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Welcome to the daily news round-up via my e-newspaper. Here are the top stories from today:
- Labour prepares to elect new leader as registration deadline closes (via BBC News)
~ As the Labour party enters the final step of preparations for the upcoming leadership election, party officials are having to scrutinise thousands of new applicants seeking to register in the upcoming vote.
The latest figures show that almost 450,000 people are eligible to vote in the contest; as mentioned yesterday (see number three), Labour party officials have recently stated that as many as 1,200 applications have so far been rejected as bogus.
The four candidates have continuously urged their supporters to sign up and the deadline for registration – which has now passed – was actually extended after the party website suffered from apparent ‘technical issues’ which were addressed via the Labour party’s official twitter account.
Starting this Friday, ballots will be sent out to the registered supporters, with the result to be announced at a special conference on the 12th September.
There have, however, been concerned calls to postpone the contest over fears the leadership election is now under threat of being sabotaged by members of other parties.
These have been dismissed by the party, which says efforts to weed out non-party supporters will continue up until results day.
As noted by The New Statesman, some 610,753 people applied to vote in Labour’s leadership contest. After the deadline extension, the party today further gained 17,755 new members, 99,703 new affiliated members (from trade unions and socialist societies) and 51,295 new registered supporters.
The total electorate stands at 299,755 full members, 189,703 affiliated members and 121,295 registered members.
TNS states that ‘it is Corbyn, who is already on course to win the contest, who is likely to benefit’ from this flurry of registration. Whether that is true remains to be seen. But we shall find out soon enough, come the 12th September.
2. Simon Danczuk calls for Labour leadership race to be halted (via BBC News)
~ Another day, another Labour MP’s plea for temporarily postponement of the party’s leadership election.
After senior Labour MP Barry Sheerman called (see number three) for the leadership contest to be ‘paused’ over fears it has been infiltrated by supporters of other parties – suggesting subtle sabotage at the leadership election due to be held in September – earlier this week, it is now the turn of Simon Danczuk to voice his concerns.
Danczuk has added to calls for the party’s leadership race to be halted amid claims non-Labour supporters are infiltrating the vote, joining the ever-growing ranks including fellow MPs John Mann, Graham Stringer and the aforementioned Barry Sheerman.
Danczuk said that Labour’s interim leader Harriet Harman should halt the leadership contest, and instead call an emergency meeting to assess the claims of ‘infiltration’ by those whom he claimed are not genuine party supporters.
In addition, he stated his belief that the process may have to be rerun, and warned that if Mr Corbyn wins he would not be able to command discipline and order amongst Labour MPs – many of whom, he claimed, would not vote for ‘crazy left-wing stuff’.
Conversely, backbench MP Diane Abbott has recently defended the process used for the leadership contest. She stated that criticism of same was coming from those ‘who think their side will lose’.
3. Julian Assange set to be cleared as sex allegations expire (via The Telegraph)
~ Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who has been seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three years, is expected to be cleared of three sexual assault claims next week.
He is avoiding extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged crimes, which include violent sexual assault.
It has emerged that he has spent so long in hiding that the allegations have expired. It means that within a week, three of the four claims he faces will have reached their five year expiry date under Sweden’s statute of limitations.
Consequently as a result, Assange is due to be cleared, Swedish prosecutors told the Times.
Whilst stringently denying the allegations, Assange has spoken openly of his fears that he will eventually be extradited on to the US to face charges relating to the huge leaks of sensitive data, published by Wikileaks.
This comes after Swedish prosecutors were criticised for ‘victimising’ Assange regarding revelations that they had interviewed 44 people in the UK, but were actually refusing to question the WikiLeaks founder in the London embassy.
4. Russia and NATO ‘actively preparing for war’ (via The Telegraph)
~ According to a new report published by the think-tank European Leadership Network, rival war games by both Russia and NATO may represent the greatest build-up of military tension witnessed in Europe since the Cold War.
Rival military exercises by both the Russian armed forces and NATO troops have resulted in several near-miss incidents that could result in confrontation between the two sides, the report claims.
The report also warns that global leaders – particularly those in Europe – will need to consider a new arms control treaty in an attempt to avert the possibility of these heightened tensions ultimately resulting in war.
The European Leadership Network’s report comes amid the most intense fighting for six months in eastern Ukraine.
It states that:
‘We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable, but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe…’
In addition to the suggestion of the consideration to adopt a new arms treaty, the report also recommends improvements in NATO-Russian communication to avert near misses.
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