Rishi Sunak set to become U.K.’s first British-Asian Prime Minister

October 24, 2022 08:57 pm | Updated 08:57 pm IST

Rishi Sunak.

Rishi Sunak. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Rishi Sunak has won the race to be the leader of the Conservative Party and will become Britain’s next Prime Minister — the third this year.

The former Treasury chief will be Britain’s first leader of colour, and faces the task of stabilising the party and country at a time of economic and political turbulence. His only rival, Penny Mordaunt, conceded and withdrew on Monday.

As the leader of the governing party, he will take over as PM from Liz Truss, who quit last week after 45 tumultuous days in office.

Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Now he has another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” He was the runner-up to Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and PM. 

But Truss quit after a turbulent 45-day term, and Johnson abandoned a comeback attempt, leaving Sunak a strong favourite to finally assume the office he missed out on less than two months ago.

Victory in the Conservative leadership contest would be vindication for Sunak, who warned in the last campaign that Truss’ tax-cutting economic plans were reckless and would cause havoc. And so they did.

Meanwhile, Sterling took support on Monday from news that Sunak is set to become the PM. The pound was an outlier among major currencies as most others weakened against the U.S. dollar. It rose as far as $1.1402 in Asian trading after Sunak’s rival Boris Johnson withdrew from the race before the currency pared gains to trade down 0.2% at $1.1290. Sterling’s moves against the euro were sharper with the common currency falling 0.25% to 87.1 pence.

PM Modi celebrates Deepavali in Kargil, says India never considered war first option but last resort

India has always viewed war as the last resort, but the armed forces have the strength and strategies to give a befitting reply to anyone who casts an evil eye on the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, addressing the armed forces in Kargil on Deepavali. He also recalled his visit to this frontier region in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict in 1999 when the Indian military had “crushed the hood of terror”.

“There has not been a single war with Pakistan when Kargil has not flown the victory flag,” he said adding that Deepavali symbolised the “celebration of the end of terror”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses Indian Army personnel during Diwali festival celebrations, in Kargil district on October 24, 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses Indian Army personnel during Diwali festival celebrations, in Kargil district on October 24, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

He said over the last eight years, the government has worked on implementing reforms in the armed forces by deploying new technologies, developing infrastructure in border areas and opening up positions for women in the forces.

Modi also said a nation is safe when its borders are secure, economy strong and society full of confidence. India has been dealing with its enemies, both external and internal, with force, Modi said and recounted the steps taken to “uproot” the “terror, naxalism and extremism” from within the country.

He said India has never viewed war as the first option. “We have always seen war as the final resort. We are in favour of global peace.. But peace cannot be achieved without strength,” Modi said. “Our armed forces have the strategies as well as the strength. If anyone dares cast an evil eye on us, our three armed forces know very well how to give a befitting reply,” he added.

He also said that ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ most important to the nation’s security and the country’s dependence should be minimal on foreign weapons and systems.

Kerala CM Vijayan slams Governor, HC grants special sitting for plea against order seeking resignation of V-Cs

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan delivered a sharp riposte against what he described as Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s authoritarian-style campaign against the State’s higher education sector.

At a press conference in Palakkad, Vijayan responded mockingly to Khan’s demand that Vice-Chancellors resign by 11.30 a.m. on Monday. The Governor had sought their stepping down, given the Supreme Court’s cancellation of M.S. Rajasree’s appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU). 

Vijayan contended that the Governor, as Chancellor of varsities, had fallaciously interpreted the Supreme Court ruling applied across the board to all State university Vice-Chancellors. He also said Khan forgot the order was subject to further judicial review.

The Chancellor had used the decision as a foil to hobble Kerala’s higher education sector and further the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) agenda to destabilise the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, he added. He also said that Khan had denied the Vice-Chancellors’ their right to reply. His actions ran against the grain of natural justice. The Chancellor had overstepped his constitutional bounds and even asked the State Police Chief to stand by if and when he imposed a new disposition on varsities.

Meanwhile, the High Court granted a special sitting on the Deepavali holiday for the government to challenge the Chancellor’s order seeking the resignation of nine Vice-Chancellors. 

India will always stand with the Global South: EAM Jaishankar on U.N. Day

India will always stand with the Global South and seek to strengthen the U.N.’s effectiveness, said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on the annual commemorative day celebrating the creation of the United Nations.

“India’s ongoing tenure as the member of the UNSC has reflected our principled approach of promoting dialogue and diplomacy to meet contemporary challenges. India will always stand with the Global South and seek to strengthen the UN’s effectiveness,” he said. “Our focus on reformed multilateralism, rule of law, and a fair and equitable international system is aimed at ensuring UN’s continued relevance,” he added.

As the U.N.’s founding member, India remains committed to its purposes and principles, Jaishankar said. “Our contributions to implementing the goals of the Charter are a reflection of this commitment.”

United Nations Day, on October 24, marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the U.N. Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.

Ethnic group says Myanmar air attack killed 60 at celebration

Air strikes by Myanmar’s military killed more than 60 people, including singers and musicians, attending an anniversary celebration of the Kachin ethnic minority’s main political organisation, members of the group and a rescue worker said.

The reported attack comes three days before Southeast Asian foreign ministers are to hold a special meeting in Indonesia to discuss widening violence in Myanmar.

The number of casualties at the celebration by the Kachin Independence Organisation in the northern state of Kachin appeared to be the most in a single air attack since the military seized power in February last year from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

It was impossible to independently confirm details of the incident, though media sympathetic to the Kachin posted videos showing what was said to be the attack’s aftermath, with splintered and flattened wooden structures. There was no immediate comment from the military or government media.

Myanmar has been wracked for decades by rebellions by ethnic minorities seeking autonomy, but anti-government resistance increased markedly nationwide with the formation of an armed pro-democracy movement opposing last year’s military takeover.

In Brief: 

Climate activists smear King Charles’ wax figure with cake

Climate activists of the Just Stop Oil group smeared chocolate cake over a waxwork model of Britain’s King Charles III at London’s Madame Tussauds museum. The demonstrators said in a statement they were demanding that the government halt “all new oil and gas licences and consents”. Police said four arrests had been made. “We responded quickly to an incident at Madame Tussauds after two people threw food at a statue at approximately 10:50 hrs. They have both been arrested for criminal damage,” the Metropolitan Police said in a tweet. Two more people were also arrested for criminal damage. Meanwhile, Just Stop Oil named the protesters as Eilidh McFadden, 20 and Tom Johnson, 29.

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