BNC -The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-nam, has been killed in an attack in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian police say he was waiting at the airport for a flight to Macau on Monday when a woman covered his face with a cloth which burnt his eyes.

He was using a passport in a different name at the time.

The late Kim Jong-il's eldest son is thought to have fled North Korea after being passed over for the leadership.

What happened?

Kim Jong-nam was attacked at about 09:00 (01:00 GMT) on Monday while waiting at the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport for a 10:00 flight to Macau, Malaysia's Star newspaper reports, quoting police.

How the attack actually unfolded is still unclear. Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat told The Star that Mr Kim had alerted a receptionist, saying "someone had grabbed him from behind and splashed a liquid on his face".

But quoted by Malaysian news agency Bernama, the same official said a woman had come at him from behind and "covered his face with a cloth laced with a liquid". Earlier reports spoke of a "spray" being used or a needle.

Passengers queue up for the security checks at the 2nd Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, 14 FebruaryImage copyrightAP
Image captionThe man who died was preparing to fly to Macau

His eyes "suffered burns as a result of the liquid", Fadzil Ahmat told Bernama, and he died on the way to hospital in nearby Putrajaya.

"So far there are no suspects, but we have started investigations and are looking at a few possibilities to get leads," Fadzil Ahmat told Reuters news agency separately.

Hospital security personnel block the entrance of the forensic department at a hospital in Putrajaya, Malaysia, 14 FebruaryImage copyrightAP
Image captionHospital security personnel blocked the entrance of the forensic department on Tuesday

News of Mr Kim's death was not reported until Tuesday. An autopsy was conducted on his body but the results have not yet been released.

Why the delay in identifying him?

South Korean media named the victim early on Tuesday but the Malaysian authorities initially only reported the sudden death of an unnamed North Korean national who had fallen ill at the airport.

Police then released a statement which quoted the victim's travel document identifying him as "Kim Chol", born on 10 June 1970.

Kim Jong-nam was born on 10 May 1971.

Police finally confirmed that the victim was indeed the half-brother of North Korea's leader.

It was not the first time Mr Kim had travelled under an assumed identity: he was caught trying to enter Japan using a false passport in 2001. He told officials he had been planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Why was he flying to China?

Bypassed in favour of his youngest half-brother for succession when their father died in 2011, Kim Jong-nam kept a low profile, spending most of his time overseas in Macau, mainland China and Singapore.

He is said to have enjoyed the slot machines in Macau, a Chinese territory famous for gambling.

How did he fall out of favour?

The Tokyo Disneyland incident is thought to have spoilt his chances of succeeding Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011.


BBC graphic

He later spoke out against his family's dynastic control of North Korea and in a 2012 book, was quoted as saying he believed his younger half-brother lacked leadership qualities.

Was this an assassination?

Mr Kim was reportedly targeted for assassination in the past.

A North Korean spy jailed by South Korea in 2012 was reported to have admitted trying to organise a hit-and-run accident targeting him.

The secretive state has a long history of sending agents overseas to carry out assassinations, attacks and kidnappings.

BNC - After years of conflict and instability, impoverished Somalia faces a daunting list of development and security challenges. This arid country is vulnerable to famine and disease, the long coastline is a haven for pirates and the militant extremist group al-Shabab remains a potent threat. "

But when speaking to capacity4dev.eu recently, Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia Mohamed Omar Arteh said the most pressing issue of all for his country is addressing the needs of the youth.“The biggest development challenge that we have in Somalia? Everything is a challenge!” Mr Arteh told capacity4dev.eu.

 “But I’ll be more specific and say that I think the biggest challenge is the youth.” Other contenders are high mortality rates, low literacy, refugee problems, political instability, violence, disease, lack of schools or often no schools at all.

In part it’s a matter of sheer numbers. There are a lot of young people in Somalia – best estimates suggest that over 60 % of the country’s near 11 million-strong population are 24 or under. Around 43% of the total population are under 14 years of age. This could be an advantage for Somalia’s reconstruction and development, but only if the youth issues are addressed properly.

Somalia needs huge investment in basic social services such as quality education and access to healthcare to meet the needs of this young population, and it can’t happen fast enough. A number of Somalia’s youths are disillusioned, making them susceptible to radicalization by the jihadi militant group al-Shabab. It’s no coincidence that al-Shabab means “The Youth” in Arabic. Others are dissatisfied to the extent that they risk their lives to embark on ‘Tahrib’, the perilous migrant journey to Europe.

 

 

 

It is often the country’s brightest hopes, those with university educations and career ambitions, who see Tahrib as their only way of securing a better future.

 

“Most of our educated and able ones are the ones that are dying in the sea,” said Mr Arteh, referring to the hundreds of Somalis who have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in rickety overcrowded boats. Mr Arteh says he welcomes the European Commission’s support in addressing migration and would like to see even more resources directed towards this issue.

The EU Trust Fund, created in 2015, aims to support African countries by addressing the root causes of instability and irregular migration.

The main EU Trust Fund programme in Somalia is called RE-INTEG, and aims to help Somali refugees return and reintegrate into Somalia. Worth €50 million, it funds a wide range of projects to strengthen the resilience of returnees, internally displaced persons and host communities by providing basic services in sectors such as health, water and sanitation, housing and property rights, and education. 

It focuses on some of the main areas of return for refugees from Dadaab, namely Kismayo, Afmadow, Alanley, Baidoa, Mogadishu and Luuq. 

It focuses on some of the main areas of return for refugees from Dadaab, namely Kismayo, Afmadow, Alanley, Baidoa, Mogadishu and Luuq.

Setting up from scratchThe European Commission has worked closely with Somalia following the peaceful handover of power to a new federal government in 2012, ending a protracted civil war. In the four years since then, Somalia has notched up huge advances, albeit from a low base, according to the European Union’s former Head of Delegation to Somalia, Michele Cervone d’Urso.“I think the biggest challenge of the past four years has been building a new Somalia almost from scratch,” said Mr Cervone.

 “Setting up new states, new regional entities, developing the constitution and paving the way, for the first time, to elections.”.

Somalia is holding its first elections since the 1960s and though there will not be universal suffrage – elders and community representatives will select the members of the new Parliament and Upper House, rather than a popular vote – it is considered a huge step forward by donors, including the European Commission.

Addressing the needs of the country’s young population is a priority, said Mr Cervone, not least as a matter of national security. “If you look at, for example, al-Shabab, where it is able to attract a number of actors is amongst the youth. So we are targeting a significant amount of our development cooperation focusing on youth,” said Mr Cervone.

Our programmes are very wide-ranging. They go from education – we are the biggest donor in Somalia in education and have been very much involved in primary education – but now we are stepping up in vocational training,” giving youth the skills they need to find a job, according to Mr Cervone.

Investing in Education

The EU Delegation takes a sector wide approach aligned with the Ministry of Education’s strategic plan, according to Mohamed Sabul, Programme Manager for Education & Education Systems in the EU Delegation to Somalia. Besides supporting primary and secondary education, this means investing in teacher training, capacity development and technical and vocational education and training.

Each EU intervention is shaped to include the most vulnerable groups, one of which is in fact half the population: girls. As an example, it can be considered disrespectful for girls to eat in public, which is a challenge during the school day. It is also culturally difficult for a girl to be seen going to a toilet, so girls regularly miss school during their periods or drop out altogether. In response the EU piloted a ‘Girl Friendly Spaces’ scheme in 2010, introducing female-only study rooms to schools. As well as creating a place to study and eat, they have bathrooms girls can use discreetly. (See video here.)

“The lessons we’ve learned from this are that girls’ drop-out rate decreases when they have these facilities,” said Mr Sabul. “They have been successful in attracting and retaining girls; in fact gender parity has gone up from 0.7% in 2015 to 0.8% this year (where a score of 1 means total gender parity).”

Girls’ performance in lessons has also improved, which Mr Sabul attributes to improved confidence, the effect of having a safe space in which to discuss issues and support each other.

So far the Girl Friendly Spaces have been rolled out across secondary schools, and have also been piloted in a few primary schools. “That’s the second lesson,” said Mr Sabul. “We need these facilities in primary schools, as girls are maturing earlier. And for that we need more resources.”

 Under the 11th EDF National Indicative Programme the EU has committed € 59 million for education programmes throughout Somalia.

Another crucial factor is what goes on in the classroom. Boys and girls can share a classroom but cannot sit side by side, so classrooms are split down the middle, with boys’ desks on one side and girls’ on the other.

“We found that male teachers tend to interact more with the boys, less with the girls,” said Alix Wurdak, Programme Manager for Education and TVET in the EU Delegation to Somalia. “Female teachers on the other hand tend to engage equally with both sides of the classroom.”

Somalia’s regional governments have recognised the importance of female teachers, and the EU is supporting this through the sector-wide education programmes in Somalia. 30% of teacher trainees under these programmes are supposed to be female, though it can be a challenge to meet this quota. Retaining female teachers in the service is equally a challenge in the absence of predictable pay and with poor working conditions in rural schools.

“There’s no payroll from the government, so salaries are often through NGOs,” explained Mr Sabul. In addition, “rural schools can often be a harsh environment to teach in”, and many people still do not consider teaching to be an “acceptable” profession for a woman, according to Mr Sabul.

For families on the move, the education challenges are greater still. Much of the population are nomadic pastoralists travelling hundreds of kilometers through the Horn of Africa, crossing international frontiers with Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The European Commission is working to ensure development programming takes this fluid movement of people and livestock resources into account.

“We are trying to work with pastoral communities across all of these countries,” said Mr Cervone. “We are very much focused on supporting the capacities of these [pastoral] communities…to respond to shocks.”

The EU supports alternative learning programmes for pastoral communities, which are flexible models allowing nomadic children to transition into permanent schools. These are delivered via mobile schools and ‘camel libraries’ - collections of books transported on camels’ backs.

“They have an itinerary, and depending on the pattern of rainfall, they move from location to location, at least three times a year,” explained Mr Sabul. “They are usually accompanied by a teacher or librarian.” So far there are nine of these camel libraries funded by the EU's sector-wide education programme in Somaliland.

TVET

There is currently a substantial gap between young people’s skills and employers’ requirements. Even among those who have received vocational and technical education and training (TVET) in Somaliland and Puntland, only 27% of youth/employer combinations are a match by stated requirements, according to Mr Sabul. Meanwhile the unemployment rate for youth in Somalia is around 67%, according to the ILO’s 2013 Labour Force Survey for Somalia. Somali development and humanitarian indicators are among the lowest in the world and over 60% of youth have intentions to leave the country for better livelihood opportunities.

Following a pilot project on improving skills for livelihoods in Nugal in Puntland, the EU Delegation is planning to step up work on TVET next year. “TVET is one area where the work we and NGOs have done so far has been scattered – not harmonised, and project-based,” said Ms Wurdak. “We are planning a comprehensive revitalizing, with a systems-building approach.”

This will include improving the governance and management of TVET schools; setting up a National Qualification Framework with the government; improving teachers’ capacity and skills; and involving private companies early on in the development of training courses and curricula .

“We want to involve the private sector in labour market assessments,” said Ms Wurdak. “In Nugal, the Puntland government, TVET centre managers and university representatives, private-sector representatives and community business organisations have come together and established an Employment Promotion Working Group,” said Wurdak. “They meet on a regular basis to help link trainees with employers and to ensure that the skills provided in the TVET centres match those required by the employers.”

This approach will be taken up in other areas, according to Ms Wurdak. “From December, we’ll be looking at TVET for road infrastructure development and energy services, and will be partnering with national and private energy companies and road authorities across the country, so they can give input on the learning outcomes.” These are two labour-intensive sectors which could create substantial employment.

Other critical sectors to promote youth employment and social integration are sustainable natural resource management and inclusive economic development. Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa with much potential for the development of artisanal and commercial fishing and an existing trade in livestock, which are currently exported to the Gulf Region.

"We will continue to strive to promote opportunities for the Somali people and especially the youth, women and other vulnerable groups. The EU's new initiative to address the root causes of piracy, to promote livelihoods for coastal communities through sustainable fisheries and livestock is a good example of this ambition. We are committed to help creating conditions for the Somali people to reconcile, to enjoy stability and to enjoy the future they deserve," said Mrs Veronique Lorenzo, the European Union's new Head of Delegation to Somalia. 

There is a long way to go in terms of investment in services, education, TVET and job creation before Somalia’s youth will have the opportunities they need to thrive and to see their future in a stable Somalia. But the issue is now high on the international agenda, and small successes in pilot projects are showing a way forward for more inclusive education and employment. 

 

This collaborative piece is drafted by the capacity4dev.eu Coordination Team.

 

BNC - Donald Trump’s pick for commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has urged countries to take advantage of Britain while it is in the process of leaving the European Union, reports The Times.

 

 

According to the paper, Ross told Cypriot financiers they should strike during this "period of confusion" to take business away from the City. Brexit is a "God-given opportunity" for Britain’s competitors like Frankfurt and Dublin, he said.

The daily says Ross made the remarks before the US presidential election and being picked by Trump.

"I recommend that Cyprus should adopt and immediately announce even more liberal financial service policies than it already has so that it can try to take advantage of the inevitable relocations that will occur during the period of confusion," Ross said, according to The Times.

As commerce secretary, Ross will be among those to negotiate a trade deal with the UK if it triggers Article 50 to leave the EU.

The British Labour party said Ross’ words are a warning that other economies will try to profit from Brexit.

"Wilbur Ross' comments are a stark reminder that the trade deals Britain will agree in future will not depend on goodwill from our partners, but on their own shrewd political and economic calculations," Barry Gardiner, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade told The Times.

"Theresa May's government has failed to articulate a coherent vision of what kind of economy Brexit Britain will be. This makes us weak and vulnerable in the eyes of others," he added.

According to the article, Ross has also called Brexit the "most expensive divorce proceeding in the history of the world."

The 79-year old billionaire investor plans to step down as vice chairman of Bank of Cyprus. The private equity firm WL Ross & Co. he sold a decade ago is under no obligation to sell its 1.6 percent stake in the lender.

Ross has endorsed the "Trump trade doctrine", according to which any new trade must narrow the US trade deficit, boost manufacturing and support growth. The UK has a trade surplus with the US.

BNC - Washington appears unready to play a serious role in fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), as it has fostered terrorists itself and now wants them to remain in the Middle East, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan told RT.

“The Western coalition is of a formal nature, they have no real intention to fight neither in Syria nor in Iraq. We don’t see any readiness on their part to play a truly useful and meaningful role in fighting IS, because it’s them who have raised terrorists and they are interested in keeping them there,” Dehghan said.

 

 

According to the Iranian defense minister, Tehran has never coordinated its operations with the Americans and “will never collaborate with them.”

“Maybe the coalition forces would like to see terrorists weakened, but certainly not destroyed, because those terrorists are their tool for destabilizing this region and some other parts of the world.”

He also mentioned Al-Nusra Front (also known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) and said that terrorists in Syria receive support from the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He also accused Turkey of supporting terrorists on the ground.

 

“If Iran, Russia and Syria were to reach an agreement with Turkey to end Turkish support for those terrorist groups, particularly IS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and start fighting them, then I think we would see the situation in Syria improve,” he added.

According to the minister, any ceasefire in Syria demands guarantees and all parties should agree to fulfill the conditions for a truce.

“We shouldn’t let Islamic State or Al-Nusra groups take part in the ceasefire. All other groups should start a political process and negotiations with the Syrian government.”

He added that after the truce comes into force, it is important to separate terrorists and opposition groups ready to negotiate with the Syrian government.

All sides should fight IS and Al-Nusra Front, Dehghan stated, adding that everyone should stop supporting terrorists in political, financial and military areas.

 

Terrorists in Syria have suffered huge losses in organizational structure and morale in recent months, Dehghan said.

“However, during the recent ceasefire they might have been able to rearm, regroup, and prepare for upcoming fights. During the battle for [the Syrian city of] Aleppo they lost many commanders and fighters. These losses made terrorists leave Aleppo.”

 

Earlier in December, Dehghan met his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Sergey Shoigu and Fikri Işık respectively, and agreed to prepare a text of the Moscow declaration on immediate steps to resolve the Syrian crisis.

Aleppo, one of Syria’s largest cities, had been divided into government-held and rebel-held parts since 2012. Constant hostilities there resulted in widespread destruction and many civilian casualties.

In October, government forces managed to capture many of the areas of Aleppo held by various armed groups, prompting negotiations and an agreement to evacuate anti-government fighters and their civilian supporters. The evacuation, which began in mid-December, was supervised by humanitarian organizations including the Red Cross and the World Health Organization.

The Russian military is currently involved in minesweeping the liberated areas, providing humanitarian aid to returning residents, and restoring basic utilities, the Iranian defense minister added. He lamented that some humanitarian organizations which had criticized Russia for blocking aid deliveries while fighting continued in Aleppo are not eager to provide relief now that it is safe to do so.

Friday, 23 December 2016 17:33

Israel blasts US over UN vote on settlements

srael has reacted furiously over a renewed bid to bring a resolution condemning settlements on occupied land before the UN Security Council.

A senior official accused the US of a "shameful move" after learning that the White House did not intend to veto the text.

The Egyptian-drafted resolution was earlier withdrawn after Israel asked Donald Trump to intervene.

But four other countries later stepped in and a vote is due later on Friday.

The US, which can veto resolutions as a permanent member of the Security Council, has traditionally sheltered Israel from condemnatory resolutions by voting them down.

But the outgoing Obama administration has long made clear its opposition to Israeli settlement-building in occupied territory and there had been speculation that in its final month it might allow a resolution against settlements to pass at the UN.

'A tail-wind for terror'

A senior Israeli official, quoted by AP news agency, said: "President Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN.

"The US administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel's back which would be a tail-wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall [in Jerusalem] occupied Palestinian territory.

"President Obama could declare his willingness to veto this resolution in an instant but instead is pushing it."

The official, who was not named, added: "This is an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN and undermines the prospects of working with the next administration [and] advancing peace."

A senior US official later hit back, saying Washington had not been involved in drafting or promoting the resolution.

The official, speaking to Reuters, also said the US had not told any other Security Council members how it would vote.

As the row deepened, US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham threatened to cut US financial support for the UN if it moved forward with the "ill-conceived resolution".

Malaysia, Senegal, New Zealand and Venezuela, which were co-sponsors of the resolution, are to submit the draft. A vote is due at 19:00 GMT.

Israel contacted the president-elect's team earlier on Friday after learning that the US might abstain in the vote.

The office of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi later said he had discussed the issue in a phone call with Mr Trump but no details of the conversation were given.

Analysts say President Sisi has sought good relations with the incoming US president.

File image of Donald TrumpImage copyrightAFP
Image captionDonald Trump held a phone call with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said the "key goal" of the resolution was "to preserve and reaffirm the two-state solution".

"The text that we have does not exclusively focus on settlements," he told reporters.

"It also condemns the violence and terrorism. It also calls to prevent all incitement from the Palestinian side so this is a balanced text."

On Thursday, Mr Trump had urged the Security Council to defeat the motion.

"Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations," he said in a statement.

"This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis."

Mr Trump takes over as president on 20 January.

The issue of Jewish settlements is one of the most contentious between Israel and the Palestinians, who see them as an obstacle to peace.

About 500,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this

The number of undocumented migrants who drown in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe has reached 5,000, the highest annual total yet, the UN says.

The latest figures, released by the UN's refugee agency, include 100 deaths reported on Thursday after two rubber dinghies sank off Italy.

The increase was down to bad weather, ever riskier boats and tactics to avoid detection, a spokesman said.

The UN said Europe should organise legal ways for refugees to find safety.

Spokesman William Spindler said the increase in deaths was "alarming" and the smugglers' practice of sending thousands of migrants off at the same time made it difficult for rescuers of save them all.

Almost 360,000 migrants entered Europe by sea this year, mostly arriving in Italy and Greece, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

Migrants on rubber boat before being rescued off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea, on November 3, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMigrants are being put to sea on increasingly flimsy boats, the UN says

The record number of deaths means an average of 14 people are drowning in the Mediterranean every day despite the overall number of people making the crossing declining.

Most have perished on the dangerous crossing from North Africa to Italy after the shorter crossing from Turkey to Greece was closed off earlier this year.

The UN said legal routes for refugees to reach Europe should include resettlement and family reunification programmes as well as private sponsorship and student scholarships to prevent refugees from resorting to the use of people smugglers.

Just under 3,800 migrants died in the Mediterranean in 2015, according to IOM figures.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

London (BNC) Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was not representing the government’s views on Saudi Arabia when he accused the close ally of abusing Islam and acting as a “puppeteer” in proxy wars throughout the Middle East, Downing Street has said.

Theresa May’s official spokesperson said the prime minister had “full confidence” in Johnson, but told reporters the comments he made at a conference in Italy last week were his own personal views and did not reflect government policy.

The spokesperson added that Johnson will have the opportunity to set out Britain’s official policy –including the UK’s desire to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia and support for its military involvement in Yemen – when he travels to the region on Sunday.

Johnson told a conference in Rome last week that the behavior of Saudi Arabia, as well as Iran, was a “tragedy.” He said there was an absence of leadership reaching out across the Sunni-Shia divide.

“There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives,” Johnson said, in footage published by the Guardian.

“That’s one of the biggest political problems in the whole region. And the tragedy for me – and that’s why you have these proxy wars being fought the whole time in that area – is that there is not strong enough leadership in the countries themselves.”

 

Speaking at the Med 2 conference, he added: “There are not enough big characters, big people, men or women, who are willing to reach out beyond their Sunni or Shia or whatever group to the other side and bring people together and to develop a national story again.

“That is what’s lacking. And that’s the tragedy.

“That’s why you’ve got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in, and puppeteering and playing proxy wars.”

The criticism comes as UK Prime Minister Theresa May returned from a two-day visit to the Gulf in which she lauded both the Saudi royal family for its visionary leadership, and the value of the 100-year-old alliance with the UK.

Britain has a long alliance with Saudi Arabia, and Johnson’s remarks flout a longstanding Foreign Office convention not to criticize the UK’s allies in public.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “As the Foreign Secretary made very clear… we are allies with Saudi Arabia and support them in their efforts to secure their borders and protect their people. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong and misinterpreting the facts.”

The British government has defended Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen, and sells the country arms. The conflict has led to widespread famine and thousands of deaths.

 

Borama News Company

LONDON—Donald Trump said he is unlikely to have a good relationship with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron if he becomes the next U.S. president because of Mr. Cameron’s earlier criticism of him.

“It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship, who knows,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with ITV News, which aired Monday.

Mr. Cameron’s spokesman responded that the prime minister stood by earlier comments that Mr. Trump, the likely Republican presidential nominee, was “divisive, stupid and wrong” for calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

He added, however, that Mr. Cameron would work with whomever is president and said he was committed to maintaining the special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S.

He also said criticism from Sadiq Khan, London’s newly elected mayor and the first Muslim to hold the job, was nasty and offensive. Mr. Khan had called the Republican presidential nominee’s view of Islam ignorant and said his comments make both the U.K. and the U.S. less safe.


“I think they’re very rude statements and frankly, tell him I will remember those statements,” Mr. Trump said.

With Britain less than six weeks away from a national referendum on whether to stay in the European Union or leave, Mr. Trump in the interview called the 28-member bloc bureaucratic and difficult.

“I think it if I were from Britain, I would probably not want it. I’d want to go back to a different system,” Mr. Trump said.

 

Boris Johnson, former mayor of London and one of the key politicians campaigning for a British exit from the bloc, on Monday said the EU was like a pair of underwear, or “knickers,” that didn’t fit.

”It makes me think of some badly designed undergarment that has now become too tight in some places--far too tight, far too constrictive--and dangerously loose in other places,” Mr. Johnson said.

On the other side of the debate, Treasury Chief George Osborne on Monday said that reports in the past few days from the Bank of England and International Monetary Fund made very clear that Brexit would have high economic costs. Fitch Ratings also weighed in Monday, saying a British exit from the EU would weigh on other EU economies and increase political risks in Europe.

“Leaving the EU is a one-way ticket to a poorer Britain,” Mr. Osborne said in a speech at Stansted Airport, northeast of London. He said leaving the EU and falling back on the default World Trade Organization rules would be disastrous for the economy.

Mr. Cameron, in a Monday op-ed in the Daily Mirror newspaper, said a British exit from the EU would devalue the British pound and therefore make the price of imported food more expensive for people.

“It’s my steadfast belief leaving Europe would be a national error,” he said.

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