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The European Commission

Theresa May’s “constructive spirit” in a speech on Friday won a cautious welcome from the EU on Friday, though the British prime minister’s address raised more questions than answers for some and they want more details next week.

“The speech shows a willingness to move forward, as time is of the essence,” chief European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said in a lengthy statement, adding that May’s specially staged event in Renaissance Florence chimed with the spirit of Europe.

Echoing reactions from diplomats and officials involved in the negotiations who spoke privately to Reuters, Barnier said it was a “step forward” that May said British courts would protect EU citizens in Britain based directly on a new EU-UK treaty, not on British law, and would take future EU case law into account.

But as with vaguer comments about the EU budget, in which May said the other 27 countries would not be left out of pocket over the EU financial cycle ending in December 2020, Barnier stressed that he wants to hear a “precise negotiating position” when he meets his British counterpart on Monday.

Similarly, he repeated the European position on refusing talks about what happens after Brexit until Britain makes “significant progress” in agreeing its divorce terms.

May for the first time spelled out her request for a transition period of about two years after Brexit in March 2019 during which Britain would stay in the EU’s single market.

Barnier reiterated that the other 27 could consider the request but again insisted that Britain could not keep all the benefits of EU membership while relinquishing obligations.

May’s supporters in Brussels talked up the significance of a speech the prime minister chose to deliver in Florence to underline a message of future close cooperation with European neighbours.

“We can only hope that the EU takes what the Prime Minister has said seriously, and sees that it is time to move forward,” said the pro-Brexit leader of her Conservative party in the European Parliament, Syed Kamall.

“I hope that the clarity provided today will allow for real progress at the next round of negotiations.”

However, the German leader of the centre-right group in the EU legislature, an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, rammed home the scepticism felt toward Britain by some of Europe’s main powers: “In substance, May is bringing no more clarity to London’s positions. I am even more concerned now.”
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File photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make a “mentally deranged” Trump pay dearly for his threats.

Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, with whom he has traded insults in recent weeks. South Korea said it was the first direct statement of its kind by a North Korean leader.

However, Kim’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said in televised remarks North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific Ocean.

Ri, who was talking to reporters in New York ahead of a planned address later this week, also said he did not know Kim’s exact thoughts.

Japan, the only country ever to suffer an atomic attack, described the threat as “totally unacceptable”.

Trump said in his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday he would “totally destroy” North Korea, a country of 26 million people, if it threatened the United States and its allies, and called Kim a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.

Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his own nuclear programme was “the correct path”.

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a programme aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” Kim said in the statement carried by the KCNA state news agency.
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Nigeria’s rating as the second country with highest maternal death rate in the world and its contribution of 15 per cent of annual global death is causing anxiety in health sector.

Experts say the worrisome situation calls for concerted efforts of all stakeholders to bail the country out.

The medical experts described the situation as unacceptable as recent rating puts Nigeria’s maternal mortality at 58,000 in 2015.

The rating is contained in a joint report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

The report was presented by Dr Olusola Odujinrin at the 2017 Annual Faculty Day Lecture by the Faculty of Public Health and Community Medicine, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria.
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Minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed

The United Kingdom has blamed Nigeria for the continued operation of pirate Radio Biafra which the Indigenous People of Biafra (POB) uses to preach hate against the country.

The radio station domiciled in the UK was established by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Soverign State of Biafra (MASSOB) with Mr. Nnamdi Kanu as Director.

Kanu, also a British citizen, operated the radio on behalf of MASSOB and later took over the radio as a megaphone of IPOB.

The British government seems not happy with reports credited to Nigerian information and culture minister Lai Mohammed, who insinuated that the UK had not shut the radio station.

A terse statement released on Thursday by Mr. Joe Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission in Nigeria, said the “The UK is not aware of any representation from Nigerian government about Radio Biafra.’’

“Were we to receive any such request, we would, of course, consider it carefully on the basis of the available evidence, recognising that freedom of speech and expression carries responsibilities.’’

The minister recently accused some people in France and United Kingdom of having links with the proscribed IPOB.

According to reports, Mohammed was quoted that that “the financial headquarters” of the separatist group “is in France”.

He said this is a “fact”, while faulting the UK for not doing something to stop Biafra radio from airing over there.

As the Minister pointed out, the Biafra Radio was probably not taken down by the UK authorities being that the radio is a free channel of communication available to any law-abiding person.

Very much like the internet and social media, anyone who has the licence to operate a radio can always air whatever they want to.