UK closes borders to West African nations; begins screening at airports
The Foreign Ministry introduced a total ban on travel to and from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Senegal in response to the Ebola outbreak. In addition, airports such as Heathrow will begin screening for the virus. The move is the first response the UK government has taken since the start of the epidemic that has so far caused almost 5,000 deaths. Prime Minister Jameson spoke with Acting Gaulish President Francois Hollande over the phone about Gaul readiness to contain Ebola after its independence was finalized a few days ago. The Foreign Ministry offered no word as to how long the travel ban would be in place. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that there could be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases per week by December 2014.
Bill introduced to ban male circumcision
A bill introduced into the House of Commons yesterday would ban the practice of male circumcision. A primary supporter of the bill is the Albish Coalition for Men and Boys (ACBM), an organisation that seeks to combat what it sees as infringements on the rights of men and boys across Albion.
"This bill will finally put an end to male genital mutilation, a barbaric and outdated practice that has been taking place far too long in this country and the world" said ACBM's president, John Kellen. The World Jewish Congress office in London voiced opposition to the bill, calling it "An affront to religious liberty". Jews and Muslims are mainly the only two groups that still partake in circumcision in the UK; less than 20% of males in the country are circumcised. If the bill passes, it would make Albion the first country to ban the practice.
UK promises devolution to Caledonia and Wales following Gaul vote
After Gaul voted decisively in favor of becoming an independent republic, the UK government has promised to Caledonia and Wales constituent-country status as well as devolved powers such as their own parliaments. This new wave of federalisation has been welcomed as a breath of fresh air for those who often argue their opinions aren't being heard in Westminster. Caledonia and Wales will also be represented in a new flag for the United Kingdom and even the full of name of the country will soon be changed to the United Kingdom of Albion, Caledonia, and Wales once Gaul completes the secession process.
Gaul votes 'Yes'
The polls closed late evening with the Yes Campaign winning 58% of the votes, ensuring Gaulish Independence. Nigel Hammon, leader of the GNP will meet with Prime Minister Jameson and other members of the UK government to discuss plans for a smooth transition for Gaul as it leaves the union. Prime Minister Jameson said he was "Disappointed" at the result but conceded that "...the Gaulish people have voiced their opinion and we must honor it." Crowds of thousands marched on Paris shouting "Liberté pour la Gaule! No time table has been set as to when Gaul will officially become independent, but experts predict it will be a "matter of weeks."
Gaulish referendum: What you should know for tomorrow's vote
With the polls opening in Gaul in only a few hours, here some important notes to keep in mind.
- The voting age for this election will be 18.
- All permanent residents of Gaul will be eligible to vote.
- The exact question on the ballot will be "Should Gaul dissolve the Union with Albion and become a republic?"
- A simple majority vote is required for a decision to be declared official .
- This vote is legally binding; if Gaul votes "Yes", it will become an independent republic, it it votes "No", it will remain in the United Kingdom.
Here are some common questions that have been asked and the best answer we can provide at the moment
Will Gaul and Albion change their flags if Gaul leaves?
Yes. The GNP intends select a new flag for Gaul a few days after the vote if the "Yes" option wins. It is likely Albion would select a new flag also to reflect Gaul's secession.
Will Gaul use the pound, the euro, or it's own currency if independence is achieved?
It's uncertain. The GNP has said that Gaul will continue to use the pound sterling until either Gaul is accepted into the Eurozone or it's own currency is established.
Will Albions living in Gaul be deported or become Gaulish citizens?
All persons born in Gaul or have Gaulish parents will automatically become citizens. Persons born outside Gaul will have to apply to become citizens even if they live in Gaul. But they will not be deported and are free to continue to reside in Gaul for up to two years after independence, by which time they will have to apply for citizenship to continue living in working in Gaul.
Gaulish independence referendum set for October 13th
After long periods of discussion between the UK government and the Gaulish National Party, October 13th, 2014, has been set as the date for a referendum to determine if Gaul should become an independent country. Over the years, Gaul has found itself struggling to integrate into the United Kingdom. The lingual and religious differences are one of the numerous points of contention between Albish and Gaulers. Supporters of the newly-created Yes Campaign state that Gaul has been run as an Albish puppet state since James III united the two countries in 1699, 315 years ago. Indeed, despite Gaul and Albion having roughly the same population, about 60 million people, only 30 per cent of MPs in the House of Commons hailed from Gaul. Several issues would arise if Gaul were to separate, such as whether if Gaul would retain the monarchy. While the GNP hasn't given an official statement as of yet, it has hinted that it would not keep the monarchy and would support a republic. The GNP did state that Gaul would create it's own currency and most likely would not maintain an open border with Albion.
Albion-Gaul condemns Mexico for missile attack
The Foreign Ministry issued a stern statement indicating to Mexico that it's recent missile attack against the Sierrian-controlled territories of Pacífico Norte, Pacífico Sur, and Sonora, in which Sierra reports 32 people where killed, will not be tolerated by Albion-Gaul. "This grievous attack on Sierra by Mexico is absolutely unacceptable in this day and age, when territorial disputes are to be settled within the confines of international law. We implore both sides to quickly come to a peaceful means of resolving the dispute before more lives are lost" said Foreign Minister Vivian Trent. The Foreign Ministry also stated the possibility of travel restrictions to both Mexico and Sierra. Mexico's fascist government has been criticized numerous times for it's alleged human rights abuses, which Mexico denies. Sierra stated that it planned to appeal to the United Nations about the incident, seeking economic sanctions. Despite the Foreign Ministry's comments, experts say it is unlikely Albion-Gaul would vote in favor of sanctions, as long as the Conservatives are in power, at least. The Labour Party has made it a main campaign point that it would restrict trade to countries that have questionable human rights records such as Mexico.
PM Jameson: Action against ISIS a possibility
In a speech to House Tories, Prime Minister Chester Jameson noted that military action against the Islamic State is not off the table.
"We face probably the greatest threat to national security in the last decade. It is clear to me that it would be totally irresponsible to rule out the option of using the armed forces to combat this threat", he said.
If Albion-Gaul does go to war, it is likely it would do so as part of a coalition, possibly with NATO or Sierra. In the last few months, two Albish journalists were beheaded on camera by the Islamic State, creating public demand for action.