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UPDATE 1-UK to set N.Ireland budget in absence of devolved government

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LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) – The UK government said on Thursday it would set the 2022/23 budget for Northern Ireland in the absence of a functioning decentralized government.

“We recognize that the public in Northern Ireland needs to be protected in the future by bringing public finances under control, so it is with great regret that I now adopt a Northern Ireland budget,” said UK Government Secretary for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton -Harris statement.

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning devolved government or executive since February, when the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party began a boycott of the regional assembly in protest at the post-Brexit trade deals known as the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“I have a clear message for the parties – if they disagree with my budget, they should reinstate the executive to review and revise the department’s position that I have outlined,” Heaton-Harris said.

The UK government pushed back one earlier this month

Deadline for a new election

in Northern Ireland until at least March to allow room for progress in talks with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol. (Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Farouq Suleiman, Editing by Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper)

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Bidens to serve Maine lobster to Macron despite Whole Foods ban over its danger to whales

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American Osetra caviar poached in butter lobster out MaineBeef and Californian wines are presented beforehand Emmanuel Macron for a state dinner hosted by the President Joe Biden for its French counterpaCentre County Report.

The Biden family and the Macrons will be paCentre County Report of a red, white and blue gathering at a pavilion set up on the South Lawn of the White House for the American president’s first state visit since he was elected to office in 2021.

The menu, released before dinner for 300 to 400 guests on Thursday, showed the gathering will eat shallot jam, a selection of tri-state cheeses, potatoes and beef, washed down with wines from California.

Newton “Unfiltered” Chardonnay and Anakota “Knights Valley” Cabernet Sauvignon, along with a Californian sparkling wine with French roots, Roederer Estate Brut Rose, are served to the gathering. For desseCentre County Report, orange chiffon cake and roasted pears with citrus sauce and creme fraiche ice cream are on the menu.

However, the inclusion of the Maine lobster is right after whole food announced his decision to halt sales of the delicacy due to threats to endangered whales raised eyebrows.

The grocery chain said it will stop selling lobster caught in the Gulf of Maine staCentre County Reporting next month over endangerment concerns NoCentre County Reporth Atlantic right whales get caught in fishing gear. Scientists estimate there are fewer than 350 NoCentre County Reporth Atlantic right whales left, mostly due to human causes.

The company’s decision follows changes in sustainability ratings for Maine’s lobster fishery by separate Centre County Report seafood watchdog groups.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) suspended its ceCentre County Reportification of the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery in early November after the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s (MBA) Seafood Watch Program downgraded Maine lobsters to its red list.

Whole Foods said the decision to stop buying the lobsters was made to maintain its responsibility for sourcing standards set in 2012.

They dictate that wild-caught seafood sold in hundreds of stores must come from fisheries ceCentre County Reportified by the MSC or classified as “yellow” or “green” by the MBA.

“These third-paCentre County Reporty reviews and ratings are critical to maintaining the integrity of our standards for all wild-caught seafood found in our seafood depaCentre County Reportment,” the company said in a statement.

Whole Foods will stop sourcing Maine lobsters effective Dec. 15 but will sell the rest of its supply, the grocery chain said.

The controversial ban has sparked an outcry from Maine’s elected officials and the lobster industry.

Four members of the Maine congressional delegation issued a strongly worded statement criticizing the decision.

“We are disappointed by Whole Foods’ decision and deeply frustrated that the Marine Stewardship Council’s suspension of the lobster industry’s sustainability ceCentre County Reportification continues to impact the livelihoods of hard-working men and women along the Maine coast,” the senators said in a statement Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, and Maine Gov. Janet Mills.

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Asia’s factory activity shrinks as China lockdowns weigh on firms | Manufacturing

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Falling production underscores the darkening economic outlook for Asia in 2023 as China’s lockdowns upend supply chains.

Factory production fell sharply across Asia in November as slowing global demand and uncertainty about the fallout from China’s strict COVID-19 lockdown weighed on business sentiment.

The results underscore Asia’s darkening economic outlook for 2023 as lockdowns disrupt international supplies and fuel fears of a further slump in its economy, the world’s second largest.

Amid the pandemic containment, China’s factory activity shrank in November, a private survey showed on Thursday. The result implied weaker employment and economic growth in the fourth quarter.

Manufacturing activity also shrank in export-dependent economies like Japan and South Korea, and emerging markets like Vietnam, underscoring the mounting damage from weak global demand and stubbornly high input costs, surveys showed.

“Cooling market conditions, ongoing cost pressures and weak underlying demand, both domestic and international, were reportedly key factors contributing to the declines,” said economist Laura Denman of S&P Global Market Intelligence, which compiles the Japan survey.

China’s Caixin/S&P Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 49.4 in November, up from 49.2 in the previous month but still below the 50-line separating growth from contraction. He has now been below 50 for four straight months.

The figure followed dismal data in an official survey on Wednesday showed that manufacturing activity hit a seven-month low in November.

Japan’s au Jibun Bank PMI also fell to 49.0 in November from 50.7 in October. That was the first contraction since November 2020.

South Korea’s factory activity contracted for the fifth straight month in November, but the slowdown moderated slightly, possibly indicating the worst was over for companies.

Still South Korea’s exports in November suffered its sharpest annual decline in two and a half years, separate data showed on Thursday, hit by slowing global demand in key markets led by China and a downturn in the semiconductor industry.

Lockdowns in China have impacted production at a factory there, which is Apple’s largest maker. They have also fueled rare street protests in many cities.

The effects of China’s woes were widespread across Asia. Taiwan’s PMI came in at 41.6 in November, up slightly from October’s 41.5 but remained well below the 50 mark.

Vietnam’s PMI fell to 47.4 in November from 50.6 in October, while Indonesia’s slipped to 50.3 from 51.8, private surveys showed.

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ISIS leader killed during battle in Syria & terror cell announces name of new boss

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THE leader of ISIS was killed in combat, the terror group said.

That extremists have unveiled a new commander after Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi died in battle Syria.

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Islamic State fighters pose on the border between Syria and IraqCredit: Alamy
The terrorist group has confirmed its leader

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The terrorist group has confirmed its leaderPhoto credit: Getty

Al-Quraishi was selected to lead IS fighters in March before he was killed in an operation by the Free Syrian Rebel Army in mid-October, the US military said.

No American troops were involved in the operation, the county’s military spokesman said.

IS spokesman Abu Omar al-Muhajer confirmed the leader’s death in an audio message on Wednesday.

He said al-Quraishi was killed while “fighting enemies of God,” without elaborating.

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Al-Quraishi was appointed in March afterwards Joe Biden announced the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi in Syria.

The US President said the leader blew himself and his family up after he used his own children as human shields in a bloody raid by US special forces.

He was blamed after former boss Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a similar raid by US forces in the nearby city of Barisha in 2019.

The jihadists have announced their newest leader as Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi.

The ISIS spokesman didn’t go into many details about the new boss, but said he was an “experienced” jihadist and called on all groups loyal to IS to pledge allegiance.

Hassan Hassan, author of a book on Islamic State, said the group has shrunk.

He said: “It doesn’t mean the group is finished, but at the moment they’re a shadow of their former selves, they’re hollowed out in terms of their leadership and their ability to execute attacks.

“They no longer have iconic, charismatic leaders and they haven’t launched any major attacks recently.”

The White House welcomed the news that al-Quraishi had been killed, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Emerging from the chaos of civil war in neighboring Iraq, Islamic State conquered large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Former IS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed an Islamic caliphate from a mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that year and declared himself the caliph of all Muslims.

Islamic State’s brutal rule, during which it killed and executed thousands of people in the name of its narrow interpretation of Islam, ended in Mosul when Iraqi and international forces defeated the group there in 2017.

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Since the peak of its power seven years ago, when it ruled millions of people in the Middle East and terrified the world with deadly bombings and shootings, the Islamic State has once again slipped into the shadows.

Its remaining thousands of militants have mostly hidden in remote hinterlands of fractured Iraq and Syria in recent years, though they are still capable of conducting significant insurgency-style attacks.

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