Britain today voted to quit the European Union, giving a narrow win to the Leave campaign and sending shudders through financial markets.
The count took more than seven hours, with the balance see-sawing crazily as region contradicted region, creating nightmares for currency traders attempting to jump in the right direction. The final count gave victory to the Leave by 51.9 per cent against 48.1 per cent for the Remainers. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, who led the Remain campaign, has said he will resign.
Britain’s future is now perhaps less certain than it was yesterday, and it’s a fair bet there’ll be plenty of heartache and turmoil as the fine detail of withdrawal is hammered out. Less obvious consequences may be a rocky ride for the many thousands of Britons who, as European citizens, chose to buy rundown rural properties in France or retire to Spain’s Costa del Sol.
The effect was immediate in Australia where the stock market plummeted by $50 billion. The Aussie dollar lost 3.4 per cent through the count, but that was a gentle ride compared to the pound, which lost 10 per cent to collapse to less than $US1.35 – its lowest mark in 31 years.
Economists have predicted a rout on the British stock exchange today, suggesting it will lose at least 8 per cent of its value, possibly matching its 8.8 per cent fall on the first day of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.
Supreme Court deadlocked, stalling Obama’s immigrant plan
The eight-member US Supreme Court – still a member short because the Republicans refuse to fill a vacancy – has been unable to approve President Barack Obama’s plans to shield millions of illegal residents in the US from deportation. The President’s initiative will now be assessed in a lower court, probably killing it during his final seven months in office.
Obama said the deadlock was “heartbreaking” for millions of people. Expressing frustration with the American immigration system, he said “[The decision] … takes us further from the country that we aspire to be,” he said. The centrepiece of the reform is a plan to offer millions of illegal immigrants a three-year work permit and refocus deportation efforts on criminals.
4,500 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean
A major rescue operation by the Italian coastguard, navy and humanitarian organisations averted a potential disaster on the Mediterranean Sea this week. Over the course of one day, after rubber dingies were spotted drifting about 40km off the Libyan coast, 43 rescues were conducted of thousands of refugees braving the water in their attempt to reach Europe. The Italian coast guard says more than 50,000 people have completed the dangerous crossing, or been rescued at sea, this year.
Baltimore officer not guilty over death of Freddie Gray
A Baltimore judge has acquitted the last of six police officers accused of causing the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died in police custody in 2015. Caesar Goodson Junior was found not guilty on charges of second-degree “depraved-heart” murder and three counts of manslaughter. The depraved-heart charge alleges indifference to the strong likelihood someone will suffer grievous harm through one’s actions. Despite the verdicts, the City of Baltimore has paid $US6.4 million dollars to Gray’s family in a civil settlement.
Led Zeppelin victorious in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ lawsuit
A Los Angeles jury has cleared Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of stealing the famous opening passage in their iconic 1971 song Stairway to Heaven. Representatives of Robert Wolfe, a guitarist in the US band Spirit had alleged the opening chord progression had been taken from the band’s song Taurus, released 10 years before. Plant and Page denied plagiarism claims and the jury ruled the two songs were “not intrinsically similar”. – Compiled from web sources by The Newsroom Team