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Will Liz Truss make another History as the shortest lasted PM?

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Liz truss

In about 6 weeks, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss is struggling for her political survival, and likely hoping to get rid of achieving the shortest-serving leader in British history.

Truss has already secured her place in the history books, having triggered a crash in the British pound, abandoned almost her entire policy program and fired her closest political ally Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor of exchequer.

She is also the least popular prime minister in the history of UK polling, with just 10pc of respondents holding a favorable opinion of her.

On Wednesday, 19 October, things got worse for Truss as Suella Braverman quit as home secretary, who issued a thinly-veiled criticism of the prime minister.

“Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics,” Braverman said in her letter to Truss, which she posted on Twitter.

Truss then appointed Grant Shapps as home secretary, while having fired him as transport secretary when she succeeded scandal-hit Boris Johnson on September 6.
Both Shapps and Jeremy Hunt, who replaced Kwarteng as finance minister, were allies of Truss’ party leadership rival Rishi Sunak.

Frost wrote that Truss was “a weak figurehead, unable to control the forces around her, occasionally humiliated, and disposed of when she has become inconvenient. Better to go now”.
Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, questioned how long Truss has left.

“A book is being written about the prime minister’s time in office,” Starmer quipped at prime minister’s question time on Wednesday. “Apparently it’s going to be out by Christmas. Is that the release date or the title?”

Truss insisted: “I am a fighter and not a quitter”.

If Truss goes, she would be the fourth Conservative prime minister to fall since the country voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
Until now, the shortest-serving prime minister was the Tory George Canning, who held the job for just 119 days before dying of pneumonia in 1827.
Like Truss, his short tenure was characterized by a war within the party – his short tenure was made possible only by the support of the opposition Whigs and independent MPs.

Brown took over from Tony Blair on June 27, 2007. But the 2008 financial crisis dogged his tenure, which led to the election of David Cameron in 2010, and then an uninterrupted string of Conservative leaders: Theresa May, Johnson and now Truss.

How could Truss go? Anyone following British politics in recent years has gotten used to the role of the 1922 Committee, the body that has the power to force a Conservative leader out of office.
Both Johnson and May faced, and survived, confidence votes by the committee but they also both stood down shortly afterward.
Prime minister is not supposed to face a challenge in their first year but the committee has shown itself willing to change the rules in the past.
Alternatively, Truss could resign if she decides she has lost the support of her party. Johnson was ultimately forced out after his ministers quit en masse, but most of Truss’ cabinet has remained loyal so far.

 

 

 

 

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Economy

Tesla shareholders voting yes for Musk’s $56 bln pay package, CEO says on X

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Tesla

Tesla shareholders are voting to approve a $56 billion pay package for Elon Musk and to move the electric vehicle maker’s legal home to Texas, Musk said on social media platform X on Wednesday, adding that passage was by wide margins.

Shareholders of the electric-car maker are voting on a proposal to ratify CEO Musk’s 2018 incentive package, valued at up to $56 billion at the time and the largest in US corporate history, after a Delaware judge voided the plan approved by its board “beholden” to Musk.

The result will be announced at a meeting on Thursday.

A person familiar with the preliminary tally confirmed Musk’s post, and said that a combination of big institutional investors and retail investor got the ‘yes’ result over the line.

Shareholders, however, are allowed to change their vote up to the start of the annual meeting.

Tesla shareholders also cast ballots on other proposals including the move of Tesla’s legal headquarters from Delaware to Texas, as well as the re-election of two board members: Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk and James Murdoch.

Musk referred to the resolutions on his pay package and the move in his tweet, thanking shareholders for their support.

Some investors viewed the vote on Musk’s pay as a test of confidence in his leadership. While he is undoubtedly Tesla’s driving force, and is credited with much of its success, the company has recently seen slowing sales and profits.

The board said the world’s richest person deserves the package, because he hit all the ambitious targets on market value, revenue and profitability.

The pay package is also needed to keep Musk devoted to Tesla, the board said, even though the Delaware judge said the 2018 pay plan failed to make sure that Musk committed a substantial amount of time to Tesla.

Musk has threatened to build AI and robotics products outside Tesla, if he fails to gain enough voting control, which requires the 2018 pay package to be approved.

Some large shareholders including Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and California’s two largest pension funds have said they will vote against the compensation, saying the pay is excessive.

Tesla has been drumming up support for Musk’s pay package, especially from retail investors, who make up an unusually high percentage of its ownership base but who often do not vote.

Company executives have posted messages on X, saying Musk is critical to Tesla’s success. Tesla has run social media ads, and Musk has promised a personal tour of Tesla’s factory in Texas to some shareholders who cast votes.

COURT BATTLE

The same package was previously rejected by a Delaware judge who invalidated it as an “unfathomable sum” granted by a conflicted board with close personal and financial ties to its top executive.

The board held the shareholder vote as a way to bolster its appeal of the ruling, in which the judge cited the board’s failure to fully inform shareholders before approving the pay package in 2018.

Musk has to wait months or years to get his pay package restored as appeals wind their way up to Delaware’s Supreme Court.

Tesla could also face more litigation from some shareholders. One of them this month filed a lawsuit challenging the upcoming shareholder vote on Musk’s pay package and the change of domicile.

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Fire in Mangaf Workers’ Accommodation Claims 41 Lives

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mangaf kuwait fire

A devastating fire broke out early Wednesday in a building housing workers in Mangaf, southern Kuwait, resulting in the deaths of at least 41 people, according to Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah.

During his visit to the site, Sheikh Fahad, who also oversees the interior and defense ministries, criticized real estate owners for their violations and greed, attributing these factors to the tragic incident.

“Unfortunately, the greed of real estate owners is what leads to these matters,” Sheikh Fahad stated.

The blaze was reported to authorities at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), according to Major General Eid Rashed Hamad.

“The building was used to house a large number of workers. Dozens were rescued, but sadly, many succumbed to smoke inhalation,” a senior police commander informed state television.

He further emphasized the longstanding warnings against overcrowding in worker accommodations, though he did not specify the workers’ occupations or nationalities.

The fire has been contained, and authorities are currently investigating its cause, officials said.

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Baltimore shipping lane fully reopens after bridge collapse

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The Baltimore shipping lane blocked for more than two months after a cargo ship collided with a major bridge in
March, sending it crashing into the water, fully reopened on Monday, authorities said.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, along with Navy salvage divers, restored the channel to its original dimensions by removing about 50,000 tons of debris from the Patapsco River, a statement from the Key Bridge Response Unified Command said.

The riverbed was certified as safe for transit on Monday.

“We are proud of the unified efforts that fully reopened the Federal Channel to port operations,” said Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The partnerships that endured through this response made this pivotal mission successful.”

On March 26, the Singapore-flagged M/V Dali lost power and plowed into a support column of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse and killing six road workers who had been filling potholes overnight.

The 106,000-ton ship had been headed for Sri Lanka at the time of the accident.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the incident along with the FBI, has said the ship had two electricity blackouts in the moments before the disaster.

The Dali was refloated last month and towed back into port.

The port of Baltimore is one of America’s busiest ports and a key hub for the auto industry, handling almost 850,000 autos and light trucks last year — more than any other US port, according to state figures.

The full reopening of the shipping channel will allow for two-way traffic, Monday’s statement said.

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