rush into law by the end of next week.
The bill would ban the types of weapons a gunman used to kill 50 people at two mosques last month.
The bill was backed by both liberals and conservatives, with only a single lawmaker from the 120 that sit in Parliament voting against it. The vote was the first of three that lawmakers must pass before the bill becomes law.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said far too many people have access to dangerous guns and lawmakers were driven by the need to ensure public safety.
"We are also driven by the memory of 50 men, women and children who were taken from their loved ones on the 15th of March," Nash said. "Their memory is our responsibility. We don't ever want to see an attack like this in our country again. We are compelled to act quickly."
Seemingly drawing a distinction with the U.S., where gun possession is constitutionally protected, Nash said that in New Zealand, gun ownership remains a privilege and not a right.
Conservative lawmaker David Seymour voted against the bill, saying it was too rushed.
"Doing it in nine days before politicians go on their Easter break is starting to look more like political theater than public safety," he said.
But Seymour was so busy explaining to reporters his reasons for opposing the bill that he missed a procedural vote in which he could have tried to slow its passage.
Many New Zealanders were shocked at the firepower the gunman was able to legally obtain and favor the legislative changes.
Some are opposed. More than 14,000 have signed a petition filed in Parliament which says the law changes are "unjust" for law-abiding citizens and are being driven by emotions.
The bill would ban "military-style" semi-automatic guns and high-capacity magazines. It would also ban semi-automatic shotguns that could be fitted with detachable magazines and pump-action shotguns that can hold more than five rounds.
The bill wouldn't ban guns often used by farmers and hunters, including semi-automatic .22-caliber or smaller guns that hold up to 10 rounds, or shotguns that hold up to five rounds.
London, Apr 2 (AP/UNB) — Britain is running out of time and options for Brexit.
U.K. lawmakers have thrice rejected the divorce deal struck between Prime Minister Theresa May's government and the European Union. Facing an April 12 deadline to present the EU with a new Brexit proposal or crash out of the bloc, lawmakers met for new votes Monday to try to agree on a plan — and rejected all the options.
With May clinging to hope of persuading Parliament to back her Brexit deal if she asks a fourth time, a look at the most likely options:
Most politicians, economists and business groups think leaving the world's largest trading bloc without an agreement would be disastrous. It would impose tariffs on trade between Britain and the EU, bring customs checks that could cause gridlock at ports, and could spark shortages of essential goods.
Brexiteer lawmakers in May's Conservative Party dismiss this as "Project Fear" and argue for what they call a "clean Brexit." They have urged her not to compromise and to ramp up preparations to leave the bloc without an agreement on April 12.
Parliament has voted repeatedly to rule out a no-deal Brexit, but that remains the default position unless a deal is approved, Brexit is canceled or the EU grants Britain another extension.
May says the only way to guarantee Britain does not leave the EU without a deal is for Parliament to back her deal — which lawmakers have already rejected three times.
MAY'S UNDEAD DEAL
After almost two years of negotiations, Britain and the EU struck a divorce deal in November, laying out the terms of the departure from the bloc and giving a rough outline of future relations.
But it has been roundly rejected by lawmakers on both sides of the Brexit divide. Pro-Brexit lawmakers think it keeps Britain too closely tied to EU rules. Pro-EU legislators argue it is worse than the U.K.'s current status as an EU member.
Parliament has thrown it out three times, although the latest defeat, by 58 votes, was the narrowest yet. It was rejected even after May won over some pro-Brexit lawmakers by promising to quit if it was approved.
May is considering one last push this week, arguing that Parliament's failure to back any other deal means her agreement is the best option available.
On Monday, Parliament voted on four alternative proposals to May's rejected deal after lawmakers seized control of the schedule from the government.
None got a majority, but the votes revealed a solid block of support for a "soft Brexit" that would maintain close economic ties between Britain and the EU. A plan to keep the U.K. in an EU customs union, ensuring seamless trade in goods, was defeated by just three votes.
May has ruled those options out, because sticking to EU trade rules would limit Britain's ability to forge new trade deals around the world.
But tweaking her deal to adopt a customs union could gain May valuable votes in Parliament. It also would likely be welcomed by the EU and would allow Britain to leave the bloc in an orderly fashion in the next few months.
NEW BREXIT REFERENDUM
Parliament also narrowly rejected a proposal for a new referendum on whether to leave the EU or remain.
The proposal for any Brexit deal to be put to public vote in a "confirmatory referendum" was defeated by 12 votes. It was backed by opposition parties, plus some of May's Conservatives — mainly those who want to stay in the bloc.
Her government has ruled out holding another referendum on Britain's EU membership, saying voters in 2016 made their decision to leave.
But with divisions in both Parliament and in May's Cabinet, handing the decision back to the people in a new plebiscite could be seen as the only way forward.
The alternative to a "no-deal" departure is to delay Brexit for at least several months, and possibly more than a year, to sort out the mess. The EU is frustrated with the impasse and has said it will only grant another postponement if Britain comes up with a whole new Brexit plan.
The bloc is reluctant to have a departing Britain participate in the May 23-26 European parliament elections, but that would have to be done if Brexit is delayed. Still, EU Council President Donald Tusk has urged the bloc to give Britain a Brexit extension if it plans to change course.
A long delay raises the chances of an early British election, which could rearrange Parliament and break the deadlock.
London, Apr 2 (AP/UNB) — Britain's Parliament has spoken — and it has said no, again.
Lawmakers seeking a way out of the country's Brexit morass on Monday rejected four alternatives to the government's unpopular European Union divorce deal that would have softened or even halted Britain's departure.
With just 12 days until the U.K. must come up with a new plan or crash out of the bloc in chaos, the House of Commons threw out four options designed to replace Prime Minister Theresa May's thrice-rejected Brexit deal — though in some cases by a whisker.
The result leaves May's Conservative government facing difficult and risky choices. It can gamble on a fourth attempt to push May's unloved deal through Parliament, let Britain tumble out of the bloc without a deal, or roll the dice by seeking a snap election to shake up Parliament.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the government would continue to seek support for a "credible" plan for leaving the EU.
"This House has continuously rejected leaving without a deal just as it has rejected not leaving at all," he told lawmakers in the House of Commons after the votes. "Therefore the only option is to find a way through which allows the U.K. to leave with a deal."
May has summoned her Cabinet for a marathon meeting Tuesday to thrash out the options. The prime minister, who is renowned for her dogged determination, could try to bring her Brexit agreement back for a fourth time later this week.
Monday's votes revealed a preference among lawmakers for a softer form of Brexit — but not a majority to make it happen.
The narrowest defeat — 276 votes to 273 — was for a plan to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, guaranteeing smooth and tariff-free trade in goods. A motion that went further, calling for Britain to stay in the EU's borderless single market for both goods and services, was defeated 282-261.
A third proposal calling for any Brexit deal Britain strikes with the EU to be put to a public referendum was defeated 292-280.
The fourth, which would let Britain cancel Brexit if it came within two days of crashing out of the bloc without a deal, fell by a wider margin, 292-191.
May had already ruled out all the ideas under consideration. But the divorce deal she negotiated with the EU has been rejected by Parliament three times, leaving Britain facing a no-deal Brexit that could cause turmoil for people and businesses on both sides of the Channel.
Conservative lawmaker Nick Boles, architect of the single-market option, acknowledged he had failed in his attempt to break the deadlock.
"I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise," Boles added, announcing that he was quitting the Conservatives to sit as an independent in Parliament.
The April 12 deadline, imposed by the EU, gives Britain's politicians less than two weeks to bridge the hostile divide that separates those in her government who want to sever links with the EU and those who want to keep the ties that have bound Britain to the bloc for almost 50 years.
Lawmakers have carved out more time on Wednesday for further votes on Brexit options.
The impasse is raising expectations that lawmakers or the government could try to trigger a snap election in the hope a new configuration in Parliament would break the Brexit logjam. But the Conservatives are worried that could hand power to the opposition Labour Party.
The lack of consensus reflects a Parliament and a government deeply divided over how — and whether — to leave the EU.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said leaving the bloc without a deal was "not the responsible thing for a government to do."
But Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss said it would be better than a soft Brexit.
"I don't have any fear of no-deal," she said.
The Brexit impasse has alarmed businesses, who say the uncertainty has deterred investment and undermined economic growth.
The chief executive of industrial manufacturer Siemens U.K. implored lawmakers to unite around a compromise deal, saying "Brexit is exhausting our business and wrecking the country's tremendous reputation as an economic powerhouse."
Juergen Maier urged lawmakers to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, saying that would allow frictionless trade to continue. In a letter published by the Politico website, Maier said "where the U.K. used to be beacon for stability, we are now becoming a laughing stock."
EU leaders have called a special summit on April 10 to consider any request from Britain for a delay to Brexit — or to make last-minute preparations for Britain's departure without a deal two days later.
The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, warned that a no-deal Brexit was looming unless Britain changed course.
"The House of Commons again votes against all options," he tweeted. "A hard #Brexit becomes nearly inevitable. On Wednesday, the U.K. has a last chance to break the deadlock or face the abyss."