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U.S, allies cut some Russian banks off from SWIFT

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Western allies are preparing new sanctions against Russia for its military action in Ukraine, including banishing key Russia banks from the main global payments system – SWIFT.

As Russia continues its assault against Ukraine, Western leaders are hardening their economic resolve against Putin.

The U.S., Canada, Europe and Britain moved on Saturday to block some Russian banks from SWIFT, the main global payments system.

The new measures will be implemented in the coming days, and include restrictions on Russia’s central bank.

The West wants to prevent Putin from accessing $630 billion in foreign currency reserves he could use to finance his war and prop up a plunging rouble.

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said the measures prevent Russia from using its “war chest.”

”We are resolved to continue imposing massive costs on Russia, costs that will further isolate Russia from the international financial system and our economies… “

”Putin embarked on a path aiming to destroy Ukraine, but what he’s also doing, in fact, is destroying the future of his own country.”

Cutting Russian banks out of the SWIFT system deals a blow to Russian trade and makes it harder for Russian companies to do business.

SWIFT, or the “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication”, is a secure messaging network that facilitates rapid cross-border payments.

It has become the principal mechanism for financing international trade.

Each year, trillions of dollars are transferred using the system.The allies on Saturday also pledged to limit the sale of citizenship via so-called golden passports used by some wealthy Russians to gain residency in Western nations

From our partner at Reuters – Flora Bradley-Watson reports

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Boris Johnson resigns as Prime Minister

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned as Conservative leader

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned as Prime Minister saying “I tried to stay in Downing St because it is my job, my duty and my obligation to do what we promised to do in 2019”.

Mr Johnson says “clearly the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader” as he announced his resignation.

Boris Johnson says he is “immensely proud of the achievements of this Government”, from getting Brexit done to getting the UK through the pandemic, and leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

“The herd has moved and when the herd moves, it moves quickly”

BORIS JOHNSON RESIGNATION SPEECH

The confirmation came shortly after Mr Johnson’s newly appointed Education Secretary Michelle Donelan resigned after just 36 hours in the post, and newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi told the prime minister to “go now”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also confirmed he had withdrawn his support for the PM, and earlier, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis resigned from his post.

There has been intense pressure on Mr Johnson to quit after more than 50 resignations from all levels of government, and waves of backbenchers appealing for him to go.

The resignation announcement fires the starting gun on what looks set to be a chaotic leadership battle. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – expected to be a candidate – is cutting short a visit to Indonesia to return to the UK.  

Minutes after Mr Johnson apologised, saying appointing Mr Pincher was a “mistake”, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announce his departure, followed swiftly by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Keir Starmer threatened to call a Parliamentary confidence vote and try to force a general election if Mr Johnson does not leave immediately.

‘He needs to go completely. None of this nonsense about clinging on for a few months,’ he said. 

Ex-No10 chief Dominic Cummings wrote on Twitter: ‘Evict TODAY or he’ll cause CARNAGE, even now he’s playing for time & will try to stay

‘No ‘dignity’, no ‘interim while leadership contest’.

‘Raab shd be interim PM by evening.’

Another former minister, Nick Gibb, said: ‘As well as resigning as Party leader the PM must resign his office. 

Mr Johnson has spent the week refusing to resign.

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Five things that led to Boris Johnson resigning

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From partygate to bad judgement, here are the five things that led to Boris Johnson resigning as PM

The Chris Pincher affair

On Wednesday 29 June, the MP Chris Pincher – at the time, the Conservative deputy chief whip – went to a private members’ club in London. In his words, he “drank far too much”.

He was accused of groping two men. That set off a chain of events that ended with the prime minister’s downfall.

Then Downing Street kept changing its story about what the PM knew. Downing Street said Mr Johnson was not aware of “specific allegations” about Mr Pincher before appointing him as deputy chief whip in February. But it turned out to be untrue.

Partygate

The prime minister was fined for breaking his own government’s lockdown rules after he attended a gathering for his birthday.

Mr Johnson apologised for going to a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden.

Metropolitan Police issued 126 fines to 83 people for breaking lockdown rules in Downing Street and Whitehall.

The cost of living crisis

Like every country dealing with the post pandemic recovery, Britons are struggling with the rising cost of living.

While many of the reasons were outside of Boris Johnson’s control. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example, has led to rises in oil prices.

And while the government cut fuel duty by 5p per litre – it also went ahead with a tax rise in April. 

Owen Paterson affair

In October last year, a House of Commons committee recommended a 30-day suspension for Conservative MP Owen Paterson. 

The committee said he broke lobbying rules.

But the Conservatives – led by the prime minister – voted to pause his suspension, and set up a new committee to look at how investigations were carried out.

Needless to say, it didn’t end well.

End of the line

In the end, the PM ran out of time and ideas to fix the many woes impacting Britain.

He won a huge majority on the promise of getting Brexit done. And to his credit, he cut through the clutter.

But since then, his critics said, there was a lack of focus and ideas in Downing Street.

His ex-adviser turned chief critic, Dominic Cummings, repeatedly accused him of being an out-of-control shopping trolley, veering from position to position.

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FBI and MI5 discuss China security threat

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Top officials from the U.S. and Britain have joined forced to address their increasing concerns of espionage and hacking from the Chinese Government

FBI Director, Christopher Wray and M15, Director General Ken McCallum, met in London to discuss the joint work of their security agencies to combat the serious threat posed by China.

They believe China is making moves to shield its economy from any future sanctions, if it does try to take Taiwan by force.

MI5 head Ken McCallum (left) and FBI director Christopher Wray (right) in London.

The top law enforcement officials met with private business and academic leaders to call attention to the matter.

“Today we’re running seven times as many investigations as we were in 2018. We plan to grow as much again, while also maintaining significant effort against Russian and Iranian covert threats.”

Ken McCallum, the director of MI5

Chinese officials are reportedly learning lessons from the west’s efforts to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

It comes as fresh research from Yale University shows western businesses have lost 59 billion dollars because of the ongoing conflict.

“And if China does invade Taiwan, we could see the same thing again, at a much larger scale,” says FBI Director Christopher Wray.

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