UK’s Johnson to suspend Parliament as plans stall
LONDON — British lawmakers demanded Monday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government release officials’ correspondence about plans for Brexit, as the government prepared to suspend Parliament and send rebellious lawmakers home until two weeks before the country is supposed to leave the European Union.
Lawmakers used the remaining hours before the session of Parliament ended to deliver new blows to Johnson’s teetering authority. An opposition-backed measure designed to stop Britain from crashing out of the EU on Oct. 31 without a divorce deal became law after receiving the formal assent of Queen Elizabeth II.
They also demanded the government release emails and text messages among aides and officials relating to suspending Parliament and planning for Brexit amid allegations that the suspension is being used to circumvent democracy.
“It is blindingly obvious why we are being shut down — to prevent scrutiny,” said Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer.
Under parliamentary rules the government is obliged to release the documents. Lawmakers set a Wednesday deadline for that to happen.
Afghans brace for fresh violence
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans braced for a possible new wave of Taliban violence Monday after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off nearly a year of talks with the insurgent group just when a deal to end America’s longest war seemed to be at hand.
Trump’s stunning weekend announcement that he had canceled a secret meeting with Taliban leaders and the Afghan president at Camp David and halted negotiations left many in Washington and Kabul scrambling to understand just what happens now.
The Taliban signaled they would return to talks and said they expect Washington would, too, though they said Trump’s decision to upend the deal just before its signing “displays lack of composure and experience.” And they vowed to continue their fight against “foreign occupation.”
“What more violence can they bring?” Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said in an interview. “What else can they do? You know they have killed 300 civilians in the past three weeks. ... So we will not be surprised if we see more attacks, but they have already done it.”
North Korea says it’s willing to resume talks
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Monday it is willing to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States in late September, but that Washington must come to the negotiating table with acceptable new proposals.
If the proposals don’t satisfy North Korea, dealings between the two countries may come to an end, First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said.
Choe’s statement was apparently aimed at pressuring the United States to make concessions when the North Korea-U.S. talks restart.
North Korea is widely believed to want the United States to provide it with security guarantees and extensive relief from U.S.-led sanctions in return for limited denuclearization steps.
UN atomic watchdog confirms Iran work
BERLIN — The United Nations’ atomic watchdog confirmed Monday that Iran is preparing to use more advanced centrifuges, another breach of limits set in the country’s slowly unraveling nuclear deal with major powers.
Iran had already announced the step, its latest violation of the 2015 agreement as it tries to pressure European signatories to find a way to maintain oil shipments and ease the toll of U.S. sanctions on the Iranian economy.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported its inspectors verified the installation of new centrifuges. The agency said all had been “prepared for testing” but none yet tested at the time of the Sept. 7-8 inspection.
The nuclear deal was meant to keep Tehran from building atomic weapons — something Iran denies it wants to do — in exchange for economic incentives. Its collapse started with the United States unilaterally withdrawing from the deal last year and imposing increased sanctions.
The other signatories — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, as well as the European Union — have been struggling to salvage the agreement and find a way to meet Tehran’s demands.
Judge reinstates halt on asylum policy plan
OAKLAND, Calif. — A U.S. judge in California on Monday reinstated a nationwide halt on the Trump administration’s plan to prevent most migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in Oakland that an injunction blocking the administration’s policy from taking effect should apply nationwide.
Tigar blocked the policy in July after a lawsuit by groups that help asylum seekers. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals limited the impact of Tigar’s injunction to states within the area overseen by the appeals court.
That meant the policy was blocked in the border states of California and Arizona but not in New Mexico and Texas.
In his ruling, Tigar stressed a “need to maintain uniform immigration policy” and found that nonprofit organizations such as Al Otro Lado don’t know where asylum seekers who enter the U.S. will end up living and making their case to remain in the country.
“The court recognized there is grave danger facing asylum-seekers along the entire stretch of the southern border,” Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.
States target Google in new antitrust probe
WASHINGTON — Fifty U.S. states and territories, led by Texas, announced an investigation into Google’s “potential monopolistic behavior.”
The Monday announcement closely followed one from a separate group of states Friday that disclosed an investigation into Facebook’s market dominance. The two probes widen the antitrust scrutiny of big tech companies beyond sweeping federal and congressional investigations and enforcement action by European regulators.
Nebraska attorney general Doug Peterson, a Republican, said at a press conference held in Washington that 50 attorneys general joining together sends a “strong message to Google.”
California and Alabama are not part of the investigation, although it does include the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Tara Gallegos, a spokeswoman for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, declined to confirm or deny any state investigation and would not comment on the announcement by the other states.
British Airways grounds nearly all flights
LONDON — British Airways has canceled almost all its flights for 48 hours, affecting as many as 195,000 travelers, due to a strike by pilots over pay.
The U.K.’s flagship carrier said in a statement Monday that it had “no way of predicting how many (pilots) would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly.”
As a result, it said it had “no option but to cancel nearly 100%” of its flights for the duration of the strike.
British Airways operates up to 850 flights a day. London’s sprawling Heathrow Airport was most affected by the work stoppage as it is the airline’s hub and is used for many of the company’s long-haul international flights.
The sprawling departure area at Heathrow Terminal 5 was almost empty, with only a handful of BA flights set to leave on Monday.
There were no queues at any of the check-in desks or security gates and only a handful of people waiting on benches. The terminal is typically quite busy.
Indiana official stalls BMV gender change rule
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles says the state’s attorney general has stalled a measure that would allow people to change their gender on driver’s licenses and IDs.
Bureau spokeswoman Susan Guyer tells The Journal Gazette that Attorney General Curtis Hill declined to sign off on the rule because the public wasn’t sufficiently informed of the plan.
The bureau proposed the rule that would require a birth certificate or a special state Department of Health form to change gender on licenses and IDs. It was slated to become effective in October.
Hill’s decision last week jeopardizes the department’s plan to allow gender change on a birth certificate with a physician’s statement.
The move isn’t a formal rejection, but it puts the rule on hold while changes are considered.