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image captionQueen Elizabeth, who visited Barbados in 1977, is the island nation’s head of state

Barbados has announced its intention to remove Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and become a republic.

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” the Caribbean island nation’s government said.

It aims to complete the process in time for the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, in November 2021.

A speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Barbadians wanted a Barbadian head of state.

“This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving,” the speech read.

Buckingham Palace said that it was a matter for the government and people of Barbados.

A source at Buckingham Palace said that the idea “was not out of the blue” and “has been mooted and publicly talked about many times”, BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said.

Barbados key facts:

  • One of the more populous and prosperous Caribbean islands
  • Gained its independence from Britain in 1966
  • Queen Elizabeth remains its constitutional monarch
  • Once heavily dependent on the sugar exports, its economy has diversified into tourism and finance
  • Its prime minister is Mia Mottley, elected in 2018 and the first woman to hold the post

The statement was part of the Throne Speech, which outlines the government’s policies and programmes ahead of the new session of parliament.

While it is read out by the governor-general, it is written by the country’s prime minister.

The speech also quoted a warning from Errol Barrow, Barbados’s first prime minister after it gained independence, who said that the country should not “loiter on colonial premises”.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe speech was written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley

His is not the only voice in Barbados that has been suggesting a move away from the monarchy. A constitutional review commission recommended republican status for Barbados in 1998.

And Ms Mottley’s predecessor in officer, Freundel Stuart, also argued for a “move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future”.

Barbados would not be the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic. Guyana took that step in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence from Britain. Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.

All three stayed within the

Commonwealth, a loose association of former British colonies and current dependencies, along with some countries that have no historical ties to Britain.

Related Topics

  • Barbados

  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • The Commonwealth

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Jeremy Corbyn Has Been Suspended By Labour In Wake Of An Anti-Semitism Investigation

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Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended by the Labour Party in the wake of the inquiry by EHRC into anti-Semitism (PA)


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Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended by Labour for his response to a bombshell report into anti-semitism within the party when he was leader.

The long-awaited inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission concluded with Labour being served with an “unlawful act notice” after the party was found responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.

The equalities watchdog accused it of three breaches of the Equality Act 2010, relating to political interference in anti-semitism complaints, a failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-semitism complaints, and harassment.

But in response, Mr Corbyn said he did not accept all of the EHRC’s findings, and claimed the scale of the anti-semitism problem in Labour was “dramatically overstated” for political reasons.

That placed his position in the party under threat after his successor Sir Keir Starmer insisted he would adopt a “zero-tolerance” approach to anti-semitism, saying those who claimed the issue had been “exaggerated” or was a “factional attack” should be “nowhere near” the party.

Mr Starmer was repeatedly asked if that meant Mr Corbyn would now face action, but told a press conference he would “look closely” at his predecessor’s remarks and declined to make an immediate judgement.

However his hand appears to have been forced after Mr Corbyn then gave a broadcast interview less than an hour later, where he said: “The numbers of cases in the public perception had become overstated.

“The existence of the problem, I fully acknowledge, which is why I took action to end the problem in the party by introducing a process to get anti-semites out of the party.”

And in direct response to Sir Keir’s comments about those who deny the seriousness of anti-semitism being part of the problem, Mr Corbyn said: “No, I’m not part of the problem.”

Minutes later a Labour party spokesman said: “In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation.

“He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party.”

Mr Corbyn said in response that he will “strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me”.

He said on Twitter: “I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an anti-semitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong. I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.”

The former party leader, who has represented Islington North in the House of Commons since 1983, will now sit as an independent MP while the internal inquiry takes place.

Under Labour Party rules, a suspended member cannot be put forward to represent the party in any position at any level, meaning in the event of an administrative suspension, the whip is suspended too.

Responding to the news of Mr Corbyn’s suspension, veteran Labour MP and former deputy leader Harriet Harman said: “This is the right thing to do.

“If you say that anti-semitism [is] exaggerated for factional reasons you minimise it and are, as Keir Starmer says, part of the problem.”

And Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge said: “This is the right decision following Corbyn’s shameful reaction to the EHRC report.

“Labour is finally saying enough is enough, anti-semitism can never be tolerated in our party. Now we can finally move on.”

But John McDonnell, one of his closest political allies and who served as shadow Chancellor throughout his tenure as leader, said: “On the day we should all be moving forward and taking all steps to fight anti-semitism, the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is profoundly wrong.

“In interests of party unity let’s find a way of undoing and resolving this.

“I urge all party members to stay calm as that is the best way to support Jeremy and each other. Let’s all call upon the leadership to lift this suspension.”

The news was welcomed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews president Marie van der Zyl, who said: “Having presided over the descent of a proudly anti-racist party into a party that broke equalities law in its treatment of Jews, his shameless comments today showed that he remains part of the problem and is an obstruction to the resolution of the issue.”

The Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling tweeted: “Many will be asking themselves why it took this long to act.

“This morning (Sir Keir Starmer) failed to say seven times that he would take action against Corbyn and now he has been pushed to do so. Hardly leadership.”



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‘We asked Trump to stop playing YMCA’ – Village People singer Victor Willis

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The Village People classic, YMCA, is regularly played at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies – with the US president often seen dancing to it.

But the disco group’s lead singer, Victor Willis, told BBC World News America that he does not endorse Mr Trump – and has even asked him to stop playing their music.

Read more:

How Trump and Biden’s playlists pump up the fans

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Operation Fox Hunt: China sent fugitive’s elderly father to America to coerce him into going home, US claims

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The case is believed to be part of the ruling Communist Party’s Operation Fox Hunt, an international anti-corruption campaign targeting Chinese fugitives — often former officials or rich individuals suspected of economic crimes.

The US Department of Justice said Wednesday the charges included “conspiring to act in the US as illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China.” Five people have been arrested, while three are believed to be at large in China.

In 2016, the group — which includes an American-licensed private investigator — is alleged to have embarked on an illegal campaign targeting a former Chinese government official, who has lived in the US since 2010. They are accused of recording and harassing his daughter, taping a threatening note to his front door and flying his elderly father from China — allegedly against his will — in 2017 to pressure his son to return to China.

The note on the target’s New Jersey home said in Chinese: “If you are willing to go back to the mainland and spend 10 years in prison, your wife and children will be all right. That’s the end of this matter!”

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, US Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said the arrests sent a message that the US “will not tolerate this type of flagrant conduct on our shores.”

“Without coordination with our government, China’s repatriation squads enter the United States, surveil and locate the alleged fugitives, and deploy intimidation and other tactics to force them back into China where they would face certain imprisonment or worse following illegitimate trials,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that Chinese law enforcement agencies “conduct foreign cooperation in strict accordance with international law, fully respect foreign laws and judicial sovereignty.”

“The United States ignores the basic facts and uses ulterior motives to smear China’s work in pursuit of escaped and stolen goods. China firmly opposes this. We urge the US to immediately correct its mistakes,” he said.

Operation Fox Hunt

The Chinese government launched Operation Fox Hunt in 2014 to target wealthy citizens who were accused of corruption and had fled the country with large amounts of money.

Beijing authorities said at least 150 corrupt officials had fled to the US, and provided American counterparts with a list of “priority cases.”

Demers said such operations — regardless of whether the targets were guilty or not — were “a clear violation of the rule of law and international norms.”

“Rather than work with US authorities for assistance with recognized criminal cases as responsible nations do, China resorts to extralegal means and unauthorized, often covert, law enforcement activity,” he said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a news conference Wednesday that in a different Operation Fox Hunt case, the Chinese government had sent an “emissary” to the target’s US-based family warning that the person should “return to China promptly or commit suicide.”

Wray said that when Operation Fox Hunt targets refuse to return to China, family members in their home country “have even been arrested for leverage.”

“These are not the actions we would expect from a responsible nation state. Instead they’re more like something we would expect from an organized criminal syndicate,” Wray said.

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