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News: Doha becomes busiest airport in Middle East

News: Doha becomes busiest airport in Middle East

In the battle to be the pre-eminent travel hub in the Middle East, the latest research from ForwardKeys has revealed that Doha seized and consolidated a lead over Dubai in the first half of 2021.

In the period January 1st-June 30th, the volume of air tickets issued for travel via Doha was 18 per cent higher than it was through Dubai; and that relationship looks set to continue.

Current bookings for the second half of the year through Doha are 17 per cent higher than through Dubai.

At the start of the year, air traffic through Doha was at 77 per cent of Dubai; but it quickly reached 100 per cent for the first time during the week commencing January 27th.

The major factor driving the trend was the lifting, in January, of the blockade of flights to and from Qatar, which was imposed in June 2017 by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism – an accusation strongly denied by Qatar.


As soon as it was imposed, the blockade had an immediate negative impact on flights to and from Doha.

For example, Qatar Airways was forced to drop 18 destinations from its network.

In addition, various flights through Doha suffered extended journey times, as planes had to make detours to avoid the blockading counties’ air space.

The destination and its major carrier, Qatar Airways, did not respond to the blockade by cutting back; instead, it opened 24 new routes to utilise what would otherwise have been idle aircraft.

Since January, five routes, Cairo, Dammam, Dubai, Jeddah and Riyadh, to/from Doha have been reopened and traffic on other routes has grown.

The reinstated routes which have made the most substantial relative contribution to visitor arrivals are: Dammam to Doha, reaching 30 per cent of pre-blockade arrivals in the first half of 2017, and Dubai to Doha, 21 per cent.

In addition, new connections with Seattle, San Francisco, and Abidjan, were established in December 2020, January and June respectively.

Olivier Ponti, vice president, insights, ForwardKeys, commented: “Without the blockade, which encouraged the establishment of new routes as a strategy to replace lost traffic, perhaps we would not have seen Doha charging past Dubai.

“So, it seems that the seeds of Doha’s relative success were, ironically, sown by the adverse actions of its neighbours.

“However, one needs to bear in mind that flights through the Middle East during first half of 2021 were still 81 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

“So, as the recovery gathers pace, the picture could change significantly.”

The last major factor, which has given Qatar an edge over Dubai, has been its reaction to the pandemic.

During the height of the Covid-19 crisis, many routes in and out of Doha remained operational, with the result that Doha became a major hub for repatriation flights – most notably to Johannesburg and Montreal.

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This post originally posted here Breaking Travel News

Queen wants Edward to be bestowed Edinburgh title once Prince Charles becomes king

Queen wants Edward to be bestowed Edinburgh title once Prince Charles becomes king

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip wanted their youngest son Prince Edward to be given the title of Duke of Edinburgh once their eldest son Prince Charles becomes king. They reportedly assured him ahead of his marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999.

Prince Charles inherited the title in April after his father’s death, and once he succeeds Her Majesty the title will automatically revert back to the crown.

Doubts have emerged in recent days about the Earl of Wessex being granted the title once Charles becomes king, with one expert suggesting the Queen may need to “have a word” with her eldest to ensure her and Philip’s will is respected.

Royal expert Richard Kay was reported to have said: “My feeling is that if the Queen were to have a word in her son’s ear, then Charles would fall into line and Edward will get the title.”

The royal commentator continued: “He’s doing so much of the monarchical duties, he’s the head of the family effectively now, all the problems with Prince Harry, Prince Andrew uncertainty over his scandal. You’d have thought this wouldn’t have mattered but these things matter to the royals – they take these titles incredibly seriously.”

Prince Charles has become the de facto head of the family since Prince Philip’s demise in April as he now is the most senior male member of the monarchy.

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This post originally posted here United Kingdom News

Great Salt Lake is shrinking fast. Scientists demand action before it becomes a toxic dustbin.

Human water consumption and diversion have long depleted the Utah lake. Its level today is inches away from a 58-year low, state officials say, and Western drought conditions fueled by the climate crisis have exacerbated conditions.
The worst part? It’s only July, and the lake historically doesn’t reach its annual low until October.
Lucy Kafanov of CNN and Kevin Perry ride bikes Tuesday on the dry lake bed playa of the Great Salt Lake.
“I have never seen it this bad — not in my lifetime,” said Andy Wallace, soaring over the body of water in a prop plane, as he’s done for years as a commercial pilot.
Simply put, the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere is shrinking rapidly. Left alone, the lake’s footprint would span 2,100 square miles — more than three times the area of Houston. An analysis published last year showed that water siphoned off the rivers that feed the natural wonder had reduced its level by 11 feet, depleting the lake area by more than half.
“Twenty years ago, this was under about 10 feet of water,” said Kevin Perry, chairman of the department of atmospheric sciences at the University of Utah, as he rode a bike in July across the desiccated lake bed.

Dying organisms and arsenic

Perry and other scientists worry they’re watching a slow-motion calamity unfold. Ten million birds flock to the Great Salt Lake each year to feed off of its now-struggling sea life. More pelicans breed here than most anywhere else in the country.
The trouble trickles up the food chain. The Utah Geological Survey openly expressed its fear Thursday that the shrinking lake levels threaten to kill microbialites — underwater reef-like mounds that help feed brine flies, brine shrimp and, thus, the 338 species of birds that visit each year.
Pelicans gather in June on an island on Farmington Bay near the Great Salt Lake.
“We think of these structures as living rocks,” said Michael Vanden Berg, manager of the survey’s energy and mineral program. “The population in Great Salt Lake is one of the largest accumulations of modern microbialites in the world.”
If the lake continues to recede to historic levels, a heretofore unseen proportion of the lake’s microbialites will be exposed, a news release said. It can take only weeks for the microbial mat to erode off the “living rocks,” it said, and it could take years to recover, even if lake levels return to normal.
Brine shrimp, also known as sea monkeys, are also battling the rising salinity that comes with less water. They’re not just bird food, either. They’re exported as fish food, and commercial harvesting contributes to an estimated $ 1.5 billion economy — which, along with recreation and mineral extraction, helps feed fishers and others living around Great Salt Lake.
Economic downturn isn’t the only threat to humans in the area. Utah’s soil is naturally high in arsenic, a toxic compound that causes a frightening range of health problems. When it washes downstream, it lands in the lake, Perry said. When the wind blows, as it regularly does quite fiercely, it kicks up the dusty lake bed.
A bison walks in April along the receding edge of the Great Salt Lake on its way to a watering hole at Antelope Island, Utah.
“One of the concerns we have is the particles that are coming off the lake getting into people’s lungs,” he said. “Fifteen to 20 years ago, when the lake was higher, most of these dust spots were covered up, and if you cover them up with water, they don’t produce dust. And so as the lake has receded, it’s exposed more and more of that lake bed. … As we get the larger area, we have more frequent dust storms.”
Owens Lake, a mostly dry lake east of the California’s Sequoia National Forest, was diverted to the Los Angeles Aqueduct almost a century ago, Perry noted. Though some water is returning to the lake, its dry bed is the largest source of PM-10 pollution — large, inhalable dust particles — in the nation. Great Salt Lake is much larger than Owens Lake, and whereas the population around Owens Lake is about 40,000, there are more than 2 million people living around Great Salt Lake, Perry points out.
“This lake could become one of the larger dust emission sources in North America as well,” he said. “Right now, the lake bed is protected by a fragile crust, and if that crust is disturbed or erodes over time, then this lake could start to emit a lot more (dust).”

‘We’re on the doorstep of a catastrophe’

A dried-out portion of Great Salt Lake is seen Wednesday from the air.
Huge swaths of the Utah lake look more like Death Valley than any waterway, the ground barren and fractured from dry heat. Other areas look like sprawling street puddles. Birds wade through shoreline muck along empty marinas, their slips sagging to the ground.
“The saltiest sailors on the planet have had their sailboats hoisted out of the Great Salt Lake’s marinas by crane in recent days, due to dropping Lake levels,” the Utah Rivers Council wrote in the introduction of a report warning that a dam, pipeline and reservoir proposal to the east will only compound problems.
While human behavior remains scientists’ primary concern, the lack of rain out West isn’t helping. Great Salt Lake now is like water sitting in a plate, whereas most lakes resemble a cup, said Jaimi Butler, co-editor of the 2020 analysis showing the lake area had shrunk by 51%.
The shallow waters are more prone to evaporation in drought conditions, and while the lake’s level ebbs and flows over any given year, the lake tends to reach its low point in the fall, around October. The lake will continue to drop and shrink over the next three months, and the water level could sink as much as 2 more feet by Halloween, Butler suspects.
“Keeping water in Great Salt Lake is the biggest thing that keeps me up at night,” said Butler, a wildlife biologist who grew up around the lake and serves as coordinator for the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College. “We’re on the doorstep of a catastrophe.”

Mother Nature and residents must join forces

Butler wept contemplating the ramifications of not taking strong action to save the waterway.
“Great Salt Lake will be an environmental, economic and, really, cultural catastrophe all in one,” she said. “I grew up here. A place becomes you. … We are all Great Salt Lake. All of us are, and we shouldn’t let it go away.”
Humans created the problem, and humans will have to take part in the solution, she said. Curbing water usage and raising water utility rates to deter waste would be a start, she added.
Jaimi Butler poses along the receding edge of Great Salt Lake.
Despite the warning bells, water meant for Great Salt Lake continues to be diverted to farms, ranches and cities — the latter of which enjoy some of the cheapest water in the nation, Butler said.
Salt Lake City residents paid one of the lowest water rates of major US cities, according to an analysis by Circle of Blue, a nonprofit advocating for responsible stewardship of water resources. A family of four using a 100 gallons a day paid $ 32 a month in 2018 — about half of what New Yorkers paid, a third of what Atlantans paid and a quarter of what San Franciscans shelled out that year. Among the major cities, only Memphis residents paid less.
But it seems residents around Great Salt Lake have been acting more conscientiously, said Marcie McCartney, the water conservation and education manager for the Utah Division of Water Resources.
“Everybody around and in that basin is doing all they can to use water as wisely as possible,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of (water) saving this year, which is awesome, but the Great Salt Lake is definitely suffering, and the only way we’re going to get those lake levels up higher is a better water year for our snow pack.”
The Great Salt Lake recedes in May from Antelope Island near Salt Lake City.
Officials charged with monitoring the snow runoff into streams and reservoirs must calculate how much is needed for water supply — drinking, agriculture, etc. — and the rest can be released downstream into Great Salt Lake, McCartney explained. This year’s “poor snow pack” melted too quickly, she said, “and the soil is really thirsty.”
“Mother Nature is going to take her share first, and we’ll get the rest,” she said.
In November, Butler co-wrote an obituary for Great Salt Lake in Catalyst Magazine, based in the Utah capital.
“Great Salt Lake experienced her final glimmering sunset today, succumbing to a long struggle with chronic diversions exacerbated by climate change,” it began. “Her dusty remains will be scattered across the Salt Lake Valley for millennia — we will be constantly reminded of her passing by our air quality monitors.”
Visitors stand in June in the shallow waters of the Great Salt Lake.
The piece laid out the history of the reservoir, how it found itself in dire straits and what concerned Utahans can do to change the narrative and amplify their voices to save the beloved body of water.
“There was action to prevent the death of Great Salt Lake, but it was too little, too late,” the obit read. “She supported Utah’s economy for many years, but we did not adequately fund her healthcare in time. Had we done so, we may not be mourning her death today.”
Speaking to CNN, Butler reiterated many of those points, imploring, “We’ve changed our world, and we need to change our behaviors to keep incredible ecosystems that include humans like here at Great Salt Lake.”

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Camilla could get unprecedented title when Prince Charles becomes king

There have long been reports that Prince Charles plans to mix things up and slim down the monarchy when he becomes king.

And one way he could do this is by giving his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, an unprecedented title when he ascends the throne.

Usually, the wife of a king uses the title of Queen Consort and ever since they went public with their relationship there has been much discussion about the role his second wife will take when the Queen passes away.

But at the time of their marriage in 2005, an official statement said it is “intended that The Duchess will be known as HRH The Princess Consort”.

At the time of their marriage, it was revealed that Camilla would be known as Princess Consort when Charles becomes king

This would make Camilla, who celebrates her 74th birthday today, the first British royal to ever use the title of Princess Consort.

Public opinion of the Duchess was previously not favourable due to her relationship with Charles, and it is thought this is why she will be known as Princess Consort rather than Queen.

However, royal expert Robert Jobson has previously claimed that Camilla will be Queen and believes the word ‘intended’ was used in the original wording of the statement to give the public time to warm to her.

Love the royals? Sign up for the Mirror’s daily newsletter to get all the latest news on the Queen, Charles, Kate, Wills, Meghan, Harry and the rest of The Firm. Click here to sign up .

Camilla celebrates her 74th birthday today
Camilla celebrates her 74th birthday today

In his book Charles at 70: Thoughts, Hopes And Dreams, he writes: “The critical word in this statement, of course, was ‘intended’. What Clarence House was doing was buying time — time for a hostile public to warm to Camilla.

“Prince Charles, however, has always intended her to become his queen consort. According to an inside source, he’d already decided that before their wedding.”

Meanwhile, in 2018, the Prince of Wales website removed statements saying Camilla will be known as Princess Consort.

The Prince of Wales website removed statements in 2018 saying Camilla will be known as Princess Consort - but Clarence House said this would still be the case
The Prince of Wales website removed statements in 2018 saying Camilla will be known as Princess Consort – but Clarence House said this would still be the case

The title was included in the site’s frequently asked questions section and in Camilla’s biography.

However, Clarence House said at the time that the statement about Camilla’s title when the pair married “has not changed”.

It also added that the changes were made to the website because the issue of Camilla being called Queen had not been raised recently.

A Clarence House spokeswoman said: “Our frequently asked questions are updated regularly.

“This is one question [we have] not been asked by the public for some time, which is why it no longer features.”

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This post originally posted here United Kingdom News

Upstate New York Pre Med Student Becomes Internet Sensation and Business Mogul

Noah Mujalli on his internet/TV/Business successes

ALBANY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, July 15, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Noah Mujalli is a Premed student at The University of San Francisco who got his start as an American-born actor at age 18 on reality TV in Albany, New York. Since his roles on HBO and Amazon Prime television series, he began to share his passion for streetwear fashion on social media. After becoming an internet sensation as a fashion influencer, Noah is launching his upcoming streetwear clothing line to his followers called “Common Standards” on July 19th, 2021.

In 2020, Noah has been proclaimed as an actor after appearing on the reality TV show, The Real Estate Commission in Albany, New York during his freshman year of college as a premed student at The University of San Francisco. After appearing on The Real Estate Commission Reality TV Show, Noah had developed several business ventures around his TV success. Noah Mujalli’s Pre Med work ethic has allowed him to venture onto social media and share his passion for streetwear fashion which he boasts over 400,000 likes across platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

While in school, Noah Mujalli spent his time becoming a successful model and actor for many TV shows and ad campaigns on social media including Macy’s, Gap, Mayfair, LiquidIV, and Target. Since January 2021, Noah has made substantial revenue from his social media ventures and is investing the funds towards his upcoming clothing line called “Common Standards”. Noah Mujalli’s clothing line is set to release on July 19th, 2021.

The Actor/Business mogul emphasizes his excitement for his upcoming streetwear clothing line “I can’t wait until the line is completely finished! I have worked hard on the designs and plan on donating a portion of the proceeds to a charity, and that is what encourages my dedication in developing this line.” – Noah Mujalli

About Noah Mujalli: Noah Mujalli has a starring role in the Amazon Prime television series, The Real Estate Commission as well as an upcoming HBO television series. As a fashion influencer, Noah has gained a combined 16k followers, 400k likes, and 1 Million+ views on Instagram and TikTok. Noah Mujalli has been announced as the 5th influencer in The Top 20 Men’s Streetwear Minimalist on Instagram.

Be one of the first to have an exclusive shopping experience at Noah Mujalli’s clothing line.

For updates on Noah Mujalli follow his Instagram and visit his website at http://www.noahmujalli.com/

Noah Mujalli
Common Standards / Noah Mujalli
[email protected]

Upstate New York Pre Med Student Becomes Internet Sensation and Business Mogul

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This post originally posted here usnews

App Radonautica becomes new TikTok trend – and it helps users avoid UK’s saddest

App Radonautica becomes new TikTok trend - and it helps users avoid UK's saddest

Called Randonautica, the free app that launched in February 2020 where users are taken to ‘happy locations’ based on the persons’ mood. Several users known as randonauts have shared their outdoor adventures across social sharing sites including Reddit, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. The app has attracted the attention of millions of people from across the globe where users have documented their random treks to places less visited.

A statement on the company’s website reads: “Randonauting is the act of using the Randonautica app to generate truly random locations sourced with quantum entropy.

“The user can then choose to venture to these locations to see what they find. They often discover that what they see lines up with their intention, which is what they were thinking about when they generated the point.

“But even if this doesn’t happen, it’s a way to mindfully explore the world around them.”

Setting up Radonautica is straightforward – you will be first asked your current location, then choose an intention (eg. forest) and finally follow the directions to a random point that the app selects.

Radonautica was created by Joshua Lengfelder from Texas, a former circus performer whose app has been downloaded over 11 million times.

Three different types of locations can be chosen from, each randomly generated – the first is called an “attractor” location which finds a dense area.

A “void” location does the opposite to the first option by finding sparse areas while an “anomaly” will search for places if you have a strong intention to discover more about a particular subject.

Coordinates are then randomly given for the user to follow which then decide whether to say yes or no to.

Up to 10 sets of coordinates can be generated for free each day users wanting to have more mystery walkabouts must then pay for more.

However, not all of the final locations have ended on a memorable note, in June 2020 a group of teenagers in Seattle, Washington found a bag with two dead bodies.

But as the past 18 months has proven for many that the worldwide lockdown has led to many people finding new ways to help cope with boredom and loneliness.

READ MORE: WhatsApp a step closer to launching Snapchat-like view once messages

Author: Hannah Hastings
Read more here >>> Daily Express

Los Angeles County sees exponential growth in Covid-19 cases as Delta variant becomes dominant, worrying officials

Los Angeles County sees exponential growth in Covid-19 cases as Delta variant becomes dominant, worrying officials
The jump mirrors upticks in other parts of the country over the past week, as experts warn of Delta’s high transmissibility.
“We do continue to see an uptick in cases and hospitalizations,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday. “Deaths, fortunately continue to be relatively low, but as hospitalizations continue to increase we anticipate that deaths might also increase.”
While 60% of those over 16 years old have been fully vaccinated, the case rate in the county jumped from 1.74 cases to 3.5 cases per 100,000 people in one week, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The overwhelming majority of those testing positive in the county are unvaccinated, representing 99.96% of all new infections, the news release said.
Overall, the state’s Covid-19 positivity rate — the percentage of all tests that are positive — has tripled since California fully reopened last month.
The rate is now surpassing 2% for the first time since early March, after hitting a low of 0.7% in early June, according to new data from the state’s Department of Public Health.
The Delta variant, first detected in India, has been found in 43% of new sequenced samples in California, the state said.
And it also makes up more than 50% of sequenced samples across the country. In some areas, it’s even more, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Although we expected the Delta variant to become the dominant strain in the United States, this rapid rise is troubling,” she said.
In parts of the Midwest and upper Mountain states, CDC data suggest it accounts for about 80% of cases.
“Widespread vaccination is what will truly turn the corner on this pandemic,” Walensky said. “Please know, if you are not vaccinated, you remain susceptible.”

Pfizer says it’s developing a booster shot after seeing waning immunity

Meanwhile, Pfizer announced Thursday it was seeing waning immunity from its vaccine — manufactured in partnership with BioNTech — and was picking up its efforts to develop a booster shot to offer further protection against variants.
“As seen in real world data released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has declined six months post-vaccination, although efficacy in preventing serious illnesses remains high,” Pfizer said in a statement emailed to CNN.
Israel’s health ministry said in a statement earlier this week that it had seen efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine drop from more than 90% to about 64% as the Delta variant spread.
But hours after the Pfizer statement, the FDA and Centers for Disease and Control issued a joint statement saying Americans don’t need booster shots yet.
Dr. William Schaffner, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, supported the US government’s stance.
“The answer is that our vaccines still are very, very effective in keeping us out of the hospital, in averting severe disease. That’s what they were designed to do,” he told CNN on Thursday. “Now, it’s a bonus if they can also prevent what we call infection. You can get infected, have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. They diminish that possibility greatly. But they can’t turn it off completely.”

Vaccination gap widens

While experts have long stressed vaccines are our best defense against the pandemic, overall rates have dipped across the US.
Less than half of Americans are fully vaccinated as of Thursday, CDC data shows. And the difference in vaccination rates between Republicans and Democrats has grown over the last two months, a report released Thursday from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows.
Vaccination rates are increasing faster in counties that voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election than in counties that voted for Donald Trump, the new study finds.
The team used data comparing county-wide vaccinations numbers from the CDC with 2020 presidential election results.
In April 2021, counties where most people voted for Trump had an average vaccination rate of 20.6%, compared to 22.8% in counties that went for Biden, the study found. By July 2021, the average vaccination rate in Trump-leaning counties was 35%, and 46.7% in Biden-leaning counties. The gap increased by 9.5 percentage points in under three months.
The researchers said these numbers get at the importance of targeted vaccination efforts that account for partisan opposition.
“A key component of any effort to boost vaccination rates among Republicans will be identifying the right messengers,” the researchers wrote.
“Republicans are most likely to trust their doctors and employers to provide reliable information on COVID-19 vaccines, while government sources are less trusted.”

Author: Aya Elamroussi, CNN
Read more here >>> CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

EU chaos as Swexit becomes reality while eurosceptics gain ground: 'Changing rapidly'

Sweden slams EU on call for states to determine minimum wage

Sweden‘s political landscape is changing at rates never before seen. This week, the country plummeted into a full-blown crisis after a clash over housing policy resulted in a fragmented parliament. Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven saw 181 lawmakers vote against him.

He now has a week to decide whether to call a snap election or resign and move towards building a new governing coalition.

As the country’s once stable political position crumbles, the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) have made serious gains in both influence and attention.

Countries Europe over have seen right-wing, nationalist parties gain traction in recent years, with the coronavirus pandemic having sped-up the process.

SD are, like other right-wing parties on the continent, vehemently opposed to the EU and increasingly confident in voicing criticism.

EU news: Brussels could be left red-faced as Sweden's anti-EU party gains ground

EU news: Brussels could be left red-faced as Sweden’s anti-EU party gains ground (Image: GETTY)

Sweden: The country's parliament descended into chaos this week

Sweden: The country’s parliament descended into chaos this week (Image: GETTY)

In return for this SD and its leader Jimmie Åkesson have gained a surge in popularity from the public and a handful of Swedish politicians.

Mr Åkesson recently persuaded three other opposition party chiefs that they will need his support to take power from Mr Löfven in an election.

If successful, SD could push an anti-EU agenda to the heart of Sweden’s parliament, raising fears among Brussels top brass.

Speaking to Politico, Tommy Möller, a political scientist at Stockholm University told of how immediate change could arrive.

JUST INFrexit fury as EU law bans French food labels: ‘Want us to eat s***!’

Stefan Löfven: The Prime Minister's place in Sweden's politics is now unclear

Stefan Löfven: The Prime Minister’s place in Sweden’s politics is now unclear (Image: GETTY)

He said: “This is definitively a formative moment within Swedish politics.

“The landscape is changing rapidly.”

SD first entered parliament in 2010.

Back then, the party looked doomed to fail.

As Mr Åkesson gained momentum, former Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden’s prime minister from 2006 until 2014, called SD a “xenophobic force” and refused to discuss policy with them at all.

It is true that SD was previously a messy mix of unsavoury elements.

When Mr Åkesson joined the party in 1995 it included several neo-Nazi figures.

Since becoming leader in 2005 he has purged the party of people who have made racist statements.


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Jimmie Åkesson: The SD party leader has soared in popularity in recent years

Jimmie Åkesson: The SD party leader has soared in popularity in recent years (Image: GETTY)

Sweden Democrats: Åkesson delivering a speech at a party conference in 2018

Sweden Democrats: Åkesson delivering a speech at a party conference in 2018 (Image: GETTY)

SD really gained popularity in 2015 amid Europe’s migration crisis and a resulting spike in the number of asylum seekers entering Sweden.

This caused a change in approach for the Moderates, as well as their long-time partners the Christian Democrats, and the Liberals.

Ulf Kristersson, who became Moderate leader in 2017, initially rejected collaboration with SD.

However, since narrowly losing an election to Mr Löfven in 2018, he has slowly shifted direction, becoming increasingly clear over recent months that he is now ready to seek SD backing to avoid another defeat.

Brexit seats: Sweden gained an extra seat within the European Parliament following Brexit

Brexit seats: Sweden gained an extra seat within the European Parliament following Brexit (Image: Express Newspapers)

The series of events falling into SD’s hands look grave for the EU.

In 2018, Peter Helmut, a local Swedish Democrat warned that the bloc’s behaviour over Brexit may trigger Sweden’s own departure.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: “We don’t have any faith in the EU.

“We don’t think they should tell us what to do in Sweden, the laws and so forth.

Brussels: Löfven pictured with Emmanuel Macron in Brussels

Brussels: Löfven pictured with Emmanuel Macron in Brussels (Image: GETTY)

“Yes, we want to leave the EU. You call it Brexit, we call it Swexit.

“Why are there problems in the talks? It’s not Britain. It’s the EU that makes the problem.”

According to Politico’s ‘Poll of Polls’, SD is currently in third place at 19 percent, compared to Mr Löfven’s Social Democrats which is on 25 percent.

Mr Kristersson’s Moderates trail slightly behind at 22 percent, revealing just how small the margins are between the vastly different parties.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

Naftali Bennett becomes Israel PM, ending Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule

Naftali Bennett becomes Israel PM, ending Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule
JERUSALEM — Israel’s parliament on Sunday narrowly approved a new coalition government, ending the historic 12-year rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and sending the polarizing leader into the opposition.

Naftali Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu turned rival, became prime minister after the 60-59 vote. Promising to try to heal a divided nation, Bennett will preside over a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight parties with deep ideological differences.

But the 71-year-old Netanyahu made clear he has no intention of exiting the political stage. “If it is destined for us to be in the opposition, we will do it with our backs straight until we topple this dangerous government and return to lead the country,” he said.

The vote, capping a stormy parliamentary session, ended a two-year cycle of political paralysis in which the country held four deadlocked elections. Those votes focused largely on Netanyahu’s divisive rule and his fitness to remain in office while on trial for corruption charges.

To his supporters, Netanyahu is a global statesman uniquely capable of leading the country through its many security challenges.

But to his critics, he has become a polarizing and autocratic leader who used divide-and-rule tactics to aggravate the many rifts in Israeli society. Those include tensions between Jews and Arabs, and within the Jewish majority between his religious and nationalist base and his more secular and dovish opponents.

Outside the Knesset, hundreds of protesters watching the vote on a large screen erupted into applause when the new government was approved. Thousands of people, many waving Israeli flags, gathered in central Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to celebrate.

President Joe Biden quickly congratulated the new government.

“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations,” he said in a statement after a G-7 meeting in England wrapped up. He said his administration is fully committed to working with the new government “to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region.”

Bennett tweeted: “Thank you Mr. President! I look forward to working with you to strengthen the ties between our two nations.”

Much of the opposition to Netanyahu was personal. Three of the eight parties in the new government, including Bennett’s Yamina, are headed by former Netanyahu allies who share his hard-line ideology but had deep personal disputes with him.

Bennett, 49, is a former chief of staff to Netanyahu whose small party is popular with religious Jews and West Bank settlers. As he addressed the raucous debate, he was repeatedly heckled and shouted down by Netanyahu’s supporters. Some were removed from the chamber.

Bennett, an observant Jew, noted that the ancient Jewish people twice lost their homeland in biblical times due to bitter infighting.

“This time, at the decisive moment, we have taken responsibility,” he said. “To continue on in this way — more elections, more hatred, more vitriolic posts on Facebook — is just not an option. Therefore we stopped the train, a moment before it barreled into the abyss.”

The new Cabinet met briefly, and Bennett recited a prayer for new beginnings and said it was time to mend rifts. “Citizens of Israel are all looking to us now, and the burden of proof is upon us,” he said.

Bennett, a millionaire former high-tech entrepreneur, faces a tough test maintaining an unwieldy coalition of parties from the political right, left and center.

The coalition, including a small Islamist faction that is making history as the first Arab party to sit in a coalition, agree on little beyond their opposition to Netanyahu. They are likely to pursue a modest agenda that seeks to reduce tensions with the Palestinians and maintain good relations with the U.S. without launching any major initiatives.

“We will forge forward on that which we agree — and there is much we agree on, transport, education and so on, and what separates us we will leave to the side,” Bennett said. He also promised a “new page” in relations with Israel’s Arab sector.

Israel’s Arab citizens make up about 20% of the population, but have suffered from discrimination, poverty and lack of opportunities. Netanyahu has often tried portray Arab politicians as terrorist sympathizers, though he also courted the same Arab party in a failed effort to remain in power after March 23 elections.

Bennett, who like Netanyahu opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, made little mention of the Palestinians beyond threatening a tough response to violence. He also vowed, like Netanyahu, to oppose U.S.-led efforts to restore the international nuclear accord with Iran.

“Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” he said. “Israel is not party to the agreement and will maintain full freedom to act.”

But he also thanked Biden for his support of Israel. He promised to take a different approach than Netanyahu, who has alienated much of the Democratic Party through his antagonistic relationship with then-President Barack Obama and close ties with former President Donald Trump.

“My government will make an effort to deepen and nurture relations with our friends in both parties — bipartisan,” Bennett said. “If there are disputes, we will manage them with fundamental trust and mutual respect.”

While Bennett’s speech was conciliatory, Netanyahu’s was confrontational. He began by boasting of his achievements, including diplomatic treaties with four Arab states and a successful coronavirus vaccination drive, before belittling the man who is replacing him.

He accused Bennett of abandoning Israel’s right-wing electorate and joining weak “leftists” to become prime minister. He said Bennett did not have the backbone to stand up to Iran or pressure from the U.S. to make concessions to the Palestinians.

“I will lead you in the daily struggle against this evil and dangerous leftist government in order to topple it,” he said. “God willing, it will happen a lot faster than what you think.”

In the opposition, Netanyahu remains head of the largest party in parliament. The new coalition is a patchwork of small and midsize parties that could collapse if any of its members decide to bolt. Bennett’s party, for instance, holds just six seats in the 120-seat parliament.

Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, said the new government will likely be more stable than it appears.

Each party in the coalition will want to prove that it can deliver. For that, they need “time and achievements,” he said. Still, Netanyahu “will continue to cast a shadow,” Plesner said.

The driving force behind the coalition is Yair Lapid, a political centrist who will become prime minister in two years in a rotation agreement with Bennett, if the government lasts that long.

Lapid called off a planned speech, saying he was ashamed that his 86-year-old mother had to witness the raucous behavior of his opponents.

“I wanted her to be proud of the democratic process in Israel. Instead she, along with every citizen of Israel, is ashamed of you and remembers clearly why it’s time to replace you,” he said.

Netanyahu’s place in Israeli history is secure, having served as prime minister for a total of 15 years – more than any other, including the country’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion.

But his reputation as a political magician has faded — particularly since he was indicted in 2019 for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes.

He refused calls to step down, instead lashing out at the media, judiciary and law enforcement, going so far as to accuse his political opponents of orchestrating an attempted coup. Last year, protesters began holding weekly rallies across the country calling on him to resign.

Netanyahu remains popular among the hard-line nationalists who dominate Israeli politics, but he could soon face a leadership challenge from within his own party. A less polarizing Likud leader would stand a good chance of assembling the right-wing coalition that Netanyahu had hoped to form.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Author: AP

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Phil Mickelson becomes the oldest person to win

Phil Mickelson becomes the oldest person

Mickelson became the 10th player to win majors in three decades.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego native and pro Golfer Phil Mickelson has done it again and this time he set a new record. Mickelson hasn’t finished in the top 20 over the last nine months but on Sunday, he changed all of that with a spectacular PGA championship win.

Fans at a local driving range had some things to share about Mickelson’s huge accomplishment.

“It’s golf history. I got chills watching it,” said James Peagraf, who lives in San Diego.

Phil Mickelson also known as “Lefty” won his sixth major Sunday, becoming the oldest golfer to win a championship at 50 years old.

He finished strong, with a 1-over 73, and stayed away from any mistakes on the back nine to finish at 6-under 282 for the tournament.

RELATED: San Diego native Phil Mickelson takes PGA Championship at age 50 to become golf’s oldest major winner

“Phil’s one of my longtime favorite players. He’s a San Diego guy, got to root for him. It’s a huge win for him and San Diego,” Peagraf said.

It’s been more than two years since Mickelson last won and it’s been almost eight years since he won a major.

“So it’s very possible that this is the last tournament I ever win. Like if I’m being realistic. But it’s also very possible that I may have had a little bit of a breakthrough in some of my focus and maybe I go a little bit of a run, I don’t know. But the point is that’s there’s no reason why I or anybody else can’t do it at a later age. It just takes a little bit more work,” Mickelson said after his historic win.

Mickelson has had an incredible career and his fans in San Diego are just proud to say he’s a native.

“That’s where Phil grew up and it’s showing still out on the golf course and he still plays here locally all the time so it’s awesome,” said Victor Hourani, a Mickelson fan.

Today Mickelson became the 10th player to win majors in three decades.

WATCH: San Diego’s Phil Mickelson speaks with News 8 after second Masters win in 2006

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports