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Thiago Silva reveals he joined Chelsea on free transfer after Lampard gave him vote of confidence despite turning 36

THIAGO SILVA claims he joined Chelsea after being given the vote of confidence by Frank Lampard despite turning 36 tomorrow.

The legendary Brazilian centre-back completed a stunning free transfer to Stamford Bridge last month after an eight-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain.

Thiago Silva admits he joined Chelsea due to his admiration for Frank Lampard


Thiago Silva admits he joined Chelsea due to his admiration for Frank LampardCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Lampard had no qualms about signing Silva despite his advancing years


Lampard had no qualms about signing Silva despite his advancing yearsCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Silva penned a one-year contract with the option to extend it for another season.

And Chelsea fans will be praying he can improve their leaky defence following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Ex-AC Milan star Silva has done it all during a glistening career that’s seen him rack up an incredible 741 appearances.

He has eight league titles to his name and led Brazil to glory at last year’s Copa America.

However, some have questioned whether Silva has the legs to deal with the pace of English football.

But the veteran is confident of earning his keep in west London.

And Silva claims the confidence shown in him by Lampard during talks was enough to seal a deal with Chelsea over the summer.

Silva told the club’s official website: “First and foremost, I came because Chelsea is an amazing team and one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“It helps when you’re welcomed so warmly, particularly by a coach who played until relatively recently, because in football there are very strong preconceptions regarding the age of players. 

“But I know about his experience when he first arrived at Manchester City, theoretically at the end of his career. He endured the same sort of thing as I’ve gone through.

“So even from the outside, without knowing me personally, he knows how hard I work to remain at the highest level. The confidence that he showed in me – that was all it took. 

“For me, that confidence was the single most important factor. To hear that he believed in me, that he thought that I could come here and make a positive contribution. 

“With our young group, as well as some more experienced players like our captain [Cesar] Azpilicueta, we’ve got all it takes for a great season.

“You can be sure that I’ll do everything I can to repay that confidence out on the pitch. We’ve signed some top players and we’ve got a squad capable of putting together a great season so that’s what we’re going to try and do.”

Silva also reflected on the time he played against Lampard in 2013 during a 2-2 draw between England and Brazil.

Silva added: “It was a long time ago now, so it’s hard to talk about that particular game but I could see his quality whenever I saw him playing for England or Chelsea. 

“He stood out for his technique, for the quality of his long and short passing, and his exceptional mid- and long-range shooting. Those are qualities that fans of great football will always notice. 

“Quality players stick in your mind and you need that to be the captain of England, not just leadership. Actually, the two go hand-in-hand – you need the quality as a player to be able to lead the group and that’s what he had.

“He had the necessary qualities to be a captain because people saw what a great player he was.”

Fikayo Tomori talks about his football beginnings at Chelsea football club

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Rayshard Brooks funeral set for Atlanta, as Kentucky and New York vote – live updates | US news



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US House holds debates before vote on impeachment

The US House of Representatives holds a full session to vote on two articles of impeachment that have been filed against President Donald Trump, Trend reports citing Sputnik.

If the House Democratic majority votes to impeach on 18 December, the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to start the formal impeachment trial which is likely to occur in the coming weeks or even days. A two-thirds Senate majority – 67 votes – is needed to convict the president and thereby remove him from office.

The impeachment inquiry was launched by House Democrats in September after a whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to probe his political rival and former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who once sat on the board of the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. Trump has said that the impeachment inquiry is a sham and another political witch hunt by Democrats to reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election.

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Vancouver School Board to vote on anti-racism motion at Monday meeting

The Vancouver School Board will revisit an anti-racism motion at Monday’s meeting before heading to a vote.

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The Vancouver School Board will revisit an anti-racism motion at Monday’s meeting before heading to a vote.

The motion, put forward by Trustee Jennifer Reddy and developed in consultation with parents and community groups, seeks to create a strategic plan for both the short, medium and long term on how the district should handle and prevent racism and discrimination in Vancouver schools.

An interim report on the progress of the plan is expected in June 2020.

The motion comes after multiple incidents in the previous school year, including one that involved a racist video that prompted a Black student to transfer out of Lord Byng Secondary.

Another aspect of the motion to be discussed Monday looks at hiring an expert to advise the school board on how best to handle such incidents in the immediate aftermath of hate-motivated acts.

The B.C. Community Alliance is among those in support of the motion and will be in attendance at Monday’s meeting, alongside members of the Byng community.

“As we have recently seen several racist incidents at Vancouver schools and the way these incidents are currently being handled, it is urgent that it passes now. If it doesn’t pass, racialized Vancouver students will not see any significant change in the 20/21 school year, as it will not make it into the budget,” read a statement shared by Marie Tate of the BCCA.

“These motions also benefit the broader spectrum of students who need support when incidents of hate arise, such as homophobia, anti-Semitism, gender violence and more.”

The meeting takes place Monday at 7 p.m. at the Vancouver Board of Education office’s boardroom.

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Major victory for Catalyst against HBC take-private deal as OSC delays shareholder vote

The Ontario Securities Commission has decided to push back a crucial shareholder vote on the takeover of Hudson’s Bay Co., effectively freezing the transaction until the company releases a more detailed story on how the deal came together.

The decision, announced late Friday evening, marks a major victory for Catalyst Capital Group Inc., the private equity firm that has tried for months to thwart HBC chairman Richard Baker’s quest to take Canada’s oldest company private.

At the OSC, Catalyst was seeking an order to either block or stall the privatization offer, put forward by Baker and his group of majority shareholders.

After nine hours of closing arguments on Friday, the OSC’s three-person panel dismissed Catalyst’s request to block the deal. But the panel said it will require Hudson’s Bay to amend and reissue its circular, which was originally sent to shareholders last month to inform them about the deal. The weeks-long process of reissuing the circular means HBC has to postpone the upcoming vote at a shareholder meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

During the hearing — crammed into two days, so the OSC could make a decision before Tuesday’s vote — Catalyst complained that HBC didn’t properly inform shareholders about crucial detail. Catalyst paid particular focus to Baker’s involvement in a $1.5 billion deal to sell HBC’s European assets to Signa Holdings, while also contemplating a bid to takeover HBC using the proceeds from the sale.

In their recommendation to the panel, OSC staff said they were concerned with testimony from special committee chair David Leith, who told the OSC that Baker informed the board of directors in late March that he was thinking about buying the company, while the Signa deal was still in flux.

OSC staff said that a special committee should have started monitoring the take-private situation immediately, since Baker had evolved “from someone who had managed the company to someone who wanted to buy the company.”

There was a clear conflict

But the special committee wasn’t formally tasked with supervising the privatization process until June 9, a day before two press releases — one announcing the Signa sale, the other announcing Baker’s take-private bid — were released within minutes of each other.

That information wasn’t in HBC’s circular about the deal last month, and it should have been, OSC staff said in their remarks toward the end of the hearing. HBC released those details in a press release last week, but staff recommended HBC still needed to send out a revised circular to quell confusion.

“(We) invite you to read the circular again knowing what you now know,” OSC lawyer Rikin Morzaria told the panel. “There was a clear conflict that put Mr. Baker’s interests directly in conflict with minority shareholders.”

HBC argued that Baker’s comment to the board about privatization was merely an idea in March, far from the concrete proposal that emerged in June. And HBC did have a special committee throughout the spring, though its mandate was to watch the Signa deal, as well as the sale of HBC’s banner Lord and Taylor.

HBC lawyer Seumas Woods implored the OSC not to make an order in the case, arguing that it would give the wrong impression that the HBC board was “with their hands caught in the cookie jar.”

HBC chairman Richard Baker.

Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press/File

“Somebody merely expresses an interest and you’ve got to go down this (special committee) route? That is not a message you want to send to the markets,” Woods said, before the panel made its decision. “The mere fact that you make an order in this case is sending a message that the special committee did not do their job properly and they require adult supervision.”

Baker group lawyer Eliot Kolers said ordering a revised circular would be “a very dangerous road to go down.”

“Mr. Baker, at no time, acted in a clandestine manner,” Kolers said.

He accused Catalyst of pursuing its own economic interests and interfering in a chance for other minority shareholders to extract cash value from the struggling department store chain.

Baker’s group of majority shareholders is offering $10.30 per share in the deal, which has been approved by the HBC board of director’s special committee in charge of vetting the privatization bid. Catalyst announced a competing bid, for $11 per share, which the special committee dismissed as a non-starter last month after the Baker group declined to sell its 57 per cent stake.

“They’re holding this process hostage,” Kolers said.

The OSC will file a formal order by the middle of next week. After the panel deliberated for 15 minutes, OSC vice-chair Grant Vingoe said the order will outline what disclosures need to be included in the new circular, to be mailed to shareholders. In the interim, HBC agreed to postpone Tuesday’s shareholder meeting.

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Rattling Republicans, U.S. House committee delays impeachment vote to Friday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats delayed an impeachment vote by a U.S. House Committee just before midnight, incensing Republicans and setting up a Friday showdown over President Donald Trump’s future.

The committee had been expected to approve two articles of impeachment late on Thursday, setting up a vote by the Democratic-controlled House next week that is expected to make Trump the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

Instead, as the clock ticked toward midnight, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler sent lawmakers home for the night and said members would return to vote Friday at 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).

Asked why the votes did not occur late Thursday, House Judiciary Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon said “the American people deserve to see the vote.”

The scheduling appeared to have nothing to do with the substance of the impeachment fight nor was it a sign that Democrats lacked the needed votes. But it outraged Republican leaders, who said afterward many had been planning travel home on Friday and would now have to reset their schedules.

Doug Collins, the top Republican on the panel, appeared shocked by the announcement and immediately reacted with anger, saying the rescheduling was done so Democrats could hold their vote when more voters would be watching on television.

“This was the most bush league thing I have seen, forever,” Collins told reporters. “This committee is more concerned about getting on TV in the morning than it was finishing its job tonight and letting the members go home. Words cannot describe how inappropriate this was.”

Democrats had expected to wrap up the hearing early in the evening, but Republicans, led by Collins, proposed a series of amendments that had no hope of passage.

Republicans offered hours of remarks on their amendments, frequently repeating the same prepared commentary and often veering into other topics that ranged from natural gas drilling to the state of the economy.

The committee’s debate began Wednesday evening.

Much of the impeachment focus has been on a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. That is the basis for a charge by Democrats that Trump abused power.

Trump has also instructed current and former members of his administration not to testify or produce documents, leading senior officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to defy House subpoenas. Democrats say that behavior constitutes obstruction of Congress, forming the basis of the other impeachment charge.

Trump denies any wrongdoing and has condemned the impeachment inquiry as unfair. His Republican allies in Congress argue that there is no direct evidence of misconduct and that Democrats have conducted an improper process that did not give the president an opportunity to mount his own defense.

Slideshow (4 Images)

If the House impeaches Trump, who is charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, he would then go on trial in the Senate. The Republican-led chamber is unlikely to vote to find the president guilty and remove him from office.

Republicans on the committee said that there were no crimes alleged in the impeachment articles and that “abuse of power” had become a catch-all for Democratic complaints about Trump.

“This notion of abuse of power is the lowest of low-energy impeachment theories,” said Republican Representative Matt Gaetz.

Reporting by David Morgan and Ginger Gibson; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Peter Cooney and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Democrats Expect Wide Scale Defections on Impeachment Vote

Democrats are expecting wide-scale defections among their rank and file when Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump come to the floor for a vote next week, the Washington Post reports.

the Washington Post’s Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis wrote late Wednesday:

House Democratic leaders are bracing for some defections among a group of moderate Democrats in swing districts who are concerned a vote to impeach President Trump could cost them their seats in November.

Bade and DeBonis quote three senior House Democrat officials saying that there will be at least a half dozen Democrats who join with all Republicans to oppose impeaching President Trump, but a third senior Democrat aide told them there would probably be many more than just a half dozen defections.

Bade and DeBonis wrote:

Lawmakers and senior aides are privately predicting they will lose more than the two Democrats who opposed the impeachment inquiry rules package in late September, according to multiple officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly. Two senior Democratic aides said the total could be as many as a half-dozen, while a third said the number could be higher.

Generally speaking, if leadership of the majority party is publicly leaking that they expect at least a half-dozen defections a week before the actual vote, the number of defections on said vote is likely to be much higher. It’s remarkable that Democrats are now readily admitting they will lose at least six Democrats on the vote, probably more, but Bade and DeBonis have also confirmed now that Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) will vote against Articles of Impeachment, just as he voted against opening the impeachment inquiry to begin with.

They also say that Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) has confirmed he is leaning against voting for Articles of Impeachment–Peterson was the other Democrat to join all Republicans in bipartisan opposition to the inquiry vote–but also that Democrat leaders expect that Peterson will join Van Drew and other Democrats in the bipartisan vote against the increasingly partisan impeachment push against Trump.

Bade and DeBonis reported that these frontline Democrats–there are yet no more who have as of yet publicly stated they intend to vote against Articles of Impeachment, but many are privately fretting the forthcoming vote–are having second thoughts about this, now that they have seen polling moving against impeachment.

Bade and DeBonis wrote:

Predictions about some defections come as a core group of centrists from districts Trump won in 2016 are having second thoughts. While many knew impeachment would never be popular in their GOP-leaning districts, some have been surprised that support hasn’t increased despite negative testimony about Trump from a series of blockbuster hearings last month. Several moderates have privately pined for other options, including a censure vote they know they’re unlikely to get. Others have even considered what one moderate called ‘splitting the baby’: backing one article of impeachment but not the other to try to show independence from the party.

Further complicating matters for Democrats is the fact that the U.S. Senate will not convict President Trump. To do so, the Senate would need 67 votes for conviction on Articles of Impeachment–and there are 53 Republicans in the Senate, all of whom are aligned behind Trump at this stage. What’s more, some Senate Democrats are potentially expected to join the bipartisan opposition to the partisan impeachment push–particularly Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), but also possibly Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL), Gary Peters (D-MI), or Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)–if it reaches that stage.

Manchin on Wednesday said he was “torn” over impeachment, and he even backed the White House’s push to have former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden be called in to testify in a potential Senate trial should it reach that stage.

While it still seems more likely than not that Articles of Impeachment will pass the House of Representatives next week, if enough of these vulnerable Democrats band together against them on the floor, they could avoid a messy Senate trial that would undoubtedly acquit Trump, giving him a massive boost going into his 2020 re-election campaign. Assuming Peterson does end up voting no, as Van Drew has confirmed he will, Democrats could only afford to lose a total of 17 more of their members on the floor and still pass impeachment.

There are four vacancies in the House, and former GOP Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan–who left the party over this–is expected to join the Democrats in the vote for impeachment, so that means Democrats would need 216 votes for impeachment to pass. As such, 19 total votes from Democrats against Articles of Impeachment–there is already at least one, probably two, with many more expected–could sink the vote.

There are 31 districts that Democrats currently represent that President Trump won in 2016, and another 20 or so that are considered battlegrounds with vulnerable incumbents.

Democrat leadership, meanwhile, does not intend to ensure its passage–and will not whip the votes for impeachment on the floor.

“In fact, Democratic leaders have said they don’t intend to whip the impeachment vote, allowing each member to make his or her own personal choice on such a historic roll call that many see as a legacy-defining issue,” Bade and DeBonis wrote before quoting Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), a deputy whip in House Democrat leadership, as confirming the plan by Democrat leaders to not whip the vote.

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Recent UN vote not a shift in Canada’s ‘steadfast’ support for Israel: Trudeau – National

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a recent vote to support a UN resolution endorsing Palestinian self-determination is not a shift in Canada’s policy against singling out Israel for criticism on the international stage.

Trudeau made the remarks Monday at a menorah lighting on Parliament Hill, where about 100 parliamentarians and members of the Jewish community gathered to mark the upcoming Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Canada’s view on Israeli settlements in West Bank unchanged, despite U.S. policy shift

Trudeau says he met before the event with Jewish community leaders who expressed their concerns about the United Nations vote in late November.

He says he heard similar concerns from other parties and from members of his own caucus.

The resolution was part of a group of motions brought every year at the United Nations which critics say single out Israel for the ongoing conflict with Palestinians.

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Protest turns violent during pro-Israel event at York University

Protest turns violent during pro-Israel event at York University

For more than a decade, Canada has voted against the resolutions but Trudeau says Canada felt it had to change course on that one resolution, in order to emphasize its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I hear you,” Trudeau told those gathered around the menorah. “I understand that many of you were alarmed by this decision. The government felt that it was important to reiterate its commitment to a two-states-for-two-peoples solution at a time when its prospects appear increasingly under threat.

U.S. reverses position on Israeli settlements, angering Palestinians

“But let me be very clear. Our enduring friendship with Israel remains. We will continue to stand strongly against the singling out of Israel at the UN. Canada remains a steadfast supporter of Israel and Canada will always defend Israel’s right to live in security. And we will always, always, speak up against anti-Semitism at home and abroad. You have my word.”

Canada was roundly criticized for the November vote by Israel, the United States and many within Canada, with several critics accusing Canada of voting with the majority in order to secure a UN Security Council seat next year.

Canada returned to its practice of voting against other resolutions critical of Israel in votes taken this month.

U.S. no longer considers Israel settlements illegal

U.S. no longer considers Israel settlements illegal

At the menorah lighting, Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer both denounced recent incidents of anti-Semitism aimed at Jewish students at York University, the University of Toronto and McGill University.

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“They were made to feel uncomfortable because of their identity, because of their support of Israel,” Trudeau said.

“Calling into question Israel’s right to exist or the right of Jewish people to self-determination is promoting anti-Semitism and that’s unacceptable. We will never, ever be silent in the face of such acts. Hatred has no place in Canada and we will continue to condemn it.”

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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The vote that could destroy the United Kingdom

A view from St Rule’s Tower overlooks the town of St Andrews, Scotland.

St Andrews, Scotland —It’s a bitterly cold November day in the Scottish town of St Andrews, the kind of morning when the grass crackles underfoot like broken glass.

Undeterred, tourists swaddled in puffer jackets and armed with selfie sticks ascend the cathedral tower that has overlooked this coastal spot for 800 years.

From the top, gazing in one direction, the sea stretches towards Europe. Looking the other way, rolling hills lead to England.

As the United Kingdom faces its most momentous election in recent history, Scotland is grappling with which view to set its sights on.

For Scottish voters, a key issue in the December 12 general election will be whether, in the long term, they want to remain part of the UK or to break away and become an independent country.

“Independence is not about ‘oh we hate the English,’” says 22-year-old Scot and pro-independence campaigner Iona Fraser-Collins. “It’s about us wanting to be in charge of our own laws, and England being in charge of its own laws.”

Scotland rejected independence at a 2014 referendum, 55% to 45%. But circumstances have changed dramatically since then, according to the Scottish National Party (SNP) — the third-largest party in the UK Parliament.

In 2016 Scotsvoted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. Instead, they got Brexit – setting the country on a path it hadn’t agreed to and re-energizing the fight for independence.

The ruins of St Andrews Cathedral date back to the 12th Century.
A statue greets tourists at the cathedral’s museum.

In the event of a hung parliament –- one in which no party secures an outright majority — the pro-independence SNP could play kingmaker, potentially propping up a Labour government (they’ve dismissed the idea of doing the same with the Conservatives).

The SNP’s key condition for this would be securing a second Scottish independence referendum. It’s a prospect Labour hasn’t ruled out completely.

Student power

No battle will be fiercer than that fought in the constituency of North East Fife. This is the most marginal seat in the UK: In the 2017 election, the SNP won by just two votes against the Liberal Democrats.

Both the SNP and Lib Dems want to stop Brexit and both are fighting for pro-European voters. Their methods though, are starkly different.

The SNP believes an independent Scotland is the best way of staying in the EU; the Lib Dems say Scotland is stronger in Europeand in the UK.

St Andrews students stream through St Salvator’s Quadrangle. Over 9,000 students attend the university, accounting for more than half the town’s population.

The SNP currently controls 35 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies -– every seat they could gain in this election would strengthen their negotiating hand for an independence referendum.

At the heart of North East Fife is the university town of St Andrews.

It’s best known abroad as the place where Prince William started dating Kate, and as the “home of golf” thanks to the 600-year-old course that dominates the rugged landscape.

A passerby crosses the iconic Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews’ Old Course, regarded as the ‘Home of Golf’.

The town’s prestigious university also has a reputation, Scottish commentators told CNN, as the place where wealthy English and American students go when they don’t get into Oxford or Cambridge.

Students loom large here; cycling down pretty streets and teeming out of grand stone university buildings. They gather outside cafes handing out political flyers, all too aware that in a constituency where just two votes decided the winner last time around, they could make all the difference.

“It’s pretty unusual for there to be an election during term time,” says the university’s student president, Jamie Rodney, who has been part of a campus-wide drive encouraging young people to register to vote. “So students have a real opportunity this year to potentially swing the result of the whole election.”

“There tends to be a vicious cycle — students don’t vote, so politicians tend not to target them with policies,” says Student Association President Jamie Rodney.
“There is a new generation that is newly able to vote,” says Art History lecturer Stephanie O’Rourke. “We want to make sure that we’re encouraging them to participate.”

‘Second class country’

Every Tuesday evening the students meet at one of the town’s many traditional pubs. They come armed with clipboards and political buttons, eschewing pints of beer for tea and Coca-Cola.

A handful of the group were too young to vote in the 2016 EU referendum. Even those who did vote Remain feel they’ve been flung under a Brexit bus that is beyond their control.

“Brexit is just a prime example of Scotland getting the exact opposite of what it voted for,” says 24-year-old Harry Stage, his black curls bobbing with emphasis.

Members from St Andrews University Students For Independence (STAUSFI) gather in the town’s Whey Pat Tavern.

“When your mandate is not accepted, or your people are not listened to, then how can you want to stay part of that union?”

The students say Scotland feels like a “second-class country” where Westminster overlords dictate everything from their finance to defense policies. “We want to sit next to England at the table,” says Stage, “rather than in the back taking the scraps they can throw.”

They point to the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons, carried by submarines based on Scotland’s west coast, as an example of the “double standards” and “condescending nature” of Westminster lawmakers towards their country.

“You couldn’t do it in the Thames (in London) because it’s too much of a threat to human life,” says Stage. “But what’s a trident bomb going to do amongst lochs and glens and Glasgow.”

STAUSFI students meet over tea to organise bake sales and quiz nights as a way of getting their political message out.

Scotland’s first minister and the leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, has said scrapping Trident would be one of her party’s key demands if Labour wanted its support in a minority government.

It’s a demand that’s unlikely to be met. Labour has pledged to renew the Trident program, despite its leader Jeremy Corbyn being a longstanding critic of nuclear weapons.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that an independent Scotland would automatically be welcomed back into the EU. Experts have warned that Spain – which is facing its own Catalan independence movement – may veto any attempt by Scotland to rejoin the bloc.

Indeed, the St Andrews students said the Scottish independence movement as a whole had been “very supportive” of Catalan activists, flying their flags at rallies and vice versa.

Scotland’s national flag, also known as St Andrew’s Cross, flies from the town hall.
Scotch whisky lines the shelves of The Criterion pub. The EU accounts for 30% of Scotland’s global whisky sales.

Regardless, Sturgeon is confident an independent Scotland would be readmitted to the EU. Even its national deficit of 7% (EU member states must have deficits below 3%) wouldn’t hold Scotland back, she told the BBC during a live leaders’ debate last week.

Instead, she said, the deficit would drop under an independent Scotland finally able to fully control its finances.

In any case, “we won’t be in the EU come January,” says Stage, in between sips of tea. “So, what do we have to lose?”

In another pub down the road, the SNP incumbent in this constituency, Stephen Gethins, rearranges himself on a plush red barstool. Like his young supporters, he opts for a tall glass of water over anything stronger.

In the last election here in 2017 Gethins won by just two votes, following three recounts, and admits “there was quite a lot of stuff going on at the time” given his wife had just had their baby the week before.

”Historically, Scotland’s been a nation at the heart of Europe,” says North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins.

This election, Gethins sticks closely to the SNP script, saying Scotland’s departure from the UK would be nothing like England’s shambolic exit from the EU.

“It’s Brexit which is isolationist, which takes us into the unknown,” says Gethins. The nitty-gritty of what an independent Scotland would actually look like – its currency and border controls — are all laid out in the SNP’s 650-page White Paper, he says.

Stronger in the union

On the other side of town, challenger and Lib Dem candidate Wendy Chamberlain is knocking on doors with her own small army of supporters.

Across Scotland, the Lib Dems’ vote share pales in comparison to that of the SNP – they hold just four of the country’s 59 seats, trailing behind the Conservatives and Labour.

This election, Chamberlain is banking on her party carving out a niche – attracting voters who want to stay in the EU, but don’t want a second referendum on Scottish independence.

“It’s good not be caught in your own echo chamber,” says Liberal Democrat candidate Wendy Chamberlain, whose husband is an SNP member.
Chamberlain canvasses in St Andrews.

She believes the same argument for staying in the EU, applies to staying in the UK. “We are better off in the UK with the relationships we have across these islands, as well as remaining in the EU and maintaining those relationships we have across the continent,” Chamberlain says, the sea breeze ruffling her long curly hair.

Chamberlain’s biggest challenge may simply be convincing voters in her own home. Her husband is an SNP member, though she’s quick to laugh off politically-induced marital strife.

Among those hitting the pavements alongside Chamberlain are students Joseph Luke, 20, and Alex Whitham, 21. Both are English, which they say “lends itself to unionism a little bit.”

Students Joseph Luke and Alex Whitham coordinate while canvassing for Wendy Chamberlain.

They now live in St Andrews and “just because we were born in England doesn’t mean we don’t get a say,” says Luke.

He has relatives in both countries and says he doesn’t want to cross a hard border “just to see my family.”  

Knife-edge margin

Even in a close constituency like North East Fife, some voters are still backing outside parties.

Student Lottie Doherty, 21, says she’ll be voting Labour because she supports staying in the EU and the UK, but believes the Lib Dem policy on revoking Brexit without a second referendum is “undemocratic.”

Chair of St Andrews University Labour Society, Lottie Doherty, right, hands out flyers on how to register to vote.

Labour came a distant fourth in the last election here. This year’s candidate, Wendy Haynes, says her party’s aim is to create a radically different UK, one that Scotland will want to be part of.

Meanwhile, kilt shop owner Robert Brown says he’ll be backing the Conservatives because they “support small businesses” like his. Most of Brown’s customers come from Scotland or America, where he says kilts are a popular choice for weddings.

He gets very little business from Europe, and he voted to Leave in the EU referendum. Despite the political turmoil of the ensuing three years, Brown believes Boris Johnson is the prime minister to finally deliver Brexit.

Surrounded by rows and rows of multicolored kilts, fox furs, and traditional silver brooches, Brown scoffs at the prospect of ever voting SNP.

The Tories are the best out of a bad bunch,” says 55-year-old kilt shop owner Robert Brown.

Scotland isn’t traditional territory for the Conservatives. But in the last few years the party has made significant gains while Labour, which had triumphed here since the 1960s, lost huge swaths of voters to a reinvigorated SNP.

Even the North East Fife’s Conservative candidate, Tony Miklinski, admits that “Boris does alienate some Scottish voters.”

The Prime Minister is “easily portrayed as the cartoon character, Eton-educated toff who’s out of touch with the working class, and with the people of Scotland.”

A view of the North Sea stretches out from St Andrews’ pier towards Europe.

But the “bottom line,” according to Miklinksi, is that a Conservative majority is the only way to resolve the “logjam in Westminster” and deliver Brexit. And ensure the SNP doesn’t get a second Scottish referendum.

With just over a week until the election, opinion polls are predicting a Conservative majority in the UK. That said, the polls predicted the same outcome in the 2017 election – instead, the Tories failed to achieve that majority.

Some, like 26-year-old fisherman Lee Gardner, still aren’t sure who they’ll vote for. Britain’s fishing industry has been vocal in favor of leaving the EU. Nonetheless Gardner voted Remain, and says he loves “traveling to Europe.”

“A lot of people who didn’t vote in the last election are kicking themselves,” says Lobster fisherman Lee Gardner.

“Anyway,” he adds with a cheeky smile, “I haven’t been a fisherman that long.”

Hauling lobsters onto his family’s boat in St Andrews’ harbor, Gardner stands on the cliff edge. Sea on one side, hills on the other, constantly moving between the two.

Soon, Scotland will decide which way to turn.

CNN’s William Bonnett contributed to this report.

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Anger at antiquaries charity after sex abuser wins members’ vote | Society

A vote allowing a sex abuser to remain a fellow at a prestigious educational society has provoked a fierce internal backlash and demands for the organisation’s reform.

Scores of fellows at the Society of Antiquaries of London, a charity that promotes the study of the past, are up in arms about the vote, which has allowed Hubert Chesshyre to continue as a fellow.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) heard evidence that Chesshyre, an expert on heraldry and genealogy who held a number of senior positions within the royal household, was found to have sexually abused a teenage chorister over the course of three years in the 1990s.

The 2015 finding was made following a “trial of the facts”, which is held when someone is considered unable to plead due to their poor mental and physical health. As a result, despite being found to have committed the abuse, Chesshyre – who is said to have dementia – was given an absolute discharge.

The finding saw fellows at the society, one of Britain’s oldest educational institutions, granted a royal charter in 1751, table a resolution demanding his removal. But a majority of fellows who voted backed Chesshyre, a former president of its elite dining club, the Cocked Hat Club.

In an open letter published on Sunday in the Observer, many fellows expressed outrage at the decision.

Pledging their support to the victim, they signalled their “determination to reform the organisation so that it reflects the values and behaviours that should be expected from any public organisation or individual”.

They add: “The voting arrangements were such that only around 100 of the society’s 3,000 fellows were able to attend the vote, which due to the existing governance structures of the society only allowed voting in person on a weekday afternoon. This disenfranchised a large number of fellows unable to attend at such a time.

“The 76 fellows who voted against the proposal to remove Mr Chesshyre’s fellowship do not represent us, and do not represent the values and behaviours of any organisation we are willing to be members of.”

Paul Drury, the society’s president, denied that the vote showed it had “stood by” Chesshyre. “We are committed to acting in ways which are consistent with our status as an educational charity operating for the public benefit, and as an institution which confers public recognition of the achievements of its fellows,” he said in a statement on its website.

“We are therefore actively working on the reform of our statutes, to enable swift action to remove fellowship from those who do not live up to the society’s expectations of integrity and good character.”

Drury added: “The society unreservedly apologises to the victim for any hurt the defeat may have caused.”

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