08:31 Shooting at mosque in New Zealand, multiple casualties reported:
Armed police in New Zealand swarmed central Christchurch on Friday amid a shooting at a mosque in the South Island city.
“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” Al Jazeera quoted Police Commissioner Mike Bush as saying.
Local media reports suggest that a gunman entered the mosque on Friday and started shooting with an automatic weapon.
“A gunman – dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun – came into the back of the mosque and started firing into the people praying there,” Al Jazeera quoted local media as saying.
Several casualties are feared, as authorities are yet to confirm the exact figure of deceased or wounded.
Further information is awaited.
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00:59 UK MPs back Brexit delay:
The United Kingdom Parliament on Thursday voted in favour of delaying Brexit beyond March 29 as the chaotic process of the UK’s divorce from the European Union plunged the country into a political deadlock.
The motion for delaying the Brexit Day was passed in the House of Commons by 412 votes to 202.
However, the delay in the Brexit process would now require the unanimous approval of all 27 remaining EU member states, which in effects gives the 28-member bloc the power to dictate the terms of an extension.
Meanwhile, the EU officials have indicated that are not interested to provide more time for political tussles in the UK and would approve an extension only if there were a specific reason for one.
EU Council chief Donald Tusk on Thursday said the bloc could approve a long postponement ‘if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it’, indicating the possibility of a softer Brexit only if May abandons her stand, especially her opposition to being in a customs union with Europe.
However, other EU leaders have warned of not supporting an extension if the UK cannot be clear about what it wants.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said he wasn’t sure if more time was the answer.
The EU needs ‘more decisions’ from London, he said in Brussels, adding, “We have to know, what is the intention of the British parliament? What are the choices of the British authorities?”
Thursday’s round of Brexit tussles came a day after the UK Parliament voted to reject the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place. — PTI