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Scottish Nationalists Vow Independence Vote After Election Win

Pro-independence parties won a majority in Scotland’s parliament on Saturday, paving the way to a high-stakes political, legal and constitutional battle with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the future of the United Kingdom.Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the result meant she would push ahead with plans for a second independence referendum once the COVID-19 pandemic was over, adding that it would be absurd and outrageous if Johnson were to try to ignore the democratic will of the people.”There is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson, or indeed for anyone else, seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our own future,” Sturgeon said.”It is the will of the country,” she added after her Scottish National Party (SNP) was returned for a fourth consecutive term in office.The British government argues Johnson must give approval for any referendum and he has repeatedly made clear he would refuse. He has said it would be irresponsible to hold one now, pointing out that Scots had backed staying in the United Kingdom in a “once in a generation” poll in 2014.The election outcome is likely to be a bitter clash between the Scottish government in Edinburgh and Johnson’s United Kingdom-wide administration in London, with Scotland’s 314-year union with England and Wales at stake.The nationalists argue that they have democratic authority on their side; the British government says the law is on its side. It is likely the final decision on a referendum will be settled in the courts.’Irresponsible and reckless'”I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless,” Johnson told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.Alister Jack, the U.K. government’s Scotland minister, said dealing with the coronavirus crisis and the vaccine rollout should be the priority.”We must not allow ourselves to be distracted — COVID recovery must be the sole priority of Scotland’s two governments,” he said.FILE – The Scotland-England border is shown at Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Scotland, May 4, 2021.The SNP had been hopeful of winning an outright majority, which would have strengthened its call for a secession vote, but it looked set to fall one seat short of the 65 required in the 129-seat Scottish parliament, partly because of an electoral system that helps smaller parties.Pro-union supporters argue that the SNP’s failure to get a majority has made it easier for Johnson to rebut its argument that it has a mandate for a referendum.However, the Scottish Greens, who have promised to support a referendum, picked up eight seats, meaning overall there will be a comfortable pro-independence majority in the Scottish assembly.Divided about plebisciteScottish politics has been diverging from other parts of the United Kingdom for some time, but Scots remain divided over holding another independence plebiscite.However, Britain’s exit from the European Union,  opposed by a majority of Scots; a perception that Sturgeon’s government has handled the COVID-19 crisis well; and antipathy to Johnson’s Conservative government in London have all bolstered support for the independence movement.Scots voted 55%-45% in 2014 to remain part of the United Kingdom, and polls suggest a second referendum would be too close to call.Sturgeon said her first task was dealing with the pandemic and the SNP has indicated that a referendum is unlikely until 2023. But she said any legal challenge by Johnson’s government to a vote would show a total disregard for Scottish democracy.”The absurdity and outrageous nature of a Westminster government potentially going to court to overturn Scottish democracy, I can’t think of a more colorful argument for Scottish independence than that myself,” she said.

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Two Avalanches in French Alps Kill Seven

Seven people died Saturday in two avalanches in the French Alps, according to authorities who had warned Friday of the instability of the snowpack because of warmer temperatures.The first fatal slide was triggered late in the morning in the town of Valloire in the sector of the Col du Galibier at 2,642 meters above sea level. Four people, aged 42 to 76 and from the surroundings of Grenoble, were killed.Two groups of hikers, composed of three and two people, were swept away and only one of them survived, found in good health by the emergency services.Six soldiers from the High Mountain Gendarmerie Platoon (PGHM), two helicopters and two avalanche dogs had been hired to search for the victims.The second avalanche occurred around 2 p.m. in the Mont Pourri sector, which rises to 3,779 meters in the Vanoise massif, on the other side of the department. Three people died, according to the prefecture.The authorities had warned Friday that the risk of avalanches was “particularly high” this weekend, as temperatures have softened after heavy snowfall on the mountains in recent days.”With weather like today’s, it’s tempting to go out in the mountains, but it’s also extremely tricky,” Valloire Mayor Jean-Pierre Rougeaux told AFP by phone.Five people had already died Monday in two avalanches in Isère and in the Hautes-Alpes.Since the start of the 2020-21 season, before the avalanches on Saturday, 28 people had already died in similar conditions, according to the National Association for the Study of Snow and Avalanches (Anena), which publishes each year of accident statistics.

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Ткаченко прокоментував можливе перейменування УПЦ (МП) в РПЦ 

Ткаченко: діалог, культура діалогу – найкращі ліки від запобігання будь-яких дискусій

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Ізраїль посилює безпекові заходи в очікуванні нових протестів палестинців

Під час конфронтацій, які відбулися 7 травня, травми отримали щонайменше 205 палестинців та 18 ізраїльських офіцерів

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Міністр розповів, як планує врегулювати конфлікт довкола проєктів меморіалу у Бабиному Яру

Ткаченко: якщо ми говоримо про об’єднання заради того, щоб в Бабиному Яру був потужний комплекс, який засвідчив би нашу повагу і розуміння великої трагедії

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ООС: бойовики застосовували заборонену артилерію на Донбасі 8 травня

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Збройні сили України вперше випробували імітатор для тренування підрозділів ППО

«Уперше у Збройних Силах України здійснено успішне випробування імітатора низьколітаючої повітряної цілі Flying Target-1 під час етапу навчальної бойової стрільби»

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Пакистан запровадив частковий локдаун перед Ораза-байрам

Пакистан оголосив восьмиденний частковий локдаун для запобігання стрімкому поширенню COVID-19 через святкування Ораза-байрам.

Уряд заявив, що до 16 травня закритими будуть всі ринки, туристичні місця та бізнеси, які не належать до життєзабезпечувальних. Пересування по території країни також потрапило під заборону.

Продовольчі магазини, аптеки, м’ясні магазини, магазини випічки та їжа навиніс не підпадають під локдаун. 

Ораза-байрам ознаменує завершення священного місяця Рамадан. Зазвичай, свято супроводжується великим рухом по території країни, родинними святкуваннями та великою кількістю людей у торговельних центрах, парках, туристичних місцях.

У Пакистані наразі спостерігається третя хвиля коронавірусу. У країні зафіксували 18 797 смертей унаслідок викликаних хворобою ускладнень. Загалом там виявили 854 240 випадків. Однак цифри можуть бути вищими через обмежену кількість тестів та складну ситуацію в медичній системі.